A Holiday and a Birthday (with Ancient Vampires)

I let the phone ring about twenty times before Eleora picked it up. She doesn’t like it when people leave messages, except in the evenings, after dark. She uses an old answering machine on her house phone. She only uses her cell phone when she goes out into the yard where she usually leaves it because she tells me that nobody calls her anymore anyway.

She looks like she is about twenty, but she is ancient. Nobody knows how ancient, but it was before there was an AD, and before Romans came to what is now known as England.

Anyway, I called Eleora and Tellias on their house phone about July 4th and my daughter’s 19th birthday on July 5th. I don’t know where Tellias puts his cell phone either.

Eleora answered, but as soon as she knew it was me she began to sing America the Beautiful in her angelic voice.

Me: Eleora sweetie. I called about tomorrow and Thursday.

Eleora: When are you going to pick us up.

Me: 1:00 p.m. tomorrow for the party.

Eleora: When are you picking me up today?

Me: Tomorrow.

Eleora: I thought you were coming over today? What about Clara’s birthday?

Me: I’ll ask Clara about it this afternoon.

Eleora: When are you going to be here?

Me: Tomorrow. Early afternoon.

Eleora: I thought you were coming last night.

Me: Wednesday. Last night was Monday.

Eleroa: Yesterday was Monday? Is it July already?

Me: Yes, tomorrow is July 4th.

Eleora: Wednesday is July 4th?

Me: Yes.

Eleora: When are you going to be here.

Me: At one on Wednesday. I don’t know about Thursday.

Eleora: Tellias is going to put you on the speaker.

Tellias: I have a necklace for Clara. I’ve had it for a while. I was going to give it to your mother when she was young but it wasn’t her style.

Eleora: He has a necklace for Clara.

Tellias: Yes, a necklace.

Eleora: A necklace for Clara.

Me: The blue and pearl one?

Tellias: The very one.

Eleora: When will you be here. Your brother Val will be over later in about an hour.

Me: Tomorrow.

Tellias: Juliette will be here tomorrow dear. Val will be here tonight. I see him coming up the drive right now.

Eleora: Is that Val? I don’t remember that car.

Me: I’ll see you tomorrow.

Tellias: We’re looking forward to it.

Eleora: Did you know Val has a new car?

Me: I’ll see you tomorrow. Love you both so much.

Tellias: Love you too.

Eleora: Love you to the stars and back. Are you coming over tonight?

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Cleopatra

“Come quick, come quick,” whispered the voice on my phone.

“What is it? Tell me,” I said trying to get information.

“I can’t find her. Come quick.” The caller hung up.

I was in the park, walking an unruly 12 month old German Shepard. The dog was pulling all over the place. My big pouch of a purse was flipped in front of me making me feel like a contestant on Naked and Afraid (except with clothes.) While my 85 pound girl-dog pup took every opportunity to cover herself with mud, I juggled my phone, the leash, my coffee, and my sanity.

I had texts from my 20-year-old son about his anger over environmental issues. Another text came from my 17-year-old daughter asking if I’d throw some stuff in the wash for her.

When I arrived home the dog walked to the middle of the street and waited? For what? A white van came down the street (a narrow private road with seven houses.) I gently guided Alice the dog to the driveway. The van was from Apple Maps. So next time anyone looks up my street they’ll see a large black German Shepard standing in the middle of the road. Sigh.

After gathering together a few things I drove to the farm by the river where Tellias and Eleora, the ancient ones live. Tellias was waiting for me on the front porch of the Queen Ann style mansion. He wore overalls, a white old fashioned tuxedo shirt, and had put his pale blonde hair up in a man-bun held in place with a couple of No. 2 pencils. As always he wore yellow flip flops.

Tellias took my hands and kissed my cheeks and forehead. His pretty face looks all of nineteen but Tellias is over 2,000 years old. He only looks young.

“I’ve lost her Juliette. I looked all over and I can’t find her,” he told me.

“When did you last see her?” I asked.

“I fell asleep, and when I woke she was gone. Her favorite bag is still here so I know she didn’t run off with another man.”

“Eleora would never run off with another man. Think where she could be. Did she take the car?”

“The cars and truck are here. But he could have picked her up…”

“Stop,” I told him. “No more crazy talk about imaginary lovers. Did you check the basement and all of the out buildings?”

He scowled. “Of course I did. But… she talked about going swimming. The river…”

I drove the truck along the levee as Tellias called out for Eleora.

The song Cleopatra by the Lumineers was on the radio.

Tellias hummed along, then he stopped and just listened. When it was over he looked at me as if he was going to cry. “Juliette,” he said, “that is the saddest song I’ve ever heard.”

“Do you want me to turn it off?” I asked. He didn’t answer and called out the window again.

I saw egrets and hawks fly over the water. My stomach started to cramp up with the thought of Eleora being trapped somewhere in the currents.

“I knew her,” said Tellias.

“Knew who?” I asked.

“Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. I knew her when I was young. I mean young in the same way that you’re young.”

“You knew Cleopatra?”

“Yes, I just said that. It was when I was traveling with Mark Antony, not the singer, but the Roman General. Mark told her that I couldn’t die. She wanted him to prove it. He refused. It was all rather odd, but after that we were great friends, or so they thought,” Tellias told me. “Cleopatra was lovely in a strange sort of way, but I was done with it. It was at that point where I was tired of being the magical pretty boy with skin like ice, and the power to drain a man of his blood, or whatever. I was tired of reading minds and being shown off. She thought if I drank her blood it would give her mystical powers. I told her no. I was tired of it. Tired in sort of the same way I’m tired now. Where is she? There’s a turn around by the old slough, remember you used to go there when you were a child with your brothers. You would play pretend adventures for hours.”

I kept driving and Tellias kept talking.

“I went back to Britain where I’d left Eleora. We were both alone, children of the shadows who danced in both light and dark, without parents, or allegiance to anyone. There were groups of Vampires with Kings, and masters, but Eleora’s spirit was too free to be part of some Vampire court. She wasn’t one to follow rules or bow down to anyone. Some tried over the years but nobody could capture her spirit. We were the first Modern Vampires before the word modern even existed. We were the first. Now we’re just a couple of old fools.”

“You’re not an old fool,” I said.

He rolled his eyes at me. Then he said, “Turn left. I see her.”

Eleora sat on a log overlooking a pond, in a foggy field that was what remained of a long dead pear orchard. She turned and waved. She looked like any other young woman in a short leather skirt, tights, and a black lace bra. Her wet hair fell in loose curls down her back.

Tellias ran to her and held her in his arms, and covered her with kisses.

She’d gone for a walk and left her phone at home. Then she went for a swim and forgot to put her shirt back on. Then she sat and thought about everything she’d done over the centuries. She tried to remember her parents but nothing came into her head. She didn’t remember her brothers or sisters, but she thought she might have some. She wondered if they were still alive. She thought about the days when she and Tellias had great parties at their now silent home. She sat and thought about things and forgot that six hours had passed.

We took her home. Tellias got her cleaned up while I made warm mulled blood with wine and orange peel.

“We’re very old. Very very old,” said Tellias as he walked me to the door.

“Then I will love you all the more,” I said. “You’re not going anywhere. Not you. Not Eleora.”

“I don’t plan on it,” he said and gave me a kiss, and an ice cold hug. Then I drove through the fog, back to my own house, and my large black dog.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Cleopatra by Waterhouse

Cleopatra
by Waterhouse

 

Who is that knock knock knocking upon the door?

At least once a week, if not more, I stop by the home of Tellias and Eleora. They’re two ancient ancient Vampires – over 2,000 years old. Sometime they need help. They forget things. They lose their keys on a regular basis and do all sorts of foolish things (in my opinion.) A few days ago I’d stopped by to drop off a few things I’d picked up for them at Costco. Yes, even Vampires need stuff from Costco from time to time.

They both came out onto the front porch of their Queen Anne style home, on their farm by the river. Tellias wore his white blonde hair around his shoulders. He had on a yellow tee-shirt with the logo of Purrrfect Cat Grooming on the back. He wore green and red plaid pants made from some sort of fiber that didn’t exist in nature and yellow flip flops. Eleora had her long brown curls flowing down her back. She wore an old pink wool sweater with a purple and black Sacramento Kings shirt underneath, all over a flowing pink skirt that came right below her knees and no shoes.

Vampires can see in the dark, but these two still look like they DID get dressed in the dark. I don’t know how they do it. Oh, and for those of you who are new here… they look like they are only about 19 or 20 years old. That really throws people off.

So they greeted me and we had a nice little conversation.

Tellias: Two nice young men on bicycles came by today.

Me: Oh no.

Eleora: They were very nice. On bicycles right out there in the rain.

Tellias: Imagine our surprise.

Eleora: They were so wet.

Tellias: So very very wet.

Eleora: Very wet indeed.

Tellias: We let them put the bicycles out on the back of the veranda.

Eleora: All the way around back. That is why you don’t see those bicycles.

Tellias: Because the bicycles are around back.

Me: Are they still here?

Tellias: Of course.

Eleora: They were so cold.

Tellias: They were tired so we convinced them to stay.

Me: How long have they been here?

Tellias: They came in the morning. We were having coffee. They don’t drink coffee.

Eleora: No they don’t. How odd of them.

Tellias: Yes, odd.

Me (now wanting to scream): Where are they?

Tellias: One is upstairs sleeping. Like I said, they were tired. Oh so tired.

Eleora: The other is in the parlor. He has been telling me bible stories, but you know they have their own version. He said they never left their families and lived in South America and had lost their tribe until an angel gave them directions. Moses could have used better directions, taking all of those poor people through the desert all those years.

Tellias: Most people have their own version but I was there. I was in Rome when it all went down. I was an eyewitness and I guarantee you that everyone has it wrong wrong wrong. I was there Juliette.

I’d heard his story 1,000 times. I went down to the parlor to find a nice young man in a white shirt and black pants sitting by the fire.

Eleora danced behind me trying twirling and humming some sort of weird indistinguishable song.

The young man stood up and smiled. What a nice looking young man to end up in a house full of crazy ass Vampires. He held out his hand. “Hi, I’m Jared. “

Eleora giggled. “He is from St. George, Utah but he assures me there are no dragons there.” Then she flopped in a chair, giggled a bit, then turned serious. “I was telling Jared about when I was a child that there was no Christmas. The people in the next village over were fond of sacrificing people and the odd animal but we didn’t do that. No no no. We were not like that. We didn’t kill our food. No we didn’t. Then bit-by-bit things changed and we started to have Christmas with bright stars and good tidings and all of that. I used to have a blood red dress with a huge bustle. Remember that Juliette? We had a party and burned a bonfire on a boat out in the river. Oh Jared you would have been impressed. It was lovely. Then we all came in and danced until the sun came up.”

I looked at Jared and tried to force a smile without fangs. “St. George. You’re by Zion. It’s beautiful country.”

I chatted a bit with Jared. Tellias and Eleora started to sing Deck the Halls and danced off through the hallway to the back of the house.

I turned back to Jared. “Eleora and Tellias said you’ve been here all day. How weird has it been?”

“They’re different,” said Jared. “They look my age but they seem a lot older.”

“How old are you Jared?” I had to ask.

“Nineteen. I don’t mean to sound rude but are they on LSD or something?”

“No Jared, they aren’t. Do you and your companion need a ride back into town?” It was almost 8:00 and I was sure their handlers would be wondering where they were.

Tellias came back humming. Holy crap. All Around the Watch Tower. “Jared are you familiar with Jimmy Hendrix?”

Jared said no. Tellias started to give him an education and pulled out some records. Yes, vinyl. My dear Tellias has an impressive stereo system and thousands of albums so I knew it would be a long night.

The second young man came down the stairs looking a bit sleepy and rubbing his neck. He had flaming red hair and bright blue eyes. I’m sure there was a nice girl waiting for him back in Idaho. His name was Caleb, a good biblical name.

I gently took Tellias by the hand and led him to the kitchen for a chat. “You can’t keep these boys here.”

“I have the deepest respect for their convictions and their willingness to have doors slammed in their faces for their faith or cause or whatever it is they do.” Tellias all but snapped it out at me.

“You’re leading them on.”

“Juliette, they’re young and away from home.”

“Exactly. And you’re a Vampire.”

“Your point being?” He furrowed his pretty brow.

“I’m giving your bicycle boys a ride home. I have the truck. They can throw their bikes in the back.”

“There is nothing wrong with being a Vampire. I’ve quite enjoyed it.”

“I know that but…”

“You’re a Vampire.”

I snapped. “Don’t. We’re not going to turn them or convert them or bring them into our fold. You are not going to take any more blood from them today than you already have. Do you understand?”

Tellias rolled his eyes to mock me and put his hands on his hips. “You don’t have any problems when we keep the CHP officers overnight.”

“They’re adults. For God’s sake Tellias these boys are on a mission to save your soul or something along those lines.”

“You’re never any fun.”

“I’m leaving now. With the boys.”

“NO FUN AT ALL.”

At that point I was done with him, but I can’t be done with him. I’ll never be done because I’m the one who makes sure everything is always alright. “Tellias, I’ll be by this weekend to help you with your Christmas tree.”

Tellias put his arm around my waist and pulled me close. “I do love you my dear, like my own child.”

“I am fun.”

“More fun than any Vampire I know.”

 

I can only say that I hope he is right, but I know he isn’t. But I try. I really do try.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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