Paper Flower Consortium's historian, Loretta Fabron Onfoy, describes why vampires need enthralled humans and reads the statement of a coven thrall, Sophia Shumaker. She answers a few questions about being a thrall.
Written and Performed by Elizabeth Guizzetti
For more information please visit: http://elizabethguizzetti.com/paperflowerconsortium
Music and Sound Effects:
Opening and Closing music by Evan Witt. www.wittynotes.com
Sound Effects:Support the show
Thank you for listening.
Paper Flower Consortium Episode 2: Happy Hour
Recording by Loretta Fabron Onfoy, Former Lady of the Kingdom of France, Current Historian and Libarian of the Paper Flower Consortium.
Beloved Initiates and Other Listeners:
00:36 Enthralled Humans
After the last recording, I mentioned thralls. And I found many listeners had questions or comments about being an enthralled human. It is amazing how judgmental people are. Personally, I blame Dracula and all those others villainous vampires from films and books who break promises or kill their enthralled humans or other helpers.
A real vampire don’t behave in that manner.
Vampires require blood and human blood is preferable, but that does not mean we have to be jerks.
Admittedly, we can live for a while on animal blood, but we slowly weaken. Some of us have gone mad when our diet consists of nothing but the flesh of animals.
However, vampires cannot live in any number if they choose to hunt—this would get our covens burned to the ground as we have seen in several films.
So most of us now keep enthralled humans.
There is another reason which people are judgmental of these relationships which I will call: Romantic Paranormal Fiction.
While some relationships between the human and vampire are romantic, some are just close trusted friends, some are just business and some, how shall I put it, the human worships the vampire as a god or goddess.
Some relationships change over time and just as relationships are varied, the reasons people come to the coven are varied and individualistic. Honestly, it’s amazing how many humans enjoy the slow-paced vampire lifestyle but do not want the eternal commitment.
Do not let the title fool you, enthralled humans, or thralls, are not under anyone’s spell. Any human in good health, can enter the program. And it goes without saying Thralls are never touched by vampires without their permission.
Admittedly there is some ageism and classism by the humans.
Older vampires, over a few centuries, who have not lost their foreign accent and dress out of time, are in quite high demand. Younger vampires, especially if they were born in America, are less coveted, however, the coven system ensures everyone’s needs are met.
Now I hear looking for a thrall is a bit like dating, but ladies in 17th century France did not date so I don’t really know if that is applicable.
While some enthralled humans come to the coven for a summer or even a gap year, most once tied to a vampire, most enthralled humans end up spending their lives and only death takes them from us. You see vampires don’t care about the outer shell. We couldn’t care less when our enthralled grows old, wrinkled or fat. We only care that they are healthy enough to donate blood—and if and when they cease to be after a lifetime of service, vampires care for their aging thralls most diligently. Some vampires even take in their thrall’s aging family members. Because we want them to be happy.
Now there are many benefits of being a thrall. One of them is housing at the coven for discounted or even free rent. They have Full Heath Benefits including an Urgent Care Clinic, twice-yearly dental cleanings, a yearly eye exams and a $500 stipend for glasses or contacts.
There are also family discounts at all our Vampire-run retail establishments and services. We offer Free personal tax assistance and for those people who own their own business, Discounted Quarterly Tax Assistance, Attorney on Retainer and of course there is always the ever-popular Off-Site Cleaning Service.
Unlike the three years one must study to become a vampire, before any human is entered into the thrall program, they answer a questionnaire and give a statement of why they want to be a thrall. Obviously, being a thrall is permanent, until the thrall wishes it to be.
The following statement was written by Sophia Shumaker who came to the Paper Flower Consortium’s Saturday night Fellowship back in April 2016. She is a college graduate and works for an internet marketing company in downtown Seattle. I am recording this statement with her permission.
04:47 Sophia’s Statement
I wanted vampires to exist for so long, ever since I read Twilight when I was a teenaged girl. I was Team Edward—though now I understand how creepy that was—I didn’t know when I was a teenager. Don’t worry, I don’t think vampirism is like that. The truth is to really know that there is something supernatural in the world is important to me. The strange thing is, I’m not sure I want to be a vampire myself.
Shouldn’t I want to live forever?
But I can’t imagine filling immortality. Especially now I have met actual vampires, perhaps I do want to be a vampire. I don’t know. This is why I am signing up to be an enthralled human.
It all started last Friday. Not yesterday, I mean a week ago. All this gonna sounds strange to you. Here I am talking about a happy hour of all things.
I hadn’t seen most of my friends since we graduated from college two years ago. I had to schedule some flextime and come in early so I could leave work at 3:30 PM.
Since I was going to be out for the night, my boyfriend, Matt, planned to meet with some of his own friends, the neighbor had been able to take Matt’s dog out for a quick pee. All in all, I just kept thinking, adulting takes so much work.
The bar was empty when we arrived and we found a table easily.
Politics and the coming election dominated the discussion; we were all Seattle-liberal enough that there was no shouting or bad feelings. Or if there was, it had been buried quickly and plied with alcohol.
Still I think every was more comfortable when we moved onto the next topic of conversation.
My friends all talked about their lives as if they were waiting for something. I didn’t really feel that way, but I wanted to fit in with the crowd. I mentioned I couldn’t wait for Matt to propose. We had spoke of marriage, but he hadn’t proposed yet. And in the back of my mind, I felt this little twinge, because I wondered if I wanted to get married so bad why I didn’t I just propose to Matt.
It was when the group mentioned wanting to attend and experience an art installation on Free Thursday that I suddenly felt something was wrong. You see, they complained about the First Thursday crowds, and were not willing to pay the normal entry fee to the gallery to attend a different evening. They babbled about how ideas and art ought to have more government funding. How our friend, so-and-so, would be an artist too, but it was too expensive to even get started. They complained about how they were all drowning in student debt to pay for art exhibits. We were all too poor to pay to go to an art exhibit. I couldn’t help but notice, one less drink on everyone’s tab and we could all go tonight.
We were drinking $12 cosmos!
So leaving out the first thought, I asked, “Hey! Maybe we could all go tonight?”
One of my so-called friends spoke of toddler-free freedom she was experiencing at that moment. Her voice dripped with mockery as she expected to see a screaming child at a Friday night art show that served wine, the rest of my friends agreed with her.
The music grew louder as the bar shifted away from happy hour and into the night-time crowd when my friends’ sweat-covered rosy faces blurred I realized I didn’t like them.
I switched to water, but I yearned for fresher air. I cashed out my tab, said goodbyes. I hugged my friends and promised not to wait another two years to see them again, before I wandered out of the loud bar. I was lying. I would never call them again. Now don’t get me wrong, I wish none of them ill-will. I hope they will all live happy, successful lives. I just hope they live somewhere that I am not.
However, as the cold outside air hit my face, I feared The Seattle Freeze. Locals know how it is.
Ignoring the pestering voice in my brain, I wished I had brought a heavier coat,
Like all Seattlelites, I had learned the smell of the coming rain in the wind which blew off the Sound and of course, I didn’t have an umbrella as I trudged up the hill towards the lightrail station and bus stop. The streets didn’t seem as busy as they felt like they should be on a Friday night. But like I said it was cold.
I thought I heard a moan as I crossed an alley. I glanced over and saw what looked like a drunk girl, stumbling in the dark. She wore no coat, only a thin tee and jeans.
I called out: “Hey, are you okay?”
The girl’s posture changed. She stood too quickly, her blonde hair streaked with blue fell about her shoulders. I had the distinct impression the girl had only been playing drunk. Then I saw something— someone—lying on the ground beside the not-drunk-girl’s feet.
Her shirtfront was covered in something dark. Was it mud, vomit, or some strange graphic playing with my blurred mind?
She said, “Hey.”
Feeling terror rise in my throat, I hurried up the hill. Panting, I made it to the lightrail station. Covered in sweat, I wanted to open my jacket, but then I knew I’d be too cold.
Now that there were people around, coming and going, I felt silly for my panic.
There were people in business attire heading to the trains and buses for the residential neighborhoods or suburbs, Young people in small groups in club clothes were ready for a night on the town. I was ready to go home.
I glanced over my shoulder; the not-drunk girl nowhere to be seen. Relieved, I slipped inside, however, the too-blue LED light made everyone appear sickly. My stomach turned and I regretted that third cosmo.
The train runs every twenty minutes, but I checked the lighted board anyway. And realized I had just missed the previous train. Damn it. Now I had to wait twenty-minutes.
A man vacated his spot on the metal bench and I snagged it before it was swallowed up by someone else. Through my clothes, I felt the last shadow of the man’s heat leech away into the cold metal.
I fiddled with my phone, doing nothing of importance. I tried to play a word game, but could not get over the feeling that someone watched me; someone unseen beyond the reach of the cameras. I looked up and caught a glimpse of the not-drunk girls blond hair steaked with blue.
I told myself: It was probably someone else. And even if it was the same girl, logically, if she fell down in the street, she probably just wants to get home.
Then the girl walked past. I pressed myself into the wall behind the bench.
Her flimsy shirt was too cold for the weather, but she did not tremble. Brownish red splotches stained her tee. It wasn’t blood, I told myself. It was a graphic to some ghoulish band. Something the kids know, but not me. Not anymore. Now that Life has become a series of repetitive actions: wake, shower, work, eat, television, make love when I was lucky, sleep. I no longer had time for Seattle’s independent music scene.
The Not-Drunk-Girl caught my eye. She smiled and gave a little halfhearted nod in the way common to Seattle when two strangers meet. I expected a rows of fangs, but it was just a smile. Was it just my imagination that her canines grew longer in front of my eyes?
Then I realized something else, the girl wasn’t young. I mean she wasn’t old, just older than me. She looked like she might be in her late twenties or early thirties. I probably should have called her the not drunk woman, but as she acted like a club kid, I’m going to keep using Not-Drunk-Girl.
Possibly just the alcohol, definitely terror warped reality all around me and suddenly I feared I might never see Matt’s dog again.
Then I wondered why I was I not fearing never seeing Matt again. Why do I fear losing Matt’s dog more than I fear losing Matt?
And then I thought to myself what is wrong with me?
I liked Matt. Do I love him?
I feared I was going to die and leave Matt in a lurch on our lease.
I could no longer take my eyes off the not-drunk girl who pretended to stumble into a college-age man in a Husky hoodie.
However, he did not react to the blood which covered not-drunk girl’s chest. Yes. I told myself. It has to be a band. They both know it. And the girl is younger than she appears—let’s just say she’s led a hard life and it shows.
The Not-Drunk-Girl and College-Kid started to flirt. He pulled out his phone texted someone and the two left the station together.
Watching them leave, I thought of the phrase I had heard from so many other people, but I had never thought it or said it until now. Youth is wasted upon the young.
My train came, but I felt rooted from my spot. I needed to know what was going to happen to that College-Kid.
I sat there until the sky darkened even, not that it mattered the LED bulbs still glowed more blue. Outside the buildings spilled light into the street. But I sat there. I sat there until it felt as if all around me the people had become shadows.
The Not-Drunk-Girl appeared again, wearing the Husky hoodie of the College-Kid. He was not with her. Her skin seemed more ruddy, she seemed more alive somehow. Her bright eyes scanned across the crowd.
Life is fragile. Yet, I had to know.
She looked at me and smiled again. Her teeth stained, were they stained before? I don’t think so, my instinct for self-preservation finally kicked in. My brain screamed “Run Stupid! Run!”
I stood and hurried to the platform. I scrambled onto the next train, not caring where it was going.
I decided to propose marriage as soon as I got home. Matt and I already lived together. We had a dog. We both loved her. Some might say we were too young, but I am twenty-four, he is twenty-six. What were we waiting for? To pay off college debt? Save for our first home.
What am I waiting for?
I looked out the window and caught sight of the blue streaked hair and Huskies Hoodie chatting up another girl. I have to know. I scrambled off the train. I had to know if what I was seeing was real.
So I asked Siri: “What to do when you see a vampire?”
Norma’s Cleaning Service a subdivision of the Paper Flower Consortium popped up first. Siri asked if I wanted to call the number.
And heard the phone connect: “Norma’s Cleaning Service.” A young female voice said.
“Do you take care of vampires?” I asked.
“Yeah. But it depends on what you mean by take care of…” the young voice said.
“There’s a vampire at the light rail station….I think she might be killing people.”
“And you are?” the voice asked.
“I am just sitting at the light rail station. I think she might have cast a spell on me or something.”
“And you are?” the voice asked a little more firmly.
“You are a human?” the voice asked.
“Yes. Siri brought you up.” I said.
The voice sighed. “Okay, I see. No problem we’ll be there in a few minutes.”
And I watched as two vampires—or at least who I thought were two vampires—entered the light rail station. One was a young girl with black curls scanned the crowd. Slightly uncanny innocents were plastered on her ivory cheeks. The man beside her looked to be thirty. When you are alive it is hard to describe the undead, but I suppose he was not as animated as the young girl. She pointed and spoke, he just stood there and nodded.
I did not know what was going to happen as they crossed the crowd, but they just spoke to the Not-Drunk-Girl. I could not hear their conversation. But the Not-Drunk-Girl nodded, shrugged, glanced over at me and left.
I was still rooted to my spot when the vampire who I assumed was Norma’s eyes alighted upon me. I felt like she knew all my secrets and of course since I have since learned that she absorbed some of my secrets because she is a telepath.
“Thanks for letting us know,” she said. “Public feeding is really frowned on nowadays.”
She handed me a card that said, Paper Flower Consortium. “If you want to know, what I know you want to know, come to the chapel on Saturday nights. We have a church service and potluck, but don’t worry there’ll be plenty of human food.”
And I put the card in my pocket.
It was strange. When I got home, I still thought I might propose, but instead as soon as I looked upon Matt, we broke up.
He doesn’t understand and he’s hurt. He thinks maybe I slipped and this is my way of dealing with the guilt. But I know now that there is something else for me. I have to find it. So Matt and I are going to be roommates until our lease is up. I am going to move out, he’s will have to find a new roommate, I guess.
I really will miss the dog, but she was his first.
And so tonight I came to your fellowship.
I came and now I am here and it is real.
Moreover, zombies are real too. Tonight when I spoke to Norma she told me her friend is a zombie. (Sidenote: Sophia is referring to Carlos Fisher-Perez, Norma’s friend and business associate. Statement continues.)
I appreciate everything the lady Pascaline and the lady Agata explained to me. So I am just letting everyone know, I am heterosexual and would want to be pared to a man.
I understand that vampires are not monogamous with their human companions. I believe I can live with that. I understand no children can come from this union. And if I want to get pregnant, I must tell the coven immediately and all bloodletting will stop. I grew up Christian, but I’m not anything anymore and I am not sure if I want to go to your church service, but I do enjoy the potluck very much. Norma was right there is a lot of human food and everyone is so welcoming here.
And that was her statement.
Over the next month, Sophia was introduced to several vampire men over the next month, Sophia was pared up with Scott Hansen, ninth born of Charles. Scott does not have a vampire lover or any lover to the best of my knowledge, but he and Sophia seem to be quite content in each other’s company. She moved into a small studio in the building after her lease was up. And her career is one with the ability to telecommute so switching to night hours did not affect her job. I am happy to report that though Sophia was once Team Edward, now she is on Team Scott.
Before I get to the questions: the truth is while we are in the middle of the pandemic it feels wrong to do a commercial. I will just say all Paper Flower Consortium Businesses are closed as we are considered non-essential in the State of Washington and all church services and social gatherings have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. Please stay safe, stay at home and when you venture out to the market or other essential business practice safe social distancing
20:47 Question and Answers
Alright on to tonight’s questions:
Lady Loretta, you talked about the advantages, but what are the disadvantages to being an enthralled human?
I would say the biggest disadvantage is all condos in our building—and most vampire covens work this way too -- can only be owned by vampires. This means thralls don’t own property. If they choose to leave the coven, this can hurt them financially if they don’t put the money they saved on rent into another investment. Of course, this also means they don’t have a vote in how the condo is run and how we spend our HOA reserves.
Lady Loretta, So it sounds like thralls still have jobs?
Currently, most thralls do have at least part-time jobs, many of them have careers that they love. However, that is a decision between their sponsor vampire and themselves. The coven does not dictate this.
Lady Loretta, What happens if a vampire gets tired of a thrall?
Vampires don’t get tired of thralls. We need them. Thralls get tired of vampires.
I would say, most relationships dissolve because the thrall decides they want something else out of life. Thrall contracts are generous and they have the absolute power to end the relationship.
Of course, there has been exceptions It doesn’t happen often, but we have seen vampires ask their thrall to leave.
Breaking the coven’s trust could be a reason. We kicked out a thrall who tried to rent out their free studio for $100 a night. Most condo buildings have rules against short term rentals, and ours are no different. We also have a rule against allowing strangers into the building during vampire sleeping hours. So we asked the offender to leave and they did.
Another reason a thrall might be asked to leave is domestic violence. In 2018, a thrall became very unhappy, but instead of leaving, she got abusive.
Domestic violence is an insidious thing even in this modern era. The coven heard shouting on occasion, but the vampire said nothing. Until one night we witnessed her slap him, we did not realize how bad it had gotten.
But fear not, the vampire’s coven sisters jumped into help him.
The former thrall was given enough money for first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit and told to leave. She was also given a key to a storage locker with six months paid where she found all of her personal possessions and a vaguely threatening reminder that Norma will address all kinds of messes. Wisely, she went to a human-run extended leave hotel outside the city.
Next week we will speaking on vampires hunters and reading from a journal entry from our coven sister, Alice Monroe. She and Derrik went to town on a business meeting and had to escape a self-proclaimed vampire hunter and the Great Seattle Fire.
Good day, Beloved Initates and Sleep the sleep of the dead.
The Paper Flower Consortium Podcast was written and performed by Elizabeth Guizzetti. You can learn more at www.elizabethguizzetti.com/paperflowerconsortium.
If you have a question for Lady Loretta, please click on the ask Lady Loretta button.
The music was written by Evan Witt. You can learn more about his work at www.wittynotes.com
Thanks for listening.