“I was tired of Rome. When the first opportunity came up to go to Britain I took it. It was sometime around 78 or 79 AD. My timeline is a little fuzzy on that. I had no idea where I was going or that I’d meet the love of my life and some of the best friends I’ve ever had there. There was nobody like me in Rome. I was alone. I’d always been alone as long as I could remember, since I was a small child. I’d met other Vampires, but they weren’t like me. They were distant and fearful, living in the shadows. I was almost a demigod. Imagine that, and here I am, an old man, living on a farm by a river in California.”
Tellias didn’t look like an old man. He looked about nineteen or maybe twenty. Today Tellias was wearing yellow flip flops, black tuxedo pants, an orange and brown work shirt with the name Lloyd embroidered above the pocket, and his 1966 Rolex Submariner. His white blonde hair was tucked behind his ear.
We were in my brother Aaron’s office, a restored Italianate mansion built in the 1870’s. Aaron has a law practice. Today his cohort and friend (if you could call it that) Austin Durant was there. Austin Durant is a history professor but he also restores old building. He is also a Vampire Hunter. This is where it can get complicated.
Durant works with Aaron to rid the world of Shadow Creepers, the Vampires who have no souls, and/or no redeeming value to society. They’re the ones who can’t control themselves, cause problems, or just fill out walls and craw spaces with their dried out crusty nasty barely animated corpses. Sometimes I begrudgingly help them out.
I know, I’ve been distracted… I’d stopped by with Eleora and Tellias, the ancient Vampires that I keep an eye on. My great great great great Grandmaman Lola was also along.
Austin was enchanted by the stories. When I first met Austin he tended to be a little tense being the only non-Vampire in the house, but by now he knew we wouldn’t harm him. Why would we?
I went to the kitchen to make tea, and check my email. Eventually Austin met me in their. I poured him a cup and we chatted a bit while we watched the storm outside.
“When I think of all of the history you and your family has experienced, it is just mind boggling,” said Austin.
“We have seen a lot. Sometimes too much.”
Lola came in and got a glass of water. She flirted a bit with Austin then moved on. Nobody would pick her out as a Vampire with her wavy brown hair, jeans and a sweater. Sometimes she walked with a slight limp, but otherwise she looked your average twenty five year old woman.
After she’d left Austin asked (in almost a whisper), “How old is she?”
“Lola is six hundred and seventy five years old. She was born the same year as Geoffrey Chaucer. Same day too. When is your birthday Austin?”
“You have the same birthday as P.T. Barnum. It seems fitting doesn’t it. You’re a historian and a Vampire Hunter. That makes you sort of a purveyor of freaks and important facts nobody wants to understand.”
“You have the same birthday as my daughter. She was born July 5th, 1999.”
“Is she, your daughter a Vampire? Your kids are Vampires like Aaron’s kids aren’t they?”
“Of course they are. By the way, I have the same birthday as Weird Al but I’m exactly a hundred years older than he is.”
“You were around during the California Gold Rush.”
“Right after the Gold Rush. My husband Teddy was born on the Panama Peninsula when his parents were on their way to California in 1849. They were among the first. My brother Max was born in Sacramento a few weeks after Teddy’s parents and my parents arrived. Aaron was born in 1854. I came along in 1859. Our other brothers Andy and Val were also born in the 1850’s. 1851 and 1858. We were a big family of little Vampires. I suppose we were around during the tail end of the Gold Rush, kind of sort of. I vaguely remember adults talking about the war, you know the Civil War. My big memories are more about the city growing up around us, floods, fires, the art museum, and the railroad. The rail road was big. Oh, and I remember then the State Capitol building went up. That was glorious fun. We had roller skates too, for indoors. The streets weren’t good enough for street skates.”
“Yes, we skated.”
“I know all of this, or most of what you’re telling me, but when I hear it from you…when I hear it from you, it’s like…I don’t know. It’s extraordinary. The things you’ve seen…”
“Austin, don’t have too much adoration for us. You have your own extraordinary talents and experiences.”
Dear Eleora blasted into the room, twirling her red circle skirt, and singing something that sounded like a long lost Motown song. She kissed my cheek, then kissed Austin on the cheek.
“Would you like some tea sweetie?” I asked her.
“Not right now, but when you’re done with yours come back and join us, and bring Mr. Austin with you.” Then she fluttered out of the room.
“She is the wife of Tellias, right?”
“Yes she is. I’m not sure if they ever were formally married but they’ve been together since he arrived in Britain from Rome.”
“How old are they?”
“Over two thousand years, but nobody knows for sure. We believe she is older, but we don’t ask.”
“They look like teenagers.”
“They act like old people. They are old people.”
We finished our tea and got back to the others. I took all of my elders home. Aaron and Austin got to work on some restoration and nasty ghoul extraction they’d been working on.
One day I might sit down with Austin and tell him all of my tales of bygone days. Then again, I think he just might get depressed when he finds out that nobody ever learns from their mistakes. Nobody listens to reason, or cautionary tales, or cares about anything in the past or in the future. Then again, I might be wrong.
It doesn’t matter how old someone is, or how young, but how they see the world. It is how they choose to see the world.
I tell my kids that. My now legally adult children. They seem so young, because they are. And of course, they keep me young as well – all 159 years of me.
Stay young. Share stories. Live well. Learn from your mistakes, and from your success, and from each other.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman