Thursday, March 22, 2018

Our Vampire JONATHON loves this music -- Erich Wolfgang Korngold - Kings Row (1941): Suite of 1968


In the later part of the 1800's, I'd climb into a crawl space up above the ceiling of The Academy of Music and stare down at the audience, while losing myself in the wondrous sounds, through the intricate open naturalistic design surrounding the huge, magnificent chandelier. The small, swirly holes were designed into the motif so workmen could see down into the orchestra seats when they lowered the elegant crystal structure. The lights were originally candles. Later they went to gas. The chandelier didn't move then, but the crawl space was still there.

I'd gaze down at the formally attired patrons... ladies in off the shoulder gowns... gentleman in white tie and tails. When they lowered the lights (to my vampire eyes) the dazzling collars and shirt fronts seemed to glow.... so did the ladies... at least the parts that showed. Sometimes I'd pick a couple. I'd lock on.... Night-folk can do that. Everyone has a vibration. Each is unique and coupled with their scent, very easy to remember.

When the music stopped and the applause was over, I exited that crawl space and climbed down. Those in the know instructed their coachmen to drive around all night and return at the proper time. Can you imagine how long it takes carriages to exit a livery stable? And before you feel bad for the coachmen condemned to wander icy streets on cold winter evenings, please know that most left their conveyance in an alley somewhere behind their favorite taproom, while they sought shelter, plus beer and oysters, inside....

Then I tracked my special couple to their home. Some lived in the newly popular Rittenhouse district to the west. Others in the huge brownstones flanking North Broad Street, or the environs of Washington Square.... You know I like Washington Square. The streets and houses are thick with ghosts.... Maybe for some paranormal reason they're just easier to detect. Adepts claim underground granite 'shelves' reflect ectoplasmic emanations. One such 'shelf' runs under that part of the city. Who knows? But I ran through the shadows of the city, keeping up with their closed brougham, and saw the couple as they ascended the steps and entered a new (for those times) brownstone on a street just south of Rittenhouse Square... A few heartbeats later I sublimated through a cellar window and waited for the house to grow quiet.... Just me and a dressmaker's dummy with a painted on face and a wide brimmed bonnet, plus a neat, little bullet hole just to the inside of her left breast... right where a heart would be...

OH! Did I ever tell you I never ate chocolate?... Not once... by the time they brought it back from the Aztec Empire, I'd already been night-folk for like five hundred years.... So that's another experience down the drain. I did once get a victim all liquored up on some kind of chocolate cordial drink before I had her... Sort of got the essence of it, but it's not the same thing. Funny what pops into my brain.... If I still have a brain. Do I need one, or does my spirit simply keep everything going... (sinks into a silent trance)

(sighs and wakes up) Forty minutes later the house was quiet. She had a mild laudanum concoction He had a big glass of madeira. The new maid girl turned down the lights, pilfered a few bits of truffle from the kitchen and settled in for the night in her maid-bed. I slipped her three ounces of twenty four carat gold. I always give the most put upon servant something. Just how I am.

The husband was who I wanted. His people had rice plantations in the low country (coastal South Carolinas). Kept them after The War too. Ran them on a share-cropping system. Slaves kept right on going... Same cabins. They filled in the chinks, hung little curtains... patched most of the leaks.... put in a few outhouses instead of just a latrine ditch... And nobody made enough to get out of there, or get themselves doctored up when the yellow fever comes through. But the big house folks got theirs... And Mister Upstairs with his madeira got this brand new Townhouse on Rittenhouse Square in Old Philadelphia plus a whole drawer full of equities in northern plains railroads and a seaside 'cottage' mansion on Belleview Avenue in Newport. Please know, he was only the second son. Used to pester all the field girls when he was a young buck. Still does all the housemaids now that his daddy got him all set up as a 'gentleman' lawyer in the city. Folks still dying from Yellow Fever back home. Big Daddy  says it gets rid of the trouble makers... 'Cept some of those trouble makers only nine years old. And nobody even thinks about it.

I went upstairs, silently passing through errant moonbeams sneaking in through slits in the draperies. Vampires dance so quickly upon the stairs. Dancers in the dark, we are. A small Pomeranian dog woke from its slumber and saw me on a landing.. I went 'shhh.' The dog just stared. Animals know magic when they see it.

The mister and missus had separate rooms. Many did in those times. Besides, dalliances with servants felt so much naughtier. His door was locked. The custom was for ladies to have double doors. Gentlemen made do with one. But I tracked by scent and vibrations and sublimated into the right chamber regardless of the doors.

Shall I tell you about jaws ripped off, eyes sucked out, or hands stripped of flesh? These things and worse are common. Some gnaw through the belly, bite through the diaphragm and drain the beating heart. Such pure indulgence. Nothing richer. Stuffed with oxygen and nutrients. Tapping the jugular is nothing compared to that. Just know that I am quite the gourmet.... and the 'meat' certainly deserves it. Do they scream?... No... They tremble and twitch. The eyes open wide. Sweat pours from every surface. When it's done. When they die. The 'cool' blue fire ignites till all is consumed and only the ashes, plus perhaps a grease slick remains.... When I pull out my hair, my face, my ears, neck, my shoulders are slick with blood. That's when I fly away and hide, waiting for the blood to dry. After it does (and that happens rather quickly) a vigorous shake (like dogs do) sends thousands of scab-like particles flying everywhere, till my hair, my skin and clothing are completely clean... Then, I might continue the evening or return to my domicile. That's how it happened one night during the pentultimate decade of the nineteenth century..

Strange, but I was listening to a favorite piece of music. The one featured at the top of this tale... and I wanted you all to know... I've experienced many things, though the flavor and texture of chocolate is not one of them...

<more to come>

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Thursday, March 8, 2018


I, Jonathon speak these things -

We who you call 'vampires' witness so much. Long lives allow us to absorb all manner of things. Some dissolve into welcome memories. Others are as undigested pits and bones. And it's odd, but they rise up to confront us when we least expect it.... I walk the streets at night. You know that, for I share so much. God bless you all for being there. No other life-eater has, or ever had such sympathetic friends. No real life eaters anyway.

I saw THE BLACK PANTHER and I liked it. ... possibilities made real. That which we imagine can be achieved. All that's required is sincere dedication. I also saw a group of young people exit the theatre giddy and transfixed by the magic of it all. They laughed and danced about reliving scenes as they rapidly traded dreams. Few on the street noticed, but I did. Mortal emotion means so much to me. I saw the car round the corner and run right through them. It kept going, as if the city and all the people in it were invisible. One young man died instantly, crushed against the curb. I snatched another and sublimated up to the rooftops, so he might live. Did I transform him?... No, but I gave him a few drops and he lived... I redeemed him. His surviving friends from that night never realised what happened. But he went home healed and a week later, recieved an official document from a bank notifying him of a one hundred thousand dollar account, set up, tax free,  in his name. He and his family were quite pleased.  I, even more so...

This season does that to me. Friends of my tale know this. Few life-eaters, what most call 'vampires' forget their mortal faith. Indeed, we hold it all the more dear. For what else gives reason to this?... After all... we are only human... but (quietly) more than mortal.... So I do my job. I guard the sheep and tend the flock... Not the shepherd, but the sheepdog. That's why The Passover is so important to me... And I know there are people who 'tune out' when I don't give them recollections of bloody vampiric gore, or ancient, fiendish tortures. I have to accept that. Yet if people think vampire existence is all lurid killing and smoldering stares, they are wrong. In these postings I tell things how they are. I hope you all believe that. Those familiar with La Ciencia Vampirismo, the centuries old tome of vampire 'magic' and lore know the truth. God knows, I've referenced it here many times. Just go and do 'good things.'....

When vampires sleep during the light-time, we have visions... not dreams, as you do, but something much more precise and immediate. You see, it's even wrong for me to call it 'sleep,' for we are not just slumbering in our shelters. We are, in the spirit sense, somewhere else. You will know, when you die. In that state we see the face and feel the essence of the soul to be culled.... Who picks them? Well, one more spiritually adept than us. We behold the voice of angels... and they hear someone else. I believe that. All 'noble' vampires do. Thankfully, most are 'noble.'

So, once a month, I have my pre-ordained meal... I cull the soul and it sustains me. Those who don't know claim it's the blood. Granted, that fluid provides a certain heft, mouth sense and satisfaction, but the job well done gives even more.
and on those other nights, the nights when I don't feed, I save people, as I saved the boy, Michael, (that is his name) at the beginning of this episode. Or I gift my blood in subtle, quiet ways too. Sometimes I provide containers of hot coffee to homeless souls on the street, but I spike it first with you know what and they live. Most also find a banded 'flat' of hundred dollar bills in their pocket. Fifty to a stack. Five thousand dollars in all, with a note that says - take this to ( such and such) bank and deposit it... I give them one hundred dollar bills because I know few places will take them. The bank, a small private affair, belongs to a 'familiar' of mine. It's all arranged... They get a debit card  with a fifty dollar a day limit... and another note that says - To get off the street contact (another familiar). Let me just say that my success rate is higher than most other programs in the city. True, fifty dollars a day can buy quite a bender. But after a few days most learn. Oh, and if I didn't tell you, my blood can cure alcohol toxicity too.

I remember, as a newly made vampire, experimenting. I tried healing sick stray dogs... It worked... Alley cats mangled in fights were restored too... A near dead, juvenile Barbary Ape torn and dropped by a hawk was made whole. It seems the 'magic' works on all warm blooded creatures.... And in the candlelit gloom of medieval cellars I healed children from charnel houses, snatched just north of death and they came back too. We had to be careful to place them with families a few villages away, lest they'd be recognized and thrown down a well due to 'witchcraft.' Sadly, death cured everything in that culture and those days.... Death, death, death, death, death... They couldn't get enough of it, while I, as a vampire (0ther than my monthly 'meal') fought against it....

I've been in Philadelphia since its inception, coming over with The Lord Protector himself in the good ship Welcome. Notice I say 'in' and not 'on.' They had me locked in a large wooden chest down in the hold... I don't think they knew what I was... But the land was not empty. Native settlements were everywhere...There were Dutch and Swedish towns in the area too. And in three hundred and thirty six years I have saved tens of thousands... maybe more. I don't keep track... Counting natural increase via descendants and all only God knows how many.....

At this special time of the spiritual year, holy for Trinitarians and Unitarians both, I go out among the living and do my best to keep them that way... I protect the sheep. It's what I do...

Please know that decent people never have to fear us... Well, rarely have to fear us... Some night-folk do have strange spells every few centuries or so. But for the most part, you're all right.

Now permit me to continue my rounds....

(our hero, Jonathon ben Macabi, also known as Tomas de Macabea, silently walks off, disappearing into the wee hour shadows of the city.... an 'eighteen' year old youth on the town.... I'm sure you locals have seen him from time to time... or, who knows?... maybe he's seen you?)

<more next time>

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