Black and White Morning

My morning on my deck in black and white. A calico cat. A black, white, and tan dog. The woods. A raku tile. Some plants.

Sometimes I sit on my deck and realize that nothing is ever completely black or white. It is mostly gray and lovely.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Thank you Cee for this challenge. https://ceenphotography.com/2018/09/06/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-open-topic-6/comment-page-1/#comment-179724

The Ghost of Pumpkin Spice

“I never had a computer, or pumpkin spice lattes, or a cell phone. I had a VCR for about a year. I had a French Press. I’d get coffee beans from the Farmer’s Market. There was a little booth with a zillion spices and about thirty flavors of coffee.”

“They’re still there. I think the gal there has been selling spices since she was a teenager, maybe forty years now.”

“Wow. Remember the Mexican bakery?”

“I’m a Vampire. I don’t eat pastries.”

“Well, you eat other things besides blood. I know that.”

“The olive guy. There was a guy who sold olives and pickles.”

“You eat olives?”

“Sure. I eat most green things.”

“Artichokes?”

“I love artichokes.”

“Green beans?”

“Sure. Not a lot but you know, sometimes.”

“I can’t imagine Dracula eating green beans.”

“Dracula is a fictional character. In fiction the only time people eat green beans is when they snap them with their grandma. I doubt if Dracula snapped beans with his grandma.”

Nigel the Ghost held a hot mug of coffee laced with cinnamon. He put his head down and closed his eyes. “I miss coffee.”

“You can always get it here,” I said.

“It isn’t the same when you can’t drink it. Shit, I haven’t had a real cup of coffee in thirty two years.”

He brushed his black hair out of his eyes, then smiled.

“What?” I asked.

“I’ve been dead longer than I was alive.”

“So you’ve told me.”

I sat across from the Ghost, his black hair shaggy around his face, a black tie, and white shirt with the sleeves rolled up today. He’d hidden the gash in his head and the blood on his pale face. His eyes flickered from the coffee to me.

He cleared his throat, not because he needed to but for dramatic effect. “I might be a ghost but I’m not completely dead.”

“You’re never completely dead as long as someone stills loves you.”

“I can feel it but unfortunately I can’t see them. Well, I can’t see most of them. I don’t know how to get to them. You know the limits of my territory is out of my control.”

“So you’re stuck with me.”

“Stuck with a Vampire. Who would have thought.”

“Want me to heat that coffee up.”

“Sure, and add some nutmeg to it. Pumpkin Spice.” Then he winked and gave me a rare smile. “You know this is weird.”

“Not for us.”

Then he put his head back and laughed. I just sipped my own coffee and then put his cup in the microwave, because that is what friends do, even if they’re Vampires or Ghosts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

coffee

Coffee with Vampires and Ghosts

Sounds of Sunrise

250914_1813703541483_1630904_n

Even before the sun came up I could hear the cries of the hawks. Eagles live at the end of the street, but hawks live in my yard. There is beauty in their flight, their voices, and in the way they sit and view their world. I’ve watched nesting magpies, blue jays, and tiny song birds pester the sitting hawks to keep them away from tiny nests and tiny babies. The hawk ignores the small birds. She could easily kill them, but her prey is in the grasses below.

This morning there were no ghosts in the oak woods behind my home. Only hawks, and my dog who is barking at deer. Excuse me, I have to go tell my dog to cut it out.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Ghost of Halloween Dawn

This morning, this early early Halloween morning, before the dawn when just a shadow of the trees like black lace can be seen I looked outside and saw a ghost.

Damn it all. I hate ghosts. I barley tolerate the ones I don’t hate. I stepped out on my deck to chase it away when…

He turned and looked at me. My heart would have stopped had it been beating at the time.

“Juliette,” he whispered my name.

I had a million questions and no answers. He never gave any answers. As I stood, trying to get out words that never left my mouth he blew me a kiss and vanished.

Standing numb I thought of just a few hours ago when I lay with my arms around the man I love. Once a man, now a Vampire, never a ghost.

As I turned to go inside a different voice said, “Today is Halloween Vampire.”

I whipped around to find The Ghost, my Ghost, Nigel. “Happy Halloween. Big night?”

“Maybe,” he said with a sly smile, brushing his dark shaggy hair out of his eyes. “You?”

“Just hanging out here with friends and kids. You know, doing the Halloween thing. Sharing some blood and friendship.”

“Have fun. Don’t kill anyone.”

“You too.”

Then he vanished. He does that, just vanishes. But unlike the other ghost he’ll be back.

Happy Halloween.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Magnolia

Nobody takes notice of frumpy middle-aged women walking old dogs. Magnolia walked down the path through the trees. She thought of the Hawthorne story Young Goodman Brown imagining when he walked down the path to find his innocent young wife dancing with the Devil. That was an odd thought for an Easter morning.

It had been years since she’d been to church. She hated to be a holiday Christian. She hated going to church, always had. Yet, she loved the old music and certain songs.

Christ has risen.

He has risen indeed.

Someone called her name. She turned around to find her neighbors. They were on their way down to the lake for a sunrise service.

“Come with us,” they said.

She hesitated then decided to join them. Down at the edge of the water they sang traditional hymns she’d known as a child. It was a gathering of joy and love with words of hope. Old people, youngsters, babies and dogs were all there. Even the geese and ducks had come to the gathering by the edge of the lake.

After saying goodbye to a few friends and neighbors she made her way back up the trail towards home. All the dusty file drawers in her mind opened up letting the memories and thoughts flow. She thought of the Easter dresses her mother would sew when she was small. She wondered why people were so fascinated with the sexist patriarchy Duggar family and the freakish sleazy Kardashians. The idea of all of them disgusted her. She thought about how she should have gone to a different college.

She wondered if anything she’d ever done had mattered. What she was doing now mattered, sort of, at least to her kids, but she wondered about the past. Did any of her old boyfriends ever think of her? Could she have ever been the CEO of a creative empire? Could she have won an Oscar? What if she’d gone to Nepal with Mac Andrews or moved to Santa Barbara with Bill Van Pelt? Why had she come back to her parents after she’d backpacked alone across England? Would the kids like a raspberry coffee cake or blueberry muffins today? She’d send the extras home with her brother because she didn’t want them around the house to tempt her later. He said he was going to bring a green salad but she was afraid he’d bring potato salad. At least they’d have wine.

She wondered if life would have been different if she’d had a different name. She was always Magnolia, never Maggie or Nola.

Stopping at the top of the bluff she looked across the lake to the next town over. She was invisible. Women like her always were. A short, overweight, frumpy woman of no consequence. People were always telling her “if I had your talent I’d rule the world” or do something wonderful. That was if THEY had her talent. Her passion had been beaten out of her. She was always up for more rejection and in turn, more discovery, but… maybe she’d take a Zumba class at the gym. Zumba sounded like a lot of fun and if she took it easy she wouldn’t hurt her knee again.

At the end of the trail she saw a man. She smiled. What if he really was a Vampire and offered to take her away, or at least offered her a new life. Would she take it? No, it would be too much work. What if the woods were haunted? Did ghosts of Victorian lovers and Jazz singers dance through the night together. She passed the man, a young man in his 20’s with a large brown dog of unknown breed. Her large white dog of unknown breed sniffed it, everyone exchanged greetings and went on their way.

At home her family was just getting up. The kids gave her sleepy kisses. Her husband had started coffee and was making smoothies for the kids. So much for coffee cake but smoothies were always a good thing. He always put too much honey in them but she never said anything to him about it.

“Did you have a good walk?” Her husband gave her a hug as he asked her.

“It was nice. A lot of birds were out.” She didn’t say anything else. Magnolia was so used to not being heard that it was easier just to be the invisible woman.

Pouring a cup of coffee and went out on her deck. Her husband came out and said, “you’re quiet. What are you thinking about?”

“Nothing really. Nothing that matters.”

 

~end~