Last week was a windy one. It was the kind of wind that knocks limbs off of trees, and pulls them out of the ground up by the roots. It was the kind of wind that howls through the air and drives one mad with the sound. It was the kind of wind that knocks down power lines, prevents anyone from wearing a hat, and causes everyone to cough and sneeze.
I answered my phone to hear a whispery voice say, “Come quick, come quick Juliette. The wind is blowing us away.”
“Are you and Eleora safe?” I asked.
“We’re fine, but you must come. Now,” said Tellias. Then he hung up.
When I arrived at the Queen Anne mansion by the river, I found my brother Val and Tellias clearing a large branch from the driveway.
Occasionally Val stays in the guest house on the property and helps out the two ancient Vampires. Occasionally. Just occasionally. Val would beg to differ, but I won’t go into the subject anymore, at least not for now.
Val, despite his 163 years looks to be in his early 30’s. Tellias, who is ancient with a couple of millennium behind him, looks like he is in his late teens.
Val was wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and jeans. Tellias wore pink and green Hawaiian print board shorts topped with a white dress shirt, and yellow flip flops. From the porch Eleora, decked out in a red circle skirt and oversized orange sweater, waved at me, and tried to hold down her brown hair with one hand, and her skirt down with the other.
Eleora hugged me and danced around me as we went inside. She sang a tune that sounded sort of like a sea shanty or maybe a Def Leppard song. I couldn’t tell due to the howling wind, and her way of creating her own odd versions of songs.
When the men came back inside Tellias made mugs of hot spiced Poet’s Blood. Eleora brought out a plate of elk jerky, and orange slices.
“We’re so glad you could make it out here Juliette,” said Tellias.
“So very glad,” said Eleora.
“Yes, very glad,” said Tellias.
“So glad,” said Eleora. “Val too. We are happy you are here too.”
“Val has been helping us out with a few home projects,” said Tellias.
“Yes, Val has been helping us. The electricity went out, and Val helped us,” said Eleora.
“Val got the old generator running. We haven’t used it for years,” said Tellias.
“Not for years,” said Eleora. “It is almost a family heirloom. It came from my parents.”
“Your parents?” I asked. You see Eleora is ancient, over 2,000 years old. Nobody knows how old she is. She looks like she is 19 or 20 but she acts like she is 90 so sometimes information gets a bit vague or well, odd.
“The last time I saw them, when I was just a tiny child, they told me about the generator they had hidden in a cave. Years later, when Tellias and I came to the American Colonies, we brought it with us. I couldn’t just leave it. It is such an odd bit of a family heirloom,” said Eleora.
“A generator? From your childhood? Are you sure?” I asked.
“As sure as the wind is howling outside,” said Tellias with a smile, showing just a bit of fang.
“You have to see this Juliette,” said Val.
“What is it? A giant hamster wheel?”
“Not even close,” said Tellias.
We all went down to the old root cellar. Tellias flicked on the lights – an old collection of bulbs of varying ages handing from single cords from the ceiling.
In the middle of the cellar was a box. It was about 3 x 5 feet give or take a few inches. On top were two winged figures, sort of crudely sculpted. The entire thing was covered with gold. Val and Tellias had attached electrical cords to it which trailed off out a cracked window.
“Don’t worry, everything is secure. We won’t burn the house down,” said Val.
The box quietly hummed and gave off sort of a weird golden glow.
“What is this?” I asked. “Eleora, Tellias, is this what I think it is?”
“It is,” said Eleora.
“Yes, indeed it is,” said Tellias.
“Indeed,” said Eleora.
“They also have this,” said Val, taking a small object wrapped in a white handkerchief out of his pocket.
I opened the handkerchief exposing a shriveled object about 2 inches long. It was a mummified finger.
“The left index finger of St. Gertrude, the patron saint of cats,” said Tellias. “We picked that up along the way but I don’t remember where. It was with the generator when we pulled it out. Do you remember where it came from dear?”
“No, I don’t remember much of anything anymore,” said Eleora. “Not really.”
“Is this…really,” I said, but couldn’t even get the words out as I looked at the box again.
“The Ark of the Covenant,” said Val. “Eleora and Tellias have the fucking Ark of the Covenant.”
“Language Val,” said Eleora.
“Ladies are present Val,” said Tellias.
We made our way back upstairs and warmed up our spiced Poet’s Blood.
Most people are too busy looking for artifacts and treasures in obvious places. They think in terms of secrets and conspiracies. Nobody ever thought to look in a Victorian house, along the Sacramento River, surrounded by orchards and rose gardens. Nobody thought to think that Vampires of a certain age could be keeping family heirlooms, or just souvenirs from their travels. Nobody would have thought of their eons old secrets.
Eleora and Tellias have kept the Ark of the Covenant safe for centuries. They told me later that they wouldn’t dare give it to any church or leader. It would only be misused and broken. Besides, they found it came in handy when the power went out.
As I drove home I wondered if I’d tell my husband Teddy or my kids about the generator. Of course I did, but since we’re all Vampires the secret won’t go far. I trust you, dear reader, that you won’t tell either.
Stay safe. Wear your mask when needed. Check in on those who are elderly, need extra help, or are alone. Talk to your kids. Hug your dogs and cats. Don’t be a dick. Be kind. And kiss a Vampire (you’ll thank me for it later.)
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman