Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part twenty six

Chapter Twenty Six

Fall was beating on my bedroom windows trying to get in. I awoke to the pelting rain and gusting winds that only appear here in the fall. I quickly went over the windows on that side of the house in my mind to recall if I had left any of them open. This house had beautiful golden oak floors and I would hate for them to get damaged. And Gran would probably get down off her cloud in heaven and come back to give me what for, too. I couldn't recall, so I got up to check. Better safe than sorry.

When I got to the kitchen I walked in on Amelia and Tray Dawson having coffee and donuts. They invited me to join them. I was only in my blue nightie, so I excused myself and dashed back to the bedroom for my robe. I put on my long chenille robe, the one that goes to my ankles. I didn't want to miss out on the donuts, but I didn't want to appear sexy to Amelia's boyfriend. That kind of thing has been the cause of friendships between women breaking up, and I valued Amelia's friendship.

The windows were all shut, so I enjoyed a chocolate dipped donut with my coffee. Amelia was real good about making the coffee, so I could almost always count on a hot cup waiting for me when I got up. I kept irregular hours due to my job and my love life, so a cup of coffee was a lifesaver to me. Tray was in the area to pick up some parts for his new motorcycle, he told me, while Amelia made a sour face behind his back.

Tray was a good steady loving man, but he was also single minded, and once he got his mind on a project, that was that. He had come by to surprise Amelia with donuts. He also had a 1936 carburetor and manual in a box and was expecting us to be very impressed with his find. We both ooohed and aaahed as much as two women can over a greasy piece of metal that looked like a combination well pump and meat grinder.

I went to my room to shower and get ready to shop. I liked to go to the store early in the day, before all the produce was picked over. I went to the Piggly Wiggly and got the chicken to stuff and roast. I also got the ground meat for the meatloaf, both ground beef and the lower fat ground turkey. My Gran would never have put ground turkey in a meatloaf, but I was trying to eat healthy. Though I can't say the way her generation ate did them any harm. She was healthy and would have lived a long life if she hadn't been killed in her kitchen. No use thinking about that. I put my mind on my list and got the rest of the groceries, picked up a few things not on the list that were good bargains, and checked out.

In the check out lane next to mine stood Nancy Bynum. She was staring at me, but I couldn't read her expression. I finished unloading my cart onto the belt and looked over at her again. She was just paying for her groceries, so she would be done before I was. She pushed her cart full of bags out the automatic doors. We had never actually spoken, though I had read her mind. When I pushed my own cart out to my car Nancy was standing by my car. She had on her sunglasses, even though the day was still overcast after the morning rain. I felt a twinge of nervousness, though really, I had nothing to be ashamed about.

"Miss Stackhouse?" Nancy said. Her voice was low and breathy, a perfect voice for phone sex, I thought.

"Yes, and you are Vick Bynum's mother, right? Pleased to meet you Ms. Bynum." This was one of those occasions where the use of the modern honorific "Ms." came in handy. I shook hands with her. That was new too. I don't think my grandmother had shaken hands five times in her entire life, but now women did shake hands when they met.

"Please call me Nancy," she said. She had the deep voice of a smoker, but I had never seen her with a cigarette.

"And you please call me Sookie." I said, smiling. I sounded like a ten year old compared to her.

"I just wanted to thank you for talking to my Vick and helping him with this whole ordeal. I hadn't realized how upset and frightened he was until he talked to that detective and got the whole thing off his chest. He's been like a new person since then. I should have known how this would affect him, he's always been a sensitive boy." She sounded proud as heck of her son. I didn't blame her one bit.

"He's a wonderful young man." I said. "He's a hero in my book, because he tried to save Jessica, risking his own safety to do it."

"Vick has always had a soft spot for injured creatures. I can't tell you how many robins we've raised and animals we've taken to the shelter." She was smiling, remembering his kindheartedness.

I was appalled. She was comparing Jessica to a wounded animal. Yet I didn't want to get into an argument with her so I said, "Tell Vick that Jessica is recovering and she might be back here in a few days."

"Yes, well, Vick has told me he's put all that behind him now. He has his sights set on college so he won't have time for much socializing. Since the charges have been dropped against Vicky he won't have to think about all that unpleasantness anymore. It's been nice meeting you, Sookie. Elaine told me you were a lovely person." She turned and went back to putting her grocery bags in her car.

I stood there dumbstruck. The charges had been dropped? How could that be? They had three eyewitnesses to the crime. They had the testimony of the medical center about how grievous Jessica's injuries had been. Did this mean there wasn't going to be a trial? Vicky Phipps was just going to get away scott free? My mind just couldn't comprehend how this could be. I realized I had ice cream melting in my bags, and meat to put away, so I was going to go home and put these groceries away, then I was going to call Andy and try to find out what was happening.

I made sure to drive extra carefully because I was in such a state of anger and disbelief I was almost having an out of body experience. Eric had told me this might happen, but I hadn't though it was possible, not in these modern times. I guess I had a lot to learn about the ways of the world.

more to come ......

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part twenty five

"Oh no, Sookie, no. Do not cry. I did not say it to make you cry. I said it to make you happy." Eric said, distraught.

This made me cry harder. My throat was so constricted I couldn't speak. I finally managed to croak, "Just give me a minute here, Eric."

I moved the phone away from my face until I was done crying, though with his vampire hearing I'm sure he could hear it just as well as if I was in the same room.

He was still saying not to cry, please please, he didn't mean it, just don't cry. It was so like Eric that I started laughing while I was still crying. No wonder men think women are nuts. In a way, we are.

"Please Eric, darling. I'm not crying because I'm sad. I'm crying because I'm so touched at what you said. It was just so unexpected and out of the blue, that's all. It took me by surprise. I am so so moved you thought about this. We'll discuss it when we see each other. But you've made me so happy I could only express myself by crying." I explained. I was actually shaking I was so moved by Eric's words.

What Eric had said was that he wanted to bring up his body temperature so he would feel as warm to me as a human man. He said he wanted me to feel body heat when I held him, and when he was inside me. He had looked into how this could be done, and there were shops specializing in outfitting vampire men to feel warm like human men to human women.

I was just stunned. I hadn't even known how much I wanted this until he mentioned it. Then the whole thing hit me like a ton of bricks. My mind reeled. If Eric could feel warm he would have absolutely everything I ever wanted in a sex partner. I didn't even feel like I should have so much. How could he know me so intimately? How could he have seen into my heart like that?

"Eric, I love you so much right now that if you were here I would be dangerous because I would just hug you to death." I told him, from the bottom of my heart. I was squeezing the phone as if I could transmit a hug to him.

"Then, that is a good thing I said?" he asked hopefully.

"Yes, Eric, yes." I reassured him. "It was a very very very good thing. You are a wonderful, beautiful, caring man and I treasure you more every night."

"Good then," he said cautiously, afraid he might trigger off some new emotional outburst in me. "We will talk more about this when I get back there, probably in two nights."

I told him what my schedule was going to be for the next two nights. I would be doing some cooking tomorrow night and working the night after that. He seemed glad to be back on the solid ground of talking about ordinary things.

We talked a bit about his training. He said all the sheriffs were objecting to killing rogues, and, like Eric they were all working out ways to capture the illegals and bring them in to be retrained rather than killing them. No one wanted the hassle involved in an unlawful killing. Let the King deal with it, that's why he was the King.

After a little more chat I was feeling very sleepy. I didn't mention my recent nasty phone caller because I didn't want Eric to worry. Besides, I had my dart gun. I bet it would slow down a human man too, if it came to that. We made some kissing noises and said a few more gooshy things and then we ended the phone call.

I tried to think about what Eric had said but I was just too tired. I would think about it tomorrow while I cooked. I turned out the light, gave an imaginary Eric, my spare pillow, a hug and a kiss, and went to sleep. I slept like a vampire, dreamless and without changing position.

more to come ......

(Again, thank you for your comments. They are wonderful and make writing twice as much fun!)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part twenty four


I told Eric about reading a woman's mind and finding out her son had burns on his hands. Without giving any names I told him how I had visited the young man and found out that his jilted ex-girlfriend had thrown a silver coated net over Jessica, doused her in gas, and set fire to her. Finally I told Eric about going to the police station and telling Andy about the attack, and that the girl was going to be taken into custody.

Eric gave a little humorless laugh and said "They put her in custody to protect her from Bill, not to punish her for her deed."

He was right, of course. I agreed but added, "Yes, but she is going to be charged with this crime, I'm sure. She won't get away with it. The young man is a witness and he is prepared to tell what he saw."

Eric sounded dubious. "I would not be so sure, Sookie. Very often the witnesses change their minds about testifying against a human. And the police are often reluctant or unwilling to bring charges, especially if the vampire has recovered. That is the one good thing I can say about this. Pam tells me Jessica is recovering quickly now that she can feed. She tells me we have you to thank for your helpful suggestion."

I could hear the admiration for me in Eric's voice. It was hard for me to accept this kind of praise, but I didn't want to get into a long conversation about how little I actually contributed to Jessica's recovery. I didn't know how much time we had to talk and I didn't want to spend the whole time discussing vampire business. I wanted a little time for sweet talk. I thanked Eric for saying something so nice to me.

Then Eric had some good news. They were winding things up there tonight and he would be home here tomorrow night. He said he absolutely had to get to Fangtasia and handle some business there, so he might not get back here until very late tomorrow, maybe right before dawn. I told him that if it made more sense for him to stay in Shreveport tomorrow night and come here the following night that would be fine. I had to work tomorrow night anyway. And, even if I tried to fight it, I did need to sleep too. It wasn't good to get sleep deprived, I got cranky and weepy. It was too easy to stay up all day doing human things, then stay up all night doing a vampire.

Speaking of doing a vampire, I wanted to work our conversation around to a little naughty talk. I changed my tone of voice to what I hoped was sultry and said, "So, what are you wearing?" He laughed and said he would love to tell me, but he had to go right now. There was a meeting he had to attend. He told me he would call me back later to talk about what I wanted to discuss. We said that we would speak to each other later and then said a simple goodbye.

From the way he spoke I thought that there must have been someone else within earshot. I wondered if vampire guys razzed each other about their love lives like human guys did. I had seen my brother kidded almost to tears about some of his activities. He wasn't the most discriminating guy when it came to his choices in women, and his decision making when it came to matters of the bedroom was off the charts. This made him a good target for teasing with his friends.

Once, when he was visiting a plus sized married lady, their vigorous romping broke the bed right before the husband came through the door. When the husband came in Jason, having hastily gotten back into his road crew work uniform, said he was the bed repairman and he had to go get a part from his truck. He dashed out the door before the dumbfounded husband could figure out what was happening. His friends just about split a gut when they heard that story. For April Fool's Day Hoyt Fortenberry had run an ad in the local paper asking "Is Your Bed Broken?" and giving Jason's phone number as the repair service.

I was a little disappointed that I hadn't gotten to the good part in my conversation with Eric, but I knew he wouldn't forget, so I would go to sleep with the phone right by the bed and wait for him to call me back. It was too early to go to sleep so I made up my grocery list based on the meals I would make this week. I brought Amelia up to date on how Jessica was doing and what I had found out about her attack. She told me Tray had gotten a new motorcycle and had already begun restoring it. She didn't sound thrilled about this new development. I told her it could be a lot worse, and she agreed.

Finally I did my fingernails and toenails a lovely brick red color. This was a bold color for me, but I had picked up a lacy nightgown that color on final sale from Tara's Togs last fall, and I had been waiting for a special occasion to wear it. Eric coming back here seemed special to me, so I took it out of the closet I used for my out of season clothes and hung it on the enclosed back porch to air. I kept a few moth balls in my out of season closet and I didn't want to smell like a moth ball in my new nightgown. I would check it tomorrow and launder it if need be.

Bed was calling me, so I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and turned in for the night. I had the dart gun on my right nightstand and my phone on my left nightstand. I made a mental note to myself not to pick up the wrong one when the phone rang and shoot myself in the head. The new book I had picked out from the library just didn't capture my interest, so I put it on the floor, turned out the light, and went to sleep.

The phone rang and I picked it up, eager to speak with Eric. A gruff drunken male voice with a thick Southern accent said "You damn bitch, you should mind your own business. Who the hell do you think you are? Vampire lover" then a hang up.

I sat up and turned on the light. It was a little after midnight. Somebody was mad at me about something. Probably about Jessica, and me finding out who was responsible for burning her.

There were about a hundred Phipps men around these parts, and some of them were like throw backs to the hillbilly mountain men that had lived here originally before the town had sprung up. I didn't have much to worry about, I thought, those backwoods types didn't usually cause any trouble unless you disturbed their stills.

After a visit to the bathroom and a glass of water I got back in bed. The phone rang again and this time I looked at the caller ID. Eric! Yes! I answered the phone in a sexy voice. He responded in a sexy voice, "I'm wearing my tight blue jeans, a plain blue tee shirt, and white boxers. I have on sweat socks and my black Adidas." That was when I realized that men didn't have a lot to work with when it came to a sexy sounding wardrobe. No tight lace undies, push up bras, or short leather skirts. No high heels, black stockings with lacy tops, garter belts or silky teddies.

I told him I had on the powder blue cotton nightgown with the little pink ribbon at the top. He loved this particular nightgown, especially if I had put it on the line in back to dry in the sun. It must hold on to the sunshine smell really well. He would always pick this nightgown and smell it before he handed it to me. We talked a little lovey dovey talk, then I asked him about his secret desire.

His answer surprised me, and it didn't make me feel sexy. It made me cry.

more to come .......

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part twenty three


I had plenty of time before I spoke to Eric since I had taken off from work early and my visit with Bill had been so short. After changing into some comfortable clothes I decided to turn on my computer and look up vampire medicine.

There was very little information on the treatment of vampire medical problems on the internet. Probably because vampires didn't have many medical problems. There was more about the uses of "V", illegal vampire blood, for the healing of humans.

Of course it was illegal to buy "V" because it was primarily sold by drainers, people that captured vampires and then drained all the blood out of them to sell the blood in little vials. "V" got people high and also had medical benefits.

I knew about those benefits first hand from the times I had gotten vampire blood from Bill or Eric. Bill had saved my life with his blood. Eric had probably saved my life with his blood too. Those days were over for me. No more vampire blood was ever going to pass my lips.

Then I looked up trials involving humans harming vampires. Again there was almost nothing. There were a lot of websites for humans that believed they had been harmed by vampires. These ran the gamut. There were support groups for people that had missing time and believed they had been glamoured and bitten by vampires. Though they had no bite marks still they were convinced a vampire had been responsible for their missing time and then for feeling tired and depleted once they woke up. This was hard to verify. Who hasn't had a time when they felt inexplicably tired or weak? That didn't mean a vampire was responsible. Of course a vampire might be responsible. Who could really know?

Other websites were out and out hate sites. They ranted about the evils of vampires, how vampires had a satanic agenda to turn everyone vampire. That was ridiculous. If everyone was vampire who would the vampires feed from? They believed the vampires wanted to enslave the human race and make them cattle for their unholy appetites. Again this was transparently dumb. Vampires were completely helpless during the day. They wouldn't be able to enslave humans, who would simply stake them as they slept.

Finally I looked up erotic vampire sex play. I was interested to see how common Ernie Tomm's fetish with vampires was, and how many women wanted to dress up as sexy vampires. I hit the mother lode with this search. There were many triple X websites promising graphic videos of sex with vampires, or photos of sex with vampires. I didn't really need any of those, having been there, done that, still doing that.

Many people were fascinated with the idea of sex with vampires, and there were articles in all the tabloids about how fabulous sex with a vampire was. Truth be told, it was fabulous, but of course I had never had sex with a human man to compare it to. I did have sex once with a weretiger, Quinn, and that was when he was in his human state, so I did have that one point of reference. Quinn had been hot, not just in the Paris Hilton sense of the word, but also temperature wise. Werecreatures tended to run even a little warmer than human temperature.

Things didn't work out with Quinn, and since Eric had come along I almost never thought of Quinn.

There were many more sites selling vampire costumes and props, so apparently Ernie's sex games with Carolee were not that uncommon. I even saw a coffin for two. To each their own, I reminded myself. Sex toys with cross shaped handles were being sold as "stakes", but instead of jabbing a pointed stick in a vampire chest these "stakes" were meant to be placed in opening humans already had. That was weird, but at least it seemed harmless.

Looking at some of the racy pictures on the internet gave me a little twinge of desire, and I wished Eric was going to be here soon. Well, at least I could talk to my big blond Viking tonight. I had thought of a secret desire too, but he would need to be here to fulfill it. I was all ears to hear his secret.

Right on time he called me. I had a lot of news for him. First I told him about my conversation with Levon White. I had written down the locations where Levon had thought the vampire activity was concentrated. Eric wrote them down, and said he would contact the vampires in Monroe and see what they could tell him about the two rogues. I stressed that there was no proof the vampires had done more than glamour people and then leave them in a glamoured state.

Eric said that could be explained if the vampires didn't speak any English. Part of the vampire's ability to glamour was due to the magical influence of the vampire's mind, and part was due to the verbal suggestions made to the human's mind about what had happened. This included the command about when to wake up and how to feel upon awakening.

Without the ability to speak to the human in a language they would understand, the vampire would simply be putting the human into a trance, with no way to fill their mind with a new memory and no command to wake up. That's why a different English speaking vampire had to be called in to fix the situation. They could implant the suggestion that the human had not had an unusual experience, and that the human would feel great and go on their way. I knew this worked well for a human that had been glamoured for a short period of time, but I wondered how long some of the humans had been standing around dazed before the English speaking vampire had unglamoured them. If it was days then a simple explanation just wasn't going to be convincing.

Maybe those poor people were the kind of folks that ended up in the "missing time" support groups. It would be maddening to know something happened, a large chunk of time was missing from your life, yet you didn't have a clue what had happened. Aside from needing a medical check up to rule out a physical cause like a brain tumor or a seizure, the person might simply think they were going nuts, or developing Alzheimer's disease. Suddenly these people didn't seem like harmless kooks, they seemed like they might have really been victimized by a foreign vampire. That was certainly something to look into.

Next I needed to tell Eric about who had hurt Jessica. I had my fingers crossed he would handle this information as well as Bill had.

more to come ........

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part twenty two

I got home in time to shower and get my uniform on for Merlotte's. There was a slight chill in the air so I was going to need to bring a sweater tonight. Talking to Bill would have to wait until I got off work tonight. I hoped he didn't hear anything until I gave him the news. Bill was a hard guy to figure out. Sometimes his reactions were so reasonable and intelligent, and sometimes he just went off the deep end for reasons I couldn't understand.

So many times if he had just chosen to be honest with me the confusion and hurt could have been avoided. I guess being secretive for so many years just made it hard to deal with things openly. But vampires were going to need to learn how to be more transparent in their dealings with humans if they wanted humans to trust them and give them free rein in human society.

Merlotte's was almost empty, probably because I was coming in early, just before the dinner crowd, and because it was a Monday night. I wanted to work early so I could get home early and talk to Eric on the phone. I had some fun thinking about what his "secret desire" was.

I planned on swinging by Bill's on the way home. I would call him during my break and ask if it was OK if I stopped over. I always called first, hoping to set an example for Bill to follow. He had a bad habit of just showing up unannounced in the past, and I didn't like it.

Since I wasn't very busy I had time to chat with Sam. After he told me he hadn't heard anything about any unusual vampire activity from the shifters he had spoken to, he went on to say that he didn't think the new cook Louisa was working out. She had served some of her entrees still frozen in the center and they had to be thrown out, that was costly and annoying to the customers. She was also grouchy and moody.

I told Sam I thought she might be so nervous about losing her job she was messing up out of her anxiety. Sam didn't have a lot of tolerance for her kind of behavior, so he was already looking around for a new cook. I guess Louisa was going to have to learn from her mistakes.

I was surprised to see Elaine come in. This wasn't her night to work. She marched right up to me and said, "I have to talk to you right now." in a very bossy tone of voice, even though I was standing at a table taking the orders from a family of five. I told her I would be with her in a moment. I turned my attention back to the family, smiling to cover up my annoyance. Obviously Elaine was PO'ed about something. It was probably because of her friend Nancy.

But I was working, and that meant something to me. I liked to remain professional in my waitressing. I got better tips, and I had some pride in my job. Sam noticed what Elaine did and I saw his eyes narrow as he watched her sit at a table in my area.

Once I made sure everyone had everything they needed I stopped by Elaine's table. I didn't sit down because I didn't plan on chatting very long. Customers liked a waitress to be attentive to their needs, so I needed to keep an eye on my filled tables to see if a drink needed refilling or a customer wanted their check.

This was the beginning of the dinner crowd, and the restaurant was slowly filling up. The bar was almost empty, only Jane Bodehouse and a friend of hers were sitting at the bar. Jane was one of our chronic alcoholics, so she was at the bar most nights.

"What the hell do you think you're doing, talking to an underage child without his mother being present?" Elaine snarled. She did keep her voice down, I'll give her credit for that.

"Elaine, I can talk to anyone I want. I'm not the police. He wanted to talk to me. That kid is very upset and traumatized by what he saw." I said mildly. A gentle word turns away wrath, my Gran always said.

"It was none of your business. You should have kept out of it. Now the police are questioning him, and questioning those three girls he was friends with." Elaine said, still mad.

"Jessica was my friend." Well, that was a slight exaggeration, actually Bill was my friend and I wanted to get human justice started before the vampire kind of justice kicked in. "I was just trying to find out who set a young girl on fire." I looked over at my tables but everyone seemed to be fine.

"She was a vampire. Those kids lives shouldn't be ruined over a prank on a vampire. She isn't even human." Elaine said.

OK, now I was starting to get mad. I got control over myself. "Setting someone on fire with gasoline is a lot more than a prank, Elaine. And Vick is a hero, he tried to save Jessica. He won't get in trouble for this." I tried to reassure her, after all, she was worried about her friend's child, just like I was worried about Bill's Child.

"No," Elaine admitted, "But now everyone will know he was dating a vampire."

"In a small town like this everyone already knows everything about everyone anyway." I said, determined not to get into an argument with Elaine over what was obviously her bias against vampires.

"Sure," she said, sounding more reasonable, "But already Nancy is being contacted by papers and news networks about this. There's a camera truck parked across from her house. This is going to be a big story if it is true." Elaine looked worried. I was worried too. I hadn't thought about the news media focusing on this story.

It would be a nightmare if this became a three ring media circus. I needed to talk to Bill now. I asked Elaine if she could take over for me and finish my shift. I promised to fill in a whole shift for her whenever she wanted in return. She was startled, but she agreed. I told Sam about the change in staff and he said that was fine with him.

I drove right over to Bill's house without calling first. So much for my good example, I thought, but this was an emergency. Since the sun had only gone down about half an hour ago I thought I would have a good chance to catch Bill before he heard about who had set his Child on fire. I rang the doorbell and Bill answered. He looked startled to see me.

"What's wrong?" he asked, inviting me in. He was wearing a grey cashmere sweater and dark grey dress slacks. He had a suitcase sitting in his entryway.

I told him I needed to talk to him for a couple of minutes. He told me a few minutes was all he had because he was going to go visit Jessica. He had to drive all the way to New Orleans tonight. I asked him how Jessica was and he said she was doing much better. Putting a tube in her stomach and giving her blood directly had greatly accelerated her recovery. He thanked me for the suggestion.

I wondered what kind of incompetent doctors they had at that center, if they didn't even know about a gastric feeding tube. This wasn't the time to get into that conversation though.

Without softening the information with a lot of preliminary talk I told him what I had found out, leaving out the names of the young people involved. I could see Bill was angry, but he was also to pained to hear the details of how his Child had been trapped and burned. I told him the people involved were in police custody, but I didn't mention that it was more to keep them safe from him than for the crime they committed. Bill was glad to hear that.

He said he would put the medical center in touch with Andy or Bud so they could get a description of how serious Jessica's injuries had been. Since Jessica was almost completely healed it would be hard to explain just how serious and heinous the attack on Jessica had been. I knew Vick would be glad to hear how well Jessica was doing.

Bill didn't look or sound like he was hell bent for revenge. He didn't even ask me the names of the girls involved. He just looked eager to be on his way, and I realized he needed to see his Child looking better. The memory of her burned and shrieking in agony was just too vivid and raw in his mind. Mine too.

I asked him if he would let me know when he got back so he could let me know how Jessica was doing. He saw that I cared about him, and about Jessica, and he was grateful. We hugged and I walked him out to his car and talked to him while he put his suitcase in the trunk. He drove off into the night, then I got in my Subaru and drove home.

more to come ......

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part twenty one

Chapter Twenty One

I noticed the bandages on his hands. I was willing to bet he wouldn't be back in school until they healed. His mother was hiding him here so he wouldn't be implicated in Jessica's attack. I guess a lot of mothers would do the same thing. I wondered what I would do if I was in Nancy Bynum's situation. We sat down, him on the couch, me on a chair opposite him.

"Vick, you know Jessica, don't you?" I asked, to get him thinking about her, about what happened to her.

"Yeah, sure, I met her." he said, not looking at me. Many people thought that if they didn't look me in the eye I couldn't read their minds, but those people would be wrong. It all depended on the strength of the sender, and Vick was an excellent sender. I was reading him loud and clear. He was wishing his mother would come home and send me away, he thought I was hot looking, and he wondered where our conversation was going. Underneath all this was a slightly nauseated feeling, a feeling of fear, guilt and worry. He was just sick about what happened to Jessica.

I moved over and sat down next to him on the couch, putting my hand on his arm in a comforting way. "You know Jessica was very badly burned in a fire, don't you, Vick?" I asked gently. The physical contact with him would greatly increase my ability to read his mind.

"Yeah, I heard about it." he lied. I saw it all. Jessica was on the ground in front of Bill's house. She was trapped in a metal net, it must have been one of those special silver coated nets the police use. A young woman with curly blond hair and the face of an angel was throwing gasoline on Jessica from a big red gas can and lighting it. She was laughing. It happened so fast. There were two other pretty young women with her, a brunette and a redhead. They had been laughing and shoving Vick back where he fell to the gravel and they fell on top of him laughing. He got up and helped them up. Then the two girls were were backing up, looking horrified. The brunette was saying "No Vicky, no." Vick turned around to see Jessica on fire.

The young woman with the gas can was Vicky Phipps, Sheriff Dearborn's grand niece. Her grandmother, Nettie Phipps, had been a friend of my grandmother's. Nettie Phipps was also Bud Dearborn's first cousin. Vicky was a cheerleader. Clora Stanford and Truvy Purdue, the other two girls, were cheerleaders too. Vicky had been Vick's girlfriend before Jessica came along. They were known far and wide as "Vick and Vicky" and they were practically a legend as a high school romance.

That is, they were a legend until the beautiful and mischievous Jessica came on the scene. Then all hell broke loose. Vicky just couldn't accept the fact that her boyfriend wanted to spend time with a vampire. Vicky was a woman scorned. She was embarrassed in front of the whole school. Her boyfriend wanted a vampire instead of her. She was furious and she wanted to get even.

"How did you get those burns on your hands?" I asked him in a kind voice. I knew he had not been responsible for setting Jessica on fire. Vick was heartbroken and scared. He blamed himself, but he blamed himself for not seeing this coming, for not preventing it, and for not saving Jessica. That's how he burned his hands, he had been pulling her away from the burning puddle of gasoline. He had pulled the net off of her. He had cried and run home, scared. I guess he should have called an ambulance, but I don't think an ordinary ambulance with ordinary attendants could have helped Jessica anyway.

Vick started to cry now. He told me all of it. How he had walked outside Bill's house hand in hand with Jessica to look at the moonlight. Clora and Truvy had run up to them, talking loud and making a fuss, distracting Jessica while Vicky sneaked up behind them and threw the net over Jessica, rendering her helpless.

Vick had been pushed back and tripped up by the two laughing squealing girls falling on top of him while Vicky threw gas on the vampire and lit it. By the time Vick and the girls got up and saw what was happening it was too late.

Vicky had laughed, even while Jessica burned and screamed. Clora and Truvy had run away, scared to be involved with something like that. He told me he had tried to save Jessica. He was now crying like his heart was broken. I held the tall boy the best I could and patted his back as he sobbed.

I asked him if he would tell this story to Sheriff Dearborn and he said yes. He told me his mother had told him not to say anything to anyone because she was afraid he might lose his basketball scholarship if he was implicated in something like this. She couldn't afford to send him to college without this scholarship, and she just wanted the whole Jessica incident to go away. She hadn't liked Jessica, so she didn't care if Jessica was burned or not. But Vick loved Jessica, and he wanted to know how she was doing. He was afraid to ask anyone and asked me if I knew how she was.

There was no way of knowing how she was right now because I hadn't talked to Bill last night. I told Vick that Jessica was having a difficult recovery, but she was in a medical center that specialized in the care of vampires. He seemed to feel better hearing this, though the haunted look in his reddened eyes didn't diminish.

I made an appointment to pick him up tomorrow and take him to Sheriff Dearborn to tell what happened. I offered to talk to his mother for him, but he said he would handle it. I thought he could too. He was a sincere and good hearted young man, and I thought his mother would listen to what he had to say.

"One more thing," I said to Vick as we walked towards the door, "Where did Vicky get the silver coated net she used?" I couldn't imagine where she had gotten her hands on such a thing.

"She got it from Sheriff Dearborn, her uncle." Vick said. "She took it out of his police car trunk while she was visiting him last week. He was telling her about what happened to that old guy in the truck and she got the idea to burn Jessica. She thought if she got rid of Jessica we could get back together again. Like I would be with anyone who did something like that." Vick's anger was starting to kick in a little, that was good, it would give him the power to get through the next few days. This was a sensational story and it was going to get a lot of attention.

I knew I had to get Vicky into the hands of human law enforcement before the vampires heard about this. I hoped that Bud Dearborn could put aside his family concerns and do his job. I decided to talk to Andy about what I had found out before Vick went in to Sheriff Dearborn tomorrow, to ensure that Sheriff Dearborn knew that he had a duty to fulfill. I hoped that Bill and Eric would let human law enforcement handle this and not take matters into their own hands. That would turn the whole incident against the vampires, rather than the vampire being the victim.

I drove to the police station and after a short wait I was able to see Andy in his office.

Andy listened while I told him what I had found out. His eyes got wider and wider as I talked. He had begun by taking notes but he was so caught up in what I was saying he forgot to write anything down. I had to repeat it all a second time so he could make his notes. He said he was going to tell Sheriff Dearborn about this right away and put Vicky in custody in an undisclosed location.

He understood that Vicky was in danger from the vampires, especially Bill. I told Andy I would talk to Bill tonight and reason with him. Eric would be easier to handle, I thought, and he was away, that helped. Andy said he couldn't wait until tomorrow to take Vick's statement, so he got up and was heading out to Vick's house when I left the police station. I told him Vick was a good kid and he hadn't had anything to do with what happened to Jessica. He seemed to understand what I was telling him and he realized that I had read Vick's mind to verify the truth of what he had told me. I was like a human lie detector.

I hoped Andy didn't scare Vick and his mother, but there wasn't anything I could do about it if he did. The wheels of human justice had been set in motion.

more to come.....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part twenty

Chapter Twenty

I didn't have any luck programming my dreams, but at least I didn't have any bad dreams. I did some housework in the morning, and balanced my checkbook. Math isn't my strong suit, so it took me longer than it probably should, but I was very careful with money so I made sure to get everything right. Gran always said "Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves."

I called the high school and asked Patty, the secretary, if Vick Bynum was back in school yet. I thought if he was there I could swing by the school and talk to him. Patty had been a good friend of Gran's. She probably should have retired years ago, but she did her job so well without asking for raises or making demands, that the school board just kept her on. She was so used to being a source of information for Gran that she didn't even ask me why I wanted to know. She checked and told me no, he wasn't in school today. I thanked her and decided I would wait for Nancy to come to Merlotte's and hang out then I would duck out and visit Vick at his house. I could probably go and be back within an hour.

After a peanut butter sandwich for lunch I called Levon White. He had been expecting my call and he told me everything he knew about the two vampires that were apparently living in Monroe. He had pinpointed down the general area where they must be staying by looking at the pattern of people that had been left dazed with glamour. The registered vampires in Monroe had helped out and brought the people out of their daze.

Levon didn't think they had killed anyone, but he thought that their pattern was so erratic they might do something unfortunate. I saw that Eric was going to need to talk with the registered vampires in Monroe to get more information. All the werewolves had done is notify the regular Monroe vamps when they came across someone that seemed bitten and stupefied. The werewolves were not thrilled with cleaning up after a vampire problem, but it was better than having all kinds of law enforcement scrutiny descend on Monroe.

"Have you heard any more about Shirley Shoppingcart?" I asked Levon.

"No, Miss Stackhouse. But she is an odd character and she might be anywhere." Levon said. There was something kind of clipped and military in the way he spoke, and I wondered if he had been in the Marines.

I thanked him for his time, and also for helping out with the new vampires. We both hoped they could be rounded up and filled in on what they needed to do to fit in to our society. Levon also mentioned the unusual size of the male vampire. The werewolves had gotten glimpses of them both, but the strange couple, one so large and one so small, were extremely elusive and wouldn't make contact. Vampires didn't pal around with werewolves anyway, so that wasn't unusual.

I had to do some shopping for the meals I wanted to prepare for Amelia and me this week, and since I was off tomorrow night I thought I would do all the cooking for the week then. By cooking a large meatloaf and a whole stuffed chicken I could get enough meals from those two main courses to last all week.

Of course if I was preparing meals for a large man like Alcide I would need to cook like that every night. I had seen Alcide eat an entire half of a chicken, two baked potatoes, and a big dish of macaroni and cheese in one sitting. It must cost a lot to feed a man like that. Of course, Alcide was not a poor man by any means, and he could afford to eat what he liked. His wife wouldn't need to stick to a food budget.

As I drove into the store parking lot I saw Elaine and Nancy going in together. They both had lists in their hands. I drove right back out of the lot and over to Nancy's modest white ranch house. She kept her property nice and neat. The lawn was mowed, the flower bed weeded, and the walk swept. I went up to the pretty door with leaded glass panels and rang the bell. I waited a minute, then rang the bell again. I saw movement on the other side of the glass. I rang the bell one more time for good measure.

The door opened and Vick Bynum stood there, hands behind his back. His hair was messy like he just got out of bed, but some guys wore their hair like that all the time. He had on a tee shirt and jeans, and he had shoes on his feet, so I guessed I hadn't gotten him out of bed. He was quite tall, and I had to look up to make eye contact with his startling blue eyes. His dark glossy brows, clear complexion, and shiny dark brown hair gave him a wholesome look, the kind of boy any mother would be proud of.

"Hi Vick. Can I come in and talk with you for a moment?" I asked, smiling as charmingly as I could.

"Uh ... Miss Stackhouse, right? My mom isn't here right now." he said, his voice sounding dull and subdued.

"Actually it's you I wanted to talk to." I upped the wattage on my smile. I willed him to open the door and let me in.

"Oh, sure, come on in." he said with zero enthusiam. He held the door slightly more open. I squeezed in past him.

more to come ... (I thank you for taking the time to spend a part of your day in Bon Temps with me.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part nineteen

Chapter Nineteen

Amelia and I finally had our movie night. We made popcorn, drank some wine her father had given her, and laughed like crazy at a comedy. It was a great ending to a day that had turned out alright. Eric finally called and Amelia wished me a good night before she went upstairs to bed, and probably to talk to Tray. I hoped he wasn't so fired up about motorcycles he forgot to make a little sweet talk with Amelia.

Eric told me about the different tactics he was learning about how to apprehend vampires, and I told him what I had learned from Alcide. There was a moment of silence after I mentioned Alcide had stopped by, but I just kept chatting away and soon Eric got over what must have been a moment of jealousy. I knew about those moments first hand, and I knew they could ruin a relationship if they were allowed to take over.

I hadn't called Bill tonight so I didn't have any news about Jessica, and I was too tired to call him tonight, so it would have to wait until tomorrow night. I didn't tell Eric about the burns on Vick Bynum's hands. No sense in jumping to conclusions until I had a chance to check out what had happened to burn his hands.

Eric said it might be another few nights before he was back. He also needed to get back to handle some things at Fangtasia. I could see he was spread a little thin so I decided to handle the conversation with Levon White myself too. I would do as much as I could to take some of the strain off Eric.

When we had finished with the vampire stuff I told him about what I was going to wear to bed tonight. I told him what I would be thinking about, and what I would be doing with my hands while I was thinking about those things.

If Eric breathed he would have been panting, but he just kept saying my name with varying degrees of intensity. This was great. I knew this was what was called "phone sex" and I found out I was pretty good at it. I used my sexiest breathy voice and told him how he made me feel when he did certain things. As I told him how I was going to say his name when I came, he must have reached a climax himself. I heard him make his explosive moan a few times. I hoped that Eric was alone, I had forgotten to ask him about that.

Then he laughed and he sounded much less tense than he had. In fact, he sounded positively jolly. He called me his sexual fantasy, and he told me next time we talked he would tell me one of his secret desires. He growled those last two words in a deep sex laden voice and I felt an erotic thrill travel from my ear right down to my coochie. I told him he had my undivided attention and he laughed his wicked laugh, the one he used right before he suggested we do something I would tell him I would never do in a million years, the same laugh he laughed after I was talked into doing it and found out I liked it. We verbally hugged and when I hung up I felt close to Eric again.

All in all this had been a good day. Now I had to figure out how I was going to get a chance to talk to Vick Bynum tomorrow and read his mind. But I would think about that tomorrow. Tonight I would finish my book and hopefully have some pleasant dreams. Maybe I could have a sexy dream about Eric if I programmed my mind. I would give it a try.

more to come .....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part eighteen

Chapter Eighteen

"Are you talking about rogues, Sookie?" he asked. Alcide was smart and there wasn't much chance I could gloss over the real reason for my questions, so I just said yes, rogues, and also vampires that might be having a language problem or a problem with finding out how to register with the King. I said that Eric had been asked to reach out to the newcomers and make sure they were fitting in with the mainstreaming agenda.

"Are you hoping to hire our bounty hunters?" Alcide asked. That was a good question. The werewolf motorcycle gangs had excellent bounty hunters for hire. They weren't the most savory characters, but they got the job done. Eric would need the permission of the King to hire them if they were needed, otherwise the interference of werewolves into vampire affairs might trigger a war, something no one wanted. I was just hoping I could find a way to keep Eric safe. Hunting vampires was about as dangerous an occupation as you could get, even if Eric were a powerful vampire himself.

"No, I think what I'm asking is just for your pack and other the were's to let me or Eric know if there's a problem with vampires that needs looking after. The new immigrant vampires aren't registered so they have no way of knowing what the proper etiquette would be. This might be ruffling some fur in your community. Before anyone gets angry or a problem crops up Eric would like a chance to get to the vampires and bring them into the fold, so to speak." I explained.

"Well, there is a problem." Alcide said, bluntly. "There are a pair of vampires in Monroe that are glamouring people and then leaving them stuck in their glamoured state. They have scared some people and they broke into an empty house and left it a mess. My friend in Monroe, Levon White, told me they don't seem to speak any English, and they run away from any contact. They might have killed a woman too."

Levon White was the unofficial head of the Monroe werewolves. There weren't enough werewolves in the smaller town for a complete pack, but they were a group of werewolves with a representative that affiliated themselves with the much bigger Shreveport pack. I had thought there might be a problem in Shreveport, but I was surprised to learn there might be two rogues in the little city of Monroe. Still, Monroe has over fifty thousand residents, room enough for a pair of vampires to hide in.

"Could you get the information from Levon about where and when these incidents happened, and who the possible victim is?" I asked, cringing inside. I knew Alcide would want to run down the details of these alleged vampire incidents like a hole in the head.

I had never spoken to Levon, but I had seen the Monroe werewolf around at various pack events. He was a good looking but unusual looking man with a thick silvery crew cut, sun creased tan complexion, thick neck, and the heavy build of a weightlifter. He drove a tow truck for the city of Monroe and towed away cars from "no parking" zones. When the cars' owners caught him hooking up his tow truck to their illegally parked cars they sometimes wanted to pick a fight with the tow truck driver, but one look at Levon and that idea melted away like ice in August. Levon had a very lopsided grin and nice square white teeth, which gave him a peculiar charm when he smiled.

"I can tell you who the victim might be right now. As for the rest, why doesn't Eric talk to Levon himself and get the details?" Alcide said, leaning back. He folded him arms and the huge muscles in his biceps threatened to rip the material in his denim work shirt sleeves. Alcide owned a construction business, and from the look of him he did some of the heavy manual labor himself. He didn't get muscles like those pushing a pencil.

"I'll have him do that, Alcide. Thanks for the information. Who's the possible victim?" I asked.

"You may have heard of her," Alcide said, "I don't know her real name, but the folks in Monroe call her 'Shirley Shoppingcart'. She's been missing for about a week now, and no one knows where she's gone. Usually she follows a pretty set routine of rounds where she gets food, a shower, and the like."

I had read an article in the Monroe Morning Sun on Shirley Shoppingcart recently. She was an eccentric but harmless middle aged woman with some mental health issues. I hoped the new vampires hadn't drained her, both because I felt sorry for the woman with all her problems, and because of the disgrace and notoriety it would bring down on the vampire community. Also, Eric would get blamed for it by the King, even if she had been killed before Eric was told about the rogue problem. Vampire royalty had a "heads will roll" sort of authority, and I mean that literally.

Before Alcide left I wanted to give him something to think about. I told him that if the werewolves and shifters were going to come out in the open, then they had to think about the supernatural community as a whole. It might make all the difference in the world to a vampire or a werewolf which one was causing a problem, but to the human community, it didn't make much difference at all. Humans were going to judge all supernaturals by the actions of either group, so it would benefit them to cooperate when it came to exchanging information about something that might tarnish the reputation of either group.

Alcide seemed to give that some thought. Then he said, "You have a good head on your shoulders, Sookie. I always like talking to you. I respect you and I respect what you're saying. You're right. We need to establish diplomatic channels between the werewolves and the vampires so we can keep other up to date on occurrences. In the past it was strictly hands off between us, that was the best policy. But now we need to find a way to help each other out from time to time, especially when it comes to information sharing."

I was really gratified Alcide took what I had to say into consideration. It was so much different than dealing with the humans I grew up with, many of them thought I was just as crazy as Shirley Shoppingcart. They couldn't understand the strain of being telepathic, so I just appeared a little touched to them.

Alcide had to go. He stood up and I hugged the big man, enjoying his masculine smell, feeling engulfed in his arms, his warmth, and the sound of his breathing. I felt Alcide subtly inhale the fragrance from my hair and sigh. Alcide got to the door before he turned back to say something else.

"One more thing, Sookie," he said, "The two vampires I mentioned are a man and a woman. The woman is a little thing, barely five feet tall, but the man .... he's like a giant. Descriptions of him put him at almost seven feet tall, and built like a mountain. If Eric is going after him tell Eric to be careful. Meanwhile I'll give Levon a call and tell him to expect a call from either you or Eric about the vampire attacks in Monroe. I'm sure he'll tell you everything he knows and can find out."

I thanked Alcide again, glad we had a chance to visit. When he left I thought about Eric, my sweetie pie, chasing down a giant foreign vampire. I didn't like that idea one bit.

more to come .....

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part seventeen

Sometimes a bad dream can cling to you the next day like invisible cobwebs you just can't rub away. That's how I was on Sunday. I looked at my bright modern new kitchen but what I saw was the old kitchen in flames. I could have ended up like Jessica, and without the healing power of a vampire, I would have been either permanently scarred or dead. I realized I had to do something to shake off this creepy mood.

I took a shower, got dressed and went to church. I didn't always go to church to hear the sermon or even join in on the prayers and songs, sometimes I went just to be around folks that were trying to be better people, and to have a calm place to sit and think.

As I sat there letting the peace flow over me I felt myself returning to my center, to that place inside myself where I was grateful for all the blessings I enjoyed and I could turn my attention to what was right and good and beautiful in the world. I smiled at Maxine in her outrageous dress. It looked like an explosion in a florist shop. Where did she get her clothes, I wondered, smiling inside too.

I saw Hoyt sitting in the back with Catfish Hunter. Hoyt looked terrible, he had big black circles around his eyes and his skin was very pale. I wondered if this was because Jessica was away, or whether he just needed some rest from his vampire girlfriend. Well, he would be getting a break from her now. I could see why Maxine was worried about him. I waved and he waved back, flashing me the old Hoyt smile. That made me feel a little better for him.

On the way home I picked up some eggs and bacon, fresh orange juice, and some canned biscuits. The smell of those things always reminded me of Gran and the good times we had sitting around at breakfast talking about this and that. Maybe I could get Amelia to join me for breakfast, although she wasn't a big breakfast eater usually.

I was in luck. Amelia was up, she had made coffee, and she was hungry. I fried bacon, then kept it warm in the oven, popped open the can of biscuits and baked them on a cookie sheet, and fried the eggs in the bacon grease, the good old fashioned way. We slathered butter on the hot rolls and we moaned with the pleasure of biting into the hot buttered rolls. I know it was too much saturated fat and all that, but once in a while it was good for the soul, if not the heart, to have an old fashioned breakfast. We washed it all down with coffee and ice cold orange juice. We played the radio and cleaned up the dishes together and put them away. I felt a million percent better. Bacon grease for the soul.

Next I went out for a walk. The weather had cooled and the sun came and went behind the clouds. I wore my Walkman, thinking for about the thousandth time I wanted to learn how to use one of those little iPods like Amelia had. Still, I had a bunch of cassette tapes I liked so I was pretty happy marching along to the beat of The Human League's "Don't You Want Me Baby" and Soft Cell's "Tainted Love".

By the time I got home I was feeling really happy. I had planned on laying out in the sun, but it was just too cool and overcast to be worthwhile.

This seemed to be a good time to try and reach Alcide. I called his work number and left a message. Then I called his cell phone number and he answered on the first ring. He sounded like he was driving his truck.

I asked him if this was a bad time to talk and he said no. Then he asked me if he could come by and talk to me in person. He was coming to Monroe today to give an estimate for a job, and he said he would swing by my house and we could have a visit. That was fine by me.

I tidied up the house a little and put on my new capri outfit, the one with the sequin sun on the front. Then I lay down on the couch with a vampire romance novel and laughed at the way the vampire was depicted. He was agonizing about his loss of humanity.

Obviously the author had not met a real vampire. All the vampires I knew were quite smug about their vampireness and they felt superior to humans. They had learned not to be so blatant about it, but I could see why they often looked down their noses at humans as puny, short lived and limited. They had so much going for them that it would be easy for them to feel that they were the top of the food chain.

Sleep must have snuck up on me because the doorbell woke me up. Alcide stood on the other side of the screen door looking more handsome than I remembered. He was a big man, built like a professional wrestler, with unruly curly black hair, emerald green eyes, and a big white smile. He was a werewolf, a pack leader, and he radiated sex appeal like a black truck radiates heat in the summer sun. I invited him in and he filled the room with his big male presence. I had forgotten what a dynamic man he was. Suddenly I felt a little shy and invited him in to sit down.

"You're looking good, Sookie." Alcide rumbled, his deep voice sending a little thrill down my spine. I was determined to keep our talk cordial, but without the undercurrent of flirting that came naturally to us. We had chemistry and there was no way to deny that, but it didn't have to take over. As he walked past me I noticed he smelled wonderful.

"You're looking good yourself, Alcide," I said. I offered him something to drink, and something to eat. He accepted the root beer, but told me he had just eaten lunch. He sniffed the air and said "Bacon?"

I laughed and told him about the big breakfast Amelia and I had eaten. He remembered that we had cooked up a nice big breakfast together the first day we met. He was a useful man in the kitchen. He was probably real useful in some other rooms too. I had to make my mind get back in line. I may be in a relationship with Eric, but I wasn't immune to noticing the charms of a man like Alcide. No harm in noticing, nope, not a bit.

Once we were settled across from each other on the couches I looked for the appropriate words to use to ask him about the possibility that some foreign vampires might be living in this area and possibly causing a problem. I hadn't needed to tiptoe around the subject, he knew exactly what I was asking him about.

more to come ......

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part sixteen

Chapter Sixteen

As I drove to Merotte's I thought about what I was going to say to Alcide tomorrow when I called him. Alcide and I had a history, some of it good, some of it bad. He helped me with a problem I had, but not out of the goodness of his heart. He was required to help me to pay a debt his father owed. In the course of that duty he came to like and respect me.

He saw how valuable it would be to have a telepath involved in werewolf politics and he tricked me into helping his father in the older Herveaux's bid to become packmaster of the Shreveport pack. That was not to be, but I grew tired of being embroiled in werewolf politics and needed to make distance. That's easier said than done. When a war broke out between werewolf clans I was right back in the thick of it, and it was only the intervention of Sam and my fairy godmother, Claudine, that saved yours truly.

Sam had been magnificent that day, turning into, of all things, a lion. It was just the most amazing thing to see. Those werewolves sure sat up and took notice when Sam roared. Between Claudine and Sam they managed to keep me alive, but I had enough of werewolf politics and intrigue so Alcide and I drifted apart. We had never really made it to boyfriend and girlfriend status anyway. Just friends, no benefits. Alcide seemed happier dating within the werewolf community, and now that he had advanced to being packmaster himself I imagine it would only be a matter of time before he married and had little ones of his own.

I wasn't going to tell Alcide too much about the rogues, but I would need to tell him enough for him to know what I was talking about. It would be a fine line I would need to walk, because I didn't want to lie to Alcide either. Werewolves and vampires didn't get along, but I thought Alcide might help out. I looked forward to saying howdy to Alcide and finding out how he was doing, so I knew there were no hard feelings on my part. Having a spectacular boyfriend that adored me really helped in the ex-potential boyfriend department.

Merlotte's was crowded and I hit the ground running when I got there, only having time to wave at Sam and check to see if my ponytail was straight, my lipstick was fresh and tie on my black apron. Elaine was running around like crazy trying to keep up with the customers' thirst and hunger. I was supposed to be off tonight so Amelia and I could have our movie night, but I had to come in to make up for Wednesday night. Amelia and I had postponed our movie night until tomorrow.

Louisa, the ultra-skinny new cook, was in a bad mood so I knew I would need to be extra careful not to leave my orders sitting under the warming lamp for more than a few seconds. She had a thing about the food sitting there after she cooked and plated it, she thought it would get ruined, dried out or something, and she would get blamed. She really needed the job and from her mind I got the sense that she had been fired for her cooking before.

My Gran used to say never trust a skinny cook, so maybe Louisa had some problems with her cooking, though I hadn't gotten any complaints yet. I smiled and said "hi" to Louisa as I picked up my first order, but the frazzled cook just nodded at me and went back to her cooking. I missed Lafayette. He always had something fun or outrageous to say, and he never seemed to be at the end of his rope. Unfortunately Lafayette had been murdered for the very qualities that made him such fun to work with. He was gone, but his Burgers Lafayette lived on, and the special marinade he used was still being made by the new generation of Merlotte's cooks.

There wasn't time early on to listen in to what individual people were thinking, so the minds chattering away were just a hum of noise in the background. Someone kept playing "Your Cheatin' Heart" by Hank Williams over and over again on the jukebox, so I was guessing someone was having a bad night. Finally people got sick of hearing the song, and the selection changed, to loud cheers. The bar area was always noisy, and Sam had his hands full keeping an eye on everyone. He was a genius at seeing trouble coming and heading it off before it flared up.

During my break I checked my phone messages and saw there was one from Eric. I called him back and insisted he pull over and park while he talked to me on the cell phone. He laughed at my concern over him, but behind his laughter I could hear a hint of annoyance at being told what to do. Eric was used to giving all the orders. I apologized for asking him to pull over and he seemed to accept my apology, but it made a little distance between us, which made me kind of unhappy. I had called him hoping to feel closer to him. I ended up just telling him I loved him, and he told me he would call me when he was settled in to the training center.

Later on, when things slowed down I found out quite a few people were thinking about what happened to Jessica. The opinions seemed to be equally divided between those that thought she had it coming, those that felt sorry for her, and those that just didn't care one way or the other. One mind was sending out stronger thoughts about Jessica than the others, and that mind was Nancy Bynum. She was sitting in Elaine's section. and when Elaine had a moment here and there she would stop and talk to Nancy, who appeared to be nursing the same beer all evening.

Nancy was telling Elaine that Vick felt so bad about what happened to Jessica that he wasn't able to go to school today. Nancy was worried about Vick and she needed the emotional support Elaine could provide. But she wasn't being honest with her friend Elaine about her son. As she was telling Elaine about how sad Vick was about the young vampire's injuries, she was also flashing pictures like slides in her mind. The pictures showed Nancy putting on ointment and bandaging Vick's hands because they had been .... burned.

Vick's hands had burns on them. I was going to need to talk to Vick and find out how he got those burns. When Elaine got off work she left with Nancy. When I got off work I went home and slept alone in my bed in the house. I had the dart gun on the nightstand next to me, just like I told Eric I would. I lay in bed and planned out the meals I was going to make next week, because it was my turn to cook. I fell asleep after getting to dinner on Wednesday. I dreamed I burned the pork chops and set the kitchen on fire. The flames grew big so fast they were out of control and I couldn't get to the door to escape. It was a terrible scary dream.

more to come ........

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part fifteen

Chapter Fifteen

Eric got up at sundown and we had a few moments together before he had to leave. I didn't like to feel rushed so I didn't want to have sex, but I did let Eric take blood from me. This got him very worked up and I saw that it would be wrong to send him off for the weekend wanting to have sex with me, so I let him just go ahead and screw me without all the lengthy preliminaries. Surprisingly, I found the raw quick energetic way Eric did it to be exciting and I had as good of a time as he did.

He was still worried about my safety and mentioned the dart gun again. I reassured him I would keep it with me.

He also wanted me to take blood from him to heighten my senses and speed up my reflexes, but I declined. I noticed something disturbing the last time we exchanged blood and I wanted more time to think about what was happening. After Eric and I had exchanged blood and after we had sex we were just laying there feeling close when Eric suddenly asked me, "Who was Roscoe?" I was stunned.

I hadn't even thought about Roscoe in years. Roscoe was the little white dog I had when I was a young child. I had loved Roscoe very much and found him comforting and reassuring in a confusing world of grown ups. I was telepathic even as a young child and I had no way to shield my mind.

Thousands of thoughts and images flooded into my little brain every time a grown up hugged me or touched me. I knew things and saw things no child should know, and most of it I couldn't understand. I was constantly upsetting grown ups by blurting out the words I heard from their minds. I was even punished for saying bad words, even though I didn't know what the bad words meant and I had only heard them from a grown up mind in my vicinity.

In the midst of this swirling barrage of words and pictures I had Roscoe. When I hugged him I didn't get any words or images, he just loved me and I just loved him without all the complications I had when dealing with people. He was like my port in a storm.

When Roscoe had been hit by a car I was inconsolable. I couldn't understand why Roscoe couldn't come back, and any hugs or comforting I got filled my mind with all kinds of images of death and the finality of the end of life. It was terrifying to me, so I pretended I got over Roscoe's death, but secretly I grieved for years over my little white dog, my true friend.

When Eric mentioned Roscoe I was confused. How did he know about Roscoe? I asked him and he started to become evasive, but when I told him I really needed to know, Eric told me the truth. The truth was that after a certain number of blood exchanges with a vampire it was possible for the vampire to begin drinking in the human's memories with the blood. Vampires called this 'mind tasting'. Some vampires were connoisseurs of minds and had the memories of dozens of humans added to their own memories. It didn't remove the memory from the human, it just shared it with the vampire.

The blood bond opened my subconscious mind to him and as he drank he took in bits of my memories. They became his memories too. I felt like he would be sucking the memories right out of my mind. I couldn't have that. It was just too personal. So I had decided to never take blood from Eric again. I hadn't told Eric about my decision, I just thought I would say no each time he asked until he got the idea it wasn't going to happen. I didn't mind giving Eric some of my intoxicating part fairy blood every so now and then, but I wasn't having any more of his blood, no sir. That was a done deal.

I felt bad when Eric left, but he told me he would call when he got to the vampire SWAT team training center, and he had his cell phone with him so I could reach him at any time. I told him to drive carefully, for what that was worth. When you're practically indestructible safety isn't the big deal it is with us humans.

There was still time before I had to leave for Merlotte's so I gave Bill a call. He asked if we could talk in person and I agreed to it. As I hung up the phone there was a knock on the door. It was Bill. Vampires. They could move so fast it was like they just suddenly appeared. Bill used to startle me all the time even though he knew I hated it. At the time I just thought he didn't understand what would startle a human, but now I wasn't so sure. He might have been doing it on purpose, just to get a reaction from me.

I invited Bill in and offered him a True Blood. He accepted and I watched him pink up as he drank it. I asked him how Jessica was. Bill said that she wasn't doing well. The problem was the gasoline used to douse her. It was gasoline from a can in Bill's garage. Bill explained that he sometimes used a high tech gas in his car, as an additive it had a corrosion inhibitor ceramic that ensured the slow release of silver ions, particles of silver so small their dimensions are measured in nanometers. I wasn't too sure what this meant.

He told me it meant that there were tiny tiny particles of silver in the gasoline and when she burned the tiny pieces of silver got embedded in her charred skin. This would slow down her healing because the silver was preventing the healing process. The center where she was taken had never had a case like this before, so they had no way of knowing if Jessica would heal, or how long it would take.

There was no way to remove the silver, it just had to work its way out of her system. Since her recovery would be so painful they were keeping her in a state of hibernation, waking her long enough to feed. So far she was screaming so much when they woke her she couldn't drink any of the blood they tried to feed her. I told him that humans could be fed with tubes directly into their stomachs sometimes. Bill appreciated this information and said he would tell the doctors that were treating Jessica as soon as he got home.

I asked Bill how he had found Jessica and he said she was laying in his driveway burned like we saw her when he returned home. Jessica had been entertaining a young man in her room and Bill found the loud music they played to be irritating, so he went out to visit a friend. In my opinion leaving a teenager alone in the house with her boyfriend was a recipe for disaster, but I kept that opinion to myself. Unlike a human girl Jessica couldn't get pregnant and she wasn't in much danger of being raped or drugged, but apparently she had been in danger, a danger no one could have known about.

Bill said he got home and saw the burned vampire on the ground right outside his house. She was in such bad shape she couldn't talk or answer any questions about what happened. He brought her in, placed her on the chaise lounge and called Dr. Ludwig. She sent for the Vampulance and made arrangements at the vampire recovery center. I told Bill I hoped she was well soon.

Then I asked Bill who the young man was she was entertaining. Bill said he didn't know, that she had several boys she brought home. When I didn't say anything Bill added, somewhat defensively, that he had some rules for her. She wasn't allowed to hurt anyone, the boy had to be home at a decent hour, and she couldn't bait one boy against another to watch them fight over her. I was guessing that rule came about when she caused a fight in the house. He said she was very hard to control and she lied to him about everything. He thought it would be better if she brought the boys home where he at least knew where she was. He sounded like a typical parent of a teenager. He definitely wasn't Jessica's boyfriend, he was more like her Dad.

I was curious about how this had come about, but I didn't think now was the time to ask him about it. I had to be leaving for work soon. I asked Bill if he had any idea who had done this to Jessica and he said he didn't, but when he caught the person he would make him sorry. I asked Bill if he had reported this incident to the police and he said "of course." He seemed surprised I would even ask the question. He said Andy Bellefleur had been out to his house tonight to take his statement because he just couldn't talk to anyone last night.

Bill looked so sad and lost I patted his hand and told him it wasn't his fault, it was the fault of whatever evil person had done this to Jessica. I asked him if Jessica had any enemies and he said she probably did because she was a troublemaker. At least Bill didn't have any illusions about Jessica's nature.

We hugged and I told him I would be in touch, and to let me know if I could do anything to help Jessica. I could tell Bill appreciated the support and we parted on better terms than we had been in a long time. He walked away at human speed so I could see him going. Maybe it was out of respect for me, or maybe he was just too sad and worried to move at vampire speed.

more to come .....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part fourteen

Chapter Fourteen

The next morning I stretched and yawned, noticing the bright sunny day outside before the whole nightmare of last night's events flooded back into my mind. I wondered how Jessica was doing. I knew vampires had an almost miraculous ability to heal quickly, so maybe she was fine by now.

Or maybe that was just wishful thinking. I did take comfort in knowing that Eric was safe in his safe room. It was a relief not to wonder if he was OK until I saw him again at night. A sleeping vampire is so completely helpless that even the mighty Eric was vulnerable to attack while he was undead for the day.

As Amelia and I did housework together I filled her in on what had happened last night to Jessica. She asked me a few questions I couldn't answer, like where was Jessica when she was attacked, how did Bill find her, and how did the perpetrator get control of Jessica. I was going to ask Bill about those things when I called him tonight to find out how Jessica was doing.

Amelia also wondered if there was a link between Ernie and Jessica, since they were both set on fire with gasoline, but we couldn't think of any. There seemed to be no connection between those two at all.

I told Amelia that Eric was going to be away for the weekend, and we planned a movie night on Saturday night since her boyfriend, Tray Dawson, was also going to be away at a motorcycle convention and Amelia had opted out on that trip. The last time she had gone to one of those conventions she ended up taking second place to a vintage Indian motorcycle Tray was interested in buying and restoring. Amelia wasn't used to coming in second to anyone, much less a motorcycle.

Sam surprised me by calling me and asking if everything was alright here. He had heard about the attack on Jessica and he was just checking to make sure nothing had happened to me or my property. I appreciated the concern, and I took the opportunity to ask him to listen in to the shifters he knew and see if he was picking up any unusual vampire attacks or anything that would indicate a rogue was operating in the area. I made Sam promise not to tell anyone about the concern over a rogue being in the area, and I knew I could trust Sam not to mention it to anyone. I told Sam I would be in tonight at the regular time.

The shifters were not organized like the vampires or the werewolves, so he would just have to pick up what he could as he interacted with the various shifters he knew. I knew he would be discreet, so there wasn't much chance he would find out much. Still, it didn't hurt to ask. I had forgotten to ask him how he heard about what happened to Jessica, but I decided not to call him back. I could ask him that tonight when I saw him at work.

While I had the phone in my hand I called Andy Bellefleur to ask him if the autopsy results had come in on Ernie Tomm. He said he wasn't able to talk about an ongoing investigation. Then he went on to add that the investigation was being handled as a homicide investigation, a homicide investigation due to arson set with an ignitable liquid.

With a sick feeling in my stomach I realized that meant that Ernie Tomm had been burned alive. I wanted to ask Andy if he knew about the attack on Jessica, but I wasn't sure how the vampires were handling that attack and I didn't want to say anything to him until I found out if they had reported it. Vampires had their own way of dealing with things. I thanked him, and hung up.

Crimes against vampires were hard to investigate because vampires quickly recovered from just about anything that didn't kill them. Most crimes against vampires were by other vampires, and the vampire community preferred to handle those cases on their own. Crimes against vampires by humans usually resulted in the death of the vampire, because no one in their right mind wanted a vampire angry at them. It was worse than having the Mob mad you.

Vampires had occasionally offered humans a chance to settle criminal matters within the vampire justice system. This would eliminate the threat of death by the injured vampire, it would eliminate the criminal doing any jail time in a human jail, but it would usually involve some dreadful but non-lethal punishment that vampires would find entertaining. You don't want to know what kind of punishments vampires find entertaining.

Fatal attacks on vampires caused the vampire corpse to turn to ash, which was quickly unrecognizable as anyone in particular. A human investigator would be unable to gather any of the forensic evidence needed to prove a homicide had occurred, how the victim died, or any of the other trace evidence the police depended on to convince a jury a murder had taken place and someone was guilty of committing it.

Then there was the problem many humans had with taking the side of a vampire over that of a human. Trials for killing a vampire were few and far between so far and they almost never resulted in a conviction. Prosecutors were reluctant to even consider prosecuting because there was no proof the vampire was dead. A pile of ash could have been just about anything. In time the forensics might be developed to handle cases like that, but so far the criminal justice system was not equipped to deal with crimes against vampires.

It was hard to deal with crimes committed by vampires too. Vampires were incredibly strong, fast and many had extra abilities like the ability to fly or become invisible. This made finding and apprehending a vampire darn near impossible. Special vampire police force members had to be added and special cells plated with silver had to be built. Police vans for transporting vampires had to have a silver lining to keep the vampires inside.

Even the handcuffs had to be silver plated, as well as the new vampire apprehension nets which were silver coated and could be thrown over a vampire to subdue them. The contact with silver made them very weak so they could be captured. Now there were special guns being developed that shot wooden and silver darts, like the one Eric gave me for my protection.

Once the vampire was caught they needed a proper place to be incarcerated. Of course the vampire prisoner also had to be kept away from sunlight during the day, so housing vampire inmates was expensive and complicated. Only vampire guards could keep unruly vampire prisoners in line, and all vampire prisoners were unruly. They had been free and powerful for so long it was going to take time for some of them to knuckle under to the commands of their rulers to mainstream, longer still to respect human laws.

Human vampire relations were a work in progress, that was for sure.

more to come ......

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part thirteen

Chapter Thirteen

Dr. Ludwig spoke first. "I will send you the bill. Please let my driver know I am ready to leave." she said to Bill. Bill turned without speaking and went outside to tell Helen to bring the car around. Dr. Ludwig was putting her equipment back in her big old fashioned medical bag.

"Will she be alright?" I asked Dr. Ludwig.

Without pausing in her packing the small doctor said "I have no idea. She was doused with gasoline and set on fire. That isn't good." Once her bag was packed Eric carried it to the waiting car for her, thanking her for coming so quickly. Pam went to wash the charred flesh off her hands. Her beige and cream pant suit was probably ruined, and if it was me I would just throw it out anyway because of the memories it would bring back.

Eric was wearing a 'Kill Paradise' tee shirt. That must be a band. There were so many bands I couldn't keep up. He looked worn out and grim. As the sheriff of this area it would fall to him to investigate this incident and find out what happened to Jessica, a vampire under his protection. He washed his hands too, then put his arm around me, kissed me on top of the head and said "Let's go."

I was happy to leave that place. The last thing I saw as I walked out the door was Bill's pale sad face looking down at the ruined chaise lounge where Jessica had been.

"Where's Broussart Center?" I asked Eric as he drove me home. I could still smell the charred smell in my nose. Maybe it was on Eric's clothes. Yuck.

"In New Orleans." Eric replied. "Jessica will get as much fresh blood as she can hold down, and she will be kept in a suspended state most of the time until she recovers. She will not suffer as much that way." We pulled into my driveway.

"Oh Eric, that was just horrible." I said, and I felt like crying, but I knew that would be just one more thing for Eric to have to cope with. Besides, it wouldn't undo what had happened to Jessica. Eric sensed my distress and held me, comforting me for a moment before we got out of the car. I hoped the mental images I had of this night would fade from my mind. If I could have been glamoured and made to forget the entire incident I would have done it.

We went inside and I had a cup of cocoa while Eric showered and changed. He carried a plastic bag full of the clothes he had been wearing out to the trash and put it in. Eric was so strong, but he had to deal with this terrible thing and deal with the rogue vampires too. It just seemed too much to ask of him. He had changed into a 'Grateful Dead' tee shirt. I wondered if all vampires had those shirts. Bill had one too.

I needed to tell him about my ideas. "Can you hear my ideas about looking for rogues?" I asked him. I didn't know if he was already overloaded.

"Yes," he said, and went in his overnight bag and got out a small notebook and a pen. I realized he was going to take notes. I hoped that what I had to say would be noteworthy.

I told him he needed to find out from the registered vampires if they were coming across kills or victims and to get a complete list of what they were, where they were, and when they happened. I asked him if he had any contacts with the local hospitals that could tell him if there were an unusual number of odd accidents or unexplained deaths. He also needed to find out if more than the usual number of people was missing. He agreed with all these ideas, they matched his plans for the weekend.

Then I suggested something I wasn't sure he would be open to hearing. I told him that the werewolves and shifters were mostly blue collar workers and they might know if a group of foreign vampires were in their area. Eric knew I was still a friend of the pack with the Shreveport werewolves, and I had even sort of dated their leader, Alcide Herveaux for a while. I knew that if I asked Alcide to pass along any information about newcomers he would do it.

Werewolves and vampires didn't mix, but the whole supernatural community had a reason to want the vampires to be seen as responsible citizens. This way if the werewolves and shifters came out in the open, as they had planned to do later this year, people would already have a model in their minds of how a supernatural being could fit in and benefit human society.

I knew quite a few shifters and wereanimals, and I could enlist their help also. Eric gave all this some thought, looking for the downside to the idea. Aside from not wanting the others supes, supernatural beings, to know about the rogue problem Eric thought it was a good idea. I told him I could just say that the vampire community wanted to reach out to the new vampires in the area and invite them to register and fit into the new mainstreaming rules. Eric looked a little dubious, but he didn't have a better idea, so he told me to do what I could to enlist the supes help.

I asked Eric "Do you think there is a connection between Jessica and Ernie Tomm? Both of them were doused with gasoline and set on fire. That kind of thing hasn't happened here before, now we have two incidents in a few days."

"I had wondered that myself. I do not see what the connection could be, but I will keep it in mind. Sookie, I want to give you something." Eric said. He went in his overnight bag again and brought out a gun. It looked like a flare gun. It was bigger and thicker than an ordinary hand gun and had two barrels.

"This gun shoots wooden darts with silver tips. There are two darts, one in each barrel. To shoot it, all you have to do is pull the trigger, just like an ordinary gun. The wooden dart isn't big enough to take down a vampire, and the silver tip isn't big enough to kill a werewolf, but it will stun them for a few minutes, giving you time to get away. This is a prototype of a gun that's being developed for vampire law enforcement. I got an extra one for you to keep here when I'm away." Eric's face was tense with concern over my safety. I took the gun and told him I appreciated his thoughtfulness. I would keep it in the bedroom with me.

Eric was going to stay with me for the rest of the night, go to his safe room during the day tomorrow, then he would leave tomorrow night early, right after rising. I would miss him terribly, but I was glad we had gotten the extra few days together this time.

Neither of us was in the mood for romance, but we cuddled and nuzzled and I drifted off without any awful pictures flashing in my mind.

more to come ..... (Thank you to all of you who are taking this journey with me and commenting.)

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part twelve

Chapter Twelve

It was hell on Earth in that house. The smell of charred flesh was nauseating. Pam and Eric were trying to hold Jessica down, soothe her, yet avoid hurting more of her damaged flesh. Jessica was unrecognizable. She was a blackened hairless corpse, with dark blood seeping out of the cracks in her burned flesh. Her bright blue eyes were open wide, and her mouth, filled with white even teeth and fangs, was open in an endless scream. Her suffering was indescribable. She thrashed so violently and quickly she was, at times, just a blur. Her screams of pain just went on and on, ripping through my very being. I covered my mouth with my hands in horror.

Dr. Ludwig was filling a huge syringe with red glowing sparkling liquid. "Hold her down." Dr. Ludwig growled in her surprisingly deep voice. She was a little person with a head of frizzy brown hair. She had a wide nose, intelligent brown eyes, and an unflappable manner, no matter how horrific the circumstances she found herself dealing with. I guess being a doctor to the supernatural community made her pretty much shock proof.

Pam wrinkled her pretty pert nose in disgust and Eric turned his face away as they increased their hold on Jessica. Bill probably should have helped, but I think he was too upset to be of any real use. Where Eric and Pam held Jessica, little pieces of burned flesh shredded off Jessica's wrists and ankles and fell on the oriental rug. I felt sick to my stomach. I wanted to leave, but I was frozen to the spot.

After wavering over a few spots, Dr. Ludwig finally jabbed the big needle in Jessica's leg and slowly pushed the plunger. I was hoping that the shot would put Jessica immediately to sleep, out of her misery. No such luck. If anything Jessica screamed even louder, her movements getting more violent. I turned to flee and almost collided with a uniformed Vampulance attendant. Their Vampulance was outside at the bottom of the porch steps, lights swirling and flashing. I hadn't even heard them pull up.

Two more attendants were standing outside on the big wooden porch. They had a stretcher, but it was contained in a long see through plastic cover, like a big Tupperware container for a giant hot dog. Two of the attendants were human and one was a werewolf. Since it was a full moon he had started to turn and I could see thick tufts of fur sticking out of his sleeves and pants cuffs. He had a very full beard and the backs of his hands were hairy. He noticed me looking at his fur and said "Sorry, I was supposed to be off tonight but we had so many calls I had to come to work." He had a sweet shy smile and warm hazel eyes. His name tag said "Doug".

"Don't give it a thought," I said. "We're just glad you're here." I thought about mentioning that some of my best friends were werewolves, but thought better of it.

Dr. Ludwig was filling the syringe with sparkling glowing blue liquid now. I watched as they repeated the whole process of holding Jessica down and Dr. Ludwig giving her the shot in her other leg. Instantaneously Jessica slumped down, unconscious. Thank heavens. The relief was visible on everyone's face, except Bill's. Bill looked sick with guilt and worry.

"I'm going with her." Bill said. The Vampulance attendance told Bill he would need to follow in his own car because only the patient was allowed in the Vampulance. I could see this gave him pause. Then he handed the attendant a card and said "Have them call me when she arrives at Broussart Center."

"Will do," the attendant said, sticking the card in his uniform pocket. They put the now blessedly silent Jessica into the stretcher container, sealed it shut and carried her to the truck. She was slipped inside the back, the human attendants got in the back and the werewolf Doug, who was the driver, got in the front. They pulled away at normal speed, lights still flashing. I noticed there were machine guns mounted in the back panels of the truck, just like there were in an armored car. I guess that was in case they were attacked by radicals.

We all stood there in a circle surrounding the ruined chaise lounge where Jessica had suffered so terribly, looking at each other, numb with shock.

more to come ........

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman part eleven

Chapter Eleven

"Hi Bill." I said as I got in the familiar front seat. This is the same car Bill had when he and I were dating. "Where's Eric?" To my relief Bill started driving and didn't try to kiss me on the cheek. I didn't hate Bill anymore like I had when we broke up, but I had no interest in being overly friendly with him either.

"Eric had to help me with a problem tonight. He's waiting at my house for a Vampulance." Bill's face looked angry, a scary sight even for me. He hardly looked human he was so mad. Normally Bill was a handsome man with dark rugged features, a seductive smile, and a lean muscular body. Bill had been a soldier in the War Between the States, and before that he had been a farmer. He still had the slightly haggard look of a man that had been through the hell of war. I wondered where the Vampulance was coming from. Shreveport?

A Vampulance was an ambulance service that specialized in transporting injured vampires to a place where they could recover. It was just about impossible to kill a vampire by ordinary means, but they could be injured and would need time, dark and quiet to recover. If they could feed on fresh blood that would speed things up too.

A Vampulance would take them to a well guarded recovery center. If the trip took place in the daytime the Vampulance was guaranteed to be light tight, even in the event of a collision. An badly injured vampire lay as if dead and was helpless, that's why they needed safe transportation and a safe place to recover. Now that vampires were citizens of the U.S. they wanted and deserved the same rights to medical care as humans had, even if their care was specialized.

The invention of Vampulances had come out of the Pyramid of Giza hotel disaster, where so many humans and vampires perished from bombs planted by the hate group 'The Fellowship of the Sun'. At that time there weren't any special vehicles for the transport of injured vampires, and the vampires caught in the sun on that awful day burned up.

So many humans and vampires were injured that the ambulance attendants went to the humans and treated them first. The vampires that were unfortunate enough to land in the open were burned to a crisp by the sun, becoming unrecognizable piles of black ash that eventually blew away in the wind. The only way we knew which vampires had been killed was to find out who was missing. The unaccounted for were presumed to have died their second, and final, death.

Many vampires were taken to light tight basements to get them out of the sun, including Eric and Pam. Bill had been injured in the blast too. I had been there as the Queen's telepath. The injuries the Queen sustained had led to her death because she was too weak to defend her kingdom. The Pyramid of Giza hotel, catering to vampires, had been just about destroyed. There was talk about rebuilding, but nothing had happened yet.

"Who got hurt?" I asked, hoping it wasn't Pam.

"Jessica." Bill said. "Someone set her on fire." Bill's voice broke and I realized that he really cared for his Child. She might be annoying and hard to handle, but a vampire has a bond with a Child that runs deep and lasts as long as the vampires live, which can be for centuries. For example, Pam was Eric's Child, and they were still very close after almost two hundred years.

"Oh I'm so sorry Bill." I said sincerely, shocked to my core. How could anyone do that? Not only was it a despicable evil thing to do, it was almost impossible to sneak up on a vampire or catch them with their guard down. Of course Jessica was a young newly made vampire, so she might not have all the senses in place that protected older vampires.

"I should have watched her better, taught her more, taken better care of her." Bill said, sounding heartbroken. He was feeling guilty over his lax care of Jessica. Poor Bill, he was really suffering over this. I felt bad for him. Guilt is a terrible burden to bear. And he was right, he should have spent more time and effort giving Jessica the training and discipline a new vampire needed.

"How badly is she hurt?" I asked. We were pulling up to Bill's big restored Compton family mansion.

"I don't know." Bill said, getting out of the car, "But Doctor Ludwig is here and she will be able to tell us."

It was then I noticed Dr. Ludwig's big pearl gray Cadillac pulled around to the side of the house. Her driver, Helen, was sitting behind the wheel, reading a paperback. My Subaru was there too, and Pam's truck, with Saytanna asleep in the passenger seat. Every light in Bill's house was on, and I could hear the screaming from the driveway.

This was going to be really really bad.

more to come ........