Just another normal paranormal day

I had to go. I had a lunch date. I was looking for my keys. I was running late. I’d spent extra time talking to my daughter before she left for school (never too much time, but anyway), and my son called me so I talked to him for a while. The dog was out with food and water. The cats had food and water. All I had to do was put on my shoes and find my keys. Where were my keys????? I looked in every chair, under cushions, in every room, on every counter, in my purse, in my coat pockets, in my husband’s coat pockets, in my car, in my purse again.

Then I heard a jingle of keys. Standing behind me was The Ghost. Not just any ghost but Nigel, The Ghost.

“Give me my keys,” I said.

He just smiled, then said, “catch.” Then tossed the keys to me. I missed. The keys vanished.

“Nigel, I have to go NOW.”

“Lunch date I assume,” he said.

“Yes. I don’t have time for this.”

His eyes turned black and he smiled. “You can turn you eyes black can’t you?”

“Of course I can,” I said.

“Do it.”

I couldn’t believe him. I just stood there and stared. He stood before me, his eyes now blue again, surrounded by his usual mess of black hair. He was in a white shirt, skinny black tie, and dress pants. No shoes, just socks today.

“Give me my keys Nigel,” I said again.

“Find,” and he dropped the keys in front of me.

I put the keys in my pocket and went to put on my shoes. Of course my shoes were gone.

“Is this a lunch date where you have lunch with somebody, or is your date your lunch?” He asked this with a smirk on his face.

“My date is my lunch. Listen Nigel, I’m hungry, I’m grouchy, and I’m not in the mood for this.”

“Your shoes are by the couch, where I assume you kicked them off sometime during the past twenty-four hours.”

I put my shoes on and got in the car. I could brush my hair with my fingers at the next red light.

“So are you going to bite his neck or his wrist? You are going to bite the guy aren’t you? I assume you’re going to your lawyer friends office? Now THAT is funny, a blood sucker sucking the blood out of a blood sucker.”

I glanced over to the passenger seat. “Get out of my car Nigel.”

“Did you see the ice dancing? Oh MY GOD. Seriously I don’t even know if there is a god just all kinds of weirdness and demons and things that call themselves angels. They’re nasty and mean spirited. All of them. Us ghosts, we’re on our own. Anyway, the ice dancing was amazing. Do you dance Juliette?”

“No.”

“Never?”

“I like to but I’m not good at it. You know Nigel, you can leave now.”

“You’re a Vampire and you don’t dance. That is just sad. That is pathetic.”

He kept talking on stop about the existence of heaven and hell, ice dancing, downhill skiing, and how most politicians were going to Hell and that he knew that for a fact because he is a ghost and ghosts know a lot of things, but they just don’t talk about it.

As I pulled into the parking lot he smiled, and said, “Don’t choke on anything.”

When I arrived home I thought I’d find a little peace and quiet, but my brother Aaron called.

“Juliette, I need your help. There’s a house with a couple of shadow creepers lodged up in the attic. Looks like they’ve been there for at least eighty years, maybe more,” said Aaron.

“Can’t you call the Vampire Hunter?”

“He has a class.”

“Oh,” I said. Austin Durant the local Vampire Hunter is also a history professor at the local State University.  “Can it wait until tonight?”

“I guess, but he isn’t small enough to get into the space to check them out. They’re pretty dried out so I don’t think they’ll be coming alive anytime soon.”

“How about around 9:00. Text me the address. Meet me there. I’m not going in alone.”

“I wouldn’t think of you going alone. Durant will be there too. I’ll make sure of it,” he said.

We talked a little bit more about our kids and spouses. Aaron is a lawyer, but he is also the Vampire who is called when Shadow Creepers and other rogue and soulless Vampires are lurking around, or in this case, sleeping where they shouldn’t be.

After I got off the phone I changed into jeans and a sweat shirt. I had to get some citrus trees and succulent plants covered before the big freezing storm came in and made everything turn black and curled.

I stood in the middle of my family room, a large space which is great for entertaining, playing with the dog, or just thinking. Looking out the window I made a list in my head of everything I needed to get done.

A cold blast of air hit my face. I turned. Nigel was there again. He held out his hand.

I stared at him, ready to show my fangs, but that would have been a waste of time. “What do you want Nigel,” I asked.

“How was lunch Juliette?”

“Fine,” I answered. “What do you want?”

He smiled and took a step closer. “Dance with me. Take my hand.”

I put out my hand and took his, now with a form, as cold as ice. He put his hand around my waist, pulled me close and led me into a waltz, three times around the room. Then he stepped away.

“You can dance. You just don’t want to,” he said.

“When you were alive…” I started.

“I will always be alive. I’m a ghost. I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

“You were warm when you were alive,” I said.

He laughed, then said, “you don’t know that.” Then he bowed, smiled again, and vanished.

I covered my trees. Later I visited with my daughter and husband. We watched the Olympics and then took the dog for a walk in the park. Later I helped Aaron. My husband Teddy came along for shits and grins – at least that is how he describes things when we’re dealing with weird stuff like Vampire Hunters and Shadow Creepers. He also reminded me to bring spare clothes and heavy leather gloves.

And we took care of the problem. But that is another story.

Tomorrow I might get something done, or at least more done. Until then I’ll appreciate the small things like my purring cats, coffee with my daughter, or a waltz around the floor with a ghost.

Have a good night everyone, and remember…

Talk with your kids. Listen to your kids. Hug your kids. If you love someone – tell them. If you have creepy dried up Vampires in your attic or crawlspaces call my brother. And don’t take anything for granted.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Even Vampires Need a Break

moth

 

I didn’t want to deal with my family. It isn’t that I don’t love them, but sometimes I need a break.

I went to San Francisco for a meeting and didn’t even call my parents or my two brothers wo live there. It was my day in the city, alone, just me and my own business.

At Harrison and 2nd the light changed at the intersection and I headed out across the street with everyone else. A normal move, just crossing the street, when something, somebody snagged my arm. I looked in the face of a man, long, lean, good looking with a dazzling smile. He’d pulled his honey blonde  back in a short tail and a 3 day beard (oh so hip these days.)

“You’re like me,” he said.

“Yes.” Yes indeed. That was all I had to say. He was a Vampire too. I didn’t even notice him in my brain haze of family drama and overwhelming emotional wave of… well, you know, family.

“Let’s get coffee.” He took my hand and dragged me into a parking lot filled with music, food trucks and tables. It was dark, under the freeway and loud. It was perfect. We sat at a bench, coffee in hand, huddled together.

His name was Marcus. He’d been a Vampire since 1971. A few months ago he’d moved down from Seattle with his girlfriend who was also a Vampire. It was for a job, more like minded Vampires and his parents lived in the area. Yes, his parents.

He’d kept in touch with them over the years and now he wanted to take care of them. His parents were progressive in many ways and had accepted the fact that their son was different. Alright, it isn’t that simple. Most people are horrified when they find out Vampires are real, much less somebody they love, or their own child is a Vampire.

Think about it. Can you imagine if your child said “Mom I’m a Werewolf.” That would horrify me to no end. I’d have to accept it. There would be no other choice in the matter.

Marcus told me about his parents with great love and care. They were still living in their own home. They were fragile and didn’t get out much. Driving was a thing of the past. Marcus and his Vampire girlfriend Kate had moved into the neighborhood of 1920’s homes and watched over the two old people.

I told him that I was feeling that no matter where I went, no matter where I was, someone was going to bother me. If I was someplace quiet suddenly it would be full of annoying noises. There seemed to be no place where I could be alone. As I said this the noise around us was like a blanket that kept everyone else in the world out. Nobody knew were were Vampires or different or feeling stress or like we wanted to scream.

We just chatted about the good things. I told him the best places to get blood and spices and what small venues were good for concerts. I told him about the shop with the pug and the white French bull dogs who lived in the front window – not for sale but just to keep the owner company and to look cute. I told him how funny my teenagers were.

In turn he told me about finding a great house and exploring the area. He wanted to know about the culture and the local Vampire lore. He’d heard a lot of it over the years but he wanted to know more.

Marcus was a fairly young Vampire, born in 1948, and like I said, he became a Vampire in 1971. Over the years he’d only met a few of us who were born into it, that is born as a Vampire. He was even more surprised and tickled to find I belonged to one of the “Vampire Power Families” as he called it. Our roots are ancient and the exploits of some of my family members are famous among our kind.

So anyway, to make a short and unremarkable story even longer, we exchanged information and planned to keep in touch. It was really nice to meet him. I know what you’re thinking – the term “really nice” and “Vampire” shouldn’t mix. Hey, if you’re a Vampire you come to appreciate “really nice” and little moments. We all should.

NPR has been running a series of articles on stress this week. I’ve listened but been grateful for the attention Weird Al is getting and stories about science and books. I might be “undead” but I’m not immune to stress and the pressures of everyday life.

Before I left Marcus we grabbed a bite (some geeky hipster programmers he knew) and then walked together to where my meeting was being held. When you’re a Vampire you learn to make quick friendships since there are so few of us. We have to stick together.

So I suppose I must stick to my family. On the way home I stopped by the farmhouse to see check in on the Elders. My brother Val was there already. He’d made sure they’d remembered to turn on the fans in the heat and brought by some cold bottles of blood. They sometimes forget to eat and we worry they’ll go into a Vampire Coma or worse, find piles of ashes where they once stood.

My voice mail was full of messages but I didn’t answer any of them, except to my husband to tell him that I loved him too.

All things considering everything is good. It is better than good. But sometimes a mom just needs some time to be herself. Sometimes everyone needs that.

 

Have a good rest of your week everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

readbyvampires

 

 

Random rambling thoughts with ancient vampires

Never walk with your keys and your phone in your pocket or you’ll end up accidentally calling everyone on your list. It called my kids and my mom and two of my friends. I blame it on the keys but those kinds of random things just happen to me. My life story is the story of random things.

moth

But one call came in that wasn’t on the list, at least not for today. The soft whispery voice on the phone said, “We need you to help us with a few things. Stop by when you’re out.”

There was no thought that they were 36 miles out of my way. I figured I could make it there and back and…I would have to do most everything I’d planned for today tomorrow.

The curtains were drawn closed, shielding the occupants of the elegant Victorian farm house/mansion from the rays of the daytime sun. An old dog and an even older looking cat (who’d come by from the next farm over) sat sunning themselves on the lawn. A silver truck I didn’t recognize was in the drive.

A slight tinge of guilt comes over me for not visiting since last week. My kids had stopped by for a few hours on Friday. They didn’t have anything to report except how sweet the ancient ones are.

I opened the front door, which was unlocked and called out greetings.

There was no answer. They keys to the car were on a marble table in the front entry. I was shocked considering the keys are usually lost.

I was relieved not to smell anything that could be rotting or dead. It didn’t smell like moth balls or talcum powder either. What I did smell was hops and a malt undertone.

brewing trouble

They were in the kitchen making beer. All sorts of equipment was on the counter, only a fraction of it needed to make the beer.

They are the Elders. Eleora with her brown curls piled on her head and tied with a large red bow. She wore some sort of yellow bag like dress with a fancy Christmas apron. Tellias wearing well worn farmer overalls with a wife beater tee shirt with his white blonde hair pulled back with a twist tie (the kind you get on produce.) They look all of 20 years old but they’re ancient. Over 2,000 years old, but who’s counting. And I’ve taken on the role of being the one who checks up on them and makes sure they’re safe and clean and doing ok.

Eleora looked up and ran to greet me. She threw her arms around my neck and started to whistle “Roll Out The Barrel.” Tellias came over and gave me a hug, then held my face in his cold hands and looked me in the eyes.

“I have a lot I need to talk to you about.” Then he stirred something in a large steaming pot, came back and took my arm. “Sit here.” He put a large grocery bag full of newspaper clippings and books in front of me. “Go through these papers. There are some things you might be interested in.”

The infamous newspaper clippings. They always have them. When I refuse they end up being smuggled out in my purse or mysteriously end up in the trunk of my car or in a coat pocket. There is no escape.

“Have you two been eating ok?” I always have to ask. They often forget or get confused and don’t manage to get what they need.

“We had a nice young professor in from UC Davis come over last night. He teaches Food Science. He had him for dinner. He doesn’t have any classes today so after we had dinner we tasted beer all night and asked him to stay.”

Yes, they had HIM for dinner, though I’m sure he thought he’d had an enchanting evening with a young, attractive and seductive young couple who had a passion for organic farming and home brewing.

I went upstairs to check on their guest. A man in his early 30’s was sleeping soundly in one of the lavish guest rooms. He had light brown hair with sunny highlights, broad shoulders and was sort of cute in a boy next door sort of way. There were some slight marks on his neck and wrist, but those would be gone in the next 24 hours.

“Do you know him? I mean, is he a friend of yours or someone you just called because you were hungry?” I asked because there have been problems before with their guests.

“He’s a friend,” said Eleora.

“His name is James. He started coming by when he was a graduate student,” chimed in Tellias.

“He was getting his PhD in something with a long name,” said Eleora.

“He’s a professor now,” added Tellias.

“He teaches and does research,” Eleora said.

“He is a full professor at such a young age. We are so proud of our James. We like him,” Tellias said. “He likes us. He is a friend.”

“A friend.” Eleora smiled and blew me a kiss.

“Does he know you’re Vampires?” I had to ask, so I’d know how to react if I met him while he was awake.

“We’d never tell him that,” said Eleora making a sign of zipped lips.

“He suspects we’re different. But we always have so much fun.” Tellias gave a sly smile.

“So much delicious fun,” said Eleora winking at us.

“He has a nice laugh.”

“Very nice.”

“Very nice.”

Their chatter could go on for hours. Sometime I didn’t even stop them if I was busy doing something else or needed a good laugh.

I wasn’t going to lecture them on bringing home guests for dinner. This guy seemed harmless. At least conversation with him would help keep their brains alert and give me a break. And to be perfectly honest, they’d been having guests over for the past 2,000 years. I couldn’t do anything to stop them. At least on that level they usually knew what they were doing.

The thing I do have a problem with is when they do things like call 911 or a plumber or somebody else, someone who isn’t a friend, and call it “Free Delivery.” There was a time when they’d pick transients up on the highway and bring them home. That wasn’t a fun time (click on this link for the entire story).

They rambled on about James for a while, then started to talk about beer and the olive trees and dogs and politics and what color to paint the front door and stories they heard on the radio this morning and a book they wanted me to read and something about college applications that I might want to read since my kids are going to college and the oven and basement lights were out and they needed a new front door mat and the dog had been scratching and Lola had been gone for a month and they didn’t know where Val was and they hadn’t seen as many bats this fall… and they twisted and turned their train of thought in all different directions, repeating and stopping mid sentence to change subject and soon they weren’t even listening to each other.

“Stop.” I yelled. “My head is going to explode. Just one thing at a time.”

“We have a lot on our minds.” Tellias gave me a serious look. “You haven’t been over for almost two weeks”

“I was over 5 days ago.” I told him. “I’m sorry I’ve been busy with the kids and work.”

“I know honey. I just needed some help.”

Tellias asked me if I could design some labels for his beer bottles. No problem.

Then from his pocket he pulled a fancy triple enveloped invitation. I knew exactly what it was. My eldest brother Maxwell was to receive an award, a great honor for a Vampire, one of the highest, and of course they’d been invited to attend, as ancient Vampires and as family.

It would be formal. Everyone would be there. They were excited. Plans needed to be made. He needed a new suit. She needed a dress. They needed my help. I knew I’d find nothing for them to wear in their dusty attic, so we’d need to get them the very best.

“It will be an honor for me to assist you and to sit with you at the event,” I told them. They both hugged me and covered me with light cold dry kisses.

I could hear footsteps coming down the stairs. “James is up. I’ll put on some coffee,” I told them.

Tellias watched me fill the coffee maker with water. “Did you know that the first time I ever drank coffee, I believe it was in mid 1600’s. It was vile. Juliette, I have a few things I want you to read, but first could you let the dog in. Let me know if you think the boards on the front porch look too worn?”

It was an easy visit today. A good visit. But then again, every visit is good when you’re with those you love. They took care of everyone I love, so it is now my time to take care of them, no matter how silly or excentric or forgetful they can by. They carry the wisdom of the ages but they’re young at heart and will continue to dance under the stars as long as they are able.

Now that we’re coming near the holiday season don’t forget to include those who are old or alone. It doesn’t take much to bring someone flowers or a hot dish. It doesn’t take much to add another chair to the table. It doesn’t take much to pick up the phone and call, or send a card, or let someone know that they’re loved.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

bite

If you need something done ask a busy person (again)

First posted May 30, 2013. I’m still busy – way too busy. 

If you need something done ask a busy person.

I’m glad summer is coming because it will mean not having to drag my nocturnal teens out of bed. I swear, not all teens are Vampires, but all teens are nocturnal. They sleep. They sleep like rocks (if rocks sleep). They don’t wake up. Their ears shut down. On the other hand, a lot of teens shut off their ears most of the time with the exception of other teens and music…but that isn’t the point here.

I will be happy when summer comes in a few weeks and I won’t have to do the morning scene. The morning scene means gently waking the angels then it finally escalates to yelling and threats to ground them for weeks.

So like most moms I’m in a perpetual state of motion. I have my kids, my work, my marriage, my home, my pets, other family members to take care of – so I guess that means I have it ALL. Sure. We all have it all. And we do it without high priced nannies; housekeepers, personal assistants and most moms do it on a tight budget. Anyway…

So, with so little time I get a call. One of THOSE calls from my brother Max. He is at home, 90 miles away in San Francisco.  He says there is trouble out my way and needs me to take care of it RIGHT NOW.

I’m home alone with my 17-year-old son. My brother Max is in Enforcement, which means his job is to keep Vampire Hunters, Rogue Vampires and other unsavory character in check. But sometimes, when things are busy, he needs a little help. And that is why he called me.

“Isn’t there someone else who can do this?” I was perplexed. Next I rattled off a list of names of other Vampires who were far more suited (in my opinion) for the enforcement task than a 5’4” inch Vampire mom and her inexperienced 17 year old son.

No of course not. Everyone else was busy. Really? They were ALL busy? Every large hard-bodied Vampire male in the area was busy (this includes two of my other brothers and my husband (on a field trip with our daughter.)

“But you’re trained at this kind of thing.” That is the excuse my brother used.  I’m trained. Sure, but I don’t do this sort of thing for a living.

I yelled up the stairs at Garrett (aged 17 and acts like it). I yelled again. I yelled a third time. I went up to his room where he had the music blasting, computer up, phone going with three conversations and hunkered down on the bed with a cat. Only the dog who sat in the middle of the floor looked up when I came in the room. I flicked the lights on and off.

“Put on your shoes. We’re going out.”

He looked confused. “Where.”

“Hunting for your Uncle Max.”

“Enforcement?”

“Enforcement. And I’m taking you with me. How about that?”

“Cool. Um, mom?”

“Yes?”

“You have a button missing from your shirt.”

Crap. One more thing. It is always one more thing. About 20 one more things make me late every single day to just about everywhere.

OK. Change shirt. Find keys. Grab purse. Grab phone. Throw a few basic supplies in the trunk and away we go. Thank goodness I filled the tank up with gas last night.

We’re driving towards the designated location. I ask my son, “Did you get all your homework done?”

“I did it at school,” he answers wanting to roll his eyes but not daring to do so. “So mom, what’s this about?”

“A rogue Vampire. Maybe a Ren. I didn’t have many details.”

“What are we going to do?”

“I don’t know. We have to check it out.”

“Is it safe?”

“I don’t know. I doubt it.” I sort of shrugged, the way mothers know how to do.

“Of course it isn’t safe,” said a voice from the back seat. It was the Ghost. Nigel who haunts me and drives me nuts was in my car. “You’re going after a dangerous soulless creatures with no morals, no values and no fear.  So needless to say I had to come along to help.”

I stopped to pick up my sister-in-law Verity (my brother Aaron’s wife). She looks like Botticelli’s Venus only wearing a pink sweater set and jeans.

“You have a ghost in your car.” She said that as she got into the front, and Garrett climbed into the back.

“No shit,” said Nigel, not taken in by her beauty. “Are all Vampires this rude?”

Verity gave Nigel a fanged hiss. He just rolled his eyes back at her.

I explained that it was ok to have a ghost along and that it wasn’t all a bad thing. Well, except for the fact that Nigel didn’t shut up the entire time there.

Just about the only thing that can shut up a ghost is music so I turned up the volume and opened the sunroof for a view of the stars (for mood and some fresh air.)

Three Vampires and the ghost driving into the night on our way to kill Rogue Vampires singing along with the soundtrack of Across the Universe.

We get to our location, an abandoned industrial area. You know, the kind with old buildings with small blocked or broken windows along the roof line, cut chain link fences, overgrown weeds, no lights, broken bottles and rats scattering unseen to most eyes. This is so stupid that I just want to scream.

I go to the largest building as instructed. There are large roll up doors in 5 bays and one regular door with a regular knob. I go there first and listen. Garrett follows like my shadow. I can sense excitement in him and a good dose of fear. This is a first for him – finding a real rogue Vampire.

The door is locked. I concentrate and break the lock (yes, I can do that. Pretty neat trick.

I open the door and smell the stench of old blood and unwashed bodies and that horrible rotten meat smell that makes just about any creature, except scavengers want to puke.

A couple of figures are lounging on some beat up furniture they’ve collected in a corner. A nasty looking couch and a couple of armchairs – the kind you find on the side of the road with “FREE” signs on them. No Gothic Vampire chic here. This is a dumpster dive.

One stands. The other just cranes a pale face around and stares. The standing one approaches. Oh for God’s sake, why did my brother send me here? I know this guy. On a slime scale of 1-10 he is a 25.

He gives me a fang filled smile and grins at me. “Jewels! Long time no see.”

I’m looking at a Vampire, about 5’7″ dressed in black, dark hair pulled back, sauntering towards me. He might have once been handsome by now he looked like a meth head from Hell. He walked up to me and put his hand to my face.

I motioned for Garrett to stay back. Verity comes and stands next to me, blonde hair flowing behind her like she’s in a photo shoot for Victoria’s Secret. Nigel is nowhere to be seen.

I knew this Rogue creature, once upon a time, when he had a soul. His name was Tad. He’d once been human but those days were long gone. He’d once been a decent Vampire until he turned rogue. OK he’d never been a decent Vampire. He was scum to start with and it was a shame, but I was beyond feeling sorry for him or even caring. As far as I was concerned he was already dead – and for all practical purposes he was dead.

His dead flat eyes looked me up and down like some sort of demonic pervert. “Let me drink you in Jewels. Do you know how long it has been since I’ve been with a respectable Vampire female? Too long. And you brought your lovely friends. How nice of you.”

I didn’t have time for this. “Listen Tad, I have a million things to do and it’s a school night so I don’t have time for your bull shit. Either you turn yourself in or I’m taking you down. Do you understand?”

“You’re so cute when you talk like that Jewels. Thirsty?” He motioned over to a couple of what looked like teenagers huddled in a corner.  Holy crap, I had no idea he had regular humans in here.

Then he grabbed me by the waist and pulled me close. His claw like nails grabbed my skin under my shirt. His eyes were dead. No soul.

“Souls are cheap and keeping them is expensive,” he hissed in my ear with nasty wake-the-dead breath.

He had me tight in his grip. I twisted around and slammed him to the ground. I might be small but I’m well trained. There was no Matrix style theatrics with us jumping in the air or super fast Vampire leaps and bounds. That only happens in the movies.

Garrett came running and blasted his foot into Tad’s head then grabbed him by the hair and continued to slam. I heard him yelling, “don’t touch my mom.”

I climbed to my feet and grabbed the can of lighter fluid I had in my supplies bag. I doused Tad, then grabbed an ancient sword out of my bag.

I stood with a sword in my right hand and a lit BBQ lighter in my left waiting for Tad to react.

Tad looks at me with a fang filled grin. “Come on Jewels, I wasn’t going to kill them.”

I glared at him and waited to see if he’d give me an excuse to torch him.

“You think you’re better than us. You’ve sold out. You’ve gotten soft. You don’t know what it is like to be a real Vampire anymore.” Tad snarled at me, his fangs gleaming, with dried blood in the corners of his mouth.

I was ready to take off his head when from out of the corner came six more figures, fangs out, along with the one who was sitting on the couch, ready to attack. Eight Rogues? Really Max? What in the world made you think Verity and I, plus a teenager could take them down? My mind raced a hundred miles an hour. I could tell Verity was doing the same. She slid a long dagger out of her boot and took my back. Garrett stood behind up with the lighter fluid and lighter. This wasn’t good at all.

There are always those moments in life when just the right thing happens at the right time – just when you need it. You know, like that unexpected bonus check from work or an upgrade to first class or you find a home for that stray cat you really don’t want to keep.  Now was just one of those moments.

Over our heads was a gust of freezing air and a scream so horrifying and loud that Verity, Garret and I all hit the ground.

stranger in doorA black swirling shadow formed around the Rogue Vampires. A large mouth filled with sharp teeth opened up and sucked them all in. That was followed by a loud belching noise and then…and then, it spit out an assortment of bones, cleaned of any flesh. The bones scattered on the ground then in a flash of light turned to ashes.

We all looked up in shock.

“What the…” said Garrett, grabbing my arm.

Then Nigel the ghost appeared, looking none the worse in a beautifully tailored black suit with a black shirt and tie. “That my darling Vampires was my friend Elizabeth the Banshee.”

A wild looking woman with wilder black hair and glacier blue eyes appeared next to Nigel. She belched again and then said “Well, that was fun. Thanks Nigel for the invitation. Gotta go.” And with another piercing scream she turned into swirling smoke and vanished into the dark.

“What? I told you I’d help you,” said our Ghost.

In the corner of the old dark warehouse we found a young couple chained and huddled together. Their necks were clawed and bruised, their wrists chewed. They were still wearing their dirty and torn prom clothes. They’d vanished from their Southern California Prom night – 700 miles south of us – a week ago. In a small dirty bathroom we found two other teens. One had vanished, also last week while walking home from a guitar lesson, his guitar and his backpack still with him. The other was a girl who’d been taken only a few days ago while walking her dog. They were all frightened and weak.

Verity, Garrett and I all did our best to calm them and with our special Vampire touch we sucked some of the fear from their souls along with most of the horrible memories of the nightmare they’d been through

“Help will come soon.” I told them that in my best mom voice I said as I pulled out a burner phone and called 911. I left the phone with the guitar kid in case they needed to call anyone else. I told Garrett to get the water I’d put in my car, along with some snacks I’d packed, just in case. Finally, Verity and I tended to their wounds and covered them with blankets.

We got out of the building and headed home in silence.

Verity was the first to speak. “He was bad to the core. Freakin serial killer as far as I’m concerned. He would have killed those kids.”

“They could have been from my school.” Garrett said somberly as he looked out the window. At that point I wondered if I should have brought him along.

Nigel appeared in the back seat next to Garrett. “I didn’t know there were really Banshees,” said Verity.

“I didn’t know there were Vampires or Ghosts until I died,” said Nigel. “Hey, your son is at UCLA isn’t he?”

“UCLA School of Law,” answered Verity looking surprised.

“Great school. I graduated from there in 1982. Art.” Nigel smiled. “I’m sure you’ve seen my work. I became quite famous after I died.” And with that, Nigel vanished, leaving only Vampires in the car.

So as we drove home we spoke of quiet things, of life and art and of living in a world that is stranger than anyone can imagine.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

wings

If you need something done ask a busy person.

If you need something done ask a busy person.

I’m glad summer is coming because it will mean not having to drag my nocturnal teens out of bed. I swear, not all teens are Vampires, but all teens are nocturnal. They sleep. They sleep like rocks (if rocks sleep). They don’t wake up. Their ears shut down. On the other hand, a lot of teens shut off their ears most of the time with the exception of other teens and music…but that isn’t the point here.

I will be happy when summer comes in a few weeks and I won’t have to do the morning scene. The morning scene means gently waking the angels then it finally escalates to yelling and threats to ground them for weeks.

So like most moms I’m in a perpetual state of motion. I have my kids, my work, my marriage, my home, my pets, other family members to take care of – so I guess that means I have it ALL. Sure. We all have it all. And we do it without high priced nannies; housekeepers, personal assistants and most moms do it on a tight budget. Anyway…

So, with so little time I get a call. One of THOSE calls from my brother Max. He is at home, 90 miles away in San Francisco.  He says there is trouble out my way and needs me to take care of it RIGHT NOW.

I’m home alone with my 17-year-old son. My brother Max is in Enforcement, which means his job is to keep Vampire Hunters, Rogue Vampires and other unsavory character in check. But sometimes, when things are busy, he needs a little help. And that is why he called me.

“Isn’t there someone else who can do this?” I was perplexed. Next I rattled off a list of names of other Vampires who were far more suited (in my opinion) for the enforcement task than a 5’4” inch Vampire mom and her inexperienced 17 year old son.

No of course not. Everyone else was busy. Really? They were ALL busy? Every large hard-bodied Vampire male in the area was busy (this includes two of my other brothers and my husband (on a field trip with our daughter.)

“But you’re trained at this kind of thing.” That is the excuse my brother used.  I’m trained. Sure, but I don’t do this sort of thing for a living.

I yelled up the stairs at Garrett (aged 17 and acts like it). I yelled again. I yelled a third time. I went up to his room where he had the music blasting, computer up, phone going with three conversations and hunkered down on the bed with a cat. Only the dog who sat in the middle of the floor looked up when I came in the room. I flicked the lights on and off.

“Put on your shoes. We’re going out.”

He looked confused. “Where.”

“Hunting for your Uncle Max.”

“Enforcement?”

“Enforcement. And I’m taking you with me. How about that?”

“Cool. Um, mom?”

“Yes?”

“You have a button missing from your shirt.”

Crap. One more thing. It is always one more thing. About 20 one more things make me late every single day to just about everywhere.

OK. Change shirt. Find keys. Grab purse. Grab phone. Throw a few basic supplies in the trunk and away we go. Thank goodness I filled the tank up with gas last night.

We’re driving towards the designated location. I ask my son, “Did you get all your homework done?”

“I did it at school,” he answers wanting to roll his eyes but not daring to do so. “So mom, what’s this about?”

“A rogue Vampire. Maybe a Ren. I didn’t have many details.”

“What are we going to do?”

“I don’t know. We have to check it out.”

“Is it safe?”

“I don’t know. I doubt it.” I sort of shrugged, the way mothers know how to do.

“Of course it isn’t safe,” said a voice from the back seat. It was the Ghost. Nigel who haunts me and drives me nuts was in my car. “You’re going after a dangerous soulless creatures with no morals, no values and no fear.  So needless to say I had to come along to help.”

I stopped to pick up my sister-in-law Verity (my brother Aaron’s wife). She looks like Botticelli’s Venus only wearing a pink sweater set and jeans.

“You have a ghost in your car.” She said that as she got into the front, and Garrett climbed into the back.

“No shit,” said Nigel, not taken in by her beauty. “Are all Vampires this rude?”

Verity gave Nigel a fanged hiss. He just rolled his eyes back at her.

I explained that it was ok to have a ghost along and that it wasn’t all a bad thing. Well, except for the fact that Nigel didn’t shut up the entire time there.

Just about the only thing that can shut up a ghost is music so I turned up the volume and opened the sunroof for a view of the stars (for mood and some fresh air.)

Three Vampires and the ghost driving into the night on our way to kill Rogue Vampires singing along with the soundtrack of Across the Universe.

We get to our location, an abandoned industrial area. You know, the kind with old buildings with small blocked or broken windows along the roof line, cut chain link fences, overgrown weeds, no lights, broken bottles and rats scattering unseen to most eyes. This is so stupid that I just want to scream.

I go to the largest building as instructed. There are large roll up doors in 5 bays and one regular door with a regular knob. I go there first and listen. Garrett follows like my shadow. I can sense excitement in him and a good dose of fear. This is a first for him – finding a real rogue Vampire.

The door is locked. I concentrate and break the lock (yes, I can do that. Pretty neat trick.

I open the door and smell the stench of old blood and unwashed bodies and that horrible rotten meat smell that makes just about any creature, except scavengers want to puke.

A couple of figures are lounging on some beat up furniture they’ve collected in a corner. A nasty looking couch and a couple of armchairs – the kind you find on the side of the road with “FREE” signs on them. No Gothic Vampire chic here. This is a dumpster dive.

One stands. The other just cranes a pale face around and stares. The standing one approaches. Oh for God’s sake, why did my brother send me here? I know this guy. On a slime scale of 1-10 he is a 25.

He gives me a fang filled smile and grins at me. “Jewels! Long time no see.”

I’m looking at a Vampire, about 5’7″ dressed in black, dark hair pulled back, sauntering towards me. He might have once been handsome by now he looked like a meth head from Hell. He walked up to me and put his hand to my face.

I motioned for Garrett to stay back. Verity comes and stands next to me, blonde hair flowing behind her like she’s in a photo shoot for Victoria’s Secret. Nigel is nowhere to be seen.

I knew this Rogue creature, once upon a time, when he had a soul. His name was Tad. He’d once been human but those days were long gone. He’d once been a decent Vampire until he turned rogue. OK he’d never been a decent Vampire. He was scum to start with and it was a shame, but I was beyond feeling sorry for him or even caring. As far as I was concerned he was already dead – and for all practical purposes he was dead.

His dead flat eyes looked me up and down like some sort of demonic pervert. “Let me drink you in Jewels. Do you know how long it has been since I’ve been with a respectable Vampire female? Too long. And you brought your lovely friends. How nice of you.”

I didn’t have time for this. “Listen Tad, I have a million things to do and it’s a school night so I don’t have time for your bull shit. Either you turn yourself in or I’m taking you down. Do you understand?”

“You’re so cute when you talk like that Jewels. Thirsty?” He motioned over to a couple of what looked like teenagers huddled in a corner.  Holy crap, I had no idea he had regular humans in here.

Then he grabbed me by the waist and pulled me close. His claw like nails grabbed my skin under my shirt. His eyes were dead. No soul.

“Souls are cheap and keeping them is expensive,” he hissed in my ear with nasty wake-the-dead breath.

He had me tight in his grip. I twisted around and slammed him to the ground. I might be small but I’m well trained. There was no Matrix style theatrics with us jumping in the air or super fast Vampire leaps and bounds. That only happens in the movies.

Garrett came running and blasted his foot into Tad’s head then grabbed him by the hair and continued to slam. I heard him yelling, “don’t touch my mom.”

I climbed to my feet and grabbed the can of lighter fluid I had in my supplies bag. I doused Tad, then grabbed an ancient sword out of my bag.

I stood with a sword in my right hand and a lit BBQ lighter in my left waiting for Tad to react.

Tad looks at me with a fang filled grin. “Come on Jewels, I wasn’t going to kill them.”

I glared at him and waited to see if he’d give me an excuse to torch him.

“You think you’re better than us. You’ve sold out. You’ve gotten soft. You don’t know what it is like to be a real Vampire anymore.” Tad snarled at me, his fangs gleaming, with dried blood in the corners of his mouth.

I was ready to take off his head when from out of the corner came six more figures, fangs out, along with the one who was sitting on the couch, ready to attack. Eight Rogues? Really Max? What in the world made you think Verity and I, plus a teenager could take them down? My mind raced a hundred miles an hour. I could tell Verity was doing the same. She slid a long dagger out of her boot and took my back. Garrett stood behind up with the lighter fluid and lighter. This wasn’t good at all.

There are always those moments in life when just the right thing happens at the right time – just when you need it. You know, like that unexpected bonus check from work or an upgrade to first class or you find a home for that stray cat you really don’t want to keep.  Now was just one of those moments.

Over our heads was a gust of freezing air and a scream so horrifying and loud that Verity, Garret and I all hit the ground.

A black swirling shadow formed around the Rogue Vampires. A large mouth filled with sharp teeth opened up and sucked them all in. That was followed by a loud belching noise and then…and then, it spit out an assortment of bones, cleaned of any flesh. The bones scattered on the ground then in a flash of light turned to ashes.

We all looked up in shock.

“What the…” said Garrett, grabbing my arm.

Then Nigel the ghost appeared, looking none the worse in a beautifully tailored black suit with a black shirt and tie. “That my darling Vampires was my friend Elizabeth the Banshee.”

A wild looking woman with wilder black hair and glacier blue eyes appeared next to Nigel. She belched again and then said “Well, that was fun. Thanks Nigel for the invitation. Gotta go.” And with another piercing scream she turned into swirling smoke and vanished into the dark.

“What? I told you I’d help you,” said our Ghost.

In the corner of the old dark warehouse we found a young couple chained and huddled together. Their necks were clawed and bruised, their wrists chewed. They were still wearing their dirty and torn prom clothes. They’d vanished from their Southern California Prom night – 700 miles south of us – a week ago. In a small dirty bathroom we found two other teens. One had vanished, also last week while walking home from a guitar lesson, his guitar and his backpack still with him. The other was a girl who’d been taken only a few days ago while walking her dog. They were all frightened and weak.

Verity, Garrett and I all did our best to calm them and with our special Vampire touch we sucked some of the fear from their souls along with most of the horrible memories of the nightmare they’d been through

“Help will come soon.” I told them that in my best mom voice I said as I pulled out a burner phone and called 911. I left the phone with the guitar kid in case they needed to call anyone else. I told Garrett to get the water I’d put in my car, along with some snacks I’d packed, just in case. Finally, Verity and I tended to their wounds and covered them with blankets.

We got out of the building and headed home in silence.

Verity was the first to speak. “He was bad to the core. Freakin serial killer as far as I’m concerned. He would have killed those kids.”

“They could have been from my school.” Garrett said somberly as he looked out the window. At that point I wondered if I should have brought him along.

Nigel appeared in the back seat next to Garrett. “I didn’t know there were really Banshees,” said Verity.

“I didn’t know there were Vampires or Ghosts until I died,” said Nigel. “Hey, your son is at UCLA isn’t he?”

“UCLA School of Law,” answered Verity looking surprised.

“Great school. I graduated from there in 1982. Art.” Nigel smiled. “I’m sure you’ve seen my work. I became quite famous after I died.” And with that, Nigel vanished, leaving only Vampires in the car.

So as we drove home we spoke of quiet things, of life and art and of living in a world that is stranger than anyone can imagine.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

wings