Morning in the Vineyard

Morning at the Vineyard

A story from Juliette Kings

Andrew didn’t remember much when the door opened with blinding light waking him from his sleep, much less the voice that said “You aren’t dead.”

“Of course I’m not dead.” Andrew lifted himself up on his elbow and looked around at the bedroom.

“You were so cold. We couldn’t hear your heart.” A slim woman with long slightly graying hair stood near the bed.

“That’s what all the girls say.” No response. “That was a joke.”

“Oh. Ha ha ha. Good one.” Uncomfortable laughing.

There was the taste of blood in his mouth, but not his own. It must have been a Hell of a night. He looked at the woman again. She was pretty but not young, standing there in a flowing sundress and pretty light summer sweater. Nice. This would be fairly easy staying here for a few days, but he would still be cautious. Sometimes the most easy ones turned out to be the most dangerous.

Andrew started to get up and realized he was naked under the sheets.

“Your clothes were soaked and also covered with blood. We thought about calling the police but my husband Ian said to wait until morning. My husband Dennis said the same. I don’t agree with them. We should have called the police as soon as we found you.”

“Where was I?”

“In the vineyard, face down in the dirt. Your car was in a ditch with four flats and the front end smashed in. We pulled it out.”

The Tesla. Quiet and fast and expensive. Then he thought about what she said. “Husbands? You mentioned two husbands.”

“We practice polyandry. Two husbands, one wife, one family. It isn’t legal or common or accepted by most people but…”

“I don’t have a problem with it. As long as it works for you.”

“It does.”

She took a stack of clothing, jeans, a shirt, etc, from the top of the dresser and gave it to Andrew. “Clean clothing. Breakfast will be ready in about a half hour. And we’ll discuss who you are and why you’re here and where all the blood came from.” Then she turned and left the room.

What a night. The fog started to clear from Andrew’s brain. He staggered up out of the bed and closed the window shades. Damn sunlight. Looking in the mirror the reflection looked back showing a well built man with alabaster skin, long chestnut curls flowing down his back, a classically handsome face and hazel eyes the color of the blue green southern seas. His mouth twitched showing fangs. He quickly gained his composure and hid the teeth and rubbed his tired eyes.

“Shit. What the crap happened to you Andrew,” he said to himself. There was wine, a lot of wine. There were women. There was a guy named Brant and his friend Chet. There was the girl Ginger…she had AB + blood, Chet had O. Oh no. Why didn’t he remember? And how’d he end up face down in the middle of a vineyard? Zinfandel. He knew what kind of grapes they were.

Taking a 3 minute shower, he towel dried his long locks, pulled on the clothes the woman had left him and went down the stairs. He could smell food cooking and coffee. He gripped the banister to prevent himself from throwing up everything inside of his stomach. He’d over done it for sure, blood and wine. Wine and blood. Sex too but that was  a blur. Food might do him some good.

In the kitchen were two men and the woman, along with half a dozen kids in who ranged from about 8 to 17.

He looked at the men. A large blonde man who looked like a former football player introduced himself as Ian. Dennis was shorter with the look of a History Professor or some sort of thing like that. They called the woman Carrie. One big happy family.

Ian poured Andrew coffee and welcomed him. They all welcomed him. This was getting creepy. Then again, Andrew was the Vampire, but he was sitting in the home of a farmer and wine maker and her two husbands and six kids. It was weird. But hey, he decided to make the best of it.

They made small talk. He thanked them for taking him in. Carrie put plates of eggs and fried tofu and toast and fruit and bacon and mushrooms on the table.

The teenage girls thought Andrew’s hair was great and asked him if he was in a band. He smiled minus fangs. He must have had at least five cups of coffee.

“Last night I thought you had some nasty scratches on your face,” mentioned Ian.

“I, uh, heal fast.” Andrew said that then wished he’d kept his mouth shut. He healed fast because he wasn’t like them. He took the blood and energy of regular normal people and in return, he made them feel good – like a rush that would last at least a week. Well, if he liked them and made a connection.

“Where’d all the blood come from? Except for the scratch on your face you didn’t have a mark on you.” As Carrie said that she gave him a long cold look.

“Blood? On me? I guess I drank too much. Too much of everything and threw up. I don’t know. My friends drank a lot and someone was doing some sort of recreational drugs or maybe prescription pain killers, I’m not sure, but I over did it. Listen, I’m so sorry about this and I really appreciate your hospitality. I’ve imposed on you. I wish there was something I could do to pay you back. Let me know.”

Ian gave him a pat on the arm. “We know what it is like to be different.”

“You’re a Vampire aren’t you?” Dennis asked as the kids all looked on.

Andrew brushed a damp lock of hair out of his face and suddenly felt a little warm. “Yes, but…”

“How long have you been a Vampire?” Carrie was asking now.

“I’ve always been one. My parents were Vampires. Um, I was born just down the road from here. October 22, 1851.”

The children were transfixed.

“We don’t have a problem with Vampires. Some food might settle your stomach Andrew,” said Carrie. “And you’re welcome to stay as long as you like. We found your phone and called your sister. She’ll be here in a couple of hours.”

This was all too strange for Andrew. He’d spent the past 100 years or thereabouts avoiding families and any kind of normal human lives. Years had passed traveling, and performing and enjoying wine and women and wild nights. But now he sat with a nice family with no pretenses. And rarely had he ever met humans who knew or even knew about real Vampires. It was so unusually weird.

I sing opera,” he said to the kids. “Mainly opera but I can sing just about anything. Just got back from Patagonia and learned a bunch of folk songs. I can do metal too. That comes naturally.”

“I can imagine you do a great power ballad,” Carrie said with a smile, then she told the children to leave the room.

Andrew had to smile. This as so weird but he could get used to this. He looked at Carrie’s golden brown eyes. A positive blood, just like his. She’d make a good Vampire, or even just a snack.

He thought about his sister. It had been forever since he’d seen her or her children. It would be nice. More than nice. Maybe she’d get another husband too. He might suggest it. He smiled. That would be funny.

“What happened to my friends? Did you see any of them?” Andrew looked from Dennis to Ian then to Carrie. “Did they say where they went?”

Carrie looked him in the eye as Dennis and Ian flanked her side. “We buried them in the garden behind the carriage house.”

“Don’t worry,” said Dennis “Nobody ever found the other bodies we’ve buried, so they won’t find your friends.”

Andrew took another gulp of coffee and hoped his sister would arrive soon.

And that was the entire truth just as my brother Andrew told it to me

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Times of Need

He held her hand and listened as she told her story.

“I…can’t…if I die…my body…I’ll be…put…in a freezer…nobody will get….me”

She’d come from across the street where she’d lived for almost twenty years. They’d become friends, sharing glasses of wine on their decks, discussing keeping up their Victorian homes, and everything else under the stars.

Tonight she’d somehow made it across the street. He’d let her in and tucked her into the comfortable bed in his guest room. She could barely walk, barely breath, and barely speak, but he managed to make out her story.”

“I grew up in a place where poetry had to rhyme. Romance always ended in a wedding. Divorced women were predators out to steal husbands. Women didn’t buy their own homes. It was all about waiting for a man. Tonight you’re going to be my man, but not that way. I hope you don’t mind.”

“It will be an honor to be your man tonight,” he told her.

“I’m divorced. My kids are in college. I can’t die of this. If I go to the hospital I’ll die alone. If I stay home I will die. My body will be taken to a storage freezer. My kids won’t know what to do. Their father is worthless. He isn’t in their lives. Will you make sure my children will be alright. They know you. They trust you.”

“I’ll make sure they’ll always be alright. Your children will be safe. You’ll be safe. You aren’t going to die.”

“Aren’t you afraid you’ll catch this from me?”

“No,” he said. “I am not afraid. I won’t catch it. I can’t catch it.”

She gave him a weak smile, knowing he wouldn’t catch it. Then she coughed again with tears of fear and frustration.

“I’ll make it better,” he said. “Is that what you want?”

She closed her eyes as she thought about her choice. As she tried to speak nothing came out. Then she squeezed his hand, and looked in his face.

Brushing her hair out of his face, then off of her neck he said, “Alright. Here we go. Next week we’ll be having wine on your deck and forgetting you were ever sick.”

The next morning she felt like she was having the worst hang over of her life, but the cough was gone. Her sense of smell was back. She laughed.

He came in with a cup.

“Coffee?” she asked.

“Spiced blood. You’ll need it.”

In these times we all need to take care of others. Wear your mask. Check in on those who are alone or might need extra help. Stay safe.

~ end

Short Story Sunday: Blow Up

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.

~ end

Short Story Sunday: I’ll Take Care of You

I’ll Take Care of You

The headache was real. He opened his eyes and squinted at the sun coming through the window and tried to remember what had happened the night before.

“Oh you’re up. Look at the sunlight. Tell me how you feel.”

“Like I’ve been hit by a truck.”

“Do you feel alive?”

He looked at her sitting in a navy blue wingback chair wearing nothing but a smile and black silk stockings held up by red garters. He thought of her as a girl, not from her age but by the way she acted. She had been cute for a while but the cuteness became annoying and practiced.

He got out of bed and looked for his robe. She watched him with a smile on her face that was part wonder and part greed. Memories started to come back. Against his better judgement he’d taken her home and to his bed. Then she’d poured something she said was wine, but it obviously wasn’t.

“What did we drink last night?”

“What did you drink Andrew darling. I gave you an elixir to life. I gave you a tonic of love. I gave you light and love?”

He didn’t even respond. The sooner he got her out of his house and made coffee the better. Finding his robe he headed to the kitchen.

“Do you feel different?” She got up and followed him down the stairs.

“Other than feeling like shit?”

“Today is your new birthday. You’re mortal again.”

It suddenly occurred that she’d given him some sort of potion. “Jen, I can’t be cured. There was nothing wrong with me.”

“You were a Vampire.”

“I’m still a Vampire.”

“You’re walking in the sunlight. See it comes through the windows and you aren’t burning.”

“I’ve always been able to walk in the sunlight. Whatever you gave me didn’t work. It never works anymore than me giving you something that would turn you into a dog.”

“Give me a chance and I’ll take care of you Andrew,” she said clutching at his arms.

He pried off her hands and whispered under his breath, “Yes, and I’ll make sure to take care of you.”

Escorting her to the door, the Vampire told her to not come back – but he knew she’d try. Jen never took no for an answer. He compared her to a bad rash, that is if he’d ever had a bad rash.

Nobody would believe her tall tales of dating a Vampire. She was a groupie, a fan, a follower who didn’t know how to be an adult or find real love. It wasn’t like he always knew how to find real love, but at least he wasn’t going to let anyone change him for it.

Picking up the phone he made a call. “You know, I really don’t have the stomach for killing her right now. Any suggestions?”

His friend paused on the other end of the line then said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of her.”

After getting off the phone Andrew made a blood and strawberry smoothie hoping it would clear out some of the toxic effects of whatever the Hell Jen had given him.

Jen told everyone her family had always been around Vampires, kind of sort of, but she’d just discovered her ability to pick them out about 10 years ago. She’d clamped onto Andrew about a year back after seeing him sing with one of her favorite bands at a local club. She’d spotted him and found out all of the details about his life through mutual friends. Her immaturity was charming at first and kind of cute but now it just grated on Andrew. He ran his hands through his hair and wondered why he’d brought her home last night. Oh right, blood and sex. That always does it.

Then again, Jen thought life should be a cross between a Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie and Twilight. Holy crap. The woman was delusional.

Jen sat alone in her San Francisco apartment and thought about her beautiful Vampire lover. Giggling at the thought of his cool skin and hot kisses and wonderful techniques as a lover. He knew all the tricks. She imagined living with him in his beautiful St. Francis Woods home.

Last night she’d offered him not just her body but her blood as well. Last of all she offered her heart. As far as she was concerned that was a sealed deal. She was part of him now. He’d never get rid of her.

A year passed and Andrew had all but forgotten about that night with Jen. Occasionally one of his friends would bring up the story of the toxic brew and laugh about it.

“Don’t laugh, it could have ruined my voice,” Andrew would tell them half serious and half joking.

“What ever happened to her?” They would always ask. Andrew would just shrug.

A hundred miles away, locked in a room with no sharp objects Jen sat rocking on the bed speaking of her Vampire lover and how he’d return for her. Andrew said something under his breath about taking care of her. So she waited not knowing that he already taken care of her, quite nicely.

~ End

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Christmas in the Apocalypse

From my friend, writer Mandy White. Love this story. Merry Christmas 2020.

Dysfictional

“I found some!” Scott banged on the metal door with a wrench, placed there for that exact purpose.

Metal hinges creaked as the door opened.

“Cool! Bring it in.” Libby held the curtain aside and helped Scott drag his bundles in from the tunnel.

“It isn’t exactly what I was looking for. I was hoping for a tree, but had to settle for trimming a hedge.”

“This will do just fine.” Libby held the cedar branches to her face and inhaled. “Mmmm… heavenly.”

Scott shouldered one of the bundles and Libby followed him, dragging the other down the narrow hallway.

Scott gasped when they entered the common room.

“You like it?”

“I do! You did all this?”

Libby dropped her bundle and sat down. She slung her prosthetic leg onto the tabletop with a loud CLUNK.

“What else am I going to do? I got plenty of time on…

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Tangled Tales – Now Over 200 Short Stories

Short Stories from Vampire Maman

A good portion of the posts on Vampiremaman.com read like short stories, but the list here is of stand alone stories that don’t necessarily follow the tales of Juliette’s life with her husband, kids and assorted Vampire Mom adventures.

Expect the unexpected … and a lot of fun! Click on the title to go to the story.

You’ll find Vampire, parenting, Gothic romance, horror, humor, urban fantasy, science fiction, odd ditties, literary fiction, and other unique and unexpected tangled tales. This isn’t the complete list but it will keep you busy for a while. Keep checking back for more.

* Guest authors  

  1. Dancing on the Beach
  2. Morning in the Vineyard
  3. When You Grow Old
  4. A Man Should Have What He Wants
  5. Ode to a Greek God
  6. The Alley
  7. Off to See the Wizard
  8. Baker Beach
  9. The Necklace (My Christmas Necklace)
  10. The Travelers
  11. Captain Sandy and the Airship at the End of the World
  12. Perfection
  13. The Shadow of Fire
  14. Robert and the Key *
  15. Dark Politics
  16. Romance of the Needles
  17. Heart Shaped Box*
  18. Stumped
  19. The Child
  20. Night at the Crest
  21. Dawn of the Undead
  22. Sunday School
  23. The Time Travelers
  24. I’ll Return to You
  25. Star Crossed Wars
  26. My Vampire Lover
  27. No End in Sight
  28. Tell Tail Heart
  29. The Hunter
  30. The Bully
  31. Slut
  32. I’ll Take Care of You
  33. Cold
  34. Prisoner of Love
  35. Christmas Orphans (a random short tale)
  36. The List
  37. A Head of the Game
  38. The Box in Dave’s Basement
  39. Tall Tales
  40. Fallen
  41. Back into the Past
  42. Pixie Dust
  43. Welcome to Hell (a bit of Science Fiction)
  44. Male Bonding (A Vampire Story)
  45. Everything Will Be Alright
  46. Magnolia
  47. Saturday Afternoon
  48. Almost Perfect in Every Way
  49. Up or Down
  50. Uncle Jerry’s Time Machine
  51. That Which Remains
  52. First Sight
  53. Springtime
  54. The Changeling
  55. The Rally
  56. Yes, it is complicated, almost as much as A Unicorn, A Squirrel, and A Possum Go Into a Bar
  57. Earthquake
  58. Coffee and a Crypt
  59. Nowhere in Time
  60. A Werewolf’s Train to Nowhere
  61. Curse of Bloke Island
  62. Dead or Alive (a Vampire Romance)
  63. Conversion
  64. You Gotta Believe
  65. A Ray of Hope
  66. True Friends
  67. Stranger No More
  68. The Time Travelers
  69. A Change of Heart
  70. Captured Bride
  71. Rare Peace
  72. Finally Home
  73. A Drive with Marilyn
  74. Cold Hands, Warm Heart
  75. Sunday Morning Coffee
  76. Giving Blood
  77. 2020
  78. One of Those Days
  79. A Mysterious Stranger on a Hot Dry Day
  80. A Mystery
  81. Charade*
  82. Checkmate*
  83. Sunset and Ginger Ale*
  84. Under the Stars
  85. For the Kids
  86. Indecision
  87. We will be happy
  88. Blow Up
  89. Community
  90. Desert Sky
  91. Dog Park
  92. Fairies
  93. Don’t Fall Apart On Me Baby
  94. Dawn of the Undead
  95. You Gotta Believe
  96. The List
  97. Hollow Heads
  98. Springtime
  99. Earthquake
  100. Mail Order House
  101. Krampus Clause
  102. Heal Thyself
  103. Fall Garden
  104. Lucky Me
  105. Gasoline and Tiger Maple (don’t mix)
  106. Warlock Woods
  107. Sunday Coffee
  108. College Daze
  109. Why I hate Valentine’s Day
  110. Mail Order House
  111. Boys Will Be Boys
  112. Mother’s Day
  113. No Weapon At All
  114. Cold
  115. Writing on the Wall
  116. Night Dogs
  117. Lizbit
  118. Smoke
  119. Dream a Little Dream
  120. Mere Mortal
  121. A Better Place
  122. For the Kids
  123. No Little Women
  124. Off to See the Wizard
  125. House by the Ocean
  126. Art
  127. Night Dogs
  128. Friends  Forever
  129. Green Man
  130. Donner Lake
  131. Chaos and Mistletoe
  132. Warmth
  133. Conversion
  134. Gather Around Little Vampires
  135. The Morning After
  136. Friends Forever
  137. Witching
  138. Being a Vampire
  139. Boys will be Boys
  140. Mother’s Day
  141. School Night
  142. The Rally
  143. Chloe’s Face
  144. Going Through With It
  145. Circles
  146. Beauty
  147. Gerald Atkins – Vampire Hunter
  148. Morcant and the Mermaid
  149. I’ve got your number –  an intergalatic romance
  150. Leaving Victor
  151. Raven and Dove
  152. A Ghost Story*
  153. Small Talk
  154. Noz*
  155. Last Call*
  156. Pandemic
  157. Permission to Mourn
  158. Old Bones
  159. Playing Dracula
  160. Driving Home With Superheroes
  161. May Your Days Be Foggy and Bite
  162. There Would Always Be Cats
  163. Brothers in Arms
  164. Peaches
  165. Shelter
  166. Shrine
  167. Unicorns Don’t Care
  168. The Morning After
  169. I Hate Valentine’s Day
  170. May Your Days be Foggy and Bite – OR – Hark the Herald Vampires Sing
  171. Witching
  172. Smoke
  173. None of His Concern
  174. Beauty
  175. Glass Dreams
  176. Face Your Demons
  177. Binge Watch
  178. The First Apocalypse, The Truth About Aliens, Missing Links, and Real Pandora’s Box, as Told by A Ghost
  179. Goji and the Angel*
  180. Chernobyl Charlie*
  181. Remains*
  182. The Last Time*
  183. The Changeling
  184. The Lives I Never Lived (aka Ophelia, Drowned aka A Preoccupation With Tragedy)*
  185. Radio Waves
  186. Ashes
  187. Bernie Showers in France*
  188. Holy Grail
  189. Not Going Anywhere
  190. Good Bones
  191. Food Supply
  192. Too Hot To Wear Black
  193. Intentions
  194. Juice Cleanse
  195. Cousin Rachael
  196. Play Date
  197. Completely
  198. The Cabin
  199. Chaos and Mistletoe
  200. A Christmas Message From Ambrose*
  201. Driving Home With Superheroes
  202. May Your Days Be Foggy and Bite
  203. Old St. Rick

Guest Posts:

I’m honored to share these fantastic stories and verse from others. These are so good. You’re in for a treat. You’ll thank me later.

  1. Chuck the Elf by David X. Hunter
  2. Robert and the Key  by Charlotte Kings
  3. Heart Shaped Box by Mandy White
  4. We’re Not So Different by Mandy White
  5. Beneath the Bed by Mandy White
  6. Just One Kiss by Mandy White
  7. Chernobyl Charlie by Mandy White
  8. Charade by Adelia Hoff
  9. The Lives I Never Lived (aka Ophelia, Drowned aka A Preoccupation With Tragedy) by Adelia Hoff  
  10. Checkmate by Dave Stone
  11. The Eagle Cried by Richard Turton
  12. A Ghost Story by Richard Turton
  13. The Last Time by Richard Turton
  14. Sunset and Ginger Ale by Jade M. Phillips
  15. Noz by Mike Cooley
  16. Last Call by R. James Turley
  17. Goji and the Angel by Diana Garcia
  18. Remains by Soleil Daniel
  19. Bernie Showers in France by Aurora Jean Alexander
  20. A Christmas Message From Ambrose by Amy Karian

Series:

Keep checking back on the left side bar of this blog for more updates or CLICK here. I have more short stories for December 2020 from me and from wonderful guest writers.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman