Short Story Sunday: Heal Thyself (an Austin and Elizabeth Story)

It wasn’t just a cold. It was a body full of aches, gallons of snot, a cough, sneezing, and a sore throat, and an urge to text everyone he knew and tell them that he was never coming back.

Austin heard a tap on the door, then he knew someone was inside.

“Hey, sweetie. I brought you some soup, and tea,” a female voice said at the bottom of the stairs.

Austin couldn’t bring himself out of bed. “Elizabeth. Come upstairs.”

She put the soup in the kitchen and went up to see Austin. He’d all but missed Thanksgiving. It was Sunday afternoon. School started Monday morning.

He’d missed her. They’d hardly been seeing each other. He was teaching, working on his house renovations, and working on the side as a Vampire Hunter.

She had her own business and busy schedule, and she was a Vampire.

It worked. Sort of. He trusted her, most of the time. She didn’t trust him, or at least he didn’t think so. But they were trying.

When Elizabeth arrived in Austin’s bedroom she sat next to him and put a cool hand on his head.

“That feels great,” he whispered.

She kissed his forehead, slipped off her clothes, and crawled into bed with him. He fell asleep wrapped in a warm blanket and a cool Vampire.

Several hours later he woke up feeling  great. Elizabeth lay next to him, as quiet as death.

The only thing that hurt was his neck. He saw blood on the pillow. Just a drop but it was enough to know what had happened. She drank his blood. She actually drank her blood. Damn her. 

Austin put his hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder. “Wake up. Now.”

She opened her eyes and smiled. “Do you feel better?”

“You bit me. You drank my blood.”

“Yes, I did drink your blood. I did not ask for permission. I just did it. Austin I am a Vampire, and sometimes I do things like that. There is no excuse but I had to.”

“What about Vampire guys? Do you drink their blood?”

“No. I don’t make it a habit. And I’m not seeing any Vampire guys. Just you.”

“So just…”

“You don’t get it do you.”

“No, I don’t”

“You need to get your blood tested. I think it is called a PSA test. It is for prostate cancer. Oh yeah, and please, when you get a chance thank me for taking your nasty cold from you. I felt like shit, death warmed over shit, for about two hours while you slept. I don’t know why you didn’t get a flu shot. I’m not doing this for the flu.”

“PSA test. You can tell if someone has cancer?”

“Sure, sometimes.”

“Do I have cancer?”

“It isn’t like your levels are extra high, but you’re almost forty and there might be something there. You can’t put it off Austin. If you have it the early treatment is uncomfortable but waiting for it to grow and metastasize is horrible. It will be a slow and extremely painful death, and horrible for everyone you love to see you go through it. A few radioactive pellets put in the right place and you’re good to go. And Mr. Happy will stay happy. Done deal.”



“How did you take on my flu? How do you know about my PSA levels?”

“I don’t know. It’s just something I do.”

“If you can heal like that then why aren’t you working in a hospital. Why isn’t every Vampire working in a hospital or medical research?”

“We don’t all heal like that, or at least not all the time. It takes a lot out of us.”

“Can all of you do that?”

“I guess, in varying degrees. I don’t know. Some of us, are better at it, especially if it is someone we care about, or love.”


“Stop. You could tell I was a Vampire. You can see ghosts. Not every can do that, or wants to. I can heal and see potential threats. Not everyone can or wants to do that.”

“Elizabeth, do you realize…”

“Yes, I do. Enough.” She put a finger to his lips. “Enough.”

Later that day, after she’d left, Austin could only feel how wrong it was, and how right. No matter what he was grateful to have a clear nose, and a clear head. Well, maybe a clear head. And more than that, maybe a clear heart as well.

~ end

For the entire Austin and Elizabeth Series (The Hunter) CLICK here. Start from the beginning. This is the 20th story in the series.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman




Short Story Sunday: A Ray of Hope (a Thanksgiving Story)

Thanksgiving is in Tahoe this year. My husband Justin’s family has a large beach front cabin. It is a 5,000 square foot cabin and two other smaller A frames within walking distance. Yes, they’re insanely rich, at least to me. They’re also incredible loving and giving and have taken me into their family as one of their own.

My mom left when I was five, taking my twin baby brother and sister with her. Dad said she said she was bored with her life. Bored with my dad and bored with me. I only saw her once after that. She’d poisoned the minds of my siblings by telling them that my dad was abusive. Her new husband gladly went along and encouraged it. My brother is now a successful motivational speaker. My sister is a teacher. I don’t talk to them. They don’t want to talk to me, but they like to talk about me, or somebody they say is me. I don’t care anymore.

When I was growing up Thanksgiving were small, like my grandparent’s two bedroom house – Just my dad, Grandpa and Grammy, and Uncle Ray. We’d gather around the kitchen table in Grammy’s kitchen and have a feast on old chairs covered with yellow vinyl. The table would be covered with turkey, green bean casserole, jellied cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with little marshmallows browned on top. Everything except the turkey came out of a can except the wine. The wine was from a box with ice cubes. It was great.

Uncle Ray lived with Grandpa and Grammy. He believed that at the age of 15 he was abducted by aliens and taken for a blinding fast tour of the universe and Planet X. Ray believed that Jesus was protecting bigfoot, unicorns and other rarely seen creatures so that when mankind finally killed itself off that those were the creatures who would rule the earth. A great gray wolf would lead dwarves and elves out from their underground kingdoms to live in peace. Aliens from space would set up trade routes to earth and help the new found order prosper.

Despite his weirdness Uncle Ray was accepted into UC Berkley and managed to obtain a degree in Political Science. With his knowledge of politics he began working on his plan for a new world order he’d build along with Jesus and the Bigfoots and elves.

Yes, Uncle Ray was nuts but I adored him. My dad protected him. My grandparents accepted him. The university where he occasionally taught a course tolerated him. He never married so I was the only child there for the holidays.

At night a few hours after pie and watching “Meet Me in St. Louis”, Ray and I would go outside. He’d grab a turkey leg and I’d take a wing. We’d munch on our turkey while Ray pointed out constellations and tell me about his time with the aliens and his love for Jesus.

Ray would always take my hand and solemnly tell me, “Jenna, what I’m telling you is real. I’m not crazy.” Then we’d go inside and have turkey races with some funky wind-up toys my Grandpa got for us. We’d laugh until our sides hurt.

My grandparents and Ray are gone now. Grandpa died in his sleep the year I graduated from college. Grammy had a stroke a few months later while at a prayer group. Three years ago Ray went hiking in Death Valley one spring and vanished. The rangers found his backpack, hiking boots and an empty water bottle. There was a note that said, “Tell Jenna that I love her.”

I still have the note.

Thanksgiving with my family was never fancy or exciting but I knew I was loved.

Right after I graduated away from college my dad remarried. I met my husband Justin and Thanksgiving dishes no longer involved food from cans or vinyl chairs.

This year dad and his wife Gracie went to Montana to visit friends for Thanksgiving. I knew I’d miss them but wished them a good time.

As Justin and I drove up into the mountains I thought about Ray as I looked out the car at the forests. Over the river and through the woods… When I was 16 Ray and I would drive up to the mountains to see the stars. I’d drive. He never learned how. In the cool summer nights we’d stand in a clearing at 8,000 feet and watch the endless show of zillions of stars and watch for shooting stars and satellites. Ray would tell me about the aliens who’d be back to get him. He’d tell me about how the ancient Greeks would navigate ships and come to America to visit. He’d tell me about planets that were inhabited by people so beautiful that our eyes would explode if we looked at them. He’d tell me that he’d been in love with a girl once and kissed her under the stars but she killed herself. He said he’d see her again. The aliens said they had taken her just before her soul was lost. Uncle Ray said to never be sad. He also told me over and over that he wasn’t crazy.

“What are the thinking about?” Justin startled me out of my reverie.

“My Uncle Ray. I miss him.”

Justin put his hand on mine. “I know honey, I know.”

Thanksgiving was spectacular. The food was amazing, the company was wonderful, the day was perfect. I’m blessed to be married into such a great family.

A few hours after dinner, after football and a lot of other fun, I took Justin by the hand and led him to the kitchen. I got myself a smoked turkey wing and gave Justin a leg, then poured two glasses of wine, minus the ice cubes and took him outside to watch the stars.

We talked about what fun we’d had that day. Then we talked about starting our own family, maybe trying to start that week.

A fireball sailed across the sky. I couldn’t figure out what it was. Maybe a meteorite?

Justin held my hand and said, “It’s your Uncle Ray.”

I think it was.


~ End

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman



March Reading List – Great New Fiction

Morning at the Vineyard
for the next few days (until Tuesday.)

Pass it on. Share with your friends. Leave a nice review.

A collection of stories from Vampire Maman: A Vampire hung-over wakes up in the house of serial killers; poetry from a teenage girl brings a Greek god to his knees; elderly vampires, lost loves, a lunch date with zombies and opera singers, and modern vampire family life, fill the pages of this volume with humor, romance, adventure, parenting in this collection of unique tangled tales.
Juliette Kings is a highly innovative and insightful writer with a gift for creating a fantasy world within a “real” world context.


Morning at the Vineyard now available on (and tell the folks at NPR and the LA Times that this is the best book you've ever read and that they should interview Juliette Kings NOW. Any other media outlet would work as well. Yes, this is shameless but what do you expect? I'm a Vampire. We have no shame.

Morning at the Vineyard now available on (and tell the folks at NPR and the LA Times that this is the best book you’ve ever read and that they should interview Juliette Kings NOW. Any other media outlet would work as well. Yes, this is shameless but what do you expect? I’m a Vampire. We have no shame.


Exceptional Liars by Marla Todd

Alex Goldstein has a thriving law practice with his wife Tasha Alexander. Life is is good. Well, except for the fact that he drinks too much, and his wife regularly cheats on him. To keep his mind off of his problems Alex writes about by serial killers. His most recent obsession is The Killer of Virtue.

Liz Hobbs is born into a large family of sneaky manipulative children with an unhealthy fear of God only ranks second to the fear of their narcissistic parents. After the murder of her brother and only ally Steve, then the loss of a college scholarship for bad behavior, Liz falls in love. Unfortunately that includes falling into an abusive marriage with relationship counselor Greg Atkinson.

Liz decides to end it all and jumps from a bridge, only to find herself in the bed of her friend Darren Crawford. He isn’t just a friend; he is The Killer of Virtue. Fortunately for Liz, Darren drops dead of natural causes. Now with everyone thinking she is dead, Liz pulls a Huck Finn and runs.

After misreading the phone number of a women’s shelter Liz ends up in office of Alexander and Goldstein. Alex helps her build a new life as his own life falls apart.

Exceptional Liars is a roller coaster ride of a book full of unexpected twists and turns. Witty dialogue and interesting characters makes this book one of the best new novels of 2016.

Just out on (CLICK HERE)

Exceptional Liars by marla Todd


Author Information: Marla Todd helps with Vampire Maman from time to time and manages the blog

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Nowhere In Time

Nowhere in Time

Part 13 of the Austin and Elizabeth Stories







When I was a small girl of about five years old my mother showed me a small portrait. She said, “Beware of this man. You will see him at different times in your life. He will attempt to confuse you. He will attempt to harm you, even if you think he is your friend.”

It was his plan to seduce me when I turned seventeen. When I was thirty-six I locked him in a basement so needless to say, he never got the opportunity to see me at seventeen.


“Dr. Durant, we found something.”

Austin followed his student, a tall redheaded kid, with a talent for finding small valuable artifacts.

“What did you find this time Troy.”

What he found in the basement of the old house was a body. It had been over 100 years since the basement was boarded over then built over.

It seemed like there was a body in every building he worked on in the past few years.

The dead man appeared to have hidden inside a wardrobe. His suit was of an expensive and fashionable cut of around 1890. A gold watch was still in his pocket. The face was somewhat mummified into a horrible grimace. A few strands of what might have been brown hair still clung to the skull. What the Hell was he doing there? A rotting over coat lay on the floor next to the wardrobe along with a bowler type hat.

Next to the dead man, Austin found a wallet. The California driver’s license was for a man named Douglas Craig. The date of birth was 04/15/2021.

“Oh my God,” Austin Durant said to himself about ten times then pocketed the wallet.

The good thing was that the body wasn’t just a sleeping Vampire. He’d had too many close calls with them for any kind of comfort. The bad thing was that he didn’t know what to think but had a bad feeling about it.

The next few hours were spent with the police and forensics experts. He overheard someone saying, “Isn’t this the fourth body Durant has found in the past 12 months?”

That was only the dead bodies. He’d also found half a dozen sleeping or near death Vampires plus discovered one of his buildings was haunted.

Dr. Austin Durant was a master craftsman who restored old buildings, taught history at the local university and sometimes Vampire Hunter. Of course he didn’t tell the police anything about the wallet, Vampires or anything else that might make people think he was nuts.

The person he did call was his attorney Aaron Todd. The two had shared a lot of weird experiences over the past few years. Now they’d share one more. Aaron told Austin that he’d get back to him. Knowing Aaron it would be soon.

A little after 7:00 p.m. Austin arrived home, popped a beer and wondered what had just happened. Was this a joke? Was the basement a portal to some weird alternate universe. Not likely. It wasn’t as if he was going crazy, after all his girlfriend was a Vampire. He’d fallen in love with a Vampire. What the fuck is the matter with you Austin, he thought to himself.

He heard the sound of a tap on the door, then his girlfriend Elizabeth came in holding a bottle of wine.

She smiled, minus any fangs, and gave him a kiss. “I missed you.”

It had been a week since he’d seen her. He put his arms around her and put his forehead against hers. She was cool but not cold. “Hey, Elizabeth did you ever hear of a guy named Douglas Craig?”

She backed out of his arms. “Sure. Why?”

He showed her the wallet and told him about finding the body in the basement. She didn’t say anything except for an occasional nod then went into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of wine. Austin followed her.

“Elizabeth, honey, did you lock him in the basement?”


“Do you know who did?”

“No, but it doesn’t really matter at this point. The man was a pedophile and a rapist. You know, there is always the chance of changing history if you kill a time traveler, but they shouldn’t be traveling in time anyway, so screw it. Douglas Craig got what he deserved.”

“So he was a time traveler?”

“Yes, of course he was. Austin, you really don’t know about time travelers do you?”

“I don’t live in your fucked up universe.”

“Sure you do. You know, if you can’t accept the world others aren’t privy to it then get out of it. And stop swearing so much. I bet you can’t go an hour without saying the F word.”

Austin was taken aback. It was one of the rare times she’d snapped at him.

“So Elizabeth, what happened to his time machine? Did he have a machine?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did he hurt you?”

“I’m not talking about this right now.”

The doorbell rang. Austin answered.

Standing in the doorway was his attorney Aaron Todd with a young man he introduced as his son Logan. Austin remembered Aaron mentioning he had a son attending law school. This was nuts, his attorney was a Vampire with a son in law school. A Vampire with kids in college – that was crazy. Then again everything today had been crazy.

Austin poured Aaron a glass of wine and gave Logan a beer. Elizabeth already knew the Todds. Hugs all around. Vampires were so warm and fuzzy with each other.  Maybe cool and fuzzy would be more accurate. His head was still spinning at the thought of a dead time traveler in a building he owned.

Aaron explained what he knew. “Right now Mr. Craig’s father is finishing up his graduate studies in Physics at Cal Tech. His mother is at UC Berkeley getting her doctorate in Political Science. They’ll meet in 2017 at a New Year’s party in San Francisco. They were both self-absorbed and over the top narcissistic so it was a perfect match. In 2019 they married and had a daughter. In 2021 they had triplets. Two boys and a girl. Douglas was one of the boys. All of the Craig children shared their parent’s sense of self-importance. Our man Douglas was married twice. Both marriages split up because of his habit of sleeping with other women. No children. No remorse. He vanished in 2062. His siblings put out an announcement that he’d gone off on a solo sailing trip and never returned. At least one of his brothers knew he’d be found in the basement of the house on F Street in 2015. Of course that was after…” he paused then smiled. “That was after he was found in the basement today, so there was no warning him.”

“You know who trapped him in there,” said Austin.

Aaron shrugged. “I might. I never did find out what happened to the time machine.” Aaron smiled with a small flash of fang which means in Vampire, don’t ask anymore questions.

Elizabeth took Austin’s hand. “It might just be better if we left well enough alone. There was a body in the building. Weird things happen. Let’s keep it a mystery.”

“But shouldn’t we contact his parents?”

Aaron answered him, “Think about it Austin. What is someone contacted you out of the blue and said your future child was in danger. They’d laugh in your face and then get a restraining order against you.” Aaron glanced at Elizabeth and Logan then continued. “Our kind, Vampires, know that Time Travelers for the most part are psychopaths who are in it for their own benefit. They’re not historians like you. They’re destructive criminals who travel through time harming and taking advantage of others. We stop them when they can.”

“What about…” Austin had so many questions to ask but Aaron cut him off.

“Not tonight. There are others who can explain this to you later, but Austin the less you know now the better for your own physical and mental well-being.”

“That’s bull shit and you know it Aaron.”

Elizabeth squeezed his hand. “Don’t argue with a Vampire Austin.”

Aaron didn’t flinch but Logan gave a sly smile. The younger Vampire looked like his father with his chestnut brown hair and hazel eyes, but there was a beauty to him, in a male movie star sort of way. With those looks and that brain Logan could rule the world one day thought Austin.

After more general discussion about nothing much and after the male Vampires left, Elizabeth led Austin up to his bedroom.

In the early hours of the morning she looked over to find him still awake. “What’s wrong Austin?”

He looked her way. “I’m confused.”

“Don’t be,” she said then kissed him and climbed on top of him. “This is all you need to know.”

And for that moment, it was the only answer that mattered.







~ end



Part 14 of the The Hunter Series – the Austin and Elizabeth Stories.

For ALL of the Austin and Elizabeth Story CLICK HERE.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman


A Novel Idea (To Elizabeth With Love)

Short Story Sunday is on vacation today. Today, rather than a new short story, I’m giving you the first few pages of a novel. There are no Vampires, no Ghosts, no Werewolves. Nothing paranormal or Gothic. I think you’ll like it. One more thing, this is a work in progress.


Also by Dr. Gregory Atkinson

Letting Go – A Marriage Guide for Beginners

Love and Loss

Love and Respect

Love and Trust


Excerpt from “To Elizabeth with Love”

By Dr. Gregory Atkinson

This book was written as a love letter to my wife Elizabeth Hobbs Atkinson. She was brutally tortured and killed by a man who had once been my friend. Her body was never found, but her legacy of love will here.

Liz and I met in the summer while working together at the Olive Branch Youth Christian Summer Camp in Pennsylvania. I was the director that summer and Liz was a counselor. We hit it off immediately with our passion for Christ and quick comfortable friendship.

I first noticed Liz’s bright smile and easy laugh. I couldn’t help notice her beautiful figure and grace as she moved with the children. She was sunshine and I was drawn to her warmth.

Within a week we were inseparable. At the end of the summer I asked Liz to marry me. She was 19 and I was 26, both sure in our love for each other and commitment in Christ.

Marriage is an equal partnership in love and friendship, blessed by God as the perfect union between a man and a woman. When I met Liz I finally met a woman who was my best friend and true equal. She was the one I could finally have that perfect union with.

We were married in November. The next 6 years were filled with such joy and passion I could have never imagined. We also had our share of tragedy with 3 late term miscarriages. Then, just as we had hoped that maybe God would grant us the blessed titles of Mommy and Daddy, the unthinkable happened. Liz was brutally murdered, in a cruel twist of fate by a man who called himself the Killer of Virtue.

According to the police report my darling wife lost enough blood to kill her before she was stuffed into the back of a car. The evidence showed the massive loss of blood didn’t kill her, at least not before she’d put up a valiant struggle for her life. Nobody knows if she died in the killer’s car or was dumped unceremoniously in an unknown location. Nobody knows if she too, like the other five innocent victims, was dressed like a whore and posed as if ready for her next customer, waiting for the police or an innocent jogger or hiker to find her. Traces of clothing soaked with her blood, torn pages from her note book and other artifacts were found in the woods, scattered by animals and weather, but her body was hidden much too well to ever be found.

From the day Liz vanished I prayed for her return and for hope. The day she was pronounced legally dead I lost all hope and thought I too would die. Only my faith in God and the love Liz and I shared kept me from going off into a black abyss of hopelessness and grief.

Not a day went by when we didn’t say, “I love you”. Not a day when by when we didn’t hold hands. Not a night went by when we didn’t completely celebrate our physical passions as man and wife.

Liz was sunshine, a joy to all who met her. She was my anchor. She was my best friend. No man had every loved a woman as I had and still love Liz. No woman ever loved a man as Liz had loved me.

To me marriage was never something I had to do. In fact, it wasn’t something I’d seriously thought about until I met Liz.

After Liz was pronounced dead I was bombarded by the attentions of women, each wanting to be the next Mrs. Gregory Atkinson. These women proclaimed they wanted to rescue me from my heartbreak. Most of them wanted to take advantage of my situation and cash in on my grief. Most had the false hope that they could comfort me. Each thought she could be a replacement for my lost wife, like a new puppy or a shiny new car.

These women, who lined up to tempt me with home cooking, sex and sympathy, only coveted what Elizabeth had. My disgust in them grew but I also pitied them in their ignorance of real love and the real meaning of marriage. To them I was a possession to be had, the big catch, a great opportunity. I would be the man who would make their lives complete.

I didn’t need a wife. I needed Liz. I needed her laugh, her understanding, her touch and her love.

The misguided woman who pursued me saw Liz as dead. I would never see her as dead, only in another place until one day I would see her again.

Perhaps one day I will marry again. I know Liz wouldn’t want me to be alone, but another wife could never replace Liz. It will be different next time, God willing, if it is God’s will for me to marry again.

My comfort came from my faith and my knowledge that Liz is in a better place.

“Son of a bitch.” I put down my glass of wine and threw the book across the room.

I’m surprised the bastard hasn’t been struck by lightning. What a crock of crap and lies. Any poetic justice of my situation had gone down the drain at that moment. Greg is walking and talking and writing bestselling books about me and about our marriage…and I’m still dead…saved by a serial killer, no less. God save me and have mercy on my soul and on that abusive lying son of a bitch Gregory Atkinson. May he rot in Hell. But he did get his wish. I am in a better place. A much much better place.

Chapter One

All of us Hobbs kids were exceptional liars, well except my brother Jordan who was a liar by default by his refusal to tell either lies or the truth. There were seven of us. Jordan was the youngest and had no discernable personality or identifying character traits except for his unusual refusal to talk, unless it was to speak about his love of the Lord and his belief that our brother Steve, now diseased, would soon come back as an avenging angel.

The rest of us were quite talkative and also could quote scripture as fluently as we could lie.

Once upon a time, the fashionable and pious Belinda George met the successful, and widowed young father Douglas Hobbs. Like Hitler and Mussolini they created their own empire complete with an army of children to worship the ground they walked on and do their bidding unflinching and loyal. Actually my mother always envisioned herself as Maria Von Trapp and us as the singing wunderkind, but more on that later.

The eldest Hobbs child, David was a serious and brilliant boy. His mother was our father’s first wife Barbara Vanderhook, a quiet mouse like woman who hung herself from the upstairs banister when David was five. She left a note saying that she could never love her strange cold son. Part two of the note stated that she loved her husband (my father) too much even knowing that he saw her as a failure.

We didn’t see much of David growing up as his mother’s will left us enough money to be shipped off to an exclusive prep school 2 hours from our home.

In the meantime mother started to pop out her own large brood of children. First came Mark Douglas Hobbs, the favorite and most aggressive. A year later the twins Bradley George and Katherine Belinda arrived. Bradley was almost as aggressive as Mark but had a soft manipulative side including charm, which he used at every opportunity to his advantage. The sensitive, pretty and evil Kathy spent her childhood trying to be our mother’s favorite. Unfortunately for Kathy, Belinda’s only favorite was Belinda.

Eighteen months after the birth of the twins, one cold January morning Stephen Allen Hobbs came into the world singing out songs of justice until the day he died. Elizabeth Ann Hobbs came along ten months later in October. After my arrival the lines were drawn and it was the real twins vs. the almost twins (or as my politically incorrect mother called us the Irish Twins). Brad and Kathy were classic bullies in every sense of the word, worshiping their leader Mark. Where Steve and I lacked in mean brute force we made up in cunning and deception.

Another two years passed in the Hobbs household when Jordan Emmanuel Hobbs arrived. Unlike the rest of us he was quiet and uncharacteristically passive in nature. In contrast to the physical prowess of his elder siblings Jordan was flabby and sedate. He could sit for hours while the rest of us ran, jumped and tumbled like we were training for the Olympic Ultimate Fighting Club.

Jordan and David were both odd in the opinion of the five middle children. They were quiet and passive; behaviors we couldn’t understand. To his credit David had a mean cynical streak that we greatly admired. As for the middle five children, we were sly and aggressive, qualities needed to survive in our good Christian home.

Mother (as Belinda insisted we call her) was delighted in the status that seven children brought her, but what she gained in status she lacked in maternal instinct. The seven Hobbs children were alternately ignored, neglected and both physically and psychologically tortured by our mother.

Our father demanded perfection; perfect behavior, superior grades, perfect musical pitch and a house that would put any military ideals to shame, and a complete devotion to God and the study of the bible. Of course there were consequences if we did not live up to his standards. Like mother, our father also believed in quick, harsh physical punishment to all infractions of his code of conduct. Luckily for us we rarely saw the workaholic bastard. Our dear father was having a long-term affair with his assistant, a lovely passive/aggressive girl named Pam who would do just about anything to please her boss.

Food was always a big thing in the Hobbs house hold. Not that anyone cooked, because they didn’t. It was the lack of food that kept the growing brood of Hobbs children hungry and always on the prowl. Mother didn’t cook, so while we were young she used her charms to get good spirited women from our church to come help her out with the babies. There were so many of us toddlers, five children under the age of 6 plus a baby, that nobody could resist the lovely young mother in need.

But as we grew older and started school things changed dramatically. We were no longer cute and more of a hassle. Nobody cared if you had a lot of older kids. We ceased to be cute or interesting to Belinda. This was not the way she wanted to spend her time.

Not being one to spend money on anyone other than herself, our mother had a schedule of pot luck dinners at our church she’d take us to at least 4 nights a week. We’d bring a couple of loves of French bread and a grocery bag of empty containers. In turn we’d come home with cakes, cookies, pasta, salads, casseroles, fried chicken and whatever other leftovers from the groaning church tables that would feed us the remaining 3 days. The rest of the time we foraged from our almost bare cabinets and from the homes of friends. Our lunches came from the school cafeteria so we always knew we’d be fed at least once a day during the week. Unlike the other kids, we never complained about the quality of school meals.

By the time Mark was 10 we were also cooking for ourselves. Let me take a step back. My parents never ate with us. Once Mark turned 9 they went out almost every night for dinner or brought dinner for two in and ate it in the formal dining room without the distractions of the children.

The kitchen would be stocked with mac-n-cheese mix, cans of soup, eggs, bacon, frozen pizza and other easy to fix and cheap items. That didn’t last long. One morning after Kathy got mad at me for calling her a “stupid butt picking rat” she threw a skillet containing about a half pound of bacon and several cups of flaming hot grease at me. With that little prank all hot meals ended.

I wound up with a stay in the hospital and a skin graph to my left thigh. Kathy, who neglected to use a hot pad on the cast iron skillet, burned off most of her fingerprints. My dear sister claimed I’d threatened her, causing the accident, and of course no adult believed me. Steve and Jordan stayed quite after threats of death from Mark, Brad and Kathy. After that all cooking, including use of the microwave was banned from our home.

While in the hospital recovering from my burns I was told to pray to God for forgiveness for being such a willful and sinful child. A child psychologist was sent in to talk to me. I lay in my bed quietly not daring to tell anyone about my fear of what God, Belinda or my siblings might do to me. No eight year old had ever given a better performance, spinning lies about a happy home and idyllic childhood. Later the minister from our church asked me if I’d ever been abused or mistreated at home. Of course I lied to him too. I’d always liked Reverend Johnson and didn’t want him to think badly of me.

During the stay in the hospital I lost the ability to cry. I don’t know if it was the ability or just the desire. Why cry at all? It never did me any good. Nobody ever comforted me, except Steve and it only scared Jordan. Or it could have been result of being told that I should be feeling both the fear of the fires of Hell and the love of God for saving my skinny little 8-year-old ass from burning to death from a flaming shower of bacon grease. I could feel pain both emotionally and physically – pain that had me wishing I would die on the spot, but I could no longer cry. I’d already learned to hide pain and emotional distress as a means of survival so it wasn’t that big of a deal, at least to me. Over the years it became creepy and disconcerting to others.

On those few occasions I did feel the need for tears or any other show of emotion or distress it manifested itself into violent stomach cramps and vomiting. I never figured it out and like everything else in my short life; I just accepted things as they were.


More to come…

Let me know what you think.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman


No End in Sight (the rest of the story)

A few weeks ago on my regular (or not so regular depending on how you look at it) feature “Short Story Sunday” I featured a story with no end in sight because I’d written myself into a hole. So I added a survey to my readers about the ending. Still no end, until this morning around 5:00 a.m.

Be warned, this isn’t a Vampire story and (spoiler alert) there isn’t any weird ending. Also this story isn’t based on anything or anybody. If you think it is about you or me or your neighbor Fred you’re wrong. It is just fiction. And that is the end of the story.

vm_on the water

No End in Sight

A short story from Juliette Kings


The cold tile under her feet was always preferable to shoes. That was something her mother never understood. Just like nobody understood when Karl passed away she didn’t want to be bothered by anyone for a long time. She went to the beach where she could feel the cool sand in her toes and stood under the gray sky watching the waves for hours. Then she went home and wondered what was next.

He looked across the beach and saw a woman who reminded him of a girl he knew in college. Only this woman was older than the 22-year-old girl he’s last seen. The woman on the beach was around his age. Standing alone she watched the waves. He should have gone up to her, or at least walked by close enough to see if it was the girl who’d haunted his thoughts for the past 30 years.

After she arrived home she sat on her deck listening to the sounds of the woodpeckers. A dog barked or other suburban sounds drifted over the fence. She poured another glass of wine. Now what?

He texted his daughter back. Just a greeting from a college 4 hours away. He thought how she liked the cookies from the recipe his grandmother made up for her grandchildren. As he baked a batch to mail down to Allyson he thought about the woman on the beach. He’d been Allyson’s age when he knew her.  That was an uncomfortable thought.

Life wasn’t a romance novel she thought as she fixed the toilet handle in the downstairs bathroom. The cats came in and out to watch. One started to unroll the toilet paper. She laughed. It was a waste of time to get mad at a cat for being a cat.

The last time he’d spoken to her she’d been looking for work and thinking about graduate school. She’s said something about going to Europe. She wanted to go to a lot of places. Her selection of choices seemed limited and vague. There wasn’t anything clear-cut or normal about her. Other young women he knew had a direction and confidence she didn’t seem to have. He looked up her name on Facebook. She was there. She was sure she was the woman he’d seen on the beach. On her page were posts about her kids, her cats, literary quotes, information about art shows and scientific discoveries. She was obviously successful. There were photos of the beach. Now what? Putting in a friend request wasn’t exactly the way he wanted to reconnect, if he did decide to reconnect.

She knew he was thinking about her. She always knew.

The next morning he went to the beach. She was there, the wind blowing her hair back. They greeted each other with the usual exclamations of people who haven’t seen each other in years. They both looked good. They hugged. They made some immediate small talk. He lived near by. She had business and was visiting an elderly uncle then would drive down the highway to visit her kids in college. Their children all went to the same university. It was a start.

Small talk moved to a small café with coffee, then on to wine. The next morning she was still in his bed. He’d half expected her to have taken off in the early hours of the morning.

He expected her to ask him what he was thinking. Women always asked that. She didn’t. Nor did she ask him about his feelings about last night.

He smiled and handed her a cup. “Good morning Viola.”

She took it and smiled back. “Good morning Greg.”

“Do you want to talk about last night?”

“Last night was exceptionally nice. It was wonderful. Am I going to ask anything of you? I don’t know. Do you want me to?”

“How do you feel?”

“Good. Stop asking me questions and I’ll continue to feel good.” She slipped her arm around his waist and kissed him. “I’m not ready to tell you how I really feel. I wasn’t ready back then and you never seemed to interested. I’m not ready now.”

“Tell me Viola.”

“I enjoy your company. I enjoy your touch. We’re good together. Of course we’re different, you always keep that fact, unspoken as it was, out in the forefront, but our souls are the same. We’ve grown up. We’re the rare few who’ve learned from our mistakes, at least the big mistakes, the ones that matter.”

“How do you know that?”

“I’ve always known. I was just too stupid to realize it. So were you. Alright, I was in love with you. I always was but I was afraid I’d never see you again if I told you. And I didn’t tell you and I never saw you again. But that doesn’t matter now. We’re here and it is now and so let’s just enjoy our time together. I miss you as a friend. We should have kept that friendship. That was stupid of both of us.”

“Can you stay another day?”

She nodded her head. “I have to see my kids. Maybe next weekend. Or you could come to my house. Just let me know.”

After she’d left he called a few old friends to say “you’ll never believe who just spent the night.”

While Greg talked to his friends about how “together” and “amazing” she was, Viola drove down the coastal highway feeling like a fool. She turned up the music and opened the sunroof. No matter what she knew about Greg, she knew who she was, and that was all that mattered.

surf sunset


More Short Stories from Vampire Maman

A good portion of the posts on read like short stories, but the list here is of stand alone stories that don’t always follow the tales of Juliette’s life with her husband, kids and assorted Vampire Mom adventures. Some are from guest authors. A good portion of these tales don’t even have Vampires.

Expect the unexpected … and a lot of fun! Click on the title to go to the story.

You’ll find Gothic romance, horror, humor and a lot of unexpected fun.

Dancing on the Beach
Morning in the Vineyard
When You Grow Old
Heart Shaped Box
A Man Should Have What He Wants
Ode to a Greek God
The Necklace
The Travelers
The Shadow of Fire
Robert and the Key
Dark Politics
Romance of the Needles
The Child
A Night at the Crest
Dawn of the Undead
Sunday School
The Time Travelers
I’ll Return to You
My Vampire Lover
Innocenzio D’Antonio