Short Story Sunday: Being Real (An Austin and Elizabeth Story)

“Not once have I missed my old way of life.”

In the early morning light, at a small table by the window, in the neighborhood coffee shop, Elizabeth listened to her friend. She guessed she could call him a friend. They’d known each other for over a hundred years. He was still wearing a dark formal suit, his cashmere coat and silk scarf folded on a chair next to him. She was wearing jeans, with a pink sweater over a button up white shirt. He could pass for a Vampire. She could pass for just another pretty girl having coffee with a handsome but weird friend.

“Where were you last night Sebastian?”

He smiled a lovely Vampire smile with only a hint of fang for his friend. “Nowhere and everywhere. I was headed for a party and ended up with a flat tire in a dark alley that smelled like urine and garbage. I found myself at the doorstep of a club featuring a jazz band. They were improvising. The way they were dressed, and the way they acted reminded me of the clubs in France. You know, the ones that were part of the resistance, sort of zoot suits and crazy dancing. They were young, mostly white with some East Asians, a few black kids, a beautiful Mexican girl dressed like Freda Kahlo…you aren’t listening to a word I’ve said.”

Elizabeth looked him straight in the eye. “It was a diverse group. We live in a diverse city. Benjamin was part of that group in France after the German’s came in, no before they came in. Remember? God, you two were tight. What happened to him?”

“He was captured and put to death. Actually he killed himself before he let them, the Nazis, touch him and send him off for experiments and… I miss him. I thought Bernadette would die when she heard. I didn’t see her for years after. She joined a group of hunters. It wasn’t like her, but sometimes one must go beyond their comfort zones.”

“Where is she now?”

“London. She owns an art gallery specializing in Degenerate Art. She called it Benjamin’s Lush Gallery. An odd name but it works. She is really happy. I’m happy for her.”

“I’m happy for her too, but now I feel sad. Poor Ben.”

“You always feel sad. You should come out with me. Be a real Vampire again. It will do you a world of good.”

Elizabeth smiled. “Sounds like fun. Maybe later this week if you’re open. Love you Sebbie. I have to go.” She kissed him on his cold smooth cheek and started to leave. Sebastian grabbed her hand.

“Are you still with your lover?”

“No. He wants to be with me but…,” Elizabeth started but Sebastian cut her off.

“No buts. It doesn’t matter that he is not a Vampire. If he loves you, then rejoice in your time together. He knows who and what you are.”

“No Sebastian, you don’t understand.”

“Elizabeth, he brought your smile back.”

She kissed him again and dropped his hand, then left without turning back.

Walking through the neighborhood she wished she had a dog. Maybe she’d go to the shelter on Tuesday, or look on Craigslist for a dog. She kept so calm and cool for so long. It was difficult to keep so much control for such a long time. Now she lived in a world of normal people with warm blood, and short lives. Everything made her sad, or maybe it was just that nothing made her happy.

She arrived at her front door and checked her watch. It was 7:34 a.m. Early but not too early. Sitting on her front porch step she pulled out her phone and dialed a number. Before she could hang up he answered.

“Elizabeth,” he said, as if surprised. Of course he was surprised. She hadn’t talked to him in months.

“Hi, Austin.”

“I didn’t think I’d ever hear from you again.”

“I love you Austin. I love you so much, and so true, and with my entire unbeating heart.”

“Are you home?”

“Yes. I’m home. Come over.”

“I’ll be over in 45 minutes. I love you.”

“Don’t be late.”

She put the phone in her pocket and sat for a bit. The neighbor’s orange cat Hector came by and rubbed against her legs. Small birds shuttled around in the trees. Elizabeth rubbed the cat’s head and went inside.

Going into the kitchen she went to the refrigerator and poured a tall glass of blood and downed it. Then she rinsed her mouth out and waited for Austin, and for her undead life to start.

~ end

For all of the continuing Austin and Elizabeth series CLICK HERE. 

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: The Hunter

The Hunter

A short story from Juliette Kings

“We pumped quite a bit of blood out of your stomach. We’re not sure where it came from.”

She heard the words but was the noise in her head was still loud…

“Your heart had stopped beating. You weren’t breathing. You were cold.”

A hospital bed. She was in a bed hooked up to equipment. Her throat hurt.

“We still can’t get your body temperature up to normal and your heart beat is extremely slow.”

She’d been found in a room of an abandoned house wearing nothing but a black silk cocktail dress and black high heeled sandals. The nails on her hands and feet were painted silver. Aside from that there was no jewelry, no purse, no identification. The man she’d been with had received minor injuries and would be in soon to see her. He said he was her boyfriend. Panic started to set in but she didn’t show it.

“Do you remember anything?”

“Not a lot.” She lied. She had remembered almost everything, despite the headache. The man called Austin had wanted to show her a house he was remodeling. He specialized in renovating Victorians and older historic homes. It was charming. It was haunted. “Is Austin alright?”

“He had a few stitches in his forehead, but yes, he is doing fine.”

“We left the club where we met. I mean, it wasn’t a hook up, we’d been seeing each other for a while. We’re friends. He told me about his work restoring old homes. I own some property I was thinking of having restored…He took me to a house he owns. It’s old, nobody lives there. A Queen Ann style Victorian. Beautiful. He showed me around and we ended up in an upstairs room.” She didn’t tell him of the phantoms and the screams that nearly burst her ear drums. She paused, and glanced at the needle in her arm. “Alright, we did fool around some. But we both started to feel really sick. He passed out first. I tried to wake him. I think we were drugged at the bar. Is he ok?”

“I’m fine sweetheart.” In the door stood a man with a bandage on his forehead. His brown eyes met her blue with almost a spark of both passion and hate. He smiled at the doctor.

“She’s a vampire and I’m a vampire hunter. I had no idea the house was haunted when I took her there. Sorry, it’s along running joke between us. Isn’t it Elizabeth?”

Her eyes met his again. A hunter hunting the huntress. “Is that all I am to you?”

He sat next on the edge of the bed and took her cold hand. “You need to warm up dear or they’ll never let you out of here. I know, it takes a lot of effort to keep your heart beating for those machines. You don’t want them thinking you’re dead.”

To think she was starting to fall in love with this man.

“I thought you were going to kill me last night but you saved my life. Why’d you do that Elizabeth?

Doctor Davis spoke up. “What is going on here?”

Austin smiled and spoke in a quiet calming voice. “I’m sorry for the confusion. We have our own language. We had a fight. She wasn’t going to kill me. Just an expression. She was angry. You know, I’m a typical guy. I did typical stupid guy stuff. We went to the house and like she said, we were both feeling sick. Then someone came in and mugged us. She saved me. I don’t know how, but she defended me. It was too dark to tell what was going on. We had a tumultuous relationship but we’re not violent, just a little dramatic.”

“He’d never touch me.” Elizabeth looked back at Austin. “The ones who attacked us… I had no idea. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

“I thought you’d know.”

“I don’t.”

“Huh. Interesting.”

They both talked to the police about what had happened. Their story was the same. They’d gone to a house he owned, it was unoccupied, they were attacked. They both had traces of an airborne toxin in their systems.

Elizabeth was released into Austin’s care. She’d told him she’d call a taxi but he insisted on bringing her home.

On the way he talked. She sat still, feeling sick, trying to regain her energy. The morning sun burned her eyes even through the fog.

“So my building, the house we were in last night is haunted. Those were ghosts.”

Elizabeth glanced over at him, then looked away. “Yes, they were ghosts. I know someone who can get rid of them for you. He’s good and his prices are reasonable.”

“You know Elizabeth, I’ve found at least a dozen of your kind, vampires, in the basements of abandoned old buildings I’ve purchased for restoration. They weren’t like you. They were like rats.”

“I’m not like them. I don’t live in the shadows or in a crypt. I don’t sleep in a coffin. Most of us aren’t like your rats. We live normal lives.”

“When were you born?”

“1834. I’ve been a vampire since 1853. How did you know?”

He gave her a mean smile. “Call it a 6th sense. My grandfather hunted vampires. It’s in my blood, no pun intended.”

They arrived at her house. He was impressed. A beautiful craftsman style, maybe 2,500 square feet, nice old neighborhood. Inside the woodwork was beautiful. Her decorating was a combination of period and modern. Nice.

“You can go,” she told him.

“Show me around. This place is great.”

“I’m the original owner. 1905.”

As she showed him around Austin noticed a diploma in her office. “You didn’t tell me you were an attorney. Go figure.”

“I told you I consulted for the Justice Department. There is no shame in what I do.”

The house was impressive as was the vampire who lived in it. “Was that my blood they pumped out of your stomach?”

“Most of it. Don’t worry, you won’t turn into a Vampire. I just took maybe a pint.”

Austin noticed a mirror on the wall. He took Elizabeth by the shoulders and turned her around to face it. He could see his own reflection but hers was just a dim shadow.

“Look at my eyes, in the mirror. Look at my eyes,” she told him.

Their eyes locked in the glass. Her image became clear. He laughed. It wasn’t the sarcastic bitter laugh she’d heard all morning. This was joy.

“Elizabeth, will you be alright if I leave you?”

“You aren’t going to kill me?”

“Not today.”

“Then when? When will you be back to cut out my heart and cut off my head.”

“Do you want to go out sometime on a real date?”

“You’re scaring me Austin.”

“I know. I’ll pick you up tomorrow around 8:00. It should be dark by then. Wear something nice.”

She watched through the window as he drove away. Her heart had stopped beating. She wasn’t breathing. In the refrigerator was a bottle of blood. She was starving. Her head was light but that was because of him.

Austin drove away with a smile on his face. What a rush. He wasn’t sure what tomorrow would bring. Either he’d kill her or he’d marry her. That is, if she didn’t kill him first.

 

~ END

 

Tangled Tales

First published in 2014. This is the first story in the Austin and Elizabeth series.

Click here for the entire series (so far.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Cold (An Austin and Elizabeth Story)

“You looked flushed. Did you just eat?”

“Yes,”

“Anyone I know?”

“No.”

Elizabeth dug her lip gloss out of her purse, then went to the bathroom to use the mirror. Austin followed.

She turned to face him. “What?”

“Nothing.”

“So you follow me to the bathroom. Any reason?”

“Not really. I’m glad you’re here.”

“Austin, we need to talk…”

He put his arm around her waist then pulled her close. “No, we need to kiss.” His lips met hers. She put her arms around him.

“You’re warm. You’re really warm,” said Elizabeth.

“Stay the night. You don’t need to go back out again.”

The frost settled on the grass, and ice formed around the edges of the pool. It was too cold to go out again tonight, even for a Vampire.

~ end

 

For the complete set of Austin and Elizabeth Stories (The Hunter Series) CLICK HERE.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: The Hunter

Short Story Sunday is a series of short stories that I write on Sunday. I’d say 90% of the stories are written on the Sunday morning I post them. Today I didn’t have time (or the brain function) so I’m rerunning one of my favorites. This is the first story in the Austin and Elizabeth series. Maybe it will be a book one day. So have fun. Happy reading.

~ Juliette

 

The Hunter

“We pumped quite a bit of blood out of your stomach. We’re not sure where it came from.”

She heard the words but was the noise in her head was still loud…

“Your heart had stopped beating. You weren’t breathing. You were cold.”

A hospital bed. She was in a bed hooked up to equipment. Her throat hurt.

“We still can’t get your body temperature up to normal and your heart beat is extremely slow.”

She’d been found in a room of an abandoned house wearing nothing but a black silk cocktail dress and black high-heeled sandals. The nails on her hands and feet were painted silver. Aside from that there was no jewelry, no purse, no identification. The man she’d been with had received minor injuries and would be in soon to see her. He said he was her boyfriend. Panic started to set in but she didn’t show it.

“Do you remember anything?”

“Not a lot.” She lied. She had remembered almost everything, despite the headache. The man called Austin had wanted to show her a house he was remodeling. He specialized in renovating Victorians and older historic homes. It was charming. It was haunted. “Is Austin alright?”

“He had a few stitches in his forehead, but yes, he is doing fine.”

“We left the club where we met. I mean, it wasn’t a hook up, we’d been seeing each other for a while. We’re friends. He told me about his work restoring old homes. I own some property I was thinking of having restored…He took me to a house he owns. It’s old, nobody lives there. A Queen Ann style Victorian. Beautiful. He showed me around and we ended up in an upstairs room.” She didn’t tell him of the phantoms and the screams that nearly burst her ear drums. She paused, and glanced at the needle in her arm. “Alright, we did fool around some. But we both started to feel really sick. He passed out first. I tried to wake him. I think we were drugged at the bar. Is he ok?”

“I’m fine sweetheart.” In the door stood a man with a bandage on his forehead. His brown eyes met her blue with almost a spark of both passion and hate. He smiled at the doctor.

“She’s a vampire and I’m a vampire hunter. I had no idea the house was haunted when I took her there. Sorry, it’s along running joke between us. Isn’t it Elizabeth?”

Her eyes met his again. A hunter hunting the huntress. “Is that all I am to you?”

He sat next on the edge of the bed and took her cold hand. “You need to warm up dear or they’ll never let you out of here. I know, it takes a lot of effort to keep your heart beating for those machines. You don’t want them thinking you’re dead.”

To think she was starting to fall in love with this man.

“I thought you were going to kill me last night but you saved my life. Why’d you do that Elizabeth?

Doctor Davis spoke up. “What is going on here?”

Austin smiled and spoke in a quiet calming voice. “I’m sorry for the confusion. We have our own language. We had a fight. She wasn’t going to kill me. Just an expression. She was angry. You know, I’m a typical guy. I did typical stupid guy stuff. We went to the house and like she said, we were both feeling sick. Then someone came in and mugged us. She saved me. I don’t know how, but she defended me. It was too dark to tell what was going on. We had a tumultuous relationship but we’re not violent, just a little dramatic.”

“He’d never touch me.” Elizabeth looked back at Austin. “The ones who attacked us… I had no idea. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

“I thought you’d know.”

“I don’t.”

“Huh. Interesting.”

They both talked to the police about what had happened. Their story was the same. They’d gone to a house he owned, it was unoccupied, they were attacked. They both had traces of an airborne toxin in their systems.

Elizabeth was released into Austin’s care. She’d told him she’d call a taxi but he insisted on bringing her home.

On the way he talked. She sat still, feeling sick, trying to regain her energy. The morning sun burned her eyes even through the fog.

“So my building, the house we were in last night is haunted. Those were ghosts.”

Elizabeth glanced over at him, then looked away. “Yes, they were ghosts. I know someone who can get rid of them for you. He’s good and his prices are reasonable.”

“You know Elizabeth, I’ve found at least a dozen of your kind, vampires, in the basements of abandoned old buildings I’ve purchased for restoration. They weren’t like you. They were like rats.”

“I’m not like them. I don’t live in the shadows or in a crypt. I don’t sleep in a coffin. Most of us aren’t like your rats. We live normal lives.”

“When were you born?”

“1834. I’ve been a vampire since 1853. How did you know?”

He gave her a mean smile. “Call it a 6th sense. My grandfather hunted vampires. It’s in my blood, no pun intended.”

They arrived at her house. He was impressed. A beautiful craftsman style, maybe 2,500 square feet, nice old neighborhood. Inside the woodwork was beautiful. Her decorating was a combination of period and modern. Nice.

“You can go,” she told him.

“Show me around. This place is great.”

“I’m the original owner. 1905.”

As she showed him around Austin noticed a diploma in her office. “You didn’t tell me you were an attorney. Go figure.”

“I told you I consulted for the Justice Department. There is no shame in what I do.”

The house was impressive as was the vampire who lived in it. “Was that my blood they pumped out of your stomach?”

“Most of it. Don’t worry, you won’t turn into a Vampire. I just took maybe a pint.”

Austin noticed a mirror on the wall. He took Elizabeth by the shoulders and turned her around to face it. He could see his own reflection but hers was just a dim shadow.

“Look at my eyes, in the mirror. Look at my eyes,” she told him.

Their eyes locked in the glass. Her image became clear. He laughed. It wasn’t the sarcastic bitter laugh she’d heard all morning. This was joy.

“Elizabeth, will you be alright if I leave you?”

“You aren’t going to kill me?”

“Not today.”

“Then when? When will you be back to cut out my heart and cut off my head.”

“Do you want to go out sometime on a real date?”

“You’re scaring me Austin.”

“I know. I’ll pick you up tomorrow around 8:00. It should be dark by then. Wear something nice.”

She watched through the window as he drove away. Her heart had stopped beating. She wasn’t breathing. In the refrigerator was a bottle of blood. She was starving. Her head was light but that was because of him.

Austin drove away with a smile on his face. What a rush. He wasn’t sure what tomorrow would bring. Either he’d kill her or he’d marry her. That is, if she didn’t kill him first.

~ End

A Story With Demons and Ancient Vampires and Latin and Love

“There is nothing so wonderful as an attractive man in a historic costume.”

Austin thought about it for a minute. He’d wished he could take his entire group of graduate students to see Hamilton when the show came to San Francisco, but it would be a small fortune. Actually, it would be more than a small fortune.

His sister Chelsea had met her husband at the Dicken’s Christmas Faire, in full Victorian dress no less. Their wedding had also been a full Victorian dress event. Now Austin’s bother Dakota was getting married soon in a Wild West theme wedding.

The parents of the three Durant siblings had met at a Renaissance Faire and of course had a Renaissance themed wedding. No wonder Austin was a history professor.

“I’m married. Dak is getting married. When are you and Elizabeth getting serious?”

“Never.”

“I thought you were in love.”

“It is…”

“Don’t tell me it’s complicated. How complicated can it be?”

“She isn’t like most girls?”

“What? She used to be a man? She has a criminal past? She belongs to a cult?”

“No, none of that.” Austin took a deep breath and changed the subject back to Dak’s wedding.

Austin Durant, history professor, contractor specializing in historic buildings, and Vampire hunter, thought about his girlfriend Elizabeth. Sure he loved her, but she scared the Hell out of him.

Then Chelsea asked, “Have you found any Vampires lately?”

Austin almost spit out his coffee. “No. Jeeze, Chelsea, I told you not to talk about that.”

“Every time you work on a building it seems like you find bodies under the floorboards.”

“Not every time. Just most of the time.” Then he kissed his sister on the cheek and told her he’d see her soon.

He had planned on heading home but decided to stop by his girlfriend Elizabeth’s house. Well, he thought she was his girlfriend. For over a year… he didn’t know what to think. It drove him crazy. It pissed him off. It amused him. It terrified him.

The front door was cracked so he let himself. That was odd. He called her name. No answer.

Austin found Elizabeth in her bedroom. He’d found her in her bed, wearing just a tee shirt and underwear. Long, dark, blackish red scratch wounds were on the left side of her face, going down her arm, then across her ribs, and on down to her left thigh.

She lay there cold, not breathing, with no sign of a heart beat.

“Elizabeth. Wake up.”

She cracked her eyes. They were black. No bruised black but black iris, black pupils, no whites. She gave a whispered hiss and showed her fangs.

“What the Hell Liz?”

She let out a small gasp. “Demons. I ran…into…Demons.” Then she closed her eyes and put her right hand over her face.

Austin said her name again but she wouldn’t respond. He could see the edges of the scratches on her arm and face turning black.

Now what? He wasn’t a Vampire. He just knew how to kill them, not how to heal them. If he called 911 or took her to the hospital they’d ask too many questions, and she was already dead. Sort of dead. Shit, he didn’t quite know how exactly to explain it.

He called his lawyer Aaron Todd, who just happened to be a Vampire too. After Austin explained what he found there was a long pause on Aaron’s end.

Then the Vampire said, “Whatever happens don’t let her bite you. I’ll send help. Hold tight.” Then he hung up. No explanations. Typical Vampire.

Austin sat next to Elizabeth as she lay with her fangs showing and black eyes staring at nothing. He half expected Peter Cushing to come out of the closet and offer him a cross and a wooden stake.

“Hey, you must be Austin.”

Austin looked up. A well dressed hispterish looking man stood in the doorway.

The man held out his hand. “I’m Val, Aaron’s brother. He said you needed help.”

Austin took Val’s hand. It was icy cold. Of course Val was a Vampire.

Val put his hand on Elizabeth’s forehead. “Hey, sweetheart. Shhhhhh. It will be alright.” Then he looked at Austin. “The Demons have been bad lately. She must have let her guard down. They’re drawn to distraction.”

“Distraction? Like what?” Austin didn’t understand what Val was getting at.

“Like you.” Then Val smiled, a sweet charming smile, that made Austin’s stomach flip. This guy could kill him and eat him in fifteen seconds, and nobody would ever know. He brushed that thought out of his mind. He heard a car stop in the driveway, then voices and steps coming up the stairs to the bedroom.

Into the room came two teenagers. One had white blonde hair in a man-bun on top of his head. His face was almost as pretty as Elizabeth’s. His blue eyes sparkled, almost like water in the sunshine. He was wearing black tuxedo pants, a blue and purple Hawaiian shirt and yellow flip flops. The girl had long red brown curls and wore an ugly brown plaid skirt and a worn sweater with buttons shaped like cat heads. She was absolutely stunning, with cupid bow lips and large hazel eyes. They both smiled, showing fangs.

“Thank goodness you’re here,” said Val.

“Of course we’re here. Wouldn’t miss it for the World,” said the boy.

“Not for the World,” said the girl.

“We love our Elizabeth,” said the boy.

“Love her,” said the girl.

Then they both looked at Austin and just stared for a moment, then the girl sat next to Austin on the edge of the bed and took his hand in her icy hand, as the boy put his hand on Elizabeth’s face wounds.

The girl started to sing a song and stroked Austin’s hair. Val mouthed the words “Don’t say anything.”

If you’re callin’ ’bout my heart
It’s still yours
I should’ve listened to it a little more
Then it wouldn’t have taken me so long to know where I belong
And by the way, boy, this is no machine you’re talkin’ to
Can’t you tell, this is Austin, and I still love you.

She’d finished then she smiled and kissed his cheek.

The young man with the white blonde hair glanced at Austin. “Val, you didn’t introduce us. I’m going to assume you’re Austin. I am Tellias. The beautiful woman next to you is Eleora. Give us a minute with Val. You stay here with Elizabeth. Whatever you do don’t let her bite you.”

Austin could hear them speaking quietly in the hallway. It took a few seconds but he noticed they were speaking Latin. The two younger Vampires were speaking in an odd accent, an older version. He knew a little Latin, but this was odd, like old texts he’d seen while studying ancient religious documents.

Elizabeth lay as still as death with her eyes closed. Austin held her hand.

The three Vampires came back into the room.

“Can you help her?” Asked Austin.

“I will need your help young man,” said the one called Tellias. “You think I am a boy, perhaps one of your college students just out of high school. I traveled with the Roman Army before Christ as born. I met Eleora during the building of Hadrian’s Wall. We were both already old by then. We’re much older now. So we know things. We also know things about you Austin.”

Eleora sat and took Austin’s hand again. Val stood at the foot of the bed looking too serious for comfort.

“Austin,” said Tellias, “put your hand on Elizabeth’s face over the wounds. Don’t let go of Eleora’s hand. Eleora take my hand with in yours.” Then he reached out and took Val’s hand in his.

Then Tellias said words in a language Austin couldn’t understand. They were odd words in a magical tone that made his blood run cold. He was freezing, his lungs felt heavy, he couldn’t move.

“Don’t be afraid,” whispered Eleora.

“Don’t be afraid, don’t move, don’t fear, for this will pass,” said Tellias.

Then Austin felt as if an electrical fire surged though his body. Then Eleora shuttered, Tellias squeezed his eyes shut, and Val held his hand out as blue smoke came off of his fingers and the room filled with the smell of sulphur.

The black edges of Elizabeth’s wounds turned white, and the darkness of the wounds turned pink and closed, leaving dark pink red lines, rather than open wounds.

“Well, that was fun,” said Eleora.

“I think we should go swimming now,” said Tellias.

“Yes, swimming. Swim, swim, swim, swim,” said Eleora.

“We will be back,” said Tellias.

“We’re going to swim,” said Eleora.

Then they ran down the stairs, clothes flying as they went. Austin could hear a splash in the pool in Elizabeth’s backyard.

“Don’t take those two lightly,” said Val. “They might be old, but…”

“I know, they could kill me in the blink of an eye. That is what you were going to say, isn’t it?”

“No, I was going to say, they might be old, but they still know how to have fun. I have to go. Stay with Elizabeth until she wakes, which shouldn’t be long. She’ll be tired for a few hours. She’ll be shaken up for a few days, but she’ll be fine. You know what they say, Demons happen. But do me a favor and tell her to stay away from them. Please.”

“You know I’d do anything…”

“I know Austin. You’re a good man. Just be careful. Be very careful.”

Val left. Austin listened to the sound of Eleora and Tellias playing in the pool under the stars. Elizabeth opened her golden brown eyes and smiled without fangs.

“Austin, you’re here.”

“Always,” he said. “Get some rest. You need to sleep.”

As she dozed off Austin thought long and hard about Vampires, Demons, and his brother Dakota’s wedding. He didn’t want to be involved with Vampires. It wasn’t his plan. But one day several years ago he’d pulled up the floorboards of an old house and found two dried up Vampires. He killed them without a second thought. Then his attorney showed up and thanked him for taking out what he called soul-less undesirables.  And that is how he became a Vampire Hunter. The Vampires here were an entirely different thing. They were something he couldn’t even start to explain. His head seemed to spin. He had the wedding, his classes, his latest building project, and now Elizabeth. What would he do with Elizabeth? What sort of future could they possibly have?

He heard someone running up the stairs and saw Eleora standing there, wrapped in a towel with her hair dripping around her shoulders.

“You’ve come to the end of your rope,” she said. “Do you know what that means?”

“No. What does it mean, Eleora?”

“It means it is time for a new rope.”  Then she smiled and ran out of the room dropping the towel behind her. Austin heard a splash and the sound of the two Vampires laughing in the pool outside of Elizabeth’s bedroom window.

He knew that she didn’t mean for him to hang himself with it either.

 

design

 

~ End of Part 17 of the Austin and Elizabeth (The Hunter) stories.

 

Click here for the entire series of Austin and Elizabeth Stories.

Click here for more on Demons.

Or here too.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Coffee and a Crypt

A brisk walk in the fog would for coffee was just the trick to wake the dead. Austin was feeling dead that morning. Only five blocks and he’d be at the neighborhood coffee place. Everything there was organic and happy. There were smells of cinnamon in the air and cheerful young people with dreadlocks, and happy senior citizens wearing Birkenstocks and wool socks. It was awesome. He’d get a nice cup of coffee that would warm his hands and with any luck his mood.

Passing no less than five dog walkers he thought that it was time he got a dog. Dogs were always happy. They were always glad to see you. They didn’t vanish like girlfriends who never called. They didn’t have complicated feelings. Dogs usually didn’t have strange creepy friends. They didn’t tell you that it wasn’t going to work. If you loved a dog it would love you back. It was simple.

Then again a dog wasn’t a woman.

It wasn’t as if she was any woman. It could have worked. His head spun just thinking about it.

At the coffee shop he made small talk to the staff and some of his neighbors who were there. Then he left and walked up the street towards the cemetery. This is where his girlfriend should have been. It wasn’t as if he wanted her dead. Hell, she was already dead. The woman was a Vampire. He was a Vampire Hunter. But that didn’t matter. She was an attorney. He was a history professor. She painted. He restored old buildings. They never ran out of things to talk about.

Sure at first it was weird that she never warmed up either physically or emotionally. Eventually she warmed up emotionally, then she was gone. Not completely gone, just gone for him. It was dead just like the bodies under the graves and the dried up husks of hundred year old Vampires and murder victims he found underneath buildings.

Shit, this didn’t happen to other people. They didn’t find anything in old crawl spaces except rusted out matchbox cars, old bottles and dead rats. He found Vampires.

He turned towards the crypt of a once great beauty who died young. He couldn’t imagine building a crypt for a dead wife, much less dead anyone else. Most of his friends were married. Most had kids. He went to a bar and met a girl. Pretty normal if you ask most people. But the girl he met was a Vampire, and he fell in love, but he kept on top of it. He never let her get the best of him. He never let her control him. He kept his senses open at all times.

It had been weeks since he’d heard from her.

Austin walked around to the far side of the crypt and there she stood, as beautiful as the dead woman in the crypt had once been. Even in jeans and black fleece jacket, with one of those stupid infinity scarves around her neck she was the most beautiful woman he’d even seen. She had a cup of coffee in her hands, as if she needed to warm them up.

“When I got coffee they told me they’d seen you walking this direction. You always go to her crypt. Any reason for that?”

Austin looked at Elizabeth and shook his head. “Where have you been?”

“Nowhere. How is school?”

“Fine.”

 

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

 

Well, and this is where we end today because I ran out words and I don’t know what happens next.  So I’m posting a short short short story below. You might have read this one already.

 

Father Paul: Part 14 of the Austin and Elizabeth Stories

She remembered when he was just in high school. His family lived next door in an old ranch house with a rabbit warren of added on rooms. There were six Jackson kids. Paul was the peacemaker, the child of compassion, and the smartest of the bunch. He went to the local all boys’ Catholic high school then on to get a doctorate in theology and the priesthood.

Elizabeth never questioned his faith or his decision to enter the priesthood. There would be those who would question what they could not understand. Paul just took it as part of the job.

In turn Paul never questioned Elizabeth. He certainly asked questions but never judged. He just accepted what neither one of them could change. Nor did he ask her if she was afraid of eternal damnation of her soul or her life in the shadows.

Now years after they met they sat together. At the age of 54 his hair was turning gray and crows feet crinkled at the edges of his eyes when he laughed. At 195 years she looked the same as the day he met her in 1975 – a beautiful vision for any young man, including the teenage Paul.

The two old friends walked along the path in the oak forest together. Elizabeth took Paul’s arm.

“You always accepted me as I am. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.”

“Same here.”

“Stop.” She then embraced him. It was a warm day but her embrace was like ice to him. “I mean it Paul.”

He never used the word Vampire when he thought of her. She was what she was. Maybe a creature of evil but he didn’t know that for sure. Sure she drank the blood of others but that was nothing compared to some of the evil he’d seen in the world. At the same time he feared for his own soul when he was with her but he couldn’t resist. It wasn’t romantic or sexual at all. She’d always been there for him, unconditional. But that wasn’t it. She drew him in as if she was the only one who knew his heart and soul – as if she owned him.

Elizabeth let him go and then gave him a knowing smile. “I understand it is sometimes trying to have your own Vampire. You handle it well. Oh, yes, by the way, I’m having a party next weekend. You know, just cocktails and finger food. I want you to meet my boyfriend Austin. He is like you, not a priest, but warm, like you. You know what I mean. Forbidden love. Who would have thought. But you know how that is.”

“Uh, sure. A boyfriend? Sure. Will Vampires be there?”

“Of course. No worries. You know most of them.”

Paul was waiting for lightning to strike but it never did – never with Elizabeth.

 

 

To be continued….

For more on the Austin and Elizabeth Stories – the complete set CLICK HERE.

 

~ Juliette