A Late Night Walk Along The Highway

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.”

“Tellias, what…”

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?

Eleora: No.

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.

Judy: Ghosts?

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

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

 

 

An Afternoon with an Ancient Vampire (and Werewolves)

An Afternoon with an Ancient Vampire (and Werewolves)

Halloween is almost here and that means a party at the home of the ancient Vampires Eleora and Tellias. I’d promised Tellias I’d take him shopping for craft supplies. He could have gone on his own but lately he had a tendency to get lost, especially when going out during the daylight hours.

When I arrived at the grand Victorian farmhouse the couple share Tellias was waiting with a Panama hat on and round dark sunglasses. Today he was dressed fairly normal – a black velveteen vest over a white shirt, black jeans and yellow flip flops. His pale blonde hair was fanned out like liquid gold over his shoulders. He looked all of nineteen years old.

We had one other stop, to see my friend Adam, a photographer, who also happens to be a Werewolf. If I’d told Tellias about it he wouldn’t have agreed to go. Werewolves are always a touchy subject with him.

Adam was there with his photographs and two other Werewolves, a man and a woman. He introduced them as Troy and Brandy. Troy was large and deeply tanned with that sort of manly lumberjack look women seem to love. Brandy was delicate pretty woman with one blue eye and one brown eye. She wore her hair in long reddish curls and looked like anything but a Werewolf.

Most people don’t know that Werewolves, despite popular myths, are the researchers, geeks and scientists of the alternate world (that world of Werewolves, Vampires and other not so regular type humans.)

I noticed Brandy’s right hand, mangled and curled under with horrible scars. She held her hand up close to her side as if she was protecting it.

They knew who Tellias was. Everyone knew about the ancient Vampire, born in Rome around the time when BC merged into AD. He’d gone to Britain with the Roman army as sort of an adviser. The Roman generals knew he was brilliant and special but nobody knew he was a Vampire. And eventually, he ended up here and now, shopping for Halloween craft supplies on a beautiful fall day in Northern California.

After introductions the Werewolves asked Tellias if there were wolves in Britain back almost 2,000 years ago when he was there. He thought for a second.

“They were large wolves and they were eating the dead. Even Vampires couldn’t compete with that kind of horror. I couldn’t blame them for an easy meal. I’ve gone for easy too. We all have.

The wolves were magnificent creatures unlike any I’d seen anywhere. The blood baths against any living creature bothered me from the start.”

“Did you hunt the wolves?” asked Brandy.

“No, no, not at all. We’re Vampires not ghouls.”

“Did you know King Arthur?” That was Adam asking out of the blue. I almost told him to shut up.

Tellias gave a serious slightly peeved look. “King Arthur? Friends knew him. Said he was sort of a dick. It was a harsh world back then, not the romantic ideal you see in the movies. There was no social justice or human rights or much of anything. No animal rights. That said, it was a good time for Vampires before Regular Humans figured out what we were up to. It was that damn group of self important rogue Vampires who set themselves up as wizards and all sorts of other nonsense. We annihilated most of them but the damage was done. Done, done, done, forever. Our reputations were ruined and our cover blown clear out of the sky. Clear out.

I knew a priest back then, a man of God who was good. His name was Virgil. Like the poet or like the guy in the Sanford novels, Virgil Flowers. Have you read those books? I think my Virgil was from Southern Europe but I never knew and he never told me. He could talk with wolves and hawks. I’ve always liked Hawks. Sometimes I’ll sit for hours and watch them.

There were wild spirits and wilder men who tried to keep Virgil from his work. He was a healer, not just of broken bones but a healer of the soul. He was like an early psychiatrist. He was a werewolf too. We became close friends. Close close friends. I miss him to this day. So does my wife. You know, I don’t even remember when I started calling her my wife, it just seemed like we were married the first night we ever spent together, which was also the first night we met. He said we were too nice to be damned but I once caught him weeping because he didn’t believe Vampires had souls and he thought we were demons. Do you think we’re demons? Undead lifeless shadows with no souls? Parasites of human blood? We have two souls and we can’t sell them or give them away. Our souls are our burden to keep alone. Nobody looks after us. Just like Werewolves, nobody looks after you or your souls either.” Tellias looked around the room oh so quietly in his Vampire way, looking straight into the very soul of each and every Werewolf.

“So we’re all damned according to your lore?” Brandy asked again, still holding her hand close to her side.

Tellias looked her straight in the eyes. “Not damned, just alone. All alone. As alone as can be. So we must keep organized and quiet and stay together despite our differences.”

Tellias looked at me in mild confusion and annoyance. “Why are we here again?”

“They need our help,” I said

“So they call on the old Vampire.”

“Yes, they need your help. They’re doing a study about healing powers and pain. They’d like to find out how we manage it so well when others are unable to. They want to know if it is physical or mental. It is a problem with Werewolves.”

“Can we go now?” He looked clearly uncomfortable and annoyed. He whispered in my hear so only I could hear, “everything is mental with Werewolves. They’re nuts.”

“We have to go,” I said to the Werewolves.

“Someone is hunting us, do you know who it is?” That was Troy, speaking up for the first time. He sounded pretty desperate and emotional.

Tellias took a deep breath. “October is always a bad month for this kind of insanity. I’m sorry I don’t know right off hand but…” He approached Brandy and took her hand. “What happened to you dear girl?” Tellias tenderly asked her, taking her hand in his. I thought she would pull away, but she allowed him to look.

“I was caught in a trap about a year ago. I had to chew off enough to slip out.”

Covering Brandy’s injured hand with both of his hands he closed his eyes for a few seconds and then opened them up again. Then he kissed her mangled fingers gently.

“The pain is gone.” She said in amazement. Her eyes teared up.

The beautiful old Vampire kissed her cheek. “Be careful on Halloween and keep your pets inside.”

Then he smiled. “Did you know Werewolf blood tastes like Bourbon?”

Adam laughed as the others looked shocked. It was time to go.

As we walked to my car, headed off to finally get those craft and party supplies Tellias put his arm around my waist and gave me a thoughtful concerned adult look. “Juliette, my dear girl, I might be ancient but I am not a curiosity to be put on display.”

I started to speak and he tightened his grip on me. “I love you as if you were my own child. I feel for the Werewolves, but my dear, we can’t live our lives as if every single day is Halloween. That said, I am so proud of you.”

Then he started to sing quietly, as he always does. I listened for a moment. Nine in the Afternoon. It was unexpected but then again, isn’t everything?

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

________________________________________________________

Nine in the Afternoon

(Panic! at the Disco)

Back to the street where we began
Feeling as good as lovers can, you know
Yeah, we’re feeling so good

Picking up things we shouldn’t read
It looks like the end of history as we know
It’s just the end of the world

Back to the street where we began
Feeling as good as love
You could, you can

Into a place, where thoughts can bloom
Into a room where it’s nine in the afternoon
And we know that it could be
And we know that it should
And you know that you feel it too
‘Cause it’s nine in the afternoon

Your eyes are the size of the moon
You could ’cause you can, so you do
We’re feeling so good
Just the way that we do
When it’s nine in the afternoon

Your eyes are the size of the moon
You could ’cause you can, so you do
We’re feeling so good

Back to the street
Down to our feet
Losing the feeling of feeling unique
Do you know what I mean?

Back to the place
Where we used to say
Man, it feels good to feel this way
Now I know what I mean

Back to the street, back to the place
Back to the room where it all began
Back to the room where it all began
‘Cause it’s nine in the afternoon

Your eyes are the size of the moon
You could ’cause you can, so you do
We’re feeling so good
Just the way that we do
When it’s nine in the afternoon (x3)

Watch the official video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCto3PCn8wo

Songwriters
Urie, Brendon Boyd / Walker, Jonathan Jacob / Smith, Spencer James / Ross, George Ryan

______________________________________________________

And if you need more on those Scottish Wolves…

On Ederachillis’ shore

The grey wolf lies in wait-

Woe to the broken door,

Woe to the loosened gate,

And the groping wretch whom sleety fogs

On the trackless moor belate.

The lean and hungry wolf,

With his fangs so sharp and white,

His starveling body pinched

By the frost of a northern night,

And his pitiless eyes that scare the dark

With their green and threatening light.

He climeth the guarding dyke,

He leapeth the hurdle bars,

He steals the sheep from the pen,

And the fish from the boat-house spars,

And the digs the dead from out of the sod,

And gnaws them under the stars.

Thus every grave we dug

The hungry wolf uptore,

And every morn the sod

Was strewn with bones and gore:

Our mother-earth had denied us rest

On Ederchaillis’ shore

—The Book of Highland Minstrelsy, 1846

Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

This weekend will my mother’s 490th birthday. Everyone will be in at my brother Aaron’s house to celebrate as only a Vampire family can celebrate. Tellias and Eleora, the Ancient Vampires, the elders of the family will be here. Unlike the powerful and cruel Ancient Vampires in so many fictional stories my dear Tellias and Eleora have gentle hearts. Oh sure, they’re still Vampires, but it isn’t anything you need to worry about.

This is something I posted a while back (October 2015). Enjoy. And remember to stay close to those you love.

Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

Eleora couldn’t remember what she did yesterday, but she could tell stories of her childhood in excruciating detail. My daughter and niece sat next to her, holding her small hands in theirs. They looked like three young women about the same age. My Clara is 16, Lauren is 21 and Eleora is, well, nobody knows how old she is. We know Eleora is over 2,000 years old but no exact number has ever come out.

The girls heard stories their parents and grandparents had never heard. These were ancient lost tales that she’d hoarded until she found the right audience.

Tellias, her husband, told the girls to watch if they went outside. Eleora might wander off on her own and not find her way back.

He watched the woman he loved, his eyes filled with pain. Sometimes I’d see a rare bit of anger. Of course there is always love, but with that more often than not pain and frustration.

This was Sunday. We’d all gathered at my brother Aaron’s for our mother’s birthday. All four of my brothers were there (Max, Andy, Aaron and Val), as well as the elders Tellias and Eleora, Aaron’s grown children Logan and Lauren, Great-great-great-great Grandmama Lola and her friend Cody, and our friend Pierce. My husband Teddy and Aaron’s wife Verity were there playing host and hostess as they sometimes do. And of course our parents Jeremy and Samantha.

More friends were to come later at this gathering at Aaron and Verity’s home. Of course we’re all Vampires. It would seem weird to bring anyone else in.

This isn’t like the movies and horror stories where we bring in virgins and babies to feast on. Of course there is blood, but we have it in wine glasses (not big red cups.)

I stood outside under the stars with Tellias and my brother Max.

Max put his hand on the elder Vampire’s shoulder. “Eleora isn’t all there anymore is she?”

“I believe she is there. She just is a bit disorganized. You know, when you can’t find the mates to your shoes and you are walking on a bed of nails so you just hop on one foot and hope you don’t fall. But if you fall it will be into a burning pit of lava. Then you look down and notice your pants are gone and your socks don’t match,” said Tellias. “You need to come by and see us more often Max.”

“I know,” said my brother.

“Nobody knows how long Vampires live. Most of us don’t make it this far given the dangerous nature of our existence. Don’t take your chances. Your day could be tomorrow. Eleora’s could be tomorrow. We never know. But no need to get depressed, none of us are going anywhere for a while. We’ll be around for plenty of birthdays to come. But the more you and Juliette and the rest of you come around the easier it will be for Eleora to straighten out the mess in her mind.”

The three of us stood there for a few seconds. Then Max gave Tellias a hug and walked down into the yard under some trees. I watched him as he took out his phone and made a call.

“He is calling her, isn’t he? He should have made that call fifty years ago,” said Tellias. “The boy never seemed to understand love, even at his age he still can’t.”

I had to smile. Even at the age of one hundred and sixty-six Max still is just starting to understand that ships that pass in the night sometimes never pass each other again.

Tellias took my hand and gave it a squeeze. “I appreciate everything you do for us.”

“I know.” I said. I looked into his crystal blue eyes, in a face that looked no older than nineteen. To think that he had lived in ancient time didn’t seem all that strange most of the time. He’d kept up. They both had. That is what kept Tellias and Eleora young. Nobody would ever have expected them to dry up in a crypt or become ghouls living in shadows. Then again, they gave so much love that the cold dark places the put fear in men’s hearts didn’t touch them.

So stay young. It is easy if you love and let love in. Even if you’re a Vampire. And even if you’re not.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Charged Technology, and The Ancient Folks We Love

“Juliette, I am so glad to see you. Were you in the neighborhood?” Tellias took my face in his cool white hands and kissed my forehead.

“No,” I said. “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for three days. Your phones go straight to voice mail. You never check your voice mail. You never check to see if your phones are charged. I was worried about you.”

Tellias said nothing about the phones, took my hand, and said, “Let’s go see Eleora. She’ll be glad to see you. She fell in a drainage ditch out in the pear orchard yesterday. I had to call John next door to come help me get her out.”

“Why didn’t you call me?”

Tellias gave me that annoyed look one gives children with annoying questions. “We got her out.”

He stood in front of me, his blue eyes looking brighter than usual, his white blonde hair hanging to his shoulders. Today he wore a Hawaiian shirt with big blue hibiscus flowers, and ancient worn out orange plaid Bermuda shorts, and his yellow flip flops.

Tellias and Eleora are old. They’re ancient old. Tellias is well over 2,000 and nobody really knows how old Eleora is. They looks as if they’re about twenty years old, but act like they’re in their nineties. For readers new here, I must explain that they’re Vampires. We all are. I’m the one who checks in on them, just as many of you check in on your elderly, or other family members with special needs and concerns.

Tellias and Eleora live on a farm along the Sacramento River, an hour drive from my home. I grew up running through their orchards, then new, and going to lavish parties at their home. The first house burned down, and was replaced with a lavish Queen Anne style Victorian mansion. But that is neither here nor there right now. They won’t plug charge their phones.

In fact when I saw Eleora, lounging on a couch, in a polka dotted white and navy sun dress, with a pink pilled up sweater over it, she looked at me with sad eyes. Did she mention her fall? No.

She asked me, “Why don’t your brothers or your parents ever call me?”

“Because your phone is never charged and you don’t check your messages, and you don’t even use email anymore,” I said, trying to keep from yelling. “What were you doing out in the pear orchard, by the drainage ditch?”

“I was checking to see if there were any bums out there. They used to camp out there during the depression and they’re still camping along the river. Homeless.”

“What if you had found someone? What if they’d hurt you?” I asked.

“I’m a Vampire Juliette. I would have eaten them and torn their heads off.” Then she and Tellias laughed and then he took her hand and they danced around the room.

“She would have eaten them,” said Tellias.

“Every one of them,” said Eleora.

“Every one of them,” said Tellias.

“And torn their heads off,” said Eleora.

“She found a rake I’d lost about thirty years ago,” said Tellias.

“I told you I’d find it,” said Eleora.

“Glad you did,” I said. I really was. Eleora had been asking about the rake for the past thirty years, non-stop.

“It was rusted out,” said Eleora.

“I figured as much,” I said.

“Rusted out,” said Eleora.

“Has anyone seen my truck keys?” Asked Tellias.

“They’re hanging on the hook in the hallway,” I said.

“Oh. I swore I’d lost them,” said Tellias.

“Swore he’d lost them,” said Eleora.

“Lost them,” said Tellias.

I turned to see both of my kids, and my son’s best friend Randy, standing in the doorway with boxes from the car.

Tellias and Eleora ran over to Clara, Garrett and, Randy covering their faces with kisses and hugging them.

“She found the rake,” I said.

“Oh good,” said Garrett, trying not to laugh.

We fixed iced tea, and cold blood over ice garnished with mint and sage leaves. Eleora showed off her quickly healing bruises and scratches.

Their neighbor John, a handsome man in his 60’s stopped by to say hello and fill in the blanks to the ditch story.

“You should have called me,” I told John.

Of course John said he’d call me next time. There have been dozens of next times he has promised to call me about but never followed through on.

Randy, who as usual, was wearing a vintage shirt from the 70’s with a panoramic scene across the front and back. He and Tellias talked fashion, or whatever it is they think they’re wearing. The more heinous the better is the rule with them. Randy is only twenty three so dressing like a mismatched old man looks cool on him. Sometimes I half expect to see him in sandals and dress socks, or worse red socks and sandals.

Almost twenty year old Clara sat with Eleora and held her hand as they talked about Clara’s transfer to the big university in Southern California that will happen in September.

Garrett and John helped me unpack bottles of Poet’s blood, cans of cat food (for the cat, not for the elders) and various other things I brought over. Tellias, who does most of the shopping often forgets to get things like cat food, and soap, and basic things we all need. When the elders want food they’ve taken to calling deliver services for food (Fill in the blanks. Nice warm blooded folks come to the door…) I have already told them not to call 911 to deliver handsome young sheriff officers for dinner.

I have to tell the elders not to do a lot of things. They never listen to me. Heads are nodded. I love you is said over and over. They smile with a coy hint of fang.

Eleora told Clara and me three more times that my brothers and parents never call her.

Before we left I checked the phone cords and made sure the chargers were put in outlets that hadn’t been switched off. I made sure everything was plugged in all the way and charging.

I reminded Tellias where his truck keys were, and where the other car keys were. I also reminded him to write down a list when he went out, and to even write down where he was going so he wouldn’t forget and drive half way to Timbuktu before he realized he was going to the hardware store for nails or a sprinkler part.

As we drove away, the three young adults and I, we waved to the elders, John, and the cat who all stood on the grand front porch of the beautiful Victorian home.

I was glad everyone was more or less alright, but couldn’t help but feel a little sad, and a little depressed. I always feel a little sad and a little depressed when I leave them. I feel the same way when I leave my house to go there. I feel that way whenever I think about them.

I can’t help it. I guess that is what happens when you love someone so much.

In a day or two I’ll call back. I know the phones won’t be charged. I’ll text John who will tell me he’ll check on it for me, but I know he’ll go over there and they’ll tell him their phones are charged. John will believe them and go home.

One more thought before I go. Summer is here. If you know someone who is elderly or needs extra help, make sure they have their air conditioning on when days reach triple digits. Make sure they’re ok, even if you have to drive that extra five or ten, or twenty miles when they don’t answer their phones. Tell them that you love them. Hold their hands and listen to them repeat the same stories over and over.

Be there.

Because they might be gone one day, even if they’re Vampires.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Frogs, Love, and Hell

I believe I’ve used the frog story before, but I shall tell it again.

Put a cold cast iron skillet on a cold burner on your stove. Gas works best. Place a large, live, cold blooded frog in the center of the skillet. Use a good sized one – 10-12 inches. Turn on the heat ever so low, then gradually turn it up. The frog will sit until it gets blazing hot and it’s feet and belly stick to the cast iron and it is cooked.

This is what happens to people in this heat (we’re expecting over 100 all week and over 110 F on some days). Elderly people and others who are not always aware will sit in the heat like the frog until they cook. They’ll forget to jump out of the pan, or in the case of some folks, forget to turn on the air conditioning or fan. Or they’ll forget to call for help because they won’t realize they need help.

My neighbor and dear friend Kelly came over tonight with a couple of cold drinks (bless her). She isn’t a Vampire like we are. She suspects we’re different but can’t quite put a finger on it. She also has a ghost in her house (yes, that ghost.)

We sat for a while as she told me of her elderly mother and the heat. Her mother forgets to turn on the air conditioner. Her mother obsesses about bad neighbors but will not let her children or helpers put anything over the fence so to keep out the eyes of those bad neighbors. She asked Kelly to come over (it was 110 outside) to cut down a tree. Kelly said no. Her mother doesn’t know what yard the tree is growing in. Kelly tells her not to go outside and check because it is too hot and because she’ll fall and end up in the hospital – again. The same conversation has happened over and over – with a different plant, a hose, a stray cat, an unfamiliar car parked on the street, or something else that Kelly will either have to deal with or talk her way out of.

She wishes her mother would move to a house where she won’t worry about bad trees and bad neighbors and expensive up keep. Kelly has suggested a smaller home near Kelly and the grand kids. It would be nice with all sorts of beautiful features and a lovely garden within walking distance of Kelly’s home. The kids could visit anytime. Her mother refuses. So Kelly must hear about trees and drive to her mom’s to get the mail, and give up her Saturday fun time. Saturday fun time is important for working moms and all moms and busy women who work, and well, it is important for everyone.

She wishes she could travel and do fun things with her mother. She wishes they could talk more of things that are positive and fun – things that are not bodily functions or other unpleasant things that only bring Kelly stress.

Sometimes the heat can suck the fun out of everything. The heat of being a caretaker can do the same. It is exhausting. Especially if the caretaker has children of her own. Kelly told her kids to put her on an ice flow if she ever got to the point where she couldn’t take care of herself. She asked them to shoot her if she ever lost her sense of humor. I gave her a hug. We talked for another house about books we’ve read this summer. We agree that everyone MUST read “Beautiful Ruins.” Then she went home to spend time with her own teenage children (good friends with my kids.)

After slipping on the kitchen floor today on an unknown object and landing on my back, I lay there thinking that I’d better call The Elders. They’re ancient and sometimes don’t use the best judgement.

Eleorna and Tellias, frail and gentle, were fine. Their neighbor had brought over shaved ice flavored with basil and rosemary. God bless him. They remembered to bring their old dog in and give him plenty of water. They didn’t drive today because sometimes they forgot how to turn on the air conditioner and the sun was too bright and they had lost the keys again, so they stayed home. And they turned on the air conditioner in their beautiful 143 year old house and slept in each other’s arms like young lovers.

I’m always afraid that I’ll drop by their house and find nothing but their ashes. I’m afraid someone will take advantage of them. I’m afraid that one day they might be gone and I will have a broken heart that will never go away.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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For more on the elders in my life and dealing with the elderly (with humor or not) see the links below:

Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

Eleora couldn’t remember what she did yesterday, but she could tell stories of her childhood in excruciating detail. My daughter and niece sat next to her, holding her small hands in theirs. They looked like three young women about the same age. My Clara is 16, Lauren is 21 and Eleora is, well, nobody knows how old she is. We know Eleora is over 2,000 years old but no exact number has ever come out.

The girls heard stories their parents and grandparents had never heard. These were ancient lost tales that she’d hoarded until she found the right audience.

Tellias, her husband, told the girls to watch if they went outside. Eleora might wander off on her own and not find her way back.

He watched the woman he loved, his eyes filled with pain. Sometimes I’d see a rare bit of anger. Of course there is always love, but with that more often than not pain and frustration.

This was Sunday. We’d all gathered at my brother Aaron’s for our mother’s birthday. All four of my brothers were there (Max, Andy, Aaron and Val), as well as the elders Tellias and Eleora, Aaron’s grown children Logan and Lauren, Great-great-great-great Grandmama Lola and her friend Cody, and our friend Pierce. My husband Teddy and Aaron’s wife Verity were there playing host and hostess as they sometimes do. And of course our parents Jeremy and Samantha.

More friends were to come later at this gathering at Aaron and Verity’s home. Of course we’re all Vampires. It would seem weird to bring anyone else in.

This isn’t like the movies and horror stories where we bring in virgins and babies to feast on. Of course there is blood, but we have it in wine glasses (not big red cups.)

I stood outside under the stars with Tellias and my brother Max.

Max put his hand on the elder Vampire’s shoulder. “Eleora isn’t all there anymore is she?”

“I believe she is there. She just is a bit disorganized. You know, when you can’t find the mates to your shoes and you are walking on a bed of nails so you just hop on one foot and hope you don’t fall. But if you fall it will be into a burning pit of lava. Then you look down and notice your pants are gone and your socks don’t match,” said Tellias. “You need to come by and see us more often Max.”

“I know,” said my brother.

“Nobody knows how long Vampires live. Most of us don’t make it this far given the dangerous nature of our existence. Don’t take your chances. Your day could be tomorrow. Eleora’s could be tomorrow. We never know. But no need to get depressed, none of us are going anywhere for a while. We’ll be around for plenty of birthdays to come. But the more you and Juliette and the rest of you come around the easier it will be for Eleora to straighten out the mess in her mind.”

The three of us stood there for a few seconds. Then Max gave Tellias a hug and walked down into the yard under some trees. I watched him as he took out his phone and made a call.

“He is calling her, isn’t he? He should have made that call fifty years ago,” said Tellias. “The boy never seemed to understand love, even at his age he still can’t.”

I had to smile. Even at the age of one hundred and sixty-six Max still is just starting to understand that ships that pass in the night sometimes never pass each other again.

Tellias took my hand and gave it a squeeze. “I appreciate everything you do for us.”

“I know.” I said. I looked into his crystal blue eyes, in a face that looked no older than nineteen. To think that he had lived in ancient time didn’t seem all that strange most of the time. He’d kept up. They both had. That is what kept Tellias and Eleora young. Nobody would ever have expected them to dry up in a crypt or become ghouls living in shadows. Then again, they gave so much love that the cold dark places the put fear in men’s hearts didn’t touch them.

So stay young. It is easy if you love and let love in. Even if you’re a Vampire. And even if you’re not.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

(First posted in 2015 – the message remains the same.)

 

VM_Tellias and Eleora

True love keeps you young forever!