A Werewolf’s Train To Nowhere

A Werewolf’s Train To Nowhere

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

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

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

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

“I’m Juliette,” I said to the Werewolf girl. Holy crap I’d been stuck for a cross-country trip with four Werewolves.

“I’m Phoebe,” she said with a wink and a snarl.

Every muscle and bone on my body tightened up. I wanted to scream. Instead I just kept my place in my corner while my companions made as much noise as they could laughing out loud and of course the alcohol and drugs came out. Of course.

Just as the parting whistle blew the door opened again and in stepped my friend Pierce. Finally, another Vampire had arrived, and a strong protective one at that. His father owned the train car and I didn’t even put the two together. Pierce was a friend of my brothers Max and Andy. At age 28 (born in 1848) he was the oldest of our group. We made quite a contrast in our highly fashionable yet subdued attire compared to the flamboyant brightly dressed Werewolves. We were also a lot quieter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Small Ghosts – St. John the Baptist Cemetery – and my weird brother

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You never know who you are going to run into. Sunday morning we went out to the Farmer’s Market in Folsom. It wasn’t the usual California Certified Organic Farmer’s Market we usually go to, but one that was closer to home. We thought we’d give it a try.

By we I mean my teenage daughter Clara and my elder brother Max. Of course Max complained that he wasn’t a morning person. I told him it would be just like when we were kids. He wasn’t impressed but enough prodding and cajoling got him up and into his usual black shirt and jeans. I always tell him that a visit to my house never guarantees he will get any sleep.

Yes, that is what this Vampire family does every once in a while. For those of you who are new here…we don’t live in the dark shadows or crypts or old black houses or castles. Our world is the same as yours… only we’re not quite like everyone else.

He wasn’t impressed by the market either. It was small compared to the larger Certified Organic Farmer’s Market we’ve been going to since the kids were babies. On the bright side there was a wonderful tea and spice seller I’d go back for. We also picked up some wool for a friend who spins.

The crowd wasn’t large. Maybe it was the biting cold wind. Despite that Max still got more than his fair share of looks. There is something about him that attracts people – a magnetism that oozes out of him even when he is at his grumpiest. A smile from him can warm and chill like death depending on what kind of mood he is in.

“Your friends are so weird,”Max said out of the blue as I was exploring the spice and tea booth.

“Tell me something I don’t know. At least they’re interesting.”

The night before we’d been out and about doing Vampire stuff (you know – Vampire stuff) and ran into my old pal Foxy Mendoza (aka Mitch aka Jonathan.) Foxy is pretty annoying and an acquired taste like fermented shark or unripe green oranges or dog food on toast. Foxy is always fun and flashy and for some reason he can charm those warm-blooded ladies unlike most Vampires. Women are attracted to Max like they’re attracted to chocolate or shoes. They like Foxy like … I have no idea. Last night Foxy was wearing red pants (something nobody should wear over the age of five) with a blue and green vest that he wore over a black shirt. This was topped with a pork pie hat with a peacock feather in it. None of it went with his strawberry blonde hair and pale complexion. He was talking about how cheese and mustard pairs up and the historic… anyway, it was annoying – but fun to watch. Plus Foxy is always so glad to see us.

So back to the Farmer’s Market. I saw a few parents from the school so we had to chat. Max was charming as I introduced him.

By the time all of the booths had been viewed and we’d visited with our friends Max and Clara were ready to go.

On the way home I decided to stop by the old St. John the Baptist Catholic cemetery (this is really an old-fashioned graveyard.) You’ll find no lavish crypts here. It is a small plot of about two or three acres and a small church founded in 1853. Yes, this was the Gold Rush Era in California. Irish emigrants came here to find their fortunes, make a better life and for many, die before their time. Unfortunately like many cemeteries of that time a high number of the graves are those of children and young people in their teens and twenties. Deaths at a young age were not unexpected, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t tragic or heartbreaking to their families and friends.

Max walked alone for a bit while Clara and I looked for stories in the headstone inscriptions.

A few were born around the same time as us or born before we were. We remembered places like this as a child, but so many are now gone or moved. Maxwell was born in 1849 on a ship in San Francisco Bay. I came along ten years later with three more brothers in-between us. We thought such practices of burying folks was odd, until we were told that we were not like others. If we were lucky and smart we’d be around long after the white stones turned gray with age and wind wore the names down to a faint scratch.

We didn’t feel any ghosts in this place. We never have. Everyone had moved on or moved elsewhere. Maybe under a full moon or an anniversary there might be the spirit of one of the occupants, but the place has never felt overly haunted like other places of the dead. You might find them (ghosts) walking the banks of the lake or sitting on the edge of the bluffs, but not here where they were laid to rest so long ago.

That isn’t quite the entire story. In the back, along the fence is the lone grave of a small child. She didn’t live during the Gold Rush but a much later addition. Her name was Julie Ann and she lived from 1975 to 1983. Over the years her grave has been visited by strangers but there is no sign of anyone around who loved or cared about her. Her stone is covered with dirt, lichen and leaves. She is alone, far from the family graves of children who lived in the nineteenth century.  I hope she was loved. More than anything I hope she isn’t there.

As a rule I hate ghosts, but the small ones are sad little things that need to move on and have their peace.

Clara jolted Max out of his revelries by bumping on his arm and asking, “So, Uncle Max, how long do you plan on having the squirrel on your face?”

“Excuse me?” Max looked annoyed.

“The beard. I think it looks good,” I told him. It does looks good – short and neat, not one of those shaggy things.

“You should shave it off. But I like the glasses,” said Clara. Like a lot of teenage girls, Clara thinks glasses on good-looking guys is ultra hot. She wandered off to look at more stones and find things to tell her friends about.

Max stopped by one of the older stones and smiled. The inscription was of a 21-year-old women from Ireland who died in 1862. She’d come all the way to California only to quickly die.

My brother glanced at me. “She isn’t there.”

“Tell me more,” I said leaning against him in that funny way siblings lean on each other.

“Mom turned her.”

I almost said HOLY SHIT, but let him continue his story.

“The lass was in an abusive marriage. As a Vampire she could have freedom she never had as a young wife with a husband who thought it was his duty to beat her. So with the help of our dear mother she escaped and a stone was placed on an empty grave.” Then he gave a low laugh. “She lives in Seattle now.”

“You know her?”

“Yes, I know her. Oh don’t look surprised. She seduced me when I was sixteen.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“You were only six – just a kid.”

We looked up to see Clara looking at more stones as she made her way back up to the car. I was not going to tell her about Max’s friend. She could learn about that later – much later.

Anyway, for those of you who are traveling around Northern California or in  the Sacramento area and looking for something to do on a Saturday or Sunday check out Folsom. You can visit St. John the Baptist then talk a walk down historic Sutter Street, have lunch, shop or stop by and have a beer at one of the many fine pubs. Walk down to the old Powerhouse or across the old footbridge and get a first class view of the beautiful Rainbow Bridge and Lake Natoma. Then have a picnic at Negro Bar State Park and feed the geese and ducks at the beach. Bring your bicycles and ride around the lake on the American River Bike Trail. Or head over to the Folsom Zoo where you can see the most amazing assortment of wild animals (from tigers to hawks to monkeys) who have been rescued and can no longer survive in the wild on their own. Then take a drive over to Folsom Dam. There used to be water in the lake before the drought (really, I kid you not.) You can also see the famous Folsom Prison which is right next to the lake. Maybe you’ll hear the ghost of Johnny Cash singing in the hills (I doubt that too but it sure would be cool.)

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman
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On the American River Bike Trail near Negro Bar.

On the American River Bike Trail near Negro Bar.

The answer is still no

I’ve frequently posted answers to questions about Vampires on this blog. The answer is usually “no” or “I won’t tell you.”

I’ve also commented on things NOT to say to Vampires. Well, I’m in hot water because some readers want to know what the CAN say to a Vampire.

So what CAN and SHOULD you say to a Vampire?

Of course my brain immediately went blank. I suppose you could say anything polite and witty to a Vampire and you’d be OK…. maybe.

The general rule is that if you know someone is a Vampire, and you’re not, it isn’t always going to go well.

So in musing about this subject I asked Tellias, one of the ancient Vampires in my life about conversations with regular people.

We were sitting on his front porch a few nights ago sipping cold goblets of Poets Blood (from a new shipment at Dave’s Dark Wine Emporium) pondering the meaning of life.

He told me story about how he handled questions from regular humans who find through various means that we’re Vampires.

“Juliette, my dear girl,” he started as he took my hand. “They’re naturally curious about us, as you well know. Back in my Roman days they considered me a minor demigod. They knew I was different with certain powers but they didn’t know what a Vampire was. I went along with it and used it to my advantage, rather innocently I dare say. But sometimes I’d just be annoyed by not being with my own kind, like a foreigner in my own land.

Every once in a while someone would ask me if they’d suddenly have the ability to see the Gods or see the future if I’d drink their blood or something ridiculous like that. I brushed off most questions. I mean, it was a good life, I can’t say it wasn’t. I lived in luxury, the pretty blonde boy who couldn’t be killed and could read minds and keep everyone feeling calm. But after a while I wanted my own kind. I wanted to be with a woman who liked a cold touch and understood what I was. Converting someone wasn’t an option. Roman culture wasn’t right for Vampires. I needed a real Vampire woman. I found her in Britain. Right, but back to your question. Their questions. As long as someone isn’t rude or exceptionally stupid I’ll answer anything. Of course I’d rather they not even know I’m a Vampire in the first place. But if someone does know, like those rare people who DO know just because they know, or those who find out accidentally…what were we talking about? Oh yes, as long as they don’t ask to be converted into a Vampire or ask stupid personal questions I’m not going to be offended. It still doesn’t mean I’ll answer them.”

He ran his hand though his white blond hair and gave me a smile. “Of course I always taught you kids that no matter how friendly or comfortable regular people are with Vampires, you always have to keep that thin line of fear between you and them. We can’t let them get too comfortable or we might as well end up becoming Vegans and turn to dust.”

Tellias always had a way of making things make sense even when he wasn’t completely at his wits. The 2,000 year old Vampire looks all of age 20 but spent centuries nurturing and mentoring the Vampire community.

As for my friends, my few friends who know I’m not like them, I let them know there are limits on what I will and won’t tell them. It all boils down to good manners and respect.

Tellias started to hum a tune I didn’t recognize, something ancient and strange. I sipped from my goblet and listened to the sounds of the night thinking of how odd it is of us to be so different, yet to us it was so normal. Then again, maybe we’re the normal ones.

And the answer is still no.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Innocenzio D’Antonio

Innocenzio D’Antonio came to Sacramento in the 1850’s with a troupe of actors to make his fortune. He’d started as an opera singer in his native Italy and unfortunately did not make it into the famous opera houses in Europe, fell in love with an Austrian actress and ended up with her talking him into joining an American theater company touring California during the Gold Rush.

Innocenzio D’Antonio had the voice of an avenging angel, rich and strong. He could certainly sing the corset off of any woman but he was pure of heart and a true and honest lover to his dear Austrian maid. Well at least until she left him high and dry in San Francisco, leaving him for a dashing gambler.

Upon reaching Sacramento Innocenzio D’Antonio noticed a young man singing one night at a party held by a well-known business man. It was odd to him that a child so young should be up so late into the night. But that was put aside when he heard the child’s beautiful voice. The voice was precious beyond compare. It was the voice of heaven and the angels above. It was the voice of all that was good and pure in the world. It brought Innocenzio D’Antonio to tears. And yet, there was something strong and dark about the voice. There was something about the voice that brought the opera singer both to tears and made the hair on the back of his neck stand up.

A well dressed man stood next to Innocenzio D’Antonio and said “I noticed you were moved by the sound of the my son Andrew’s singing. Amazing considering he is only nine years old. However, my child could use formal music lessons from a master, such as you. If you’re interested I will pay you well. I have four other children as well. The eldest three could all benefit from your talents Mr. D’Antonio.”

The next evening Innocenzio (as we shall now call him by his first name only) showed up at the elegant home of the child Andrew. He was met warmly by the father and met the rest of the family. The oldest boy was 10-year-old Maxwell, followed by 9-year-old Andrew, then 7-year-old Aaron, then 16 month old Valentine and the infant Juliette. Their mother was a vision of beauty and all that was good and pure. Such elegance in movement in style he had rarely encountered in his lifetime.

Over the next few months he came to look forward to music lessons for the three eldest boys. Maxwell and Aaron had uncommonly beautiful voice, but it was young Andrew who had the voice of an angel sent straight from heaven. Innocenzio thought of how many churches, even those in Rome would give anything to have this voice in their stables of singers. He thought of the great opera houses in Europe that would be mobbed with patrons trying to hear Andrew sing.

Before meeting this most wonderful family Innocenzio had suffered deep waves of melancholia. He’d blame it on heart-break, disappointment or even being cursed, but now, every time he left the home of Andrew’s family, Innocenzio felt as if he were the most content and happy man alive.

After a time the father announced that they would have a party and invite all of their closest friends. Andrew would sing at midnight. Innocenzio thought that was too late for such a young child but the parents brushed it off with a gentle smile. It was difficult for Innocenzio to disagree.

The night of the party was filled with excitement. The large mansion was filled with the most elegant people he’d ever seen. Some he’d met before while out in the evenings around the city and some were stranger. But they all had a certain quiet about them and calm that he had never seen anywhere else, not even in a church or monestary.

The mother, the beautiful mother who still took his breath away when he saw her, asked him to sing. Innocenzio was feeling happy and light so he sang the drinking song from the fairly new opera La Traviata and to his delight the group joined in. They all had good voices. Afterwards they gathered around Innocenzio and congratulated him on his success and welcomed him into their society.

While he was delighted and honored there was a certain sense of unease about him. Innocenzio had a sense that something was about to happen, as if he was a lamb facing the hungry jaws of a lion. A strong sense of fear started to creep into his soul. He was confused and ashamed. After all, he was in the home of people who had become dear friends, a second family almost.

The mother, pulled him aside and put her arm in his. “My dear Innocenzio, my love, do not fear. I know what is in your heart and soul. You know us so you sense that we are different. We are different you know. We’re very different from you.”

Her eyes were the color of a fantasy seascape, her lips perfect, her chestnut hair was loose around her shoulders. He lost himself and took her into his arms and kissed her. His head went light. She stepped back and smiled. It was as if he’d lost his entire heart and more so his soul to her.

“I could take your soul if I wished, but dear Innocenzio, I must tell you a story of my life and of my people.” Then she sat him down and told him the most fantastic and horrific tale he’d ever heard in his life. He was both seduced and repulsed. His senses were confused, his emotions out of control, his body yearning for everything she had to offer.

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2013

Sometimes being a mom is everything, but sometimes I like to have my time with my friends.  I heard the knock on my door and standing there was my dear friend  back from a trip to Europe.

“Juliette” he said with his gorgeous voice, “you are still more beautiful than Venus herself”.

“And you’re still full of crap Innocenzio D’Antonio ” I said with a smile.

“Never,” he said taking my hands and kissing my cheek.

We don’t keep many friends so long, but when we do it is worth it. Every time I see my mother I want to thank her for talking Innocenzio into being one of us.

As Vampires we don’t bring just anyone into our world, but when we do it is magic.

On the other hand, anytime a true friendship forms, even if nobody changes, it is magic and a true joy.

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That’s it for today,

Have a wonderful week!

Happy birthday to Kim and Mike today! xoxoxo And have a safe trip home to my dear English family.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

dashing man

Glue Slugs, Teens and the Realities of Modern Vampire Parenting

Most people think Vampire teens live in a Harry Potterish world where the teens live in castle-like Hogwartish schools and earn their first red lined capes. They think every bit is schooling is something kids can sink their teeth into. They think it is all black and dripping blood and castles and dark nights with bats and cobwebs. Think again.

Our kids go to public schools (same public high school that writer Nicholas Sparks and singer Lynn Anderson went to) and live at home with their parents. They go out during the day (with lots of sun screen and protection for their eyes). They don’t wear capes. Black shirts are the same black shirts all the kids get from Hot Topics.

The push for the Modern Vampire movement came around 1800 when the ideals of mankind and the human experience began to change. People were thinking more of freedom, freewill, individualism and personal choice. Tradition was no longer the way of the future. The world was changing and a few free spirited Vampires wanted to change with it.

Vampires were tired of being “in the dark”. Granted we still had to keep secrets but the days of lurking in dark gloomy places were over. No more lurking. We took on a more kinder gentler philosophy of “helping” regular humans rather than harming them. Yes, we still be scary – really really really scary but that is another blog post another day.

The California Gold Rush symbolized a huge change in culture. My parents along with a contingency of Vampires from all over the United States, Canada and Europe came to California to make a new life and a new culture of Modern Vampires. Those in the forefront of the California movement were my parents, Nathaniel Chase, Alphonso and Diana Chase, the Elders Tellias and Eleora and Thomas Kent.

At the same time Vampires in England and Boston were making changes to become more modern and free of the old chains that kept them literally in the dark. Anyway, again, that isn’t what this post is about.

My daughter had to make a model of a habitat for science. I thought in 8th grade they’d be done with models but I was wrong. So at the 11th hour she was trying to glue rocks together to make an octopus cave.

Glue does not attach to rocks – at least not the rocks in our yard. She used white glue and then the glue gun. This was after I said 100 times “don’t get glue on the carpet”.  We ended up with about two dozen glue slugs. Those were the odd creatures that fell off of the rocks we’d tried to glue together. Eventually between the glue gun, the white glue and adding dirt and paper the child figured out how to make it work. It worked quite well.  But that said, I know I’ll be finding glue slugs all over the house for the next year. Stuff like that just seems to migrate.

So needless to say modern Vampire life isn’t like a movie. The only thing that drips much is glue or vases with cracks in them (another story I won’t go into today) or nail polish. Live with a teen girl and there WILL be nail polish spilled.

Spilled milk? Forget that – spilled nail polish always makes me want to cry. At least you can wipe up milk. You can wipe up blood and keep it from staining if you get it early enough. Try wiping up nail polish. Especially black nail polish.  (Simple Green works great on blood and red wine.)

There are bigger things to like visiting colleges in the state and starting to put together dozens of applications. Good grades, leadership and volunteer work are no longer guarantees to getting into anywhere. Living in the state where the public university resides is no longer a guarantee either (then what the HELL have I been paying taxes for all these years?)

In the fall one is starting high school too so there are all those bits and pieces to deal with. Summer is already starting to book up solid with events for school and sports and must-go-to-concerts, and of course books I need to finish (writing not reading.)

To add to this flurry of activity are the Vampire parenting things that other folks don’t have to deal with. We need to teach the teens how to be responsible with their donors and how to hunt. Earlier this year we had seminars in avoiding Vampire Hunters. I’ve covered the whole “Men in Black” issues with them. And there are always Time Travelers, Ghosts, Goblins and a variety of other nasty creatures we have to deal with. No relaxing for the Vampire parents.

They are watching out for their sometimes socially awkward Werewolf friends. Werewolf kids are in the same situation but sometimes their problems are more difficult (the full moon and body hair thing).

So last night after I pulled a glue slug off of my bare foot I was just thinking of stuff. You know, just mom stuff. That’s all.

Have a good weekend everyone. And don’t forget to HUG those teens of yours and TALK with your kids and laugh too. Always laugh.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman