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.”
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?
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.
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