Short Story Sunday: Beauty

“I only picked a rose. Just one rose, and now I must be his,” said Papa as he packed his bags.

“Wait, why, what? The beast we hear of in the forest wants you? For a flower? What a douche. Why were you there picking flowers?” Beauty was flustered by her Papa’s story.

“I wanted a flower for your sister Joy. It is her birthday and she has been so depressed since her baby was born,” said Papa.

Poor Joy had tried to be happy but she was tired and sad. Her husband was caring and tried to give her the joy she was named after.

Joy stood in the doorway, her baby in her arms. “It is my fault dear Papa. I will take your place.”

Beauty looked at her sister. Joy should have been named Beauty. She glowed with goodness and love. She was also beautiful beyond measure.

“No, it is my price to pay,” said Papa.

“Nonsense, I will go,” said Beauty.

“No, you will die. There is nobody in the castle of the Beast except the beast,” said Joy.

“Dear sister, do not worry about me. I’m already dead. Seriously, nobody around here likes me anyway. They all think I’m weird,” said Beauty.

“You are not weird,” said Papa.

Beauty laughed and hugged her Papa and her sister. She kissed the sweet baby, packed her bags, and left for the castle in the great forest.

In the middle of the night, Beauty, a pretty young woman with dark blonde hair, and big brown eyes arrived at the castle in the woods. She knocked on the door.

Nobody answered.

“Oh come on. Let me in. I came for my Papa. What do you want with an old man anyway. He just picked a rose for his daughter with postpartum depression. One rose. One freaking rose. You have thousands of roses in the garden here. What’s your problem?” Yelled Beauty.

The great door was opened by an unseen hand. Beauty entered. The place was beautiful but empty.

“Hello?”

She looked around and saw cameras in the corners of the room. Shit. I should have known this would be weird, she thought.

“I know you’re there. I see the cameras. You might as well come out. I will find you.”

Walking down the hallway she noticed that the eyes in the pictures followed her. The furniture shifted as if it was alive.

Then she heard a noice. A low growl. She tried the door in front of her. It was locked. Out of her hair she pulled a bobby pin and picked the lock.

Inside was a beast, a man who looked like the cross between a wolf and a lion, sitting in front of a bank of screens.

“You’re the Beast? What are you? A Werewolf or something?”

The Beast who was wearing a black AC/DC Tee shirt spoke. “I am not a Werewolf.”

“OK. So tell me. What are you?”

“Why are you here. I expected your Papa, or your sister Joy.”

“Joy is married and has two children. How do you know about Joy?”

“Joy is the most beautiful woman in the land. Everyone knows of Joy.”

“Whatever. I’m Beauty, the sister nobody ever sees. You know, Beast, or whatever your name is, this is really messed up. What are you? Some sort of weird geek who can’t get a girl. Do you have everyone because you’re different?”

Beast looked sad. “I am different. People fear me.”

“Welcome to the club Beast,” said Beauty.

“I am a prisoner of my own stupidity and selfishness.”

“Tell me about it.”

The beast held out his hand. “Let’s dance. There is a closet full of beautiful dresses. Go change.”

“I’m not going to be part of your weird fantasy. How’d you get here. You didn’t start out as a wolf man did you?”

“I was selfish. I was mean. I was everything a man should not be?”

“A politician.” said Beauty.

The Beast smiled, showing great white teeth. “No, not a politician. Anyway, to make a long story short, I was enchanted by a woman, a witch, I’d been dating. I’d been vain. I’d cheated on her. I lied to her in more than one way. She turned me into this.”

“I understand how bitter you are. Seriously, I went through something like that but then I accepted the fact that I was different. Just because you were a douch doesn’t mean you can’t change. It sounds to me like you have changed, at least a bit.”

“I have. Could you ever love me?”

“Seriously dude, I’m a Vampire. That’s why I left. I was glad to leave. I love my family and all but I don’t belong there. But I’m not sure I belong here either. The castle is nice and all but you know, this isn’t the Bachelor. I’m not waiting around for a rose from a guy I hardly know.”

“I get it. I’m sorry I was such a jerk. Tell your dad and sister that I’m sorry.”

And suddenly the room filled with magical sparks that didn’t burn and colored smoke, and when it cleared a good looking young man stood before Beauty.

“Wow, Beast. You’re hot. My only advice would be to stay cool. Be good. Keep your karma good.”

Beauty was suddenly hungry and sank her fangs into his arm. When she was done she kissed him, packed her bags, and left.

After a few minutes, she pulled over her car to the side of the road to send a text. “Papa. I’m ok. Don’t worry about the Beast. I’m taking off. Maybe to the beach. I’ll call you soon. xoxo.”

She didn’t know where the road leading out of the other side of the forest would lead, but she knew it couldn’t be as weird as where she had come from.

~ end

Tangled Tales

 

Thank you for reading this tangled tale. These stories are written on Sunday mornings while I drink my coffee, listen to the birds and my old calico cat purring. I never know what I will write about. Sometimes the stories I write are brilliant, sometimes not so much. If you write I encourage you to write every Sunday. It is sort of like going to church – a place where you can find your own inner whatever and find what is good, or funny, or just yours. I’m also listening to NPR. There is a great interview of Jack White talking about The Raconteurs. It has nothing to do with this story but it made me happy.

So read stories, write stories, listen to music, hug someone you love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Call and Response

At 4:00 a.m. in the pre-dawn morning

the owls sing their songs

like a call and response in their oak forest cathedral.

A tiny bat speeds across the sky in front of

my bedroom window.

The cat sits on the window sill

watching beside me.

In a few hours

I’ll be at the museum,

sort of my own cathedral.

Yet, the woods are also mine.

A place of others.

The creatures of the night.

Those who do not create beauty,

but are beauty.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Capitol Roses

There is a myth that Vampires like dead dusty roses. THAT is just a myth. We love beautiful vibrant roses and all flowers.

Yesterday it was my mom’s birthday. As part of the celebration we strolled around the rose garden in Capitol Park in Sacramento, CA.

Just wanted to share a few of my favorites. I thought it would be a good way to start off the week.

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For more amazing flowers check out Cee’s Photography: https://ceenphotography.com/2018/10/07/flower-of-the-day-october-8-2018-dahlia/

Share the flowers in your world.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Desert Winds

On the edge of the Sandia Mountains, My friends Amelia her husband Raul and I drove down the gravel road to the home of Ximena, an ancient woman who mostly lived in solitude with the company of the birds and the wind.

Ximena’s home was a large old adobe structure rimmed with bells and bushes of purple flowers. She greeted us at the door, as always wearing a long colorful skirt. Her black hair flowed down her back almost to her knees. Dark eyes smiled at us in a welcome greeting, as did her fangs. She is almost as ancient as Tellias and Eleora, and like them Ximena looks like a young college girl.

We came into the main room. Walls lined with books and crystals flanked part of the room with windows on the other side looking towards the mountains. We could smell the dried chiles rastas hanging in the kitchen. A red shouldered hawk perched on a wooden chair. It called out when it saw us.

“Maria, you still sing so sweetly,” I said to the bird. She gave me a cold stair then allowed me to pet her feathered head.

Maria the hawk had been around since I was a young woman, more than a hundred years. I wondered at times how she could live so long, then I stopped wondering and chalked it up to magic, love or pure mystery. It is what it is. That is how things work here in the land of magic.

A youngish man with dark hair and eyes like Ximena, but pale skin, came into the room. He was introduced to us as Kyle. But he wasn’t like us. I could feel his warmth as soon as he walked into the room.

Kyle was a man of many talents. He was a photographer, a teacher, a writer, an engineer and apparently a lover. After talking over wine and a light diner we also discovered Ximena’s young friend was also extremely opened minded.

He was also a young widow. One night left him alone with his dreams dead, but he kept going and kept at least a portion of the dreams and spark alive.

While Raul, Amelia and Ximena went to a back room to examine some old maps or something, Kyle and I went out to the porch. Bats flew about as the sounds of the bells filled the air.

Kyle asks me about my husband Teddy. I smiled shyly and told him how we’d met as kids and fallen in love a hundred years later. I think I’d always been in love with my husband on some level.

Then Kyle spoke of his lost love. “After Kayla, my wife, passed away everyone kept asking me if I’d go back. Over and over they’d ask the old what if question. You know, you can’t go back. I can’t bring her back. I will never forget her. She is part of me, but I live in the world of the living.”

“No ghost?” I had to ask (always thinking of obnoxious Nigel)

“Only a Vampire in the Southwest would ask that,” Kyle answered with a knowing smile.

“A Vampire anywhere would ask that. Don’t get me started on the ghosts I see all the time.”

“No ghost. Kayla moved on the night she died. That is a good thing.”

“Yes it is. You’re a wise man with a loving heart. In some circles that is a rare thing.”

He leaned against the rail. “I don’t know you except by reputation but I want to ask you a few thing, or at least see how you feel about a few things.”

“Okay,” I said.

“I’m in love with Ximena. I know what she is. I know how old she is. It doesn’t matter.”

I shrugged and laughed. “My 500 or so year old Grandmama is in love with a 35 year old. What are you, about 38?”

He smiled. I was correct. He was 38 and absolutely a delight – young, yet years ahead of most men his age.

“Dear Kyle, you also want me to tell you if I think it would be wise if you became a Vampire? Right?”

He smiled an uncomfortable hot blooded smile.

I said to him, “Kyle, you are in love with the cold wind under the moon and the sprint of night. She is an amazing being. I’ve always admired her. If you feel you can make a life out here with her then do it. But don’t lose yourself in her. Always be who you are, even after you become a Vampire. That is the only way it will work. If you try to be too much like her she will leave you, because she fell in love with you, not with herself.”

Raul and Ximena came out to join us with wine for Ryan and spiced blood for the rest of us.

Ximena whistled and Maria the red shouldered hawk came and landed on a table next to her hand. Ximena gave the bird a piece of meat she took from a bag in her pocket.

Into the night we talked until the sun came up and created unbelievably beautiful light and shadows on the mountains.

I could hear the wind whispering to the lovers:

The light

in dark eyes

promises kept

forever and

again

in our hearts

we love

we laugh

and we learn

to do it 

all

over 

again.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Diary: Protecting the Cuteness

Vlad’s Vampire Diary #35, Protecting the Cuteness

 

Dear Diary,

This afternoon I was awakened by the sound of the doorbell.

My neighbor, a woman named Casandra, stood at my door with panic in her eyes.

“Vlad, are you free for a few hours?”

I escaped after being locked up in a crypt for three hundred years, then found out I was no longer Vampire King. Of course I can be free for a few hours.

I smiled, ran my hands through my thick golden hair and said, “Casandra, you look distressed. What can I do for you?”

She told me that her five year old boy, a lad named Lucas had fallen on the playground and broken his arm. I was asked if I could watch her four month old son Trevor. Of course I could. What else was I doing? I am a former Vampire King who has not decided what to do with myself aside from observing this confusing modern world, and writing in my diary.

Cassandra works from her home and only, as she tells me, has part time daycare. Her husband was out of town on business she told me. I have been around babies. I could do this.

I went two houses down and went inside, where Cassandra showed me where all of Trevor’s food, diapers, and other gear was. Modern babies have an overwhelming amount of gear.

Trevor smiled when he saw me. Cassandra gave me a hug, then said, “You’re cold. Do you want me to turn up the heat?”

I told her that I was fine. I did not tell her that I am a Vampire, therefore always cold.

Trevor was in his crib. I held out my hands and he grabbed my index fingers. One in each hand.

“There was a time when a baby boy like you would have been served up on a silver platter by some Vampires. You would have been a delicacy. You are a lucky boy young Trevor,” I said to the tiny child.

He laughed.

I pulled my hands up, Trevor hung on but his head fell back. His tiny neck was unable to support his massive baby head. I put my hand under his head to support it. He laughed. I laughed.

Here we are together, two males, bonding in our cuteness.

He laughed again then looked into my eyes and said “blee eeebub.”

I laughed. “Ahhhh you want me to tell you a story do you? Then you shall have one,” I said to him.

“Dear Trevor. Once upon a time there was a baby. She was cute. More cute than me. More cute than you. She was more cute than a puppy or a kitten. She was, what shall I call it, universal cute. No baby had ever been more precious, at least until you were born.

One night, when her parents were asleep a Vampire came in through the window of their villa and took the cute baby girl. The Vampire was on the way to a party and said to his hose that he would bring an appetizer. It was like that big game, the Super Bowl, where people get together to watch sport and eat and drink until they fall asleep. He put the cute baby upon a large sterling platter, not into a super sized bowl, and took her to the party.

Everyone at the party ran their tongues over their fangs, ready to feast upon the baby. But this baby, this tiny cute baby, who was cute beyond cute, this baby who was almost as cute as you are cute, caught the eye of a handsome Vampire named Wydo. He was a prince. Yes, my young toothless friend, Wydo was a Vampire prince.

Wydo was enchanted with the child, not because she was so very cute, but because he knew she would one day be able to control everyone she saw, including even a Vampire King.

Wydo demanded that dancing dwarfs come into the hall and do gymnastics, and then fighting games for the crowd of Vampires. There were no dwarves, for they had been drained of their blood earlier in the day, so musicians, who were alive, were brought in. Then the Vampires danced. Wydo went into a dark stairwell and summoned Demons to come in the guise of beautiful maidens full of blood and distract the other Vampire.

Then do you know what Wydo did? I bet you do know what he did smart baby Trevor. Wydo wrapped the baby girl in his cloak and stole her away in the darkness of the night.

And did Wydo drink her blood. No he did not. He brought her back to her parents home. Seventeen years later he turned her into a Vampire. Do not be shocked my little one, it was her idea.

Another thing you might not have guessed yet was the fact that Wydo was my grandfather.

Several years later, about fifty years later, she became my first wife. We were both Vampires and of the same age. It seemed like a perfect match. But then she tore out my heart. She stabbed me in the back. She left me. She left me alone. She did not physically tear out my heart. She broke it. Badly, in the worst way a woman can break a man’s heart.”

I stood in the middle of the room bouncing a baby, and thought my heart was going to explode. As empty as my heart was of blood, I felt like it was empty of everything else. It was not a feeling of cute. It was a feeling of pain.

Then the baby Trevor laughed. I laughed and showed him my fangs. He laughed even harder, and so did I. The pain in my heart stopped.

I told him more stories of adventures, with gore and death, and large hungry carnivores animals. As long as Trevor laughed I told him stories of my life.

“Do not marry a bitch,” I said to Trevor. “Make sure she is warm like you, even if she is a Vampire.”

Trevor laughed his cute baby laugh and I was once again  at peace.

A few hours later, after it was dark and I sat on a leather couch which was the color of blood, Cassandra came home with the child Lucas. A green plaster cast was on the child’s arm. His fingers stood out. He looked as if he was in pain.

I touched his fingers. “You are a brave young man,” I said. I did not flinch as I took the pain away from his broken bone. He smiled at me, then his mother took him to bed.

I handed Cassandra the baby Trevor. He reached out his tiny arms and practically fell at her.

“Oh I could just eat you up,” said his mother as she kissed his cheeks.

Me too I thought.

Then she looked right at me and said, “You and Trevor are so cute together.”

Sigh. I was once the Vampire King and now I am a cute guy who watches babies who are also cute. This is a confusing world in which I exist. I also changed Trevor’s diaper, not once but three times, and I fed him breast milk his mother had pumped earlier. I am indeed a good friend to have around.

“With Brad out of town I don’t know how I’m going to sleep,” said Casandra.

“I can help you,” I said.

Once Cassandra was in a trance, and less a pint of blood, she slept. I made sure she had sweet dreams of her boys growing up to be strong men, like Vampires of old, but not so much as to scare her, and not Vampires.

I walked home thinking about my former wife. I must stop doing that. Not stop walking home. Stop thinking of my former wife. The bitch.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I lay in bed in the arms of my betrothed, Gillian. Her head is on my chest. Her arms are wrapped around me. She is as still and cool as marble. If she was not a Vampire I would think she was dead.

The two cats lay curled at our feet, hot and vibrating.

Jane the coyote lays curled at the foot of the bed on a blanket Gillian gave her.

I feel loved.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Oh the number of hearts I have broken over the centuries. Thousands. Maybe more. My capacity for breaking hearts is vast.

I was sitting in my favorite chair, with two cats attempting to keep my lap warm, when my love Gillian came home.

“I would stand but the cats would be so sad,” I told her with a smile, and held out my hand to her. “What brings you home so early? How was the Spa Night with your friends. You do not look relaxed my love.”

“It was weird and horrible even for people like us,” she said. By “us” she was speaking of Vampires, or at least I assume that. She then continued. “First They put something on my hair that smelled like dried cow patties. I went to the ladies room and washed it out of my hair. After that it was time for facials.”

“Cow patty? They put hamburgers on your face?” I asked.

“No Vlad. Oh you have missed a lot during your time in the crypt. A cow patty is a large dried cow poop.”

“My darling, how vile. How was the facial?”

“Worse than the cow pattie part.  I was told to lay back and relax as someone rubbed salmon oil on my face. If that wasn’t horrible enough, cats were then brought in to lick it off of our faces.”

“Cats? Why cats?” I asked.

“I was told it was the latest thing in natural skin care. The cat’s tongues exfoliate the skin. Bull shit.”

“Cow patties again?”

“No Vlad, bull shit is an expression for something that isn’t true. I don’t know where it came from. Please don’t ask me to explain. But damned if I was going to let some cat lick salmon oil off of my face. Darling I’m not going to kiss you or even come near you. I smell like a garbage can. I have to take a shower. I’ll be back in a bit.”

I watched my poor dear walk up the stairs, then went back to my pondering.

I’d heard of women centuries ago who would use the blood of virgins to try to make themselves beautiful.  That never worked. Oh the crazy things that vanity makes people do. On the other hand I appreciate the efforts that women take to make themselves appealing, and beautiful. Dare I say cute? Yes, even cute.

As a male I find it fascinating, horrifying, and completely confusing and mysterious. I would be maybe too bold to also say I find it cute.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today is Saint Valentine’s Day.

Last night Gillian said I am more cute than the one called Timberlake. I rolled my eyes at her and it made her laugh. Then she said she was still on the fence about the one who rides the board called Shawn White. Then she explained to me about this Shawn White. Then we watched the Olympic game coverage.

I know it was a joke Gillian was making but I was impressed and amused beyond words.

I love that woman.

I will now learn to ride a snow board.

But for now I will ride… excuse me, I will make love to Gillian. Maybe she’ll give me a high score. And I find myself with three gold medals! See I can find humor. 

Gillian and I made love. It was perfection. Then we talked, our bodies and minds entwined. I will no longer think of my former wife, or other Vampire loves of my past. Thoughts of Gillian are all I want or need. Of course I have my memories, but that is all they are. Just memories, and none as sweet as my thoughts of Gillian. Who needs chocolate when one has true love. Then she whispered in her sleep saying, “Vlad, you’re so cute.”

Sigh. Such is the life and love of a Vampire King.

~ Vlad

 

Kissed by a Vampire