A Werewolf’s Train To Nowhere

I’ve posted this a few times, but since it is Werewolf Week, and since this is what it is, I will post it again.

A Werewolf’s Train To Nowhere

 Right after I’d graduated from college (the first time) from one of the rare Universities (now a well respected and famous school) that accepted women I took a trip across country on a train to meet my brother Val. He’d gone to New York City without me, leaving me, a young woman, unescorted. I would have done fine on my own but back then, in 1881 young women, even Vampires, didn’t travel alone.

I got on the train on a dark full moon night and made my way to my car. I was to share a car with several other students and some sort of chaperone. What I found was three young men dressed in rather garish suits of the latest fashion (or so they thought) and nobody else. Two had short beards, again, the style of the time. I recognized one from school. The train started to move. There was no getting off. OK I could have jumped, but I was in a long dress with a bustle no less and jumping wasn’t a practical option. Contrary to popular belief I couldn’t turn myself into a bat and fly away. So I stayed. They were horrible the entire time making crude jokes and being as vulgar as they could be. They insulted me for being a Vampire, calling me dead and cold and well, they were vulgar to say the least. I was in Hell and ready to get off of the train.

I sat took claim to a settee with a small table and tried to ignore my garishly dressed companions. A young woman climbed aboard and the three men cheered. She was dressed as garish as they were in the most stylish of gowns but it was a bright orange color with brown beaded trim. Her hair was as orange as the dress and piled high on her head. That included a lot of fake hair to go along with her real hair.

She eyed me up and down. “Who invited the Vampire?”

“I’m Juliette,” I said to the Werewolf girl. Holy crap I’d been stuck for a cross country trip with four Werewolves. Every muscle and bone on my body tightened up. I wanted to scream. Instead I just kept my place in my corner while my companions made as much noise as they could laughing out loud and of course the alcohol and drugs came out. Of course.

Just as the parting whistle blew the door opened again and in stepped my friend Pierce. Finally, another Vampire had arrived, and a strong protective one at that. His father owned the train car and I didn’t even put the two together. Pierce was a friend of my brothers Max and Andy. At age 28 he was the oldest of our group. We made quite a contrast in our highly fashionable yet subdued attire compared to the flamboyant brightly dressed Werewolves. We were also a lot quieter.

The Werewolf girl who was named Phoebe gave Pierce a long hard look then smiled and licked her lips. Pierce is attractive with a narrow face, a sensuous mouth and dark heavily lashed eyes. Of course she noticed him. She’d no doubt try to have his clothes off, have her way with him then tear his throat out. Well, maybe not, but I didn’t want him to get her claws into a friend who was almost like a brother to me.

The males were Luke, Seth and Eldon. I’ll never forget their names. They were rude and loud and young. Had they been Vampires I might have thought they were fun, but since they were Werewolves I thought they were disgusting. Phoebe was just as bad with her crude laugh and dirty jokes.

Pierce and I played cards and stood on the back of the train in the night air. We mostly talked. I asked him about people we knew who’d gone out into the world – the young Vampires we’d grown up with. Pierce was on his way to New York. I was on my way to New York as well to meet my brother Valentine. After that we’d board a ship to London.

Conversations with the Werewolves were in bits and pieces of insults and crude jokes. Pierce’s father did business with their families. To keep the peace and keep favors in check he’d offered to let the young adults of the pack to ride with us. Also, by being with Vampires the Werewolves were more likely to behave themselves. At least that is what everyone thought.

On the second night, after a half of case of Champagne, the young Werewolf men, Luke, Seth and Eldon stripped naked right in front of us and said they were going out for a run. Phoebe decided to stay in. They ran out and I could hear them up on the roof of the train car howling, then down a side ladder and they were gone. Phoebe sat by the window looking at the full moon. She’d taken off her jacket and bodice down to a short-sleeved lace covered blouse. Long dark hair sprouted on her arms and hands. Her fingers grew claw like. Fur grew down the side of her face. She ignored us as a low growl came to the back of her throat as she watched for her pack mates.

Peirce and I watched three huge wolves run along the side of the train. The moonlight reflected off of their silvery gray fur. They were beautiful.

Then we heard horrifically loud shots. Our fellow passengers a few cars down were shooting at the wolves. Pierce ran out of the car. I could hear him shouting for the men with the guns to stop. Phoebe started to scream and scream and scream.

The next day we heard news of three young men found dead by the side of the tracks. The story was they had been drinking and had a fight on the top of the train and fell off after shooting each other.

I will never forget holding Phoebe in my arms and rocking her, trying to tell her that everything would be alright. I knew it would never be alright but I said it anyway.

For the next week as we made our way across the country she’d howl mournfully at night. The passengers said the train was haunted. I knew they’d brought on their own ghosts when they killed the wolves for no reason.

Werewolves and Vampires are predators but even we don’t partake in the senseless of killing animals for no reason other than target practice.

Pierce and I related the story to others but over the years we’ve kept a lot of the details to ourselves. It seems like so long ago. It was a long time ago. A long long time ago.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Werewolf Week

In honor of October, Werewolves, and Halloween the first week of October is now officially WEREWOLF WEEK here at vampiremaman.com

But proceed with caution…

Like my brother Max always says, “I have a dog. Why the Hell would I want to date one?” OK that isn’t his exact words. He says “Why the Hell would I want to fuck one?” I like to at least give the pretense of being polite.

When it comes to the subject of WEREWOLVES  we’re all over the place. We meaning Vampires. By all over the place I mean that we accept them, we live with them and from time to time we’re even friends with them but NEVER are we romantically involved (not that we know of). And of course we don’t have big battles in dark woods or dark caverns with cosplay type costumes. We talk out our problems. Otherwise we’d be like Regular Humans, and heaven forbid we be like them. Of course there might be a little occasional growling or biting but we get over it fast.

What do my readers love? Or maybe the question should be about random readers. The three posts on this blog that get the most traffic are:

1. How to Respond to a Love Letter

2. Taking your teen to a metal concert

3. Halloween Hotties: Werewolves

Yes, Werewolves, right here on the Vampire blog. I’d like to say it is because a few Halloweens ago I mentioned Robert McCammon’s smoking hot Werewolf in the book “Wolf’s Hour”. And yes, that is in my top ten favorite books of all times. And I had the HONOR of being picked up by the authors social media. Wow.

Anyway, several years have passed and people still want to hear about Werewolves.

My friend Adam, who is a Werewolf, often complains that people always ask him about Vampires. Go figure. For the longest time Adam didn’t know I was a Vampire and I didn’t know he was a Werewolf. We hid the fact rather well, too well. We could have ended up killing each other, or worse. Anyway…

One evening we talked extensively about his ability to do true shape shifting. He said it was uncomfortable at times and took a toll on the body. He spoke of being part wolf in sort of a far off way.

“You see, Juliette,” he said to me one night over a bottle of wine on a chilly roof top, “I don’t get chilled when I see a wolf. I get chilled when I see a chimpanzee. I’m not so far off in my DNA from them but they look at me with uncomfortable and defiant eyes of something alien that wants to point an accusatory finger at me. When I look at a wolf I see my brother with a shared soul.”

I could see his point and we were drinking. As a Vampire I don’t shape shift. I just make others believe I do. Part of my hunt is in creating an illusions. With Werewolves things can get a bit more real.

Oh and by the way, Werewolf blood tastes like good well aged Bourbon. But you won’t be able to tell unless you’re a Vampire.

I’ll have more later on Werewolves during the month of October. In the meantime I’ll leave you with a little story I’ve posted here before. The night is still young and I have places to go and people to… well you know how it is.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Lon Chaney looking hot in a suit! Sweetheart stay out from under that full moon!

 

Short Story Sunday:

Grandpa’s Dog

A short story from Marla Todd (featured in the WPaD short story anthology Creepies)

 

“I’m taking him to the vet and having him put down.” Jeff said into the phone.

“No you aren’t.” I said, ready to scream.

“It is cruel to make him suffer like this.”

“He isn’t our dog to put down.” I almost growled at my husband.

“I don’t care. Grandpa will understand. He’s always complaining about how he hates Bruce anyway.”

“The kids will be heartbroken.” I said trying to stall him.

“They’ll understand.”

“What about my mom? She’ll never forgive you.”

“Gretchen, I’m taking Bruce to the vet. I’m sorry.”

“I want to say good-bye.”

“Bruce will understand.” He hung up. Damn him.

Bruce was Grandpa’s dog. He was old. The oldest dog I knew. Jeff thought he was 16. I knew better. Jeff thought Bruce was half wolf and half Alaskan Malamute. I knew he was half Irish. Jeff liked to bake him organic dog treats. I knew Bruce preferred bourbon and prime rib. Jeff thought grandpa was crazy to have such a large dog. I knew Grandpa was half crazy and Jeff was right, it was about the dog, but it didn’t have anything to do with its size.

Once a month I kept the dog for Grandpa, while he “Went to the cabin with his old college buddies.” I hauled the dog to weddings, to funerals, to camping trips and hanging around the house. He’d been there for my college graduation, my wedding, for my kids. My mom had watched the old dog before me. My grandma before her.

Of course Jeff didn’t believe anything my family said about the damn dog. He’d spent years hearing us tell bad jokes and tall tales. It was how we spoke, in stories. I blame it on my Southern parents. Jeff just thinks I’m funny. He tells me I should have my own show on cable. HA HA HA. He thinks my family is quirky and quaint. Right now nothing was funny or quaint.

I raced home from the studio. I’m a photographer, mostly editorial, corporate portraits, product photos. Good thing I’m the owner of the business, otherwise I’d never deal with my husband, my children and Grandpa’s damn dog. I would have had the dog with me today but he was too stiff to climb into the car by himself and at 125 pounds I didn’t feel like lifting him today.

Jeff was still at home. I parked blocking the driveway. Thank God the kids were still in school. I have never been so angry with anyone in my entire life. I barged through the door yelling at my husband. “All I asked you to do was check in on him for me at lunch time and you decided to kill him. Well for once in your life listen to me…”

I yelling stopped when I saw Jeff. He had a towel around his hand. He was bleeding.

“The old guy bit me when I was trying to get him out of the house.” he said with a shrug of his shoulder.

I saw Bruce poke his old white muzzle around the corner.

“Why the hell did you have to bite him?” I yelled at the dog. Bruce tucked his tail and cowered. His ribs stuck out from his sides. He looked ancient and pathetic.

Jeff reached out to scratch the dog behind his ear. “Don’t yell at him. It’s like he sensed what I was going to do. Poor old guy was scared.”

“Don’t touch him.” I yelled. I looked at the wound on Jeff’s hand. It was clean. I went back to the dog. “Damn you, after all I’ve done for you.” Bruce looked at me with glassy brown eyes and shook, tail still between his legs.

Jeff put his arms around me “Gretch, don’t get mad at the dog. “

“You don’t understand,” I gasped.

“He’s old and scared.” Jeff said stroking my hair with his good hand. “You know dear, all that dog hears is “Bruce, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah”. He laughed and gave me a quick hug.

I pulled away. “He’s a werewolf.”

“Oh Honey, don’t call him that. He’s just an old arthritic dog. Poor old guy.” He leaned down to touch noses with the dog. Bruce licked Jeff’s face and thumped his tail on the floor. “You aren’t a werewolf are you old guy? You’re just a prince in disguise. You think she’ll give you a kiss?” Jeff started to make kissy noises.

I thought I was going to throw up.

“There’s a reason why we never see Grandpa and Bruce together.” I growled. They’re the same animal. Bruce isn’t 16, he’s 85. ”

Jeff took a deep breath. “I’m not going to put him down. We’ll wait till Grandpa gets home and discuss it with him. Werewolves. That’s a good one. So when you work at night does that mean you’re a vampire?” he laughed again. “You can bite my neck anytime.” He kissed my neck.

I backed away feeling the panic rushing up inside my body. “Jeff, it’s true and now….”

I couldn’t say the words. Now my husband was going to become a werewolf and I’d have one more old dog to take care of.

 

old dog

 

Ask Juliette: Becoming A Vampire

Ask Juliette is a semi-regular (usually Thursday) feature here on Vampiremaman dot com. If you have questions about relationships, parenting, Vampires, the Paranormal World, Halloween, gardening, pets, art, or just about anything feel free to ask. Send your questions in the comments here or email me at juliettevampiremom @ gmail dot com.
I have only one question/answer this week and it is about Vampires.

Dearest Juliette,

Recently, a friend of mine has unfortunately been changed as a Vampire without their consent. We are attempting to help him make his transition smoother and I was curious, as you are an expert on this topic, what advice you may have for me as I work to keep him safe.

Sincerely, 
Lydia Brown
Dear Lydia,

I am always shocked and saddened when I hear of something like this. It is morally and ethically wrong for any Vampire to turn someone else into a Vampire without their consent. It is a violation of everything we (Modern Vampires) believe in. Unfortunately there are plenty of Rogue Vampires, Shadow Creepers, and Ghouls out there to make a mess of things for unfortunate souls who happen to cross their paths. On a good note, just be glad your friend was turned into a Vampire and NOT a Zombie.

Thank the stars or whatever you pray to that your friend survived. Only about 10% of people survive the process and become Vampires.

Here is what you need to do for your friend:

1. Food.

Don’t let your friend go around trying to bite necks and end up with an embarrassing mess. One needs to start on wrists. But in all seriousness, start out with blood from other sources. Medical supply establishments and blood banks seem obvious but we have our own sources. If you have a Dave’s Bottle Shop in your area they always have a good variety of blood in the back. If you show up with your friend they’ll know right away he is a Vampire and help you out.

Your friend will be able to eat a limited amount of regular food BUT it is limited. No sugar, no fast food, no carbs, no bakery products at all, no fruit smoothies, no chips, or Hot Cheetos, or milk.

What won’t make your friend sick (usually, sometimes, maybe) is dark leafy green vegetables, red wine, most booze, olives, meat, etc. Stay away from chicken or most poultry at first.

2. Find other Vampires (not the creepy types either)

Your friend will know when they see another Vampire. They just do. Reach out and find out who can help. Most of us will. We understand. We want everyone in our community to be a success.

3. Light and Dark

Vampires tend to be light sensitive, even if they have dark skin. Wear sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats all year, rain or shine.

4. Vampire “powers.”

Your friend will notice that he can concentrate on a person and make them sleep, or stop, or all kinds of stuff. At first it will be awkward, but it takes practice. I can take down a Vampire hunter with a lock of an eye, but I’ve been doing this for 157 years. This is where other Vampires can help. Just think of the master and “Grasshopper.”

5. Don’t let ANYONE know you’re a Vampire.

Keep it to yourself. Keep your fangs in. Don’t be creepy. If you’re a Vampire you’ll live a long time but you aren’t immortal. You can be killed. And you won’t last long if you go around bragging, or even hinting.

6. You can have a normal life as a Vampire.

Seriously, you can. Read this blog. You’ll see. It isn’t a bad life.

7. Vampires can see Ghosts and other “different” folks.

Don’t freak out if your friends starts to say he sees Ghosts, Demons, Pixies, and other interesting characters. He does not have to talk to them, look at them, or socialize with them. Most of them are up to no good. If he ignores them they will usually go away.

8. Everything else (the myths)

As for stuff like garlic, holy water, mirrors and such – most of that stuff is kind of untrue. Modern mirrors show our reflection, but others will see our reflection blurry, unless we lock eyes in the mirror with them. It’s kind of hard to explain. Tell your friend to give it a try and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

The garlic thing has always been a myth. But honestly who wants to go to bed with someone with a huge string of garlic around his or her neck? Nobody. Holy water and church stuff – all I have to say is that we’re not welcome, but we like the music so you just might find us sitting in the back of the church, especially around holidays. If that is your friend’s thing them tell him to go for it.

And best of all Vampires do not have to sleep in crypts, coffins, or holes in the ground. Your own bed is just fine.

I hope this helped. I can’t stress enough the fact that you need to find other Vampires who can show him the ways of our people. You can still be friends with him. He’ll appreciate that more than you’ll even know.

Keep me posted on how he is doing.

 

Good luck,
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Demons

I’ve had several posts mentioning Demons, especially concerning my brother Max. A few years ago I visited him at his house in San Francisco. Our parents and brother Andy, also live in the City by the Bay. I’m the one everyone calls when things get weird. Max is single and lives alone, and I’m also married to Teddy, his best friend since childhood.

Anyway, this is why we don’t like Demons around, at least one of the reasons.

strangereyes

My eldest brother Max, for those of you who don’t know, is one of those alpha Vampires who hunts Vampire Hunters, Rogue Vampires and all sorts of nasty evil and just plain annoying creatures and things that go bump in the night. He is a hunter and sometimes a killer – that said, he and his associates protect us all from things we shouldn’t need to deal with.

Max looked like Hell warmed over. He’d been out on a call and found himself up against a group of Demons. Yes, that kind of Demon – nasty and evil, no doubt straight from Hell and running rampant trying to cause problems anywhere it could.

Teddy still has the cold hard fear of Demons. That isn’t a bad thing. We don’t like them. They’re creatures that don’t derive from humanity but like goblins, have no problems pretending they derive from humans.

A long nasty deep pair of scratches ran across Max’s arm. There was no sign of healing on the ugly red marks. He’d been cornered and put up a fight before his back-up team arrived. The Demons were taken care of but not first without doing damage to Max and who knows who or what else.

Late into the night we talked over several bottles of wine and blood. Our brother Andy came by as well for a few hours to visit. Max was restless the entire night. Just before dawn we all retired to spend a rare day sleeping (Teddy and I live during the daylight due to school hours.)

I was awake before dusk. It was a beautiful clear day. From the back window I could see a panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay going out into the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. No wonder Max loved living here so much.

In the kitchen making tea I discovered Max’s old friend Celeste. She was beautiful beyond compare, wearing nothing but a pair of black lace panties and a magnificent seal skin coat. That wasn’t unusual because Celeste is a Selkie. On the land she is a women and in the ocean a seal. I was and wasn’t surprised to find her there. Max says he won’t mingle with those who aren’t like him, but I know who his friends are. I have no problems with Celeste or her kind.

Celeste rolled her shoulders and told me about my brother. “He called me last night. Said he needed some distraction. You know how Max is. His brain just gets full or he gets bothered and doesn’t know what to do about it. You know, Juliette we’re just friends with benefits. I just fuck him and talk. Nothing else. You think I’d be crazy enough to fall in love with a Vampire? Not on your life. Just friends. Always just friends.

Celeste then put a wedge of lemon in her tea and continued, “There is someone else, a Vampire girl he has a strange sort of bond with, but he doesn’t want any emotional entanglements with her. He was afraid she’d be too much for him, for his heart. I’ve never seen a guy try to logic and think his way out of falling in love like Max has this time.”

I saw a long burn along Celeste’s arm. “Oh that. I brushed against Max’s arm where the demon scratched him. Damned if it didn’t burn me too. The salt water will heal it. But you need to check in on him. He’s in pretty bad shape. The Demons really got to him this time and not just physically. They really fucked with him big time,” she told me in her whiskey and silk voice.

I took her arm and looked at the burn. It was hot to the touch. I spit on my finger and rubbed it along the burn.

“It stopped hurting. Thanks,” she said with a smile full of sharp white teeth. It was a smile that she won’t show a Regular Human. I have to admit I was flattered.

After a bit more small talk she left and no doubt went back into the Pacific Ocean and turned back into a seal.

I went upstairs to Max’s room. He was asleep, curled in soft gray blankets wearing a black silk robe. I took his arm and looked at the deep scratches that had turned an angry blackish red.

He opened his eyes. The usual blue gray hazel had turned dark, almost a dull black. I could tell he wasn’t well.

“I saw Celeste. She is worried about you.”

He gave me a “join the club” look. He didn’t need to say it out loud.

Taking his arm, I put my hand over the poisoned gashes and saw the ugly face of the Demon who clawed him.

“Don’t little sister. You’ll get sick,” Max said.

Ignoring him pricked my finger with the tip of my fang and let a drop of blood fall on his wounds. I put my hand back on his arm and willed the poison away.

Yes, I did end up making it to the bathroom before I threw up and almost fell over from my head spinning, but I was fine after a few minutes (ok hours). The poison wasn’t meant for me so I was fine – bothered but fine. It could have stayed with Max for weeks or even months. It could have set him back into a spiral of depression and hopelessness that if not taken care of could have done permanent damage. Demons are like that. They’re horrible evil things.

I kissed his cold cheek and left my brother to sleep.

When someone you love is poisoned by Demons you need to help them get through it – no matter what kind of Demons. They do a lot of damage, but it can be fixed. Demons hate any kind of love or understanding and will poison us against it. So we fight them. And those like Max fight them so they can’t hurt anyone else.

Like I’ve said, when you’re a Modern Vampire every single day has the potential of being weird, but we do what we can do avoid it.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vampire Diary: Music to My Ears (Broken Record Edition)

Dear Diary,

When one is imprisoned in a crypt for three hundred years one misses out on a lot of things. The past three hundred years went fast and were full of wonders which I missed being hellishly locked in a dark damp coffin inside of an ivy covered crypt. I hate ivy.

There is so much that used to be that I have not seen. Entire centuries and now dead technologies, fashions, and ways of life have vanished before I could know what they were but everyone aside from me knows what these things are, even if they were not born before these things happened.

Two days ago someone said he sounds like a broken record.

What did he mean. Did his numbers not match up? I asked.

I was told that he repeated himself.

“What is this record of,” I asked.

“It could be anything, I don’t know,” said the woman I was speaking with.

“I do not understand. Is it software such as an Excel spreadsheet?” I asked this trying not to sound old fashioned and completely ignorant of popular culture.

“Records. Phonograph records,” she said. “You know, like vinyl?”

“Oh I am sorry. I must have misunderstood you. The noise in this place interferes with my hearing,” I said to her. Then I looked into her eyes and made her forget everything except her desire to have me put my lips upon her neck and sink my teeth into her flesh and drink her blood.

We left and went to her apartment. She was lovely. But I could not help wondering why anyone would be concerned with keeping poor records of something called phonographs and how they would compare to a man who keeps repeating himself. I left her asleep with a smile on her face, and about a pint less blood and no memories of my bite.

Few automobiles were on the road as I drove home. I thought about my car that allows me to play thousands of songs, talk on the phone, and tell me directions from a small woman’s voice. I took the speed up to ninety-five miles per hour. I would talk my way out of a ticket because I am a Vampire and I can do that. Then I slowed down. I understand why people like cars. I understand the power. I listened to opera music in my car and sang along. It made me happy and less confused.

It was 3:34 a.m. when I stopped to obtain gasoline for my car. When I was outside I could hear two women standing by their car. I could hear one saying, “Damn he is one hot looking man.”

I did not feel hot. I am a Vampire. I never feel hot. Putting my hand on my forehead I could feel no sweat. I do not sweat. I do not understand.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I spoke with my Vampire lover Gillian about what is a record. She did not roll her eyes but I knew she had the burning desire to.

“Dear Vlad, it is not an accounting record or ledger. It is a disk that music is recorded on. It is a recording. It is a disk made of vinyl that came out before the digital stuff you listen to now. When a record is scratched it skips, which means it repeats the same part of the song over and over. That my darling is where the expression broken record comes from,” she told me.

“How should I have known? Show me what this record looks like,” I said.

She went to YouTube, one of my sources for information about this confusing modern world, and found a recording of a record playing the Ramones. I know the Ramones. I have a See Dee.

 

Gillian started to explain the Addams Family but then she stopped and just smiled. I am sure sometimes she thinks I am an idiot.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today I took Jane the coyote pup to the dog park. A dog park is a place for dogs to run and play with each other. Jane is wild but not so wild. She has the body of a coyote but the soul of a Werewolf. No matter. She is now a member of my household.

I was told coyotes are not allowed as pets. At the dog park I was asked if Jane was a coyote.

I said, “no, she is a Scottish Squirrel Hound and Moon Shepherd mix.” I almost laughed at my own joke.

One of the women, one with a large black and white dog of mixed lineage looked at Jane and me and said, “you two are so adorable together.”

I smiled and wondered what her blood type was. Adorable. I believe that means cute. I do not understand how a strong Vampire man with broad shoulders and a coyote can be cute. Then again she did not know that I am a Vampire.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight Gillian and I went to dinner at a local pub. It is a place we frequent where people freely mingle and listen to bands that play music that is for folks, called folk music. Sometimes they play punk music, and punk pop, and assorted things I do not understand but strangely like.

Many people were there. Because we are Vampires the people are naturally attracted to Gillian and me. Gillian is also gorgeously beautiful. Heads turned as we walked about. One gets used to it but it is not as it used to be, but I can not explain. I do not have the words for such an expression. People now are forward in expressing their feelings. Also, I am no longer a Vampire King so I am just an ordinary man when I am out. It is in a way a freeing experience not to have people afraid to speak freely around me.

A server slipped at something on the floor as she brought a tray of wine glasses to a table. I suddenly found myself covered with red wine. How odd that I was the one who looked like I was covered in blood. I am so neat. I am getting good at this joke thing.

She said she was so sorry but I told her that I was not mad. I wanted to make sure she was not distressed. Putting my hand on her arm I calmed her with thoughts of, well, of me. The bartender told me to give him my shirt and he’d put something on it to get the stains out before they set in. I can appreciate that. All Vampires appreciate stain removal. As I took off my shirt there was a gasp in the crowd. I ran my hand through my golden hair pushing it out of my eyes, then I put back on my leather jacket, but did not zip it up. The women in the pub, young and old, just smiled and stared.

“He looks like something out of a bodice ripper,” voices whispered. “Oh my God.”

“Bodice ripper?” I whispered to Gillian.

She put her hand on my bare chest. “A romance novel with a strong handsome extremely sexually attractive male. The cover art often shows a well-built man without a shirt on. It is called a bodice ripper because, well, when he makes love to the heroine of the story bodices are often ripped, you know, in the throes of passion.”

I had to smile. It was something like this picture, only it was not because the women were wearing skinny jeans or short skirts.

When I was young, before I was locked in a crypt for three hundred years, many Vampires were of the school of thought that we (Vampires) should terrify people we drank blood from.

They would lurk in the woods, and steal into homes at night with fangs out and dirty claw like finger nails. They walked with hunched shoulders. Their clothes were musty and never washed. They smelled of death with breath like rotting flesh. Sunken eyes frightened their prey. They pallid skin stretched tight over their bones. No wonder. They never got enough blood.

More enlightened Vampires, as with any enlightened being, realized that making one’s self appealing and semi-delightful always attracts more prey. Who would want to eat food that stinks? Who would want to make love to a skeleton? Who would not want to scream when something that looks and smells dead crawls into their bed in the middle of the night?

Bodice ripper. I laugh now.

The bartender gave me my shirt back with the stains washed out. I laughed and told him that it was no problem. We talked and he told me that his band was coming out with a record. They were going to put it on vinyl. I knew what he was talking about. I knew what that was. What is it that is said…small world. Yes, it is a small world.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I sat in the dark under the stars with my cats, Jane the coyote, and Gillian. We talked of how the world has changed, in both good and bad ways.

Then Gillian said, “Let’s pretend we’re in a bodice ripper novel.”

And we went inside and did exactly that.

I like these bodice rippers. I like them a lot. What is that expressions. Ahhh yes, music to my ears.

~ Vlad.