Vampire Maman’s 2017 Fall Reading List

New mystery series, paranormal romance, old favorites, and great short stories… I’ve got it all in my 2017 Fall Reading List. Scroll down some fun fall (and even Halloween) book suggestions. This list contains best sellers and some hidden gems. This is my off the top of my head short list. Like I said, there is something for everyone. Happy Reading.

Unfortunate Souls (Book 1) (Unfortunate Souls Series)

By Jade M. Phillips

511mfFlTFXL

Unfortunate Souls (Book 1) is the start of a new series for Jade M. Phillips, one of the princesses of paranormal romance with suspense. The author warns us that the book contains mild kissing and cursing — and some mild violence — and is meant for readers fourteen years of age or older.

That said, this is a fun book, carried by first person viewpoints, first Ruby’s, then Guy’s. The tale is told in a modern English; the viewpoint characters are up to carrying the plot. I’m not going to thumbnail this book for you, since it is the start in a series where love may not be mortal, nor hate.

If you enjoy Young Adult or New Adult fiction, and want a quick moving story with all paranormal and suspenseful elements imaginable come in to play, you’ll enjoy this first book the series — and by inference, its sequels.

 

Creepies: Twisted Tales From Beneath the Bed

A WPaD Anthology

creepies

– A desperate father, on the run with his daughter reveals a terrifying truth about his child…
– Who is the bogeyman, really? Hear the real story – directly
from the monster himself…
– A tiny burger joint along a desert highway – it appears to be a refreshing oasis for a traveling family… or is it?
– A psychic investigates an apparition of a little girl and uncovers a shocking tale…
Enjoy these chilling stories and more in
Creepies: Twisted Tales From Beneath the Bed.
This collection of short stories is a fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis, in support of some of our writers who live with MS. For each copy sold, a portion is donated to MS research.

 

Creepies 2: Things That go Bump in the Closet

From the twisted minds of Writers, Poets and Deviants (WPaD)

51DPaulo5KL._SY346_

Prepare for terror… and a few laughs as well.
– An exterminator meets his match in a family’s attic…
– A cuddly toy with a disturbing origin is all the rage…
– A boy’s survival of a deadly accident turns out to be more curse than miracle…
– A man asks a vampire for a favor and gets more than he wished for…
– A strange device collects and stores the rage from people bent on revenge…
– An exquisite chess set in an old pawn shop is more than it seems to be…
– A WW2 bayonet carries an evil history…
– An ancient vampire struggles with life in modern society…
– Something is alive in the outhouse…

Enjoy these chilling tales and more in volume 2 of WPaD’s popular Creepies series.
But leave the lights on…

 

The Poe Shadow

By Matthew Peal

51-I+hXl7eL

I love the writing of Matthew Pearl. It isn’t always easy but it will transport you to another time with his language and story lines. He takes you back in time, not by today’s culture, but really back in time. If you like Poe, and history, and a bit of romance, and a lot of mystery you’ll love this book.

“I present to you . . . the truth about this man’s death and my life.”

Baltimore, 1849. The body of Edgar Allan Poe has been buried in an unmarked grave. The public, the press, and even Poe’s own family and friends accept the conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who met a disgraceful end as a drunkard. Everyone, in fact, seems to believe this except a young Baltimore lawyer named Quentin Clark, an ardent admirer who puts his own career and reputation at risk in a passionate crusade to salvage Poe’s.<br><br>As Quentin explores the puzzling circumstances of Poe’s demise, he discovers that the writer’s last days are riddled with unanswered questions the police are possibly willfully ignoring. Just when Poe’s death seems destined to remain a mystery, and forever sealing his ignominy, inspiration strikes Quentin–in the form of Poe’s own stories. The young attorney realizes that he must find the one person who can solve the strange case of Poe’s death: the real-life model for Poe’s brilliant fictional detective character, C. Auguste Dupin, the hero of ingenious tales of crime and detection.<br>In short order, Quentin finds himself enmeshed in sinister machinations involving political agents, a female assassin, the corrupt Baltimore slave trade, and the lost secrets of Poe’s final hours. With his own future hanging in the balance, Quentin Clark must turn master investigator himself to unchain his now imperiled fate from that of Poe’s.

 

Norse Mythology

by Neil Gaiman

515HhtYN0gL

Norse Mythology is Neil Gaiman’s own take on traditional Norse tales. Thor, Odin, and Loki are all there getting into trouble, making mischief, saving their friends, dealing with their families, falling in love, and facing loss. The book is assorted related stories so you can take it in small chunks if you want. I read this while reading other books – a break between if you know what I mean.

 

Two Nights

by Kathy Reichs

51IeKjz3jxL

A lot of you might know Kathy Reichs from her Bones Series. I love the books but don’t like the TV show. Anyway, now that you know where you are… Two Nights is a well written start of a new series. I can’t wait for the next book. You won’t be able to put it down.

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .
Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help. Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?

It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons—because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Lost City of the Monkey God

By Douglas Preston

51HrRPBhYoL

Yes, this is the Douglas Preston who writes the Pendergast books with Lincoln Child. This is a non-fiction adventure about finding a lost city, treasure, and finding something more dangerous than most fictional villains.

In 2012, author Douglas Preston joined a team of explorers searching for Ciudad Blanca (“The White City”), a legendary ruin hidden in the dense jungle of eastern Honduras. To this point the city – also known as “the Lost City of the Monkey God” – was literally a legend; while various hucksters and hoaxers had claimed to have discovered the abandoned metropolis, no credible evidence had ever been presented, and its very existence remained shrouded in doubt. In addition to the objective hazards of tropical disease, wild boars, and the deadly fer-de-lance viper, locals stoked the mystique, describing various curses awaiting would-be discoverers. Don’t pick the flowers, or you’ll die.

But this team had an advantage that previous searchers had lacked: LIDAR, an advanced laser-imaging technology able to penetrate the dense jungle canopy – just enough – and return detailed elevation profiles from which subtle, man-made anomalies could be identified. Almost immediately, two major sites emerged, their scale and architecture indicating a civilization to rival another local, more famous power, the Maya.

The announcement had consequences. The fledgling Honduran government, having gained power through a military coup, sought to use the discovery to bolster its status with the population, while the academic community ripped the expedition with accusations of Indiana Jones-style exploitation and shoddy scientific methods, cries which could be uncharitably interpreted as sour grapes. Encroaching deforestation and the prospect of looters created urgency to conduct a ground survey, and the team ventured into the wilderness and all the hazards that awaited, including an unexpected and insidious danger that cursed the team well beyond their return home.

The author of over 30 books, including number of bestselling thrillers co-written with Lincoln Child, Preston knows pace, and he packs several narratives into a taut 300 pages. Indiana Jones criticism aside, the story of the discovery and exploration of the ruin is solid adventure writing, and he walks a fine line in dealing with the archaeology community’s response, reporting on the bases for their criticism where they chose to provide it. And by invoking Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, Preston speculates on the mysterious, sudden demise of the White City and its inhabitants, drawing ominous parallels between their fate and possibly our own. Lost City is a tale that manages to be both fun and harrowing, a vicarious thrill worthy of a place on the shelf next to David Grann’s The Lost City of Z. –Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review

 

More scary reading:

The Feeder

by Mandy White

The Feeder gives brutality a new meaning…

51U433+6b5L

Victims horribly mutilated, with parts missing and inserted in their mouths…

An aspiring actress-turned-prostitute falls victim to the killer, leaving behind a grieving twin obsessed with revenge.

Warning:
Graphic violence and scenes of mutilation. Some readers may find the content of this book offensive. Read at your own discretion.

Biography

Mandy White is a Canadian author who resides on Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she is living her dream of being one of those weird, reclusive writer types. She primarily writes fiction in the horror genre, often featuring Canadian characters and locations. She is founder of the WPaD group (Writers, Poets and Deviants), best known for their charity anthologies.

Published works include:

The Jealousy Game
Non-fiction – A guide to dysfunctional relationships where excessive jealousy is present.

Avenging Annabelle
Fiction – A thriller about a distraught father who seeks revenge on his daughter’s abductor.

Dysfictional: Short Stories for Twisted Minds
Fiction – A collection of Mandy White’s short stories, including the novelettes, A Feast Not So Fancy and The Immigrant.

The Feeder (April, 2013 release)
Fiction – A thriller told from the point of view of an individual whose twin sister is brutally murdered, sparking a gruesome and bloody vendetta.

Creepies: Twisted Tales from Beneath the Bed by WPaD
Fiction – A horror anthology featuring two of Mandy White’s stories along with a collection of chilling tales from the talented writers of WPaD.

Passion’s Prisms: Tales of Love and Romance by WPaD
Fiction – A romance anthology featuring two of Mandy White’s stories along with a collection of romantic tales from the talented writers of WPaD

The Immigrant
Fiction – A Sci-fi/comedy novelette about an alien with extremely poor hygiene who comes to Earth to genetically engineer a new food source. (Featured in Dysfictional)

A Feast Not So Fancy
Fiction – A horror novelette about a loner who finds himself paralyzed and at the mercy of his hungry house cats. (Featured in Dysfictional)

Zombie Cuisine
Fiction – A short story told from the point of view of a zombie who encounters a lost love in her search for sustenance. (Featured in Dysfictional and Creepies)

The Creators by M.W. Sharpe and Mandy White
Fiction – An alternative origin of the species story based on various metaphysical theories.

WPaD Publications

WPaD Publications featuring stories from Juliette

The Crystal Cave

by Mary Stewart

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crystal_Cave

The story of Merlin of the Arthurian legend. This is followed by The Hollow Hills and The Last Enchantment. Well written and magical the story brings Merlin to life in a way no other book has done. I read this so many times my paperback copy fell apart.

 

And for a fun light romance…

The Girl Who Knew Too Much

By Amanda Quick

51qH3r6jnOL
When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…

The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist—especially since she’s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.

Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…

With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

reading

This should keep you busy for a while. There is something for everyone on this list. Check my past blogs for other book recommendations. I have a big pile of books I’m working on now.

Morning at the Vineyard

Of course you could always read my short story collection “Morning at the Vineyard.” Also keep reading my blog – start from the beginning. I have posted hundreds of witty, mindful, and interesting blog posts and short stories to keep you amused, amazed, and enlightened.

Happy Reading,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Hotties: Werewolves (if you’re into guys who smell like wet dogs)

Werewolf Week 2017 continues…Aside from all of the love letter, taking kids to rock concert, and spoon hanging posts THIS one is in the top five all time most popular.

Halloween Hotties: Werewolves (if you’re into guys who smell like wet dogs)

 

Time to Countdown to Halloween with Halloween Hotties #3 – WEREWOLVES.

Werewolves. I’m torn on this one. I just don’t find them attractive at all. OK – I don’t find most of them attractive.

Now wolves, the wonderful wild wolves who don’t turn back into humans are some of the most beautiful creatures on earth.

grey-wolf_565_600x450

Close-up-wolves-30822124-1094-1406

But Werewolves? Really? They’re just gross and disturbing.

This is not attractive or hot in any way shape or form.

images

But before he was transformed…Mr Chaney was quite the looker. After the transformation his was just one ugly dog faced boy.

Lon Chaney looking hot in a suit! Sweetheart stay out from under that full moon!

American Werewolf In London = hot guys, ugly werewolves.

Looking cute now guys but wait until midnight!

So what does the whole Werewolf thing mean in modern culture. Man shows his inner beast? Nooooo, it’s just another way to creep us out and give us some scary fun.

2016-04-05 16.24.05

Caution: If you’ve come here for deep and meaningful look at my parenting posts.

That said, if you are looking for a HOT Werewolf… The hero of Robert McCammon’s The Wolf’s Hour, Michael Gallatin, is the most smoking hot Werewolf ever to grace the pages of fiction or non-fiction. I love this book. It goes down in my top 10 favorite books of all time. Take my word for it.

1315884586798872

The Wolf’s Hour is about a Russian Werewolf who is a Nazi hunter during WW2. Trust me, this isn’t some silly book. It is powerful, well written and filled with some of the best characters ever written. Read it. Read it. Read it. And by the way, Mr. McCammon you’re pretty hot yourself! I mean, any man who can write how he writes has to be hot.

Then there is Adam, my own Werewolf friend. He just rolls his eyes at me.

Yes, I do have personal experience with these guys. It is creepy when you see hair growing out of the top of somebody’s hand. I can handle the teeth thing, especially since I have fangs too. And I like a man with a little hair on his chest, but not covering his entire body like, well, like a DOG or a bear rug. Nor do I like the idea of kissing a guy knowing that he was chewing on his ass the night before. Yuck.

I once told Adam that I found the idea of turning into a wolf somewhat disturbing. He went off on me for a full 15 minutes about how vile Vampires are and that we’re more or less the most evil disgusting creatures that ever stayed awake all night. I told him I hoped he’d get fleas in his crotch and that I would NEVER forgive him for trying to rip my throat out a while back. I told him he smelled like a wet dog after he’d been a wolf for the night.

Most Werewolves are Halloween Hotties because of what they look like BEFORE the full moon. You gotta admit I’m right about that one. I mean, look at the photo below with the cute guy and the puppy. Cute now…just wait until the full moon and he turns into some disgusting hairy beast that eats Alpo and small children. Maybe we just want to take care of them – like we take care of our faithful dogs. Poor babies…. No, I don’t think so.

cute guy with pup

Adam and I didn’t talk for a while after our big Werewolf vs Vampire blow out and insult throwing contest,  but we’re back to being in the close friend category.

Creatures such a Vampires and Werewolves can get a little emotional with expressing our feelings. That said, if you want emotional try spending some time with a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

And as long as you’re here…check out the rest of the blog for more fun and don’t forget to subscribe by email, Facebook or as a WordPress subscriber!

He claims he looks more like the wolf, but I've seen him with those wolf teeth and hair growing out of his arms...it is enough to scare the most hardened Vampire.

Famous Monsters and Friends

Oh my monsters and horror! Halloween is right around the corner. To get you in the mood I’m sharing some Famous Monsters of Filmland, and other interesting monster themed magazine and comics covers. These aren’t my favorites but I’ll share this batch with you anyway. Yikes some of these guys are ugly (but remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder.) Had fun!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Famous Monster

A face only a mother would love

2016-03-26 08.13.22

I told him not to slide down the street on is face, but what did he do?

2016-03-26 08.13.39

This is just sort of stupid but I know somebody out there likes this shit.

2016-03-26-08-14-01.jpg

Everybody loves Victor’s Creature.

2016-03-26 08.14.12

Hey honey, got any chap stick in your purse?

2016-03-26 08.14.31

He needs to see the guys on “Botched.”

2016-03-27 14.03.13

Oh come on, you can give us a smile. Don’t be such a dick.

2016-03-27 14.03.27

Nice ape. I’ll fix you a grilled cheese sammie with a nice glass of wine. You want tomato on that?

2016-03-27 14.07.12

If you think a clown coming out of the gutter is bad, just imagine THIS.

2016-03-27 14.07.18

So you aren’t the best looking guy at the class reunion. Get over it dude.

2016-03-27 14.07.26

This guy is a total douche. Come on girl get up and poke his eyes out. I think somebody eventually rescues her, but still, tell your kids to keep their clothes on and stay away from weird guys with knives.

2016-03-27 14.07.31

I want my mummy.

Vampire Diary: Game Day

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Game Day

Dear Diary,

The cat stood at the door. She asked to go out, or I assumed she did from her meowing. I opened the door. She walked away. I’m not playing this game. The door is now open. She doesn’t realize that the cold doesn’t bother me. For a brief moment I reveled in the thought that the cat does not understand Vampires. Then she jumped on the table and bit my hand. She was purring. I do not understand her game. I hate cats.

~ Vlad

 

kitten

 

Dear Diary,

My neighbor took me to a Kings Game. It is what they call Basketball. The team is called the Sacramento Kings. I was not sure what sort of game this basketball was.

He told me that I was to dress casual and to wear purple if I had it. I wore a purple dress shirt with a black tie and black slacks. The ladies had to rub my arm and smile. Women are so forward now. They said I looked gorgeous.

We arrived at the stadium. The Kings were going to play the Celtics. I missed pageantry and was feeling excited about the spectical.  Every seat in the stadium was full. People wore purple and green. Some had cowbells. A new leader, someone they called the Coach was to be crowned…or at least I thought.

The Celtics were not the Celts I knew of. They were huge, tall men. Some were over seven feet tall. They did not look like Celts.

Then the Kings came out. They were the huge men as the Celtics. I wondered what sort of challenges they would partake in. I saw no weapons.

They played with a ball. They threw it into a basket. At first I didn’t understand why everyone was so excited, then I was swept into the pandemonium. Girls danced. Music played, The crowd cheered. People yelled. Everyone danced. My neighbor’s wife grabbed me and we were on the “hug cam.”

Nobody was killed during or after the game. The losers were not punished. Everyone was happy. I don’t understand. There must be consequences unless this is just a circus show masked as a royal tournament.

~ Vlad

 

Kings vs Celtics

 

Dear Diary,

The spectacle of last night made me think of a story my Baba used to tell. It was long centuries ago when I was a child. It was back when my blood still ran warm and my heart would beat strong in my chest.

Once there was  a prince called Alexander who was betrothed to marry a woman he did not love. This woman was beautiful but she was also shrewish and it was rumored she took many lovers and would continue to do so after marriage. She planned to lock Alexander up and keep him to herself, as her toy. Young Alexander, only 16 years old, wished to be free like the squirrels and other woodland creatures. So on the eve of his wedding to the woman he did not love Alexander fled into the woods. 

Alexander became lost in the deep dark forest. The branches tore at his clothing and hair. He did not know what to do until he heard the sound of clicking and then laughing. Going towards the noise he found himself in a clearing. In the middle of patch of mowed grass was a table. At the table sat a squirrel, a possum, a cat and a snake. They sat around the table with bottles of wine and a cup of dice. 

They looked up at the startled young prince. The cat said in a voice rich with musical tones, “please, Alexander, come sit with us. Come play our game.”

“Tell me the rules,” said the prince.

The squirrel bushed up his tail and turned his head to the side. “First you must tell us your wish. Then we all throw the dice. Those with low scores must take a drink. The player with the high score gets to ask a question of one of the players.”

Alexander thought this was an odd game. “Who wins?” 

“You’ll see,” purred the cat, then she licked her paws and slicked back her whiskers. “What is your wish.”

“I wish to marry for love, eventually. I’m only sixteen,” said Alexander.

They all nodded, even the snake who stared with a flicking tongue and black eyes like polished obsidian. 

The cat motioned for the game to start. The squirrel rolled five, the cat rolled seven, the snake rolled two, the possum rolled eleven and Alexander rolled twelve. 

The snake hissed and rolled it’s eyes, “I win because I rolled my own eyes. I’m also tired of our wine.”

“And we’re tired of your whine,” said the squirrel. He then took the snake by the tail and threw it into the forest. Alexander could hear it cursing and slithering away through the brush.

The all drank big slugs of wine and told Alexander to ask a question of one of them. “I will ask you a question,” he said turning to the possum. “Why do you play dead?”

The possum grinned with sharp teeth and answered, “I play dead because there are Vampires in the woods. I wish to keep my blood so I play dead.”

The squirrel laughed. “Roll the dice.”

The squirrel had the high score of ten. He asked the cat, “Do you like living in the woods.”

The cat slowly closed then opened her bright green eyes. “I love my friends but I wish I had a forever home.” 

The possum started to cry because her answer made him so sad, so they all quickly took a drink and rolled the dice again and again. The game went on for hours until they were all too drunk to play anymore.

In the morning Alexander woke up on the table with the cat sleeping in the crook of his arm. The squirrel was sleeping on a branch above them. The possum was sleeping under the table. The snake had returned and was sleeping curled in a tight coil by the prince’s feet. 

The cat opened her eyes and started to purr. Alexander scratched under her chin. “Who won dear cat?” 

“You did,” said the cat, “but there is a catch. You must take me back to your home in the castle.”

Alexander and the cat said goodbye to their friends and promised to return. 

Upon his return Alexander was greeted with angry words from the woman he was to marry. She pulled him by the ear and slapped his face. When he could take no more he opened his jacket and out jumped the cat. The horrified woman backed away. Her eyes started to water and turn red. Then she sneezed so hard that her brains blew out of her nose and she fell dead upon the floor.

The cat said, “I had heard she was allergic. That is why all cats were banned from the castle as soon as the engagement was announced. Now you can become a man in peace and I will live with you as your cat. I’d like to tell you that I’m really an enchanted woman, but no such luck, I’m just a cat.”

Then the dogs came in and licked up the brains and they lived happily ever after together. And eventually, about ten years later the prince found his true love, and she loved his old cat as much as he did.

And that was the end of the story.

After writing down this story, my cat jumped in my lap. I wondered if she would kill for me. I doubted it.

~ Vlad

 

sunrise woods

 

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight I went out for dinner.

Meals used to involve cunning and seduction. Sometimes meals would involve force and stealth.

Now I go to a local gathering place and women approach me. They smile and tell me I’m cute or gorgeous or dreamy. Their goal is to seduce me. I don’t understand this change in culture but I am not going to complain. Finally there is something about the modern world that I find pleasing.

When I arrived home I put my hand in my coat pocket and to my surprise it contained a pair of dice. In the woods next to my house I could see the glow of eyes and the rustle of leaves in the trees above me.  My cat rubbed against my legs and mewed. The game is on.

~ Vlad

Kissed by a Vampire

 

 

 

 

 

A note about this post:

This is in response to a contest run by Evil Squirrel in 2013 (Contest of Whatever).

These were the rules (from 2013):

1. The theme is games. I want some form of a game to be involved in your creation. Anything that involves competition between two or more participants is allowed… board games, sports, multiplayer video games, children’s activities… etc.

2. Since we don’t want any solo gaming, your creation must include at least two characters… and they must be at least two different species of animals (and while your entry may contain humans, they do not count towards this two species requirement. Fictional animals, such as unicorns, do count towards this requirement). Note that your creation may have as many characters as you wish, just so long as there’s at least two different animal species represented.

There are a lot of other really great entries. Please check out the link below or CLICK HERE to see all of it.

http://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2015/02/01/the-second-annual-contest-of-whatever/

And thanks ES for a fun contest.

By the way I won the 4th Annual Evil Squirrel’s Nest Contest of Whatever – another Vampire Diary post. CLICK here to view it. Woo Hoo.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Three True Tales of Terror (with teens, rats and possums) – with illustrations

Three True Tales of Terror (with teens, rats and possums) – with illustrationshorror banner011

Tale #1: High School Horror

This morning as I dropped sixteen year old Clara off at school I saw a girl walking across the parking lot. I know I shouldn’t have, since I am the parent, I said, “She has that geek walk. You know, very fast and deliberate.”

Then Clara looked at me in a cold chilling manner. “She is sooooo weird. Her finger nails are really long.” Clara made a hand motion showing four to five inch long nails. Yikes.

My child proceeded to recount a short list of weirdness. Then she said, “She never shaves her legs. Her skin is super dry. And then she scratches her legs during class. It sounds like this.”

And my daughter scraped her nails against the woven upholstery of the car seat – a loud, heavy, scraping noise. To imagine that was a human leg made me wince.

Then Clara scraped her nails along the pebbled plastic dash board of the car. “Just like this.”

Then she got out of the car with her hundred pound pack full of text books (no lockers for these kids) and headed off to her first class.

On the way home I thought of The Tell Tale Heart.

I know, I’m a parenting blogger. I should have said, “it is ok for a girl to have hairy legs if that is her choice.” But I didn’t. Deal with it.

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

 

Tale #2: The Rat

Once upon a time, back before the life I’m living now, for a short time I lived alone in a small shack of a house in the woods.

I was sleeping and awoke to the sound of crashing, and two sets of four feet running through the room.

My small long haired tabby cat Eureka was chasing a rat.

Eureka was named so because I found her. The name is on the seal of the great state of California. It means “I have found it.”

The rat and cat both ran into the storage room, and I closed the door.

There was more crashing and banging. Then it stopped.

Then mewing noises came from behind the door. I opened the door. The cat had the rat trapped between a wall and my sewing machine case.

Now what?

I kicked the sewing machine against the wall, once, twice, three times.

On the third kick the rat flew out and landed dead on the floor. This rat was huge – half the size of the cat.

Disgusted I went back to bed. I’d deal with the rat later.

About an hour later I was awakened by a sound.

“Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch.”

Eureka the cat was by the side of my bed, eating her rat. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

I’d deal with it later. I pulled the covers over my head and went back to sleep.

When I woke up again there was no fur, no tail, no bones, no rat at all except one foot, something that looked like a kidney, and the head of the rat staring up at me with dark black beady eyes.

 

Tale #3: Not Dead Yet

juliette armadillo010

The last time my son was home from college he was going through some boxes in the attic looking for vintage vests and ties he could take back to school. He found something else, something I’d forgotten about. What a treat. It was almost like Christmas again.

I will never forget when he looked at me holding the box and asked, “Mom, what the hell?”

My parents traveled to California in 1849. It was the year the great California Gold Rush Started. Among their party were two young women, Martha and Leyna.

Unlike my father, and pregnant mother, Martha and Leyna were not Vampires. Martha had been a young slave who’d been purchased (at the age of thirteen) in 1848 by my mother, and immediately given her freedom. Martha was smart and sweet girl who liked baby blue ribbons and anything to do with roses. Leyna was a sturdy one eyed teen with a black eye patch, and a head full of long blonde curls and pale blue eyes. She was to marry a man in his 40’s but she’d have none of that. She ended up in the service of my mother who appreciated her common sense and sense of humor. The contrast between the small dark slender girl and the Amazon like pale girl was almost extreme, but the two became inseparable friends.

By 1866 my parents had produced five little Vampire children. My brother Andy’s Italian music master was falling in love with Martha. Leyna was happy to be her own woman and running the kitchen. Both were still working for my parents.

Yes, we had a kitchen, for Vampires do eat food from time to time, especially with growing children. Another reason (which has a lot to do with the whole point of this story) is that my parent’s entertained a lot. None of their fine Nineteenth Century friends had any idea that Jeremy and Samantha and their five darling children were Vampires. It was all about appearances.

So during the party season of 1866 strange things started to happen around town. Even the illustrious households like the Standfords and Crockers reported disturbances of the most disgusting manner.

Women reported they’d feel something pulling at their large skirts, only to hear running, and a hissing laugh, followed by a cloud of flies and fleas. Sometimes they’d smell horrible fart like gas, or feel the brush of soft fur against their legs.

From fine homes, to local bars, alcohol supplies started to run low. Someone or something was getting into the supply.

Even our house was not exempt from the strange bad smelling visitor. I could hear my mother talking to my father about it. She said she’d heard of such event near St. Louis.

All the while my brothers and I were watching for whatever being was causing the disturbance. There were rumors of a dwarf escaped from a circus, or Werewolves, or ghosts, or even trained devil dogs.

Then one day we saw them walking along the edge of our house. A large greasy possum, his fur slicked back, and wearing one of my father’s ties around his neck, crept along with his teeth showing, and his dark eyes darting around. He was followed by a small creature who staggered along like a drunk. It looked like a small armadillo. The possum was disgusting, like the drunken dandy Werewolves who thought they were God’s gift to women. The armadillo creature was small and sweet.

Soon all Hell broke loose. The possum was trying to “romance” our cats. Alright, he was trying to mount them. That led to a possum face full of bloody scratches. Our dogs barked but he just flipped him off. Next we chased him into the house where we lost him for a few hours. We found the armadillo creature in a corner curled up around a bottle of whiskey.

The sound of scratching claws could be heard against the hardwood floor. The rank smell, and trail of my mother’s lacy unmentionables, led us to the kitchen.

“Look what that demon spawn has stolen from Samantha’s room,” we heard Leyna yelling.

Martha ran down the hall telling us to help her pick up the mess.

Then my mother appeared in the doorway. She was not happy. “It is called Buster. Martha, Leyna, we must eliminate it. NOW.”

Of course my seven year old brother Val and I started to scream at them not to kill it. We wanted to put it in a cage and tame it. We wanted to have it as a pet. We’d wash it and train it. We’d teach it tricks. We’d be famous.

Mother said NO.

The creature put his head up and looked at my mother with his shining black eyes, then hissed out the words, “Want some tail between your legs beautiful?”

The was a collective gasp, even from the Vampires in the room.

Martha, in a whirl of blue ribbons and lace, grabbed a broom. Leyna grabbed a large cast iron frying pan.

The creature hissed again. “Love it when the bitches get all fired up.” Then a cloud of fleas, flies, and fur swirled around the room.

Martha, Leyna and the possum thing called Buster disappeared into the kitchen. My mother followed, slamming the door behind her.

We stood with our ears to the door listening to the carnage. It sounded like a bar brawl.  When the door opened my mother came out, her hair falling in messy curls down her back, her hands covered with scratches and blood. Martha and Leyna stood in shock.

A possum jaw was stuck in the back of the door, teeth sunk into the wood like nails. The rest of the animal was on the cutting board, a mash up of fur and a long rat like tail. Blood ran off of the surface onto the floor.

“Is it dead?” I asked.

My mother started to laugh. Then Martha and Leyna laughed too, until the three of them couldn’t stop.

“May I have the fur?” Asked my brother Val.

My mother smiled. “Whatever for my darling?”

“I’d like to make a doll out of it for Juliette.”

Val was a darling child.

Then Leyna spoke, “My sweetheart can do taxee-dermy. He’ll make you up a nice dolly for Juliette.”

Val and I jumped up and down clapping our cold little Vampire hands. We couldn’t have been more excited.

A week later Buster came back gutted and stuffed. His eyes had been replaced with shiny black buttons. His jaw and other loose parts had been sewn and wired back on. He was as good as new. And to make things even better Layna had made Buster a fine dress of green silk, with tiny yellow bows. Eventually my mother got tired of Buster’s stinking dressed up corpse and put him away.

As for the armadillo, he turned out to be a rare pigladillo. I would sit with him purring in my lap for hours. He lived to be almost forty years old. Such a sweet thing, even when he was drinking.

buster012

~ End

 

So what prompted me to write three such disgusting and random tales? It is part of the Evil Squirrel’s Third Annual Contest of Whatever.

Thanks Evil Squirrel.

I just won the 2017 Fourth Annual Contest of Whatever. Woo Hoo. Click here for that entry.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Third Annual Contest Of Whatever!