Short Story Sunday: A Better Place

The dogs were huge. The male weighed 170 pounds. The female was a mere 120 pounds. They padded silently behind her as she walked home from the bar.

Mehitabel had gone out for a bite to eat with the dogs due to the fact her boyfriend Max had left them with her while he finished up a job. He’d be back in a few hours. It was odd to call him her boyfriend. It was odd to think she was engaged to him. Everything was odd so she thought as she walked along in the cool night air.

At the bar she’d spoken to some nice young men who’d walked down by the beach with her. She put her fangs to their wrists and taken about a half pint of blood. They’d been scuba diving earlier that day. She could always pick up on divers due to their oxygen levels, and the salt on their skin. All they would remember was the pretty young women with the two giant dogs who’d showed them the trail to the beach.

As she got closer to her house she heard loud raspy laughing behind her. She turned around and saw them. Witches.

These were not nice ladies who get energy from crystals, or read tarot cards, make healing lotions, and try to conjure up spirits from the earth. These kind of Witches were the trailer trash of the paranormal world.

Mehitabel knew that six months earlier the one named Blanche had charged ten-thousand dollars to give a woman’s ex-husband’s new wife breast cancer. The other, a Witch who called herself Tourmaline would make love potions that would cause the unwitting recipient to fall in love, but always loathe themselves for falling in love with someone they found repulsive.

Both Witches wore tacky tight dresses with too much cleavage, too much make-up, and too much bleached blonde hair that reminded her of fried onions. They toddled on six-inch heels, while walking along with their back sides sticking out in an unnatural way that made Mehitabel think of stink-beetles.

“Hey, look,” said Blanche in a gravel and honey voice. “It’s the pretty little Vampire. What are you up to tonight?”

“Show us those fangs,” said Tourmaline.

Mehitabel whistled to the dogs, then kept walking. She could hear the click of the Witch’s heels as they followed behind her.

She took a deep breath and stopped her heart beat. Then she slowly turned around. “Ladies, stop following me.” But the Witches were gone. All that was left was the smell of sickly sweet perfume and sulphur.

A half hour later, with her door locked, Mehitabel fed the dogs, then poured herself a glass of wine.

Love potions. She couldn’t even imagine forcing someone to love her. Then there was the revenge spells, meant to do nothing but harm to the innocent. Blanche and Tourmaline had ruined hundreds of lives and caused so much pain over the past thirty years. She should have killed them there on the spot. She could have. The dogs could have.

She woke with the touch of cold lips on hers, and a hand gently lifting the tilted wine glass out of her hand and put it, and the book she was reading, on the table. Max, the man who loved her, without the aid of potions or spells, smiled at her. She glanced over and noticed he’d put his gun on the table.

In the morning there was news of the bodies of two women on the beach. They’d each been shot once in the head. Their bodies were drained of blood and set on fire. The smell of sulphur and roasted flesh filled the air. Toxic fumes sent two detectives to the hospital.

Mehitabel put her arms around Max and pulled him close. A good Vampire was hard to find. She kissed his handsome face, closed her eyes, and smiled to sweet dreams of making the world a better place.

 

~ end

 

Tangled Tales

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: The Time Travelers

Tangled Tales

The Time Travelers

Carefully opening the package, Theo discovered a formerly unknown packet of love letters between Thomas Jefferson and the wife of one of his best friends. Unknown to the modern world. Everyone back then had known, well almost everyone who knew the couple. They were just too polite to say anything.

The paper was still in good condition and the ink strong. “Very good,” he said to himself. Dealing in old documents and antiques could be tricky if you didn’t know what was real and what was not. He always knew what was real.

As he gently lifted the old letters back into the box there was a sudden flash of light and a beautiful woman in jeans and a sweater suddenly appeared before him.

“Theo? Darling, what are you doing here?” The woman seemed surprised to see him. Well damn, he was equally surprised. It was almost 3:00 a.m. and his shop was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday week.

He looked her up and down. Tall, pretty, sort of out of place. No, really out of place. “This is my place of business. Do I know you?”

“You’re… are you a time traveler too? You didn’t tell me? Did you get here on the Tardis?” She gave a little laugh like they were old buddies with an inside joke.

Theo was not amused. “What are you talking about? What is the Tardis?”

She rolled her eyes and smiled. “Dr. Who. His time machine. You know the 250th Anniversary.”

“Oh right. The 50th anniversary or something like that. I don’t watch it. Never did. You need to leave.”

She stepped towards him and smiled that dazzling smile of hers again. “How did you get here?”

Theo was not amused. “I’m sorry, I thought I made it clear that I’m no fan of Dr. Who. You need to go right now. I’ve had enough of your deranged game.”

She took another step forward. “Then how did you go from being in 2318 back to 2018? That’s three hundred years.”

“So I know you in the future?”

“We’re lovers. Don’t you remember?”

He didn’t remember. But it suddenly dawned on him where she had come from and why she was there. “I haven’t been there yet,” he quietly told her.

She wasn’t the first time traveler he’d run across in his 465 years, but this is the first time he’d encountered her.

“What is your name?” He asked her as he stepped closer.

“Laura. How could you not know?”

“This is as far as I’ve come my dear. I can’t travel to the future.”

She looked confused. “You’re in the past Theo.”

“My present. You don’t know do you? In the future we’re still hiding who we really are. Laura are we in a relationship of the heart or is it just a physical thing?”

Her eyes watered up. “Theo, don’t do this.”

“Laura, do you know what I am?”

“You’re the man I’m falling in love with.”

“I’m the man who will take what he needs and either leave you or kill you. My advice would be to change time and let me be.”

A tear rolled down her beautiful face. “No. How did you get here.”

“The question should be how did I get THERE. Laura.” He whispered her name and stepped closer. “I’m sorry it has to be this way.”

He kissed her than moved to her neck. He could taste unknown drugs of the future in her system, no doubt something to help with the effects of time travel or stress. He could read her memories of their affair. It was a strange time. Time Travelers always had memories that were confusing and somewhat ignorant. What they knew of the past was almost always based on fantasy and what they wanted it to be, not what it really had been.

Looking down on the sleeping woman, Theo thought that she must be intelligent to be part of a Time Travel program, but emotionally she was like a teenage girl all full of fluttery ideas and dreams of romance. He’d never fall in love with her.

Yawning, he looked at the clock to realize dawn was almost here. Time to sleep. “I’m the ultimate time traveler. A Vampire dear. I only go forward. Until we meet again.” Then he kissed her gently and left her alone to return to her own time and his future.

 

End

Antique Pocket Watch With A Heart

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Under the Stars

Austin stood outside under the stars, away from the motorhomes, tent trailers, and tents. He’d gone out to pee but remained outside to ponder the beauty of the night, and the weirdness of the campfire talk earlier.

His cousin Dirk almost set off a riot with his questions. “Are you Gay or what?”

That came with a chorus of “if he was would it matter?” from other family members.

Austin was in his late 30’s and not married, cohabitation, or otherwise obviously in a relationship with a woman, or anyone else. It was cause for a lot of discussion among his clan. He called them a clan because they acted like it – one organic mass made up of loud and outspoken individuals who all happened to be related by blood and otherwise.

Half of them were Vampire Hunters as well, a family trait that he couldn’t avoid and didn’t always love.

The other half, including his 89 year old Granny, habitually too massive amounts of garlic tablets which made a chorus of farts and a lot of good nature laughing around the campfire. He was surprised there wasn’t an explosion.

When he was a kid, maybe eight or nine, he’d gone on a camping trip with his Granny and Grandpa. In the middle of the night he woke and saw a dark shape crouched over his Granny. The next thing he knew the creature, who’d had it’s fangs in his grandmother’s arm, was spitting and coughing. It backed up out of the tent and fled into the woods. That was the first time he’d seen a Vampire. Since then he’d seen over a hundred of the things.

Over the years he’d learned there were bad Vampires, and Vampires who were not. He’d learned that he had, not powers, but a built in intuition, or connection with the creatures. He knew how to control them, and scare them, and if necessary, kill them. Austin didn’t like to think about that, but he had to admit it was sort of a rush. A big rush.

