Short Story Sunday: Shrine

Shrine

I remembered how Katrina Olson yelled out at Craig’s funeral, “I hope the Devil enjoyed his barbecue.”

Jeanee Kinley, Craig’s fiancé, started to howl like a cat in a car, tears pouring down her pretty face, as her nose grew redder and redder.

At that point a couple of big guys, maybe fraternity brothers, hauled Katrina out of the church.

I sat looking straight ahead at the casket, all covered with white flowers. I thought about Craig and the time we’d spent together. Part of me wanted to tell perfect Miss Jeanee Kinley that her Craig had never been faithful to her. I wanted to tell her about all of the women Craig had considered his conquests, even after they’d become engaged.

That was forty years ago. We were in our early twenties, ready to face the world with our hopes and dreams.

The casket was closed due to the unpleasant way Craig had died. He’d burned to death. His body was found in the passenger seat of his 1981 Corvette. A lighter was in one hand, a cigarette in another, the door was open, and a charred gas can was next to the driver’s side door. He’d gone up in flames but nobody knew how or why. The back of his skull had been cracked with a blunt object but not enough to kill him. There were also scratch marks on his shoulders. Since he was sitting against the seat his back was spared from the flames that engulfed the front side of his body and most of the car. His handsome face and lush chestnut brown hair had been completely burned off.

I can’t imagine a more horrible way to die.

On the floor driver side floor of the car a delicate silver chain with a tiny bird pendant was found. It had been broken, as if torn off of it’s wearer. Nobody knew who it had belonged to. Jeanee said it wasn’t hers. She’d been in Los Angeles with her mom at some spa. Craig had died in Northern California near the UC Davis campus.

That is where we’d all gone to college.

I thought about Craig and my college days as I drove along the backroads through tomato fields and almond orchards.

My bag was packed with everything needed to our get together. I brought the charcoal and beer. Fresh made brownies were in a bag, still warm from my oven.

When I arrived at the abandoned farm buildings off the side of the road I saw I wasn’t the first one there. Karen, Katrina, and Lydia had also shown up. Greta pulled up in her orange truck right behind me. Several other women waited around a fire this cool summer evening.

Nine women ranging in age from fifty eight to sixty four stood around the fire, building a shrine for Craig. Our friends Dan and Rick were there too, now with white hair, and no hair respectively.

Barbecue sauce, rib rub, garlic bread, lighter fluid, baked beans, and beer surrounded the fire. This was going to be good.

We all talked and caught up as we did every year at this time. We’d done well, despite our misspent youth. We’d grown up to be a college professor, an attorney, a retired Navy officer, a librarian, a museum curator, a high school principal, an antiques dealer, a furniture builder, and other professions that would have baffled us when we where in college.

Dan mentioned how Craig had just finished his first year of law school. Some of the women talked about their experiences with Craig. We all opened drinks, poured shots and glasses of wine and prepared for a toast.

Karen placed a photo of Craig on a holder, kind of on a long stick. Dan placed a model of a 81 Corvette down by the fire.

We lifted our glasses and bottles to a toast. “To Craig, law student, roommate, fellow student, and rapist.”

Then I lit the photograph on fire and we drank, and then had dinner. The Devil’s Barbecue and a fitting shrine for Craig.

I remember that night as I stood bloodied and torn as he laughed in my face just before he lit his cigarette.

My wrists burned from the twist ties he’d put on me so I couldn’t get away from him. Later that night I’d hit him in the head with a lamp, then in a panic agreed to drive him to the hospital. I poured gasoline all over the car and threatened to light a match so he wouldn’t attack and rape me again. Then out in the middle of the farmland I pulled over. I don’t know why, but I stopped. I’d walk home rather than get help for him. He could drive himself to the hospital. He got out of the car and lit a cigarette. I told him to stop. I told him to STOP. I told him to put his lighter away. I begged him. He laughed again and called me a whore as blood ran down my leg and I watched him burst into flames.

I never told anyone it was me. Not a soul.

I looked into the fire fingering my necklace; a small silver bird on a delicate chain, a replacement for the one I’d lost. The yearly shrine to Craig burned bright in the summer night as we all looked on knowing justice was served.

“I love you all,” I said as I looked into the faces of Craig’s victims and their friends.

“We love you too,” said Katrina. Then we did a big group hug. It was nice. Super nice.

Then we grilled some pork ribs, ate our salads and my brownies, and caught up. Most of us talked about our kids, our dogs, and just all sorts of good things about our lives.

Life is good. Yes, it is.

~ end

Tangled Tales

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Unicorns Don’t Care

Baby sitting a unicorn was one of Andy’s favorite activities.

“How can someone who is so sexist, amoral, and disgusting as James keep a unicorn? I thought unicorns only came to those who were pure of heart and body,” said Andy’s girlfriend Shawna.

“Darling,” he said, putting his arm around her waist, and pulling her close, “as with Vampires, there are many untrue myths about unicorns.” As he kissed her warm mouth with his cold one there was the sound of the door bell.

Andy opened his eyes and said to Shawna, “they’re here.”

James came in, followed by the lovely pale blue and white creature. It looked like a tiny horse, only more delicate, and she had a shining white horn coming out of the center of her forehead.

“Thanks so much for taking her last minute. I owe you one,” said James. Then he looked in Shawna’s direction. “Hello Shawna. You look lovely.”

James didn’t have to say anything to make Shawna feel like she needed a shower to get his creepy vibes to go away. She couldn’t be around James without feeling dirty. James knew it too and always took advantage of it.

The tiny unicorn leaned against James and made darling little purring noises. It was obvious the animal adored him. James rubbed it’s horn and baby talked to it for a bit, saying Daddy would be coming back soon.

Shawna wanted to roll her eyes but resisted. Even that show of cuteness couldn’t change her feelings towards James.

About thirty minutes later, as James left, he kissed Shawna on the cheek and asked, “Why don’t you like me Shawna? Is it because Andy is the only Vampire you love?”

She pulled away from his cold embrace. “The reason I don’t like you is because you make my skin crawl.”

“I can make your skin do a lot more than crawl my dear if you just let me…”

“Well,” said Andy. “Have a great trip James. We’ll take good care of Missy Unicorn here.”

“I know you will,” said James as he left with a grin and a wink.

Shawna stroked the tiny unicorn wondering how it could end up with James. “Andy, why does the unicorn put up with him?”

Andy laughed, “Because unicorns don’t care.”

Shawna knew better than to argue with a Vampire. She knew they didn’t care either.

~ end

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Springtime

Springtime

“A toast to springtime and love,” said Andy lifting his glass.

“To love? At least I know unicorns are real. I’m not so sure about love but, I’ll toast it with you. To love, and springtime,” said James lifting his glass and touching it to Andy’s. “I loved a woman once, but I didn’t know it. She was a Vampire of singular beauty and oddness. Nights with her were nothing but passion. We had a link between our souls where I gave and she received. Physically she gave and I received. I assumed she liked it, but then she left made a lot of bad choices. I wanted to be the only bad choice but I wasn’t. Then she told me to make a good choice and I didn’t pick her. I should have. She never contacted me. I assume that she assumed that I was with somebody else, and she would be right. But years passed, and I was with a lot of women I thought … well, I didn’t think. I never think. I really don’t care. I have fun. They have fun. But for some reason I’ve been thinking about her, and I know she knows.”

“Too late my friend,” said Andy. “It has been 112 years since you saw her. Do you really think she thinks about you?”

“No, but as long as I’m thinking about love. Actually I never think about love. But the wine is good tonight. Thanks.”

“You tried to seduce my sister once.”

“I tried to seduce your sister about a dozen times. It never worked but it was fun trying.”

“You’re going at it all wrong. James, my friend, I’ve loved a kind of love you can’t seem to understand. I’ve felt the soul of the woman I love leave her body when she died in my arms. Alas I fall for mortal women, but you…you act so uncaring, yet, you want that romance. You want perfection. You want goodness. You want something your heart can’t comprehend.”

James shrugged and opened the French doors leading to the garden. “I need some air.”

At 2:00 a.m. they could hear the song of a mocking bird in a tree down the block. They could hear the sound of a random car. They heard the quiet of a cool March evening.

“You hungry?” Andy asked, “We could order in.”

“No,” said James. “I don’t feel like it tonight. I’d rather go out, or just skip dinner altogether.”

“You’re always so crass and funny. What’s up with the somber lovelorn guy act?”

“I don’t know Andy. Maybe it’s the full moon. Maybe I’m just feeling my age.”

“Maybe you should look her up.”

“I did.”

“And?”

“Nothing. Married. Children. Her husband is a big time alpha Vampire guy. No. There are others. She was just one. So I move on. But it isn’t a bad thing.”

“You’re right. It isn’t a bad thing.”

James looked up at the night sky, searching for stars that were hidden by the urban lights.

On the edge of the fence pixies in tiny gossamer dresses walked in single file, their wings folded up on their tiny backs. The whispered among each other about lost loves and fools. Then they giggled in unison as glittering dust fell on the ground below them.

Andy glanced at them, but then turned his attention back to his friend, and the conversation changed to everything but love, romance, and most of all the women they’d known, and maybe loved.

~ End

 

Note: I first posted this in March 2016. I’ll try to have a new story next week. There is a an Artistic roller skating meet today so I’m off watching amazing things.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: 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

Short Story Sunday: Gather Around Little Vampires

Gather Around Little Vampires And I’ll Tell You A Tale

“Gather around little Vampires for a tangled tales of princesses, surprised men, and clever young Vampires.

Once upon a time the king and queen of Vampires were happy as can be because they had become parents On the birth of their daughter, a cute little baby called Ameorphora, they decided to have a big party.

All of the fairies were invited. One green gave Ameorphora the gift of gab. Pink one gave her the gift of curiosity. The yellow gave her the give of a mathematical mind.

But the red fairy, who was a raging bitch and drank too much at parties wasn’t invited. But she crashed the party anyway.

In front of the king and queen of Vampires and all of their friends the red fairy said, “Ameorphora, dear baby, I give you the gift of being boorish and you shall ever be alone because everyone will hate you.”

Over the years the little Vampire princess made no friends. She was petty and whiney. Nobody liked to be around her. As she grew up she found herself more and more alone with her math books, her curiosity, and nobody to talk to.

Heaven knows she tried to be nice but it was impossible. Finally even her parents and siblings avoided her. So Ameorphora packed up her bags and moved to an old abandoned castle on a near by hill.

Years passed. Ameorphora was a Vampire so she remained young and beautiful looking. Inside she was sad and alone. So she went to sleep one night and slept and slept and slept, the sleep of only the saddest of souls.

She awoke from a loud frightening unfamiliar sound. When Ameorphora opened her eyes she found that her castle was covered in thorn covered vines. When she sat up she saw a man, a handsome youngish man come in through a clearing with loud whirling sword in his hand.

“What the Fuc…” she exclaimed.

“Hey,” said the young man, “Sorry, let me turn off my chain saw.” The weapon stopped whirling and making noise.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?”

“We’re clearing out the old castle. My uncle is a historian. I’m here helping for the summer. What are you doing here?”

“I live here,” said Ameorphora. Then she stood up and walked towards the young man. He leaned in, as if he wished to kiss her, but she grabbed his shoulders, then sank her teeth into his neck and drank his blood until he passed out.”

Oh my, she thought and suddenly, like a great weight was lifted off her soul, she felt nice.

When the young man woke up Ameorphora asked him two questions. “What year is it? And what is your name?”

“2019, and Alex. My name is Alex.”

Alex just happened to be a Math and Game Development major at a good university in California. So Ameorphora signed up for college as well, and they became best friends, and decided that they’d live happily ever after. She turned him into a Vampire too.

The end.”

The children all clapped and asked for another story.

I will now tell you the true story of Cinderella.

Once upon a time there was a man without a wife. He was alone in the world with his small timid daughter called Elenore. As a horrible judge of character and a wimp who couldn’t raise a child on his own, the man married a woman who only loved him for his money and social standing. It wasn’t a lot of money but enough to put them in the top 25%.

Then the man went off on a business trip and died, leaving his daughter with her step-mother. The step-mother didn’t know what to do with this girl who obviously had a bad case of OCD. It was annoying but at least the house was spotless. On the other hand the girl was weird and uncomfortable to be around. She talked to animals and was always plucking daisy leaves saying “he loves me, he loves me not.” Even worse she was plucking wings off of flies and calling the poor creatures crawls. She would say strange things to people when they went out in public like, “my father’s flesh has liquified and he is now nothing but worm pocked bones.” Once she told the Baker that she’d like to sleep his oven and wake up as ashes.

From there on out Cinderella, as everyone called Elenore now, was never taken out anywhere. In fact she was the poster child for the expression you can dress her up but you can’t take her anywhere.

Ten years passed and the two step-sisters and Elenore all grew into beautiful young women. Lizzette the eldest of the girls was gifted in music. Manon the youngest of the three was gifted in art. Elenore kept her talents hidden from the eyes and ears of the world.

On the first day of spring the King announced there would be a grand ball in honor of his eldest son Prince Edward. And low and behold ALL THREE young woman received invitations.

Lizzette and Manon cringed at the though of Cinderella showing up talking of death, dressed in black and telling fortunes to all of gloom and doom. So on the day of the ball they locked Cinderella in her room and went to the ball alone. When their mother asked where Cinderella was the sisters said she’d gone to a party with her stoner friends.

The ball was splendid! Women in flowing ball gowns danced with handsome men wearing tails. It was a magnificent site and oh so romantic. Lizzette caught the eye of Prince Edward and they danced for an hour. Lizzette was enchanted and falling in love but it wasn’t to be.

The doors to the great ballroom opened and in stepped a stunning woman in a black gown decorated with black crystals and bows. All eyes were on her as Prince Edward approached and took her black gloved hand. The Prince and the woman in black danced alone on the floor, slowly like two people in love. The lights dimmed and eventually the room became black. When the lights came back on the woman in black was gone and Prince Edward stood alone. In his hand was a single black glove.

Night after night Edward became more pale and weak. He laid in bed whispering about the woman in black as he clutched her one black glove in his hand.

Lizzette heard the news and went to her room and cried herself to sleep. She was sure she was the one. She was sure she’d met a man who could dance through life with her.

Manon talked to her friends but none of them could figure out who the mysterious woman in black had been.

Cinderella sat in her attic room wondering where her missing glove was. She retraced her steps down the narrow dark streets leading up to the palace but found nothing.

The next day the sisters, along with fifty other young women who’d attended the ball, were summoned to the palace in hopes that one of them had been the woman in black.

Manon saw Prince Edward first. he lounged on a couch, handsome but weak. “Did you wear black to the ball dear girl?”

What an idiot thought Manon. Of course she didn’t say that out loud. “No, dear Prince Edward I did not. If I may speak freely dear Prince?”

“Speak my dear,” he said softly in almost a whisper.

“Forget the girl in black. My sister Lizzette loves you heart and soul. You went to school together. You know her. You have a lot in common. Why go after a woman who would run away from you?”

As Edward nodded his head as if to say no, Manon noticed two small red spots on his neck. She almost gasped but held her breath.

Next Lizzette came into the room. “Edward, my dear friend, what has happened to you?”

He took her hands in his, dropping the glove on the floor. Lizzette picked it up. She recognized the scent of the lotion of the owner of the glove. Then she noticed the red marks on Edward’s neck. “Oh no, she didn’t change you did she?”

“I have not changed my dear. Only my heart that seems so enchanted…”

Lizzette put her arms around his neck and cried.

The skies outside grew dark and a cold wind blew open the door. A girl in black, as black as cinders came into the room. “Lizzette is in love with you. Don’t be a fool and marry her. And no Lizzette, I didn’t change him. I only drank his blood. If I’d had any idea he’d be such a pansy ass about it I would have never gone to the ball.” Then she took back her glove and left the room.

As she walked back through the woods on the way home. This was one of the only places she’d ever felt calm and normal. It wasn’t easy being different. As she turned the corner around a grove of blooming dogwood trees she saw a figure dressed in black. A tall handsome man, dressed in black, with shaggy black hair and piercing blue eyes stood before her. He smiled showing dazzling white fangs.

Cinderella stopped and put her cold hands to her heart.

He held up a black glove. “You dropped this one too.”

“You’re like me,” Cinderella gasped. “You’re a freak like me.”

“Not a freak my dear, only different.”

Lizzette and Edward lived happily ever after. Manon went on to become the director of the National Art Gallery. As for Cinderella, she found love as well in her cold dark mysterious stranger.

And THAT my friends is the real story of Cinderella.

~ end

 

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: The Morning After

“I told her I don’t eat human flesh, I only drink blood,” said James. “Then she rolled her eyes at me. Can you believe it? She believes that I’m a Vampire but she wouldn’t believe a God Damn word I said to her.”

“So I take it you don’t have a date for tonight,” said Andy.

“No, I am free. Completely free to enjoy company of women who appreciate me. By the way, is it just Vampires tonight or are any warm blooded people showing up?”

“It will be a mix. Everyone is cool. Cool as in temperament not temperature.”

“Good. I swear I should have pegged her as a bigot. She knew I was a Vampire when I met her. She knew we’re real, but she would never accept me. Never.”

“It wasn’t like you were exclusive with her. Screw her.”

“I did. That’s what got me into trouble,” said James, then he laughed. “You’d think that after 164 years… who am I kidding. The only woman I can’t get is your sister.”

Andy raised an eyebrow. Sure James was a pig but he’d been Andy’s best friend forever and most of it was an act…a small fraction was an act.

James continued his venting. “The only reason she didn’t go after me more is because she knows I can erase her memory, and if she tells anyone I’m a Vampire they’ll think she’s nuts.”

“Forget her James,” said Andy. “I’ve never seen you so insecure. What’s up?”

“Nothing. I was up too late last night. I’m hungry. I obviously didn’t eat anything last night.”

“I have blood in the fridge, and some cheese. Go get yourself something.”

“Thanks,” said James, heading out to the kitchen.

Andy looked around the room. There would be about fifty people over for New Year’s Eve. He still had to bring out all of the glasses, wine, and call the caterer for a final check.

Once James got dressed and the party started he’d be fine. He’d be more than fine. There wouldn’t be a single female at the party, Vampire, warm blooded human, Werewolf, or otherwise he wouldn’t be flirting with. James never went home alone.

It would be a new year but some guys never changed. That wasn’t always a bad thing. Just a thing.

Andy pulled out his phone and left a message. “Hey beautiful. Just wanted to tell you I love you. I’ll see you tonight. I can’t wait.”

~ end