I’ve been tasked by a Ghost to find a 63 year old male body, in decent shape, that he can inhabit for a day or two. No, I am not going to agree to helping out on this one. I’ll make coffee for the ghosts, I’ll do research for them, I’ll sing along to their off key singing, and I’ll even admit that not all Ghosts are assholes, but I WILL NOT find them living bodies to inhabit. Yes, there is a recent event behind my rant.
Now on to other more important things like Empty Nest, Lost Love, My Brother, And Smoking.
My children are grown and living far away – a 6-8 hour drive for each of them, but we’re all in the same state. It is a big state, and a big state of mind as well.
Today I texted them with a video of a baby King Snake I found in my front yard while cleaning up my front yard. Yes, spring has sprung and the flower explosion has begun. This spectacular show will continue until November.
The youngest child, who is in graduate school, living with a wonderful significant other, and working, has a plot in her local community garden. She and her boyfriend are also growing flowers, and blueberries, and a lot of lovely green things. Gardening is good for the soul, even if your soul happens to be a Vampire soul. It doesn’t matter who or what you are. Gardening is a good thing. So is sharing your snake videos, and other discoveries with your kids.
The eldest Vampire child is not in a relationship at the time, and is not gardening. However, he is working on art, and music, and other remarkable things that will make this world a better place. He has asked not to be included in blog posts anymore, or at least for the time being. I don’t use his real name or post any pictures but I’ll respect the request.
Because I love love advice columns I often see posts about parents, siblings, mother-in-laws, partners, and friends doing stupid things and invading the privacy of their loved ones. In many cases there is no love involved. So if someone asks you not to post something then don’t. If someone bugs you about posting photos of yourself just ignore them. Seriously, I know people who always want me to post photos of me. I’m a Vampire so get over it. Actually, it is a myth that Vampires don’t show up in photographs. We do. Sometimes we fidget and the photos are blurry, or we just step out of the way. We also show up in mirrors, when we want to. Bet you didn’t know that. But back to what I was really talking about. Respect the wishes of other when it comes to their privacy.
And yes, we all have that one friend who posts HORRIBLE photos of everyone. You know the less than flattering photos that make us look like we’re shaped funny, or with our mouths open, our clothing and hair askew, bending over, or we just looking weird. Don’t do that to your friends. Just don’t.
Sooooooo, after working out in the garden for a couple of hours, I went inside to write a blurb for the back of a book I’m working on. Why is it so difficult to write about a book you’ve written? Writing 300 pages is easy. Writing about those 300 pages in less than 200 words is so freaking difficult. Everything I write about this book sounds stupid, and boring. I just want my words to grab someone and entice them to read the book. More about that later.
I’m about to give up, when my phone dings with a message and it is my brother Val. Of my 4 siblings (all brothers), Val is the closest in age to me. We’re the youngest of the brood. Val is also the most independent and secure of all of us, at least in my opinion.
Val: Please stop by my house today if you can.
Me: Sure, I have a lecture at the museum this afternoon I’m going to and a few other odds and ends to do. If I have time I’ll stop by.
Then my phone rings. It isn’t Val. It is Tallias. Tellias is an Ancient Vampire who spent centuries taking care of my family, and now we take care of him and his partner Eleora. They’re both over 2,000 years old, but that is another story for another time. The point is that they’re family and we’re exceptionally close. I take care of them.
“Juliette, you need to come over and see your brother. I’m at Valentine’s house right now,” said Tellias.
The odd thing is, Tellias usually speaks in a whisper on the phone, but he wasn’t speaking in a whisper at all. He also didn’t sound like an old man. He was quite authoritative, something I haven’t heard in a while out of him.
I put food and water out for the dog, got in my car, and went to my brother’s home.
My brother lives in a grand old Victorian home, that used to be surrounded by other grand Victorian homes. Now half of the houses in his neighborhood have been knocked down and replaced with nondescript modern buildings, or some of the old homes that burned down over the years were replaced with Arts & Crafts style homes.
Tellias was waiting for me on the front porch. He was wearing black tuxedo pants with a satin stripe down the sides, and a gray zip up hoodie over a shirt he got at a Metallica concert about 30 years ago. His white blonde hair was loose around his shoulders. He looked all of 19 or 20, but like I’ve said before, he is over 2,000 years old.
A large tabby cat wound around his ankles.
“Tellias,” I asked. “What is going on with Val?”
He hugged me and gave me a kiss on my cheek. His lips were cold as they should be. His blue eyes were intense and sharp like the glacial ice they usually resemble.
“Val calls the cat Vesta. She just showed up one day and decided to live with him. I hope he has better luck with the cat than he does with females of his own kind,” said Tellias as he took my hand and led me through the house to the back porch.
My brother was sitting in a yellow Adirondack chair smoking a hand rolled cigarette. He only smokes when he is extremely stressed, a habit he picked up when we were teens.
“Nice color. When did you paint the chairs?” I asked, trying not to jump into anything.
“Day before yesterday. It seemed like a yellow kind of day,” he said.
Tellias stood there with his arms crossed in front of him. “Well, tell her.”
“Why you’re brooding.”
“I’m not brooding Tellias,”
“Not brooding? You are the very definition of brooding my boy.”
I watched as the two men bantered. One, Tellias, looked like he was just a teenager. The other looked like he was in his late twenties or early thirties. Val is 164 years old, almost 165, but of course he looks much younger. Why not younger than Tellias? I don’t know. All three of us were born this way, but everyone ages out differently. You never know.
“Val,” I said, as I sat in the chair across from him. “Let’s talk. You texted me. Tellias called me. I’m here. You’re smoking. Tell me what is going on.”
At that point Vesta wandered in and jumped up into Val’s lap. I had to smile seeing the purring kitty curl up with my brother.
“She is a sweetie,” I said. “I like her name. Vesta. Goddess of hearth and home. Very fitting for a cat.”
Val put out what he was smoking and stroked the cat with both hands. “I named her Vesta because of the stories Tellias told me about growing up in Rome.”
“I didn’t think you remembered. How delightful you did,” said Tellias.
“Tellias, didn’t you grow up in a temple?” I asked.
“I did. I know I’ve told the both of you this before, but I grew up in Rome but I was not a Roman. My family was from far north of Italy, which wasn’t really called Italy back then, or at least it wasn’t the country it is now. I grew up with people like us. I was born into my clan. Some people came into it later in life. One day, when I was just a tiny tot, I don’t even remember how old I was, some people, if you want to call them that came to our village. They were Shadow Creepers and Hunters. They’d joined together to destroy us and plunder what they could. In the carnage, in the middle of the destruction, I hid. I remember the fires, and my parents yelling for me to hide, like when we played games. Then my mother screamed when they killed my father, then they dragged her off and killed her too. Later a large bony hand plucked me out of my hiding place. I tried to fight, like a ferrel kitten, but I was too small to get away. They put me in a cage like they would a bird. Then we traveled for what seemed forever. Then I was sold to some men, who then sold me to some more men, who then took me to Rome, where a Vestal Virgin saw me. She took me, telling the men that I was a spirit, not to be sold. Somehow she knew I was different. I grew up with the women in the temple until I was about 8 years old I think. Before then they dressed me up as a girl, but I didn’t care. They knew I needed blood to survive. When I was older I was sent to live in another place, which is another story. I was always considered to be magic and almost a demigod. I was a demigod. Imagine that. Now I just hang out in my orchard wearing overalls and singing songs to the woman I love. And I spend my time with you dear ones who name your pets after Roman goddesses in honor of me. I love you both so much. Now, Val, please tell us why your heart is heavy.”
“I remember Val. You unceremoniously dumped her after she told you that you were weren’t masculine enough for her.”
“That is what she said Juliette, but what she meant was that she was looking for someone who was tough, and would fight. I can fight but I’m not like Max. I won’t spend my entire life chasing after ghouls and dangerous beings that need to be eliminated.”
“You do other heroic acts,” said Tellias.
“Yes, I remember her,” I said. “What happened? Is she back?”
“No. She decided to marry a guy who is an absolute worm. He would pee his pants if he own shadow looked sideways at him. Yes, I left her, but she broke my heart with her constant jabs. I haven’t seen her in 30 years, but I still think about her.”
“She was an asshole,” I said.
“That isn’t the real reason you’re feeling melancholy,” said Tellias.
“I was supposed to meet Rachael today. She called a few days ago, and said she’d be in the area. I hadn’t seen her in maybe ten years. I was never in love with Ramona, but I will always love Rachael.”
I thought about when they drifted apart and how both of them were completely lost. I’d always wished they’d get back together again. I think he’d met her when they were both in their 20’s, back in the 1880’s.
“What happened? Did something go wrong?” I asked.
“No, she died.”
“What happened?” Tellias asked before I could.
We both looked at Val in shock wondering. It isn’t everyday that a Vampire dies.
“A friend found her. He thought she was in trouble, but when he took Rachael’s hand she turned to dust.”
“I’m so sorry,” I said.
“I know I tell everyone I’m not ready to settle down, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings.”
Nobody knows why some Vampires go to sleep and never wake up. It just happens. Not often, but just like with regular people, sometimes they just don’t wake up.
The three of us talked for a couple of hours about life, and love, and assorted Vampire things, and more assorted non-Vampire things.
I went home and now I’m waiting for my husband Teddy to come home. Val drove Tellias home, back to his house by the river. Rather than just dropping Tellias off, Val decided to stay the night. I think that is a good idea.
So that was my day. There was more, but it wouldn’t interest anyone.
All I can say is to keep close to those you love. Be with them when they need you. Listen to their stories. Listen to what their hearts have to say.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman