Short Film Festival

We’ve all been home and watched everything on Netflix. Sometimes you just need something short. Sometimes you need something that isn’t a long series, or serious, or even a full movie. Have fun. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Don’t do anything stupid (like starting fires.) Be creative. Be calm. Get some sleep.

Yes, I love short films. Enjoy. ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Fairies

Fairies

“Why do they call them fairy tales? I don’t see any romance around here. What a dead zone,” said the green winged fairy Daisy. “Fairy guys are clueless. Totally clueless.”

“All they want is sex, and then they fly off to who knows where,” said the yellow winged fairy Iris.

Andy listened as the group of angry female fairies, nodding his head to show his empathy for their situation.

“It is all the fault of that Berrie fool,” said the pink winged fairy Belinda.

“Berry? Like the fruit?” asked Andrew.

“NOOOOOO,” screeched Belinda. “That fucking idiot who wrote about that fucking idiot Peter Pan.”

“Fucking idiots,” yelled all of the fairies.

“Ladies, ladies, watch your language,” said Andy.

“Since then all of the fairy guys think they’re fucking Peter Pan,” said Daisy.

“Fucking Peter Pan,” yelled all of the fairies.

“And we don’t want to be stinking Wendys or stinking Tinker Bells,” yelled Belinda.

“Stinking Wendy and Tinker Bell,” yelled all of the fairies.

“Ladies,” said Andy. “The fairy men can’t ALL be like that.”

The fairies, all ten of them, scowled and crossed their little arms.

“Love and romance isn’t always so easy,” said Andy.

“Of course it is,” said a tiny white winged fairy. “You’re a Vampire. That is synonymous with sexy male romance.”

“You’ve been reading too many books and seeing too many weird movies. Do you see any women here? I haven’t been in love since… not for a long time.”

“Shawna,” the fairies all said in a hushed whisper.

“Yes, not since Shawna.”

“Tell us how you met again. Tell us again,” cried the fairies.

“We met on a beach in Patagonia. She was on an archeological dig. I was trying traveling and trying to find myself. We danced on the beach, under the moonlight. We fell in love. She was fifty two. I was a hundred and sixty two but I didn’t think the age difference would matter.”

“You look like you’re thirty,” said Daisy.

“I know. That can be a problem. I thought it was true love. Then she hesitated. Eventually she left me for a guy she could grow old with. She didn’t want to grow old with me because I don’t grow old. I loved her then, and I will love her always. You can’t imagine how much I miss her.”

“Awwwwww poor Andy,” said all of the fairies in a hushed tone, as they wiped their tiny tears from their tiny eyes.

“Since then I have had lovers, and friends, and stalkers, but nobody has touched my heart like Shawna.”

“You need to call her. Send her a message,” said Belinda.

“Text her. Tell her you love her,” said Daisy.

“Tell her you still love her,” said all of the fairies at once.

Andy gave them a sad smile, sat down at his piano and sang sad love songs. After My Funny Valentine, a group of male fairies came into the room and sat next to the female fairies. The snuggled and listened to Andy’s beautiful voice. They saw a cold tear run down his face, but none of them said a thing.

He played for two hours, until the clock struck midnight, and he heard a voice.

“Andy, you didn’t answer. The door was unlocked so I came in.”

He turned. “Shawna.”

“Andy,” she said.

“What are you doing here?”

“You texted me.”

Andy glanced up at the fairies. Belinda winked at him. She was holding his phone.

“Shawna, how did you get here so fast?”

“I live in Berkeley. I moved up from Los Angeles when… it didn’t work out and I was offered a teaching position at Cal. He left me for another woman. She was younger and… it doesn’t matter. My son is up here and so it made sense. It was a great opportunity. You know, one last big thing before I retire.”

Then her eyes moved to the top of the bookshelf. “Are those fairies?”

“Yes,” said Andy, “and it is time for them to leave.”

And with that the fairies flew out the window and closed it behind them.

He turned up the heat and offered her a glass of wine.

“We need to talk,” said Shawna.

“No, not right now. Not right now. Tonight we need to love,” Andy said, as he put his arms around her. Then he kissed her, just as he kissed her that first time under the light of the Patagonian moon.

And the fairies danced about the garden, thinking up what fun and games they’d have on this summer.

~ End

 

Tangled Tales

 

For more about how Andy met Shawna click here.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Remains

Remains

By Soleil Daniel

The world was ending, so I don’t really blame everyone for leaving with the Space Squids when they came to Earth and offered a new planet to live on. They’ll probably just destroy that one too. It’s whatever, people fucking suck anyway. By what I could tell, the Space Squids weren’t so special either with their weird, soft bodies, tentacles, and strange pointy heads.

Yeah, I said tentacles. I don’t call ‘em Space Squids for fun. Besides the fact that they didn’t live in water, that’s pretty much what they were.

They did moisturize . . . a lot. Like all the time. It was kind of obscene, but that’s a story for a different day.

Like I was saying, the Space Squids, yeah, assholes. That’s what they were. Just as bad as all the humans they took. Maybe they ate everyone . . . well, one could only hope, but considering the fact that they left the ‘trash’ humans behind and they wanted to only take productive, non-criminal folks, I assume they weren’t planning to eat them. Unless us ‘trash’ humans taste bad. I’ll just keep thinking they ate everyone and be happy with the fact that they didn’t want my kind to go.

I still don’t see how I fit in with the others they left behind—The Remains the Squiddies called us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they didn’t throw me into the volcanoes like they did the leaders and politicians of the world. Oh, they made sure that shit was broadcasted on live television. You ask me, some of those fuckers got out too easily and quickly for the things they got away with.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Those Squiddies left me behind, saying murderers weren’t welcome on their planet. Blah, blah. Yeah, I’ve killed, but I’m no murderer. I deal out justice. I take out the ‘trash’ that they accused me of being. I tried to clean up the world and rid it of the people who were making it a bad place to live. Taking out people who destroyed nature for the hell of it, who killed for the enjoyment of it, who took pleasure from the touch of a child, and those who deemed themselves better than others, making sure the lives of those they found to be lesser than them was full of hardship, grief, and sorrow.

I’m not sure how many I had the pleasure of disposing of, but I know I didn’t stop after everyone left. I didn’t even have to do as much research once they were gone, so really, they did mea favor. They made my job easier.

 

***

 

Thomas looked around at his captors. Their hair in mudded clumps. Their round cherubic faces, holding expressions of anything but innocence. No, all of the children that surrounded him looked upon him like a wolf eyeing a rabbit it wished to have for dinner.

“You tell your lies. You act as if you were doing this world a favor, killing people you decided weren’t good enough to live. Who were you to judge when you killed our parents?” one of the oldest males visible within the group said, surprising Thomas for he’d not expected such feral-looking children to be able to speak so well.

“Well, I . . . uh, shit. I didn’t know there were children still left here. At least none old enough to have been around for the Great Departure. I thought they all went with the Squiddies. Who in their right mind would’ve kept their children here?”

“People who didn’t want to be separated from their families. People who knew that once the majority left, the planet would begin to heal. People who didn’t trust the aliens, and so they didn’t go, even if they were accepted to go to the new world,” said another of the eldest as she stepped forward.

A girl and boy, who looked so similar there was no mistaking that they were brother and sister, came closer to Thomas. They appeared to be about seven, meaning they were born sometime around The Great Departure, Thomas noted.

“We were five when you killed our father,” the little girl said.

“He was all we had. Our mom didn’t make it through having us,” the boy continued where his sister left off.

“We saw you. We watched from the brush. We saw what you did.” The girl grabbed her brother’s hand and squeezed.

“We watched as you broke his legs, making escape impossible. We listened as you listed his supposed crimes. We choked back our sobs, our cries, as you drew your knife across our father’s throat.” The boy straightened his posture, standing as tall as he could.

“Then, you left him there to rot. You walked away from him like he was nothing. What you did was wasteful. You kill but for what reason? There’s no purpose in what you do.” The girl had begun to tremble, but not in fear or grief. The girl’s body shook with rage, if Thomas was correct in his thinking.

“I would’ve never killed him or any of your parents had I known they’d had children that had no one else to care for them. Know this to be the truth. Know this, as I only wish to end the suffering, hate, greed, and filthiness in this world. Know that I only wish to make things better. I never meant to cause harm. I only wished to deal out justice.” Thomas wiggled his arms, struggling against the ropes that bound him.

“Justice! Justice? There’s no need for justice in a lawless land, sir. You have no authority. You are far worse than any criminal you believe you’ve dealt your justiceto. For you think you are better than they were.” A girl, older than the rest, Thomas had not seen until that moment, walked over to him, clutching a knife in her dirt-covered hand.

“Now, just wait a second. What is it you’re planning on doing with that knife? How do you figure killing me makes you any better? It certainly won’t bring your folks back. Not that it appears you need them. The lot of you seemed to be doing just fine without them. Y’all have got to be some of the plumpest people I’ve seen in a while.”

“We do well with the gardens, and we have an excellent group of hunters. You met Ellie and Niro. They’re our absolute best. You’d agree, I’m certain, that they’d need to be top-notch to track and capture you. You who prides yourself on tracking and hunting people down. I assume as you’ve been up to these tricks since before the ‘Great Departure’, as you put it.” The teenage girl tapped him on the tip of his nose with her knife.

“Oh.” Thomas let his gaze focus more on the surrounding area. His eyes took a second to adjust to the darker places where they weren’t completely consumed by the shadows. Mounds of off-white caught his attention, and he stared at them until the bones, skulls, and other human remains became clear. “Oh! You little shits are cannibals!”

“Only when we have to be. We get more meat from a deer than we do most humans. So, unless we absolutely need the meat, we usually leave people alone, but when little Josiah and Penelope here saw you . . . when they recognized you for who you were, well, we couldn’t pass that up.”

Thomas struggled more with his bindings, not even bothering to hide his movements as he’d been doing. He squirmed. His shoulders jerked, and his body bucked, but he couldn’t get free. If anything, the ropes only became tighter on his wrists and around his waist.

“Now, Thomas—it is Thomas, right?” the elder girl with the knife said. When he didn’t answer, she continued, “What you don’t seem to get is, the more you fight your restraints, the more Little William back there will twist. And while we’ve yet to see it happen, you’d have a better chance getting loose after your hands pop off your wrists—well, like I said, we haven’t seen it yet, but I suppose it’s possible. That is, given you don’t pass out from the pressure on your abdomen first. So, by all means, keep trying to free yourself.”

A sinister smile spread across her face as several of the others worked to control fits of laughter.

“Quiet!” a male voice behind Thomas yelled. “Charlotte! Why must you play with your food? It doesn’t need to know why it’s dying. Just kill it and be done with your theatrics. I thought we were good for meat, anyway, so why the need to butcher more?”

“You’re probably right, Jonathan. We shouldn’t play with our food . . . but did you look to see who this is before you spoke?” the knife-wielding girl, Charlotte, said before turning away.

A tall man in his early twenties walked in front of Thomas. “Is this who I think it is?” He bent down, getting face to face with Thomas. “Why, yes. Yes, it is.”

“I assume I killed one of your parents too?” Thomas asked.

“Ah, but you killed both. My father before the aliens took everyone away, and then my mother two years after she’d decided to stay on this planet with the Remains. We were going to go, but when our group was called to board, she changed her mind because she had a bad feeling. I don’t know what happened to those who left, but I know what happened to my mom. And I remember what you told me when you dispatched her,” Jonathan said.

“But dear Thomas here just told us that he never would’ve killed someone had he knew they had kids to take care of. Didn’t you, friend?” Charlotte chortled, but Thomas was unable to see her past Jonathan’s tall frame.

“I wouldn’t have. I certainly wouldn’t have spoken to a child I was leaving an orphan,” he protested, knowing all too well the lies that left his mouth.

He remembered Jonathan. The boy was fifteen, maybe sixteen, when Thomas killed his mother. He’d followed her from a rundown pharmacy, where he’d seen her take dozens of prescription bottles. It was later that he’d found they were only antibiotics.

“Don’t follow in her footsteps, boy, or I’ll come back for you.” Jonathan’s words echoed the ones that ran through Thomas’ mind. The young man’s voice bringing him back to the present. “Yeah, I see it in your face. You remember. What you might not know is, the antibiotics that you killed my mom for taking, they were for my little sister. She was four. She’d gotten a cut on her foot, and it was infected. Without my mom, without those antibiotics . . . well, it got worse. Gangrene set in. By the time I found help, even the amputation of her leg didn’t save her. I had to watch her die, all because you thought my mom was a fucking junkie.”

“I didn’t know.” Thomas tried to look disgusted with himself, but somewhere along the way, he’d lost his morals, his reasoning, and he’d began killing people for the enjoyment of it. The one kid was right about it being a lawless land, and Thomas had taken advantage of that, but he’d felt far from guilty about it. He’d felt powerful . . . well, until a group of filthy, parentless kids captured him and tied him up. He met the eyes of the one named Jonathan and said, “If you feel inclined to kill me for my crimes, might I have a request granted?”

Jonathan smirked. “Well, that would depend on what it is? If it’s a request not to eat you, as much as I’d rather not, we don’t waste what can sustain us. Had we still had pigs, you’d go to them, but the entire drove became diseased a while back and died. So, that request will be denied, but you can ask, and I’ll consider anything else.”

“Jonathan!” Charlotte screeched.

“He shouldn’t be given the dignity of a request,” the young boy sibling said.

“He didn’t give our father or your mother or any of the others’ parents time to speak, let alone a request,” his sister sounded, barely letting her brother’s words end.

A mass of murmurs and angry words flew about the night air. Thomas stopped himself from smiling for the commotion he’d caused. The ropes twisted more, tightening further at his wrists and around his lower chest.

“Silence!” Jonathan bellowed. “I said the man could ask. Now, let’s let him say his, and we will decide if it will be granted. Thomas, what is it you want?”

Thomas cleared his throat, struggling to breathe with the tightened ropes around him. He wondered if Little William was trying to hurry the job along without the others knowing. “Would it be too much to ask for the ropes to be taken off? I know that most, if not all, of you feel I did your folks wrong, but I ask for just that bit of dignity and compassion.”

Jonathan took a second, giving a brief hmm. As he opened his mouth to say his answer, a mass scream sounded, and Thomas was overwhelmed by bodies hitting him from every direction.

“I’d say that’s a no, Thomas,” Jonathan shouted.

Thomas barely made out the words over the cries of the kids and the ripping sounds from his clothing being torn off him. They were scratching and clawing at his flesh, and it only dawned on him when he felt their teeth biting into his flesh and breaking the skin, they’d planned on starting their feast while his heart was still beating.

“Yep! Definitely a no!” Jonathan’s words sounded so far away. A moment later, his face hovered over Thomas’. “Come on guys, at least make sure it’s dead first. We’re not complete animals.”

Thomas got a brief glimpse of the hammer before it smashed into his face, ending the searing pain he felt as his flesh was ripped from his body.

~ end

Tangled Tales

Links & Bio

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/SoleilDanielsAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Brokenlyfe

Amazon Author Page:  author.to/SoleilDanielsbooks

Blog:  https://soleildaniels.blogspot.com/

Soleil Daniels is an author from the Central Florida area. She tends to write more on the darker side—including, but not limited to, blood, depravity, and gore. You can also find some sweetness and steam within her works, as well. She’s written short stories ranging from sick and twisted to heartfelt and sweet, and has longer works available and in progress, which include vampires, people in lust, a boogeyman, and a rather large extinct cat. Her works have been featured in anthologies from WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants) and OMP (One Million Project). All of Soleil Daniels’ works can be found on Amazon.

SoleiDaniels

Soleil Daniels

 

A note from Juliette:

Occasionally I come across an author and think it can’t get better than this. Yes, that is how I feel about Soleil Daniels. Her works always delight and amaze me. Her use of words… I have no words except to say I love her writing. I love the way she uses words. I love the way she creates stories that keep the reader RIGHT THERE. Thank you Soleil for sharing Remains with vampiremaman.com

Thank you!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Tangled Tales

Stay safe. Social distance. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Be careful. Contact those who might need extra help or just need to know somebody cares.

NaNoWiMoNoNoNoNoNoNo Bah Humbug (and everything else in my opinion)

Warning: Negativity and Triggers Ahead

The cake isn’t for you. I just thought it was funny. Yes, that is what I said: Triggers.

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Or if you prefer horses.

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Trigger, in his natural state, before being dressed up. And yes, he was stuffed after he died. I find the taxidermy aspect kind of creepy (and I’m a Vampire for heaven’s sake)

 

Now let’s get going on the main feature.

 

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Even I have to admit this is funny.

NaNoWiMoNoNoNoNoNoNo Bah Humbug (that includes fan fiction, fantasy drenched quests, magical children in black robes, and super heroes.)

Random thoughts on all kinds of stuff.

If you spend the night at my house, like Scrooge, you will also have three visitors during the night. That would be Alice the German Shepard as the ghost of writing past, Oscar the tuxedo cat as the ghost of writing present, and Gloria the calico cat as the ghost of everything else. If you like I will follow up with chains and howling, though I’d rather not.

First off – my hat goes off and I take a bow to everyone who attempting to write a novel during NaNoWiMo (National Novel Writing Month.) Keep writing. I am cheering you on.

However…

As I look around social media at the November writing frenzy, numbers pressure, and general drama I’m finding some disturbing trends.

Large numbers of beginning writers want to be somebody else. This makes my fangs hurt, both as a writer, and as a parent.

These beginners, bless their hearts, are obsessed with Harry Potter, what Hogwarts house everybody belongs to, superheroes, superhero powers, fantasy stories with names nobody can pronounce much less keep track of, sparkling Vampires, and absolute good vs absolute evil. They are also obsessed with movies – not books. This includes LOTR, Slasher movies, and The Never Ending Story.

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This is how I feel about this. It never ends. I do not like it more than Sam I Am does not like Green Eggs and Ham.

This is all lovely, but write your own story. Use your own voice. Tell your own story. Steer clear of the absolutes and the childhood loves and move on. In other words GROW UP. 

OK maybe you don’t want to grow up. It’s your story.

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My regular readers know of my distain for fan fiction – that is writing a story based on somebody else’s story.

Sure one of the worst books ever –  Fifty Shades of Grey the 2011 erotic romance novel by British author E. L. James, was fan fiction inspired by the Twilight series. I guess if you can make that much money off of writing horrible pornographic prose based on a YA novel and make millions of dollars then go for it.

My favorite fan fiction story is quite different. My daughter had a classmate in hight school who wrote slightly PG-13 rated 60 page  homoerotic fan fiction based on historian David McCullough’s book 1776.

Most A lot of fan fiction seems to have an erotic element to it. I shutter to think how much erotica has been written about Mr. Weasley and Samwise Gamgee. They’re both great characters but sometimes I just wish people would leave them alone.

On the other hand adding Zombies to anything, especially Jane Austin is always fun.

I can’t imagine adding zombies to Withering Heights. It is already close to a horror story as a dark hopeless gothic romance can get. Or adding zombies to Jane Eyre… well we know Jane would kick their rotted heads right off of their fragile putrified necks. Not sure if that would be before or after the crazy wife burns the house down.

Other books that could use Zombies are Little Women, The Bible, War and Peace, The Bridges of Madison County, Eat Pray Love, The Notebook, Gone Girl, and Tom Sawyer. 

And speaking of things that will never die…

Oh joy another version of Little Women is coming to the big screen. I say that with little joy. Nobody at my house is overly fond of that story. We just don’t like it. We don’t like the book. We don’t like the movies. We especially don’t like Marmee who needs to kick her deadbeat husband’s ass. A lot of ass needs to be kicked in that story.

Greta Gerwig is from Sacramento and we love her here. I do not love Meg, Jo, Beth, or Amy. Little Women definitely needs Zombies and maybe even some Werewolves. I’d love to see Laurie as a Vampire.

There are times when I feel like I’m the only adult in the room, or the only adult on the world of Internet writing groups (there are exceptions but those are rare.) But it isn’t just the Internet. Let’s get serious here.

As a parent, as a mom, as a parenting blogger, and as a concerned adult, I have a few options for those stuck in their YA wormhole.

I have a game called RATHER THAN. Let’s give it a go.

Rather than watch 

The Neverending Story (1984)

See

Tangerine (1984)

Rather than watch

Little Women (1933, 1949, 1994, 2018, 2019)

See

The Big Sleep (1946)

Rather than watch

Any Superhero movies that involves capes and lots of explosions

See

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Rather than watch

Twilight (2008)

See

Pulp Fiction (1994)

 

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I’m not trying to put anyone down (even if I sort of am doing that.) When I first started my blog there were all sorts of asshats that told me what Vampires can and can’t do. I told them I do whatever the hell I want to do. No dark Vampire lords are going to tell me or my kids what to do. So I get it. I get it when you’re passionate about something and somebody like me comes along and puts you down. If you want to think I’m an asshole go ahead, but please consider growing up a little and finding your own story. Looking at the real world will help with your fantasy world – write something readers can relate to.

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And speaking of random thoughts…

Robert Clotworthy (The Curse of Oak Island) and Mike Rowe (Deadliest Catch) should switch programs for a few episodes. Think about it. Damn that would be fun.

Don’t get me wrong. I love jumping into another reality.  I love what cosplay people do. They’re amazing. I love events like The Dicken’s Fair, and Scottish Fairs, and Steampunk events. I LOVE Halloween. I love fantasy and science fiction and weird stuff and urban fantasy. For goodness sakes, I’m a Vampire. But even I have to live in the real world sometimes and deal with real issues.

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And what about me?

Juliette Kings writes the blog Vampiremaman.com.

She is currently working on a novel and it is November. She is also working on an illustrated version of Jane Eyre, trying to come up with more short stories, and continuing to landscape her yard. She is also still a mom and a Vampire. Want to know more? Read my blog.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Dogs and Art make everything better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Pixie Dust

“You have to sing to them Max.”

“I’m not singing to a demon.”

“They’re not that different from angels.”

“I don’t sing to angles either.”

“Would you sing to a lover?”

Max a slight smile with a bit of fang. “Absolutely not. They sing to me.”

Andy rolled his eyes at his elder brother. “I’m sure they do.”

A chorus of high-pitched giggling could be heard from a cross the room. Max turned around to see what it was. “My God Andy, what self-respecting Vampire allows Pixies in his home?”

“I do.”

The two Vampire brothers finished their goblets of blood in Andy’s elegant sitting room, then moved out to the garden with a bottle of wine.

The Pixies followed in a shower of multicolored sparks and sat among the twinkle lights in Andy’s  trees. They giggled and straightened out their tiny pink and silver skirts.

Andy looked over at his brother Max, the great Vampire warrior, enforcer, hunter of Vampire Hunters, and general bad ass. He was what people thought of when they thought of a sexy, powerful, alpha Vampire. Andrew on the other hand was an opera singer with a life driven by beauty and love.

“Look how cute they are Max. You really ought to make friends with them.”

Max looked disgusted. “They bite.”

“So do we.”

“I already have Selkies and Werewolves invading my life, not to mention Demons. I don’t need Pixies.”

“Everyone needs Pixies Max. And if you’re nice they won’t bite.”

The conversation moved on to other things like wine, art, gossip, and women. The Pixies listened, then went on to their own quiet conversations, then fell asleep in the branches of Andy’s trees.

And the brothers watched the sunrise, in the quiet summer morning, knowing that the fireworks the next night would be much larger than Pixie dust but not quite as charming.

~ end

Tangled Tales

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: Off To See The Wizard

Druce had just pulled his toasted seed and dried berry bread out of the oven when his friend Morcant came through the door carrying a basket.

“What do you got in there?”

“Smoked salmon, a bottle of squid ink, and dried salted kelp chips.”

“Nice.”

“I see you’ve made your famous berry bread. That will win over the hearts of the coldest stone.”

“We can only hope. I’m paring it with a jar of honeycomb, and a jug of my best mead.”

Druce wrapped up the bread and took a look at his friend. Morcant wore a soft seal skin over his shoulders. His tunic was sleeveless showing off his muscular arms. Today Morcant’s black hair was worn down around his shoulders framing his handsome face. Druce never wondered why all of the women in their village and the surrounding area sought Morcant out even if it was just to look.

The seal skin was that of Morcant’s sister who’d died in the past summer season. She and Morcant were Selkies. On land they were human, and in the sea they were seals. They guarded their seal skins with their lives, for if anyone stole their skin they would be trapped as humans, and in bondage forever.

Morcant’s brother-in-law never took his wife’s skin, but celebrated the fact that as a Selkie she had come to him of her own free will. Her love was free, and her husband was devoted to her. They had that rare true love that so many seek but never find.

One day while they were out fishing, his sister still in her human form, they were overcome by a great shark and dragged to the bottom of the sea as dinner. Morcant, as customary for Selkies now wore his sister’s skin to stay close to her spirit and to have her love with him always.

Druce looked into his mirror and brushed his sun streaked brownish blonde waves with his fingers. He was smaller than Morcant, and not quite as handsome, but the ladies still liked him too. And of course he liked them more than they could imagine.

“So, Druce,” said Morcant, “when exactly did this Wizard guy come into town?”

“Last week, under the darkness of the night.”

“What’s he like?”

“Personally? I don’t know. I hear he was sleeping with his sister. Nymue told me that. She also said he used to stalk her, asking her about her magic and getting all sappy and trying to sound mystical about it. One day she showed him a sword she was going to give to the next king and he said I’ll show you my magic sword. She kicked him out and told him she’d put a bad enchantment on him if he ever hit on her again. And I mean bad, you know, guy bad, like his sword won’t work for a year or two. Like a blade of grass.”

“Sounds like a creeper.”

“A real mess if you ask me. Anyway, that was a while back so maybe he’s changed. Gotta give a guy some doubt that he has grown up since his misplaced youth chasing ladies in lakes and all of that shit.”

“OK so I don’t get it Druce. You’re the Worlock around here. What’s the difference between you and some Wizard dude, except that you’re better looking and are better with women.”

Druce laughed. “As a Warlock, I can, how can I put this so it won’t sound weird. As you know I can harness and control spirits, demons, and other’s who aren’t human. I can’t make them work for me. I also control their evil so that they can’t harm people. I take their energy and do good with it. I can also do other magic and tricks through my own will. I deal with both sides of the world, that of the dead and that of the living. That of the physical and that of the spirits.”

“And what about Wizards?”

“Wizards learn their craft. They are gifted in the ways of magic, but their magic comes mostly from the use of potions, and the channeling of their magic through a staff, or wand. They can scare spirits and demons but they can’t control them. And Wizards are giving Warlocks a bad rap. I hear that in other parts my kind are being hunted down and burned to death. They think we’re minions of Satan.”

“That’s bull shit. Then why the fuck are we going to greet this guy and bring him gifts. He sounds like a freak to me.”

“Because he is working for the King.”

“The Kings is an idiot. He is obsessed with some old cup, and everyone knows his wife is sleeping with his best friend.”

“Hey, I didn’t put him into office. Blame that on Nyume. The Lady of The Lake should have minded her own business and …”

There was a scream and in through the door came a whirl of gray, which stopped and materialized into a woman. She smiled showing lovely white teeth, but her eyes were black and crazy. No harm. Just their friend Milen, who was also a Banshee.

“Milen,” said Druce, as he blew her a kiss. “Thanks for coming. I have fresh venison stew in the pot there over the fire. I put the eyes in there for you.”

She grinned and put a long fingered hand into the boiling stew and plucked out an eye, the popped it into her mouth.

“Hey, Milen, we should be gone just a few hours,” said Druce. “I’m so glad you could watch the baby for me.”

“Ohhhhhh of course,” she said as she went over to a baby unicorn who was curled up asleep in its tiny bed made of soft sea grasses and dried fragrant flowers.

“Alright then, we’ve better get going, if we’re going to go,” said Druce, and they packed up their gifts and went to meet their new neighbor.

The new Wizard had chosen and old Roman camp on a hill as his new home. The buildings were already there and in fairly good shape. It was also about a five day journey from there to where the King lived. Or at least the king the Wizard worked for.

The two friends arrived at the home of the Wizard and were greeted by a tall man with a brown beard flecked with gray. His eyes shone blue like spring wildflowers, flecked with gold.

The Wizard welcomed them in and introduced himself as Merlin, the Wizard. There was something sort of sad about him, like someone who had a lot of friends, but nobody he was really close to. Druce wondered if Merlin could pick up on emotions and sadness like a Warlock could. Or like a woman could.

Merlin thanked them for the gifts and asked them to come sit. He led them to a room where the walls were covered with tapestries and the chairs with lush textiles and furs.

“The seal skin you wear is beautiful. The finest I’ve ever seen,” said Merlin to Morcant.

“This is my sister’s skin. She passed six moons back. I wear this skin in her honor.”

There was a pause in the conversation and a bit of weirdness.”

“Morcant is a Selkie,” said Druce.

Merlin looked surprised. He was surprised. He’d never met a Selkie before. It seemd, as they talked, that there were a lot of things Merlin had never done.

Still they visited and had polite small talk. Druce and Morcant of the village and the surrounding peoples, and those who were not people. There was also a lot they didn’t tell him. When the sun began to set Druce and Morcant bid their host goodbye.

They started the walk home in silence but then Morcant spoke.

“Merlin was nice. Not much of a bro, if you know what I mean, but nice. But dude, he has more demons than you’ll ever have.”

Druce gave a sad smile, “At least I can control my demons. Fuck, they aren’t even my demons. Merlin needs more sunshine, and he needs to divorce himself from his dysfunctional family and friends. I always tell everyone that it isn’t demons that are bugging them, it is their toxic friends and family members that are getting them down. He needs to let go.”

“True,” said Morcant. “Are you going to tell him about the unicorn?”

“Hell no,” said Druce. “I’m not telling him where the dragons are either.”

As they passed a cottage on the edge of a field of grain a woman stepped out and greeted them. “Morcant, will you stay the night with me? I could use your love, and I’ll have plenty to give back.”

“Go,” said Druce. He knew Morcant had been seeing the Widow Cath for few months. Her elderly husband had died leaving her a large farm to manage, a task she did better than most men. Morcant had always been fond of her, but now it was becoming a bit more than fond.

At home Druce found the Banshee Milen sleeping with the tiny unicorn baby in her lap. She’d taken on a physical form, that of a woman of a certain age who had a well earned beauty earned from a life well lived, at least before she had been betrayed and murdered by her husband. He put a blanket woven of the softest flax over them.

He poured a glass of beer and pulled a stool outside in his garden, out under the stars. He could hear the waves of the ocean. Maybe later he’d go down to the beach and see what spirits were among the sea shells and boats tonight.

But now he sat and thought of the sad Wizard. Then he thought of the women he knew and how it would be nice to have one of them in his bed that night, skin against skin, and a special kind of magic that came when two people came together in desire of both the body and the soul.

Then he thought about how dragons had become so endangered due to the trade of dragon bones by Wizards for their wealthy clients. Everyone with half a brain knew that dragon bones powder did nothing to make one’s manhood larger.

Then he thought of women again.

Milen the Banshee came out with a stool and sat next to him. He told her about his visit to Merlin. She said it was sad when one was so full of power and so lost. Then she said she was glad her husband had been hanged after she’d died. She always mentioned that. Druce didn’t blame her. She hadn’t planned on being a Banshee.

Then she put her hand on Druce’s. “Darlin, I’ll be in human for for another hour or two. Let’s go inside and take advantage of that.”

And like any good Warlock who knew what was good for him Druce kissed her and took her inside.

~ End