Things that go bump…on Halloween Morning (or Life of a Modern Vampire Mom.)

In the wee hours of the morning, before the sun came up, before I’d finished my first cup of coffee my phone made that little annoying ping noise that indicates a text message.

It was my brother Aaron, the middle child, of my Vampire Family. I’m the youngest, but who’s counting. I just had my 158th birthday. Aaron is 164. Anyway, we’re young as far as Vampires go, but we’re established. We’re cool.

So I get this text.

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Aaron is an attorney with a twenty person law office housed in a 4,000 square foot downtown home he purchased in 1898.  He stood on the front porch in jeans and a flannel shirt. No suit yet. It is Halloween anyway so he could put on a beard and be a lumberjack for the rest of the day for all I knew.

He gave me a hug and a kiss on my cheek, then thanked me profusely for coming.

“Where is your Vampire Hunter?” I asked him. He has a guy named Austin he works with on occasion for removing unwanted soulless Vampires (who are not like us because as you know we have two souls and we’re not dead yet.)

“He has an early class this morning. I didn’t want to wake him. You know how they need their sleep,” said Aaron. Aside from hunting dried up Vampires, Austin teaches history at the local University. He isn’t a Vampire so I guess he needs his beauty sleep more than I do.

“You know you would have called me anyway,” I said.

“You’re so good with them Sis,” said my brother with a sparkle in his cold blue Vampire eyes.

I looked at my brother with squinty hazel eyes. “You’re afraid of them. Admit it.”

“You’re better with them than I am.”

“You’re an alpha male Vampire. I’ve seen what you can do.”

“You’re a mom.”

I give him the look. You know that look that all wives and mothers instinctively give the men in their lives. But he had a good point.

“Alright,” I said. “Show me where they are.”

As we walked inside I immediately heard the scratching and sounds of, I don’t know, snorting and just weird obnoxious noises, like when you have someone annoying in a cubicle next to you and they’re eating loudly, sucking snot, and tapping ALL DAY LONG (I have friends with that problem, not me thank goodness.”

“In my office,” said Aaron.

I walked up the stairs to his office. It was a beautiful space in a room with a round turret in the corner and original stained glass windows. Sitting at Aaron’s desk was a haggard looking Vampire with oatmeal colored skin stretched over a narrow skull, oily black hair, and red eyes. He wore a long black coat and a black baseball cap. A woman stood behind him. She was wearing some sort of weird red lace dress and a nasty looking old monkey fur coat. There was no beauty left in her sunken in face. Greenish blonde hair was piled in a sloppy bun on top of her head. Another man, with gray skin that looked like cracked leather leaned against the window sill. He wore red jeans and a tight black tee. His orange hair hung in dreadlocks down to his shoulders. Round black lensed glasses sat on his nose.

The all flashed their fangs at me and hissed. I could smell their breath. Rotted meat and cat pee. They were so nasty.

“Good morning to you too,” I said to them. “Looks like you’re all ready for Halloween.”

They hissed again.

“Get the Hell out of here or very bad things are going to happen to you.”

“Money first,” said the one sitting at Aaron’s desk.

“NOW,” I said in my strongest mom voice. “OUT.”

They all sat up with wide eyes.

Yes, they were terrifying, but hey, they are also disgusting and stupid and have no business asking for money or anything else. I knew who these three where.

“I know where you live. I know who you hang with. Come around here again and I’ll call the REAL Vampire Hunters. They’ll put stakes in your dead hearts and cut your heads off. So get the fuck out NOW.”

They stood up and slowly crept out hissing at me as they passed. I barred my own fangs, which were longer and whiter than theirs will ever be. They jumped aside. I could feel their fear.

I never understood the whole scary horror movie Vampire thing. Sure they can scare teenagers and children, but they can’t scare a mom. Nobody can scare a mom.

“And clean up,” I yelled at them. “You look like a bunch of meth heads. No self respecting Vampire would look like you. You’re a disgrace. All three of you. You should be ashamed of yourselves. It is Vampires like you that give us a bad name.”

Then I pulled the female aside. “Get yourself some nice clothes. See what I’m wearing. It was easy to put together and you’ll be more comfortable. I know today is Halloween, but just today. And get some moisturizer for that face. You don’t HAVE to look like crap. And you’ll eat better and feel better if you look better.”

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Vampires don’t have to dress like ghouls. It is ok to dress like girls. 

She looked at my clothes then reached out an touched my sweater. I pushed her bony hand away. “You need to go.”

I watched them file out past my brother, get on their bicycles and ride off.

“Wow. I tried for an hour to get them to leave,” said Aaron, obviously impressed. “They’re such assholes. I was afraid they’d trash the place. I don’t know how I’m going to get the stench out.”

“They’re so dead they don’t even think like adults anymore. It is like dealing with a bunch of middle school kids.”

“Wanna get coffee?”

“Sure,” I said. By then it was 5:30 a.m. and we both knew the little coffee shop around the corner would be open.

So now the only monsters I might see are the neighborhood children who are going to knock on my door tonight. I’ll pour a goblet of spiced blood, dress up the dog, and hand out candy. Oh, I have to carve my pumpkins too! I’ll post photos.

Happy Halloween.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rain

I’m in Northern California, in the Sacramento area to be exact. We’re 75 miles south of the now famous Oroville Dam and spillway. I’m watching the lakes, ponds, creeks, and rivers near my house become fuller than I’ve seen them in years.

When it gets wet like this I wonder about some of the lesser enlightened of the Vampire community. I usually don’t worry about the weird, anti-social, old fashioned Shadow Creepers, but you know, I kind of wondered about them lately.

I was driving downtown and stopped by the old Cemetery. I saw one damp Vamp sitting on the step of a mausoleum with an old black coat pulled tightly around his pale body.

“You need to get into a real house. Nobody lives in crypts anymore. It isn’t dry, much less safe,” I said to him.

He looked up with sunken black eyes.

“I bet you haven’t eaten in weeks,” I continued. I wasn’t going to scold him. “Months? Come. I’ll give you a ride to a safe place where you can stay until we can find you a real home.”

He spoke in a harsh whisper, like someone who hasn’t spoken for a long long time. “May I bring my friend? She is also one of us.”

I told him of course he could. Out of an empty hole in the crypt he helped a small woman in an old fashioned black dress. She was soaking wet, and was ashen as someone who’d been dead after a long tragic illness.

They were quiet in the car as I drove them to the large old house downtown. It is the safe house for long lost souls of the night. It is a place they can find a haven, and get the help they need. These two were not the kind of nasty undead you find under floorboards waiting like a spider waits for a fly. They were like homeless teens who’d been kicked out of their homes because mom found a new boyfriend. They were lost and living in a flooded out and long forgotten crypt, surrounded by long forgotten bones of the Victorian dead.

They’d lived in the crypt since the 1880’s. They’d more or less skipped the 20th century, just coming out at night long enough to find food from the neighborhood movie house, and from the transient population. Sometimes they’ve venture out to the beautiful homes of the living, only to return in sorrow remembering what they’d lost.

I left them at the safe-house. She was in jeans and a sweater with a purring cat on her lap, and a goblet of hot mulled blood in her hand. He was looking hopeful, amazed that someone would help them. They’d been lost for so long.

Thinking about a million bible verses related to helping others, I decided to skip it. Sometimes you just do something because it is what you do, and that is it.

That’s all. Nothing more.

Stay dry. Stay safe. Stay loved.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Vampire Hunters, Parenting, and 2017

This December was a season of parties for us. While at one I ran into Austin Durant. Professor Doctor Durant to some. Austin Durant sometimes Asshole Vampire Hunter to me. OK, he is usually a good guy. He only goes after those nasty soulless types who lurk around like something out of a B horror movie. I’ve helped him out a few times. Sometimes it takes a Vampire to rid a building of Vampires.

He asked what I was up to. I mentioned that my kids talked me into taking a yoga class with them.

Austin looked surprised. “Vampires do yoga?”

I was a little insulted by his response. “I’m not one of those shadow creeping Vampires who crawls around in rafters and under floor boards waiting to drag home prey for their nasty dark lord and master. Think about that next time you want me to crawl under a house for you. Come on Austin, I need to stretch and relax just like everyone else. Everyone normal else. You need to stretch your imagination a little bit Austin.”

2016 brought all sorts of ugly things. I don’t even want to think of it anymore. Luckily I can usually get over stuff. I can put things behind me. When one is my age (157), one must learn to put things behind and let them go, or you might as well crawl under the floor boards.

So what will be above the floor boards in 2017? I don’t know. I started sharing my parenting thoughts, and stories about my kids when the youngest was in seventh grade, and the oldest was in high school. Now the youngest is a senior in high school, and the oldest is in his third year of college. That said, I will always be the mom. I will always be here for my kids. I’ll always be here for my readers seeking thoughts on parenting. I’ve done a pretty good job if I may say so myself.

The kids are getting older and so are the seniors in my life. The ancient Vampires still need help and love, and watching after… just in case, if you know what I mean.

I promise more short stories and tall tales. I’ll keep giving out advice – both solicited and unsolicited. I’ll keep you posted on all of the Vampire activities in my neck of the woods. That also includes Werewolves, Ghosts, and God knows what else (for example Zombies.)

So Austin fills up our wine glasses and asks, “Why do you help me? I’m a Vampire Hunter.”

I smiled, showing just a bit of fang in the room lit only by Christmas lights. “First of all you’re a piss poor Vampire Hunter. Secondly, you only go after nasty husks of Vampires who lack souls or purpose. You only go after those who can’t feel love, or empathy, or joy of any kind. That my friend is why. You do our dirty work for us. You know we don’t want those nasty creatures around anymore than you do.”

Then I downed my glass of wine and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Then just for fun I kissed his neck, with just a tiny nip. Austin laughed uncomfortably and said, “I love you too Juliette.”

Happy New Year everyone. My best advice would be to turn off the news, only read fiction, and fight for your right to be who you are.

xoxoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

P.S. Click here for more about Austin Durant who is usually just around for Short Story Sunday. 

 

 

Crawl Space (with thoughts of Halloween, Vampires, and Parenting)

I took off my sweater and handed it to my brother Aaron. There was no way I was going to crawl on my stomach under the crawl space of a house with it on.

“So tell me again why you can’t get the bodies out from under the building first?” I had to ask.

“They’re not quite dead yet and they might attack Austin. He’s human, a Regular Human,” my brother told me. Austin by the way is a Regular Human and sometimes Vampire Hunter and usually just a guy who does a great job restoring old buildings that seem to be filled with scary shit like ghosts and old musty Vampires.

And of course Aaron was wearing a $5,000 suit of course he couldn’t crawl under the house.

“You might know them”, added Austin, meaning the creatures under the house.

I almost gave him a fang filled snarl but I just gave him a weak normal girl smile.

Wearing garden gloves I crawled on my  hands and knees over bare dirt.Even in the dark I could see assorted bugs and cobwebs. Rat droppings were scattered around. Why the crap would any Vampire want to sleep under floor boards?

About 20 feet into it I was the boxes. OK they were coffins.

I thought back of when I was a kid and always the one to crawl under houses and into tight spaces. It wasn’t because I was small. It was because I pretend to be fearless and now it is because I don’t take any bull shit from Shadow Creepers and dusty old Vampires who can’t deal with the modern normal world. We’re not having a Nosferatu and Dracula Hoedown kids, this is the 21st Century.

The lids were on the boxes. I managed to kneel on my knees without banging my head on something and pushed one off. Inside was a male in a pinstripe suit. His face was waxy looking and pale. I noticed sunken cheeks and lips that seemed a little thin. He hadn’t fed in a while. The box next to him contained a female. Skin stretched over her face, a hint of teeth including fangs showed beneath parted lips. Oh come on, all Vampire girls know not to sleep with their fangs exposed. She wore some sort of black dress thing. The scent of rotted roses and cigar smoke came from her box. In the third box…nothing jumped out. It was another male. I recognized the face. His eyes open a bit, yellow green rolls to stare at me. I see recognition in his face; a fact that was once handsome and could be again, but he was so strange, so weirdly in the shadows and cold, not like Vampires I associate with, but like a dead fish.

Then my butt vibrates. My phone. I pull it out. Garrett, my darling son is calling from college. I’m a mom. I must answer.

“Hey mom, what do you call two ducks and a cow?”

“What?” I had to smile.

“Quackers and Milk.”

“Good one Garrett. What do you call an Englishman, two ducks and a cow?”

“Graham Quackers and Milk. Love you mom.”

I hear a groan from one of the boxes. I slap slap it hard with my hand and hiss at it. The noise stops.

I keep my eyes on the yellow green orbs that watch me as I talk to my son. Garrett rattles on about classes and girls he knows and sings me a song he wrote. He says he goes to the beach almost every day and is going to go surfing on Sunday. He says it is the perfect college for Vampires. He is so excited about school. My heart melts a little.

Then Garrett asks me what I’m up to.

“Sweetie, I’m under a building with three boxes full Shadow Creeping Vampires. You know me, everyday is Halloween.”

“How’d you end up there?”

“Helping your Uncle Aaron and a friend. Long story, but the short version is that I was the only one wearing jeans and I’m smaller than they are so I got elected.”

Old Yellow Green Eyes started to sit up. “I gotta go Garrett. I’ll call you back later today.”

“Love you mom.”

“Love you too sweetie pie.”

I looked at my old friend. OK he wasn’t a friend. I’d met him before, a long long time ago. “What are you doing here?” I said trying to keep myself from sneering at him.”You look like a fucking Zombie. What is wrong with you people? Have you lost all self respect?”

“Juliette,” he whispered my name in a dry voice, like old coffee grinds and gravel.

“Jasper. That last time I saw you was…1923, New Orleans. What are you doing here?”

He started to tell me something in French that I couldn’t quite make out when I stopped him. “Listen, you have three choices. The first is that you agree to live like Modern Vampires and stop this nonsense of lurking around like you’ve just come out of some creep show. The second is that I leave you to the Vampire Hunters. The third is that you let one of my friends, and I use that term loosely, take you to San Francisco where you can be with others of your kind. But you can’t stay here. We have enough problems in Sacramento without your kind.”

“My kind?” Jasper opened his icky eyes wide and showed his fangs.

“That is exactly what I mean, you giving me the evil eye and trying to scare me with your ugly mug. You used to be handsome and well, you were never charming, but you used to be, well, not THIS.”

I crawled back into the sunlight which was no cup of tea, believe me. I might spend time during the day but the sunshine, especially after the darkness under a house, always comes as a shock. I pulled out my sunglasses put them on then took a deep breath and brushed off my pants. Filling Aaron and Austin in on the situation I told them that I’d let them decide what to do with Jasper and his friends.

I had to go home and take a shower and scrub my skin off with steel wool, or at least that is how I was feeling. The image of his eyes stuck in my brain like Poe’s Tell Tale Heart story.

“It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees – very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings

His eyes will haunt me for sure. Maybe I’ll check on him in a few months time, out of morbid curiosity. That is, if the Vampire Hunters or other creatures don’t get them first. There are Shadow Creepers who seem so vile, but then there are other Vampires who I don’t even dare name or ever seek out for any reason.

Like I said, Halloween is never far from my reality.

I called Garrett back. He listened to my story. I didn’t make it into some cautionary tale or anything like that. We just talked. He told me that I was the most awesome mom ever.

So anyway, that is what I did today. Halloween is here. Oh boy. Time to get a few more pumpkins and watch for things that go bump in the night (like my cats.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

vampire girls

This post is part of the Austin and Elizabeth series. Check out their adventures from the beginning (CLICK HERE)

Musings on Home, Teens and Vampires

A cold rain is coming down through the damp air. My home is surrounded by painters.

Contrary to public urban myths Vampires do not all live in Addams family style homes with the worst of Victorian architecture. I refuse to be a Shadow Creeper. Please, give me a break.

My home is going from a nasty peeling gray putty color to a nice friendly blue. Fifty shades of gray might be ok for bad mommy-porn but not for my house. It was starting to look like a haunted house (or worse the Amityville Horror House or the House on Haunted Hill.) Now it looks kind of like Bear’s home in Bear in the Big Blue House. My readers with teens might remember Bear, Tutter and the Otters. Anyway, my farmhouse style home is no longer looking haunted. It doesn’t mean I’m immune to ghosts but at least I’m not looking like I’m trying to attract them.

Bear's Big Blue House

Bear’s Big Blue House

Small Vampire children loved Luna, the moon in the show. And Shadow. I believe Shadow was Irish. She sounded Irish to me. I’m just musing and walking down memory lane. I love teens, but sometimes I miss having little bitty ones in the house.

All Vampire children love Luna and Bear.

All Vampire children love Luna and Bear.

From my breakfast nook office (where I choose to camp out today) I can see lemon trees and red leaves on deciduous trees.  Modern life. Modern Vampires.

High School is going good this year. Complaints are minor. The kids are smart. There seems to be a somewhat larger and more diverse circle of young Vampires at school.

Character.tutter

Tutter likes everyone, even when he feels confused.

Clara and her friends are always laughing about something. They’re popular with their teachers and fellow classmates, always well liked, but not considered among the upper echelons of “popular kids.” It works better for them that way.

My husband Teddy was worried about one of her friends. The boy wears pale makeup and eyeliner. His hair is bleached white. He wears tight black everything. He rarely talks.

“He’ll grow up to be a Shadow Creeper,” says Teddy. “I don’t want people to think you’re as strange as he is.”

Clara answers her father. “Everybody likes him. Except for the cakey foundation nobody thinks he is that different.”

“Does he like boys or girls?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think he knows. Does it matter?”

“I don’t care. He just seems confused,” said Teddy.

“They’re just teens. He’ll find himself. And no, he won’t become a Creeper. Clara won’t let that happen,” I said.

“He’d never be a Shadow Creeper,” said Clara.

“I hope not,” said Teddy.

“He won’t,” I said.

We’ve had a lot of conversations like this. We’ll have it again in a year, in five years, in fifty years.

Thanks goodness we don’t know any kids who are unfortunate enough to be Shadow Creepers. Those are the Vampires who live under houses, in musty crypts, in the dark and in the past. They’re out of touch and, well, just creepy and awkward. They tend to smell of dust and death. They’re disgusting. We don’t associate with them. Sorry, I accept just about everyone, but I do draw the line with some things.

When you have teens around a lot of different issues come up. You just have to let them explore their options. You have to explore those options with them and discuss consequences, be those good or bad. But you also have to sometimes stand back and not be quick to judge.

It is like when you have a toddler. You have to be like bear and gently guide your blue mouse and otters into not doing stupid stuff. And you have to let them know you’re proud of them for doing smart stuff. Most of all you have to appreciate them for being who they are.

Oh look, the snow is falling. I love this blogging season!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

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Even Vampires Get The Blues: Musings on a hot summer day

Even Vampires get the blues, or just the stupids, or maybe even those out of sorts times when everything is just yuck.

I’ve was on the road for over a week. There were magnificent highs and low level lows. When we arrived home I was feeling out of sorts and blah. Then it all ended with a near death experience.

But today I am fine and said to myself, “YOU ARE THE MOM.”

I have teens but I’m still the MOM.

Not only am I the mom but I’m the wife, the one who checks in on the elders, the one who carries knowledge of all things, the one who makes everyone laugh, and the one who listens. I also change the litter box and feed the animals and water the plants.

You know, if you choose to live in a crypt, away from the world, away from everyone, life is fairly easy. You sleep. You get up at night and get blood from unsuspecting people. Occasionally you meet with your friends who also live in crypts or old houses. You don’t care about anything. You don’t love anyone or anything.

I’m not that kind of Vampire. Neither are the Vampires in my life. We’re not a bunch of friggin Shadow Creepers.

Oh, and speaking of Shadow Creepers, my kids have been talking a lot about politics. presidential politics.

The male child can vote (18) and the female child can’t (160) but is still is involved.

In their opinion a zillion people are running for president but they ALL SUCK.

The teens don’t like Hillary. They can’t relate to her. She says nothing. They think she should have dumped Bill and had a huge bonfire on the White House Lawn when Bill was doing saying “I didn’t have sexual relations with that woman,” or whatever. I tend to agree. Smart kids.

When Vampire cheat it hits the fan big time. But that is another blog post…

Garrett (the 19 year old) and I will not be voting for anyone who puts the issues of sex or religion on the roster. People who are obsessed by sex and religion, or the sexual habits and religious beliefs of others. It is sick. SICK. Unfortunately the majority of people running and people who support them are SICK.

Then they discussed foreign policy, social welfare…and oh boy, it all just hit the fan. I won’t go into details but the sixteen year old said:

White trash is the worst kind of trash because they have no excuse. They are white and in the USA. They are the most privileged people in the world. There is no excuse. 

And don’t we all know that. We’ve got Vampire trash (in limited supply) and don’t even get me started on Werewolves.  And mind you, trash has nothing to do with income or ethnic background. It is attitude. It is when a person or group of people choose to embrace ignorance and make it their way of life and the core of their universe. Suspicion, envy, and distrust rule their worlds along with iron clad clannish behaviors that can only be destructive.

So that concludes the political/social portion of this blog post.

I talk with my kids a lot.  I also am proud that they research the issues on their own and then report back to me on a lot of it. Their dad and I might now always agree but hey, that is OK. Your kids aren’t your clones. Even if they were clones they wouldn’t be YOU.

So tomorrow is a new night. I’m not digging the heat but I can deal with it. I have my family, friends and my creativity. I also have to clean out a fish tank, which is no small task. I have a novel to finish and …

Whoa, I just glanced outside and saw Nigel the Ghost sitting on a deck chair in the middle of the dead grass. I haven’t seen him for ages. He just flipped me off. I showed him my fangs and mouthed the words “fuck you.” Awww man, it is good to have him back. I’ll keep you posted.

We all need to ramble and have days to reflect and be random. We all need downtime.  We all need to spout off. We all need those late nights when we’re all alone. We still need others. There is no one absolute for anything.

So anyway, take care of yourself. Hug your kids. Kiss your cats. Remember your friends. And watch out for ghosts. I mean it… watch out for ghosts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman