Short Story Sunday: Motorhome

Motorhome
An Austin and Elizabeth Story

Austin grew up knowing that Grammy didn’t have many filters. She’d say anything she wanted to anyone. Austin’s mother said Grammy had always been rude. Grammy said she was giving out good advice that might make people want to do something about their situations. Everyone was in a situation so everyone was told what they needed to do.

Grammy’s caretaker, a lovely woman named Kayla, had texted Austin the following:

“Just a warning, Grammy is in a mood today. Completely speaking with no filter. We talked to Tom across the street. Grammy asked how they were doing and before he could say anything she said, “well it looks like you and your wife have completely given up on loosing weight.” I nudged her in hopes she would stop but it didn’t work. She then went on to say, “I thought you guys were dieting. Looked like you’ve completely given up on losing weight. Tom was so red embarrassed. I said he is healthy and happy and always smiling, so I told him to have a nice day and closed the door before Grammy could say anything else. I then said “OMG Grammy u can’t ever tell people that they are overweight. Ever. Men or women. It is not to be discussed. Don’t tell women they look pregnant. None of it. She said “Well maybe if I say something that will make them want to lose weight.” I said, “NO. NO. NO. Nothing you say will change them. You’re just being terrible at that point. No more ever.” Grammy’s mind is in it’s own place sometimes. Tomorrow is a new day. I told her she is the cutest sweetest little Grammy in the world. She has to stop thinking and saying such negative things.”

Austin was mortified. Tom had been a good friend for years, and would do anything for Grammy. But sweet little Grammy had a dark suspicious side. She’d grown up in the Deep South where people generally have fewer filters than those from other regions of the country. She’d also grown up in a family of Vampire Hunters. It was in their blood, no pun intended.

When Austin arrived at Grammy’s house he wondered who the old motor home in the driveway belonged to.

Kayla, a rail thin brown haired, blue eyed woman in her forties came out to meet him. She and her college student son Colt live with Grammy and took care of her in her great big family home. At one time Austin had tried to get Grammy to sell her house and move into a smaller house in his neighborhood, just three houses down from him, but she’d have none of it. She’d rather complain about money and upkeep than move out of the house she’d lived in for sixty-two years.

“Is someone visiting?” Austin looked toward the motor home.

“I bought that last week. I’m going to take Grammy on a road trip.”

It was a small 1981 motor home complete with faded orange and red stripes on the outside.

“Wow, look at this thing,” said Austin.

“Come inside. Take a look,” said Kayla inviting him in through the back door.

Grammy was sitting on an orange couch that could fold out into a double bed. There was a table, a small kitchen, four captain’s chairs, and a tiny bathroom complete with a toilet, sink, and a shower.

“Hey, Grammy,” Austin said bending down to kiss her.

Grammy was small, and still quite pretty for an eighty eight year old lady. Her white hair had been done up the day before with pink foam curlers. She wore bright pink lipstick, a pink flowered shirt, and matching pink pants.

Grammy took his hands, “Austin. What do you think of our new castle on wheels?”

“Great,” said Austin. “The orange and red carpet is pretty ugly, but otherwise it’s great.”

“I don’t see any problems with the carpet. It looks almost new to me,” said Grammy. “Now, Austin, are you still seeing that Vampire girl?”

Austin was in love with a woman who just happened to be a Vampire. He knew it wasn’t exactly the right thing to do but…

“But,” he said, “Grammy, Elizabeth isn’t a shadow creeper, or one of those ghoulish undead types. She lives a pretty normal life. You know the kinds of Vampires I help get rid of, and Elizabeth isn’t one of them.”

“You know those Vampires aren’t right. They do nothing but cause problems. Austin you’re an idiot for getting involved with one.”

“Grammy, Elizabeth isn’t that different from us.”

“That’s what you say. But the next thing you know they’ll be coming out of the shadows. I bet you the first thing they’ll do is call the ACLU and get a bunch of lawsuits in place against us normal people asking for rights and then some. Then they call AARP because they’re all older than dirt. You can’t trust them Austin. Listen to me. You are going to have nothing but trouble ahead of you. Nothing but trouble.”

“OK Grammy, I get your point.”

“I hope so. I don’t want you marrying one of those things. You haven’t have sexual intercourse with that Vampire of yours yet have you?”

“Grammy, I’m not going to talk about this anymore.”

“Are you still killing Vampires?”

“Only the ones without souls.”

“Well, how do you know if they have souls? They’re all a bunch of fanged faced liars.”

“Grammy, I know. I’m a Vampire Hunter. I can tell. It’s in my blood.”

“Well, your blood will be their blood if you don’t watch out.”

Kayla, who’d gone inside to make iced tea, came back out with three tall cold glasses full of iced tea with fresh mint. This wasn’t the popular sweet tea, but strong freshly brewed black tea with just a hint of lemon and mint. Grammy wouldn’t allow anyone to ruin her good tea with the addition of sugar.

Grammy took a sip of her tea and said, “I don’t know why your mom and dad had to name you after a city.”

Kayla smiled. “Be nice Grammy. You know Austin was where they fell in love.”

“Well, maybe. But it sounds like a character out of a trashy cheap romance novel,” said Grammy.

And she wasn’t kidding.

Austin had dinner with Kayla, her son Colt, and Grammy. They’d dined on garlic coated shrimp in a pasta, along with mushrooms and more garlic. Grammy always made sure she had garlic in all of her food to keep the Vampires away now that she had retired. Austin knew for a fact that garlic didn’t keep Vampires away.

Conversation became pleasant and without any caustic remarks. Grammy was charming and full of joy. Kayla looked relieved.

As Austin left his Grammy gave him a hug and a kiss. Then she said, “I wish you’d find a normal girl.”

Austin smiled and said, “Normal girl? Grammy, you of all people should know there is no such thing.”

Grammy just said, “pasha,” and closed the door in her grandson’s face.

 

~ End

Read all of the Austin and Elizabeth Stories (The Hunter Series) from the start.  Click here for the full set.

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Musings on a Visit With Ancient Vampires and Longfellow

The night is come, but not too soon;
And sinking silently,
All silently, the little moon
Drops down behind the sky.
There is no light in earth or heaven
But the cold light of stars;
And the first watch of night is given
To the red planet Mars.
Is it the tender star of love?
The star of love and dreams?

~ Longfellow

 

Over the past few weeks I haven’t been visiting the Elders as much as I should. I’m busy. I’m not that busy, but the days get away from me. Everything happens. Nothing happens so I get held up. It is amazing how nothing can fill one’s day.

“Why don’t you ever come to visit anymore?”

“I was there last week.”

“It seems longer. We want to see you.”

I packed a bag with things I thought they might like; novels, odd bits of glass to form into mosaics, sketch pads, pencils, old 78 rpm records, a cute sweater for Eleora.

Eleora tends to wear clothing until it falls apart and makes her look like a lost waif without a home. The sweater is a deep burgundy color, soft and a little over sized, like a tunic. My teenage daughter wears sweaters like that with leggings. Eleora usually just wears dresses. I think legging would be cute on her so I include a pair.

I put everything in my car then I got distracted again. An hour later I finally left.

When I arrived at the Victorian farmhouse Tellias met me at the door. Despite the rain he peered at me with round rose colored glasses to protect his eyes from the sun. He wore black tuxedo pants with black suspenders over a white shirt and topped with a gray zipped up hoodie with the name James embroidered on the front pocket place.  I didn’t ask who James was. He didn’t tell me.

He kissed me and helped me with my bag, then gave me a hug and ushered me into the parlor. The Christmas tree was still up, covered with tiny black bats and silver webs of fancy Victorian embroidery thread. Tiny blown glass Santas with blacked out eyes stared into nowhere.

I looked around for Eleora. She is usually there when I arrive, dancing around me and singing, unless of course, something is wrong.

Tellias knew I noticed and said, “Eleora is asleep right now.”

“She sleeps a lot.”

“It is daytime my dear. You forget too often that we’re Vampires. You also forget that we’re old.”

I kissed his cheek and went upstairs to see Eleora.

She lay on the bed on top of the covers wearing an ugly plaid skirt and a misshaped orange sweater. Despite the horrible clothing she was beautiful, like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White waiting for a kiss. She looked absolutely dead but that was to be expected from a sleeping Vampire. For someone over two thousand years old she looks remarkably young. By that I mean she looks like she is about twenty.

I picked up a volume of poetry on the night stand. It was Longfellow. I thought of Rodney Dangerfield in back to school. You know the line where the girl says her favorite subject is poetry and he says, “Really? Well, maybe you can help me straighten out my Longfellow.” I laughed out loud.

As usual I lost track of time reading poems I’d read a hundred times when I heard running noises from a variety of feet coming up the stairs and into the bedroom. An old black cat jumped on the bed with a yowl mixed with excited purrs. A small girl, aged four, jumped into my arms.

“Juliette,” she yelled wrapping her cold little arms around my neck and giving me a kiss.

“And you brought Michael. Is your daddy downstairs?”

The child grabbed Michael the cat and threw him over her shoulder, then jumped on the bed. “I shall wake the dead,” she yelled.

Eleora opened her eyes wide and smiled, then held out her arms for the child.

I left Eleora and the small child named Miranda and went downstairs. The cat followed at my heels.

I could hear Eleora and Miranda laughing. Then the noise changed to the laughter of men from the large main room of the house.

Miranda’s father Nathaniel Chase was there of course. After two hundred years with his long time love they’d finally decided to settle down and have a family. Of course that wasn’t a good description because to me Nathaniel Chase has always been the most settled being I’ve ever known. He never went anywhere without one of his black cats (always named after archangels.)

And my dear old dad was there. The dear old Vampire himself had shown up. He gave me a big hug and a kiss. I had no idea why they’d shown up. Tellias was also obviously surprised to see his old friends. OK they are old to me, each going into their fifth century, but young to Tellias. Anyway…

We caught up on news. I’d turned someone into a Vampire over the holidays. No, I didn’t tell you about that one. Maybe later. My father and Nathaniel were by just to see how the Ancient Vampires were doing.

I was glad they were there, but part of me was sort of annoyed. I’m always the one who is there for them. I’m the first there is anything happens. Even with my brother Val and my Grandmama Lola there part of the time, if anything hits the fan with Tellias and Eleora I’m the one who is there.

But at the same time I was happy to see everyone, especially tiny, cute and delightful Miranda. A Vampire child, born to Vampire parents, is a rare and wonderful thing.

Miranda and Eleora came down to join us. I finally convinced Eleora to put on the leggings with the new sweater. She looked like a college student, all hip and trendy. It was good to see. One is never too old for style and flair.

On the way home I thought about how things have changed. I thought about how things haven’t changed. I thought about the rain, and what I needed to do when I got home, and the schedules of my busy children and husband.

Sometimes there is too much, but sometimes there isn’t enough. This morning ended up being just right.

That’s it. Just my morning.

Don’t forget that the wonderful horror anthology Creepies 2 is still free for downloading. Click here for information and horror and art from my undead heart. 

And if you have people in your life who are elderly or alone or lost go visit them. Do it today. Don’t feel uncomfortable or put out. Just do it.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is that knock knock knocking upon the door?

At least once a week, if not more, I stop by the home of Tellias and Eleora. They’re two ancient ancient Vampires – over 2,000 years old. Sometime they need help. They forget things. They lose their keys on a regular basis and do all sorts of foolish things (in my opinion.) A few days ago I’d stopped by to drop off a few things I’d picked up for them at Costco. Yes, even Vampires need stuff from Costco from time to time.

They both came out onto the front porch of their Queen Anne style home, on their farm by the river. Tellias wore his white blonde hair around his shoulders. He had on a yellow tee-shirt with the logo of Purrrfect Cat Grooming on the back. He wore green and red plaid pants made from some sort of fiber that didn’t exist in nature and yellow flip flops. Eleora had her long brown curls flowing down her back. She wore an old pink wool sweater with a purple and black Sacramento Kings shirt underneath, all over a flowing pink skirt that came right below her knees and no shoes.

Vampires can see in the dark, but these two still look like they DID get dressed in the dark. I don’t know how they do it. Oh, and for those of you who are new here… they look like they are only about 19 or 20 years old. That really throws people off.

So they greeted me and we had a nice little conversation.

Tellias: Two nice young men on bicycles came by today.

Me: Oh no.

Eleora: They were very nice. On bicycles right out there in the rain.

Tellias: Imagine our surprise.

Eleora: They were so wet.

Tellias: So very very wet.

Eleora: Very wet indeed.

Tellias: We let them put the bicycles out on the back of the veranda.

Eleora: All the way around back. That is why you don’t see those bicycles.

Tellias: Because the bicycles are around back.

Me: Are they still here?

Tellias: Of course.

Eleora: They were so cold.

Tellias: They were tired so we convinced them to stay.

Me: How long have they been here?

Tellias: They came in the morning. We were having coffee. They don’t drink coffee.

Eleora: No they don’t. How odd of them.

Tellias: Yes, odd.

Me (now wanting to scream): Where are they?

Tellias: One is upstairs sleeping. Like I said, they were tired. Oh so tired.

Eleora: The other is in the parlor. He has been telling me bible stories, but you know they have their own version. He said they never left their families and lived in South America and had lost their tribe until an angel gave them directions. Moses could have used better directions, taking all of those poor people through the desert all those years.

Tellias: Most people have their own version but I was there. I was in Rome when it all went down. I was an eyewitness and I guarantee you that everyone has it wrong wrong wrong. I was there Juliette.

I’d heard his story 1,000 times. I went down to the parlor to find a nice young man in a white shirt and black pants sitting by the fire.

Eleora danced behind me trying twirling and humming some sort of weird indistinguishable song.

The young man stood up and smiled. What a nice looking young man to end up in a house full of crazy ass Vampires. He held out his hand. “Hi, I’m Jared. “

Eleora giggled. “He is from St. George, Utah but he assures me there are no dragons there.” Then she flopped in a chair, giggled a bit, then turned serious. “I was telling Jared about when I was a child that there was no Christmas. The people in the next village over were fond of sacrificing people and the odd animal but we didn’t do that. No no no. We were not like that. We didn’t kill our food. No we didn’t. Then bit-by-bit things changed and we started to have Christmas with bright stars and good tidings and all of that. I used to have a blood red dress with a huge bustle. Remember that Juliette? We had a party and burned a bonfire on a boat out in the river. Oh Jared you would have been impressed. It was lovely. Then we all came in and danced until the sun came up.”

I looked at Jared and tried to force a smile without fangs. “St. George. You’re by Zion. It’s beautiful country.”

I chatted a bit with Jared. Tellias and Eleora started to sing Deck the Halls and danced off through the hallway to the back of the house.

I turned back to Jared. “Eleora and Tellias said you’ve been here all day. How weird has it been?”

“They’re different,” said Jared. “They look my age but they seem a lot older.”

“How old are you Jared?” I had to ask.

“Nineteen. I don’t mean to sound rude but are they on LSD or something?”

“No Jared, they aren’t. Do you and your companion need a ride back into town?” It was almost 8:00 and I was sure their handlers would be wondering where they were.

Tellias came back humming. Holy crap. All Around the Watch Tower. “Jared are you familiar with Jimmy Hendrix?”

Jared said no. Tellias started to give him an education and pulled out some records. Yes, vinyl. My dear Tellias has an impressive stereo system and thousands of albums so I knew it would be a long night.

The second young man came down the stairs looking a bit sleepy and rubbing his neck. He had flaming red hair and bright blue eyes. I’m sure there was a nice girl waiting for him back in Idaho. His name was Caleb, a good biblical name.

I gently took Tellias by the hand and led him to the kitchen for a chat. “You can’t keep these boys here.”

“I have the deepest respect for their convictions and their willingness to have doors slammed in their faces for their faith or cause or whatever it is they do.” Tellias all but snapped it out at me.

“You’re leading them on.”

“Juliette, they’re young and away from home.”

“Exactly. And you’re a Vampire.”

“Your point being?” He furrowed his pretty brow.

“I’m giving your bicycle boys a ride home. I have the truck. They can throw their bikes in the back.”

“There is nothing wrong with being a Vampire. I’ve quite enjoyed it.”

“I know that but…”

“You’re a Vampire.”

I snapped. “Don’t. We’re not going to turn them or convert them or bring them into our fold. You are not going to take any more blood from them today than you already have. Do you understand?”

Tellias rolled his eyes to mock me and put his hands on his hips. “You don’t have any problems when we keep the CHP officers overnight.”

“They’re adults. For God’s sake Tellias these boys are on a mission to save your soul or something along those lines.”

“You’re never any fun.”

“I’m leaving now. With the boys.”

“NO FUN AT ALL.”

At that point I was done with him, but I can’t be done with him. I’ll never be done because I’m the one who makes sure everything is always alright. “Tellias, I’ll be by this weekend to help you with your Christmas tree.”

Tellias put his arm around my waist and pulled me close. “I do love you my dear, like my own child.”

“I am fun.”

“More fun than any Vampire I know.”

 

I can only say that I hope he is right, but I know he isn’t. But I try. I really do try.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

VM_ lace window

 

Vintage Halloween (with Wolfhounds and Old Vampires)

Halloween is almost here – celebrate the cool weather and silly joy with friends and family and those who need us the most.

Vampire Maman

halloween cat 1A large wreath on the front door was made of faded and cracked plastic flowers. You know, those plastic flowers that were sold in the Five and Dime stores in the 1960’s. Faded ribbons and bows hung in odd gray pastel tones.

Without even asking I knew Eleora had taken the flowers off of graves that nobody had visited for years. Long forgotten wives and mothers. I knew Eleora had replaced the faded flowers with real ones and taken time to sit and chat with the departed and sing them songs from their times.

Eleora opened the front door and greeted us wearing a bright yellow skirt with a well worn orange sweater with black cat head shaped buttons. Her feet were bare and her toenails painted a glossy red on one foot and black on the other.

“Do you like my Halloween wreath? I made it yesterday.” She took…

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