Tangled Tales: Permission to Mourn

Druce the Warlock was missing his friend Morcant the Selkie.

Druce was missing a lot of old friends as he stayed at home like everyone else. He’d stopped listening to the daily updates from Governor Newsom. The only thing he’d look at was the map of where the virus had hit the hardest, and the grim numbers. In other centuries it might not have been so unusual but it would have still been bad. People would still be mourning the loss of those they loved, staying at home, and waiting for the unknown darkness to end.

He’d driven a hard bargain so that he wouldn’t suffer an early death. That was almost two thousand years ago. Back in the 5th Century he couldn’t have imagined in his wildest Warlock dreams what the future would hold, especially not the the 21st Century.

Morcant, with his quick smile, and unending charm, had succumbed to old age years ago. Even a Selkie who was both from the land and the sea, and lived longer than most Earth creatures couldn’t live forever.

The banshee Milen has a sore throat. She’d been watching. Watching and waiting. She was also weary.

She go out with her red hair, gray cloak, pale skin, white dress, in the tradition of Irish Banshees. When she was especially animated or in the throes of passion he could still hear the Irish in her voice.

Tonight her red hair was loose down her back, her skin was pale, but she wore sweat pants and leggings. For the rest of the night she’d be in a physical form.

He’d met them all. Assorted reapers, vampires, spirits, demons, witches, wizards, and every assorted freak and keeper of magic and wonder and wickedness. He thought more of wonder, as in good things, about those who inhabited the places most people could not see or feel.

Milen took a sip of wine from a crystal goblet and gave Druce a sad look. “Is there anything you can do, or conjure up from the spirit world to make this virus go away?”

“Darling, I can’t do anything about a virus. I can make someone fall in love, or make a night sky light up with sparks, but I can’t stop a virus.”

“Odd that something so small can cause so much harm.”

“Our bodies, well, not our bodies, but living beings are made up of tiny particles and then attacked by tiny particles. Those particles don’t care who you are or how much power you hold. They don’t follow a god, or any rules of conduct, or care who lives or dies. They just are. You just have to stay home and wash your hands a lot.”

Druce tended to be a positive person for a Warlock. He always looked on the bright side of life.

“How are you holding up Milen?”

“Alright I suppose. It could be worse. I could be in New York, or elsewhere on the East Coast. I have friends who were in Italy and China.”

She rolled her shoulders then leaned back on the couch. “I give people permission to mourn. I give them warning. I settle their grief.”

Taking her hand Druce sat next to her. “You are not to be feared.”

“I warn them and let them know that bonds are about to be broken, not by screams but by sinking feelings in their stomachs and the sense that they are about to have their souls emptied out. I used to just scream, but that doesn’t work anymore, it just makes something think a violent crime is being committed. So it is just a silent scream now, not just for those who have a virus but for all of those who are sick, in accidents, fall by the hands of others, or take their own lives.”

Putting her head on Druce’s shoulder she sighed and closed her eyes. He stroked her hair, then she turned her head and kissed him.

In the morning she was gone. The sweatshirt and leggings were neatly folded and placed on the top of his dresser. Bruce went online and ordered pastries, crepes, and coffee from the local bakery. He’d put on his face mask and go pick them up. He missed the mornings when he could meet friends outside and talk for hours over coffee and the best croissants outside of France. Maybe they were better than anything in France.

He thought of so long ago, the day he and his friend Morcant met Merlin the Wizard for the first time. As always Druce had baked his famous seed bread. It was Morcant’s favorite. It had been centuries since he’d baked his seed bread in an outside wood stove. Maybe later he’d bake some in his modern kitchen, that is if he could find the ingredients. It had been two weeks since he’d gone to the store. Maybe today he’d take his changes and go out. He wouldn’t get sick enough to die, but he had to make sure he couldn’t accidentally get anyone else sick.

He could give you sweet dreams or nightmares, or bring good fortune or sadness, but he refused to bring illness to those who were innocent.

It was a beautiful day with the sun shining and the trees full of tiny song birds. He got out a face mask, put his reusable bags in the trunk of his car, and headed to the store.

Things were bad, but in some ways, in most ways, things had never been better.

 

Druce’s Seed Muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

2 cups whole wheat flour (you may use 1/2 white flour if you prefer)

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Zest from 1 lemon or orange (optional)

1 egg beaten

1/2 cup canola oil or melted butter (if you use butter a half oil half butter mix works best)

1/3 cup honey or molasses

1 1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds,

1/4 cup toasted walnuts

Combine dry ingredients. Fold in wed ingredients with as few strokes as pollible, bust until the flour is moistened, leaving a few lumps. Spoon into greased muffin tins, or use paper muffin cup liners.

Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the muffin comes out clean.

As an option sprinkle the tops of muffins with white sugar before baking.

You may also exchange the seeds in this recipe for any of your favorite seeds or nuts.

~end

 

Tangled Tales

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Vampire Hunters, Staying at Home, Online Learning, Keeping in Touch, and Rolling My Eyes as Usual.

My brother Aaron called me. “We need your help,” he said.

“No. Absolutely not. You need to hire a professional. I am not doing this.” I was not going to do this.

“I am hiring a professional. I’m going to see Durant right now. Will you go with me?”

“Sure,” I said.

We were on our way to see Austin Durant, History Professor, restorer of historic buildings, and Vampire Hunter.

Aaron is an attorney and, well, it is a long story, but he deals with rogue Vampires. That includes Shadow Creepers, who are those who no longer have a trace of a soul and are loathsome creatures. The others are Vampires who are over the top predatory,  cause violence against others and kill. I wish this list included bores and total jerks but unfortunately that isn’t a crime, just bad manners.

Let me clarify, Aaron takes care of ridding the world of Rogue Vampires. We could do it ourselves but that would too much bad juju for us. After all, Aaron and I are also Vampires. If you’re new here and don’t already know it go back and read my older posts. I’ve been blogging about it since 2012.

Anyway, we hire Vampire Hunters to help us. Not just any Vampire Hunters. We hire those who are experienced, friends (if you can call it that) of the Vampire community, and aren’t just hacks who’ve been watching too many old Hammer films. Seriously some people grow up seeing Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee movies and think they’re ready to go out and save the world. They know nothing and are more likely to get themselves killed or at least in serious physical and emotional trouble. Jeeze they’re already fucking nuts.

Austin Durant is from a long line of Vampire Hunters, who’ve been taking out Rogue Vampires for centuries. He has a second sense about this sort of stuff and knows how to deal with the world in which Vampires and others who are not like him live. But enough of that.

I told Aaron that I was tired of crawling under floor boards and getting rid of dusty old  dried up Vampires. I’ll work with Austin but I’m tired of hearing, “You’re the smallest Juliette and you’re so good at talking to them.” Ugh.

Our current situation involved a group of nasty disgusting Vampires who’d camped out in an old abandoned ranch house in the foothills, right smack in the middle of the old Gold Country, along highway 49 in the California Gold Rush country. They’d taken advantage of people sheltering in place and self quarantined, especially those who were alone. They’d already gone into Stockton and were working their way up to Sacramento. It was ugly. They were making people sick. Not sick with Covid 19, but we were sure they were carrying it. They were endangering people and of course they never treated their food sources with respect.

That wasn’t so eloquently said, and it isn’t even the point of this story. I’m a mom. Mom stuff  is mostly why I write this blog.

We got to Austin’s house only to discover he’d taken in several students to shelter in place with.

Two were undergraduates. Grace was a third year English Major. Allison was a third year Engineering student. They were sharing Austin’s downstairs bedroom with the twin beds and their own bathroom. Kayden was a graduate student in History. He took the small spare upstairs bedroom.

For one reason or another they had found themselves without housing. Classes had all gone online, but other aspects of student life, like a place to sleep, had become more problematic.

Austin lived in a rambling five bedroom Arts and Crafts home he’d restored a while back. It would be a perfect place for out of place students looking for comfort and a bit of security while they were taking online courses and away from their families and friends.

When we arrived Aaron and Austin immediately went to Austin’s office to talk about the Rogue Vampires and bull shit about whatever it is they talk about. I went to the kitchen for a drink of water.

I overheard the students talking in the family room.

Grace: “Would you change your religion for someone you love?”

Kaden: “Like convert to her religion even if I didn’t really believe in it? No.”

Allison: “Fuck no. Holidays maybe but no, I’m not going to convert to some weird ass religion for some guy.”

Grace: “Would you become a Vampire for someone?”

There was a pause.

I walked into the room. “Vampires?”

“Would you become a vampire to be with someone you love?” Grace asked the question as if she was auditioning for the role of Elizabeth Bennet.

I answered, as if I was auditioning for the part of a warm blooded human. “It depends. Would they become a Vampire for me? What brought on Vampires?”

“Austin was telling us about the raise of religions and cults in 19th and early 20th century America. Then he told us about a group of Vampires who came to California during the Gold Rush to get away from the oppressive culture of the East Coast and Europe.”

“He said he was thinking about writing a book about one of them and her brothers. She’s a Vampire mommy blogger.”

“Really?” I said, then quickly changed the subject. I didn’t change the subject because I wanted to kill Austin Durant right at that moment, or at least rip his throat out, but because I was looking at three young people, the same age as my own children.

Because I’m not some shadow creeping undead ghoul I am also staying at home during the Covid 19 outbreak. I don’t know if I can get this thing. What I do know is that I can carry it. I’m a physical being so I can carry it around until it does land on some unsuspecting soul. Like everyone else I, and those like me, need to be responsible.

I also miss my own children to the point I sometimes feel physically ill. I know they’ve been successful at being adults despite their age. I raised them to be successful adults. I did my job. Bingo. I succeeded beyond expectations. Yet, no matter how much I pat myself on the back, and no matter how proud I am, I worry about them. I love them beyond anything I could ever imagine. That is one thing about parenting that one is never prepared for.

I talked more to the kids about their families, their classes, and their concerns. They made me laugh.

When I could hear the older boys were done with their discussions I invited myself into Austin’s office.

Of course Austin had to ask the one burning question that every Vampire Hunter must be wondering about. “So what are you doing for food these days?”

“Dave’s Bottle Shop is open with a good supply. We also have our regular donors. Don’t worry about it Austin. It isn’t any of your business,” I said.

Then I stepped closer. “Austin, if you ever write about us, or even THINK about writing about us the consequences will be extremely ugly.”

I could almost hear him thinking so I went ahead and answered his internal fear. “Yes, Austin, I would turn you into a Vampire so fast you wouldn’t even know it. Your worst nightmare would be a reality.”

“Juliette,” said Aaron. “Don’t say things like that.”

After rolling my eyes at my brother I just gave Austin a slight smile with the smallest bit of fang.

We’re still figuring out how to deal with the Rogue Vampires. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime if you’re not with your kids keep in touch. Text, FaceTime, FaceBook, Zoom, call, email, or whatever works for you. Don’t just do this for your kids but for everyone you know. Also please check in on the elderly and those who need a little bit of extra help. Keep in touch with those who might be alone and experiencing anxiety or depression.

  • Shelter in Place
  • Wash your hands
  • Keep in touch
  • Write
  • Be creative
  • Get sleep
  • Read
  • Be careful
  • Be nice
  • Don’t be a dick
  • Don’t take any chances. I want you to be here this time next year.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Staying in with the Ghost

Ghosts.

“You can’t get this,” he tells me.

“I don’t know that,” I said. Vampires never know what might or might not make them sick. We’re usually ok but you never know. Hell, nobody even knows how long we live or who is the oldest among us. Seriously, we don’t know squat about our own existence. On the other hand we seem to know everything about everyone else.

“Werewolves can,” he tells me.

“Tell me something I don’t know. Of course they can get it.”

“We are already dead. Nobody wants that,” says The ghost.

“Is it so bad being a ghost?” I ask.

“It is that bad. It is worse than that bad,” he says not worried about keeping any distance. “I never saw anything like this when I was alive or dead. There are old ghosts who experienced things sort of like this, but it was different back then. They didn’t even use soap or have indoor plumbing. I died in 1986. This is just weird.”

“I know,” I said to Nigel, the Ghost. Nigel isn’t always friendly or polite but he makes some good points now and then.

“So now that everyone is staying in where are Vampires getting their food?” Nigel asked me.

“Here and there. We have our regulars. We get what we need at places like Dave’s Bottle Shop.

“You’re staying in too,” he said in the most accusatory way.

“Yes, we are,” I said. “Even my brother Andy is staying in with his girlfriend. She’s sixty now and not a Vampire. She teaches college in Southern California and her classes are all online now. Andy decided to hunker down with her and help out. He even had a piano brought into her house so he could play while he is down there.”

“She’s my age, or the age I would have been,” said Nigel, who doesn’t look a day over twenty six.

I didn’t say anything. Nigel tends to brood when reminded of what-could-have-been.

“I’m making coffee,” I said. “Would you like some?”

He started to smile, then stopped and just gave me a slight smile. I ground some good beans (Chocolate Fish) and made a few cups in the French Press.

I sipped my coffee, while Nigel put his transparent hands around his cup and took in the smell.

We didn’t say much else. When his coffee grew cold he mouthed the word, “thanks” and vanished in a wisp of blue and purple vapor.

Maybe he’ll be back tomorrow. I don’t know. Nobody knows these days what might happen tomorrow.

Take care. Keep in touch with loved ones. Wash your hands. Keep a safe social distance. Thank your friends on the front line who work in the medical field, retail, law enforcement, EMTs, or other helpers during these weird times. Keep in touch with those who are elderly, need extra help, or are alone. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

coffee

Coffee with Vampires and Ghosts