Authors: Zachary Stone
“You’re looking healthy,” my mom called out to me while she continued to cook. “You must be taking those vitamins I have been sending you.”
“I took them for a while,” I said. “but I've kinda been busy lately, so I haven’t had any lately.”
Suzy Q peeked into the kitchen, but kept her distance.
“Hi Suzy,” I called out to the dog. She only growled in response.
“I honestly don't know what’s gotten into that dog,” my mother said. “She’s acting so weird.”
My mom turned off the oven and took a large pot off the stove.
“So who’d like some coffee?” she said.
“I would,” Cathy said. “I'll go get it.”
“No, you sit down,” my mom said. “You’re a guest. I'll get it for you.”
“Let me get it for her,” I said.
“No, you sit down too,” she said. “I don't get the chance to do for you very often since we’re living so far apart.”
My mother got three cups out of a squeaky cabinet, took them to a coffee pot in the corner of the kitchen, filled them, and brought them to us – along with three spoons from the dish rack.
“Sugar’s on the table,” she said.
I added sugar to my cup but Sarah and Cathy drank theirs black.
“So did you raise Eli in this house Mrs. Smith?” Cathy asked.
“You don't have to call me Mrs. Smith, honey,” she said. “Just call me Emily. And no, I've only been living here the last couple years. Eli grew up near Savannah,” she said.
“The food smells delicious, Emily,” Sarah said.
“Thank you sweetie,” she said. “Let me set the table and we can get started.”
Emily proceeded to set the table and minutes later, she set a dish in the middle of the table. It contained a huge pot roast, carrots, onions, and potatoes. She placed a large plate of black eyed peas, a plate of warm rolls, and a container of butter on the table. After pouring each of us a glass of sweetened ice tea, she finally sat down.
She looked exhausted and it worried me.
“Are you feeling okay, Mom?” I asked.
“I'm just a little tired,” she said. “Don't worry about me.”
“Sarah, would you say grace for us?” she asked.
“Sure,” she said.
I bowed my head and closed my eyes. I saw Cathy do the same.
“Dear God, please bless this food and the person who prepared it. Thank you for helping us get here safely. In your name, Amen.”
I opened my eyes and reached towards the roast. Taking a knife, I cut the roast into large portions. I put a portion on my mother's plate, Cathy's, Sarah's, and then my own. I ate my portion of meat quickly before helping myself to anything else, and in only a minute, I had finished.
“Wow,” my mother said, still picking at hers. “You three were hungry.”
Looking at Sarah and Cathy's plate, I saw they had also finished.
“Those black eyed peas smell good,” I said, before putting a large scoop of them on my plate, making sure to include several chunks of ham.
The roast was delicious,” Sarah said.
“It was very good,” Cathy added.
“Thank you,” my mother responded. “Now try some of the black eyed peas and rolls.”
“I will, thank you,” Cathy said, before helping herself to the peas.
The three of us sat at the table and continued eating.
“Have a roll, Eli,” my mother said.
I took a warm roll from the platter and my companions did the same. Opening it up, I put a large spoonful of butter inside of it. As I bit into it I realized that pure carbohydrates – unless they were well seasoned with meat – just didn’t have the same appeal to me as they used to.
“Maybe I just need to eat more protein first,” I thought.
My mother walked towards the refrigerator.
“I made a banana pudding,” my mother said. “I know it's your favorite, Eli.”
The memory of my mother's famous banana pudding – completely home made from scratch – raced through my mind. I hoped that it would taste as good as it used to, when I was human. It had some protein in it – at least due to the heavy cream and eggs used in it – so my hopes were high.
“I've not had banana pudding in years,” Cathy said.
“Then you’re in for a treat,” Emily said, before bringing each of us a bowl of pudding.
I quickly dug into mine and my hopes were confirmed; it was delicious.
“Thank you so much, mom,” I told her. “It’s great!”
“I'm glad you like it,” I heard her say.
Cathy and Sarah both sampled the pudding and quickly ate the large servings they had been given. My mother smiled with satisfaction at the fact they liked it.
I then noticed her limp a little while she walked back to the counter.
“Are you alright, Mom?” I asked. “Did you hurt your leg?”
My mother turned around and wiped her hands on the pink apron she wore over her sweat pants.
“I'm just getting arthritis in my knee,” she said. “The doctor has put me on an anti-inflammatory so I should be fine.”
I then saw Cathy and Sarah stand up.
“Sit down, Emily,” Cathy said. “We’re going to take it from here.”
“No,” my mother said. “You’re the guests.”
“Your leg is hurting you,” Cathy said. “Sit down.”
My mother complied, and Cathy and Sarah began to take the dishes to the sink and clean the kitchen.
“There’s some salad in the fridge if you’d like some,” she said.
“No thank you,” Cathy said. “We’re full as can be.”
My mother bent over towards me like she wanted to tell me something.
“You sure did find a good looking girlfriend,” she whispered. “Where did you meet her?”
I didn't know what to say. I decided to answer truthfully.
“I met her in downtown,” I said.
“How old is she?” my mother asked.
I saw Cathy glancing in our direction.
“I need to tell you something,” I said.
“Is something wrong?” my mom asked.
“No, not at all. Everything’s great, actually,” I said. “It's just that . . . I’m not sure how to day this, but Cathy and Sarah are . . . well, vampires. And . . . and I'm now . . . , well I’m a vampire too.”
My mother looked at me with a blank stare. Then she looked at Sarah and Cathy.
I didn’t mention that I was part griffin. I thought the vampire revelation was enough of a shock for one day. I was worried about how she was going to take the news – but suddenly, Mom started laughing.
“She's not a vampire, honey,” she said. “What are you talking about?”
I then saw both Cathy and Sarah glance at me while they washed dishes.
“I'm serious,” I said. “But I want to let you know that vampires aren’t evil creatures. They also don't drink blood. Actually, they just need good sources of protein like pot roast.”
My mother laughed again, a bit harder.
“So you’re telling me that you’re a pot roast consuming vampire?” she asked.
I paused for a moment.
“Yes, I am,” I said. “They are too.”
She rolled her eyes.
“I don't believe it, Eli,” she said. “Why are you trying to spoil this nice visit by making up such a crazy story?”
Sarah left the sink and pulled up a chair next to my mother and gently took her hand.
“I want to show you something, Emily,” she said. “I'm going to show you my vampire face. But I don't want you to be frightened, because I'm not going to hurt you.”
“Okay, honey, go right ahead,” my mother said with a slight giggle. “What are you waiting for?”
I walked to the other side of my mother and took her other hand.
“Just watch mom and know that she’s not going to hurt you,” I said.
My mother looked straight into Sarah's eyes.
“Go on and show me,” she said.
“On the count of three I’m going to change,” Sarah said. “So be prepared; my face will turn white, fangs will come out, and my eyes will turn black – but I won’t hurt you.”
Sarah counted down and transformed. My mother's eyes widened, and I saw a look of horror on her face. Oddly, she didn’t make a sound.
“Mom, don't worry, she’s not going to hurt you,” I told her.
“I'm not going to hurt you,” Sarah said. “This is just the way I look in my vampire form.”
“Oh my God,” Mom said in a shaking voice. “God help me.”
“You’re safe, Mom,” I said.
My mother turned and looked at me.
“You were telling the truth, Eli” she said.
“I was,” I said. “And there’s a lot you need to learn about vampires.”
Sarah transformed back into her human form, and Cathy brought my mother a cup of coffee. We took her into the living room and helped her onto the recliner. I proceeded to tell her a slightly abridged version – minus some of the gory details – of how I was turned into a vampire.
As I explained the benefits of being a vampire (such as eternal youth and super strength) my mother started to calm down. She actually started to seem interested in what I was telling her.
“I’d never have believed vampires existed,” she said. “I'm just glad you don't have to drink blood.”
My mother then asked Cathy to show her vampire form. Cathy transformed, and my mother asked if she could touch her pale skin. She touched Cathy's face and then looked back at me.
“What do you look like?” she said. “What do you look like in your vampire form?”
I realized that I might not be able to get out of talking about griffins.
“Well, it turns out that I'm part griffin, mom,” she said.
“A griffin?” she asked.
“Yes, griffins were creatures that existed long ago. They were very powerful; in fact, they were more powerful than the vampires,” I said.
“Did you get bitten by one of them too?” she asked.
“No, it turns out that I have latent griffin DNA,” I said. “One of my ancestors must have been one. The griffin DNA makes me look different when I transform.”
My mother looked like she was in deep thought.
“Could one of you please go fetch the large trunk in my bedroom,” she said. “There’s something in there I want to look at.”
“I'll get it,” Cathy said. She walked quickly to the bedroom and brought back a large, wooden trunk.
“Thank you,” my mom said. She proceeded to open it and dig through the contents: photographs, letters, notes, and other items.
She proceeded to pull out an old photograph. It was yellowed and worn.
“This is your great grandmother, Martha Norwood,” she said. “My mother told me she was a good woman, and that she was a historian. I remember her also showing me, this.”
I looked at the photograph of the long haired woman with haunting eyes, and then my mother pulled out a large envelope that looked a hundred years old.
“These are your great grandmother's notes,” she said. “She had the crazy idea that one of our ancestors was from another planet.”
“Look at this,” she added.
It was a photograph of a painting that depicted some kind of creature. On the back of the photograph there were the words, “The griffin. Munich gallery. 1932.”
“Wow,” I said.
“This is yours,” my mother told me. “I'm giving it to you.”
I took the photograph and envelope and hugged my mom.
“Are you okay?” I asked. “I know this is all a lot to take in.”
She was quiet for a moment.
“I just want to see what you look like,” she said.
Getting on my knees, I sat down on the floor and took my mother's hand.
“Don't be scared,” I said.
I started to raise my power level. For a moment I saw a white aura around me, but soon the light took on a golden hue. My skin then turned the color of amber, and I could feel my fangs and claws come out.
Looking at my mom, I could see her staring at me.
“Your eyes aren’t black like theirs,” she said. “Your skin, your eyes, and your hair have all turned golden.”
“I'm just glad you aren’t scared of me,” I said.
“I could never be scared of you,” she said. “Your my son, Eli, and I love you.”
I felt tears welling up in my eyes.
“I love you mom,” I said, and embraced her.
“We love you too,” Cathy said, as she and Sarah joined in.
A few moments later, I asked Sarah if I could talk to her for a moment; I left Cathy in the room to talk with my mother.
“I need to ask your permission about something,” I said.
“I already know what you’re going to ask,” Sarah said.
“You do?” I asked.
“Yes, you’re going to ask if you can turn her into a vampire,” she said.
“Well, I was going to ask if you would, because I don't know what would happen if I turned her,” I said. “I don't know if she’d turn into a vampire, a griffin, a hybrid, or what.”