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Friday, February 21, 2014

Nathaniel's Blog January 7th, 20-- "A Night At The Crypt"

At The Crypt...


Brian talked me into taking the night off from transcribing more letters, and going to my dance club.  It's an older building.  One of many I purchased during the Depression.  Like many I felt the pinch of the stock market collapse, but I wasn't destroyed by it.  I lost a fair amount mind you, but I never kept all my eggs in one basket.  For one thing gold never goes out of style, no matter how bad things get.  Nor do diamonds and other fine jewels.  Plus I had investments that did not suffer, especially those overseas.

Not that I've had to worry about money for some time.  I don't have as many needs to spend money on, and I've had many jobs over the years which paid nicely.  What can I say, I like to keep busy doing things and learning new trades and skills.  It also helped that my first wife also left me quite well off.  Ah Madeline, even after 110 years I still miss her.  She was a wonderful woman and we enjoyed our time together.  Benjamin Franklin was quite right in his advice to a young man about being with an older woman, I learned so much from her.  Unfortunately, it also meant our time together was not nearly as long as I would've liked. 

These days however, I'm surrounded by younger women all the time.  Which is only natural.  It's hard to find someone your own age when you're a 167.  Many are in their teens, some in their twenties, with the occasional 30 or 40 year old as well.  I admire them all, but keep myself somewhat distant.  Sex is still quite enjoyable, even being what I am.  But I've learned to be careful about who I partner up with for the pleasure. 

But tonight, I'm just enjoying the company of the crowd itself.  Love watching excitement and pleasure they get from being in a place where everyone knows they're safe and can and enjoy themselves.




I've just finished running the turntables and turning them over to my main DJ "The Scar Man".  Former gang -banger I met a few years back.  He's a great guy and helps keep an eye out on  the younger crowd for me.  I prefer things being friendly around my place, not that there aren't the occasional upsets and punches thrown.  After all, a lot of my clientele are in their teens.  Hormones are running rampant, and status is oh so important.  

They mostly patrol themselves, because they know better than to have me intercede. If a weapon comes out, then I'm all over them before they know it.  God knows I've been stabbed by or even shot by accident more than once.  Most of the culprits freak out because they can't believe what they'd just done.  A rare few, don't care and even make another attempt to get past me.  They learn the hard way.  I make sure they never pull a weapon on anyone ever again, unless their own life or someone else's is at stake.  I try not to be stupid with my powers.   Not everyone is as long-lived or hard to kill as I am.

Tonight, I see trouble brewing but of the lesser kind.  

Over in one corner a boy named Teddy is asking the head cheerleader for a dance.  I've watched Teddy for a while.  He's not one of my nephews, but he's friends with a few.  He's a good kid, on the quiet side, not good at sports and certainly not a stoner.  So in short, a prime 'bully' target.  When he was younger, I heard he cried a lot when he got picked on which led to getting beat up.  Although others intervened on those occasions, he seemed to suffer more than one would expect from a few simple punches.  These days I think I know why.  And now I see the football's quarterback Cory coming over with a few of his buddies.

He grabs Teddy and gives him a body check that sends him into a couple of chairs.  Teddy hits the ground hard.  I pass through the crowd without their even realizing it.  Not one gyration or step is missed as I pass between the smallest of openings.

I'm standing before Cory and his friends before they can let out their first guffaw.  Their mouths clamp shut instantly.  I glance down at Teddy who is clenching his teeth in pain.  I can tell from here there's only going to be a bruise or two, but I know what's really going on.  I had it when I was a kid, only we didn't have a name for it back then.

Cory starts telling me that he'd warned Teddy about bothering Sherry, the cheerleader.  They're not actually dating, but he's one of those alpha males who thinks they are destined to be a couple.  Someone's been watching too many movies.

I nod and tell him he's not in trouble with me.  But I also point out that I know for a fact that he's been riding Ted since elementary school.  That's another benefit of being around for so long, you hear a lot of things. "While I'm glad you've channeled your more aggressive nature into sports, it doesn't give you free pass for tormenting those who are ill," I tell him.

He gives me an incredulous look.  "What are you talking about?  He's just a drama-queen who likes to have people feeling sorry for him," he shoots back.

Turning to Ted I ask, "How bad is your Fibromyalgia acting up today?  What are the pain levels like?"

The young man stares at me in shock.  "You know?"

I nod and say, "Of course I do.  Takes one to know one.  I had it back when I was a kid.  I suspect you have too."

"Yeah," he tells me and looks away.  "It's been this way my whole life.  They only diagnosed me with it two years ago.  Everyone kept telling me I was a crybaby, or a wimp who needed to toughen up.  My dad kept telling me I needed to be a man.  He never believed me until the doctor's told him what was wrong.  He still doesn't, but Mom does.  So do my sisters."

Behind me I hear one of Cory's crew muttering, "Shit!  My mom's got that."

I reach down and help Ted up onto a chair.  He hurts more than he's letting on, but I can sense it.  One of the other cheerleaders, comes over and sits down with us.  I remember her name is Tina.  She's one of the back-up cheerleaders.  She starts telling Ted that she knows where he's coming from and that she has it too.  Which is why she's a second-stringer.  Her ability to perform is erratic some days.

I leave them all to sort things out amongst themselves.  A few friendships may arise from this, even possibly a romantic relationship.  Mostly I'm hoping to see tolerance come from this encounter.  Invisible illnesses can be quite a difficult thing to contend with.  Both for the person suffering it, as well as for others to recognize.

My own father never fully recognized it in me, but I learned to hide it with time.  He wanted a son who was strong and able.  I did my best for years to live up to that expectation.  It was also one of the prime reasons I went to war, besides wanting to protect my friends.  I no longer feel those old pains at least not physically.  But I remember them as well as if they were still plaguing me.  I can't do anything for the physical pain, Ted is feeling, but at least I may have lessened some of the others he's known for so long.

I glance back once more.  Cory and most of his crew have moved on, but Tina is still with Ted.  They seem to be getting on pretty well.

Katy Perry's "Roar" is winding down, so I head over to the keyboard.  A little slow dance music seems to be in order.



Sunday, February 9, 2014

Brian's E-Journal January 7th, 20--

I'm beginning to think I may have made a mistake in getting Uncle Nathan to transcribe all those letters and journals.  He hasn't been himself since he started.  I'm guessing that even after a hundred and fifty years some wounds just don't heal enough.  Though he already told me he's determined to finish the task.  He really laments all the journals, pictures, and personal mementos  that were lost to him over the last century and a half.  At least in cyberspace they can never be lost.  Plus he really wants those of us who know him to really be able to understand all he's seen and done throughout his long life. 

I still find it hard to believe that he's been around for almost a century and a half.  I don't mean just the fact that he's existed all that time, but what he's seen and done over the decades.  He didn't just sit around brooding and despairing about outliving all the friends and family he knew.   The man keeps looking ahead, eager to see new things will come.   

I mean think about it.  Here is a man who has witnessed the birth of movies, television, computers, and so many other inventions that have changed the world.  Plus, he's witnessed or even been part of historic events, both good and bad.  But that's just the start.  

He's attended night classes at a number college and universities.  I know for a fact that he has at least two doctorates, three masters and I don't know how many A. A. and B. A. Degrees.  He's learned to play several musical instruments and is a master of ballroom and modern dance styles.  

There are photos and posters from the stage and theater.  The man was actually part of Vaudeville, for crying out loud.  He knew some of Hollywood's biggest names before the movie industry ever even existed.  God knows he's made so many of us laugh performing some of his old skits, recreating some performances by other legendary figures like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harry Houdini, Rudolph Valentino (before the movies when he was mostly known for ballroom dance) The Marx Brothers and Mae West to name a few.


The Marx Brothers had a huge influence on him.  He learned to play the piano from Chico and later the harp from Harpo.  Right now, we're in 'The Crypt' and Uncle Nate's tearing up the piano in Chico's style.  

*Author's Note: click here to see Chico in action:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfIVnzpj1vM

While his teacher was well known for polka and classical, Uncle Nate likes to let loose with a mixture of Jazz, Hip-Hop, and others while still using the same finger movements and comedy.   Even the youngest of the Hip-Hop crowd love to watch him in action.  Especially when he uses some of those comedic skills up at the turntables when he sits in for the club's DJ.

He never has to worry about the owner of the place being bothered by his antics, he is the owner.  He acquired the building back during the Great Depression.  "The Crypt" is in the basement and is always open most of the night.  Alcohol is never served.  That came to an end back in Prohibition and he never lifted the ban.  He just wanted a place for everyday people to enjoy themselves.  

Right now he's up there getting his and everyone else's groove going.  I could go on and on about him, but I think it's better when these things come from him.  Which I'm going to try and encourage.  Transcribing the letters and journals are still important, but so is existing in the present.  This is something he's taught me and so many others over the years.  I guess that's why we love him so much and help keep his secret.  At least half of the club's visitors know and keep quiet.  They also donate regularly so there's always a supply for him in the refrigerators.  He only takes from people directly on rare occasions.  But that's an entry for another day.  Right now, he's stepping over to the piano and cutting loose there, and my feet are itching to get on the dance floor with my wife and children.  Even at forty we know how bust moves with the best of them.  Uncle Nate taught us the importance of always moving with the times and living our lives to the fullest.






Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nathaniel's Blog - "Letter From My Father Nov. 1861"


November 12, 1861


My Son,



    
     Know that we are in receipt of your letter from October 30th and were relieved to hear you remain in good health.  I am grateful, you addressed the letter to me and not your mother.  Some of the details you shared within those pages would've alarmed both her and your sister to no end.  I'm pleased to see that all my years of lecturing you about the wisdom of foresight were not wasted. 

     Word of illness spreading among regiments and even within forts have reached our ears, so I was very glad to hear you have been fairing better than some of your fellow soldiers, was welcome news indeed.  In sharing your letter with your mother and sister, I left out many of the details of your last encounter with the rebels.   Although I suspect, you had already not shared all that you could even with me.   

I pause for a moment as I stare at those words.  He knew me so well.  Often people told me how much I was like him, but in this case it was my mother who taught me to hold certain facts back from him.  As proud and firm a man as he was, my father could be very sensitive.  I see this in the next paragraph when he speaks of Roger, my best friend since childhood.

     Allow me to express my deepest sympathies for young Roger's passing.  Yes, word reached us about what happened.  You may receive a letter from his family expressing their gratitude for your staying at his side, while under fire until the end.  I will never forget all the time you spent with him as children, fishing, playing, getting underfoot.  The two of you were inseparable.  Pray take heart that a part of him will always be with you, and will hopefully be watching over you in the days to come.

See what I mean?  He didn't always express himself so warmly, but I always knew it was there.  Perhaps, it was concern for my sister that had put him in an especially sensitive mood when he wrote me on this occasion.

     The effects of your sister's illness still plague her.  I regret not telling you sooner, but shortly after you left her condition worsened.  She had contracted the Scarlet Fever which had claimed so many children in the past two months.  Luckily, she survived, but is still very weak.  Not an uncommon thing for a child after suffering such a dangerous illness.  The doctor says there may have been damage to her heart, but time will tell.  

God how I wish the man had been wrong.

   Know that she continues to ask about you and looks forward to all your letters with great anticipation.  She maintains high hopes that you will indeed be back next month in time to share Christmas.  In spite of all that I've been hearing, I share that hope as well.  Your mother and I pray this conflict will end as abruptly as it started and we can be a family once more.

     Until that time comes, do take care of yourself my son.  Your mother will be sending a package of food, blankets and more clothing shortly.  Do not bother sending your pay home to us, for you know very are quite well off.  Spend some of it on your fellow soldiers who are not as fortunate.  Remember the teachings of our Lord and may he bless and keep you safe.

Write again soon.

Your father,

D. Steward 

Even after all these years, the mention of my sister's bout with Scarlet Fever still hits me hard.  I remember using some of the pay I had on me at the time to buy my sister a new doll and some pretty things.  At the time of her illness, the first antibiotics were still another decade or two away.  Burning the patients clothing, blankets and any personal items they kept near them was the standard practice at the time.  Although I also knew my parents would've replaced a number of items for her, she favorite doll and stuffed toys that I had given her would've been thrown into the blaze.

I'm glad I acted so quickly.  For just two weeks later I received a letter from her...

A hand fall's on my shoulder.   "Uncle Nate?  I think you've done enough for tonight," Brian tells me.  "Why don't we go to 'The Crypt' for a drink or two."

I catch the tone in his voice that says 'You need it!' 

He's right.  I do. 



  
     



     


Friday, January 24, 2014

Marisa's Musings October 5th, 2006

Author's Note: today I'm introducing you all to Marisa.  She will be one of the lead characters in the actual novel and will be playing a vital role in the story.  Here we see her very first blog entry, when she is only ten years old and very happy.  

Hi Everyone and welcome to my blog.  

I'm Marisa and I'm a huge fan of ghosts, scary movies, and vampires. Especially vampires, I love watching movies about them.  Probably because of my dad.  He has got like every vampire movie made it but he hardly ever gets to watch them because Mom's not into them and he hates watching them alone.  

So about a year ago, I got the book "Dracula" for Christmas and now he and I watch the movies together every Sunday.  We just watched Christopher Lee in "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave".


He has got to be like my favorite Dracula, even though in real life he's like ancient these days.  Though I did see him in Star Wars "Attack of the Clones" and frankly, he was the best thing in that movie personally speaking.  Even being so much older now, he still has an air of power and charisma.  I kind of hope he stays around for a while, he seems pretty cool.

Though, I really can't say the movie was all that bad.  I loved all the robots and battles, those were pretty cool.  I wasn't too keen on Anakin because he seemed kind of whiny sometimes, but I could certainly understand his killing all those Sand People after what they did to his mom.  If anyone hurt either of my parent's I'd be going all Terminator on their asses.  

Um... did I mention I also love Sci-Fi movies with robots and cyborgs?  I get that from my dad too.  

Mom likes to think he was hoping for a boy to share all these things with since she's not into that stuff.  I don't know if that's true or not, but I don't care.  The guys at school like the fact that I'm into that kind of stuff.

That's all for now, my Mom's telling me to get  ready for my first Girl Scout meeting.  Up until a few months ago, I was still in Brownies.  Now I'm old enough to join the big girls.  See you all later.   


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Nathaniel's Blog January 4th, 20--

It's been two days since my last entry.  I had expected copying the letter I'd left Isabella to be hard, but not like that.  I should have known better.  Father told me in one of his letters that Isabella had kept my note on her nightstand to look at every night before she went to bed.  I had made her a promise that she had hoped I'd be able to keep, in spite of all the news that came back from the front lines.  I had always been able to keep my promises to her.  No matter what the odds were, I always found a way to fulfill them.  Which was probably why she was still clutching it in her hand that December night when... 

I'm getting ahead of myself again.  There are more letters and journal entries that must be copied and saved, but not tonight.  Something happened after I left here the other night, that I need to follow up on. 

You see, after Brian took the letter away to clean it, I left and began wandering the streets.  I don't even remember what I saw or whether or not I passed anyone as I walked.  I just had to keep moving.  At times I ran, even though there was no one chasing me.  It was foolish of course, one cannot can run from memories of guilt, pain, or loss.  Especially not when you've had a hundred and fifty years to accumulate them, and God knows how many more decades ahead to add to them.

Probably that was what my brain was telling me when I finally came to a halt.  Back when I still had a breath to catch, I'd probably have been bent over trying to do just that.  But not these days.  Instead, I simply stood there taking in my surroundings, trying to figure out where I was.  Imagine my lack of surprise when I realized I was standing in front of my old homestead.  Perhaps the old saying you can't run away from the past is more accurate than we think.


I stood there for several minutes staring up at the old manor.  Time had not been kind to it.  Probably because no one has lived in it since the 1970's, when the last of a series of relations tried inhabiting the place passed away.  After she passed on there was no one else to take over the place, so it became another forgotten edifice from a bygone era.  I could have come forward to try and claim the place, but there would be awkward questions about my lineage,  Especially since I'd had myself declared among the fallen back at Gettysburg during the Civil War.  But that's another story.

Anyway, I felt compelled to enter the old grounds.  I did not go inside the building itself, I rarely do these days.  Maybe it's seeing how time has and has not touched the interior.  Oh, the wallpaper has faded and peeled in many places.  Yet, a lot of the furnishings are still there, untouched, preserved by yellowed sheets that have accumulated layers of dust.  On the shelves sit figurines and books, untouched and forgotten.  As if waiting for someone to brush away the cobwebs and clean them off to they can be admired once again.




The portraits still hang in the gallery beneath dust cloths, their colors preserved and vibrant thanks to being spared and denied the light. Forgotten and unappreciated works of art by some of the most skilled painters of their time.

Why has no one ever gone inside and tried to steal any of the these forgotten treasures, I do not know.  Perhaps, some of the rumors of the place being haunted have a ring to truth to them?  I wouldn't put it past some of my 'nephews and nieces' to have come up with story of the place being inhabited by spirits.  They probably even played a few tricks to help reinforce the idea.  Heaven knows the number of times they've begged me to claim my old homestead and live here permanently, so I can be close to them.  Generation after generation have made this plea, and I always refuse.

Not that the idea isn't tempting.  But as I pointed out in my last entry, the longer I stay in one place, eventually tongues wag and trouble follows.  I couldn't bear the idea of the place and all the things within, being destroyed.  I know time will eventually take its final toll, which is why I helped Brian's father create the museum forty years ago.  My goal was to slowly remove the more valuable and treasured items from here and transfer them into the museum for safe-keeping.  Yet, every time I go inside the old place, I cannot bring myself to remove even a simple knick-knack.  It always feels like someone is glaring down at me with disapproval.

I did not enter the house, that night.  Instead I walked the overgrown path towards the family plot which sits a back in the trees behind the house.  There was once a little chapel as well, but that fell during the 'Night of Fire', along with my parents and our servants.  Again, another story, for another time.

The family plot is surrounded by a wrought iron fence which is only a few years old.  The original had long fell into disrepair and I'd had it replaced, with a new one that still had the old world look to it.  Oddly enough, the new gate creaked like its predecessor.  I could have had it fixed, but the sound seemed appropriate somehow.


So when I heard it groaning in the distance I new we had visitors.  Normally, it would be one of my extended family, but not at three in the morning.  Besides, I'd already caught a whiff of smoke in the air.  No, these were most likely unwelcome guests.  And as the only liv... still walking member of the household, it was up to me to greet them.

My footsteps become silent, even thought I'm walking over layers of dried leaves from autumns long past.  Not only do I make no sound, there are no imprints to mark my passing.  I'm still not sure how I manage this little trick, it just seems to happen whenever I go into stealth mode.  Even after one hundred and fifty years, there are questions I have yet to answer about my condition.

I turn the corner and see three figures entering my family's resting place.  Young would-be toughs.  I've seen countless numbers of them over the years.  The costumes may change, but the attitudes and arrogance is always the same.  I'm tempted to wait and get an idea of what kind of mischief they intend to get up to.  But I already hear the rattle of a spray paint can coming from one of their pockets, while another starts brandishing a crowbar.  The third kicks an old white stone I know so well.  It belonged to William, our butler.  It strikes me as disrespectful to see someone of African descent violating the grave of one of his own kind.

I decide to make my presence known.  "If you're not here to pay your respects, I suggest you take yourselves elsewhere and find some other form of enjoyment," I say loudly.

I won't bother repeating the profanity they shoot in my direction.  Needless to say, it was followed with threats against my person if I didn't start running.  Naturally, I did not retreat.  I merely stood my ground and repeated my request in the form of a warning this time.

The one with crowbar was the first to start walking towards me.  He was white, about sixteen, with all the swagger and arrogance of someone who'd watched way too many 'Gangsta' films.  I kind of felt sorry for him, which is probably why I didn't kick the living shit out him like I wanted.  Yes, I do curse and swear with the best of them.  However, I was also raised to be a gentleman and as such I refrain from using unnecessary violence when a simple scare can be far more effective.

He was about  twenty feet from me when I smile at him, put my hands in my pocket, and then and look down at the bottom of the jacket I'm wearing.  It goes all the way to the ground, similar to the style of coats back in my day.  It's a style I've always been partial to and have kept using throughout the years.  Though I make sure the cut and collar are always in keeping with whatever the 'modern day' trends are of the time.

In this case, my coat has what's called a Mandarin or Banded collar, which I leave unbuttoned as is the custom these days.

I glance up at him and smile.  This enrages him and he gets even more angry, which pleases me.  Anger can be your worst enemy sometimes.  While it may give you an adrenaline rush and maybe add a bit more to your punches, it can also make you careless.   He obviously has not noticed the movement taking place at my feet.

He soon does though.  The first dog head slips out from beneath my coat when he's just ten feet away and growls.  That catches his attention.

It throws him for a second and then he laughs, "Oh you got a dog, huh?  You think he's going to stop me from cracking your fucking skull open?  You a dead man, you here me?"

Then the second head emerges from the folds of cloth at my feet.  His blustering begins to waiver as the two hounds emerge.  Both are black with heads the size of  beachballs, with bodies to match.  I decide then to make their eyes glow red, a little something I picked up from the countless movies I've seen over the years.  It may seem trite, but the effect they have are always impressive.

As he takes his first few steps backwards, I can see his friends coming out of the gate looking worried.  There's just something about seeing something that looks like a Pitbull, but is the size of a Great Dane that is really off putting to people.

Tough guy yells as the first dog lunges for him.  He takes a step back and tries to hit it with the crowbar.  He connects and the dog's head splits in two.  For a moment he thinks he's won, then realizes that each half is now shaping and becoming whole.  Now he's dealing with an angry two-headed beast.

Unfortunately, I can smell the urine running down his legs as he screams like a girl and flees.  His buddies are already far ahead of him, chased by the second hound which had silently shot past Mr. Crowbar before he could blink.

Once I'm satisfied that they've had enough I retract my pets.  I've not moved an inch from where I'm standing, with good reason.  Thanks to the darkness, none of the trio noticed the long black lines stretching  from beneath my coat, across the ground and all the way to where the dogs should have hind quarters.  As the canine figures distort and stretch back beneath my coat, I sigh.  I could've easily shape-shifted into the form of a huge wolf, but that would start rumors.  And as you know I abhor those.

After my 'pets' are back in their proper place and I can feel my legs again, I enter the family plot and right the headstone.  I'm relieved to see that it hasn't broken, or even cracked.  I was worried, considering its the original stone and fragile.  Eventually, I'll have to replace it, but not yet.  Maybe in another few decades, but for now it's still quite legible and beautiful in a weathered sort of way.

I check on the other graves, none of them were harmed.  I got here just in time.  But the flowers have been trampled, plus there are a few looking rather wilted.  I know what needs to be done.  As sacrilegious as it sounds, I slowly walk over each grave.  As the tails of my coat pass over them, the flowers are looking strong and healthy once more.

Satisfied with my handiwork, I take a final look around.  There's no one near. I can even hear the trio still running, they're at least a mile and half away.  Good.

I knew they wouldn't be back, but I checked on things last night and stayed in the shadows until I sensed the dawn coming.  I intend to do the same tonight.  Brian is insisting on coming with me this time.  He wants to keep me company and go over some of the other letters I have to transcribe.  I think he's going to bring his laptop with him in case the mood to type strikes me.

If he offers to do it for me I'll decline.  Those letters and journal pages tell just a part of the story, only I can fill in the other sections.  No matter how hard or difficult I may find it at times, it needs to be done.

I can see it's almost nine now, I've been here for over an hour already and Brian is looking antsy.  He wants to read what I've typed, which I will let him do.  He's a good man, just like his father and grandfather and so on all the way back to his great-great-great grandfather, the first Brian Weston.  Or rather I should say Captain Weston, hero, and childhood friend.

I'll probably speak more of him in my next entry, since the next letters will begin mentioning my military service.

Good night.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

First Blog Entry of Nathaniel Steward January 2nd 20--

So here I am, creating my very first blog entry.  Night has barely fallen outside, I can hear the rustlings of nocturnal creatures, who are as familiar to me as my own portrait, just outside these walls.  Soon I will join them again.  Enjoying our nightly rambles, through the brush and empty streets.  But first I must complete that which came here for.

I confess that I still find the idea of using a computer to record my thoughts and memories a little... strange.  Especially one that can rest in my lap.  I saw the pictures of the early ones that took up room after room of space back in the 1950's.

I even got to work on some of the ones that came later, with their huge spools of tape.  These days, you can fit more data than those eve could on a flash drive that is smaller than my finger.  Amazing.

In just a few short decades the technology advanced by leaps and bounds.  Some would say it seemed to happen in the blink of an eye.  I know better, it was hardly that quick, but it was fascinating to watch it happen.

But I digress.  I'll have plenty of time to dwell on the things I've seen over time later.  Right now I need to take advantage of the museum being closed and copying some of my old correspondence into electronic form.  My godson Brian assures me that the words I copy will continue to exist in the ether of the internet for centuries to come.  We'll see.  If I can still access them in another hundred to two hundred years, I'll be more at ease.

Words and thoughts floating about in an electronic pocket, insubstantial yet as real as if they were put to paper, still fascinates me.  In spite of all the things I've seen and learned since I took my first and last breaths so long ago, humanity continues to amaze.  Thank the heavens, my father always encouraged me to be curious and try new things.  He also taught me not to let go of the past and the things I loved, learned and lost.  He told me, nothing is truly lost if one can hold onto it in the heart and mind.  

He was right.  There are many who I can no longer touch or hold in my arms, but are still very much still alive within me.  But even a brain like mine cannot remember every little thing on a moment's notice.  Our brains are constantly filling with new data, faces, likes, hates, and information that things can get cluttered.  Which is why I started journal writing back when I was only ten.  Even back then I understood how easy it was to lose track of one's thoughts and memories at times.

I've kept all my journals, at least the ones that survived time, the elements and of course the fires.  I have a tendency to stay too long in some places.  Even when I hear some of the murmurings whispered in voices so faint, the speakers have no clue I hear them as if they were standing right next to me.  Murmurs give way to speculations.  Speculations then lead to secret meetings of those with a like mind.  Eventually, they in turn lead to spying and eventually open hostility.  Finally, action is taken, either by a few chosen or an entire community where entire homes and their contents are lost in flames.

However, I have an extraordinary memory and can recall most of the things I put to paper so long ago.  But this is not always the case. Which is why I have come to the museum.  My godson and his father, another godson of mine, oversee the place and all its treasures.  They and their families know me and what I've become, or rather what I became long before any of them were born. None of them fear me, only for me.  They are my guardians and defenders, as I have been theirs since the day I came back from the battlefield in 18... no.  That's as story for another entry.  I'm digressing again and I know why.


I glance down at the yellowed pages that lay preserved in plastic sheets at my right hand.  The ink has browned with age, but the handwriting is still very legible.  As well cared for as they are, these pages will one day crumble and be lost to me along with their words and the emotions they convey.  As painful as the task before me is, I must once more read those words and copy them onto a new page where time will not take them away from me.  An electronic page that will not crumble if touched by hand or age.

I take a deep breath, well not really.  It's more an old habit that never leaves you.  A memory the body has not forgotten and continues to do without you really thinking about it.  I have to admit, it's one of those little details that keeps people from wondering too much about me.

There I go again.  ENOUGH!  No more distractions.  I must copy these letters, or at least this first one.  Perhaps after I've done it, the others will be easier.

September 19, 1861

My Dearest Isabella,

I will be gone by the time you find this letter.  Pray forgive me for leaving without saying goodbye, but I know you would've tried talking me out of going if we'd met.  Know that I am fully aware of what I am doing will be dangerous.  However, there is so  much more at stake than just my safety.  

Father himself spoke to us all at length about things discussed at the convention in Wheeling.  Our state of Virginia has become as torn asunder as the country itself due to the growing conflict.  Brothers are being drawn into conflict with each other on the expanding battlefield.  This can only be stopped if the rebels and traitors are forced to lay down their arms and return to the Union, before the war becomes too large to contain.  So, I go with my friends who have donned the blue uniform, to try and end this nightmare before it becomes too much to stop easily.

Know that our commanding officer, a good fellow named Captain Hughes, assures us all that we can have this whole matter resolved within two months and that we will all be home before the year is out.  So rest assured, that I will be back in time for you and I to share Christmas along with mother, father and all our friends within the house.

I want to see you hail and hardy on my return, which means you are to listen to Doctor Henry and take the medicine he's prescribed for you.  That cough you developed recently sounded very unpleasant.  So rest and get well while I'm gone.  I shall return, perhaps with a medal or two for acts of heroism.

Until then know you will always be in my thoughts, and I remain your loving  brother,

Nathaniel


A barely finish typing the last words when I hear, "Uncle Nathan,?" 

I sit up and turn to Brian, holding out a box of tissues to me.  He gestures with his head to the plastic covered letter on the desk.  Drops of red have splattered across the protective covering.  

Automatically I reach up and touch my cheek and feel tracks of warm, sticky moisture.  

Sighing, I take one of offered tissues and wipe my face.  Brian tells me he'll take care of cleaning the sheet protector.  

"Thank you," I tell him and stand up.  This was far harder than I expected, but it needed to be done.  A first step.  Perhaps the other ones will be easier to transcribe.  Then I think about the house I grew up in, just a few blocks from here and the family plot in the back.  No, it won't get easier.  It never did.  Especially around Christmas...


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Brief Introduction To This Blog...

Welcome to my newest project, "The Vampyre Blogs", the precursor to my novel of the same title that will be coming out in December of this year.  It will be my first attempt at a vampire story that will take place around Christmas, hence the timing of the book's release.

The purpose of this blog is part experiment, part entertainment.  

The experiment comes in the form of introducing the audience to various characters who will be appearing in the novel, before you ever get to read the book.  I will be posting entries by the various characters on this blog, just as if they were making entries on their own blogs, or in a private diary or journal.  This format (using journals, diaries, and even letters) was used by Bram Stoker, to create his classic novel "Dracula".  So in tribute to the 'master' I am following a similar pattern but using blog and electronic journal entries for my novel.  I'm taking advantage of doing the blog you are reading to get reactions from my possible readers and get some feedback.  I am also hoping to gain more insight to the characters themselves as I write their entries on this blog, so I will be more familiar with them when I begin the actual novel.

The entertainment part of this blog involves letting you the reader get to know some of the characters in advance, aspects of their lives, personality, loves, hates, etc.  Some of them you may find irritating, others sympathetic.  While still some you might not be able to fully make your mind up just yet.  But remember, the purpose of any novel is for characters to grow and change in the course of the story itself.  

This  endeavor is a huge step for me and I hope, you will find the entries both informative and entertaining.  Please note, that NONE of these entries will appear in the book itself.  It wouldn't be fair to let you all read these posts and then turn around and ask you to pay for having them put together into book form.  I prefer to give these as a gift to my readers so you can know a bit more about who you will be meeting and learning more about their motivations and histories.  Some of this same material may get touched on in the novel itself for those totally new to the storyline, but you will have a more in depth insight into things by following this blog.

For now I will leave you with this final note: the next entry will be posted by Mr. Nathaniel Steward, born January 1st, 1845 in what would later become West Virginia during the American Civil War.