Desert Winds

On the edge of the Sandia Mountains, My friends Amelia her husband Raul and I drove down the gravel road to the home of Ximena, an ancient woman who mostly lived in solitude with the company of the birds and the wind.

Ximena’s home was a large old adobe structure rimmed with bells and bushes of purple flowers. She greeted us at the door, as always wearing a long colorful skirt. Her black hair flowed down her back almost to her knees. Dark eyes smiled at us in a welcome greeting, as did her fangs. She is almost as ancient as Tellias and Eleora, and like them Ximena looks like a young college girl.

We came into the main room. Walls lined with books and crystals flanked part of the room with windows on the other side looking towards the mountains. We could smell the dried chiles rastas hanging in the kitchen. A red shouldered hawk perched on a wooden chair. It called out when it saw us.

“Maria, you still sing so sweetly,” I said to the bird. She gave me a cold stair then allowed me to pet her feathered head.

Maria the hawk had been around since I was a young woman, more than a hundred years. I wondered at times how she could live so long, then I stopped wondering and chalked it up to magic, love or pure mystery. It is what it is. That is how things work here in the land of magic.

A youngish man with dark hair and eyes like Ximena, but pale skin, came into the room. He was introduced to us as Kyle. But he wasn’t like us. I could feel his warmth as soon as he walked into the room.

Kyle was a man of many talents. He was a photographer, a teacher, a writer, an engineer and apparently a lover. After talking over wine and a light diner we also discovered Ximena’s young friend was also extremely opened minded.

He was also a young widow. One night left him alone with his dreams dead, but he kept going and kept at least a portion of the dreams and spark alive.

While Raul, Amelia and Ximena went to a back room to examine some old maps or something, Kyle and I went out to the porch. Bats flew about as the sounds of the bells filled the air.

Kyle asks me about my husband Teddy. I smiled shyly and told him how we’d met as kids and fallen in love a hundred years later. I think I’d always been in love with my husband on some level.

Then Kyle spoke of his lost love. “After Kayla, my wife, passed away everyone kept asking me if I’d go back. Over and over they’d ask the old what if question. You know, you can’t go back. I can’t bring her back. I will never forget her. She is part of me, but I live in the world of the living.”

“No ghost?” I had to ask (always thinking of obnoxious Nigel)

“Only a Vampire in the Southwest would ask that,” Kyle answered with a knowing smile.

“A Vampire anywhere would ask that. Don’t get me started on the ghosts I see all the time.”

“No ghost. Kayla moved on the night she died. That is a good thing.”

“Yes it is. You’re a wise man with a loving heart. In some circles that is a rare thing.”

He leaned against the rail. “I don’t know you except by reputation but I want to ask you a few thing, or at least see how you feel about a few things.”

“Okay,” I said.

“I’m in love with Ximena. I know what she is. I know how old she is. It doesn’t matter.”

I shrugged and laughed. “My 500 or so year old Grandmama is in love with a 35 year old. What are you, about 38?”

He smiled. I was correct. He was 38 and absolutely a delight – young, yet years ahead of most men his age.

“Dear Kyle, you also want me to tell you if I think it would be wise if you became a Vampire? Right?”

He smiled an uncomfortable hot blooded smile.

I said to him, “Kyle, you are in love with the cold wind under the moon and the sprint of night. She is an amazing being. I’ve always admired her. If you feel you can make a life out here with her then do it. But don’t lose yourself in her. Always be who you are, even after you become a Vampire. That is the only way it will work. If you try to be too much like her she will leave you, because she fell in love with you, not with herself.”

Raul and Ximena came out to join us with wine for Ryan and spiced blood for the rest of us.

Ximena whistled and Maria the red shouldered hawk came and landed on a table next to her hand. Ximena gave the bird a piece of meat she took from a bag in her pocket.

Into the night we talked until the sun came up and created unbelievably beautiful light and shadows on the mountains.

I could hear the wind whispering to the lovers:

The light

in dark eyes

promises kept

forever and

again

in our hearts

we love

we laugh

and we learn

to do it 

all

over 

again.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

bells

 

Short Story Sunday: The Hunt Continues

He’d never forget the first time he saw a Vampire.

It was a Thursday. Crumbling walls in the basement of the old building he was overhauling needed to be rebuilt. With the swing of a hammer into a 150 year old wall he discovered a world he could have never imagined. It changed everything.

Three long boxes sat in the dark corner. Inside he found bodies dressed in musty clothing of a time long gone. They were gaunt and pale. At first he thought they were mummies until they opened their eyes and showed their fangs.

That day his world changed forever. He’d found a clutch of soul-less shadow creeping Vampires.

A few days later he had a visit from an attorney, a dark haired man with hazel eyes so alive they almost glowed. He was Aaron Todd, attorney and Vampire. This man wasn’t anything like the undead creatures he’d found in the basement. He was different. He had a soul of sorts, but he was still a predator. Then again, Austin was a predator right on the top of the food chain.

That was 5 years ago and about 35 Vampires later – 35 Vampires he’d exterminated. He’d met a dozen more, the kind he wouldn’t kill, plus a network of Vampire Hunters (good and bad.)

Sometimes he’d call in Aaron, his reserved source of information. Austin would never say he was friends with Aaron Todd. It was more of an “arrangement.”

Aaron had told him, “You have a gift to see into my world. Use it wisely.” The “or else” was unspoken but loud and clear. Austin learned over the years that the arrogant Vampire bastard was like that was about everything.

Austin never became friends with Vampires, until now. And he really wasn’t ready to call if friendship. More of a hard-core head over heels feeling of lust, love and loathing.

He’d met her at a bar. They’d gone to a house he was doing a restoration on and been haunted by ghosts. She landed in the hospital full of his blood. He wanted to kill her. But he also wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He could go either way – kill her or stay with her forever. He’d know by the end of the night, or maybe not.

Tonight would be their first real, normal date. She met him at her front door, not dressed in Gothic black or blood red, but in a simple elegant dress of olive green silk with freshwater pearls at her neck. Her cheek was cool on his lips as he kissed her hello.

There was no bravado with this lovely shy creature. That would be his job to take the lead. He had no idea where they’d go but he had some ideas.

To be continued…

 

Rose

 

For more on Austin and Elizabeth (not the same Elizabeth who works with Max) click on the links below.

Part 1: The Hunter

Part 2: A Memory of Distant Love

Part 3: Dark Dreams of the Hunted

Part 4: About Those Pesky Undead Folks

About 20 more posts on this and I’ll have a novel.

 

 

 

Dark Dreams of the Hunted

Short Story Sunday: Dark Dreams of the Hunted

Sharp pain then exquisite pleasure unlike anything he’d every imagined. Teeth sinking into his neck, the idea so repulsive, as to make him jerk away, but he welcomed her fangs, her lips her mind on his mind, her heart on his… her cold unbeating heart on his going so fast he thought it would burst out of his chest.

Then he woke in a cold sweat.

“I have a date with a Vampire,” he said aloud as he stared up at the ceiling in his bedroom. The clock said 2:49 am. She’d be wide awake. Their date was for 8:00 pm the next evening, at dusk. Maybe he’d surprise her and show up early.

Then again surprising a vampire wasn’t always a good idea. As a Vampire Hunter Austin had learned how temperamental and jumpy the creatures could get.

With his gun in a holster under his jacket and a knife strapped to his leg he drove to the house of the vampire. She was his vampire. He smiled at the thought.

Elizabeth wasn’t like the musty creepy creatures he found in the basements and attics of the old buildings he restored. She was alive and living in the real world – his world. Smart, stylish and successful is how he’d describe her – almost charming and quaint in her quiet way. Yes, there was still that sense of unease knowing she was a predator and he was the hunter. Either one of them could become prey at any moment but he doubted that would happen. Well, sort of doubted in a wishful thinking sort of way.

It could turn into a love affair, a science experiment or a fight to the death. He was up for any of the three options but as hoping for the first. He’d never been involved with a Vampire in any sort of social situation, much less having one in his bed. What a rush. No matter what happened he’d make sure he was on top of and in full control.

He stood in front of the arts and crafts house knowing she was inside. Her car, an unassuming Ford Fusion was in the driveway. A faint light came through the living room curtains. Sure she could see in the dark but the soft glow of artificial light was always welcome.

 

The front door opened. She stood in shorts and a sweater. An average girl. That is if an average girl was around 180 years old.

“Austin, what are you doing here?” 

“You could smell me couldn’t you.”

“I sensed you were out here. You should be in bed.”

“Yes we should be.”

 

Then he snapped out of his brain fart fantasy and continued to look at her front door wondering what she was doing inside. A light came on in another room. He could see her with another woman and a man. He recognized both as Vampires. No dark shadowy creatures were here. They were the hippest of the hip. Modern Vampires who had no intention of sleeping in basements or lurking around in shadows.

Walking back down the block to his car Austin thought about the weirdness of it all. He was sure they despised the Vampires he exterminated as much as he did.

There was something about Elizabeth that was so human and alive. He remembered her cold hands and lips then thought of how hot she was. He thought about how afraid she was of him, but then again how… no, just don’t even go there tonight. In a few hours the sun would come up, then the dusk would come again and he’d put on a suit and pick her up for their first official date.

It isn’t everyday one dates a Vampire. It isn’t everyday one dates a Vampire Hunter.

 

Vampire Maman

 

For the first part of this story of Austin and Elizabeth click here for The Hunter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tales of Love and Romance (to warm you up on a cold winter night)

A hot book for cold winter nights. The ultimate in romance!

A hot book for cold winter nights. The ultimate in romance!

There are those times when you just want to escape from the day and wrap yourself in romance.

Romance for a Good Cause

Aside from writing this blog I also write short stories for the WPaD group – Writers, Poets and Deviants. This month we’re going to offer my favorite “Passions Prisms” for only $0.99 (electronic download.) The price is cheap but these are anything but cheap romance stories.

A portion of royalties will be donated to Multiple Sclerosis research in support of a fellow writer who lives with MS.

VM_Tellias and Eleora

– A Greek god seeks out a woman he once seduced…
– A tragic letter from 1910 chronicles a young woman’s quest to find her lost love…
– A terminally ill teen finds forbidden love with Native boy.
– A historian travels to the past and finds herself in the arms of Benedict Arnold.

Enjoy these stories and many more in this passion-filled collection of short stories and poetry from the writers of WPaD.

Love can be many things.
For some, it’s sweet and sensual. For others, it’s tragic and painful.
Just as a prism transforms a beam of light into all colors of the rainbow, love blooms to its full potential, taking on a different shade with every heart through which it passes.
The stories and poetry in this book are as diverse as their composers. You will find a bit of everything in here, from tenderness, sensuality and magic to the inevitable darker sides of romance – pain, tragedy and deceit.

Passion’s Prisms is our salute to romance, presented for your enjoyment.

Authors of Passion’s Prisms:
Mandy White, J. Harrison Kemp, David W. Stone, Daniel E. Tanzo, Diana Garcia, Marla Todd, A.K. Wallace, Marie Frankson, David Hunter, Robert Betz, Michael Haberfelner, Suzanne Parlee, Anand Matthew, Juliette Kings.

The stories and poetry in this book are as diverse as their composers. You will find a bit of everything in here, from tenderness, sensuality and magic to the inevitable darker sides of romance – pain, tragedy and deceit.

From historic romance, fantasy and contemporary stories, plus some like you’ve never imagined, there is something for everyone in this classic anthology.

We are WPaD (Writers, Poets and Deviants), a group of writers from all over the world who have come together to collaborate on a series of themed charity anthologies.

Passion’s Prisms is our salute to romance, presented for your enjoyment.

DOWNLOAD FOR ONLY $0.99 during the month of FEBRUARY.

http://www.amazon.com/Passions-Prisms-Tales-Love-Romance/dp/1482504804/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391269883&sr=8-1&keywords=passions+prisms+WPaD

Note: This isn’t just some “girlie romance.” The stories are written by both male and female authors. There is something for everyone (guys like this book too)

Second note: The WPaD group has asked all readers to please leave a nice review with Amazon if you like this book. Thanks. J.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Art, love and the romantic soul

The closest I get to a true religious experience is when I’m in the presence of art.

Recently while at the De Young Museum in San Francisco for the Girl with the Pearl Earring Exhibit my daughter smiled and asked “are you going to have a religious experience today?”

My answer was “yes I am.” And I did.

I can explain the wonder and awe and feeling of being so complete and one with the universe when I’m in the presence of art. It is time travel for the soul. It is the essence of being. It was something that transports.  It is like a high that no drug can match. It is magic.

There is something romantic about most art as well, or at least the art I’m attracted to, be if figural, landscape, modern or ancient.

 

Teresa of Avila (a favorite among my people)

Teresa of Avila (a favorite among my people)

One of my favorite artists is François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard (March 12, 1770 – January 11, 1837)

This isn’t going to be an essay on art history or a biography today because I have little time and an even smaller attention span. I’m just going to chat about imagery, romance and life.

Of course many teenage girls and other romantics know Francois Gerard for his painting of Cupid and Psyche.

Cupid and Psyche

Cupid and Psyche

Cupid fell in love with a girl named Psyche. Miss Psyche never had much luck at love because she as so beautiful that men were intimidated by her. I believe she was just over protected and socially awkward, but whatever the case…She was a beautiful princess (or maybe not but they always have be princesses in stories), almost as pretty as Cupid, and it was love at first sight.

Venus, who was Cupid’s mom was pissed. How dare her son fall in love with someone who was as beautiful as Cupid. What a bitch. I would never get pissed off if my son married someone who was prettier than I am (or not as pretty as I am.) The whole body image thing is nothing new folks – or general cattiness among some members of the female population. Anyway…

Cupid and Psyche have an affair that is even secret to her until she accidentally burns him with candle wax and he gets pissed but then he gets over it (realizing he’d been a jerk). It is always something in relationships. So to make a long and silly story short, helped by Zephyr (the West Wind), Cupid eventually says “screw it” to his parents and marries Psyche. Nobody expected it to last but it did, for several thousand years. And they DID live happily ever after (and still do). The end.

For more on romantic notions with Greek Gods (and better written) read this story (Click here.)

So eventually we got the lovely and sweet painting Cupid and Psyche by Mr. Gerard.

He is famous for his beautiful portraits of women such as Empress Josephine and Madam Recamier.

Madame Recamier

Madame Recamier

My mother, who looks a bit like Madam Recamier, said she’d regretted the fact that  Francois Gerard had not painted her portrait when she had the chance.

GERARD_Francois_Jean_Baptist_Isabey_Miniaturist_With_His_DaughterOf all of his painting, or any paintings by any artist, my favorite is a self-portrait he made with his daughter. I can’t even describe how sweet it is. He is so handsome and the little girl is precious. And one has to wonder, is he so handsome BECAUSE he is with a child with obvious love and care? We all know that men who are good dads are always attractive!

Which brings me to my own husband.

When I pass him he always puts a hand on my waist or back. He takes my hand when we walk or sit anywhere. We don’t even have to talk, but we do talk. We talk a lot – all the time. We never run out of things to talk about. We’ve been together for a long time and have our banter down to an art. It delights most and some find it extremely annoying, but it is what we do. And a lot of that conversation/banter is about art.

 Handsome man

I mean, how cool is it to be married to a man who likes to sit around in the evenings and talk about art? It is very cool.

So aside from Cupid and Psyche I do love the portraits of Mr. Gerard. The subjects seem so relaxed and at ease with themselves. They are beautiful and comfortable.

My brother Val asked my mom about that. Actually, he asked her about the clothing.

“Hey mom, wasn’t it hard to go from wearing hardly anything to jump into the Industrial age with industrial strength corsets and thirty thousand layers of clothing.”

“Not really.” That was her answer. She didn’t feel it necessary to explain as she has always been a fashion leader among Vampires (and regular humans.)

Desiree_ClaryVal has always had his list of women in paintings he’d love to have passionate affairs with. He is truly in love with art and the fantasy of “what if.” In the meantime, he is never seems to judge women by their looks. He sees beauty in all of them, or so he tells me.  And yes, I do believe him.

Val always says “love isn’t a physical thing. It is a meeting of souls. Be it friendship or romantic lovers, it is something we can write about and dream about, but we can never truly explain or define it.”

I believe the same goes for art as well. For like all good Vampires I believe in love and art and the magic of being what you are and who you are – true to your own heart, soul and passions.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Daphnis_and_Chloe

 

A Normal Vampire Teen – Love Poems and Letting Go

She stood by the trees

Green leaves glowing in sunlight

Hope and desire glows

From her perfect skin

Her blonde hair like a halo.

My heart breaks

For my fondest desire

Is to grow old and frail

With my springtime girl

She stood by the trees

And smiled back at me

I waved and smiled

Just friends, not lovers or donors,

Friends for a while

And I wish her well

A long and happy life

As I watch and wonder “what if?”

 

 

I found that free form verse scrawled on a paper in my 16 year old son’s backpack. I wasn’t snooping, he told me he had a paper in there I had to sign.

But it broke my heart, a little, to see him so grown up, but yet still so young.

His father and I have had “the talk” about the different life spans of regular humans and those of us who are vampires.

I know the girl. Her name is Amber. She always kisses our cats when she comes over with the usual pack of teens for swim parties and study groups. She played Olivia to his Orsino in the school production of The Twelfth Night.

He let her go so she could date another boy, a boy who isn’t him, a boy she won’t fall in love with.

I see him through his bedroom, black skinny jeans, hair in his eyes, skyping with friends, laughing. A normal 16 year old by anyone’s standards.

First published July, 2012

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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