“Eleora kept track of the years in her own odd Neolithic way,”
“Neolithic?” I asked.
Tellias looked at me in a slightly amused way. “Just an expression.”
Nobody knows exactly how old Eleora is or nobody will admit they know, so Neolithic might just as well be true.
I stopped by to see Eleora and Tellias today, on New Year’s Eve. Sometimes they need to be checked in on so that I can make sure they’re safe, and that they’re eating, and that they haven’t lost their car keys, or phone cord, or accidentally have someone locked in their basement.
They’re ancient Vampires, with somewhat unknown birthdates. Tellias was a child in Ancient Rome, but not a Roman child. Eleora first met him in Britain, but nobody knows how old she is. They look like they’re 19 or 20 but usually act like they’re in their 90’s these days. Nobody knows how long Vampires live. Seriously, nobody knows if there is a cut off date or if it is is all just random. It seems random to me, but what do I know. I’m young compared to most.
Anyway, I brought some spiced blood and was heating it up when Eleora came into the kitchen and joined Tellias and me. She was wearing a full black velvet skirt with blue stripes, a white sweater, and black leggings with brown Arizona Birkenstocks. Her brown hair was hanging loose down her back in curls. Tellias was dressed in black tuxedo pants, a workshirt with the name Dave embroidered on the pocket, and yellow flip flops. I was in jeans and a black sweater with green suede boots.
As we sat at the kitchen table with seeming mugs of spiced blood I asked Eleora what her earliest New Year memory was. She sipped from her favorite cup, a chipped stoneware hand thrown mug with a picture of a smiling cat face scratched into the glaze, and told us a story.
Well now, it was long before the Romans came around. I was just a girl, not a formed woman yet, but as tall for my age. My parents had been long since murdered by horrible horrible horrible people. They’d killed everyone in my clan for who and what we were. Killed every single one, except for me and a few other young people.
We traveled on foot as the horses were all taken. Every single one was taken. Every one. The lions had died off before I was born but we had to watch for wolves. Humans were our main fear. So we traveled to another place. It was a place that was told to be safe but only a man and a woman were there. They were Vampires living in a hut made of rocks.
There were five of us children. The man and woman, their names were Dink and Nobie, ugly names, took us to a village. Dink and Nobie were as ugly as their names too.
You see they had gone to the village where people had begun to fall ill and die. Of course they were starting to die because Dink and Nobie were going there at night and draining the people of their blood.
In order to stop the deaths Dink spoke to the villagers and put a bug in their ear. He said that if they sacrificed a young girl of great virtue the deaths and illness would stop. Absolutely awful if you ask me.
The next day I was tied up and brought to a rock high on the hill. My body was covered with jewelry made of gold and polished rocks. They put a cap of rabbit fur and flowers upon my head. Then a man chanted something stupid above my head and stabbed me in the neck.
Then they left me for dead. Stone cold dead. I was told to stay there not breathing, not letting my heart beat, not doing anything until someone came and got me. I stared up at the sky hoping birds wouldn’t come down and try to pick my eyes out.
At night they came and got me, then promised they would split the gold with all of us. After that we went to three more villages where was sacrificed, then left for dead before we ran off with the gold.
One night at yet another village I was stabbed in the neck. By then I was done with them. My neck healed of course but it still hurt. Plus I really don’t think I would ever get any of the gold. I barely got fed, and I never got to keep the nice dresses I was killed in. So, that night I left. All by myself mind you. Well, not completely by myself. I took a horse. I figured it wasn’t stealing since they did not think even twice before killing me. Even if I wasn’t dead it still wasn’t right to do it to me. So I took my nice dress, the horse, the gold, the polished stones, and went away as fast as I could.
Over the next year I grew from a girl into a woman in so many ways. I was alone, meeting strangers, living near the ocean in an abandoned hut I’d fixed up with my own hands. I would go to the beach at night and listen to the mermaids sing. During the day I would trade my weaving with the werewolves who would protect me from strangers who would travel the roads nearby. I soon met Selkies, and Wizards, Banshees, and even other Vampires. Yet, I was alone.
We had no books. We had no written language. None at all. Not even an alphabet or a way to write our names. We only had stories and songs. I only had stories and songs.
Two years had passed. On a cold winter morning I went out to a village. It was a long ride. On the road I came across two tall posts standing alone. On the ends of the posts were the heads of Dink and Nobie.
You know, I haven’t seen a head on a post for centuries but it could be quite common during certain times. Disgusting habit. Remember Tellias during that revolution…did they ever find that awful man’s head…but that is another story. Back to this one.
I was glad Dink and Nobie were dead. Had they burned I would have still been happy. They were awful awful awful.
When I arrived in the village I sang songs in trade for food, found some good blood, and traded my weavings for other useful things.
At the end of the day, as the sun started to set everyone gathered outside of the village. They had done the most amazing thing. The people of the village had planted two large stones, large flat stones like giant doors, right nest to each other. As the sun went down it went down right in-between those two stones.
Then everyone cheered for it was a New Year. How wonderful to celebrate rather than sacrifice.
This of course was before Demons or anything like that was around. They didn’t arrive until the Romans or the Priests arrived with their new religions. But there were wolves. The wolves were so beautiful. I’m glad wolves have been allowed to live again in so many places.
When I arrived home a few days later I went to the bluff overlooking the beach and sang along with the songs of the mermaids. They did not greet in the new year but I did.
That was the first time I remember a new year. I didn’t even know there was a new year, or a specific day, or name, or celebration, or anything about a new year. I did not know names of months or days of the week. I only knew seasons and the cycles of the moon.
Remember the big blow out we had in 1882? You were there Juliette. Oh my goodness that was fun. Oh remember our dresses. They were a beautiful, yours in green, and mine red and purple.
“I remember,” I said. “I was only twenty three.”
Eleora smiled. “How about that!”
Yes, how about that. Happy New Year. Happy 2022.
May the new year bring wonderful things, even in these weird and uncertain times.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman