Short Story Sunday: The Changeling (Happy Mother’s Day)

The Changeling

By Juliette Kings

I’ll always remember what my preschool teacher said at lunch and snack times. “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” My parents lived by that. I’m surprised they didn’t both tattoo it on their foreheads.

Sometimes parents will notice their lovely happy babies will suddenly seem to change. Well they have changed. Your baby has been replaced by a crying, unhappy, grouchy, nasty, Goblin Changeling. Congratulations.

Sometimes the horrible Changelings are left to die on the doorsteps of churches, or locked in attics. Usually the real babies are brought back to their loving parents. Fairies and others help out. More often than not ransoms are paid. A mother might pay with her beauty. A father might pay with his strength. It could be anything depending on the mood of theGoblins.

In my case the Goblins dropped me into the home of someone who seemed oblivious to my nastiness. They actually kept me.

I spend my entire childhood treating my parents like crap and tormenting my little brother Trevor. My brother hated me, but he should have loved me. Without me Trevor would have been one of those sensitive pantywaist boys who allows people walk all over him. I made him tough. I made him stand up for himself. He should have thanked me for it.

I have no idea why my parents put up with me. The only reason I wasn’t expelled from every school I attended is because I always made straight A’s. Sure I caused a lot of tears but I kept the school yard in line. My minions kept close while I doled out punishments fitting crimes of weakness. As for lies… I was the number one princess of lies, and adults never knew what was going on.They believed me.

Sure there were more times I could count that I had my mom in tears, but hey, that is what you get for accepting a Goblin Changeling. She could have dumped me in foster care or sent me off to some farm of a distant relative. People suggested boarding schools, drugs and shock treatments. My mom just told them that they could never understand how I was different and unique in ways that nobody could ever understand.

At one time my parents sent me to counseling. I told Dr. Cray everything she wanted to hear. The good doctor said I was a well-adjusted and brilliant child. She said I was mature for my age hence others not understanding me. Boy did I have it pulled over her eyes.

Anyway, Trevor and I grew up and went out on our own. I met a few other Changelings and even married one.

My husband and I are one of those successful power couples. He’s the CEO of a billion dollar tech company. I’m an attorney, and the biggest asshole attorney out there, and proud of it. Beauty and brains plus no morals what so ever. Justice for all.

As soon as I found out my future husband Blake was an over the top arrogant, self-centered SOB I fell in love with him. He loved me back as only a Goblin Changeling can love another Goblin Changeling.

I remember a day when a woman from my past approached me. This should have been one of those turning points where I changed my heart and became a good person. I recognized her because I’d gone to school with her.

She said, “You were a bully. A mean horrible bully. You ruined lives.”

I just smiled and told her, “You should have learned from your bad experience. Instead you made the choice to be a loser.”

I’m like that. I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks. I don’t care if they said I’m mean to my parents and twice as horrible to my brother. Tell me something I don’t know.

So on Mother’s Day I showed up at my parent’s house with my husband. The hubby joined my dad in the back at the grill. Trevor and his wife Emily were in the kitchen with my mom. I put the vase of yellow roses I’d brought for my mom down on breakfast nook table and gave my mother a rare kiss.

Trevor glared at me. Emily looked uncomfortable.

“I have good news Katie,” said my mom. “Trevor and Emily are going to have a baby.”

“How about that Trevor, you aren’t dickless after all. Well congratulations,” I said as sweetly as I could manage.

“Why did you have to say that Katie? Why are you so horrible all the time?” Asked the lovely Emily.

“I’m just like that Em. Well dear family, I also have news. I’m pregnant too,” I said.

Trevor got right into my face. “You always have to try to upstage me Katie. I don’t care if you are having a baby. Your child will NEVER be allowed to be with mine. NEVER.”

I laughed out loud, a cold bitter laugh. “You know baby brother, if it wasn’t for me you’d never be with Emily. Why do you think all of those other bitch girlfriends of yours dumped you before you ended up with Em? I was looking out for you asshole. I was also the reason you have your dream job. So screw you Trevor. I hope your kid is ugly and stupid.”

My mom should have looked shocked, then again she was used to me saying horrible things to my brother Trevor. I was pissed and went into the living room. Mom followed.

She put her hand on my arm, then took it off as I tensed up. “Are you happy about your baby Katie?”

“Sure. It will be fun.” Then I looked into her blue eyes and suddenly I wanted to cry. I mean, like, my eyes started to sting and water up. “You’re amazing mom. Why in the world did you keep me?”

“My own baby had passed on. My little angel had never been right. She didn’t last more than a week. The Goblins had scheduled a drop off not knowing there was no baby for them to take home. They just left you. Even Goblins don’t want their Changelings. What was your dad and I supposed to do?”

“Oh Mom, you knew?”

“Always.”

“So why’d you put up with me all these years?”

“Remember that horrible cat Billy we used to have?”

I remembered Billy. He was worse than I was. He’d hiss at everyone. He’d growl when you’d feed him. No act of kindness was rewarded. Billy was nuts. Damn, he was the Devil’s own cat.

My mom continued. “We kept Billy because if we’d given him up he would have died. Nobody else would have understood. He would have been put down. It was the same with you.”

“I loved that cat,” I said feeling my eyes water up.

“I know you did Katie,” said my mom.

She put her arm around my shoulder. “Let’s go back to the others Katie. Do me a favor sweetie. Try to be nice to Trevor. Just for today.”

“Sure. I love you mom.”

“Love you too Katie. More than you’ll ever know.”

I kissed her cheek. “When I’m a mom I want to be just like you.”

A hint of tears glistened in my mother’s eyes. That made me happy in a weird sort of uncomfortable way.

We joined the rest of the family around the grill, all smiles and making nice. All the while I was thinking of ways to torture my brother and get even on the rest of the universe.

Life is good. Well, at least it is for me.

 

~ end

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

My Own Vampire Maman

She walked into the crowded bar as if she owned the place. I waved. She flashed me a dazzling smile and walked my way.

Black jeans, a dusty plum-colored coat over a white dress shirt she borrowed from her man, buttons open to give a hint of a promise of something soft and lace covered, the most darling gray boots with buckles and heels, a gray and blue scarf, and a black messenger bag with a tiny gold bat pin attached to it. Her nails are covered in glossy gray varnish as perfect as perfect can be, set off  a perfect dark fire opal on her right hand. Loose dark brown chestnut colored ringlets cascading down her back. Perfect smoky eyes as gray as a winter sky shot with blue and a slight hint of pink lip-gloss on cupid kissed lips. She could be somewhere between 25 and 35 but it doesn’t matter. She is perfect. Every male head in the place turns. My mom just walked into the room.

She walked to the bar where I sat nursing a gin and tonic. She didn’t need to pull up a stool – four were immediately offered to her. She grabbed one a few places down and sat it next to me. Her arm went around my waist and squeezed. All was right in the world. Mom was here.

She still calls me her baby. I still call her my Maman.

She picks something off of my sweater. She liked my hair. My nail color made my hands look dirty. Was Teddy home. Was Clara at class tonight? I looked tired. Was I getting enough sleep? Was I spending all my time catering to my children? Was I working on my novels? Was I planning my winter and spring gardens?

My dad with at my brother Aaron’s house. It was a big girl night out.

She scanned the room and said, “we won’t go out hungry tonight.”

No we wouldn’t.

I put my hands in my lap, then decided to ignore her comment about my nail color. I liked the color even though I doubt if I’d wear it again.

We spoke quietly, our heads together. A man asked if we were sisters. My mom said we were.

He was in his early thirties. Blonde hair, green eyes, button down shirt. Cute bordering on handsome. My mom is 388 years old.

She whispered something in his ear and put her hand on his shoulder. He smiled. He was hers for the night if she wanted him. That isn’t what she said to him, but she can make anyone feel good. She said there was a girl in the bar who liked him, the pretty girl who is never the prettiest in the room and never the one who gets picked first. The girl was smart and funny and sexy and a little different. He’d pick her tonight and in a few months time he’d pick her forever. My maman has a talent for facilitating happily ever after events. How Vampires got the bad rap I’ll never know (actually I do but that’s another blog post) but we’re quite the romantics and lovers.

Her wedding ring was on a cord around her neck, hidden under her shirt. It was funny considering we spent most of the evening talking about my dad. She said she wanted to spend the week with my daughter.

She said she’d planted the pansies I’d given her.  Hers were doing great but mine were still smallish. I told her that was because she loved her plants more than mine. She laughed.  She had some bulbs in the car for me. I told her that I’d give them lots of love.

We were like any other mother and daughter meeting in the evening. Except we were out for blood. But that’s ok with us.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Friends and Family and Frustration

Obbie – short for Obsidian Reed, the second person I turned into a Vampire. My mother never approved. Then again she doesn’t approve of much of anything I do.

I don’t want to be like my own mother.

She was there and sacrificed for us but she never understood who her children were.

She wasn’t someone I could look up to. She wasn’t someone I wanted to be or be like. Granted she is brilliant and accomplished but she is cold. I know, cold isn’t a bad thing if you’re a Vampire, but it just isn’t my cup of blood.

Don’t get me wrong, there was no abuse, no horrible unspeakable things, just nothing in common with her younger children. No understanding of who they were or who they wanted to be. She could never understand. It is the way she is wired.

She is lovely and all the Vampires adore her…

When she calls I cringe. I was having a good day, then her voice. Then negativity. Never asking me how I’m doing or what I think.

My brother Val marvels at how our mother can put a negative spin on anything.

Things are ok, but I don’t want to be that kind of mother for my own children. I’m not that kind of mother. I want to shower them with feelings of joy.

I must watch to make sure I don’t become that woman… the one who finds negativity in everything. I don’t want to be judging my children. Of course my mother never judges my children, only the younger three of her five children, the three who in my opinion are doing the best. We’re the most boring and non-vampirish of her brood – that is in her opinion, which is the only opinion in her world.

She adores her grandchildren. The grandchildren get all the trash talk about their parents,  my brother Aaron (the only other sibling with children) and me. No use asking her to stop. The kids are old enough to think it is hilarious.

You know, I’m talking care of my kids, my marriage, my job plus the elders and my siblings messes so I don’t need anyone to give me advice. I’m handing it all as best as I can, which is better than most.

So the other day I was trying to decompress from a phone call my old friend Obbie showed up at my door like a bright and shining moonbeam.

“You’re always doing interesting things with Samantha.” Obbie tells me. “She isn’t that bad. At least you have a mom.”

“I just wish…”

He smiled with his charming Vampire-next-door way. “You think about it too much.”

Maybe I do. There comes a time when we all have things we just have to let go of and accept – even if it takes 100 years or so.

It would be a busy night. Obbie and I took my kids out to see the Elders, two ancient Vampires who often are in need of company and help with little things. They are frustrating, the ancient ones, but always so sweet and loving. They look at the world through a crystal that shines many colors. They understand me. As much as I can, I understand them as well.

Obbie also understands me as only a dear friend can. Family is important but there are some things that only our friends “get” about us. They know us in a different way, a new way that isn’t out of a sense of obligation or blood.

The first time I met Obbie was at an art show in 1889. We started to talk and talked and laughed all night. About a week later he said, “I wish this could last forever.” I told him it could. My mother did not approve. But that’s ok. Obbie adores her and I guess… well that is just weird, but that’s ok. Most things in my life are weird. And you know, sometimes weird is good.

 

Have a good week everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

My Vampire Maman

moulin-rougeShe walked into the crowded bar as if she owned the place. I waved. She flashed me a dazzling smile and walked my way.

Black jeans, a dusty plum-colored coat over a white dress shirt she borrowed from her man, buttons open to give a hint of a promise of something soft and lace covered, the most darling gray boots with buckles and heels, a gray and blue scarf, and a black messenger bag with a tiny gold bat pin attached to it. Her nails are covered in glossy gray varnish as perfect as perfect can be, set off  a perfect dark fire opal on her right hand. Loose dark brown chestnut colored ringlets cascading down her back. Perfect smoky eyes as gray as a winter sky shot with blue and a slight hint of pink lip-gloss on cupid kissed lips. She could be somewhere between 25 and 35 but it doesn’t matter. She is perfect. Every male head in the place turns. My mom just walked into the room.

She walked to the bar where I sat nursing a gin and tonic. She didn’t need to pull up a stool – four were immediately offered to her. She grabbed one a few places down and sat it next to me. Her arm went around my waist and squeezed. All was right in the world. Mom was here.

She still calls me her baby. I still call her my maman.

She picks something off of my sweater. She liked my hair. My nail color made my hands look dirty. Was Teddy home with the kids? I looked tired. Was I getting enough sleep? Was I spending all my time driving the kids around? Was I working on my novels? Was I planning my spring garden?

My dad with at my brother Aaron’s house. It was a big girl night out.

She scanned the room and said “we won’t go out hungry tonight.”

No we wouldn’t.

I put my hands in my lap, then decided to ignore her comment about my nail color. I liked the color even though I doubt if I’d wear it again.

We spoke quietly, our heads together. A man asked if we were sisters. My mom said we were.

He was in his early thirties. Blonde hair, green eyes, button down shirt. Cute bordering on handsome. My mom is 378 years old.

She whispered something in his ear and put her hand on his shoulder. He smiled. He was hers for the night if she wanted him. That isn’t what she said to him, but she can make anyone feel good. She said there was a girl in the bar who liked him, the pretty girl who is never the prettiest in the room and never the one who gets picked first. The girl was smart and funny and sexy and a little different. He’d pick her tonight and in a few months time he’d pick her forever. My maman has a talent for facilitating happily ever after events. How Vampires got the bad rap I’ll never know (actually I do but that’s another blog post) but we’re quite the romantics and lovers.

Her wedding ring was on a cord around her neck, hidden under her shirt. It was funny considering we spent most of the evening talking about my dad. She said she wanted to spend the weekend with my kids.

She said she’d planted the strawberry plants I’d given her. She’d also started mine in pots for me since I hadn’t dug up my planting beds yet. Hers were doing great but mine were still smallish. I told her that was because she loved her plants more than mine. She laughed.  She had my plants in the car. I told her that I’d give them lots of love.

We were like any other mother and daughter meeting in the evening. Except we were out for blood. But that’s ok with us.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

manet maman