Just Like Us?

Copyright: arinahabich / 123RF Stock Photo

“Mom! Harry’s chewing with his mouth open again!”

“Harry, mind your manners. Becky, stop tattling on your brother.”

“But Mom!” both children chorused, their voices utterly failing to harmonize.

“I couldn’t help it,” Harry said. “I got a toe caught under my tongue.”

“Yeah, that’s what you always say,” Becky countered. She mimicked him. “I got a hand caught in my tooth. There was hair in the back of my throat.” She rolled her eyes skyward. “You’re eight hundred not eighty. LEARN TO CHEW!!!”

“Stop picking on me!” Harry roared back. “You almost got caught during your Haunting last night. Charlie told me that Mara told him you tickled a Child’s Foot and she kicked you!”

Becky’s eyes – all five of them – went all slitty and her nose squinched up and her face deepened to an almost-forest green. “Don’t you dare tell Mom about that. Don’t even think about it.”

Harry’s voice was only a soft roar when he said, “I’m sorry, Becky.”

Both of the young monsters were quiet for a bit, as they picked up Human Cookies and dunked them in their Curdled Milk, and then ate them.

“So, I heard Charlie wants to dress as a Child for Halloween.” Becky said after a bit. It was clearly a peace offering. “I was thinking we could come up with something even scarier for you.”


“Yeah,” Becky grinned, showing off her rows of sharp, gleaming, recently unstraightened teeth. “I think you should go as an Adult.”

“That’s not so scary.”

“A Human Adult.”

Harry couldn’t help giggling, which meant his sister got a lovely view of partially masticated cookie and frosting.

“Mom! He’s doing it again!”



Biter Dot Com

Vampire Dating


SVM, blonde/blue seeks Type O. I’m experienced; you’re not. Rh+ OK. I never drink… wine, but I’ll open a bottle of Veuve Clicquot for the right woman. 21+ No smoking or cats.

In the old days, hookups were a lot simpler, a lot more discrete. We’d just put a few lines in the appropriate category of the Personals section of the local underground newspaper.

It was effective, to a point. At least until the early 90s. But newspapers don’t vet the people who read the Personals. (For that matter, they don’t vet the people who place them, either. If the credit card works, the ad goes in.)

Why does that matter? Because virgin blood isn’t just the sweetest thing that could ever land on an undead tongue, it’s also got this special kick that lets you enjoy a sunrise right after you’ve imbibed. Sure, some vamps claim you’ll still burn; you just won’t care, but I’ve experienced it myself.

Good evening… I’m Sergei, and I want to give you the last love bite you’ll ever remember. I enjoy moonlight walks on the beach, gazing up at the stars, and sleeping on black satin sheets. You are voluptuous, dark haired, dark eyed, and have never given up your most precious gift. I am an old-world gentleman, castle included.  Let us meet and see if your blood sings to mine.

As the internet grew in popularity, we went online, in much the same way the living did. Pictures were challenging at first – conventional cameras still used silver nitrate, which meant no permanent images, but when photography went digital all bets were off.

Video dating was more difficult for us. The average bicentennarian hasn’t had a lot of on-camera experience, and you can’t really hold your vic – uh – partner in thrall over Skype. Those of us who have lived beyond two hundred soon realized we needed our own network, and Fangbook was launched in the mid 2000’s just to help.

You’d be surprised at the number of living men and women who fantasize about feeding a vampire’s bloodlust. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

Lucas (223, Musician). Don’t B♯. Don’t B♭. Just B. And if you happen to be B- swipe right. We’ll make beautiful music together.

Technology, of course, brings constant change, even for vampires. These days we have a smartphone app called Biter. Vampires seeking willing donors or longer term companionship can post their profiles, and so can living humans who are looking to experience a whole new level of ‘necking.’

We’re even developing an enhancement to Apple’s health app that will verify blood type with the press of a thumb on a portable dongle.

As for me? I’m still rather old-school. Underground papers may not be the fastest, shiniest method of finding a date, but the QR code I run with my ads lets potential hook-ups get to know the real me, beyond the two-line blurb.

SVM, blonde/blue ISO virgin female for a night of firsts. You don’t have to be O-neg to have a positively howling time with me. Must love wolves.

Flash-fic: The Rules

monster under the bed


“Harry, remember, it’s only your first night. No one expects you to be perfect. Just go, growl, and get out.”

“I know, Mom.”

“Avoid the light… it won’t actually cause you to combust, but it can still hurt you. Remember what happened to Daniel? He was looking up at the closet ceiling when his assigned Child turned the light on. He was bulb-blind for days. Kept bumping into furniture… nearly got caught.”

“Avoid the light,” Harry repeated dutifully. “Got it, Mom.”

“And don’t forget about the Rules.”

“The rules?”

“Harry, we’ve been over this a fafillion times. If the Child is sipping water, they are Protected. If the Child has stuffed animals they are Protected…” His mother saw him roll his eye. “What?”

“The… stuffed animals… they aren’t Real animals, are they?”

“Of course not, Harry. They’re made of plush and foam and fluff.”

“Are you sure? Because Becky said – ”

“Harold M. Puddle, how many times have I told you that your sister makes up these stories just to bait you. The stuffed animals are not Real.”

“Then how can they Protect?”

“Because Children have Imaginations, Harry. And they Believe.”

“I thought Imagination was what we were made of.”

“Well, yes, but…”

“So if they can Believe we are under their beds or in their closets, and  Believe the stuffed animals are Real…” Harry had a scary thought. “Mom? What if they Believe that we aren’t Real?”

“Hush, youngster. You might as well wonder whether dragons really breathe fire. Some things simply Are.”

“Okay.” He straightened his posture and held out his claw-tipped paws. “Do I look fearsome enough?”

“Oh, very much so,” his mother assured. She pulled him close and gave him a slurpy kiss. “I’m so proud of you, Harry. You’re not even eight hundred yet, and you’ve been assigned your own Child. Just don’t forget about the Blankets.”

Harry knew about those, but his eye grew wider anyway. “Mom?”

“It’s the biggest Rule there is. A Child under Blanket Protection must never be touched. If your Child is under Blankets, what do you do?”

“Go, growl, get out,” Harry repeated the advice she’d given him a few minutes before. But he had a question, “What if… what if a Hand or a Foot isn’t Covered?”

“Well, some of the most experienced Monsters sometimes tickle a Child’s Foot or brush their fur against a Child’s Hand, but you shouldn’t try that on your first night. If the Child wakes up, and you get caught you’ll be sent back to remedial hunting. No one wants to spend their entire life chasing Cats and Dogs.”

Harry had met some of the remedial hunters. They ended up patchy and toothless. He definitely didn’t want that. “I promise not to try it… at least not tonight.”

“Good for you, Harry. Now remember, you’re scary, you’re stealthy, and you can make Children scream.”

“I’m scary,” he repeated. “I’m stealthy. And I can make Children scream.”  He took a deep breath. “Okay, Mom… here I go.”

He stepped onto the Ladder that would take him into the Attic and then into the Closet in the Child’s room, repeating it as he went. “Scary. Stealthy. Scream…”

As the Trap Door opened, Harry heard his mother’s voice, “I love you Harry.”

Harry grimaced happily.  I love you, too, Mom, he thought. Here I go.


Image copyright: innovatedcaptures / 123RF Stock Photo


One Blue Shoe

It’s weird the things we hold onto, both physically and mentally. On and off today, I’ve been haunted by the image of one blue shoe.

Many years ago, when I was moving from my parents’ house to my first solo apartment, a studio with an amazing wood stove that dominated the room, I ran out of space to hold my as-yet-unpacked boxes. I’d informed my stepfather that the last box would have to wait, but he didn’t listen, and donated the box to charity.

Whatever charity he picked ended up with several dresses, a few pairs of jeans, a really old pair of ice skates (so very useful in San Jose, CA), some books designed to teach adults how to draw, and half a pair of lovely navy pumps with French heels.

Me? I was left holding one blue shoe, and more than a little frustration.

“You told me you didn’t have any more room,” he said in an attempt to defend himself.

“I said I didn’t have room last night. I didn’t tell you to get rid of my stuff.”

“Do you want me to get it back?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, knowing such a request was absurd.

At some point we both laughed, but the really funny part is that it took me years to finally accept the fact that the other half of my pair of shoes was lost forever, and I’d never be able to wear them. Instead, I carried that single shoe with me into the first days of my marriage, into our first rental house, and into the first home that we owned.

It wasn’t until we moved from our condo to our first “real” house, seven years ago, that I finally pitched that shoe. I’m not sure why I kept it, and while it would be fitting to ascribe the act of throwing it away as the final goodbye to childhood, the reality is that I got tired of having a stray shoe among all the matched pairs.

Today, that single shoe has been clopping around my brain, pausing daintily on all sorts of shoe-related miscellany. I suspect it’s there because I was watching a sappy Christmas movie called, “The Christmas Shoes,” last night while lounging in bed. I suspect it will trot away to wherever half-pairs of shoes end up, in a day or so.

In the meanwhile, I’m thinking about how much my life has changed, mostly for the better, since I moved into that tiny apartment. At the time, I was crushing on a guy named Julian, and had just purchased my first computer. A year and a half later, I was living in South Dakota, married to Fuzzy.

Like that year, this year has been full of changes. My main writing gig ends for good at the end of the month, and while I know that will make our finances a bit tight, and finances for others even worse, there’s a part of me that feels oddly free. It’s time for the next phase of my life, and while I have no idea what it will bring I know that if I have to, I can hammer things together with the heel of one blue shoe.