Tuesday, August 21, 2012

93 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Ninety Three


Eric and I discussed the weird happenings at Amelia's on the way home. We both got a laugh over Tray's changing appearance. He changed on the outside but on the inside he was the same set-in-his-ways blue collar guy. His life with Amelia was never boring.

We talked about replacing Amelia's chandelier but I had no idea how to go about that.

"It doesn't sound like Augustus is behind this," I said a little later, thinking over the tarot reading.

"No, unless he is being cheated by a witch and not getting what he wanted. He would never pay for only this," Eric agreed.

"It's a snake, not a dragon, that keeps showing up," I observed.

"Perhaps it is Jormangund," Eric mused.

"Your mun goond?" I repeated.

"Yes, he is the monstrous child of the God Loki and the giantess Angraboda. That would mean one of my countrymen might be behind it."

"Have you ever been visited by 'your mun goond' before?"

"No, and I can not think of a reason why anyone would be doing this. It would seem that you are the target of these apparitions, not me," he said, gunning the engine to make the turn onto the blacktop road that led to our house.

"Besides," he went on, "There are Shesha, Nüwa, Amduat, Ningishzida, Rainbow Snake, Vritra, Ophion, Ouroboros - the list of famous giant serpents is very long and comes from many diverse cultures and times. The giant snake could be a symbol, such as healing or infinity."

"Or evil. In my Holy Book a talking serpent was the beginning of all the troubles in the world when he tempted the first people to try a forbidden piece of fruit," I told him.

"I had not heard of that," Eric said. "Your book is full of many amazing stories. I must get around to reading it sometime."

"Did the snake say anything to you?" he asked after a moment's silence.

"No, it just shot purple fire or lightning out of its big purple eyes," I said.

"Maybe Anna Hita can tell us what this is," I added.

"I hope so," Eric said, "I am growing weary of this foolishness."

Once home Eric made arrangements for a privately operated helicopter to fly us to New Orleans tomorrow night. He also called the Bishop brothers and asked if they could accompany us as guards. They weren't there but their Auntie said she would give them the message.

While Eric was on his cell phone making these arrangements I called Charlaine to see how she was doing,

"I'm fine Mom. I had a doctor's appointment today and everything is right on schedule. The baby is growing and is about 13 1/2 inches long now. That little guy can sure pack a wallop when he gets to kicking. I have had to cut out anything spicy to keep him calm. No more gumbo until after he's born."

I oohed and aahed over the strength of the baby and how much he had grown. When the happy baby talk ran out I asked her if she had ever heard of an artist named Koralso.

"World Koralso? Sure, he's pretty famous in the art community," she said.

I told her that her father and I had accidentally destroyed Amelia's World Koralso chandelier. I asked her if she knew a gallery where I could buy another one.

"Oh Mom, gee no. That was from his "Light of the World" collection a few years ago. Does Amelia want to replace it?" she asked.

I could tell from her tone that she had an idea. "Yes, she seemed real broken up over the loss."

"Well, I actually have a Koralso chandelier I'm not that crazy about. I traded it for the sculpture of Queen Victoria nobody would buy, you know the one."

I tried to recall. There were so many sculptures over the years. "I think so. Was it the one where the Queen was very tall and slim, standing astride the globe?"

"Yup, that's the one. World wanted it for his London office. He traded me "Aztec Mothers" for it. Would you like me send you a picture? It's pretty big, about five feet across."

"Sure honey, send it. I'll forward it to Amelia and see if it will do. Your father and I will reimburse you for it."

"I'll just be glad to get it out of here and into a good home. You'll see what I mean." She laughed merrily.

We said our fond farewells and sent kisses across the many miles that separated us.

I still needed to call Anna Hita and tell her we would be coming. I called the Scythian Scryer's parlor and got her secretary Corinth. I told her we would be by tomorrow night but I couldn't tell her exactly when. Corinth assured me that Anna Hita would be there to see us whenever we arrived.

Then I went to the computer to see if Char sent the picture of the light fixture. I saw why Char was laughing. The chandelier was comprised of a circle of ancient Aztec birthing figures. Instead of an emerging baby head the rounded protrusion was a big bulb.

Five identical stylized naked Aztec mothers squatted and grimaced, their teeth bared in pain, their backs to each other, their hooha's blazing with light. Could anybody actually eat under a thing like that?

I forwarded the picture to Amelia, hoping she wasn't insulted or disturbed by it. I was pretty sure by then that I wasn't cut out to appreciate modern art. I liked art that looked like real things or people I knew, something I could recognize. Hopefully something beautiful, spiritual or thought provoking.

When Eric was done with his calls we compared notes, then went to our bed room to see if the lovers' magic we were able to create there among our beloved Swedish antiques and comfortable bed linens still worked. The last time I had been here I was human, now I was Vampire and able to appreciate our home on a deeper level.

I am most delighted to say the room was as romantic and comfortable, as conducive to intimacy and love as I remembered. My beloved home and my beloved husband were welcoming to me and I sank into their comforting embraces with a heavy sigh of contentment.

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more to come .... (Greetings Fanpires! Hope this weekend finds you doing well.

Christie - I had to laugh at your question - I am really really bad at math and I don't keep a timeline on paper or anything, it's all in my head. A head devoid of math skills, I might mention. Thanks for pointing that out, I am really hopeless when it comes to working out the timeline.

I might have to go back and send Brett to private school instead of college to make this story work. I think the girls are in their late twenties by now but that still wouldn't make Brett old enough to be attending college, would it? So private school it is.

The girls do not have fairy longevity, neither does Jason. The clock is ticking on all their biological clocks. Mine too, hahaha!

I pronounce Jure with a hard "J" (like the J in Jason), but again I don't know the correct pronunciation. Jure is based on an actual Croatian vampire of legend.

After the Great Revelation a vampire can only make a Child every hundred years unless they get special dispensation from their King. Prior to that it was pretty much up to the vampire, though it was frowned upon to make too many vampires in a short time, hence Augustus's disapproval by many of his peers.

I like you ideas for side stories and if I ever wrap this main story up I will surely consider them. Thanks for your thoughtful comments and for the help with the math of it.

Thanks ever so much to each of you for every word you have ever posted on this story. It keeps me inspired, brightens my day and enriches my life greatly. Huggies!)

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92 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Ninety Two


Amelia's scream brought Tray rushing in from the garage.

"What the hell was that?" he called as he ran through the kitchen, before he saw the dining room.

He stood in the archway, taking in the overturned chairs and upended table, wiping his greasy hands on a rag. He worked on motorcycles for a living and as a hobby. He also raced them for sport.

"What happened, did one of your spells blow up again?" he asked once he got to us.

He helped Amelia to her feet. Fortunately she had a very thick oversized faux sheepskin carpet on the floor that had cushioned her fall. Unfortunately it was tie-dyed puce and orange.

"No, not this time," she said uncertainly, brushing flakes of light bulb and ceiling plaster out of her hair.

"Are you hurt?" I asked her from across the room.

Both Eric and I had gotten up in a split second after the explosion but we had been unable to approach Amelia. We had bounced back from something that surrounded her.

I took a step towards her and again I felt an invisible barrier stop me. It was spongy and yielding but I was unable to break through it, like super strong cling wrap.

"No, nope, I'm fine," she said. Then she looked up. "Oh no! The Koralso is ruined!" Her face looked tragic.

"The Koralso?"

"My chandelier! It was an original work of art by World Koralso, the famous artist. Surely you've heard of him? He's the one that tried to cover the Empire State building with white Play-doh last year?"

"Nope, never heard of him. We'll replace the chandelier ..." I offered.

"It can't be replaced," she lamented. "World never ever repeats an art work."

"Maybe he has something else," I suggested hopefully. I really wanted to find out what the snake card meant but I didn't want to be rude. Amelia was clearly upset about her hideous chandelier.

"Why are we unable to approach you?" Eric asked.

Amelia brightened up. "Oh that, it's a spell to protect me if something goes wrong. Only Tray is allowed near me until I remove the protection."

She clapped three times and said, "There!"

I was able to walk up to her and Tray, the barrier was gone.

"Um, Amelia, is it just me or does Tray look like Paul Newman, you know, back when he was in Hud?" I asked.

She looked at Tray. "Oh darn! I thought I had revoked that spell." She clapped twice and Tray turned into Charles Bronson. She clapped twice more and he turned into Clint Eastwood from Dirty Harry.

"Crap!" she exclaimed, stamping her foot. Tray turned into Fred Astaire.

He put his hands to his cheeks. "Is something happening to my face?" he asked, feeling around. "Who am I?"

"Fred Astaire," Amelia and I said together.

She put her hands up to clap but Eric placed his hands over hers and stopped her.

"Before you go on, what does the snake card mean?" he asked.

"I don't know, I never saw it before!" Amelia said.

She bent down and began picking up the cards. I knew there was supposed to be seventy two of them. Eric and I helped. Tray continued to feel his face. Amelia noticed him and clapped twice more. Tray turned into a young James Garner. He walked away mumbling under his breath, something about living in a magical nuthouse.

After we had retrieved the cards we righted the table and chairs. She sat down with a sigh and sorted the deck.

"It's not here," she looked up, worried. "That card was put here by magic of some kind but I don't know what. It isn't like anything I've ever come across before."

"Is Sookie in danger?" Eric asked.

"I don't get that impression. I think someone or something is definitely trying to send her a message," Amelia said.

I noticed she didn't offer to keep trying to figure out what was happening. Maybe she had come to the limits of her abilities.

Tray wandered back in holding a hand mirror. He pointed at his face. "Can you fix this?"

"Sure thing, honey," she said, getting up and going over to him. She clapped twice and he turned into Arnold Schwarzenegger from Conan.

"Oh honeybun! Do you ever look hot!" Amelia practically purred. She ran her hands down his arms and over his six pack abs.

"Wowie," I said to Tray. "Maybe you should take that one for a test drive before switching back."

Tray looked down at his amazingly bulging biceps. They had ripped through the arms of his biker tee shirt. His massive over developed torso hiked the shirt halfway up his chest. All his clothes were ultra tight on him now. His belt and fly had blown apart. He ran towards the bedroom saying, "My pants!" His oil stained jeans were slowly splitting up the backside and legs. He was like the Incredible Hulk in that old TV show, only not green.

"Can you put a spell on Sookie to protect her?" Eric persisted, directing Amelia's attention away from her plans for Tray.

"I can try, but this doesn't feel like anything I have ever come across," Amelia said.

She must have really been stumped because I knew how she hated to admit her powers had limits. She got up and went to the pantry to gather her magical ingredients.

While she was gone I asked Eric, "Do you think Anna Hita is doing this? She said she had a message for me."

Eric thought about this. "If it is her, what would she be trying to say? Why is she being so dramatic?"

"There's only one way to find out. We should go find out if this is her doing," I said.

We waited for Amelia to get back and do what she could to protect me, then we left to plan our trip to New Orleans to see Anna Hita.

Tray didn't come out of the bedroom to say good-bye because nothing he owned fit his new super sized body. From the gleam in Amelia's eye I thought he might be in the bedroom for while.

Amelia and I both apologized at the door. She was sorry because she wasn't able to fix whatever was following me. I apologized over the broken chandelier. I told her to send me the bill when she found something to replace it.

Neither of us was very happy when the door shut between us but I figured Tray slash Conan would be able to cheer Amelia up.

I had Eric to turn to and he had never let me down.

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more to come ..... (Happy Mid-Week everyone! I have a steaming cup of lemon zinger tea, an Internet connection and you to visit with me here, so everything is splendid in my world. Hope everything is splendid in your world too! See you Saturday, til then, think happy thoughts.)

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

91 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Ninety One



Catching up with Adele drove all the strangeness of the weird basement vision out of my mind. I was delighted to see she was busy and happy doing what she loved - seeing to the supernatural creatures in the world that needed medical help.

Her smiling face and lighthearted manner assured me that she was in a good relationship and didn't mind living on the Campbell ranch, so close to Lachlain's family. Nothing is more gratifying to Eric and me than to see our girls happy and thriving.

Adele told us about a Loup-Garou that was still stalking the French family he followed here from Europe. Pierre Peltier had come here in 1719 and Aubrey, the family Loup-Garou, had tracked Peltier's descendants ever since.

The original arrangement was that Aubrey would be the Peltier's trusted servant and in turn they would house and feed Aubrey but they no longer wanted his services in these modern times.

Now Adele was treating Aubrey for depression and a disfiguring mange that made Aubrey a social outcast among his kind. We made sympathetic noises. Adele was trying to find Aubrey new employment, not an easy task when she couldn't make his existence known publically.

Next Adele complained about her sister.

"Linda just left me with her three dogs and no idea when she would be back. Now that she's off with Jure she seems to have forgotten about us."

"Have you tried to call her?" I asked. I had tried numerous times but got a message that her phone was out of service.

"Yup, no luck. Wherever she is I can't reach her phone. I emailed her too, but no answer," Adele replied. Then worry replaced her annoyed expression. "Gee, do you think she's OK?"

Eric, also concerned for Linda, took action. We went back to the office and, after explaining what he wanted to the King's secretary, Sarno Stone, he was patched through to Jure's phone, the call re-routed through the King's phone system. The number would show up as coming from the palace, a call that no vampire that valued his life could ignore.

Eric's words to Jure were brief. "Put Linda on the phone."

Once she was brought to the phone Eric put Linda on the speaker so we could all hear her and she could hear all of us.

"Hi!" we all shouted.

"Hi back at you! Who all is there?" Linda laughed.

We told her, and we let her know we were in the office. We all said our hellos.

"Sorry about the book keeping, Daddy," Linda said, the mention of the office reminding her of her neglected duties. "I should be home next week."

I squealed with happiness and Adele said, "That's great. You can come for dinner when you pick up the D's."

The "D's" were what we called Linda's three poodles. Their names were Devana, Destrie, and Duval, delightful and well behaved dogs.

"How are they?" Linda asked, her voice fading in and out with the connection.

"They miss you terribly," Lachlain said, winking at Adele. She grinned back him. They were laying a guilt trip on Linda for not answering her phone. I didn't blame them.

"Give them huggies from me. Maybe I'll call tomorrow and you can put them on the phone."

"Where are you?" Eric asked.

"On the ocean, heading for Italy," she said. "I didn't have phone reception for a while," she added.

I could always tell when she was fibbing and she was fibbing right now about the phone. I wasn't going to call her on it but it caused me worry. Why did she need to fib?

"Are you all right?" I asked.

"Oh sure, I'm fine. Just a little tired of traveling. Can't wait to get home." She sounded wistful and home sick.

"We're waiting with open arms for your return," I told her. Everyone seconded that with a cheer.

Linda laughed.

"Is Jure there?" Eric asked.

"Sure, do you want to speak to him?"

"Yes. Let us say goodbye first, then put him on," Eric said.

We all said goodbye and gave phone kisses. Then Jure was on the phone. Eric took the phone off speaker.

"My daughter wishes to return home," Eric said, making it sound like a threat.

Lachlain raised his eyebrows at Eric's tone and Adele smiled. She might have been remembering when Eric charged into the Campbell ranch like gangbusters to retrieve Adele when Rory, Lachlain's younger brother, had said something mean to Adele and made her cry.

Eric listened for a few minutes and said, "We will see her on Wednesday."

He hung up without any fond farewells to Jure.

We discussed how Linda sounded and Adele agreed with me, she sounded stressed. Eric and I could tell she was still human, a major concern of mine. Her decision to Turn couldn't be made under pressure from Jure. I wanted her here so we could talk, really talk, about what was going on in her mind.

