Short Story Sunday: Beauty

“I only picked a rose. Just one rose, and now I must be his,” said Papa as he packed his bags.

“Wait, why, what? The beast we hear of in the forest wants you? For a flower? What a douche. Why were you there picking flowers?” Beauty was flustered by her Papa’s story.

“I wanted a flower for your sister Joy. It is her birthday and she has been so depressed since her baby was born,” said Papa.

Poor Joy had tried to be happy but she was tired and sad. Her husband was caring and tried to give her the joy she was named after.

Joy stood in the doorway, her baby in her arms. “It is my fault dear Papa. I will take your place.”

Beauty looked at her sister. Joy should have been named Beauty. She glowed with goodness and love. She was also beautiful beyond measure.

“No, it is my price to pay,” said Papa.

“Nonsense, I will go,” said Beauty.

“No, you will die. There is nobody in the castle of the Beast except the beast,” said Joy.

“Dear sister, do not worry about me. I’m already dead. Seriously, nobody around here likes me anyway. They all think I’m weird,” said Beauty.

“You are not weird,” said Papa.

Beauty laughed and hugged her Papa and her sister. She kissed the sweet baby, packed her bags, and left for the castle in the great forest.

In the middle of the night, Beauty, a pretty young woman with dark blonde hair, and big brown eyes arrived at the castle in the woods. She knocked on the door.

Nobody answered.

“Oh come on. Let me in. I came for my Papa. What do you want with an old man anyway. He just picked a rose for his daughter with postpartum depression. One rose. One freaking rose. You have thousands of roses in the garden here. What’s your problem?” Yelled Beauty.

The great door was opened by an unseen hand. Beauty entered. The place was beautiful but empty.

“Hello?”

She looked around and saw cameras in the corners of the room. Shit. I should have known this would be weird, she thought.

“I know you’re there. I see the cameras. You might as well come out. I will find you.”

Walking down the hallway she noticed that the eyes in the pictures followed her. The furniture shifted as if it was alive.

Then she heard a noice. A low growl. She tried the door in front of her. It was locked. Out of her hair she pulled a bobby pin and picked the lock.

Inside was a beast, a man who looked like the cross between a wolf and a lion, sitting in front of a bank of screens.

“You’re the Beast? What are you? A Werewolf or something?”

The Beast who was wearing a black AC/DC Tee shirt spoke. “I am not a Werewolf.”

“OK. So tell me. What are you?”

“Why are you here. I expected your Papa, or your sister Joy.”

“Joy is married and has two children. How do you know about Joy?”

“Joy is the most beautiful woman in the land. Everyone knows of Joy.”

“Whatever. I’m Beauty, the sister nobody ever sees. You know, Beast, or whatever your name is, this is really messed up. What are you? Some sort of weird geek who can’t get a girl. Do you have everyone because you’re different?”

Beast looked sad. “I am different. People fear me.”

“Welcome to the club Beast,” said Beauty.

“I am a prisoner of my own stupidity and selfishness.”

“Tell me about it.”

The beast held out his hand. “Let’s dance. There is a closet full of beautiful dresses. Go change.”

“I’m not going to be part of your weird fantasy. How’d you get here. You didn’t start out as a wolf man did you?”

“I was selfish. I was mean. I was everything a man should not be?”

“A politician.” said Beauty.

The Beast smiled, showing great white teeth. “No, not a politician. Anyway, to make a long story short, I was enchanted by a woman, a witch, I’d been dating. I’d been vain. I’d cheated on her. I lied to her in more than one way. She turned me into this.”

“I understand how bitter you are. Seriously, I went through something like that but then I accepted the fact that I was different. Just because you were a douch doesn’t mean you can’t change. It sounds to me like you have changed, at least a bit.”

“I have. Could you ever love me?”

“Seriously dude, I’m a Vampire. That’s why I left. I was glad to leave. I love my family and all but I don’t belong there. But I’m not sure I belong here either. The castle is nice and all but you know, this isn’t the Bachelor. I’m not waiting around for a rose from a guy I hardly know.”

“I get it. I’m sorry I was such a jerk. Tell your dad and sister that I’m sorry.”

And suddenly the room filled with magical sparks that didn’t burn and colored smoke, and when it cleared a good looking young man stood before Beauty.

“Wow, Beast. You’re hot. My only advice would be to stay cool. Be good. Keep your karma good.”

Beauty was suddenly hungry and sank her fangs into his arm. When she was done she kissed him, packed her bags, and left.

After a few minutes, she pulled over her car to the side of the road to send a text. “Papa. I’m ok. Don’t worry about the Beast. I’m taking off. Maybe to the beach. I’ll call you soon. xoxo.”

She didn’t know where the road leading out of the other side of the forest would lead, but she knew it couldn’t be as weird as where she had come from.

~ end

Tangled Tales

 

Thank you for reading this tangled tale. These stories are written on Sunday mornings while I drink my coffee, listen to the birds and my old calico cat purring. I never know what I will write about. Sometimes the stories I write are brilliant, sometimes not so much. If you write I encourage you to write every Sunday. It is sort of like going to church – a place where you can find your own inner whatever and find what is good, or funny, or just yours. I’m also listening to NPR. There is a great interview of Jack White talking about The Raconteurs. It has nothing to do with this story but it made me happy.

So read stories, write stories, listen to music, hug someone you love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Vampire Diary: Mysteries

Dear Diary,

He said his name was Kit. We talked about things I do not understand such as cars, and shopping at REI, and Game of Thrones.

I locked my eyes on his then I put him into a trance. I did not feel like being scratched by the stubble of his beard so I went for the crook of his arm. I closed his hand into a fist.

“Hold this tight,” I whispered in his ear. Then I sank my teeth into his veins.

His blood was warm with that tasted that always brought back memories of warm summer nights and…

Women. Yet, there was something male. Quite male…looking. Kit had short hair, no face paint, a loose shirt in a mulch color, and cargo shorts. Kit was also tall. Kit was as tall as I am. Kit had a voice as deep as mine.

I finished and said, “wake my friend.”

Kit opened bright blue eyes and smiled. “I feel tired all of the sudden. Sorry, a little light headed. I haven’t even been drinking.”

“Is Kit for Katherine?” I asked softly.

“Not this again. Oh my God to I always have to explain myself. Kit is for Kit. I don’t have anything to hide.”

“As well you shouldn’t. You wear a wedding ring.”

“I do. My husband will be here any minute.”

“You’re pregnant.”

“Whoa, wait, what did you say? How did you know that? I just found out today. I haven’t even told my hubby.”

“I am also different. I also do not, what do you say, fit the Normans.”

“Fit the norms. It’s norms,” said Kit. “How are you different, aside from being incredibly cute.”

“You would not understand,” I said. I do not understand why Kit had to call me cute.

“Try me.”

I said nothing. I do not understand but I suppose it is not something for me to try to understand. I also do not have to explain myself.

Then Kit smiled. “You’re prettier than most women, but you’re definitely a guy. What’s your story?”

“Where I come from my community, where I was the leader, we accepted everyone as they were. Unfortunately when many left outside of our protection they were persecuted and often put to death in horrible ways. I do not care about what is underneath your clothing. Congratulations by the way. You’re having a girl, and a boy. There are two babies in there.”

Kit’s mouth fell open. “How. Did. You. Know.”

“I’m a Vampire,” I whispered into Kit’s ear. “I will make sure you and your children, and your husband are kept safe, forever.”

I winked at Kit then gave them a kiss on their cheek. I know it was a strange encounter for Kit. It was certainly a strange encounter for me. Yet, it is my duty as a Vampire to keep those who befriend me safe. I also like Kit.

Kit looked confused and said, “I sort of believe you Vlad.”

“You have nothing to fear,” I said, and blew Kit a kiss and went home.

I will ask Kit to send me baby pictures when the time comes. With any luck the babies will be as cute as I am. I say that with a large dose of sarcasm.

It is a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world indeed.

What a strange world I have awakened in after being locked in a crypt for three hundred years. For a Vampire King I have become quite, how do you say, soft. That is not a bad thing. Usually.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

This morning I arrived home to see my neighbor, a woman named Zoe, digging in her yard with a pick ax. She is not a large woman. She is fairly short and fairly round. Zoe looked at me with her bright eyes and a smile came upon her pretty face as she waved at me, then bent over and tossed a skull sized rock to the side.

I admired the explosion of flowers in her yard.

“What is the hole for?” I asked her.

Zoe brushed her hair out of her face and scowled. “I have been digging this thing for almost a half hour, just for one rose. River rocks. Our entire neighborhood is built on ROCKS. And damned if I’m going to have dirt hauled in.”

“I will help you if you wish,” I told her.

“No, I’m about done. I swear to God if I dig anymore I’ll find the Oak Island Treasure,” she said.

Oak Island. That is a place in Canada where there is said to be a treasure buried underneath the ground among tunnels. Two brothers and their friends did without luck finding small bits of information, mostly unrelated, in hopes of solving the mystery. Their progress is shown on the TV each week.

“Zoe do you know of Rick and Marty and their Oak Island Treasure hunting?”

“You watch that too? My dad told me about Oak Island when I was a kid. I expected someone would find the damn treasure by now if there is a treasure. I think it was some sort of waystation, or maybe a cache of banned books.”

“That sounds reasonable to me,” I said.

“I don’t think they’ll every find anything. What I’d love to do is go there and just plant a bunch of random shit. Like a couple of old Roman coins, some pre-Columbian pottery, something from the Middle Ages, maybe a few match box cars, plant a copy of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy at 150 feet. That would mix things up.”

We talked some more and Zoe told me of the flowers and her passion for growing them. As we spoke a car pulled in front my house. It was a large black car.”

“Do you know who that is in the SVU?” I asked.

“You mean SUV? I don’t know, but if they keep hanging around I’m going to go tell them to leave.”

She wiped her hand across her brow and left a streak of dirt. I rubbed the dirt off with my hand. As I was doing that four men came out of the car. They were all dressed in black with black masks over their faces. Cowards I thought.

As they approached us I could see knives, a gun, and a sharpened stake in their hands. Vampire Hunters. What were they doing here. If I had been back in my old country when I was King of Vampires I would have killed them all and put their heads upon tall poles as warnings to all who entered my lands. Unfortunately I have been told that I can not do that now. Yet, I have to protect my lands and my people. That includes Zoe and everyone who lives on my street.

One of the men yelled, “Vlad, Vampire Lord, we have come for you. Prepare to die.”

“What is this? Princess Bride?” said Zoe. She hefted her pick ax up and held it like a baseball bat.

The men charged us. Two grabbed my arms. I pushed forward and flung them off as if they were rats. One approached Zoe. She swung the as and hit the man with the side of the tool, rendering him unconscious. The others came at us using their full force as obviously trained assassins.

From out of the house across the street ran nineteen year old Kylee, yelling like a Banshee. She picked up a garden shovel and started to pound on one of the men.

I was knocked to the ground. I felt a sharp pain then noticed the pointed wooden stake in my chest, more by my shoulder, but missing my heart. Not again I thought. This exact same thing is how I ended up locked in a crypt for three hundred years.

Barring my fangs I pushed the men off of me. They fell to the ground. Zoe came at them with the high pressure nozzle of the garden hose, while Kylee hit them again and again with the shovel.

I saw the flash of a blade and felt it go through my face. If this kept up I would lose all of my blood. We heard sirens and all three of us know the sheriff would be here soon.

Then men picked up their fallen comrade and drove away in the black SUV.

“What the Hell was that?” Zoe looked at me, then sat on the ground next to me and held my wounds.

“Your face,” gasped Kylee. “Oh Vlad, they cut your face.”

“Chicks dig scars,” said Zoe.

“I will heal,” I said and then passed out.

When I awoke I was at home in my own bed.

“Impressive room,” said Kylee, who was looking around at the large bed and black coverings. Of course a bed is important to a Vampire.

“The paramedics wanted to take you to the hospital but your friend Randolpho showed up and talked them out of it,” said Zoe.

I noticed Randolpho, my oldest and dearest Vampire friend sitting on the foot of my bed. He was not wearing one of his ridiculous hats. “Vlad, this is not good. They know where you live.”

“They must have followed me home,” I whispered, weak with blood loss.

“What if they come back? Think about that Vlad,” said Randolpho.

Zoe scowled, then took my hand. “Our boy won’t be moving anytime soon. If anyone comes by again we’ll chase them off.”

“We have tools and we know how to use them,” said Kylee.

“Next time I’ll bring out the chainsaw,” said Zoe. And I believe she would.

“You don’t know what we’re dealing with,” said Randolpho.

“Sure we do,” said Zoe. “You guys are Vampires. Oh don’t look so surprised. We’ve known that for a couple of years. You can’t live on a small narrow dead end street like this and not know what your neighbors are up to.”

“If you weren’t Vampires,” said Kylee, “we’d think you were really weird. You’re pretty cool for Vampires. Cute too.”

I noticed my cats were curled up by my side. My cats are cute. I was not feeling cute at all.

Then my Vampire love Gillian came in. She was as always a beautiful sight.

