Short Story Sunday: A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

Everyone loves Christmas stories, especially those of journeys and discovery and love. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my Christmas stories with you – that is Vampire Christmas stories. Some of you might have read this one before but go ahead and pour a glass of wine, or a goblet of blood or even hot chocolate and enjoy this one again. xoxoxo

I LOVE this Christmas tale.

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

People don’t know who or what we are. We’ve kept it that way for centuries, as stories and myths over ride any sense of reality in the minds of men.

In December of 1875 tragedy came into our lives. My best friend Isabelle fell under the spell of rogue Vampires and almost killed my brother Max’s best friend, who was the son of my parent’s closest regular human friends. You see, for those of you who are new here, we’re Vampires. As part of the Modern Vampire movement, we go by the rule that nobody is ever turned into a Vampire without consent.

Anyway, scandal was the only word for it. Theodore Kings, my brother’s 26 year old friend was not only the smartest and most handsome regular human any of us had ever met, he was also a kind man who was engaged to be married in February. Isabella decided she wanted the handsome Teddy for herself. We almost lost Teddy, as in death. Not the death one has when turning into a Vampire, but forever death. And when my father did manage to save our beloved friend, dear Teddy was horrified at what he had become…he was horrified at what we all were…but that is another story for another time.

My parents were upset at the prospect of Isabella or any of her rogue friends contacting, or corrupting my brother Valentine or me so we were to be sent away for a few months to keep us out of trouble. The plan was to send us to New York to say with my Grandmama Lola for Christmas. I was 16 and Val was 17 and the prospect of the big city was more exciting than anything we’d ever experienced. Plus it helped us get our minds off of Isabella and Teddy. Most of all it got us away from the eyes of our parents.

Yet, Val and I were also angry that my parents had so little trust in us that they thought it necessary to ship us off clear across the country. After all, we were practically adults. In fact, in most circles at that time we would have been considered adults who could get employment, get married or live independently.

My father’s friend Nathaniel Chase agreed to take Val and I from California to New York City on the train. Nathaniel had his own private luxury car so nobody thought there would be any problems. Nathaniel was the very image of the sophisticated and charming Modern Vampire. He was also cunning and dangerous in his own ways – enough to take care of two over active Vampire teens. What trouble could a couple of teens get into when watched over by a 400 year old Vampire?

On the first night Val and I explored the train. There were dining cars, first class, second class, other private luxury cars and all sorts of interesting people. Nathaniel was busy with “business.” Unfortunately that didn’t last for long. He was scolding us for getting too friendly with people, running, sticking our heads out the window and laughing too loud. That was just the short list.

On the second night he caught Val in an embrace with an attractive woman from San Francisco. That didn’t go over too well either. Val used the excuse he was just being a Vampire. Nathaniel knew better.

On the third night there was a party in another private car in which there were plates full of beautiful treats. I had my first eclaire. It was huge – the size of a man’s hand. That with a stomach full of warm blood (from a handsome 19 year old who claimed to be the son of a famous minister), a bottle of sparkling pink wine (which I wasn’t supposed to have) and sugar (which makes Vampires absolutely ill) had me throwing up most of the night.

By the time we got to our first stay over in Chicago, Nathaniel Chase was ready to lock the both of us up for good. But he didn’t.

We stayed in a large new mansion built after the great fire of 1871. It was there for Vampires of our rank. Val and I were in heaven. Off of the train with Nathaniel gone most of the time!

Nathaniel had given us a full set of rules and warnings. Bite only on the wrist, not the neck. Don’t go into questionable parts of town (he supplied coordinates.) Do not talk to Vampires you don’t know. Don’t be turned by a pretty face. Watch for Vampire Hunters. Stay close to the house. Shop, have fun, act normal. Under no circumstance let anyone suspect you are different. Don’t act like children.

Val and I did all that and more. We were the perfect little citizens. At parties everyone commented on how charming young well-mannered people we were. I’m sure that warmed the cold heart of the old Vampire Nathaniel Chase.

On our fourth day in Chicago Val and I were walking along at dusk when we heard a great commotion coming from a warehouse. And you would be right if you guessed we were in a part of town we shouldn’t have been in.

Inside of the building a large group of men were standing in an impromptu arena yelling and cheering. We thought it might be a boxing match until we realized it was a dog fight. Beasts of all sizes had been brought in to tear each other apart. We could smell the blood and the fear in the dogs. We could also smell the excitement and blood lust in the men who watched the fights. I held Val’s arm, utterly appalled by what I saw. Ears were torn off, bowels were torn open and dogs howled and whimpered in pain.

Then just as I thought I’d seen enough a large man held something out to five growling dogs.

“I present you Lucifer. Tonight you will see before your very eyes these dogs devour the devil.” And he held up a black kitten of about 5 months who cried with pitiful mews of fear. My cold blood boiled.

Hiking up my skirts I climbed the ropes around the arena and entered the ring. I yelled at the man to put down the cat. He laughed. Then I growled at him showing my fangs. In horror the man lashed out striking me across the face. His large ring made a gash across my cheek. Val jumped the ropes and came to my rescue. Knocking them man down he was about to tear his arm off when someone grabbed us up by our collars and threw both of us out into the snow.

Nathaniel Chase and two other Vampires stood there looking at us in disgust. We could hear the commotion inside of the warehouse grow louder.

Nathaniel pulled me to him and yanked me into a waiting carriage. “You could have had us all killed.” His coat smelled slightly of patchouli and roses. I saw a long light brown hair against the black of his jacket. He’d been visiting a woman. I should have known.

“You were with a woman weren’t you?” I glared at him with the triumph of someone too stupid to know what I was saying.

His eyes lit up with a fire and he pulled me around in front of his face holding both of my arms like vices. “It isn’t just small animals that they kill. They kill what they do not know or understand. They kill what they fear. They kill anything they see as evil.”

“But they’re evil themselves,” I stammered back, unable to move or remove myself from his glare.

“No, it is their world, so be it if it is ruled by ignorance and superstition. You must NEVER show yourself for what you are. Never. So help me God Juliette, if you ever do anything like this again I will make sure you will spend the rest of your days drinking rancid blood out of a gourd, in a dungeon so deep you’ll forget there are stars in the sky.”

He let me go and turned to my brother. “As for you Valentine. I have no words to express my disappointment in you.”

One of the other Vampires, an elegant looking man called Joseph pulled a small black kitten out of his coat pocket and handed it to me. “I believe this is yours. Do not forget the price you paid for his freedom.”

All the way back Nathaniel lectured us on responsibility and stupidity. When we returned to the house he vanished into the study with the two men. We were told to go to our rooms and stay there until midnight.

I lay on my bed and cried my heart out. Val came in and sat quietly next to me. We were utter failures.

When the large clock at the end of the hall struck midnight we left the room and went in search of Nathaniel Chase.

On the balcony he stood cradling the sleeping kitten in his arms. He quietly sang to himself in Welsh the old song “All Through the Night.”

All the stars’ twinkles say

All through the night

“This is the way to the realm of glory,”

All through the night.

Darkness is another light

That exposes true beauty

The Heavenly family in peace

All through the night.

“You have Lucifer,” I said stroking the purring kitten under his chin.

Nathaniel gave me a rare smile. “His name is Gabrielle now. He’ll go where I go. Do you know who Gabrielle was.”

“I believe an arch angel,” said Val.

“Gabrielle was a messenger. So is this little beast in my arms, brought to us in order to teach the two of you humility. But also to teach me what good hearts you have. Compassion is a rare and wonderful thing. It can also be a danger if you react in fear and by letting your heart lead the way.” He held up a hand knowing what I was going to say. “Your heart and the feelings of your heart are important. But you must be smart. You must not be like your friend Isabelle who turned a man into a Vampire, almost killing him and committing his soul to Hell. She claimed it was romantic but it was cruel and selfish.” He handed me the cat now called Gabriel. “Take care of this cat until we get to your Grandmama’s, then he is mine. And Juliette, remember that we are like dark angels who inhabit the night. No matter how much good we may do we are still to be feared by those who are not our kind.”

Gabrielle lived for another 22 years and went everywhere with Nathaniel Chase.

Val and I got to our Grandmama Lola’s house in New York City by Christmas Eve night.

Nathaniel Chase still doesn’t have much confidence in me. I made mistakes with my heart over the years, as did Val. But we learned that we must keep our hearts to ourselves and take action with our brains and with conviction and with deliberate action.

A few weeks ago I visited Nathaniel, along with my brother Val and my husband Teddy. He still looked the same as he did in 1875. He still has a black cat. The current one is named Michael. They’re all named after angels. Small dark angels of hope and love.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from all of the Vampires and their cats.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

This story was first posted December, 2013

Stories We Shall Never Tell

night street

 

In the dark

We ran through the streets

Slick with rain

Back alleys

Darkened windows

Broken glass

Rats

The smell of decay

And death.

Then into grand mansions

We’d fly

Cloaks off

The rustle of silk

A white tie

A flash of fang

The smell of wine

Cigars

And blood.

We were young

Carefree

With stories

We shall never

Tell

Our own

Children.

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Boys are Stupid, Chapter 39

Clara (14): So what happens when she breaks up with you and you get all butt hurt and can’t stand to see her face but you know you’re going to keep running into her for the next 200 years?

Garrett (17): Go away Clara.

_____________________

Garrett is my romantic soul. He adores girls. They adore him.

Clara is still annoyed at the whole thing. I know she has had a crush or two. I know she likes the attention she gets from boys, but she sees teen relationships as something that gets in the way of everything else. Her dad told her not to be too hard on her friends who have boyfriends/girlfriends. Not so judgmental.

Garrett just tells her to shut up. And then again, sometimes he talks to her late into the night about life and love…solving the world’s problems. That is something teens do well, maybe better than the most of us. But none the less, Clara still thinks boys are stupid (for the most part.)

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Vampire guilt and parenting… more musings and general BS

Juliette Vampire Maman

Juliette
Vampire Maman

Someone recently asked me if Vampires have support groups for our guilt about being what we are.

I think not.

What would we talk about? My obsession with tofu? My secret spray on tan? My loathing of black clothing?

Even the lowliest of Vampires, the shadow creepers, the awkward ones who live in the dark underground are no ashamed of who and what they are. They know they have support if they need it. All they have to do is reach out and find another of their kind.

OK that isn’t completely true. But support groups?

I know I’m insensitive. I’m writing myself into a hole. Actually I’m not insensitive. I’m extremely sensitive, but…

I asked my friend Adam the Werewolf about it. He said they just go out for a run in the woods and pee on things when they feel misunderstood. Actually he said, “mark territory.”

Oh right, this is a parenting blog…

My kids were fortunate enough to have a speaker come into their school and talk to them about life and such. Yes, he was a motivational speaker, but not the sort that I have railed against (the con artists). This guy actually helps kids. He lets them know that life is HARD, not all puppies and bunnies. BUT if they stop worrying about the small stuff then the big stuff will be easier. He talked with a lot of kids afterword and from what I hear has helped teens who are sexually abused, bullied or just plain confused.

That brought on discussions about leaders and followers and cults and joiners and the importance of being yourself and being confident and taking control of your life.

I was dealing the other day with Matthew, an old Vampire who has just come out into the modern world, as well as Cody who has been a Vampire less than two years.

What a difference. Matthew was living in the dark almost in hiding. I don’t think he truly ever accepted who and what he is. Cody on the other hand is completely taking control of his situation. It doesn’t help that Cody is sleeping with my great great great grandmother but that is another story.

So, where were we?

Ummmm, Vampires, teens, staying true, self-confidence…

What I have tried to instill into my kids is that you have to be true to yourself. Be proud of yourself. That said, if you want something you have to work for it. That is true with everything, including relationships with others. How you treat others is important. Support, respect differences, encourage openness, and always remember to laugh. Keep a sense of humor. Don’t let your friends brood – and be there for them. Especially with Vampires – we tend to brood. That isn’t a good thing. It is both depressing and unattractive.

That said, and that includes my jaded opinions of almost everything… if you see someone who needs help, is sad, is depressed, is in trouble or confused – help them. Get them the resources they need. Or most of all, just listen. The best advice you can give is silent – just listen. Make tea, hold a hand, go for a walk, bring flowers and just listen. And a hug is good too.

So I will deal with my feelings for tofu on my own and make no excuses. I like tofu. That is ok, even for a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman

Heart & Soul: Vampires & Ghosts – More Musings from a Vampire Maman

butterflyClara said “It would be weird living in the White House with tours all the time. I mean, like, it would be weird hanging out at home and having a tour go by.”

I told my 14 year old that the White House was quite large and that I didn’t believe tours covered the private family quarters, except maybe some of the guest rooms like the Lincoln Bedroom. After a bit of discussion I explained that some people believe that Lincoln’s ghost still haunts the place.

“Why would he want to haunt people there?” The child asked. “He wouldn’t want to scare anyone.”

“Haunting isn’t always scaring. But he was murdered and that is why he is a ghost. Most ghosts are those who are killed before their time or murdered.”

More lessons in history.

School, that is High School has been uneventful this new school year. That is a good thing. Clara was asked to be on the Cross Country team (but turned it down.)  The teachers are all good now and getting to know her and appreciate the unique spirits of all of the kids. That is what teachers do. She is making a lot of new friends – a good thing.

Garrett is having the time of his life as a Senior looking forward to school and being on the top of the high school totem pole.

I found a note he’d written, in the dryer as usual.

No matter

No matter when

No matter where

No matter who you are with

No matter who I am with

We will always love

Each other

Because we are of the shadows

Children of the moon and stars

Darkness surrounds us

But light stays in our heart

And souls

Huh.

I  love Ione but her family is, well, not exactly the kind any Modern Vampire would want their son to marry into. Not her parents. Her parents are some of our best friends, but it is the community they used to belong to.

They were the kind of Vampires that inhabit nightmares. Their purpose in life, if you can call it that, is to be a predator. They don’t give back, they don’t have relationships of any kind with humans, they don’t care. They’ll sooner suck out your soul and let their own soul die than to be a part of human society. They are the undead and those without souls or at least that is what we (the Modern Vampires) say. It is hard to explain. Anyway… I can deal with them and can logically say that their lifestyle is their choice. They leave us alone, we leave them alone for the most part. Our paths cross. But I can’t trust them. And I won’t trust them around my Modern Vampire Children.

We all have had people like that in our lives.

Ione’s  mom Violet dropped her off and stayed to visit a while. She worried as well that those who live in the shadows with dead souls would come after her kids. I assured her that she was doing a great job with her girls and didn’t need to worry about it. But she’ll worry. So will I. We’re moms. Worry is what we do, even if we are Vampire moms.

I was going to write on something else, not the blog, the never ending book that scares me more than any Vampire or Werewolf or Ghost…

When I hear someone softly singing “Heart and Soul”, you know the song…

Heart and soul, I fell in love with you, 
Heart and soul, the way a fool would do, 
Madly… 
Because you held me tight, 
And stole a kiss in the night… 

Heart and soul, I begged to be adored, 
Lost control, and tumbled overboard, 
Gladly… 
That magic night we kissed, 
There in the moon mist.

Oh! but your lips were thrilling, much too thrilling, 
Never before were mine so strangely willing.

But now I see, what one embrace can do, 
Look at me, it’s got me loving you, 
Madly… 
That little kiss you stole, 
Held all my heart and soul.

I turned around to face the Ghost.

He gave me a smile that made me uncomfortable. “If I was human and you were human and we were both single…there in the moon mist, with your lips so thrilling…”

“What do you want?” I asked him. Damn he is annoying.

“You know I was murdered.”

“I figured. We’ve talked about this before,”  I answered. Sometimes I wonder what he did to deserve it other than being annoying and talking too much.

He put his hands down as if to touch me and I watched it go through my shoulder. “I don’t know who killed me,” said the ghost.

“If you find out will you go away?”

He shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know Juliette. I just don’t know. Weird how these things happen. And speaking of weird…”

Then he vanished as if someone had blown out a candle.

I swear, nothing gives a Vampire the creeps more than a ghost.  But on the other hand…

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman

Letters from Juliette – tales of young love and high school

I was going to write a post on love letters tonight but my kids, especially my daughter, started to talk about kids at school and relationships and making friends, so we’re still on track, just a slightly different track.

High School has started an already the teens (Garrett age 17 and Clara age 14) are already in the full swing of things. No slow starts here – they jump right into the fire.

Their both in their rooms doing homework, with friends via iPhone and Skype.

School has always been easy for Garrett. He is charming and sweet and smart. And being as good looking as his father (the most handsome man who ever lived) he has it made more or less. My son makes straight A’s, has a huge circle of friends and has flirted with every girl he has ever met. A girl who meets Garrett will think she is beautiful for the rest of her life – because he knows that all girls are beautiful. ALL girls.

Garrett’s circle of friends, includea a somewhat large group of V-Teens. That is Vampire Teens, and yes, for those of you who might be new here I cover parenting topics with special notes on Vampire Teens (for after all this is Vampiremaman.com)

But Garrett is my romantic. I find love poems he has scrawled in the laundry, underneath couch cousins, tucked away in books and binders. Right now he is dating Ione, another Vampire Teen, but who knows how long that will last. I hope through the senior year or at least until they leave for college next fall.

Clara on the other hand only has a few Vampire kids at school her age, but that doesn’t bother her. She is quickly making a lot of friends. New names come up in every conversations. They get to know each other through what band shirts they wear, by their classes and where they sit at lunch.

And that brings us to relationships. Tonight Clara told me about a boy she can’t talk to anymore, or he can’t talk to her. His girlfriend told him not to talk to any girls she hasn’t approved. This has been going on for a year. When he tries to break up with her she lies and gets him into trouble. This poor boy is in an abusive situation and he can’t see it. I hope he tells his parents he need help, but he won’t. They rarely do.

This girl is what I call a predator. More than any Vampire ever was. She has her minions who do her bidding. She threatens and kills to get to the top of the popularity charts with all the mean girl tactics in the book. And end the end, after high school, she might stay at the top, but…

Anyway, PLEASE talk to your teen about relationships. The sooner the better. And don’t pretend you were some lily white virgin until you got married at age 36, because you were not a lily white virgin. Just like you had your heart broken, you smoked pot, you drank until you threw up, you did all sorts of things your parents didn’t know about. And most of all you had your heart broken and you were in bad relationships. You don’t have to tell your kids everything, but use your experiences to teach your own kids not to make the same mistakes.

One of the best books out there on bad relationships, a book I feel most teens should read is The Jealously Game by Mandy White. It is short, under 100 pages, and Ms White has made it available for FREE download FOREVER. She feels like it is that important, and it is. Click here for the link.

Homework is boring, it is confusing, most kids are nice, teachers are weird and stressed, and the kids are doing fine. They’re in High School. Clara was smiling, that knowing smile that girls have, when she got off of the phone with her “friend”, a boy she just met, who is good at math and helped her get through her homework. She could have asked her brother or dad or me. But she had another offer from someone else.

This afternoon traveling home from a business meeting with Nathaniel Chase.

I’ve known Nathaniel my entire life.

He is like that “Most Interesting Man in the World” character from the Dos Equis ads.  A man (in Nathaniel’s case a Vampire) who has done it all and done it with style, class and perfection. Except he is much much older but looks much much younger. And he drives me absolutely nuts.

I spoke to him of the adventures of my teens when of course he threw it back at me, way back to when I was young.

“I used to see you looking at the women who seemed to float with beauty. You wished you could be like them. You turned more heads than you thought.” He said this in his perfect voice, for all things, of course, are perfect with Nathaniel.

“That isn’t true and I had my charms.”

“You have more than your share of charm, you still do. But you wanted to be one of them.”

“For about five minutes.”

“You still want to be one of them.”

“I wrote all of their love letters for them.”

“Like Cyrano,” he said flatly, trying to be cool, but I know he was amused and surprised.

“Without the big nose. I even wrote letters to you, under a different name of course.”

“Who?”

“I’ll never tell. Oh, right, she did break your heart, if only for maybe a week or two. And there was more than one. All the girls loved you. I have no idea why.”

I was just giving him a bad time, but at least it made me smile.

Anyway, that is a story for another post, but the point is that school has started and no matter how old they get we need to keep the lines of communication open for our kids. We need to listen. We need to laugh with them. We need to talk with them about anything. More than ever now is a time to give them that sounding board for safe discussion about things that might make us uncomfortable – like love and relationships and homework.

I’ll have more on the subject of love letters later this week.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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