When you belong to a Vampire family the dynamics with other people, creatures, living things in general can get complicated.
My brother Andrew is staying at our house for a few days. He’ll be performing at one of the larger clubs with a semi-well known band (they get some radio play) later this week. Andy is an opera singer but he’ll sing anything in any style with just about anyone if asked.
Last night was a lovely clear evening so we (Andy, my husband Teddy and I) went out on the deck for a glass of wine. Aside from Andy being my brother he is also close friends with my husband. They grew up together back in the days before Teddy even knew what a Vampire was (but that is another story.)
I always had to smile at Andy and his personal sense of style. He was in a velvet vest, white shirt with french cuffs and jeans. His chestnut colored hair fell straight to his shoulders. Of all of us siblings (all 5 of us) Andy was the one who held on to the 19th century we all grew up in more. But that wasn’t always a bad thing.
To make a short story even longer… it is February so the conversation turned to romance. Well sort of.
I wondered how he was getting along with his new girlfriend Shawna. He’d met her when he’d stumbled upon her camp in Patagonia (yes, THAT Patagonia.) She was digging for dinosaurs. I’m not exactly sure what he was doing there. Andy tends to just wander the world at times when he feels, well, like he needs to. By the way, Shawna isn’t a Vampire. Yes, it is complicated. And yes, she has met our mother which makes it even more complicated.
I asked about Shawna so Andy vented.
“Shawna knew why I’d gone out. It really wasn’t any of her concern. But when I got home she wouldn’t touch me. I assumed she’d understand that I can’t live off of kale and tofu. I need human blood to survive. She couldn’t get past the idea of me drinking blood then kissing her. For God’s sake by then I’d brushed my teeth and we’d had a couple of glasses of wine.”
He looked at us expecting a response but we let him continue to vent. “It isn’t as if I’d had blood dripping down my chin.”
“Give her time,” I gently told him then thought how stupid that sounded.
“I even had a baby unicorn but that ended badly as well,” said Andy.
“What were you doing with a unicorn? Oh my goodness Andy.” It has been years since I’ve seen a unicorn.
“Keeping it for James.” Andy said. James is a friend of Andrew’s. James is sort of nuts but he does lead an interesting life.
I have to admit that one of the cutest things in the universe is a baby unicorn. They’re like tiny iridescent donkeys or maybe a cross between a fawn and a pony, with all of that tiny baby sweetness. Their little hooves look like white mother of pearl. And there are few things as soft as a baby unicorn nose. Oh my goodness they’re precious. Best of all they smell good – like jasmine and roses.
Andrew continued his sad story. “As soon as Shawna walked in the room the unicorn started to cry. I’d forgotten that they’re afraid of humans. And forget the bull crap about being pure at heart. It doesn’t matter. There she was standing in the room with this baby screaming at the sight of her. It was a disaster.”
Yes, love is rare, but not as rare as a screaming baby unicorn. Sigh.
“I can understand Shawna’s fears,” said Teddy. “I know how repulsive we seem to humans.”
Andy gave Teddy a glare. “Repulsed? How could she be repulsed? I’ve been nothing but wonderful to her. I’ve literally swept her off her feet. I’ve made her feel things she thought she’d never feel.”
Teddy patted Andy on the shoulder. “You’ve made her feel fear. Remember I used to be like her. It took me weeks, actually years to accept the reality of Vampires and the fact that we’re not completely evil or completely dead. The very idea of a Vampire is more terrifying than, well, than she was to that baby unicorn. Maybe even more so because humans know we’re on the top of the food chain over them. It puts fear and disgust in them like cannibals or serial killers.”
“But if they tried to understand…” said Andy.
“What we do is morbid and disgusting,” said Teddy.
“They drink coffee that has been pooped out of a cat. What can be more disgusting than that?”
“Civets. The coffee is expelled by civets.”
“Whatever Theodore. Humans don’t know anything about us or what we do,” said Andy.
“And we need to keep it that way. I don’t know why you let her know you were a Vampire in the first place. It was a bad move on your part Andy.”
Teddy gave Andy one of those looks. The kind that teenagers dread. “Andy, you can’t expect someone to suddenly embrace something they’ve feared their entire life. I don’t care how many times you tell her that you love her. We’re the undead evil, just above zombies and ghosts.”
“Not to mention ticks and werewolves,” I added in.
The soft sound of moving branches distracted us. Climbing up the Italian Cypress to the deck rail came another nocturnal creature. It was Teddy’s possum. For the past year the possum had been making nightly visits and Teddy had decided to make friends with it. He spoke quietly to the soft gray creature and handed him a few raw peanuts he’d put in his pocket earlier. The Possum sat still while Teddy brushed its beautiful coat. She looked at us with her black possum eyes and showed a little bit of primitive sharp toothed possum grin.
Possums are gentle and often misunderstood creatures. Nobody ever hears of a possum attack but people still fear them. Sure sometimes they might have rabies or fleas but for the most part they’re harmless. I wouldn’t recommend you try to pet one or pick one up, but Teddy has a gift with animals and he is a Vampire. And like our possum friends we (Vampires) are also misunderstood.
“You can’t keep a possum as a pet Andy, just like you can’t keep a human as a pet,” I told my brother.
“Shawna isn’t a pet,” Andy said. He scratched the possum between it’s ears as it sat quietly.
“Maybe not, but she isn’t a Vampire. I know you lived with Aurora for almost 50 years, but that was the exception. That was something extraordinary. She never feared us. She never saw us as unnatural,” I said.
Andy looked out at the night sky as if he was looking for Aurora, a woman he’d lived with until her death from old age. She stayed with her until the end, never pressuring her to become a Vampire, never leaving her side. We all loved Aurora. Maybe too much. Despite the heartbreak she was a gift, like all of our dear human friends. We’re sad for her passing but we wouldn’t trade the sadness because of the love.
We all knew Shawna was warming up to the idea that she was living in a world populated by bizarre creatures and strangeness that she could never have imagined. Then again, she studied dinosaurs so she knew about strange creatures that defied imagination, logic and all reason. Time would tell.
I said good night (good morning to us) around 4:00 am to Teddy and Andy. The kids were sleeping due to school and their daytime schedules.
Around 7:00 am, just as the sun came up I was in my dining room, laptop open, glancing out through the windows at the trees. The Possum had gone to her bed, but on the deck rail was a squirrel. This particular squirrel is always out in the morning doing a little dance with jerky movements while his squirrel friends jump through the oak trees like circus acrobats. He stands in the sun and eats from the window box and from the bowl of nuts and seeds I leave for him. He’ll turn his head and look at me but he isn’t afraid – at least not unless I open the door for a closer look or try to take his photo. When I go outside sometimes he barks at me with his odd almost unearthly squirrel voice. I call him my friend, but he’ll never consider me to be in his inner circle. But that’s OK. He’s a squirrel. That is all I need him to be. And he never needs to know I’m a Vampire.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman
So what inspired you to write this odd little story Juliette?
A unicorn, a squirrel and a possum go into a bar… to find out what inspired this post in which every single word is absolutely true:
And if you aren’t following the Sharp Witted, Brilliant and Talented Bill Brown and The Evil Squirrel’s Nest you ought to be.
Squirrels Rock the Goggles
For the official back story on Andrew and Shawna go to the links below: