Short Story Sunday: Captain Sandy and the Airship at the End of the World

Captain Sandy and the Airship at the End of the World

(Published as author Marla Todd)

The end of the world had come and gone a long time ago. Of course I wouldn’t dare remind Captain Sandy of that extraordinary fact. He stood in the basket of the airship, hands on the control, the tails of his jacket blowing in the wind.

When the end of the world came the evil and the damned were gathered up and taken down to Hell. The pure and righteous were led up to Heaven in a golden white light.

That left the artists and writers, along with a lot of musicians, wine makers, computer programmers and antiques dealers. Of course there were others, but nobody that lacked a certain amount of creative or innovative spirit. One must have spirit and imagination to survive when the world ends without you.

It worked for me. Well, at least most of the time.

I honestly have to say, the world had become way too serious. I adjusted my goggles and scarf as I looked down on the tire fire that had been burning for the past 100 years. Adjusting the leather hood on my cat, I took him out of his basket to take a look. My five year old son Aaron stood on his toes to get a look as I held tight to the back of his jacket. I must have been a sight, boy in one hand, cat in the other.

Life was an adventure to be savored and enjoyed. It was a destroyed world being built up by those of us with visions of beauty and wonder. Captain Sandy always said this was Heaven. Of course I never told him otherwise. It was Heaven to be in the arms of my husband at night and feel the touch of his skin on mine, that is until I’d run my hand over the deep scars on his back. I called him my fallen angel. He would just laugh and kiss me as only an angel could kiss. Maybe it was Heaven for him since he was now dead, but I will never know unless I die too and find him there.

Once when I was younger my brother and I found some old movies in where everyone at the end of the world were driving big trucks and dune buggies as they shot anyone they came across. There were zombies and crazy fucks of all sorts fighting for the last clean water. It seemed they had unlimited amounts of fuel and bullets. No word of steam, solar and silent airships.

My brother and I laughed at the stupidity of it all. That was not our world. Ours was a world to create without hesitation or critical review. Our poets were considered as important as our politicians. Our sense of style always outweighed our sense of practicality. At least we kept telling ourselves that – all of us did as we banded together trying to give off an air of hope and strength. We created our own world going back to a time that didn’t really exist, where all things were possible and the modern world was still a beautiful dream.

Captain Sandy asked me what I was thinking that could have me looking so serious.

I told him and he just shook his head.

“Life isn’t a theater play like you make it out to be my dear. There are dangerous things out in dark areas of stench and smoke that would enslave us and make us into meals if they could. You’ve been protected in your leather and velvet bustle dresses and fanciful thoughts. It’s a good thing to be ignorant of the world but it is dangerous in ways you can’t imagine.”

“Captain,” I said, “you forget that the shadows took my husband. I take flights of fancy so I won’t fall out of the sky and die of sorrow.”

He turned and gave me a quick smile. Despite the dark pattern of scars on the left side of his face the Captain was still a handsome man with a dazzling smile. All the women were quick to notice him.

“Why are you alone Captain?”

“I’m not.”

“No wife or children?”

“I had a wife. She vanished when the world ended. I never knew if she went up or down or just vanished to dust. Who knows. The bitch could still be around somewhere.”

“So you’re alone,” I said.

“Just free of my wife.” He said nothing else then took off his hat and tied his long prematurely silver hair back with a ribbon he’d pulled from his coat pocket. “So, did you like movies back in the time before?”

I nodded. Of course I liked movies. Most of them were gone now. Rare stashes of films could be found and if we were lucky we’d find something to play them on.

Captain Sandy smiled a rare smile at me. “Sometimes I’m floating along above this all, all of this and I start thinking about Blade Runner and then my mind goes to Casablanca or off to Princess Bride then to In the Heat of the Night. I can run them all in my head, every line, every scene, every music score.”

I told him I did the same. We tend not to talk a lot about the time before the end of the world, but occasionally it comes out. We can’t deny our past. We just can’t help it.

“What did you do before, you know, the end of the world?” I asked the Captain point blank.

“I was a high school physics teacher. Physics and engineering to be exact. What did you do?”

“I produced reality TV shows. The last one was for MTV. Did you ever see Love Bytes?”

He laughed. “That was you? All of my students watched that show. Geeks and romance. A lot of them wanted to be on the show.”

The sky gradually started to turn dark. In the distance we could see lightning strike and the silhouettes of other airships.

I hugged my child and put a blanket around his shoulders. Aaron put his head on my lap and fell asleep. Captain Sandy sang softly a song that we both knew so long ago.

It seemed we’d been here for centuries, only the children aging and growing up.

As a rule we didn’t speak much of what we missed or how much. It was always there in the back of our minds. I missed skinny jeans and sweaters. I missed short tight dresses and yoga at the gym. I missed the music. I missed my friends and family. I missed my job. I even missed the orange trees in my back yard and the sound of the garbage truck at 6:45 am on Thursday mornings. I missed it all.

Captain Sandy turned suddenly and looked at me as if he could read my mind. “Don’t think of how things used to be. Don’t think of why we’re here.”

We both knew why we were here. Nobody wanted us. There was no place for us in Heaven but nobody in Hell wanted us either.

“You’ve got to admit,” the Captain continued, “we’re in a unique position. No matter how bad it looks, this is our world. I spent 18 years teaching kids to understand the building blocks of the universe. I thought I was contributing to the future of our young people so that they would make the world a better place.”

“Now it doesn’t matter,” I said in a rare show of depression over the events that brought us here.

“No. Now it matters more than ever. This is our world. Despite the shadows and ghouls, this is our world now, free and clear. We can still use the building blocks of science and art to make it the place we want it to be. Finally we can do it right.”

“You’re always such an optimist Captain Sandy but do you really believe that?”

“Of course I do. What other choice do I have?”

“You have a point,” I said, noticing the spark in his eyes.

He noticed that I’d noticed. “Look at this as the ultimate reality TV show.”

“If that is the case then who, Captain Sandy, gets the hot girl at the end?”

He smiled. “That depends on you.” Then he turned his face away from me to where I could only see the moon lit reflection of the scars that traced his jawline.

The crew of the airship came up on deck to view the stars and take in the night air. It was good to see them laugh and talk freely of the destination ahead. My son raised his sleepy head and laughed too. Maybe it wasn’t that bad after all. Maybe Captain Sandy would win the game and get the girl. I had a pretty good feeling he would.

~ End

Tangled Tales

This story was featured in the WPaD Anthology: Goin’ Extinct – Tales from the Edge of Oblivion. Available on Amazon B&N and with other fine online book sellers.  

goin-extinct-front-cover1

Available in paperback and electronic ebook versions on Amazon, Good Reads, Barnes and Noble and other fine online booksellers.

WPaD is the acronym for Writers, Poets and Deviants. We are a diverse group of writers who came together on the Internet to support and encourage each other.Our collaborative works are charity fundraisers, with a percentage of royalties being donated to Multiple Sclerosis in support of members of our group who live with MS.

Books by WPaD:

  • Nocturnal Desires: Erotic Tales for the Sensual Soul
  • Creepies: Twisted Tales From Beneath the Bed
  • Passion’s Prisms: Tales of Love and Romance
  • Dragons and Dreams: A Fantasy Anthology
  • Tinsel Tales: A Holiday Treasury
  • Silk She Is: Poetry of Daniel E. Tanzo
  • Goin’ Extinct: Tales From the Edge of Oblivion
  • Creepies 2: Things That Go Bump in the Closet
  • Strange Adventures in a Deviant Universe (Science Fiction)
  • WPaD Weird Tales
  • Creepies 3
  • Tinsel Tales 2
  • Goin’ Extinct Too: Apocalypse A Go-Go

WPaD books are available worldwide in paperback and ebook editions.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Radio Waves

Tangled Tales

 

Radio Waves

“Why did they keep a vault box of old diseases?”

“For research purposes. It was a point of reference.”

“Then why didn’t they just eradicate them again? They had the knowledge. They had the vaccines.”

“No they’d didn’t have the vaccines. The box had been sealed for over a thousand years. They had no need for vaccines.  The contamination and speculation on the outcome was too overwhelming for them. Maybe for them but wewould have survived. We would have beaten it.”

“Wait, Nessie, that can’t be right. You’re saying there were no new germs, bacteria, or virus strains in a thousand years.”

“That is what the records say.”

“That can’t be right.”

“Stop questioning everything.”

“Why? Your ideas are based on something that happened almost 20,000 years ago. We’re here now and we’re happy. We’re safe. You’ve seen what happens to other species when they get sick.”

“Considering suicide is our main cause of death living in the risk of an occasional physical illness doesn’t sound that bad.“

He ran his hand up my thigh and leaned closer. “Suicide isn’t that bad.”

I pushed his hand away. “Bird shit. No other society does that.  No other society spends an eternity fleeing Armageddon because they’re too pretty and too delicate to deal with it.  Screw that. I’m ready to deal with it.  I’m ready to have a real home. I’m ready to fight.”

He rolled his eyes at me. “You’re getting emotional over something that’s never going to happen. Stop acting like a crazy woman.”

I broke up with my green-eyed boyfriend that night and started working on my escape.

 

 

I went home and pulled out the charts and old pictures I’d been collecting since I was a teenager.

There was a man. Damn he was handsome with turquoise eyes, white hair pulled back in a long braid.  There was a female. I guess I could say a woman of her species. Her head reached his shoulder. She was different without what others call magic.

I thought about that again. Other intelligent species around the universe admit we’re the best at almost any technology but we’re also magic. Seriously I feel sorry for them. They can’t read each other’s thoughts on their own. They have to rely on communication devices for any long distance conversations. When I think of all of the time and energy they waste on construction it boggles my mind. We can move things, and when there are a lot of us we can move extremely heavy objects. Nobody can build a city as fast as we can, no matter what building materials we use.  Those are beautiful cities too, not some slapped together ugly abominations.

I looked at the woman with the plain brown eyes, and odd waving brown hair. I couldn’t imagine being so drab, but there she was, radiant despite her coloring. They were all drab, the species we called Talkers. They ranged from the color of a fish belly to solid black with every shade of brown in-between. The hair color was all the color of dirt and rocks; brown, black, gray, yellow, and orange. Some had blue eyes they’d inherited from the Hummers. As far as I know all of the Hummers and Dancers had died off.

 

 

“Hello?”

I was so into my thoughts I didn’t hear my friend Arie come through the door.

“What are you doing Nessie?”

I didn’t hide my materials away like I usually do. “I’m looking into the reason why we left our original planet. I’d discovered some old documents. The story wasn’t as simple as some girl spreading diseases and genetic abnormalities across the land.”

Aries looked at the papers. Damn he was cute with his lavender eyes and dimples. “Tell me what you found out.”

First I poured us some wine, and then I told him the real story.

His skin was golden, his hair white with silver streaks, and his eyes lavender with specks of a darker purple. She was pale like a cloud with a blush of pink, her brown hair fell in ripples down her back, and her eyes were brown. Her kind were the colors of the earth in which they toiled.

Arie smiled in an amused curious way. “Toiled? They had agriculture?”

“Of course they did.  Just listen to the story will you.”

“I already know the story.”

“Not this version.”

“The Talkers were so primitive. Wouldn’t it be like falling in love with an animal?”

“No.  They weren’t animals. We interbred with them all the time. Any children were left with them.”

“That was pretty rare, you know, us doing the deed with them.”

“We did it enough that I’m sure some of our genetic shit is still with them.”

I continued my story.

She kept a wolf as a companion the way we kept birds, as a pet.  The animal was going to give birth soon and she promised him one of the pups.  That sounds like a bad romance but it’s the truth.

“A wolf? Really? She kept a large carnivorous animal as a companion? It would have eaten her.”

“They were friends. The wolf considered the woman part of her pack.”

“Wolves are too smart and too deadly and too organized to ever be domesticated.”

“The wolf doesn’t matter.  Arie let me finish.”

The man’s name was Snow, like my last name. Nobody knew why he wanted to be alone in that research station at first. Snow was popular with everyone. He was never in need of company. He chose to work at a research station outside of the city.  It was because of her. It was because of Eleora.

She was one of the Talkers, the only subspecies of people who survived the cut, along with us.  Sure we could breed with them but we didn’t. Our DNA isn’t the same, obviously.

At first he thought Eleora came around out of curiosity. Snow thought she was pretty. Sure her eyes were small in comparison to his and her color was drab, but she got his attention. Let’s say she was simple but elegant. Actually she was beautiful. Just look at her picture here.

So he dressed her up, then undressed her. He did a lot of that. She became his little sex toy.

One night while he was asleep she became curious about his work. He didn’t think she would understand what he we doing because of his closed mind towards other peoples.

He’d believe all of the bigots and thought she was stupid. There was nothing stupid about her kind. She figured out the code and opened his research vault. Then she found the inner box containing five thousand years of viruses, bacteria, genetic nightmares, and other diseases. So what did she do? She opened it and let everything out.

“She had no idea what was in the box,” said Arie.

“Obviously not. For some dumb ass reason the box was a thing of beauty, covered in images of flowers. She probably thought it was full of seeds or jewelry.”

Snow’s little love puppet poisoned the planet. Thousands of years full of work gone to waste.

Thousands of our people died in the first three weeks. She vanished back into the woods with her wolf. Snow took the easy way out and killed himself.

We had the technology to leave so we did. Our planet was too poisoned to live on. It beyond repair.

Some said to bring a few of the Talkers with us but we left them all behind to deal with their mess. From all accounts they’re extinct and the planet is a place that all intelligent beings avoid.

I poured another glass of wine and topped off Arie’s glass. “We’ve been wandering around the universe for 20,000 years. It is time to stop.”

“I’ll go wherever you go.”

“What?”

“We’ve been friends forever. I share your dream.”

“You might be exposed to sickness.”

“I might stay and kill myself. Think about it.  But seriously I’ve been seriously thinking about the same thing for years. I’m tired of always being the guest. We’ve lived on three different planets since we were kids. I’m done with it. Lets do this. Let’s go home.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really. I’ll take my chances with you.”

 

 

My ship was in a hanger owned by Mac Devine a long tailed blue skinned guy from a planet with a name I couldn’t even pronounce. The day before we left I talked to my Mac who’d taught me everything I knew about flying and the unsafe universe.

“You know you’ll be close when you start getting the radio signals.  Remember, they’ve been isolated. They don’t even know about YOU, much less everyone else out here.  They’d have the technology but they’re too busy having wars, jacking with religion, and fighting off pandemics. I didn’t even mention the natural disasters they deal with on a daily basis.”

“They’re still alive?”

“Thriving.”

“Is it safe?”

“Hell no.  Nobody goes near that poison planet.”

“Then how do you know they’re thriving?”

“We’re keeping tabs on them.  At least we were. Nobody has been in that part of the galaxy for ages. Listen, they get going strong, then something wipes most of them out, and then they just repeat the pattern. They’re not advanced enough to stop it.  Add to that the fact they’re incredibly violent. It’s a lost cause. Totally hopeless.”

“My people came from there too. We’re practically genetic twins with them.”

Honey, it ain’t your planet anymore. The folks who are there aren’t your people.”

“I’m tired of not having a home.”

“Your home is where you find love. Hey, sweetie, you have to prepare yourself for the possibility of some nasty and deadly diseases.  Listen, I was on Torex-87 a few years back and got a cold. “

“What was it like to be sick?”

“It was horrible. I couldn’t’ get off my couch for a week.  I couldn’t breath. I had a headache that wouldn’t stop. My throat felt like I’d swallowed fire. My wife suddenly turned into a monster and told me to stop being such a baby.”

“You survived.”

“Barely. My wife should be feeling sorry for me but she is still pissed off. She said I had something called a man flu.Can you fucking believe it? Man flu.“

I had to laugh. I’d miss Mac.

 

 

I couldn’t’ promise anything because I was going to go. Nothing could stop me.

With my crew of eighty, including fifteen children, we left in secret bound for that blue planet on an outer spiral of the galaxy. It was so isolated but I’d take my chances. The ship was in good working order and ready to go.

Our technology was more advanced than just about any in the entire universe. Yes, we’re that smart. We can jump through space without the usual lifetimes between planets. It is awesome what we can do.

We’d been gone about a week (our time) when the nightmares began.

I had dreams of disease invading my body. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. My toes turned into liquid leaving me with only bones sticking out of my feet. I went blind. Everything in my body hurt. My bowels let loose as I vomited up the entire contents of my stomach for hours on end. My heart started to beat unevenly. Worms crawled into my ears. My lover spread sickness through my body with his touch. Sores covered my body.

I woke up catching my breath and checking my arms for scabs.  Nothing.  I was fine. Arie was sleeping peacefully next to me no doubt dreaming his usual sweet dreams of better things to come.

 

 

We were traveling at a semi leisurely but lightning fast speed for a while, and coming sort of close to our home planet when it happened.

Izzy, my communications lead came running into my office.

“Captain we’ve picked up signals.”

I ran down the hall with him to see and hear the first messages from our home planet.

“Look. 23 73,” said Izzy, hardly able to contain his excitement.

“Blips.” I said. “These aren’t random.”

“Look at the pattern.”

“It looks like a child’s puzzle. “

Izzy squinted. “Some guy named Carl made it.”

“Interesting.”

Then the flood of signals came.

There was sound. Not just blips and pings. It was real sound.

It was music.

We’d never heard anything like it.

Beautiful music.

“But how? How could such beautiful sounds come from such a poisoned planet?” said Arie.

“Magic. I mean, a different kind of magic. They have their own magic,” I said savoring the wonder.  “Izzy does it have a name?”

“I think so,” said Izzy. “I don’t know what it means but I made out Brandenburg Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach, Number 3, G major.”

“How old are these signals?”

“Maybe a hundred years, but you never know once signals get into space.”

I looked at Izzy and sent him a suggestion. “Turn on the translation. We need to know what they’re saying.”

Izzy smiled and flipped the switch.

We listened to fuzzy sounding music for a few hours then before we knew it clear voices started to come through.

“Those are our people,” I said.

“Sort of our people,” said Arie.

 

 

The music came in all varieties. Some was fast and frantic. Others were slow. Voices sang about love, heartbreak, loss, and addiction.

They spoke of airplanes and breaking flight records. Yes, they could fly. Finally they could fly. How many years did it take them? Over twenty thousand. They’d been slow with technology but all of the sudden they were catching up with the rest of the universe.

There was more music. Always more music.

An air machine called a Zeppelin exploded.  It was called the Hindenburg.  A male voice called out in anguish about the humanity. Humanity. They called themselves humans. Humans.  The Talkers had their own name. Humans or Homo sapiens. The Hummers, now extinct, were known as Neanderthals. The Dancers, also now extinct, were known as Denisovans.

A man’s voice screamed about the motherland. Next reports of a horrible and violent war came through the radio waves. Thousands were dead. Then it was over. The music changed again, but they continued to play music by Bach.

The real game changer was for us when the news of a polio vaccine came out. They had vaccines, apparently for quite a while. Polio was a disease that took away the ability to walk or even breath. News of other vaccines came through the radio waves.

“Honestly I thought they’d all be dead by now,” said Izzy. “They’re thriving.”

“They’re incredibly creative,” said Arie.

“Listen to this,” said Izzy. He turned on a song that made us all want to just leap up and dance.

“What is it?” I asked in wonder.

Izzy smiled. “Buddy Holly.”

A few hours later Izzy wasn’t looking so good. “What happened?” I asked.

“Buddy Holly died.”

We didn’t have much time to mourn the death of Buddy Holly. Pictures started coming in.

We watched silly grotesque puppets called Howdy Doodies. There were news programs where people were told of event from all over the world. The variety was astonishing.

Arie squinted his eyes at the images. “Where is the color?” The color would come soon enough.

Some of the most interesting news was about medical advances.

“They have a pill that prevents pregnancy,” I said in astonishment.

“Can’t they control it?” Izzy asked.

“No, that is one of the differences between us and them. It’s the difference between us and most intelligent life forms.”

“They just get pregnant by accident?”

“Apparently, but now they have pills to control their own fertility.”

“Wow. I can’t even imagine.”

 

 

Over the days we heard more of medical advancements including a heart transplant.

Arie and I were having a glass of wine and looking out a window to the stars. I expressed some apprehension about our visit. “We will be exposed to every disease on that planet. Sure they have vaccines. Even their animals have vaccines.  Will those vaccines work on us?”

“We’re genetically 99.8% the same as them,” Arie said taking my hand.

“Point two zero percent different.”

“This is your dream Nessie.”

“I thought I had it all figured out,” I said.

“What if we expose them to something that we’re carrying?”

“We’re the squeakiest clean beings in the universe.”

“Clean slates ready for every vile thing in the universe to attach to.”

“Now you’re describing my first marriage,” said Arie.

I should have laughed at his joke, even just to be polite.

“Come on love,” I said. “Let’s see what is going on downstairs.”

In the communications room about thirty people were all dancing; even the children were there.

“What is this?” I asked Izzy.

Izzy grinned. “Soul Train.”

About an hour later there were Zeppelins again. This time is wasn’t an explosion. It was Led Zeppelin. That was the name of a group of musicians. The music was called Kashmir. I’d never even in my wildest dreams imagined music could touch me so.

The music continued. Stairway to Heaven. Time Passages. Enter the Sandman. Love Bites. Leaving on a Jet Plane. Fight for Your Right. I Will Survive. Ring of Fire. Beat It. The list of songs went on and on and on. It was insane. It was seriously insane. I had to get some sleep before my head exploded.

 

 

The next day after breakfast I couldn’t find anyone.

“Arie, where is my crew?”

“Watching Golden Girls.”

 

As I watched the images come through, in obviously random order, I wondered at the people called humans we’d left behind.

The images were now color. A woman named Jane spent a lifetime with a primate species called chimpanzees. The chimpanzees were so much like us yet so different. Why didn’t we know about chimpanzees?

The wolves had become dogs. I thought dogs were the most amazing adorable creatures I’d ever seen until I saw the obsession with cats. The humans had domesticated cats. CATS. When we started to get access to what the humans called The Internet fifty percent of it was about cats. Another quarter was pornography. Humans liked sex even more than we did.

One of the most astonishing things was that they knew other intelligent life was out side of their planet even thought they’d never had contact and only gone as far as their own moon. But the most surprising thing is that they remembered us through their myths, legends, and artwork. The girl who opened the vault was known as Pandora. I thought we’d erased all traces of our culture when we left, but there were enough foundations and things we’d helped with that they thought we must have been aliens come from another planet. I have to admit that made Arie and I laugh out loud. Aliens. Our technology was anything but alien. Our power and brainpower was from Earth.

The next message of importance that came through was about a new pandemic called Covid-19. Izzy and I decided to not tell anyone about it until we got closer. We could beat this. We would wash our hands and wear our masks and wait until we got out into the general population.

I thought about it all for a while and continued to steer my ship towards our home planet the humans called Earth.

Finally we saw the beautiful blue ball with the single gray moon. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. None of us could stay away from the windows.

We had our safety gear. We had masks. We had safety suits. We had communication devices.

As I pulled the ship into the Earth’s orbit I tried not to feel overwhelmed with emotion.

 

 

A message came through, as I expected. A voice asked that we identify ourselves.

“This is Captain Nessie Snow of the Starship Endurance. We left Earth, our home planet twenty thousand years ago. We’re coming home. We’re here.”

Suddenly we were flanked by sleek black flying ships. A human man in a helmet looked at me right through the window. I could tell his eyes were blue. He put his thumb up.

I put my thumb up and flashed him a dazzling smile and winked my turquoise eyes at him.

He smiled. “Do you wish to land?” He said that through his radio device.

“Yes. We come in peace,” I said.

“Do you need anything?”

I didn’t expect that. “Sure, dogs, cats, and when the pandemic is over concert tickets to EVERYTHING.”

I heard him laughing and knew it would be all right.

 

We’ve been hanging out at an Air Force Base in a place called California.  The wine is amazing. The people are accepting and interesting. The general public hasn’t been told about us yet.  We have dogs and cats. Best of all none of us have become ill. None of us.

I think it’s going to work out here.  It’s good to be home.

 

~ end

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

The First Apocalypse, The Truth About Aliens, Missing Links, and Real Pandora’s Box, as Told by A Ghost

A figure in a brown dress, long white hair, and golden brown skin stood among the orange and oak trees in my back yard. Her eyes were large and dark on a round face. She was beautiful in a weird sort of etherial way. She looked more like a fantasy character than human. Then she vanished as ghosts do.

I was having coffee and trying to write at my breakfast nook table with the second story view that overlooks my back yard. I live on a hill so my back yard is lower than my front yard. Anyway… I was looking down into the yard.

As I got up to make more coffee I heard someone whisper my name. Juliette.

There in my kitchen was Nigel, the Ghost.

“You saw her,” he said.

“Of course I saw her. Who is she?”

“You SAW her. Regular people, homosapians can’t see them. She isn’t human, at least not a modern human. I mean she wasn’t.”

“What do you mean homosapians? She obviously wasn’t a Neanderthal.”

“Close to both.”

“Tell me about her Nigel.”

“Make me coffee Juliette.”

I made coffee for both of us. There was coffee for me to drink and coffee for Nigel the Ghost to smell.

“What was she? Why am I able to see her.”

“They called themselves the Chosen. Rather unscientific but it is what they called themselves. They were the people who they felt were chosen to advance civilization. We don’t have a name for them because they didn’t leave anything behind, well almost, and only the Ghosts know about them. They could interbreed with other species like Neanderthals and humans like us but it just wasn’t acceptable. They left us alone.”

“I don’t get it.”

“They developed for fifty thousand years ago away from the rest of us. They had their own technology and civilizations. Then they had their first apocalypse. Disease swept through their people. They came through. After that they had issues with fires and ice, and you name it. Plus they were afraid of us. They were afraid of what we were becoming. They considered us their second apocalypse.”

“Why don’t we know about them?”

“They left without a trace. They destroyed all evidence of their civilization.”

“Did they die?”

“They went into space in a huge caravan of ships. There aren’t any ancient aliens. It was them. It was the memory of them passed down among us. That memory is all that is left. They didn’t want us to have their technology so they destroyed everything before they left. They destroyed every shred of evidence, well almost every shred.”

“They were advanced enough to go into space?”

“Yes. Don’t be so surprised. Every single year archeologist and treasure hunters find traces of lost civilizations and ancient humans. They made and did fantastic things with technologies that are now lost to us. They did things with tools and means that we can’t even imagine.”

“What about the Ghost walking around my orange and lemon trees?”

“She is one of the few who stayed behind, refusing to leave. She and a few companions guarded the last bit of their civilization. They guarded what was left behind, lost in the frenzy of the destruction. When they too died, the one artifact was left behind.”

“What was that?”

“A box.”

“OK. What was in it?”

“Viruses and germs they’d made.”

“Do you know where it is?”

“I know what happened to it.”

“What?”

“Ever hear the story of Pandora’s Box?”

“No, it can’t be.”

“Ever wonder where Vampires, Werewolves, Smallpox and other horrors came from? And hope. Remember hope was in the bottom. Yes, they left hope behind. Go figure.”

“No, it can’t be.”

“Her name wasn’t Pandora.”

I sat numb for a while. “It can’t be.”

Nigel leaned in closer. “You know her. The box is empty now and sitting on the dresser in her bedroom.”

I didn’t know what to say.

“You have pastels,” said Nigel. “I want to borrow them?”

“Why. You’re a ghost.”

“I’m an artist.”

I was still numb with the story Nigel had told me but knew I could only push him so much for information. I got out my box of pastels and placed them before him on the table. He put his hands over the sticks of color then began to draw in front of me in the air. The colors hung on an invisible canvas forming a portrait of a woman with curing brown hair and golden brown eyes. It was beyond beautiful.

Then Nigel snapped his ghostly fingers and it vanished in a swirl of powdery dust.

“My dear Vampire, as ancient as your kind is, always remember that to the core you are still human. Like with all of us we are just a blink in the eye of time. This planet has a long history that we can barely comprehend and barely even imagine in our wildest dreams.”

Then before I could say another thing Nigel smiled, ran his hand through his unruly black hair and vanished with a thin wisp of purple smoke that smelled like citrus blossoms and cigarette smoke.

Nigel was murdered in 1986 and would have turned sixty one this year if he’d still been alive. Why he comes to visit me I do not know. Maybe it is simply for the fact that I can see him. It is always a mystery with Nigel the Ghost.

I thought about that beautiful box I’d admired as a child. I’d collect trinkets and put my small dolls inside of it. Then I’d put it back on the dresser where it still remains over a hundred years later.

Looking back out to the orange trees I could see Nigel talking to the woman in the brown dress. She turned my way and lifted a hand, as if in greeting, then they both disappeared.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

  • Stay safe everyone, at home, and with dignity and grace.
  • Wear your mask.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Social distance.
  • Stay in touch with loved ones.
  • Zoom with your friend.
  • Support your students.
  • Tell a first responder how much you appreciate them.
  • And check in on those who are elderly or might need extra help at this time.

 

 

 

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: You Can’t Go Home Again

Dear Diary,

Going home is no longer an option.

This morning I went to Google Maps. There are cameras in space, up in the sky, in the heavens taking photographs of the Earth. Everything can be seen. I dare say unseen is what I wish today.

This thing called technology, baffles me. It amazes me. What amazes me the most is that all of this, which would have once been considered black magic is now not magic at all, AND it has almost all happened in the past one hundred years. It has happened in the past fifty years.

After being imprisoned in a crypt for three hundred years, I am still overwhelmed. The past four years… I can not even describe them.

This morning at dawn I stood out on my deck and looked at the sun coming up over the dark night sky. I thought about my old home where I was King of Vampires and all I could see. This morning I saw a flock of turkeys. Alas I am not even King of Turkeys now.

So inside I went to my MacBook Pro and to Google Maps and to my castle.

It was gone. My castle was not there. GONE. Not a trace. Just forest and meadows and NOTHING. All traces of my existence was gone. I looked up my name. Nothing but some Russian fool who rides horses and other animals without a shirt, and ridiculous laughable horror movies, and bad fan fiction. There is no trace or memory of me.

I picked up my phone (another unbelievable marvel of technology) and called my friend Randolpho. He said I had to look on the Dark Web to find information about real Vampires. I do not understand. I know that by web he does not mean a spider web but something of course we can not see. This new world and the language is confusing. Everything is called by a name that is indeed a tangled web of language. He said I needed a special server and spoke of other things I do not understand. Who is that special server and where do I find him? Will he serve only me or others as well? I did not risk asking Randolpho and seeing his eyes roll.

Yes, that is something people do now. They roll their eyes around in their heads as if to say, “you are ridiculous and have the mind of a child.” I have recently learned the term, “bless his heart,” means the same thing. Eye rolling. Bah.

I am forgotten. I am lost. I am new. I am frustrated.

I expressed this feeling to my love Gillian.

She said, “You’re so cute Vlad.” Then she kissed me. That is something no amount of technology can improve on.

So apparently I am cute as well. I do not understand this cute, but I will take her word for it. My advice to any male is to take a woman’s word on it, no matter what she says.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I still mourn the loss of my former home and kingdom, but on the other hand I am glad it is gone and nobody else is living there in my place.

Tonight I walked around my new home. It is a 3,500 square foot home with what is called a good sized yard. There is plenty of room for me, the cats, Jane the coyote dog, and Gillian when she is here.

Gillian has claimed her own bathroom (there are four of them. FOUR.) With all of the tools and cosmetics at her disposal there is no need of a maid for her. When I first met her it took two hours for her to get ready in the morning. She had layers and layers of clothing. She had layers of hair. Cosmetics were complex and questionable. Now she jumps in the shower, blows her hair with hot air and lets it flow down her back, then she pulls on six items. Only six. Bra, panties, jeans, shirt, two shoes. That is all. Sometimes she wears a dress, but it is tiny and no slip, corset, underskirts, hoops, or pads are needed. It is just my beautiful Gillian’s natural shape that shows. She sometimes laughs and says it is easier to be a Vampire with fewer clothes.

Gillian also has taught me how to get blood stains out using magical chemicals and a machine that actually washes clothing. In my castle there were five women who washed my clothing, and only my clothing. There were a dozen more to do the job for the rest of the castle.

Yes, I can now wash clothing in secret, with my own private machine, without anyone knowing what I have been doing the night before. That is always a good thing.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I was out tonight at my favorite night spot, where Vampires can sit among the crowd without anyone suspecting they are only there looking for a bit to eat in peace.

The bartender and owner, a lovely woman named Cassie, has become, shall I say, a friend.

Tonight she leaned against the bar facing me and asked me, “Where are you from Vlad? Originally? I can’t place your accent? Europe? South Africa?”

I smiled and took her hand, “Dear Cassie, where I come from no longer exists. Even if I could go home those who live there would not welcome me. I have found a home here, with those who are like me, in a new home with strangers. But strangers no more. I have you and others friends who are far better people than I knew before.”

“You can’t go home again. Sort of like the Thomas Wolfe novel. Have you read it?”

“No. Write it down. I will read it.”

“You seem sad,” she said.

“No, I am not sad. I am just feeling, what do you say, retrospective.” Then I smiled at her in a way that charms all who have warm blood in their veins. “I come from a place in Europe where the mountains are high and eagles still fly above the towering trees. I do not even know what country it is now. It does not matter. I am here in California. I will learn to ride a board on the waves. What is it called? Smurfing?”

“Surfing. It is surfing. Smurfs are small blue French people. Like annoying little dwarves and there’s only one girl.”

I had no idea what she was talking about. I just smiled and then scanned the room for someone with a nice neck and a healthy pulse.

Later with my veins full of fresh blood and my mind clear I went back to see Cassie. I gave her a kiss on her cheek and a hug. I closed my eyes feeling her heart beat.

“Thank you my dear Cassie for giving comfort to an old man.”

“Love you Vlad. HA! Old man my ass. What are you? Thirty-two, thirty-four?”

“Something like that,” I said as I kissed her cheek again. I would never tell her that I am 675 years old. I would never tell. It always confuses people, more than any technology can confuse an old Vampire like me.

As I left I could hear her tell the other bartender, “Damn, he is cute.”

I do not understand this cute. That I will never understand, but I will take it as a compliment from a friend.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I woke in a cold sweat. I am a Vampire so I only have cold sweat. I had a nightmare about small blue Frenchmen. They smelled of garlic and blueberries. They sang songs in deep throaty voices about ripping out the heart of Vlad the Vampire King.

The door to my bedroom opened. My love Gillian came in. She was wearing an extremely small black dress. The dress fell to the floor, along with her bra and panties. That was three pieces of clothing. She had no shoes. Now she wore nothing but diamond studs in her ears.

She crawled into bed with me, putting her smooth cold arms around me. I put my arms around her and pulled her close as she skimmed her fangs across my neck, then put her lips to mine.

I closed my eyes, and saw blue men, screaming as the large waves covered them while the great white sharks ate them like teenage children eat Hot Cheetos.

Gillian took my face in her hands. “Are you ok Vlad?”

OK. That is another one of those words I do not understand. It means someone  or something is good, or not bad, or it could mean anything, or nothing.

“I am fine,” I said. “Just take my mind off of my mind. Make me forget.”

As always she did. And then some.

~ Vlad

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

You’ve just read the 40th entry of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To start from the beginning, or read your favorites again click here. 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: The Time Travelers

Tangled Tales

The Time Travelers

Carefully opening the package, Theo discovered a formerly unknown packet of love letters between Thomas Jefferson and the wife of one of his best friends. Unknown to the modern world. Everyone back then had known, well almost everyone who knew the couple. They were just too polite to say anything.

The paper was still in good condition and the ink strong. “Very good,” he said to himself. Dealing in old documents and antiques could be tricky if you didn’t know what was real and what was not. He always knew what was real.

As he gently lifted the old letters back into the box there was a sudden flash of light and a beautiful woman in jeans and a sweater suddenly appeared before him.

“Theo? Darling, what are you doing here?” The woman seemed surprised to see him. Well damn, he was equally surprised. It was almost 3:00 a.m. and his shop was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday week.

He looked her up and down. Tall, pretty, sort of out of place. No, really out of place. “This is my place of business. Do I know you?”

“You’re… are you a time traveler too? You didn’t tell me? Did you get here on the Tardis?” She gave a little laugh like they were old buddies with an inside joke.

Theo was not amused. “What are you talking about? What is the Tardis?”

She rolled her eyes and smiled. “Dr. Who. His time machine. You know the 250th Anniversary.”

“Oh right. The 50th anniversary or something like that. I don’t watch it. Never did. You need to leave.”

She stepped towards him and smiled that dazzling smile of hers again. “How did you get here?”

Theo was not amused. “I’m sorry, I thought I made it clear that I’m no fan of Dr. Who. You need to go right now. I’ve had enough of your deranged game.”

She took another step forward. “Then how did you go from being in 2318 back to 2018? That’s three hundred years.”

“So I know you in the future?”

“We’re lovers. Don’t you remember?”

He didn’t remember. But it suddenly dawned on him where she had come from and why she was there. “I haven’t been there yet,” he quietly told her.

She wasn’t the first time traveler he’d run across in his 465 years, but this is the first time he’d encountered her.

“What is your name?” He asked her as he stepped closer.

“Laura. How could you not know?”

“This is as far as I’ve come my dear. I can’t travel to the future.”

She looked confused. “You’re in the past Theo.”

“My present. You don’t know do you? In the future we’re still hiding who we really are. Laura are we in a relationship of the heart or is it just a physical thing?”

Her eyes watered up. “Theo, don’t do this.”

“Laura, do you know what I am?”

“You’re the man I’m falling in love with.”

“I’m the man who will take what he needs and either leave you or kill you. My advice would be to change time and let me be.”

A tear rolled down her beautiful face. “No. How did you get here.”

“The question should be how did I get THERE. Laura.” He whispered her name and stepped closer. “I’m sorry it has to be this way.”

He kissed her than moved to her neck. He could taste unknown drugs of the future in her system, no doubt something to help with the effects of time travel or stress. He could read her memories of their affair. It was a strange time. Time Travelers always had memories that were confusing and somewhat ignorant. What they knew of the past was almost always based on fantasy and what they wanted it to be, not what it really had been.

Looking down on the sleeping woman, Theo thought that she must be intelligent to be part of a Time Travel program, but emotionally she was like a teenage girl all full of fluttery ideas and dreams of romance. He’d never fall in love with her.

Yawning, he looked at the clock to realize dawn was almost here. Time to sleep. “I’m the ultimate time traveler. A Vampire dear. I only go forward. Until we meet again.” Then he kissed her gently and left her alone to return to her own time and his future.

 

End

Antique Pocket Watch With A Heart

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Diary: Modern Technology

Dear Diary,

The cat came home wet and covered with mud. I am not amused.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I find that after one has been sealed in a crypt, against his will, for three hundred years, one has time to think. I thought many things during those three centuries sealed in a crypt with a knife through my heart.

That is literally a knife, not figuratively like the rejection of a lover. I was the Vampire King the rejection of a lover was not something that was possible.

After being rescued after three hundred years in captivity I find myself in a world full of wonders and confusion. I quickly took to automobiles. I have both electric and gas powered automobiles. Yet I have found that electricity makes it both easier and more difficult for the tasks involved in being a Vampire. Light at the touch of a switch can ruin any meal.

Last night I was in a dark corner, my fangs sinking into the neck of my dinner companion when suddenly there were lights. Someone yelled, “I found a Vaporeon, oh crap, shit, sorry. I didn’t know you two…”

I looked up, blood dripping from my chin. I never drip blood. Holding up my hand I whispered for them to turn and forget what they saw. The memories were erased from their minds.

Electricity. What is the saying they say about being damned if you do our you do not? Damned if you are a Vampire caught sucking blood from the necks of unsuspecting hipsters. I like that word hipster. It makes me smile with thoughts of humor.

~ Vlad

 

 

Dear Diary,

I have gone unnoticed in history. I am a Vampire so I should not be surprised. We keep our histories to ourselves, or hide our true selves.

When I was out tonight a group of young women caught my attention. They came to me like moths to flames, or more like small children to candy. Seduction is easy when one is a Vampire.

They told me that I am cute. I still do not understand this cute. Cats are cute. Babies are cute. I am not a cat or a baby. One said I was gorgeous. That I understand. That young woman, she is called Heather, speaks the truth.

One of the women asked if I was Russian and mentioned Vladimir Putin. They said he was not so cute. Of course he is not cute. Being called Vlad does not automatically make one cute. Then they giggled (I never understood the excessive giggling of young women) and mentioned Vlad the Impaler. I am not Russian or an impaler.

Oh the bane of my modern existence is this man Vlad the Impaler whom I consider an imposter. There is NOTHING cute about Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, otherwise sometimes said to have inspired the fictional Dracula. The man sold his soul but was no Vampire.

“That Vlad was not cute,” I said to the women. They giggled. I did, what do they say…I scored big time.

I could have told the young women about the cruelties he inflicted on women and children, but cooking them alive and forcing their families to eat them. I could have told them the things he did to the wives of the men he hated, but I did not.

I would rather seduce a population than rule them in fear. Maybe that is what they mean by cute. No, maybe not. On the other hand, that is exactly what cats do. Cats are cute. Maybe.

I remember when I first heard word of Vlad the Impaler. My Baba told me about him and said I must be careful. I told her, “Baba, I’ve been Vampire King for over two hundred years, I know what I am doing. He will not bring fear upon the hearts of my people.”

Baba said, “Grandson, you must watch, not just in the shadows, but in the light. Watch for those who are not only powerful, but watch for those who rule with fear and malice. You rule with power and the seduction of a Vampire. Those outside of your rule fear you. Never let those who live under your protection live in fear of you.”

Vlad the Impaler was killed by a rival and buried in an unmarked grave. He was no Vampire. The world has not changed in so many ways. Technology abounds yet humans still prove themselves to be stupid and cruel. Humans prove they are sheep who follow a lead, only to find themselves being eaten alive.

After I’d had my fill of blood, at the home of one of the women, I walked to my car, thinking about this strange world I woke up in.

I closed my eyes and thought of the warm skin of one of the girls on my lips, and her hot hands on my body, and I wondered if she could also be considered cute. She was beautiful, but empty in the way so many young girls are. One day she will find wisdom through experience, and that will be even a more delicious night.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I imagine what my Baba would think of this new world I have found myself in. I remember her bringing me a cup of warm blood and singing me songs of night. Even when I was a grown man she was there with stories of great Vampire Kings of the past, and the time when she was almost a Vampire Queen. I told her that she would always be my Queen. Baba would pat me on the head and smile showing her magnificent fangs. Then she would call me good boy and tell me to drink my blood.

Tonight my lover Gillian came to my house. She is the stars in my sky. She is the key to the universe. Gillian understands technology, as I would have if I had not been locked up for so many years.

When she kissed me I could taste blood on her lips. “You have already eaten,” I said.

She smiled and kissed my neck. “Just a snack.”

I love that woman.

Driving an automobile came easy to me. That was never a problem. Gillian helped me master the television remote, all of those apple things which are not fruits, and power tools. I find power tools quite exciting, especially the chain saw and the belt sander.

I also like the blow dryer on my golden locks. I feel the power of the hot air going through my hair as if I have harnessed the great winds coming down from the sky at my beck and call. One must get thrills where he can if one is no longer King of the Vampires.

And there are closets in houses. Closets are the best thing of all.

After a night out with Gillian I found myself in her arms, not wanting her to ever leave. I find that love has changed over the centuries as well, even among Vampires.

“Move in with me,” I told her. “This house is large with a lot of closets.”

She pulled me closer. “Are closets all you have to offer?”

“I will show you what I have to offer,” I told her.

No need to write more.

~ Vlad

 

 

Kissed by a Vampire