Cold Hands, Warm Hearts

Cold Hands, Warm Hearts

My eldest brother Max (10 years my senior) had asked his best friend Teddy to escort me home from the theater one evening. It was 1874. I was 15 years old.

“Your hands are so cold,” he said as he helped me up off of the muddy street onto the boardwalk.

I gave him a coy smile. “I have a cold heart sir.”

He laughed. I never called him sir. He offered me his arm.

I gladly took his arm. “Your hands are positively burning. What sort of fire stirs your soul tonight?” That was pretty forward but I didn’t care. I was floating with the joy of being a flirt and having no brothers or parents around to stop me.

“You’re not like the other girls.”

“No I am not.”

“You’re an impish little thing. It will take a man with a quick wit and a good sense of humor to woo you Juliette.”

“Ahhhh, but you forget I have four older brothers. I pity any man who would have to deal with them.”

“They’ll love any man who is truly in love with you Juliette.”

“I doubt that Teddy.”

Then he stopped and faced me. “I have some news. A secret if you can keep one.”

“Your secrets are always safe with me.”

Teddy had a large smile on his handsome face. “I’m getting married.”

My young Vampire heart literally stopped dead. My head started to spin, but I managed to smile because like all Vampires, I was a natural liar. “Oh Teddy. I’m so happy for you. She really is lovely.”

I wished I could just turn to putrified slime and slip into the dirt like the dead in the cemetery but instead I found a dark place to curl up in for the rest of the night. Teddy would now be lost to me forever. No more laughing at silly jokes with him. No more having him give me sly smiles. No more watching him and my brother Max in awe as they turned from boys to real men.

Teddy would be moving on to the world of married men where there was no room for girls who laughed too loud and talked too much. There was no room for Vampires. Sure, once I was older and became an icy cold elegant woman like my Vampire mother I could entertain Teddy and his bride, but until then it was over. He might has well have died – at least that is what I was feeling in my cold quiet teenage heart.

Teddy had no idea how different any of us were. He had no idea that his father’s business partner was a Vampire. Teddy had no idea what a Vampire was.

While they were away to college Teddy never really questioned why my brother Max would go out in the middle of the night. He imagined it was a woman or gambling or just a restless spirit. Like all of us, Max was brilliant at hiding his true nature.

The young woman of good breeding whom Teddy had become engaged to was sweet. That was her only attribute aside from being considered pretty. She wanted nothing more in life than to be the wife of a successful man. The fact that Teddy was the most handsome human I’d ever seen in my life, interesting, smart and funny was just an added bonus. Other than the fact that Teddy thought she’d be a good match there was nothing remarkable about her. Good breeding. Good reputation. Good girl. I didn’t even think about passion. Thinking about that would be almost as bad as thinking about my parents having any kind of passion (remember I was 15 years old.)

Teddy’s love wasn’t out sucking blood out of people in the middle of the night. She was in bed alone dreaming of angels and kittens. She was the kind of girl he dreamed of and I am sure he dreamed of her at night.

I wished I was like her. I wished I was sweet and warm like a her. I touched my icy hands against my cheeks and closed my eyes and then wiped away cold tears. No amount of wishing could make me warm. No amount of wishing could make me walk in the sunshine without dark glasses or a parasol. No amount of charm or wit could make him continue to be buddies with me, a girl who lived in the shadow of the night. He’d never love me.

I found my brother Val and told him the news. Val, who is only 16 at the time, thought I was being silly. He didn’t understand. He was a boy. Teddy could still be friends with a boy.

Max came up on the roof where I ended up that night. He sat next to me and put his arm around my shoulders. “Teddy is like family. He’ll still be here for a long long time. With any luck he’ll live a long life and we’ll always be able to watch over him and protect him.”

I closed my eyes knowing it was a battle I couldn’t win.

“Listen Jewels, part of growing up is letting go, that means letting go of everyone else who is growing up and moving on. It won’t just be Teddy. All of us will have to go out in the world and make our way. We’ll all find love. We’ll find it with people like ourselves, other Vampires. People move on, but the human heart, and our hearts have a great capacity for love. You have to treasure that love because as we move on, they, the regular humans grow old and they die. I’ve seen Mother and Father mourn the loss of their friends in the worst way. We’ve mourned the loss of friends in the worst way. But Teddy isn’t dead. Be happy for him. He’ll still be my best friend. He’ll still be your friend.”

We sat on the roof until the sun came up and talked of life and love and loss.

A year later Teddy died and didn’t die. He became a Vampire (not from anything we did and very much against his will.) The wedding never happened. After that we all went our separate ways and had our share of love and adventure and friendship.

After Teddy acclimated to being a Vampire we became great friends. Twenty years ago we got married. That isn’t typical of anyone, but then again, not much is typical in my life.

As my own children become older and closer to being adults they’ll have to deal with friends moving away, getting in relationships and changing in ways they can’t imagine. Some friendships will last those changes, but many won’t. The fact that we can’t always predict these things doesn’t make it any easier, but at least we can talk with our kids about these things. We can be there when they need someone to talk to. And that day will come.

I have been fortunate to have friends who’ve been in my life since those days when I used to sit on the roof of my parent’s house and ponder the meaning of life. Sometimes my friends would sit on the roof with me. Sometimes my brothers would join us. We’re not sitting on the roof anymore, but we’re still talking and laughing and having warm hearts to go with our cold hands.
———————————

First posted: 2/20/14 

Thank you for dropping by. I’m on the road right now with Teddy. I’ll have a lot of new material when I return. xoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Being A Vampire

Down the dark alley they went, a father with one hand holding the smaller hand of a young child, and his other hand gently on the back of an older child.

They went into a door that led into a club, the old kind of club with leather furniture, cigars, and distinguished members.

“Gustaf,” said the father, who was named Duncan, “we need a table. Get the children some pie, apple if you have it. Ice cream with the pie would be even better.”

Gustaf, the old doorman nodded, then winked at the children before he trotted away.

Duncan took his children into a lounge area with a large bar at one end. They sat at a table by a window that looked out onto the lamp lit street.

He got himself a glass of wine at the bar, and lemon aid for the children.

“Are you having pie Daddy?” The younger child, a small boy named Justin, asked.

“Daddy doesn’t eat pie,” said the girl. She was sixteen and named Anna. “Daddy doesn’t eat much food. He drinks blood. You might do the same when you grow up.”

Justin looked sad. “No pie at all?”

“No pie,” said Duncan, “but that is fine because I had more than my share when I was your age.”

Gustaf brought out large pieces of pie to the hungry children, complete with ice cream. He also brought an elegant black glass goblet for Duncan. “I thought you’d like this sir. It is fresh, just caught tonight.”

Duncan thanked the old man and then turned to his children.

“When I was young, and when you were babies, I was like you. When I fell in love with your mother I was like you. Some who tell stories such as mine would have said then everything changed. A lot of things changed, but the one thing that did not change, or will not change is my love for you. I will always love you, with a fierce protective love that will never die, even after we are all dust and our sun burns out into a tiny piece of cold cosmic coal. I will always love you that much.

I will love you until you are old and ancient. I will ALWAYS be there for you. If one day, by chance, you decide to become a Vampire like me, I will help you into the life in the shadows and highlights, and I will support you, and always be there for you.

That is what a father does.

I will be there for your children, your grandchildren, and their children, and for all of have passed down our love over the generations.

Your mother and I didn’t plan on becoming Vampires, but it isn’t something we took lightly. It wasn’t exactly and accident. When you are older we’ll explain, but it is difficult.

What will never change is that we are your parents. You will always be safe and protected. You will always know both light and dark, day and night, life and the edge of humanity. We will do the same for those you love, and those you will one day love in the future.

Our fate is sealed. You have the choice to be whatever you want. We will back you up. We will cheer you on. We will never leave you. But there will also be times when you must make your own choices and decide which paths you will take. We won’t try to stop you unless we see you stepping off of a cliff or into the fires. Yes, I will pull you from the fires of Hell if I have to and smack the Devil himself across the face if I have to. And I will not be afraid. I will never be afraid of doing anything for you. Maybe afterwords, but never before.

Your mother and I died and came back as something else. Friends who loved us brought us back. We are so different, but our love is the same, and maybe even stronger. It isn’t easy, but it is who we are now.

So here we are, and we’ll have pie. The pie is always good here. And we’ll share stories, and I’ll even tell you joked that will make you groan, and stories that will amaze you.

I am not a monster. I am just a dad, like any other dad. I’m just a little different, but that’s ok. Life will never be boring.”

Anna took her father’s hand, “I love you Dad. You seriously didn’t think it mattered to us that you’re a Vampire did you?”

Justin laughed, “more pie for me. I love you Daddy.”

Duncan smiled. Life was good, even when you’re undead.

 

~ end

 

Short Story Sunday at Vampiremaman.com

 

 

 

 

Ask Juliette: Parenting, Ghosts, and Change

Ask Juliette is a somewhat regular Thursday feature at vampiremaman.com

I answer real questions from real readers. If you have a question feel free to leave it in the comment section or email me at juliettevampiremom at gmail dot com

Before we get to today’s questions I have an observation…

This morning while I was out in my neighborhood walking my dog… it was an attempt to train the dog, which is sort of working. Anyway we walked over to where the Bald Eagles are nesting. Due to the influx of asshat photographers who feel as if they are gods and have a right to pester the poor new parents, the park service has put us signs telling everyone to stay away from the eagles and not bother them. Yes, there was a woman hauling a ladder out to where the eagles are.  I was ready to go out and scream at her. I assume somebody already did because I haven’t seen her around in the past few weeks. There has also been people climbing the fence (which was put there to prevent idiots from falling off of the steep bluff.)

In the wee hours of the morning my dog and I were alone with the eagles. I watched as they flew from the lake to the nest with fish. The babies flapped their small brown wings and hopped about the nest. As I walked home up my own street, my husband was driving out. He stopped and told me one of the eagles was flying over our house, about twenty feet from the deck.

I thought about the eagle parents. No parent likes to be pestered or watched when they are with their kids. Seriously, no matter what species someone is just let them alone in peace. Don’t bug them or pester them with advice. Don’t invade their privacy in order to get your daily cute fix.

Dear Juliette,

Why are ghosts so grouchy and mean? Why must they haunt the living?

As most of my regular readers know, there are a few ghosts who regularly visit me at my house – mainly Nigel and his girlfriend Mary.

So why are ghosts so grouchy and mean? Because they’re frustrated. They live in a world where they cannot participate. They’re reminded daily of what they are missing out on. For example Nigel’s 40th High School Reunion is coming up. He missed his ten-year reunion by a year. He is haunted by the thoughts of what could have been. He is angry because he never got to see his career progress, he never got to fall in love and get married, he never got to be a dad. He can’t even have a dog as a ghost, unless some dead dog attempts to latch onto him, but that rarely happens. What bugs Nigel the most is the fact that in the reunion program he’ll once more be listed with those who have also died since high school graduation. Only he can’t even see them because that isn’t how the ghost world works. Even the dead have left him behind.

Ghosts are trapped. They’re pissed off. They can’t communicate with most people. Nobody understands what it is like to be dead. So they hang out with Vampires, most of whom have died but are back in their bodies – so that even pisses ghosts off even more.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Don’t be hating on ghosts. Sure they’re obnoxious but have some understanding and sympathy.

Dear Juliette,

If I became a Vampire would anyone be there to help me adjust? Would I have to be shown how to suck blood out of people or would it just come naturally? Is there training for new Vampires?

Yes, unless you end up being a soulless Shadow Creeper someone will be there to help. We have a wide ranging support system for those who have just become Vampires. A range of issues have to be taken into consideration when one becomes a Vampire. Did you become a Vampire of your own will, or was it thrust upon you? That makes a big difference on how you’re going to react to the change. You know, anytime someone makes a profound change, be if biologically, or mentally, there are going to be adjustments. It isn’t always easy.

One of the hardest things to deal with isn’t sucking blood, but keeping your existence as a Vampire secret. You can’t tell anyone, or at least those who will in turn tell others. We don’t have a lot of rules. We don’t have many consequences to our actions except maybe forcing someone to become a Vampire, or telling someone about us.

But sure, there are people here to help. I’m one of the go-to folks for helping newbees. Like with most profound changes, everyone is different.

 

Dear Juliette,

What’s up? What are your plans for the blog?

What?

Dear Juliette,

Why are Vampire men so damn sexy?

Sigh. Survival my dear. Survival.

 

Dear Juliette,

I just wrote a novel. I believe it is quite good, but none of my family and friends will read it. I need feedback. Now what?

If you want some feedback go online and reach out for beta readers. Most authors find that often family and friends aren’t interested in your work, especially if it a genera they don’t usually read.

Find a writing peer group either online, or with one of your local writing groups. Don’t get mad if someone reads your book and doesn’t fawn all over it. It is better you hear what you need to hear now – rather than getting a bad review or zillions of rejection letters later.

Also search blogs for like-minded individuals you think might enjoy your book, or have good, honest, educated input.

Another suggestion is to make a list of questions for your Beta Reader. Do they connect with the characters? Do the plot twists make sense? Ask what part they like best or least, and why.

Good luck.

That is all I have for today. If you can add to any of these answers please do. Everyone can always use a second opinion. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

You too can join the ranks of the undead.

Oh my

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This one was too good to keep to myself.

And it is “do it yourself” no less.

Yes, I know this is a silly thing for kids who are monster fans (from the 70’s) but it ties into this blog.

I get a lot of people visiting my blog wanting to know how they can become a Vampire. Oh boy.

It isn’t a simple answer. You can be born into it (which is rare) or you can have someone, preferably a friend, turn you into a Vampire.

If anything goes wrong, and it usually does, you could either lose your life, or worse lose your soul.

Yes, close 90% of Vampire conversions are failures. Seriously. I kid you not.

If it works you don’t just wake up one night and say to yourself, “blood for breakfast sounds good.” No, it isn’t that easy. It is a slow, horrible, painful process, and that is if you get someone with natural talent and expertise (like me) to convert you.

Then once you get converted, with your soul more or less intact (but changed), and a shadow soul, the adjustment begins. No more donuts. Think of yourself on the strictest diabetic diet ever created. You’re cold to the touch. You can go out during the day but your light sensitivity is extreme. You’re clueless.

How are you going to get blood out of someone without making a mess?  How do you know how much to take without killing your donor? The clueless part is the worst. Other than that it isn’t a bad gig, but … there are so many moral and ethical issues involved. This isn’t weird guys in opera capes surrounded by beautiful women. This is regular life among the undead, in jeans and sweaters, and socks that don’t match (we too have to clean cat boxes.)

If you’re lucky, someone, a more experienced Vampire, will be assigned to help you out. Hope you’re lucky or you won’t last long.

And to be perfectly honest with you, I don’t want everyone becoming Vampires. It is something special. It is our world. The warm blooded folks have their own world and own insanity.

Anyway, that is it for today. I just thought the ad was funny and wanted to share.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Ask A Vampire

Ask A Vampire

Dear Juliette,

I want to become a Vampire in the worst way. How do I make it happen?

~ Still Warm

 

Dear Still Warm,

I can only compare your request to the plethora of candidates running for president. They have wild hopes and fantasies but few, if any, are truly qualified for the job.

I receive a lot of emails from people wanting to become Vampires. Really. I kid you not.

First of all most Vampires don’t go into this lightly, and a good portion don’t go in willingly.

Think of what you’d give up. Warmth. Sweet Rolls. Possibly your soul.

Reality isn’t what happens in the movies and most books. All Vampire guys aren’t the sexy beasts you see on book covers. Vampire women aren’t all vixens. Think of the fantasy versus reality.

If you think you’re different now imagine being different for centuries. I mean really different. Don’t forget too, that unless you want to be a nasty crypt dwelling Shadow Creeper, you still have to pay taxes, register your car, pay your bills, bring your dog to the vet for yearly shots, and do all of those tasks that are part of modern life. Unless you have unlimited resources there are no castles or dark lavish Queen Ann style Victorian houses for you. Plus the upkeep on those places is never ending.

Most new Vampires have no idea how gross humans really are. Summer is the worst. Just imagine biting into a hot sweaty salty neck. I don’t want to imagine it. Until you get a few trusted regulars in air conditioned surroundings… well, good luck on finding fine dining experiences.

The actual process of changing isn’t that easy either. It is horrible. Sure the pay offs can be great. Ask most of my friends about it. But it is an experience that will haunt your for years, maybe even centuries.

Do you know any Vampires? Have you hung out with them at any length of time? If you don’t already hang with Vampires you might want to seek some out and see if you even like them.

Think of what really attracts you to the idea of changing your biology and becoming an entirely different kind of mutated creature.

Just as an end note, not to kill your dreams and all but, only about ten percent of those who attempt to become Vampires actually make it. Most die. Of those who make it about half lose their souls. Is the risk of becoming an undead soulless creature something you’ve thought about? If you ask the wrong Vampire to change you without checking out your blood type, your physical and mental states, and many other factors you could be majorly screwed. Simple as that. Once you change you can’t go back. Once you’ve lost your soul… well, let’s just say it isn’t good.

~ Juliette

 

Dear Juliette,

My friend is fifty years old, beautiful, happy, successful, talented and delightful to be around.  I just don’t understand why she has never been married. She has had several long term relationships. Should I suggest a match maker?

~ Best Friend

 

Dear Best Friend,

I suggest you mind your own business and be happy for your friend. She obviously has make her own choices and like you said, is successful. Be her friend, not her nag.

~ Juliette

 

If you have a burning question for Juliette send it to juliettevampiremom@gmail dot com, with the words ASK A VAMPIRE in the subject line.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman