As Bright As A Star In An Ancient Sky
The voice on the phone whispered, “Are you coming over today?”
Why Tellias always whispers on the phone I will never know.
“I’m on my way,” I said. “I’m stuck in the never-ending construction, but I’m on my way.”
“Good,” he said in a papery thin voice. “I have a lot to tell you.” Then he hung up.
A 2054 year old Vampire can have a lot to say, so I picked up a case of Poet’s Blood at Dave’s Bottle Shop.
When I arrived at the Queen Ann style farmhouse Tellias and Eleora were waiting for me on the front porch. Tellias was wearing tuxedo pants, a slate blue work shirt with the name Jose stitched on the pocket, and yellow flip flops. His pale blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Elena was wearing white Go-Go boots, a red mini skirt, a black fake fur vest, and an orange and pink polyester double knit blouse with bell sleeves. She also had a Santa hat on her head, with masses of reddish brown curls falling down her back. They look like a couple of teenagers who’ve been shopping at the local vintage flea markets, but they’re ancient. They’re old people.
They both danced around me, giving me kisses and singing Christmas songs. On the door was a giant wreath covered with holly, red apples, and black spiders Eleora had made years ago from ribbons and pipe cleaners.
They took my hands and brought me into the house. We sat by the window with a view of the orchards draped in fog.
Eleora busied herself with making Christmas animals out of ribbons and pipe cleaners, while Tellias told me a curious tale I’d never heard before.
“Juliette, when I was young, you know I grew up without parents of my own. I’ve never been sure of where I was from. The Romans took me in. I grew up in a temple, treated like a magical demigod. I’ve been called the child of Jupiter, or Mercury, or Apollo. Usually Apollo. It doesn’t matter now. When I grew older I went along with the military because I could heal, and they didn’t think I could die, and I was a magical being, at least according to them. Life was good. Lap of luxury.
I went to Britain and met Eleora, as she stood on the edge of a cliff dancing by herself and singing. But I had to go back. It was a difficult time. A difficult time for me. Interesting too.
That time, all I could think about was her. She wasn’t the first of my kind I’d met. The other Vampires weren’t like me. They were dark without joy. Eleora was nothing but joy. I met other beings too. Not Roman gods, but others… demons, angels, werewolves, others.
I had to go back to Rome. I’ve told you I saw the star. You know the one they call the Christmas star. I was traveling with my freeman Felix, and a couple of slaves. We couldn’t find a place to stay. I could have but I wanted to keep my people with me.
There was a barn where there appeared to be a party. Inside were a couple of boys with their sheep. A young couple with a baby was huddled in a corner. Three rich guys in garish clothing were hanging out with their servants. All of the animals, from my horses, to camels, to dogs, and sheep. A few others were there as well. It was cold that night. In the 40’s I think. I greeted the others, and got a lot of stares. Here I was, pale and blonde, with a white and gold fur lined cape. Even my people were dressed better than anyone else.
We settled in next to the young couple. The child was only a day or two old. The girl, the mother, who was only fifteen, was ill. You see, it was a horrible time to be a woman, even more horrible than when you were a girl Juliette. She was full of fever and infection. I put my hand on her forehead and took the illness away from her. It took me an hour to recover. The rich party guys gave me wine thinking it might help. The girl smiled and thanked me, as did her teenage husband.
I took off my cape and put it around her shoulders. From my packs I took other blankets and warm furs and gave them to the husband and baby, then gave some to the Shepard boys.
It was like it had been so many times and would be so many times in the future. Help was needed and I needed to help.
I heard a noise on the roof, then looked to the doorway where another person had just arrived. He was tall and muscular with a face almost as handsome as mine. I knew him. He’d checked in on me since I was a child, but not always as a friend.
“Why’d you help them?” He asked me that without so much as a greeting.
“I didn’t have parents and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about it,” I said.
“You lived in luxury. You have everything you wanted.”
“I was a pet.”
“They think you’re a demigod,” he said with a laugh at the end of his words.
“I am not a demigod. I see this family, this tiny young family…” I suddenly didn’t want to talk about it. “Gabe, you can go away now. I’m done with you. You can’t tell me what to do or how to feel. You can’t take my soul because it is mine. You could kill me if you wanted to, but I know you won’t.
I am not like them, but I am not like you. I am not like a demon. I am… I am of this place, of this Earth, and only now do I feel I am of someplace. I am in love, something so rare in this world. I see this young couple and their child, so in love. It isn’t arranged. It wasn’t make by someone else…”
“It was made by someone else Tellias,” said Gabe. “It was something beyond either one of us.”
“I don’t believe in the Roman Gods,” I said.
“I’m aware of that. It wasn’t some guy who turns himself into a swan to get laid,” he said getting a little bit testy.
“I don’t care Gabe.” I told him, “The girl is going to live and raise her son with his father. They will grow old in their love. They will thrive in this stinking, horrible, loveless world.”
“We’ll see,” he said.
“Yes, we will. I have to get some food. Unlike you I’m not make of some sort of ethereal dust. I’ll be back here in an hour,” I told him. I half expected him to follow but he hung out on the roof of the barn making sure nobody would bother the occupants. Everything with Gabe is always vague.
When I got back, my belly full of blood, and my arms full of food for the others, and I mean everyone who was there that night, Gabe was waiting for me.
“Tellias you know you aren’t like the others. You weren’t created by…”
“What molded from mud or dust, or out of a random body part like all of your bedtime stories? No Gabe, I’m of this Earth. Yes, THIS EARTH. I don’t fit into your mold because I’m not like them. I’m not like you either. I’m not an angel or a demon, or a warm blooded human. I don’t follow your rules. I’m not motivated by vengeance or power.”
“What are you motivated by Tellias?”
I didn’t answer him. Once inside I passed out the food. I held the tiny infant while his parents ate.
“Fill the world with love and wisdom. Understand the value of peace and of life,” I whispered to him as he wrapped his tiny finger around my thumb. Then I whispered, “An angel is on the roof watching over you. I don’t know what that means, but don’t let him down. He’s a son of a bitch you don’t want to mess with. But on the other hand he’ll have your back. And kid, be good for your parents. You can’t even imagine how much they love you.”
Gabe put his hand on my shoulder. “I’ll watch over them now.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” I told him.
The next day I left with my man Felix, and my two slaves. I gave a few coins to the shepherd boys, and gave my contact information with the rich guys who were keeping us laughing with their puns and trivia games.
For the young couple with the baby I hugged them and told them that their child was special. I told them to keep tight, and to hold onto love, no matter what anyone told them. The World was a changing place and I told them their generation would be right in the center of it. I told you the same thing when you were young Juliette. I told it to your children. God knows, it is changing for your kids.”
Then he leaned back in the chair and rubbed his eyes, and said nothing for a while.
I kissed his cheek then helped Eleora hang the funny Christmas animals on the Christmas tree.
After a while Tellias came over and put his arms around Eleora and me. “Dear Juliette, will you be here for Christmas Eve? I invited Gabe.”
Eleora took my face in her hands and kissed my cheeks. “You all must come! Especially your wonderful children.” And she danced around the room humming a long lost Christmas song.
Wishing you all peace and love, no matter who or what you are. And in small ways of kindness and caring we can make the world, or at least our own small corners of the world, as bright as a star in the ancient sky.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman