Short Story Sunday: Green Man

As Chloe walked her dog on the cold November morning, her mind turned to the holidays.

Why was there yet ANOTHER remake of the Grinch? Why couldn’t they just leave it alone. No. Somebody just had to make another piss poor remake with another famous voice. She thought of how wonderful Boris Karloff had voiced the original story – from the original book. Boris Karloff. The Body Snatchers was such a wonderful movie. Not exactly a holiday movie but she loved it. It was one of those comfort things like so many old black and white movies.

The dog Piper, a medium Lab mix, sniffed around at some bushes. Buck the large German Shepard growled under his breath. Piper raised up her head and leaned in against Chloe.

A man in a green jumpsuit stood at the end of the road by the edge of the woods. He had a small dog with him.

Chloe took off her sunglasses. The man had a green face. What in the world? 

By now both of her dogs were going nuts. The man just stood and stared at her. His dog wagged it’s tail.

She turned and pulled her dogs down the street away from the woods towards the neighborhood houses.

“Come on babies,” she said to her dogs. She then texted her husband. I saw a man who was dressed like the Grinch. It creeped me out. The dogs went nuts. 

At home Chloe put on the kettle to boil, and took out a cup for tea. She opened the pantry to find it bare. WTF?

She heard a noise coming from the backyard and looked out the window. WTF?

Climbing over her fence was the green man and his dog. He had a large black garbage bad over his shoulder. A string of Christmas lights hung around his neck. Her favorite pair of tights was tied around his waist. WTF?

Her dogs went crazy barking. She let them outside, but by then the man was gone.

As she called 911 she wondered if they’d even believe her. She took out her phone and took photos of the odd footprints coming from the fire place, the kitchen floor trailed with spilled pasta, and the empty pantry.

Oh Boris, what have they done she whispered under her breath and waited for the Sheriff Officers to arrive.

 

~ end

Short Story Sunday: Morning at the Vineyard

Morning at the Vineyard

A story from Juliette Kings

Andrew didn’t remember much when the door opened with blinding light waking him from his sleep, much less the voice that said “You aren’t dead.”

“Of course I’m not dead.” Andrew lifted himself up on his elbow and looked around at the bedroom.

“You were so cold. We couldn’t hear your heart.” A slim woman with long slightly graying hair stood near the bed.

“That’s what all the girls say.” No response. “That was a joke.”

“Oh. Ha ha ha. Good one.” Uncomfortable laughing.

There was the taste of blood in his mouth, but not his own. It must have been a Hell of a night. He looked at the woman again. She was pretty but not young, standing there in a flowing sundress and pretty light summer sweater. Nice. This would be fairly easy staying here for a few days, but he would still be cautious. Sometimes the most easy ones turned out to be the most dangerous.

Andrew started to get up and realized he was naked under the sheets.

“Your clothes were soaked and also covered with blood. We thought about calling the police but my husband Ian said to wait until morning. My husband Dennis said the same. I don’t agree with them. We should have called the police as soon as we found you.”

“Where was I?”

“In the vineyard, face down in the dirt. Your car was in a ditch with four flats and the front end smashed in. We pulled it out.”

The Tesla. Quiet and fast and expensive. Then he thought about what she said. “Husbands? You mentioned two husbands.”

“We practice polyandry. Two husbands, one wife, one family. It isn’t legal or common or accepted by most people but…”

“I don’t have a problem with it. As long as it works for you.”

“It does.”

She took a stack of clothing, jeans, a shirt, etc, from the top of the dresser and gave it to Andrew. “Clean clothing. Breakfast will be ready in about a half hour. And we’ll discuss who you are and why you’re here and where all the blood came from.” Then she turned and left the room.

What a night. The fog started to clear from Andrew’s brain. He staggered up out of the bed and closed the window shades. Damn sunlight. Looking in the mirror the reflection looked back showing a well built man with alabaster skin, long chestnut curls flowing down his back, a classically handsome face and hazel eyes the color of the blue green southern seas. His mouth twitched showing fangs. He quickly gained his composure and hid the teeth and rubbed his tired eyes.

“Shit. What the crap happened to you Andrew,” he said to himself. There was wine, a lot of wine. There were women. There was a guy named Brant and his friend Chet. There was the girl Ginger…she had AB + blood, Chet had O. Oh no. Why didn’t he remember? And how’d he end up face down in the middle of a vineyard? Zinfandel. He knew what kind of grapes they were.

Taking a 3 minute shower, he towel dried his long locks, pulled on the clothes the woman had left him and went down the stairs. He could smell food cooking and coffee. He gripped the banister to prevent himself from throwing up everything inside of his stomach. He’d over done it for sure, blood and wine. Wine and blood. Sex too but that was  a blur. Food might do him some good.

In the kitchen were two men and the woman, along with half a dozen kids in who ranged from about 8 to 17.

He looked at the men. A large blonde man who looked like a former football player introduced himself as Ian. Dennis was shorter with the look of a History Professor or some sort of thing like that. They called the woman Carrie. One big happy family.

Ian poured Andrew coffee and welcomed him. They all welcomed him. This was getting creepy. Then again, Andrew was the Vampire, but he was sitting in the home of a farmer and wine maker and her two husbands and six kids. It was weird. But hey, he decided to make the best of it.

They made small talk. He thanked them for taking him in. Carrie put plates of eggs and fried tofu and toast and fruit and bacon and mushrooms on the table.

The teenage girls thought Andrew’s hair was great and asked him if he was in a band. He smiled minus fangs. He must have had at least five cups of coffee.

“Last night I thought you had some nasty scratches on your face,” mentioned Ian.

“I, uh, heal fast.” Andrew said that then wished he’d kept his mouth shut. He healed fast because he wasn’t like them. He took the blood and energy of regular normal people and in return, he made them feel good – like a rush that would last at least a week. Well, if he liked them and made a connection.

“Where’d all the blood come from? Except for the scratch on your face you didn’t have a mark on you.” As Carrie said that she gave him a long cold look.

“Blood? On me? I guess I drank too much. Too much of everything and threw up. I don’t know. My friends drank a lot and someone was doing some sort of recreational drugs or maybe prescription pain killers, I’m not sure, but I over did it. Listen, I’m so sorry about this and I really appreciate your hospitality. I’ve imposed on you. I wish there was something I could do to pay you back. Let me know.”

Ian gave him a pat on the arm. “We know what it is like to be different.”

“You’re a Vampire aren’t you?” Dennis asked as the kids all looked on.

Andrew brushed a damp lock of hair out of his face and suddenly felt a little warm. “Yes, but…”

“How long have you been a Vampire?” Carrie was asking now.

“I’ve always been one. My parents were Vampires. Um, I was born just down the road from here. October 22, 1851.”

The children were transfixed.

“We don’t have a problem with Vampires. Some food might settle your stomach Andrew,” said Carrie. “And you’re welcome to stay as long as you like. We found your phone and called your sister. She’ll be here in a couple of hours.”

This was all too strange for Andrew. He’d spent the past 100 years or thereabouts avoiding families and any kind of normal human lives. Years had passed traveling, and performing and enjoying wine and women and wild nights. But now he sat with a nice family with no pretenses. And rarely had he ever met humans who knew or even knew about real Vampires. It was so unusually weird.

I sing opera,” he said to the kids. “Mainly opera but I can sing just about anything. Just got back from Patagonia and learned a bunch of folk songs. I can do metal too. That comes naturally.”

“I can imagine you do a great power ballad,” Carrie said with a smile, then she told the children to leave the room.

Andrew had to smile. This as so weird but he could get used to this. He looked at Carrie’s golden brown eyes. A positive blood, just like his. She’d make a good Vampire, or even just a snack.

He thought about his sister. It had been forever since he’d seen her or her children. It would be nice. More than nice. Maybe she’d get another husband too. He might suggest it. He smiled. That would be funny.

“What happened to my friends? Did you see any of them?” Andrew looked from Dennis to Ian then to Carrie. “Did they say where they went?”

Carrie looked him in the eye as Dennis and Ian flanked her side. “We buried them in the garden behind the carriage house.”

“Don’t worry,” said Dennis “Nobody ever found the other bodies we’ve buried, so they won’t find your friends.”

Andrew took another gulp of coffee and hoped his sister would arrive soon.

 

And that was the entire truth just as my brother Andrew told it to me

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Conversion

Conversion
(An Austin and Elizabeth Story)

“Durant, we found something.”

“What do you mean you found something?”

“Live dead bodies.”

“Vampires?”

“Yes, vampires. Happy fucking Halloween.”

“I’ll be right there.”

Austin Durant had planned on spending the morning grading papers. When he wasn’t teaching history at the local state college he was a contractor specializing in restoring historic buildings. When he wasn’t doing that he was a vampire hunter. The vampire hunter part wasn’t planned. It just happened.

Now a call from his construction site foreman Matt changed his Sunday morning plans. Damn. He made a call and headed out.

His attorney and friend (the term friend was sometimes questionable) Aaron Todd stood on the front porch. How could anyone always look so elegant, even in jeans and a fleece jacket?

“Why don’t you people take care of your own?”

“You people? Really Austin. You sound almost racist.”

“You’re a vampire.”

“The ones in the walls are not my people.”

Aaron had a point. He was an attorney and lived in a beautiful modern house, with a beautiful wife who looked like she was right out of a Botticelli painting.  Aaron had nothing in common with the dried up husks with long yellow teeth and claw like fingers who were hibernating in the old walls.

Aaron was holding a pink box. “I brought donuts and coffee for your guys. It was the least I could do.”

“Thank you. The good kind,” said Austin, looking at the beautiful assortment of donuts, sweet rolls and bear claws. “Do you ever eat these things?”

“No. They make me sick.”

They waked back to the small bricked in room where the vampires had been found. The 8 x 8 foot space had been bricked in from the inside.

Aaron looked down at the still dead looking forms. “I know those two. I’d wondered what had happened to them. Not that I cared. I was glad to see them gone. The last time I saw them was this time of year. My wife Verity and I were downtown late at night and spotted these two on the steps of the new Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.”

“New?”

“It was 1890.” Aaron smiled and sipped his coffee. “They watched us with empty eyes coveting our existence. These two in the walls are creatures with no souls. They exist with nothing but longing for blood. They have no idea what the empty void is that fills them. That is why they wall themselves up to sleep for years. They know no torment. They feel no longing. They exist and that is all.

These two had come out to California to seek their fortunes right after the Civil war, like so many uneducated dullards. They were both pretty enough and young enough that they made a living selling their bodies. They were stupid enough to be seduced by evil. They forfeited their souls for eternal life. Either that or the idiots who converted them botched the job and only brought them back after their bodies were empty of any life at all. It doesnt matter. They might not even have had souls to begin with. They were the kind of people who just survive and nothing else. Their lives have no meaning.”

“You’re harsh.”

“I am realistic.”

“You saw them on the cathedral steps. You were going to tell me something about them.”

“It two days before Christmas, they sat on the steps huddled together. I was going to approach them and tell them to leave town, when a priest came out into the dark and sat with them. We could hear what he said. I’ll never forget.”

Aaron took a deep breath as if he was almost human. “It was obvious they had been there before. The priest made a sign of the cross then put his hands on their shoulders and said, those who are loved will earn their souls. It is not in the scripture but I believe it. I know it. You are loved. Believe me. Believe my brother and sister.

Austin was amazed at what the vampire told him. “Do you believe that Aaron?”

“I want to, but no, I do not believe it.”

Austin knew vampires were cold hearted but he assumed that maybe… then again, when it came to the heart of a vampire assumptions were dangerous.

“By the way,” said Aaron, “the good priest was found dead a week later. His body had been drained of all blood. Funny how things work out that way.”

They looked down at the corpse-like vampires who lay on an ancient cot, huddled together in a cold embrace. Their old fashioned clothes still showed some color through the dusty and faded threads.

Austin raised the chain saw and was about to start it up when the male opened his eyes. It sounded like paper shredding. The woman did the same.

“Do it now,” hissed Aaron.

Austin started the chainsaw and cut off their heads.

He looked up and saw writing on the wall scrawled in what could have been blood above the cot.

We no not wat we do

“We know not what we do,” Austin read out loud.

In the curled up clawed hand of the woman Austin found a small carved figure of a baby in a manger. The paint looked almost new.

In the hand of the man was a holly branch.

“Those were gifts from the priest,” said Aaron.

The bodies turned to dust before their eyes.

“Aaron, what do you want to do with the ashes?”

“You have a shop vac don’t you?”

“Man, you’re cold. No pun intended.”

Aaron shrugged. Austin put the baby in his pocket and gave the dried holly branch to Aaron.

“Maybe I should believe,” said Aaron.

Austin put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Maybe you should.”

 

~ end

Tangled Tales

For more Austin and Elizabeth adventures CLICK here.

What happens when a History Professor/Restoration Expert/Player followed the footsteps of his Granny and becomes a Vampire Hunter? He discovers basements full of undead creatures, a thriving community of hip and trendy Modern Vampires, and the maybe love of his life (who just happens to be a Vampire.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Friends Forever

“My son is living a nightmare no child, nobody should ever have to deal with.”

Dr. Michael Trent spoke with the police for God knows how many times in the past three months. This time it had been about Christopher’s death. He ran his hand through his hair and sent the detectives out the front door of his home. Upstairs Hunter lay in bed in a state between life and death, sanity and insanity, between the real work and a nightmare.

It had been just another camping trip. The five boys had been camping in the woods on the edge of town for years – since they were in 6th grade. They were good kids. The parents never had to worry about them getting into trouble.

On a warm summer night, when they were all sixteen and seventeen, they camped together for the last time.

After they’d all climbed into their sleeping bags, after a night of hotdogs, smores, a few swiped beers, and a lot of talk about school, girls, and their plans after graduation, it happened.

Hunter, Christopher, Dylan, Kyle and Sam. Best friends forever. They’d always be with each other. Always.

While asleep under the stars something grabbed Hunter’s sleeping bag and dragged him into the woods. The other boys could hear the trashing, the crunching, the tearing, and the screams.

Something huge, like a shadow, like a bear, or as one of the boys put it “The Hulk”, stood over Hunter and looked from the darkness with glowing dark eyes. It could have been anything.

Hunter’s once handsome face was an unrecognizable bloody pulp. His left arm was mangled and almost fleshless. It was a miracle that the was alive.

That was in July.

On the night of August 1st Dylan was walking home through the park they’d all played in as kids. He stopped to sit on a swing, thinking about what had happened three weeks before. He never thought of himself as vain, but his friends joked he looked like an Italian Model. Poor Hunter. Tears flowed down his face.

Then mid thought Dylan was slammed to the ground by an unknown force. His head was held as if in a vice. Pain like no other exploded his entire being as someone, something  ripped off his entire lower jaw. In the morning his mutilated body was found by a woman walking her dog. She never slept easy again.

A few weeks later Kyle was at the grocery store picking up flour for his mom. She was making him a birthday cake. She knew he was in mourning for his best friend but she wanted him to have the cake. Sam and Christopher would be there.

Kyle never made it home. He was slammed against his car and an unknown thing, a creature, something too violent to be a man, took his arm. It tried to get at his face but was scared off with the yelling of other grocery store patrons.

By then nobody in town let their teenagers out at night. On a Wednesday night Sam took the garbage out to the street. The creature jumped him and took his scalp. Then it took his heart. The scalp was never found. His heart was found in the garbage can, still warm.

As for Christopher, poor Christopher, was home alone while his parents were out at a party. It drained his blood. His face, like Hunter’s was mangled. The only things left were his brown eyes and his right ear. The neighbors called the police when the two family dogs would stop howling.

After the death of Christopher the attacks stopped. The creature or whatever it was had left. Still the threat of violence and unknown horrors lingered over the town.

Two years later Kyle started his first year of college. He’d decided to go to the local Community College for two years and then transfer to UC Irvine to study medicine, or maybe political science. He liked the beach and sunshine. It would be a good school for him. Getting along with one arm wasn’t that bad. It was the nightmares that paralyzed him.

Hunter was accepted to Princeton. It was on the other side of the country and away from his memories. He’d always be in touch with Kyle. They’d always be friends.

As he walked across campus girls smiled at him and approached him. Other young men shook his hand and gave him bro hugs. He’d smile and was thankful to be alive. The scars were fading, thanks to his dad’s skills as a plastic surgeon. Actually, he looked good. He looked different but kind of handsome he thought.

He missed his friends but they’d always be with him. Christopher’s ear and nose, Kyle’s left arm, Dylan’s jaw, and Sam’s thick brown hair.

Winter came and the memories of the horror was starting to fade. Dr. Trent was hanging Christmas lights, humming Jungle Bells. He heard something in the bushes. Darn it, the cat must have gotten out. He glanced over and called the cat’s name. It was the last thing he ever did.

~ end

 

 

Thanks for allowing me to try my hand at writing horror …over morning coffee.

October 20, 2018.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: Witching

Sophia hated October. The closer Halloween came the more all of the wanna-be witches came out of the woodwork like so many Stevie Nicks fans dancing around in their long flowing black frocks. It made Sophia cringe.

Being a real witch wasn’t always easy these days, especially with all of the misinformation, myths, and stereotypes.

“Thinking about Stevie Nicks again?”

Sophia looked over at her cat. “Unfortunately yes.”

“I know how her music gives you headaches dear. Try not to think about it, or her witchy wanna-be fans,” said Virgil the cat.

“Thanks Virg. It isn’t just the stupid music connection and the flowing black dresses. It is the way they try to do spells and act like we’re all in some goddess infused mania. I’m an individual damn it. I’m not a cliché. I can do magic. I AM magic.”

“They’re just having fun,” said Virgil the cat. “Deep breath Sophia, deep breath.”

That cat licked his forearm rubbed his face then continued. “Just think of cats this time of the year. Every other girl is trying to be a sexy kitty with silly cat ears and tails. And those poor zombies. They’ve got a serious medical condition and people are making fun of them by dressing up in rags and staggering around like drunks. Don’t even get me started on the bull shit vampires have to deal with. The fake blood is enough to make them want to go on a feeding frenzy just to make it stop.”

Sophia rubbed Virgil under his neck. “Thanks sweetie. I know. I know. I shouldn’t be so sensitive. It is all just for fun. It still bugs me.”

“On a good note,” said Virgil, “people are going to dress up as something really scary.”

“What is that?” Sophia couldn’t imagine what the cat would say now.

“Politicians. Big elections coming up right after Halloween.”

Sophia felt a cold chill that gave her the shivers right down to her bones. “You have a point there Virg. Awwww man, I can deal with witches. I don’t even want to imagine those political ghouls.”

Virgil rubbed his head against Sophia’s arm.

“It isn’t easy being different baby,” said Virgil. “But you’re doing great. It’s Halloween. We’ll have fun tonight.”

Sophia poured a big bag of candy into the pumpkin shaped bowl. The neighborhood streets would be full of tiny monsters, princesses, kitties, and witches. That was a good thing. She’d make sure to send them all home with a safety spell and good dreams of a safe world and a future where they could make a difference for good.

~ end

Tangled Tales

Short Story Sunday: House by the Ocean

220px-Sir_Galahad_(Watts)

“My parents were sluts, both of them. I’m the last person to throw stones but my dad was sleeping with the Queen, his best friend’s wife, and my mom lied about everything she ever did in her life.”

“Don’t be hard on them Galahad. Lancelot might not have been the best father but, well, he was a shitty father, and your mother Elenore, well, lied about everything. I think her lies were more of survival mode thing. You know, fight or flight, and by sleeping with your father it was her way of fighting for what she wanted. As for Guinevere, I have no good feelings for that woman or your father. They played the victim card far too often and at the expense of people who loved them. But that said, none of this reflects on you. Don’t ever let yourself think that you are your parents.”

Galahad, all of nineteen, Knight of the Round table had spent the past year traveling in search of the Holy Grail and all that was good. He was pure of heart and body, but there were questions that ate away at his soul. The very idea of his parents bugged him to no end. The contradictions of the Christian faith and his search, with magic, wizards, fairies, and the laws of nature confounded him.

Galahad had come to the estate on the hill that overlooked the ocean. He thought one day someone will write a song about this place. He wanted to wash away all of his critical mistakes.

He’d been drawn to the direction of the place when he’d come to a fork in the road, and even more so when he heard the crashing waves of the ocean.

A man with pale blonde hair, and a goblet of wine in his hand, who looked to be Galahad’s age answered the door. He invited him in, already knowing who he was. The man introduced himself as Tellias. His accent was different but yet slightly familiar. Maybe at one time Tellias had lived in Rome or somewhere South that Galahad could only dream of. Oh to live near the Holy Lands.

“Galahad. My friend Druce, who just happens to be sort of a wizard predicted you’d be here this week. As for me, I can’t predict shit. Come in and join us. We have a warm bed, and even a fire in your room. I take you can read. We have some books we thought you’d be interested. My God I can’t believe that nobody can read anymore. One day I’m sure someone will label this moment in history The Dark Ages. Oh how they embrace ignorance and fear.”

And from there Galahad was brought into a warm and inviting room unlike any he’d ever been to. The walls were covered with weavings, paintings, and shelves full of beautiful pottery the likes of which he had never seen.

There he met Morcant, and exceptionally handsome man who was built like an ancient God. He also met Druce, a Warlock that Merlin had told him about. Druce was an average man of average height, but he had a warm smile, unlike most men of magic. Galahad had been told that Druce could be trusted and was wise with matters of the heart and soul.

Standing by the window, with the summer breeze in her long curls was a beautiful girl with a smile that melted his heart unlike any other girl he had ever met. Her name was Eleora. It turned out that she was the beloved of Tellias and his mate for life.

During food and wine Galahad told his new friends of his quest for the Holy Grail and how there had been a prophesy about Joseph and so much more. He also told them of his travels and brave deeds that left him feeling good but sort of shallow.

Then Tellias asked Galahad, “But something is missing, isn’t it? Tell me about your family. It’s complicated isn’t it?”

Eleora sat next to Galahad and took his hand in hers. Her hand was cold like winter ice, but a warmth spread through his entire body.

And he told them things he had never told another living human being. He told them about his mothers, his father, and the complicated and twisted relationships they’d centered their lives around. He told them of a somewhat lonely childhood spend in reflective prayer and study.

They all listened. It was wonderful. Nobody had ever really listened to him before. He had just listened to others then done his duty.

After he and Tellias had talked of his family, Galahad said, “You and Eleora seem so young. You’re young like me, yet you seem so old, in a wise and wonderful way.”

Nobody said a thing for a while, then Morcant said, “Are you going to tell him Tellias? Eleora?”

“We’re Vampires,” said Eleora gently putting her hand on Galahad’s cheek, then she stood and walked over to where Tellias sat.

“What are Vampires?” Asked Galahad.

“We drink the blood of men. We live a long long time, longer than men. Some say forever. I was here before the Romans came.”

“I was one of the Romans,” said Tellias. “I was there when Christ was born. I was there when he died.”

Galahad looked at them in shock.

“Oh get over yourself. It isn’t that bad. We’re biologically different from you. Put it this way, if we were animals I’d be a horse, and men would be asses.”

“Most men are asses after all,” said Eleora.

“Like you Eleora is pure of heart. She just doesn’t have the physical hang ups,” said Tellias.

Galahad looked at Morcant. Maybe he was a normal man.

Morcant shrugged. “I’m a Selkie. You know what a Selkie is, I’m sure you do. I turn into a seal when I want to, you know, when I get tired of people.”

“Fear not,” said Druce the Warlock. “There is no evil here. Only good. In fact, you might not know it but that cup you’re drinking out of. THAT my son is the Holy Grail.”

Galahad blinked a few times and fainted.

2018

The Dark Ages didn’t always seem so dark when Galahad thought about them. He looked out of his back window over Monterey Bay. California hadn’t even been a dream back then. On the mantle over the fireplace was a simple silver cup. There was no power in it except it had been used in the name of love. How he wished the world had more love in it, but maybe one day.

Legend had it that he’d found the Grail and gone to heaven with Joseph. Instead he’d chosen to live, for a long long long time as a Vampire. Funny how things worked out.

Tellias and Eleora and Druce were coming for a visit and would be there soon. Morcant had passed on years before in the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It had broken his heart. He had become great friends with the Selkie.

But now he did have his house by the ocean. He didn’t worry about critical mistakes because he knew love, and had spent the centuries doing good. It was his way, even as a Vampire, for his heart, as always had stayed pure. And most of all, he realized that in their own weird and twisted way his parents had loved him.

~ End

For another tale of Druce and Morcant Click Here.

Tangled Tales