Short Story Sunday: Brothers in Arms

And I thought my life was weird, thought Austin after reading a news story about a historian in Russia who was pulled out of a river along with a rucksack full of severed arms. The arms belonged to a former student.

Austin never had any students he disliked that much.

After kissing his girlfriend, who was still asleep, and would be sleeping all day, he wandered down to the local coffee shop. Inside at the back table his friend Aaron was reading and drinking his usual triple expresso.

Aaron glanced up. “Hey. I just ordered you something.”

Janet behind the counter called, “Austin, coconut latte, extra shot.”

Austin picked up his coffee and Janet smiled at him in a come hither way that almost made Austin’s face turn red.

Back at the table Aaron put down his book. “How are you Austin?”

“Good. I’m half way through the semester and haven’t lost any students yet. No failures. The graduate students are exceptionally delightful. Elizabeth is sleeping in my bed as we speak.”

“You’re back with Elizabeth?” Aaron looked surprised. “You know, you aren’t getting any younger.”

Austin looked at his friend. He used to look younger than Aaron and now he looked slightly older. Aaron was one of those guys who never aged, not surprising considering he was a 165 year old Vampire.

Aaron continued. “You turn forty in a few months. If you want to have a family you’d better find a nice woman in her thirties with a ticking biological time clock and settle down. Otherwise you’d might as well become one of us.”

“I hunt Vampires,” said Austin.

“Only the nasty ones we need to get rid of. You know, you could just quite that business and teach history full time.”

“Who would do your dirty work for you? Have you thought about that?”

Aaron shrugged. “You have a point there. Hey, did you hear about that guy in Russia they found in the river with a bag full of arms. I thought about you.”

Austin laughed out loud. Then he thought about the touch of Elizabeth’s cool mouth of his skin, and the fact that she’d read Jane Austin as a child, when the books were new. He thought about all the times he and Aaron had hunted down soulless rogue Vampires. He thought about the cold river and what kinds of things drive men mad. And after that split second of a million thoughts he said, “Great minds think alike.”

Aaron lifted his cup, “Here’s to us, brothers in arms.”

“Brothers in arms,” said Austin, as he reminded himself how normal his life actually was.

~ end

 

Tangled Tales

This has been another Austin and Elizabeth story. For more adventures click here. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

 

Dear Diary,

Once I was King of the Vampires. There were others who ruled Vampires in other places, but I was the only King. I was not just a ruler but a leader.

My birthday will be this week. When I was king there would be great celebrations. Now the celebration will be small.

I thought of music and turned on the radio. What insanity was this coming from the invisible sound waves into the little box on kitchen counter?

My oldest Vampire friend Randolpho and my Vampire lover Gillian were there. We drank red wine and blood cocktails. They both started to laugh and sing along.

What madness is this, I thought to myself at the crazy insane song playing through the the air by invisible musicians.

My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Sharona

“What is a sharona?” I asked.

“A woman,” said Randolpho. “She is called Sharona.”

“Sharona is her name?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Randolpho.

“Is she fixing or perhaps building his car?”

“No,” said Gillian.

“He sang  you make my motor run. Twice,” I said.

“It wasn’t a car,” said Randolpho.

“Then I assume he has a cat,” I said.

They both laughed, together, at the same time. I stood wondering what was so funny.

“Don’t even mention My Own Private Idaho to him,” said Randolpho.

“Oh my god,”said Gillian.

Then they started to laugh again.

I gave them a stern scolding. “Do not treat me as if I am a child or an idiot. I was locked in a crypt for three hundred years. I missed three centuries, including the Twentieth Century.”

“You did miss a lot,” said Gillian, who was still laughing at me.

“It is as if, what is the saying, as if I am living on another star,” I said.

“Planet,” said Gillian.

“Plan what? My birthday? That is what we are trying to do,” I said.

“Living on another planet Vlad. Another planet,” said Randolpho.

Then they started to laugh again.

I watched my friends slide to the floor still laughing and lean on each others as tears came down their cheeks.

Gillian looked up at me and said, “You’re so damn cute.”

I give up.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

The World Series of Baseball started tonight.

I was told not to ask why it is called the World Series and just accept it.

Why do they treat me like this?

I have found that baseball is a calming sport without the lunacy of football or other sports in which the players run around like herds of cattle. There is an individual element in baseball which I like. It is like Vampires. We are individual elements who work magic when with an organized group.

After that we watched baseball we watched ice skating from an event called Skate America. Gillian had recorded the men’s short program. She carefully explained to me that the short program is where them ice skaters do a specific number of elements in a short amount of time. I told her that I know what a short program is. I know what ice skating is. I have even learned how to both ice skate and roller skate in the past five years. I am what is called a fan. I can tell you who Nathan Chen and Jason Brown are. They would both make admirable Vampires.

Football would be better if they used the head of an opponent rather than an odd shaped ball.

Later, after those who say they are my friends had other activities to keep them occupied, I went out to find fresh blood and perhaps someone who would not laugh at everything I say.

At my friend Cassie’s pub I sat at the bar and spoke with Cassie when she was not busy. In the background I could hear the women say to each other as they looked my way, “He is so cute. He is gorgeous. I want some of that.”

I was drinking club soda so I do not think that is what they wanted. In fact, I dare say, I know exactly what they wanted. It made me smile, of course without my fangs.

I overheard someone laugh and call her friend a dork. I turned a smiled. The dork was a pretty young woman with short blonde hair and nice neck showing above a shoulderless sweater. The women all smiled at me. The one they called dork winked. I smiled back. Maybe I would have dork for dinner.

I looked up the meaning of the word dork on my iPhone. I find these phones are extremely useful tools.  

Dork: a silly, out-of-touch person.

I suddenly realized, in my ignorance, that I did not recognize the fact that the women were making jokes with each other.

I looked at Cassie. “Do you think I am a dork?” I asked.

Cassie leaned on the bar and put her face close to mine, “Maybe, a little bit sometimes, but you’re really just cute. You know you’re really cute Vlad.”

“That is what everyone I meet tells me. Yet, cute is what you call a kitten,” I said.

“Sure, and when I’m around you I get that warm and fuzzy kitten feeling.”

I gave her a weak smile. Warm and fuzzy? I did not even ask.

I was once King of the Vampires, feared by many.  It was said by many that even the Devil would not cross my path due to my fearsome and cunning ways. Now I am a warm and fuzzy kitten.

Later in the night I spent more time with the woman who had been called a dork. I found her to be exceptionally smart and witty. She had a laugh that sounded as if she’d been alive for as long as I had. It was full of smoke and gravel. I liked it. I told her about the history of where I came from, which was my history. I did not mention Vampires. She was fascinated, as was I. Then I took enough blood from her beautiful warm neck and left her with sweet dreams. I am a Vampire but I am not a fiend. If one of to be a successful and effective Vampire King one must be fierce but never a fiend.

Her name was Allyson and never did she once call me a dork or laugh at me. With that thought I give a deep sigh.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today is my birthday. I was born October 23, 1343. I am now six hundred and seventy six years old. I do not look a day over thirty two, maybe thirty four. Six hundred is the new thirty. I shall tell Gillian and Randolpho that I too have the ability to master the art of humor. I am not so sure that will satisfy them.

I over heard Randolpho tell Gillian, “It is also Weird Al’s birthday today too. He’ll turn sixty. Can you believe it?”

“Don’t tell Vlad. Oh my god, he’ll be so confused,” said Gillian. Then they both started to laugh hysterically.  I did not ask why or let them know I had heard them make their jokes at my expense.

This Weird Al character is a mere baby. What could he do that would confuse me so? I roll my eyes at their humor at my expense.

Tonight there shall be a party. Gillian and Randolpho told me that all of the plans were in place. They said I should not worry and that it would be fun.

My mind was still on modern music and my attempt to understand the strange words that everyone except me understood. Not only do fashions change over the years but language as well.

Later I asked Gillian, “Why do so many songs speak of women and cars?”

“It is a metaphore Vlad.”

“I see,” I said.  I did not see but I did not say anything.

Then she whispered, “You make my motor run. In fact, I’ll show you right now. Happy Birthday Vlad.”

And yes, so far it has been an extremely happy birthday.

~ Vald

 

 

 

 

This has been the 53rd installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To catch up on all of Vlad’s Vampire Diary entries click here.

Oh, by the way it is also my birthday today!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Walking in the Dark

“Don’t walk in front of me — I may not follow; don’t walk behind — I may not lead; walk beside me and just be my friend.” ~ Camus

We’ve lost two friends this week, and one a few weeks ago. A young friend, one of my daughter’s best friends, has been in intensive care. Sometimes it is hard to wrap one’s heart and mind around it all. But I do. We all do. That is what we do. We love. We just love.

Tonight a coyote tried to eat my cat Oscar. I think he’ll be ok. The cat that is. I don’t know what happened to the coyote. I hope the cat bit and scratched the crap out of it. The other cat and the dog are giving him his space. He is sleeping in my daughter’s room.

She moved out two weeks ago for college. I miss her so much. She’s doing great. I’m so happy for her.

I’ll take Oscar the cat to the vet tomorrow if he is still in distress. His leg seems bruised. No blood.

I am grateful for my friendships online and off. Paranormal and not.

The air tonight is cool and comforting. I’m ready for fall. The leaves die, but for some reason I can’t explain fall always seems like a new beginning. Maybe it is because Halloween is near. Maybe it is because my birthday is in October. Maybe it is because I’m always super excited about planting fall bulbs which will bloom in the spring.

Bulbs are tiny packages of beauty and joy.

I’m trying to find more things that might be packages of joy. There are many.

So, I will get back to my book… finally. I met another writer this week and will be featuring his books in a few months on my Monday book post.

As for my books…there are ghosts, and reapers, and all kinds of demons and others who live in the shadows, corners, and even out in the open.

I’m also writing about parents, relationships, and adult kids. Cats and dogs too.

As always, I’ll leave you with thoughts of everything that is possible, things that go bump in the night (Halloween will be here soon) and love. Yes, it all comes together sooner or later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Marla Todd _ Oscar Gray

This is Oscar. I love this cat so much.

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Conversion

“Durant, we found something.”

“What do you mean you found something?”

“Live dead bodies.”

“Vampires?”

“Yes, vampires. Happy fucking holidays.”

“I’ll be right there.”

Austin Durant had planned on spending the morning grading papers. When he wasn’t teaching history at the local state college he was a contractor specializing in restoring historic buildings. When he wasn’t doing that he was a vampire hunter. The vampire hunter part wasn’t planned. It just happened.

Now a call from his construction site foreman Matt changed his Sunday morning plans. Damn. He made a call and headed out.

His attorney and friend (the term friend was sometimes questionable) Aaron Todd stood on the front porch. How could anyone always look so elegant, even in jeans and a fleece jacket?

“Why don’t you people take care of your own?”

“You people? Really Austin. You sound almost racist.”

“You’re a vampire.”

“The ones in the walls are not my people.”

Aaron had a point. He was an attorney and lived in a beautiful modern house, with a beautiful wife who looked like she was right out of a Botticelli painting.  Aaron had nothing in common with the dried up husks with long yellow teeth and claw like fingers who were hibernating in the old walls.

Aaron was holding a pink box. “I brought donuts and coffee for your guys. It was the least I could do.”

“Thank you. The good kind,” said Austin, looking at the beautiful assortment of donuts, sweet rolls and bear claws. “Do you ever eat these things?”

“No. They make me sick.”

They waked back to the small bricked in room where the vampires had been found. The 8 x 8 foot space had been bricked in from the inside.

Aaron looked down at the still dead looking forms. “I know those two. I’d wondered what had happened to them. Not that I cared. I was glad to see them gone. The last time I saw them was this time of year. My wife Verity and I were downtown late at night and spotted these two on the steps of the new Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.”

“New?”

“It was 1890.” Aaron smiled and sipped his coffee. “They watched us with empty eyes coveting our existence. These two in the walls are creatures with no souls. They exist with nothing but longing for blood. They have no idea what the empty void is that fills them. That is why they wall themselves up to sleep for years. They know no torment. They feel no longing. They exist and that is all.

These two had come out to California to seek their fortunes right after the Civil war, like so many uneducated dullards. They were both pretty enough and young enough that they made a living selling their bodies. They were stupid enough to be seduced by evil. They forfeited their souls for eternal life. Either that or the idiots who converted them botched the job and only brought them back after their bodies were empty of any life at all. It doesnt matter. They might not even have had souls to begin with. They were the kind of people who just survive and nothing else. Their lives have no meaning.”

“You’re harsh.”

“I am realistic.”

“You saw them on the cathedral steps. You were going to tell me something about them.”

“It was two days before Christmas, they sat on the steps huddled together. I was going to approach them and tell them to leave town, when a priest came out into the dark and sat with them. We could hear what he said. I’ll never forget.”

Aaron took a deep breath as if he was almost human. “It was obvious they had been there before. The priest made a sign of the cross then put his hands on their shoulders and said, those who are loved will earn their souls. It is not in the scripture but I believe it. I know it. You are loved. Believe me. Believe my brother and sister.

Austin was amazed at what the vampire told him. “Do you believe that Aaron?”

“I want to, but no, I do not believe it.”

Austin knew vampires were cold hearted but he assumed that maybe… then again, when it came to the heart of a vampire assumptions were dangerous.

“By the way,” said Aaron, “the good priest was found dead a week later. His body had been drained of all blood. Funny how things work out that way.”

They looked down at the corpse-like vampires who lay on an ancient cot, huddled together in a cold embrace. Their old fashioned clothes still showed some color through the dusty and faded threads.

Austin raised the chain saw and was about to start it up when the male opened his eyes. It sounded like paper shredding. The woman did the same.

“Do it now,” hissed Aaron.

Austin started the chainsaw and cut off their heads.

He looked up and saw writing on the wall scrawled in what could have been blood above the cot.

We no not wat we do

“We know not what we do,” Austin read out loud.

In the curled up clawed hand of the woman Austin found a small carved figure of a baby in a manger. The paint looked almost new.

In the hand of the man was a holly branch.

“Those were gifts from the priest,” said Aaron.

The bodies turned to dust before their eyes.

“Aaron, what do you want to do with the ashes?”

“You have a shop vac don’t you?”

“Man, you’re cold. No pun intended.”

Aaron shrugged. Austin put the baby in his pocket and gave the dried holly branch to Aaron.

“Maybe I should believe,” said Aaron.

Austin put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Maybe you should.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ end

You might have seen this story before. I’m moving kids to college this week. New exciting posts to come later. ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Tangled Tales

 

Austin and Elizabeth Stories

What happens when a History Professor/Restoration Expert/Player turns into a Vampire Hunter? He discovers basements full of undead creatures, a thriving community of hip and trendy Modern Vampires and the maybe love of his life (or maybe the cause of his death.)

For the complete story of Austin and Elizabeth (from the beginning) check the links below.

Part 1: The Hunter

Part 2:  Memory of Distant Love

Part 3: Dark Dreams of the Hunted

Part 4: About Those Pesky Undead Folks

Park 5: The Hunt Continues

Part 6: Cold and Warm

Part 7: Date with a Vampire

Part 8: Crawl Space

Part 9: Dust and Desire

Part 10: One of Those Days…

Part 11: Even Vampire Hunters Get the Blues

Part 12: Back to the Past

Part 13: Nowhere in Time

Part 14: Father Paul

Part 15: The Bat

Part 16: Conversion

House of the Spirits – Casa de los espiritus

House of the Spirits – Casa de los espiritus

They called the farmhouse casa de los espiritus, the ones who picked the fruit and helped with the orchards. House of the spirits.

The original house is gone, replaced in 1884 with a lavish 5,400 square foot Queen Anne style Victorian. The spirits are still there in the form of Tellias and Eleora the very ones who had the home built. Yes, they’re still there because they are Vampires.

Over the years the house has seen friends come and go but the owners stay the same, never aging a day. During the day the house is still but at night the spirits come to life with both darkness and in light. One can go by the darkened old house and hear laughing coming from within. Memories fade except of the faces of youth that never grows old.

On rare occasions we might see ghosts in the orchards or down by the river banks, but they’re never in the house.

Gone are the days of lavish parties but those days might come again.

I kicked back on the veranda with my brother Val recently one moonless night.

“So I guess we’re the spirits,” he said.

“Pretty much,” I replied. Nothing more needed to be said. It was one of those slow nights where we didn’t feel like going out. We’d both had lunch dates so there wasn’t any urgency to go out.

We didn’t play remember when that night. You know, the old game where you sit with an old friend or sibling and remember the most extreme situations you’ve ever been in. Remember when you found the crocodile under your bed, remember when that crazy rogue Vampire tried to tear your head off, remember when you fell off the bridge, remember when the hounds chased us across the field, remember when we were trapped in a crypt, trapped in a burning barn, trapped in a light house, trapped in a sinking ship, trapped with a politician in a rowboat in the middle of a swamp in Louisiana, hidden in a closet, running down the beach with a giant torch, hidden in a church, trapped in a relationship? It could go on forever. But that night we didn’t play that game. OK we did but later. We always play that game.

Bob, the neighbor stopped by. We didn’t play remember when with him either. Bob is 62 and dealing with his 85 year old mother (who has ideas of her own on how Bob should live his life.) I suddenly thought how odd it must be for Bob to be here speaking with a couple of Vampires. He has known us all his life. His family has known us (our family and our kind) since the 1850’s.

Casa de los espíritus applies more to Bob than to us. Forty years ago he fell in love with a woman who never aged. Of course her heart belongs to another forever, but he never give up hope. For him there is that ghost of a chance… always the chance, or so I speculate.

The spirits haunt those with the least time. They haunt those who think the most of what could have been.

For those of us who think of what can be the spirits are quiet.

Earlier we heard someone playing the old wind up gramophone Radio Franks Old Maid’s Ball. Now they were all in dancing to Enrique Iglesias singing Bailando.

Val and I laughed and danced along. Why not. Everyone needs to dance, even Vampires in the dark of the night. Taking Bob by the hands we all went inside to join the party.

Tonight the spirit was that of friendship and fun. No haunting scary monsters. That is for another post, I promise.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

It’s morning. Do you know where your soul is?

I’m on the road doing college/parenting stuff. I’ll have new posts when I return. Reposted from August 2015.

It’s morning. Do you know where your soul is?

coffee

A conversations over coffee and musings about the lives of others.

This morning I met for coffee with my brother’s friend James.

James is one of those people I find extremely obnoxious, but we have a connections through my brother Andy and through some shared experiences. We all have friends like James.

When he isn’t just hanging out with old friends, James is a psychiatrist to some pretty well known individuals. He is good at giving people ways to find normalcy in their lives. That is their normal. Everyone has his or her own normal, they just have to find it. The same goes with inner peace and contentment. James gives his patients the tools and teaches them how to use those tools to keep healthy.

As I drove to his house, through one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in the city, I passed a home I’d once been in, years ago. The house belonged to a wealthy man. I’m talking insanely wealthy. A friend of mine was his executive assistant.

I was there for a party. He was lovely and friendly. I’d met him before and he remembered me. My friend adored him. He was a good man.

Unfortunately his ex-wife, his narcissistic daughter, and his psychiatrist only saw dollar signs. They poisoned him with their demands and their bad advise. It was never about him. People who cared couldn’t get through to him. The women took and took from him, stabbing out pieces of his soul until one day he killed himself.

“There is a special place in Hell for them. No, really, Jewels, the reservations have been made,” James told me as he poured me a second cup of coffee in his well-appointed kitchen.

I believed James, because like me, he is a Vampire. He lives with one foot in death’s door at times. He knows what it is like to grab up your own soul and hold it tight. For unlike Regular Humans, Vampires can’t give away or trade our souls, but sometimes there are those who try to come up from the depths of Hell and steal them away.

“And to think,” I said, “people call us ghouls.”

“They’re such hypocrites,” said James.

We had more coffee and talked about our friends, our work and books we’d read over the summer. I looked around the beautiful kitchen. Too bad not much cooking happened in it. Most Vampires don’t cook much. We do, but not much. I don’t need to explain why.

James made a lame joke about cooking and I laughed. Then he smiled with a sexy bit of fang and said, “Let’s go upstairs and fuck.”

I smiled back. “You know I’m married.” Yes, that is the reason I don’t see much of James.

“Right, you’re married to the most handsome Vampire in the world, but come down to the dark side with me this morning. Nobody will ever know. Mix it up a little.”

“Oh James,” I said, “even if I was single I’d have to say no. It isn’t going to happen. But thank you for the coffee. It was delightful.”

“At least I can try,” he said taking my hand and kissing it.

Now I’m home, taking a break from my work, sharing my morning. I’m also wondering if anyone is mourning still for the lovely man who was driven to his death by demons who took the form of friends and family.

I look at my old dog sleeping on the cool tile by my feet. I hear a hawk outside. It is a calm space where demons are not allowed. I will not let them in.

Close the door if they knock, even if they look like someone you know.

Beware those who have already traded in their souls at the expense of others.

OK everyone, have a nice day.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Wild Coffee

Adventure in a Cup

 

 

 

 

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