Short Story Sunday: Stranger No More

“What are you? You never grow old or change. You made love to my great grandmother. She said to my mother that women took you as a lover because your seed would not give them children. It would be like a cat with a dog. Nothing would come of it. You were brought here to be our spiritual mascot, an oracle, a healer, but since we’ve arrived here you’ve been shy about your feelings and observations. You’ve turned within yourself, or maybe within a world mortals like my troops are not privy to. You’re tall, but as beautiful as a woman. You’re lithe, but stronger than the largest gladiator. You evoke joy into the hearts of those who know you, yet you can freeze the soul of a man and bring fear that makes a heart stop. What are you? ”

So I answered him. “I am a man, like you, only different. But we are all different my dear  Quintus. My friend, you treat me like a freak of nature or a vessel of evil. I am neither. Let me be. Let me do my job, or I will leave you here in a strange land with spirits you cannot understand or even fathom.”

He went on with his half drunken blathering. I know, I know, I should have just called him out but it wouldn’t have done any good. Anyway, I’d volunteered for the job.

Contrary to his opinions I had not been shy about observations, just cautious. Unlike many of the men I’d come with I studied and thought about my conclusions before I spouted off my mouth.

After leaving his lavish tent I walked through the camp, greeting the men I passed. They looked upon me with a cross of caution and awe. I wasn’t a god, but I wasn’t a man to them. I was the one who healed them, showed them the future, said wise things, and gave them courage.

Nobody else was like me. I tried to think of my family but the memories were vague, like watching the will-o-whisps in the distance. You aren’t sure if you are seeing anything or not. It is a trick of the mind, or a trick of the heart? You never know because when you reach that point nothing is there, and you’re alone.

The men I walked past and greeted smiled at me and bid me to sit with them. They were Romans. We were on an island far from home. One day it would be called England, and Great Britain, and the history would be rich and wonderful. Right now I wasn’t thinking of any of that because I didn’t belong.

I muttered a friendly blessing at them and kept walking into the night. The louder the sound of the waves on the shore were the closer I walked. I wanted to go to where the ocean met the land. I wanted to dive into the surf and wash away the annoyance and clean my mind of all of the chaos and bull shit.

As I made my way down the narrow path down the cliff to the beach I could see a fire in the distance. When I got closer I saw two men in animated conversation, drinking from goblets and eating roasted fish and root vegetables.

I could hear one of them laughing and saying, “I kid you not Morcaht, she said she wasn’t afraid of the Romans or anyone else. You know, if they saw her each and every one of them would die of a broken heart, or limp back to their own land half the men they are today.”

Then they both looked up, turning to me. Normally I can approach a situation with nobody knowing I’m there. I can be nearly invisible, but they knew I was there.

“Come friend, join us by our fire. We have plenty of drink and food,” said the smaller of the two men.

By smaller I don’t mean small. He was a man of average height with a narrow pleasant face and light brown hair streaked with blonde, coming down to his shoulders. A lavishly woven cape of green and brown was on his shoulders. Next to him sat a larger man with board shoulders and a narrow waist. He wore nothing on the top part of his body, showing off muscles that would make any man envious and every woman swoon with desire. Long black hair cascaded down his back in shining waves.

“I am Druce. This is my friend Morcant. Welcome Tellias,” he said to me.

“You know my name,” I said, somewhat surprised. These men were not Romans. They spoke the native language. I understood their words. Of course I did.

“We’ve been wondering how long it would take for you to find us,” said the man called Morcant. “Come, sit with us. I’d tell you to warm yourself but in your case…”

They both laughed. They knew. They knew what I was.

“You’re not from here, but you don’t exactly belong with the invaders you’ve come with. You’re more like us,” said Druce, handing me a goblet of some sort of sweet alcoholic brew.

After an hour or two I’d learned that Druce was a Warlock – a man of magic. Morcant was a Selkie, a man who spent half his life on the land and half in the water in the form of a seal. They already know what I was, a Vampire in a strange land with no community of my own.

The odd thing, no, more of the wonderful thing, was that however comfortable and privileged I was with my Roman society, I was relaxed with these two odd creatures. They were not like me, but they understood me. They treated me as an equal, not as an oracle or something different. I was just a guy sitting around a fire, having a brew with friends on a Saturday night. It felt good.

Then they told me that there were others like me. I sat there almost numb at that news.

We talked until the sun came up over the hills. I went back to my Roman camp but promised to be back.

This morning, October 25, 2015, I received an email from Druce. Even if we go a hundred years without talking we always catch up as if we’d just talked the day before.

Morcant passed on many centuries ago but I still see his descendants who now live here in California. We stay close.

So that is my story. Druce is coming by for Halloween. We’ll carve pumpkins and turnips. We’ll laugh and be friends.

A friend doesn’t have to be your double. No, a friend has to be someone who understands you and appreciates your differences and what makes you unique. The best part about a friend is that there doesn’t have to be a reason you’re friends – you just are.

You just are, and that is a good thing.

 

 

Tangled Tales
For additional posts about Tellias and somewhat related things click on the links below.

Finding comfort in others who share your experiences. We live, learn and love that way...and survive.

Finding comfort in others who share your experiences. We live, learn and love that way…and survive.

What my kids were talking about last week – Acceptance.

We had a full house this weekend. Most of our activities centered around no activity and just talking with each other. Most of it was fun, but some of it wasn’t.

My brother Andrew is here with his two cats. The orange cat Nimrod and a new teeny tiny black kitten he calls Josephine are tearing around my house with my two cats. Of course my calico Gloria is none too pleased about it.

It was nice to have everyone here to share the fun and relax together. It was a good way to end the holidays and start off 2015.

My eldest Garrett (a freshman) left last night to return to college. Winter quarter starts today.

We talk almost every single day and text but he is still 400 miles away. Somehow I fool myself into believing it isn’t that far since we’re still in the same state.

Once again the subject of suicide and acceptance came up. That includes just fitting in. Both of the kids (18 and 15) brought it up a lot.

The death of transgender 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn was tragic. All of the teens are talking about it. They’re comparing her experience with that of teens they know who are “different.” Those “different” kids include some of teens in our life.

Our local community is still mourning the loss of a 12-year-old boy in Folsom, CA. He was bullied by classmates for not being masculine enough. His parents changed his school and the bullies followed. They eventually pulled him out of school but the bullies followed him online and into his outside activities and other parts of his life. Why did he have to leave the school? Shouldn’t the bullies be the ones to have to go away. Shouldn’t their parents be the ones to have to scramble around and find a place for their children? They were the ones who failed, not the parents of the sweet boy who liked cheer leading.

Their crime was being different. Their crime was not hiding who they were.

Many people can’t understand the level of pain and despair these young people were feeling. I wish someone had been there to convince both of them that things would get better. I wish they could have known that success would have been their best revenge. But when you’re young your world is small. Your parents and school are your entire world for the most part. If that world turns into Hell sometimes it seems there is no choice except to get out anyway possible. It is a pain that is unimaginable.

I know that feeling. I’ve been there. It wasn’t for the same reasons as the young people I mentioned here. It passed without any physical scars, but the brand of being different always burns.

I have a post written about a girl Garrett met in his dorms who was different. She was alone and sort of lost. She was defiant and didn’t trust anyone. He reached out to her. I don’t know if it will help her but time will tell. He just let her know she wasn’t alone. But I’ll save that for later.

The cruelty of intolerance is an evil I can not understand or explain. As I’ve grown older and my world has grown larger I have become more tolerant and more understanding. I embrace difference more not than I mistrust it. If I don’t know about something I try to find out about it. I’m not perfect. Yes, there are people and beliefs and lifestyles I don’t approve of, but as long as they are happy and not hurting anyone I’ll let it go. I would never push someone towards death because their beliefs and lifestyle don’t match mine.

Because of this I’ve always been open with my kids about everything. In return our discussions have even changed my mind on some subjects. They are skeptical about bull shit but open and accepting of others. I never want them, or their friends, to feel like like is hopeless and that their lives don’t matter. I will never let anyone make them feel that way.

I can’t protect them from everything but I can always let them know that I am here for them, no matter what.

We have friends who are transgender and gay. We don’t love them any less. We don’t try to change them. Why would we?

We know straight boys who are called gay and girls who are called dykes because they don’t fit into the mold. They express themselves in happy healthy ways but some asshole always has to say something.  What matters is our hearts. What matters is that we can laugh together and share our stories and our lives. It matters that we love. I don’t give a crap how you dress or what is under that dress. OK, I want you to wear a stylish dress, or pants, or shirt or hat… but that is another post.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

I’ll have more Modern Vampire stuff and bad poetry later this week. And remember all of you parents out there PLEASE talk with your kids and really listen to them. Don’t just judge. And fight for your kids. FIGHT for them. Know your kids. Love your kids. Listen to them.

This is Oscar. He is my cat. He is really cute.

This is Oscar. He is my cat. He is really cute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another note: I write about what I hear teens talking about. I write about what they tell me. I lost several WP followers the day I posted this. I don’t know if it was this article, the fact that I post a lot, or my bad poetry (see previous post.)  I could just be my bad editing (I don’t edit.) I just hope it isn’t because my defense of people who are different. Many of those I love are considered “different.” They’re happy. That makes me happy. I have also had suicides in my family. It was for other reasons but still… it is never a good thing. Bullying is never a good thing – not for ANY reason.
I mean, not that it matters that someone stopped following my odd and silly blog. I unfollow blogs too for various reasons. Sometimes I think the writer is an asshole. Sometimes I’m just not that interested and can’t keep track of it all. But I’ve unsubscribed to a few blogs and gone back then wondered why I unsubscribed.
I just hope if you unfollow it is because you think my stories and my Vampire viewpoint are stupid, not because my opinions on social issues make you uncomfortable.
If you feel you’ve landed in the wrong place just look around this blog and explore before you unsubscribe. You might find stuff you hate but you might find more that you like. You might even laugh out loud. Do the same with every blog you read. You might be surprised. And if you end up unsubscribing that is ok too. xoxox Juliette