A chance meeting – a ghost of a chance.

Lately, just lately a lot has been going on. My mind has been on other things so my usually frequent blogging hasn’t been, well, frequent.

It was a wet gray morning but I had to go downtown to take care of a few things. On a whim I stopped by the most exclusive cemetery, in the most exclusive and character filled part of town.

You know what I was doing. I was looking for the grave of my Ghost. Yes, THAT Ghost. The one who flips me off, and drives me nuts, and talks non-stop, and insults me every single chance he gets. I was looking for Nigel, or that is, his grave.

A few Ghosts showed their shadows but as soon as they realized I’m a Vampire they vanished back into their damp worm ridden graves. As a rule I hate ghosts. There is nothing romantic or redeeming about them. They’re like the rats of the paranormal world as far as I’m concerned. But there are exceptions, annoying as they are, there are exceptions.

A lone man stood between two graves then set white lilies and orchards on each. I wondered if these were graves of children or maybe women in his past. I walked closer to discover a name and a date I recognized. It was Nigel. Not the Ghost but the hole in the ground where his body is.

The man turned towards me. It surprised me how handsome he was with sky blue eyes and blonde hair touched by the sun (or a damned good colorist.) He gave me a soft smile, but it could have made the rain go away if he’d wanted it to. Yes, he was one of those kind of guys. Even in middle age the look of youth was still in his face. It was in his body too.

“Are you here for Nigel?” I asked him the question in a gentle tone.

“Both of them,” he said. “Nigel and Derrick. Did you know Nigel or are you a fan?”

“I know him. I mean knew him.” I said that knowing he’d be wondering how someone my age (I look to be in my early 30’s on a bad day) could have known Nigel. “I’m, um, older than I look. We were friends, but I don’t know any of his other friends. How do you know him?”

“He was a friend of my brother. More than a friend. Nigel lived with my family through high school. It was that or foster care or a group home. My parents became his legal guardians.”

“I knew he hated his mom but I didn’t know…I didn’t know that. He was lucky to have had you.”

“We were fortunate to have Nigel. And Derrick too. Derrick was a close friend too. They died five days apart. What a tragedy. Only 26 and 27 years old.”

I said nothing. I couldn’t imagine Nigel, my Ghost Nigel, laying in a box, in his signature black suit, under the wet ground. I didn’t feel his presence. He wasn’t there.

“I’m Sam,” my handsome newfound friend said holding out his hand.

“Juliette. Good to meet you Sam.”

“Your hands are so cold.”

I smiled. They always say that. “I’ll warm up. I have to meet my husband in a few hours, but maybe we could get coffee and you can tell me about growing up with Nigel.”

He agreed. Of course he agreed. I’m persuasive. I have to be.

We ducked inside of a mausoleum to get out of a downpour. And yes, of course I took advantage of the situation. Sam never knew that when I feigned being upset and hugged him that I would be putting my teeth into his neck. He only remembered that he was tired but was feeling hopeful and better. I noticed his hair smelled good, like warm sugar cookies and rosemary.

Over coffee and scones we discovered we have friends in common. No wonder Sam seemed familiar. I usually remember people but like I said, I’ve been out of sorts and distracted lately. We also discovered that Nigel was loved by a diverse group of people. I didn’t mention that I’d met Nigel 25 years after his death. It didn’t matter. Sam didn’t live in the shadowy world of Vampires and Ghosts. He would have thought I was crazy anyway. We all know there is no such thing as Vampires and Ghosts (wink wink nod nod.)

When I arrived home later I found Nigel sitting in my reading chair. He looked somewhat regal in a white shirt, black vest, skinny ties lose at the neck and his black hair spiky around his face. “What the Hell were you doing with Sammy?”

I shrugged. “Nothing. I found your grave. He just happened to be there.”

“You sucked his blood.”

“I needed to. He never knew.”

“No…”

“Oh Nigel, he’ll have sweet dreams for the next six months. I did him a favor.”

Nigel stood and took a step towards me. I felt a rush of icy air around my head. “You’re a ghoul.”

“And you’re dead Nigel. And I’m the only friend you have who still has a body. I’m the only one you can go to but… but people still care about you and I would never do anything to hurt any of them. I would never hurt them.”

“You invaded my privacy,” said the man who was standing in front of me inside of my home. Excuse me, Ghost who was in my home.

I threw my hands up. “I give up Nigel. Just sit there and steam or whatever you do. I have things I need to do.”

“Juliette.”

“Nigel.”

“Do you care?”

“Of course I do. Do you?”

“Yes,” he said quietly then vanished in a wisp of lavender gray smoke.

It is odd and sometimes wonderful, sometimes sad, and sometimes random how people come in and out of our lives. Call it ships that pass in the night. Call it a small world. On some levels we’re all connected, everyone to someone else. I guess that means that none of us are really ever alone.

I went out on my deck under the clearing sky with the taste of Sam still on my lips. Sam had the one thing that Nigel would never have – life as a middle-aged man. I only hope that Nigel will know that he has people who will always love him as if her were still alive. We should all be so lucky.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Back-to-school and musings about growing up and being a Vampire

Due to several years of elementary school dress codes my children both abhor khaki pants and polo shirts. They both avoid khaki pants like holy water or the plague. Clara will no longer wear another polo shirt. Garrett also avoids them at all cost. But that isn’t a problem. Polo shirts and khaki pants aren’t a good look for vampires anyway.

At this point in the world of parenting Vampire Maman doesn’t really need to worry much about back to school shopping, at least when it comes to clothing. They’re at that age where they get clothes when they need (want) them. They aren’t growing much at 15 and 18.

The youngest will need to pay an exorbitant amount for a year book, get a couple of school tee shirts for PE, a student body card, paper, a new binder and binder dividers plus an assortment of pens. Much easier than the 24,000 item list from the average elementary school year.

The eldest is going off to college. That will drain our bank account and our patience (I felt the same way about kindergarten with the 3 page supply list). I don’t know what else to say. It isn’t just off to school. It is off to adult life. It is enough to give even a Vampire nightmares. It also makes us (the parents) proud.

We just got back from four nights at Lake Tahoe in a cabin with no phone service or Internet. Just like old times. It was a nice break before school started.

When we’re all alone with family and friends we spend a lot of time talking about everything under the sun. The teens are always included.

Imagine two cabins full of Vampires and their dogs. My kids brought friends. My brother had his family there (college and grad school kids and their friends), plus we had other assorted family members and friends. There were fifteen of us in all. Plus all of our Vampire friends in Tahoe dropped by.

Oh my goodness we laughed so hard some nights I thought I’d break a rib. There is no better time than time spent with Vampires.

This post is sort of a kick-off post to the fall blogging season. School is starting up again. Summer is ending. Maybe the drought will end (it rained for two days in the mountains and one down in the valley.) It is also the beginning of the holiday season – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year, not to mention quite a few other holidays of various folks that we know.

This time of year also brings a lot of talk about relationships. No relation to anything, but it always seems that way. Maybe it has to do with school starting.

Relationships are always in the front line of our world. Vampires are all about relationships, be it with each other or with our Regular Human friends (and those who aren’t really friends.)

Our children, and those who have recently become one of us, start to get, well, a bit more predatory and mature. It is just the way it is.

So  along with holidays I’ll be posting more on relationships. Romance will be a big part of it, but the day-to-day stuff will also be covered.

Even Vampires can make each other walk on eggshells and be cruel and unthinking. They can be stupid (my brother Max for example) or they can be brilliant in their choices and romantic bonds. We all have stories to tell – and I have a lot of stories.

In the meantime, I’m back… back to work, back to school activities, back to sports, off to college, back to my cats, and my life outside of the woods.

I’m also back to writing – outside of this blog. A few weeks ago I published my first short story collection on Amazon (Morning in the Vineyard), but my current projects are much larger. I’m finishing up some novels.  We’ll see what happens. They were all started long before this blog.

Teddy is busy with his business. My brothers are having adventures or misadventures of their own. The elders are needing more help. Werewolf friends and Zombies are sending me messages too. Plus there is a certain ghost I need to deal with.

August is still in the middle of the summer but sometimes it seems like fall, at least in the heart – a time of change and a time for old leaves to fall and new thoughts, dreams and experiences to grow until they take bud later in the year.

Have a good week everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

vm_vampiremamancom

 

Yes, I dated that guy… and other random thoughts

I’m going off to the woods to howl at the moon (just kidding I’m a Vampire not a Werewolf), hike, take in waterfalls and the wonders of nature and WRITE. Sooooo there will be no Short Story Sunday for a few days or other posts because Internet service will be spotty at best and more than likely nonexistent (like in the old days.)

So in the meantime: LISTEN to THIS (click here)

Look at the pictures below.

Available on Amazon and other fine online booksellers. Just remember to leave the light on. Creepies.

Available on Amazon and other fine online booksellers. Just remember to leave the light on. Creepies.

 

Morning at the Vineyard now available on amazon.com (and tell the folks at NPR and the LA Times that this is the best book you've ever read and that they should interview Juliette Kings NOW. Any other media outlet would work as well. Yes, this is shameless but what do you expect? I'm a Vampire. We have no shame.

Morning at the Vineyard now available on amazon.com (and tell the folks at NPR and the LA Times that this is the best book you’ve ever read and that they should interview Juliette Kings NOW. Any other media outlet would work as well. Yes, this is shameless but what do you expect? I’m a Vampire. We have no shame.

Kissed by a Vampire

Support your local Artistic Roller Skating Club.

Support your local Artistic Roller Skating Club.

this guy

 

Yes, I did date THAT GUY but that is another post on another day. Have a good weekend everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Finding Pandora’s Box

pandoras-box

As a child I loved the story of Pandora’s Box. You all know the story but in case you forgot… Pandora was a girl who lived in ancient times. She lived in a place where a beautiful box was kept. Pandora was told time and time again NEVER to look in the box. You know where this is going.

Some say Pandora was a bride and the box was a wedding gift given Zeus. Some say she was the first woman (always blame it on the woman.) Well, never say that to a girl. Of course she looked. And out of the box came all sorts of horrible things. The box contained evil. Evil escaped and spread all over the world. What a nasty trick of Zeus but of course he blamed it on the girl… but that isn’t the point of the story. Pandora opened the box and something awful escaped. The point is that I could relate to the girl in a big way.

Ahhh but at the bottom of the box, and this was my favorite part, the spirit of HOPE came out. Hope was always pictured as a beautiful fairy. Like a lot of little girls I loved fairies (still do.) But back to the story on hand…

I was like Pandora, always looking into boxes and closets and attics I wasn’t supposed to be looking into. I suddenly realized yesterday why all these years I identified with Pandora. I could have been Pandora. She could have been me.

Yesterday I cleaned out my office room. It is an office, a guest room and a place where junk gathers. It is a room I’ve banned my husband from because he moves things around to fit his own sense of what should be. It will also once again be the room I write in.

I hauled a garbage can and a large recycle can full of papers, boxes and old stuff. I re-acquainted myself with beautiful dresses I haven’t worn in years. My teenage daughter marveled at the beautiful cuts and fabrics. Those clothes are not the same as the mother she knows wears now. They are from a different time and place.

As I went through boxes which haven’t been opened for years my mind and heart went to places I didn’t want to be. Yes, you’ve read my stories of the past and things I’ve done years ago, but that was on my terms. The memories dredged up yesterday were not my choice. These were things that haunt and bit and suck the blood out of my own dark soul. I even wrote a lengthy post about how items symbolize lost dreams that could have been.

The room became my own Pandora’s box full of swirling demons and weirdness.

That led to me writing a couple of agonizing essays on memories and how single items can change a life through their meaning. I wrote of those dashed dreams that are so clear and painful. For hours I kept the it all festering in my brain. Then I realized that if I went ahead and shared those essays on pain and broken dreams that I’d receive comments from worried readers and feel guilty for playing with the feelings of my readers, or making my dear readers feel bad. I want to make my readers feel thoughtful or happy, or even on-edge and angry but not sad about me. I don’t want to tear your hearts out with words about me. Then it all scattered like a puff of smoke from a candle I’d just blown out. It was gone along with the garbage.

I’m not the kind to go back to the past and let it define me. Sure my past influences me. It is who I am. Of course it is that way for everyone. But it isn’t who I am. I’m not that girl I used to be. Like I said, I don’t let it define me. I don’t go back. I don’t ever try to relive experiences, even if it is with old friends who were there with me the first time around.

What the parts of my past I don’t feel comfortable with give me is a roadmap for teaching my own children about choices they make.

At the bottom of the closet, as with Pandora’s Box, were a lot of good things and hope. There were so many times there was no hope, but that was a long time ago. Best of all I have a new office. After a few more hours of work it will be a place where I can relax and create and be the best. Always the best from now on.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Mom

pandora

Also see: Musings on the Curious Child and Keeping Secrets

Interpretation

18 Year Old Son: Secret Asian Man? Isn’t that kind of racist?

Mom: He’s singing Secret Agent Man. As in Cold War, James Bond, behind the Iron Curtain.

Son: Oh. OK. (laughs)

 

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: The Offer (a fairy tale with a wizard, a kitten and a mysterious stranger)

Miles was the official Royal Wizard to the Kingdom of the Moonbeam Mountains. What the fuck kind of name was that for a Kingdom?

“I will NEVER be as good as my dad.” he thought brooding in the dark under the night sky on the roof with a bottle of 80 proof Dragon Blood.

Sitting alone in his castle by the sea he thought of her, the princess who’d more or less left him for another man. Hell, he never had her. She’d always been in love with someone else. They’d been together for ten years. In ten years she’d told him a thousand times that she loved him but at the same time she was running a fantasy in her head about another guy.

For the past 6 years they’d lived with each other almost full-time. Their father’s were best friends. Hers was the King of the Northwestern Kingdom, his father was the Royal Wizard there and their mother’s were girlfriends. Everything was perfect, just like it was supposed to be. Every single year he’d proposed to her. Every single year she’d told him that she wanted to wait. Wait for what? Now he knew. She was waiting for another guy.

He called to have his horse ready and took off to the local pub. At least there he could keep his mind off of things.

Half way to the pub he stopped to pull his gloves out of his saddle bag. He heard a noise on the side of the road. A teeny tiny gray and white kitten ran towards him. It couldn’t have been more than six weeks old.

“Oh sweetie,” he whispered to the kitten, “I can’t leave you out here alone.” He tucked the tiny cat under his coat and continued on.

As he entered the village gate he could hear the band playing at the pub and already see friends lingering around the front door. “Deep breath Miles,” he thought to himself knowing everyone would ask about his princess. They knew he’d left her. They didn’t know why or for how long. He didn’t want to talk about it. Maybe he’d just put a spell on the place to make them all shut up about it, but ethics and his own code of decency stopped him from it. There is no crime in being curious.

After dropping his horse off in safe hands he greeted the people outside then went in. He could feel the small body purring inside of his coat. There was something about a cat that could make one forget everything. Cats were so pure and so decadent and so useless and so calming and so everything that made the universe worth living in. Cats represented all that was. Not good or bad just everything.

He caught his reflection in a window. Blonde hair, board shoulders, blue eyes, dimples on his boy-next-door cheeks and a scar across his neck that would tingle every time she kissed him, no matter what violent memories it brought him.

Everyone greeted him. Big points were scored with the ladies when he cradled the purring kitten in the crook of his arm. Damn that kitty was cute. She looked up at him and mewed a purr dripped sound that was absolutely toxic cute. He could never get enough of that feeling of pure joy and love.

After ordering a brew Miles did a few tricks for the patrons. They always asked and he was glad to give them some shows of blue sparks, wispy smoke dragons and fairies flying over their heads and levitating beer steins. It was all good fun. Fun was always good especially with the way he was feeling.

The fact that he’d been alone for a few months hadn’t gone unnoticed. He could hear the gossip behind his back. He could feel the single women watching him and wanting him. There was no reason for him to be alone at night but he wasn’t ready yet for company in his cold bed.

He heard a voice at his shoulder. “Missing your homeland Wizard?”

Miles turned around to see a tall exceptionally thin man standing at his shoulder. He wore a good suit and a sarcastic smile on his face.

The man continued to speak. “Do you miss a warm princess next to you in your cold bed? Do you wish your magic was more powerful? Do you wish you’d get the same respect and power as your father has? I can give you all of that.”

“It isn’t wise to attempt to provoke a wizard, even a piss poor attempt like yours. I don’t know you sir, but I’m here to enjoy an evening with friends. Now if you’ll excuse me and my cat we’ve got others to talk to,” Miles said to the tall thin man.

“Give me that kitten and I’ll grant you three wishes,” the stranger said in a voice so smooth it made Miles cringe.

“I don’t want your wishes and I’m sure as Hell not giving you my cat.”

At a large table he sat with friends, joking and listening to their stories, but his senses were wide open to any evil that lurked in the building. The tall thin stranger occupied himself with another group, but Miles could feel his presence.

The kitten purred and played with everyone at the table. There was nothing special or magic about her except that she was a cat. “Just a cat,” thought Miles, “nothing more.”

Hours later, after he’d had a successful evening with friends who’d done more than a good job of cheering him up and getting him out of his gloomy mood, Miles arrived home. His staff would be in bed so he put the horse to bed for the night, gathered the kitten back under his coat and headed for the front door. The moonlight made the dark pathway easy. He took a deep breath of the salt air and listened to the waves crashing on the beach below.

“Welcome to my castle by the sea dear kitten,” he told his small purring friend. “You look like a Lizzie to me. How about it? Do you like that name my dear?” The kitten meowed and purred.

Looking up he saw a figure on the cliff. It was the annoying thin stranger from the pub.

“Wizard, give me the cat and I will give you everything you desire. I can make your princess love you. I can make you famous. I can bring you riches.”

“Get off my property or I’ll…” he thought a moment for the bad things he could do then spoke. “What’s so special about the cat?”

“Your princess for the cat Miles. Say the word and you’ll have what your heart desires.”

“I don’t know who you are but I don’t want a woman who loves me because of a spell. I want her to love me for the right reason. I want her to fall for me in a nice long romantic way of her own accord. Love spells are bull shit. Every wizard with any talent knows that. And any man who knows what his heart desires and knows what true love feels like knows that.”

“Give me the cat.”

“Is she yours? Don’t lie to me man. I’ll know if you’re telling me a lie.”

The stranger halted a bit. “Well, no.”

“Then what is it? I don’t want any wishes and I don’t trust you with a helpless kitten. What do you really want? Is this some sort of test? Or are you just a creepy stalker? What is it? Tell me.”

“Do you love your princess?” The man asked him as if he was accusing Miles of cheating.

“Sure I do but, it’s none of your business.” None of anyone’s business that she was in love with someone else. “Get the Hell off of my property.” Miles blasted the ground in front of the man with a bolt of orange lightning. The man jumped back. “Go or the next one will hit you.”

The man was gone. Miles was alone in the kitchen with the kitten. “What was that about? Do you know?”

The kitten just purred.

Three wishes. He laughed out loud a bitter laugh. What would he need with three wishes. He’d worked hard for everything he had. He was proud of what he’d accomplished. Being a wizard, much less one in a foreign country, wasn’t always easy. People depended on him.

He thought of calling her, his princess, but he decided to let it go, at least for tonight. She had left him letters and messages but he couldn’t get past the pain of betrayal.

He wondered who the skinny guy was and why he wanted the cat. Three wishes. It wasn’t worth it. He’d never trade his soul or the tiny stray he’d found on the side of the road. After all, wasn’t it the same thing? He had shown compassion to a small beast. He’d shown his soul.

The kitten didn’t start to talk. He kissed the top of her tiny head but she didn’t turn into a princess.

Taking out a piece of paper and a pen he started to write.

Tonight a strange skinny man offered me three wishes in exchange for a small kitten I found on the side of the road. The man said he could make you love me. I wasn’t tempted by the offer. If you love me I want it to be honest and true for me. No magic. No games. No more lies. 

He wadded up the letter and made it vanish with a flash of blue smoke.  It was no use.  Heading up the stairs with the kitten in his arms he stopped at the sound of someone knocking on the door. “Damn you, I do not want your wishes.”

Jerking open the door Miles yelled, “I’m not giving you my kitten.”

But standing at the door wasn’t the tall skinny man, it was his princess. He brought her in and told her the story of the strange skinny man and the kitten. She listened in wonder and then they both went upstairs.

And did they live happily ever after? Maybe. Only time, or maybe the cat will tell.

 

Tangled Tales

Tangled Tales

~ Juliette aka Scheherazade aka Vampire Maman