Dancing in the Shadows

“Imagine, Juliette, you’re at a party in the library of Alexandria with all of the authors, librarians, scribes, architects, builders, artists, and craftsmen, and you’re the one dancing on the table.”

Tellias look at me sideways and smiled. He looks like he is only nineteen, but he is older than the Roman Empire.

I didn’t say anything back but I have to admit it made sense in a weird sort of way all things considering. OK not really but I like the way it sounds. I could use a little dancing in my life right now.

He slowly got out of his chair and held out his hands like Fred to Ginger except he was the blonde. “Dance with me my dear.”

With his almost white hair flowing around his shoulders, in a white tuxedo shirt with a zillion little tucks, and black jeans, he waltzed me around the room.

“I worry about you Juliette. You’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.”

I smiled and gave a small flash of fang, in that way Vampires do to each other, in more of an affectionate way. He’d known me since I was a child. He knows me better than my own parents. Now I take care of him most of the time.

Then he stopped, but still held my hands. “Stop your heartbeat for a few minutes. Hold your breath. Close your eyes. Savor the shadows and the quiet.”

“Then what?”

“Then, dance some more, and write, or draw, or make love to your husband, or fill the bird feeder. Maybe you should go dance on that table.”

I kissed his cheek. “Maybe I’ll just dance with you a little bit more.”

He smiled, and we took another turn around the room.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Spirit of Christmas

My nephew Logan, my brother Aaron’s eldest child, just moved into town. Logan is a mere 28, a baby by Vampire standards. I’ve been making up for lost time and taking him everywhere with me. Yesterday we visited the elders Eleora and Tellias.

As I drove into the drive up road the Victorian house Logan spotted someone by the dock. Garbage was strewn around by the boat house.

My ninety pound German Shepard Alice, the goofy vacuum fearing dog in the back seat, started to growl and bark. She was in full professional mode now with her fur up and teeth out. I was already to go into full Vampire mode with my fangs out as well.

I got out of the car, Alice jumped over the seat, fur up and teeth on full display. I held her collar as she began to bark. Logan exited the passenger side and stood next to me.

Hollow eyes from faces that looked years older than their real age looked at us in fear. Large German Shepard Dogs in attack mode tend to bring out the fear in just about anything.

Human kind are barraged by temptations from the day they are born. Unfortunately some seek their solace and escape in the most heinous of temptations and fall into the trap of soul sucking drug addictions.

It had been a few years since anyone had tried to camp on this property. You know, I usually don’t deal wth this kind of thing. I don’t deal with a lot of shit. I just move on and mind my own business, but they were too close and doing too much damage. Tellias couldn’t risk losing his certified organic status on this orchard, or whatever else damage was done to the ecosystem of the river.

“Get off this property. You have one day and you will be removed by force,” said Logan.

“You can’t make us.”

“Too bad,” I said. “It would be a shame to find you in shallow graves by the edge of the river.” I was bluffing. I wasn’t about to go out into the mud and dig graves, much less drag bodies around or clean up their dirty camp.

“Let’s get his over with Logan,” I said to my nephew as I let the dog go. Alice barked and growled at close range. Logan and I bared our fangs and darkened our eyes. Cheap parlor tricks as far as I was concerned but it did the trick.

The tweekers look upon us with fear. Of course they did. They crouched down trying to fend off the dog who continued to growl and bark at them.

“Look at me,” I said. “How old are you? In your twenties? You look fucking dead. Get to a shelter. Get into a program. Start living like humans.”

Their eyes locked on mine. I had them. I reached into what they had left of their souls and tried to find a rare shred of a good memory or hope for anything other than the next fix.

“You have an hour. Go to the shelter and ask for Larry. Before you go ALL of this garbage needs to be picked up. Do you understand?”

They shook their heads in agreement. Nobody told me that I couldn’t make them do it. Nobody said a word. I snarled at them with my fangs and called the dog back. “If you come back here I will fucking hunt you down and kill you. I expect to hear from Larry. If I don’t then you’d better be at least five hundred miles from here by this time tomorrow.”

“See Larry,” Logan said in a voice straight out of Hell. I knew they’d go see Larry.

We got in the car and continued up to the house. I told Logan to call Larry and tell him what was going on. It is always heart breaking, even if I’ve seen it for a hundred years, to find people in such hopeless conditions.

As we drove up the drive to the house we could see a man in a red flannel shirt and green and black striped pants up on a ladder.

Tellias, who looked nineteen but was older than the first Christmas, was hanging Christmas lights on the front of the house.

He pushed a strand of white blonde hair out of his eyes and climbed down off of the ladder. Eleora ran from the house, wearing a red circle skirt and a green sweater, and wrapped her thin arms around us. They both started to sing an old song about St. Nicholas and covered our faces with light kisses.

Eleora, who also looks nineteen or twenty, is older of Christmas as well, and like Tellias, Logan, and me, is a Vampire. Being a Vampire doesn’t exclude us from any holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas.

Logan noticed a motor home parked by the guest house. “Who is here?”

“They broke down,” said Eleora.

“Yes, they broke down on their way from Seattle to Los Angeles. They’re moving,” said Tellias.

“They broke down taking the scenic route along the river,” said Eleora

“A young family. It will take a few days together the part they need,” said Tellias.

“A few days,” said Eleora.

Yes, Eleora and Tellias look young but sometimes they sound extremely old. That’s OK.

“That was kind of you,” I said. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“They’re harmless. They needed our help. The children are darling,” said Tellias.

“Precious,” said Eleora.

“Do they know you’re Vampires. Just asking,” said Logan.

Tellias smiled. “Not yet.”

“We saw some homeless camps coming in,” Logan told them.

“I’ll call Larry,” said Tellias.

“Larry knows what to do,” said Eleora.

Eleora led Logan off to the back of the house to show him the Christmas decorations she was making. Tellias poured a couple of goblets of blood mixed with wine and led me to the front parlor.

“I’m glad you brought Logan. It has been almost a year since I’ve seen him. Sit while he spends time with Eleora. I have a story to tell you. We sat and I let him talk.

“You know I never knew who my parents were. I was raised in Rome, what you now call Ancient Rome, by people who were not like us. I grew up in a temple, then was sent to live with powerful people who kept me as both a pet and a demigod. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I came to England with the Roman army and met Eleora.

Years passed, the Roman Empire fell, and Eleora and I were still together. We were in what people now call the Dark Ages, that weird time between the Roman times and the Middle Ages. We didn’t hear much from the outside world back then. Most people didn’t even know there was much outside of their own villages. However, one day Eleora received a letter, a rare thing in a time when most people were illiterate, saying that they’d heard rumors of where my parents were. There was no signature on the letter, and the person who delivered it said it came from a dark haired stranger dressed in black. We had no idea who that could have been. Sometimes it seems like I’ve never known who anyone has been.

With the letter came a map of places east of where we lived, and north of Rome. It was in the northern lands of Vikings, and the rumored Vampires of the eastern regions of what is now Europe. So, to make a long story slightly less long, Eleora said we had to go.

So we went, alone, just the two of us on our horses, following the map. I asked her if she thought we should go, and leave the only home she’d ever known.

Three weeks into the journey we’d arrived on the continent. I wondered if this journey had been a trap. It wasn’t as if I’d never traveled before. I’d traveled from Rome to Britain, to Greece, and then up to where the Gauls lived and back to Rome, then back to Britain. We only had our feet or our horses for transportation. Now Eleora and I found ourselves in a land that was considered The Holy Roman Empire, but there was nothing holy, Roman, or empire like about it.

Eleora and I never tired of each other’s company so the trip wasn’t that bad. Then she became ill. I didn’t know. I did not know. I did not know that she was pregnant. I didn’t realize she was losing the child until it was lost.

You know how rare children can be among us. I didn’t know we could have children because we’d been together over three centuries by this time.

That didn’t matter. She was losing blood and there wasn’t any blood to be had. We were in the middle of a great forest on a desolate road in the Darkest of the Dark Ages. I had to find human blood.

In the distance I could hear horses. As far as I knew they could be farmers, bandits, crusaders, or just travelers like us. I took out my knife and was ready to use my fangs.

Two figures, which I assumed were men, came along in horses. Both wore the robes of the clergy, like monks. I spoke to them in Latin, assuming that was a language they would understand. Mass was said in Latin so they had to know it at least a bit.

“Hello,” I said, ready for both an attack or a friendly greeting.

“Good day my friends. You look weary from the road,” said one of the men as he took off his hood. He had a pleasant face with bright gold brown eyes and a short white beard. He had a slight accent.

“You sound Greek,” I said.

“You sound Roman. What brings you here?”

“Family matters.”

“I am Nicholas of Myra. We are seeking passage north to continue our good works.”

“If that is the case you’ve been dead for centuries.”

“But I am not dead now am I?”

“Your bones are said to be in the city of Myra, or as we speak being carried back in bits to Jerusalem by Crusaders.” You see, back then bones of people thought to be saints were often parted out because people believed those bones had magical powers. It is akin to the illegal wildlife trades going on today. Of course people dug up bodies and sold the bones as those of saints. No surprises there.

Nicholas laughed a laugh of a man without a care in the world. It was rich and deep and, well, jolly. “So who is dead now my undead Roman friend?”

I was in such a panic over Eleora, and surprised he knew we were Vampires that I didn’t have a comeback. I stepped back to my horse.

“Tellias,”

“You know my name.”

“I know when you are asleep. I know when you are awake.”

The figure behind him stepped forward and threw off his hood. A pointed face made of all sharp angles cooked out in a raspy voice like gravel and strong booze, “Oh come on Rome boy you can’t be that stupid.”

I looked at the gravel voiced man then looked down at his feet. He had hooves. He noticed that I’d noticed.

“I’m no Demon, and even if you look like an angel we know you and your woman are blood sucking…”

“Krampus, quiet,” said the man called Nicholas. “Tellias, your woman lost her child. Let me go to her. I’ll give her what she needs.” He rolled up his sleeve and showed me his arm.

I didn’t know if I should run or take up his offer. My head spun. All the hopes of a child was lost. I wanted to rip his throat out. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to run. He then put his arm around my shoulder and led me to where I’d made a shelter for Eleora.

He gave her blood. He gave her life.

Tellias stopped talking and closed his eyes. I took his hand. “Tellias I am so sorry. I had no idea. I had no idea you lost a baby.”

“I didn’t want to make you sad,” he said as he gave my hand a squeeze.

I gave him a hug. He wiped a tear from my eye. “It was a long long time ago. I love you.”

Tellias continued his story.

Nicholas and Krampus led us to a house in a small village where they were staying for the week. They made a warm soft bed for Eleora. As we sat around the fire we learned each other’s stories.

Nicholas had been born in Greece to a wealthy family. Early in life he’d given money to three sisters to prevent them from being sold into prostitution. The money was supposed to be for dowries. He told them to either marry for love or go to Mother Hope’s convent rather than marry a men they did not love. Love would carry them through most of life’s troubles. In the convent Mother Hope would treat them with respect and make sure they had an education. Two married. One went with Mother Hope and in turn became a great leader among holy women and spent her life helping other women escape from the horrors of prostitution and loveless marriages. From then on he decided to dedicate his life to helping others.

“How did you and Krampus hook up?” I asked Nicholas.

They both laughed. Krampus spoke. “Old Nick here doesn’t like to deal with bad things or bad people. Fortunately I do. You see, when I was a kid life wasn’t too good for me. So now I get back at all of the bad kids who hurt others. I can’t get all of the bullies but I can get to enough of them. If they use sticks, stones, or words to hurt then into my big bag they go. When I’m done with them they’re spineless as worms and completely harmless. But it’s a lot of work so I made a deal with Nick here to only help him out once a year. In exchange he keeps the fucking angels off my ass the rest of the year.”

That night I held Eleora as we wiped away the silent tears of grief from each other’s faces.

The next morning Nicholas looked at my map. “This map doesn’t lead anywhere. It takes you to the path of Crusaders who will be lost to slavers. You’ve lived many years as a virtual slave my friend. You do not want to do that again. Go home.”

“What about my parents?”

“You won’t find them there.”

“Will I ever find them?”

“I can’t answer that. If I see them along the way I’ll tell them that you’re looking for them.”

“Where are you going?”

“North. We’re going to raise reindeer. I hear there is a big abondoned castle up for grabs and a bunch of elves who need protection.”

“Dwarves, Nick. They’re fucking Dwarves,” said Krampus.

“Elves. The Dwarves live south of where we’re going.”

“Whatever.”

“Let us come with you,” said Eleora.

Nicholas took her pretty face in his hands and kissed her cheeks. “No my cold precious friend. You have another road to take. It is a road where you will meet people who need you. You will meet people of your own kind. But don’t shed any tears. Our paths will cross again.”

I looked at Nicholas who had been alive far longer than the life span of men. He’d been living over four hundred years.

“Why are you still alive?” I asked him.

He said, “I am a Spirit. I am the spirit of giving”

“How’s that working out for you?” I asked.

“I haven’t always been able to do the job as well as I want but I keep trying,” said Nicholas.

A long time ago, under a bright star,  I was at the birth of a child. Not my child, but the child who grew into the man who’s words you follow. You should make his birthday your night of giving.” Juliette, I have no idea why I even suggested that. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Then Eleora made a suggestion you’ll recognize even now. “You can decorate trees like the local folk do when the first snows start. Mix the old traditions with new. I like the sound of that. A new tradition. If you make people smile they too will think of giving to others. It will remind them that even as winter comes there will always be love.”

Nicholas smiled. “I will do it in honor of your lost child as well, and all of those who feel loss or without hope.” He looked me in the eye knowing my feelings about everything in my heart.

Krampus just snorted. “Of course you’d pick the coldest day of the year. You’re Vampires. Holy crap. I can’t win.”

Eleora and I stayed on for a few more days then headed beck to England. As Vampires we are well suited for a life on the road, but as you know, most of us prefer the comforts and familiarity of home.

We are said to be creatures of the night, which I will accept as a compliment when I look at the night sky full of shining stars, and hear the call of the owl. I know that it is in the night that Nicholas does many of his good deeds, unseen, without credit.

Logan and Eleora came back into the room and joined us with garlands made from pine boughs and red ribbons around their necks. It was good to see them smiling, fangs out, and without a care. Eleora had talked Logan into singing a loud rendition of Deck the Halls with her. My dog, who had been sleeping at my feet jumped up to bark and jump along to the festivities.

There are times when I am in awe of Tellias and his tales of history and wonder. Maybe not so much wonder, as his stories, to him at least, are just his life. They are his experiences to share.

Later that day someone came out to fix the motorhome, and we bid the visitors a good trip to their new home. Then late at night, after we’d said our farewells with hugs and kisses, Logan and I drove home. We noticed that the camp by the dock was gone. Logan said Larry had texted him saying there were rumors of Vampires down by the camps on the river banks.

Logan and I spoke of our own lives and events that shaped us. As we get closer to Christmas I will think more about Nicholas and wish him luck on his quest. We should all have such thoughts in our hearts, dare we end up being bagged by Krampus.

A Happy December to all and wishes for love, hope, and finding whatever you are searching for.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

tree2019

Juliette’s Christmas Tree 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Late Night Walk Along The Highway

I answered the phone.

“Juliette, come quick, come quick.”

“What is it?”

“Meet me at the hospital. The UC Med Center downtown. In the emer-gin-see.”

“Tellias, what…”

The phone went dead. That call would be disturbing for anyone, but if you’re a Vampire it brings on even more fear. Think about it.

At the time I was cleaning up dog poop. My ten month old German Shepard was spayed a week ago. Since then all potty training has been lost and she has been pooping and peeing in the house by the front door. That is just one of the many things that has been stressing me out this week. But then Tellias calls.

Tellias looks like he is nineteen but he is well over two thousand years old. Nobody knows how old he is. He and Eleora met while he was in Britain when the Roman’s were building Hadrian’s wall. They’ve been together ever since.

In the emergency check in area I saw Tellias trying to explain himself. He said he was there for his wife. He looks like a teenager. He was wearing tuxedo pants, flip flops, and a mechanics shirt with the name Steve embroidered on the front pocket. His pale hair hung around his shoulders.

After some explaining we were told where we needed to go.

A nice woman named Judy identified herself as a Medical Social Worker. She explained that Eleora had been hit by a car and brought here. The injuries consisted of a deep cut to her arm, and possible brain injury. Tellias was asked if his wife had any history of mental illness.

Tellia looked at me with that “Do something Juliette,” look.

It seems that Eleora had gone for a drive. She’d run out of gas and left her car by the side of the road. Then she walked down the center line of the highway and was struck by a car.

Tellias and I were told that Eleora suffered from blood loss.

He told the doctors that there would be no MRIs or CT scans. There would be no X-rays of her head.

They asked for medical history. We said Eleora was healthy. We did not tell them that she was a Vampire, hence the lack of blood.

At that point I was upset at Tellias for not making sure Eleora was eating. I was more angry at the fact he’d let her go out with the car. That usually wasn’t a problem considering the keys seemed to always be lost. Tellias had come in his truck. God knows where the car was.

When we finally saw Eleora she was so happy to see us. The old Vampire, who looked to be about twenty, lay on a bed with an IV drip. Her ripped arm had been stitched and bandaged. I could see the scrapes on her forehead where quickly healing.

She told us her story.

“I was driving to the store to get bobby pins and maybe something to read, like a magazine or a book. Then the car stopped running, right along the river road, just like that, it stopped. So I stopped. I got out of the car and decided to walk. I’d been down the road for about a mile and thought I should go back to the car but then I remembered I’d left my keys at home on the table. You know, the table by the door. I thought I might as well go to the store then around the corner came a car and they hit me. They made such a fuss over me and brought me here. Everyone has been so nice. They even said they’d give me blood. The place is full of the stuff. They have refrigerators full of it here.”

Out of the door of her room I could see other patients and other family members with real problems. Elderly people were there with tired middle-aged children, some with teens they’d brought along for moral support. Young mothers and fathers were there with vomiting babies. Parents were there with injured teens. The police were escorting a young man who had been stabbed in a fight. A mentally ill man was yelling obscenities. A middle aged man sat alone in the hallway in obvious pain looking as if he would pass out any second. I wondered if someone had died, or was going to die soon, or why he looked so sad.

Then the social worker named Judy showed up again with another person with a title I don’t remember. He had on a doctor’s coat, and carried a clip board. They wanted to speak to Eleora alone.

Tellias and I waited outside and listened. Of course we could hear through the door. We’re Vampires.

Judy: Do you feel safe at home Eleora?

Eleora: Yes, I always feel safe, unless I think Vampire Hunters with flame throwers are coming around. It hasn’t happened yet but it could. You never know these days.

Judy: Has Tellias ever hit you or been cruel to you?

Eleora: No.

Judy: So you feel safe at home?

Eleora: Usually unless a shelf falls on me. The last time that happened I was trapped for a week in the basement. Tellias tried to get me out but he isn’t exactly a handyman. We have ghosts in the orchard too but they don’t bother me. They are annoying but I don’t feel unsafe around them. I don’t like them. I don’t have to like them.

Judy: Ghosts?

Eleora: Yes, ghosts. Like dead people ghosts. I saw one in here earlier. He was very sad. I told him to move on into the light and get out of the hospital. Oh, I was going to ask you…earlier a man, I think he was a doctor, he was tall and good looking with black glasses, he said something about me getting a cat scan. I didn’t bring my cat with me. I don’t know why he wants to scan it. The cat isn’t even mine, it belongs to my neighbor. Tellias thought I was having an affair with my neighbor once, or more than once, but I never did. That was upsetting. When we first got together I was ending an affair with a Warlock, and a Selkie. That was a long time ago. It seems like a million years, but I’m not that old.

Judy: How old are you Eleora.

Eleora: My license says I’m twenty one.

Judy: Are you twenty one.

Eleora: Twenty one. I can buy booze. To tell you the truth I don’t know my exact age because nobody was keeping track back then, and of course I was a baby so I didn’t know what was going on. Nobody can remember when they were a baby. Some people say they do, like Witches, but they are telling you big fat lies.

Judy: Do you drink a lot or take any drugs.

Eleora: No drugs. Drugs don’t do anything to me, or Tellias. Not even if someone we have for dinner has been taking them. Funny how that works out. But we drink…sometimes.

Judy: Why were you walking in the middle of the highway?

Eleora: I was on the line. I didn’t want to get lost.

Judy: I understand your car broke down.

Eleora: I ran out of gas. I was going to walk to a gas station when I realized I’d left my keys at home on the table. I have a little red dish I keep my keys in. I got it at Weinstock’s in 1892. It is a shame they closed down. I loved the elevators in the old store. They made so much noise.

Judy: How do you feel?

Eleora: With my fingers. The accident didn’t damage my sense of touch.

Judy: Overall, how are you? Are you in pain? Do you feel sick?

Eleora: I’m fine. I’d like to go home now. Nobody ever visits me anymore except Juliette and she is here right now so I need to go. I need to talk to her about things.  Tellias will worry too much. We’ll make love when I get home and he will feel better. So will I. Where is my dress?

Judy: We might have to keep you overnight. Are you hungry?

Eleora: I’m always hungry. Sometimes I forget to eat. It is usually because I sleep for days on end. Tellias forgets too. Juliette scolds us. She looks after us. I want to see Tellias and Juliette now. Sometimes we get take-out. They deliver it to the door and we always invite the delivery guy in. It is usually a young man. If you call 911 they’ll send good-looking strong young men to your door.

Judy: How much do you sleep?

Eleora: I don’t know because I sleep all the time and really can’t tell when I’m sleeping what I’m doing.

 

Judy came out of the room. I was pretending to look at something on my phone. Tellias just leaned against the wall with his eyes closed, then opened them to look at Judy.

Judy asked Tellias if Eleora had any history of mental illness.

Tellias just said, “She has always been a little bit different. She is a unique and creative soul.”

I closed the door to Eleora’s room and told Tellias to help me get her dressed. And we left. No, we didn’t wait for release papers or permission. We just left.

My car has a sunroof so Eleora insisted I open it to the night sky. She said riding in my car made her feel like a movie star or a Bond Girl. The entire way back she kept asking me why I didn’t visit more. Then she unwrapped the bandages on her arm and looked at the long line of stitches. There were twenty-seven of them.

“They wondered why I wasn’t bleeding. I told them I wasn’t able to get anything to eat because my car had broken down.”

“We’ll stop at Dave’s Bottle Shop. We can pick up a mixed case of blood and a few bottles of wine.”

Eleora dug around in her purse. “I know I have a coupon in here. I’m not mentally ill. They kept asking. I’m fine. I am fine. FINE. FINE. FINE.”

Once we were back at the home of the Elders I lectured both Eleora and Tellias on why Eleora should not be allowed to drive alone. I lectured him about not watching her and letting her wander off alone. I was so pissed off at my brother Val and Grandmama Lola who said they’d help. Where were they?

Eleora curled up on the couch with a blanket and a goblet of blood. “Why did they ask me so many questions? Why was that social worker there? I don’t have any small children. If I did have small children I’d take good care of them. I know how to take care of children. I took care of you and your brothers when you were small. I’ve taken care of children for centuries. Why’d she ask if Tellias hurt me? He would never hurt me. Never.”

“Darling,” I said, “it is their job to ask those questions. They just want to make sure you’re safe.”

About an hour later I was on my way home, along the dark highway, then through the city, and back out to my house by the lake in suburbia.

My husband Teddy and daughter Clara were watching Ink Master. The dog had crapped in the entry again. The cat dashed out the door. Tonight I was too tired to try to get the kitty back inside. I doubt if she’d become coyote food tonight.

I looked out the window at the almost full October moon. The Werewolves would be out in a day or two. I wonder what happened when they ended up in the emergency room. It wasn’t a pretty thought.

This weekend I’ll spend more time with Tellias and Eleora. I’ll try to spend more time with Teddy and Clara. I’d planned on going out of town but I can’t. Not this weekend. It seems I’m on watch. So we cancelled plans to the coast for my late birthday, but I don’t mind.

Sometimes you just have to stop minding. Sometimes you just have to be a better Vampire.

Don’t forget to check in on those who have a hard time taking care of themselves. We all know those who are confused for whatever reason. We all know those who need a little extra help, or just a hug and someone to talk to for a bit. I know it can be frustrating but don’t forget them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

This post was first published in 2016

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

 

 

An Afternoon with an Ancient Vampire (and Werewolves)

An Afternoon with an Ancient Vampire (and Werewolves)

Halloween is almost here and that means a party at the home of the ancient Vampires Eleora and Tellias. I’d promised Tellias I’d take him shopping for craft supplies. He could have gone on his own but lately he had a tendency to get lost, especially when going out during the daylight hours.

When I arrived at the grand Victorian farmhouse the couple share Tellias was waiting with a Panama hat on and round dark sunglasses. Today he was dressed fairly normal – a black velveteen vest over a white shirt, black jeans and yellow flip flops. His pale blonde hair was fanned out like liquid gold over his shoulders. He looked all of nineteen years old.

We had one other stop, to see my friend Adam, a photographer, who also happens to be a Werewolf. If I’d told Tellias about it he wouldn’t have agreed to go. Werewolves are always a touchy subject with him.

Adam was there with his photographs and two other Werewolves, a man and a woman. He introduced them as Troy and Brandy. Troy was large and deeply tanned with that sort of manly lumberjack look women seem to love. Brandy was delicate pretty woman with one blue eye and one brown eye. She wore her hair in long reddish curls and looked like anything but a Werewolf.

Most people don’t know that Werewolves, despite popular myths, are the researchers, geeks and scientists of the alternate world (that world of Werewolves, Vampires and other not so regular type humans.)

I noticed Brandy’s right hand, mangled and curled under with horrible scars. She held her hand up close to her side as if she was protecting it.

They knew who Tellias was. Everyone knew about the ancient Vampire, born in Rome around the time when BC merged into AD. He’d gone to Britain with the Roman army as sort of an adviser. The Roman generals knew he was brilliant and special but nobody knew he was a Vampire. And eventually, he ended up here and now, shopping for Halloween craft supplies on a beautiful fall day in Northern California.

After introductions the Werewolves asked Tellias if there were wolves in Britain back almost 2,000 years ago when he was there. He thought for a second.

“They were large wolves and they were eating the dead. Even Vampires couldn’t compete with that kind of horror. I couldn’t blame them for an easy meal. I’ve gone for easy too. We all have.

The wolves were magnificent creatures unlike any I’d seen anywhere. The blood baths against any living creature bothered me from the start.”

“Did you hunt the wolves?” asked Brandy.

“No, no, not at all. We’re Vampires not ghouls.”

“Did you know King Arthur?” That was Adam asking out of the blue. I almost told him to shut up.

Tellias gave a serious slightly peeved look. “King Arthur? Friends knew him. Said he was sort of a dick. It was a harsh world back then, not the romantic ideal you see in the movies. There was no social justice or human rights or much of anything. No animal rights. That said, it was a good time for Vampires before Regular Humans figured out what we were up to. It was that damn group of self important rogue Vampires who set themselves up as wizards and all sorts of other nonsense. We annihilated most of them but the damage was done. Done, done, done, forever. Our reputations were ruined and our cover blown clear out of the sky. Clear out.

I knew a priest back then, a man of God who was good. His name was Virgil. Like the poet or like the guy in the Sanford novels, Virgil Flowers. Have you read those books? I think my Virgil was from Southern Europe but I never knew and he never told me. He could talk with wolves and hawks. I’ve always liked Hawks. Sometimes I’ll sit for hours and watch them.

There were wild spirits and wilder men who tried to keep Virgil from his work. He was a healer, not just of broken bones but a healer of the soul. He was like an early psychiatrist. He was a werewolf too. We became close friends. Close close friends. I miss him to this day. So does my wife. You know, I don’t even remember when I started calling her my wife, it just seemed like we were married the first night we ever spent together, which was also the first night we met. He said we were too nice to be damned but I once caught him weeping because he didn’t believe Vampires had souls and he thought we were demons. Do you think we’re demons? Undead lifeless shadows with no souls? Parasites of human blood? We have two souls and we can’t sell them or give them away. Our souls are our burden to keep alone. Nobody looks after us. Just like Werewolves, nobody looks after you or your souls either.” Tellias looked around the room oh so quietly in his Vampire way, looking straight into the very soul of each and every Werewolf.

“So we’re all damned according to your lore?” Brandy asked again, still holding her hand close to her side.

Tellias looked her straight in the eyes. “Not damned, just alone. All alone. As alone as can be. So we must keep organized and quiet and stay together despite our differences.”

Tellias looked at me in mild confusion and annoyance. “Why are we here again?”

“They need our help,” I said

“So they call on the old Vampire.”

“Yes, they need your help. They’re doing a study about healing powers and pain. They’d like to find out how we manage it so well when others are unable to. They want to know if it is physical or mental. It is a problem with Werewolves.”

“Can we go now?” He looked clearly uncomfortable and annoyed. He whispered in my hear so only I could hear, “everything is mental with Werewolves. They’re nuts.”

“We have to go,” I said to the Werewolves.

“Someone is hunting us, do you know who it is?” That was Troy, speaking up for the first time. He sounded pretty desperate and emotional.

