Short Story Sunday: House by the Ocean

220px-Sir_Galahad_(Watts)

“My parents were sluts, both of them. I’m the last person to throw stones but my dad was sleeping with the Queen, his best friend’s wife, and my mom lied about everything she ever did in her life.”

“Don’t be hard on them Galahad. Lancelot might not have been the best father but, well, he was a shitty father, and your mother Elenore, well, lied about everything. I think her lies were more of survival mode thing. You know, fight or flight, and by sleeping with your father it was her way of fighting for what she wanted. As for Guinevere, I have no good feelings for that woman or your father. They played the victim card far too often and at the expense of people who loved them. But that said, none of this reflects on you. Don’t ever let yourself think that you are your parents.”

Galahad, all of nineteen, Knight of the Round table had spent the past year traveling in search of the Holy Grail and all that was good. He was pure of heart and body, but there were questions that ate away at his soul. The very idea of his parents bugged him to no end. The contradictions of the Christian faith and his search, with magic, wizards, fairies, and the laws of nature confounded him.

Galahad had come to the estate on the hill that overlooked the ocean. He thought one day someone will write a song about this place. He wanted to wash away all of his critical mistakes.

He’d been drawn to the direction of the place when he’d come to a fork in the road, and even more so when he heard the crashing waves of the ocean.

A man with pale blonde hair, and a goblet of wine in his hand, who looked to be Galahad’s age answered the door. He invited him in, already knowing who he was. The man introduced himself as Tellias. His accent was different but yet slightly familiar. Maybe at one time Tellias had lived in Rome or somewhere South that Galahad could only dream of. Oh to live near the Holy Lands.

“Galahad. My friend Druce, who just happens to be sort of a wizard predicted you’d be here this week. As for me, I can’t predict shit. Come in and join us. We have a warm bed, and even a fire in your room. I take you can read. We have some books we thought you’d be interested. My God I can’t believe that nobody can read anymore. One day I’m sure someone will label this moment in history The Dark Ages. Oh how they embrace ignorance and fear.”

And from there Galahad was brought into a warm and inviting room unlike any he’d ever been to. The walls were covered with weavings, paintings, and shelves full of beautiful pottery the likes of which he had never seen.

There he met Morcant, and exceptionally handsome man who was built like an ancient God. He also met Druce, a Warlock that Merlin had told him about. Druce was an average man of average height, but he had a warm smile, unlike most men of magic. Galahad had been told that Druce could be trusted and was wise with matters of the heart and soul.

Standing by the window, with the summer breeze in her long curls was a beautiful girl with a smile that melted his heart unlike any other girl he had ever met. Her name was Eleora. It turned out that she was the beloved of Tellias and his mate for life.

During food and wine Galahad told his new friends of his quest for the Holy Grail and how there had been a prophesy about Joseph and so much more. He also told them of his travels and brave deeds that left him feeling good but sort of shallow.

Then Tellias asked Galahad, “But something is missing, isn’t it? Tell me about your family. It’s complicated isn’t it?”

Eleora sat next to Galahad and took his hand in hers. Her hand was cold like winter ice, but a warmth spread through his entire body.

And he told them things he had never told another living human being. He told them about his mothers, his father, and the complicated and twisted relationships they’d centered their lives around. He told them of a somewhat lonely childhood spend in reflective prayer and study.

They all listened. It was wonderful. Nobody had ever really listened to him before. He had just listened to others then done his duty.

After he and Tellias had talked of his family, Galahad said, “You and Eleora seem so young. You’re young like me, yet you seem so old, in a wise and wonderful way.”

Nobody said a thing for a while, then Morcant said, “Are you going to tell him Tellias? Eleora?”

“We’re Vampires,” said Eleora gently putting her hand on Galahad’s cheek, then she stood and walked over to where Tellias sat.

“What are Vampires?” Asked Galahad.

“We drink the blood of men. We live a long long time, longer than men. Some say forever. I was here before the Romans came.”

“I was one of the Romans,” said Tellias. “I was there when Christ was born. I was there when he died.”

Galahad looked at them in shock.

“Oh get over yourself. It isn’t that bad. We’re biologically different from you. Put it this way, if we were animals I’d be a horse, and men would be asses.”

“Most men are asses after all,” said Eleora.

“Like you Eleora is pure of heart. She just doesn’t have the physical hang ups,” said Tellias.

Galahad looked at Morcant. Maybe he was a normal man.

Morcant shrugged. “I’m a Selkie. You know what a Selkie is, I’m sure you do. I turn into a seal when I want to, you know, when I get tired of people.”

“Fear not,” said Druce the Warlock. “There is no evil here. Only good. In fact, you might not know it but that cup you’re drinking out of. THAT my son is the Holy Grail.”

Galahad blinked a few times and fainted.

2018

The Dark Ages didn’t always seem so dark when Galahad thought about them. He looked out of his back window over Monterey Bay. California hadn’t even been a dream back then. On the mantle over the fireplace was a simple silver cup. There was no power in it except it had been used in the name of love. How he wished the world had more love in it, but maybe one day.

Legend had it that he’d found the Grail and gone to heaven with Joseph. Instead he’d chosen to live, for a long long long time as a Vampire. Funny how things worked out.

Tellias and Eleora and Druce were coming for a visit and would be there soon. Morcant had passed on years before in the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It had broken his heart. He had become great friends with the Selkie.

But now he did have his house by the ocean. He didn’t worry about critical mistakes because he knew love, and had spent the centuries doing good. It was his way, even as a Vampire, for his heart, as always had stayed pure. And most of all, he realized that in their own weird and twisted way his parents had loved him.

~ End

For another tale of Druce and Morcant Click Here.

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want you so bad my fangs hurt (and more historically accurate tales of Camelot)

“I want you so bad my fangs hurt.”

I whipped around feeling cold breath on my neck. Smiling behind me was non other than my old boyfriend Pleasant Van Dousen.  Yes, HE is the one I made that meme about. Yes, this one. Even after all these years, more unpleasant memories to want to remember, and the fact that we’re both happily and faithfully married, I still got a little bit of a thrill out of it.

Pleasant Van Dousen, my old beau

Anyway, this isn’t about this. It is about history, and setting the record straight. It is about reunions. It is about sharing experiences. It is about the Knights of the Round Table before you learned it all from Monty Python. It is about old people and how you need to get their stories down and treasure their stories because when they’re gone so is any trace of the history they take with them.

Over the past four months I’ve been in the throes of planning a reunion for the Vampires of my youth (1870’s.) My old friend Amelia, a charming and stylish Vampire now living in Las Vegas, came up and stayed with me for the week. While she was here we stopped by to see the Ancient Vampires Eleora and Tellias.

Apparently we were not the only ones. Pleasant also stopped by. Amelia was even nice to him, something which surprised the jeebers out of me. Stranger things have happened.

We sat on the back porch of the large old Victorian farm house chatting over glasses of iced Poet’s Blood with sprigs of mint and sweet basil. Our hosts Tellias and Eleora are over 2,000 years old but they look like they are nineteen or twenty years old. Tellias wore an old Bob Seager tour shirt from the 1980’s over black tuxedo pants. Eleora was in an old faded sundress made of a print with monkeys and tropical flowers on hit. She’d pinned the straps with safety pins. They both wore yellow flip flops.

We were just chatting about people we used to know, or still know, or want to know better, or want to be rid of. Then Pleasant said, “Tellias, Eleora, I heard recently that you two were close with Merlin, the Wizard in the Court of King Arthur.”

Tellias leaned back in his chair and smiled a sly Vampire smile. “The thing is Pleasant, Merlin wasn’t much of a Wizard. In fact he wasn’t a Wizard at all.”

Pleasant looked surprised, as did the rest of us. “Was he a Vampire, like us?”

“Heaven’s no,” said Tellias. “Merlin was a time traveler. Or maybe still is. He still pops in occasionally, though it has been about sixty years.”

“Sixty five,” said Eleora. “Sixty five long years without a word. No word at all. Not a one.”

“But how…” started Amelia.

Tellias leaned forward and gave all of us a long look. “Technology. He bowled them over with simple technology. You’d be amazed at what folks in the dark ages thought of a man with a simple hand held flash light full of D batteries. Or music coming from a smart phone stuck in a tree.”

“But what about Excalibur?” asked Pleasant. “How did Arthur get the sword out of the stone? Didn’t Merlin have something to do with that?”

“A few sprays of WD40. It was a no brainer,” said Tellias. “You know what else?”

“Pray tell Tellias,” said Pleasant.

“He had a taser, and a laser pointer, and a Zippo lighter. The Knights of the Round Table went nuts. They had no idea they were being fooled by a handsome sleight of hand artist with a seductive voice and skills that would have made Houdini proud.”

“He fooled them with all kinds of things.” said Eleora.

“All kinds of things,” said Tellias.

“A bag full of things we take for granted,” said Eleora.

“Things we take for granted,” said Tellias, “but seemed positively magical in the Dark Ages.”

“Positively magic,” said Eleora.

“But,” said Pleasant, “what about the Lady of the Lake?”

“That was me,” said Eleora with a coquettish grin.

“You know how she loves to swim,” said Tellias. “Can’t keep my gal out of the water. She love to swim.”

“I love it,” said Eleora.

“What about the rest of the Camelot group?” I asked.

“Arthur was a good King, but his personal life was out of control. He was swayed too much on his emotions. He trusted everyone,” said Tellias.

“He was sexy as hell. I have no idea why Guinevere cheated on him so much,” said Eleora.

“She was in an arranged marriage my dear,” said Tellias. “Remember it wasn’t love at first night as it was with us Eleora.”

“Love at first sight. Every single night with you  Tellias is love at first sight,” said Eleora.

Tellias blew her a kiss from across the room and continued, “Guinevere didn’t go to a convent either after her affair with Lancelot.”

“Where’d she go?” Asked Pleasant.

Tellias shrugged his shoulders. “She hooked up with the pilot of the time machine, a guy named Frank. They’re both still out there. Somewhere. I don’t know. I saw them at one of Scott and Zelda’s parties back in the 20’s. Don’t know where they went from there.”

Pleasant looked surprised. “What about Lancelot?”

“Sir Lancelot du Lac, now he was a piece of work. He was worse than Casanova. Couldn’t keep it in his tights. It wasn’t just the queen. He’d see a pretty face, or any half way decent face that was female and he’d go nuts. It didn’t matter if she was married or not,” said Tellias.

“Once Lancelot came up behind me and guess what he said to me,” said Eleora.

“What did he say?” said Pleasant.

“He said I want you so bad my fangs hurt. And that was when he was with Gwen. Yes, he was a Vampire. Tellias and I turned him.”

I was shocked. “You two never told me that. Where is he now?”

“Nowhere,” said Tellias. “He was an unfortunate victim of the Spanish Inquisition.”

“So sad. So sad it was. Positively tragic,” said Eleora.

On that somber note we turned our conversation beck to Time Travelers, old friends, and our plans for the week.

As night turned into dawn we shared hugs and promised we’d be back soon.

On the drive back to my house, while Amelia talked about Merlin’s use of simple technology, I thought about my own past. I thought about how it had always been love at first sight with my  husband Teddy, when I knew what love at first sight was. I thought about all of the Vampire men who’d attempted to take a piece of my heart, along with my body. Then I said, “What are you wearing to the party tonight? I’m going to wear my black dress with the low back.”

Amelia answered, “Color. Juliette you need more color. I’m wearing blue and silver.”

And she did and she was absolutely beautiful, more than any princess or queen who ever lived. Even in Camelot.

Of course, as usual I wore black. I always wear black.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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