A Late Night Walk Along The Highway

I answered the phone.

“Juliette, come quick, come quick.”

“What is it?”

“Meet me at the hospital. The UC Med Center downtown. In the emer-gin-see.”

“Tellias, what…”

The phone went dead. That call would be disturbing for anyone, but if you’re a Vampire it brings on even more fear. Think about it.

At the time I was cleaning up dog poop. My ten month old German Shepard was spayed a week ago. Since then all potty training has been lost and she has been pooping and peeing in the house by the front door. That is just one of the many things that has been stressing me out this week. But then Tellias calls.

Tellias looks like he is nineteen but he is well over two thousand years old. Nobody knows how old he is. He and Eleora met while he was in Britain when the Roman’s were building Hadrian’s wall. They’ve been together ever since.

In the emergency check in area I saw Tellias trying to explain himself. He said he was there for his wife. He looks like a teenager. He was wearing tuxedo pants, flip flops, and a mechanics shirt with the name Steve embroidered on the front pocket. His pale hair hung around his shoulders.

After some explaining we were told where we needed to go.

A nice woman named Judy identified herself as a Medical Social Worker. She explained that Eleora had been hit by a car and brought here. The injuries consisted of a deep cut to her arm, and possible brain injury. Tellias was asked if his wife had any history of mental illness.

Tellia looked at me with that “Do something Juliette,” look.

It seems that Eleora had gone for a drive. She’d run out of gas and left her car by the side of the road. Then she walked down the center line of the highway and was struck by a car.

Tellias and I were told that Eleora suffered from blood loss.

He told the doctors that there would be no MRIs or CT scans. There would be no X-rays of her head.

They asked for medical history. We said Eleora was healthy. We did not tell them that she was a Vampire, hence the lack of blood.

At that point I was upset at Tellias for not making sure Eleora was eating. I was more angry at the fact he’d let her go out with the car. That usually wasn’t a problem considering the keys seemed to always be lost. Tellias had come in his truck. God knows where the car was.

When we finally saw Eleora she was so happy to see us. The old Vampire, who looked to be about twenty, lay on a bed with an IV drip. Her ripped arm had been stitched and bandaged. I could see the scrapes on her forehead where quickly healing.

She told us her story.

“I was driving to the store to get bobby pins and maybe something to read, like a magazine or a book. Then the car stopped running, right along the river road, just like that, it stopped. So I stopped. I got out of the car and decided to walk. I’d been down the road for about a mile and thought I should go back to the car but then I remembered I’d left my keys at home on the table. You know, the table by the door. I thought I might as well go to the store then around the corner came a car and they hit me. They made such a fuss over me and brought me here. Everyone has been so nice. They even said they’d give me blood. The place is full of the stuff. They have refrigerators full of it here.”

Out of the door of her room I could see other patients and other family members with real problems. Elderly people were there with tired middle-aged children, some with teens they’d brought along for moral support. Young mothers and fathers were there with vomiting babies. Parents were there with injured teens. The police were escorting a young man who had been stabbed in a fight. A mentally ill man was yelling obscenities. A middle aged man sat alone in the hallway in obvious pain looking as if he would pass out any second. I wondered if someone had died, or was going to die soon, or why he looked so sad.

Then the social worker named Judy showed up again with another person with a title I don’t remember. He had on a doctor’s coat, and carried a clip board. They wanted to speak to Eleora alone.

Tellias and I waited outside and listened. Of course we could hear through the door. We’re Vampires.

Judy: Do you feel safe at home Eleora?

Eleora: Yes, I always feel safe, unless I think Vampire Hunters with flame throwers are coming around. It hasn’t happened yet but it could. You never know these days.

Judy: Has Tellias ever hit you or been cruel to you?

Eleora: No.

Judy: So you feel safe at home?

Eleora: Usually unless a shelf falls on me. The last time that happened I was trapped for a week in the basement. Tellias tried to get me out but he isn’t exactly a handyman. We have ghosts in the orchard too but they don’t bother me. They are annoying but I don’t feel unsafe around them. I don’t like them. I don’t have to like them.

Judy: Ghosts?

Eleora: Yes, ghosts. Like dead people ghosts. I saw one in here earlier. He was very sad. I told him to move on into the light and get out of the hospital. Oh, I was going to ask you…earlier a man, I think he was a doctor, he was tall and good looking with black glasses, he said something about me getting a cat scan. I didn’t bring my cat with me. I don’t know why he wants to scan it. The cat isn’t even mine, it belongs to my neighbor. Tellias thought I was having an affair with my neighbor once, or more than once, but I never did. That was upsetting. When we first got together I was ending an affair with a Warlock, and a Selkie. That was a long time ago. It seems like a million years, but I’m not that old.

Judy: How old are you Eleora.

Eleora: My license says I’m twenty one.

Judy: Are you twenty one.

Eleora: Twenty one. I can buy booze. To tell you the truth I don’t know my exact age because nobody was keeping track back then, and of course I was a baby so I didn’t know what was going on. Nobody can remember when they were a baby. Some people say they do, like Witches, but they are telling you big fat lies.

Judy: Do you drink a lot or take any drugs.

Eleora: No drugs. Drugs don’t do anything to me, or Tellias. Not even if someone we have for dinner has been taking them. Funny how that works out. But we drink…sometimes.

Judy: Why were you walking in the middle of the highway?

Eleora: I was on the line. I didn’t want to get lost.

Judy: I understand your car broke down.

Eleora: I ran out of gas. I was going to walk to a gas station when I realized I’d left my keys at home on the table. I have a little red dish I keep my keys in. I got it at Weinstock’s in 1892. It is a shame they closed down. I loved the elevators in the old store. They made so much noise.

Judy: How do you feel?

Eleora: With my fingers. The accident didn’t damage my sense of touch.

Judy: Overall, how are you? Are you in pain? Do you feel sick?

Eleora: I’m fine. I’d like to go home now. Nobody ever visits me anymore except Juliette and she is here right now so I need to go. I need to talk to her about things.  Tellias will worry too much. We’ll make love when I get home and he will feel better. So will I. Where is my dress?

Judy: We might have to keep you overnight. Are you hungry?

Eleora: I’m always hungry. Sometimes I forget to eat. It is usually because I sleep for days on end. Tellias forgets too. Juliette scolds us. She looks after us. I want to see Tellias and Juliette now. Sometimes we get take-out. They deliver it to the door and we always invite the delivery guy in. It is usually a young man. If you call 911 they’ll send good-looking strong young men to your door.

Judy: How much do you sleep?

Eleora: I don’t know because I sleep all the time and really can’t tell when I’m sleeping what I’m doing.

 

Judy came out of the room. I was pretending to look at something on my phone. Tellias just leaned against the wall with his eyes closed, then opened them to look at Judy.

Judy asked Tellias if Eleora had any history of mental illness.

Tellias just said, “She has always been a little bit different. She is a unique and creative soul.”

I closed the door to Eleora’s room and told Tellias to help me get her dressed. And we left. No, we didn’t wait for release papers or permission. We just left.

My car has a sunroof so Eleora insisted I open it to the night sky. She said riding in my car made her feel like a movie star or a Bond Girl. The entire way back she kept asking me why I didn’t visit more. Then she unwrapped the bandages on her arm and looked at the long line of stitches. There were twenty-seven of them.

“They wondered why I wasn’t bleeding. I told them I wasn’t able to get anything to eat because my car had broken down.”

“We’ll stop at Dave’s Bottle Shop. We can pick up a mixed case of blood and a few bottles of wine.”

Eleora dug around in her purse. “I know I have a coupon in here. I’m not mentally ill. They kept asking. I’m fine. I am fine. FINE. FINE. FINE.”

Once we were back at the home of the Elders I lectured both Eleora and Tellias on why Eleora should not be allowed to drive alone. I lectured him about not watching her and letting her wander off alone. I was so pissed off at my brother Val and Grandmama Lola who said they’d help. Where were they?

Eleora curled up on the couch with a blanket and a goblet of blood. “Why did they ask me so many questions? Why was that social worker there? I don’t have any small children. If I did have small children I’d take good care of them. I know how to take care of children. I took care of you and your brothers when you were small. I’ve taken care of children for centuries. Why’d she ask if Tellias hurt me? He would never hurt me. Never.”

“Darling,” I said, “it is their job to ask those questions. They just want to make sure you’re safe.”

About an hour later I was on my way home, along the dark highway, then through the city, and back out to my house by the lake in suburbia.

My husband Teddy and daughter Clara were watching Ink Master. The dog had crapped in the entry again. The cat dashed out the door. Tonight I was too tired to try to get the kitty back inside. I doubt if she’d become coyote food tonight.

I looked out the window at the almost full October moon. The Werewolves would be out in a day or two. I wonder what happened when they ended up in the emergency room. It wasn’t a pretty thought.

This weekend I’ll spend more time with Tellias and Eleora. I’ll try to spend more time with Teddy and Clara. I’d planned on going out of town but I can’t. Not this weekend. It seems I’m on watch. So we cancelled plans to the coast for my late birthday, but I don’t mind.

Sometimes you just have to stop minding. Sometimes you just have to be a better Vampire.

Don’t forget to check in on those who have a hard time taking care of themselves. We all know those who are confused for whatever reason. We all know those who need a little extra help, or just a hug and someone to talk to for a bit. I know it can be frustrating but don’t forget them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

This post was first published in 2016

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

 

 

A Normal Vampire Teen – Love Poems and Letting Go

A Normal Vampire Teen – Love Poems and Letting Go

She stood by the trees

Green leaves glowing in sunlight

Hope and desire glows

From her perfect skin

Her blonde hair like a halo.

My heart breaks

For my fondest desire

Is to grow old and frail

With my springtime girl

She stood by the trees

And smiled back at me

I waved and smiled

Just friends, not lovers or donors,

Friends for a while

And I wish her well

A long and happy life

As I watch and wonder “what if?”

 

I found that free form verse scrawled on a paper in my sixteen year old son’s backpack. I wasn’t snooping, he told me he had a paper in there I had to sign.

It broke my heart, a little, to see him so grown up, but yet still so young.

His father and I have had “the talk” about the different life spans of regular humans and those of us who are vampires.

I know the girl. Her name is Amber. She always kisses our cats when she comes over with the usual pack of teens for swim parties and study groups. She played Olivia to his Orsino in the school production of The Twelfth Night.

He let her go so she could date another boy, a boy who isn’t him, a boy she won’t fall in love with.

I see him through his bedroom, black skinny jeans, hair in his eyes, skyping with friends, laughing. A normal sixteen year old by anyone’s standards.

First published July, 2012

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Fear and Change

Most Vampires get paralyzed by fear and self-doubt. Oh forget the blood taking and seductive ways that helped romanticize us.

You know what I’m talking about. Even the most confident of us feels that way more than we would like.

We jealously guard our own versions of our memories.

Something taken away.

Something given.

Something found.

Something lost.

It is that sense of loss and identity that finds so many climbing into crypts or under floorboards to sleep forever.

It is that inability to know there are others and that there is something to look forward to. Things change but not for better or worse – just different. Hell, things usually change for the better if you want them to be better. If you make them better. I didn’t say it was easy. It isn’t anything you’ll find in a self-help book. There aren’t self-help books for Vampires. There aren’t self-help books for most things that really matter.

Reaching inside where your old soul used to be and pulling up your new self isn’t easy. Your old self is still there – you will never lose that. You will always be yourself – like it or not. But you can change. You can become better. You can refurbish your old self.

You can shine like the full moon on a clear winter night.

Where you miss the warmth of your skin you will find coolness of nerves.

Where you miss those who grew old you will treasure the memories.

Where you miss the innocence of your existence you will find something else.

You aren’t a monster or an outcast – you are just different. Everyone is different. Accept it.

You’ll taste blood, but you’ll give back contentment in your donors – or give nightmares – it is your choice. Nice. You never had that choice before.

You’ll learn how to get blood stains out of anything.

Change or lack of change are both things we want and something that we fear.

Nobody said any of this was going to be easy. Then again, nobody said it wasn’t going to be exciting and wonderful.

Contentment isn’t just something for a few. It is something we can all strive for. Content but still moving forward, never forgetting where we have been or where we are going.

The other day I spoke to my friend Cody who has been a Vampire for almost four years. He never asked for it but he accepted the changes in his life. There will be hardships ahead along with triumphs. He didn’t struggle like some do. He has had a lot of questions and questioned a lot of things. He has learned.

But he told me, “You know that old expression about a door closing and a window opening? The roof came off for me. I can see the whole world of possibilities now. Anything is possible as long as I keep reminding myself of that.”

Yes, Cody, anything is possible.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman

This was first posted in March 2015. I’m still trying to figure out what to do on Saturday now that my 50 Burning Questions series is over. Here you go: Best of Juliette.

Ghosts In The Attic

In the wee hours of the morning my brother Max came over and crashed at my place. We built a comfortable room for him in the attic where he can stay whenever he finishes a job in our neck of the woods and doesn’t want to drive all the way back to the city. Plus sometimes he just likes to hang out with us.

He staggered downstairs and joined me in the kitchen where I was making coffee.

“Put a shirt on,” I told him as he stood there in nothing but a pair of draw string pajama pants.

I know he’s my eldest brother but he still needs to put a shirt on. I have four older brothers. I insist they be on their best behavior around me. Usually they are.

“You have ghosts in the attic,” he tells me, as if I haven’t already discovered it on my own.

“I know. They’re all over the place. I can’t do anything about it.”

“I don’t remember this many ghosts when we were children.”

“We lived in a new city Gold Rush boy.” Max was born in 1849 in a ship somewhere in San Francisco Bay. Now he drives an SUV and still doesn’t like ghosts. Most Vampires don’t like ghosts. They don’t care for us much either. I pretty much don’t care either way anymore.

“Damn, every time I was just about to drift off they woke me up with their whispering and horrible music,” said Max

“I’ll see what I can do for the ghosts in the attic. We rarely go up there so, anyway, I’ll put something up there to repel them, or just yell at them. They hate it when I yell at them.”

Max pushed his sleeves up and poured a cup of coffee out of the French Press. I could see the ugly scars from Demon scratches and bites.

I worry about Max but he’s a survivor. He survived the Titanic. He survived more bat shit crazy girlfriends than I can count. He survived being shot twice by Vampire Hunters. He has survived demons, angels, fallen angels, ghosts, jealous boyfriends and husbands, and all kinds of weird stuff. He survived the drama of living in three different centuries. He survived having four younger siblings who aren’t exactly serious when it comes to being Vampires. OK maybe Aaron. Aaron is serious about everything but that is a different blog post.

I glanced out the window and could see about half a dozen ghosts sitting on my back fence with black umbrellas in the rain. They watched a lone coyote walk across the meadow underneath the oak canopy. Their sad eyes looked up at me in unison. I pulled the blinds closed.

Max sat down and started to talk about his girlfriend. They talked about where they’d live after they got married. They decided to keep both of their houses, at least for now. She lived in Monterey. He lived in San Francisco. Maybe they’d get married in July. Max had a lot of questions for me. He wanted my opinion.

I listened, but kept glancing over at a small transparent ghost of a child jumping on the couch in the next room. I mouthed the words, “go away.” It stuck out it’s tongue, turned it’s eyes black and vanished.

Max look at me funny. “What are you doing?”

“Nothing. Just thinking maybe you should have the wedding in one of the art museums. Are you getting married in San Francisco?”

“I was thinking Carmel, or Monterey,” said Max.

Out the kitchen window a ghostly bride with a slit throat and a bloody white dress floated past the window. I closed that blind and poured Max more coffee.

“Either one would be beautiful,” I said as a bloody hand came up out of the garbage disposal. I turned on the water and the garbage disposal switch. The hand vanished.

“I can’t believe I’m finally doing this. A hundred and sixty nine years old and I’m finally getting married.”

“I’m so happy for you Max,” I said as I heard the faint sound of an accordion coming from the formal dining room. “Excuse me Max. I’ll be right back.”

In my dining room I found a group of five musicians and a female singer in a dress with a huge bustle and low neckline. She carried her big blue eyes in a jar and held it up so she could see me.

“We’ll do his wedding for cheap,” she said with a gap toothed smile. The band started to play Ode to Joy.

“Go away,” I said. “All of you,” I yelled. “Go away. I swear to God you all know there are only two ghosts I allow in my house, and that is on a good day. ALL of you need to leave right now our I’m finding your graves and piling them with moth balls and dog poop.”

The ghosts looked at me with fading eyes then vanished, along with their music. A glance out the window showed no signs of ghosts. I didn’t feel their presence anywhere in the house.

“Moth balls and dog poop. That’s pretty harsh baby sister.” Max had come into the room.

“Sorry Max, sometimes when it rains they gather. There are a couple of cemeteries, actually three of them on the other side of the river. I think they just get water logged, or maybe come up from the clubs that used to be along the river banks. They know I can see them. It’s kind of like dogs. They want my attention even when they aren’t mine.”

“Weird.”

“I guess. If you say it’s weird it must be weird.”

Max excused himself and went back upstairs to sleep a bit. Apparently the accordion had kept interrupting his sleep.

Back in the kitchen another man, one with shaggy black hair and a smirk on his face waited for me. “You’re not going to throw dog poop and moth balls at me are you?”

“No Nigel,” I said. “I’m not going to throw anything at you.”

He got up and poured a cup of coffee and set it on the table then sat down to smell it. “You know I only come here for the coffee.”

“Sure, and the company.”

“I’m the only ghost you like. And Mary of course. Everyone loves Mary.”

“I don’t always like you Nigel,” I said. “But you’re my ghost.”

“And you’re my Vampire,” he said.

We didn’t talk about Max and his aversion to Ghosts.

I don’t live a double life. I’m a mom. I live a triple quadruple life. Husband, kids, siblings, elders, pets, ghosts, etc… I take care of everyone.

You know how it is. Don’t we all.

“At least your closets aren’t full of skeletons,” said Nigel.

“Not too many,” I said, and poured yet another cup of coffee.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: The Morning After

“I told her I don’t eat human flesh, I only drink blood,” said James. “Then she rolled her eyes at me. Can you believe it? She believes that I’m a Vampire but she wouldn’t believe a God Damn word I said to her.”

“So I take it you don’t have a date for tonight,” said Andy.

“No, I am free. Completely free to enjoy company of women who appreciate me. By the way, is it just Vampires tonight or are any warm blooded people showing up?”

“It will be a mix. Everyone is cool. Cool as in temperament not temperature.”

“Good. I swear I should have pegged her as a bigot. She knew I was a Vampire when I met her. She knew we’re real, but she would never accept me. Never.”

“It wasn’t like you were exclusive with her. Screw her.”

“I did. That’s what got me into trouble,” said James, then he laughed. “You’d think that after 164 years… who am I kidding. The only woman I can’t get is your sister.”

Andy raised an eyebrow. Sure James was a pig but he’d been Andy’s best friend forever and most of it was an act…a small fraction was an act.

James continued his venting. “The only reason she didn’t go after me more is because she knows I can erase her memory, and if she tells anyone I’m a Vampire they’ll think she’s nuts.”

“Forget her James,” said Andy. “I’ve never seen you so insecure. What’s up?”

“Nothing. I was up too late last night. I’m hungry. I obviously didn’t eat anything last night.”

“I have blood in the fridge, and some cheese. Go get yourself something.”

“Thanks,” said James, heading out to the kitchen.

Andy looked around the room. There would be about fifty people over for New Year’s Eve. He still had to bring out all of the glasses, wine, and call the caterer for a final check.

Once James got dressed and the party started he’d be fine. He’d be more than fine. There wouldn’t be a single female at the party, Vampire, warm blooded human, Werewolf, or otherwise he wouldn’t be flirting with. James never went home alone.

It would be a new year but some guys never changed. That wasn’t always a bad thing. Just a thing.

Andy pulled out his phone and left a message. “Hey beautiful. Just wanted to tell you I love you. I’ll see you tonight. I can’t wait.”

~ end


Short Story Sunday: Warmth

Warmth
(an Austin and Elizabeth Story)

“Your hand is cold.”

Austin always said that. He couldn’t help it. It was a reflex from years of holding hands with women who had warm hands. Warm hands and cold hearts.

Elizabeth smiled and lifted his hand to her cool lips. “I love you,” she said quietly, almost a whisper.

“Love you too,” he said. Then he his lips found hers. Suddenly a thought his his brain. She’d been alive for almost two hundred years. She’d been dead for almost that long. Well, sort of dead. Kind of dead and then alive again. Loving a Vampire was weird to say the least.

She’d started to wear socks to bed when Austin spent the night least she wake him with cold feet. But then he told her no. He wanted her to be who she was.

Still, he couldn’t help but check his neck in the mirror in the mornings for marks, or his wrists. He couldn’t help but overhear her on the phone with her friends, with a sweet laugh as she talked about meeting up for a hunt. She’d turn away or take her phone outside.

She’d once asked him, “Why do you hunt us. We don’t hurt anyone.”

He couldn’t answer honestly. He hunted the ones who could hurt, would hurt, or did hurt. Austin let the other alone. In this age of being away of the differences of others he had learned, that even when dealing with Vampires and god only knows what other kind of weird things were out there he had to take everyone on an individual basis. Well, almost everyone.

They cuddled on the couch under a blanket, with a bottle of wine, as they watched Crazy Rich Asians. 

He kissed her cheek. It seemed a little warm. Maybe. Sort of. It didn’t matter.

~ end

 

Click here for more Austin and Elizabeth Stories (The Hunter Series.)