His phone vibrated. It was his girlfriend Elizabeth, the girlfriend he didn’t invite. He’d make it up to her later. She understood. After all, she was a Vampire, a fact that only his Granny knew.

He read the message. Love you. Have fun. 

Love you. Miss you, he texted back.

He looked up to the stars and saw a full moon and a whirl of small bats flying across the sky. In the distance he could hear the yip of coyotes, and the voices of owls.

He felt a small hand take his. Granny was standing next to him.

“She’s thinking about you baby, isn’t she?”

He looked at his Granny. She knew everything. “Of course,” said Austin.

“You taking your garlic?”

“No.”

“Why not? You need to take that and put Vaseline in your nose so you won’t get germs in your system. You can’t fend off paranormals with a stuffed up nose. You know that Austin.”

As they stood under the sky they watched the first light of dawn together.

“Time for coffee Granny,” said Austin.

“Good idea,” said Granny. “Then let’s go fishing. I want to catch something without fangs for a change.”

Austin just had to laugh. Life was good.

~ end

Tangled Tales

 

Click here for more about Austin and his girlfriend Elizabeth.

 

 

 

 

Vampire House Warming

Note: My brain is full so I’m re-running this today from 2013. A lot has changed since then – especially with Max and Andy. I’ll catch you up later or you can look for it yourself.  So have fun. I’ll have new thoughts on parenting young adults, Vampires, Ghosts, and all kinds of stuff soon.

Vampire House Warming

We all have those turning points in our life. Some we choose and some we don’t. Some we’re nudged in the right or more often wrong direction.

And there are those times when we try to read between the lines too much about the lives of others. It is usually far more complicated or else far less complicated than we think it is.

My brother Andrew (second of 5 siblings) recently moved back to California after several years in London and other parts of the globe and purchased a home in San Francisco. I hear he paid a million and a half for the place in St. Francis Woods, but he could afford it. I hold my breath to think what my brother Max’s home or my parent’s homes with views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge would go for. Anyway…this isn’t about real estate.

It is about a lovely housewarming party my brother Andrew hosted. The place was packed with both Vampires and Regular Humans. There were of course musicians (Andy is a singer) and dancers. There were artists and college professors and writers and high tech geeks and all sorts of interesting people with every profession and opinion imaginable. What made this remarkable, as parties and gatherings go, was that Andy’s Regular Human friends know about Vampire. They’re friends with us and don’t have a problem with it.

OK there was one exception. Andy invited his “girlfriend.” Shawna had come up from Southern California where she is a university professor. She is not a Vampire. She is still in that state of wonder and a little bit of disbelief about Vampires and our world (which isn’t all that different than hers, usually.)

Andy is head over heels in love with this divorced mother of two college kids. The story is that she came home from a research trip to find her husband had put her things in storage and moved a new trophy wife into their home. Their youngest child had just gone off to college so it was his opportunity to also make a change. Shocked, she found a small house on a quiet tree lined street and made a new life with her cats and dogs (she wouldn’t leave them behind.)

Shawna was strong and smart and I had no idea what she was doing with my scatter-brained brother. But it was ok. They were cute together and, well, you know all that sort of early romance cute stuff.

I looked out the window to the backyard to see my brother Max kissing his “friend.” This was more than just a friend. I’d heard rumors but this was proof that there was something more than he’d admit to. Funny that she backed out of his arms and went inside alone leaving him to pace a bit then follow her back inside.

In the kitchen I found Shawna. She was cutting up limes.

“I told Andy to have this catered.” I said this trying to be friendly. I could sense a tiny bit of discomfort behind her warm friendly fang-less smile.

“It’s ok, this will just take a second.” She cut into a lime then her hand slipped, of course, in a house full of Vampires, and cut a deep gash in her thumb.

I grabbed her hand and put it in my mouth to stop the bleeding and sealed the wound. I could have left it but it would have required stitches, not to mention drawn a lot of unwanted attention.

I let go and she pulled away with a little bit of horror and disbelief.

“It’s OK Shawna. I sealed the cut. It will heal now without stitches. You’re A positive.” I smiled. “Don’t worry.  I’m not going to drink your blood or bite you or anything. Just basic first aid. We don’t want anyone else smelling blood.”

I suddenly realized that Andy had never bitten her or exposed her to his natural Vampire ways. He was such a gentleman.  He was also a dick when it came to women. He was always falling for anything that wasn’t a Vampire and when it was a Vampire it was usually always someone who was totally wrong for him. He always had to have everything in life more complicated than it had to be.

“Isn’t this sweet,” I heard a smooth male voice say behind me. I turned to see James, one of Andy’s best friends. James who had always watched out for Andrew but who was also one of the most absolutely annoying Vampires in the known universe.

“You know, Juliette and her brother Valentine are two of the best when it comes to Human to Vampire conversions. Almost a 100% success rate, mot to mention a great follow up and support system.”

“Shut up James,” I snapped. Poor Shawna looked horrified. Why was it that everything James said sounded vulgar? Oh right, I know, because he is a flipping pig.

Shawna looked horrified. I was about say something else nasty to James when a very angry Vampire (showing her fangs no less) suddenly slammed him into the wall. “You’re making me sick James. Get out of here before I rip your throat out.”

He held up his hands and backed off. With a smile he said, “Later ladies, I’ll leave you to your tea party.”

Max’s friend Mehitabel  (the one he kissed in the backyard) stood there in a sleek black dress and some great sky high patent leather Mary Janes. She washed her hands saying something under her breath about getting the stink left by James off of them.

Mehitabel was the pretty woman who could either stand out in a crowd, or more likely not be noticed by anyone. That worked well in her professional life. She could stand unnoticed and watch and wait. As for her personal life, I have no idea. I don’t know her that well. I really don’t

I found her entertaining and funny. Sure she was a little distant as well, an odd combination.

Earlier I’d asked her what she was doing for Memorial Day. She was going to spend it with close friends. They always spent holidays together.  Why did I assume she wouldn’t have anyplace to go? Gossip and rumors can build into false biographies that paint a harsh sad picture of someone who is anything but harsh or sad.

She didn’t ask questions about my brother Max, the object of her affections – not like most women do.  She wasn’t talking to anyone about Max. She’d come to the party because they had mutual friends – nothing more. She was staying at Max’s house but no details of fluttery “wink wink” was forthcoming.

She had known Max for a long long time.  Over the years they’d been in and out of dangerous situations together, even saved each other’s lives. They were considered Vampire elite, thought she didn’t act like it.

So, anyway, I’m standing in the kitchen with two women who for better or worse were involved with two of my brothers. At this point I doubted if anyone was going to come in and rescue me.

“Don’t bother with James,” I said to Shawna.  “I think he was snorting too much dragon dust or something.”

“More likely out feeding on meth heads and heroine junkies,” said Mehitabel in disgust. The she softened her look and approached Shawna.

“I’m sorry you had to see that.  We’re not like that. Andy isn’t like that. He is one of the most gentle souls I’ve ever met, Regular Human or Vampire, and he adores you. He’d never ever let anyone harm you. The same goes for Juliette and me, and everyone here. Even James, even thought he is an asshole.”

I knew there were those would harm Shawna, but then again, I suppose nobody could have hurt her more than her ex-husband, the one who traded her in for a younger model.

After a few minutes and a few cocktails, we forgot about the party and my brothers. We talked of other things, things we all could relate to. We talked about movies and books and shoes and our work.

I suppose there is no point or moral to this story. No usual twist. It is always just odd and I’m glad my kids were in another part of the house, I’m sure being exposed to all sorts of other weirdness.

Just random thoughts about last weekend…

But all in all, I like both of these women my brothers have brought around. Now if my brothers could just behave… And if they don’t behave, I might still just keep these two around.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

(this post first published here 11/13)

_____________________________

and before i could argue him

out of his philosophy

he went and immolated himself

on a patent cigar lighter

i do not agree with him

myself i would rather have

half the happiness and twice

the longevity

 

but at the same time i wish

there was something i wanted

as badly as he wanted to fry himself”

Don Marquis, archy and mehitabel

____________________________________

More on Shawna and Andy (click here.)

More on Max and Mehitabel (click here.)

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Diary: Modern Knowledge

Dear Diary,

I was out looking for blood.

Just as I was about to go in for the seduction and take my dinner to a quiet spot she asked me, “Who did you vote for?”

“What?” I asked not understanding her question.

“You’re fucking gorgeous and so cute I can hardly believe it, but I can’t take you home if you voted for Trump,” she said.

“Where I come from there is no vote,” I said. I did not tell her that I was king and in charge of the life and death of every single citizen in my kingdom. It did not seem to be, what do they say, neither here nor there. I looked into her lovely brown eyes. “I am not yet a citizen here. Tonight, let us forget the overload of news that gives us all headaches and heart aches, and makes our blood go cold, and concentrate on just you…” I paused and brushed her cheek with my lips. “And me.”

After I drained her of about a half pint of blood I made her forget she ever met me. If I see her again we can do the dance all over again.

Upon arriving home I found my love Gillian and my friend Randolpho sipping wine and playing cards.

I asked them a question. “Do you vote?”

“Of course we do,” said Randolpho. “We might be Vampires but we pay taxes like everyone else.”

I considered what he said. Since I was the King of Vampires I did not pay taxes. Now I do. How different my existence is now.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

After being locked in a crypt for three hundred years I am still marveling at the modern world.

Vampires of my class have always kept clean to keep the smell of death off of us. However it was not the standard of clean that is today. I like this new clean. They call it personal hygiene.

When I was Vampire King dozens of women would wash the linens of my castle in large boiling pots. My own clothing was washed by a select staff of women with a light touch for my fine fabrics. Now I do it all myself with my machines at home. Gillian and I do what is called binge-watching-Netflix while we fold our clothing. I open a bottle of wine. It is relaxing. My clothing is not as complicated as it used to be.

I remember one time when I traveled to the castle of Michael Dark Lord of the Southern Vampires. His home was filthy. It smelled of death and decay.

I said, “Michael, why are you so filthy?”

He said, “To remember that we are not alive or dead.”

I said, “That is a stupid answer. You will get maggots growing under your arms.” I scanned the room full of his gaunt and dirty followers. “No wonder your Vampires are starving. They smell so horrible that people can smell they before they see them. It is pathetic that your meals run from you in advance. Your Vampire’s stench is even making me sick. No self-respecting Vampire should smell like a rotting corpse.”

Michael looked confused and angry. “So my Vampire army should smell like a botanical garden?”

“It wouldn’t hurt,” I told him. “You would attract more willing food sources.”

When I left Michael Dark Lord of the Southern Vampires I stopped in an inn and asked for a bath to be drawn. My golden blonde hair had turned a greasy ashen gray after spending time in the putrid atmosphere of Michael’s castle.

A week later Vampire Hunters had wiped out the entire lot of Michael Dark Lord of the Southern Vampires. Their Vampire heads were put on poles and their hearts cut out and sold to oddity seekers. The castle was covered in vomit from the Vampire Hunters who had become ill at the vile smell. How embarrassing and unfortunate to be remembered to be the Dark Lord of Vomit.

This is a cautionary tale for any Vampire. If you smell like death you will be death.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I have been thinking of those three hundred years in which I was locked in a crypt. I missed the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries. I missed the birth of this strange and confusing modern world.

To catch up I read a great deal. My friend Randolpho told me of a man named John Waters. It was John Waters who said, “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!”

As I sat reading into the morning, the blinds drawn against the raising sun, my cats settled in my lap. The coyote Jane curled her skinny gray coyote body at my feet. Gillian, my love, was asleep upstairs in my bed. I was tempted to join my love, but I had to finish the last chapters of the book.

The book was about a man who studied the sea. He walked among the tide pools. He was educated but the men and woman who loved him were among the lowest of the people of his world. They had no common sense or learning, or money, yet their hearts were large. The last pages were about music and love and animals and science, and of the human heart.

Even now
I know that I have savoured the hot taste of life
Lifting green cups and gold at the great feast.
Just for a small and a forgotten time
I have had full in my eyes from off my girl
The whitest pouring of eternal light.

He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. And the white rats scampered and scrambled in their cages. And behind the glass the rattlesnakes lay still and stared into space with their dusty, frowning eyes. 

I was born the same year as Geoffrey Chaucer. Over the centuries I have appreciated his legacy, and that of the ancient masters and classics of previous centuries. Yet, it is the modern words that speak to me and touch the very shadow of my soul. These words that are written now speak not just to the scholars, or the kings, but to all. They speak to the quite times when one has cats in his lap, and a canine creature curled at his feet, and the woman he loves upstairs in his bed. They are stories that touch even the coldest Vampire heart.

I must now sleep. There is wedding planning to start tomorrow night. So I’ve been told from the woman in my bed.

~ Vlad

Kissed by a Vampire

This has been the 37th installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To start from the beginning CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Prisoner of Love

Tangled Tales

Prisoner of Love

It wasn’t as if Andy had planned on being locked in a basement. No windows. It wasn’t like he’d turn into a bat because he couldn’t do that, but he could make them think he wasn’t there. Or at least he hoped that was true, considering he had no idea who had locked him away.

He thought about the Count of Monte Cristo.

How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure.

But unlike Edmond Dantes, Andy didn’t have a mad priest to show him the way to treasure so that he could get revenge on his captor and win back the woman he loved.

Andy thought about the woman he loved for a bit. Did she love him? Or was she rejecting him simply because he was a Vampire and she was not? Or was he just thinking about it way too much.

It would have been nice to be back in his own comfortable home, playing the piano, entertaining friends or curled up in a chair with a good book and a nice goblet of wine or blood or…

A sudden noise brought him out of he reverie. A brick popped out of the wall and a pale hand came through. What could this sudden event of fate mean? Was he to be rescued?

He reached for the hand. It pulled back at his touch.

“You’re like ice,” hissed a quiet voice.

“I run a little cold. Who are you?”

“I am but a prisoner of love.”

Andy took a deep breath, at least a deep one for a Vampire. Why did he always find himself in situations like this with someone who was bat shit crazy?

“Where are we and why? No stupid answers.”

He was answered with silence. That wouldn’t do. Andy went to the hole in the wall and looked through. It was dark but he could see a slight shadow. “Answer me. Where are we? Do you know?”

Something jumped on his lap and shook him awake. Andy let his book (The Count of Monte Cristo) drop and nearly tipped over the goblet on the table next to his favorite reading chair. A small black kitten curled up and started to purr. What a crazy dream. What a strange and bizarre dream he’d had. But he didn’t have a black kitten.

Sitting still and quiet Andy listened for noise of a visitor. He’d hear the slightest breath or an excited heart beat. If they were close enough he’d smell blood.

There was no other living thing in the room except Andy and the kitten.

“Where did you come from dear kitty?”

The kitten only purred. She was tiny, maybe 8 weeks old at the most. A sense of unease overcame him. Someone was in the house. Making his fangs ready he stood and turned around. Standing behind him was a pale form – a woman in a long silken dress and platinum blonde hair. She held out her hand.

“I am but a prisoner of love,” she whispered.

“Is this your cat?”

But Andy never got his answer. She vanished in a wisp of smoke with the smell of sulphur.

The next morning he walked the exclusive old neighborhood and asked if anyone knew who the kitten belonged to. He even put up posters. Nobody had lost a kitten. Nobody had an answer for him.

What is it with Vampires and cats and love? He laughed then said aloud, “If you’re going to haunt my dreams and my house you might as well tell me who you are.”

He felt a cold blast of air then heard a soft laugh then the soft sound of a woman’s voice “When you compare the sorrows of real life to the pleasures of the imaginary one, you will never want to live again, only to dream forever.”

It was a quote from The Count of Monte Cristo.

A prisoner of love. “Not me,” thought Andy, “not me.”

 

~ End