Tangled Tales: May Your Days be Foggy and Bite – OR – Hark the Herald Vampires Sing

 

Just before Christmas. She’d broken up with him. Why? Did it matter? Of course it did and she’d made a list of a dozen items, written out in fountain pen no less.

  1. Too young
  2. Too immature
  3. Too happy
  4. Too cute
  5. Too much of a comedian
  6. Blonde
  7. Not serious enough
  8. Likes dogs too much
  9. Dresses funny
  10. Laughs weird
  11. Glass always half full completely full.
  12. Vanilla sex

The last one hurt. The fact that he didn’t like being hog tied or bitten didn’t make it vanilla. It was normal and nice.

And WTF? How could anyone like dogs too much. He didn’t have his own dog. Sure, he’d pet and make cute talk with almost every dog he met but who didn’t do that?

She never seem to have any problems with his age. Randy had just turned twenty three. That wasn’t too young. She was fifty, but that was also young for a Vampire. Since he was also a Vampire he didn’t think it would make that much of a difference. Apparently it did. To her.

Randy walked along the beach, his blond hair hanging in his face, and pulled his bright red and green Christmas cardigan closed. His jeans were black. At least she couldn’t say that was weird.

As he stood in the fog looking out over the waves breaking on the beach he thought about his now ex-girlfriend. She was gorgeous and elegant and serious. She was an extremely serious Vampire. On the other hand he was starting to feel like that writer in Sunset Boulevard, Joe Gillis. She, Karen, his girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, had been his Norma Desmond. Oh boy, she was always ready for her close up. Crazy controlling yesteryear bitch.

Damn, Karen was gorgeous and smart, and fascinating. He watched the waves and tried to talk his heart out of grieving for what he thought he had with her.

No wonder all of the memes were about Karen. Ugh.

He was shaken out of his reveries by a voice.

“Hey Randy. What are you doing here?”

There stood the odd girl Alexis he’d met two years before when they were going to UCB. She had been in his Organic Chemistry class. She was really weird. But she was also a Vampire, and in a world where Vampires are few between he could put up with weird every once in a while. They had coffee together from time to time then both graduated and lost touch.

She was wearing a big oversized cream colored sweater with black leggings, black work boots, and a black scarf. She had a headband over her black hair. It plastered her bangs against her forehead so that they made a straight dark line across her eyebrows. On her lips was burgundy colored lip gloss and on her nails was matching burgundy polish. She was one of the strangest girls he’d ever met but he liked her, as a friend.

“Alexis. Wow,” he gave her a hug. “I’m at Long Beach, graduate school. Getting my MFA in writing. What are you’d doing here?”

She smiled. “I’m getting my MFA at CSU Long Beach in Art. I paint, you know, like on canvas. What’s going on? I mean, you know, you’re standing here in the fog? Did you break up with someone or something? You’re looking kind of lost.”

“You can tell?”

“Dude. Really? Of course I can tell. It seems like overtime I see you you’ve broken up with someone, or more likely she has broken up with you. You’re standing there looking like you lost your last friend. You have a death grip on your sweater, and your shoe is untied.”

“Oh.” Randy bent down and tied his shoe. “Um, you just taking a walk on the beach?”

“Yeah. I love the fog. It’s kind of mysterious. Like the holidays.”

“What makes the holidays mysterious?”

“I never know what’s going to happen. Last year I went home to my parent’s house and nobody was home. I waited for three days and found out they were trapped in a castle in Germany. A bunch of monks were forcing them to make fruit cakes and…”

“Are you making this up?”

“It’s the truth. Cross my heart and swear on a bat. The year before last I got home and my parents were dead. Vampire hunters had gotten to them. My parents even had presents under the tree for me. Damn, I pulled stakes from their hearts and brought them back. It was hecka scary. I’m an only child so they’re all I’ve got. I mean, my parent, they’re really old fashioned Vampires, like some film noir, or even worse, think Boris Karloff or Vincent Price, but I love them. You know I was bullied as a kid, but I worked it out. I did OK. They did their best.”

“Alexis. I am so sorry.”

“After I found them, and got the stakes out of their hearts, and got them some help, I had to do something. Some friends helped me go after them, the Vampire hunters. We dumped the bodies in the desert near Joshua Tree National Park.”

“Oh. That’s brutal.”

“You know, it wasn’t that bad. I was with my friends Olaf, yeah, like Frozen but not Frozen. Olaf is a hecka hot Vampire. And my friend Collette. She is at UCI going to Med school right now. Collette is sooooo smart. She knows how to, well, get rid of people. It wasn’t a big guilt trip. The Vampire hunters were hired organized thugs from Las Vegas,  or at least that is the last place they lived. You know, organized crime and icky shit like that. So, we just buried the bodies, three of them, in kind of shallow graves and piled rocks on the top of them. We used those little folding camp shovels, but that was fine. The coyotes were going to get them anyway so I wasn’t too worried about it.

But we’re walking back to the car and I look up. Oh Randy, there were a million stars in the sky. We just stood there and all started to smile. Then there was this one really bright star. Olaf said hey it’s just like Christmas. Damned if it wasn’t. It was just like Christmas.

We all broke out in a chorus of Hark the Herald . Oh it was wonderful. Then somebody started to clap and we turned around and saw a couple of park rangers. They said we sounded like angels singing under the Christmas star. It was so special. So special.”

“Wow,” said Randy, honestly not knowing what else to say.

“It was great. We sang a few more songs, then we got some blood from the rangers. Don’t worry, they didn’t know. We left them chocolates and wine. Always have chocolate and wine in your car this time of year for people you get blood for. The chocolate helps them recover from the blood loss and the wine is just nice. Make sure it is good chocolate and good wine.”

“So your parents, are they OK now?”

“They’re doing great. I’m headed over to see them tonight.”

“I’ve never had anything like that happen to me. Wow. That is frightening.”

“You’re lucky. My mom and dad are so old fashioned. I keep telling them to stop living like old Hollywood Vampires. Then my dad will say,  but honey we live in Beverley Hills. He is so weird. But he’s my dad so I gotta love him.”

Alexis traced a V in the sand with the tip of her boot. “It was weird growing up as a Vampire. How about you?”

“We lived in the suburbs so it was OK. Nobody knew. Nobody bothered us. My parents were pretty cool.”

“So what’s up with your girlfriend?”

Randy showed Alexis the list.

“What a bitch. You’re better off without her. Seriously dude, you don’t need someone like that. You need people in your life who appreciate you for who you are, not for who they want you to be.”

“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind,” said Randy.

“Hey, you wanna get coffee or something. There is a great little place just up the street. No pressure. Olaf and I are an item so I’m not looking to take advantage, but I like you. It’s good to see you again.”

As they walked up to the street he put on his sunglasses against the morning sun that was starting to show through the fog. Well, stranger things had happened. Thank goodness for that.

~ End

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Dead or Alive

Dead or Alive
A Vampire Romance

By Juliette Kings

“What a bunch of idiots,” Jamie said to himself as he watched a mob of men run down the road brandishing knives and guns they didn’t even know how to use. They wouldn’t dare use them. Well, maybe they would – that is why Jamie had to hide. Now he was all dressed up with no place to go.

Now what? Maybe a trip to his favorite opium den for an easy meal or a trip to Madam Rosanna’s for a drink with one of her girls. At least the girls were clean and pretty, but the rush of opium infused blood sounded good right now.

Jamie ended up back home to change his bloody shirt. He knew his housekeeper would be able to get the stains out but it still annoyed him.

As he grabbed a new shirt out of the wardrobe the smell of jasmine and roses gently made him smile. He turned around.

“Belinda. What a delight.” She was indeed a delight but he didn’t expect to see her, not here in his house, much less in his bedroom.

The delicious sight in a silk green dress smiled and sat on his bed. “Your housekeeper let me in. I don’t think she approves but then again…” she didn’t finish her sentence but just laughed.

James brushed his lips across hers then slid his fangs across the side of her neck. “She doesn’t approve of you because she doesn’t know you.” His mouth went to Belinda’s again.

“You taste like blood,” she whispered.

“You taste like death darling Belinda.” Jamie took her hand and pulled her up. “I’m getting dressed. Let’s go out.”

They passed into the darkness outside, arm in arm, laughing quietly at their private jokes.

Maybe they’d go to the whore house or the opium den. Maybe they’d go to a musical revue or drop by and see friends. Anything was possible. Together, Jamie and Belinda always had a way of making everything fun – at least fun for them.

They decided on the theater but stopped in front of one of the larger churches in the center of the city. A bride and groom happily rode in their carriage to start a new life together. The bride was dressed in innocent white. The groom was happy and handsome.

Jamie and Belinda stood, arm in arm, and looked upon the happy couple.

“That could have been us,” said Belinda.

“We don’t deserve that kind of happiness,” said Jamie, giving her hand a squeeze.

“Why not? We could get married. We could be happy Jamie.”

“Oh darling, you’d drive me crazy. I’d have to kill you.”

“I’m already dead. Well, sort of dead.”

And under the gaslights by the church Jamie kissed Belinda. “Dead or alive, I love you Belinda. I always have. I always will.”

A cold tear ran down Belinda’s cheek. Jamie led her into the empty church and up to the alter. “Belinda, will you love me and stay with me always?”

“Jamie, will you love me and stay with me always?”

“I suppose. Aren’t we supposed to talk about till death do us part?”

“I didn’t think about that,” said Jamie.

“You wouldn’t now James would you?” She called him by his proper name, the way she thought a wife would.

They left the church and headed back to Jamie’s place. Over a glass of wine they made uncomfortable small talk.

“Will you stay the night Belinda?” He had to ask.

“If you’ll have me. Oh Jamie, we’re so awful. We really are. There has to be more.”

He thought about it for about a second. “Not really. We are what we are. We are who we are.”

Then he took her hand and led her back up to his room.

In the morning the world came alive, but they continued their sleep, wrapped in each other’s cold dead arms, as alive as they knew how to be.

~ end

 

Tangled Tales

 

Short Story Sunday: A Ray of Hope

A Ray of Hope

Thanksgiving is in Tahoe this year. My husband Justin’s family has a large beach front cabin. It is a 5,000 square foot cabin and two other smaller A frames within walking distance. Yes, they’re insanely rich, at least to me. They’re also incredible loving and giving and have taken me into their family as one of their own.

My mom left when I was five, taking my twin baby brother and sister with her. Dad said she said she was bored with her life. Bored with my dad and bored with me. I only saw her once after that. She’d poisoned the minds of my siblings by telling them that my dad was abusive. Her new husband gladly went along and encouraged it. My brother is now a successful motivational speaker. My sister is a teacher. I don’t talk to them. They don’t want to talk to me, but they like to talk about me, or somebody they say is me. I don’t care anymore.

When I was growing up Thanksgiving were small, like my grandparent’s two bedroom house – Just my dad, Grandpa and Grammy, and Uncle Ray. We’d gather around the kitchen table in Grammy’s kitchen and have a feast on old chairs covered with yellow vinyl. The table would be covered with turkey, green bean casserole, jellied cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with little marshmallows browned on top. Everything except the turkey came out of a can except the wine. The wine was from a box with ice cubes. It was great.

Uncle Ray lived with Grandpa and Grammy. He believed that at the age of fifteen he was abducted by aliens and taken for a blinding fast tour of the universe and Planet X. Ray believed that Jesus was protecting bigfoot, unicorns and other rarely seen creatures so that when mankind finally killed itself off that those were the creatures who would rule the earth. A great gray wolf would lead dwarves and elves out from their underground kingdoms to live in peace. Aliens from space would set up trade routes to earth and help the new found order prosper.

Despite his weirdness Uncle Ray was accepted into UC Berkley and managed to obtain a degree in Political Science. With his knowledge of politics he began working on his plan for a new world order he’d build along with Jesus and the Bigfoots and elves.

Yes, Uncle Ray was nuts but I adored him. My dad protected him. My grandparents accepted him. The university where he occasionally taught a course tolerated him. He never married so I was the only child there for the holidays.

At night a few hours after pie and watching “Meet Me in St. Louis”, Ray and I would go outside. He’d grab a turkey leg and I’d take a wing. We’d munch on our turkey while Ray pointed out constellations and tell me about his time with the aliens and his love for Jesus.

Ray would always take my hand and solemnly tell me, “Jenna, what I’m telling you is real. I’m not crazy.” Then we’d go inside and have turkey races with some funky wind-up toys my Grandpa got for us. We’d laugh until our sides hurt.

My grandparents and Ray are gone now. Grandpa died in his sleep the year I graduated from college. Grammy had a stroke a few months later while at a prayer group. Three years years ago Ray went hiking in Death Valley one spring and vanished. The rangers found his backpack, hiking boots and an empty water bottle. There was a note that said, “Tell Jenna that I love her.”

I still have the note.

Thanksgiving with my family was never fancy or exciting but I knew I was loved.

Right after I graduated away from college my dad remarried. I met my husband Justin and Thanksgiving dishes no longer involved food from cans or vinyl chairs.

This year dad and his wife Gracie went to Montana to visit friends for Thanksgiving. I knew I’d miss them but wished them a good time.

As Justin and I drove up into the mountains I thought about Ray as I looked out the car at the forests. Over the river and through the woods… When I was 16 Ray and I would drive up to the mountains to see the stars. I’d drive. He never learned how. In the cool summer nights we’d stand in a clearing at 8,000 feet and watch the endless show of zillions of stars and watch for shooting stars and satellites. Ray would tell me about the aliens who’d be back to get him. He’d tell me about how the ancient Greeks would navigate ships and come to America to visit. He’d tell me about planets that were inhabited by people so beautiful that our eyes would explode if we looked at them. He’d tell me that he’d been in love with a girl once and kissed her under the stars but she killed herself. He said he’d see her again. The aliens said they had taken her just before her soul was lost. Uncle Ray said to never be sad. He also told me over and over that he wasn’t crazy.

“What are the thinking about?” Justin startled me out of my reverie.

“My Uncle Ray. I miss him.”

Justin put his hand on mine. “I know honey, I know.”

Thanksgiving was spectacular. The food was amazing, the company was wonderful, the day was perfect. I’m blessed to be married into such a great family.

A few hours after dinner, after football and a lot of other fun, I took Justin by the hand and led him to the kitchen. I got myself a smoked turkey wing and gave Justin a leg, then poured two glasses of wine, minus the ice cubes and took him outside to watch the stars.

We talked about what fun we’d had that day. Then we talked about starting our own family, maybe trying to start that week.

A fireball sailed across the sky. I couldn’t figure out what it was. Maybe a meteorite?

Justin held my hand and said, “It’s your Uncle Ray.”

I think it was.

~ end

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Tangled Tales

Short Story Sunday: Boys Will Be Boys

Adam had heard the stories about Luther.

When they were kids Luther would go out to the fields behind Grandma’s house and shoot anything that moved. It started with birds and rabbits. Then it moved on to cats. Luther had an almost gleeful vendetta to shoot any cat he was that wasn’t in somebody’s yard.

Luther’s parents (Adam’s aunt and uncle) just shrugged and said, “boys will be boys.” They figured that Luther wouldn’t grow up to be a sissy. When Adam told them he only shot animals with a camera they just laughed.

When Luther’s daughter was afraid of an excited terrier pup he told everyone he was going to shoot the dog. That would be after he kicked it, beat it, and refused to give it food for almost a week. Luther’s sister Belinda gave Luther an earful, called him an asshole, and took the dog. It was the second dog she’s rescued from Luther.

A few years later he starved a German Shepard. That dog was rescued by his cousin Janice.

He continued to shoot cats. His wife continued to post photos of their pets on social media. It was a different group of pets every other year. She talked of how sweet their fur babies were and how much she loved them. It sort of made Adam sick.

It reminded Adam of a strange creepy family that had rented the house next to his a few years back. The four children would look at him though cracks in the fence and say strange things.

One day the oldest, the only boy, whispered, “my sister is retarded, do you want to see her dance?” Then the child popped his head over the fence and yelled, “my sister is retarded, do you want to see her dance? My mom said you’re gay because you don’t have a family. Do you want to see our kittens?”

The parents knew the children loved kittens more than anything else. They let their cats have a littler of kittens, then they’d take the mother to the pound and keep the kittens. When the kittens started to look and act more like cats they would take them to the pound and keep one or two females to have more kittens. The sick cycle would continue.

One day Adam’s seven year old niece Aurora was visiting. The creepy children came to the fence and whispered mean things. Adam turned the hose on them. An hour later the mother of the children came over claiming that Aurora had said mean things about their special needs child. Adam called her a liar and an animal abuser and threatened to have them evicted. Luckily for Adam they were gone within a month for not paying their rent.

A nice couple with a beautiful well behaved, well loved dog moved in. They were the perfect neighbors. It turned out that they were con-artists. They’d call the County offices and file complaints against their landlord and then refuse to pay rent. It had been a pattern with them. With a little effort and a few code violations they never had to pay for lodging – never ever. Then they vanished and the landlords sold the house and Adam bought it and rented it out to friends.

Now twenty years later he was out of town for Aurora’s wedding, and the entire family was there. Aurora was hesitant about inviting Luther to the wedding, but his kids were sweet, and everybody liked his wife. Adam wondered what kind of woman would marry a man who abused animals.

At the reception Adam’s longtime girlfriend Brandy told him about Luther bragging about dumping a dog at the lake. He said everybody dumped dogs there. Then he’d laughed about it. The dog was worthless but at least he hadn’t shot it.

Adam had once asked Luther why he was so mean to animals. Luther said, “I hate cats. I don’t know why. They’re worthless. Dogs on the other hand need to know their place. If they scare my kids, or pee in the house I’m going to shoot their asses. They’re just dogs. It isn’t like they have souls.”

Luther’s girls liked puppies but only if they didn’t jump or nip like puppies tend to do.

Then Brandy looked up at the dusky sky and said, “Full moon tonight Adam.”

Adam kissed her, then went to get more wine.

“Look at the moon,” said Luther. Then he laughed. “Let’s go shoot some werewolves.”

The next morning, after the bride and groom had left for Hawaii, Luther’s wife said he was missing.

Luther was found in the woods behind Grandma’s old house. He’d been gutted by wild animals. The police said it looked like it might have been wild dogs, or maybe even a bear.

Adam and Brandy skipped the funeral and drove up the coast to his beach house. That night he lit a candle in memory of all of the cats and dogs who’d suffered abuse at the hand’s of humans.

He found Brandy in the bathroom gargling with salt water. “What’s the matter honey?” He asked her as he rubbed her back.

“I don’t know Adam. I just can’t get the bad taste out of my mouth.”

“I know the feeling well,” he said, then went to the kitchen and opened a bottle of wine. It was a nice full Zinfandel, guaranteed to mellow out the evening. He poured a glass for himself, and one for Brandy. Then he went outside and listened to the sound of the waves, and the light house horn, and tried to empty his mind, until the next full moon night.

~ End

Tangled Tales

 

 

For more Horror fun check out  Creepies 3 (available on Amazon, Kobo, B&N and other fine online book sellers. Available in both electronics and paperback versions. Proceeds go to MS Research to support our fellow writers who have MS.

WPAD_11x17 poster (1)

Short Story Sunday: Night Dogs

Tangled Tales

 

Night Dogs

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

 

Tangled Tales

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Leaving Victor

A new Tangled Tale for October 13, 2019 from Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

Leaving Victor

The Creature watched as the figure in the large overcoat and hat came through the door. The man walked with a slight limp. He smiled at The Creature as he took off his coat and hung it on a peg.

“Igor, you back. Doctor left,” said The Creature.

“Gone for three days. That gives us plenty of time,” said the man with the limp as he took off his hat and shook out his hair.

“Nice do,” said The Creature. “Igor look good.”

“I needed something different.”

“You look like hipster. Short sides. Longer top. Igor look stylish.”

“It isn’t Igor anymore. It never was Igor,” said the man.

“No Igor?”

“Victor called me Igor. It was a derogatory term due to my handicap.” Then he reached around and pulled a pillow out of the back of his shirt. “I won’t be needing this anymore.”

“You straight,” said The Creature.

“Physical therapy. Now I just have to use a cane when I’m on uneven surfaces. But listen, my name is, my real name, is Isidore Rassioli. Some of my friends call me Izzy.”

“Izzydore. I like.”

“You need a name too. That damn Victor didn’t even give you a name. What do you want to be called?”

“Don’t know. Never think I could have name.”

“Well I have.” Isidore pulled out an envelope and set it in front of The Creature. “You are now Corbin Jones. Look here. You now have a birth certificate, and a passport.”

“Corbin. Middle?”

“Andrew,”

“Sound good. I like. Why all this?”

“Because, my dear Corbin, it is time for us to leave. Our servitude is over. For years I toiled under Dr. Victor Frankenstein as his assistant. I did all of the research. I formulated the numbers. I came up with the key ideas, theories, and every thesis. I even wrote his lecture notes. The only reason he has tenure at the university is because of me. All the while he called me Igor and took advantage of my lack of confidence. Well no more. I am not ugly. I am not stupid. I am not a cripple.”

“Looking good Isidore. You smart. I always say that.”

“And so are you Corbin. So are you.

“Passport say American. Why?”

“Because dear Corbin you are a man of an astoundingly diverse heritage. Your body is Italian, built like Michelangelo’s David. Unfortunately the first owner was crushed in an automobile accident. Fortunately we were able to find a perfect fit for a new right arm and shoulder from a murdered Ethiopian gun smuggler. Your left brain is Irish Catholic and your right brain is Ashkenazi Jew. Your head is generic Caucasian, from an American who lost it to an unfortunate run in with a machete. You look like of like Chris Evans, you know, Captain America, sort of but I think better looking. Your ears don’t match, but nobody looks at ears unless they’re unusually large, and yours aren’t.”

“What about her?” Corbin asked, looking over at a closed door.

“The woman? Her body is from a woman who was of English, Welsh, and German decent. She was involved in an unfortunate industrial accident that took off the top of her head. Her scalp and brain are Korean. I’m not sure where those came from. Her heart is First Nation Canadian. Jesus Christ, I can’t make this stuff up. The two of you are true citizens of the world.”

From behind the closed door came a woman. She was striking with one brown eye and one hazel eye. Her long black hair was pulled up into a messy bun on the top of her hair. She wore jeans and an oversized sweater the color of the evening sky.

“Izzy. Did you get my papers?” Asked the woman.

“I did. Here you go Rochelle.”

“Oh my goodness it is good to hear my name. Rochelle. Wow.”

She opened her envelope and looked down upon the birth certificate. Rochelle Patti Smith. She’d picked out the name herself. Her own name. Not Eve or Lilith as Victor wanted to call her, but Rochelle. Patti Smith was after her favorite musician. Rochelle was just because she’s always liked the name somewhere in her distant past that she couldn’t quite remember.

“I have my bag packed,” said Rochelle.

“Good,” said Isidore.

“Where we go?” Corbin asked.

“Orange County, California, the United States of America. I got a job teaching at the Biology Department at UC Irvine.”

“UC?” Corbin asked.

“University of California,” said Isidore. “I have my PhD. This is a great opportunity. Plus we’re not going to be alone. My brothers Sal and Perry own a body shop in Long Beach.”

“They make people too?” Rochelle asked.

“No, cars. They repair cars. Automobiles.”

Six Years Later

Corbin, Rochelle, and Isidore lived in a house walking distance from the beach. It was a good life.

Corbin obtained his GED, took two years at the Community College and got into California State University Long Beach majoring in Political Science. With the help of a speech therapist he now spoke without a trace of hesitation. His girlfriend owned a surf shop and had taught him how to swim.

Rochelle was now in Law School at UC Irvine. She dated a movie producer.

Isidore was a popular teacher. Often he’d walk the beach with his dogs Ramble and Corky, and ponder the meaning of life. Not so much his life, but life in general.

He’d never even thought of making any more conglomerates of reanimated body parts and calling them human beings. Corbin and Rochelle were enough. They were miracles who’d been rescued from spending their new lives shut up in a laboratory to be poked and prodded. Now they were free. Maybe they even had souls. God knows they lived their lives like they did.

Victor had approached Rochelle a few years back, like an abusive stalker waiting to bring his woman back where she belonged. She told him that she’d call the police if he ever approached her again.

Victor had told her, “You ungrateful sewed together bitch. I made you. You belong to me.”

Rochelle said, “No Victor, I made me. I made the women I am today.”

A small note on the online news sites stated that the body of famous biologist Dr. Victor Frankenstein had been washed up on a beach just south of Santa Barbara. Corbin, Rochelle, and Isidore never talked about it. They didn’t need to.

The thought of Rochelle standing up for herself made Isidore smile. He wanted that for all of his students. It had taken years for him to stand up for himself.

As he watched the sunset over the Pacific Ocean a peace settled over Isidore.

“Come on boys,” he called to his dogs. Then he stood up straight and planted his cane in the sand. “I’m done with crutches my dear dogs. Let’s go home.”

~ end

Tangled Tales