Wednesday, May 2, 2012

BURIAL AT SEA~~~~~~ A Vampirina Takes The Plunge

I  heard the sound of crashing waves and felt them lift me up. They spoke to each other in a language I could not understand. Now I know it was Spanish or Catalan or something like that. In truth it might have been Calabrase or Sicilian, for the dialect heard in those lands was shaped by foreign overlords.

Now you know we never practiced any faith, any formalized faith, I mean. But the dominee did have his standards. We looked up at the stars and spoke of the heavens. He loved animals. I saw him use a bit of his blood to heal a baby rabbit once. And he dropped many a pricey bauble into poor boxes and collection plates. When they killed the Rhineland Jews, he acted as Golem. And they never knew. They never suspected.

A woman in a fine, wool, off-white pants suit cleared her throat and said - What town? Do you know what town it was?......... Marianne said - No place special. Just a little place. Rotbaum, I think he called it. Why?................Rotbaum? Did you say 'Rotbaum? - asked the woman.............. Yes - said the winsome elferina. Does it mean anything to you?................. It does. It does - said the woman. My father's people came from that place. He knew the story. He heard the legend. He spoke of  The Golem of Rotbaum. There was a book, an old book, all in Hebrew. I still have it. It tells the story. What you're talking about, I mean. We always thought it was just a fable.......... Well, it's not - said Marianne. It's true. Do you think I might be able to see it?............... The woman looked down at her hands and nodded.

Marianne exhaled and went on.......... But even though I lacked the formal verses, I still knew how to pray and I asked God to save me. Please let them repent. Please make them set me free. Let me out of this hideous casket. Put the moon above my head and I shall do good things. I repeated that over and over and over and over, but nothing happened......... I could hear them laughing. Then someone banged on the side of the chest and yelled - Silencio!...... So I did. I knew what they could do. I was afraid they'd slide me into an oven and bake me like a chicken. That's what I thought of. I didn't know if I could die. I didn't know how long it would take.... I didn't know.

They put the leaden casket on a liter or a stretcher. Maybe it was just a big, wide plank  (I didn't know) and bore me down into the hold of a ship, sliding me off  among a multitude of crates and boxes meant  for New World colonists along The Hudson. I heard them talk. That's how I know. 

By that time, my body was numb. Perhaps it was a vampire way to confront the confinement? I could feel my arms around my knees. I could feel the lid pressing down against the back of my head, but the actual discomfort (which would have killed any one of you) was far away and removed from my conscious mind, like a distant echo, or not even that. But I could think..... And my dreams were very real. So I spent the time in star-kissed glens with moonbeams and favorite, vampirina 'aunties.' Weeks went by. Sometimes the scratching sound of scabrous rats kept me company. And sometimes just the slow, deep groaning of the ship.

We were two days passed the Azores when they did it. The rough, sudden movement tore me from my reverie. I suppose it was hard to hoist me up that ladder and drag me 'cross the deck. I could hear them swearing. But it all happened so fast. Six score heartbeats later it was done. I was thrown over the side and sent plunging into the sea....... a fourteen year old soul consigned to a dark, cold tomb..... though very much 'alive.' ...... And after a long, long decent, I hit bottom, resting on my left shoulder, with my head downhill from my hips.

I could hear the metal strain and wail, crushed by the unimaginable pressure. But the casket held and I was kept quite dry......

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~< M >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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