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

 

 

 

 

 

Musings On Moving On

I’m not special. I’m busy. I’m different. I’m impatient and frazzled more than usual these days. I’m a mom.

So don’t sweet talk me or give me hollow compliments. You never had to prove anything to me. I’m a Vampire. You never have to prove yourself to a Vampire.

That is what I said to the creature who stood before me the other night. I was out with my 18-year-old son and we met some people for dinner. Our dinner. You know, we’re Vampires. It’s OK. When we were done with our tummies full and our “friends” empty of a few pints of blood and full of sweet dreams, we quietly headed for the car. Halfway down the alley we were stopped by a stranger, or someone I thought was a stranger.

His face was in the dark as he asked if we were having a nice evening. I took my son’s arm and gave a nod, ready to move on when the man stopped in front of us.

“You don’t know who I am.”

I looked at him in the face and I knew. It had been at least 80 years but I knew him. I can’t even start to tell you how annoying it is when someone from my past shows up when I’m with my kids.

“I know Vampires never forget. And I’d never forget you Juliette. You’re still just as beautiful as the last time I saw you.”

We made a little bit of small talk. He complimented me several more times. Then we went our ways like ships that pass in the night. Just signals of those who might or might not meet in port one day.

“Who was that mom?” Garrett was naturally curious about the person we’d just me.

“He’s a Warlock. We used to run in the same circles, kind of sort of. There was always something about him that made my skin crawl.”

“He seemed nice enough.”

“He is, but…”

“He’s a Warlock?”

“He was such an asshole. It has nothing to do with him being a Warlock. We had a lot of the same friends. That is all. It is what it is.”

We talked a bit more. Just another night of a week full of annoying things that fortunately are separated by really nice things, like evening with my son.

Garrett and I talked for the next hour about people we know and our plans for the summer and his graduation from high school. We talked of college and the people he’ll meet. There will be new friends. Some will last for a year. Some will last forever. Some will come and go from our lives like shadows.

We came home to find my husband Teddy and daughter Clara watching Lizard Lick Towing. I know, we’re Vampires who have sunk to the lowest of low, but at least it was good to see some daddy/daughter bonding. They watch Bar Rescue together too. So much for Gothic Vampire stereotypes.

I told Teddy about my old Warlock acquaintance. He used to be among my circle of friends a long time ago but we grew up and all moved on. It wasn’t the wrong time wrong place situation. It was just time to move on.

Just like with my children and the end of the school year, it is time to move on.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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This is a Vampire Maman Friday Flash Back: This was first posted here in May 2014

You can be you

All hail

The mysterious

Vampire Lord

God almighty

I am bored.

 

My friend Cody is fairly new at being a Vampire. He was “converted” in 2012. Needless to say it was quite an unexpected experience for him. One minute he was driving down the coastal highway, and the next minute his crazy girlfriend was turning the wheel of the car and they were flying off of a cliff down into the Pacific Ocean.

They were rescued by Vampires and the rest is history for my former Silicone Valley friend.

Cody has adapted better than most. He has adapted extremely well.

There are times though when my young friend will do things out of habit, or comfort.

He buys fortune cookies just for the fortunes. Of course he doesn’t eat them. That will cause stomach cramps. He gets them for the fortunes. You know those little slips of paper that say things like: You will bring sunshine into someone’s life or Tomorrow your creative side will shine forth with exceptional ideas.

Cody has been coming over to watch “The Alienist” with us on Monday nights. By the way, next Monday is the last one.

If you haven’t been watching this is the story (I stole grabbed this description from another web site.)

The best-selling book by Caleb Carr is the basis for “The Alienist,” a psychological thriller set amidst the vast wealth, extreme poverty and technological innovation of 1896 New York. A never-before-seen ritualistic killer is responsible for the gruesome murders of boy prostitutes, and newly appointed police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt calls upon criminal psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, newspaper illustrator John Moore and police department secretary Sara Howard to conduct the investigation in secret. The brilliant, obsessive Kreizler is known as an alienist — one who studies mental pathologies and the deviant behaviors of those who are alienated from themselves and society. His job, along with his controversial views, makes him a social pariah in some circles. But helped by a band of outsiders, Kreizler’s tireless efforts eventually answer the question behind what makes a man into a murderer.

You need to check it out just for the costumes. No BS half assed stuff that is so historically inaccurate that it will make your fangs hurt. No over done make-up or modern hair styles on the women. It is visually wonderful. We’ve been sucked into the characters and story as well.

Anyway, Cody mentioned that one of the main actors, Luke Evans (of course he is Welsh, just like my Welsh ancestors who had the same last name)… Luke Evans also played Vlad/Dracula in the movie Dracula Untold. I’m not sure what Dracula was supposed to be told in that story, but apparently someone forgot to tell him what it was. By the way, Luke Evans is great in The Alieniest. I hope to see him in more films/TV in the future.

Then Cody asked, “How come you don’t have all of the people you’ve turned into Vampires calling you their Vampire Queen or Vampire Mother?”

“Because it doesn’t work that way,” I said.

There are bands of Vampires, just like there groups of any type of people with leaders and followers. Most of us just live our own with friends and family. Sure it might get weird to some people, but seriously, I’m living in 2018. I’m living in California in 2018. I’ve never seen a Vampire Lord, or had to deal with someone longing for the days everyone had blood dripping off of their chins and shit like that.

We wear jeans, and flannel shirts, and have access to fortune cookies.

I’m a mom, not Vampirella. I don’t want to be Vampirella. That little weird red swim suit kind of thing she always wears looks really uncomfortable. Besides that her taste in men is horrible.

Vampirella

Seriously, can you imagine wearing this to the hardware store, much less picking your kids up from school in this?

We’re modern Vampires. Just like any modern person, we live in this world. Save the cosplay for the weekend.

Like the song says: You can be you. I love Saint Motel.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Musings on Parenting and Vampires

Love is in the air. I know because by 4:00 am the turkeys are already out making their gobbling love calls all over the neighborhood. They’re in the park, in front yards, in side yards, in driveways, on the sidewalks, and in the streets.

Sleep is also still in the air for teens who have nearly an impossible time getting up in the morning. Bribes of coffee and blood & berry smoothies goes on sleepy deaf ears.

But now I’m fast forwarding to school where the child texts me and says she needs $200 for AP tests (Advanced Placement.) If a Junior or Senior pass an AP test then they might be able to skip a college class. And why yes, the fees are cheaper in states I don’t live in.

So while I get texts from the kids, and listen to the turkeys, rain, and leaf blowers from the gardeners next door, I’m trying to think of a plot twists over coffee.

I explained what I was trying to do with the plot twists to my 17-year-old daughter.

“Don’t do something stupid with it. It has to be realistic, but not stupid,” she told me.

Thanks for the advice honey. I’ll be driving back to school in an hour to drop off the AP test fees.

I think about all of those Vampires who spend their days doing lofty things like fighting off rival Werewolf gangs, or lurking around in formal wear with blood dripping down their chins, or discussing with a far off Vampire council the paranormal forces and fuck it, that just isn’t the world I exist in.

This afternoon I’m meeting with an attorney. I’ll be getting about a pint of blood from him, and as usual I’ll leave cookies and juice (just like at the blood bank.)

Other than that things are pretty normal, not just for me but for most of us. By normal, I mean we’re not living some Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee movie script. Sure there are those assholes and misfits who lurk under floorboards, and graveyards. There are those without souls who haunt dark places in the cities. But who needs that? Seriously, WHO needs THAT.

We tell our kids, and other young Vampires that they have a choice. This goes for any kid.

There are choices. They don’t have to do what is expected by media or public opinion. They don’t have to be like everyone before them. If you’re different you can still be with everyone else. You know why? Because even if you’re different, you’re probably more like everyone else than you think. You’ll fit right in and be happy and nobody will know the difference. As long as they don’t know you’re a Vampire (or whatever) then do what you want.

So put away that red lined cape, and put on some jeans. Believe me, it will make dinner a lot easier. Then again, a little black dress is never a bad thing (but that is another story.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Fear and Change

Most Vampires get paralyzed by fear and self-doubt. Oh forget the blood taking and seductive ways that helped romanticize us.

You know what I’m talking about. Even the most confident of us feels that way more than we would like.

We jealously guard our own versions of our memories.

Something taken away.

Something given.

Something found.

Something lost.

It is that sense of loss and identity that finds so many climbing into crypts or under floorboards to sleep forever.

It is that inability to know there are others and that there is something to look forward to. Things change but not for better or worse – just different. Hell, things usually change for the better if you want them to be better. If you make them better. I didn’t say it was easy. It isn’t anything you’ll find in a self-help book. There aren’t self-help books for Vampires. There aren’t self-help books for most things that really matter.

Reaching inside where your old soul used to be and pulling up your new self isn’t easy. Your old self is still there – you will never lose that. You will always be yourself – like it or not. But you can change. You can become better. You can refurbish your old self.

You can shine like the full moon on a clear winter night.

Where you miss the warmth of your skin you will find coolness of nerves.

Where you miss those who grew old you will treasure the memories.

Where you miss the innocence of your existence you will find something else.

You aren’t a monster or an outcast – you are just different. Everyone is different. Accept it.

You’ll taste blood, but you’ll give back contentment in your donors – or give nightmares – it is your choice. Nice. You never had that choice before.

You’ll learn how to get blood stains out of anything.

Change or lack of change are both things we want and something that we fear.

Nobody said any of this was going to be easy. Then again, nobody said it wasn’t going to be exciting and wonderful.

Contentment isn’t just something for a few. It is something we can all strive for. Content but still moving forward, never forgetting where we have been or where we are going.

The other day I spoke to my friend Cody who has been a Vampire for almost four years. He never asked for it but he accepted the changes in his life. There will be hardships ahead along with triumphs. He didn’t struggle like some do. He has had a lot of questions and questioned a lot of things. He has learned.

But he told me, “You know that old expression about a door closing and a window opening? The roof came off for me. I can see the whole world of possibilities now. Anything is possible as long as I keep reminding myself of that.”

Yes, Cody, anything is possible.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

red heart

 

Being Different

“Why do they always have field trips to water parks? I have to cover up so much that everyone thinks I belong to some stupid religious cult.” So said the 13 year old girl who happens to be my own Vampire child.

“Sweetie your friends know you’re sensitive to sun.” I say that in the best wise mom voice.

“That isn’t the point. I feel like a freak.” She rolls her eyes and shows a little bit of fang.

It breaks my heart to hear my child who is at the top of the food chain so frustrated. Living in the regular word can be frustrating for all of us who are Vampires.

What alternatives do we have? We can be pathetic Shadow Creepers and live like 19th century ghosts. We can be part of the fringe and live like Vampire pimps and whores and con-artists who live for the blood lust and nothing else.

I prefer to remain in the world of Modern Vampires. Sure we clash from time to time with Regular Humans but who doesn’t?

But try explaining that to a frustrated Vampire teen.

“I don’t want to be a Vampire.”

That is usually brief for our self-assured teens, but it is hard when you can’t tell anyone exactly who and what you are. It is weird when you know you have several alternate identities in the works. It is hard to know that at your 50th high school reunion you’ll go, if you go, as your own grandchild.

The benefits, in my opinion outweigh the inconveniences. My husband, who used to be a regular human would beg to differ. But it is what it is.

We talk about it a lot. That is the first key. And we stay connected with other Vampire families. Connections are everything. Keeping traditions and appreciating our own culture is key to being a successful Modern Vampire.

So anyway, does anyone know if Costco sells gallon size containers of SPF 200 sunscreen? I’m looking for hats and sunglasses too. Cool sunglasses. Very cool sunglasses.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

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