Tellias took a deep breath. “October is always a bad month for this kind of insanity. I’m sorry I don’t know right off hand but…” He approached Brandy and took her hand. “What happened to you dear girl?” Tellias tenderly asked her, taking her hand in his. I thought she would pull away, but she allowed him to look.

“I was caught in a trap about a year ago. I had to chew off enough to slip out.”

Covering Brandy’s injured hand with both of his hands he closed his eyes for a few seconds and then opened them up again. Then he kissed her mangled fingers gently.

“The pain is gone.” She said in amazement. Her eyes teared up.

The beautiful old Vampire kissed her cheek. “Be careful on Halloween and keep your pets inside.”

Then he smiled. “Did you know Werewolf blood tastes like Bourbon?”

Adam laughed as the others looked shocked. It was time to go.

As we walked to my car, headed off to finally get those craft and party supplies Tellias put his arm around my waist and gave me a thoughtful concerned adult look. “Juliette, my dear girl, I might be ancient but I am not a curiosity to be put on display.”

I started to speak and he tightened his grip on me. “I love you as if you were my own child. I feel for the Werewolves, but my dear, we can’t live our lives as if every single day is Halloween. That said, I am so proud of you.”

Then he started to sing quietly, as he always does. I listened for a moment. Nine in the Afternoon. It was unexpected but then again, isn’t everything?

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

________________________________________________________

Nine in the Afternoon

(Panic! at the Disco)

Back to the street where we began
Feeling as good as lovers can, you know
Yeah, we’re feeling so good

Picking up things we shouldn’t read
It looks like the end of history as we know
It’s just the end of the world

Back to the street where we began
Feeling as good as love
You could, you can

Into a place, where thoughts can bloom
Into a room where it’s nine in the afternoon
And we know that it could be
And we know that it should
And you know that you feel it too
‘Cause it’s nine in the afternoon

Your eyes are the size of the moon
You could ’cause you can, so you do
We’re feeling so good
Just the way that we do
When it’s nine in the afternoon

Your eyes are the size of the moon
You could ’cause you can, so you do
We’re feeling so good

Back to the street
Down to our feet
Losing the feeling of feeling unique
Do you know what I mean?

Back to the place
Where we used to say
Man, it feels good to feel this way
Now I know what I mean

Back to the street, back to the place
Back to the room where it all began
Back to the room where it all began
‘Cause it’s nine in the afternoon

Your eyes are the size of the moon
You could ’cause you can, so you do
We’re feeling so good
Just the way that we do
When it’s nine in the afternoon (x3)

Watch the official video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCto3PCn8wo

Songwriters
Urie, Brendon Boyd / Walker, Jonathan Jacob / Smith, Spencer James / Ross, George Ryan

______________________________________________________

And if you need more on those Scottish Wolves…

On Ederachillis’ shore

The grey wolf lies in wait-

Woe to the broken door,

Woe to the loosened gate,

And the groping wretch whom sleety fogs

On the trackless moor belate.

The lean and hungry wolf,

With his fangs so sharp and white,

His starveling body pinched

By the frost of a northern night,

And his pitiless eyes that scare the dark

With their green and threatening light.

He climeth the guarding dyke,

He leapeth the hurdle bars,

He steals the sheep from the pen,

And the fish from the boat-house spars,

And the digs the dead from out of the sod,

And gnaws them under the stars.

Thus every grave we dug

The hungry wolf uptore,

And every morn the sod

Was strewn with bones and gore:

Our mother-earth had denied us rest

On Ederchaillis’ shore

—The Book of Highland Minstrelsy, 1846

Vintage Halloween (with Vampires and Wolfhounds)

A large wreath on the front door was made of faded and cracked plastic flowers. You know, those plastic flowers that were sold in the Five and Dime stores in the 1960’s. Faded ribbons and bows hung in odd gray pastel tones.

Without even asking I knew Eleora had taken the flowers off of graves that nobody had visited for years. Long forgotten wives and mothers. I knew Eleora had replaced the faded flowers with real ones and taken time to sit and chat with the departed and sing them songs from their times.

Eleora opened the front door and greeted us wearing a bright yellow skirt with a well worn orange sweater with black cat head shaped buttons. Her feet were bare and her toenails painted a glossy red on one foot and black on the other.

“Do you like my Halloween wreath? I made it yesterday.” She took my hand and led me inside.

“Shabby chic.” I said. “Very nice.”

She gave me a hug and kissed my face all over then took the hands of my children and danced them into the house.

The old lab mix slid around the corner barking, followed by two HUGE wolfhounds.  I was surrounded by a sea of happy wiggling dogs. The sharp spikes in my leg was a tiny black kitten who had enthusiastically crawled up my jeans.

“Who are you?” I asked picking up the tiny purring monster. “Oh my goodness you’re cute.” It mewed back in one of those precious tiny kitten voices.

My brother Max had been there, because the wolfhounds were his. My daughter took the kitten who was named Jinx. A fitting name for a black kitten.

Eleora and Tellias are ancient Vampires. They’re seniors, despite the fact that they look like they are in their late teens or early twenties.  This dear old couple has been together for over 2,000 years – a long time for any romance.

Eleora had decorated the walls and windows with old paper Halloween cut-outs. Mostly cats with a few pumpkins and other creatures of the night. She’d also included decorations made by generations of both Vampire and Regular Human children who’d come in and out of her life over the past century.

Tellias came down the stairs, his white blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail and wearing old farmer overalls without a shirt. He had a Mr. Rodgers cardigan on over it.

He gave us all hugs and kisses, a smile on his lovely face. Ancient yet forever young.

“Let’s celebrate Halloween early. Max dropped off two cases of Poet’s Blood!” He led the procession of dogs and family to the formal dining room and took crystal goblets from a large ornate hutch.

I heard a car door close and knew my brother Max had arrived. He came in looking handsome as usual obviously straight from work all in black leather.  I noticed he still had a weapon on his belt. The dogs went crazy dancing and barking.

Halloween is a time to celebrate. More than that, it is an excuse to celebrate and have fun. But we need to celebrate good times and those we love more often without an excuse of a holiday or other special event. It is always time to love and share, especially if you have elders or anyone who is alone or needs a little extra help or company.

xoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

This weekend will my mother’s 490th birthday. Everyone will be in at my brother Aaron’s house to celebrate as only a Vampire family can celebrate. Tellias and Eleora, the Ancient Vampires, the elders of the family will be here. Unlike the powerful and cruel Ancient Vampires in so many fictional stories my dear Tellias and Eleora have gentle hearts. Oh sure, they’re still Vampires, but it isn’t anything you need to worry about.

This is something I posted a while back (October 2015). Enjoy. And remember to stay close to those you love.

Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

Eleora couldn’t remember what she did yesterday, but she could tell stories of her childhood in excruciating detail. My daughter and niece sat next to her, holding her small hands in theirs. They looked like three young women about the same age. My Clara is 16, Lauren is 21 and Eleora is, well, nobody knows how old she is. We know Eleora is over 2,000 years old but no exact number has ever come out.

The girls heard stories their parents and grandparents had never heard. These were ancient lost tales that she’d hoarded until she found the right audience.

Tellias, her husband, told the girls to watch if they went outside. Eleora might wander off on her own and not find her way back.

He watched the woman he loved, his eyes filled with pain. Sometimes I’d see a rare bit of anger. Of course there is always love, but with that more often than not pain and frustration.

This was Sunday. We’d all gathered at my brother Aaron’s for our mother’s birthday. All four of my brothers were there (Max, Andy, Aaron and Val), as well as the elders Tellias and Eleora, Aaron’s grown children Logan and Lauren, Great-great-great-great Grandmama Lola and her friend Cody, and our friend Pierce. My husband Teddy and Aaron’s wife Verity were there playing host and hostess as they sometimes do. And of course our parents Jeremy and Samantha.

More friends were to come later at this gathering at Aaron and Verity’s home. Of course we’re all Vampires. It would seem weird to bring anyone else in.

This isn’t like the movies and horror stories where we bring in virgins and babies to feast on. Of course there is blood, but we have it in wine glasses (not big red cups.)

I stood outside under the stars with Tellias and my brother Max.

Max put his hand on the elder Vampire’s shoulder. “Eleora isn’t all there anymore is she?”

“I believe she is there. She just is a bit disorganized. You know, when you can’t find the mates to your shoes and you are walking on a bed of nails so you just hop on one foot and hope you don’t fall. But if you fall it will be into a burning pit of lava. Then you look down and notice your pants are gone and your socks don’t match,” said Tellias. “You need to come by and see us more often Max.”

“I know,” said my brother.

“Nobody knows how long Vampires live. Most of us don’t make it this far given the dangerous nature of our existence. Don’t take your chances. Your day could be tomorrow. Eleora’s could be tomorrow. We never know. But no need to get depressed, none of us are going anywhere for a while. We’ll be around for plenty of birthdays to come. But the more you and Juliette and the rest of you come around the easier it will be for Eleora to straighten out the mess in her mind.”

The three of us stood there for a few seconds. Then Max gave Tellias a hug and walked down into the yard under some trees. I watched him as he took out his phone and made a call.

“He is calling her, isn’t he? He should have made that call fifty years ago,” said Tellias. “The boy never seemed to understand love, even at his age he still can’t.”

I had to smile. Even at the age of one hundred and sixty-six Max still is just starting to understand that ships that pass in the night sometimes never pass each other again.

Tellias took my hand and gave it a squeeze. “I appreciate everything you do for us.”

“I know.” I said. I looked into his crystal blue eyes, in a face that looked no older than nineteen. To think that he had lived in ancient time didn’t seem all that strange most of the time. He’d kept up. They both had. That is what kept Tellias and Eleora young. Nobody would ever have expected them to dry up in a crypt or become ghouls living in shadows. Then again, they gave so much love that the cold dark places the put fear in men’s hearts didn’t touch them.

So stay young. It is easy if you love and let love in. Even if you’re a Vampire. And even if you’re not.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman