Mysterious Friendships

In honor of Werewolf Week (October 1-7, 2017 here at Vampiremaman.com) I’ll be featuring more than one post about my friend Adam, who IS a Werewolf. The following is from 2013. Yes, Vampires and Werewolves can be friends. Really.

Mysterious Friendships

When friends, or others, discover we are Vampires the reactions vary from shock to horror to fascination. But, that said, they rarely find out we’re Vampires.

I had to meet with my friend Adam, Werewolf and brilliant photographer. Until a year ago I didn’t know he was a Werewolf and he didn’t know I was a Vampire. We kept our secrets better than most, for sometimes we CAN tell when folks aren’t regular humans. When we found out each others secret it wasn’t pretty. We both were feeling a bit violent and betrayed and out of sorts.

He touched my neck where he’d tried to rip out my throat a year ago. A faint scar still lingered. “I’m surprised I didn’t kill you.”

I shrugged it off then stepped back out of his reach.

He continued to talk. “You must have taken 50 gallons of blood out of me over the past 15 years. I still can’t believe I never caught on.”

I declined to comment and asked him if I could see his latest work, the items he was going to put in a major museum exhibit.

“Don’t you want to talk about it? Vampires always want to talk.”

He was so attractive in that overly masculine hairy man sort of way that took away the breath of women before they even knew what hit them. I just saw him as a dog, which was rather disturbing considering everything that had transpired between us in the past.

I had to ask him, “Do any regular humans know you’re a Werewolf?”

“Not to my knowledge or at least they don’t understand what they saw. If they repeat it people will think they’re crazy. I don’t TELL anyone. You know, I don’t need any dog catchers coming my way”.

After the 1880’s his kind was almost made extinct out our way. Adam, who was born long after that, has always lived among the regular folks but he was wary as a wild animal, putting on the charm and living in the world of everyone else.

He stepped closer to me, within arms length. “Friends?”

“Always,” I said.

When you’re part of the shadows and mystery surrounded by secrets and lies, a mystery wrapped in an enigma, a good friend, even if he is a Werewolf, is a true blessing.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Source: Mysterious Friendships

Scars

A friend of mine recently had something blow up (home repair) in his handsome face and now has a row of stitches across his forehead that would make Frankenstein’s Creature jealous.

It old him that chicks dig scars. Then another friend questioned my reasoning. Excuse me?

This is my answer:

If a guy has scars on his hands it proves that he can work on cars, or is other wise willing to get his hands dirty. There are always good stories behind scars (even you make em up.) Scars are the sign of an interesting life. Scars also prove that a man is not some pansy assed wimp who spends his life doing nothing but reading Proust, and drinking double soy fat free pumpkin spice lattes.

I’m happy to say my friend is still healthy and handsome.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Father Paul

She remembered when he was just in high school. His family lived next door in an old ranch house with a rabbit warren of added on rooms. There were six Jackson kids. Paul was the peacemaker, the child of compassion, and the smartest of the bunch. He went to the local all boys’ Catholic high school then on to get a doctorate in theology and the priesthood.

Elizabeth never questioned his faith or his decision to enter the priesthood. There would be those who would question what they could not understand. Paul just took it as part of the job.

In turn Paul never questioned Elizabeth. He certainly asked questions but never judged. He just accepted what neither one of them could change. Nor did he ask her if she was afraid of eternal damnation of her soul or her life in the shadows.

Now years after they met they sat together. At the age of 54 his hair was turning gray and crows feet crinkled at the edges of his eyes when he laughed. At 195 years she looked the same as the day he met her in 1975 – a beautiful vision for any young man, including the teenage Paul.

The two old friends walked along the path in the oak forest together. Elizabeth took Paul’s arm.

“You always accepted me as I am. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.”

“Same here.”

“Stop.” She then embraced him. It was a warm day but her embrace was like ice to him. “I mean it Paul.”

He never used the word Vampire when he thought of her. She was what she was. Maybe a creature of evil but he didn’t know that for sure. Sure she drank the blood of others but that was nothing compared to some of the evil he’d seen in the world. At the same time he feared for his own soul when he was with her but he couldn’t resist. It wasn’t romantic or sexual at all. She’d always been there for him, unconditional. But that wasn’t it. She drew him in as if she was the only one who knew his heart and soul – as if she owned him.

Elizabeth let him go and then gave him a knowing smile. “I understand it is sometimes trying to have your own Vampire. You handle it well. Oh, yes, by the way, I’m having a party next weekend. You know, just cocktails and finger food. I want you to meet my boyfriend Austin. He is like you, not a priest, but warm, like you. You know what I mean. Forbidden love. Who would have thought. But you know how that is.”

“Uh, sure. A boyfriend? Sure. Will Vampires be there?”

“Of course. No worries. You know most of them.”

Paul was waiting for lightning to strike but it never did – never with Elizabeth.

 

 

To be continued….

This is the 14th story in the Austin and Elizabeth (The Hunter) series. For more on the Austin and Elizabeth Stories – the complete set CLICK HERE. 

 

California Afternoon, Vampire Guys (again), Parenting and Modern Life

California Afternoon, Vampire Guys (again), Parenting and Modern Life

Yellow Flip Flops

Michinori waited for his teenage twins in the school parking lot. I waited with him. We also had loads of books to donate for the library book sale (our tax dollars not at work.)

I welcomed the company of an old friend on a Friday afternoon as I waited but… as you know, anytime a male Vampire goes into a public place, especially in the middle of the day he’ll get a lot of looks. They just reek of a certain “you want me now.” I just hoped the librarian’s knees wouldn’t turn to jelly when we brought the books in. I could already hear the women in the office and the female teachers saying, “Michinori is here.” It was worse than someone bringing a box full of 6 week old Lab puppies or cake or anything that pulls you and makes you giddy for absolutely no known reason. You know the feeling.

It was almost as bad as when my brother Max would go up to the school, except Max would intentionally flaunt it. He is so bad that way. He is horrible. When my husband Teddy shows up parent information meetings are packed with mothers of teenagers. It is good for the school but almost embarrassing for me. I should keep smelling salts in my purse for all the swooning.

Even years ago (a long long time ago) when people didn’t mingle the way they do now, women would look at my friend Michinori, feeling shocked that they’d be so attracted to such an exotic gorgeous creature. It was so wrong. No matter what color or background they were drawn to him. Then again he wasn’t just Japanese, he was also a Vampire.

He’d come to California years ago as a teenager, about the same age as our kids are now, to build the railroad and maybe escape his life as a less favored son. He met the 8th daughter of a San Francisco merchant. She was just one of 14 children (split between several dead wives.) They’d seen each other by the edge of the river, a place they both went to get away from the world. It was a world they didn’t feel like they belonged.

And when they met they found that they belonged with each other. It wouldn’t be easy for the dark eyed Japanese boy and the blue eyed American girl of Welsh descent.

They would live in the few places where they might be marginally accepted. Proper men and women shunned them.

Fernando and his friend Michael didn’t shun them. They were also a couple of mixed cultures and of the same sex. They lived a dangerous life with a love that wasn’t accepted by anyone. Both couples were outside of the law and outside of common decency.

Yet, in the circle of friends and family Fernando and Michael had made all were accepted. So they accepted Michinori and Rosalie, who in 1875 became Vampires. And they became my friends.

This was around the time my husband Teddy joined our ranks (another story.)

By 1999 Michinori and Rosalie were no longer seen as an oddity, especially where we lived, they were just another normal couple. That was the year their twins were born. That was the same year my own daughter Clara was born.

So we’re waiting at the school when we start to laugh about some stuff our kids had been talking about…

You know you’re from California when…

  • You know YOLO is a county.
  • You live on a fault line and your house is still worth a million dollars.
  • 65F is considered freezing.
  • Everyone gets excited when it rains.
  • You have flip flop tan lines on your feet year around.
  • You always know where the closest Certified Organic Farmer’s Market is and the price of strawberries.
  • You have a stash of old sheets to throw over your citrus trees in the winter.
  • You’ve never experienced a snow day.
  • You get tired of people from out of state asking you how many times a year you go to Disneyland.
  • Every high school has someone famous on it’s alumni list.
  • You NEVER say “Cali” when you talk about where you live.
  • You’re always within a two hour drive of anything you could ever want to do.

We went on for another 10 or 12 items then heard the final bell. School was out. Word was also out about Michinori being at the school.

Our children have a tight circle of friends at school.  The Vampire kids stick together because they like to be with their own kind. But they had friends of all different kinds. They accept that. Despite all the stupid things going on at their school, I hear there is tolerance that isn’t found at most schools. That is a tolerance for people who are different. You know I don’t even like to use the word different. Lets just call it an acceptance of everyone no matter who or what they are. You like the people you like and love the people you love for who they are inside. We teach our kids to see people for how they act and how they treat others – that is what matters.

That said, those Vampire guys… sigh. They’ll always take advantage of their unique charms but as long as they keep everyone happy I guess that’s ok.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Click here for “Why Vampires Wear Yellow Flip Flops.”

Personal Hygiene, Vampire Hunters and Real Friends…and don’t forget the Marx Brothers

Today it was 106 degrees F outside (what the F) so I thought I’d rerun this post that contains mention of SWIMMING. I live in a pretty crazy world full of interesting people and challenges that hit me like either flying fried eggs right out of the pan, or a giant fist. But I’m a mom so that means I have stay calm and in control. I’m the mom. Always the mom. You know what I mean.

First posted January 11, 2013 – this one pretty much says it all. Have fun. xoxoxo ~ Juliette

Personal Hygiene, Vampire Hunters and Real Friends…and don’t forget the Marx Brothers

The other day I picked up my kids, then had to stop by my warehouse to pick up some paperwork. 13-year-old Clara was talking with her 16-year-old brother Garrett (recently ungrounded) about donors. Clara has just recently started taking live donations. Oh yes, and for those of you who aren’t from our community, and new to this blog – we’re Vampires. Modern Vampires. Forget the nasty black capes, the sleeping in coffins, the ripping out of hearts…we don’t do that. We’re just like you…well, maybe a little older, a little colder and a little more forgiving of those who are “different”.

So Garret was telling his sister “If you get greedy and take in too much blood from a donor all at once you get blood breath”.

Clara squinted up her eyes and nose. “What it smells like copper or something?”

“No”, said Garrett, ” it smells like rotting flesh. It’s gross.”

I had to add in “And if you’re not neat your entire house smells like a stockyard.”

“What’s a stock yard?” asked Clara. Which surprised me, but then again, she has no reason to know about stockyards.

“Mom means a slaughter-house. That’s where cows are killed and butchered,” Garrett told his sister.

“Gross.”

“Not to mention the farts.” Garrett had to mention the farts. What is it about boys and farts?

Clara looked at me in disgust. “Mom. Farts? Really?”

I shrugged and smiled, “Nothing worse than being in your most elegant evening gown, fresh from a kill at some grand party and then rip a big one that the entire party can hear. And if you think it is loud just imagine the smell. Like death warmed over.”

“Rotted flesh on a hot summer day, swarming maggots, skin slipping off of bones” added Garrett.

Clara covered her ears. “Stop it. You two are so disgusting.”

“Just trying to get a point across,” I told her.

“I get it,” said my daughter.

“Good hygiene is a key to survival with Vampires.” I added as we came to the end of the long hallway in the Victorian era building and I took out my key to the last door.

“Juliette.” I heard a voice behind me and turned around. It was Jack, my attorney and very human friend. “I saw the light and thought I’d drop off this paperwork to you.” He greeted the kids and we had some nice small talk. Jack has been a family friend for years, and his kids go to school with my kids. We’re all good. And as long as he doesn’t figure out we’re Vampires it will remain good.

We’re getting ready to leave, talking about maybe a trip to the snow park or maybe the movies (none of us have seen Lincoln yet) when we hear someone else in the warehouse. My senses perk up. The kids can sense something. I feel protective over Jack all of the sudden and even more protective over my two children.

A the end of the hall are three figures all in black.

“I’m sorry, it’s after business hours. You’re going to have to leave.”

They continued forward. I recognized one of them. “Bryan?” I said. My past won’t stop haunting me. Bryan Gould, still handsome but 30 years older than the 24-year-old I knew back then,

“Juliette.”” He said this with a deep breath voice that caught even me off guard.

“The Vampires have brought children with them. We’ve caught them feeding?” Said a woman dressed in head to toe black like she is trying to channel Emma Peal from the Avengers.

“Oh for Pete’s sake. What are you doing here and why did you bring your crazy girlfriend?” I asked Bryan in a deadpan voice.

“You know why Juliette,” he said.

“No, I don’t. Honestly after all this time you’d think I’d get a hello how are you after all this time and considering our past history.” This blog is rated PG-13 so I won’t go into that.

“You drank my blood,” Bryan said.

“Leave now or I’m calling 911,” said Jack. My dear friend Jack.

I now recognized the three in black, including my old friend as Vampire Hunters. Pretty piss poor Vampire hunters but often they’re the most dangerous. Yes, I could read their minds and they were dressed in black with knives and crucifixes and I’m sure they’d all eaten garlic etc etc etc. Idiots.

“They’re idiots Jack.” I turned to Bryan.

“You need to go, NOW.” I was pretty pissed off by now.

“Give me the children,” Bryan yelled at me.

“Put one hand on my kids and I will fucking rip your heart out of your chest.” It was on. I wasn’t taking any crap from him.

Needless to say my kids looked shocked and so did Jack.

Bryan raised a gun at me.

“Don’t hurt my mom.” Yelled Garrett showing his fangs.

“You turned them into Vampires.” Screamed the woman in black.

“They were born that way. And you know what? There is NOTHING wrong with who they are or what they are. What the hell is wrong with you people?” I wasn’t yelling but I was cold and clear.

Poor Jack. I wanted to keep him in the dark but I had to protect him and my children. I stood my ground. “Bryan, we had a lot of good times. It was fun. I wanted to keep those memories good for both of us.”

“Too late Juliette.” My former friend still pointed the gun at me.

“Fine, have it your way.” I walked close to him motioning for my kids and Jack to stay back. Jack started to come forward. “Stay where you are Jack. I’ve got this.”

Byan’s friends came closer. I snarled at them, fangs and all. The jumped back. Then I looked at Bryan and pulled his free will right out of his brain. He dropped the gun then sank to the floor. I took a breath then turned on the others. The man started to run and then fell screaming holding his head. I walked up to the woman. She was breathing hard. I put my hands on her shoulders and got close to her face “You can’t mess with a Vampire if you have evil in your heart. Bother me or any of my friends or family again and I will eat your soul.” She tried to push me away and I kept her frozen, unable to move.

Yes, but what about Jack. Poor Jack.

“Jack, I didn’t want to tell you this, but we’re Vampires. All of us.” I told him. I finally told him my secret. Damn, I hate it when I have to do that.

“I thought…there is no such thing as Vampires.” Jack looked at me all shocked and confused (I mean, wouldn’t you be shocked and confused if this happened to you?)

“There are Werewolves too.” Said a deep voice. There at the door was my friend Adam, the Werewolf, and best photographer in Northern California. “I heard Bryan was on his way over. I tried to stop them. I swear I had no idea what he’d gotten himself messed up with.

“What the Hell happened here?” Said a voice I didn’t know. Behind Adam was a small woman in a really cute tweed coat and flaming red (natural color too) hair. “Oh, Juliette, Clara, Garrett, Jack, I’d like to introduce you to my girlfriend Brandy.”

Poor Jack was totally confused by then. He knew Adam. They’d known each other since high school and both went to UCLA together (Adam in Art, Jack in Political Science and Law) and ended back up in their hometown.

“Adam?” Jack stared at his old friend in shock.

I walked up to Adam. “Do you think you can talk any sense into Bryan or am I going to have to mess with his mind. I’d rather not, but I’m not taking any chances with my kids or Jack.” I turned to Jack. “Jack, I hate for you to have to deal with this but there is a whole big world out there you know nothing about.”

Jack looked at me, still in shock “You’re telling me there are really Vampires?”

Adam answered him. “Yes and I’m a Werewolf, so is Brandy. But don’t flip out on me friend. We’re cool. We don’t hurt people. In fact we help more people than we ever hurt in the past. We’ve got a bad rap.”

“You said you’d rip his heart out?” Jack motioned to the Vampire Hunters on the ground.

I answered him gently. “If he’d touched any of you I would have, but it was mostly a bluff. You know the mother wolf in me, no offense Adam.”

“None taken.” Said the Werewolf.

“Mom”, said Clara “What are you going to do with these people?”

I really didn’t want to tell her what I should do with them. In the old days I wouldn’t have thought twice of draining every drop of blood in their bodies and ripping their hearts out but I just don’t like doing that sort of thing anymore. I never liked it. But then again, I never had children before either. I didn’t want these goons or their leaders to come after them again.

Then I noticed she had been crying. That was it. Nobody makes my child cry.

Garrett spoke up. “It’s like that movie Shallow Grave.”

“When did you see that?” I asked surprised even for a Vampire mom. He wasn’t supposed to see that one yet.

“With Dad.” Said my son.

What goes on when I’m not home I’ll never know.

Jack seemed to be in shock. I’d have to calm him down. Adam and Brandy looked at the Vampire hunters in disgust. They could have well be Werewolf hunters. The door opened again. Who was it this time? I hoped not the police.

There were the elder Vampires Tellias and Eleora . He was dressed in a long black coat, an old fashioned tuxedo shirt and red pants. His pale blonde hair was tied back in a black ribbon. She wore a red mini skirt, high black rubber rain boots and a red coat with huge shoulder pads with a large white fake fur collar. Her red lipstick had sort of a weird uneven outline like one of the girls from Terry and the Pirates. Both had goggles around their necks and snorkels. They were both wearing straw hats, the kind people wear out gardening.

They came in and fussed about in their usual manner, showering my children and I with hugs and kisses. They were so lovely and frail, almost more like Fairies than Vampires.

“What are the goggles for?” I asked.

“We were going to go swimming in the river,” said Tellias.

“That’s nuts” said Jack “you’ll drown. The currents are too strong and the water is too cold this time of year.”

“We won’t die,” said Tellias in almost a whisper.

“We’re undead.” Elora told Jack in a whisper and tone that matched Tellias.

“So Vampires are dead”, Jack asked looking straight at me.

“No, we’re very much alive, meaning we’re undead,” I answered in all truth.

“You’re soulless ghouls,” Jack gasped.

“We have souls only unlike you our souls belong to us and us alone.” I tried to get him to understand.

“So my soul isn’t mine?” Jack asked now clearly confused beyond return.

I took a deep breath. “Jack, your soul is yours and you can do what you want with it including selling it. Vampires can’t sell their souls, not to anyone. Needless to say unlike humans we’re impervious to the forces of evil. Of course we can be tempted and we do bad things, but we can’t sell our souls to control fate or whatever. In turn angels and the like ignore us but it is what it is. They’re the ones missing out if they don’t get to know us.”

The oddly dressed elder Vampires studied over the prone figures in black.

“They’re bad people.” Eleora said as she stepped around them making a circle.

“Bad indeed,” said Tellias.

“Indeed,” said Eleora.

“Who are they? They can’t be over 21.” Jack gasped looking from them to me.

“They’re elders. They’re over 2000 years old.” I answered.

“We were born in BC.” Tellias said stepping towards Jack.

Eleora took Jack’s hand. “Not Canada, Before Christ. A long long time ago.”

Tellias ecoed, “a really long time ago.”

“We just look young,” said Eleora.

“We’ve been around a long long time,” said Tellias.

Jack pulled his hand from Eleora. “How old are you? Juliette?”

“Jack, you don’t need to know.” He really didn’t.

“Juliette, tell me. Please.” He was begging now, well almost.

I took a deep breath. “I’m 153. Teddy is 163. We’re young as Vampires go.”

“We’re going swimming,” said Eleora.

“And we’re good swimmers and we can see under water” said Tellias.

“We’re very good swimmers,” sad Eleora.

“Yes, very good,” said Tellias.

“Do you have your suits with you?” Garrett asked this question.

“We’re going to go naked,” said Eleora.

“Completely naked,” chimed in Tellias.

I do love my old Vampires. They’re sort of odd, well, sort of is an understatement, but I love them.

“So what are we going to do with these three?” Asked Adam.

“We’ll deal with them Werewolf. Don’t worry about a thing. We’ll wipe their memories clean and send them on their merry way,” Tellias said with a lovely white Vampire smile.

“We’ll deal with them.” Eleora said as she kissed Adam on the cheek. Adam smiled then looked slightly uncomfortable at being approached by a Vampire so ancient.

Bryan groaned. Brandy nudged him with her foot. “Shut up or I’ll rip your throat out,” she growled at him.

I wanted to tell her “Good Dog” but stopped myself.

Then the door opened again. In walked a couple dressed in skinny jeans and stylish jackets and of course scarves. One must have a scarf these days.

The Elders danced over to them and embraced and introduced their friends. Poor Jack was ready to pass out at this point with all the weirdness.

The elders introduced their friends. LeRoy and Jasmine were young and hip.

“We saw your car and thought we’d drop in,” said Jasmine.

“Are you Vampires too?” asked Jack.

“We’re vegans. But we’re cool if you’re a vampire. If you’re born a predator it’s your nature. That’s just the way you are and we accept that. I mean, like, my cat eats meat,” LeRoy answered.

This was starting to remind me of that scene in Night at The Opera (Marx Brothers) when about 100 people crowded into a closet size state-room, then someone opened the door. You know what happened. If you don’t see the clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZvugebaT6Q

The Elder Vampires, LeRoy and Jasmine removed the bad people in black. Adam and I made a list of 100 people we needed to track down and find out what happened (or it seemed like 100). He and Brandy also helped me explain to my kids just what happened. We’d talk more on the way home and I’m sure for the coming weeks. Of course I know my children won’t talk about this except maybe to their Vampire friends. Everyone who needs to be informed will be.

Then there was Jack. He was shocked to know that his wife had known we were Vampires for years. She thought it was exciting. Jack still needed convincing. But I let him know that he was always safe and protected as long as he was my friend, which would be for always. That is how Vampires are. Once a friend, always a friend.

So the moral of this story is that you just have to roll with things but first and foremost:

  • Protect your children at all costs.
  • Surround yourself with friends you trust.
  • Keep those friendships strong.
  • Keep your elders in your life.
  • Don’t judge your friends by their eating habits.
  • Don’t put up with jerks.
  • Always bring a towel along if you’re going swimming (well, ok, according to Hitchhikers Guide always have a towel.)
  • And if you haven’t seen them already, make sure you see “A Night At The Opera” and “Duck Soup”. Marx Brothers. Don’t worry, they aren’t communists.

That’s it for now.

Have a great week.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Tangled Tales: Lighthouse

1880

He’d been found in the ocean, wearing a formal jacket with tails and clinging to the top of a grand piano. Underneath the man was a large gray wolfhound.

The captain of the ship that had picked him up said that he didn’t seem to remember much, or maybe did not want to remember. The dog, named Delilah, wouldn’t leave the side of her master.

At first they thought it was a ship wreck but it ended up being a complicated and strange mystery. The ship, a 200 ton brigantine had left Port of Talcahuano, in Chile three months before the mysterious man had been found in the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco. Not a soul was on the ship, except the Captain who’d been found with a gun in his hand and what looked like a fatal self-inflicted bullet wound in his head. The life boats were still on the ship, as well as a cargo of wine and explosives, and the personal belongings of the few passengers and crew.

A break in an unusually strong and violent series of storms allowed them to dock and drop the man on the piano lid and his wolfhound off at the home of the lighthouse keeper’s family.

The lighthouse keeper checked in on the man who was sleeping in his guest room, dog curled by the bed. He could tell the stranger was wealthy by the quality of his clothing, the expensive watch and ring, and the formal refined way he’d spoken. His locked trunk had been recovered from the abandoned ship and now was at the foot of the bed.

The stranger said his name was Maxwell. He told them to call him Max. The first night there he’d drawn exquisite pictures for the light keeper’s wife of palm trees, and of beautiful women in fashionable dresses, and native women of South America with unusual hats and full colorful skirts. Over brandy he told them that he was 31 years old, born in 1849 when his pregnant mother had come out with his father for the California Gold Rush. Now he resided in San Francisco.

“What is your occupation? “The lighthouse keeper’s daughter Jayne asked the stranger,  fully well expecting him to say he was involved in a rich family business, or lived off of the wealth of his forebears.

He looked at her with hazel eyes, that she would have sworn were dark brown earlier that evening. “I am in law enforcement of a sorts, like detective, or a marshal. I seek out those who are particularly evil. I had apprehended a ruthless and violent fiend in South America and was on my way home. Unfortunately on the ship…” he paused and glanced up for a second, then back at the family of the lighthouse keeper. “On the ship I found myself taken by surprise and overwhelmed. It is a story I will tell you later, but now I must sleep, or I’ll end up under the table here.”

So he retired for the night. That was two days ago. He still slept as quiet and cold as death, but not dead. The dog lay by the foot of the bed thumping her tail whenever anyone came near.

A storm raged outside. The weather didn’t allow anyone to go get a doctor. His wife assured him that the man called Max just needed to rest. It made sense considering the man had been clinging to a piano lid and floating in the freezing ocean for days before he was picked up.

Despite the storm Lighthouse Keeper’s wife climbed up a ladder to fix a shutter that was almost ready to fly away with the wind. As she reached the window the ladder fell and she crashed to the ground below. All went black except the feeling of being carried inside.

Max put her down in a large chair by the fire and took her broken arm in his icy hands. “Close your eyes,” he whispered. She could feel his hands heat up and warm her wrist. The pain turned to numbness. She opened her eyes and could see a look of pain on his face, then he smiled and kissed her forehead.

“You’re arm is still broken, but the bones have started to mend enough for you not to need a splint.”

“You? You healed me,” she said.

“Yes. It is a gift. Keep the knowledge to yourself or people will think we are both insane.” He then touched a forming bruise on her forehead, making that pain, along with the bruise go away as well.

During the night the storm broke up. Sunshine came out between the clouds. Jayne convinced Max to walk down to the docks to pick up some fish for the night’s dinner.

She held his arm as they strolled along the road.

“Your glasses are so dark. I noticed your eyes turned from hazel to brown when we went outside,” said Jayne.

“My eyes are sensitive to the sun. I have three younger brothers, and a younger sister. Two of them have eyes that do the same as mine, that is change color,” he said, then changed the subject. “Do you like living here Jayne.”

“I love my family. I love the ocean. I don’t being in a small town with nothing but fish and lumber. I’d like to see more of the world before I’m expected to find a husband.”

“Do you want to be married Jayne?”

“Maybe,” said Jayne, “I can move to Utah and take two husbands. Women can vote in Utah and Wyoming. Why not here?”

“Because men are ignorant and barbaric my dear Jayne. They’re afraid that if you vote you’ll be smarter and more just than they are. The don’t want to give up their power to someone who might do a better job. By the way, men of a certain faith may have more than one wife but I do not believe a woman is allowed two husbands in Utah. You would have to go to Tibet for that.”

Jayne laughed. “To be truthful, even one husband would be too many for me right now. I don’t need anyone to own me right now.” She tugged on his arm. “You’re so different.”

“How am I different? I’m just like any other man.”

“You healed my mother’s arm. You survived almost a week in the icy ocean’s water hanging onto a piano top with nothing but the clothes on your back and a dog. Your eyes change color. Your skin feels like ice. You are unbelievably attractive. I am stating a fact about your looks. But I only want your friendship. Even with the oddness I like you. I feel as if we have been friends for a long long time. Where are you really from Maxwell? Who are your people?”

He smiled and took off his glasses. His eyes were hazel again. “Where I come from men and women are equal. We live quietly. We live honestly among each other. What I am about to tell you will sound strange, but we live on the edge between life and death. We walk in the world of sunlight, but also walk in the land of the shadows and do not fear death or God.”

“I would like to go there with you. I would earn my way. I could be a lady detective.”

“It is not easy to live in my world Jayne.”

“No world is easy Max,” she said then smiled and pulled the comb out of her hair letting it blow in the wind. “Do you have a sweetheart at home?”

Max hesitated then spoke. “There is a woman I have a strong connection with, but I will never love her.”

“Is she married?”

“No. It isn’t like that. We met when I was at the University. So was she, which is odd unto itself. She knows my thoughts. She knows my desires. But she is not the one. What about you Jayne?”

“I was engaged to a man who knew neither my thoughts or desires, and had no intention on learning either. He thought I belonged to him body and soul, not in the way of love, but as property to be owned and controlled. He was jealous to the point of rage if I would speak with another man. He was even jealous of the boys I teach at the school and demanded I quit my teaching job. I would rather die than live a life where someone else controlled my body, my thoughts, my job, and my every whim. That is why I am no longer engaged to him.” Then laughed and ran to the end of the pier and let the wind blow through her hair and laughed some more.

Max marveled at the way she was so free thinking and full of life. He saw so much death and sorrow in his line of work that now with Jayne he felt renewed. She was sunshine in his dark world of shadows and night.

Hours later in the quiet of the night, the wind died own, and the moon hung in a thin crescent in the sky. Max walked along the beach with his dog Delilah. The taste of fresh blood and wine was in his mouth and the cold comfort of the night had settled into his soul. Delilah ran ahead, then the dog started to bark. Ahead of him Max saw a bloody figure crumpled on the rocks. His heart sank. It was Jayne.

Max picked her up and carried her home. He knew what had happened. She’d gone out to look at the stars and was attacked by a man she’d jilted. She’d spoken briefly about it when they’d walked earlier in the day. She had turned away the advances of a hot headed man who wanted her as his own. In the afternoon the man had walked past them, giving Jayne a look like a mad dog when he saw her holding Max’s arm.

He put her on her bed as her parents and brothers gathered around. As still as death, and as cold as the sea, they watched life drained out of her.

Jayne’s mother put her hand on Max’s arm. “Can you heal her, like you healed me?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “If I do she will never be the same, not like she was before. She won’t be crippled or lose herself, she will be… she will be like me.”

“Save her, then find the man who did this to her,” said the Lighthouse Keeper.

“You do not know what you ask,” said Max.

“You put a spark back in her eyes I have not seen in ages. Please save her if you can.”

“Let me be alone with her and she will not die.”

In the morning a man’s body washed up on the beach. It looked as if dogs had torn out his throat. His face was a mask of fear.

Two weeks later Jayne kissed her family good-by and went with Max on the next ship to San Francisco.

2017

Max stood in his living room with a glass of wine in his hand as he looked at the view of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. He couldn’t imagine getting tired of it. He glanced over to see Jayne, wearing a short black dress and looking gorgeous as always, coming towards him. He kissed her cool cheek. She smiled with just a touch of fang showing.

“Are you staying with Pierce tonight?” Max asked.

“Of course I am. I take it Mehitabel is staying here,” said Jayne.

Max glanced at a small pretty woman across the room. He suddenly thought of what he’d told Jayne about her so many years ago on the walk to the docks. Odd that when he was out in the ocean, clinging onto a piano top of all things, he had thought of Mehitabel. He might ask but he was never sure what she would say. No, he wouldn’t ask, he’d just wait to see what would happen, but he was sure she’d stay.

“I’m sure she’ll stay,” he told Jayne.

They talked for a while longer, about work, about friends, and about how the sunset sparkled on the ocean. Max wasn’t always one for words, but he knew that Jayne knew that they’d always be friends. Maybe even before they had ever met.

Then Jayne laughed. “I still can’t believe you were clinging to a piano lid.”

And Max had to laugh along.

~ End