Short Story Sunday: Captain Sandy and the Airship at the End of the World

Captain Sandy and the Airship at the End of the World

The end of the world had come and gone a long time ago. Of course I wouldn’t dare remind Captain Sandy of that extraordinary fact. He stood in the basket of the airship, hands on the control, the tails of his jacket blowing in the wind.

When the end of the world came the evil and the damned were gathered up and taken down to Hell. The pure and righteous were led up to Heaven in a golden white light.

That left the artists and writers, along with a lot of musicians, wine makers, computer programmers and antiques dealers. Of course there were others, but nobody that lacked a certain amount of creative or innovative spirit. One must have spirit and imagination to survive when the world ends without you.

It worked for me. Well, at least most of the time.

I honestly have to say, the world had become way too serious. I adjusted my goggles and scarf as I looked down on the tire fire that had been burning for the past 100 years. Adjusting the leather hood on my cat, I took him out of his basket to take a look. My five year old son Aaron stood on his toes to get a look as I held tight to the back of his jacket. I must have been a sight, boy in one hand, cat in the other.

Life was an adventure to be savored and enjoyed. It was a destroyed world being built up by those of us with visions of beauty and wonder. Captain Sandy always said this was Heaven. Of course I never told him otherwise. It was Heaven to be in the arms of my husband at night and feel the touch of his skin on mine, that is until I’d run my hand over the deep scars on his back. I called him my fallen angel. He would just laugh and kiss me as only an angel could kiss. Maybe it was Heaven for him since he was now dead, but I will never know unless I die too and find him there.

Once when I was younger my brother and I found some old movies in where everyone at the end of the world were driving big trucks and dune buggies as they shot anyone they came across. There were zombies and crazy fucks of all sorts fighting for the last clean water. It seemed they had unlimited amounts of fuel and bullets. No word of steam, solar and silent airships.

My brother and I laughed at the stupidity of it all. That was not our world. Ours was a world to create without hesitation or critical review. Our poets were considered as important as our politicians. Our sense of style always outweighed our sense of practicality. At least we kept telling ourselves that – all of us did as we banded together trying to give off an air of hope and strength. We created our own world going back to a time that didn’t really exist, where all things were possible and the modern world was still a beautiful dream.

Captain Sandy asked me what I was thinking that could have me looking so serious.

I told him and he just shook his head.

“Life isn’t a theater play like you make it out to be my dear. There are dangerous things out in dark areas of stench and smoke that would enslave us and make us into meals if they could. You’ve been protected in your leather and velvet bustle dresses and fanciful thoughts. It’s a good thing to be ignorant of the world but it is dangerous in ways you can’t imagine.”

“Captain,” I said, “you forget that the shadows took my husband. I take flights of fancy so I won’t fall out of the sky and die of sorrow.”

He turned and gave me a quick smile. Despite the dark pattern of scars on the left side of his face the Captain was still a handsome man with a dazzling smile. All the women were quick to notice him.

“Why are you alone Captain?”

“I’m not.”

“No wife or children?”

“I had a wife. She vanished when the world ended. I never knew if she went up or down or just vanished to dust. Who knows. The bitch could still be around somewhere.”

“So you’re alone,” I said.

“Just free of my wife.” He said nothing else then took off his hat and tied his long prematurely silver hair back with a ribbon he’d pulled from his coat pocket. “So, did you like movies back in the time before?”

I nodded. Of course I liked movies. Most of them were gone now. Rare stashes of films could be found and if we were lucky we’d find something to play them on.

Captain Sandy smiled a rare smile at me. “Sometimes I’m floating along above this all, all of this and I start thinking about Blade Runner and then my mind goes to Casablanca or off to Princess Bride then to In the Heat of the Night. I can run them all in my head, every line, every scene, every music score.”

I told him I did the same. We tend not to talk a lot about the time before the end of the world, but occasionally it comes out. We can’t deny our past. We just can’t help it.

“What did you do before, you know, the end of the world?” I asked the Captain point blank.

“I was a high school physics teacher. Physics and engineering to be exact. What did you do?”

“I produced reality TV shows. The last one was for MTV. Did you ever see Love Bytes?”

He laughed. “That was you? All of my students watched that show. Geeks and romance. A lot of them wanted to be on the show.”

The sky gradually started to turn dark. In the distance we could see lightning strike and the silhouettes of other airships.

I hugged my child and put a blanket around his shoulders. Aaron put his head on my lap and fell asleep. Captain Sandy sang softly a song that we both knew so long ago.

It seemed we’d been here for centuries, only the children aging and growing up.

As a rule we didn’t speak much of what we missed or how much. It was always there in the back of our minds. I missed skinny jeans and sweaters. I missed short tight dresses and yoga at the gym. I missed the music. I missed my friends and family. I missed my job. I even missed the orange trees in my back yard and the sound of the garbage truck at 6:45 am on Thursday mornings. I missed it all.

Captain Sandy turned suddenly and looked at me as if he could read my mind. “Don’t think of how things used to be. Don’t think of why we’re here.”

We both knew why we were here. Nobody wanted us. There was no place for us in Heaven but nobody in Hell wanted us either.

“You’ve got to admit,” the Captain continued, “we’re in a unique position. No matter how bad it looks, this is our world. I spent 18 years teaching kids to understand the building blocks of the universe. I thought I was contributing to the future of our young people so that they would make the world a better place.”

“Now it doesn’t matter,” I said in a rare show of depression over the events that brought us here.

“No. Now it matters more than ever. This is our world. Despite the shadows and ghouls, this is our world now, free and clear. We can still use the building blocks of science and art to make it the place we want it to be. Finally we can do it right.”

“You’re always such an optimist Captain Sandy but do you really believe that?”

“Of course I do. What other choice do I have?”

“You have a point,” I said, noticing the spark in his eyes.

He noticed that I’d noticed. “Look at this as the ultimate reality TV show.”

“If that is the case then who, Captain Sandy, gets the hot girl at the end?”

He smiled. “That depends on you.” Then he turned his face away from me to where I could only see the moon lit reflection of the scars that traced his jawline.

The crew of the airship came up on deck to view the stars and take in the night air. It was good to see them laugh and talk freely of the destination ahead. My son raised his sleepy head and laughed too. Maybe it wasn’t that bad after all. Maybe Captain Sandy would win the game and get the girl. I had a pretty good feeling he would.

~ End

Tangled Tales

This story was featured in the WPaD Anthology: Goin’ Extinct – Tales from the Edge of Oblivion. Available on Amazon B&N and with other fine online book sellers. 

Tangled Tales – Now Over 200 Short Stories

Short Stories from Vampire Maman

A good portion of the posts on Vampiremaman.com read like short stories, but the list here is of stand alone stories that don’t necessarily follow the tales of Juliette’s life with her husband, kids and assorted Vampire Mom adventures.

Expect the unexpected … and a lot of fun! Click on the title to go to the story.

You’ll find Vampire, parenting, Gothic romance, horror, humor, urban fantasy, science fiction, odd ditties, literary fiction, and other unique and unexpected tangled tales. This isn’t the complete list but it will keep you busy for a while. Keep checking back for more.

* Guest authors  

  1. Dancing on the Beach
  2. Morning in the Vineyard
  3. When You Grow Old
  4. A Man Should Have What He Wants
  5. Ode to a Greek God
  6. The Alley
  7. Off to See the Wizard
  8. Baker Beach
  9. The Necklace (My Christmas Necklace)
  10. The Travelers
  11. Captain Sandy and the Airship at the End of the World
  12. Perfection
  13. The Shadow of Fire
  14. Robert and the Key *
  15. Dark Politics
  16. Romance of the Needles
  17. Heart Shaped Box*
  18. Stumped
  19. The Child
  20. Night at the Crest
  21. Dawn of the Undead
  22. Sunday School
  23. The Time Travelers
  24. I’ll Return to You
  25. Star Crossed Wars
  26. My Vampire Lover
  27. No End in Sight
  28. Tell Tail Heart
  29. The Hunter
  30. The Bully
  31. Slut
  32. I’ll Take Care of You
  33. Cold
  34. Prisoner of Love
  35. Christmas Orphans (a random short tale)
  36. The List
  37. A Head of the Game
  38. The Box in Dave’s Basement
  39. Tall Tales
  40. Fallen
  41. Back into the Past
  42. Pixie Dust
  43. Welcome to Hell (a bit of Science Fiction)
  44. Male Bonding (A Vampire Story)
  45. Everything Will Be Alright
  46. Magnolia
  47. Saturday Afternoon
  48. Almost Perfect in Every Way
  49. Up or Down
  50. Uncle Jerry’s Time Machine
  51. That Which Remains
  52. First Sight
  53. Springtime
  54. The Changeling
  55. The Rally
  56. Yes, it is complicated, almost as much as A Unicorn, A Squirrel, and A Possum Go Into a Bar
  57. Earthquake
  58. Coffee and a Crypt
  59. Nowhere in Time
  60. A Werewolf’s Train to Nowhere
  61. Curse of Bloke Island
  62. Dead or Alive (a Vampire Romance)
  63. Conversion
  64. You Gotta Believe
  65. A Ray of Hope
  66. True Friends
  67. Stranger No More
  68. The Time Travelers
  69. A Change of Heart
  70. Captured Bride
  71. Rare Peace
  72. Finally Home
  73. A Drive with Marilyn
  74. Cold Hands, Warm Heart
  75. Sunday Morning Coffee
  76. Giving Blood
  77. 2020
  78. One of Those Days
  79. A Mysterious Stranger on a Hot Dry Day
  80. A Mystery
  81. Charade*
  82. Checkmate*
  83. Sunset and Ginger Ale*
  84. Under the Stars
  85. For the Kids
  86. Indecision
  87. We will be happy
  88. Blow Up
  89. Community
  90. Desert Sky
  91. Dog Park
  92. Fairies
  93. Don’t Fall Apart On Me Baby
  94. Dawn of the Undead
  95. You Gotta Believe
  96. The List
  97. Hollow Heads
  98. Springtime
  99. Earthquake
  100. Mail Order House
  101. Krampus Clause
  102. Heal Thyself
  103. Fall Garden
  104. Lucky Me
  105. Gasoline and Tiger Maple (don’t mix)
  106. Warlock Woods
  107. Sunday Coffee
  108. College Daze
  109. Why I hate Valentine’s Day
  110. Mail Order House
  111. Boys Will Be Boys
  112. Mother’s Day
  113. No Weapon At All
  114. Cold
  115. Writing on the Wall
  116. Night Dogs
  117. Lizbit
  118. Smoke
  119. Dream a Little Dream
  120. Mere Mortal
  121. A Better Place
  122. For the Kids
  123. No Little Women
  124. Off to See the Wizard
  125. House by the Ocean
  126. Art
  127. Night Dogs
  128. Friends  Forever
  129. Green Man
  130. Donner Lake
  131. Chaos and Mistletoe
  132. Warmth
  133. Conversion
  134. Gather Around Little Vampires
  135. The Morning After
  136. Friends Forever
  137. Witching
  138. Being a Vampire
  139. Boys will be Boys
  140. Mother’s Day
  141. School Night
  142. The Rally
  143. Chloe’s Face
  144. Going Through With It
  145. Circles
  146. Beauty
  147. Gerald Atkins – Vampire Hunter
  148. Morcant and the Mermaid
  149. I’ve got your number –  an intergalatic romance
  150. Leaving Victor
  151. Raven and Dove
  152. A Ghost Story*
  153. Small Talk
  154. Noz*
  155. Last Call*
  156. Pandemic
  157. Permission to Mourn
  158. Old Bones
  159. Playing Dracula
  160. Driving Home With Superheroes
  161. May Your Days Be Foggy and Bite
  162. There Would Always Be Cats
  163. Brothers in Arms
  164. Peaches
  165. Shelter
  166. Shrine
  167. Unicorns Don’t Care
  168. The Morning After
  169. I Hate Valentine’s Day
  170. May Your Days be Foggy and Bite – OR – Hark the Herald Vampires Sing
  171. Witching
  172. Smoke
  173. None of His Concern
  174. Beauty
  175. Glass Dreams
  176. Face Your Demons
  177. Binge Watch
  178. The First Apocalypse, The Truth About Aliens, Missing Links, and Real Pandora’s Box, as Told by A Ghost
  179. Goji and the Angel*
  180. Chernobyl Charlie*
  181. Remains*
  182. The Last Time*
  183. The Changeling
  184. The Lives I Never Lived (aka Ophelia, Drowned aka A Preoccupation With Tragedy)*
  185. Radio Waves
  186. Ashes
  187. Bernie Showers in France*
  188. Holy Grail
  189. Not Going Anywhere
  190. Good Bones
  191. Food Supply
  192. Too Hot To Wear Black
  193. Intentions
  194. Juice Cleanse
  195. Cousin Rachael
  196. Play Date
  197. Completely
  198. The Cabin
  199. Chaos and Mistletoe
  200. A Christmas Message From Ambrose*
  201. Driving Home With Superheroes
  202. May Your Days Be Foggy and Bite
  203. Old St. Rick

Guest Posts:

I’m honored to share these fantastic stories and verse from others. These are so good. You’re in for a treat. You’ll thank me later.

  1. Chuck the Elf by David X. Hunter
  2. Robert and the Key  by Charlotte Kings
  3. Heart Shaped Box by Mandy White
  4. We’re Not So Different by Mandy White
  5. Beneath the Bed by Mandy White
  6. Just One Kiss by Mandy White
  7. Chernobyl Charlie by Mandy White
  8. Charade by Adelia Hoff
  9. The Lives I Never Lived (aka Ophelia, Drowned aka A Preoccupation With Tragedy) by Adelia Hoff  
  10. Checkmate by Dave Stone
  11. The Eagle Cried by Richard Turton
  12. A Ghost Story by Richard Turton
  13. The Last Time by Richard Turton
  14. Sunset and Ginger Ale by Jade M. Phillips
  15. Noz by Mike Cooley
  16. Last Call by R. James Turley
  17. Goji and the Angel by Diana Garcia
  18. Remains by Soleil Daniel
  19. Bernie Showers in France by Aurora Jean Alexander
  20. A Christmas Message From Ambrose by Amy Karian

Series:

Keep checking back on the left side bar of this blog for more updates or CLICK here. I have more short stories for December 2020 from me and from wonderful guest writers.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

WRITE. I made a thing. I made an art thing.

WRITE

11 x 14 Mixed Media on Canvas

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman
with a little bit of help from Marla Todd and inspiration from Milton 510 Bowen and my friends at WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants)

Coming soon to a wall near me and a blog post near you. This is part of my “Jane Eyre” series. Mixed medium art during the pandemic inspired by the classics.

Juliette’s Book Club: Close to Home

We’re experiencing a pandemic. Fires blaze around us. The air is filled with smoke. Social changes and politics are beyond volatile. I’m still waiting for the space aliens to land or for my dog to start talking. All of that and the new fucking block editor. In the meantime I’m reading two books that are extremely close to home. I had no idea when I started these how close.

The Brief History of the Dead
by Kevin Brockmeier

Official Description: The City is inhabited by those who have departed Earth but are still remembered by the living. They will reside in this afterlife until they are completely forgotten. But the City is shrinking, and the residents clearing out. Some of the holdouts, like Luka Sims, who produces the City’s only newspaper, are wondering what exactly is going on. Others, like Coleman Kinzler, believe it is the beginning of the end. Meanwhile, Laura Byrd is trapped in an Antarctic research station, her supplies are running low, her radio finds only static, and the power is failing. With little choice, Laura sets out across the ice to look for help, but time is running out. Kevin Brockmeier alternates these two storylines to create a lyrical and haunting story about love, loss and the power of memory.

My Note: I am loving this book. It is unexpected and beautifully written

Second Sleep
by Robert Harris 

Official Description: 1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artefacts–coins, fragments of glass, human bones–which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death?
     Fairfax becomes determined to discover the truth. Over the course of the next six days, everything he believes–about himself, his faith, and the history of his world–will be tested to destruction.

My note: This is not the 1468 you’re expecting.

As I write this my computer is acting like a ghost is in it so I’m going to be quick. I’m in Aptos, California right now. We are mostly out of the smoke. The object that looks like a giant dead fish in the water is a sunken ship. Just thought I’d share last night’s sunset.

Read a good book. Stay safe. Wear your mask. Pet your dog. Talk to your kids. Stay sane. Kiss a Vampire (it is safe to do that you know.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Juliette’s Book Club: Apocalypse A GO-GO!

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Now available in paperback!

Goin’ Extinct Too
Apocalypse A GO-GO!

It was so much fun the first time, we decided to take another stab at ending the world in as many creative ways as possible.

When we began work on our second apocalyptic anthology in early 2019, long before the world had ever heard of COVID-19, we never would have dreamed that toilet paper and hand sanitizer would become symbols of the apocalypse.

The pandemic pushed our release to a later date than anticipated. We assumed readers had more important things on their minds and might not be in the mood for apocalyptic fiction at that time. The lockdown allowed our writers more time to write, resulting in a larger collection of stories than originally anticipated. The backdrop of the pandemic colored the mood of some of the pieces, as you will see.

We think of this book as the Extra-Big Bonus Pandemic Edition, written in a reality stranger than fiction.

Stay safe, wash your hands, and may your quarantine dreams be sweet ones.

~ The authors of WPaD

Be sure to pick up a copy of the first Goin’ Extinct. (If you haven’t already done so)

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Available in paperback and electronic ebook versions on Amazon, Good Reads, Barnes and Noble and other fine online booksellers.

 

We are Writers, Poets and Deviants, AKA WPaD.

We are an independent publishing group made up of writers who collaborate on thematic anthologies to raise funds for MS research.

We meet on the internet to share ideas and challenge ourselves to write in different genres. The stories and poetry we compose are compiled into books, which are sold to help raise funds in support of group members who live with MS.

To date, WPaD has published twelve books, with a thirteenth already in progress. Wanna know a secret? Number thirteen will be our Paranormal anthology. 

Books by WPaD:

Goin’ Extinct Too (apocalyptic ~ published in 2020)
Creepies 3 (horror ~ published in 2019)
Tinsel Tales 2 (holiday ~ published in 2018)
Weirder Tales (bizarre ~ published in 2018)
Strange Adventures in a Deviant Universe (science fiction ~ published in 2017)
Creepies 2 (horror ~ published in 2015)
Goin’ Extinct (apocalyptic ~ published in 2014)
Tinsel Tales (holiday ~ published in 2013)

Dragons and Dreams (fantasy ~ published in 2013)
Passion’s Prisms (romance ~ published in 2013)
Creepies (horror ~ published in 2012)
Nocturnal Desires (erotica ~ published in 2012)

Stock up for summer reading, or stock up for fall and winter. We don’t know what might happen next but at least we’ll have some great stories from WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants.)

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  • Happy Reading
  • Wear a mask
  • Social Distance
  • Kiss a Vampire
  • Be kind
  • Check in on those who might need extra help, might be extra lonely, or be technically challenged.
  • Talk to your kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

When You Grow Old

It is hot today. I believe it is over 100°F where I live. In light of that hot sizzling fact I’m going to take you with me to a nice cool beach.

When You Grow Old

A short story by Juliette Kings

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked my brother’s caretaker Josh.

My brother Bob is 90 years old. A former screenwriter and movie producer, he lives in a modern glass and polished wood mansion on the Central Coast of California.

I’d been at Bob’s for six months.

“Your grandmother would have been 101 this year,” Bob told me. I was going to turn 101 this year, at the end of October. What Bob doesn’t know is that I am his sister Valentina. He doesn’t know I’m a vampire either. He thinks I’m a great niece who is the spitting image of his older sister who passed away in 1935.

I walked the beach in the evenings with Bob. He leaned my arm and told me about the cycles of the tide and the migration of the whales.

Arriving home we found that my brother’s caretaker Josh had fixed dinner.  A beautiful salad and fresh rockfish. Josh, a tall skinny but muscular blonde in his 30’s had been with Bob for about 3 years. He divided his time between helping Bob and two other elderly folks near by, and when he wasn’t with his old folks he was surfing.

I asked Josh why he worked with old people. “They’re exceptional creatures,” he told me, “with the knowledge of lost times. They have wisdom and humor that needs to be honored. You can’t always get that out of old people, but if you work them just so and LISTEN they’ll give you the secrets of the universe. And the weird thing is, no not weird, I the magic of it, is that they don’t even know they have that knowledge.”

The next morning we had a visitor. It was Stephen, one of my brother’s neighbors.  “You’ve been good to your brother,” he whispered in my ear. He was also a Vampire, something I’d known for a while, but never talked to him about. Our paths crossed but this was the first time we had made a social call since I’d been there.

It seems Stephen and Bob have been friends for the past 10 years, since Stephen purchased the run down house next door and restored it to the former glory of its past. Until today, he only visited Bob when I was out. They spend the evenings talking, watching movies and playing cards with Josh. There was a bond of friendship that was so real and close, the kind that never ends, even with age and differences of opinion.

A few night later Stephen and I walked the beach.

“How long have you been a Vampire?” I asked him. It was a common question Vampires ask each other.

“Since the summer of 1802. Funny it seems like yesterday.”

“So hows it working out for you? I mean, the Vampire thing and all?” I had to ask.

“Good. It’s all good. You know it isn’t for everyone.”

“I wonder about Bob.” I had wondered about my brother and if I made him into a Vampire if I’d restore his youth and keep him in my life.

“Bob is happy where he is.”

“I think you’re right.”

We walked more and listened to the waves. Then he kissed me under that stars. That was a surprise. A nice surprise.

The next morning after Josh had helped Bob with his shower and getting dressed I visited with him over coffee. Josh was such a caring free spirit, loving his work with the elderly and his relationship with the waves.

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked Josh.

He smiled. “I’ll ride out on the surf and become one with the sea.”

“Who will listen to your words of wisdom?”

“You and Stephen can pass it on. You’ll still be here. You’ll always be here. So will Bob, not in body but his spirit is strong. He’ll be around as long as the stars shine over the surf.” Then he winked at me. “Valentina, I know all about you. Your kind is all over the coast down here. I grew up with Vampires. It’s cool.”

And so it was.

 

~ end

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman