Nathaniel’s E-Journal July 10th,2011 “My Goddaughter Is A Psychic”

I’ve walked this Earth for over a hundred and fifty years and never tire of the surprises the world still has in store for me.  This summer I’ve been touring Europe with my godson Brian, his wife Annie and their daughter Lisa (who is also my godchild).  Annie is expecting their second child in a few more months so I’m keeping a close eye on her as we travel.

Brian is a history professor over at a college back in West Virginia and had wanted to travel overseas to get some firsthand looks at historical places.  Knowing that I’d spent a fair amount of time in Europe actually witnessing many events in the early 20th century he’d asked me to act as tour guide.  I did point out to him that I wouldn’t be available for a lot of daytime excursions, to which he said, “True, but I know you have a lot of extended family connections over there who could show us around.  Plus they’d love to see you I’m sure.”

I had to admit he got me on that point so rather than take just him I brought his whole family over.  I figured it would be educational for Lisa and a wonderful change of scenery for Annie.

We spent a good three weeks just in England alone, before crossing the channel into other places.  After a short stay in France we moved on to Germany, where I first began to notice something different about my goddaughter, Lisa.

                                  

With Brian being a history professor, he naturally wanted to see the old concentration camp at Dachau.  I arranged for a private tour, but did go with them.  I’d seen such places in action long in the early 1930’s, long before the war began.  Some folks never realized how long they were going before the first shots were fired. The memories of what I saw and experienced inside those places have never left me.

Mind you, the ones I had been to were mostly the temporary camps, which had been hurriedly built to hold ‘detainees’ while the main camps like Dachau and Auschwitz were being constructed.  Those temporary facilities were completely dismantled afterwards and most of their names have been lost to history or mysterious fires that wiped out the entire facility.  Not many people hear about those, because no one likes to speculate how the flames seem to claim only only the officers and guards of the facilities.

Anyway, at Dachau they were met by Gustav Schuster, another of my godchildren.  Gustav was  only seven when the war began, but like many children he had kept his eyes and ears wide open.  He was able to tell Brian a number of fascinating details that often get left out of most history books.

Lisa went with him, and being a typical fifteen year old wandered about on her own apparently.  For when I saw her later that evening she looked badly shaken.  I asked her what was wrong and she turned to me and whispered, “It was horrible… the suffering that took place here… I could almost hear their cries on the breeze…”

But I didn’t say anything.  I’ve heard others say similar things because they were so moved by the history that surrounded them, so I didn’t make anything of it.  That had been a week ago.

Tonight, her words came back to me and I began to realize there is much more to my favorite goddaughter than I ever suspected.

Having left Dachau behind we’d continued our travels out of the cities and into the countryside.  We were now settled in a little heard of town up north, not too far from Denmark which was to be our next destination.  I had been to this place before and several of the older families knew me and were only too glad to put us up when I called a month ago.

Once dusk fell, I was free to wander the countryside and decided to do so.  I had a particular destination in mind and had planned on going alone, but Lisa and Annie (her mother) insisted on joining me.  To tell them I wanted to be alone would’ve have been rude.  Plus, I know from previous experience, Lisa would’ve followed me anyway.  So I let them come along.

We drove a couple of miles out of town and then came to a wide open field surrounded by trees and flowering fields.  As soon as we got out and took a few steps Lisa suddenly froze in her tracks and visibly shivered.

Immediately I sensed what was wrong.  Putting an arm around her I said, “You feel it… don’t you?”

She looked up at me with eyes full of pain and confusion and then nodded.  “But I don’t know what it is.”

Yes, she could feel it.  The girl was a ‘sensitive’ or psychic as they say.  I pulled her close and whispered, “It’s the echoes of human suffering.  You see, the Nazis had temporary concentration camps throughout Germany.  They acted as a stop-gap while the more notorious camps were being built.  And because they only lasted for a while there are little or no records of them or where they stood.”

“There was one here,” she murmured in a hushed voice of awe.

“Yes,” I told her and led her back to the car, lost in my own thoughts.

Hardly anyone knew about the the camp that had been here in 1933.  It had been one of the temporary ones which had housed almost a thousand ‘undesirables’, specifically Roma (more commonly known as gypsies).  Like the Jews, they had been persecuted and hunted by the Nazis, although not to the same extent.  But for those who were taken to this place the results were the same.  Torture, forced labor, unclean facilities, sickness, starvation and systematic executions.

Mind you, these were not the rogues and thieves that so many writers and Hollywood produces depict in their works.  These were good people who chose to roam the country, partly out of choice and partly because no one wanted ‘their’ kind living among them.  I know this for a fact because I was living among them in 1933.  How I came to them is a tale for another entry.  It is enough that I became part of their family.  And yes, my secret did not remain hidden from them for very long.  They’d found out early on my true nature, but accepted me anyway as one of their own.  As well as their protector and guardian.  I even married one of them.  A teenage girl named Magda who loved me like no one else had ever before.  And whom I lost in this place.

She’d been taken from me months before and I’d spent the entire time searching for her nonstop.  When I finally found where she and the others had been taken I came as quickly as I could.  But it was already too late.  We were reunited long enough to say goodbye and for me to save those who were still alive.  As for the soldiers and officers who were running the place… my wrath consumed every single last one of them, with only a few exceptions.  (Again a tale for another entry)

Afterwards the place mysteriously burnt to the ground never to be rebuilt.  Perhaps the burned, bloodless bodies discouraged them.  Or perhaps what happened to the soldiers who came later to exact revenge on the town for the escape of the prisoners and the destruction of the facility, made them think twice about trying again. Whatever the case, the Nazis avoided the area forevermore.  Convoys of trucks and soldiers would take a wide circuitous route around and away from the town and forgot it was even there until after the war ended.  Although I heard many time through the grapevine that it was sometimes mentioned in hushed, fearful whispers among the Gestapo who made sure to erase any mention of it from the records.

After getting Lisa and her mother into the car, I quietly excused myself and returned to the field.  Normally I would walk the entire spread of the open area, but due to Lisa’s reaction I did things a little differently.  I rose up into the night sky for about twenty feet and my lower half dissolved into a greenish mist.  This cloud columned down to the ground and spread across the entire field. Soon the flowers which were already withered or browning suddenly began to bloom as if it were early spring instead of mid-summer.

This is my special way of ‘laying flowers’ at gravesites.  Cut flowers wilt and die within seconds of being in my presence.  As long as they are in the ground and are still alive to some extent I can bring them back to full health, but once dead or dying after being severed, my ‘field’ seems to accelerate the decomposition.

As soon as the field was lush and full of color once more, I reconstituted and returned to earth.  Once there, I knelt down and offered the for those who had been lost.

Much to my surprise, before my prayers were finished, Lisa and her mother appeared on either side of me and knelt down to pray along with me.  I had lost family in this place, especially one closer to my heart than any before.  But I did not remain alone.  I always have family and I will always fight to protect and keep them safe.

Lisa’s “Private” Thoughts July 9th, 2011 – Germany…

We’re still in Germany.  After spending three weeks in England we crossed the channel and spent a few days in France before coming here.  At the time I was rather glad to get away from Paris and all the people who looked down at me when I tried practicing what I’d learned in my French class.

Now I’m wishing I was back there.

Today, Dad went to visit Dachau, a concentration camp from World War II.  Mom didn’t want to come, so I felt obligated to go with him so he wouldn’t be alone.  I wished I’d stayed with her. 

                             

There’s no one word that can describe the feeling in the air of that place.  Oppression, sadness, despair… it’s almost overwhelming at times.  Such suffering on an incredible scale that lingers in the air… I almost bolted when the gates to the place were opened.  But I didn’t want to leave Dad all by himself so I braved the tour.

Now I need to point out that this wasn’t the usual tour.  Because my dad is a history professor, Uncle Nate pulled a few strings to get us into areas that are usually closed off to the public.

The dormitories, if you could call them that had reproductions of the beds on display, but the memories of the sickness and suffering permeated the air.  I swear I could almost here voices crying or coughing.  I felt like I was going to suffocate so I went back outside.

Dad went to the gas chamber, but I couldn’t bring myself to follow.  The atmosphere was just too much.  He took a few photos and then came right out to check on me.  I’m glad he did because by then I think I was starting to see things.  I could’ve sworn I saw a figure near the gallows out of the corner of my eye.  But when I turned he was gone.

So I was more than a little glad to get away from that place.  I was even more happy when we moved on and headed to other parts of the country where we met some Romani (gypsies as most people call them) who knew Uncle Nate.  They seemed quite delighted to see him, especially some of the really older members of the group.  They had to be in their eighties or even nineties.  When Uncle Nate introduced me to them I noticed one of the old men had numbers tattooed on his forearm.  After visiting Dachau I knew only too well what that meant.  I gave the man an extra hug after taking his hand.

Even though we didn’t speak the same language he seemed to understand.  Uncle Nate told me afterwards the fellow had noticed my eyes staring at the brand on his arm.

That was a few days ago.  Today we arrived in a little known town.  Uncle Nate had stocked up on blood and was sticking around with us in the daytime.  It was cloudy and overcast so I knew he’d be okay, especially after all the blood he took in.  Still, something seemed off about him.

He insisted on wandering out in the nearby countryside on his own.  Only Mom and I wouldn’t hear of it and joined him anyway.  Even she could tell something wasn’t right.  So we drove a couple of miles out of town and then pulled over to where a large open field stood.

It seemed so quiet and peaceful at first.  A part of me wanted to run among the flowers but then I felt it.  The same heavy feeling like I experienced back in Dachau swept over me and I couldn’t understand why.   There was nothing to mark the place as anything special or historical, yet that inexplicable feeling of misery and dread kept growing inside me. 

The sensation was so strong I started to tremble when suddenly Uncle Nate reached around and held me close.  In that moment the feeling suddenly went away.

Confused I looked up and saw him watching me with real concern.  

“You felt it don’t you?” he asked quietly.

I nodded.  “But I don’t know what it is?”

Pulling me close he whispered, “It’s the echoes of human suffering.  You see, the Nazis had temporary concentration camps throughout Germany.  They acted as a stop-gap while the more notorious camps were being built.  And because they only lasted for a while there are little or no records of them or where they stood.”

“There was one here,” I whispered without thinking.

“Yes,” he nodded solemnly and led me away.

As we left the area, I couldn’t help but wonder how he knew.    I have my suspicions, but one day I’d like to hear the story.  Because a large part of me is thinking he was the reason this one was shut down and erased from history.

Reflections On The Past And Ponderings Of The Future…

The Crypt is silent tonight.  It’s a Tuesday and the place is closed as usual.  Usually I only open the place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  If I have it open during the regular weekdays, a lot of the kids would never get enough sleep for school the next day, and I don’t want to deal with angry parents complaining that my place is an attractive nuisance.  Not that anyone would believe it.  My place is a drug and alcohol free zone.  It’s actually one of the safest places teenagers can come to get away from the darker elements out there.

Still, keeping the place open seven days a week would be quite demanding on me and my DJ Scar-Man.  He has a family these days and needs to be able to spend time with them.  And I need time to myself.  Even after a hundred and fifty years, I still enjoy some ‘me’ time.  I know, I know, most vampires you see in movies or read about are lonely and longing for company.  Well this is real life and I have plenty of extended family and friends who love to have me visit. or like to come over and drop in to see me and I love it.

However, I do need some time alone every so often and tonight is one of those evenings.  So with the doors locked up I’ve scaled the many steps that lead to the top of this old building where my art studio awaits.  I though I might be in the mood to pick up a brush and work on a canvas or two, but not at the moment.  Instead, I’m in a more contemplative mood at the moment.

There’s a huge picture window at one end of the studio that allows me to gaze out at the town.  It’s very pretty at night.  The streetlights are lit up, as well as a number of houses.  The evening is still young so very few have gone to bed just yet.

 

Who knows who I might meet this evening if I venture out into the streets.  That’s half the fun of being a night walker.  It’s always an adventure.  You see things and people, most folks overlook in their busy day.  For me, I find stories and inspirations for paintings, novels, or just things that make you think a bit.  No, I’m not  one of the gloom and doom vampyres of legend.  I’m going to be walking this earth for some time yet and I’m fully aware of it.  I am what I am these days.  Although I did not choose this existence, it was pushed onto me by a very unlikely source, but unlike others I treasure each moment I have.

I’ve touched and had my life touched by so many wonderful people.  Not just the stars I met back in vaudeville, or the heroes I met out on the battlefields, but everyday people and I thank them for it.  The ones who’ve come and gone, as well as those who are still with me now.  Yes, I’ve said goodbye to a good many friends over the decades, but there are always new people entering one’s life that you can share and experience so much with.

In my hundred and fifty… correction hundred and sixty-seven years on this planet (I always forget to count my life before the change) I’ve seen so much.  How many people can claim they saw the first silent films?  Or heard the first radio broadcasts?  I encountered and even got to work on some of the earliest computers when punch-cards were the high point of technology.

Plus I got to watch man reach the moon and take his first steps onto that barren alien landscape.  And there are so many years ahead of me, which both fill me with wonder and a slight dread.  For unlike vampyres of legend I do age, albeit at a much slower rate.  I was only seventeen when I was changed and these days I barely look thirty.  For every ten years that pass for others I age only one.  This means I have a long time ahead of me, but what about when I finally start to reach ‘old’ age?  Will I start to turn grey and less able-bodied?  With I spend centuries trapped in a body that is feeble and infirm?  That’ is a frightening prospect, that I try not to think too much about.

There’s still so much about my condition I don’t know anything about.  In spite of twenty years spent getting degrees in botany, anatomy and physiology, and several other sciences, there’s still so much to learn.  Luckily, science continues to move forward and I can always go back and take more classes and learn more about the new discoveries that may help me fully understand what I’ve become.  And that’s something I actually look forward to.

I love taking classes and learning new things.  I’ve taken all kinds of classes over the decades including art, dance, languages, mathematics, writing, etc.  Learning can be so much fun.  I meet new people and get introduced to new ideas and skills.  Life is a wondrous thing and whether you have only one life-time or many what you do with your time can be very enriching.  It all depends on the individual.

And right now, this individual feels like stepping out for a while.  I’ll come back here later and start working on one of my unfinished canvasses.  There’s one in particular I’m very eager to get back to.

I’ve already put it on an easel so it can be waiting for me when I get back.  It’s a portrait of a young girl with flowing black hair and the most amazing brown eyes.  I can never forget her eyes.  They saw through me like no other and loved me for who AND what I am…