Friday, June 24, 2011

THE VAMPIRE JEAN - MICHEL SPEAKS

Jonathon was wary of this new individual. Why should he be tolerant of an everlasting Crusader, one of a band responsible for the destruction or dispersal of his mortal family? Even Papa, his vampiric initiator, suffered at their hands. So he sat back and let the French-brigand-'aristocrat' talk.

The Burgundian knight sensed his tablemate's distrust. He understood all the reasons, but being a practical 'man,' trained in warfare, he continued to push on. Sarah studied the strong features and short, sandy hair, attempting to learn something of the person within. She had trouble following his revelations, since most of what he said was in  Arabic, or Hebrew (1,000 years in Jersusalem works it's magic), but this emotionally fine-tuned vampirina didn't really need language. Her dialogues took place on a more visceral level.

Jean-Michel exhaled. His breath smelled of coffee, odd for a vampire, unless he'd been smoking some mocha flavored tobacco? They can smoke...Vampires, I mean. After all, we know how much they enjoy aromas. The humans in the late-night cafe seemed to receed into the ether, as he began to share his story.

My name is Jean-Michel ---he said. I was born into a clan of petty, though ambitious land owners in a remote area far from the newborn cultural center of Paris. Indeed, we had more truck with the German towns to the east and the Italian merchantile capitols farther south than with the supposed heartland of our nation. My father 'owned' twelvehundred souls, serfs, I mean. They toiled in the fields and paid taxes so that we could live well-fed lives behind  stout, stone walls, dining on fire-roasted joints of fat, dripping meat ...Do you know that during the brutal winters we used to rub that fat into our grimy skins to keep them from cracking open? Cold will do that, you know. I lost two young brothers to infected, festering 'winter tears" we used to call them. Like knife cuts, they were...No, worse, like paper cuts...But think not that we had anything as fine as paper. Such luxuries were unknown to us. But we did have fine horses to ride and falcons for the hunt and heavy breasted serf wenches to mount when we got tired of the horses.

Yet all of this would never pass to me. I was only a second son, meant to toady up to an even richer land owner, who would enlist me in his service and take me on his quests, so that  I might  fatten my own purse on his leavings......So that is what I did. We killed neighboring chevaliers, struggling barons, prosperous farmers and other small householders (quite different than serfs), not to mention the usual measure of Jews. Believe me, it pleasures me not to tell you this, but my sword first tasted blood from the breast bone of a young Jewish boy. What did he do? He was there. He was first. He was near at hand. I was eager to practice a 'blood eagle,' taught to me by Norman mercenaries from the west. They knew it from their Viking grandfathers...rip open the chest, hoist out the red, wet lungs, heave them over the victim's shoulders and laugh, as he choked and died in blood-soaked agony. Seeing as there was a fair number of Jews in some of the towns nearby, I 'd get lots of practice. No one cared when the victims were Jews. Now remember, Crusader fever was in the land. Flea-bitten friars goaded the populace into action. They spoke with the authority of The Church. Who were we to differ? True, some of the more educated bishops disdained such excess...though not the booty thus produced. After a time, I had my mount, a fine, gray stallion and the necessary armor and weaponry to go with it. I picked up a squire or two, little more than slaves, actually. And, in my case, we joined forces with a bevy of rich, well connected counts in Venice, where we commandeered that city's fleet and set sail for The Holy Land.......God's work would be done........

Yet before he could continue, some Israeli police stormed in and ordered everyone out, as they grabbed a couple of suspected bomb makers and spirited them away. Other uniformed personel questioned everyone out on the street. Our three life-eaters made 'vampire eyes' at them  and so were not molested or detained. But dawn was beginning to trickle into the skies of Zion. The time for vampires to be out and about was over...at least for now.....  

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