Short Story Sunday: For the Kids

“Ironic isn’t it that my mom named me Tristan?”

“I’m not following you.”

“In the Celtic legend, Tristan stole another man’s bride.”

Bryan cracked another beer and gave it to his exwife’s son. “That isn’t why she named you that. There was a BBC show she liked. It was about a couple of veterinarians. Your mother loved that name. One of them was named Tristan. He was tall and blond like your dad. That is why she named you Tristan.”

“Yeah, I know. Listen, Bryan, I’m sorry. I’m being a dick.”

“Apology accepted.”

“When I was a kid I was always jealous of Hannah because she had two dads. I only had one dad. It didn’t seem fair. I’d always want to go with her when she went home with you. One of the best times of my life was when my dad was in that car accident and you took Sabrina and me for a couple of weeks. Why’d you do that? My parents tore your life apart.”

“It wasn’t about me, or them. It was about three kids who loved each.”

“Why’d you and my mom break up? What was the real reason. I mean, why’d she go to my dad?”

“It wasn’t your dad. Our minds were somewhere else. We never hated each other. Maybe she might have hated me a bit, but she wanted,” Bryan paused. “she wanted something else with someone else.” said Bryan. “Then I hated her for a few years, but realized it was just hurting me. Hate takes too much energy, especially when you have kids. One day you’ll know.”

Bryan still hated his ex-wife on more than one level but he’d never tell her twenty-three year old son. He liked the kid. Tristan was a smart ass but Bryan couldn’t imagine not having him around. Life was funny like that. It didn’t always make sense but that was OK.

 

~ end

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: The Changeling (my favorite Mother’s Day story)

The Changeling

I’ll always remember what my preschool teacher said at lunch and snack times. “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” My parents lived by that. I’m surprised they didn’t both tattoo it on their foreheads.

Sometimes parents will notice their lovely happy babies will suddenly seem to change. Well they have changed. Your baby has been replaced by a crying, unhappy, grouchy, nasty, Goblin Changeling. Congratulations.

Sometimes the horrible Changelings are left to die on the doorsteps of churches, or locked in attics. Usually the real babies are brought back. Fairies and others help out. More often or not ransoms are paid. A mother might pay with her beauty. A father might pay with his strength. It could be anything depending on the mood of the Goblins.

In my case the Goblins dropped me into the home of someone who seemed oblivious to my nastiness.

I spend my entire childhood treating my parents like crap and tormenting my little brother Trevor. My brother hated me but he should have loved me. Without me Trevor would have been one of those sensitive pantywaist boys who lets people walk all over him. I made him tough. I made him stand up for himself. He should have thanked me for it.

I have no idea why my parents put up with me. The only reason I wasn’t expelled from every school I attended is because I always made straight A’s. Sure I caused a lot of tears but I kept the schoolyard in line. My minions kept close while I doled out punishments fitting crimes of weakness. As for lies… I was the number one princess of lies, and adults never knew what was going on. They alwaysbelieved me.

Sure there were more times I could count that I had my mom in tears, but hey, that is what you get for accepting a Goblin Changeling. She could have dumped me in foster care or sent me off to some farm of a distant relative. People suggested boarding schools, drugs and shock treatments. She just told them that they could never understand that I was different and unique in ways that nobody could ever understand.

At one time my parents sent me to counseling. I told Dr. Cray everything she wanted to hear. The good doctor said I was a well-adjusted and brilliant child. She said I was mature for my age hence others not understanding me. Boy did I have it pulled over her eyes.

Anyway, Trevor and I grew up and went out on our own. I met a few other Changelings and even married one.

We’re one of those successful power couples. He’s the CEO of a billion dollar software company. I’m an attorney and the biggest asshole out there, and proud of it. Beauty and brains and no morals what so ever. Justice for all.

As soon as I found out my future husband Blake was an over the top arrogant, self-centered SOB I fell in love with him. He loved me back as only a Goblin Changeling can love another Goblin Changeling.

I remember a day when a woman approached me. This should have been one of those turning points where I changed my heart and became a good person. I recognized her because I’d gone to school with her.

She said, “You were a bully. A mean horrible bully. You ruined lives.”

I just glared at her and said, “You should have learned from your bad experience. Instead you made the choice to be a loser.”

I’m like that. I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks. I don’t care if they said I mean to my parents and twice as horrible to my brother. Tell me something I don’t know.

So on Mother’s Day I showed up at my parents with my husband. The hubby joined my dad in the back at the grill. Trevor and his wife Emily were in the kitchen with my mom. I put the vase of yellow roses I’d brought for my mom down on breakfast nook table and gave my mother a rare kiss.

Trevor glared at me. Emily looked uncomfortable.

“I have good news Katie,” said my mom. “Trevor and Emily are going to have a baby.”

“How about that Trevor, you aren’t dickless after all. Well congratulations.”

“Why did you have to say that Katie. Why are you so horrible all the time,” said the lovely Emily.

“I’m just like that Em. Well, I also have news. I’m pregnant too,” I said.

Trevor got right into my face. “You always have to try to upstage me Katie. I don’t care if you are having a baby. Your child will NEVER be allowed to be with mine. NEVER.”

“You know baby brother, if it wasn’t for me you’d never be with Emily. Why do you think all of those other bitch girlfriends of yours dumped you before you ended up with her? I was looking out for you asshole. I was also the reason you have your dream job. So screw you Trevor. I hope your kid is ugly and stupid.”

My mom should have looked shocked but she was used to me telling off Trevor. I was pissed and went into the living room. Mom followed.

She put her hand on my arm, then took it off as I tensed up. “Are you happy about your baby Katie?”

“Sure. It will be fun.” Then I looked into her blue eyes and suddenly I wanted to cry. I mean, like, my eyes started to sting and water up. “You’re amazing mom. Why did you put up with me all these years?”

“Because I knew nobody else would take you. My own baby had passed on. My little angel had never been right. The Goblins had scheduled a drop off not knowing there was no baby for them to take home. They just left you. Even Goblins don’t want their Changelings. What was your dad and I to do?”

“But mom, you knew?”

“Always.”

“So why’d you keep me?”

“Remember that horrible cat Billy we used to have.”

I remembered Billy. He was worse than I was. He’d hiss at everyone. He’d growl when you’d feed him. No act of kindness was rewarded. Billy was nuts. Damn, he was the Devil’s own cat.

My mom continued. “We kept Billy because if we’d given him up he would have died. Nobody else would have understood. He would have been put down. It was the same with you.”

“I loved that cat,” I told my mom.

“I know you did Katie,” said my mom.

She put her arm around me. “Let’s go back to the others Katie. And do me a favor. Try to be nice to Trevor. Just for today.”

“Sure. I love you mom.”

“Love you too Katie. More than you’ll ever know.”

“When I’m a mom I want to be just like you.”

We joined the rest of the family around the grill, all smiles and making nice. All the while I was thinking of ways to torture my brother and get even on the rest of the universe.

Life is good. Well, at least it is for me.

 

~ end

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: No Little Women, Only Great Ones.

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy

Elise and her daughter Jilly both loathed the March sisters and their sissy friend Theodore Laurence.

Elise, with her beautiful voice, attempted to read Little Women to her daughter, but the child fell asleep. A few years later they attempted to listen to an audio version while driving from Northern California to Las Vegas.

Jilly announced the story was horrible. They both laughed and spent the next fifteen minutes mocking the story.

Elise shared the books with Jilly that touched her soul. She passed on “The Crystal Singer,” by Anne McCaffrey. She passed on “Jayne Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte. Jilly passed “Hunger Games” on to her mom.

They loved a different kind of woman. The Little Women were quaint and strong in their own way but they were too silly.  Elise and Jilly just couldn’t relate to them.

Elise often wondered about Marmee. In her opinion Marmee was weak and didn’t give her daughter’s the emotional support they needed. Her advice was trite and weak.

Elise and Jilly kept their opinions to themselves, as they did with a lot of other things. It was always best just to smile and say nothing, unless it was an opinion of injustice or something that was actually important.

Jilly loved the fact that her mother was funny and independent, even when all hell broke loose. She loved the fact that her mother had married a man who was strong and devoted to them.

So on this Mother’s Day they didn’t think of fictional characters because they had their own stories and adventures to star in.

Make your story with your child or mom, be it quiet or loud. Happy Mother’s Day.

 

~ end

 

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Indecision

She ran the bath a little hotter than usual. Forget the words of those who said hot baths were bad. Tonight she needed the heat. And bubbles. There would be bubbles tonight, along with a glass of wine and a book.

Cannery Row. She pulled the worn paperback from the shelf and brought it to the bathroom, along with a bottle of Zinfandel and a glass.

Art Pepper played on the stereo. All of the doors were locked. At 3:34 a.m. there weren’t any noises from outside. The rest of the world was asleep.

Tonight she’d escape in her own bubble, away from the rest of the night. She’d scrub the blood out from underneath her fingernails. She’d sooth and heal the scratches on her arms.

Watching the a pink and blue soap bubble float up then land on the tile wall she thought of how he’d struggled against her. He could have never imagined the strength of such a small woman. He couldn’t have imagined any of it. And then he’d sleep and by the morning he’d only remember how good she looked in the blue dress and white sandals. He’d remember her odd little charm bracelet and her smiling blue eyes. He’d remember the way she kissed his neck and drove him crazy. He’d sleep in this Sunday, then wonder why his neck hurt, take some Advil, and feel better by noon, then take his dog to the park.

