Short Story Sunday: Glass Dreams

Dreams: An Austin and Elizabeth Story (Part 15)

“I had one of those real dreams last night. You know those dreams where it seems real. I mean really real, like you’re there and you know the people. Dreams that make you feel like it is happening to you RIGHT NOW.”

The dream involved a zombie apocalypse, an air ship sort of air plane, a roughly handsome zombie general who was addicted to prescription pain killers and carried a guitar with him, and a zombie queen. It wasn’t his usual type of dreams. Austin explained his Little Nemo in Hell story as Elizabeth listened.

“They weren’t really zombies in the classic sense, but they had been changed into something else. Like followers in bodies and minds that were connected. Don’t think I’m crazy. It was so real.”

“You’re talking to a Vampire,” she said with just the slightest smile. He thought he could see a bit of fang. “You had a classic Steampunk Zombie dream. It isn’t common but it isn’t that unusual.”

Every guy she ever dated, Regular Human or Zombie had told her about variations on that dream. She knew where it had come from. The ambrotype that held the dream was propped up on a book shelf in her living room.

That is what happens when you are the caretaker of a man who is trapped in an alternate universe within a piece of glass reflecting his image.

handsome Victorian man

Elizabeth kissed Austin. “You should write it down. Really. I’m serious. I’m going to make coffee.” She slid out of the covers and put on a robe. “Coffee sounds good right now.”

It was 3:00 a.m. but she didn’t keep track of time unless she had an appointment. By the time she left the bedroom Austin was already asleep again.

In the kitchen she thought of Austin with his dreams and his warm skin. She turned the burner on under the water kettle and then closed her eyes for a second to think of his touch and the sound of his voice. Almost immediately she opened her eyes again to the sound of heavy breathing.

Her eyes opened. Standing before her was the man in the glass.

“Your man is dreaming of me. Do you know how embarrassing that is?”

“I can’t help it.”

“I’m no walking dead man. Plus I was never addicted to pain killers.”

“I’m well aware of that. Listen, Austin had a dream. Nothing else.”

“I’ve got a hankering to trade places with him. If he was to be in the glass I could…”

“I’ll smash the glass.”

“You’d kill me after all we’ve been through together?”

She lifted her coffee cup up to him and smiled. “Yes, I’d kill you.”

With that he vanished. She put more milk in her coffee and thought about her life a long time ago when she was as warm as the man sleeping in her bed upstairs. There were no Vampires or alternate universes or zombies or ghosts or other things that go bump in the dark. She lived in a world where the only thing one could not see was the face of God. It was a time when no respectable single woman would have a man spend the night. It was time when a Vampire like her would never be falling in love with a mortal man.

Going upstairs she crawled back into bed next to the warm body. Austin held her close and whispered, “I love you,” in her ear.

Elizabeth fought the urge to sink her teeth into his neck. Getting out of bed again she went downstairs again and curled up with a book. The man in the glass followed her with his eyes. Turning the glass portrait around she returned to the book and tried to forget how complicated her life had gotten.


For the entire Austin and Elizabeth Series CLICK HERE.

We were here

Old images on glass – daguerreotypes and ambrotypes are like ghosts in that they vanish into thin air then come back again. The directness of the first portraits from the 1840’s & 50’s brings them to life unlike later paper or tin images.

These images are like early holograms – more 3D than 2.

Like ghosts they are difficult to capture with a modern camera or even with the naked eye.

And unlike with paper these glass images captured a little piece of soul to say hello to the generations to come and say rather elegantly “we were here.”




Consider the Well Dressed Vampire – Coz’ every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.


His vest wasn’t black as it appears in this Ambrotype but a beautiful midnight blue. Joshua is still a dignified Vampire man always well dressed and completely manly. He might be a little rugged by the ladies love him for his looks and style.

I keep telling my son that style matters. For him it is the perfect jeans and tee and sweat shirts. Sigh. My 16 year does have a suit. He has 2 suits, more than most of his friends. And vests. The boys have taken up to wearing vests if they want to impress the girls, and solid dark colored button down dress shirts. But that is sadly isn’t a daily thing.

There is nothing more attractive than a man in a well fitting suit, with a beautiful shirt and tie. A woman can run her hands over those shoulders and down his arms and imagine….well, it is sort of like gift wrap.


Even in the 60’s (the 1860″) some young men had their own unique sense of style and attitude. It isn’t the best but he makes it his own.

He used to believe he was dashing and that I’d get the vapors  just standing next to him. His ice blue eyes would go red when he’d feed and it totally grossed me out. He is still around, believing he is quite the modern vampire and ladies man. I have to admit, he is charming. He could make any unsuspecting woman feel as though she was the most beautiful girl in the world – after all he is a vampire.

I will warn my daughter against men like him. I advise you do the same.

Vampire Elvis

Vampire Elvis

He DOES look like Elvis. Hey, I think I knew that guy…

Check out the link. This is awesome!


Description on ebay:

“Pvt. E. Presley of the Tupulo (Miss.) Rangers. Proof the “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” movie was not fiction!!! Elvis lives, all right — he’s the undead. Here he is in his earlier guise as a Confederate soldier. — OK, of course I’m joking, but you have to admit this Southern soldier’s looks are uncannily like the late great Elvis. This is a sixth-plate ambrotype, original to the Civil War, of an unknown Rebel. I have studied the buttons, and as well as I can make out under the gilding, they may be Georgia. The condition is as you see it. The surface has a bit of staining around the rim, as you can see, so long ago I stripped the backing from that piece of glass, placed glass over the emulsion side, and taped the pieces of glass together (with separator pieces of tape) to make sure that nothing is touching the emulsion. That allows you to view it from either the front as originally shown, where the image of course is reversed, or what was the rear, where the image is easier to see. It’s in a battered case. It’s a touching image of a handsome young Confederate solder, looking soulful and vulnerable.”