Rain

I’m in Northern California, in the Sacramento area to be exact. We’re 75 miles south of the now famous Oroville Dam and spillway. I’m watching the lakes, ponds, creeks, and rivers near my house become fuller than I’ve seen them in years.

When it gets wet like this I wonder about some of the lesser enlightened of the Vampire community. I usually don’t worry about the weird, anti-social, old fashioned Shadow Creepers, but you know, I kind of wondered about them lately.

I was driving downtown and stopped by the old Cemetery. I saw one damp Vamp sitting on the step of a mausoleum with an old black coat pulled tightly around his pale body.

“You need to get into a real house. Nobody lives in crypts anymore. It isn’t dry, much less safe,” I said to him.

He looked up with sunken black eyes.

“I bet you haven’t eaten in weeks,” I continued. I wasn’t going to scold him. “Months? Come. I’ll give you a ride to a safe place where you can stay until we can find you a real home.”

He spoke in a harsh whisper, like someone who hasn’t spoken for a long long time. “May I bring my friend? She is also one of us.”

I told him of course he could. Out of an empty hole in the crypt he helped a small woman in an old fashioned black dress. She was soaking wet, and was ashen as someone who’d been dead after a long tragic illness.

They were quiet in the car as I drove them to the large old house downtown. It is the safe house for long lost souls of the night. It is a place they can find a haven, and get the help they need. These two were not the kind of nasty undead you find under floorboards waiting like a spider waits for a fly. They were like homeless teens who’d been kicked out of their homes because mom found a new boyfriend. They were lost and living in a flooded out and long forgotten crypt, surrounded by long forgotten bones of the Victorian dead.

They’d lived in the crypt since the 1880’s. They’d more or less skipped the 20th century, just coming out at night long enough to find food from the neighborhood movie house, and from the transient population. Sometimes they’ve venture out to the beautiful homes of the living, only to return in sorrow remembering what they’d lost.

I left them at the safe-house. She was in jeans and a sweater with a purring cat on her lap, and a goblet of hot mulled blood in her hand. He was looking hopeful, amazed that someone would help them. They’d been lost for so long.

Thinking about a million bible verses related to helping others, I decided to skip it. Sometimes you just do something because it is what you do, and that is it.

That’s all. Nothing more.

Stay dry. Stay safe. Stay loved.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

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

City of the Angels Part 2: Beauty in the land of the dead

Last Thursday I visited the city of Colma, where almost everyone is dead. Seriously, over a million graves are there with less than 2,000 living in residence. There are no cemeteries in San Francisco – they were all moved to Colma. People and pets are still buried there to this day.

The photos were taken by my friend Amelia who joined Clara and I for the day. Thank you Amelia. These are lovely.

Click here for Part 1.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Mysterious Meetings on Dark Cold Nights (and no I’m not damned, just slightly annoyed)

Day two… I’m waiting for AAA a second evening in a row. The new battery I had put in last night isn’t working tonight. But wait, I drove all over the place today – at least 25 miles. Then the towing guy calls and tells me it must be the alternator and not the battery. So I tell him I’m not the car guy so I don’t know what it is. And if it isn’t the battery I need to have the fucking car towed to the dealer or to my neighborhood guy to have it fixed. Only I didn’t say fucking. I was nice and polite. When one is waiting without a car one needs to be polite. Then I get a text that they are running late. Gee thanks. This is my glamorous life.

I can hear traffic and frogs and it is getting colder and colder out here. I could take the car next to me but I know the owner and I don’t think he’d be too pleased. That said, it is a really nice car.

This all reminded me of a time a long long time ago when I had to help out someone who was stranded.

I was standing in a cemetery next to a huge crypt in the middle of the night. Even in Southern California it was cold. I had no idea where my sister-in-law Verity or my friend Elizabeth were. They were bringing the tools. A friend of ours had been mistaken for dead and buried, luckily in a crypt, and it was our job to get him out.

“You’re so good at this Juliette. YOU do it. Please,” they told me.

I hear someone breathing and when I turned I noticed standing next to me is a woman dressed in black. She isn’t a nun. Her clothing is elegant. Her hair is perfect. She is even wearing heels. Of course she has on heels – this is 1958.

“Hello there,” I said, suddenly realizing that I’m starving.

Then she looks at me and utters words that shock me. “Your soul will be damned.”

How oddly rude. “Excuse me?” I said to the strange woman in black. “Unlike you I own my soul. I will not be judged. I won’t be damned or rewarded by anyone else. When and if I die I will have to find my own way. I cannot sell my soul or barter it away. It is mine and my responsibility. If I screw up I will not be forgiven. I must fix it myself, with no help from anyone or anything,” I said wondering how I’d gotten myself into this situation. Oh please do not try to understand me I thought. I am different. I’m strange. Accept me for who and what I am. Unfortunately nobody listens to that and everybody judges. Of course they do.

If I smoked I would have been craving a cigarette right then, but I never smoked. I just drink of I was craving something. Actually I was craving silence or maybe sex from a hot handsome stranger (this was before I married Teddy) but what I really wanted more than anyone was blood. Then sex and booze but first blood.

You know, there are some memories and situations we don’t tell our kids about until they’re grown and maybe not even then. This was sort of one of them.

Over the years “People” and other Vampires and others  have said all sorts of crap to me. We all know how it is because people judge. They want us to all be like them. They want to use us and they want us in their lives but not all of us. They want the bits and pieces that suit their lives. They say “I want you but…” They say, “I love you but…” They say, “I wish you were…”  Or they don’t say it and you know they’re thinking it. But they don’t get it. They don’t know that we pretty much don’t care. We’re interested. We’ll listen. We’ll even try to understand but we know who we are. No more trying to change us or make us “better.” No more using us. That is soooo 17th century. Enough.

So, back to the person who told me I’d be damned.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?”

“You can’t take Henry,” she told me. “Let him lie in peace.”

“He isn’t dead,” I told her.

“He is undead.”

At this point I was sure she’d been watching too many Val Lewton movies, then I recognized her. She was an actress, a semi famous beauty married to an extremely wealthy man. Ahhhhh. No wonder she didn’t want Henry to come back alive. She was having an affair with a Vampire – a rather handsome and amusing Vampire at that.

“Oh please, give it up. You can’t just bury your lovers when the think your husband might find out. Go home. Make your marriage work. Appreciate what you have. Look, as soon as my friends get here we’re taking Henry away so you won’t have to ever see him again anyway.”

Then my stomach growled. Damn.

Then she starts to cry and begs me not to tell anyone. She says her heart is broken. Her pretty face gets all puffy. She starts to babble on about Henry when I put my hand up motioning for her to stop.

“You need to forget about Henry,” I said.

She started to say something but I cut her off. “You need to leave now before I have you for dinner.”

Standing still like a deer in a headlight she just stared at me. So I took her by the arm and said, “Forget Henry was a Vampire. Forget anything you know about Vampires. Stop watching monster movies. Go back to your husband and rebuild your life.”

The pretty young actress staggered away from me down the hill to her car. She’d forget by time she got home. She’d remember a handsome man, a flirtation and a death. She’d wake up in the morning with the belief that Vampires only existed in the movies.  As she drove away Verity and Elizabeth came up with a crowbar and some other tools. We carefully and quietly extracted Henry from his casket.

Of course Henry was glad to see us. I could see why the actress was so smitten by him. He was extremely handsome, especially in his black funeral suit.

“You owe me big time Henry,” I told him. “And do me a favor and stay away from your little actress friend.”

He winked then gave me a kiss on the cheek. That was all. Just another brief random encounter.

The four of us, Verity, Elizabeth, Henry and I, walked through the cemetary to our cars. Wreaths and flowers were fresh on many of the graves. Christmas for the dead. Ghosts watched us as we walked along, coveting our bodies. They hate us because they have no bodies of their own and they consider us dead. We’re very much alive, just in a different way. We can never become ghosts.

My brothers Aaron and Val were waiting for us by the cars. Aaron was an attorney in Hollywood at the time but he was thinking about planning on moving up north soon, back to Sacramento. Val and I were always moving around. Henry and Elizabeth were thinking of moving up with the rest of us. Good times.

I was still famished to we ended up at a party with a lot of what Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle had called “beatniks.” A lot of stoned wanna be poets who drank too much and didn’t notice their poetic and well spoken attractive friends were Vampires. I have to say dinner was interesting that night.

I thought about Henry’s actress friend tonight. I’d like to say she was a grandmother in San Diego, running a shelter for rescue cats and volunteering with her grandchildren’s school. I’d like to say that but I can’t. She died at age 31 in 1968 of a drug overdose. I think it was heroine. I’m sure her ghost is still out there looking for Henry.

My battery is now charged. The nice young man who fixed it said not to keep my phone charger plugged in while my car is stopped. Sounds reasonable to me.

I called everyone who was there that night and invited them over this weekend. Good friends stay together. We’ll celebrate the holidays without breaking into crypts or, for the most part, ghosts. I do have my ghost friends, but that is another post.

So keep your friends and your soul close and safe.

 ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Fright Night & New Vampires

Musings on a February Friday…

On Friday nights regular folks traditionally watch scary movies at home or at a theater. Fright Night. Every city has their host or events. In Sacramento it used to be a guy named Bob Wilkins (anyone out there remember him?). Bob would show the most horrible British Vampire movies. He’d also show the Vincent Price movies which were always a treat.

And speaking of ghoulish stories…a while back my kids asked me why people think we (Vampires) live in graveyards, specifically in crypts.

It was for practical purposes. For the most part when someone is turned into a Vampire they die, or at least go through a death like process. Upon coming through the transformation some are so shocked that they “might as well be dead” – as in dead to their former lives.

In this modern age that isn’t always the case. People often become Vampires and live their lives just fine, maybe a little weirdly, but don’t “die” but just sort of fade away and eventually move on. More on that later.

Anyway, back in the old days is was easier to A) not find the body or B) bury someone in a crypt. A crypt is above ground and much easier to escape from than a buried coffin. So that my dears is why people think Vampires live in Crypts. We live in houses. Except for my 6th cousin Donald the New Age Hippy Vampire who lives in a Yert, which is another story for another time.

This brings us back to our dear Cody, the new Vampire. Cody, as you recall became a Vampire last spring when the car his girlfriend (on/off girlfriend) went over a cliff on the Pacific Coast Highway and came crashing down upon the rocks. A Vampire friend rescued them and the only way to keep them from death upon the rocks was to bring them back as Vampires. We’re not sure what happened to the “girlfriend”. She might not have survived the process (I’ll spare you the ugly details of what might or might not have happened – at least for today).

Keep in mind that this is not something that happens all the time. It is as rare as seeing a ghost (not in my case) or … just take my word for it. This rarely happens.

I don’t know the agonizing experience of being transformed into a Vampire or Werewolf. If you’re born that way it seems normal. If you aren’t it is brutal and many don’t survive both physically and mentally. Your very being and everything you know will change. Everything you thought was real is suddenly different.

Cody seems to be doing ok. Unlike the old days, he still sees his family and old friends. He met Vampires before he became one so he doesn’t see us as monsters. He has quit his old job and taken up with a company run by Vampires. But there is an adjustment.

Cody is now hypersensitive to the sun. He needs to get blood. His diet is limited. On the bright side he can now see in the dark. He is learning how to use his “paranormal” abilities, and he looks really cute with fangs. And he’ll heal much faster if he is hurt. Much to my chagrin I think he is falling in love with my great great great grandmother – there again another weird story.

He is having a few issues but I’ve told him that his soul has not been eaten by evil and he is welcomed into our community with open arms.

With all new and unexpected situations we need to be there for those who need our support – even if they don’t ask. Just let them know you are thinking about them – even that is a small comfort.

So I guess the point to this is that we all get through things, or maybe that is not the point. Sometimes even being pointless is ok.

Find comfort in the company of others and help new friends along the way.

Find comfort in the company of others and help new friends along the way.

Dumping someone like this is never a good idea.

Dumping someone like this is never a good idea.