She liked him. He was sort of cute and said interesting things. He listened too. They rarely wanted to listen, at least most thirty something men she’d met over the past hundred and fifty-three years. And he liked dogs.

She took a sip of wine and thought about taking her dog to the park too. She’d see him again. He’d smile. Their dogs would sniff and play. She’d start the seduction all over agin.

Then again, maybe she’d just sleep it off in her own bubble. Or maybe not. The bath was hot, her blood was cold, and she just couldn’t make up her mind about anything.

~ End

 

Tangled Tales

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bubble/

Short Story Sunday: Crawl Space

Crawl Space

I took off my sweater and handed it to my brother Aaron. There was no way I was going to crawl on my stomach under the crawl space of a house with it on.

“So tell me again why you can’t get the bodies out from under the building first?” I had to ask.

“They’re not quite dead yet and they might attack Austin. He’s human, a Regular Human,” my brother told me. Austin by the way is a Regular Human and sometimes Vampire Hunter and usually just a guy who does a great job restoring old buildings that seem to be filled with scary shit like ghosts and old musty Vampires.

And of course Aaron was wearing a $5,000 suit of course he couldn’t crawl under the house.

“You might know them”, added Austin, meaning the creatures under the house.

I almost gave him a fang filled snarl but I just gave him a weak normal girl smile.

Wearing garden gloves I crawled on my  hands and knees over bare dirt.Even in the dark I could see assorted bugs and cobwebs. Rat droppings were scattered around. Why the crap would any Vampire want to sleep under floor boards?

About 20 feet into it I was the boxes. OK they were coffins.

I thought back of when I was a kid and always the one to crawl under houses and into tight spaces. It wasn’t because I was small. It was because I pretend to be fearless and now it is because I don’t take any bull shit from Shadow Creepers and dusty old Vampires who can’t deal with the modern normal world. We’re not having a Nosferatu and Dracula Hoedown kids, this is the 21st Century.

The lids were on the boxes. I managed to kneel on my knees without banging my head on something and pushed one off. Inside was a male in a pinstripe suit. His face was waxy looking and pale. I noticed sunken cheeks and lips that seemed a little thin. He hadn’t fed in a while. The box next to him contained a female. Skin stretched over her face, a hint of teeth including fangs showed beneath parted lips. Oh come on, all Vampire girls know not to sleep with their fangs exposed. She wore some sort of black dress thing. The scent of rotted roses and cigar smoke came from her box. In the third box…nothing jumped out. It was another male. I recognized the face. His eyes open a bit, yellow green rolls to stare at me. I see recognition in his face; a fact that was once handsome and could be again, but he was so strange, so weirdly in the shadows and cold, not like Vampires I associate with, but like a dead fish.

Then my butt vibrates. My phone. I pull it out. Garrett, my darling 18 year old son is calling from college. I’m a mom. I must answer.

“Hey mom, what do you call two ducks and a cow?”

“What?”

“Quackers and Milk.”

“Good one. What do you call an Englishman, two ducks and a cow?”

“Graham Quackers and Milk. Love you mom.”

I hear a groan from one of the box. I slap slap it hard with my hand and hiss at it. The noise stops.

I keep my eyes on the yellow green orbs that watch me as I talk to my son. He rattles on about classes and girls he knows and sings me a song he wrote. He says he goes to the beach almost every day and is going to go surfing on Sunday. He says it is the perfect college for Vampires. He is so excited about school. My heart melts a little.

Then he asks me what I’m up to.

“I’m under a building with three boxes full Shadow Creeping Vampires. You know me, everyday is Halloween.”

“How’d you end up there?”

“Helping your Uncle Aaron and a friend. Long story, but the short version is that I was the only one wearing jeans and I’m smaller than they are so I got elected.”

Old Green Eyes started to sit up. “I gotta go Garrett. I’ll call you back later today.”

“Love you mom.”

“Love you too sweetie pie.” I looked at my old friend. OK he wasn’t a friend. I’d met him before, a long long time ago. “What are you doing here?” I said trying to keep myself from sneering at him.”You look like a fucking Zombie. What is wrong with you people? Have you lost all self respect?”

“Juliette,” he whispered my name in a dry voice, like old coffee grinds and gravel.

“Jasper. That last time I saw you was…1923, New Orleans. What are you doing here?”

He started to tell me something in French that I couldn’t quite make out when I stopped him. “Listen, you have three choices. The first is that you agree to live like Modern Vampires and stop this nonsense of lurking around like you’ve just come out of some creep show. The second is that I leave you to the Vampire Hunters. The third is that you let one of my friends, and I use that term loosely, take you to San Francisco where you can be with others of your kind. But you can’t stay here. We have enough problems in Sacramento without your kind.”

“My kind?” He opened his eyes wide and showed his fangs.

“That is exactly what I mean, you giving me the evil eye and trying to scare me with your ugly mug. You used to be handsome and well, you were never charming but you used to be, well, not THIS.”

I crawled back into the sunlight which was no cup of tea, believe me. I might spend time during the day but the sunshine, especially after the darkness under a house, always comes as a shock. I pulled out my sunglasses put them on then took a deep breath and brushed off my pants. Filling Aaron and Austin in on the situation I told them that I’d let them decide what to do with Jasper and his friends.

I had to go home and take a shower and scrub my skin off with steel wool, or at least that is how I was feeling. The image of his eyes stuck in my brain like Poe’s Tell Tale Heart story.

“It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees – very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings

His eyes will haunt me for sure. Maybe I’ll check on him in a few months time, out of morbid curiosity. That is, if the Vampire Hunters or other creatures don’t get them first. There are Shadow Creepers who seem so vile, but then there are other Vampires who I don’t even dare name or ever seek out for any reason.

Like I’ve said, Halloween is never far from my reality.

I called Garrett back. He listened to my story. I didn’t make it into some cautionary tale or anything like that. We just talked. He told me that I was the most awesome mom ever.

So anyway, that is what I did today.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: We Will Be Happy

Standing outside of the gates of the asylum, bag in her hand, coat buttoned up tight against the snow, Kathleen wondered if she should wait for someone. She looked to the right, then looked to the left, then decided to walk to wherever she was going to go.

Looking at her gloved hands she thought of how she tried to wash all the blood off of her fingernails, but the asylum wasn’t big on hygiene and she couldn’t find any soap.

It was torture to be locked up in such a place just for being different. She didn’t eat. She didn’t sleep at night. She was cold and seemed to be dead in her silence, indifference, and stillness. She looked like a young woman but spoke like someone who was much older. But that wasn’t true. It was only what they wanted to see.

She walked into town and stopped by the telegraph office. She didn’t look like an escaped lunatic. She hadn’t really escaped and she was no lunatic.

After she’d sent her message she shopped for new clothes, checked into the finest hotel in the city, and took a long bath with lots of soap, a bottle of wine, a badly written romance novel, and a copy of the local evening news.

The following day she went to the train station and purchased a one way ticket to San Francisco. It was clear across the country but she didn’t mind. It was where she needed to be.

Kathleen sat by the window and waited. A man sat next to her. He was dressed nicely in colors that complimented his pale blonde hair and blue eyes. He was about thirty but his face was boyish and pleasant.

“I’m glad you made it Robert,” she said to him.

“So am I. Thank you so much,” he said.

She smiled and said nothing. Looking out the window she remembered hearing his screams at night, especially when there was a full moon. She remembered how they’d beat him and tried to get him to become is other self on demand. She remembered how the good doctors force fed her and then she’d become violently ill and throw it all up. Then they’d do it again and again. She remembered how the head doctor had come and forced himself upon her because he knew he couldn’t impregnate her because of what she was. He knew that she and Robert were different.

She put her cold hand on Robert’s warm hand. “There is nothing wrong with us. They were the ones who were wrong. We were in our rights to do what we had to do.”

“I know,” he said.

“You aren’t convinced,” she said.

“I’ll get over it,” he said.

He gave her a copy of the morning paper. There had been a horrible incident at the asylum. Six staff members, including the head doctor had been found dead. One man had his throat and gut ripped out, as if a wild animal had attacked him. Four others were found lying in a treatment room. Four were in tubs of water, naked, their bodies bloodless, their genitalia cut off and placed on a table, lined up in a row. The fifth, the head doctor was found in a court-yard, his head cut off and placed atop the flag pole. His bloodless body, minus his manhood, was leaned up against the flag pole, his heart was ripped out of his body and in his hands.

“There is nothing wrong with us Robert. We aren’t insane. We aren’t broken. We’re just different. I don’t like the violence but they hurt so many people. Not just those like us but normal people too. They hurt so many.”

“I know. You already told me that.” said Robert.

“Where we are going there are people like us. We can live in peace without violence or fear. You will be able to run with a pack in the woods on full moon nights. I will be able to live my life in peace. We will be happy.”

“I know,” said Robert giving her hand a squeeze, then letting go. “We will be happy. I know we will.”

They continued their trip, putting their past behind them, and their future ahead.

 

~ end