A chance meeting – a ghost of a chance.

Lately, just lately a lot has been going on. My mind has been on other things so my usually frequent blogging hasn’t been, well, frequent.

It was a wet gray morning but I had to go downtown to take care of a few things. On a whim I stopped by the most exclusive cemetery, in the most exclusive and character filled part of town.

You know what I was doing. I was looking for the grave of my Ghost. Yes, THAT Ghost. The one who flips me off, and drives me nuts, and talks non-stop, and insults me every single chance he gets. I was looking for Nigel, or that is, his grave.

A few Ghosts showed their shadows but as soon as they realized I’m a Vampire they vanished back into their damp worm ridden graves. As a rule I hate ghosts. There is nothing romantic or redeeming about them. They’re like the rats of the paranormal world as far as I’m concerned. But there are exceptions, annoying as they are, there are exceptions.

A lone man stood between two graves then set white lilies and orchards on each. I wondered if these were graves of children or maybe women in his past. I walked closer to discover a name and a date I recognized. It was Nigel. Not the Ghost but the hole in the ground where his body is.

The man turned towards me. It surprised me how handsome he was with sky blue eyes and blonde hair touched by the sun (or a damned good colorist.) He gave me a soft smile, but it could have made the rain go away if he’d wanted it to. Yes, he was one of those kind of guys. Even in middle age the look of youth was still in his face. It was in his body too.

“Are you here for Nigel?” I asked him the question in a gentle tone.

“Both of them,” he said. “Nigel and Derrick. Did you know Nigel or are you a fan?”

“I know him. I mean knew him.” I said that knowing he’d be wondering how someone my age (I look to be in my early 30’s on a bad day) could have known Nigel. “I’m, um, older than I look. We were friends, but I don’t know any of his other friends. How do you know him?”

“He was a friend of my brother. More than a friend. Nigel lived with my family through high school. It was that or foster care or a group home. My parents became his legal guardians.”

“I knew he hated his mom but I didn’t know…I didn’t know that. He was lucky to have had you.”

“We were fortunate to have Nigel. And Derrick too. Derrick was a close friend too. They died five days apart. What a tragedy. Only 26 and 27 years old.”

I said nothing. I couldn’t imagine Nigel, my Ghost Nigel, laying in a box, in his signature black suit, under the wet ground. I didn’t feel his presence. He wasn’t there.

“I’m Sam,” my handsome newfound friend said holding out his hand.

“Juliette. Good to meet you Sam.”

“Your hands are so cold.”

I smiled. They always say that. “I’ll warm up. I have to meet my husband in a few hours, but maybe we could get coffee and you can tell me about growing up with Nigel.”

He agreed. Of course he agreed. I’m persuasive. I have to be.

We ducked inside of a mausoleum to get out of a downpour. And yes, of course I took advantage of the situation. Sam never knew that when I feigned being upset and hugged him that I would be putting my teeth into his neck. He only remembered that he was tired but was feeling hopeful and better. I noticed his hair smelled good, like warm sugar cookies and rosemary.

Over coffee and scones we discovered we have friends in common. No wonder Sam seemed familiar. I usually remember people but like I said, I’ve been out of sorts and distracted lately. We also discovered that Nigel was loved by a diverse group of people. I didn’t mention that I’d met Nigel 25 years after his death. It didn’t matter. Sam didn’t live in the shadowy world of Vampires and Ghosts. He would have thought I was crazy anyway. We all know there is no such thing as Vampires and Ghosts (wink wink nod nod.)

When I arrived home later I found Nigel sitting in my reading chair. He looked somewhat regal in a white shirt, black vest, skinny ties lose at the neck and his black hair spiky around his face. “What the Hell were you doing with Sammy?”

I shrugged. “Nothing. I found your grave. He just happened to be there.”

“You sucked his blood.”

“I needed to. He never knew.”

“No…”

“Oh Nigel, he’ll have sweet dreams for the next six months. I did him a favor.”

Nigel stood and took a step towards me. I felt a rush of icy air around my head. “You’re a ghoul.”

“And you’re dead Nigel. And I’m the only friend you have who still has a body. I’m the only one you can go to but… but people still care about you and I would never do anything to hurt any of them. I would never hurt them.”

“You invaded my privacy,” said the man who was standing in front of me inside of my home. Excuse me, Ghost who was in my home.

I threw my hands up. “I give up Nigel. Just sit there and steam or whatever you do. I have things I need to do.”

“Juliette.”

“Nigel.”

“Do you care?”

“Of course I do. Do you?”

“Yes,” he said quietly then vanished in a wisp of lavender gray smoke.

It is odd and sometimes wonderful, sometimes sad, and sometimes random how people come in and out of our lives. Call it ships that pass in the night. Call it a small world. On some levels we’re all connected, everyone to someone else. I guess that means that none of us are really ever alone.

I went out on my deck under the clearing sky with the taste of Sam still on my lips. Sam had the one thing that Nigel would never have – life as a middle-aged man. I only hope that Nigel will know that he has people who will always love him as if her were still alive. We should all be so lucky.

~ Juliette aka 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

 

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Random thoughts on Biology, Parenting, Lunch, Vampires and Guys I Used to Know…

Fridays are usually my “lunch date” days…that is the one day of the week this busy working mom can meet with her usual donors. Yes, for those of you who are new here, this is about Vampires. And for all of you busy Vampires, especially parents or other caretakers, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I don’t lurk out into the night and crawl through bedroom windows. Yuck. I meet with people for a civilized exchange. They don’t know I’m a Vampire but everyone goes away happy. It’s a win win for everyone concerned.

That said, this past Friday EVERYONE needed something. I swear I was about to scream. My husband, my daughter, a client, the elders, and my son. Garrett, a high school senior, needed some papers dropped off for a science internship he is going to participate in over the Spring Break and maybe this summer (depending on where he is accepted into college). It is a great opportunity BUT he had another event going on and needed someone (me) to drop off his paperwork.

I called the professor in charge who teaches at the fine state university in our town. He was home and asked if I could just drop the papers off at his house. Fine by me. I’d avoid the confusing parking at the college.

As I drove down to the East Sacramento neighborhood Dr. Morgan (the professor) lived in I had to pass the cemetery where Nigel the ghost is buried. I still haven’t stopped there or found out his last name. I feel my pushing invaded his privacy. I’ve learned that despite how much I dislike ghosts in general that I have to respect them. It isn’t easy being a ghost. Anyway, I could feel chilled to the bone as I drove by the graves and could feel some lingering presence of misplaced souls who had found themselves trapped on Earth. The cemetery (which I will not name today) is a beautiful place, but not someplace I’d want to spend forever in.

Dr. Gerard Morgan lived in a charming 1920’s brick cottage so prized in this area of town. A lemon tree full of fruit was in the front yard. Primroses bloomed up the walk way. The rounded front door held a wreath of bay leaves. A nice touch for a single man living alone. But hey, just because a guy is single doesn’t mean he has to live like an uncomfortable slob.

The door was answered by a pleasant looking middle aged man with striking brown eyes. You know those beautiful deep eyes that bring on both wonder and envy (as in I wish my eyes were that pretty.) He showed me in and we went over the papers in a home office. I glanced at impressive diplomas on the wall.

The house was comfortable in an arts and crafts sort of style mixed with a good heap of modern. Sort of like my house. Then again, it is a popular style around these parts. Gerard asked me if I’d like to stay for a cup of tea. Sure, why not. I like tea. No sugar. Yes, lemon would be lovely.

We talked about our citrus trees and then about the science program he ran for high school seniors. Then he said something quite unexpected.

He said “I teach biological science, including cellular biology, but…” he paused then started up again, “I understand you know something about Vampires and local lore.”

“And ghost lore as well. I’m a history buff, you know, just for fun. Especially the weird stuff.”

“Tell me about the Vampire lore around here.” He looked so intense.

So I told him a standard story. “There is said to be a large population of Vampires in this area. They came in during the gold rush era. Many of them eventually settled in San Francisco and Sacramento. They still are supposed to have family in the area. Many missing persons are supposed to have become Vampires. It isn’t exactly exciting or full of blood lust, but that’s what I know.”

“Do you believe Vampires are real?”

I couldn’t believe he asked me that. I mean, that is so rare. He looked me straight in the eye.

“What a silly question Gerard,” I told him.

“You’re a Vampire aren’t you? I’ve never met someone who claims to be a Vampire but there are letters, family letters that lead me to you. When I received news that your son wanted to apply to the program I was curious to meet you.”

“Letters?” This could be either good or bad.

“Old letters that mentioned someone named Juliette.”

I didn’t respond. I hate it when they call me on this.

“Tell me about Vampires Juliette. I’m a scientist. I’m curious about people who claim to be Vampires.”

I sat back a little straighter and put my hands in my lap. “Alright, I will tell you about people who claim to be Vampires. There are so-called Sanguinarian Vampires, those Regular Humans who drink blood. They say, they actually believe, it is required for their health, both mentally and physically. And of course they have their donors who give them blood. But they’re quite human. Just like eating biscuits and gravy doesn’t make you Southern anymore than eating Kosher makes you Jewish. Drinking blood does not make one a Vampire. They’re nuts, but that said, if they want to drink blood then whatever. Let your freak flag, but still…oh well.

Then there are so-called Psychic Vampires, who in my book are just bad friends. They believe that they need to suck on your aura or psychic energy. I’m sure you’ve dated women like that. I hope not, but the odds are pretty good.

That said, there is an entire population of people who are not like you. Not physically or mentally like you at all. Rather sort of a sub species, but then again, not exactly. Call it a mutation of a sorts. That is where I come in, as well as others who aren’t Vampires but not exactly what YOU would call normal. We’re genetically different. Some are born that way and some are genetically modified along the way. I can’t give you the scientific explanation but it is what it is.

Anyway, people fear what is different and what they don’t understand. They tend to find a group to put that fear on, which leads to killings and genocide and all sorts of tragic social and moral disorders.

On the other hand, Vampires, real Vampires are on the top of the food chain, above you, so I can understand that natural fear. It is healthy to fear someone who could easily kill you and consume your blood.

But I see it as more of a symbiotic relationship. We all get something we need from the transaction. Wouldn’t you agree Dr. Morgan?”

He stood up and went across the room and closed the curtains. I didn’t ask why. I followed him across the room. He stopped and looked me right in the eye. There was almost an electrical charge between us.

I stepped closer. He’d been quiet and listened to everything I said. He thought I was crazy yet he was feeling a strange attraction to me. That was a good thing. Especially since I’d skipped my Friday lunch and was starting to feel a bit light headed.

I spoke quietly to him. “Your heart rate just jumped up, just by the simple fact that I came a little closer to you.” I took another step and took his hands.

“You’re so cold.” He was a little frightened  I could tell but didn’t let go.

“Yes, I am. Feel for a pulse.”

“I can’t find it.”

“My heart beats extremely slow. Don’t ask me to explain how it all works. There did you feel that slight beat? Never faster than 20 beats per minute. Usually much slower. In fact I can stop my heart and restart it if I want to, or if I’m extremely frightened or stressed.”

Then I brushed my lips against his. “I’m extremely cold compared to you. Your heart rate just jumped again. Both fear and excitement. The strangeness of it all. And admit it, the beauty of it.”

I showed my fangs and gave a little purr. He almost jumped out of his skin.

“Relax, I’m not going to hurt you,” I told him gently.

He looked at my mouth. “Those are real.”

“Yes. Real as your teeth.”

“How old are you?”

“Ninety nine years older than you are.”

“Was that a lucky guess or can you tell…”

I smiled. “The diploma on your wall, I did the math… lucky guess because you look younger than your actual 55 years.”

“You’re 154.”

“Fairly young for a Vampire. I don’t age. I rarely get sick. You wouldn’t believe how fast I heal if hurt.” I moved closer my body barely touching his. He was maybe five six or seven but by no means what I’d consider short. Getting to his neck would be easy but I didn’t want to be quite so intimate this time.  “Give me your wrist. Come on.” I locked my eyes on his. He was mine. Child’s play for a Vampire but I never felt guilty about it.

Gently pushing him against the wall for support I took his wrist and sank my fangs into it.

Due to his past history, excellent physical condition, disposition and blood type I thought he’d be an excellent candidate for becoming a Vampire. But that is a risky proposition and something I’d save for another time.

Suddenly on the tip of my tongue and in the back of my mind there was something familiar. It was in his face as well. I did know him or at least someone connected to him.

Gently kissing his wrist to make sure there would be no fang marks left I looked in his face. Yes, it was there under those deep brown eyes and dark lashes.

“You’re William Morgan’s great grand son,” I said. “You look just like him. I should have known.”

“Wait, you knew my great grandfather? He and his best friend died in a boating accident…”

“Not at all. William and his friend Albert and living in Seattle. They’re Vampires.”

Another shock to his system, but by that time he was feeling the euphoric high of one just bitten by a Vampire (at least by me, I always try to make a good experience that will leave them warm and toasty for at least a week.)

I went on to explain that Billy and Al were in Seattle with a band and a graphic design business. Al was living with one of my mom’s friends. Sometimes Al would still wear a top hat just for kicks and grins. Small world.

Out of a drawer in a hutch he pulled a tintype of two men. Billy was in the light suit and Al was wearing his signature top hat – even back then.

On a hot summer night at a lavish party at a mansion by the river, Billy discovered his wife was having an affair with another man. Things had not been right at home for a while, but he figured it was the pressure of having two small children and his busy career. She had given her body and her heart to a wealthy banker. Upset over this discovery Billy took off down to the river’s edge where he and his friend Al found a conoe. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but Billy was upset, stood up in the boat and capsized it. The men both went into the fast water and perished.

Yes indeed, they did die, but not for long. About two miles down the river lived, in another lavish river side residence lived two ancient Vampires. They were also having a party that night. The Vampires found the men and rescued them from death, in a way. They turned them into Vampires. I know this because I was there that night.

Gerard Morgan looked at me in wonder. “Could I meet him? My great grandfather?”

“I’ll ask him,” I said, knowing the answer might very well be yes. “I only ask that you tell no one what we discussed today or that I am a Vampire. That goes for my son as well. Plus, you know if you tell anyone they’ll think you’re crazy.”

So I won’t go into what we discussed for the rest of the afternoon, only that it turned out to be a positive thing for all parties involved.

And will Professor Morgan, who is twice divorced with no children, become a Vampire? I don’t know. Time will tell.

Have a good weekend everyone and be careful out there on the water.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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