Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dodging Dorcas—A Vampire's Tale of Woe by Drake Ahmemphis Part III

The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

Facing eternity with a sociopath like Dorcas leaves me with low expectations when it comes to women. I don’t care if Poppy kicks my nut sack into my pelvis as long as she keeps kissing me. I’m as alive as she is for a moment.
          “Jack,” she whispers.
          “No! Is Jack okay?” She bites my lip then kisses it. “I am the worst friend!”
          “More than he deserves and he’ll be fine.”
          “Seriously. Stop.” She pulls her lips from mine. “We need to help him.”
          “He got up and left.”
          The glamor usually works. Not this time.

“You’re such a weirdo,” Poppy says, hopping off the table.
Dorcas is still in the sanctuary slobbering over the statues of our twins. If I drag Jack out there she’ll probably have another go at him. There’s no telling what she’d do to Poppy. Not that she minds what I do to Poppy. It’s if she thinks I like her that the trouble starts.
I set Jack on the sofa. “He needs to sleep.”
“You don’t sleep off a concussion.”
I check his pulse. It’s slow. “He’ll wake up in about four hours.”
“So, you’re a doctor?”
“Close. A vampire.”

“Funny.” I know she hears the truth in my words because Poppy shudders and glances toward the door.
          “Don’t worry,” I go to the cabinet, “Vampires don’t drink blood.” I hold up a bottle of wine as proof. “We drink energy.”
          She’s edging away.
          “Please don’t run, Poppy. I won’t hurt you. Jack will be fine.”
          “You’re nuts.”
          Dorca’s screeching sounds from the other room. Poppy stops inching that way.
          “Good call, because she is nuts.”
          “I can freaking hear you, Drake! Do you think I’m goddamn deaf?” shouts Dorcas.
          “Hell.” I move fast to lock the door.

Dorcas is faster. She’s stronger and mean as a snake. She slams against the door a split second before me.
          “Shit!” I put my back against it.
          “Shit,” Poppy mouths it, eyes wide with terror.
          “Is there any water in here?” I whisper but Dorcas hears.
“Ya Zebbala,” she shrieks, ramming so hard puffs of dust rise off her and through the door.
          “Water?” Poppy looks blank for just a second before darting to her pocketbook on the other side of the room and digging out a half-empty water bottle.
          I nod, holding a finger to my lips.

The door is opening and closing hard and fast. I mime tossing water. It will take Dorcas months to recover. She’ll hunt Poppy, but if Dorcas gets through this door Poppy’s dead tonight.
          Holding up three fingers I motion. One. Two. Three! Praying—yes, I pray for all the good it does me—I yank the door open.
          Poppy shakes the water bottle in three long arcs and Dorcas’s scream cuts off as she falls unconscious, her mouth still open. Poppy steps closer and dumps the last of the water right into it.
          “Damn,” we say together as steam sizzles out.

Hope you enjoyed another Vampire Wednesday installment with Poppy and Drake. Ya Zebbala means something along the lines of
you're garbage in Egyptian Arabic. I've been trying to learn some. It's good to strain your brain. Right? I'm having a lot of trouble with pronunciation so I'll be embarrassing myself regularly while in Egypt.

Trying counts. 

The above photo helps set the mood for the story. I took it a couple years ago in Rome on a road above The Forum. Travel is one of my favorite things to do. I'm in Egypt for a month or so, doing book research and hopefully putting another ten thousand photos on my phone. If you want to see some of my Egypt photos, I'm SRKarfelt on Instagram. I'll be posting whenever the WiFi is feeling benevolent. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Dodging Dorcas—A Vampire's Tale of Woe by Drake Ahmemphis Part II

Drake Ahmemphis, Vampire, Karfelt, Fiction
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

My hands are on the woman before I think to resist. I’ve not taken a moment of her life, but I sense Jack fading on the floor.
She’s soft, clean, and strangely cooperative. Not until I taste dirt in her mouth do I know why she smells Egyptian.
          “Dorcas!” I let go, and my wife leans over the altar table.
          “Have her, Drake. Hungry, Drake.”
          I stand. “You’ve not learned to leave innocents alone?”
          She scowls. “Nobody is innocent.”
          “Least of all you.”
          Leaping off the table she screams, “Will you throw it at me forever?”
          “They were our children!”

Dorcas runs from the room moaning, not with guilt for sucking life from our children, but desire as she heads for their statue in the sanctuary. Over the years she’s blurred their features with licking.
          “What’s happening?” The woman’s eyes are clearing, fear replacing dimness.
          “You’re safe.” I can’t resist touching her skin. She eats too much sugar and smiles so often lines deepen the edges of her mouth. There’s such life in her my mouth waters. “You want me.”
Like my wife I have my own sins.
“Like hell!” She backs away.
Damn Dorcas stole strength from me!

It fascinates me to see the chubby woman staring daggers. I could make her obey, if I drain her unconscious friend more.
          “What did you do to Jack?”
          Dorcas took too much.
          “He’ll be fine,” eventually, “despite breaking into my—office.”
          “You knocked him unconscious for sneaking in here?”
          “You could say that.” I offer a hand. “I’m Drake Amemphis.”
 Ignoring it, she stands. “Poppy Wood.”
“I’d like you to take your clothing off, Poppy Wood,” I say taking weeks from Jack. He’ll live. Just not as long.
“I’d like you to sod yourself, Drake Ah-whatever.”

“Does that posh asshole thing usually work for you?” Poppy fishes her phone out of the pocket of too-tight jeans.
          “Usually.” It’s not failed me once since I died, nor in life for that matter.
          Poppy bends over Jack to check his pulse and lift an eyelid as she dials. She may be immune to my undead charm, but I move fast and relieve her of the phone. If I had enough body heat and could work the touch screen I think I’d like these things. I kiss her cheek and she turns her lips to mine.

I’ve still got it. I smile against Poppy’s lips as she knees me in the balls.
          It doesn’t hurt, but one of them wedges inside. There will be no getting to the main event until it drops. When we first died, before Dorcas drained the life from our children, she used to do this for fun.
          “That’s rude,” I say against Poppy’s lips. She kisses me back and knees the other nut up there. I lift her onto the altar. She wraps around me and gives me an impressive kidney kick with a sharp heel, but the kisses never be continued next Wednesday.

For the next month or so I'm in Egypt doing book research. If you are enjoying Poppy and Drake's adventures, let me know. If not, there's a big fat internet out there for you to enjoy. 

S.R. Karfelt
A Vampire's Tale of Woe was written in 100 word increments for a quiet little writer blog. Usually I write an essay or some slam poetry for it, but after an inspiring trip to London I decided to see if I could craft a story 100 words at a time.

It wasn't easy! But the fun part is every piece had to forward the story. It kept me from waxing too poetic. Stop by next Vampire Wednesday for another installment of A Vampire's Tale of Woe by Drake Ahmemphis.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dodging Dorcas—A Vampire's Tale of Woe by Drake Ahmemphis Part I

Fiction, Short Story, Karfelt, Writing, A Vampire's Tale of Woe
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

The moon is dark and I’m awake. Dorcas is too. That’s why I’m pretending I’m not. Her sarcophagus is on the far side of the cemetery, but I hear the metallic creak as it slides open.

She’ll want sex. Not a bath, or to clean her teeth, or even to change out of the raggedy gown she’s been wearing since we moved to this village during the time of Cromwell.

Sex with her wasn’t something I enjoyed even when we were alive. “Drake,” she says already at my grave, kicking the iron of my bale-tomb cover. I open my eyes to protest as rust drops into eyeballs.

Banging the cover of my grave open I hop out, trying to work the rust out of my eyes without damaging them. Being dead doesn’t save me from injury. I even heal. Eventually.

          “Come on!” Dorcas hitches her raggedy gown up, exposing legs as hairy as a mongoose.
          “I need to eat first.”
She growls, but runs off. I should cut the Almersham lads a break and take one for the team. I’m the husband willing or no. The difference is they won’t remember.
Ravenous, I hurry to the church. Someone always works nights. I arranged it long ago.

It takes less than a minute to find no one in the church. There’s half a sandwich and a plate of Christmas cookies in the basement. I eat it with half a jug of vinegary communion wine before stomping up the stairs. My church is unguarded and worse—Dorcas and I were too.

I’ll have to go into the village. We’ve been asleep since the summer solstice and I’m too hungry to think straight and as likely as Dorcas to make poor choices now. Maybe I’ll visit the barrister first and suck a year or two out of him.

A voice catches my attention. Only I have a key, but the door to my private quarters is cracked open. Inside my missing security guard is feeling up a fleshy female who only has eyes for the altar from my tomb.
“Take your hand off my backside, Jack,” she says, bent over and peering up under it. I see his temptation. He doesn’t listen. That and the trespass are unforgivable. From across the room I suck a year off his life, maybe more before I can stop. The woman, now crawling beneath the table doesn’t even look up when he falls.

          “Get up! I appreciate you showing me this, but I’m not doing you on the floor,” The woman sits back on her heels, “Or anywhere for that matter.”
          Jack remains unconscious.
          “This altar is Egyptian, but I swear it’s not a thousand years old.” She’s engrossed with it.
          “Twelve hundred,” I say, locking the door.
          “I don’t think so. The hieroglyphs are—”
          “It’s my table. I know how old it is.”
          Finally realizing it’s not Jack talking, she tries to stand and knocks her head so hard under the table, she winds up on the floor be continued next Wednesday.

A Vampire's Tale of Woe came to me a couple months ago as I was traveling around England. It was all those churchyards and ancient churches with graves not only outside, but under the floors and in
the walls. 

Sometimes stories will appear with fully formed characters and I can barely wait to start writing them. 

Yes, I'm Drake Ahmemphis, Saffi, and Bitch Witch too. At least these characters and stories are some of the ones in my head clamoring to be written.

At the moment I'm in Egypt doing research for this story and another. Let me know if you think the world really needs another vampire tale, because I might just need to write one.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

An Introvert Goes to Egypt—This is my Amazing Life

Next week I'll be saddling a camel and driving it around Egypt for a month or so. 

If not for the mess and dust I wouldn't even recognize my life. I'm currently living so far outside the box, I don't even remember what it was like in there.

Did you read Shonda Rhimes book The Year of Yes? That's my motto. I say yes. I have for years.

  • yes, I'd love to come visit you, nice person who issues a casual invite
  • yes, I'd love to go to that writer conference
  • yes, I'll read that book
  • yes, I'll meet you for a coffee to talk BOOKS or WRITING
  • yes, I'll come to your writer weekend
  • yes, I'd love to go to Egypt on a study tour with some Egyptologists

Because this is my life and I want to do the things I've waited my whole life for!

Sometimes I have to step back and have a few months of No because it gets chaotic all this yessing up my life.

See, I'm an introvert. No, I don't see that as a character flaw. If I were an extrovert I'd never hermit myself and write novels. 

Being alone allows me to recharge. It doesn't mean I don't love you.

Being an introvert doesn't mean I don't like people. It means that after I hang with them I need a nap.

Saying yes is about getting outside my comfort zone. From personal experience I'd have to say that life really does begin at the end of your comfort zone.

Do I say yes to things that scare me? No. I say hell yes.

That doesn't mean I'm going to disregard danger or make stupid choices. My brain is still here. I'm just letting my heart drive most of the time. 

My bags are nearly packed and I'm taking work with me. I'm in the middle of editing a novel. I want to finish it because there are two more stories impatiently waiting to be written into life. 

After my last trip to London I got inspired to write a book about a married couple. The wife is a sociopath. He's scared of her with good reason. They also happen to be vampires. As with most of my fiction there's a rich vein of humor running through it, because I love to laugh—or maybe because life just makes me laugh. 

I'm enjoying writing A Vampire's Tale of Woe nearly as much as I enjoyed writing Bitch Witch. 

While I'm traveling I'll post excerpts from that story here on
Wednesdays. I'm calling it Vampire Wednesday, or Wampire Wednesday if it really has to start with a w. I think you'll enjoy Drake and Dorcas as much as I do.

If you'd like to follow my adventures in Egypt, I plan to post pictures to my Instagram, SRKarfelt. I'll check in here too, so leave me a message. Tell me what you're saying yes to, and would it involve eating camel meat? Is that really a thing? Would that go in the stupid choice column?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Staying on a Houseboat in Amsterdam without Vertigo

living on a houseboat, travel, writing, S.R. Karfelt
S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

Travel isn't something I do so I can check off a box on a bucket list. It's something I do when an opportunity drifts across my path.

My husband had to go to Germany. He had lots of miles. I was due for a few days off. With some effort and a lot of juggling this was an opportunity I'd been waiting for!


Amsterdam meant the Anne Frank house, something I've wanted to do since I read the book as a girl. I knew from online investigations that getting a ticket isn't that easy, but I got lucky.

Sleeping in a houseboat on one of the canals in Amsterdam had also been a romantic notion of mine. Trip Advisor helped me with that. I always read reviews when I'm planning a trip. 

the netherlands, houseboat, karfelt, travel
Woontjalk Zuidenwind Houseboat in Amsterdam

When we left home I had no real idea how I was getting to Amsterdam from Germany, but knew it's fairly easy to get around within Europe. The countries are so small it's like going state to state, but the public transportation is easier and fairly inexpensive. 

The staff at the hotel in Germany helped me book train tickets online. Hubby and I hopped a train, jammed our too heavy luggage into an overhead bin, and plopped into the wrong seats on the wrong car. Eventually we got sorted out—reinforced some American stereotypes—and watched Germany fade into the watery flatland of the Netherlands

The trip didn't take long and I loved going past school houses nearly suffocating from all the bicycles parked outside. That is the mode of transportation in the Netherlands.

Arriving at the beautiful station in Amsterdam made me long for such convenient travel in the USA. 

canals in amsterdam, bikes, karfelt
There's also an ocean of bikes outside the train station. Walking or riding a bike is the number one way around Amsterdam. I would love to spend a year there walking everywhere and seeing the sites.

It's possible I say that about everywhere I go. 

From a portal of our houseboat we could see a windmill in the far distance. Staying there was a delight after our cramped days in a business hotel. 

swans, portals, houseboat, houseboat for rent, amsterdamDescending the ladder into the main cabin I found the space huge compared to what I'd expected. It could easily fit a family.  

The living room boasted a funky wildly comfortable couch and books everywhere. Portals let in sunlight throughout the entire boat. The eating area has a refrigerator, sink, dishwasher, and a large table. There's even a washer and dryer in a separate room! I immediately washed everything and rushed to see Amsterdam. 

Of first importance? Buying bread to feed to the swans through the portals. A nearby organic gluten-free shop provided a loaf of mostly seeds. 

For a brief time I was the swans favorite human.

Woontjalk Zuidenwind Houseboat, amsterdam
The weather cooperated with our visit and we walked to the far side of town to visit the Anne Frank Haus (house). On the inside it's exactly like it was when Anne lived there. You enter through the famous bookcase and climb narrow stairwells. It's small and only so many guests are allowed in at a time. 

The windows are covered like they were when Anne lived there. That way no one from the outside would see someone was secretly living over the jam factory. That also meant little light came in. The only place you can't go into is the loft that Anne and Peter would spend time in. It's not safe, but there's a large mirror beneath it so you can see up into it. 

What impacted me most seeing the Anne Frank house was seeing it as a parent. Her father, Otto Frank, made several attempts to immigrate to the United States but was denied. Realizing how desperately he tried to protect his family from the Nazi's will break your heart. 

When we left I asked my husband what he wanted to do next. He said he was too depressed to see anything else. I dragged him to the Van Gogh museum. Next on my to see list was Starry Night. Imagine the irony when I discovered that particular painting lives in New York City.

Holland, the Netherlands, Amsterdam, canals

It was easy to get turned around and lost in the narrow streets, but that's part of the fun. We stumbled upon Kapitein Zeppos down a minuscule alley and had a lovely dinner. Mostly lovely. The atmosphere is a bit of a magical refuge in the hustle and bustle, and the food is delicious. Except for the local starters we ordered—a fail and the waitress did try to warn us. 

When in Rome try the local food. Not bitterballen in Amsterdam. 

We walked through the Red Light Distract afterward, where the coffee houses sell marijuana and no coffee. I went into one and quizzed the shop keeper. I had questions, people. As a writer I always want to know things. He was great and answered them and didn't even mind that all I wanted to buy was a bottle of water.

Of course that's what I would say but it's also the truth. 

Sometimes I get vestibular migraines and the last thing that sounds fun to me is getting high or drunk. Vertigo is like an ugly combination of both, whether you like it or not. 

Holland, Amsterdam, bike, night, the Netherlands

Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam. Beautiful women stand in glass doorways framed in neon light to attract customers. It's similar to Bourbon Street in New Orleans with sometimes intoxicated tourists stumbling around and societal norms on holiday.

But you also see families on bikes zipping through and police joking with the working ladies.

Potential customers come up to the doors and negotiate services with the workers.

More than anything I'd have liked to have interviewed some of the women. I had many writerly questions. It's odd to see the ladies next to shops that sell naughty accessories also beside the frozen yogurt shops. It's not particularly sleazy compared to red light districts in other places. It's clean and well-lit and feels very safe. I think it's because it's legal. 

Photography isn't allowed, and if you yank out your phone it could very well end up in the canal because they mean it. 

The Red Light area seems small when compared to the whole of Amsterdam. There are zoos, parks, and museums to explore. The most dangerous thing in the city seemed to be the possibility of getting run over by a bicycle. I'm not kidding about that. Staying alert and out of the way is mandatory, and stay out of the bike lane.

The houseboat was magical. I loved all the space, the water surrounding it, the light, the swans sticking their heads through the portals hoping for food. The bed was comfortable and fortunately for me the entire boat was solid and didn't mess with my constant vigilance over potential balance problems. I'm pretty sure it was anchored down, because I can get a touch of vertigo on elevators. 

writers life, travel, american, the Netherlands, Van Gogh
The non-judgmental practicality of the Dutch makes Amsterdam a comfortable city. The city is practically bursting with art. All that walking and biking keeps the outdoors in the city. I adored the place and look forward to returning next time the wind is kind enough to toss me in that direction.