Almost Short Story Sunday: Webs

Yesterday I started a short story but ended up, obviously, not sharing anything. Not even an old story. This is what I came up with. This is part of the Austin and Elizabeth series. I’ve listed all of the stories from the start at the bottom of the post with links to said stories. On a good note the green waste can is completely filled, my nose is completely filled with bark dust, and I cleaned out the inside of my old calico cat’s ears (not a task for the faint of heart.) Anyway, this is what I’ve got. Enjoy … and watch out for spiders.

Webs

Elizabeth reached into the pantry door for the box of Zen Tea bags and realized it was anything but zen in her pantry. Her hand hit something that resisted, as if someone had tied dental floss across the shelf. It wasn’t dental floss. It was black widow silk.

A few hours, and six black widows later, she’d completely cleaned, reorganized, and cleaned out her pantry closet.

She looked at her cat who waited for a treat. “You’d think that a Vampire like me wouldn’t have a full pantry, but you love your kitty treats.”

Elizabeth also loved her booze, and the few snacks that wouldn’t make her sick. Plus there were all of the things her boyfriend, and occasional overnight friends liked.

She thought about her childhood when a child in her town died of a black widow bite. The same week a man died of a mysterious illness. Elizabeth thought of the man’s wife. She was his black widow.

Through a window Elizabeth saw the woman put something into a tea cup and make the man drink it. Strange herbs and ground up bugs steeped in hot sweet strong tea killed the husband within a week.

The woman then married her lover, who then took all of her money and ran away with an artist who told him she wished to go to Rome. So they left for Rome, but their ship wrecked and they both died.

The captain of the ship survived. He brought home the bodies of the dead husband and his lover. The widow lured him into her lair. Within six months they were married. Within a year he would have been dead but he went to sea. His death wouldn’t come for another five years.

By then Elizabeth had grown up, become a Vampire, and moved on. She’d have to go on one of those genealogy sites to see what happened to the woman.

What a tangled web we weave thought Elizabeth.

~ end, for now…

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Tangled Tales

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. Most are stand-alone stories but they are also sequential.

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: Saturday Afternoon

Part 17: Cold

Part 18: Being Real

Part 19: Motorhome

Part 20: Under the Stars

Part 21: Warmth

Part 22: Conversion

Part #23: Lizbit

Part 24: Gerald Atkins: Vampire Hunter

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Warmth

Warmth
(an Austin and Elizabeth Story)

“Your hand is cold.”

Austin always said that. He couldn’t help it. It was a reflex from years of holding hands with women who had warm hands. Warm hands and cold hearts.

Elizabeth smiled and lifted his hand to her cool lips. “I love you,” she said quietly, almost a whisper.

“Love you too,” he said. Then he his lips found hers. Suddenly a thought his his brain. She’d been alive for almost two hundred years. She’d been dead for almost that long. Well, sort of dead. Kind of dead and then alive again. Loving a Vampire was weird to say the least.

She’d started to wear socks to bed when Austin spent the night least she wake him with cold feet. But then he told her no. He wanted her to be who she was.

Still, he couldn’t help but check his neck in the mirror in the mornings for marks, or his wrists. He couldn’t help but overhear her on the phone with her friends, with a sweet laugh as she talked about meeting up for a hunt. She’d turn away or take her phone outside.

She’d once asked him, “Why do you hunt us. We don’t hurt anyone.”

He couldn’t answer honestly. He hunted the ones who could hurt, would hurt, or did hurt. Austin let the other alone. In this age of being away of the differences of others he had learned, that even when dealing with Vampires and god only knows what other kind of weird things were out there he had to take everyone on an individual basis. Well, almost everyone.

They cuddled on the couch under a blanket, with a bottle of wine, as they watched Crazy Rich Asians. 

He kissed her cheek. It seemed a little warm. Maybe. Sort of. It didn’t matter.

~ end

 

Click here for more Austin and Elizabeth Stories (The Hunter Series.)

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Lizbit

Lizbit. Oh Lizbit.

Elizabeth opened her eyes. Oh man it had been a hot day. Sitting up from where she was laying on the couch she looked around. Nobody was there.

Lizbit.

Nobody had called her that since she was a child.

It was her sister who’d died in childbirth at nineteen. It was her two teenage brothers who’d perished in a fire. It was her other sister who’d been murdered by a jealous lover and left in a ditch under a winter hail storm.

The other siblings, the remaining three, another sister and two brothers, had lived long successful lives.

Elizabeth had run away from an engagement to a man she didn’t love and she become a Vampire. It seemed like a good choice at the time. Almost two hundred years later it still seemed like a good choice.

Lizbit.

Her phone buzzed.

“Hey baby,” she said.

“Hi beautiful,” said her boyfriend Austin from the end of the magical line that allowed them to speak from far away locations.

“Are you coming over?”

“On my way.”

“Drive safe.”

“I will. Love you. See you soon.”

“Love you.”

She put down the phone and went in the bathroom to brush her hair. Austin wasn’t a Vampire but she still loved him. Maybe one day she’d convince him to take the step… maybe.

Lizbit

There was no reflection except her own in the mirror.

Lizbit

She turned around.

Her dog walked in and looked up with dark brown eyes. His tail wagged unconditional love.

“Hey baby. I love my good boy.”

Lizbit.

The dog barked. She looked around and saw nothing.

“I don’t have time for ghosts tonight,” she said aloud. “It is too hot and I’m too tired. You made your choices, I made mine.”

Lizbit

“I have a dog. I’m in love. Just be happy for me. Just go away.”

She opened a bottle of wine, checked to see what was on Netflix, and waited for Austin to arrive. There were no more voices. Just the sound of the dog eating it’s kibble and the sound of her heart that had just started to beat for the night.

~ end

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Under the Stars

Austin stood outside under the stars, away from the motorhomes, tent trailers, and tents. He’d gone out to pee but remained outside to ponder the beauty of the night, and the weirdness of the campfire talk earlier.

His cousin Dirk almost set off a riot with his questions. “Are you Gay or what?”

That came with a chorus of “if he was would it matter?” from other family members.

Austin was in his late 30’s and not married, cohabitation, or otherwise obviously in a relationship with a woman, or anyone else. It was cause for a lot of discussion among his clan. He called them a clan because they acted like it – one organic mass made up of loud and outspoken individuals who all happened to be related by blood and otherwise.

Half of them were Vampire Hunters as well, a family trait that he couldn’t avoid and didn’t always love.

The other half, including his 89 year old Granny, habitually too massive amounts of garlic tablets which made a chorus of farts and a lot of good nature laughing around the campfire. He was surprised there wasn’t an explosion.

When he was a kid, maybe eight or nine, he’d gone on a camping trip with his Granny and Grandpa. In the middle of the night he woke and saw a dark shape crouched over his Granny. The next thing he knew the creature, who’d had it’s fangs in his grandmother’s arm, was spitting and coughing. It backed up out of the tent and fled into the woods. That was the first time he’d seen a Vampire. Since then he’d seen over a hundred of the things.

Over the years he’d learned there were bad Vampires, and Vampires who were not. He’d learned that he had, not powers, but a built in intuition, or connection with the creatures. He knew how to control them, and scare them, and if necessary, kill them. Austin didn’t like to think about that, but he had to admit it was sort of a rush. A big rush.

His phone vibrated. It was his girlfriend Elizabeth, the girlfriend he didn’t invite. He’d make it up to her later. She understood. After all, she was a Vampire, a fact that only his Granny knew.

He read the message. Love you. Have fun. 

Love you. Miss you, he texted back.

He looked up to the stars and saw a full moon and a whirl of small bats flying across the sky. In the distance he could hear the yip of coyotes, and the voices of owls.

He felt a small hand take his. Granny was standing next to him.

“She’s thinking about you baby, isn’t she?”

He looked at his Granny. She knew everything. “Of course,” said Austin.

“You taking your garlic?”

“No.”

“Why not? You need to take that and put Vaseline in your nose so you won’t get germs in your system. You can’t fend off paranormals with a stuffed up nose. You know that Austin.”

As they stood under the sky they watched the first light of dawn together.

“Time for coffee Granny,” said Austin.

“Good idea,” said Granny. “Then let’s go fishing. I want to catch something without fangs for a change.”

Austin just had to laugh. Life was good.

~ end

Tangled Tales

 

Click here for more about Austin and his girlfriend Elizabeth.

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Mail Order House

Spring semester was supposed to start January 18. Maybe he’d lodge his leg out of the hole in the attic before then. His first class had a wait list of twelve, but he was sure at least five wouldn’t show so at least five wait list students would get in. No show, no class.

Why the Hell was he thinking of that right now. There were Vampires, or at least dried up husks of old Vampires wrapped in blankets four feet from him. Damn, he’d hoped they were dead enough not to smell the blood coming out of the cut on his leg.

The first class was titled “Major Problems in US History.” Fuck, that was fitting and timely. Every morning he wished the news would just go away. He wished he could go should on the streets, on Fox News, NPR, CNN, Buzz Feed, The Washington Post, and every crazy ass news outlet that Vampires, Werewolves, and Ghosts were real. But he didn’t. The ACLU would be all over it, and God only knows who else to give them equal rights because, after all, they are human and American citizens. They vote. Fuck. His leg ached.

Austin worked three jobs. There wasn’t any reason for it, he just did. First and foremost he was a History Professor at the local college. Second he was a contractor who restored historic buildings. Third, like his granny, he was a Vampire Hunter. The Vampire Hunter occupation wasn’t by choice. It just sort of happened. It was in his blood like, well, being a Vampire is in the blood of one of them.

He should have been home in bed with his wife, while the kids were up early watching cartoons. Only there was no wife or kids. There should have been. What he did have were a couple of recently adopted shelter cats named David and Crosby. The requirement was that the two Tom cats had to be adopted together. David was a large black and white tuxedo cat with a sweet disposition. Crosby was a skinny orange cat with a stub tail and a loud happy voice. It was love at first sight. They were five years old, so he figured he had at least another ten to fifteen years with them if they didn’t run in front of a car or get eaten by a coyote. He’d never seen a coyote in his neighborhood but he’d seen raccoons plenty of times. He thought of the movie “Lady Bird.” Part of it was filmed in his neighborhood, or at least a few blocks from there.

The house he was in was out in Fair Oaks. It was a mail order kit house built in 1915 complete with all sorts of fun features, including the river rock chimney. He’d purchased it for restoration and sale as a single family home. Over the years it had been turned into a flop house, then apartments, then a total mess. This house was not unique, but it was still special.

A burst of pain shot up from Austin’s right foot to his hip. He closed his eyes tight, then opened them only to see a single eye looking at him. The caramel brown was like a light shining out from a partially veiled face. The face was like dried bark. The eye was alive and fresh.

“What?” he said to the husk of a woman. “Are you going to eat me?”

A sound like grinding, or maybe cracking paper filled his ears as the Vampire lifted her arm then held out her hand.

“Take my hand,” she whispered in a barely audible voice.

Austin put his hand on the hilt of his knife and took the think dried out hand.

She pulled him up and out of the hole. It reminded him of when he was a child and his dad had pulled him out of the lake after he’d called out of their boat.

The Vampire touched his injured leg then licked the blood off of her fingers. Her face began to turn soft and almost glowed. She became beautiful before his eyes.

“I saved you,” she said to Austin. “I will not drink your blood but you must do me a favor.”

“What?” Austin asked. He knew about Vampire favors. He knew he couldn’t trust them.

“Cut off the heads of the other two Vampires. They’re no good. They are the reason I’m here. Then drive me to a place a few miles from here. The man is now old but he will remember me. He is my brother.”

“How long have you been up here?” Austin asked.

“Since 1963.”

Austin dropped her off then headed to the hospital to get thirty two stitches in his leg. His girlfriend Elizabeth met him there.

She put her cold Vampire hand on his forehead, then kissed his lips with hers. He wondered if those lips had been on somebody else’s neck that night. Then he put the thought from his head.

“I took an Uber over. I’ll drive your car home.”

Later that day he woke in his own bed. Elizabeth was sitting in the window seat reading a book.

“Did you hunt tonight Elizabeth?”

“You need to get some rest. Do you need any pain killers?” she answered.

Austin did fall asleep with dreams of strange events in American history. He’d make sure to add something about mail order homes in at least one of his lectures this semester. He’d skip the part about Vampires.

~ end

1913_0187

 

Click HERE for more Austin and Elizabeth Stories

 

 

Short Story: 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