“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