Short Story Sunday: Fallen

Fallen

“Oh man, I wish we could turn into bats like in the movies. That would make things a lot easier.”

Max leaned against the kitchen counter listening to his friend Pierce. It had been a rough night for the hunters of shadows – the Vampires who were dedicated to keeping their world safe for both Vampires and those they lived among.

“Do you think she’ll be alright? I didn’t say anything in the car. You know how sensitive she is.”

Max poured himself another glass of wine. “She’ll be fine, eventually. I’ve seen her through worse. Mehitabel has seen herself through worse.”

“Mehitabel won’t tell you if anything is wrong. Come on Max, she took on…” Peirce paused.

“A fallen angel. Sure, and some people call us fallen angels. They have no idea. We’re just physically different. The fallen angels are pure evil.”

“So is the poison that entered our friend, your lover.”

“We’re just friends.”

“Bullshit Max. That is total and complete bullshit.”

The sound of the shower upstairs turned off. Max put down his glass and went to check on his friend.

Mehitabel sat on his bed, her hair dark and wet around her shoulders. She wore one of his robes, a burgundy colored brushed silk.

“Hey, how do you feel?” he said stepping close putting his hand on her cool cheek.

“Not good. Sort of weird, like someone broke my heart, but I don’t know how or why or who. It wasn’t him.”

Max started to pull the robe open.

“Not tonight Max. Please I don’t want to have sex with you or anyone right now, alright.”

“Mehitabel, I don’t want to… I… just let me look.” He pulled open the robe to see the large gash going from the top of her left shoulder down her arm almost to her elbow. The ugly wound had sealed but it was far from being healed. She winced as he touched it. An ugly blackness outlined the edges of the tear.

He put his hand over the wound. At first she tried to pull away but as he whispered words in an ancient language of their people the pain started to leave her arm. Then he bent over and kissed her shoulder. The blackness turned to a pale red. “I came to give, not to take.”

Tears filled her eyes as she lay back on the bed. Max lay next to her and put his arms around her. “Sleep. It is the best thing you can do. I’ll be up later. Nothing can hurt you here, not while Pierce and I are with you.”

Downstairs Pierce had turned on the TV. “Giants lost today. How is she?”

“Not good. I’m going to sleep with her tonight. Just sleep and be there.”

Max and Pierce stayed up to watch ESPN to get their minds off of the past 48 hours.

Mehitabel lay in bed, her fangs ready as she looked out at the creature standing on the window ledge. “You cannot hurt me here. You cannot have me.”

It looked like a man, but she could see the flicker of the forked tail in the dark and the fold of leathery wings above his shoulders.

He smiled an angelic smile of pure bliss and beauty, then mouthed the words, “You’re mine. You. Are. Mine.”

At the sound of the door opening the dark being vanished. Max crawled under the covers bedside her. “Just because, just because we’re the way we are, and because I can’t give you… it doesn’t mean I don’t love you.”

She didn’t respond. She was too busy watching and waiting as she looked into the darkness outside the window.

~ End

An Afternoon Haunting Over Coffee (With A Ghost)

Some are haunted by the thoughts of “what if.”

Some are haunted by loves lost and missed opportunity.

Some are haunted by terrors in their closets, that come out at night and stare at the foot of their bed with lifeless black eyes, and claws like razors.

Some, like me, are haunted by another kind of ghost.

This afternoon, as I was working on an outline for a book, I heard music coming from the family room of my house.

Telegram force and ready
I knew this was a big mistake
There’s a fine line drawing
My senses together
And I think it’s about to break
If I listen close I can hear them singers, oh
Voices in your body coming through on the radio

The union of the snake is on the climb
Moving up it’s gonna race it’s gonna break
Through the borderline

Nightshades on a warning
Give me strength at least give me a light
Give me anything even sympathy
There’s a chance you could be right
If I listen close I can hear them singers, oh
Voices in your body coming through on the radio

The union of the snake is on the climb
Moving up it’s gonna race it’s gonna break
Through the borderline

I looked from where I was sitting in the breakfast room to see a figure singing and slowly swaying to the music. Black shining shaggy hair came down to the top of his shoulders, hiding the collar of his white shirt. He turned and glared at me. The music stopped. His form went in and out of an odd translucent state. I hate it when they do that. I hate Ghosts.

Then he started to talk. “You’re writing. How quaint. Well, maybe it isn’t so quaint considering you’re a blood sucking cold as death Vampire. Have you prepared your speech for the National Book Awards yet?”

“Go away Nigel,” I said to The Ghost.

And he continued to talk. “You should write something edgy that you can make into a movie. How about a powerful handsome black man, played by Michael B. Jordan who marries a beautiful blonde played by Jennifer Laurence. He promotes one of his younger men, played by Zac Efron over an older man. The old guy, that would be Robert De Niro, gets pissed and makes the Michael B. Jordan character think Jennifer Laurence is having an affair with the young guy and…”

“Othello.”

“I know, I know, but do a new twist on it. Make everyone black except make Othello white. Othello sounds sort of Italian. He could own a chain of successful upscale restaurants. You can add in a character called Mama Othello. Kathy Bates. It would be great. You could get the current pop-star-de-jour to do the music. Someone like Ariana Grande.”

“Go away Nigel, you’re bothering me.”

“Good. That was my intention.”

I continued to work on my writing trying to ignore him.

“I need coffee.”

I ignored him.

“Coffee would be nice. You could have some too. Heaven knows you could use it.”

I continued to work.

“You could write a book about a widow who goes to live in a big house by the ocean that is haunted by a handsome ship captain. The ship captain falls in love with her, but she lives in real world, and he tells her to find someone with a real body. And she writes. She writes his story and doesn’t have to move back with her horrible in-laws from Hell. Then she gets involved with some married shit for brains asshole. She goes home and finds out that her daughter knew about the ghost all along, then she dies and is with the man she loves, you know, the ship captain. It is so sad and romantic, kind of like a Nicholas Sparks novel. Did you know he went to the same high school as your kids? Not the ship captain, but Sparks. Lynn Anderson the singer went there too. Tom Hanks, Hill Harper, and I also went there. I went there too. Did you know that?”

I continued to ignore him.

“Don’t tell me you don’t know The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. It is one of your favorite movies. About a GHOST no less. You’re such a fucking hypocrite, even for a Vampire.”

I continued to try to write.

“The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. You like Ghosts. Admit it.”

“Enough. I’ll make coffee.”

“Thank you.”

“By the way, I hate Ghosts.”

“I am not particularly fond of Vampires.”

We sat at the table and watch the rain with hot mugs of coffee. Nigel put his face over the mug and took in the scent. I drank mine with half and half.

He looked down at my pad of paper where I made notes. I use both computer and yellow legal pads.

“Do you think you’ll ever…” he started to say something.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“I like it.”

I looked up. He locked his eyes in mine.

“This is good Juliette.”

“Thank you,” I said, and finished my coffee.

“You should…”

“Don’t.” I shook my head and looked away.

“Fine. But don’t say I didn’t tell you. Don’t you ever say I did not tell you,” he said.

Then he smiled and vanished in a gray wisp of smoke, that smelled like coffee and the ocean.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Who and what haunts your days, nights, and even your coffee?

 

 

 

 

 

Living with teens and ghosts of doubt

The constant complaining about school this year is something new for me. I’m not complaining. I’m pretty happy with the situation. It is the teens.

I’ve discovered that teachers who were called horrible at the first of the year are in reality hard working saints to fight battles even the most hardened Vampire can’t imagine. They fight these battles every single day.

Fortunately and amazingly today there was no drama. No tales of overdoses, fights or misunderstandings. No confusing homework. The only remotely bad thing was the fact that the girl who sits in front of my son in physiology has a crush on him. She keeps turning back and smiling. He also gets sweet text messages from him.

Another friend is in the school musical. We’ll be in the audience of Fiddler on the Roof in a few weeks. I’m sure it will be wonderful. My own two had never heard of it. That surprised me. I think they’ll like the story and understand the meaning. Yes, Fiddler on the Roof with Vampires, only the Vampires will be watching, not singing or dancing.

I learned a friend of theirs lives in a house with 7 cats, 2 dogs and a 50-year-old parrot. The parrot only likes their mom. It has a pretty large vocabulary but always yells “GO AWAY” when anyone except MOM comes near. Good parrot.

The weekend is already booking up with plans of having friends over. I love a house full of teens and their fun banter. They are so full of life.

I dread the day when they all go off to college. They’ll still come back to visit, but I’m almost in a panic. I knew I’d only have them so long but it all brings up so many feelings. Not just about motherhood but about everything.

They remind me of when I was young, full of so many hopes and dreams. So much stupidity. I’m trying to help these kids not be so stupid or ignorant, but they’ll make mistakes. I just hope that nothing messes with their dreams and goals or their friendships.

Just in passing I thought about what I need to do with my life outside of motherhood and felt that dull ache that stops me in my tracks. I stand on the shore and watch my ship sail away without me. I’m frozen. I can’t move at all. I feel sick. My heart stops. I don’t take a breath for the longest time.

Then someone calls my name or yell MOM. Yes it is a beautiful sound. But I’m not that kind of mommy blogger. I’m not a mommy blogger at all. I’m the one who is frozen at the chance for something that is completely mine. Pandora’s box is mine and I dare not open it. I know what is inside and I’m afraid. I’m a wife and a mother and a professional (no work talk tonight) but there are other dreams. Dreams and desires that tug at me and taunt me and call me a coward.

It makes my head spin.

Then I look up from my computer and there, sitting across the table is The Ghost, Nigel. He is leaning back in the chair shaking his head slightly in disapproval. He brushes his black hair out of his eyes and leans forward and whispers, “Why don’t you ever write about your parents?”

“I have. I do, every once in a while.” I guess I have, maybe half a dozen of the 700 give or take a few posts I’ve written.

He squinted his eyes at me. “Almost never. You’re like a teenager acting like they don’t exist.”

“I don’t want to invade their privacy.”

“You don’t mind invading my privacy.”

“You’re a ghost. Nobody believes in ghosts.”

“Nobody believes in Vampires either, much less ones with parents.”

I shrugged.

“Get your own blog.” I said, tired of his game.

“I can’t write. I mean I could when I was alive but I can’t now.”

“You can’t write? Why?”

“How should I know. There aren’t any books around here on being a ghost. No seminars. No workshops. Nothing. Nobody tells us anything.”

What a liar. I knew he could write. “Wait, you’ve hijacked my blog before. You’re such a liar. You know, you don’t have to lie to me.  You can’t just show up here and try to haunt your way through things. Were you this immature when you were alive?”

“Juliette, I can only write on your computer and it creeps me out. I can’t work on a Vampire’s computer.”

“Where are your parents? Are they still alive?”

“Either way they’re in Hell, or at least I can hope. I have no idea where they are. I haven’t seen either one of them since I was 15.”

I had no idea. “I’m sorry Nigel.”

He shrugged and gave me a half smile. “Don’t be. I did fine. Would have done better if I hadn’t died.  You’re not breathing.”

“Sorry. I forget sometimes.”

“You’re creeping me out Vampire.”

I just stared at him as he faded in and out, no doubt trying to come up with something to say.

“Listen Juliette, you have a lot going for you. I mean, I had a lot going for me too despite some bad luck when it came to family. I had a lot of fun when I was a teenager. You’re lucky to have such great kids with such great friends. It was my friends who got me through, who made me feel confident and comfortable in my own skin. Of course I don’t have skin anymore but I’m still pretty comfortable.”

“I’m glad you’re comfortable. I’d hate to be haunted by an uncomfortable ghost.”

Then he came around the table, very very very close to me and in almost a whisper said, “Just do it Juliette. Do what you need to do. No regrets. Just take that brass ring. Take the bull by the horns. Take a chance. Make your kids proud of you. Be a star.”

I took a deep breath.

He smiled. “Is your heart going to start beating again.”

“Um sure. i suppose that would be a good idea”.

“You creep me out Vampire.”

“You creep me out.”

“That’s why we’re friends.”

“Love you too Nigel.”

And he smiled and vanished leaving behind the faint outline of a heart that faded away after about a minute.

Parenting isn’t all about babies … It is about a love that will last forever if one takes it seriously. It is about new friends, new experiences and maybe a ghost or two along the way. Even if that is a ghost of your own past – or maybe just a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

ghost

Don’t haunt yourself (because real ghost are bad enough)

Let me tell you about ghosts.

I hate ghosts.

They’re sneaky dishonest depressed creatures that have neither body nor soul. They covet our lives and our love. When they come into our lives they cause nothing but annoyance like a dripping faucet or an Internet connection that never works right.

Or they can haunt you in the worst ways possible.

Ghosts feed on your fears and insecurities.

So I tell my kids that there are the ghosts that are disembodied unfortunates who covet our lives, but there are other ghosts that we create.

Those are the ghosts of our own lives and deeds.

Those are the events that we can’t let go of until they drive us insane or at least make us depressed and uneasy.

  • There are ghosts of romances and affairs of the past.
  • There are the ghosts of what could have been (one of the most dangerous ghosts we can create.)
  • There are ghosts of guilt.
  • There are ghosts of resentment.
  • There are ghosts of what might be if only…

I won’t expound on all of these points. But you know what they mean and you know how they are made and how they sit heavy on hearts and souls of both regular humans, Vampires and Werewolves.

It is wise that you warn your teens so they’ll be free of these things. Yes, these ghosts can weigh them down worse than any chains worn by Marley’s ghost in A Christmas Carol.  These ghosts will ruin relationships, jobs, school, success in life and happiness. You can’t afford to….

Wait a minute…I’ll be back….what the…what is he doing here?

“Look at you so full of yourself with advice for others. You’re such a know it all,” a voice said from over my shoulder.

“Go away,” I hissed at the Ghost looking over my shoulder. Damn him. I thought the nasty little bastard had gone for good.

“Bitch.”

“I know a great exorcist. Want to meet him?”

“Be careful Vampire or someone will put a stake through your heart.”

“At least I have a heart.”

“I would have expected more of you, I mean, maybe a little paranormal energy to boot me out of the room or something along those lines. But you just sit there with your laptop writing about bogus crap about parenting and your petty little words of half assed wisdom.”

I gave him the look. “You’re a ghosts with horrible ghosts of your own. I can’t even imagine the burden that must be. You really ought to just let them go.”

“I can’t imagine the regrets you must have Vampire. How old are you? A hundred and sixty?”

“One hundred and fifty-three. But no, I have no regrets. I’ve learned not to have personal ghosts. I’d advise you to do the same.”

“You advise me? There is nothing you can do for me.” He stood there, well sort of hovered.

I spoke to him again in a calm quiet voice. “I can do the scary paranormal stuff to make you go away, or if you want to talk about it I’d be glad to listen. Like you just pointed out I’ve been around for a while and like to think I have a little bit of life experience.”

I took a deep breath and put out my hand expecting it to go right through his heart but instead I touched something solid. He stood before me looking shocked as if unable to move. For the first time I could see his face as if he were alive. My ghost was younger than I thought, fine features, flawless skin, glossy black hair, eyes as blue as a morning sky. I could read him as if I was reading my own thoughts. If only for a few seconds I had him. I had the Ghost.

I’d broken into his mind. If he’d lived he would have been 53 years old now. He was 26 when he died, just a few weeks shy of his 27th birthday, a birthday he shared with me. His heart was full of regrets and anger and grief, too much for a man of his young age. But despite the fact it didn’t show on his face, he was old beyond his years. There was a woman, a betrayal, violence, and the vision of a fresh grave and his own new grave next to it surrounded by white flowers. There was heart-break and anger. Someone loved him very much. A large crowd gathered around. He tried to speak but couldn’t. I had a grip on him and wouldn’t let him go. There was a song playing in the background, at first Master of Puppets by Metallica, it was new that year, 1986, but there was another song. 1983, Duran Duran, Hold Back the Rain. What was going on? I wouldn’t have expected that but it came into my head full blast like from a car stereo on a cold raining night after a funeral and an argument. It was so random.

Yes we’re miles away from nowhere and the wind doesn’t have a name
So call it what you want to call it still blows down the lane
People tell me I haven’t changed at all but I don’t feel the same
And I’ve bet you’ve had that feeling too you can’t laugh all the time

And if the fires burn out there’s only fire to blame (hold back the rain)
No time for worry cause we’re on the roam again (hold back the rain)
The clouds all scatter and we ride the outside lane (hold back the rain)
Not on your own so help me please hold back the rain

“Stop.” he gasped and tried to break loose.

I took my hand away and he stood there looking at me in shock and horror. The temperature dropped at least 40 degrees. Ice crystals formed on the sleeve of my shirt. I took a breath and realized my fangs were out. I could almost taste the fear in him.

“What are you afraid of?” I whispered.

“I’m afraid of you Juliette.” And then he vanished without another word. I wanted to feel angry but the experience left me feeling sad.

Isn’t it always like a ghost to get one off track. Think about it.

Don’t look back unless it is for memories only. Live in the present and make the best of your time there.  Look to the future with hope and excitement.

It still seems so weird the ghost and I have the same birthday – a hundred years apart. Hmmmm.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman (and ghost whisperer extraordinaire)

gothic

Credit: Hold back the rain: Songwriters: Taylor, Roger Andrew / Taylor, John / Taylor, Andy / Le Bon, Simon / Rhodes, Nick

For more about the Ghost click here or here or here or here.