Short Story Sunday: The Box In Dave’s Basement

The Box In Dave’s Basement

“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.

That’s all.

 

Tangled Tales

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.

Taking Care of Our Elders: Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

Taking Care of Our Elders Marathon

Memories, the lost of memories, old stories, more on my idiot brothers, and love.

From 2015

Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

Eleora couldn’t remember what she did yesterday, but she could tell stories of her childhood in excruciating detail. My daughter and niece sat next to her, holding her small hands in theirs. They looked like three young women about the same age. My Clara is 16, Lauren is 21 and Eleora is, well, nobody knows how old she is. We know Eleora is over 2,000 years old but no exact number has ever come out.

The girls heard stories their parents and grandparents had never heard. These were ancient lost tales that she’d hoarded until she found the right audience.

Tellias, her husband, told the girls to watch if they went outside. Eleora might wander off on her own and not find her way back.

He watched the woman he loved, his eyes filled with pain. Sometimes I’d see a rare bit of anger. Of course there is always love, but with that more often than not pain and frustration.

This was Sunday. We’d all gathered at my brother Aaron’s for our mother’s birthday. All four of my brothers were there (Max, Andy, Aaron and Val), as well as the elders Tellias and Eleora, Aaron’s grown children Logan and Lauren, Great-great-great-great Grandmama Lola and her friend Cody, and our friend Pierce. My husband Teddy and Aaron’s wife Verity were there playing host and hostess as they sometimes do. And of course our parents Jeremy and Samantha.

More friends were to come later at this gathering at Aaron and Verity’s home. Of course we’re all Vampires. It would seem weird to bring anyone else in.

This isn’t like the movies and horror stories where we bring in virgins and babies to feast on. Of course there is blood, but we have it in wine glasses (not big red cups.)

I stood outside under the stars with Tellias and my brother Max.

Max put his hand on the elder Vampire’s shoulder. “Eleora isn’t all there anymore is she?”

“I believe she is there. She just is a bit disorganized. You know, when you can’t find the mates to your shoes and you are walking on a bed of nails so you just hop on one foot and hope you don’t fall. But if you fall it will be into a burning pit of lava. Then you look down and notice your pants are gone and your socks don’t match,” said Tellias. “You need to come by and see us more often Max.”

“I know,” said my brother.

“Nobody knows how long Vampires live. Most of us don’t make it this far given the dangerous nature of our existence. Don’t take your chances. Your day could be tomorrow. Eleora’s could be tomorrow. We never know. But no need to get depressed, none of us are going anywhere for a while. We’ll be around for plenty of birthdays to come. But the more you and Juliette and the rest of you come around the easier it will be for Eleora to straighten out the mess in her mind.”

The three of us stood there for a few seconds. Then Max gave Tellias a hug and walked down into the yard under some trees. I watched him as he took out his phone and made a call.

“He is calling her, isn’t he? He should have made that call fifty years ago,” said Tellias. “The boy never seemed to understand love, even at his age he still can’t.”

I had to smile. Even at the age of one hundred and sixty-six Max still is just starting to understand that ships that pass in the night sometimes never pass each other again.

Tellias took my hand and gave it a squeeze. “I appreciate everything you do for us.”

“I know.” I said. I looked into his crystal blue eyes, in a face that looked no older than nineteen. To think that he had lived in ancient time didn’t seem all that strange most of the time. He’d kept up. They both had. That is what kept Tellias and Eleora young. Nobody would ever have expected them to dry up in a crypt or become ghouls living in shadows. Then again, they gave so much love that the cold dark places the put fear in men’s hearts didn’t touch them.

So stay young. It is easy if you love and let love in. Even if you’re a Vampire. And even if you’re not.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Stories Old and New

Dear Diary,

This morning two beautiful women came to my door. They asked me if I had thought about death. I told them “Not lately.”

Then they asked me what happens to us after we die.

I said, “If you’re lucky you’ll become a Vampire.”

They did not appreciate or understand my answer.

When the young men with white shirts and bicycles came later in the day I was perplexed.

“Why are you not in college, or learning a trade?” I ask them.

I tell them that they travel far from home but learn nothing of the world.

When I was young I traveled with my friend Randolpho to the great cities of Europe. We thought we knew everything when we left home, but soon discovered that we knew nothing. We saw our existence only from the viewpoint of the Vampires we were, and the Vampire culture we lived in. We had no reason to think there might be other ways to think about anything, or feel about anything.

I looked at the young men who had parked their bicycles at the end of my walkway. Then I said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

The boys stood in a stupor as if they knew not what to say. One would think I had shown them my fangs.

“You are but children,” I told them. At that point I saw a Demon sitting in the top branches of the oak tree in my front yard, stretching it’s leathery wings. So I slammed the door and left the young men alone, on my front porch, under the tree. Since I did not hear screams or the sound of running feet slapping against the brick walkway I put it out of my mind.

I am a Vampire but I am not devoid of the teachings of scripture. On the other hand I avoid all dealings with Demons. All dealings.

A few minutes later, as I was pouring a bit of blood into my coffee I heard a scratching on my door. I thought that I must face the Demon and went to the front door fangs out with a large kitchen knife in my hand. It was only my cat. The Demon was gone. Good kitty.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today a buck was in my yard eating fruit off of a nectarine tree.

In my time… no that does not make sense for this is my time still, in a different time, a long time ago, when I lived in my Vampire castle as King of Vampires we had no nectarines. Nectaries are the fruit of the Gods and I have one of their threes.

My friend Randolpho and my love Gillian were at my home. I summoned them to the window to see the young buck with his downey horns.

“Bambi,” said Gillian.

“Indeed he is like Bambi,” said Randolpho.

“Who is this Bambi you speak of?” I asked

Gillian and Randolpho smiled, both showing a bit of their Vampire fangs. “We will show you,” they said together.

Upon the screen they showed me a story of uncompromising beauty. I sat on the couch, my hand in Gillian’s, transfixed by the story of nature and power.

When it was over I sat for a few moments to gather my thoughts. “You told me this movie was for children. Would they not be afraid or saddened by this story?” I asked Gillian and Randolpho.

“Oh Vlad,” said Randolpho. “When you were a tiny child your BaBa told you gruesome stories of death and you loved every single one of them.”

Yes I remember her stories, and many concerned fire. She told me of Glago the Inhaler who would have his men lock up a building, set it afire and roast everyone inside. Then Glago would open his great wide mouth and suck out the roasted folk, then spit out their bones. Then the trolls would come gather the bones to build the foundations of their bridges. No screams or cries of mercy would stop Glago the Inhaler when he was hungry, or even when he was not.

There were also many tales of Robert the Gnawer who would make lovers of men’s wives. If the man came in when Robert the Gnawer was in his bed with the woman it would not go well. Robert would jump up out of bed, grab the man, then then gnaw his head off, then slurp his brain through his nose, and spit out his teeth while the woman watched in horror. Then he would bid the woman goodby and leave her. Of course Robert would always send large bags of gold so that his lovers would never have to worry about being left out in the wild. So it was not all so bad.

“No,” I said. “Bambi is not like Glago the Inhaler, or Robert the Gnawer. They have no families, or mothers, or honor. They have no true friends such as Flower or Thumper. They are without mothers and without souls. They are only wind. Bambi is noble. If Bambi was a Vampire he would have taken out Man and his parent would have lived another day. Alas, he was but a small deer, but through his courage and wits he grew to be a great buck and saved the doe he loved, and then became Prince of the Forest.”

“I thought I saw you rubbing your eyes during the movie,” said Randolpho.

“Allergies,” I said. “Just allergies.”

I think sometimes of old stories. After being locked in a crypt for three hundred years I find I am also learning many new stories both true and false. It is now that false stories are called fiction, that is, unless they are lies and meant to deceive. It can be confusing but I am learning.

Or at least I think I am.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

As the sun came up I lay in bed with my love Gillian curled around my, her arm across my chest, her leg over mine.

I kissed the top of her her head and whispered thoughts of love in her ear. Her skin was cold. It was a welcome thing in this hot summer weather.

I thought about what a strange week it had been. Then I thought of back when I was the King of Vampires standing on the wall of my castle with the wind in my hair, looking over the vast horizon that was mine. I put that out of my mind and thought about the fact that I had to get a new set of tires for my car and take the cats in for their shots. The world is a different place. It will continue to be a different place.

The only constants are that Werewolves will turn on full moon nights, Vampires will drink blood, and lovers will love on hot summer nights.

I got up and closed the curtains to the sunrise and crawled back into bed with Gillian, to sleep and dream of what will come tomorrow.

~ Vlad

 

 

Dear Reader, this has been the 50th installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To read the entire diary from the start CLICK HERE.

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire