Full Moon Brings On A Party

Full moon

Brings on a party

In half lit oak woods

Possums and owls

Look for the same

Shadows

With different purpose.

Full moon

Brings on a party

Of ghosts of

Regret and remorse

Lost loves

Searching

For the light they’ll .

Never see.

Full moon

Brings on a party

Of wolves

Who only hours ago

Were human lovers

Whispering in

Each other’s ears

Plans of romance

And hopes of love

Forever without doubt.

Full moon

Brings on a party

Yet I shall stay inside

With my book

My wine

My cat

And the man I love

Behind locked doors

To keep out

Human kind.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Desert Winds

On the edge of the Sandia Mountains, My friends Amelia her husband Raul and I drove down the gravel road to the home of Ximena, an ancient woman who mostly lived in solitude with the company of the birds and the wind.

Ximena’s home was a large old adobe structure rimmed with bells and bushes of purple flowers. She greeted us at the door, as always wearing a long colorful skirt. Her black hair flowed down her back almost to her knees. Dark eyes smiled at us in a welcome greeting, as did her fangs. She is almost as ancient as Tellias and Eleora, and like them Ximena looks like a young college girl.

We came into the main room. Walls lined with books and crystals flanked part of the room with windows on the other side looking towards the mountains. We could smell the dried chiles rastas hanging in the kitchen. A red shouldered hawk perched on a wooden chair. It called out when it saw us.

“Maria, you still sing so sweetly,” I said to the bird. She gave me a cold stair then allowed me to pet her feathered head.

Maria the hawk had been around since I was a young woman, more than a hundred years. I wondered at times how she could live so long, then I stopped wondering and chalked it up to magic, love or pure mystery. It is what it is. That is how things work here in the land of magic.

A youngish man with dark hair and eyes like Ximena, but pale skin, came into the room. He was introduced to us as Kyle. But he wasn’t like us. I could feel his warmth as soon as he walked into the room.

Kyle was a man of many talents. He was a photographer, a teacher, a writer, an engineer and apparently a lover. After talking over wine and a light diner we also discovered Ximena’s young friend was also extremely opened minded.

He was also a young widow. One night left him alone with his dreams dead, but he kept going and kept at least a portion of the dreams and spark alive.

While Raul, Amelia and Ximena went to a back room to examine some old maps or something, Kyle and I went out to the porch. Bats flew about as the sounds of the bells filled the air.

Kyle asks me about my husband Teddy. I smiled shyly and told him how we’d met as kids and fallen in love a hundred years later. I think I’d always been in love with my husband on some level.

Then Kyle spoke of his lost love. “After Kayla, my wife, passed away everyone kept asking me if I’d go back. Over and over they’d ask the old what if question. You know, you can’t go back. I can’t bring her back. I will never forget her. She is part of me, but I live in the world of the living.”

“No ghost?” I had to ask (always thinking of obnoxious Nigel)

“Only a Vampire in the Southwest would ask that,” Kyle answered with a knowing smile.

“A Vampire anywhere would ask that. Don’t get me started on the ghosts I see all the time.”

“No ghost. Kayla moved on the night she died. That is a good thing.”

“Yes it is. You’re a wise man with a loving heart. In some circles that is a rare thing.”

He leaned against the rail. “I don’t know you except by reputation but I want to ask you a few thing, or at least see how you feel about a few things.”

“Okay,” I said.

“I’m in love with Ximena. I know what she is. I know how old she is. It doesn’t matter.”

I shrugged and laughed. “My 500 or so year old Grandmama is in love with a 35 year old. What are you, about 38?”

He smiled. I was correct. He was 38 and absolutely a delight – young, yet years ahead of most men his age.

“Dear Kyle, you also want me to tell you if I think it would be wise if you became a Vampire? Right?”

He smiled an uncomfortable hot blooded smile.

I said to him, “Kyle, you are in love with the cold wind under the moon and the sprint of night. She is an amazing being. I’ve always admired her. If you feel you can make a life out here with her then do it. But don’t lose yourself in her. Always be who you are, even after you become a Vampire. That is the only way it will work. If you try to be too much like her she will leave you, because she fell in love with you, not with herself.”

Raul and Ximena came out to join us with wine for Ryan and spiced blood for the rest of us.

Ximena whistled and Maria the red shouldered hawk came and landed on a table next to her hand. Ximena gave the bird a piece of meat she took from a bag in her pocket.

Into the night we talked until the sun came up and created unbelievably beautiful light and shadows on the mountains.

I could hear the wind whispering to the lovers:

The light

in dark eyes

promises kept

forever and

again

in our hearts

we love

we laugh

and we learn

to do it 

all

over 

again.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Storm

Storm

I never realized that the high rise downtown held the Federal Courthouse, art, poetry, and historic displays. There are also incredible views, even in the storm. Yes, I was there yesterday afternoon.

Even with the Federal Government shutdown there is still almost no parking to be found on the downtown streets. I finally found a spot near the old rail yards. The old rail yards is a yet to be developed area that used to be, well, rail yards. Old brick building still stand waiting to become trendy and useful again. Acres and acres of land waits for something, or maybe nothing. I’d like to see just a big park. Tracks still go out in all directions.

The active rail station is also near by taking commuters to the Bay Area and to far off places. I’d say exotic but only because it sounds more fun. Right now taking the train from Sacramento to Reno is the only way to go. I think the highways are closed this morning due to snow. If they aren’t closed it is painfully cold and slow. Over the past 24 hours the snow has come down not in inches but in feet. Dozens of feet.

Anyway, the only parking I could find was about five, maybe six blocks away, over an overpass that went across the old rail yard and tracks. On the wide sidewalks of the cheerfully designed urban bridge were homeless structures made of shopping carts, blankets, tarps, and bicycles. Across the way, and below, under more underpasses, and along walls were more homeless staked out in small groups of two or three, waiting out the storm. They’re just waiting out life. Just waiting.

I walked over the bridge, bundled up in my wool coat with my big blue umbrella. Within about a half minute I was soaked. My pants were soaked. My feet, through my boots, were soaked. Granted my boots are Doc Marten’s but they’re a heavy canvas. I should have worn my leather boots. My coat was soaked.

Ghosts stood on the bridge, on the side with the two homeless forts. They looked at me with blank eyes that stared out of gray holes in their heads. Two wore baggy suits and looks contempt. A woman in a long dirty blue dress with a bustle stood alone. Three Chinese ghosts huddled with quilted coats and  long pigtails.

I walked on. I hate ghosts. A gust of cold wind hit my face along with about a gallon of water. A ghost stood in front of me. She wore a sort coat, open with a short orange dress underneath. Her feet were bare. Long dark bangs skimmed the top of her eyes.

“Are you here to feast on the almost dead below?” She pointed down to the homeless camps. “Will you take them?” She pointed to the blanket and tarp fort across the street by the bus stop.

I tried to walk on but she followed me making hissing noises. I stopped despite the storm.

“There are already Vampires down there but I am not like them. Let me be,” I said.

“They will be found dead and cold, and nobody will know,” said the Ghost.

“Not because of Vampires,” I said and walked past the Ghost.

I know the kind of Vampires who are down there. They too live on the streets, or roam the streets then after feeding go back to the cold dark places they call home. They take what they need – blood and nightmares.

I am not one of them.

This morning I’m watching my cat, his fur wet, drinking fresh water from a bowl. My dog is curled in her bed. There are no Ghosts in sight, not yet.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

This was first published here in 2017 but it applies to 2021 – maybe even more.

Short Story Sunday: Star Crossed

I don’t remember why Teddy wanted to go to Verona. Maybe it was the Roman ruins or the colorful buildings. It might just have been because we had never been there before. Or maybe it could have been because the vampire population is small. 

I’d ask Teddy and he’d just smile and tell me that it was the romance of it all. With Teddy everything is about the romance of it all.

We’d rented a tile roofed house with a courtyard full of flowers, a hot water heater that worked, and a quick walk to the markets and historic sites.

One morning over coffee I heard someone crying. I questioned my husband. He went out to the courtyard and didn’t see anyone.

“It sounded like a girl,” I said. “She sounded so sad.”

We both stood in the kitchen and listened. The crying started again. Then we heard the voice of a young man speaking softly in Italian.

“This is not my fault,” he said. “I had no control over the situation. I told him that you were both fools to think your infatuation would lead to any good.”

Then she wailed and cried again. “You are wrong. He and I were in love. It was the love that only angels can bring to this world. It was true. It was so beautiful.”

“No,” the young man said. “He was like a dog who sniffed at every crotch he saw. He would follow them until they shooed him away. You were nothing but a rebound with a pretty face. Nothing more than another cute little pet.”

The girl screamed obscenities at him, then it stopped.

Despite it being summer, a chill filled the air. Teddy and I look at each other. 

“Ghosts” said Teddy. “I hate ghosts.”

Suddenly a young man, more of a teenage boy, with hair to his shoulders and a billowing white shirt stood before us.

“You hate ghosts do you? I hate vampires. They come here with their breath smelling of blood, and their pale skin. Yet… look at you. Damn you are handsome. Your wife is quite lovely but you! You, both of you, do not look, or even act like the undead demons of the night.”

“We are neither undead nor demons,” I said. 

The wailing started again. Materializing next to him was a girl, maybe thirteen or fourteen. She wore a long green dress. Her dark hair was flowing down her back to her waist. Tears flowed down her face.

“My love Romeo and I were to be together always, even in death, but I was stuck here with HIM.” She glanced over to the male ghost with hate and loathing.

“You were idiots,” he said. “You had no business hooking up. I died because of you. Because of YOU Juliet.”

“Mercutio you are a liar and a wart on the ass of a dog.” Then she looked at us. “For hundreds of years he has done nothing but insult me and question my love for Romeo. He is jealous to the point of obsession.”

“I would rather die than be with a girl like you,” Mercutio said.

“You are dead,” Juliet screamed.

“Because of you. I am dead because of you. Now I am stuck with this bitch forever while my ungrateful friend Romeo has gone with the angels to a heaven he does not deserve.”

“Why do you stay in this place,” I asked.

“It is where vampires come to visit. Normal living people do not see us. They do not believe in us. When Juliet cries they only hear the wind. When we tap on the walls they think we are rats,” said Mercutio. “It breaks my heart because my charms are wasted on an ungrateful child.”

“I am not a child,” Juliet wailed.

“You are not a woman,” said Mercutio. “So why do we stay? Where would we go?”

“My name is also Juliette,” I said, “I just spell it differently.”

“It looks as though you were wiser when choosing a man,” said Mercutio.

Juliet started to wail again.

I glanced at my husband. “Should we go see some of the old city Teddy?”

“Good idea,” said my handsome husband.

As we walked the streets Teddy put his arm around my shoulder and kissed me. “I’m glad that when I almost died that I woke up as a vampire and not a damn ghost. They’re always so bitter.”

“Bad decisions. You didn’t choose to be vampire, but you also didn’t choose to fall in love with the wrong person,” I said.

“Very true. I’m happy to say I’ve never felt the urge to be star crossed.”

“Or throw pebbles at my window late at night.”

He laughed and kissed me again. Teddy and I have always told our children that choices they make when they are young might follow them forever. They must be careful and think of consequences. Being carried away in the moment might be deadly, or even worse. 

Tragedy comes in many forms. Then again, so does comedy. I think I’ll stick with comedy. Yes, don’t underestimate a vampire’s capacity to entertain. 

Now several years later I sometimes wonder if the spell was broken on the two ghosts in Verona. I can only hope. Even the worst follies of youth should eventually be forgiven. It is time for them all to say goodnight. And now, it is time for me to do the same as well.

Short Story Sunday: Uncle Bud’s House

Uncle Bud’s House

The whole Covid-19 pandemic thing hit my sister and I pretty hard. I was laid off from my job, my girlfriend kicked me out, and I moved back in with my parents. My sister Luna was finishing up her senior year in college online because nobody was allowed to take classed on campus. 

My name is Hawk, because, well, my parents are earthy crunchy organic well to do educated hippy types who didn’t want to conform to the norms when it came to putting traditional tags on their children. I’d started using my middle name Griffin, due to the fact that the name Hawk turned up in too many action and superhero movies and nobody took me seriously. I was tired of being asked if Hawk was my real name. It sucked.

Luna liked her name, which was good since her middle name was Gertrude, after Gertrude Stein.

One day in December, when I was trying to write a novel, and my sister was on break my parents suggested we get out of our rut and go stay on the coast in Uncle Bud’s house.

Uncle Bud’s house? That was new. Why hadn’t we ever heard of Uncle Bud’s house. Why hadn’t we heard that mom had inherited Uncle Bud’s house ten years ago? Mom just shrugged and said it slipped her mind. 

“It’s a beautiful place on the coast, surrounded by redwoods. I’ve been renting it out to vacationers in the summer. It’s a six hour drive but well worth it. The place is beautiful. Your Uncle Pete and I loved going there when we were kids. There’s beach access too.”

So to make a short story a little longer, two days later my parent’s packed us up with sage, healing crystals, homemade granola, oatmeal cookies, almond milk, and a key to the house.

On the way we stopped by a few wineries and picked up a couple of cases of really nice wine. In town a few miles from the house we got more groceries.

The house was beautiful. Again, we wondered why our parents never took us there. Once inside I set the crystals on the mantle, and Luna burned the sage to rid the place of any toxic vibes. I’d half expected a musty old place filled with dark old furniture. The place was contemporary and bright, all decorated in blues and yellow. I recognized the art on the wall as stuff my mom had painted when she was in high school. A few of the other paintings looked like my grandmother had painted them.

The phone worked. The Internet connection was strong. There was a drizzle of rain but no snow. Life was good.

That night as we were fixing spinach and lentil soup, we heard a noise coming from the back of the house. I looked down the hallway and saw a dark figure standing there.

“Oh my god,” said Luna. “Is that a nun?”

At the end of the hall stood a young woman in a black habit, her large brown eyes wide with fear. She screamed like someone in a horror movie, then vanished. Seriously, she vanished into thin air.

I looked at Luna. “What that a ghost?”

“I think so,” she whispered.

We burned more sage, finished making the soup, and opened a bottle of wine.

As we at dinner in the dining room we heard a sound in the kitchen. Someone was quietly singing. I didn’t recognize the song. 

Getting up to investigate was found a guy about my age standing by the kitchen sink. He was wearing jeans and a red flannel shirt. He looked over at me and smiled, then like the nun, he vanished.

“Holy shit,” said Luna. “How many other ghosts are in here?”

Despite the weirdness neither one of us were afraid. We could handle it.

Then there was a knock on the door. Just like in a horror movie. Maybe somebody had broken down and we’ll all be trapped together for the night. Maybe it would be some weird guy with a chain saw looking to collect more heads for his collection. Or maybe it would be our neighbors.

It was our neighbors. At the door were two people who introduced themselves as John and Mercy. They were brother and sister. Like us they were taking a break from Covid and school.

We shared our soup and the cornbread we’d made, and later a few more bottles of wine. John and Luna went for a moonlight walk on the beach while Mercy and I stayed inside.

“I’m sure you already saw Sister Antonia and Luke,” said Mercy.

She knew all about the ghosts. Apparently they’d been around for the past hundred years. Nobody knew who they were or where they came from. Mercy told me they were harmless. 

You know, I felt a sudden ease with Mercy. She said she graduated at UCLA. I told her I’d gone to UC Santa Barbara. We talked about the pandemic and tried to avoid politics. Then she kissed me, and I couldn’t stop kissing her back. 

The next morning I found myself alone with the other side of the bed cold. Mercy had left. So much for coffee in bed and another roll about.

Luna was downstairs making tea.

“Is Mercy still here?”

“She left. John?”

“Nope.”

“OK. Do you want breakfast?”

I scrambled up some tofu and made squash patties. Luna made blueberry muffins. 

“Hey, we have a bunch of muffins left. I’m bringing them over to Mercy and John.”

As we headed out the door was saw our neighbors in their front yard. They waved at us. I looked at Luna and sort of gave her a half laugh. It was cool. They weren’t too embarrassed to see us.

“You know Hawk, we’ve been here for three weeks and this is the first time we’ve been over here,” said Luna.

I knocked on the door. There was no answer. I knocked again. We walked around back to see if they were out there but there was nothing but a lone turkey vulture picking at a dead possum. 

“Mom would say that was a sign,” said Luna.

“Mom says everything is a sign,” I said.

The back door was cracked. I called inside, “John? Mercy? Hello?”

“Hawk. The kitchen is empty.”

Despite being brought up not to go where we haven’t been invited we went inside. The house was empty. I mean completely empty. Not a wine bottle, or a glass, or a beer can. Not a single stick of furniture, not a sleeping bag, no soap or shampoo in the bathrooms, or even toilet paper. The house was completely empty. We even checked the attic. It was empty.

“Well this is weird,” I said. 

“Son of a bitch,” said Luna. “They played us. I bet they’re over at our house right now stealing our computers.”

Nobody was at our house.

I called my mom and asked her if she knew anyone named John and Mercy.

“They lived next door. John was my summer boyfriend. Mercy was always flirting with your Uncle Pete.”

“Did either one of them have kids?”

“No, they’ve both died in 1977. John was going to UC Berkley and was hit by a car. Mercy was murdered by her boyfriend a few months later.”

“What did they look like.”

“Um, check the photo album on the bookshelf. There should be one marked 1976. We spent the entire summer there before we all went off to college.”

I thanked my mom but didn’t give her any details. 

That night we sat on our back deck sharing a bottle of wine and trying to digest the weirdness of the past few weeks. We sat without words for a while just listening to the frogs and crickets.

Luna tapped my arm. “Look,” she whispered.

Out in the yard was the nun, her head now bare, and her short hair adorned with a pink ribbon. She was in the arms of the man in the red plaid shirt. They slowly swayed to the sound of a song only they could hear. 

“I feel used,” I said.

“You think? Me too. If I’d had any idea, if mom and dad had any idea…,” said Luna.

“Do you think they’ll be back?”

“Fuck no. Their kind never come back. There is no way in Hell I’ll ever let any kids of mine come here, especially after they’re grown.”

The next morning we packed up my car and headed back to our parent’s house. Mom put the place on the market. It would sell quickly. Who wouldn’t want a beautiful Victorian house in the woods, close to town, and with beach access? 

Well, not Luna and me. 

~ end

Thank you for reading this short ghost story written with lightning fast speed over coffee this morning. For more ghosts, and far more interesting and true ghost stories do a search on this blog. You’ll thank me for it later. ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Red Dress, White Trim, A Dancing Ghost and the Quiet Musings of a Vampire Mom

Red Dress, White Trim, A Dancing Ghost and the Quiet Musings of a Vampire Mom

She was a shining light in the forest, not a ghost who haunts but a ghost who dances to her own music.

I watched from my window as Mary danced in the woods. She wore not clothing of the 15th century when she lived, but a red mini dress with white fur trim on the hem and bell shaped sleeves. A long Santa had was on her head with a fluffy white ball at the tip. Bells adorned the top of her white over-the-knee boots. Her red-brown hair was braided with gold ribbon. When you’re a ghost you can wear what you want, do what you want, dance and love when you want.

That is if you don’t let your own ghosts get in the way. That was Mary.

Had it been any other ghost she would have annoyed the crap out of me, but since it was Mary I was enchanted. She is like a little elf who haunts my kitchen as she sits in front hot cups of coffee taking in the aroma. We chat about romance and fashion. She is a delightful little spirit.

Sometimes she slips and shows her own bloody and mangled murdered form but today she dances with joy to a long lost Christmas song.

A coyote yipped close by, down in the brush and Mary vanished. Damn coyotes. The cats lifted their heads at the noise. My dog didn’t even acknowledge the existence of her coyote cousins. Had it been a Golden Retriever she would have been all over it’s ass, but she had no time for coyotes.

Just as most Vampires have no time for ghosts.

I stood in front of the window with a glass of red wine in my hand watching the rain. My husband Teddy came up behind me and kissed my neck.

“What color do you want to paint the living room?”

“I don’t know. It depends on what color flooring we get,” I said putting my arms around his neck and kissing him.

I know that has nothing to do with ghosts but it has everything to do with how things go around my house. Just little bits, like a fragment of a song or just a small bite of something good.

“Did you see the ghost darling?” I asked my husband.

He missed her unfortunately. And so we started our evening discussing the news of the day, work, our kids, what color we want to paint the walls, what we’d wear to the next black tie party and other things married people talk about. What? Did you think we talk about spider webs, bats and blood all night? Hardly. We’re no Dracula and Elvira. Nobody we know is that.

Teddy asked me if I was going to tell anymore Christmas stories here. I think I will. I will also repost The Travelers (a Christmas tradition) and some new stories soon.

In the meantime, just imagine a tiny young transparent woman dancing in her red mini dress under the canopy of oak trees to the music of Tchaikovsky and Johnny Marks.

Have a lovely December,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman