It is Saturday which means it is time for you to answer a BURNING QUESTION. It is TIME for ANSWERS.
Today’s rather fishy question is #6 of 50Burning Questionsto be featured RIGHT HERE on Vampiremaman.com. Keep checking back every single Saturday until we reach FIFTY.
Do the POLL. Yes, you MUST answer the question. It is fast, easy, guilt free, and your information will not be sold unless I can get a lot of money for it.
And now for something to leave a bad taste in your mouth…
Mermaids live in the ocean. The upper half is human and the bottom half is fish. If you’re going to be biologically correct the bottom half would be, theoretically, more like a dolphin or whale tail, or maybe even a seal, because mermaids evolved from mammal humans (duh.) But you never know, it might have scales and be like a fish.
Humans have long been fascinated with mermaids. They have been pictured as seductive dames of the sea, and as nasty horrible creatures who’d rather bite and pull you under the sea than have a civil conversation with you. This includes both mermaids and merguys. They’re kind of like us, but they’re not really human. Or maybe they’re half human. Or maybe their DNA is 99.99% human. Or maybe their DNA is 99% salmon. Not really, but you never know. They could have evolved from Neanderthals for all we know, and as we all know everyone with blue/hazel/green/non-brown eyes has a little bit of Neanderthal in them. THAT is a scientific fact.
Or, and you never know, mermaids might be vampires who were driven into the sea by hordes of haters who just didn’t want to sit down and talk it out. For heaven sakes why can’t we all just all get along and be friends?
Be my Neanderthal baby.
So that brings up some interesting questions, including today’s Burning Question.
Burning Question #6: If you eat a mermaid is it cannibalism?
No matter what your answer you’ll be shouting “Winner! Winner! Mermaid Dinner!”
A Christmas Tale of Mystery, Love and Hope
from Juliette Kings
The night was falling on the travelers, Daniel and his son Tad and daughter Ada. They had to stop before the dark of night and freezing snowfalls. The father and his children were finally going home, from the broken dreams of gold to the city where Daniel had found a job in his profession of typesetter and reporter. When his wife had passed on he followed his dream to the California gold fields taking his teenage children with him. For good or bad they’d made the new state their home.
As the snow began to fall they came upon a cabin, the door boarded up from the outside, the windows shuttered. It looked deserted and like shelter for the night. Dan and his son pried the nails off of the boards, which secured the door and went into the two-room structure. Inside was a cozy room with a fireplace, comfortable chairs and a wall full of books. Dan sent Tad out to bring in firewood.
Ada went to the bedroom and called her father. On the bed was a man, still as the night, cold and pale as the snow. In his arms, wrapped in blanket was a tiny girl in a red velvet hat, a scarf covered up most of her small face. She was also still and pale.
Ada’s heart sank. The poor souls in the bed looked to have passed on. But why were they trapped in the cabin? Had they been sick? Why were they not buried with a prayer and the proper respect? The man’s coat was obviously expensive and of the finest materials. His boots were of the most beautiful leather and style. His face was handsome and refined. Ada took off her glove and touched the back of her hand to the man’s face. He was indeed cold as ice and still as death. She called in her father.
“I know this man.” He said. “A fine man. A poet. I heard him read when I was in San Francisco. What a tragic pity to find him here with his child.”
The looked upon the bodies of the father and child when they saw the slightest movement and the man opened his eyes.
“My daughter, please help her,” whispered the man on the bed.
Ada took the girl in her arms. She weighed almost nothing. The child let out a sigh. Ada brought the girl into the other room and sat in a rocking chair by the fire Tad had built. The girl started to move and put her face against Ada’s warm neck. Ada soon fell asleep with dreams of flowers and all things good.
In the morning the poet and child were gone.
The travelers found box covered with red paper. In the box was a golden heart and a note to Ada.
This heart belonged to my dear wife who was murdered by villains of the vilest kind. Please wear it knowing that you will always be loved and you will always be a part of us.
On the table in the front room was a bounty of food. Where had it come from? There were fresh baked goods, milk and juice, exotic fruits, sausages and chocolates. Under small quilted cozies were pots with fragrant tea and coffee. Another note was slipped under the teapot.
Daniel read the note aloud to his children.
My heart thanks you for your generosity.
You saved our lives.
You never questioned who had trapped us or hurt us.
You never judged us.
You never feared us.
The love between parent and his children is burned into your heart like the fires that burn in the heavenly stars.
My daughter and I will never forget you.
Your children and their children and their children will always be safe and watched over and kept from the harm of wicked men. I owe and promise you that.
Never fear the night or the darkness for we will always be watching your back.
Wishing you a Happy Christmas.
~ Thomas Kent
As the travelers ate they talked of the sweet dreams they’d had the night before, along with stiff necks they had that morning. Daniel and his children spoke of Mr. Kent and his precious daughter and wondered why they’d been trapped in the cabin.
Many many years later after a long and wonderful life full of romance and adventure, Ada fingered the heart, which she still wore. As she took her last breath she said, “I have never known fear, only love”.
An ocean away Thomas Kent felt an icy wind, then hope and gratitude in his cold Vampire heart.
This story was first posted here in 2012. I think of all the stories I’ve published/written this one remains one of the nearest to my heart.
So I’m digging away, trying to put in some sort of flower beds in my rocky garden. It is foggy. It is cold. And I am not amused. That is what happens when you live in a house built on gold mine tailings. Rocks. Nothing but river rocks coated in a tiny bit of dirt and a shit load of weed seeds.
I’ve got the pick ax out, and I’m jamming the shovel in a hole, with the cold nose of a ninety pound German Shepard in my face, when I FINALLY get the last rock loose before I can plant a small dwarf lime tree. The dog goes nuts. I push her away and pull out the rock.
It isn’t a rock.
It is a skull.
A human skull.
My son comes out with a fresh cup of coffee for me (did I mention it was cold.) He looked at the skull and then calls up to the house.
“Hey Dad, she found another one.” Then he turns to me. “This one is small. Man, woman, or child?”
I toss the skull in my garden gloved hands. “It might be a woman but you never know.”
“Want me to put it with the others?”
“Sure,” I said, handing the skull to my sweet teenager.
I could hear him in the side yard opening the 50 gallon Rubbermaid storage container, and dropping in the skull.
He came back to me after about a minute. “Hey Mom, the container is almost full.”
I took a deep breath. “That’s a lot of skulls.”
He gave me an uncomfortable look. “It sure is. Who do you think they are?”
I put my arm around his waist and gave him a hug. “I have no idea. But thanks for the coffee sweetie. Let’s go in. I think I’m done out here today.”
St. Stephen was said to have been stoned to death by a group of pissed off folks who didn’t like his brand of religion. Some say he spoke Greek and took care of Greek speaking widows stranded in a world of Romans. St. Anthony is the Patron Saint of Lost things which would make him the patron saint of most busy moms and Vampires.
So this brings us to a mystery.
Aparrently Tony and Steve were bros and spent some quality time together before Stephen’s untimely and tragic death. Anthony died later of natural causes (not a lost cause, even thought he is the Saint of Lost Causes.)
In a painting by Italian artist Bicci di Lorenzo (1373–1452) Anthony and Stephen are hanging out together with somebody else. Look in the far left bottom corner. What is that? Seriously what is THAT? Is is a dog? A pig? A demon? A lost animal of unknown origin?
Anthony and Stephen hanging out together with a mysterious animal.
Seriously, WTF is that?
What is that animal? Is it friendly? Is it a pet? Is it Anthony’s or is it Stephen’s. Did Anthony adopt it in when Stephen died? Did they find it at the local shelter?
We looked around some more and found other interesting things. Oh, by the way, those are stones on Stephen’s head, apparently left over from when he died.
Around the same time another Saint was running around with his weird looking dog.
I’m not making fun. I’m always noticing odd looking dogs and cats in old paintings. Animals aren’t always easy to draw, but sometimes I really wonder about this sort of thing. Did artists draw certain styles because it was fashion, or did they draw that way because it was the only way they knew how to draw? This was way back right out of the dark ages, so maybe they just didn’t have the vision/skill/desire to make it look like a photograph. Yes, that was a joke I know they didn’t have photos back then – just like yesterday when I went to the store with my shirt on inside out and no less than four people informed me that my shirt was inside out.
We also saw this bit in the same painting, way up on the top corner. What was THAT ANGEL up to? Hmmmmm. No doubt he was up to no good.
My brother Val said we could just ask Tellias about it. He was around back then. He might know. But what fun would that be? Plus I know I’d get a long tale of BS and off the subject tales from Tellias.
As we roamed the museum I heard my daughter say to my husband, “Mom is having one of her religious experiences. Just let her look for a while longer.”
I look at the paintings and I can feel the breezes, hear the voices, see into the souls. I a room full of Rodins I can feel the touch, the kiss, the embraces, and the passion of the pieces. The rest of the world is lost and gone and doesn’t matter at that moment that I am with art.
We spent Monday at the Museum.
And we survived.
We more than survived. We came to life, again, and again, and again.
Thank you to Anthony and Stephen. Let us know what that critter is when you get a chance.
This week I have an excerpt from a novel I started AND a poll. Would you read this book? Yes, this is a rough rough draft but if I polished it up…
By the way, this isn’t a Vampire story.
It is all just a bunch of strange physics!
Dr. Jackson Bartello
Tom looked at the white board relieved he was in the right classroom. This was Back-to-School-Night at his kid’s new high school. Oh boy.
Parents wandered into the classroom, squeezing into small plastic and laminated wood desks. Tom’s 6’3” frame hardly fit. He swore the desks were never this small when he was in high school.
Intentionally avoiding conversation with other parents he studied the hand written schedule his son Declan had given him.
First Period: Advanced Physics – Dr. B (Bartello) – HIPSTER GEEK EXCEPTIONALLY COOL GUY. Say something good about me. Seriously.
A large woman pushed herself into the desk next to Tom, still wearing her nurses uniform with a cartoon cat print on the top. Her brown hair was short and practical, but her face was pretty in a sort of old time glamour girl kind of way. She smiled at Tom. He smiled back to be polite.
At the front of the class stood a blond haired girl wearing a school tee shirt, and the kind of self-assured plastered on smile of an experienced politician. Tom figured she was Dr. Bartello’s student assistant Katie Hunter.
According to his daughter Rowan, Katie Hunter had recently changed her name to Kat, because she was dating a boy named Hunter Katz. Kat Hunter and Hunter Katz. It was all incredibly cute. Declan had said Kat and Hunter were also the two smartest kids in the school. Tom thought if they were that smart they’d stay away from romance.
“Hi Roxy,” the girl said to the woman in the cat uniform.
“Hey, Katie, excuse me, Kat. Good to see you.”
Katie turned to Tom. “You’re Declan’s dad.”
Tom smiled. “Yes, I am. How’d you know?
“You look just like him.” Her voice was deeper than most girls her age and lacked the singsong upswings at the end of her sentences.
“Everyone loves Declan,” said the woman called Roxy. “I’m Roxy Taylor, Jordan’s mom.”
“Tom Mather. Good to meet you.” He had no idea who Jordan was.
“Your wife Sage is great. We’re all so happy she agreed to be the advisor for the Student Technology Team.”
That was news to Tom. “Technology Team, sure, Sage loves her technology.” He gave an uncomfortable laugh. Sage was always great. She couldn’t help it; even after their lives fell completely apart she continued to wear her mask of greatness.
He’d encouraged Sage to take her dream job on the other side of the country. The new job paid twice their combined income. He would sell his law practice and work from home. They’d make a new start. She wouldn’t sleep with other men anymore. Life would pretend to be good.
Tom glanced around the classroom again. The other dads were relaxed slobs in cargo shorts and Dockers. He couldn’t imagine Sage being attracted to any of them.
The bell rang for first period to start. Bartello still hadn’t show up. A phone on the desk vibrated and danced around for a second. Tom noticed that a set of keys and half finished iced coffee next to the phone.
Katie cleared her throat then made an announcement. “Sign in if you haven’t already. Your kid will get points for it. I um, know Dr. Bartello has some handouts. Just a sec and I’ll get them.”
She went to the tall cabinet on the wall next to where Tom was sitting.
Katie tried to open the door but it wouldn’t slide. Tom noticed a latch at the top. “I’ll get it “Here you go,” he said with a wink to Katie as he slid the door open.
From the inside of the cabinet a dead Jackson Bartello faced Tom. One eye was closed, the other a squint. In the fraction of a second Tom’s brain registered the blood and gaping cut across Bartello’s throat. Before Tom could step back the full dead weight of the man fell forward against him.
Tom could feel himself falling but couldn’t stop the momentum. He remembered hearing himself say oh fuck, when the back of his head slammed into a desk, then bounced on the floor. He saw sparks, and the pain nearly knocked him out. He caught his breath and found himself flat on the floor. Bartello’s head was twisted at an almost ninety degree angle unnaturally resting on the inside of Tom’s left thigh, with the rest of his body on Tom’s legs and feet.
Bartello’s throat had been cut from ear to ear, all the way to the bone. Tom could see what might have been bone, or the esophagus. The cut was clean with no ragged edges. Bartello’s hands were bound behind him with his own black and teal atomic age print tie. He was still warm.
Tom could hardly catch his breath. Roxy was already up out of the desk and by his side. “Roxy, help get him off of me.”
She held Tom’s arm and helped him slide out from under the dead man. He felt Roxy’s hand go to the back of his head.
“You’re bleeding.” Then she yelled, “Somebody get me some paper towels NOW.”
The parents looked on in shocked silence. Then the murmurs of “Oh my God,” and soft gasps began. It wasn’t like in the movies where everyone screams and runs when a body appears. One was calling 911, another the school front office.
“Tom, Mr. Mather,” Katie said, sounding as if she were being strangled.
“I’m OK,” said Tom. He reached to the back of his head and felt the blood. He tried to stand, but couldn’t get his body to work for him. “Katie, don’t panic. You can do that later. Right now let’s get everyone out of the room. Then find your parents. Roxy, Find my wife, please.”
Tom looked at Bartello again. He couldn’t imagine cutting into flesh with that kind of force. It was too intimate for him. He never touched his marks. He’d always used a gun with a silencer, with the goal to always keep things clean and anonymous. But this killing wasn’t business. It was personal.
October and Halloween will be here soon. As you know there is much we must watch for. College applications for one thing. That is the most scary. The second just might not be the demons you think…they might be the fallen.
“Oh man, I wish we could turn into bats like in the movies. That would make things a lot easier.”
Max leaned against the kitchen counter listening to his friend Pierce. It had been a rough night for the hunters of shadows – the Vampires who were dedicated to keeping their world safe for both Vampires and those they lived among.
“Do you think she’ll be alright? I didn’t say anything in the car. You know how sensitive she is.”
Max poured himself another glass of wine. “She’ll be fine, eventually. I’ve seen her through worse. Mehitabel has seen herself through worse.”
“Mehitabel won’t tell you if anything is wrong. Come on Max, she took on…” Peirce paused.
“A fallen angel. Sure, and some people call us fallen angels. They have no idea. We’re just physically different. The fallen angels are pure evil.”
“So is the poison that entered our friend, your lover.”
“We’re just friends.”
“Bullshit Max. That is total and complete bullshit.”
The sound of the shower upstairs turned off. Max put down his glass and went to check on his friend.
Mehitabel sat on his bed, her hair dark and wet around her shoulders. She wore one of his robes, a burgundy colored brushed silk.
“Hey, how do you feel?” he said stepping close putting his hand on her cool cheek.
“Not good. Sort of weird, like someone broke my heart, but I don’t know how or why or who. It wasn’t him.”
Max started to pull the robe open.
“Not tonight Max. Please I don’t want to have sex with you or anyone right now, alright.”
“Mehitabel, I don’t want to… I… just let me look.” He pulled open the robe to see the large gash going from the top of her left shoulder down her arm almost to her elbow. The ugly wound had sealed but it was far from being healed. She winced as he touched it. An ugly blackness outlined the edges of the tear.
He put his hand over the wound. At first she tried to pull away but as he whispered words in an ancient language of their people the pain started to leave her arm. Then he bent over and kissed her shoulder. The blackness turned to a pale red. “I came to give, not to take.”
Tears filled her eyes as she lay back on the bed. Max lay next to her and put his arms around her. “Sleep. It is the best thing you can do. I’ll be up later. Nothing can hurt you here, not while Pierce and I are with you.”
Downstairs Pierce had turned on the TV. “Giants lost today. We still should have gone to the game. How is she?”
“Not good. I’m going to sleep with her tonight. Just sleep and be there.”
Max and Pierce stayed up to watch ESPN to get their minds off of the past 48 hours.
Mehitabel lay in bed, her fangs ready as she looked out at the creature standing on the window ledge. “You cannot hurt me here. You cannot have me.”
It looked like a man, but she could see the flicker of the forked tail in the dark and the fold of leathery wings above his shoulders.
He smiled an angelic smile of pure bliss and beauty, then mouthed the words, “You’re mine. You. Are. Mine.”
At the sound of the door opening the dark being vanished. Max crawled under the covers bedside her. “Just because, just because we’re the way we are, and because I can’t give you… it doesn’t mean I don’t love you.”
She didn’t respond. She was too busy watching and waiting as she looked into the darkness outside the window.