Short Story Sunday: Dawn of the Undead (a Halloween Countdown Tradition)

Dawn of the Undead – A Very Short Vampire Story

It had been a long night of love and blood and fun. So many Halloween parties. It was a good night to be a Vampire.

Jon pulled up to his house and sat in the driveway for a few minutes as he checked his messages. The sky grew lighter in the distance. Soon the sun would be up and he’d be in bed, shutters closed, dreaming sweet dreams of the night skies and warm women with long necks.

As he stepped out of the car something grabbed him and slammed him down in the driveway. Flat on his back he looked up into the face of a Vampire Hunter. Damn it.

“We’re going to hold you here until the sun comes up and you fry,” said a man dressed in black.

“Honestly Dude you’re going to have to cut out my heart or cut my head off to kill me. i guess you could burn me to a crisp but that takes forever. You might want to reconsider. Come on in and we’ll talk about this over a beer or something…” Jon was trying to stall them. The sun wasn’t going to hurt him much.

Turning his head Jon could see the thin ribbon of pink coming up over the hills. Dawn. It was his best hour. It was the time he’d write his best work. It was the time he’d relax and gather his thoughts. It is his time and they were not going to take it from him.

“Guys, I have a deadline on an article for Vampire Review. I have to get it done this morning. You’re making a mistake.”

The Vampire Hunters raised their knives.

A few hours later the sun was in the sky, the birds singing, squirrels ran through the trees. Jon took off his work gloves and put away his shovels. This wasn’t the way he’d planned on spending his morning, but when you’re a Vampire… sometimes you have to face the sun and do what you have to do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From ghoulies and ghosties

And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Little Hagrid, Being a Vampire at Halloween, and Dealing With Friends Who Aren’t Vampires

Despite the fact that I have become she of the empty nest I will have at least one kid here for Halloween. Woo Hoo. Since school and work is all online these days my grown kidlets have more freedom to make longer visits.

I’m retelling a story from 2015 today. In 2018 year my husband and I went as Simon and Garfunkel for Halloween. It was absolutely the best, but I’d almost forgotten the time we went as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Maybe this year I’ll finally go as Little Hagrid despite the lack of Halloween parties.

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Little Hagrid, Being a Vampire at Halloween, and Dealing With Friends Who Aren’t Vampires

I’ve got the moves like Hagrid

“Teddy and I have been invited to a Harry Potter Party. Why in God’s name our friend chose that theme I’ll never know. Anyway, I was thinking I could find some ugly baggy old sweaters and we could go as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. What do you think?”

He looked at me with shock. OK almost shock. He looked at me like I was the weird kid asking him is he ever ate cat brains, or something along those lines.

“I thought about going as Little Hagrid. Get it? Little Hagrid because he was huge and I’m only 5’4″ and Hagrid was about seven feet tall.”

I’ve got the moves like Hagrid.

I could hear the gears turning in his brain. Vampires going to a costume party? Vampires dressing up like Harry Potter characters? Little Hagrid? WTF?

“It is always funny when a woman wears a beard,” I said as I put more drawings out on the table. “Here are the rest of the sketches. If you like them I’ll finish them up.”

Oh right, this is where I back up and tell you what is going on. Dr. Austin Durant, history professor and sometimes weird Vampire Hunter, but all around normal guy, had hired me to create some drawings for him for a book he is writing. He likes my work, plus I lived back then, in the middle of the 19th Century, granted I was a child at the time.

I shouldn’t have asked him about the costumes. Back to the drawing board, literally.

“The Weasleys would be funny,” he finally said. “I could see that. It would be easy too.”

I smiled minus my fangs. We both turned at the sound of a tap on the door.

Standing there, as impeccably put together and flawlessly handsome as ever, was my friend Jack.

“What are you wearing to the Harry Potter party?” I had to ask. He and his wife aren’t Vampires but they’re going too.

“We’re going as Dobbie and Malfoy,” he said with a wink. Damn, that man was handsome, with blood like the finest Cabernet. Obviously Jack isn’t a Vampire, but a dear friend. I’m his Vampire.

“Oh my God, that is brilliant,” I said.

“I’m going to be Dobbie,” he said. Then we both laughed. You have to admit that is funny. Jack is six feet tall after all.

I introduced Austin and Jack. Austin intuitively knew that Jack wasn’t a Vampire. Austin knows a lot of things, but as cocky as he can get he has never really come to terms with the fact that Halloween has come to his life every single day of the year.

About five years ago Austin Durant started restoring historic structures (old buildings) and has since run across all sorts of nasty old things like dead bodies, dried up old shadow creeping Vampires, and ghosts. My brother Aaron, who is an attorney and a Vampire, is Austin’s attorney and in turn hires Austin for various tasks, like removing unsavory things from buildings.

Anyway, enough of background material and back to Halloween.

Jack fawned over my sketches and marveled at my talent. My stomach started to rumble (nobody could hear it but I could feel it.) I’d have to wait for lunch. Lunch was Jack.

Life is full of such moments.

Halloween is almost here and I have yet to figure out costumes, put up decorations, figure out logistics of parties, and most of all think up a yearly Halloween theme for this blog.

In the meantime you can read these wonderful horror anthologies. Available at fine online booksellers.

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Or you can cut and color paper dolls for Halloween.

Ghostie Fashion Paper Doll. Color an Cut Fun.

Ghostie Fashion Paper Doll. Color an Cut Fun.

Or go look for Halloween Hotties.

Pin-Up-Halloween

Jack had to get back to work. Austin looked at the drawings for a bit more. His next class wasn’t until 2:00.  I watched him look at the details I’d added, just small things like a cat sitting in on a roof, or a style of hat.

He looked up and straight into my eyes, a dangerous thing if I’m in the right mood, which I wasn’t. “You could offer so much. You were there. You have gone through history. You’ve seen it your own eyes.”

“Do you think anyone would listen?” I asked him that obvious question. “Nobody cares about history. They would rather keep making the same mistakes over and over. They’d rather do what is easy. They’d rather not know the truth.” I locked his eyes with mine. I could feel him feel a slight panic. That was intentional. He brought out the Vampire in me. You know, I can’t be all touchy feelie nice all the time. “Dr. Durant, I don’t want to end up a dried up husk of a Vampire underneath one of your buildings so I will continue to keep my thoughts to myself.”

Then I thought about my blog… HA HA HA. But I don’t have to worry about you. Out of my seven regular readers at least two of you are Vampires and I’m sure at least one is a Zombie.  Anyway…

“You could share with me, just me,” said Austin.

“Yes, I could. I’ll draw it for you. I’ll tell you my stories so you can get a better understanding, as long as you only use my words for a stepping off point, or for inspiration.”

“Thank you Juliette,” he said to me. He looked calm and cool. I could feel him wanting to sweat it out.

“So what are you going to be for Halloween?” I had to ask.

“I don’t know, maybe a Vampire.” He flashed a dimpled smile. I knew why the girls all liked him.

So that is it for now. Have fun and well, have fun. That is the goal for today. And do something creative. And hug your kids. And talk to them. Always talk to your kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Oh, one more thing. For more about Austin and his story see the side bars for the Austin and Elizabeth story links. For more about Jack just search for his name. Yes, this is the old back story ploy not that anyone will really look.

I’ll have a new Austin and Elizabeth story later today or tomorrow. Damn pandemic has everyone on edge including Austin and Elizabeth.

New Insanely Spooky Halloween Music

Turn out the lights and listen.

My talented friend and fellow author Mike Cooley sent me a couple of his Halloween compositions. These are so much fun and SPOOKY!

Click here for more from Mike.

Thanks Mike!

Have fun everyone. Stay safe. Wear your mask. Hug your kids. Kiss a Vampire. Vote.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Evolving

It cooled off today. It FINALLY cooled off.

I can’t imagine having Middle School or High School kids right now. I don’t know how well mine would have done with online school. It is a challenge for everyone. My children were tech savy so that wasn’t the problem. It was everything else, by that I mean the social aspects of Middle and High School. Kids grow up fast and learn how to socialize. They have to deal with group projects, weird people, and other distractions that get them ready for the real world work world. They make friends that they have for life, or at least think they have for life. They’ll have their first romances, dances, clubs, art shows, and so many other things, like meeting friends at a locker between classes, or just hanging out.

Recently my grown kids experienced losing childhood friends. They didn’t die, they just didn’t recognize their old friends. OK to be honest it was political fall out that disgusted my kids. It was difficult for one of them to see close childhood friends become racist or sexist. It was difficult to see their smart childhood friends become Covid-19 and science deniers. I knew it was bound to happen. Fortunately most of their friends didn’t go off of the deep end.

My kids respect the right for others to have opinions, but not opinions that hurt others.

Now you know why us paranormal types don’t let anyone know what we are. Holy shit. I don’t want to go back to the days when we were burned at the stake or locked up in crypts with wooden stakes in our hearts. That would not be good.

You know, I can hardly write this post because of the stupid new “works like shit out of rusty can” block settings. Who the hell writes like that? Plus I can’t find anything. There was supposed to be a photo here but it kept freezing up and I couldn’t get to the insert image block without being bumped up to the top of the page. Just let me write God Damn IT.

Earlier today I saw Nigel the ghost is sitting outside hanging his feet over the edge of the half built deck. He is in jeans and a button down white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and his black hair brushing down over his collar. He looks up at me and gives me his “What the fuck Vampire?” look.

Our weird passive aggressive neighbor was walking behind the house along the fence line checking out my yard. I have no idea why he feels the need to be checking out our construction project or our orange trees and compost barrel. If I could have gotten away with it I would have pegged him with a pocket rocket (sling shot) or thrown a rotten orange at him.

I’ve thought about asking a ghost to go haunt them but considering their kids refuse to visit them and they don’t have any friends they’ve made their own haunted house. This guy spends all of his time in the side yard and side corner of his back yard because he has no windows facing my house. He can’t see what we are doing so he has to pretend he has yard work, only he doesn’t have a back yard. It is just wild with no fence going down into the field. He planted some ground cover as an excuse to go out there. But seriously, who spends eight hours a week taking care of a patch of ground cover? A crazy pathetic man who can’t stand to be in the house with his wife – that is who.

My new neighbors have also become obsessed with my flower filled front yard. Heaven forbid a single daylily go a half inch over the property line. My yard is on their garage side. They can’t even see it from their house. It isn’t like I had a side yard full of weeds and junk like they do. It isn’t like we go make noise at all hours under their master bedroom window like they do to us.

My husband describes them as vile pathetic people. Unfortunately our close friends who used to live there (for over 10 years) moved away and the owners of the house they rented from moved back in. Nobody in the neighborhood was happy about that.

If they died nobody would know for weeks or maybe months. That is sad indeed. Don’t worry, they don’t have pets. And I used to think we were the weird ones on the street.

Don’t worry. I can deal with it.

These days everything annoys me and everyone else. Aside from wearing a mask I suggest we all turn off the news and maybe only listen for the weather and the reports about giant pumpkins, dogs and cats who are looking for forever homes, and cool things kids are doing to keep happy and healthy.

I’m not surprised that most Werewolves I know are spending more time in the mountains away from everything and everybody. They used to just go up during the full moon. Now many of them are up there most of the time.

Parties or no parties, Halloween will be here soon.

I hope to chill and maybe even write some chilling Halloween posts, or at least fun posts. I have a lot of ideas but so many distractions.

My brother Max is being bothered by a Demon, Vlad is still confused, my children and thriving and having adventures, Austin Durant is attempting to get through this semester teaching college and helping my brother Aaron get rid of unwanted pests, and the ancient ones will celebrate Halloween no matter what happens. I’ll keep you all posted.

In the meantime I think I’ll have a glass of wine and maybe watch some baseball and work on some macrame. Why? Because that is what Vampires do. It isn’t all about sucking blood out of necks.

~ Wear your mask
~ Talk with your kids
~ Call your parents
~ Hug your dogs and cats
~ Feed a squirrel
~ Keep your bird feeders full
~ Be zen and sweep rather than using a leaf blower
~ Stay safe
~ Don’t be a dick
~ Be kind
~ And kiss a Vampire (the sooner the better)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Monsters in Love – Halloween Love Letters

vlad v
I love you. Juliette drew this.

While taking clothes out of the dryer I found a crisp folded piece of notepaper with a note, written with a red Sharpie.

Dear Garrett,
I don’t think you understand how you tear my heart apart. You don’t do anything. You just are. You drive me crazy. You act so cool and I know how you put on a mask. Everyday is Halloween for you.  Stop being so afraid of being yourself. I love you – you idiot.
Ione

Sigh. Seventeen year old Garrett has been writing love letters to girls since he was six years old.  Now girls are writing them to him too. He has known Ione almost his entire life but they just started dating last Spring. If they make it as a couple or not, I’m sure they’ll always be friends – I have a feeling they will (they’re both Vampires.)  So I put the note back in the pocket of his jeans and pretended I didn’t see it.

I went downstairs to find the kids watching the original Frankenstein movie. Wow, they were actually watching a black and white film.

My eyes moved to the TV where the Creature was just coming to life. The poor Creature made me think what would have happened if he’d found true love? What if all of the classic movie monsters had found love?

Monster Love Letters

Dear Creature,
May I call you Frank?  May I be frank? Your size and patchwork of parts might turn off some girls but I find you fascinating. I want to undo your stitches until I get to your heart.
xoxoxo
The girl with the white streak in her hair

_____________________

Dear Mummy,
Let me unwrap your heart. Let me unwind the hardened linen bandages that bind your love. Let me rub your hard dry skin with scented oil until you feel alive again. Let me take you in my arms and wrap my soul up in yours for an eternity.
Love, Daddy

______________________

Dear Wolfman,
You are the silver bullet in my heart.  Even a choke chain can’t keep me away from you.  Let me run my hands through your thick fur and scratch that sweet spot above your tail. I promise to bring the big box of Milk Bones.
Love, Daisy

_________________________

Dear Invisible Man,
You’re more than just a paycheck.
Love,
Your wife

___________________________

Dear Dr. Jekyll,
Stop hyding from me Mister. I want to see your dark side more often.
Love and kisses,
Candi

__________________________

Dear Dracula,
Bite me.
Love,
Lucy

____________________________

Lucy,
I’m tired of being pursued by sluts like you who cheat on their boyfriends. You took me to your bed when you knew another man was in love with you. Shame on you. Tell the same to that little trollop Mina.  And tell Jonathan that Mina isn’t as innocent as she acts.
Drop dead,
Dracula

______________________

Dear Creature from the Black Lagoon,
Let me be your Ester Williams, your mermaid, your gold fish girl! When I scream it isn’t in fear but in love – like screaming for a rock star. You’re my underwater Elvis. You’re my Puffer Daddy. You’re top on the “scale.” Oh kiss me fish lips and let me hold your webbed hand all night long.
Love, Ariel

______________________________

Dear Dr. Caligari
This crazy love, like the Poco song that keeps going through my brain. My world upside down and at a slant when I’m with you like some weird German modernist film. What happened to that wonderful German film industry, oh cut off by tyrants, the style that now only you seem to hold? But wait, my mind wonders because it is so confused by lack of sleep and hopes of love and freedom. I’m tired of sleeping. I’m tried of being in a box. I’m tired of the confines of my cell. I’m tired of being creepy. Please let me go and leave this horror of your world and find love. Love that lives in the world of day and those who are awake without fear of death or heart break. You’ve said that love will be my end but I will take my chances and die for love like Jane and Alan. Let me have my own unique and fantastic sense of modernist style and find my own true love to share it with. Considering everything I’ve done for you it is the least you can do.
Your servant, Cesare

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Love is in the air, in our souls, in our hearts, and in our words. Express your love. Remember if you don’t the answer will always be no.

This was first posted here in 2013.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Even Vampires have feelings.

Halloween With An Ancient Vampire (and Werewolves)

Halloween With An Ancient Vampire (and Werewolves)

Halloween is here and that means a party at the home of the ancient Vampires Eleora and Tellias. I’d promised Tellias I’d take him shopping for craft supplies. He could have gone on his own but lately he had a tendency to get lost, especially when going out during the daylight hours.

When I arrived at the grand Victorian farmhouse the couple share Tellias was waiting with a Panama hat on and round dark sunglasses. Today he was dressed fairly normal – a black velveteen vest over a white shirt, black jeans and yellow flip flops. His pale blonde hair was fanned out like liquid gold over his shoulders.  He looked all of nineteen years old.

We had one other stop, to see my friend Adam, a photographer, who also happens to be a Werewolf. If I’d told Tellias about it he wouldn’t have agreed to go. Werewolves are always a touchy subject with him.

Adam was there with his photographs and two other Werewolves, a man and a woman. He introduced them as Troy and Bethany. Troy was large and deeply tanned with that sort of manly lumberjack look women seem to love. Brandy was delicate pretty woman with one blue eye and one brown eye. She wore her hair in long reddish curls and looked like anything but a Werewolf.

Most people don’t know that Werewolves, despite popular myths, are the researchers, geeks and scientists of the alternate world (that world of Werewolves, Vampires and other not so regular type humans.)

I noticed Brandy’s right hand, mangled and curled under with horrible scars. She held her hand up close to her side as if she was protecting it.

They knew who Tellias was. Everyone knew about the ancient Vampire, born in Rome around the time when BC merged into AD. He’d gone to Britain with the Roman army as sort of an adviser. The Roman generals knew he was brilliant and special but nobody knew he was a Vampire. And eventually, he ended up here and now, shopping for Halloween craft supplies on a beautiful fall day in Northern California.

After introductions the Werewolves asked Tellias if there were wolves in Britain back almost 2,000 years ago when he was there. He thought for a second.

“They were large wolves and they were eating the dead.  Even Vampires couldn’t compete with that kind of horror.  I couldn’t blame them for an easy meal. I’ve gone for easy too. We all have.

The wolves were magnificent creatures unlike any I’d seen anywhere.  The blood baths against any living creature bothered me from the start.”

“Did you hunt the wolves?” asked Brandy.

“No, no, not at all. We’re Vampires not ghouls.”

“Did you know King Arthur?” That was Adam asking out of the blue. I almost told him to shut up.

Tellias gave a serious slightly peeved look. “King Arthur? Friends knew him. Said he was sort of a dick. It was a harsh world back then, not the romantic ideal you see in the movies. There was no social justice or human rights or much of anything. No animal rights. That said, it was a good time for Vampires before Regular Humans figured out what we were up to. It was that damn group of self important rogue Vampires who set themselves up as wizards and all sorts of other nonsense. We annihilated most of them but the damage was done. Done, done, done, forever. Our reputations were ruined and our cover blown clear out of the sky. Clear out.

I knew a priest back then, a man of God who was good. His name was Virgil. Like the poet or like the guy in the Sanford novels, Virgil Flowers.  Have you read those books? I think my Virgil was from Southern Europe but I never knew and he never told me. He could talk with wolves and hawks. I’ve always liked Hawks. Sometimes I’ll sit for hours and watch them.

There were wild spirits and wilder men who tried to keep Virgil from his work. He was a healer, not just of broken bones but a healer of the soul.  He was like an early psychiatrist. He was a werewolf too. We became close friends. Close close friends. I miss him to this day. So does my wife.  You know, I don’t even remember when I started calling her my wife, it just seemed like we were married the first night we ever spent together, which was also the first night we met. He said we were too nice to be damned but I once caught him weeping because he didn’t believe Vampires had souls and he thought we were demons. Do you think we’re demons? Undead lifeless shadows with no souls? Parasites of human blood? We have two souls and we can’t sell them or give them away. Our souls are our burden to keep alone. Nobody looks after us. Just like Werewolves, nobody looks after you or your souls either.” Tellias looked around the room oh so quietly in his Vampire way, looking straight into the very soul of each and every Werewolf.

“So we’re all damned according to your lore?” Brandy asked again, still holding her hand close to her side.

Tellias looked her straight in the eyes. “Not damned, just alone. All alone. As alone as can be. So we must keep organized and quiet and stay together despite our differences.”

Tellias looked at me in mild confusion and annoyance. “Why are we here again?”

“They need our help,” I said

“So they call on the old Vampire.”

“Yes, they need your help. They’re doing a study about healing powers and pain. They’d like to find out how we manage it so well when others are unable to. They want to know if it is physical or mental. It is a problem with Werewolves.”

“Can we go now?” He looked clearly uncomfortable and annoyed. He whispered in my hear so only I could hear, “everything is mental with Werewolves. They’re nuts.”

“We have to go,” I said to the Werewolves.

“Someone is hunting us, do you know who it is?” That was Troy, speaking up for the first time. He sounded pretty desperate and emotional.

Tellias took a deep breath. “October is always a bad month for this kind of insanity. I’m sorry I don’t know right off hand but…” He approached Bethany and took her hand. “What happened to you dear girl?” Tellias tenderly asked her, taking her hand in his. I thought she would pull away, but she allowed him to look.

“I was caught in a trap about a year ago. I had to chew off enough to slip out.”

Covering Brandy’s injured hand with both of his hands he closed his eyes for a few seconds and then opened them up again. Then he kissed her mangled fingers gently.

“The pain is gone.” She said in amazement. Her eyes teared up.

The beautiful old Vampire kissed her cheek. “Be careful on Halloween and keep your pets inside.”

Then he smiled. “Did you know Werewolf blood tastes like Bourbon?”

Adam laughed as the others looked shocked. It was time to go.

As we walked to my car, headed off to finally get those craft and party supplies Tellias put his arm around my waist and gave me a thoughtful concerned adult look. “Juliette, my dear girl, I might be ancient but I am not a curiosity to be put on display.”

I started to speak and he tightened his grip on me. “I love you as if you were my own child. I feel for the Werewolves, but my dear, we can’t live our lives as if every single day is Halloween. That said, I am so proud of you.”

Then he started to sing quietly, as he always does. I listened for a moment. Nine in the Afternoon. It was unexpected but then again, isn’t everything?

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

(Yes indeed, you might have read this one before. It was first posted in October of 2013)