céline taillefer

Talitha Cumi

Prologue of a historical fantasy novel. A long lived vampire reflects on his time in 1st century Galilee, where he finds himself entangled in the life of an itinerant rabbi and his followers. (357 words)

A lot of vampires claim to have been at historical events. It improves their cache; makes them sexier. Some of them might even be true – after all, the longer a vampire lives, the more likely the odds are, both because we get savvier about the way the political winds are blowing, and because we simply live really, really long.

I was in Egypt during the reign and fall of Caesar, Cleopatra, Marc Antony but I witnessed none of it, too caught in my own nightmares. While Egypt finally succumbed to the hand of Rome, I was sleeping under its occupied soil. When the power in Judea changed hands, I was losing a fortune in North Africa.

I was not there when Jesus was crucified. How could I have been, when it was the middle of the day? That’s alright; I was there when it counted. When he drew a final ragged breath. And when he was raised.

Your eyes narrow. Ahh… you think I must have-? No. This isn’t some parlour trick. I’m not going to whip the tablecloth off your beliefs and say, “Surprise! Jesus was a vampire and I’m the one who turned him.” Was he a god? The son of one? Perhaps. There is more and stranger magic in the world than either you or I know.

I can see you don’t believe me. That’s alright too. There’s a lot that happened that wasn’t written about; the stories we shared, the pranks we played on each other (but mostly Peter,) the ridiculous miles we all put on our sandals. You know that Lazarus died and was brought back to life, but you don’t know that he loved to sing and was terrible at it, even though his sisters could both sing to make you weep. You know that John was the disciple Jesus loved, but you wouldn’t know he had a terrible stammer, or that Peter could easily sell a boat to a desert nomad but couldn’t, for the life of him, keep accounts.

You do know me though. I’m in there. When Jesus is arrested in the garden, remember? I’m the naked one.