My Christmas Necklace

My Christmas Necklace – A Vampire Romance

A few nights ago we had friends for dinner. Let me reword that. We dined with good friends of ours. It was two couples we’re friends with (they’re regular humans who don’t know we’re Vampires). It is a dress up affair. We have cocktails; take in the theater or a concert, then have dinner and more drinks. And my darling husband Teddy and I get a little blood donation and leave our hosts feeling warm and fuzzy and full of holiday cheer.

I wore a black dress with red heels. It was set off with a gold necklace of delicate flowers with red garnets, enameled holly leaves and seed pearls.

One of my friends commented “You wear that beautiful necklace every year. There must be a story behind it.”

“Teddy gave me this on our first Christmas together. It was his mother’s.” I told everyone the truth, but didn’t tell them the entire story behind it.

It was in the 1880’s. My brother Val and I were young Vampires in London, which was the place to be. It was a golden age for us.

Of course being the young American Vampires we were…we got into a lot of trouble and had way too many adventures of the wrong kind.

So to make a long story short, it was Christmas Eve when Val and I found ourselves trapped in a crypt. Yes, a crypt full of rotting human bodies, not a fit place for any self respecting Vampire of a certain social level. We were of a higher social level. We had class, culture, good looks and money. Most of all we had connections. What Val and I lacked was common sense and experience.

So we’re in this crypt, chased by Vampire Hunters, Rogue Vampires who were pissed off at us, AND the local police.

We were also trapped. Yes, being the super strong creatures that we are, we could have busted down the door, but that would have done three things. It would have shown a lack of respect for those who were interned in the crypt. It would have made a lot of noise and attracted too much attention. But most of all, we were wearing rather expensive clothing if that clothing were to be ripped it would have drawn too much attention.

So we waited to figure out a plan B or to be rescued. Plan B was our only real option.

Just as we were about to sit on the ground and wait until the next night to break our way out the door started to slide open. We waited, fangs barred, holding on to each other for dear life, yet ready to kill whatever came through to us.

We saw a lone figure shadowed in the doorway.

I could hear a slight hiss under Val’s breath as he readied himself for an attack. Then a voice with a definite American accent said “Valentine? Juliette? Oh my heavens! Is that really you?”

And out of the shadows came Teddy. I hadn’t seen him for 10 years, not since he’d become a Vampire.

We said quick greetings and I asked “What are you doing here?”

He lifted the lid from one of the stone caskets. “This woman couldn’t steal my father’s heart so she stole my mother’s jewelry. I’m here to get it back. I never expected in a hundred years to find you two here.” And with one swift movement he took the necklace from around the neck of a slightly un-fresh corpse and then removed her bracelet and ring.

Suddenly we heard footsteps and saw torches across the lawn. I recognized the voices. “Let’s go. They’re back.” And they were in full force, come to kill the Vampires, who just happened to be us.

We ran down the road as fast as we could. I help my skirt up around my knees and cursed the day I was born a girl. Damn it trousers would have been nice right then.

A cathedral lay ahead, lit up for the Christmas Eve service.

“We can’t go in there,” said Teddy in a panic.

“Why not?” Asked Val.

“Because,” said Teddy “We’re undead. We’re Vampires. We’ll die.”

“We’re not undead. Your heart beats. You have not one but two souls. You are a creature of the night, and this is a midnight service. We will be welcome and blessed for we do harm to no one.”

I grabbed Teddy by one hand and Val by the other and took them into the church. We sat in the back and quietly sang along with our angelic Vampire voices, savoring the candle light and peace of the moment.

After it was over we headed for home, a fashionable and safe house not far away.

“I thought it wasn’t safe for our kind in churches,” said Teddy.

“It usually isn’t.” Val said, brushing off his coat. “But they can’t hurt us in a church. Or at least they do not dare hurt us there. Besides, I like the music. It soothes me.”

“What did you mean about two souls? I thought my soul was gone.” Teddy looked at us in a very serious way.

“Do you think that anyone with so much love and passion could exist without a soul? Oh Teddy, don’t be such a child. We need two souls. One for our own existence and one for our shadow. Didn’t you know that?”

The first rays of dawn arrived as we arrived at the house. Teddy crashed in one of the spare bedrooms. But before he slept, he put the necklace he’d taken around my neck. “My mother always liked you. She would have wanted you to have this.”

I was honored and touched. Since then I’ve worn this necklace every Christmas season.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

This was first published here in 2012 – my first Christmas writing and sharing my story at http://www.vampiremaman.

Chuck the Elf (a holiday tradition)

This is one of my absolute favorite Christmas stories EVER – of ALL TIME. For a 7th year, I am honored to share a Christmas Story from my friend David. Prepare yourself for a real Christmas treat with this Holiday Classic! David’s work is featured in the WPaD anthologies. ~ Juliette

Chuck the Elf

By David X. Hunter

I was born in the Bronx way back in 1902.

St. Anne’s orphanage was the only home I ever knew till I went north years later. The place was crazy; a lotta little midgets running around makin’ a lotta noise. I guess I was one of ‘em, except I was no midget – I was an elf. I stayed in that place for 30 years until they figured out I wasn’t no kid! So I packed my shit up and hit the road. I joined the army for a while, got into some action at Omaha Beach even. After dat, I never trucked with the military much.

I joined the circus for a while – but the bearded lady and I didn’t get along. The fact was, I couldn’t stand life on the road livin’ wit all them freaks – I was longing for a fambly, if you get my meanin’.

One night, Christmas Eve if you gotta know – I was on the roof of my tenement building because my landlady didn’t like my cigar smoke. She always whiffed it through the vents and complained so I went up on the roof. I was feeling lonesome as hell too, wit the snow fallin’ and all streets quiet and empty. To be honest, I crawled out on the ledge. I was thinkin’ of just ending it. I was just a lowly Elf, livin’ off racetrack bets and scroungin’ for handouts.

I was a Bronx kid, though. I couldn’t do it. Plus, that street looked like it could hurt a guy real bad falling from dat height.

I went back on the roof and finished my stogie, lookin’ up at the twinklin’ snowy sky. It was damned cold. I never felt so bad in my whole life.

I saw sumpin’ then, over the East River. Looked like plane or some kinda flying object. I tracked it for a while and realized it was comin’ right towards me! I ran back and ducked behind a ventilator shaft.

I heard bells, and some guy yelling. I heard da soft thump of somethin’ landing.
Now don’t get me wrong – I ain’t no pansy or nuthin’ – but this was strange. I can deal with stormin’ a beachhead and all, but the unknown always unnerves me, y’know?

I peeked around the corner an I saw animals or somthin’, shakin’ snow off themselves. Everytime they did that, bells would jingle. There was some fat shmoe sittin’ in a red sled too. All of a sudden I hear my name!

“Charles! Charles! Come out from behind there!”

There was a silence as I was trying to figure out what to do.

“Who wants ta know?” I said after a while.

I peeked over my hiding spot and saw the lard-ass comin’ towards me. He was big – triple my size – but I figured if I bit his knee caps the odds would be evened out.
He stuck his head around the vent, and stared right at me.

“Charles! I found you!” he said. He had dis soppy smile on his face, what you could see of it anyway with that friggin’ large white beard.

“Listen Mack …” I started to say.

“Charles! You must come with me! You don’t belong here. You belong up at the North Pole with the others!”

I looked at dis guy and thought he was nuts. “You shittin’ me?”

He straightened up and crinkled his nose.

“I’m afraid I’m not! You are an Elf, of the elfus smallicus genus. All my staff up at the North Pole is comprised of Elves. You see, you were given up for adoption by mistake.”

I looked up at the guy, and I could see he was tellin’ da truth. Others like me? Elves? For true?

Dat was the one and only time I cried – at least since that time I pooped my pants back at the Orphanage and the sister swatted me a good one.

“Come! You can help me give out presents tonight, then we can take you home,” he said. He wedged his large ass back into the sled, and I followed. There wasn’t much space between his girth and all them sacks’a toys for me to sit, but I managed.

He tole me about his toy making racket and all the right-offs he got for it. Pretty slick, I had to agree. We shot up inna sky and I was dubious about them moose things haulin’ us up into the stratosphere and all, but they maintained a good speed, except for the turbulence which I didn’t care for.

All night long we delivered them friggin toys, all over the damned world, Australia, England, and places I never hoid of, like ‘Canada’. I was so tired by the end, I thought I’d collapse. But this guy, Santa, he had a mini bar in his sled and I had a few shots of whiskey. We delivered our last toy to some kid in Montana – a train set. We went down the chimney (I still couldn’t get over goin’ down them tings!). I was placin’ it under the tree when I heard a noise. I look over and see the kid peeking around the corner at me.

“Ain’t polite to stare, kid,” I said. “Murry Christmas.”

Da kid scampered off.

Not even ten minutes into our journey north I was out like a light.

So, I went to the North Pole. I met my mom! Saw all the udder elves like me. It was a happy homecoming, I gotta say. Still, I miss New York sometimes, even though I visit occasionally. I miss the smell of the Hudson, the rude people, the street vendors selling junk, Coney Island hot dogs, the racetrack, all of it. But it ain’t so bad up here; got lotsa snow, plenty of fresh air, and the pay is good. Made foreman a few years ago; I’m in charge of making them iPad thingies. Big responsibility. The uniforms could use some revamping, but y’can’t have everything, am I right?

I guess I didn’t do so bad after all, y’know?

The End

Christmas Orphans (a short random tale)

Christmas Orphans (a short random tale)

“Why do I have eyes of different colors? The brown eye is my own. The blue eye is a different story. I plucked it from the freshly dead body of a young Irish nun. She’d killed herself because she had a vision that the child she was carrying, the child of the handsome young priest, was the Antichrist.”

“Why were you there Uncle Jeff?” A young voice in a hushed whisper asked.

“Because, my dear, I was the handsome young priest. That was before the life I live now. But I still see visions of angels and of a family in a warm embrace of love, then the fires of Hell with dancing devils and…”

“JEFF. STOP IT,” I yelled. “You’re going to give them nightmares.”

I know better than to ask my crazy brother to tell Christmas stories to my children and their young cousins.

“But, Simon, the stories are true,” my brother said as if he believed what he was saying.

“Kids, don’t listen to him. He’s blowing stories out of his…out of his ears.”

“Did I tell you about the time I met Santa Claus?”

“Jeff, no more storytelling.”

“It was the winter of 1969.”

“Jeff you were a toddler in 1969.”

“You have no idea how old I really am. Brother I have secrets that will make your head explode. Now children, the rest of the researchers on the Arctic research station had died of a mysterious illness. Then the giant polar two ton bears came. I’ll never forget the sound of them crunching on the bones of my friends.”

“Giant two ton polar bears?”

My brother and the children ignored me as he continued his tale. “I wouldn’t let them eat the dogs so we took off with the sled north, following the stars. Frozen and hungry, my body could take no more. Out of my blue eye I could see my angel Bernadette, the nun I’d loved. Her visions…”

“Jeff!”

“Then I heard bells. Not big bells like the Liberty Bell, but small happy bells. A lot of bells. I thought I was in a dream. My dogs huddled close. Then we saw them. The Zombies…”

I went to the kitchen for a beer. My wife and Jeff’s weird Goth girlfriend were talking about how to make the perfect prime rib.

Spotting my sister Libby out on the deck I went out to join her.

“It’s cold out.”

“Cold but not as weird as it is inside.”

“Do you think there is any truth to his stories.”

“I don’t know. He has memories of before we were found. All the records still say we were abandoned at the rest stop outside of Barstow. Nobody came forward to claim us. We’re related for sure, the DNA tests prove that, and we look like each other  but…”

My sister shrugged. “I did more research but didn’t find anything. Nothing. It is like we were dropped by aliens.”

“Or Santa Claus.” I said.

We were found on Christmas Day, three toddlers. Our dad was the highway patrolman who found us. Jeff was the oldest, then Libby and I was just a baby. The doctors figured Jeff was around three, Libby maybe two and I was a newborn. We were all wearing hand knitted Christmas sweaters and red Santa hats.

Our life was happy and normal with our new parents. They loved us unconditionally. They still do.

I never thought about who might have left us at the rest stop with typed notes saying “Merry Christmas. Please keep us together,” pinned on our sweaters.

Libby and I went back inside to catch the end of Jeff’s story.

“In the morning Santa and I sat on the beach listening to the crashing waves. I passed him the bottle of whiskey we were sharing and he put his hand on back and said “Good job son, good job.”

~ End

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: Grandpa’s Dog

Grandpa’s Dog

“I’m taking him to the vet and having him put down.” Jeff said into the phone.

“No you aren’t.” I said, ready to scream.

“It is cruel to make him suffer like this.”

“He isn’t our dog to put down.” I almost growled at my husband.

“I don’t care. Grandpa will understand. He’s always complaining about how he hates Bruce anyway.”

“The kids will be heartbroken.” I said trying to stall him.

“They’ll understand.”

“What about my mom? She’ll never forgive you.”

“Gretchen, I’m taking Bruce to the vet. I’m sorry.”

“I want to say good-bye.”

“Bruce will understand.” He hung up. Damn him.

Bruce was Grandpa’s dog. He was old. The oldest dog I knew. Jeff thought he was 16. I knew better. Jeff thought Bruce was half wolf and half Alaskan malamute. I knew he was half Irish. Jeff liked to bake him organic dog treats. I knew Bruce preferred bourbon and prime rib. Jeff thought grandpa was crazy to have such a large dog. I knew Grandpa was half crazy and Jeff was right, it was about the dog, but it didn’t have anything to do with its size.

Once a month I kept the dog for Grandpa, while he “Went to the cabin with his old college buddies.” I hauled the dog to weddings, to funerals, to camping trips and hanging around the house. He’d been there for my college graduation, my wedding, for my kids. My mom had watched the old dog before me. My grandma before her.

Of course Jeff didn’t believe anything my family said about the damn dog. He’d spent years hearing us tell bad jokes and tall tales. It was how we spoke, in stories. I blame it on my Southern parents. Jeff just thinks I’m funny. He tells me I should have my own show on cable. HA HA HA. He thinks my family is quirky and quaint. Right now nothing was funny or quaint.

I raced home from the studio. I’m a photographer, mostly editorial, corporate portraits, product photos. Good thing I’m the owner of the business, otherwise I’d never deal with my husband, my children and Grandpa’s damn dog. I would have had the dog with me today but he was too stiff to climb into the car by himself and at 125 pounds I didn’t feel like lifting him today.

Jeff was still at home. I parked blocking the driveway. Thank God the kids were still in school. I have never been so angry with anyone in my entire life. I barged through the door yelling at my husband. “All I asked you to do was check in on him for me at lunch time and you decided to kill him. Well for once in your life listen to me…”

I yelling stopped when I saw Jeff. He had a towel around his hand. He was bleeding.

“The old guy bit me when I was trying to get him out of the house.” he said with a shrug of his shoulder.

I saw Bruce poke his old white muzzle around the corner.

“Why the hell did you have to bite him?” I yelled at the dog. Bruce tucked his tail and cowered. His ribs stuck out from his sides. He looked ancient and pathetic.

Jeff reached out to scratch the dog behind his ear. “Don’t yell at him. It’s like he sensed what I was going to do. Poor old guy was scared.”

“Don’t touch him.” I yelled. I looked at the wound on Jeff’s hand. It was clean. I went back to the dog. “Damn you, after all I’ve done for you.” Bruce looked at me with glassy brown eyes and shook, tail still between his legs.

Jeff put his arms around me “Gretch, don’t get mad at the dog. “

“You don’t understand,” I gasped.

“He’s old and scared.” Jeff said stroking my hair with his good hand. “You know dear, all that dog hears is “Bruce, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah”. He laughed and gave me a quick hug.

I pulled away. “He’s a werewolf.”

“Oh Honey, don’t call him that. He’s just an old arthritic dog. Poor old guy.” He leaned down to touch noses with the dog. Bruce licked Jeff’s face and thumped his tail on the floor. “You aren’t a werewolf are you old guy? You’re just a prince in disguise. You think she’ll give you a kiss?” Jeff started to make kissy noises.

I thought I was going to throw up.

“There’s a reason why we never see Grandpa and Bruce together.” I growled. They’re the same animal. Bruce isn’t 16, he’s 85. ”

Jeff took a deep breath. “I’m not going to put him down. We’ll wait till Grandpa gets home and discuss it with him. Werewolves. That’s a good one. So when you work at night does that mean you’re a vampire?” he laughed again. “You can bite my neck anytime.” He kissed my neck.

I backed away feeling the panic rushing up inside my body. “Jeff, it’s true and now….”

I couldn’t say the words. Now my husband was going to become a werewolf and I’d have one more old dog to take care of.

 

~ end

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Tangled Tales

Short Story Sunday: Brothers in Arms

And I thought my life was weird, thought Austin after reading a news story about a historian in Russia who was pulled out of a river along with a rucksack full of severed arms. The arms belonged to a former student.

Austin never had any students he disliked that much.

After kissing his girlfriend, who was still asleep, and would be sleeping all day, he wandered down to the local coffee shop. Inside at the back table his friend Aaron was reading and drinking his usual triple expresso.

Aaron glanced up. “Hey. I just ordered you something.”

Janet behind the counter called, “Austin, coconut latte, extra shot.”

Austin picked up his coffee and Janet smiled at him in a come hither way that almost made Austin’s face turn red.

Back at the table Aaron put down his book. “How are you Austin?”

“Good. I’m half way through the semester and haven’t lost any students yet. No failures. The graduate students are exceptionally delightful. Elizabeth is sleeping in my bed as we speak.”

“You’re back with Elizabeth?” Aaron looked surprised. “You know, you aren’t getting any younger.”

Austin looked at his friend. He used to look younger than Aaron and now he looked slightly older. Aaron was one of those guys who never aged, not surprising considering he was a 165 year old Vampire.

Aaron continued. “You turn forty in a few months. If you want to have a family you’d better find a nice woman in her thirties with a ticking biological time clock and settle down. Otherwise you’d might as well become one of us.”

“I hunt Vampires,” said Austin.

“Only the nasty ones we need to get rid of. You know, you could just quite that business and teach history full time.”

“Who would do your dirty work for you? Have you thought about that?”

Aaron shrugged. “You have a point there. Hey, did you hear about that guy in Russia they found in the river with a bag full of arms. I thought about you.”

Austin laughed out loud. Then he thought about the touch of Elizabeth’s cool mouth of his skin, and the fact that she’d read Jane Austin as a child, when the books were new. He thought about all the times he and Aaron had hunted down soulless rogue Vampires. He thought about the cold river and what kinds of things drive men mad. And after that split second of a million thoughts he said, “Great minds think alike.”

Aaron lifted his cup, “Here’s to us, brothers in arms.”

“Brothers in arms,” said Austin, as he reminded himself how normal his life actually was.

~ end

 

Tangled Tales

This has been another Austin and Elizabeth story. For more adventures click here. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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