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