Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

Eleora couldn’t remember what she did yesterday, but she could tell stories of her childhood in excruciating detail. My daughter and niece sat next to her, holding her small hands in theirs. They looked like three young women about the same age. My Clara is 16, Lauren is 21 and Eleora is, well, nobody knows how old she is. We know Eleora is over 2,000 years old but no exact number has ever come out.

The girls heard stories their parents and grandparents had never heard. These were ancient lost tales that she’d hoarded until she found the right audience.

Tellias, her husband, told the girls to watch if they went outside. Eleora might wander off on her own and not find her way back.

He watched the woman he loved, his eyes filled with pain. Sometimes I’d see a rare bit of anger. Of course there is always love, but with that more often than not pain and frustration.

This was Sunday. We’d all gathered at my brother Aaron’s for our mother’s birthday. All four of my brothers were there (Max, Andy, Aaron and Val), as well as the elders Tellias and Eleora, Aaron’s grown children Logan and Lauren, Great-great-great-great Grandmama Lola and her friend Cody, and our friend Pierce. My husband Teddy and Aaron’s wife Verity were there playing host and hostess as they sometimes do. And of course our parents Jeremy and Samantha.

More friends were to come later at this gathering at Aaron and Verity’s home. Of course we’re all Vampires. It would seem weird to bring anyone else in.

This isn’t like the movies and horror stories where we bring in virgins and babies to feast on. Of course there is blood, but we have it in wine glasses (not big red cups.)

I stood outside under the stars with Tellias and my brother Max.

Max put his hand on the elder Vampire’s shoulder. “Eleora isn’t all there anymore is she?”

“I believe she is there. She just is a bit disorganized. You know, when you can’t find the mates to your shoes and you are walking on a bed of nails so you just hop on one foot and hope you don’t fall. But if you fall it will be into a burning pit of lava. Then you look down and notice your pants are gone and your socks don’t match,” said Tellias. “You need to come by and see us more often Max.”

“I know,” said my brother.

“Nobody knows how long Vampires live. Most of us don’t make it this far given the dangerous nature of our existence. Don’t take your chances. Your day could be tomorrow. Eleora’s could be tomorrow. We never know. But no need to get depressed, none of us are going anywhere for a while. We’ll be around for plenty of birthdays to come. But the more you and Juliette and the rest of you come around the easier it will be for Eleora to straighten out the mess in her mind.”

The three of us stood there for a few seconds. Then Max gave Tellias a hug and walked down into the yard under some trees. I watched him as he took out his phone and made a call.

“He is calling her, isn’t he? He should have made that call fifty years ago,” said Tellias. “The boy never seemed to understand love, even at his age he still can’t.”

I had to smile. Even at the age of one hundred and sixty-six Max still is just starting to understand that ships that pass in the night sometimes never pass each other again.

Tellias took my hand and gave it a squeeze. “I appreciate everything you do for us.”

“I know.” I said. I looked into his crystal blue eyes, in a face that looked no older than nineteen. To think that he had lived in ancient time didn’t seem all that strange most of the time. He’d kept up. They both had. That is what kept Tellias and Eleora young. Nobody would ever have expected them to dry up in a crypt or become ghouls living in shadows. Then again, they gave so much love that the cold dark places the put fear in men’s hearts didn’t touch them.

So stay young. It is easy if you love and let love in. Even if you’re a Vampire. And even if you’re not.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Lost and found and just shut up and dance…

The soft voice on the phone said, “come over right now. You need to come over now.” Then the phone went silent. Tellias, an ancient Vampire, one of the elders had called me. He and his love Eleora live surrounded by orchards by a river near a delta. They look young but they’re as old as the ancient redwoods.

My brother Val greeted me from the porch of the Victorian farmhouse.

“They left the keys in the car and someone stole it. The good news is that the car was found. We just need to pick it up today.”

“Why did they leave the keys in the car?”

“They said they were driving around and got lost so they walked home.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“They’re old.”

Their neighbor and his kids manage the orchards now for the most part. Tellias still walks among the groves of walnuts, nectarines, almonds and oranges. There is also a line of ancient olive trees that runs down the drive from the highway to the main house.

“How is the water situation for you this summer?”

“Grim. We’ll manage.” He waved his hand in a way that signaled he didn’t want to talk about it.

“Tell me what happened with the car,” I said.

“Someone took it. Can you believe it? Joy riding is what the report said. They blew a tire and left it a block from the police station downtown. Everything else is alright. I’m having the car detailed and brought back home. You needn’t worry so much about us.”

“Why did you leave your car?”

He shrugged his shoulder as if he was talking to an idiot. “We felt like walking, under the stars and all. It was romantic. You know, we’re considering getting horses again. Megan next door has horses now. Not for serious farming, but she has them. I visited yesterday. You’ll have to see them. One is Percheron. Huge beautiful animal but she is as sweet and calm as a horse can be. Her name is Tansy. I need a horse like Tansy. Maybe I’ll get a couple of Shires. Do you remember the last pair we had? Daniel and Susanna. I loved those horses.”

“Val said you were lost.”

Tellias took my hand. “Aren’t we all a little lost my dear. Now let us go see what Eleora is up to.”

I don’t know why I try to get answers from Tellias or Eleora on anything. He avoids conflict and she is just confusing.

To some extent they were always like that but now they tend to be off course and a little lost most of the time. They usually don’t even care. Why should they? Maybe it just bothers us, but I don’t want them to be harmed or taken advantage of.

We went to the sun room in the back of the house to find Eleora. She danced around me and gave me hugs and kisses all over my face just like when I was a child. Eleora is as old as the wind but looks as young and beautiful as a fresh faced college girl.

“Are you getting enough to eat?” I have to ask.

“Yes,” she said with a smile, “we came across a couple of nice young folks in a bar last night. All were type O. High blood alcohol so I got a bit woozie.”

“There was a band playing so we danced too,” said Tellias.

“Yes, we danced with everyone,” said Eleora twirling around the room.

“With absolutely everyone,” said Tellias.

“Absoutely everyone,” said Eleora as she grabbed my hands and twirled me around. “Tellias even danced with all the ugly girls.”

“Everyone needs a dance partner.”

“Even if they’ve been beat with the ugly stick.”

“Eleora, you’re being harsh. They were lovely young women. A little rough around the edges with lovely.”

“He thinks all women are lovely.”

“She flirts with every man she sees.”

“I’m glad you had fun,” I told them. I was glad nobody got hurt, and I wasn’t thinking about Tellias and Eleora.

I was a little frazzled from taking one of my cats to the vet earlier that day for a scratched eye. Nothing like a car ride with a cat. I was also thinking of my brother Andy who was home recovering from an attack and his girlfriend who broke her arm while she was taking care of him. And I wish I could take care of everyone but I can’t.

Then I got a text: mom mom mom mom mom mom where are you? mom mom mom mom mom

Before I left, Val who is a professional finance guy, said that I didn’t need to worry about the Elder’s finances. They were fine in that area, even if the orchard dried up and blew away they’d be fine. There were times when they lived as if they didn’t have a penny to their names.

Val, who was staying there with them for a while was always concerned about them. He said they complained all the time that nobody came to see them. They forgot things and lost things all the time. They would go too long between eating anything.

I listened remembering the times when I was the only one who ever went to visit them. They aren’t relevant to so much that is going on or so it seems. But nobody should be considered not relevant or not important. Nobody should have to get lost to feel found.

Anyway. That was that.

Maybe I’ll get a horse too, or at least go dancing.

Funny… I turned on the radio to hear that song by Shut up and Dance by Walk the Moon. Now I can’t get it out of my head.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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_______________________________

 Shut up and Dance

Oh don’t you dare look back

Just keep your eyes on me.
I said your holding back,
She said shut up and dance with me!
This woman is my destiny
She said oh oh oh
Shut up and dance with me

We were victims of the night,
The chemical, physical, kryptonite
Helpless to the bass and the fading light
Oh we were born to get together,
Born to get together.

She took my arm,
I don’t know how it happened.
We took the floor and she said

Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me.
I said your holding back,
She said shut up and dance with me!
This woman is my destiny
She said oh oh oh
Shut up and dance with me

A backless dress and some beat up sneaks,
My disco tec Juliet teenage dream.
I felt it in my chest as she looked at me.
I knew we were born to be together,
Born to be together

She took my arm,
I don’t know how it happened.
We took the floor and she said

Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me.
I said your holding back,
She said shut up and dance with me!
This woman is my destiny
She said oh oh oh
Shut up and dance with me

Deep in her eyes,
I think I see the future.
I realize this is my last chance.

She took my arm,
I don’t know how it happened.
We took the floor and she said

Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me.
I said your holding back,
She said shut up and dance with me!
This woman is my destiny
She said oh oh oh
Shut up and dance!

Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me.
I said your holding back,
She said shut up and dance with me!
This woman is my destiny
She said oh oh oh
Shut up and dance with me

Oh oh oh shut up dance with me
Oh oh oh shut up dance with me

Songwriters
MCMAHON, RYAN / BERGER, BENJAMIN / PETRICCA, NICHOLAS WILLIAM / WAUGAMAN, SEAN / RAY, KEVIN / MAIMAN, ELI

Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

Read more: Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

 

Out in the orchard

Out in the orchard she stood in the dark yelling at the ghosts to leave.

He stood on the veranda next to me shaking his head. “I don’t know. She is obsessed by them.”

Leaning against a wicker chair he closed his eyes.

“You ok?” I put my hand on his shoulder. It seemed a little skinny – more than normal. “When was the last time you ate?”

He shrugged his shoulder. “Sometimes I think Eleora is losing her mind. Do you see any ghosts out there?”

“Two in the pear tree. They’re just sitting, ignoring her.”

“I can’t get her to come in. I can’t get her to leave so we can eat. She doesn’t want anyone over or delivery.”

“You should have called me earlier.”

“I didn’t know it would be like this. I love her no matter what but I had no idea she’d change like this.”

I looked into the unlined face that looked all of nineteen but was over 2,000 years old. The pale blue eyes had seen ancient Rome when it was new,  American before it was the United States and had been in his house since the early days of the California Goldrush.

Tellias had met Eleora on a wind swept cliff overlooking the ocean as she danced in the moonlight with the wind in her hair and a laugh in her voice. London didn’t exist yet.  Paris didn’t exist. Nothing existed but the girl on the cliff – a girl like him – a girl who danced in the moon and captured his heart forever.

I walked out under the trees and took Eleora by the hand and led her back to the house. She kissed my cheek and sang a sweet ancient song softly in my ear, putting her arm around my waist and her head on my shoulder.

Tellias tried to smile but just closed is eyes for a moment then turned away.

I got my cooler out of my car and took out a few bottles of blood then poured us all a goblet. I’d bring more tomorrow and maybe some “friends” to visit. Being a Vampire isn’t just sleeping during the day. It is just as hard and difficult and beautiful and rewarding as it is for everyone else. Anyone who has ever known love knows that. It is the best and even though it can hurt so much the rewards are … the love is there, forever and always no matter how dead you feel.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: When You Grow Old

Before we get to a story I have a little bit of business.

Thank you again (so many times) to all of my long time followers for continuing to visit this odd little blog.  

Welcome to my new folks and welcome for joining the party. For the new folks take time to browse around to see what this place is all about. If you like this place tell your friends and feel free to share.

This has been a busy weekend. My daughter turned 15 on July 5 so we’ve had a 48 hour party. Today (Sunday) I have take care of some things and help out the elders so I haven’t even thought of a short story or any ideas at all. All this and a coyote party behind my house – and they’re loud. Loud enough to wake the dead, and keep the undead awake as well.

But good news – I’m sharing one of my favorites again with you. Enjoy and have fun.

 

When You Grow Old

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked my brother’s caretaker Josh.

My brother Bob is 90 years old. A former screenwriter and movie producer, he lives in a modern glass and polished wood mansion on the Central Coast of California.

I’d been at Bob’s for six months.

“Your grandmother would have been 101 this year,” Bob told me. I was going to turn 101 this year, at the end of October. What Bob doesn’t know is that I am his sister Valentina. He doesn’t know I’m a vampire either. He thinks I’m a great niece who is the spitting image of his older sister who passed away in 1935.

I walked the beach in the evenings with Bob. He leaned my arm and told me about the cycles of the tide and the migration of the whales.

Arriving home we found that my brother’s caretaker Bob had fixed dinner. A beautiful salad and fresh rockfish. Josh, a tall skinny but muscular blonde in his 30’s had been with Bob for about 3 years. He divided his time between helping Bob and two other elderly folks near by, and when he wasn’t with his old folks he was surfing.

I asked Josh why he worked with old people. “They’re exceptional creatures,” he told me, “with the knowledge of lost times. They have wisdom and humor that needs to be honored. You can’t always get that out of old people, but if you work them just so and LISTEN they’ll give you the secrets of the universe. And the weird thing is, no not weird, I the magic of it, is that they don’t even know they have that knowledge.”

The next morning we had a visitor. It was Stephen, one of my brother’s neighbors. “You’ve been good to your brother,” he whispered in my ear. He was also a Vampire, something I’d known for a while, but never talked to him about. Our paths crossed but this was the first time we had made a social call since I’d been there.

It seems Stephen and Bob have been friends for the past 10 years, since Stephen purchased the run down house next door and restored it to the former glory of its past. Until today, he only visited Bob when I was out. They spend the evenings talking, watching movies and playing cards with Josh. There was a bond of friendship that was so real and close, the kind that never ends, even with age and differences of opinion.

A few night later Stephen and I walked the beach.

“How long have you been a Vampire?” I asked him. It was a common question Vampires ask each other.

“Since the summer of 1802. Funny it seems like yesterday.”

“So hows it working out for you? I mean, the Vampire thing and all?” I had to ask.

“Good. It’s all good. You know it isn’t for everyone.”

“I wonder about Bob.” I had wondered about my brother and if I made him into a Vampire if I’d restore his youth and keep him in my life.

“Bob is happy where he is.”

“I think you’re right.”

We walked more and listened to the waves. Then he kissed me under that stars. That was a surprise. A nice surprise.

The next morning after Josh had helped Bob with his shower and getting dressed I visited with him over coffee. Josh was such a caring free spirit, loving his work with the elderly and his relationship with the waves.

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked Josh.

He smiled. “I’ll ride out on the surf and become one with the sea.”

“Who will listen to your words of wisdom?”

“You and Stephen can pass it on. You’ll still be here. You’ll always be here. So will Bob, not in body but his spirit is strong. He’ll be around as long as the stars over the surf.” Then he winked at me. “Valentina, I know all about you. Your kind is all over the coast down here. I grew up with Vampires. It’s cool.”

And so it was.

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

When You Grow Old (a very short story)

A short story:

When You Grow Old

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked my brother’s caretaker Josh.

My brother Bob is 90 years old. A former screenwriter and movie producer, he lives in a modern glass and polished wood mansion on the Central Coast of California.

I’d been at Bob’s for six months.

“Your grandmother would have been 101 this year,” Bob told me. I was going to turn 101 this year, at the end of October. What Bob doesn’t know is that I am his sister Valentina. He doesn’t know I’m a vampire either. He thinks I’m a great niece who is the spitting image of his older sister who passed away in 1935.

I walked the beach in the evenings with Bob. He leaned my arm and told me about the cycles of the tide and the migration of the whales.

Arriving home we found that my brother’s caretaker Josh had fixed dinner.  A beautiful salad and fresh rockfish. Josh, a tall skinny but muscular blonde in his 30’s had been with Bob for about 3 years. He divided his time between helping Bob and two other elderly folks near by, and when he wasn’t with his old folks he was surfing.

I asked Josh why he worked with old people. “They’re exceptional creatures,” he told me, “with the knowledge of lost times. They have wisdom and humor that needs to be honored. You can’t always get that out of old people, but if you work them just so and LISTEN they’ll give you the secrets of the universe. And the weird thing is, no not weird, the magic of it is that they don’t even know they have that knowledge.”

The next morning we had a visitor. It was Stephen, one of my brother’s neighbors.  “You’ve been good to your brother,” he whispered in my ear. He was also a Vampire, something I’d known for a while, but never talked to him about. Our paths crossed but this was the first time he’d had made a social call since I’d been there.

It seems Stephen and Bob have been friends for the past 10 years, since Stephen purchased the run down house next door and restored it to the former glory of its past. Until today, Stephen only visited Bob when I was out. The Stephen and Josh spend the evenings talking, watching movies and playing cards with Bob. There was a bond of friendship between the three that was so real and close, the kind that never ends, even with age and differences of opinion.

A few nights later Stephen and I walked the beach.

“How long have you been a Vampire?” I asked him. It was a common question Vampires ask each other.

“Since the summer of 1802. Funny it seems like yesterday.”

“So hows it working out for you? I mean, the Vampire thing and all?” I had to ask.

“Good. It’s all good. You know it isn’t for everyone.”

“I wonder about Bob.” I had wondered about my brother and if I made him into a Vampire if I’d restore his youth and keep him in my life.

“Bob is happy where he is.”

“I think you’re right.”

We walked more and listened to the waves. Then he kissed me under that stars. That was a surprise. A nice surprise.

The next morning after Josh had helped Bob with his shower and getting dressed I visited with him over coffee. Josh was such a caring free spirit, loving his work with the elderly and his relationship with the waves.

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked Josh.

He smiled. “I’ll ride out on the surf and become one with the sea.”

“Who will listen to your words of wisdom?”

“You and Stephen can pass it on. You’ll still be here. You’ll always be here. So will Bob, not in body but his spirit is strong. He’ll be around as long as the stars over the surf.” Then he winked at me. “Valentina, I know all about you. Your kind is all over the coast down here. I grew up with Vampires. It’s cool.”

And so it was.

surf sunset

A short story from ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Have a good weekend everyone and may all your sunsets be beautiful and all your waves be high.

______________________________________________________

Dragons and Dreams

Dragons and Dreams

This story was featured in the WPaD anthology Dragons and Dreams – available at Amazon.com and other fine online booksellers. Portions of the proceeds go to MS research.