Short Story Sunday: Desert Winds

On the edge of the Sandia Mountains, My friends Amelia her husband Raul and I drove down the gravel road to the home of Ximena, an ancient woman who mostly lived in solitude with the company of the birds and the wind.

Ximena’s home was a large old adobe structure rimmed with bells and bushes of purple flowers. She greeted us at the door, as always wearing a long colorful skirt. Her black hair flowed down her back almost to her knees. Dark eyes smiled at us in a welcome greeting, as did her fangs. She is almost as ancient as Tellias and Eleora, and like them Ximena looks like a young college girl.

We came into the main room. Walls lined with books and crystals flanked part of the room with windows on the other side looking towards the mountains. We could smell the dried chiles rastas hanging in the kitchen. A red shouldered hawk perched on a wooden chair. It called out when it saw us.

“Maria, you still sing so sweetly,” I said to the bird. She gave me a cold stair then allowed me to pet her feathered head.

Maria the hawk had been around since I was a young woman, more than a hundred years. I wondered at times how she could live so long, then I stopped wondering and chalked it up to magic, love or pure mystery. It is what it is. That is how things work here in the land of magic.

A youngish man with dark hair and eyes like Ximena, but pale skin, came into the room. He was introduced to us as Kyle. But he wasn’t like us. I could feel his warmth as soon as he walked into the room.

Kyle was a man of many talents. He was a photographer, a teacher, a writer, an engineer and apparently a lover. After talking over wine and a light diner we also discovered Ximena’s young friend was also extremely opened minded.

He was also a young widow. One night left him alone with his dreams dead, but he kept going and kept at least a portion of the dreams and spark alive.

While Raul, Amelia and Ximena went to a back room to examine some old maps or something, Kyle and I went out to the porch. Bats flew about as the sounds of the bells filled the air.

Kyle asks me about my husband Teddy. I smiled shyly and told him how we’d met as kids and fallen in love a hundred years later. I think I’d always been in love with my husband on some level.

Then Kyle spoke of his lost love. “After Kayla, my wife, passed away everyone kept asking me if I’d go back. Over and over they’d ask the old what if question. You know, you can’t go back. I can’t bring her back. I will never forget her. She is part of me, but I live in the world of the living.”

“No ghost?” I had to ask (always thinking of obnoxious Nigel)

“Only a Vampire in the Southwest would ask that,” Kyle answered with a knowing smile.

“A Vampire anywhere would ask that. Don’t get me started on the ghosts I see all the time.”

“No ghost. Kayla moved on the night she died. That is a good thing.”

“Yes it is. You’re a wise man with a loving heart. In some circles that is a rare thing.”

He leaned against the rail. “I don’t know you except by reputation but I want to ask you a few thing, or at least see how you feel about a few things.”

“Okay,” I said.

“I’m in love with Ximena. I know what she is. I know how old she is. It doesn’t matter.”

I shrugged and laughed. “My 500 or so year old Grandmama is in love with a 35 year old. What are you, about 38?”

He smiled. I was correct. He was 38 and absolutely a delight – young, yet years ahead of most men his age.

“Dear Kyle, you also want me to tell you if I think it would be wise if you became a Vampire? Right?”

He smiled an uncomfortable hot blooded smile.

I said to him, “Kyle, you are in love with the cold wind under the moon and the sprint of night. She is an amazing being. I’ve always admired her. If you feel you can make a life out here with her then do it. But don’t lose yourself in her. Always be who you are, even after you become a Vampire. That is the only way it will work. If you try to be too much like her she will leave you, because she fell in love with you, not with herself.”

Raul and Ximena came out to join us with wine for Ryan and spiced blood for the rest of us.

Ximena whistled and Maria the red shouldered hawk came and landed on a table next to her hand. Ximena gave the bird a piece of meat she took from a bag in her pocket.

Into the night we talked until the sun came up and created unbelievably beautiful light and shadows on the mountains.

I could hear the wind whispering to the lovers:

The light

in dark eyes

promises kept

forever and

again

in our hearts

we love

we laugh

and we learn

to do it 

all

over 

again.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Change of Heart

A Change of Heart

The Demon sat on the roof of the house wondering what to do next. She looked around wondering how they put on the roof with such a steep pitch. 12/12 she figured. Standing up she stretched out her leathery wings and brushed back her hair with claw tipped fingers.

It wasn’t like she didn’t know her job. It wasn’t like she wasn’t trained right. It wasn’t like everything she was ever to be was to be wasn’t drilled into her head for centuries.

Flying to the next yard over she found, the handsome Vampire sitting in a chair, with a goblet of blood and his Nook. She knew him. He would know what to do. He would help.

“I don’t want to do this anymore,” the Demon told the Vampire.

“What do you mean?” He glared at her with no light in his eyes.

“I am so frustrated with everything. I want to open an art gallery, the kind with pictures of seascapes and sunflowers. I want to paint and draw, all the while promoting up and coming artists. I’ve got a knack for marketing so I know I could make it work.”

“What sort of stupid trick is this?”

“No trick. I just…I just don’t know how to be…to get out of my contract. I can’t very well ask my boss about it.”

“Why not?”

“I’d be sent back into the fire as a pitch fork handler. I’d never see the light of day again.” She looked into his ocean colored eyes with her yellow-orange orbs. “You’re a Vampire so you don’t know what it is like to have someone own your very being. I’m not my own creature. The Master of Evil owns me. Damn it. This is not what I want. It is not who I want to be.”

“Do any of your peers feel this way?”

“No. They’re happy. They’re content. Seriously what is wrong with me? Who wouldn’t want to spend the day convincing people to have affairs, feel crazy, commit murder and abuse elderly people and twist the necks of animals until they die a slow and painful death. The rush of it all is exhilarating, like the best sex anyone could every have. I mean who wouldn’t want that? Who wouldn’t want the rush and thrill of convincing someone to sell their soul? That is the ultimate. Damn, do you know how many souls I’ve taken to my Master. Millions. And you know what? You know what Vampire? I’m tired of it. I never liked it in the first place. OK I did for a while but after a couple of thousand years it is getting old. Really old.”

He rolled up his sleeve and showed her an ugly scar. “Demon, this is from your last visit. You nearly took my arm off. I was in bed for three weeks because of your poison.”

“I’m sorry. I really am. You have to believe me.”

He glared at her, hate filled his voice, “I can’t believe a word you say.”

She stood in front of him looking into his handsome face. There was no soul she could tempt. There was no blood she could spill.  Taking a step towards him the Demon held out her hand. “You could teach me,”

“No. It wouldn’t be a good idea.”

“I love you.”

“You need to go. Now.”

She stood looking at his face. If she had been created with the ability to shed tears she would have, but she could only stare at him in disbelief with yellow-orange eyes.

“I love you.”

“Go.”

Unfolding her wings she flew off, out over the bay, over the city. There were so much damage she could do to hearts and souls down there, but her own heart wasn’t in it anymore.

Turning towards the ocean she flew out, then upwards towards the night, trying to imagine what it would be like to be accepted for what she was not.

 

~ End

 

2015 Juliette Kings

 

Short Story Sunday: Face Your Demons

“I’ve faced my own demons, something I’d rather not think too much about, but I’ve never had to face someone else’s demons.” Lola as she peered into the dark room at the glowing yellow eyes. “Are you looking for Max?”

“You’re young,” said the owner of the yellow eyes. “What do you know about demons?”

“Oh please,” said Lola. “I’m six hundred and seventy five years old. I’ve been around the block with your kind more than once. Max is my great great great great grandson.”

Lola could now see the Demon spreading it’s leathery wings, and standing. It was a female, with the long legs of a runway model, and the body of a 1950’s pin-up model. “You must be a new demon. Max has had his share of demons when it comes to women but I thought he’d more or less shrugged most of you off. You’re definitely not a Fallen are you, you know fallen angel. They’re the worst. So full of themselves, especially the females. No, I take that back, the males are total assholes, almost as much as they were when they were angels, only in a different sort of way. What did you say your name was?”

The demon said nothing.

“Max isn’t here right now. I know you were expecting him but..” Lola put her hands on her hips. “This is my house and you’re not welcome here. Not now. Not ever.”

“You’re pretty. He favors you in his looks,” said the demon.

Lola, usually one for compliments didn’t smile. Despite her age she looked around twenty-five or twenty-six. Today her long brown hair hung down her back in a loose pony tail. She was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt with pockets full of sand and shells. She’d just come back from a walk on the beach. She’d looked forward to a glass of wine and a book, not a demon.

“Why do you wish to haunt Max? Your kind has already tried to kill him. He has scars that will take years to go away, even for a Vampire, because of demons. You can’t take his soul. What do you want?” And with that question Lola flipped on the light switch.

Standing in the back of the room was the demon, her skin an odd shimmery gray, her eyes yellow, her hair a copper color. She wore a dress that could have been leather, of god only know what. If it wasn’t for the pointed teeth and yellow snake eyes she might have been considered quite attractive. Lola could smell a bit of sulphur in the air. She’d have to burn some nice candles as soon as she got rid of the demon.

The demon sat down on the edge of the bench by the grand piano. “I am not here to do harm to Max. I love him.”

“Oh no you don’t. I should have known this. Until lately Max has been a disaster when it comes to women. But now, he is with someone he loves, truly loves and knows. Max is with her tonight.” Lola gave the demon the mom look. “If you try to contact him or bother his woman I swear I will kill you with my own hands.”

“You can’t kill me,” said the demon.

“I’ll make you wish you were dead.”

The demon looked at Lola and a black oily tear fell from her left eye. Then one fell from the right eye.

“Listen,” said Lola, sitting on the edge of a large red wingback chair. “Max isn’t the one for you. Sure he is good looking and has that bad boy charm, but don’t get carried away with that. A long time ago I was married to someone who was the most attractive, charming, powerful, and fascinating Vampire ever. Guess what? I’m not married to him anymore. I fell for the packaging but as soon as I got him unwrapped down to his core I found out he was totally wrong for me. That was five hundred years ago, but I will never ever forget the lessons I learned from that. The main lesson was not to let demons keep reminding me of him and my early feelings.”

The demon looked angry and her eyes turned red. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“My dear, you’re not listening. Find yourself a nice demon. Even a fallen angel if you need to, but somebody you have more in common with. Find someone who gave his soul to Satan but will give his heart to you. Max can’t give his soul away, and he’ll only give his heart to another Vampire. I know my boy. That is just the way he is. It would never work.”

“You do not know that to be true,” said the demon.

“Oh but I do know it to be true. You’re young, I can tell. What maybe from the 20th Century? I’ve been around for a while. I’ve seen this kind of shit before. You’re only hurting yourself. On the other hand if you’re into getting off from pain, suffering and that kind of  stuff Max definitely isn’t your guy. The last thing he needs is a drama queen.”

“May I stay for a bit?” Asked the demon, as she rested her clawed hand on the keys of the piano.

“No,” said Lola.

The demon stood, raised her wings, and flew out of the French doors into the night.

Lola wiped off the piano bench and keys. Then she poured a glass of wine, and found a new book to start. She found something Max had given her called Red Darkling. 

But before she sat down she took out her phone and texted Max.

You need to control your demons. Seriously Max. Grandmama Lola is not amused by visits from dreamy eyed leathery winged members of your fan club. 

Then she curled up on the couch, and listened to the distant waves of the ocean, the sounds of frogs, as she sipped her wine, and cracked open her book. A night without demons was a wonderful thing.

~ end

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Arranged Marriage

The Arranged Marriage

By Adelia Hoff

The young woman is dolled up –
an offering from one family to another.
She has never seen her husband-to-be,
but she loves the farmer’s son –
The boy who comes from far away
Whose hair is like gold and eyes are like jade.
Her mother says that this marriage will be honorable –
so the girl, bound by tradition, and her own sense
of right and wrong,
does not object.
But she hopes, secretly,
that the farmer’s boy,
with his strange language and talks of love,
will take her away.
This is not to be, though
Because this is not a fairy tale
And there is no happy ending.

design

 

I’m honored to feature work from 17 year old Adelia Hoff. I’ll be featuring more of her work in the near future.

Thank you Adelia.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman