When You Grow Old

It is hot today. I believe it is over 100°F where I live. In light of that hot sizzling fact I’m going to take you with me to a nice cool beach.

When You Grow Old

A short story by Juliette Kings

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked my brother’s caretaker Josh.

My brother Bob is 90 years old. A former screenwriter and movie producer, he lives in a modern glass and polished wood mansion on the Central Coast of California.

I’d been at Bob’s for six months.

“Your grandmother would have been 101 this year,” Bob told me. I was going to turn 101 this year, at the end of October. What Bob doesn’t know is that I am his sister Valentina. He doesn’t know I’m a vampire either. He thinks I’m a great niece who is the spitting image of his older sister who passed away in 1935.

I walked the beach in the evenings with Bob. He leaned my arm and told me about the cycles of the tide and the migration of the whales.

Arriving home we found that my brother’s caretaker Josh had fixed dinner.  A beautiful salad and fresh rockfish. Josh, a tall skinny but muscular blonde in his 30’s had been with Bob for about 3 years. He divided his time between helping Bob and two other elderly folks near by, and when he wasn’t with his old folks he was surfing.

I asked Josh why he worked with old people. “They’re exceptional creatures,” he told me, “with the knowledge of lost times. They have wisdom and humor that needs to be honored. You can’t always get that out of old people, but if you work them just so and LISTEN they’ll give you the secrets of the universe. And the weird thing is, no not weird, I the magic of it, is that they don’t even know they have that knowledge.”

The next morning we had a visitor. It was Stephen, one of my brother’s neighbors.  “You’ve been good to your brother,” he whispered in my ear. He was also a Vampire, something I’d known for a while, but never talked to him about. Our paths crossed but this was the first time we had made a social call since I’d been there.

It seems Stephen and Bob have been friends for the past 10 years, since Stephen purchased the run down house next door and restored it to the former glory of its past. Until today, he only visited Bob when I was out. They spend the evenings talking, watching movies and playing cards with Josh. There was a bond of friendship that was so real and close, the kind that never ends, even with age and differences of opinion.

A few night later Stephen and I walked the beach.

“How long have you been a Vampire?” I asked him. It was a common question Vampires ask each other.

“Since the summer of 1802. Funny it seems like yesterday.”

“So hows it working out for you? I mean, the Vampire thing and all?” I had to ask.

“Good. It’s all good. You know it isn’t for everyone.”

“I wonder about Bob.” I had wondered about my brother and if I made him into a Vampire if I’d restore his youth and keep him in my life.

“Bob is happy where he is.”

“I think you’re right.”

We walked more and listened to the waves. Then he kissed me under that stars. That was a surprise. A nice surprise.

The next morning after Josh had helped Bob with his shower and getting dressed I visited with him over coffee. Josh was such a caring free spirit, loving his work with the elderly and his relationship with the waves.

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked Josh.

He smiled. “I’ll ride out on the surf and become one with the sea.”

“Who will listen to your words of wisdom?”

“You and Stephen can pass it on. You’ll still be here. You’ll always be here. So will Bob, not in body but his spirit is strong. He’ll be around as long as the stars shine over the surf.” Then he winked at me. “Valentina, I know all about you. Your kind is all over the coast down here. I grew up with Vampires. It’s cool.”

And so it was.

 

~ end

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

No End in Sight (the rest of the story)

A few weeks ago on my regular (or not so regular depending on how you look at it) feature “Short Story Sunday” I featured a story with no end in sight because I’d written myself into a hole. So I added a survey to my readers about the ending. Still no end, until this morning around 5:00 a.m.

Be warned, this isn’t a Vampire story and (spoiler alert) there isn’t any weird ending. Also this story isn’t based on anything or anybody. If you think it is about you or me or your neighbor Fred you’re wrong. It is just fiction. And that is the end of the story.

vm_on the water

No End in Sight

A short story from Juliette Kings

 

The cold tile under her feet was always preferable to shoes. That was something her mother never understood. Just like nobody understood when Karl passed away she didn’t want to be bothered by anyone for a long time. She went to the beach where she could feel the cool sand in her toes and stood under the gray sky watching the waves for hours. Then she went home and wondered what was next.

He looked across the beach and saw a woman who reminded him of a girl he knew in college. Only this woman was older than the 22-year-old girl he’s last seen. The woman on the beach was around his age. Standing alone she watched the waves. He should have gone up to her, or at least walked by close enough to see if it was the girl who’d haunted his thoughts for the past 30 years.

After she arrived home she sat on her deck listening to the sounds of the woodpeckers. A dog barked or other suburban sounds drifted over the fence. She poured another glass of wine. Now what?

He texted his daughter back. Just a greeting from a college 4 hours away. He thought how she liked the cookies from the recipe his grandmother made up for her grandchildren. As he baked a batch to mail down to Allyson he thought about the woman on the beach. He’d been Allyson’s age when he knew her.  That was an uncomfortable thought.

Life wasn’t a romance novel she thought as she fixed the toilet handle in the downstairs bathroom. The cats came in and out to watch. One started to unroll the toilet paper. She laughed. It was a waste of time to get mad at a cat for being a cat.

The last time he’d spoken to her she’d been looking for work and thinking about graduate school. She’s said something about going to Europe. She wanted to go to a lot of places. Her selection of choices seemed limited and vague. There wasn’t anything clear-cut or normal about her. Other young women he knew had a direction and confidence she didn’t seem to have. He looked up her name on Facebook. She was there. She was sure she was the woman he’d seen on the beach. On her page were posts about her kids, her cats, literary quotes, information about art shows and scientific discoveries. She was obviously successful. There were photos of the beach. Now what? Putting in a friend request wasn’t exactly the way he wanted to reconnect, if he did decide to reconnect.

She knew he was thinking about her. She always knew.

The next morning he went to the beach. She was there, the wind blowing her hair back. They greeted each other with the usual exclamations of people who haven’t seen each other in years. They both looked good. They hugged. They made some immediate small talk. He lived near by. She had business and was visiting an elderly uncle then would drive down the highway to visit her kids in college. Their children all went to the same university. It was a start.

Small talk moved to a small café with coffee, then on to wine. The next morning she was still in his bed. He’d half expected her to have taken off in the early hours of the morning.

He expected her to ask him what he was thinking. Women always asked that. She didn’t. Nor did she ask him about his feelings about last night.

He smiled and handed her a cup. “Good morning Viola.”

She took it and smiled back. “Good morning Greg.”

“Do you want to talk about last night?”

“Last night was exceptionally nice. It was wonderful. Am I going to ask anything of you? I don’t know. Do you want me to?”

“How do you feel?”

“Good. Stop asking me questions and I’ll continue to feel good.” She slipped her arm around his waist and kissed him. “I’m not ready to tell you how I really feel. I wasn’t ready back then and you never seemed to interested. I’m not ready now.”

“Tell me Viola.”

“I enjoy your company. I enjoy your touch. We’re good together. Of course we’re different, you always keep that fact, unspoken as it was, out in the forefront, but our souls are the same. We’ve grown up. We’re the rare few who’ve learned from our mistakes, at least the big mistakes, the ones that matter.”

“How do you know that?”

“I’ve always known. I was just too stupid to realize it. So were you. Alright, I was in love with you. I always was but I was afraid I’d never see you again if I told you. And I didn’t tell you and I never saw you again. But that doesn’t matter now. We’re here and it is now and so let’s just enjoy our time together. I miss you as a friend. We should have kept that friendship. That was stupid of both of us.”

“Can you stay another day?”

She nodded her head. “I have to see my kids. Maybe next weekend. Or you could come to my house. Just let me know.”

After she’d left he called a few old friends to say “you’ll never believe who just spent the night.”

While Greg talked to his friends about how “together” and “amazing” she was, Viola drove down the coastal highway feeling like a fool. She turned up the music and opened the sunroof. No matter what she knew about Greg, she knew who she was, and that was all that mattered.

surf sunset

 

More Short Stories from Vampire Maman

A good portion of the posts on Vampiremaman.com read like short stories, but the list here is of stand alone stories that don’t always follow the tales of Juliette’s life with her husband, kids and assorted Vampire Mom adventures. Some are from guest authors. A good portion of these tales don’t even have Vampires.

Expect the unexpected … and a lot of fun! Click on the title to go to the story.

You’ll find Gothic romance, horror, humor and a lot of unexpected fun.

Dancing on the Beach
Morning in the Vineyard
When You Grow Old
Heart Shaped Box
A Man Should Have What He Wants
Ode to a Greek God
The Necklace
The Travelers
Perfection
The Shadow of Fire
Robert and the Key
Dark Politics
Romance of the Needles
Stumped
The Child
A Night at the Crest
Dawn of the Undead
Sunday School
The Time Travelers
I’ll Return to You
My Vampire Lover
Innocenzio D’Antonio