Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
Geraldine Maude Danvers
Princesses-loving child vampire
The walls were blue. She remembered because she was five, one whole hand worth of fingers. Five years old. When someone asked how old she was she could hold up her hand without counting her fingers first. Five was an easy age.
She remembered the blue because she had decided when she was young that her favorite color would always be the same amount of letters as her age. R-E-D for three. B-L-U-E for four. And G-R-E-E-N for five. But she didn’t like green, not really. It was okay, only slightly different than blue, but blue was her secret favorite, the one she held close inside. Mommy said it wasn’t a lie if it didn’t hurt anyone, and so she kept blue as her favorite on the inside where it didn’t hurt, but sometimes she still felt bad for only pretending to like green. Green was the color of bugs and snakes and grass—things she liked, but not things she loved. Blue was she sky, the water, Mommy’s eyes, the big building they passed on the way to school with the fancy windows and the sunset painted on the side.
And the color of the walls where the man told her that it was all going to be okay, only it wasn’t okay because Mommy was crying and Mommy only cries when it’s real bad, so she didn’t know why he was saying it was okay when it wasn’t. She thought maybe Mommy had found out that green wasn’t her real favorite, and she started to apologize to the man when Mommy left the room, but he just smiled at her and offered her a sucker. It was green, too. She thought it might be a sign, but he had a big bowl of them and they were almost all green, and when she laid back on the table as he told her with the sucker in her mouth and the cellophane wrapper clutched in one hand, well, it didn’t really matter, because all she could taste was the sugar on her tongue. Mommy never let her have suckers like this. Too sweet, they’ll rot your teeth, Mommy used to say. They were sweet, but they were good, and if she was getting sweets then it couldn’t really be all bad. Mommy only let her have sweets on special occasions.
She doesn’t remember much after that.
It’s not a hard and fast rule to avoid Embracing a child, but generally it’s not done. Who wants to be a kid forever, right? Especially as the world goes on around us, kine are always gonna look at a lone child with some suspicion.
So it’s an awkward place to be. Ghoul an older person as a parent, maybe, but then you run into the whole “do child licks ever really grow up?” question. Can’t change, see, so do their brains grow? Develop? Do they ever really learn or retain anything?
Christ, it’s a mess.
Compound that to the fact that Geraldine’s sire is… well, rumor has it that they were a kook, but she’s got the tantrum throwing of a Brujah down, and she’s as obsessed with pretty things as any Toreador, so who’s to say. Who knows if her lack of development is inherent in all licks or if she got somethin’ deeper wrong with her.
Kid’s a real mess.
Don’t quite know how she managed to make it to the modern age, or how she got herself to New Orleans at that. She talks about a bridge sometime, a big bridge and a big body of water, but there’s bridges all over the place. Could be the Golden Gate, could be the Brooklyn. Fuck, coulda been somethin’ she’d seen on TV. Doesn’t matter much; no one is claiming the kid.
Well, not until Edith.
Matched set, those two.
• Cinderella (g. late 20th century, Ghoul Status •)
Cinderella was the first. Good thing, too, since Edith warned her “baby” not to be too hard on the girl, that the human body isn’t as durable as the body she has as an immortal. Maybe Geraldine listened, took heed of the words. Or maybe she didn’t, and it’s just Cinderella’s tale that saved her. ‘Cause, see, in the tale Cinderella is just an orphaned girl that servers her step-sisters and step-mother and eventually gets to go to the ball and marry a prince. Geraldine likes to stick to the storyline, so Cinderella (sometimes “Cindy” or “Ella”) is nothing but a glorified maid most of the time. She’s responsible for the general upkeep of Geraldine’s room inside her haven—which is mostly putting away the mountains of toys that Edith spoils the child with—cleaning up her other various messes, serving tea for the child and her current playmate and, occasionally, acting as a princess. Every few months Geraldine wants to have a “ball” for Cinderella to meet her prince, so she bugs and bugs and bugs Edith until the invitations go out and there’s a little party. Geraldine likes to play the part of the fairy god-mother, since it lets her pick out the dresses and the shoes, then they all go to the ball. Sometimes Cinderella finds a man all on her own. And sometimes Geraldine has to play matchmaker and force her into it. But, hey, one night of nonconsensual sex beats what happened to the others.
• Mermaid (g. early 21st century, Ghoul Status 0)
The thing about “The Little Mermaid” is that it’s a bit of a bleak story. All the classic fairytales are, really, but you wouldn’t know that from the way certain companies make their animated movies. And the one that came out in ‘89 was pretty similar to what actually happened to the little mermaid from the classic story: it began by wanting something more. Lived under the sea, see, but on her 15th birthday she got to travel to the surface to see the humans, and that’s where she met the prince and saved him from a storm. She decided at the wise old age of 15 that she was in love, so she goes to the sea witch to see if there’s a spell she can use to turn her into a human, and the witch lets her trade her voice for legs so she can walk on land. Geraldine likes that story. She likes that story a lot. So she got it into her head that she wanted to recreate the classic, because what little girl doesn’t dream of being a mermaid? She found a redhead for Edith to give her blood to and started putting her in costume. Easy enough, just give the girl a mermaid skirt and purple bra. But the damn girl wouldn’t keep her legs together when they went to the pool. She kept kicking with two feet, not playing mermaid like she was supposed to. So Geraldine gave her a choice: she could keep her legs if she were to stay quiet all the time, or she had to have her legs bound together and live in the tub. The mermaid chose to keep her legs, of course; she said she’d stay quiet. And for a time everything went swimmingly. Until the mermaid messed up, spoke when she wasn’t supposed to, made a noise about something that didn’t really matter. That’s when Geraldine decided to remove her tongue so that she couldn’t be tempted to speak anymore. Only the thing about ghouls, right, is that they can regrow those parts of their bodies. So the mermaid did. It was slow, it was painful, but eventually she had a tongue again. Once Geraldine found out… well, she can’t have a playmate that doesn’t listen, can she? Now the mermaid is really swimming with the fishes.
• Tinker Bell (g. early 21st century, Ghoul Status 0)
Edith is the one who thought that Tinker Bell would go over well with her adopted childe. She’d found the girl at that year’s Mardi Gras celebration, one of the many nameless, faceless people in town drinking and partying and flashing for beads. Edith was taken by her immediately; she was apparently in her twenties but she looked no older than a child herself, with a pixie cut and large, guileless eyes. It reminded Edith of Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. Like her own little boy. So she decided to keep the girl as well, and gift her to her childe. Edith put a lot of work into the ghoul: she found the right colored contacts, bleached her hair, gave her the little green dress from the animated movie, the heels with little butterfly wings on the back. She even had the girl carry around little “pixie sticks,” carboard tubes full of sugar that she could either give to Geraldine for good behavior or cut open and sprinkle if she needed to perform some “magic.” Things went well for a time; Tink was even happy to serve the child, content with the gaggle of redheads that Edith had her see to in addition to Geraldine. Maybe she didn’t want to go back to college or the abusive boyfriend she’d come to New Orleans to forget. Maybe she thought Edith would give her eternal youth, too; indeed, Edith was fond of the young woman, closer to her than maybe she had a right to be considering she’d been a gift for Geraldine. Maybe Geraldine was jealous of the attention that Edith was giving the new ghoul. Or maybe she really just didn’t understand that Tink wasn’t a real fairy, but one day she just started clamoring that Tink needed a pair of wings, so Edith went out and she bought a pair at a costume store. Then Geraldine wanted to see the fairy fly, so she took her up to the roof of a building and shoved the screaming woman over the edge. Those cloth wings didn’t do much for her, in the end.
• Beauty (g. early 21st century, Ghoul Status •)
She was chosen for her beauty and the blue dress that she wore. Geraldine saw her and had to have her. She was innocent in some ways, soft spoken with a keen mind behind the glasses that she wore perched on her nose, but there was something off about her, like she wasn’t quite right in the head. It didn’t bother Geraldine, though. Geraldine just wanted someone to play tea party with, someone to play dress up with, someone to read her bedtime stories. And Beauty did all of that for her, did it all with a fond smile and a light kiss on the child’s brow. She liked to sing, too; she and Melody would keep the rest of them entertained for hours while Beauty played piano and let her voice carry over the haven Edith shared with Geraldine. She didn’t even mind that it was the same song over and over again, or that Geraldine sometimes put her in the closet and made her “earn her way out.” A visiting Toreador once even remarked on her voice, her grace, said she had half a mind to steal her away. All in all, she was a solid addition to Geraldine’s playmates. At least until the girl decided that Beauty should get to meet the Beast. After that, her face wasn’t so pretty anymore.
• Aurora (g. early 21st century, Ghoul Status 0)
Geraldine likes to play pretend. She expects people to stick to the script that they’re given, play the roles that they are meant for. When she told Edith that she wanted a sleeping beauty, Edith went out and got one for her: a girl with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes, a girl with a pink dress. But the stolen girl didn’t want to play pretend. She didn’t want anything to do with the child who kept telling her to lay down and close her eyes. She didn’t want to play dress up or tea party or pretend that the Flannagan girls were her fairies. She kept getting up, trying to get away, saying she didn’t want to play. And Geraldine… well, Geraldine didn’t take it too well. She’s a big believer in method acting. Really committing to the role. So finally she found the needle that the princess was supposed to stick her hand with so she could fall under the curse, and she stabbed it into her. Stabbed it into her a few times when the girl wouldn’t stay down. Then a few more, all the while screaming, “you’re s’posed to be sleep!” Geraldine usually gets her way in the end.
• Sultan’s Daughter (g. early 21st century, Ghoul Status 0)
Geraldine’s favorite princess was the girl from Arabia. She was the kind of princess that Geraldine wanted to be: spunky, fiery, fierce. She snuck out of the castle and had adventures, she didn’t consent to just marrying a prince because her dad wanted her to, and she got to wear pants. Geraldine loves dresses, don’t get that wrong, but it was the sultan’s daughter that made her realize pants could be feminine too. Plus, out of all the princesses, she had the coolest animal companion. Geraldine got around that particular spot for a while by adopting a cat that the sultan’s daughter was supposed to carry with her at all times, but eventually she decided that a cat isn’t a good substitution for a tiger, and she’d heard that the one at the zoo was actually named for the cat in the movie. So Geraldine took her sultan’s daughter on a little field trip. After all, what’s a girl without her tiger?
• 13. Unknown sire
• 14. Geraldine Maude Danvers (e. late 20th century)