Old Soul

In my Thursday (sometimes not Thursday) advice column “Ask Juliette” I get a lot of questions about where Vampires come from. I also get a lot of people asking how they can become a Vampire (fat chance I’ll share that with any stranger on the Internet.)

So…

Where do we come from?

Why are we here?

My answers are easy.

  1. California.
  2. And because I’m having too much fun.

But seriously, I hear a lot of ruckus about where Vampires come from. Are we Demons, or some off shoot of Fallen Angels, or something more sinister? Is our condition from some virus or weird spores, or God knows what kind of blood bourne poison? Pashaw. Don’t be ridiculous or over dramatic. None of that is true.

I remember a long time ago when someone asked Tellias, who is over 2,000 years old, where we come from, and he said, “I don’t know. I wasn’t around back then. Plus I was a foundling. Nobody knows who my parents were, or if I as born this way. Does it matter? I know who I am.”

We can become tangled in ambiguous lore, or we can live now with the history and traditions we know. We should also live with facts that we know are true. Those who go back as far as Tellias have fragmented stories, or whispered (and sometimes shouted) stories of small groups of Vampires who might know the answers, or parts of the answers.  But it all comes down to two parts lore, three part science, and thirty seven parts something else. Werewolves are working on the science of it all (and the something else.) That is why Werewolves, Selkies, and Vampires are the way they are. They’re working more on shape changing than other things but still…

I asked Eleora who is as old beyond measure. Nobody knows exactly how old she is – maybe 2,500 years or so. Maybe older. She and Tellias live in their Queen Ann Victorian by the river, among the orchards. They’ve been together since he went to Britain with the Romans and found her on the edge of a cliff singing a song of night out to the cold dark sea. They were both alone, neither of them lost, and both Vampires. It was love at first sight. They both look all of nineteen or twenty years old but they are ancient. Extremely ancient.

So on a hot summer day, while we sat inside Eleora’s dark parlor, away from the heat, with tall crystal glasses of unsweetened iced tea, with sprigs of fresh mint from her yard, I asked her, “where do you come from Eleora? Why do you think Vampires are here?”

Eleora sat on the settee, wearing a faded tropical flowered sundress, her dark curls piled on her head with a red bow, and cheap purple flip flops (we used to call them Zories) on her feet.

She looked like she was thinking about what I’d said, then she took a sip of her tea. “Juliette dear, would  you like some brandy in your tea? Maybe some blood? I have some Sheriff’s blood. It’s pretty good with tea.”

“It is good,” said Tellias. “It has a kick. All that extra testosterone mixed with fear. Good stuff. I’ll go get it.” He left, and nodded to Eleora to answer my questions.

“When I was a teeny tiny child, a long long long time ago, I was small. Smaller than most children, even way back then. I’m not so small anymore. I’m 5 feet and four inches tall now. The same as you. You’re still that tall aren’t you?”

“Yes, dear, I am still that tall. Eleora were you a Vampire when you were small, or did you become a Vampire later?”

She smiled with a bit of fang. “I’ve never talked of this. I don’t remember…” Then she laughed. “I don’t remember much of anything. My head is just a mess of old papers, rocks, and locked travel trunks. But…let me see. I was always different from the others. I could see through the night and darkness. I could understand the calls of the wolves. I could scare the witches who lived in the caves near by with a giggle. I would hear the elders say I lived in a dream. I didn’t care. I was happy. My parents loved me. I loved them, because they were sort of different too. Not quiet like me, but serious and strong.”

Then one day I fell asleep in a field of flowers, listening to the waves of the ocean and the songs of the Selkies below on the beach. In the morning I returned home and home was gone. It was just like last summer when all of those poor folks, up by that lake, north of here, you know, when the fire came through and they lost everything. It broke my heart to think of them. Where did Tellias go?”

“I’m right here my love,” he said doorway where he had been quietly listening.

“Other children were there. And nobody had touched the albino. She was simple. Not like an old person, but like someone who hasn’t got her wits all together. She never spoke and never listened. Now she went about and gathered up the six children who were left. I found my parent’s heads and hands stuck in a tree. And then I started to scream until the sun came up the next morning. It was awful. Simply awful. Moon Girl, that is what we called the albino, dug holes and motioned to the children to help her fill them with flowers and body parts. She motioned for us to sing, while she also sang with her silent voice and let her tears fall. I remember wondering if she’d ever wipe her nose. Odd how children are like that. It is like when you were small Juliette and you’d always be watching people and wondering about them. You didn’t like grown ups when you were small. They disgusted you for the most part, especially when they’d get close and try to get you to talk to them. Remember?”

I remembered. “What happened next Eleora? What happened with Moon Girl and the other children.”

“Old Soul came through and took us to a safe place. He didn’t look old, but when he took us to the safe place he was as old as I am now.”

Old Soul. That was a new one to me. “Old Soul? Was he a Vampire?”

“Was and still is. He came with a great horse, and several more of his kind. They put us on their horses and took us away to where they lived in a great stone castle sort of house. He was an amazing person. He discovered that Moon Girl’s tongue had been cut out, and someone had poked sharp sticks into her ears when she was a tiny child. He taught her how to write and how to read. He taught all of us how to read and write. He was like an early saint tho brought the word of God unto the masses, but he brought all words to us, from cultures we couldn’t even imagine. He told us how wide the word was, and of many different kinds of people who lived all over. He also told us of the Vampires who lived in peace and protected those in need of help. Old Soul told us about how he and his people drank the blood of men, and in turn protected those men and kept them safe from demons and bad spirits. When I was older,  I made the choice to become a Vampire in order to protect those I loved. I love your nail color Juliette. It looks very pretty. You should stick with the light pinks.”

“Where did Old Soul come from?” I asked.

“Here and there.”

“Was he one of the first Vampires?”

“No, that would be silly. Nobody is that old.”

“Where did the first Vampires come from?”

“Would you like more tea? I think I’ll have more. I should give Old Soul a call. I haven’t seen him in, maybe… a long time.”

“He stopped by last Christmas time. Remember Eleora, he wore a red cashmere sweater that almost melted when you touched it,” said Tellias.

“Oh of course. And he is still so handsome,” said Eleora.

“Extremely handsome,” said Tellias. “He always was.”

“Who is he?” Again I asked.

“Just a friend,” said Eleora.

“A friend,” said Tellias.

“A good friend. That is why we are here,” said Eleora.

“Why are we here?” I asked.

Eleora took my hand in hers. “Because it is too hot to go outside.”

We chatted for the rest of the day about my kids, Vampires we know, and whatever popped into Eleora’s head. There are answers to every question. There are all kinds of answers to every question.

For some of us there is someone like Old Soul who mysteriously comes into our lives. For most of us it isn’t so mysterious. We make connections, we reach out, we discover each other. As my children take those steps into adulthood they’ve started to realize how important those connections can be. We take our history into the future and share – not just the stories but the love as well.

I know, I’m rambling just like Eleora. But that’s ok.

Have a good weekend everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories

As yet another graduation day approaches I thought about memories. So many memories are being made this week. So many will be made this summer.

Our memories of ourselves are rarely the same memories that others have about us. Others rarely remember us for what we think is important. They rarely remember us for anything that we’d ever think of. It isn’t that history isn’t unkind. Personal history is more a flash of emotion. It is a connection made. It is unexpected bits and pieces that are filed away.

I have memories of times that are like they happened today. I can run them in my head like movies. But if I share those with those who were there with me will they remember?

I run into those who knew me long ago. They don’t remember so many things and events, and even talents that I identify with my own self image of who I am.

What they do remember is my voice. My voice. They remember how I talked and how calm I was. They remember my sweet, calm, soothing voice. That is what everyone except my closest friends remember. I never knew that.

Even without our own families we remember things as if we weren’t related at all, and grew up miles apart.

As I write, a new tale based loosely on a brief time in my life, and those involved, I think of how we remember each other. My memories will be woven with fiction, but I seriously doubt if anyone would ever know they’re mine. Then again, isn’t a lot of what we write, feel, and how we react based on our own memories and experiences, even those locked away in secret places of our minds and hearts.

What I wish for the young adults in my life is that they have many wonderful shared memories that will continue to amaze and entertain, and bring joy for years to come. Even if that is just the memory of the sound of a voice, or the chance viewing of a falling star late at night. Your memories are yours and yours alone. To keep, or to share.

Wishing you good ones.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Evie

Our friend Pierce was by this weekend. He pulled out a tintype of his mother and sisters.

“Oh my goodness,” I said. “There is Evie when she was alive. How is she?”

“Great, you should get in touch with her. She is in the Oakland Hills these days. She’d love to see you,” said Pierce.

Evie is on the far left, with the long ringlets looking straight into the camera.

They were a lovely family of assorted interesting personalities. Evie has a fire about her, and a curiosity, and sense of humor that kept everyone who knew her entertained, and on their toes. Despite the fact that she had more than her share of suitors she took a different path.

I don’t know exactly when she approached my brother Aaron and told him that she knew what he was (what we all were.) She wanted to be like us.

Years later we were walking on a beach, it was I think 1932. We were wearing satin evening dresses with absolutely nothing on under them. My hair was in Marcel waves. Hers was pulled back in an elegant chignon with a diamond clip.

We were talking about everyone at the party we’d just been at. It was a warm night on the Central California coast, as we walked barefoot, our stomachs happy and full of blood and booze.

Then she stood and faced the waves. She dropped her dress on the sand and ran laughing into the waves. I didn’t see her for days after that. I’ve no idea if she had taken a night swim then run off with a lover, or if she’d hitched a ride on a whale and gone off to Mexico. I have no idea at all.

But that was typical of Evie.

It was good seeing the old tintype. I’ll have to give her a call – and soon.

Just a reminder for all of us to call old friends, and rekindle old relationships. It will be just like being alive again.

~ 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

 

Passings In The Night

Passings in the Night

The plan tonight was to share some Vampire tales and adventures and truly funny things, but plans change.

Tonight I saw The Ghost, Nigel. He wore an impeccable black suit, his hair was a perfect glossy black and all in place. He motioned for me to sit with him out on my back deck under the cold night sky.

His eyes met mine and he told me a story.

“I died December 3, 1986. I normally wouldn’t have remembered the anniversary of my own death, but, it was the strangest thing, I was standing out in the woods, not doing much of anything. When you’re a ghost you don’t do much of anything. Anyway, I was out in the woods and a woman came towards me. She was smiling at me and I knew things about her. Her life had taken up where parts of mine had stopped. Then her life stopped December 3, 2013.

She looked at me for just a moment in passing. It was dark but I could see the light coming over the horizon. She asked me who I was and if we knew each other. I told her “I don’t know you, but we’ve loved some of the same people.” I turned her in the right direction.”

Nigel stood up and looked up at the stars, hovering in and out of a transparent state. Then he came close to me and made himself look as real as a live person.

“I couldn’t go with her. But I sent a little bit of my love along, I hope. Well, I know I did. Don’t look all sad. I’m a ghost. These things happen. Hey, nobody should die alone. She left surrounded by love.”

“Who was she?” I had to ask.

He shook his head slightly. “I don’t know. But we loved the same people, just not at the same time. I loved them first, then she loved them after I was gone. I have a feeling she was better at it than I was, or most people for that matter.”

There were so many questions I wanted to ask him but tonight was not the time to ask or to try to get answers.

Love is a force that we can’t explain or quantify. It goes beyond worlds, beyond sorrow and beyond grief.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

First posted December 2013 – In memory of Julian Elsworth and Lil Longshore.

An alternate universe of memories

Even Vampires have members of “the sandwich generation.” We are those who take care of both our young and the ancient members of our families.

We go between cultures and centuries, trying to keep up with the needs of all. It can be both exhausting and rewarding. The biggest reward is watching the very young and very old together. They seem to have a connection that is unencumbered by the world around us.

This weekend Eleora is with us. Tellias has gone with my brother Val to visit old friends. She can’t stay alone anymore or she’ll wander off, or call 911 just to get good looking young men in uniforms out to her farm, or sit alone without motion for the entire weekend.

Nobody knows how old Eleora is. She looks like a twenty year old, but she is ancient, born before the Roman Empire came to Britain. She is older than any languages we speak today. She is older than dirt (I just said that to be funny.)

We sit over goblets of wine and blood talking about funny things we did on road trips over the years.

Memories are different for Eleora, as if the pages of a book have been torn out then put back in random order. Places, people, and dates are mixed up, making for an alternate universe of memories.

I hold my hand up to my husband Teddy to let him know not to correct Eleora. Just let her talk. We remember all three of the stories, but now they are one story. That’s ok.

Last weekend seventeen year old Clara and I took Eleora to a flower show. I wondered around by myself looking at plants, while the teen and the elder took their time, discussing each plant, and what plants they have at home (African Violets.) They looked at the plants, heads close together, with Clara holding Eleora’s hand and making sure she saw everything.

I over heard someone smile and say the words “special needs.” No, she is just old. But they wouldn’t know that seeing what looked like two lovely young women, perhaps sisters, with the younger helping the slightly slow older girl.

Sometimes when I’m with Eleora I don’t know if I’m in a Harold Pinter play, or just skipping through Oz.

No matter where we are, I’m going to take a deep breath, put away my horrible impatience, and enjoy the unique point of view. And no matter what I think at first, I can still learn from that point of view.

Don’t forget the elders in your life, those who are different, and those who need extra help. We can learn from them, and together our lives will be richer, with far far more interesting memories.

Have a good weekend everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/together/