Short Story Sunday: Night Dogs

Tangled Tales

Constantine Jones sat on the bottom of the museum steps wondering what just happened.

Earlier that evening he’d put on his best Armani suit, a Hermes silk tie, and was feeling good about the outcome of the evening. It was to be a charity event. Beautiful people would be there dressed up. Everyone would be relaxed, and happy, and it would be delightfully fun.

After discussing art and drinking champagne he’d lured a few well-heeled patrons to remote galleries to see some unusual modern art. There he took a few pints of blood from wrists and left his donors with no memories, except those of a delightful conversation with a well dressed, nice looking young art expert. Well, a 165 year old art expert, but that was besides the point.

Then in the main gallery, the California Room, he saw her standing in front of the Thomas Hill grand painting of Yosemite Valley. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman in the room but she was attractive in a cute sort of California girl way, and had that delightful look of both shyness and playfulness. Her olive green dress shimmered along the neckline with iridescent beads. As she turned her head towards him it was like a lightning bolt had hit his heart. First sight.

Second sight as well. A smallish dog of unknown breed stood next to her with a service dog vest on. A service dog. Why did she need a service dog?

With his usual ease, Constantine approached the woman. He asked if he could pet the dog. She said yes. She told him she’d had a head injury when she was in Afghanistan. She’d been in the Army. He would never guessed. The dog could detect seizures.

They talked for an hour about art, and life, and it seemed as if he’d met his soul mate. It was the best hour he’d ever spent. Then she was gone. He hadn’t even asked her name.

So like Prince Charming, he sat at the bottom of the stairs wondering where Cinderella had gone. All he had of her was one of her earrings he’d found on the steps. It was a gold strand with a single diamond on the end. The diamond was real.

I might as well walk home he thought. It was just a couple of miles. He’d clear out his mind. The full moon, and lights from late night downtown bars and restaurants lit the way.

Out of the corner of his eye he thought he saw a large dog wearing a back pack. A service dog? A smaller dog in a vest followed. Around the next corner, in an alley, he saw three more large dogs in the dark, all wearing packs.

Maybe it was a training exercise. The dogs could have been German Shepards looking for drugs or a missing person, or even bodies. It was weird, but at this point he didn’t care. He just wanted to go home. He was a Vampire so weird and unusual was over rated anyway.

Constantine thought about the woman he’d met. She’d been a nurse in a convoy, and there was a bomb. She didn’t say anything else except that her dog was named Tess. She liked Jazz music, indie films, and indie books. Of course she liked art too. She was a high school art teacher now, having moved on from nursing. But sometimes she helped out the school nurse. Weird how he got those details. He’d told her… what had he told her about himself? Not much. He was a Vampire so he never told much, at least not at first. He’d told her that he ran a philanthropic foundation that supported the arts, and other causes. He told her he had two cats and liked astronomy. She also was a watcher of the moon and stars. Then she kissed his cheek, excused herself, and a few minutes later he saw her walking out the front door of the museum.

As a Vampire he usually had a good feel for people but he couldn’t get a final read on her. Again, he thought about the fact that he didn’t even get her name. But the dog was named Tess. Tess the service dog.

Constantine thought about war. He could imagine the horrors she’d been through. He was a child during the Civil War or the War Between the States, whatever they wanted to call it. Those weren’t memories he cared to relive. He’d come out to California as soon as he was old enough to be on his own, as soon as he’d become a Vampire, and stayed there.

As he walked along the dogs with packs stayed in the alleys and shadows. Looking at the local news feeds and police scans from his iPhone he found nothing. One of his neighbors was a K-9 cop. Constantine would ask him about it tomorrow.

Arriving home at his craftsman style bungalow he noticed a few dogs in packs at the end of the street. This was getting weird. Odder, and a nice surprise, was that a woman in a slightly wrinkled olive green dress, and a single diamond and gold earring was standing on his front porch.

Tess the service dog stood beside her. Hanging off of her shoulder was a back pack.

No. It couldn’t be. She wasn’t Cinderella. She was a Werewolf.

They introduced themselves, again, but this time with names. Her name was Diana. Like the goddess of the moon.

“You have my earring,” she said smiling and holding out a hand.

“You have my heart,” he heard himself saying, much to his surprise.

Then he kissed her under the full moon, as Tess sat at attention and wagged her tail.

~ End

 

 

 

Stories We Shall Never Tell

In the dark

We ran through the streets

Slick with rain

Back alleys

Darkened windows

Broken glass

Rats

The smell of decay

And death.

Then into grand mansions

We’d fly

Cloaks off

The rustle of silk

A white tie

A flash of fang

The smell of wine

Cigars

And blood.

We were young

Carefree

With stories

We shall never

Tell

Our own

Children.

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Frogs, Love, and a Rain Swept Night

All night we’ve had thunder, lightning, rain, and hail. Hours later my back deck is still hail. In the creek and field behind my home the frogs are singing with loud clear voices, calling for romance. Pick me! Pick me! Oh let me prove that I am the amphibian of your dreams. Thousands of little frogs, so small that one could be comfortable sitting on a quarter, are belting out love songs as fierce as any Rock-n-Roll idol.

I love the frog music. I love the sound of the rain. I love the thunder and lightning.

In a land where drought is more of normal state of things, a week of storms is a wonderful and magical thing.

Frogs never worry about expressing their love. They aren’t shy like their human neighbors.

My husband sings in the shower. A happy feeling of love always fills my heart when I hear him doing that. He doesn’t know it. And we might be a bit cold blooded sometimes but we’re no frogs.

In 1868 my two older brothers (Max and Andy) were more or less out of the house. That left twelve year old Aaron, nine year old Val, and seven year old me.

We’d read the story of The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mr. Mark Twain, and we’d decided to have our own frog jumping contest.

At the time the city of Sacramento was being torn up in order to raise the streets to protect us from future floods. The railroad was also tearing things up. We didn’t care. In the middle of the night we left our home in search of large frogs. I wore some of Val’s old pants so I wouldn’t have to bother with getting a skirt caught on anything.

Through the mud and dirt three vampire children headed towards the river as the sun set over the distant hills. We could see the light of boats as we took a dirt path down to the water. The passengers waved back at us as we jumped and shouted to get their attention.

Val found some pennies on the beach. I picked up a few clam shells and put them in my pocket. Aaron had forgotten about the frogs and was loudly reciting the battle speech from Richard III (yes, the one from William Shakespeare) as he stood on the edge of the water looking into the sky.

Then we heard the sound of applause and looked up to see a group of men at the top of the embankment cheering on Aaron.

My brother continued his grand speech after which he bowed, and the three of us ran off laughing into the night.

On the way home we looked into windows of businesses and homes, laughing the whole way. We saw cooks, and lovers, gamblers and quiet readers.

When our parents arrived home they found us clean and playing cards. We gave them angelic smiles.

Our mother smiled at us, showing a little bit of her lovely Vampire fangs. “Did you hear the frogs tonight?”

“Yes,” I said, “and tomorrow we’re going to catch our own frogs and have a race.”

“We’ll see about that,” said my mother with wink.

The three of us never did have a frog race, or a frog jumping contest, but we did catch plenty of frogs after that night.

A few years ago I took my own children out to the vernal pool near our house where the seasonal rains create a froggy paradise. It is a regular version of Frog Bachelorette. Or at least it amuses me to think so.

So once again the sun will come through the clouds, and the sounds of birds will replace that of frogs, and maybe even with our feathered friends love will also be in the air.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Silent Noises

The only noise

Is the clock

Almost as old as I am

From 1876

Still running like new,

And the sounds of random

Traffic

In the distance,

A cat eating,

An owl outside,

The tap tap tapping

Of my keyboard,

No sounds from

Others in my house,

Slumbering quietly,

Still,

And cold

Upstairs,

With quiet dreams,

As only

Fellow

Vampires

Will have.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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#NanoPoblano

sleeper

She Taunts Me – Sleep, Ghosts, and Vampires

Sleep

It is like the ghost that haunts me

Only worse.

The ghost will listen to me.

Sleep never does.

She taunts me

Like a woman who wants to seduce my husband.

She gives him slumbers so peaceful

So silent and lovely.

She taunts me and pulls my dreams to tattered bits

Then keeps me awake for days on end.

My slumbers end in a dark prison room

Always cold

Always alone

Always awake.

We’re not  friends Sleep and I.

I used to think it was my nocturnal nature,

But now I know it is because

Sleep hates me for something I did

In the past 

And fired up her jealous heart

To the point where she is only thinking of revenge.

_______________________________________________

I fixed a pot of coffee,

As Nigel the Ghost said, “Sleep doesn’t give a crap what you do Vampire. You’re too busy and you drink too much coffee.”

Maybe so but I’m not going to admit anything to a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

sleepnatgallery

Night Musings

It is almost 2:00 a.m. and as usual I am the only one awake on my street. The dog is growling under her breath at the sliding glass door after hearing the coyotes howl behind the house. Earlier there was a bat flying around inside. Yes, this is the second time it has happened in the past two weeks. Yes, we need to get a screen on my daughter’s bedroom window. No, Vampires do not turn into bats, so the wee flying mammal was NOT a Vampire.

The moon is in a perfect half. At the end of the week I’ll be driving up to Oregon with a friend to see the solar eclipse. There will be a gathering of old friends. It should be interesting. I hear my Werewolf friends are planning some pretty big solar eclipse events, but I won’t be anywhere near them.

It is quiet since the coyotes left, with no sounds outside at all. Not a bird, or a dog, or a car, or even the running of a fan. Nights are finally getting cool again. Even that didn’t bring out any lone birds or other late night creatures.

Just half a moon. Somebody must have shared the other half with a friend.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman