A Werewolf’s Train To Nowhere

The solar eclipse is on Monday, August 21. I’ll be on a beach in Oregon watching it. At the same time it will be my daughter’s first day of college in California. She’ll see it then race off to her first class. It is a busy time in my world, and it will be even busier when I return.

It will be a full moon on Monday too, which always makes me think of Werewolves. For some reason the following story of my past also reminds me of other things going on in the world right now. Odd how the mind and memories work that way.

Right after I’d graduated from college (the first time) from one of the rare Universities (now a well respected and famous school) that accepted women I took a trip across country on a train to meet my brother Val. He’d gone to New York City without me, leaving me, a young woman, unescorted. I would have done fine on my own but back then, in 1881 young women, even Vampires, didn’t travel alone.

I got on the train on a dark full moon night and made my way to my car. I was to share a car with several other students and some sort of chaperone. What I found was three young men dressed in rather garish suits of the latest fashion (or so they thought) and nobody else. Two had short beards, again, the style of the time. I recognized one from school. The train started to move. There was no getting off. OK I could have jumped, but I was in a long dress with a bustle no less and jumping wasn’t a practical option. Contrary to popular belief I couldn’t turn myself into a bat and fly away. So I stayed. They were horrible the entire time making crude jokes and being as vulgar as they could be. They insulted me for being a Vampire, calling me dead and cold and well, they were vulgar to say the least. I was in Hell and ready to get off of the train.

I sat took claim to a settee with a small table and tried to ignore my garishly dressed companions. A young woman climbed aboard and the three men cheered. She was dressed as garish as they were in the most stylish of gowns but it was a bright orange color with brown beaded trim. Her hair was as orange as the dress and piled high on her head. That included a lot of fake hair to go along with her real hair.

She eyed me up and down. “Who invited the Vampire?”

“I’m Juliette,” I said to the Werewolf girl. Holy crap I’d been stuck for a cross country trip with four Werewolves. Every muscle and bone on my body tightened up. I wanted to scream. Instead I just kept my place in my corner while my companions made as much noise as they could laughing out loud and of course the alcohol and drugs came out. Of course.

Just as the parting whistle blew the door opened again and in stepped my friend Pierce. Finally, another Vampire had arrived, and a strong protective one at that. His father owned the train car and I didn’t even put the two together. Pierce was a friend of my brothers Max and Andy. At age 28 he was the oldest of our group. We made quite a contrast in our highly fashionable yet subdued attire compared to the flamboyant brightly dressed Werewolves. We were also a lot quieter.

The Werewolf girl who was named Phoebe gave Pierce a long hard look then smiled and licked her lips. Pierce is attractive with a narrow face, a sensuous mouth and dark heavily lashed eyes. Of course she noticed him. She’d no doubt try to have his clothes off, have her way with him then tear his throat out. Well, maybe not, but I didn’t want him to get her claws into a friend who was almost like a brother to me.

The males were Luke, Seth and Eldon. I’ll never forget their names. They were rude and loud and young. Had they been Vampires I might have thought they were fun, but since they were Werewolves I thought they were disgusting. Phoebe was just as bad with her crude laugh and dirty jokes.

Pierce and I played cards and stood on the back of the train in the night air. We mostly talked. I asked him about people we knew who’d gone out into the world – the young Vampires we’d grown up with. Pierce was on his way to New York. I was on my way to New York as well to meet my brother Valentine. After that we’d board a ship to London.

Conversations with the Werewolves were in bits and pieces of insults and crude jokes. Pierce’s father did business with their families. To keep the peace and keep favors in check he’d offered to let the young adults of the pack to ride with us. Also, by being with Vampires the Werewolves were more likely to behave themselves. At least that is what everyone thought.

On the second night, after a half of case of Champagne, the young Werewolf men, Luke, Seth and Eldon stripped naked right in front of us and said they were going out for a run. Phoebe decided to stay in. They ran out and I could hear them up on the roof of the train car howling, then down a side ladder and they were gone. Phoebe sat by the window looking at the full moon. She’d taken off her jacket and bodice down to a short-sleeved lace covered blouse. Long dark hair sprouted on her arms and hands. Her fingers grew claw like. Fur grew down the side of her face. She ignored us as a low growl came to the back of her throat as she watched for her pack mates.

Peirce and I watched three huge wolves run along the side of the train. The moonlight reflected off of their silvery gray fur. They were beautiful.

Then we heard horrifically loud shots. Our fellow passengers a few cars down were shooting at the wolves. Pierce ran out of the car. I could hear him shouting for the men with the guns to stop. Phoebe started to scream and scream and scream.

The next day we heard news of three young men found dead by the side of the tracks. The story was they had been drinking and had a fight on the top of the train and fell off after shooting each other.

I will never forget holding Phoebe in my arms and rocking her, trying to tell her that everything would be alright. I knew it would never be alright but I said it anyway.

For the next week as we made our way across the country she’d howl mournfully at night. The passengers said the train was haunted. I knew they’d brought on their own ghosts when they killed the wolves for no reason.

Werewolves and Vampires are predators but even we don’t partake in the senseless of killing animals for no reason other than target practice.

Pierce and I related the story to others but over the years we’ve kept a lot of the details to ourselves. It seems like so long ago. It was a long time ago. A long long time ago.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Mom, can we keep him?

A couple of days ago I was traveling near the border of Utah and Colorado. I saw this cutie standing by the side of the highway begging for treats. Yes, dinosaurs are real.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Traveling with Jerks

Sometimes we have to be with people we don’t want to be with. They’re annoying and offensive. They’re boring. They’re loud. They’re weird.

Unfortunately sometimes you end up traveling with them in the back of a car or in the front, but you end up with them, stuck for miles and miles and hours and hours.

Sometimes that is the time to sleep but then again, you don’t want to close your eyes for a second just in case the car they’re driving turns down a dirt road and the next thing you know you’re three states away from where you’re supposed to be.

Or sometimes you’re going where you should be but they are there, talking to you, looking at you, insulting you or just existing next to you. One has to learn how to deal with these situations with courtesy and grace least something very bad happens.

A lot of my phobia of not being in control is due to the lack of control over transportation and being stuck with people I don’t want to be with. I’m a stinker when it comes to having my own car and having control over where I go and who I go with.  Yeah, right, you wouldn’t think a Vampire would be saying that.

I did the happy mom dance last weekend because 18 year old Garrett had come home from college for a few days. He hitched a ride with some other students and drove back with his cousin Logan who’d come up earlier in the week.

The ride north was one of those 8 hours of Hell events.

In a cramped 1999 Ford Explorer five college students and a dog made the trip from the university on the coast to home. Garrett found his ride through friends of friends in his dorm who just happened to be driving up for the weekend. He offered gas money and to take a turn driving.

The driver was a kid named Ace who seemed alright. He was a little hyperactive and bouncy. His friend Hayden was one of those uber negative types who knows everything. Hayden was wearing a hot pink shirt under a black leather jacket. It seemed odd enough to Garrett for him to mention it to me.

In the back seat with Garrett were two girls named Alexis and Breanna. That is usually a good thing, sitting with girls, but they both started off negative.

Alexis had mousy brown hair that hung in her face and wore and oversized plaid shirt and cargo shorts. Her fingernails were bitten down to nothing and she smelled like ripe bananas. She also had three silver hoops piercing her left eyebrow. Breanna was tall with white blonde hair and blue eyes. She could have been pretty except for the nasty smirk on her face and constantly pursed lips covered in unflattering red lipstick and Cleopatra eyeliner.

At a stop a couple of hours into the trip Garrett stretched his legs and walked around. The only positive thing was the fact that they stopped for a snack and caffeine so Garrett was able to get a big cup of Zen tea.

Alexis came up to him and looked him up and down. “Guys like you never go for girls like me.”

“What do you mean girls like you?”

“I’m not beautiful and perfect.”

Garrett was taken aback. “You haven’t said one positive thing since we left.”

“Why should I?”

“Are you always such a bitch?”

She gave him a smug self-righteous look. “See? Any girl who isn’t perfect is a bitch.”

“Did I make any judgments when I met you? If you’d been nice I could have… just forget it. It wouldn’t make any difference what I say.”

“What? Say it Garrett.”

“No.”

“Say it.”

“You could be beautiful if you wanted to but you like being unattractive.”

He walked off and left her alone.

A few minutes later Breanna stomped over and got in his face. She was almost as tall as he was and almost growled at him then pushed his shoulder.

“You made Alexis cry,” she said.

“That’s on her.” He ignored the push.

“So you think you can do whatever you want because you’re so good looking Vampire boy?”

Garrett started to walk away but she grabbed his arm.

“I’m a Werewolf.”

He should have known. “What about Alexis and the guys?”

“They’re normal.”

“Like we’re not?” Garrett hates an insinuation that he isn’t normal.

“Bite me,” she spat out at him.

“I’ll pass. Do any of them know, you know, about us?” He knew she’d know what he was talking about.

“They have no idea. It would blow their heads off if they knew. They’d hate you more. Everyone hates Vampires.”

“What is it with you and Alexis? Do you hate everyone?”

“No, just stuck-up good looking guys.”

He went back to the car and offered to walk Ace’s dog around the parking lot. The dog was nice. He was a rescue dog, a three-year-old lab mix who was going to a new home with Ace’s aunt.

For the next six hours he was able to sit next to the window with the dog on his lap.

The rest of the group debated and bantered about everything under the sun and moon, all with a pretentious negative twist. The general attitude was that everything was stupid.

They talked about Lord of the Rings in great detail. Garrett wondered if he’d even read the same books or if they’d read the books at all. Someone brought up Narnia and religion but thank God that conversation ended quickly.

They talked about Zombies, then on to other paranormal activity and creatures (like Vampires and Werewolves.) Breanna gave Garrett a poke. It was one time she didn’t say anything to the others. Before that he didn’t think the girl could shut up. She changed the subject to surfing. Garrett was interested until they all started to talk about a group of buffed guys who surfed at night and how stupid they were with all of their posturing and showing off. That would be Garrett and his friends; only his traveling companions didn’t know that.

They talked professors and chicken nuggets and politics and computers and anime and what qualified as a stupid major and what was a worthwhile major. It was if they were trying to impress each other with their trivial knowledge but they never listened to each other or agreed with each other. He wanted to tell them “if you’re as smart as you want everyone to think you don’t need to try so hard to prove it.”

Garrett wondered how any of them got into college and what the Hell they were doing at his college.

Ace was excited about everything and occasionally said something to Garrett to try to bring him into the conversations. Hayden and the women were just negative. Garrett tuned it all out, or at least tried to.

Garrett didn’t think that one day they’d all change and become better people. He just thought they were assholes. When he told us about his ride Clara (his 15 year old sister) agreed and shared stories about her classmates

I didn’t try to put a positive spin on it. Sometimes you’re stuck with jerks and you just have to ride it out and be the better person.

Garrett said he’d seen Ace that week in class. He said Ace was ok, but he didn’t want anything to do with the others. Garrett’s best friend Randy told a friend, who told Clara, who told me, that Alexis had a major crush on Garrett but she also thought Garrett was a turd. I didn’t pass that on to my son.

“Mom I try to be nice to everyone. I’m that sweet guy everyone likes. I hate negative shit heads.”

There again I could have passed on some positive motherly words of wisdom but I have to agree with him. Sometime people are just jerks (and negative shit heads.)

When others are jerks it is best to remember dignity and grace. It is best to take a deep breath and not sink down to their level. Remember that you’ll be the same and hope that they will, well, maybe not be jerks forever (for their own good and for everyone else.)

And remember… hug your kids, listen to them, laugh with them, then hug them again.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

night drive