Short Story Sunday: Motorhome

Motorhome
An Austin and Elizabeth Story

Austin grew up knowing that Grammy didn’t have many filters. She’d say anything she wanted to anyone. Austin’s mother said Grammy had always been rude. Grammy said she was giving out good advice that might make people want to do something about their situations. Everyone was in a situation so everyone was told what they needed to do.

Grammy’s caretaker, a lovely woman named Kayla, had texted Austin the following:

“Just a warning, Grammy is in a mood today. Completely speaking with no filter. We talked to Tom across the street. Grammy asked how they were doing and before he could say anything she said, “well it looks like you and your wife have completely given up on loosing weight.” I nudged her in hopes she would stop but it didn’t work. She then went on to say, “I thought you guys were dieting. Looked like you’ve completely given up on losing weight. Tom was so red embarrassed. I said he is healthy and happy and always smiling, so I told him to have a nice day and closed the door before Grammy could say anything else. I then said “OMG Grammy u can’t ever tell people that they are overweight. Ever. Men or women. It is not to be discussed. Don’t tell women they look pregnant. None of it. She said “Well maybe if I say something that will make them want to lose weight.” I said, “NO. NO. NO. Nothing you say will change them. You’re just being terrible at that point. No more ever.” Grammy’s mind is in it’s own place sometimes. Tomorrow is a new day. I told her she is the cutest sweetest little Grammy in the world. She has to stop thinking and saying such negative things.”

Austin was mortified. Tom had been a good friend for years, and would do anything for Grammy. But sweet little Grammy had a dark suspicious side. She’d grown up in the Deep South where people generally have fewer filters than those from other regions of the country. She’d also grown up in a family of Vampire Hunters. It was in their blood, no pun intended.

When Austin arrived at Grammy’s house he wondered who the old motor home in the driveway belonged to.

Kayla, a rail thin brown haired, blue eyed woman in her forties came out to meet him. She and her college student son Colt live with Grammy and took care of her in her great big family home. At one time Austin had tried to get Grammy to sell her house and move into a smaller house in his neighborhood, just three houses down from him, but she’d have none of it. She’d rather complain about money and upkeep than move out of the house she’d lived in for sixty-two years.

“Is someone visiting?” Austin looked toward the motor home.

“I bought that last week. I’m going to take Grammy on a road trip.”

It was a small 1981 motor home complete with faded orange and red stripes on the outside.

“Wow, look at this thing,” said Austin.

“Come inside. Take a look,” said Kayla inviting him in through the back door.

Grammy was sitting on an orange couch that could fold out into a double bed. There was a table, a small kitchen, four captain’s chairs, and a tiny bathroom complete with a toilet, sink, and a shower.

“Hey, Grammy,” Austin said bending down to kiss her.

Grammy was small, and still quite pretty for an eighty eight year old lady. Her white hair had been done up the day before with pink foam curlers. She wore bright pink lipstick, a pink flowered shirt, and matching pink pants.

Grammy took his hands, “Austin. What do you think of our new castle on wheels?”

“Great,” said Austin. “The orange and red carpet is pretty ugly, but otherwise it’s great.”

“I don’t see any problems with the carpet. It looks almost new to me,” said Grammy. “Now, Austin, are you still seeing that Vampire girl?”

Austin was in love with a woman who just happened to be a Vampire. He knew it wasn’t exactly the right thing to do but…

“But,” he said, “Grammy, Elizabeth isn’t a shadow creeper, or one of those ghoulish undead types. She lives a pretty normal life. You know the kinds of Vampires I help get rid of, and Elizabeth isn’t one of them.”

“You know those Vampires aren’t right. They do nothing but cause problems. Austin you’re an idiot for getting involved with one.”

“Grammy, Elizabeth isn’t that different from us.”

“That’s what you say. But the next thing you know they’ll be coming out of the shadows. I bet you the first thing they’ll do is call the ACLU and get a bunch of lawsuits in place against us normal people asking for rights and then some. Then they call AARP because they’re all older than dirt. You can’t trust them Austin. Listen to me. You are going to have nothing but trouble ahead of you. Nothing but trouble.”

“OK Grammy, I get your point.”

“I hope so. I don’t want you marrying one of those things. You haven’t have sexual intercourse with that Vampire of yours yet have you?”

“Grammy, I’m not going to talk about this anymore.”

“Are you still killing Vampires?”

“Only the ones without souls.”

“Well, how do you know if they have souls? They’re all a bunch of fanged faced liars.”

“Grammy, I know. I’m a Vampire Hunter. I can tell. It’s in my blood.”

“Well, your blood will be their blood if you don’t watch out.”

Kayla, who’d gone inside to make iced tea, came back out with three tall cold glasses full of iced tea with fresh mint. This wasn’t the popular sweet tea, but strong freshly brewed black tea with just a hint of lemon and mint. Grammy wouldn’t allow anyone to ruin her good tea with the addition of sugar.

Grammy took a sip of her tea and said, “I don’t know why your mom and dad had to name you after a city.”

Kayla smiled. “Be nice Grammy. You know Austin was where they fell in love.”

“Well, maybe. But it sounds like a character out of a trashy cheap romance novel,” said Grammy.

And she wasn’t kidding.

Austin had dinner with Kayla, her son Colt, and Grammy. They’d dined on garlic coated shrimp in a pasta, along with mushrooms and more garlic. Grammy always made sure she had garlic in all of her food to keep the Vampires away now that she had retired. Austin knew for a fact that garlic didn’t keep Vampires away.

Conversation became pleasant and without any caustic remarks. Grammy was charming and full of joy. Kayla looked relieved.

As Austin left his Grammy gave him a hug and a kiss. Then she said, “I wish you’d find a normal girl.”

Austin smiled and said, “Normal girl? Grammy, you of all people should know there is no such thing.”

Grammy just said, “pasha,” and closed the door in her grandson’s face.

 

~ End

Read all of the Austin and Elizabeth Stories (The Hunter Series) from the start.  Click here for the full set.

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Werewolf Moon

Short Story Sunday Monday: Werewolf Moon

#17 of the Austin and Elizabeth Stories

 

Elizabeth woke to something dripping in her face. She opened her eyes.

“What do you need Brandon?”

“It’s a werewolf moon tonight and I’m a werewolf baby.”

“You’re drooling on me. How’d you get in?” She sat up and knocked her book on the floor.

Brandon laughed, with almost a howl and a growl. “I know where you hide the key.”

Elizabeth pushed him away sat up on the couch, this time almost knocking over her half finished glass of wine. Brandon grabbed it before it spilled.

“Liz, babe, come run with me tonight.”

“No. I’m not a werewolf.”

“You could be,” said Brandon giving her an over the top I’m-a-sexy-guy look.”

“No Brandon, I couldn’t be a werewolf.”

The hair on his arms started to get thicker. He cleared his throat in a raspy grown. “Um, mind if I use your bathroom? You know, full moon time.”

“Sure. You can leave your clothes here too.”

Elizabeth thought of how weird her life would have seemed to her sixteen year old self. She could have never imagined she’d be friends with a werewolf. On the other hand, she could have never imagined she would be a vampire.

She brought the wine glass and book into the kitchen. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, but then again, her life seemed so normal.

There was a light knock on the door, then it opened. A good looking guy with a paper grocery bag came in. She could smell something good.

“I was starving so I got Chinese on the way in. Hop Sings. I wasn’t sure if you’ve be hungry or not, but I couldn’t wait.”

Her boyfriend, if she dared call him that, Austin was here. She smiled, minus her fangs, and then gave him a kiss. They headed off to the kitchen, where Austin started to get out plates and chop sticks. Unlike the folks on TV and movies they didn’t eat their Chinese food out of the cartons, unless it was on a midnight left-over binge.

Austin picked up the book and read the dust jacket.

Alex Goldstein has a thriving law practice with his wife Tasha Alexander. Life is is good. Well, except for the fact that he drinks too much, and his wife regularly cheats on him. To keep his mind off of his problems Alex writes about by serial killers. His most recent obsession is The Killer of Virtue.

Liz Hobbs is born into a large family of sneaky manipulative children with an unhealthy fear of God only ranks second to the fear of their narcissistic parents. After the murder of her brother and only ally Steve, and the loss of a college scholarship for bad behavior, Liz falls in love, and into an abusive marriage, with relationship counselor Greg Atkinson.

When Liz decides to end it all and jumps from a bridge, only to find herself in the bed of her friend Darren Crawford. He isn’t just a friend; he is The Killer of Virtue. Fortunately for Liz, he dies before he kills her. With everyone thinking she is dead, pulls a Huck Finn and runs.

After misreading the phone number of a women’s shelter Liz ends up in office of Alexander and Goldstein. Alex helps her build a new life as his own life falls apart.

“Sounds like fun. Is it any good?”

“I like it. Good characters, a lot of twists and turns, and of course a lot of witty dialogue. It’s been on the best seller list for a couple of months.”

“Good. I’ll have to read it after you finish.” He continued to unpack the containers of Chow Mein, Mongolian Beef, Chicken with Green Beans, and Schezwan Eggplant. “So is that what you did? I mean, start a new life when you became a vampire, or did you just keep doing what you’d always done.”

“I started a new life. Back then nobody just stayed in their old lives like a lot of new vampires do now. It was different back then, especially for women. I was engaged to someone I didn’t love so I took the opportunity and more or less died.”

“Who was he? The man you were engaged to?”

“The son fifth son of a wealthy man. I was the lesser child of a slightly lesser wealthy man. He was handsome and rich but I didn’t like him. I couldn’t imagine having his children or spending the rest of my life under his thumb.” She opened a container with steamed rice and closed it back up. “Back then young women didn’t have a lot of choices. When I became a vampire I found myself in a world where I did have choices and was treated as an equal by my peers. That is why I worry about the next election and the threat to women’s rights and…”

“Grrrrrrawwwwwwwwoooooooooolllllllll. Ackkk.”

Austin and Elizabeth looked up. In arch between the kitchen and the living room stood a beast, half wolf and half man. It’s eyes glowed amber black. Large teeth dripped saliva.

Backing up Austin put his arms out to protect Elizabeth.

“Brandon, sorry, I didn’t introduce you. This is Austin. Austin this is Brandon. Hey, do you want something to eat before you go out tonight?”

“Grrrrrrrrargggggggggg.”

“OK. Well, have a good time. Don’t get into too much trouble. I’ll see you at sunrise.”

The wolf man growled again and ran out the door, as he transformed before their eyes into a four legged creature.

Austin took a deep breath. “Was that what I thought it was?”

“Yes, Brandon is a werewolf. He stopped by to say hi and transformed a little sooner than he thought he would. He’s a  nice guy, most of the time.”

“If you say so.”

“Come on Austin, you’re around vampires all the time. And you’ve seen a lot of ghosts. Werewolves are alright…most of the time, when they’re not being super annoying. Sit down, let’s eat.”

Austin opened a beer and poured Elizabeth another glass of wine. She picked out a few pieces of beef and eggplant, then told Austin everything she knew about werewolves.

“Times have changed Austin, just look at your family. Your brother-in-law is Jewish. Your sister-in-law checks the three or more races box, and you’re with me.”

“You? You’re whiter than I am.”

“I’m a vampire. My point is…”

“I know. You’re right. When my parents were young, or my grandparents, none of this would have been accepted.”

“Let’s watch a movie tonight. What sounds good?”

“Something light and romantic.”

“Sounds good to me.” Then Elizabeth laughed, and poured herself a glass of spiced blood, then got another beer for Austin.

~ End

 

 

For the rest of the Austin and Elizabeth (The Hunter) series CLICK HERE or look at the sidebar for the page. 

 

Yes, this is a hidden (or not so hidden) message about diversity. I’m a mom so this is part of our world. I’ll have more on this later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Conversion

“Durant, we found something.”

“What do you mean you found something?”

“Live dead bodies.”

“Vampires?”

“Yes, vampires. Happy fucking holidays.”

“I’ll be right there.”

Austin Durant had planned on spending the morning grading papers. When he wasn’t teaching history at the local state college he was a contractor specializing in restoring historic buildings. When he wasn’t doing that he was a vampire hunter. The vampire hunter part wasn’t planned. It just happened.

Now a call from his construction site foreman Matt changed his Sunday morning plans. Damn. He made a call and headed out.

His attorney and friend (the term friend was sometimes questionable) Aaron Todd stood on the front porch. How could anyone always look so elegant, even in jeans and a fleece jacket?

“Why don’t you people take care of your own?”

“You people? Really Austin. You sound almost racist.”

“You’re a vampire.”

“The ones in the walls are not my people.”

Aaron had a point. He was an attorney and lived in a beautiful modern house, with a beautiful wife who looked like she was right out of a Botticelli painting.  Aaron had nothing in common with the dried up husks with long yellow teeth and claw like fingers who were hibernating in the old walls.

Aaron was holding a pink box. “I brought donuts and coffee for your guys. It was the least I could do.”

“Thank you. The good kind,” said Austin, looking at the beautiful assortment of donuts, sweet rolls and bear claws. “Do you ever eat these things?”

“No. They make me sick.”

They waked back to the small bricked in room where the vampires had been found. The 8 x 8 foot space had been bricked in from the inside.

Aaron looked down at the still dead looking forms. “I know those two. I’d wondered what had happened to them. Not that I cared. I was glad to see them gone. The last time I saw them was this time of year. My wife Verity and I were downtown late at night and spotted these two on the steps of the new Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.”

“New?”

“It was 1890.” Aaron smiled and sipped his coffee. “They watched us with empty eyes coveting our existence. These two in the walls are creatures with no souls. They exist with nothing but longing for blood. They have no idea what the empty void is that fills them. That is why they wall themselves up to sleep for years. They know no torment. They feel no longing. They exist and that is all.

These two had come out to California to seek their fortunes right after the Civil war, like so many uneducated dullards. They were both pretty enough and young enough that they made a living selling their bodies. They were stupid enough to be seduced by evil. They forfeited their souls for eternal life. Either that or the idiots who converted them botched the job and only brought them back after their bodies were empty of any life at all. It doesnt matter. They might not even have had souls to begin with. They were the kind of people who just survive and nothing else. Their lives have no meaning.”

“You’re harsh.”

“I am realistic.”

“You saw them on the cathedral steps. You were going to tell me something about them.”

“It was two days before Christmas, they sat on the steps huddled together. I was going to approach them and tell them to leave town, when a priest came out into the dark and sat with them. We could hear what he said. I’ll never forget.”

Aaron took a deep breath as if he was almost human. “It was obvious they had been there before. The priest made a sign of the cross then put his hands on their shoulders and said, those who are loved will earn their souls. It is not in the scripture but I believe it. I know it. You are loved. Believe me. Believe my brother and sister.

Austin was amazed at what the vampire told him. “Do you believe that Aaron?”

“I want to, but no, I do not believe it.”

Austin knew vampires were cold hearted but he assumed that maybe… then again, when it came to the heart of a vampire assumptions were dangerous.

“By the way,” said Aaron, “the good priest was found dead a week later. His body had been drained of all blood. Funny how things work out that way.”

They looked down at the corpse-like vampires who lay on an ancient cot, huddled together in a cold embrace. Their old fashioned clothes still showed some color through the dusty and faded threads.

Austin raised the chain saw and was about to start it up when the male opened his eyes. It sounded like paper shredding. The woman did the same.

“Do it now,” hissed Aaron.

Austin started the chainsaw and cut off their heads.

He looked up and saw writing on the wall scrawled in what could have been blood above the cot.

We no not wat we do

“We know not what we do,” Austin read out loud.

In the curled up clawed hand of the woman Austin found a small carved figure of a baby in a manger. The paint looked almost new.

In the hand of the man was a holly branch.

“Those were gifts from the priest,” said Aaron.

The bodies turned to dust before their eyes.

“Aaron, what do you want to do with the ashes?”

“You have a shop vac don’t you?”

“Man, you’re cold. No pun intended.”

Aaron shrugged. Austin put the baby in his pocket and gave the dried holly branch to Aaron.

“Maybe I should believe,” said Aaron.

Austin put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Maybe you should.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tangled Tales

 

Austin and Elizabeth Stories

What happens when a History Professor/Restoration Expert/Player turns into a Vampire Hunter? He discovers basements full of undead creatures, a thriving community of hip and trendy Modern Vampires and the maybe love of his life (or maybe the cause of his death.)

For the complete story of Austin and Elizabeth (from the beginning) check the links below.

Part 1: The Hunter

Part 2:  Memory of Distant Love

Part 3: Dark Dreams of the Hunted

Part 4: About Those Pesky Undead Folks

Park 5: The Hunt Continues

Part 6: Cold and Warm

Part 7: Date with a Vampire

Part 8: Crawl Space

Part 9: Dust and Desire

Part 10: One of Those Days…

Part 11: Even Vampire Hunters Get the Blues

Part 12: Back to the Past

Part 13: Nowhere in Time

Part 14: Father Paul

Part 15: The Bat

Part 16: Conversion