Thursday, October 29, 2015


But before we get started... that #ScoutsGuideToTheZombieApocolypse looks SO cool. Bet Bill Meeker the movie guy's got something to say about it... Google him.

OK, NOW we can start---

No, wait... another thing... It's supposed to be a dull gray, rainy, October day tomorrow. I ducked out to the market so I'd be prepared. Got lots of chunky hot soup... some cold cuts... potato salad... cookies... crisp bread and lox and cream cheese..other stuff too. I forget... oh yeah, maple-brown sugar oatmeal and almond milk and a gallon of iced tea... and that IS all I can remember. Love when the place is all battened down and locked up... alarms on and all. Cozy, cozy, cozy. And some movie station is showing primo-cheesy horror movies. Not as good as what @IvonnaCadaver ... star of late night's Macabre Theater shows, but... what can I do? (anybody know a little magic?)... Ooooh, the trolls are projectile vomiting.. Love to have seen that casting call.

Now back to our show. Brought to you by PLAYTEX LIVING BRAS ( why some have been enjoying active vital lives since the 1950's)

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The Russian vampirina looked at Danny, sitting there in his t-shirt and briefs and said - Come, it's time that you see... She got up, stood by the doorway and gestured toward the darkness. He fell in and followed her. She moved fast. Lack of light meant nothing to her. He brushed his fingertips along the rough wall and hurried to keep up, occasionally encountering a 'house centipede' or some such thing, but that was to be expected.

Then the passage grew colder. They seemed to be spiraling down. The vampirina said - You may be blinded a bit. The chamber will have more light than you've become accustomed to. Quickly blink your eyes. It will go away. I, of course, am immune to such weaknesses..... Danny went - Uh huh.... He couldn't think of anything else. The whole atmosphere seemed to change, as if the ether itself subtly altered.

Twelve heartbeats later, he began to see the light, as a grey wash along the chill, rough surface. Then there was a sharp turn and they were there... a large, round space... stone walls .... perhaps fifteen feet high, lit buy flaming torches held in old, wrought iron fittings, mounted up, so as not to menace the 'people.' In the center was an opening, mirroring the shape of the room and surrounded by a low, stone barrier, just the right height for spectators to lean on.

Danny did have trouble seeing at first, but he soon grew used to the flickering torch light and the ten flames arranged around the perimeter gave off some warmth. They would have given off even more if hung lower, but the somewhat domed ceiling reflected the heat. For the first time in a while, Danny was warm.

The Russian vampirina-ballerina in her sooty tu-tu and Playtex Living Bra gestured toward the opening and said - Please, go. Look. See what comes next. He hesitated a bit then inched toward the barrier a few feet away, peeing down into a long, stone cylinder and its shadowy floor, seventy five feet below. At first it seemed there were only grey, dirty rags at the bottom, strewn about in haphazard piles. But then he saw something. Equally grey things moved about among the rags. The vampirina yelled - Show yourselves! .... And two naked, dirty girls crawled out, looking up through matted hair.

Who are they? - whispered Danny. Why did you take me here? Are you gonna throw me down there? I'll die. I'll die. The fall will kill me. Please don't kill me. You said you wouldn't. You said. I asked you after you killed Jerry and that singer girl.... He teared up... Please. You said.

The vampire woman, really a vampire girl, for she was quite young, no more than her early twenties, when they changed her, held up a hand to silence him. She said - Stop it. You make me reconsider my decision. Stop it.....

Danny just stood there. The vampire-dancer went on - I will keep my promise. Your light shall not go out. You will remain here, though I will perform a bit of transformative magic.... And on a visceral level he understood. So she embraced him, contorted his head, the better to find the artery and began to catch his blood, pumped out in great draughts. He swooned. She held him up, till the transfer was almost complete. Then laid him down upon the chill, stone floor, the better to finish the job. Over the course of the next few hours his blood and her blood would mingle. She took it in and gave it back, biting into her own wrist to create a font. He drank and was restored. A vampire? Not yet. Not till each and every cell of his body ceased it's reliance on normal sustenance and recognized the basic game change. But before that could happen something else had to take place and the pathetic females kept in the pit began to cry and moan. Indeed, it was their voices, or the echoes from them, he'd heard earlier.

The silver eyed being shambled in, accompanied by two other things, headless, squat, barrel chested drones, the stumps of their necks neatly sewn shut with black coarse thread. What manner of force kept them moving? They carried a long, thick, heavy rope. There was a hard, leather sleeve, ending in a large, brass hook at one end. The silver eyed being carefully affixed it to a stout, brass ring bolted to the edge of the barrier just over the side. Then they lowered the rope down to the bottom, seven stories below.

The vampirina said - Go. It is time for you to pass on your human line while some of your cells (and she chuckled) still swim..... She led him to the barrier. He looked down. The girls looked up. He said - You want me to climb to the bottom? I can't. I'll fall..... The vampirina known as Elaina Buchovina said - You will not. You have my blood too now and most importantly, my strength. Go. It's time.... He looked down at the naked, terrified girls and understood.

For eight or nine heartbeats he just stood there, watching his vulnerable prey....

And then he began to climb down...

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Underwear-Boy Listens As Vampirina-Ballerina Tells Of Sad Things... 10/26/15I

And the Russian ballerina-vampirina studied the sixteen year old boy on the sofa next to her and went on...

I learned that I was not the only girl from that place to become a vampire. One or two others suffered the same fate. The Autocracy had need of them. But we were slaves to begin with. Aristocratic girls never went to institutions like that. Rich, landed orphans always found relatives willing to take them in, for whatever wealth they had went with them. They were never left alone. did some become real life 'Cinderellas?' Yes, they did. But when they became of age, appropriate suitors vied for their hands and most escaped into fine, new homes.

Our girls were not so fortunate. Lucky ones were married off to artisans secure in their crafts... barrel makers... haulers... carpenters... men like that. Others became wives to widowers far older than they. Children need nannies after all and bread must be baked. Noble swains bought some girls to be groomed as mistresses. They were kept comfortably enough. But they were not like the demimonde in France. Few accumulated riches of their own. Like pets they were. And when they aged, most wound up as simple domestics... not even head housekeepers. Maids, or drudges, that's what they were.

Any girl children were returned to the somber institution from whence their mothers came. They drowned baby boys. Few families were willing to preserve illegitimate claimants. Occasionally some were given to serf families eager for sons. The lord might favor them with special gifts during the Christmas season. But not always.

This was Imperial Russia. One respected only wealth and power... and long standing wealth and power at that.

Now I progressed. The two women who groomed me in that strange establishment found other tasks for me to do. The cats resumed their regular positions, for I was no longer 'the mouser.'  I assisted them in the selling of 'bad' children to the Gypsies. And please don't think such wandering bands were all members of the nation now called 'Roma.' They were not. Most were free, though impoverished peasants from the south, outcast Cossacks, and God knows what. A ruble or two and the 'bad' child disappeared.

Then the vampire woman retreated into silence once again. Her sixteen year old prisoner- guest in his tightie-whiteys straightened up and said  - You told me it would be terrible. When does that part start?

She studied a point perhaps twenty two inches before here eyes and said - Be patient. Time is different for night-folk. I will not rush for anyone...... He blinked..... She said - What if I told you that unless you gouged some poor student's eyes out with your thumbs, I would kill you? What if I announced a change of plans and rather than becoming vampire, your skin is to be flayed from all underlying flesh for use as sueded drawstring jewelry pouches, of course after proper tanning and all that? Whether or not you died after the ordeal would be completely left to you. Though I suspect things would go a certain way. So don't be so hasty, underwear-boy... And she smiled, revealing her sharp, pearly fangs.

Underwear-boy shut up. They sat there in the low, flickering candle light, each lost in their own thoughts.

While from another part of the deep, dark compound came the sound of muffled screams...

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Thursday, October 22, 2015


The vampirina-ballerina stopped. She did that a lot when she told a story. Just looked off into space and thought. Night-Folk don't feel time the way mortals do. Some get distracted by their own reflection in a big shop window. They'll stand out there, real early in the morning, like two or three o'clock. Won't move or blink, or anything. Sometimes it's not even their own image that gets them. Could be the way a car parked at the curb across the street looks, or the moon, or anything, or a dead cat. Usually happens when they're alone. Not with another of their kind.

Danny watched her for a while. He didn't know what to do. Thought it was a seizure... if vampires have seizures. Then she sighed and he said - Are you alright?..... Elaina (called Kitty for a period in her youth) looked at him and said - What?..... He said - I-I-I saw you staring off like that and got scared.... The vampirina said - Don't be scared.... Then she drifted off again....

The shrouded thing with the silver ball bearing eyes came from God knows where and stood in the doorway. They were in the room with the unplugged, old early fifties television and the mohair sofa. Some fat, yellow candles scattered about gave off a little light.... made the 'eyes' look even worse. Danny didn't move. Was she going to kill him? She killed the other two drama club kids. She killed Jerry and that singer girl. Janis, her name was.... Danny almost started to cry. He just wanted to get out of there. He just wanted to go home.

Then the vampire woman said something in Russian and the shrouded thing left. Without raising her eyes, she whispered - I am not going to kill you, in a manner of speaking...... He didn't hear the 'in a manner of speaking part.' The first seven words were quite enough. He nodded. He was afraid to say anything else. But the preternatural woman in the dirty tu-tu and Playtex Living Bra knew his thoughts and said - No, my young friend. Your existence will go on. I will not send you into the dark-beyond-dark, or wherever it is we go...... You read my mind? - he asked..... No - she answered. I do not read these things after the fact. I feel them as you feel them. The experience is quite different. I can assure you....... Then Danny wanted to find out if she'd let him go home. He didn't know if night-folk feared the cops or not. Circumstances indicated otherwise. But he couldn't do anything, so he sat there in his tightie-whiteys and waited for the vampirina-ballerina to make the next move.

She inhaled and said - I was reliving an episode from my youth. A portentous event is about to unfold and such things always cause me to reflect. ....... Danny, being only sixteen years old and more into dramatics than academics, had no idea what portentous meant, so he just looked.

Elaina went on - I have seen many people leave this life and sometimes I feel it.... Danny said - I-I-I didn't know that..... She said - I am vampire, not a monster..... He couldn't help it. He asked - What about the other two?..... She said - Your friends?..... He nodded... She said - Well, I may not be a monster, but some of my 'associates' are....Danny pressed back into the sofa. He wished he'd never gone to that audition. He wanted to ask about the silver eyed thing, but decided not to.

The ever so slightly intoxicated vampirina (you know they like alcohol) sniffed and said - Old Russia was a very violent place. Czars fried people alive in huge, copper pans. I saw it, not as a mortal, but after. They scream at first. The skin on the back of the head burns off and even the bone begins to smoke. Same with the hips, the heels. Eventually they contract into a fetal position. More than a fetal position. Like a walnut. Like something in a shell. They tremble. Life lasts as long as the heart does. The lungs too, I suppose. And when they wanted to be especially harsh, they'd douse the pathetic remnant with ice water, only to do it again a bit later. They'd shear off children's fingers with large scissor-like things used by metal workers and make their parents watch. A highlight of the spring pogrom season it was. I saw old men held down on the ground, their faces cleaved in two by axe wielding mobs. Did I say faces? No, I am wrong. The blade went clear through, shattering the bone and splitting the brain. Crazed onlookers capered about and danced....

Wait. Please. Wait - Danny said. Why are you telling me this?

She gave him a piteous look and said - To prepare you for what is to come....

Then she retreated back into silence and stared at nothing once again.....

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015


a continuation of our 10/18/15 post-----

Vampires were a known 'commodity' in Old Russia. They'd been bringing them up since Byzantine times and from the Ottomans after that. Indeed, up till Soviet times, the Black Sea city of Odessa, quite a cosmopolitan place and in feeling more akin to Italy or Greece than Romonov lands, maintained a brisk trade in night-folk and other exotics.

Among the Turks, most had the status of slaves, but very pampered slaves, under the protection of great pashas and beys who used them to dispatch enemies and kill revolutionaries. Long time readers are familiar with that, since we've highlighted the famed vampire-training-academies of Topkapi before. The imperial palace, actually a series of jewel-box residences, pleasure domes and administrative offices contained many strange installations. Some far more unusual than a night-folk school. One evening we'll tell you about the flesh sculptors, who created freaks for noble collectors and sold them all over Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. What a sad business that was. And yes, it is possible to create a 'chicken woman,' or a 'chicken man.'

Elaina Buhkovina, our vampire-ballerina, fell under the tutelage of a French vampirina and a Turkish import. French expatriates wound up in Russia all the time, Italians too. They were viewed as international sophisticates. Many of the women became ladies in waiting to the Czaritzas and the males often served as imperial advisors in such matters as architecture, viniculture, foreign finance and military training. You see, for those with breeding and money, Russia was an opulent, worldly playground. But for the subjugated classes, for they whose very names had no meaning, life was endless toil. Oh, there was a small business class. In the eighteenth century most entrepreneurs were sons of former aristocratic servants or semi-acknowledged, 'illegitimate' offspring of the selfsame class. Most other souls were serfs, or ostensibly 'free' peasants (especially in 'Little Russia') with superficial rights that did not really mean very much, for any boyar (noble) could crush them, if he so wished.

One evening the two vampirinas, the one's who tutored Elaina, attended a little recital at the ecole du ballet in the Winter Palace. They were very well known, since they'd done this thing before. When the French one presented the dancing mistress a letter from Prince Usipov (an early progenitor of our own Russian, vampire oligarch, Grigori Usipov) directing her to give the exotic duo a girl they might instruct, her gaze fell on little Elaina, for she already had a dreamy air and her baba was reputed to be a witch.

Now the vampire lessons took place on Saturdays and Sundays, since there was no dance school then. A man came for her. He was a retired member of the constabulary and still wore the old, blue coat with the silver buttons. Every Friday afternoon he'd rap on the door, wait for Elaina to exit, take her hand and walk with her to the place where the vampirinas lived, a strange, narrow, though well set up residence on a skinny, little street behind  Perfumery Lane.

They'd already set her to a task... not exactly blood-drinker oriented, but designed to foster her hunting instincts and a willingness to kill. She was their 'mouser,' charged with keeping the place free of unwelcome tiny guests. They gave her what looked like a small baseball bat, an old little shovel and set her to it. At first she cried, but it soon became a game... two kopecks a head... And they expected to see heads. That's what the rusty sharp edge of the shovel was for....

'Kitty,' they called her Kitty, for she was just like a little cat...

And so it began.....

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

After The Ball Is Over (1929)..WHAT IS DEATH? WHAT ARE GHOSTS?... 10/18/15


They say the dead have no sense of time. Even more than that. They say time is just an illusion. The omniverse is a swirling morass of infinite points in space and their accompanying occurrences. And the thing is, every point in space-time occupies every possible point in space-time. Everything is everyplace... Just like it says. The dead just float in it. Perhaps that's what the ether is?

To be dead for an instant is the same as being dead for all eternity. I'm not talking about what goes on after death. We're not addressing God here. He may very well retrieve righteous souls from the bubbling pot and deposit them safely upon another shore. And even if He does not, eternity still feels but an instant, though one that never ends

But what about ghosts? What are they? To that I must say they are not monsters or frightful creatures from gothic novels. They are just people, devoid of any material presence, but people. They are the true essence of what we are. Call it energy, or spirit, or soul. They are what is left when the great engine of physical life stops running.

Students of these things say they separate from the ruins of their bodies soon after chemical reactions and synapses between neurons cease. Is that a shock, or a blessing? I don't know.

Could be the ghost has a choice to make. Do they flee this realm, or remain for a while? Do they stay with the living, or catch up to those who've gone before?

Those fortunate enough to experience familial spirits consider it a gift. They know 'life' in its truest form goes on. They've seen beyond and that can be a wonderful thing.

Troublesome hauntings are rare. Restless spirits rattle the china and tap the floorboards precisely because they are not acknowledged, especially by those they love. So it's best to recognize their presence. They only want to go on.

Long term 'hauntings' (if that is the right word)...spirit presences that last beyond the time when all earthy contemporaries have already passed over too, usually involve spirits more attached to surroundings than people. Sometimes they never had much family, but loved their home, or workplace , or various vistas encountered in life. So they walk the halls of old apartments, or visit the offices where they were employed. Now these spirits can become intrusive if they think the 'living' fail to value these sites. So it's always prudent to consider the feelings of everyone, whether in the flesh, or not.

Now we will get back to our regular story, but I saw an episode of 1st Look, that comes on after SNL and being October and Halloween and all, they aired segments about hauntings, one of which involved the centuries old, vast, semi-ruined, dungeon-like, Eastern State Penitentiary right here in Philadelphia....
But there's one ghost story they skipped...

It happened a few years ago. They touched up the place a bit to ready it for tourists. The ancient decrepitude was maintained. New wood and steel beams were carefully installed to preserve the structural integrity of the building (really a labyrinth of discreet wings and constructions, rather like an old, European castle). Near the end of the project, painters were brought in to artistically restore assorted nooks and corners without obfuscating the (very early) nineteenth century originals. They worked in dim, forgotten passageways and maze-like spidery cellars, dabbing somber color amongst the cracks, chips and old, brown (quite genuine) bloodstains. They'd talk quietly, the painters I mean, but sometimes near quitting time, sad muffled voices would join them. They always attributed these utterances to crews working 'round the corner,' or on the other side of the wall. But the walls were very thick and the passages very long.

One night, as the others left, a lone painter remained to get the job done. He toiled at the end of a long interior hallway. There were some old, iron doors along its length, but all were securely locked. The lights hanging from the twelve foot high barrel ceiling had yet to  be connected and the solitary artist worked with a mechanic's light plugged into the one working outlet. There were no windows... not even traffic noises...

And then it happened. The bulb in the mechanic's 'trouble' light fizzled and went out. Complete solid darkness... Nothing... The painter, who'd been working up toward the ceiling,  clambered down his ladder and attempted to find a replacement bulb. He tried to make as little noise as possible. No one likes to announce their presence in such eerie circumstances.

But he began to hear footsteps... far off... at the other end of the hallway... Shambling footsteps, as a prisoner in chains might take.... He froze... The only muscles moving within his body were those necessary for circulation and respiration. Maybe he blinked, but that's all. Still, the footsteps drew closer. He heard breathing... raspy wheezing and every so often a low mumbled word. Then whatever it was started banging on the heavy iron doors as it passed. 'It' knew where things were. 'It' could 'see' him.

He prayed. The painter prayed. But the walls wouldn't vanish and he could not escape.

Then it was upon him. He could smell the rotted breath. He could feel the tangible presence of some hulking thing there before him. He pressed against the wall and whispered 'no, no, no,' as he slid down to the cold, cement floor

Whatever it was reached down and grabbed him, pinning his arms to his body. He whimpered. The thing roared and the sound echoed from the old, crumbling plaster. Then is smashed his head against the wall and that was it...

They found him in the morning sprawled on the cold cement. But there was a thick smear of paint and blood tracing a stripe from high up near the ceiling all the way down to the floor.... and the bulb in the trouble light was on.

He lived. The painter lived. They interviewed him. The story was everywhere. All the papers had it. Tourists flocked to the gray, artistically crumbling 'castle.' Psychic researchers came too, some for their own purposes, some to learn the truth.

And that's it too.....

What have you seen? What have you heard? Please comment. Share. I'm sure we'd all love to read them all.

'Life' goes on.....

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Friday, October 16, 2015


The next day, if it was a day, they brought me hard boiled eggs and caviar. Never had caviar before. Good actually. And there must have been some kind of drug dissolved in the juice they gave me, because ... well, I just didn't care about anything. Escaping? Who the hell cared? Being imprisoned in a dark, cellar closet? Oooh, cozy! I can't even tell you what kind of juice it was. It was cold and sweet and vaguely fruity. Could have been Kool Aid, but I don't think they'd have given me Kool Aid. Czarist Russians did have standards, you know.

A bit after that, the silver eyed 'man' came back and led me to a small tiled room that was apparently for showering. He turned on the water (comfortably warm) and stood there as I washed. There was a fat, sputtering candle in a far corner so I could see. And you're probably wondering how that ballerina-vamperina from last night got battery powered candles back in nineteen seventy one. But there were a lot of anomalies like that. To be truthful, I still can't explain them all. I have theories. I can tell you what I think. They tell me the 'burden' (vampirism) settles differently on each and every one of us. Some sublimate with ease. Others manipulate matter. Elferinos are natural fliers. While a few... a very few... can smear themselves through time. And I've only heard of two or three. One saw the Exodus... another the burning of Saint Joan. That's all I can tell you. I live a fairly independent existence, vampire speaking. But some rules I will not break. Catch me sometime when I'm in my absinthe ... maybe then... maybe.

After my ablutions, the silver eyed thing gave me a big, thick bath sheet. I dried off, expecting to be led back to my prison, however my guard threw me a paper bag containing two packages. One held three pairs of tightie-whities, the other had three matching t-shirts. The shrouded figure said - Get dressed. I pulled on one of the shirts and snapped on a pair of the briefs. The 'thing' quickly gathered up the opened packages and put them back into the paper bag. He scrunched it closed and motioned toward the door, then shepherded me back into the darkness.... More passages...whether the same ones, or different I can't say. We came to a room lit by the screen of a small, black and white television. It must have been twenty years old even then, a twelve inch picture in a wooden console, square, cloth covered speaker at the bottom, two chunky, black, plastic knobs, one on each side. The Russian ballerina sat on an equally vintage mohair sofa, chuckling at a morning rerun of The Dick Van Dyke show, wearing the same dusty tu-tu as before, though topped by an off-white Playtex bra. And if you question the cadence of my speech, or the words that I use... If they sound wrong for a sixteen year old boy, please remember I am night-folk for almost forty five years, which makes me officially sixty one. And as I've already stated, drama club kids were different to begin with.

She left me standing there, the Russian dancer, I mean, till commercial, then gestured for me to be seated. She took a long, deep swig from a bottle of Stoli, before passing it to me. I took a neat, little sip and passed it back. She moved closer and began to kiss me. Then she tickled me till I laughed and began to kiss her back.

But I couldn't help but wonder, if they had electricity for the old television, why no lights... why no lamps? Then I noticed the cord, wound round toward the front of the console... It wasn't plugged in.

She saw that I'd noticed, pulled back and whispered - Do you want to see my home?... I nodded. What else could I do? She stroked my hand, turned to face the screen and sighed. Then she trembled. Her eyes rolled back in her head. The television screen went dark for a few heartbeats. You know how those old TV's were. There was a white horizontal line in the middle, then a bright, white dot, then nothing, till the screen began to quicken with an image... a house made from rough, stones... plain and somber... maybe larger than an ordinary house, with two white marble steps leading up to a darkly painted door. There's a brass plaque off to the side. The inscription is in Cyrillic. I couldn't read it. But the door opened and a woman who might have been a nun, or a nurse, led twenty little girls out onto the street, each dressed in a dark uniform.... long skirts topped by long cloaks, buckled shoes.... It was summer and the new capitol of St. Petersburg shone under a temporarily benevolent sun, as the girls of the foundling home went out for a morning walk. Great carriages rolled passed, pulled by matched pairs. Old women sold flowers. Tall, spruce officers from elite regiments trod the streets with an entitled air. An ancient peasant did southern, Cossack dances on the corner. People threw coins.

In a hoarse small voice, with her eyes still rolled back, the Russian ballerina said - Can you see it? Can you see it?  ... I told her that I could. And she whispered - Gut... gut... gut...

Then she showed me more.....

I could not look away.....

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015


The teenaged night-fiend, Donny, continues the tale of his second nativity-----

We kept going. All the while I could taste the rancid breath of the strange, silver eyed thing behind me. The passage was dark... beyond dark... the blackness was solid and inviolate. We went down. Then the floor and walls began to curve, like a great spiral corkscrew boring deep into the earth. We come into a room. I cannot see it, but I can feel it. The movement of the air seems different. And a voice... a woo-mahn's voice says - Dat eez all, Vasili. Now go f#ck yourself. Go go go go... With that, the strange, shrouded, ball bearing eyed thing behind me turned and scampered back through the narrow passage. Four heartbeats later I saw the room illuminated after a fact by the flickering light from four or five thick candles. She wore an old tattered tu-tu and nothing else. Believe me. I could see. One shapely leg was cocked over the arm of a throne-like chair, as she slouched against the opposite side. And the low, creamy light from the candles was adequate enough to show me the truth of it all. But the only thing I could think to say was - H-h-how did you do that?.... Do vat, mahnchik? - she said .... Light the candles - I said. Was it magic?...... Miss Tu-tu chuckled and went - No, my beautiful, new play thing. They are flameless, battery powered pieces of crap from deh Walmart, merely timed to 'ignite' simultaneously... I nodded and went - Oh..... She said - Drop it deh blanket. I vahnt to get luke at you..... So I did and stood there bare and compliant. After all, If I was ever to leave and return to the drama club, that tu-tu lady would probably have something to do with it.... She straightened up, sat correctly and adjusted her breasts. Though I don't recall their needing any fine tuning, or re-alignment. Everything looked OK to me. Like a ballerina plucked from an old music box, she was, though perhaps thrown behind a dusty sofa and allowed to vegetate for a few years.

I could tell that she liked me and said - Please, madam, who are you?.... And without even missing a beat, she said - I ahm first dancer, Elaina Buhkovena, late of Mariinsky Ballet. And you ahr 'Danny.' I know because ve went through your pockets, ven you had pockets. Turn around. I vahnt to see your fundament... How educated and well spoken she was! Naturally, I obliged and in a quiet voice, she said - Wery gud wery gud wery gud. Almost like 'ballerino.'....... I wasn't sure what that meant. But I had an idea, 'cause I'd seen the movie SO FINE on basic cable and remembered the ballet sequence.

Then she patted her thigh and said - Come. Seet awn my lep.....So I did. Her flesh was firm and strong. I didn't know it then, but all night-folk, all vampires have bodies like that. I thought maybe ballerinas and 'ballerinos,' because of all the dancing and exercises and all. What did I know. Failed two auditions to be a Von Trapp kid and in the late sixties-early seventies that was a very big thing.

She had angel hair, long and curly, like a cloud. And she proceeded to tell me secrets, while stroking my body and nipping at my ears. I heard about Old, Imperial Russia and her days at The Academy of Classic Dance, (housed in an obscure wing of The Winter Palace itself). I heard about the clean, new, Northern Venice that was St. Petersburg. Well, in the eighteenth century it was clean and new.... Dashing, aristocratic, cavalry officers.... Presentations in the private, jewel-box theater for Empress Catherine and her many guests.... Champagne breakfasts with balalaika orchestras composed of well trained serfs. For a while she just babbled, sipping from a glass of vodka. Then she gestured toward a pile of satin comforters on the cold, concrete floor. We positioned ourselves upon them and had relations... After a bit we had relations again. That was her word for it. She loved her relations. Upon completion, as we lay there, I felt emboldened and asked what happened to my friends from the drama club, (who were abducted with me). I said - Where is Jerry?... She said - You mean de boy?... I nodded... She said - Deht... I sighed and asked - And what happened to Janis?.... She said - You mean de singair one? You mean de girl?... I nodded some more... And once again she shrugged and said - Deht....

I whispered - oh.... My heart was pounding. She HAD to feel it.  I'd be next. I was sure I was next. Any minute that strange shrouded creature, the one she sent off to f#ck himself would come back. He MUST be done by now.

But the strange being did not come back. And the Russian ballerina who remembered the year seventeen sixty two went - shhh shhh shhh, as she began to kiss me where I had never been kissed

And suddenly I did not care who was 'deht' and who was not....

(so ends the first encounter)

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Sunday, October 11, 2015


Danny, our teenaged night-fiend, talks again--

The cabbie offered us 'sweets.' He said 'sweets' not candy or anything like that and I think he was Anglo-British. Looked like Englebert Humperdink . Since the container had yet to be opened we each took one. Rather like Altoid mints, I think they were. We thanked him and watched the crowds squeeze through Fifteenth Street on their way toward the big subway stop by City Hall. They looked soaked and quite eager to ride the escalators under ground. Some would undoubtedly buy umbrellas and hot coffee in the below street level shopping concourse. It ran for blocks.

Then the windshield wipers began to beat a quick rhythm. I suppose they'd been doing that since we got in, but whatever was in those mints started to work . We were drugged and that was it. The people.. the shops... the Christmas lights.. the rain disappeared, as a deep, dark cloud enveloped us. Janis, the singer girl, was in the middle. She fell 'asleep' against me. That's all I remember.

I awoke in a room, or a cell. It was in a basement. There was a window, a very small one up by the ceiling, maybe sixteen inches long and six inches wide. The glass was very thick and it was nailed shut. It was dark out... nothing to see save a light... a streetlamp or more likely a security light pinned up on the moldering brick wall of the building across the alley. But a bit of the glow fell into my prison. The floor was painted concrete. The walls were cinderblock and the door, though pressed like wood, with recessed panels, was metal, a dark, almost black, charcoal colored metal. I could make out the spot where a door knob once was, though it was gone now and plugged with a round piece of iron. I couldn't budge it... the door, I mean. So I sat on the cot (the place was much like a jail cell, but minus that little toilet-sink thing.). My heart was pounding, but I didn't scream... I didn't call out. I was too scared. Where were the others? Were they in 'rooms' like this too? How long had I been there? My parents. My family. Oh God. I pressed myself back into a corner and hugged my knees. I was numb, or pretended to be.

The cold from the cinderblock wall drained the heat from my body. I began to shiver. There was a rough wool blanket folded by the foot of the cot. I lifted an edge. It smelled clean... a bit of a mothball scent, but clean. At least there wouldn't be bugs with the naphtha and all. I wrapped it around me, laid down, curled up and drifted off. Only my nose peeked out from the makeshift cocoon. Then I slept, as the drug was obviously still in me. 

Someone was in the cell. I opened my eyes to see a stooped, shrouded figure rush out and lock the door. It was still dark. Perhaps I'd just dozed off for a short while? Perhaps a whole day had passed. I didn't know. I'm guessing I was out for an hour or so, because I hadn't peed yet. There was a jar standing on the floor, an old, glass, mayonnaise jar with a screw on metal lid. It was filled with what looked like a thick, meaty, split pea soup. The outside of the jar was still warm. I unscrewed the lid, dipped in a finger and sniffed... tasted a bit too. I was hungry and drank it down. Then I reached in and scooped out the thick part. After that, I cried, not so much for myself, but for my family.

Eventually, I had to pee. There was no drain in the floor. I looked. But I found a white, enamel pot under the cot... My toilet. What else could I do? Then I laid there and thought who would they send for the slops?

Daylight came. I knew it because the tiny bit of light sneaking in through the small window grew a bit less feeble. The thick pane of glass was obviously smoked, or darkened in some way.

Soon after, I heard the sound of a key. Someone was opening the door. I heard wheezing. I heard coughing. Who, or whatever it was hummed a little song. I didn't recognize it.... Then a person came in... That's it. I can't tell you if it was a man or a woman.. You know how some people are neutral... thick skinned.... mousy hair.... pouchy jowls....dirty nails? Well, this individual was like that. Wore a long, worn, black terry cloth bathrobe too. Don't ask me what that represented. I have no idea.

It raised its head and 'looked' at me. But in place of eyes there were dull, silvery, metal orbs. I saw them glint in the minimal light.

Well... scratch 'traditional' kidnapping.

The thing chuckled ominously and said - Come wit' me..... I froze. Then it added. If you fail to cooperate... if you frustrate their intentions, they will simply kill you... Then it chuckled some more..... It gestured toward the opened door. Beyond lay only blackness.

I got off the cot and walked through the doorway. The strange thing followed. I could feel it's breath, as it said - keep moving....

I carefully made my way down a dark, stone walled passage that seemed to go on forever...

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Who Teenage Wasteland - WE MEET DANNY THE NIGHT FIEND ... 10/8/15

Some of us hide. Not that we don't walk about at night but we manage to veil our presence. Do I do anything to accomplish that? No. It just comes natural to me. But I've strolled right by other vampires you might know and they were oblivious. I love that. And I take no vows or have much in the way of spiritual beliefs. I view this as an infection... a possession brought about by an infusion of prions.... Yes, I'm one of those.... a modern day, scientifically oriented blood drinker. Look, Barnabas Collins was too. What do you think he paid Dr. Hoffman all that money for. You know insurance didn't cover that.

Doctor Franklin knows about me. How does he know? Because I told him. He keeps me away from the spiritual, 'noble' vampires and they've yet to sniff me out. Do I follow their comings and goings? No. And that includes the elferinos and elferinas too. I stay away from the mole people, because they scamper through every part of the underground and they whisper. They tell secrets. They share everything. The one you know about... the vampire called Tomas, or Jonathon, or whoever he is mushes up with Aura and Sylvia, The mole-king's daughters and they talk.

It's strange around here. So many of you know about the night world. You know about the life-eaters and cherubs and ghouls and I don't even know what else is out there... OK, the ghosts. We got ghosts and witches and moms that feed their kids shitty pizza and everything. And this is Philadelphia. We've been around since sixteen eighty two...Sixteen thirties if you count the Swedish and Dutch speaking people who were here first. My God, every time they dig a foundation for a new building they find bones in those horrible form fitting coffins. The midnight air swarms with ghosts... The thing is, you KNOW and for a few minutes here and there you know you know. But then BAM the door slams shut and life is all Cherrios and Almond milk all over again. What hypocrites you all are.... At least I am not that.

Let me tell you something about myself. I was that kid from the drama club. I don't mean 'like' the kid from the drama club. I truly was the kid from the drama club. That's why I'm so well spoken. I know Shakespeare and Eugene O'Neil and David Mamet and Steven Sondheim. Not that we played all that in school. Most of the time it was ANNIE, or GREASE or THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Nazis were A-OK, but not the other stuff. Though we read them. Not in school. On our own. Sometimes we'd run scenes in each other's basements. I was going to study at Yale drama school. Don't ask about the cost. Somehow it was going to happen. We dialed the C.A.S.T.I.N.G. number fifty five times a day. That was a line the unions used to maintain. It was like a telephone billboard. They'd list movies shooting in town... TV shows filming here... all that. I'd scribble down all the information on a little pad I kept in my room. Sometimes they wanted kids. Sometimes they didn't. And I couldn't go to every 'look see,' because of school. Like I was gonna be a professional quadratic equation solver, or Ethan Fromme interpreter. But sometimes I did go. Me and a few others from the drama club, I mean.

We'd ditch school early. Spanish was last period and the Spanish teacher was pretty dramatic herself. She wore long, swirly, wool skirts, wide leather belts and light weight boat-necked sweaters with the sleeves pushed up... and she lived in Center City (analogous to Manhattan) somewhere in the Twenties. That in itself was amazing. The fact that she was forty, while her boyfriend (a talented window dresser at John Wanamaker's) was twenty five floored us. This was late sixties, early seventies. But that's another story. At least she understood.

The auditions were in rehearsal halls, or hotels. Crowds would stream in. 'Cattle Calls'... They named them right. And I never appeared in anything. My parents wouldn't let me. But I went. And I looked. Just being close was something. But why wouldn't anyone listen?

One time they were looking for kids for Bye Bye Birdie, a revival set to play The Locust Street Theater. OK, no way I was going to be Homer, or whatever they called him, but I could have been somebody. This was in November. It was cold and dark... twilight by the time we got into 'town.'  Stores lit up for the holidays. Kettle people ringing bells on street corners. I loved all that. Got off the subway at Fifteenth Street and ran all the way to the audition in the old Drake Hotel maybe seven or eight blocks away. Show people lived there... an ever so slightly shabby, but still stylish soaring tower maybe thirty stories high. We worshipped the place.

I didn't even have a head shot. My resume was a joke. I had two or three Polaroid pictures... serious look with a tie... casual sweater with a smile... Homemade Hollywood all the way. But this time the casting director seemed interested. She wrote something at the bottom and put my resume on the top. Then she carefully stapled my photos to it so they wouldn't get lost. Usually they just make us put our names and numbers on the back. Then, God knows what they do with it. People were still pouring in when we left ( me and two kids from school). But it was full ondark and raining outside... a cold rain. The streets were jammed with people heading home... to parking lots, or commuter trains, or the subway. We'd be soaked by the time we got to the Market-Frankford Line, so we ducked into the outside foyer (you know... the place between the windows) of some men's shop. The Carlton Shop, I think it was... and counted our crumpled one dollar bills to see if we had enough for a cab. Not that it cost so much back then, but we didn't know that.

So the three of us, me, Jerry and the singer girl named Janis, piled into an old, dirty Checker Cab and headed off... in my mind straight to Broadway.

But we never even got to Broad Street, for the driver took us someplace else...

And since nineteen seventy one, I've played a quite different role... a perennial sixteen year old sneaking in and out of the shadows...

My name is Danny... and I am a night fiend...

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Monday, October 5, 2015

A VAMPIRE AT HOME... 10/6/15

The ghost of the little boy polio victim who lives in the basement level of the townhouse waits for me (Jonathon) to come in every morning. I usually come back around three or four o'clock. Once in a while as late as six o'clock. It's October now. I can to that. He waits in the front foyer, siting on the floor by the tall clock. I bring him things...little toys... cars. He likes cars. I've never seen him manipulate larger, heavier things, but small toys are alright. He asks if I feel OK. I say 'yes.' Then he's happy. I know he doesn't mean if I'm sick, or not. He knows vampires don't get sick... not that way. But he's very attuned to feelings. Edith, our Jersey Pines, witchy-woman housekeeper says most ghosts are like that. Says they draw strength from the living people around them... from their feelings, I mean. He has a tiny, old, transistor radio that still works. I change the batteries every so often... make sure they never run down. He can manage to flick it on and off and rotate the tuning dial. Sometimes we hear it playing quietly downstairs. He likes talk shows. Loves listening to people discussing things. And please don't think that the basement is a cold, bare-stone cellar. It's not. We have it set up as a series of small chambers with regular plaster walls, opening up on a narrow, corridor. Some of the vampires sleep down there. Ghost boy has a room too. Edith set it up for him. Not just her. Sarah, my consort helped too. Actually, we married with a real ceremony and everything. But 'wife' seems such a mortal term and although I am in most ways still basically 'human,' mortal I am not.

Truthfully, none of us are mortal. By 'us' I mean both night-folk (me) and day-folk (you). The only difference is you shed your fleshy parts right away and we don't. That's all. (thinks for a few moments) I suppose there are other differences. You know how it is.

I'm sitting in the den watching late night reruns of that show where Bob Newhart has a cozy inn in a picture book Vermont town. I love shows like that. Believe me, the early middle ages were anything but calm and cozy. I like the den... not the larger 'family room' we sometimes call the den. I mean this little place. Really more of a library. No big flat screen over a mantle piece.... just dark wood shelves full of books, a couple little tables & lamps... a sofa just big enough to stretch out on... a wing chair... nice 'Turkey' rug. TV's a little old one. I like old things. Sometimes I doze off in here. Sarah always comes down before dawn to see if I'm alright. She wakes me up. We go upstairs. In case you don't know, we sleep in a regular bedroom. But it's fitted with special shutters, draperies and shades. Nobody bothers us. Edith put a hoo-doo on the house and the cops look out for us. Not all of them... only the 'familiars.'.... only the ones who know.

Vampires can live rather quietly. And I haven't worn a red lined, black satin opera cape in umpteen million years.. Sure there's drama from time to time. Pig Blood what's her name, the born-witch goes on a rampage... Ethereal, unbelievably advanced alien entities might encase the Earth  in a salt water, oceanic-like shell roiling miles above the clouds. Edith might forget to buy aroma candles. Night-folk love aroma candles. We don't normally eat, so we have to get 'flavor' somewhere.

I'm worried about little Timothy. He helped Ca-Ca kill Esther, but in his heart, he's not a killer, just a scared insecure, ten year old, assistant killer. I'll talk to Doctor Franklin tomorrow night. Hope he hasn't experimented on him too much already. You know, three hundred and eight year old patriot reprobates tend to get a little ripe over the years. You ever see him ride that little electric scooter around town, dressed in his green, Eagles sweat suits, with his wispy, stringy hair flying out in all directions?

I'm beginning to feel something. Night-folk (vampires and such) are fairly telepathic. What do you expect? October's a strange month...

Dark things always happen.

(with that he dozes off, as the little ghost boy from the basement, rises up through the floor to sit on the rug and watch ancient, black and white reruns of TO TELL THE TRUTH)...

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It is I, Jonathon. Come, walk with me. I love Philadelphia after midnight, especially in the autumn. Does the chill get to me? Of course it does. It cannot harm me, but I still feel the discomfort. So I wear a soft, black cashmere sweater over my white shirt and the zipper of my , trim, black, leather jacket is almost all the way up.

Look at this place... cobbled streets... old churchyards. Doctor Franklin's 'grave' is right over there, through that black, wrought iron fence. Oh, he's not in it. But if you're an old friend, you know that. I love the grand old apartment residences, all beaux arts and the like. Who's awake up there? I see the lights. Speculation is fun. Sometimes I hear thoughts. Sometimes I don't.

Oh, Billy, the one who transcribes this for us, wants two chocolate chip cookies. You'll hardly notice the pause. He'll be back. (pause) OK, he's back. Had three cookies instead of two. That's bad. The doctor said he should lose twelve pounds. Help his blood pressure. Oh, you don't see it, the weight, I mean. He's tall. But it's there. I've offered him a drop or two of my restorative blood. He says 'no.' Afraid to mess up his precious humanity. Think he'd know by now.  See that little park over there? I have a thing for tiny pocket parks. Once culled a particular bastard right behind that bush. A cop saw the cold, blue flame. They light up like that and burn up after the blood is gone. But he was one of ours. Not a vampirino, but a 'familiar.' I nodded to him. He nodded to me... and that was it. After, I had a nice mug of tea in that coffee shop we go to near the Warwick. Might have one tonight too.

You came after the big event. Already culled someone this evening. She poisoned the girl next door... a loud mouthed cheap thing... 'ran with the boys' and all that. Insulted people right to their face. Called my victim a 'God damned, ugly, old witch.'.... Right out on the front steps she said it. Some of the other neighbors laughed. That's the kind of street it was, especially in the summer, when everyone was outside. Feud started. Everyone began calling the old witch 'F#CK Face.' So two weeks later, at the block party, she slips a real nice cheeseburger 'pie' in with everything else. Got the recipe from a free magazine at the Giant food market. She put onions in it... tomato sauce. I don't know what else. It was good... Baked it real nice.... Only the meat was recalled. She knew it. Came from a tainted ranch somewhere in Minnesota, or Manitoba, or someplace like that... Mad Cow Disease... Extremely microscopic bits of DNA, prions, they call them, lodge in the brain and eat it alive. Three weeks later the cheap, loud mouthed girl was dead. But so were four other people.... a cute, little toddler... the toddlers mommy... and some guy from the next block. F#CK Face used a scatter shot. That's why I  killed her. Did her a favor, actually. Cops were closing in. You know some people say vampirism might be caused by a prion?  But they're wrong. It isn't. What, a prion's going to enable us to sublimate and levitate? A prion's going to make us telepathic, or have 'divine' visions? I don't know why mortals can't accept the fact that 'magic' really exists.

As I sublimated into her bedroom I was mumbling to myself in Spanish... my ancestral tongue... well, one of them. Sometimes I forget. She wakes up and I'm there. Starts yelling - What are you doing!? Get the hell out of here, you Puerto Rican son of a bitch! HELP! HELP! HELP!.... I can't have that. So I vault onto the bed, rip her lower jaw off (God, how flesh and gristle shreds). Blood gushes out like projectile vomit. I go into a feeding frenzy and about twenty seven heartbeats later she's dead... Probably in shock the whole time, the woman, I mean. But her eyes... You should have seen her eyes.

Look, if anyone came running. If some neighbor started pounding on the door, I'd just sublimate up through the roof and get out of there. But older people have night terrors all the time and they already hated her around there anyway.... Don't feel sorry for her. There were other crimes too. She once burned a little boy on a charcoal grill. It happened when she lived in the country... a foster child and she covered it up and they never found the body and she moved away. I don't know what they thought happened to the little boy. I don't even know if they cared.

People thought it was a case of spontaneous human combustion. They always think it's a case of spontaneous human combustion. They can't accept magic, but spontaneous human combustion is OK.... It's like pizza delivery. It's common. And with an active vampire population, Philadelphia is ground zero for S.H.C.... Kids in town for college sleep with those blue, glass, squirt bottles of seltzer by their beds. I know. there're sites on line. I've seen it.

Had to race back to the townhouse and change because of the blood and all....

Now let me just walk and relax. You can keep up with me, but it won't be easy. Though at three thirty on a chill dark Sunday morning, I suggest you take a taxi. Look, there's a cab stand over there, right in front of The Barclay. Go. Run. Be safe.....

Then he just disappears. Either through sublimation, or other means, vampires can do that.

Man, he must have a whole closet full of those leather jackets.

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Thursday, October 1, 2015


And I sat there. I sat there and watched those soul-blighted cretins smash the skull of that poor, poor, man. I sat and I watched them stuff their faces with greasy tid bits and grab each other under the tables. I wanted to kill them. I wanted to sublimate and run right through them... destroy each and every one. Non-living matter survives unscathed. It's how we pass through walls. But living matter tears and shredded human bodies maintain their forms for perhaps two heartbeats before raining down upon icy cobbles and running into the gutter. Not that it has to happen outdoors. I just like that visual... vermin darting out to snatch the slimy residue.... Oh, God, I wanted to sublimate and shred them all. And then, as I condense and solidify, I spin around and throw back my head, dancing, as the tiny, wet gobbets of flesh fly from my body like a tornado of flies... Vampires love rain. We walk through it for hours. It calms us... cools the vapors and all.

But the thing is, I did not kill them. I just sat and watched, occasionally nodding at the inane things they said. I, who had a Visitation from The Holy Presence on the eve of my Assumption of The Faith (bar mitzvah) when I was thirteen years old and still very much mortal. I, who felt the words - I Am The Unity like unto there is none else. No thing can separate Me from thee. I Am The Creed for all creation, the One True Shining Faith. The Light Who shines through every wall. the Pure And Simple Thing (code for love). The True Road Home. I Am One so YOU are one..... And by that He meant the collective 'you,' all living kind, for in an instant, I saw the multitudes and many weren't human...When it happened, toward the end of what many call 'the first millennium,' I was frightened and knew not what to make of it. But now I know. Earth is but one place. Humanity but one form. And The Lord has children everywhere.

Just know I let Billy lie about us. I let him add things and tell stories about 'flesh renderings' and other gruesome decorations, because I'm told you want them... no, need them.

Wait till next post. They'll be there. But for now, this time, I wanted to 'come through.' ... Jonathon ben Macabi, the 'noble' (moral) life-eater who takes vows and 'culls' only those base souls unfit to live.

I guess if you're one of them, I can be scary too. The Grim Reaper doesn't have to be a monster.

I'm going out now. It's just after midnight.... cool and drizzly... fifty five degrees. I think that's about twelve or thirteen degrees in the French system they invented during their revolution. If you're out and about the streets of Philadelphia's older districts, listen for my boot-steps... I love trim, black, fine leather footwear. I love black jeans, handmade white shirts and black, leather jackets worthy of a demigod. Oooh, I'm so vain. Look for me... or don't. It doesn't matter......

I'll find you.

(With that he leaves the commodious townhouse, descends the white marble steps, rounds the corner and disappears into the mist...)

Only four more weeks of that accursed 'Daylight Savings.'

Vampire Time is upon us...

Let the season begin.......

shhhh... time to get your 'red' on...

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