A whisper in the night
The cracks of twigs
Oaks and darkness
A faint flash
From an overhead plane
The light of a porch
In the distance
You are not alone.
~ J aka VM
A whisper in the night
The cracks of twigs
Oaks and darkness
A faint flash
From an overhead plane
The light of a porch
In the distance
You are not alone.
~ J aka VM
“I was just going out for coffee,” said Austin as he looked at the carnage surrounding him.
Coffee with the crossword puzzle, and a little bit of fresh air sounded good. Then Dave, who lived three houses down called to him as he waked by, “Hey, Austin, there’s something weird in my basement. Take a look.”
Austin was both a history professor and a general contractor specializing in historic restorations, so of course he’d check it out. Dave lived in the oldest house on that street, built in 1888. It was a fantastic small Queen Anne, painted shades of blue and cream. Dave led the way to the back of the dark space to an oblong box.
“I was measuring the room and moved away some lumber that had been here since I moved in and found this,” said Dave. “It looks like a coffin. Do you think I should call someone?”
“Let me take a look. I’ve found these before,” said Austin, taking out his penknife. He slid the knife around the edges of the box to see if there was a latch or any loose spots.
Then all Hell broke loose. Two men, dressed in long black coats, carrying guns and large knives appeared at the door.
“Hey,” yelled Dave. “Get the fuck outta here. I told you guys to stay away from my house. I’m calling 911. I warned you.” Then he turned to Austin. “The bastards were out last week. I told them…”
The men moved closer. Dave continued, “Out NOW.” Dave was a medium sized silver haired average family guy his mid fifties, with some sort of upper management job with the Department of Water Resources. His wife was wife away on a girl’s weekend. His kids were away at college. He’d been working on making the basement into the ultimate man cave over the past few weekends. He wasn’t in the mood for Vampire Hunters.
“Damn it. I said GET OUT you crazies,” Dave yelled.
“Just let us have the box,” said one of the men, a tall shaggy haired guy with some sort of unidentifiable accent.
Austin took a step forward, getting between Dave and the vampire hunters. “No can do guys. You have to go.”
The other man, a bald guy with huge shoulders pointed a gun at Austin and Dave. “Move aside gentlemen.” He then shoved them out of the way and with a swift kick popped open the box.
Inside was the perfectly preserved body of a woman in an old fashioned lace dress. She looked as though she was made of fine leather. A bunch of dried roses were in her hand.
The shaggy haired man lifted a huge wooden stake. Dave and Austin both yelled, “NO.”
Dave jumped on the back of the bald man. Austin knocked the shaggy haired man out of the way.
Suddenly a blinding flash of light and a blast of cold air knocked them to the wall. Two more men appeared at the door, also in black but without the coats. One carried a knife, and the other a whip. The smiled, showing fangs.
“Holy shit,” whispered Dave.
The vampires grabbed the men in the black coats by the scruff of their necks, like small children, and threw them back out into the sunlight. One of the vampires uttered a string of long strange sounding words, and the vampire hunters ran down the street.
The woman in the coffin sat up, and moved her head around.
“Stiff neck?” Austin asked.
She looked at him, surprised. Then she smiled with a slight show of her own fangs. “Yes, thanks for the concern. How long did I sleep?”
“From the looks of your dress, maybe ninety years,” said Austin.
“I guess I missed that party then,” she said with a slight laugh.
“This is too weird,” said Dave as he got up, and crossed the room. He turned on the overhead shop lights and got a good look at his company. “You mean to tell me you’ve been in that box for ninety years?”
The woman just blinked against the light. The two Vampires stood out of the shadows.
“Hey, Austin,” said one of them. “I thought that was you.”
“Pierce,” said Austin. “I had no idea you were a vampire. Small world. Dave, this is Pierce, he guest lectures for me sometimes on nineteenth California government issues.”
“And this is Max, he…”
“Max,” said Austin as he held out his hand. “Good to see you. Thanks for helping out.”
“Austin,” said Max.
Dave looked at the Vampires then laughed. “Pierce. I know you. You were teaching American History at UC Berkley in the late 70’s. I took a couple of classes from you. You look like you haven’t aged a day. How old are you?”
Pierce smiled and shook Dave’s hand. “I’m 171, but who’s counting.”
“I was just going out for coffee,” said Austin as he looked at the carnage surrounding him. “You’re all welcome to come.”
The woman’s name is Lily. She had a lot of catching up to do so Dave gave her a pair of jeans and a shirt out of his wife’s closet, and they all headed out for coffee.
Yes, some of you might have seen this one before. I know we’re on lock down but things are weird, even for Vampires. But I’m writing new material. I’m writing. Stay safe. Stay safe. Stay safe. Do all of your social distancing. Keep your sense of humor. Keep in touch with friends, family, and anyone who needs a little long distance company. xoxox
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.
It wasn’t just one of those days. It was THE day. At least it seemed that way, for a few minutes, then Tara realized that it was a rare week that went by without a disaster.
Take this morning for example. She’d been driving home and heard the sound of an explosion, then sirens, and then saw a huge black cloud coming from the sky. She assumed that it was a fire in a field or an old warehouse occupied by homeless tweekers. She stopped to get gas, then by the grocery store to pick up cat food.
She turned into her street and saw that it was her garage.
“Dingus,” she whispered. Her dog raised his head from the back seat of her car. “Amber,” she said out loud. “Oh no. Amber.”
The detached garage was gone. Firefighters were working on keeping the rest of the house from burning down. Tara parked and ran down the street towards her house. Dingus ran after her.
Her neighbor Sue was standing outside with a beer in her hand. She approached Tara and stopped her from getting too close to the fire. “I have Amber. Your kitty is safe sweetie.”
“What about the guys in the garage?” Tara looked at the fire with tears coming down her cheek.
“I’m going to assume they’re gone. Holy shit, to come all this way and blow themselves up in a garage fire,” said Sue. “I told them just the other day to lay low and not fool with stuff. They never listened. That is on of the great faults of history. Nobody listens to the natives. They have to think they know better. They have to think their technology is always better.”
The women watched as the fire was put out, then Tara approached one of the fire fighters. She held her big Lab mix Dingus close and told him not to jump.
“Hey, Dingus,” he said as he pulled off a glove and put his and on the dog’s head. “I’m so sorry Tara. This is so weird. We thought there was someone in your garage. Maybe… I don’t know. It was weird, like someone running around in the flames. Then we didn’t see them. Was there anyone who might have been in your garage?”
“No, Joe. The only thing I had in there was Dale’s old Mustang, a few tools, and gardening stuff. My Costco stash was in there too, you know toilet paper, paper towels, charcoal. But I kept the lighter fluid in the house. I had a couple of gas cans for the power tools but they were empty.”
They talked some more about the weird explosion and fire. The a handsome officer from the Sheriff Department asked some general questions. He said someone would be out to investigate. Tara called her insurance company, then called her mom and her boss.
After all of the emergency crews had gone, and the yellow tape was around my garage, Sue and Tara poked around a bit.
The women couldn’t find any trace of anything. That included Tara’s deceased brother Dale’s 1965 Mustang convertible. It was a sweet ride – white with a red interior. Dale had loved that car. So had Tara.
Sue looked down at the burnt out garage then at Tara. “Do you think they took the car?”
“Looks that way,” said Tara.
Later that night Sue’s husband and kids came home from a school field trip. They speculated on what might have happened. They decided not to tell the fire department or Sheriff about their own theories.
Despite the smoke smell Tara decided to stay in her house that night. Joe came over later and spent the night. They shared a bottle of wine, made love, and Tara didn’t tell him anything about her garage.
Far away on the moon Titan, circling the planet Saturn, Dolf and Wheeze drove into the underground city in Dale’s 1965 Mustang. They thought their parents were going to kill them for crashing their ship in Tess’s back yard. They’d even get more shit for blowing up her garage. They’d put a chip in Amber’s neck to make sure they’d know what was happening on Earth. Amber seemed to know everything. She was their best long-term connection. But for now they just wanted to settle in from the long trip and cruise with their friends. Life was good, especially for Titan teens.
Thank you for reading yet another story quickly written over Sunday morning coffee.
First posted in 2017. Featured in the WPaD Anthology Weirder Tales.
Yes, this story is in honor of Art Bell who passed away in 2017. I spent many a long lonely drive listening to Coast to Coast, and all of the weird callers who talked about aliens, shadow people, black eyed children, ghosts, and other interesting and amazing things.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman
Saturday is here once more. Due to a busy schedule with wonderful, amazing, lovely old friends, and a busy weekend looming I’m reposting a story about our favorite Vampire Hunter, Austin Durant.
I could post for Cat-Ur-Day but I can’t find my cats. So without any more silly explanations…
Austin Durant was spending Saturday morning with a pot of coffee and a folder full of research materials. His mind was on the article he was writing, but also on the end of the school year, his latest landscaping project, and his girlfriend Elizabeth.
He stopped at the sound of the doorbell, then sent to answer. He hoped it wasn’t anyone trying to sell him anything. Two large men, dressed in black, stood at his front door. No clipboards.
Austin looked them up and down. “I’m going to assume you’re not from the Sanders campaign,” he said.
The men pushed their way through the door. Austin backed away.
“I don’t know why you guys even bothered to knock. Can I get you anything?” Now more than anytime he wished his old German Shepard Dogs Lucy and Mina were still alive. They would have ripped these guys to shreds, or at least barked a lot. After three years he still couldn’t bring himself to get another dog. But this wasn’t the time to reminisce about lost loves – he had Vampires in his house.
Who would have thought that Vampires would be at his front door at 2:37 on a Saturday afternoon in May? Sure, alright, he was a part-time, sometimes Vampire Hunter, but not on Saturday afternoon. The plan was to do a little work on an article about the California art colonies in the 1880’s, then do a little yard work, then go over to his sister’s house to eat tacos and watch Dead Pool. Such is the life of a single History Professor slash Vampire Hunter.
“You know guys, this is a bad time for me. Why don’t you come back later, say in about a hundred years.”
The Vampires stepped forward baring their long sharp fangs. Austin started to calculate in his mind how to distract them so he could get his sword. Then the doorbell rang.
Austin put his hand up. “Excuse me for a minute guys.”
The Vampires stepped back and withdrew their fangs.
At the door stood Austin’s fifteen year old neighbor Ryan. A tabby cat with white paws stood next to him.
“Hey, Ryan. What’s up?”
“I, um, forgot my key to my house. My mom said you had a copy.”
“Sure, wait a second.” Austin looked at the Vampires. “Don’t even think about it.”
He got the key from the kitchen drawer and brought it back to Ryan. The boy thanked him then looked inside the door.
“Seriously dude, you have some creepy friends.”
“They’re not my friends,” said Austin. “Just some guys dropping off some stuff for a research project.”
“Uh, thanks for the keys.”
Ryan and the cat left and Austin turned his attention back to the Vampires. “OK guys, time to go. I have things to do, places to go, tacos to eat, and if you don’t get the hell out of my house I’ll add Vampires to kill to my list. Got it?”
The Vampires showed their fang again. Then the doorbell rang. The Vampires stepped back into the shadows.
Austin opened the door. Dave the mail carrier stood there with a package. “Hey, Austin, I just need a signature.”
“Good, I’ve been waiting for this,” said Austin as he signed the deliver slip. It was a packet of letters from the artist Julian Rix to a woman who would eventually break the artist’s heart. Austin put the letters on the table in his entry way and turned his attention back to the Vampires.
“Sorry about that. I told you this was a bad time,” he said to the Vampires. “What do you guys want? I don’t have all day.”
The two Vampires showed their fangs and stepped towards Austin. “Listen, I don’t want any trouble. I don’t have a problem with you. I don’t even know you. In fact, my girlfriend is a Vampire.”
The Vampires hissed through their fangs, then stopped. There was a soft knock at the door.
Austin stepped back. “Excuse me, somebody is at the door.”
At the door Austin’s neighbor from down the street, a guy named Bob stood with a clip board. “Hi Austin, I have the petition to close the street on the Fourth of July.”
“Yes, I’m looking forward to it. Just let me know what I can do to help.”
“Sure thing,” said Bob. “Feel free to invite your friends.”
Austin looked around to see the Vampires had moved just behind him in the entry way. “Sure thing. Hey guys, you’re invited. Bring your favorite pot luck dish and some sparklers. It will be fun.”
After Bob left, Austin turned his full attention back to the Vampires. “I know you didn’t come here to borrow a cup of sugar. What do you want?”
The Vampires showed their fangs. “No, I’m not going to do this today. You’ve already waited almost an hour of my time. Either I kill you, you kill me, or you leave. What is it?”
The doorbell rang again. “Shit,” whispered Austin. He opened the door. There stood two college students with a clipboard. “Hey, I know you. How’s it going Tiffany?” The girl was in his California history class.
“Dr. Durant. I didn’t know you lived in this neighborhood. We’re here for the mayor’s campaign.”
“Good for you. I encourage everyone to be politically active. I think a few other groups will be out today as well.”
The kids talked with Austin about politics and school. All the while Austin could sense the Vampires behind him, lurking in the shadows of his living room. He then wished the kids good luck as they went on their way.
He turned back to the Vampires who were now looking at his book shelf and talking quietly to each other.
Austin approached them. “So do you want to do this or not?”
“You have all of Steinbeck’s books, I’m impressed,” said the taller and paler of the two Vampires. “Too bad I have to kill you.”
Then the door bell sounded again. Austin went to the front door. His neighbor Joe who lived behind him was there.
“Hey Austin. I’m fixing the fence so Sammy and Shadow can’t get out. Do you mind if I go into your yard for about a half hour?” Sammy and Shadow were two shaggy dogs of unknown breeds.
“Sure, I’ll help you out. Give me a few minutes. I’ll meet you in the back yard.”
Austin turned to the Vampires. “Guys, we’re going to have to do this later.”
The Vampires looked at him with frustration on their pale faces then slipped out the front door and vanished into the cloudy afternoon.
Well, this is the first time I’ve killed a Vampire with boredom, thought Austin. Then he put on his shoes and work gloves to meet Joe by the fence.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman
Today I went in search of tulips, those small packages, when buried underground, turn into beauty beyond compare when spring comes. It is as if by magic that they grow from the cold ground and bloom in a riot of color.
In 1636 my friend Petris traveled from Holland to my castle in the East and presented me with a box full of what looked like tear drop shaped balls of light wood. They were rare tulip bulbs, brought to me with great cost. Oh the magic of these flowers amazed me. It was beyond magic for it was real.
I drove to a place called a nursery. There are no babies or children there, only plants and tools.
At the nursery were bins full of bulbs. There were tulips of colors I could never imagine. There were crocus, iris, and daffodil bulbs. I stood in wonder. Never before had I seen so much spring before me, waiting to be planted in the ground then come alive again, beautiful and surreal – like Vampires of the plant world.
As I chose my tulips of many colors and put them in the large metal basket on wheels I had a feeling I was being watched.
Two women stood next to me with smiles on their faces.
The one with the silver hair and young face spoke first. “Those tulips will be beautiful. You have so many. Are you planting a large space?”
“I did not think of space,” I said. I had eighty tulip bulbs in my metal basket on wheels.
“You look like you work in the garden a lot,” said the one with blonde hair and large brown eyes as she glanced at my arms.
“No, I am new to this gardening hobby. I love tulips, and other bulbs of springtime.”
“That is so cute,” said the silver haired one. “I bet you spend a lot of time at the gym.”
I smiled without fangs and made my blue eyes sparkle. That move has kept me fed for centuries.
“Very sweet,” said the blonde haired one. “Don’t forget to put them in the refrigerator for up to six weeks before you plant them. They need a hard frost to bloom well.” She touched my arm in what I have come to know is a friendly reassuring way. “You’re so cold.”
“I will warm up soon enough,” I said, knowing now what I would be doing for lunch.
After I arrived at my home I closed the curtains and put on soothing music using vinyl discs. I took the tulip bulbs in my hands and cooled them. There is no need to wait six weeks when one is a Vampire.
I planted my tulips. While I was digging in my yard one of my neighbors came out and asked me if my cat had died.
“My cat is not dead. I am planting tulips,” I told him.
He looked surprised. “At 1:00 a.m.?”
“I will not get sunburned,” I told him.
People are weird. I do not understand them. Why would he ask me if my cat was dead?
So I wait six months for my tulips to grow and come to life, like beautiful children buried under the dirt for a long winter nap.
Today I looked at where my tulips are planted. They are still underground.
I was out in a public place, a bar, where there are many people. I sat at the bar listening to the talk around me. I could hear all that was said. The people spoke of their places of work. They spoke some of politicians who lust over power and say stupid things. They mostly spoke of their romances. Then I turned. I overheard other Vampires.
They sat in a dark corner, with their heads close together. They spoke of a Vampire who had gone to a home where old people lived because it was easy. If the old person died it would not seem odd. The Vampires in the corner had removed this Vampire from the house of old people. They had taken him to the river and put a stake in his heart. They threw his ashes into the water.
I approached them. They all looked up, two males and one female. They were Vampires who hunted other Vampires. They could tell I am older and hold great power. This is not because of how I look but it is just something Vampires know.
I smiled, “Good evening.” I brushed back my golden hair. “I am Vlad.”
The looked at me in surprise. We talked. They said they were honored. I told them that now instead of ruling armies and keeping order, and keeping the law of Vampires, that I lived with a cat, and was gardening.
They laughed. They thought I was making jokes with them. I will let them think that.
The woman, a young Vampire in her 70’s told me that she didn’t expect me to be so cute. What is it with this cute? I asked her. She smiled and giggled like a school girl. There she sat in black leather with a knife strapped to her leg under her skirt, and she giggled.
We spoke of many things including the local Vampire community. I have been quiet. Most Vampire do not know I am here. Most do not know I exist anymore. After a while a young woman approached our table. I knew her. She and her friends are regulars at the bar.
She smiled at my friends then at me. Her name is Brittany. “Vlad, when you’re done here come join us,” she said. I told her that I would be there in a short time.
I reached into my satchel. “I have something for you before I go.”
“I never thought the King of Vampires would carry a man-purse,” said one of the Vampires.
“It is a satchel. Do not ever call my bag a man-purse,” I said freezing their hearts. Out of the bag I took my treasures. In front of each Vampire I set three tulip bulbs. “Plant these. They are blood red. Make sure you put the pointed side up or they will not grow. In the spring they will wake, like Vampires, beautiful and fresh.”
Then I went and joined my female friends.
In the early hours of the morning I opened my eyes in the bed of Brittany. Everything in her room was covered in flowers. The sheets on the bed were covered in flower patterns. Flowers were in vases on the furniture. Flower paintings were on the wall. I took this as a sign perhaps.
She ran her hand across my chest, up to my face, then curled her fingers in my hair and then brought her two lips to mine. “This is the last time I’m going to see you Vlad. You’re sexy and cute, but I’m getting married in a few weeks. I won’t be able to explain the punctures and bruises on my neck anymore.”
I was but a toy. But I knew that. I got what I wanted. She got what she wanted.
I left behind a dozen tulip bulbs with instructions on she could grow them in pots. I wished her well.
Walking down the street in the cool night air did not take the warmth of her body off of me. It has been that way for centuries. I am a Vampire. I am cold. But I am cute so women love me. Women love cats. Cats are cute. They love babies. Babies are cute. Babies are not always cute. I will never understand cute.
After being locked in a crypt for three hundred years I often find this modern world confusing. Yet, it is never dull. It is never uneventful.
I will miss Brittany. Her blood tasted like cherries mixed with a hint of thyme. But there will be others. There will always be others, but tonight I am out of tulips. The sun is coming up and I must get some sleep. And I will call Petris to find out what other wonders he discovered while I was locked in my crypt.
When you live in the shadows your life sometimes consists of secrets, lies, and astounding truths. I’m a Vampire (but you already know that) so naturally I know all about secrets, lies, and even astounding truths.
Yesterday I was walking my pup on the trail near my home and ended up joining up with one of my neighbors, an elderly man called Mike. He was out walking his Welsh Corgie mix named Goober, and after petting each others dogs, we started to talk. By the way, Mike is a Werewolf. Like Vampires, Werewolves know how to keep a secret.
Mike said he’d once been married to a woman who was cheating on him with his best friend. His mind sort of snapped and he decided he needed a change. Funds were low. He had a plan. He was feeling kind of ballsy so he hijacked a plane, took the ransom money, and jumped. After a hard landing, he turned into a wolf and ran about 200 miles to an old cabin where his college aged niece and her boyfriend met him. This was 1971.
He told his wife he was going on a fishing trip. He’d hired a private investigator to take photos of his wife and her lover. Divorce papers were sent, Mike moved south to California, and started a new life. His niece and her boyfriend finished college, got jobs, got married, and now run a successful software company in San Francisco. The seed money came from Mike.
I smiled at Mike with just a bit of fang, because I couldn’t help it. “You’re D.B. Cooper.”
Mike laughed. “I am. Darned if I haven’t become a legend, and not for being a Werewolf.”
Mystery solved. Mike’s name really isn’t Mike. It isn’t D.B. Cooper either. I promised him I wouldn’t tell. Of course I wouldn’t tell anyone his real name. You never tell a Werewolf’s secrets. No, really, you NEVER tell a Werewolf’s secrets.
So that’s what I found out yesterday. Pretty cool, in a weird way. It proves that you never know, I mean about anyone. You just never know.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman