My Christmas Necklace (A Holiday Tradition)

A few nights ago we had friends for dinner. Let me reword that. We dined with good friends of ours. It was two couples we’re friends with (they’re regular humans who don’t know we’re Vampires). It is a dress up affair. We have cocktails; take in the theater or a concert, then have dinner and more drinks. And my darling husband Teddy and I get a little blood donation and leave our hosts feeling warm and fuzzy and full of holiday cheer.

I wore a black dress with red heels. It was set off with a gold necklace of delicate flowers with red garnets, enameled holly leaves and seed pearls.

One of my friends commented “You wear that beautiful necklace every year. There must be a story behind it.”

“Teddy gave me this on our first Christmas together. It was his mother’s.” I told everyone the truth, but didn’t tell them the entire story behind it.

It was in the 1880’s. My brother Val and I were young Vampires in London, which was the place to be. It was a golden age for us.

Of course being the young American Vampires we were…we got into a lot of trouble and had way too many adventures of the wrong kind.

So to make a long story short, it was Christmas Eve when Val and I found ourselves trapped in a crypt. Yes, a crypt full of rotting human bodies, not a fit place for any self respecting Vampire of a certain social level. We were of a higher social level. We had class, culture, good looks and money. Most of all we had connections. What Val and I lacked was common sense and experience.

So we’re in this crypt, chased by Vampire Hunters, Rogue Vampires who were pissed off at us, AND the local police.

We were also trapped. Yes, being the super strong creatures that we are, we could have busted down the door, but that would have done three things. It would have shown a lack of respect for those who were interned in the crypt. It would have made a lot of noise and attracted too much attention. But most of all, we were wearing rather expensive clothing if that clothing were to be ripped it would have drawn too much attention.

So we waited to figure out a plan B or to be rescued. Plan B was our only real option.

Just as we were about to sit on the ground and wait until the next night to break our way out the door started to slide open. We waited, fangs barred, holding on to each other for dear life, yet ready to kill whatever came through to us.

We saw a lone figure shadowed in the doorway.

I could hear a slight hiss under Val’s breath as he readied himself for an attack. Then a voice with a definite American accent said “Valentine? Juliette? Oh my heavens! Is that really you?”

And out of the shadows came Teddy. I hadn’t seen him for 10 years, not since he’d become a Vampire.

We said quick greetings and I asked “What are you doing here?”

He lifted the lid from one of the stone caskets. “This woman couldn’t steal my father’s heart so she stole my mother’s jewelry. I’m here to get it back. I never expected in a hundred years to find you two here.” And with one swift movement he took the necklace from around the neck of a slightly un-fresh corpse and then removed her bracelet and ring.

Suddenly we heard footsteps and saw torches across the lawn. I recognized the voices. “Let’s go. They’re back.” And they were in full force, come to kill the Vampires, who just happened to be us.

We ran down the road as fast as we could. I help my skirt up around my knees and cursed the day I was born a girl. Damn it trousers would have been nice right then.

A cathedral lay ahead, lit up for the Christmas Eve service.

“We can’t go in there,” said Teddy in a panic.

“Why not?” Asked Val.

“Because,” said Teddy “We’re undead. We’re Vampires. We’ll die.”

“We’re not undead. Your heart beats. You have not one but two souls. You are a creature of the night, and this is a midnight service. We will be welcome and blessed for we do harm to no one.”

I grabbed Teddy by one hand and Val by the other and took them into the church. We sat in the back and quietly sang along with our angelic Vampire voices, savoring the candle light and peace of the moment.

After it was over we headed for home, a fashionable and safe house not far away.

“I thought it wasn’t safe for our kind in churches,” said Teddy.

“It usually isn’t.” Val said, brushing off his coat. “But they can’t hurt us in a church. Or at least they do not dare hurt us there. Besides, I like the music. It soothes me.”

“What did you mean about two souls? I thought my soul was gone.” Teddy looked at us in a very serious way.

“Do you think that anyone with so much love and passion could exist without a soul? Oh Teddy, don’t be such a child. We need two souls. One for our own existence and one for our shadow. Didn’t you know that?”

The first rays of dawn arrived as we arrived at the house. Teddy crashed in one of the spare bedrooms. But before he slept, he put the necklace he’d taken around my neck. “My mother always liked you. She would have wanted you to have this.”

I was honored and touched. Since then I’ve worn this necklace every Christmas season.

Vampire Heart

This story was first published here in 2012 but it is one of my favorite Christmas time memories. Hope you enjoyed it. And why yes, I’m going to a party this afternoon and wearing my Christmas necklace! Yes, this is a true story.

Happy Christmas to you and yours,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

We’re Not so Different

I’m continuing the Vampire Maman Christmas Story Fest with this tale from my friend Mandy White. “We’re Not so Different” can also be found in the WPaD anthology Tinsel Tales.

We’re Not so Different

By Mandy White

My daughter was clearly upset when she arrived home from school. Crystal tossed her pink, sparkly book bag into the corner and gave it a kick.
“Bad day, honey?” I asked.
She didn’t answer at first. Instead, she ducked her chin and pouted as only a twelve-year-old can.
I waited. Finally she looked at me.
“Is it true?” she demanded.
“Is what true, sweetie?”
“That we’re going to Hell?”
“What? Where on Earth did you get that idea?”
Crystal mumbled something unintelligible.
“Pardon me?”
“Becky Bullock! I hate her so much!” she ranted. “Just because her father’s a minister she acts like she’s God and treats everyone else like dirt!”
“Now, I hardly believe God would treat anyone like dirt, honey. Come here and talk to me.” I sat on the sofa, shoving aside a pile of towels I had been folding so she could sit beside me. Crystal plopped into the cushion, arms folded, glaring at the wall across the room.
“Why exactly does Becky think we are going to Hell and she is not?” I asked her. I suspected I already knew the answer, but I wanted to hear it from her classmate’s perspective as well as hers.
“Because of my report,” she said.
“Your report?”
“Yeah, we were all supposed to do an essay about holiday traditions and I did mine about the Christmas tree. I didn’t know the stupid teacher was going to make us read them in front of the class.”
I nodded knowingly. I saw where this was going. “Go on,” I prompted.
“So anyway, my essay was about the Christmas tree, and how it’s Pagan in origin. Like the story Grandma told us, about how in the old days it was a custom to bring a live tree inside the house to symbolize life and good luck and all that junk.”
“You actually said it that way?” I laughed.
“Not really,” she went to her book bag and withdrew a crumpled piece of paper and handed it to me.
I relaxed into the cushions to read the essay. I was impressed; it was quite good. Crystal explained how ancient Pagans believed evergreen trees had the power of eternal life because they stayed green through the dead of winter. During the winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, they adorned their homes with the boughs of evergreens in hopes that the magic of the trees would bring the sun back for another year. It was said that the ‘sun was born’ during the Solstice. Feasts and celebrations were also held during this time to keep people’s spirits high and fend off the starvation that threatened during the lean months.
It was clear that Crystal’s depiction of the pre-Christian roots of some holiday traditions had offended her classmate, who had no doubt learned a different story in her household.
“So, at lunchtime Becky and a bunch of her snotty friends corner me and start teasing me, telling me that my whole family is going to Hell. ‘Jesus is the reason for the season!’ she says to me. Then she starts calling me a witch and a Satanist and a h-heretic!” Crystal sniffled and began to cry.
“What did you say to them?” I asked.
“I called them a bunch of assholes and then I ran away.” She peeked warily up at me from beneath tearstained eyelashes, checking to see if she was in trouble.
I burst out laughing. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. The mental picture of Little Becky Bible-Thumper and her friends’ faces after my daughter called them assholes just wouldn’t leave, and try as I might, I couldn’t help cracking up. That’s my girl, I thought. Your Great-Grandmamma would have been proud.
“That wasn’t very nice of you to say that. And it wasn’t nice of them to make fun of you either,” I told Crystal, who had begun to giggle through her tears at my reaction. “But, you could have gotten yourself in trouble. Remember the old saying, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’. Becky is entitled to her beliefs just as much as you are.”
“But Mom!” Crystal insisted, “She doesn’t have to be mean about it!”
“No, she doesn’t,” I agreed. I put my arm around my daughter and cuddled her close. “You remember all the stories Grandma used to tell? The ones about her ancestors?”
Crystal nodded. “Yeah, that’s where I got the one about the tree stuff.”
“Well, then you also remember that our family lineage goes way, way back, to long before Christianity was even thought of. Our kind has been through happy times, and there have been dark times as well. Many of our ancestors were persecuted by the church and burned at the stake for things as trivial as practicing herbal medicine, or for voicing their own beliefs, much as you did today.”
“Which is why they’re a bunch of assholes!” Crystal said.
“From your perspective, it may seem that way. Try to think outside the box for a moment. Christians have also been persecuted for their beliefs in the past. Jesus was executed for the ideals he taught. Look at the Jewish people, and think of all that they have been through, or the Native Americans. No matter which culture, which religion you look at, you will find some point at which those people were victimized because their beliefs were different from someone else’s.”
“So everyone gets bullied, no matter what they believe, then. That doesn’t make it right.” Crystal observed.
“No, it doesn’t. It’s not a question of right or wrong, good or evil. From our own personal perspective, each of us is right, and the Creator has given us many paths to choose from. What’s great about the times we live in is that we are no longer in fear of being slaughtered for our beliefs. Neither is Becky Bullock’s family, or Jimmy Goldberg’s. We live in a time when a Wiccan child like you can learn in the same classroom as Becky, Jimmy, and all the other children who come from different cultures and backgrounds. Opinions will always differ, but if God is perfect, as Becky’s father teaches, then all must be right in the Universe.”
“So how am I supposed to deal with Becky next time she calls me a Satanist? Put a hex on her, or just punch her in the eye?” Crystal asked.
“Neither!” I laughed. “What you put out there is what you will get back, threefold. To quote your grandmother, ‘Remember ye the law of three. For what ye do comes back to thee’. Or, to put it in terms Becky might understand, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive’. So, to answer your question, if you approach a situation expecting disharmony, you will encounter disharmony. If you go into it intending harmony, then that is what you will get back. Somebody famous once said, ‘Peace is achieved through understanding, not conflict.’ Remember that Becky is not so different from you. She deserves to be treated with the same tolerance for her beliefs that you expect for yours.”
“Fat lot you know about bullies, Mom. The whole, ‘walk away’ thing doesn’t always work. I may still have to punch her in the face, just warning you.”
“If walking away doesn’t work, then ask her how Jesus would have handled the situation. That might make her stop and think. You think about it too. How do you think Jesus have reacted?”
Crystal shrugged. “I guess Jesus would have turned the other cheek. Isn’t that what the Bible says? To love your enemies and stuff like that?”
“Exactly. Treat others with compassion, even those who oppose you. It’s what my mother taught me, and what I’ve always told you. Our beliefs are not much different from what Jesus taught.”
“But I don’t love Becky! I can’t stand her! She’s just so… mean to everyone. Especially me.”
“You don’t have to be her best friend or anything. All I’m saying is, think before you react. Negative reactions won’t result in peace. If that doesn’t work… well, be sure to ask your teachers for some homework if you get expelled.”
“Becky might get expelled, too,” Crystal commented, a hint of hope in her voice.
“See? I told you, you aren’t so different from each other.”
We giggled and snuggled on the sofa. The Christmas tree sparkled in the corner, the angel at the top smiling down at us as we gazed out the window at the falling snow.
Copyright © 2013 Mandy White

 

Thank you Mandy!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Tinsel Tales download is now available for only $0.99. Part of the proceeds will go to MS Research. Click here.
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Short Story Sunday: Christmas Orphans (a short random tale)

Christmas Orphans (a short random tale)

“Why do I have eyes of different colors? The brown eye is my own. The blue eye is a different story. I plucked it from the freshly dead body of a young Irish nun. She’d killed herself because she had a vision that the child she was carrying, the child of the handsome young priest, was the Antichrist.”

“Why were you there Uncle Jeff?” A young voice in a hushed whisper asked.

“Because, my dear, I was the handsome young priest. That was before the life I live now. But I still see visions of angels and of a family in a warm embrace of love, then the fires of Hell with dancing devils and…”

“JEFF. STOP IT,” I yelled. “You’re going to give them nightmares.”

I know better than to ask my crazy brother to tell Christmas stories to my children and their young cousins.

“But, Simon, the stories are true,” my brother said as if he believed what he was saying.

“Kids, don’t listen to him. He’s blowing stories out of his…out of his ears.”

“Did I tell you about the time I met Santa Clause?”

“Jeff, no more storytelling.”

“It was the winter of 1969.”

“Jeff you were a toddler in 1969.”

“You have no idea how old I really am. Brother I have secrets that will make your head explode. Now children, the rest of the researchers on the Arctic research station had died of a mysterious illness. Then the giant polar two ton bears came. I’ll never forget the sound of them crunching on the bones of my friends.”

“Giant two ton polar bears?”

My brother and the children ignored me as he continued his tale. “I wouldn’t let them eat the dogs so we took off with the sled north, following the stars. Frozen and hungry, my body could take no more. Out of my blue eye I could see my angel Bernadette, the nun I’d loved. Her visions…”

“Jeff!”

“Then I heard bells. Not big bells like the Liberty Bell, but small happy bells. A lot of bells. I thought I was in a dream. My dogs huddled close. Then we saw them. The Zombies…”

I went to the kitchen for a beer. My wife and Jeff’s weird Goth girlfriend were talking about how to make the perfect prime rib.

Spotting my sister Libby out on the deck I went out to join her.

“It’s cold out.”

“Cold but not as weird as it is inside.”

“Do you think there is any truth to his stories.”

“I don’t know. He has memories of before we were found. All the records still say we were abandoned at the rest stop outside of Barstow. Nobody came forward to claim us. We’re related for sure, the DNA tests prove that, and we look like each other  but…”

My sister shrugged. “I did more research but didn’t find anything. Nothing. It is like we were dropped by aliens.”

“Or Santa Clause.” I said.

We were found on Christmas Day, three toddlers. Our dad was the highway patrolman who found us. Jeff was the oldest, then Libby and I was just a baby. The doctors figured Jeff was around three, Libby maybe two and I was a newborn. We were all wearing hand knitted Christmas sweaters and red Santa hats.

Our life was happy and normal with our new parents. They loved us unconditionally. They still do.

I never thought about who might have left us at the rest stop with typed notes saying “Merry Christmas. Please keep us together,” pinned on our sweaters.

Libby and I went back inside to catch the end of Jeff’s story.

“In the morning Santa and I sat on the beach listening to the crashing waves. I passed him the bottle of whiskey we were sharing and he put his hand on back and said “Good job son, good job.”

 

tree and snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

First posted here in December 2014 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

My Christmas Necklace. A Christmas Tradition from Juliette.

My Christmas Necklace – A Vampire Romance

A few nights ago we had friends for dinner. Let me reword that. We dined with good friends of ours. It was two couples we’re friends with (they’re regular humans who don’t know we’re Vampires). It is a dress up affair. We have cocktails; take in the theater or a concert, then have dinner and more drinks. And my darling husband Teddy and I get a little blood donation and leave our hosts feeling warm and fuzzy and full of holiday cheer.

I wore a black dress with red heels. It was set off with a gold necklace of delicate flowers with red garnets, enameled holly leaves and seed pearls.

One of my friends commented “You wear that beautiful necklace every year. There must be a story behind it.”

“Teddy gave me this on our first Christmas together. It was his mother’s.” I told everyone the truth, but didn’t tell them the entire story behind it.

It was in the 1880’s. My brother Val and I were young Vampires in London, which was the place to be. It was a golden age for us.

Of course being the young American Vampires we were…we got into a lot of trouble and had way too many adventures of the wrong kind.

So to make a long story short, it was Christmas Eve when Val and I found ourselves trapped in a crypt. Yes, a crypt full of rotting human bodies, not a fit place for any self respecting Vampire of a certain social level. We were of a higher social level. We had class, culture, good looks and money. Most of all we had connections. What Val and I lacked was common sense and experience.

So we’re in this crypt, chased by Vampire Hunters, Rogue Vampires who were pissed off at us, AND the local police.

We were also trapped. Yes, being the super strong creatures that we are, we could have busted down the door, but that would have done three things. It would have shown a lack of respect for those who were interned in the crypt. It would have made a lot of noise and attracted too much attention. But most of all, we were wearing rather expensive clothing if that clothing were to be ripped it would have drawn too much attention.

So we waited to figure out a plan B or to be rescued. Plan B was our only real option.

Just as we were about to sit on the ground and wait until the next night to break our way out the door started to slide open. We waited, fangs barred, holding on to each other for dear life, yet ready to kill whatever came through to us.

We saw a lone figure shadowed in the doorway.

I could hear a slight hiss under Val’s breath as he readied himself for an attack. Then a voice with a definite American accent said “Valentine? Juliette? Oh my heavens! Is that really you?”

And out of the shadows came Teddy. I hadn’t seen him for 10 years, not since he’d become a Vampire.

We said quick greetings and I asked “What are you doing here?”

He lifted the lid from one of the stone caskets. “This woman couldn’t steal my father’s heart so she stole my mother’s jewelry. I’m here to get it back. I never expected in a hundred years to find you two here.” And with one swift movement he took the necklace from around the neck of a slightly un-fresh corpse and then removed her bracelet and ring.

Suddenly we heard footsteps and saw torches across the lawn. I recognized the voices. “Let’s go. They’re back.” And they were in full force, come to kill the Vampires, who just happened to be us.

We ran down the road as fast as we could. I help my skirt up around my knees and cursed the day I was born a girl. Damn it trousers would have been nice right then.

A cathedral lay ahead, lit up for the Christmas Eve service.

“We can’t go in there,” said Teddy in a panic.

“Why not?” Asked Val.

“Because,” said Teddy “We’re undead. We’re Vampires. We’ll die.”

“We’re not undead. Your heart beats. You have not one but two souls. You are a creature of the night, and this is a midnight service. We will be welcome and blessed for we do harm to no one.”

I grabbed Teddy by one hand and Val by the other and took them into the church. We sat in the back and quietly sang along with our angelic Vampire voices, savoring the candle light and peace of the moment.

After it was over we headed for home, a fashionable and safe house not far away.

“I thought it wasn’t safe for our kind in churches,” said Teddy.

“It usually isn’t.” Val said, brushing off his coat. “But they can’t hurt us in a church. Or at least they do not dare hurt us there. Besides, I like the music. It soothes me.”

“What did you mean about two souls? I thought my soul was gone.” Teddy looked at us in a very serious way.

“Do you think that anyone with so much love and passion could exist without a soul? Oh Teddy, don’t be such a child. We need two souls. One for our own existence and one for our shadow. Didn’t you know that?”

The first rays of dawn arrived as we arrived at the house. Teddy crashed in one of the spare bedrooms. But before he slept, he put the necklace he’d taken around my neck. “My mother always liked you. She would have wanted you to have this.”

I was honored and touched. Since then I’ve worn this necklace every Christmas season.

Vampire Heart

This story was first published here in 2012 but it is one of my favorite Christmas time memories. Hope you enjoyed it. And why yes, I’m going to a party this afternoon and wearing my Christmas necklace!

Happy Christmas to you and yours,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Another small bit of business… This is the 1,000th post on Vampire Maman. 

post-milestone-1000-1x

Great Holiday Reading! GET SOME!

Take it from the Vampire…
This is truly the best Holiday Anthology out there. Give it as a gift or gift it for yourself. You’ll thank me later. Plus part of the proceeds go to MS research.

Merry merry,
xooxoxoxox Juliette

 

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JADE M PHILLIPS

Who needs something fantastic to read? Who wants something perfect for bundling-up-in-the-dead-of-winter-reading?
I do! I do!
Join me in grabbing this FABULOUS anthology which is full of magic, memories, some warm and some bittersweet. Tinsel Tales (Free for download right now, here) is a treasury of holiday-themed stories and poetry from the writers of WPaD. And WPaD is a group of writers from around the world who collaborate on charity anthologies for Multiple Sclerosis. They donate a portion of our royalties in support of a beloved fellow writer who lives with MS.
Did I mention that I am a participating author? Well, Yes I am! And I’m very proud of that fact! I have read this anthology once and am about to delve into it a second time! I’m not only boasting Tinsel Tales because my story Star Light, Star Bright is in it, but because it is truly wonderful and very hard to out down! Join me…

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Experience the Wonder: Tinsel Tales

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Experience the holidays through our eyes… 
the magic, the memories, some warm and some bittersweet… 
in this treasury of holiday-themed stories and poetry from the writers of WPaD. 

Tinsel Tales includes some of the most beautiful well written short stories I’ve ever read. It is the ultimate holiday and Christmas story anthology.

WPaD (Author), David W. Stone (Author), Diana Garcia (Author), Marla Todd (Author), Robert Betz (Author), Jade M. Phillips (Author), Michael Haberfelner (Author), Nathan Tackett (Author), J. Harrison Kemp(Author), Suzanne Parlee (Author)

This book is DRM-free. Can be read on non-Kindle devices.

Available in a wide variety of electronic formats and in paperback.

The paperback edition of Tinsel Tales is here! Coupon code JJXSYSXE is good for 50% off the retail price:
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Available on Smash Words: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/374032

Available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tinsel-Tales-WPaD-ebook/dp/B00GGYN31C

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Also from the WPaD Group: The MOST ROMANTIC Romance Anthology you’ll ever read!

A hot book for cold winter nights. The ultimate in romance!

A hot book for cold winter nights. The ultimate in romance!