I missed the entire 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
I missed the Industrial Revolution. I missed the American Revolution. I missed the advent of electricity, flight, recorded sound, the telegraph, moving pictures, smooth jazz, photography, the Wild West, Art Deco, and most of all I missed the Victorian era. Yes, it seems that there was a period in which a great small sour looking Queen named Victoria ruled the world, told people not to make love, and then had many children herself. I do not understand that logic, but rulers are not often driven by logic.
Before I came into this modern world I now call home, I was living in a period now which is now called Baroque. I thought we would never change. I could not have been better. I loved the clothing. I loved the music. Life was good, especially if one was a Vampire. My world was by candle light in the dark, under skies of millions of stars.
And that fated evening, my last evening in my own time, I went out for the night, my hair curled and flowing around my shoulders and down my back, a silk and wool coat hung perfectly, with wide sleeves, and lace, and … then, then it went black with a pointed stake that grazed my heart, and then… then I was locked away for three hundred years.
It was 1714 when I was stabbed in the heart and locked away. And when I was rescued centuries later by my dear friends I found myself in a strange horrifying science fiction landscape that I could have never imagined in my wildest Vampire nightmares.
All things had changed.
The night my love Gillian and friend Randolpho broke into the crypt and rescued me is still a dark cloud in my mind.
I remember Randolpho’s voice, “Oh my God his hair is full of bugs. Rats have eaten his clothes.”
I awoke on an airplane, flying high in the sky to a country which did not exist in my world before. I was wearing a black tee-shirt, a button down charcoal colored Oxford shirt, and blue jeans. My hair was now to my shirt collar. It is what everyone wears they told me. And so it was. I was also extremely clean. Everyone is clean now. That is one thing that makes life as a Vampire easier in this modern world.
Tonight I was driving in my car and turned on the radio. At the touch of a finger I can hear any music of any era, even Baroque music. A song came on. I listened in wonder.
Love bites, love bleeds
It’s bringin’ me to my knees
Love lives, love dies
It’s no surprise
Love begs, love pleads
It’s what I need
It was by a band called “Def Leppard.” Why they call themselves after cats who cannot hear I do not know. The song reminded me of when my wife left, and it made me think of those years alone in the crypt. Yes, love bites. It bleeds. I wonder if that song was written by a Vampire. It must have been. I bite. I bleed. I am not yet at my knees.
It is Yule time. I must not be so melancholy.
My two cats who can hear all too well crawled into my lap and started to purr. There is even comfort in this world for a sad Vampire.
I missed the 19th Century. I missed the waltz. I missed the waltz when it was new. I missed that first time when one could dance close in a ballroom, a hand on a woman’s waist, close and touching. So close I could put my lips on her neck and nobody would notice as I scraped my fangs across her neck.
Gillian has told me that we have been invited to three Victorian themed events.
“What do you mean?” I asked her.
“We dress up in Victorian clothing and go back in history,” she tells me.
“I was never there,” I tell her. “And how do you expect us to go back into history. If I want back it would be to the eighteenth century and I would…”
“Stop it Vlad,” she said almost growling at me. She almost growled like an angry animal. “We do it for the fun. It is all pretend. We do it because it is Christmas.”
“What does wearing those ridiculous top hats and huge skirted dresses, and following the prudish morals of a pinched nosed British queen have to do with Christmas? Tell me.”
She went to the shelf and grabbed a book and threw it at me. “Read this Vlad,” she demanded.
I poured myself a goblet of mulled blood and read the damn book by a man called Charles Dickens.
The book reminded me of one night four hundred years ago.
It had been a night of violence and blood. Back in my castle, in my private chambers I stripped off my clothing and washed the blood off of my hands, and out of my hair. My hair which was down to the middle of my back at that time like a river of honey gold. I could still feel their fire in my eyes, and anger in my soul.
The window blew open, and in flew an apparition, a large ghostly man with no head. He carried what seemed to be a black velvet bag. He stood silent in front of me.
“Who are you and what are you doing here?” I asked the ghostly figure.
He slowly opened the bag and pulled out a head. Then he put the head in the crook of his arm turning the face towards me. It was Fabio, the former leader of the Vampires who lived to the south of my lands. We had gone into battle together. We had plotted against our enemies together. We had loved women together. We drank blood together, and bonded as an impenetrable force of Vampire power.
“Fabio, my brother, what brings you here on this Yule night?”
“Silence,” he cried in a voice like a banshee. “I was foolish and lost my head. I lusted after blood, and power, and never gave a thought to anything except my own desires.”
“I am sorry to hear that Fabio,” I said.
“Silence Vald, King of Vampires, Ruler of the People of the Night. You must listen to me,” he said, then he began to howl like the hounds of Hell.
“Stop,” I yelled at him.
“All of the Vampires in the world believe Vampire Hunters killed me, but YOU Vlad cut off my head and threw it in the moat of your castle.”
“You slept with my wife, and then you killed my dog. What was I supposed to do?” I said.
“It was her idea,” said Fabio.
“What about my dog Fabio? My wolfhound Princess?” I responded. “Was it her idea too?”
He waved his head in front of my face. “You, Vlad are a good Vampire, but you are a bad man.” he said, “Today you will be visited by your past, your present, and your future.”
“No, Fabio,” I told him. “As usual you make no sense at all. You are insane. The sun will be up in an hour and I will sleep. Be gone and stay away from my wife, and my dogs.”
He screamed at me and flew out the window. I slammed the window closed, drew the curtains, locked the door, then crawled into my bed and fell into a deep Vampire sleep.
I had a dream. It was a dream of Yule Time when I was a young Vampire. My sister and I were traveling home along the mountain roads. We stopped at a village. Village people danced around a fire while we listen to the screams of those who were tied to poles and burning in the center.
My sister grabbed my arm and asked, “Why Vlad, why do they do such horrible things to their own kind.”
“Why are you burning these people?” I asked a man standing next to us.
“The priest said they were evil so they must burn.”
“Were they evil?” I asked.
“I never really thought about it,” said the man. “They said women should be treated equally as men. They said that people should question what the priest says.”
My sister and I went to the Priest. We burned his hands off, then cut off his feet. We drained his body of blood.
My sister said, “I need to go home but father does not want to see you.”
Then my dream vanished like smoke in a dark moonless night.
I was awakened by the sweet voice of a woman, with her hand on my bare chest. It was Yule of present time.
“Vlad,” she whispered. “Wake up.”
It was my wife, the beautiful Aloisia. I put my arms around her and pulled her into a kiss. She looked into my eye and locked them on mine.
“Vlad, I am leaving you. I am done with you.”
“I am sick of you,” she said. I can not even write down what else she said to me that night. Then she was gone. I never saw her again. She is out there somewhere but I know not where that somewhere is.
I fell back asleep after several hours. At around 2:30 p.m. a pale white man in a silver robe came into the room. He opened the curtains and nearly blinded me with the light.
“Who are you?” I said, sitting up and showing him my fangs.
He just pointed at me and laughed. I could not see his face due to a large hat and a mask like the beak of a ghostly white bird.
“Special Delivery,” he hissed as he dropped an envelope on my bed. Then he closed the curtains and vanished into thin air. Another ghost maybe or some sort of demon. I hate ghosts.
I cracked the unfamiliar seal on the envelope and found a book with blank pages. What did that mean? A blank book? Was it magic? Was it printed with invisible ink? Was it meant to be a threat.
It was a diary.
My life changed after that night. I did not send a turkey to any family or meet a small limping boy, but my life as a Vampire did change forever.
I was no Scrooge but I too have strange things happen to me when I sleep.
My lover Gillian informed me AGAIN that we must dress up and pretend to be Victorians. I asked her if that is what they call Cosplay with much sarcasm in my voice. Gillian told me not to be stupid, whereas a heated argument ensued.
This evening I was out for a walk and saw my neighbor Helen, a glorious woman of seventy.
I remember a time when most people did not live to be seventy, especially woman. Those who lived for a long time were either those with great luck, or vampires.
Helen, of the beautiful face, and flowing gray hair, was out with her dog, a large yellowish best. At one time she had been a dancer. She is still a dancer.
“Helen teach me how to dance the waltz,” I said to her.
And so in the street, under the light of the waning moon, and multicolored Christmas lights she trained me in the waltz.
What a joy it was.
She sang the music as I held her with one hand in her hand, and the other hand on her waist. I could smell her blood in her veins, along with the slight scent of roses and gardenia in her hair. I was exhilarated.
When we were done she laughed and said, “Vlad, you did great. You are so cute.”
This cute I do not understand, but I do now understand the waltz.
I am exhilarated. Tonight I waltzed with Gillian all night long at a “Dickens Party.” I will admit I enjoyed the clothing, though Gillian and Randolpho said I cannot wear it all of the time.
All of the women there called Randolpho “Randy.” I asked if he was randy and he just smiled and winked. What do they say about naughty or nice? Depending on who is asking I suppose Randolpho could be both.
After the party, alone in our room, I helped Gillian unlace her corset. That Dear Diary is my favorite part of Victorian clothing. Gillian calls it gift wrap. It is a wonderful gift indeed.
Unlike the cowboys in the Wild West (I have seen movies and read about that time in history which I missed) I did not leave my hat or my boots on.
And, what else do they say? Yes. And to all a good night.