Eleora

Eleora

I asked Eleora what she was reading. “Is it Science Fiction? You don’t read much SciFi,” I said.

“No, I started it but it is one of the most boring books ever written.”

It was one of those books from the late 1950’s with a lot of speculative technology, rocket ships, all male crews, and a lot of serious talk about space. I’m going into space honey. Have fun mopping the floor wearing heels and pearls. 

This was the fifth time Eleora had started reading it. She never remembered starting it before. I can’t figure out why she even picked it up. Maybe she thought it was about the Apollo program, or the films of Georges Méliès.

Eleora meticulous arranges the books in her home by subject. My favorite was when she put Ulysses by James Joyce in the ancient history section.

She and Tellias live out on the old river road among hundreds of acres of fruit trees. They’re old. They’re more than old. They’re ancient. Both are over 2,000 years old but nobody is sure exactly how old. They’re also Vampires. They look like they’re nineteen or twenty years old but they act like their age which is extremely old. By that I mean they ARE old. They have memory issues. Sometimes they have physical issues. They can revert back to simpler times and don’t always keep up. Like a lot of people they isolate themselves as they get older. Sometimes isolation is by choice. Unfortunately sometimes it isn’t.

I’d brought over a couple of bags of books for them to read. Eleora asked me about the books over the next hour no less than five times. That’s ok. I don’t mind.

We sat and talked for another hour. The old dog crawled up on the couch with me and put her head in my lap. A cat was curled up purring in the window sill. We listened to the heavy rain coming down on the roof.

I checked to see if they had enough to eat for the next few days. Tellias told me they were calling Grub Hub. They’d send someone right to your door. I didn’t ask for details. Sometimes it is better not to know.

Even if you can’t see them physically make sure to check in on your friends and family. Even a call, a text, or an email can make all the difference in the world to someone who is feeling the burden of isolation.

Stay safe. Stay calm.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Off To See The Wizard

The electricity was off for most of the day so I didn’t finish my new story for today. You’re in luck because this is a favorite of mine. First published January 2018

Tangled Tales

Off To See The Wizard

Druce had just pulled his toasted seed and dried berry bread out of the oven when his friend Morcant came through the door carrying a basket.

“What do you got in there?”

“Smoked salmon, a bottle of squid ink, and dried salted kelp chips.”

“Nice.”

“I see you’ve made your famous berry bread. That will win over the hearts of the coldest stone.”

“We can only hope. I’m paring it with a jar of honeycomb, and a jug of my best mead.”

Druce wrapped up the bread and took a look at his friend. Morcant wore a soft seal skin over his shoulders. His tunic was sleeveless showing off his muscular arms. Today Morcant’s black hair was worn down around his shoulders framing his handsome face. Druce never wondered why all of the women in their village and the surrounding area sought Morcant out even if it was just to look.

The seal skin was that of Morcant’s sister who’d died in the past summer season. She and Morcant were Selkies. On land they were human, and in the sea they were seals. They guarded their seal skins with their lives, for if anyone stole their skin they would be trapped as humans, and in bondage forever.

Morcant’s brother-in-law never took his wife’s skin, but celebrated the fact that as a Selkie she had come to him of her own free will. Her love was free, and her husband was devoted to her. They had that rare true love that so many seek but never find.

One day while they were out fishing, his sister still in her human form, they were overcome by a great shark and dragged to the bottom of the sea as dinner. Morcant, as customary for Selkies now wore his sister’s skin to stay close to her spirit and to have her love with him always.

Druce looked into his mirror and brushed his sun streaked brownish blonde waves with his fingers. He was smaller than Morcant, and not quite as handsome, but the ladies still liked him too. And of course he liked them more than they could imagine.

“So, Druce,” said Morcant, “when exactly did this Wizard guy come into town?”

“Last week, under the darkness of the night.”

“What’s he like?”

“Personally? I don’t know. I hear he was sleeping with his sister. Nymue told me that. She also said he used to stalk her, asking her about her magic and getting all sappy and trying to sound mystical about it. One day she showed him a sword she was going to give to the next king and he said I’ll show you my magic sword. She kicked him out and told him she’d put a bad enchantment on him if he ever hit on her again. And I mean bad, you know, guy bad, like his sword won’t work for a year or two. Like a blade of grass.”

“Sounds like a creeper.”

“A real mess if you ask me. Anyway, that was a while back so maybe he’s changed. Gotta give a guy some doubt that he has grown up since his misplaced youth chasing ladies in lakes and all of that shit.”

“OK so I don’t get it Druce. You’re the Worlock around here. What’s the difference between you and some Wizard dude, except that you’re better looking and are better with women.”

Druce laughed. “As a Warlock, I can, how can I put this so it won’t sound weird. As you know I can harness and control spirits, demons, and other’s who aren’t human. I can’t make them work for me. I also control their evil so that they can’t harm people. I take their energy and do good with it. I can also do other magic and tricks through my own will. I deal with both sides of the world, that of the dead and that of the living. That of the physical and that of the spirits.”

“And what about Wizards?”

“Wizards learn their craft. They are gifted in the ways of magic, but their magic comes mostly from the use of potions, and the channeling of their magic through a staff, or wand. They can scare spirits and demons but they can’t control them. And Wizards are giving Warlocks a bad rap. I hear that in other parts my kind are being hunted down and burned to death. They think we’re minions of Satan.”

“That’s bull shit. Then why the fuck are we going to greet this guy and bring him gifts. He sounds like a freak to me.”

“Because he is working for the King.”

“The Kings is an idiot. He is obsessed with some old cup, and everyone knows his wife is sleeping with his best friend.”

“Hey, I didn’t put him into office. Blame that on Nyume. The Lady of The Lake should have minded her own business and …”

There was a scream and in through the door came a whirl of gray, which stopped and materialized into a woman. She smiled showing lovely white teeth, but her eyes were black and crazy. No harm. Just their friend Milen, who was also a Banshee.

“Milen,” said Druce, as he blew her a kiss. “Thanks for coming. I have fresh venison stew in the pot there over the fire. I put the eyes in there for you.”

She grinned and put a long fingered hand into the boiling stew and plucked out an eye, the popped it into her mouth.

“Hey, Milen, we should be gone just a few hours,” said Druce. “I’m so glad you could watch the baby for me.”

“Ohhhhhh of course,” she said as she went over to a baby unicorn who was curled up asleep in its tiny bed made of soft sea grasses and dried fragrant flowers.

“Alright then, we’ve better get going, if we’re going to go,” said Druce, and they packed up their gifts and went to meet their new neighbor.

The new Wizard had chosen and old Roman camp on a hill as his new home. The buildings were already there and in fairly good shape. It was also about a five day journey from there to where the King lived. Or at least the king the Wizard worked for.

The two friends arrived at the home of the Wizard and were greeted by a tall man with a brown beard flecked with gray. His eyes shone blue like spring wildflowers, flecked with gold.

The Wizard welcomed them in and introduced himself as Merlin, the Wizard. There was something sort of sad about him, like someone who had a lot of friends, but nobody he was really close to. Druce wondered if Merlin could pick up on emotions and sadness like a Warlock could. Or like a woman could.

Merlin thanked them for the gifts and asked them to come sit. He led them to a room where the walls were covered with tapestries and the chairs with lush textiles and furs.

“The seal skin you wear is beautiful. The finest I’ve ever seen,” said Merlin to Morcant.

“This is my sister’s skin. She passed six moons back. I wear this skin in her honor.”

There was a pause in the conversation and a bit of weirdness.”

“Morcant is a Selkie,” said Druce.

Merlin looked surprised. He was surprised. He’d never met a Selkie before. It seemd, as they talked, that there were a lot of things Merlin had never done.

Still they visited and had polite small talk. Druce and Morcant of the village and the surrounding peoples, and those who were not people. There was also a lot they didn’t tell him. When the sun began to set Druce and Morcant bid their host goodbye.

They started the walk home in silence but then Morcant spoke.

“Merlin was nice. Not much of a bro, if you know what I mean, but nice. But dude, he has more demons than you’ll ever have.”

Druce gave a sad smile, “At least I can control my demons. Fuck, they aren’t even my demons. Merlin needs more sunshine, and he needs to divorce himself from his dysfunctional family and friends. I always tell everyone that it isn’t demons that are bugging them, it is their toxic friends and family members that are getting them down. He needs to let go.”

“True,” said Morcant. “Are you going to tell him about the unicorn?”

“Hell no,” said Druce. “I’m not telling him where the dragons are either.”

As they passed a cottage on the edge of a field of grain a woman stepped out and greeted them. “Morcant, will you stay the night with me? I could use your love, and I’ll have plenty to give back.”

“Go,” said Druce. He knew Morcant had been seeing the Widow Cath for few months. Her elderly husband had died leaving her a large farm to manage, a task she did better than most men. Morcant had always been fond of her, but now it was becoming a bit more than fond.

At home Druce found the Banshee Milen sleeping with the tiny unicorn baby in her lap. She’d taken on a physical form, that of a woman of a certain age who had a well earned beauty earned from a life well lived, at least before she had been betrayed and murdered by her husband. He put a blanket woven of the softest flax over them.

He poured a glass of beer and pulled a stool outside in his garden, out under the stars. He could hear the waves of the ocean. Maybe later he’d go down to the beach and see what spirits were among the sea shells and boats tonight.

But now he sat and thought of the sad Wizard. Then he thought of the women he knew and how it would be nice to have one of them in his bed that night, skin against skin, and a special kind of magic that came when two people came together in desire of both the body and the soul.

Then he thought about how dragons had become so endangered due to the trade of dragon bones by Wizards for their wealthy clients. Everyone with half a brain knew that dragon bones powder did nothing to make one’s manhood larger.

Then he thought of women again.

Milen the Banshee came out with a stool and sat next to him. He told her about his visit to Merlin. She said it was sad when one was so full of power and so lost. Then she said she was glad her husband had been hanged after she’d died. She always mentioned that. Druce didn’t blame her. She hadn’t planned on being a Banshee.

Then she put her hand on Druce’s. “Darlin, I’ll be in human for for another hour or two. Let’s go inside and take advantage of that.”

And like any good Warlock who knew what was good for him Druce kissed her and took her inside.

~ End

 
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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

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

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

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

“Sure,” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I overheard the students talking in the family room.

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

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

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

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

There was a pause.

I walked into the room. “Vampires?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Community

Community

Alexis was fortunate to have the acceptance and support from her family and community.

She was much taller than most women. She’d had laser hair removal and surgery to soften her face. To soften her voice she’d taken voice lessons, including music lessons from a well known opera coach. She’d taken ballet lessons to help her become more graceful. Since her feet were exceptionally large she had custom made flip flops that she wore rain or shine.

Life was good for Alexis who’d become a best selling romance author, and outdoor wilderness guide.

Today she drove up I-5 towards her small home community in California’s remote Trinity Alps. The Escalade was packed with hard to obtain supplies: a solar generator, books, pens, paper, Simple Green, apples, silver polish, matches, half a dozen burner phones, and fifty tooth brushes among other things.

Her Uncle Dave had been the first to leave the community. A few others followed. It was never easy but the rewards were great for those who no longer wanted to live remotely in the mountains.

She’d be bringing her young cousin Trent back with her. He’d been accepted to UC Irvine in the fall. Trent would live with her first for a few months and learn how to live among those who were so different from them. She’d transform him into a hip and modern young man.

After a thirty mile drive down a rough dirt road Alexis stopped and got out of her car. She stretched her legs and took a deep breath of the clean cold mountain air. Then she let out a long mournful howl.

First she could smell them then out into the clearing they came. It was good to see so many of her family and friends.

No matter where she went she knew she’d always be at home with her Bigfoot family.

~ End

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Whisper In the Night

Quiet words

A whisper in the night

The cracks of twigs

Wind sings

Through the

Oaks and darkness

A faint flash

From an overhead plane

The light of a porch

In the distance

You are not alone.

 

~ J aka VM

 

Staying in with the Ghost

Ghosts.

“You can’t get this,” he tells me.

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

“Werewolves can,” he tells me.

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

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

“Is it so bad being a ghost?” I ask.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

coffee

Coffee with Vampires and Ghosts