Passings in the Night

Passings in the Night

The plan tonight was to share some Vampire tales and adventures and truly funny things, but plans change.

Tonight I saw The Ghost, Nigel. He wore an impeccable black suit, his hair was a perfect glossy black and all in place. He motioned for me to sit with him out on my back deck under the cold night sky.

His eyes met mine and he told me a story.

“I died December 3, 1986. I normally wouldn’t have remembered the anniversary of my own death, but, it was the strangest thing, I was standing out in the woods, not doing much of anything. When you’re a ghost you don’t do much of anything. Anyway, I was out in the woods and a woman came towards me. She was smiling at me and I knew things about her. Her life had taken up where parts of mine had stopped. Then her life stopped December 3, 2013.

She looked at me for just a moment in passing. It was dark but I could see the light coming over the horizon. She asked me who I was and if we knew each other. I told her “I don’t know you, but we’ve loved some of the same people.” I turned her in the right direction.”

Nigel stood up and looked up at the stars, hovering in and out of a transparent state. Then he came close to me and made himself look as real as a live person.

“I couldn’t go with her. But I sent a little bit of my love along, I hope. Well, I know I did. Don’t look all sad. I’m a ghost. These things happen. Hey, nobody should die alone. She left surrounded by love.”

“Who was she?” I had to ask.

He shook his head slightly. “I don’t know. But we loved the same people, just not at the same time. I loved them first, then she loved them after I was gone. I have a feeling she was better at it than I was, or most people for that matter.”

There were so many questions I wanted to ask him but tonight was not the time to ask or to try to get answers.

Love is a force that we can’t explain or quantify. It goes beyond words, beyond sorrow and beyond grief.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

First posted December 2013 – In memory of Julian Elsworth and Lil Longshore.

 

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Old St. Rick

Old St. Rick

I completely forgot about Frozen or the Democratic Debates or other items in the news. I’ve been on the verge of a panic attack (really, no kidding, no snarky remarks about me not understanding whatever…I understand more than you’ll ever know) and everything in my small corner of the world seeming to be like the proverbial Vampire in the mirror, while all the while everyone around me is telling me otherwise.

A day or two ago I was pondering what I’m going to do next. Not like who I’m going to bite, but what I’m going to DO. You know DO like work or meaningful activity or creative genius stuff. Then as a brilliant idea or two came into my mind my computer died. I kind of spiraled for a few days, but it was nice to take a break from the machine until the new hard drive was put in. A new year is coming up soon after all.

With the computer fixed I sat at home, with the computer closed, on my red couch, pondering a lot of things when a knock came on the door.

It was my friend Richard. Oh my goodness it had been a while since I’d seen him.

Women found him irresistible. Men found him intriguing. Children adored him.

I opened the door, gave him a hug and let him in.

Rickard looked at his blurry refection in the entry way mirror then caught himself in the eyes. The mirror cleared and he found himself looking into his own hazel eyes. He looked good after four centuries. Almost too good. The right description would be devastatingly handsome.

I took his Ferragamo overcoat and noticed the beautiful silk Hermes tie, that complimented his black Armani suit. He always was a sharp dresser.

“You look as gorgeous as ever,” I told him.

He kissed my cheek, “And you’re as beautiful as ever Juliette. Do you mind making some coffee? I’m absolutely beat, but I have to tell you what just happened to me.”

He followed me to the kitchen as I made coffee.

He flashed me a million watt smile. “I made my list and checked everything twice except the weather report. Yes, I was caught in the snow, but I had the most interesting night. It was pretty amazing.

I’d turned off the highway on a clear road. It wasn’t like I was in the middle of nowhere, and even if I was that shouldn’t have bothered me. Anyway, I was driving along with only one other car on the road. I was at a safe distance behind a midsize sedan. No problem. I’m singing along to the radio to that St. Motel song Cold Cold Man, and suddenly BAM. We were both, the car in front of me and I were both hit by a truck. The truck kept going. I went into a ditch and rolled. The other car spun and went off the side of the road into the snow.

A woman was in the other car. I could tell by her voice as she called to me. The snow started to fall as she helped me from my car. I was trapped. This small woman rocked the car until I could push the door open. It was amazing. She led me about a half mile down the road, through the snow to a cabin. There was no cell coverage and it was starting to get dark.

She was middle aged. You know just an average woman. Brown hair, a little overweight, pretty enough face, nose red from the cold. She got a fire going and lit an oil lamp, then started a kettle for tea. I just stood there like an idiot watching.

The more I watched the more I thought I recognized her but I couldn’t wrap my mind around her.

She told me to sit. She told me to take off my wet jacket and shoes. She wrapped a soft blanket around my shoulders and gave me tea. It wasn’t one of those nasty scratchy disgusting blankets people tend to have in cabins but a nice one.

She looked at me and said: This is my place. My escape. I was here for a few days trying to rewind. Looks like it might be a few more. I can’t get a phone connection right now but I left a note on my car. Somebody ought to be by tomorrow, if not tonight. You look familiar. Like a guy I used to know a long time ago.

I asked her who she thought I looked like. She said something about someone she knew a long time ago. Then she said she was old enough to be my mother and so we’d never met.

She said she was fifty-seven. I told her that I was four hundred and thirty one. And she just stared at me. She didn’t call me a smart ass or get weird. She just looked at me.

Then she said You’re THAT Rick. Oh my God. Fuck.

I’m a Vampire. I just blurted it out. I NEVER do that. I never tell anyone what I am unless they figure it out on their own.

I should have figured that, she said.

Thirty years before we’d had a one night stand. Then another one night stand. Then one more. She was beautiful but not in a conventional way and sexy as can be. And there she was.

Why didn’t you ever call me? I asked.

Really? She said. I could tell, like you, she had teens in her house.

Really. Why didn’t you call? I asked again.

You know why. I would have just made a fool of myself. How old are you? She asked.

Four hundred and thirty one. I said.

I could see the wheels in her brain turning as she looked at me.

You’re lovely. I said. Yes, I read her thoughts. Society is so cruel to middle aged women. She thinks she is horrible looking and invisible. You’re beautiful.

She leaned against the back of the couch and closed her eyes. I kissed her.

Your lips are cold. Just like back then. She said. So are you going to drain my blood? I’m diabetic so you might get a mouth full of drugs and a bad after taste.

No, but hey, I could turn you into a Vampire if you want. You’d look the way you looked thirty years ago. You’d…

Stop. She said. I have kids in high school.

You could be young and live for…for a long long time.

She shook her head and gave me a sad smile. Oh Rick. Sweetie. I have to get my kids into college. Then maybe I’ll have time to sit on the beach and write poetry.  I have a husband too. Twenty five years ago, thirty years ago the answer would have been yes, but now not so much. Boy, this is weird. I knew you were different but this is weird. And I’m not beautiful. I look like a troll.

Don’t say that, I told her. You don’t look like a troll. You’re beautiful. She was beautiful.

So to make a short story longer we talked for two days straight. She was worried about her family worrying about her but I told her it would be ok. The phone service wasn’t dead, it had come back on right after we settled in the first night. I just made it seem like that. I called her family when she dozed off. I also set up a college fund for her kids. Whatever they need they’ll have.

Oh it was grand those two days. She made me laugh harder than I’d laughed in years. She made me feel more alive than I have felt, well, since I was alive. You know, like warm again. And she didn’t judge. She wasn’t afraid of me. She was curious. She didn’t treat me like a freak. I hardly find a human who treats me like I’m normal and just a little different.

Before her husband made it up to pick us up I gave her something personal, just for her. I gave her my ruby ring. You know the pinkie ring I always called my Vampire ring. It fit on her middle finger. I guess that is fitting considering how I acted thirty years ago. She actually cried. I made someone cry tears of joy. God, she was beautiful back then. She still is, she just doesn’t believe it. I want her to believe. I’ll keep working on it.”

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I looked at my friend Richard and suddenly realized that there was more to the centuries old party boy than I had imagined. He’d given his three day lover a ring that was worth at least fifty thousand dollars and made sure her kids would get through college.

“Hey Juliette, let’s go for a hunt tonight, just like old times. We can bring Teddy along,” he said.

“Nothing like a little holiday blood lust.”

“Exactly. And hey, the reason I stopped by was to ask you a favor. I know a guy who wants to be one of us. He is ready and will make a good addition to our community. Will you help me. You’re the best. I don’t know anyone I’d rather help me with … and what’s wrong?”

I stopped to compose myself. “You’re so sweet.”

He kissed my forehead. “Merry Christmas Juliette.”

“Merry Christmas Richard.”

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season with friends, old and new.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Yes, I know, all of my posts sound the same. That is life… Merry Christmas. Go have some egg nog, look at Christmas lights, call an old friend, and take your dog for a walk.

Halloween is Almost Here (more musings and random thoughts)

Halloween is almost here

Ghosts and Goblins yell and cheer,

Witches drink their Bat Eye Beer

Halloween is almost here.

 

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At the crack of dawn this morning, actually about an hour before, I looked out on my deck to find two ghosts holding coffee mugs and savoring the first stirrings of the woodland creatures who live in my yard and behind my house (along with the sounds of fire truck sirens, trucks and a random dog bark or two.) I watched my translucent friends put their heads together in close conversation, occasionally laughing or using hand gestures.

These ghosts have discarded any old ideas of white sheets and hollow eyed wails. They leave that for others. Sure they can haunt the crap out of anyone and show their form in death (a rather violent image, especially for the one called Mary) but they usually choose not to.

He has pale skin and dark, almost black glossy hair that layers around his face. She has long reddish brown hair that she lets blow in the ghostly winds that most of us can’t feel.

If it was any other pair of ghosts I would have chased them off, but these two are mine. At least mine because they live in my space. I usually don’t like ghosts or anything without a body, but there are always exceptions.

I didn’t interfere with their reveries. I’d pick up the cups later. That is the empty cups they fill with their phantom coffee. I had other things on my mind.

Earlier my husband Teddy had come home with a scratch across his handsome face. Three scratches from fingernails to be exact and bites in various places.

He’d been called to see about a rare pocket watch a client of his was looking for. When he arrived at the old Victorian he discovered that the apartment was below street level (the original street level.)

The door was answered by a woman of shocking appearance. She was bloated like a dead thing that had been out in the sun. Her eyes were sunken and rimmed with pale pinkish red. Despite her bony frame the fashionable black dress she wore strained at the seams. White blonde hair tangled around her face. Blood caked around the corners of her mouth and on the cuticles of her fingernails.

He recognized her, barely. In 1934 he’d spent two weeks with her on Catalina Island. People thought she was a film star with her Jean Harlow looks and beautiful clothes. So much for happy memories.

She told him that now she fed on transients and outcasts who wouldn’t be missed. Rather than taking a pint or a quart here and there she sucked them dry. Nobody would miss them or care. It always looked like natural causes anyway. Then she’d sleep it off for a week or two and start again.

Teddy, being the man he is and a Vampire with a social conscience tried to tell her that what she was doing was not acceptable. Bad move Teddy. She attacked him, screeching that she never asked to be a Vampire. She didn’t choose that life. She had become isolated as those she preyed upon.

As she fled into the night  The young man who made the nicely decorated basement apartment at home was in a deep sleep. He wasn’t someone off the grid but someone who’d left his bedroom window open and a Vampire climbed in. Teddy had the decency to erase any bad memories the young man might have had. Then Teddy called a Vampire Hunter to take care of his old friend. Teddy didn’t have the stomach to do it himself.

We talked about it for a while and like so many things it just seemed sad. Too many things seem sad.

Halloween is almost here but we’re already up to our eyeballs in scary shit, including a school shooting scare and other stupid stuff.

But then again like all families we’re busy to the point where we can’t stop and even think about anything much. It is like this all the time. Halloween brings a flood of activity. A party at my house on Friday. A party on Saturday. A skate meet on Sunday. A dozen other things including school and work are squeezed in between. Then we start all over again.

But I’ll make it a point to stop and sip my coffee and watch the sunrise.  And tomorrow we’ll carve those pumpkins I’ve been gathering on my front porch!

 

Halloween is almost here

Werewolves howling is so near,

Zombie looking for his ear,

Halloween is almost here.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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This little adventure was first posted here in 2014. I’ll be back with new stories and adventures shortly.  

Desert Winds

On the edge of the Sandia Mountains, My friends Amelia her husband Raul and I drove down the gravel road to the home of Ximena, an ancient woman who mostly lived in solitude with the company of the birds and the wind.

Ximena’s home was a large old adobe structure rimmed with bells and bushes of purple flowers. She greeted us at the door, as always wearing a long colorful skirt. Her black hair flowed down her back almost to her knees. Dark eyes smiled at us in a welcome greeting, as did her fangs. She is almost as ancient as Tellias and Eleora, and like them Ximena looks like a young college girl.

We came into the main room. Walls lined with books and crystals flanked part of the room with windows on the other side looking towards the mountains. We could smell the dried chiles rastas hanging in the kitchen. A red shouldered hawk perched on a wooden chair. It called out when it saw us.

“Maria, you still sing so sweetly,” I said to the bird. She gave me a cold stair then allowed me to pet her feathered head.

Maria the hawk had been around since I was a young woman, more than a hundred years. I wondered at times how she could live so long, then I stopped wondering and chalked it up to magic, love or pure mystery. It is what it is. That is how things work here in the land of magic.

A youngish man with dark hair and eyes like Ximena, but pale skin, came into the room. He was introduced to us as Kyle. But he wasn’t like us. I could feel his warmth as soon as he walked into the room.

Kyle was a man of many talents. He was a photographer, a teacher, a writer, an engineer and apparently a lover. After talking over wine and a light diner we also discovered Ximena’s young friend was also extremely opened minded.

He was also a young widow. One night left him alone with his dreams dead, but he kept going and kept at least a portion of the dreams and spark alive.

While Raul, Amelia and Ximena went to a back room to examine some old maps or something, Kyle and I went out to the porch. Bats flew about as the sounds of the bells filled the air.

Kyle asks me about my husband Teddy. I smiled shyly and told him how we’d met as kids and fallen in love a hundred years later. I think I’d always been in love with my husband on some level.

Then Kyle spoke of his lost love. “After Kayla, my wife, passed away everyone kept asking me if I’d go back. Over and over they’d ask the old what if question. You know, you can’t go back. I can’t bring her back. I will never forget her. She is part of me, but I live in the world of the living.”

“No ghost?” I had to ask (always thinking of obnoxious Nigel)

“Only a Vampire in the Southwest would ask that,” Kyle answered with a knowing smile.

“A Vampire anywhere would ask that. Don’t get me started on the ghosts I see all the time.”

“No ghost. Kayla moved on the night she died. That is a good thing.”

“Yes it is. You’re a wise man with a loving heart. In some circles that is a rare thing.”

He leaned against the rail. “I don’t know you except by reputation but I want to ask you a few thing, or at least see how you feel about a few things.”

“Okay,” I said.

“I’m in love with Ximena. I know what she is. I know how old she is. It doesn’t matter.”

I shrugged and laughed. “My 500 or so year old Grandmama is in love with a 35 year old. What are you, about 38?”

He smiled. I was correct. He was 38 and absolutely a delight – young, yet years ahead of most men his age.

“Dear Kyle, you also want me to tell you if I think it would be wise if you became a Vampire? Right?”

He smiled an uncomfortable hot blooded smile.

I said to him, “Kyle, you are in love with the cold wind under the moon and the sprint of night. She is an amazing being. I’ve always admired her. If you feel you can make a life out here with her then do it. But don’t lose yourself in her. Always be who you are, even after you become a Vampire. That is the only way it will work. If you try to be too much like her she will leave you, because she fell in love with you, not with herself.”

Raul and Ximena came out to join us with wine for Ryan and spiced blood for the rest of us.

Ximena whistled and Maria the red shouldered hawk came and landed on a table next to her hand. Ximena gave the bird a piece of meat she took from a bag in her pocket.

Into the night we talked until the sun came up and created unbelievably beautiful light and shadows on the mountains.

I could hear the wind whispering to the lovers:

The light

in dark eyes

promises kept

forever and

again

in our hearts

we love

we laugh

and we learn

to do it 

all

over 

again.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Owl Songs on a Full Moon Night

When you don’t sleep at night you get to know the owls.

Their songs – or more often their talking, their quotes, their calls, come in five notes.

They say “we knew you.”

They call out a secret code,

To a lone Vampire,

On a Dark Night,

Or maybe they sing to a lost love, or more so the same wrong words.

They sat in the tree like they are auditioning for a Steinbeck novel, in their oak tree on a California night just lit by a full Werewolf moon.

With the white Sierras in the background and the knowledge that the Pacific Ocean is close.

I was with Max earlier, my brother. He is such an alpha, yet so silent in his feelings. He listens to the owls and I know he thinks of a lost love that nobody else knew, or remembers. It only lingers in his heart and the secret places that only the creatures of the night know.

The distant traffic noises fade to nothing, and the night belongs to the soft sounds of the owls, and the random sound of deer walking single file through the field behind my home.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Working out loss, love and life with your Vampire teen.

My 16 year old son is usually sunshine and smiles but yesterday, after being back at school for the first day after Thanksgiving break, he was quiet and almost sad. He said school was fine and it was good seeing his friends again, but he didn’t talk like he usually does.

I found this in the car scrawled in my son’s writing:

 

One day we’ll part,

In different worlds,

Not so different,

Not the same,

You’ll have change,

I will stay the same,

You’ll have wonder,

I will stay the same,

You’ll have wisdom,

I will see the wonders of the ages,

Except that I will miss you,

My heart a broken mess.

I knew where this was going. Friends mean everything to a teen. Their friends are the center of their universe. They think though their hearts. They bond friendships that will last forever – or so it seems.

After not seeing him for about an hour I went searching just to make sure he was ok.

I found Garrett, not on his computer, or iPhone but painting. He almost always writes poetry when something is on his mind. I find scraps of paper with free verse in the clothes dryer, in books, in the car and just about everywhere. He also paints to get out emotions he is trying to deal with.

I found him in front of a canvas he has painted over and over until the paint has become thick as a pancake. “I hate the fact that my friends are going to die before I do. They’re going to get old and I’m going to have to leave their lives because I won’t age like they do. It sucks mom. It isn’t fair.” He looked at me with sad eyes.

“Your friends are going through the same thing only sooner than you are.” I told him.

“How?”

“Some have already lost parents and grandparents. A few have lost friends and siblings. It leaves holes that are hard to imagine.”

“I’d die if anything happened to you or dad.” He looked at me with so much love and sadness that it broke my heart.

I put my hand on his shoulder. “You won’t die. You just remember and know the love is still there. You find strength. You keep the memory of the person who died and live to make them proud of you. The memories are always yours.”

“It’s just hard,” he said.

“I know, but you have a long way to go. I’ve loved and cherished my friends over the years. I feel honored to have known them. Their path isn’t the same as ours. Their lives are full and rich and wonderful. They have options we can’t even imagine.”

“Mom, by the time I’m 30 I’ll have to start backing away because I’m not going to age like they will.” The frustration in his voice was clear.

“It isn’t that simple Garrett. You’ll keep connections with some of your most trusted friends. They’ll understand. There are ways to deal with it and work around it.”

“Your friends, the ones you have when you were my age are all gone.”

“I still miss them sometimes baby. It isn’t always easy.” I told my son. It wasn’t easy but one grew to accept it. Not like it, but accept it.

“Sometimes I wish we were regular humans. You know, normal people,” said my son.

“We’re normal enough.” I had to smile. Normal for modern suburban Vampires.

“My friends are going to go away.”

“They’ll be in your heart forever.”

“It isn’t the same.” He gave me a very very very sad look that broke my heart.

“I know honey. I wish I had an answer for you but I don’t.” And I still don’t.

I could have told him to be proud to be a Vampire etc etc etc. He is and it is all he knows, but sometimes it is ok to let your teen brood and ponder life and love and death. They need to explore those feelings – and as a parent you can be open to their thoughts and ideas. Give them the support they need and a safe place to go if they have questions or just want to talk.

Just listen. Sometimes that is all they need.