A Vampire of Little Consequence

I received a call that Uncle Rico had gone into a coma. It wasn’t expected. These things happen. He’d slowed down for no apparent reason. In the old days someone might have put him in a crypt or a box under the floor boards or in the attic. Or do what the family was doing now and just wait.

My brothers Aaron and Val came over to my house. We’d spoken to our parents who gave us the usual emotionless responses. They’re matter of fact about these things. My father is uncomfortable. My mother unemotional.

We didn’t call my other two brothers. Maybe later. They’ll be at my parent’s house. They live close to them.

Later this week I have a grave side service to attend to support a friend. These things are important but not in the traditions of my immediate family. My parents don’t do funerals. They’re a couple of Vampires who don’t acknowledge death. They choose, because they say they are Modern, to deal with, or not deal with things their own way. I have yet to figure out what way that is. More or less it is not dealing with it. But I need to be there, to give support. To let them know that my heart is not as cold as my skin.

So we don’t deal with a lot of things in our own families, because we’re Vampires. We’re already considered dead, but I have to say that we’re not. We’re just different. Some of us are just transformed. Some of us have always been like this. Some of us are undead, but that is an entirely different post (deal with it.)

It has been a busy week, and we’re only into Tuesday. I’ve had a tiny bout of blood poisoning. You know, people get colds, we get this shit.

So I’m here with my brothers, talking about our family. It is what we do. We always talk about the same things. We tell the same stories. Sometimes we have new stories, but today it is mostly old stories. We don’t talk much about Rico. Then we don’t talk about any of it and talk about movies. Then we talk about where the best fall leaves will be, and wonder if it will rain this winter.

My husband Teddy and sister-in-law Verity join us on the deck with wine, and glasses for everyone. Verity and I stress out slightly about parenting. Then we stop because our kids are great. We just worry about them. It is a weird world out there.

All day I was busy but feeling like a Vampire of little consequence. Then it sort of turns around. I get out of my own head, and get more into my heart, and into the cold sweet embrace of my Vampire family.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

We’re Not so Different

I’m continuing the Vampire Maman Christmas Story Fest with this tale from my friend Mandy White. “We’re Not so Different” can also be found in the WPaD anthology Tinsel Tales.

We’re Not so Different

By Mandy White

My daughter was clearly upset when she arrived home from school. Crystal tossed her pink, sparkly book bag into the corner and gave it a kick.
“Bad day, honey?” I asked.
She didn’t answer at first. Instead, she ducked her chin and pouted as only a twelve-year-old can.
I waited. Finally she looked at me.
“Is it true?” she demanded.
“Is what true, sweetie?”
“That we’re going to Hell?”
“What? Where on Earth did you get that idea?”
Crystal mumbled something unintelligible.
“Pardon me?”
“Becky Bullock! I hate her so much!” she ranted. “Just because her father’s a minister she acts like she’s God and treats everyone else like dirt!”
“Now, I hardly believe God would treat anyone like dirt, honey. Come here and talk to me.” I sat on the sofa, shoving aside a pile of towels I had been folding so she could sit beside me. Crystal plopped into the cushion, arms folded, glaring at the wall across the room.
“Why exactly does Becky think we are going to Hell and she is not?” I asked her. I suspected I already knew the answer, but I wanted to hear it from her classmate’s perspective as well as hers.
“Because of my report,” she said.
“Your report?”
“Yeah, we were all supposed to do an essay about holiday traditions and I did mine about the Christmas tree. I didn’t know the stupid teacher was going to make us read them in front of the class.”
I nodded knowingly. I saw where this was going. “Go on,” I prompted.
“So anyway, my essay was about the Christmas tree, and how it’s Pagan in origin. Like the story Grandma told us, about how in the old days it was a custom to bring a live tree inside the house to symbolize life and good luck and all that junk.”
“You actually said it that way?” I laughed.
“Not really,” she went to her book bag and withdrew a crumpled piece of paper and handed it to me.
I relaxed into the cushions to read the essay. I was impressed; it was quite good. Crystal explained how ancient Pagans believed evergreen trees had the power of eternal life because they stayed green through the dead of winter. During the winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, they adorned their homes with the boughs of evergreens in hopes that the magic of the trees would bring the sun back for another year. It was said that the ‘sun was born’ during the Solstice. Feasts and celebrations were also held during this time to keep people’s spirits high and fend off the starvation that threatened during the lean months.
It was clear that Crystal’s depiction of the pre-Christian roots of some holiday traditions had offended her classmate, who had no doubt learned a different story in her household.
“So, at lunchtime Becky and a bunch of her snotty friends corner me and start teasing me, telling me that my whole family is going to Hell. ‘Jesus is the reason for the season!’ she says to me. Then she starts calling me a witch and a Satanist and a h-heretic!” Crystal sniffled and began to cry.
“What did you say to them?” I asked.
“I called them a bunch of assholes and then I ran away.” She peeked warily up at me from beneath tearstained eyelashes, checking to see if she was in trouble.
I burst out laughing. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. The mental picture of Little Becky Bible-Thumper and her friends’ faces after my daughter called them assholes just wouldn’t leave, and try as I might, I couldn’t help cracking up. That’s my girl, I thought. Your Great-Grandmamma would have been proud.
“That wasn’t very nice of you to say that. And it wasn’t nice of them to make fun of you either,” I told Crystal, who had begun to giggle through her tears at my reaction. “But, you could have gotten yourself in trouble. Remember the old saying, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’. Becky is entitled to her beliefs just as much as you are.”
“But Mom!” Crystal insisted, “She doesn’t have to be mean about it!”
“No, she doesn’t,” I agreed. I put my arm around my daughter and cuddled her close. “You remember all the stories Grandma used to tell? The ones about her ancestors?”
Crystal nodded. “Yeah, that’s where I got the one about the tree stuff.”
“Well, then you also remember that our family lineage goes way, way back, to long before Christianity was even thought of. Our kind has been through happy times, and there have been dark times as well. Many of our ancestors were persecuted by the church and burned at the stake for things as trivial as practicing herbal medicine, or for voicing their own beliefs, much as you did today.”
“Which is why they’re a bunch of assholes!” Crystal said.
“From your perspective, it may seem that way. Try to think outside the box for a moment. Christians have also been persecuted for their beliefs in the past. Jesus was executed for the ideals he taught. Look at the Jewish people, and think of all that they have been through, or the Native Americans. No matter which culture, which religion you look at, you will find some point at which those people were victimized because their beliefs were different from someone else’s.”
“So everyone gets bullied, no matter what they believe, then. That doesn’t make it right.” Crystal observed.
“No, it doesn’t. It’s not a question of right or wrong, good or evil. From our own personal perspective, each of us is right, and the Creator has given us many paths to choose from. What’s great about the times we live in is that we are no longer in fear of being slaughtered for our beliefs. Neither is Becky Bullock’s family, or Jimmy Goldberg’s. We live in a time when a Wiccan child like you can learn in the same classroom as Becky, Jimmy, and all the other children who come from different cultures and backgrounds. Opinions will always differ, but if God is perfect, as Becky’s father teaches, then all must be right in the Universe.”
“So how am I supposed to deal with Becky next time she calls me a Satanist? Put a hex on her, or just punch her in the eye?” Crystal asked.
“Neither!” I laughed. “What you put out there is what you will get back, threefold. To quote your grandmother, ‘Remember ye the law of three. For what ye do comes back to thee’. Or, to put it in terms Becky might understand, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive’. So, to answer your question, if you approach a situation expecting disharmony, you will encounter disharmony. If you go into it intending harmony, then that is what you will get back. Somebody famous once said, ‘Peace is achieved through understanding, not conflict.’ Remember that Becky is not so different from you. She deserves to be treated with the same tolerance for her beliefs that you expect for yours.”
“Fat lot you know about bullies, Mom. The whole, ‘walk away’ thing doesn’t always work. I may still have to punch her in the face, just warning you.”
“If walking away doesn’t work, then ask her how Jesus would have handled the situation. That might make her stop and think. You think about it too. How do you think Jesus have reacted?”
Crystal shrugged. “I guess Jesus would have turned the other cheek. Isn’t that what the Bible says? To love your enemies and stuff like that?”
“Exactly. Treat others with compassion, even those who oppose you. It’s what my mother taught me, and what I’ve always told you. Our beliefs are not much different from what Jesus taught.”
“But I don’t love Becky! I can’t stand her! She’s just so… mean to everyone. Especially me.”
“You don’t have to be her best friend or anything. All I’m saying is, think before you react. Negative reactions won’t result in peace. If that doesn’t work… well, be sure to ask your teachers for some homework if you get expelled.”
“Becky might get expelled, too,” Crystal commented, a hint of hope in her voice.
“See? I told you, you aren’t so different from each other.”
We giggled and snuggled on the sofa. The Christmas tree sparkled in the corner, the angel at the top smiling down at us as we gazed out the window at the falling snow.
Copyright © 2013 Mandy White

 

Thank you Mandy!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Tinsel Tales download is now available for only $0.99. Part of the proceeds will go to MS Research. Click here.
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My Christmas Necklace

silent night

 

A few nights ago we had friends for dinner. Let me reword that. We dined with good friends of ours. It was two couples we’re friends with (they’re regular humans who don’t know we’re Vampires). It is a dress up affair. We have cocktails; take in the theater or a concert, then have dinner and more drinks. And my darling husband Teddy and I get a little blood donation and leave our hosts feeling warm and fuzzy and full of holiday cheer.

I wore a black dress with red heels. It was set off with a gold necklace of delicate flowers with red garnets, enameled holly leaves and seed pearls.

One of my friends commented “You wear that beautiful necklace every year. There must be a story behind it.”

“Teddy gave me this on our first Christmas together. It was his mother’s.” I told everyone the truth, but didn’t tell them the entire story behind it.

It was in the 1880’s. My brother Val and I were young Vampires in London, which was the place to be. It was a golden age for us.

Of course being the young American Vampires we were…we got into a lot of trouble and had way too many adventures of the wrong kind.

So to make a long story short, it was Christmas Eve when Val and I found ourselves trapped in a crypt. Yes, a crypt full of rotting human bodies, not a fit place for any self respecting Vampire of a certain social level. We were of a higher social level. We had class, culture, good looks and money. Most of all we had connections. What Val and I lacked was common sense and experience.

So we’re in this crypt, chased by Vampire Hunters, Rogue Vampires who were pissed off at us, AND the local police.

We were also trapped. Yes, being the super strong creatures that we are, we could have busted down the door, but that would have done three things. It would have shown a lack of respect for those who were interned in the crypt. It would have made a lot of noise and attracted too much attention. But most of all, we were wearing rather expensive clothing if that clothing were to be ripped it would have drawn too much attention.

So we waited to figure out a plan B or to be rescued. Plan B was our only real option.

Just as we were about to sit on the ground and wait until the next night to break our way out the door started to slide open. We waited, fangs barred, holding on to each other for dear life, yet ready to kill whatever came through to us.

We saw a lone figure shadowed in the doorway.

I could hear a slight hiss under Val’s breath as he readied himself for an attack. Then a voice with a definite American accent said “Valentine? Juliette? Oh my heavens! Is that really you?”

And out of the shadows came Teddy. I hadn’t seen him for 10 years, not since he’d become a Vampire.

We said quick greetings and I asked “What are you doing here?”

He lifted the lid from one of the stone caskets. “This woman couldn’t steal my father’s heart so she stole my mother’s jewelry. I’m here to get it back. I never expected in a hundred years to find you two here.” And with one swift movement he took the necklace from around the neck of a slightly un-fresh corpse and then removed her bracelet and ring.

Suddenly we heard footsteps and saw torches across the lawn. I recognized the voices. “Let’s go. They’re back.” And they were in full force, come to kill the Vampires, who just happened to be us.

We ran down the road as fast as we could. I help my skirt up around my knees and cursed the day I was born a girl. Damn it trousers would have been nice right then.

A cathedral lay ahead, lit up for the Christmas Eve service.

“We can’t go in there,” said Teddy in a panic.

“Why not?” Asked Val.

“Because,” said Teddy “We’re undead. We’re Vampires. We’ll die.”

“We’re not undead. Your heart beats. You have not one but two souls. You are a creature of the night, and this is a midnight service. We will be welcome and blessed for we do harm to no one.”

I grabbed Teddy by one hand and Val by the other and took them into the church. We sat in the back and quietly sang along with our angelic Vampire voices, savoring the candle light and peace of the moment.

After it was over we headed for home, a fashionable and safe house not far away.

“I thought it wasn’t safe for our kind in churches,” said Teddy.

“It usually isn’t.” Val said, brushing off his coat. “But they can’t hurt us in a church. Or at least they do not dare hurt us there. Besides, I like the music. It soothes me.”

“What did you mean about two souls? I thought my soul was gone.” Teddy looked at us in a very serious way.

“Do you think that anyone with so much love and passion could exist without a soul? Oh Teddy, don’t be such a child. We need two souls. One for our own existence and one for our shadow. Didn’t you know that?”

The first rays of dawn arrived as we arrived at the house. Teddy crashed in one of the spare bedrooms. But before he slept, he put the necklace he’d taken around my neck. “My mother always liked you. She would have wanted you to have this.”

I was honored and touched. Since then I’ve worn this necklace every Christmas season.

Vampire Heart

This story was first published here in 2012 but it is one of my favorite Christmas time memories. Hope you enjoyed it. And why yes, I’m going to a party this afternoon and wearing my Christmas necklace!

Happy Christmas to you and yours,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Silver memories of past and future

Together in the filtered light

Counting silver

Memories of parties

Celebrations

Traditions

Long conversations over wine

And cake.

Soon the knives and forks

Minus the moon and a cow

Will go with the spoons

To a new home

With new traditions

New hopes and dreams

And witness more love

Friendship

And life.

 

My husband and daughter are selling silver plate and sterling on ebay this week (Spring break.) She is learning about sales and business and setting a fine table. It is a way for father and daughter to bond and share.

The art of setting a fine table is fading away, but there are times when we should all bring out something special, be it a piece of silver, a crystal vase, or a beautiful set of goblets. Sets of silver plate are inexpensive, often less than stainless you’d get from any modern store. But there is something beautiful and calm and classy about the old patterns. The silver plate is warm and inviting.

Plus you can give your set a story and a history – it doesn’t have to be true, or can be true to you, or just interesting speculation.

Oh, and don’t forget to hang a spoon off of our nose (click here to find out how.)

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Day of the Dead/Dia de Los Muertos in Arizona

Day of the Dead – not a time to scare but a time to celebrate those we knew and those we loved and those who went before us. A wonderful celebration of life and memories we cherish.

Click on the link below to see ALL of the wonderful and colorful photos.

Thank you so much Diana Garcia for sharing this!

 

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Resolutions and whatever those things are called…oh right, predictions

Rather than resolutions for a new year, I used to write down predictions for the coming year and seal them in an envelope.

It could be anything from world news events to a romance involving a friend. Crazy, total fantasy or something very predictable – it didn’t matter. There were no limits to what could be written. It was usually my brother Val and me who did this. We once brought in a friend who tried to make it into something mystical and way too serious.

It wasn’t mystical at all. It was like a Ouija board where you know somebody is pushing but everyone giggles with shock over the messages from the spirit world.

No, it was just us putting down stuff on paper and sealing it up for a year.

The funny thing was that, no matter how outlandish or silly, 90% of all of the predictions came true. Huh.

OK that is that story. No dramatic music building up behind me and a dramatic twist. Maybe we were just good at observation. Maybe we were just lucky.

But what about resolutions? You know, those things we say we’re going to do to improve our lives and the lives of others. I dare not admit to the long list of things I plan on doing each year but end up not doing. It is easier to give up something for Lent (but I’m not Catholic so I don’t give up anything for Lent either, but the idea behind it is good if done with the heart and not out of a sense of mindless duty.)

But predictions…

Ahhhh. That could be fun. But please no mumbo jumbo or fortune-telling. No spirits. No grand illusions. No wishing for the impossible. No wishing at all – just predicting.

Just gut reactions off the top of your head. Add in a few funny ones. Add in a few wishful ones. Add some silly in there too. Then seal it up and forget it for a year.

  1. I predict that someone I know will become a famous writer. I predict more than one will make their mark in that circle.
  2. I predict that it will rain in March… for a week… or two.
  3. I predict that another dog will come into my life.
  4. I predict that I’ll attend an unexpected wedding.
  5. I predict that my children will do well.
  6. I predict that something extraordinary will happen in Congress.
  7. I predict that it will be a good year.
  8. I predict that an old rocker will make a real comeback with someone fairly new.
  9. I predict a week at the beach.
  10. I predict art – a lot of art.
  11. I predict finding treasure of some sort.
  12. I predict that someone close to me will do something very stupid but funny at the same time.
  13. I predict that the space program (NASA) will come back in full force.
  14. I predict that there will be a Volcano go off in North America – south of Alaska.
  15. I predict that I will see a bear (but I hope not too close.)
  16. I predict beautiful dresses and shoes to match.
  17. I predict my brother Max will finally get “it” right.
  18. I predict all Vampires I know will get exactly what they deserve.
  19. I predict that someone dear to me will find true love.
  20. I predict that my nails will always look good in 2014.
  21. I predict that there will be an amazing discovery in Louisiana.
  22. I predict that a planet with life will be found.
  23. I predict that Juliette aka Vampire Maman and Modern Vampires will become part of the popular vernacular.
  24. I predict that everyone will read my blog.
  25. I predict that my readers will retain their sense of humor, sense of wonder and any good sense they have.

Those were pretty random, but that is how it is supposed to be. That is what makes it so much fun.

I didn’t seal this in an envelope or keep it private… but this is just to give you an idea. Try it. Have fun. Happy New Year.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Be it the click of the metal keys or the click of a computer keyboard...I will write.

Be it the click of the metal keys or the click of a computer keyboard…I will write.