“Vlad my love,” she said. Then she kissed my stitched face cut. I could feel it starting to heal.

“No more crypts for you Vlad,” said Kaylee.

“You’re home Vlad, and like it or not you’re one of us,” said Zoe.

My cold still Vampire heart started to flutter a bit. I almost felt warm, for just a bit.

I looked at Gillian. “I should have killed them. I am losing my touch.”

“We don’t do that anymore love.” Then she kissed me again.

Then I fell asleep trying to recover from the poison tipped stake and the evil knife cut, and had dreams of hunting down Vampire Hunters. I also dream of standing on the top of the tower in my castle, the wind in my hair, and knowing I rule all that I see.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I do not understand, still after five years in this time, this century, how to adapt. I have adapted well. I can drive. I can use a computer. I have mastered a keyboard. I have cats who do not depend on catching vermin to survive.

Yet, sometimes I wonder that there is no place on this planet for me.

Then I think of Zoe and Kaylee who have taken me, like a war orphan into their embrace. They are Amazons who showed me the power and might of garden tools. Do not underestimate a woman with a pick ax or a shovel.

I reached out and felt the cold shoulder of my love Gillian. She is a Vampire so she is cold. I find that intensely attractive.

“Would you like it if I gave you garden tools my love?”

She looked at me as if I was insane, curled into my side and fell asleep again.

I grabbed my phone, for I am a modern man. The local news establishment reported that a girl of nineteen, a man of thirty four years, and a woman of sixty years, were attacked by three unknown masked men.

Zoe is sixty? She looks and acts like someone much younger. I am 675 years old but I can pass for thirty four because I am a Vampire. Zoe is not a Vampire. Back when I was a Vampire King a woman as old as Zoe would have been considered a crone. She would have been ancient. I have seen Zoe in a dress. She is vibrant. Oh how things have changed. An old woman with a pick ax can fight off Vampire Hunters then go dance the night away with her friends. I am in awe.

I touch my face. The wound is healing. Gillian took away the pain and there will be no great scar.

I do not understand so much, yet I am finding there is a place in the universe for me. I just do not know where it is yet. I am a Vampire, so I have time.

And for the first time a community which does not accept me out of fear and awe, but out of love. I do not understand but I will accept that which I do not yet…understand.

~ Vlad

 

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

This has been the 48th installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To read from the beginning CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raised but not out of the crypt yet…

For the first eighteen years parenting is all consuming. Even if you’re not one of those helicopter parents, your job as a parent 24/7.

Then it happens. All your hard work pays off. You’ve raised responsible, well balanced, and lovely young adults.

Now what?

I’m still active but not hovering.

I’m still giving out advice.

I’m trying to be positive.

I’m still teaching them.

And I’m still learning from them.

An old friend recently asked me if I’d talked to my kids about drugs, sex, and other adult trouble. Of course. I started young on those talks. There is no reason to be shy about it. Would you be shy about the dangers of fire or picking up rattle snakes? Of course not, so there is no need to be shy about other potentially dangerous activities.

Excuse me… something just hit the window. I thought it was a bird, then I saw a ghost standing in my backyard flipping me off.

I hate ghosts.

But does he stay outside? No of course not. With a slight hint of sulphur and lavender he materialized next to me, then pulled up a chair and sat. He wore a black suit, white shirt, black tie, with black 80’s Bon Jovi hair. He was as every bit good looking, maybe even more than Jon Bon Jovi, but I didn’t want him in my breakfast nook.

“What are you doing here Nigel? Ghosts haunt people at night, not mid-morning,” I said to him.

“You’re a Vampire so it is only fitting that I haunt you during the day. What bug crawled up your cold ass,” he said without even a hint of a smile.

I tried to ignore him. He flipped my computer around.

“Stop it,” I said pulling it back.

“So how are you doing in this heat wave? Has your body temperature reached 70 yet?”

“Go away.”

“No. I want to talk about your Vampire spawn. They’re all grown up. What are you doing? Getting all empty nest weepy?”

“Shut up Nigel. You never had kids.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes I do.”

He sat for a few seconds and pouted, then he stood up and walked around for a bit, then came back to me.

“I was young once. I even died young,” said Nigel The Ghost. “My 40th high school reunion is in a few weeks. I’ve been checking in on the reunion meetings. My middle-aged classmates have no idea I’m there but I am. I didn’t even make it to my ten-year reunion. Holy shit. The thing is, Juliette, is that I’ll be young forever, or at least I’ll appear young, when I choose to appear. The only photographs of me are when I was young. But I come by my eternal youth honestly. I died young. You on the other hand are young because of your parasitic nature as a Vampire. Ever think is that? You have no right to talk shit about ghosts when you suck blood out of living people in order to have eternal youth. How fucked up is that?”

“You can go now,” I said, tired of his insults.

“And now you’re all bent out of shape because your kids are leaving the crypt, and you can’t write about their perfect childhood, or your perfect child rearing advice, or your cold little perfect life, or whatever you call it. Are you alive?”

“Nigel,” I said to the ghost in a calm voice. “Don’t ever say I live in a crypt again. And get the fuck out of my house.”

“You’re beautiful when you’re angry,” he said with a mean-spirited grin. “I can imagine you with blood dripping down your chin.”

He knows I never have blood dripping down my chin.

With a flip of his glossy black hair, Nigel started to talk again. He never shuts up. “They were talking about me last night. It made me sad, and angry. You know I was murdered, and I have no idea who killed me. It could have been someone in that room. But it was taken away from me. I could have had a wife and kids. I could have… I could have had gray hair, I could have had a wedding, I could have had a dad bod, I could have sat around with my friends and talked about the good times we had, and people we lost, but they were talking about me and I couldn’t say anything because I’m dead, sure my art is still around but man, it just kills me, and I’m dead, and I will always be dead…and it just sucks. You, maybe not YOU, because you were born the dead way you are, but most Vampires have the choice to be dead. I didn’t have that choice.”

“Could they have seen you if you wanted them to?”

“No. That is the frustrating part. A few could feel a cold breath of air, or a lost memory.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Don’t be. You don’t owe me anything.”

Then he put his hand over mine. All I felt was an icy chill. Then he looked into my eyes, and in a wisp of blew smoke he vanished.

I always want to ask Nigel if he was that big of an asshole when he was alive but I never do. I have a feeling he wasn’t. Being a ghost can do that to a person.

A lot of kids are lucky enough to go through childhood without any loss, tragedy, or well, without any bad things happening. Once they turn into adults all bets are off. It seems to start with car accidents, then illness, other accidents, suicide, and even murder. Wrong roads are taken. Bad decisions are made. Bad relationships last too long. Then again, if we all look back we’ll find the good stuff is there. Sometimes it gets hidden, but it is there.   I’m not getting all Sunday School on you. The good stuff is there, even if it is the memory of laughing with old friends, a walk in the cool fall air, or finishing up the best book you ever read.

My kids are out of the crypt. Unfortunately for ghosts they never get out. Don’t be a ghost until you’re dead. Think about it. You couldn’t give better advice to your young adults.

That’s all.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

don't be a ghost

 

 

 

 

A Low Key Vampire Kind of Day

This morning I was watching the huge and incredibly cute squirrels in my backyard eating plums.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Then I thought I’d blog about it. Then I thought that isn’t exactly the Vampire sort of thing my readers are expecting.

Coyotes have been howling and yipping more than usual. They are the rogue spirits of the night around here. The bats have also been out more and more since the weather has changed and the bug population grows. No, we don’t have blood sucking bats around here, only fruit and insect eaters.

So anyway…

I got a call this morning from my friend Jack.

“Juliette, I want your teeth in my neck.”

Ah, music to my ears. Jack is indeed my all time favorite lunch date.

So that was fun. I’m home now and was working on some illustrations. Well, that and writing my blog.

Sometimes even Vampires have low key days. You know, it isn’t all about being obsessively Gothic or morose. It isn’t always being on the hunt and ready to scare everyone you meet shitless.

School will be out soon. I’m thinking about end of year posts. It was a good year for everyone. I’m looking forward to a busy summer.

I called my brother Andrew how was recovering both mentally and physically from a nasty bout with a Vampire Hunter. I haven’t written much about that except just in passing. It was scary. More so for the ones who attacked him. He called me for the best way to get blood stains out of an antique rug. I told him to take it to a professional.

For those who have followed our summer sillies here – AGT has started and I’m going to start to post on it. Yes, America’s Got Talent and Cocktails will return either tonight or tomorrow. I had notes for last week but didn’t get around to it. For the VM Newbies: We discuss the show, give unedited rude comments from the Vampire Peanut Gallery and my husband Teddy makes cocktails. 

 

vm_eve

 

So summer is here. Chill. Enjoy. Relax. Spend time with those you like and can relate to. And just for kicks and grins maybe have a little bit of adventure. I know I will.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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