Adele and Lachlain stayed at the club until it was time for Eric and me to return home. We told them we were going to visit Aunt Amelia, then we were going to New Orleans the following night. I couldn't wait until all this was over and I had all three girls within shouting distance. Having them scattered around the planet was just too stressful for me.

*************

Before I woke in our own lovely safe room, Eric had sent our otherworldly guards back to their own dimension. They cost a fortune and we didn't seem to be under real attack. We could call on the Bishops, and Pam would have Eric's back if need be. If push came to shove we could bring Batanya and Clovache back here to stand guard.

While we had been away in Europe Eric had his red Corvette regularly serviced and started up by Mickles Garage so it would be ready to go go go when he wanted to use it.

When we were in the car ready to visit Amelia Eric gunned the engine, grinning at the nearly deafening roar. I wondered, not for the first time, if they made mufflers that actually amplified the sound of the motor. Fortunately this was not a trip that required stealth.

A bright crimson car that sounded like the end of the world would not be the way to go if we wanted to arrive in Bon Temps unnoticed. He had also put down the convertible roof even though it was chilly because we would not mind the cold and we loved to experience the night.

I would, however, very much mind the way my hair was insanely tangled by the wind, so I tied a red silk scarf over my hair and around my throat to secure it. Eric had his hair pulled back and braided but I knew he would still look like a refuge from a wind tunnel when we got to Amelia's.

"Ready?" he asked, setting his stopwatch. He turned on the outstanding custom stereo and blared "The Flight of the Valkyries" over the noise of the engine.

He liked to see how fast he could make the trip from Shreveport to Bon Temps. He didn't worry about the police, bad boy that he was, he had an invisibility spell set on the car.

Radar would pick it up but the police wouldn't be able to see it, probably causing them to think there was a glitch in the equipment. Of course they would be able to hear him. So far no one had chased after the noise. Eric got the idea from Tray Dawson after Amelia put an invisibility spell on Tray's motorcycle so he would stop getting speeding tickets.

Tray was a werewolf, Eric was Vampire, that meant their reflexes were many times faster than human. They didn't need to obey human speed limits. At least, that was what I told myself as we peeled out of our driveway. So far so good, neither Tray nor Eric had ever so much as scratched a fender on their own cars or motorcycles.

As we whipped through the glorious night I thought about what Eric had said, that whatever spell had been placed on me was remarkably inefficient if some harm was intended. It was all smoke and mirrors so far. I might have hurt myself falling off the sofa if I wasn't a vampire, but that would have been the extent of it.

Who would go to all that trouble just to send a scary image? And why did I have such a premonition of big events unfolding? Was it just nerves or was there really some massive conspiracy unfolding against me?

I was glad to be in Louisiana. I couldn't wait to get Charlaine and her family back here. I was going to be a wonderful grandmother because I had such a good role model. Gran had been kind, sensible, optimistic and fair. She had raised Jason and me with both firmness and unconditional love.

My thoughts continued to wander. I thought of Augustus. It seemed to me that he wouldn't settle for magic that only scared or disoriented me, he would go right for the jugular. On the other hand he wouldn't dare attack me and let it be traced back to him. Maybe he was just tiptoeing around doing some serious damage until he had proof.

Only, there was no proof. There never would be proof. As long as Pam and Jure kept mum there was no way Augustus could tie me to his exploding legion. They were outside the hotel where Jure and I were staying, but that was the extent of it.

Since the mass explosion was something that had never happened before no one would have any idea how it was done or who did it. Auggie could guess I must have had something to do with it, that would be it. And his guesses would never stand up in vampire court.

I was really hoping tonight would clear up any nagging witchcraft clinging to me. I wanted to get back to Charlaine. I wanted to get her back here with us. Her beautiful nursery mural could be moved, in fact, the whole house could be moved if it came to that. I smiled at the thought of us all united, clustered around the baby. Eric glanced over at me and I smiled at him. He winked back.

I wished I could be around during the day but it didn't seem like Daynight was going to be a viable option in time for the baby. Between planning out a time schedule and thinking about ways to spoil the child the trip to Bon Temps went by pretty fast. We roared into the parking area behind the farm house and stopped in a spray of gravel.

Though the front of the house was still pristine white and freshly painted, I was pleased to see, I was surprised to see the back of the farmhouse. It had been painted fire engine red. The trim was bright blue and the shutters were yellow with black polka dots. Had Amelia gotten PeeWee Herman in as a decorator?

"Roomie!" Amelia shrieked, racing down the black and white checkerboard back steps. She hugged me and Eric like long lost kinfolk, ignoring or forgetting the fact that vampires didn't hug. Then she guided us inside, talking a mile a minute. She did that when she was nervous.

"I hope you don't mind the changes I made to the fireplace. I had a gas insert put in because wood was just too messy and Tray was getting too lazy to chop any. While I was at it I had a new mantle, surround and hearth installed made from tiles I bought at an art show. I know you said I could decorate as I wished but it's just such a change I wanted to give you a heads up before you .."

I stopped, my eyes popping out of my head. The fireplace was now hot pink, red and turquoise. The tiles, shaped like actual jigsaw puzzle pieces, fitted together in a wild mosaic that ran up and out to make a jutting overhang.

On top of the overhang was a four inch thick slab of lime green Lucite with game pieces - chess men, dice, bingo cards, checkers and the like embedded in it. It was lit with hidden lights that made it glow like something dangerously radioactive.

Amelia and Tray liked Modern Art. The walls were hung with abstract paintings, the sofa, made of clear vinyl, was crammed full of stuffed animals as filling. The chairs looked like crouching gorillas peeling bananas. I was guessing you sat in the gorilla's lap.

"Please have a seat, guys. Can I get you a True Blood?" she asked, indicating the toy stuffed couch.

I remained standing. I couldn't wrap my head around sitting down on an array of teddy bears, bunnies and puppies.

"No, no thanks. Wow, you sure have done the place up," I said, trying to sound admiring.

Everywhere I looked something bizarre jumped out and me and screamed "LOOK AT THIS!" Gran wouldn't have recognized one inch of this place. Over the mantel, where Grandpa Stackhouse's stern photo had once hung, was an upside down moose head made from Leggos.

"We do not have much time," Eric said, still standing too. "We have urgent business to which we must attend."

"Could you give me a magical check up and see if I have some kind of spell on me?" I asked. "I'm concerned someone might be trying to harm me ..."

"Of course, of course, come into the dining room," she said, leading the way.

Gran's brass chandelier had been replaced by one made of naked women holding light bulbs between their knees. The table was shiny aluminum, the legs fashioned as shapely women's legs in gartered stockings, reminding me of the lamp in a Christmas movie I had seen about a kid that wanted a b-b gun. He was told he would shoot his eye out. Maybe he wouldn't have minded after he saw this place.

"We'll use tarot cards to see which direction we should go in," Amelia said, sitting down at the head of the table. The seating was molded aluminum Queen Anne style chairs and relatively normal looking. We sat to the left and right of her.

Amelia lit a thick white unscented candle and placed it on the table. She clapped and the lights dimmed. Did she have one of those Clappers I saw advertised late at night?

She opened a drawer and took out a deck of oversized cards. The backs were plain black with a gold border. She shuffled while chanting a song then laid out seven cards in a fan.

I recognized the Hanging Man, the Lightning Struck Tower, the Moon and the skeleton figure of Death riding a black horse. Then there was Lady Justice, the Queen of Swords and a card with a giant snake shooting purple bolts from glowing violet eyes. The massive head of the snake was reared back, ready to strike. I had never seen that last card before.

I pointed to it. "What does ..." I began to say but that was as far as I got. The cards and table flew in the air and our chairs were thrown violently backwards. The table hit the chandelier and broke some of the bulbs.

Amelia screamed.

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more to come ..... (Happy weekend everyone! Thank you so so much for your continuing input, it really helps me understand what your thoughts are when you read the story. Since I lack Sookie's gift of telepathy it is incredibly valuable to gain perspective. See you Wednesday, til then, huggies!)

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

90 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Ninety

As much as I wanted to enjoy my time with Eric at the club I kept fretting. Eric and I sat together on the two thrones on the raised dais. We held hands and I tried to look aloof and icy as befitted a vampire. Secretly I was smiling about the hand holding, it still meant a lot to me to be able to hold his hand.

Batanya and Clovache fitted right in with the goth and vampire attired patrons. The few that were still sober enough might have looked twice at our guards, they looked oddly superimposed on this dimension, as if someone had photo-shopped them into the living picture. I could see waves of supernatural energy coming off them like summer heat from asphalt. I didn't think humans could see that.

Finally Eric leaned towards me and said, "Can I soothe your mind, Sookie? I am feeling worry pulsing from you. I can make you feel better."

My immediate reaction was to say no, then I thought about it.

Why not?

It wasn't like I was snorting drugs, this was my beloved Eric, my Maker, giving me his blood and some peace of mind until I could untangle the mystery of the hissing noise and amped up gravity.

"Sure, thanks. That would be great," I said with a wicked red lipped smile.

I had slathered on the makeup before going into the club to make sure I looked as Vampire as possible. The tourists paid big bucks to see real life vampires. My sequined floor length black dress, white face and blood red lips were part of the show. So was Eric's Victorian black velvet suit jacket, ruffled red shirt and tight tight black jeans. Even I enjoyed that show. He looked a treat coming and going.

Did I mention his jeans were tight?

Eric and I swept majestically out of the room, my hand lightly resting on his arm, while being approached on both sides by patrons offering their blood, their bodies and whatever else we might want. He gave a word to Batanya and Clovache on the way out that we would require privacy.

I made a mental note of the eager donors because I would need to eat later. Right now we were going to the hidden basement lounge for a little private time with my hubby. But later I would need to eat.

We went to the second basement and lit a few candles. These were the new vampire bat scented candles, the smell was rich and wonderful, at least to me.

I recalled when Linda had smelled one burning in Eric's office a few months ago. She made a face and held her nose.

"Good Grief! What smell is that, Eau de Roadkill?" she had asked.

"No, Night of the Bat," I had answered, laughing and blowing it out. I kept them for when Eric and I were alone.

Different wicks for different chicks, I guess.

Eric sat me on his lap and we kissed for a while. He sent me calming waves of his heavenly Maker-ness and I let them flow through my mind. I saw fluffy clouds float across a starlit sky, a breeze ruffled the grass in a peaceful meadow, a graceful deer bounded across the field, the crickets chirped rhythmically. A night breeze gently moved my hair. Ahhh, serenity.

Like oil on troubled waters my crashing thoughts eased up. I felt like things were going to be fine, that they were already great. I counted my blessings. By the time we were naked and my fangs were in his hot manly scented neck I had been completely swept away by the moment. I was making "mmmm" noises and feeling fabulous.

Eric grabbed me tight, I enjoyed being crushed against him. I held him for all I was worth and felt like I was sliding down a long dark tunnel. The downward slide turned into a drop and suddenly my stomach lurched like it would in an elevator falling too fast. Neither of us could move, though I finally got my fangs out of his neck. A sound like a freight train filled with banshees roared in my ears. I wondered if Eric heard it too.

I couldn't open my eyes or else they were open and it was so dark I didn't know it. In the blackness a gigantic form rose up, blacker than black, hissing and shimmering, dark against dark. Then two purple eyes opened and violet fire shot out. The twin flames flew through the dark and hit me, causing me to shriek and fling myself back. Amethyst sparks exploded all around me and I fell.

I was on the floor, naked. No sparks, no gigantic monster, no nothing. Eric sat on the sofa raking his tangled hair back with hands on either side of his head.

"Did you see it?" I asked him, getting up.

"Yes, something large. Perhaps a dragon. There was lavender fire," he said, pulling me to his side.

"I saw the fire too. It hit me but I'm not burned so it must have been imaginary."

We both got our clothes on. At least I wasn't just crazy, there was something happening to our minds. We were both silent as we processed what we saw.

"Do you know what that was?" I asked him after reapplying my lipstick.

"No. It must be magic, what else could it be?" Eric mused. "Yet, if it was an attack it was ineffective. You have not been damaged. Who would go to the trouble of working a powerful spell that does nothing to harm the recipient?"

"Maybe somebody's trying to convince me I'm nuts," I said.

"To what purpose?" he asked. "What is all this for?"

"Maybe Amelia can tell us tomorrow night," I said.

We went back up to the club. My mind was actually calmer than before. Not really due to Eric's influence as much as the fact that he had seen it too. It probably had nothing to do with my weakling status, it was probably some kind of spell. A spell could be removed, turned back on the one sending it. That was real encouraging.

I noticed Mongo and Pam were talking to someone. When they stepped aside I saw that Adele and Lachlain had come to the club. Eric and I rushed to greet them and tell them about our adventures.

Or at least some of our adventures. Just as I was sure Adele didn't tell me about the more grueling aspects of her medical calls, I didn't tell her about the problems we had encountered here and there. We had plenty of good news and so did she, so we stuck the to the positive.

The negative we would deal with tomorrow night. Tonight, under the watchful eyes of Batanya and Clovache, we would enjoy our daughter and her loving boyfriend.

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more to come .... (Hi everyone! Sorry this posting is late, I had no access to the Internet due to a heckuva thunder storm. I got it back and came here first thing. Thank you for visiting and your patience, thank you for being you. My life is so much richer because of you!)

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

89 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Eighty Nine


I was pleased to see Pam was still making the effort to stop swearing like a sailor in my presence. Occasionally, over the years, when her stress level was elevated, her language got so blue that I could barely stand to be around her.

I had talked to Eric about it when the girls were still young enough to need protecting from hearing cuss words. Eric spoke to Pam. Now, when she was in a cussing frame of mind, she automatically substituted sound alike words when she was around me or the girls.

Eric looked up at her, raising his brows in inquiry over her outburst.

"It's that big son of a ditch digger Jure. He sent me a plucking BILL for his dog jam plucking tie clip!"

She added, "He wants me to pay twelve thousand bucks to replace it!"

She tore up the bill into so many parts they might have numbered in the thousands. They flew around the office in the breeze from the heating vents like snow flakes, turning the office into a big snow globe.

"You destroyed his favorite ruby tie clip," Eric pointed out mildly, making a notation about an invoice in his ledger.

Since Linda was out gallivanting around the planet with Jure the book keeping had fallen way behind. I wondered if Linda was coming back here or if her new life with Jure had rendered her job here and her apartment obsolete.

She had her three poodles too, now boarding with Adele and Lachlain on the spacious Campbell ranch. Was Linda the type to just walk away from her dogs? I didn't think so.

"I was under a plucking mind control spell, I didn't know what I was doing," Pam practically howled. "Cheese on rice! I am the victim here!"

"Somebody else is going to have to pay for this," she declared, folding her arms over her chest and tapping her high heeled foot. She glared at Eric.

I saw her point. She had been doing Eric a favor babysitting me. I thought Eric and I should pay for the tie clip just to keep peace among nest mates and potential nest mates. I would speak to Eric privately about this. I didn't want to discuss his decision in front of Pam.

Turned out that wasn't necessary.

"Put the bill on the due pile and I will take care of it," Eric said, opening yet another piece of mail.

Pam looked startled as she surveyed the tiny scraps of paper scattered here, there and everywhere.

Eric looked up and grinned at her. "Just kidding. Make out a check in the amount he requested from the slush fund," he instructed.

"Thank you Master," Pam said formally. "By the way, I have hired Mongo as a bouncer."

I pictured Mongo in his one-shouldered animal pelt standing at the door checking ID and turning away underage clients. Sure, that would work, especially if he had that big club with him.

"Fine," Eric said, making another notation in his ledger. "Send him in when he has a moment to clean up this mess."

"I'll send Ginger instead, she's next door to useless," Pam said.

Ginger was a scrawny barmaid that had been glamoured so many times her brain was almost fried. She was one step from a zombie. Maybe just half a step by now since I hadn't seen her in a while and Ginger just loved to be fed on and glamoured.

Eric made a "whatever" gesture with his hand and Pam left, giving our guards a wide berth. There was something so otherworldly and menacing about the Britlingens that everyone instinctively stayed away.

My cell phone rang and I checked to see who it was. I was glad to see it was Amelia. I had left a message with Tray Dawson, her live-in long time boy friend for her to get back to me when she returned from her semi-annual meeting with the other Handmaidens in New York City.

I told her I needed to see her as soon as possible, that I might have need of her services to figure out if I was under a spell. She asked if tomorrow night would be soon enough.

"Hecate was in her triple form and they all talked at once. I'm exhausted from trying to follow three lines of thought simultaneously," she explained with a sigh. She loved being a witch but sometimes found her duties and obligations a trial.

I told her tomorrow night would be fine, it would give her time to set up whatever she needed to diagnose what was wrong with me, if it was magic based.

"Could you fix me up with something to protect me if I am under a curse?" I asked her.

"No problemo, roomie. Unless Pheobe herself has cursed you I will be able to lift anything you need and keep you safe. I figure I must be almost as powerful as Hecate by now," she boasted.

Amelia always had a very high opinion of her witchly powers. Usually that was a good thing, occasionally it caused her to try magic that was beyond her ability to control. I recalled a few years back she had changed Tray into Marlon Brando for his birthday. Tray just about worshiped Marlon and liked being his movie star idol for a day.

Unfortunately that day stretched into a month while Amelia tried to figure out how to undo the spell. Marlon Brando sightings began cropping up all over Northern Louisiana and the National Enquirer sent a camera crew to try and snap a photo. She got her sweetie back looking like Tray about five minutes before the news crew showed up at her door.

Actually it was still my door. I retained the title to the old farmhouse in Bon Temps even though Amelia and Tray had renovated and modernized every square inch of it.

I had offered to sell them the place outright but Tray wouldn't hear of it. He raced motorcycles for a hobby and he didn't want any major assets in case of a law suit. Since their rent was reasonable Amelia figured they were better off as they were.

I looked forward to returning to my old childhood stomping grounds. I felt a little sad I wouldn't have time to stop by and see Jason too. Since my nephew Brett went away to college to study law, Jason and Angelica were always asking us and the girls to drop in. I suspected they were suffering from "empty nest syndrome".

I feared if Jure married Linda and Pam kept her bristly attitude towards Jure, Eric and I might end up suffering from "full nest syndrome". Modern psychology may not solve all these problems, but at least they all had name now.

After the pile of mail was sorted Eric and I went out to the floor of the club to try and enjoy ourselves among the fang bangers, college kids and vampire wanna be's. Basically I was just waiting for tomorrow night to get the curse removed if that was the problem.

I watched the lights, the pole dancers and the thirsty crowd. And close by the Britlingens, shimmering slightly with Otherworldly magic, watched us.

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more to come .....(Super Saturday! Hope you are doing well and going to enjoy the weekend. It's wonderful to have you here. I just love our cozy Nest! See you Wednesday. :-)

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Monday, August 6, 2012

88 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Eighty Eight

My guts began to unclench once we were on the second plane, the one that would take us all the way to the States. There were a dozen other vampires on this flight and most of them had supernatural werewolf bodyguards. No one had Britlingens.

Without being obvious about it all eyes watched the powerful warrior women as the warrior women watched over us. Their swords were in their scabbards but ready to be drawn in a split second.

The normal rules of human flight didn't apply to Anubis Airlines planes for vampires. Aside from being carefully screened for bombs the passengers were allowed to bring their weapons, guards, luggage and travel containers right into the main body of the plane.

This flight even offered donors. After my nerves settled I had two donors in a discreet curtained enclosed area provided for it. I even fed a bit from Eric hoping his blood would strengthen my weakling status. Since so few weaklings survived Eric didn't know a lot about their prognosis. I fervently hoped it was something I would get over, sort of like a bad childhood illness.

I went into my travel container knowing that if anything needed to be done to insure my survival while I was out for the day I could rely on Batanya and Clovache to do it. I rose with a jolt, recalling all the events of the previous night. Since I was the youngest vampire on the flight I was the last to rise. Eric had been up for a while, he was done checking his phone messages.

Batanya nodded at me as I stepped from my container. The lid whooshed shut and two flight attendants scurried to lift it into the travel harness that kept it from taking up valuable floor space on the plane.

They were careful not to scratch the paint or dent the metal. Some vampires were as touchy about their costly designer travel containers as humans were about their new cars.

I had two more donors, there were only three to pick from, the rest had been used already. The used ones would need to wait two months before they were eligible to be donors and to fly for free again. After I fed we called Charlaine and Darren to apologize for our sudden departure.

"We're really sorry honey, it just couldn't be helped," I said.

"I must admit I was a little shocked to find you had gone," Charlaine said a tad stiffly. "When will you be back?"

"This should only take a few days. I hated to leave too but you know how you-know-who is."

We never mentioned the King by name if we could help it because more times than not it seemed to trigger off a "speak of the devil" situation.

"Yes," she sighed, "I know. Will Daddy ever be free of all this?" she asked.

"I don't think that's going to happen right away," I said. "I'm really sorry for the way things are. They might change in time. For now .."

"It is what it is," she finished with a little harsh laugh. "Yeah, I know how it goes. Well, we send our love and hope to have you back real soon. A girl needs her parents at a time like this."

Guilt shot through me. I was blaming all this on Eric's job when really it was all my fault. I should take the blame, not Eric. I knew I certainly couldn't explain anything here in this plane where everyone could hear me. Maybe in the fullness of time I could tell her what was really going on, especially once I knew what was causing my weird spells.

"We'll be back before you know it," I reassured her. "Give our love to your sister and Darren."

"Oh, I meant to tell you, Linda won't be back tonight. She wasn't sure when they would be returning."

"Where are they?" I asked, worry about Linda shoving its way into the line of worries I already had.

"I have no idea. No one tells me anything, I just know she's not going to be here until she's here," Charlaine said, her tone long-suffering. It was a tone of voice Gran used to use and it always got to me too. I had to get back soon. Char was feeling abandoned by her family.

Eric spoke briefly to Charlaine and then we said our mushy goodbyes.

Eric massaged my shoulder after the call, his way of telling me that he understood I felt terrible about abandoning Charlaine and he would move heaven and earth to get us back to New Zealand at the earliest possible moment.

I saw Batanya's eyes glued on Eric's hand. I wondered if she was envious I had a husband that gave back rubs or if she was watching in case Eric suddenly snapped and started to strangle me. Either way she watched in a very focused cat-like way, lacking only the twitching tail to complete the effect.

Pam met us with the new black mini-van at the Shreveport Regional Airport and we loaded our gear and our exotic bodyguards into a car usually meant for growing families. Fangtasia used the mini-van to pick up cases of booze and drive groups to and from the club. It was distinguishable from a family van by the fanged mouth and dripping blood logos on both sides.

Batanya looked out the back while Clovache rode in the front next to Pam. She instructed Pam to make some unexpected zigzag turns instead of taking us straight to the club. Finally Batanya was assured we were not being followed and we went to the bar, parking in the back where the employees parked so we could use the rear entrance.

Before Eric and I stepped out of the car Pam circled the edge of the lot at warp speed while the Britlingens circled the van, swords drawn, looking for a rush attack. Then they walked on either side of us through the door, down the dingy back hall and into the overcrowded messy office. Clovache stood at the ready inside the office while Batanya stood outside the door.

Eric shuffled through the gigantic stack of mail on his desk at a speed so fast I could barely see his hands move. As usual, most of it was junk. He stopped to open one letter and read it.

"This is for you," he said to Pam.

She took it from him and read it, frowning.

"No blanking way!" she hissed through her perfect pearly teeth. "He has to be blanking crazy!"

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more to come ..... (Greetings Fabulous Fanpires! Hope your week has been going well. Big hugs to you and my continued gratitude for your presence here - see you Saturday! )

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87 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Eighty Seven

"We can't go right now!" I practically shrieked at the Husband of My Blood.

"I have to wait for Linda tomorrow night! And Char is going to have her baby in a few months, she'll need me as she gets bigger. You and Darren still have to work out the plans to move his business to Shreveport. How can we possibly leave?"

I couldn't imagine leaving, we just got here!

Eric was nodding. "All that is true. We will return as soon as possible. Anna Hita would not summon us on a whim. She has something important she needs to see us about. Perhaps she can explain your unusual fainting episodes. She might want to warn us of a plot by Augustus. I need to visit Fangtasia and I think you should see Amelia to discover if a spell has been placed upon you. We could accomplish all that in three or four nights. Then we will return if ..." he stopped talking, deciding whether to finish his thought.

"If what?" I asked, still trying to wrap my head around the idea of leaving.

"If our presence here will not bring danger to Charlaine and her family. If we are being stalked or if a curse has been placed on you then it would be better to leave our daughters out of harm's way until we are free of the danger."

Harm's way?

OMG!

Could I be bringing danger into the lovely tranquil life Darren and Charlaine had made here in New Zealand? Could some evil I carried with me fall on Linda and Charlaine and Darren like a ton of bricks? I felt dizzy with panic and fear. The baby! .... if anything happened to that baby ....

Suddenly I wanted to leave, to get as far away from my loved ones as possible until I knew exactly what I was dealing with. I felt like Typhoid Sookie, bringer of Bad Mojo.

"What about you?" I asked in terror. "Maybe I should go visit Anna Hita alone and leave you here so you're not in dan.."

His arms wrapped around me, his mouth forcefully closing on mine, shutting me up. He kissed me with a passion and intensity that told me, more than words could say, that he would rather perish by my side than lose me. Whatever fate had in store for us, we would face it together.

"OK, OK," I said when I could talk again. "We'll leave tonight. We can make something up to explain our sudden departure, I don't want to worry Charlaine, worry is bad for pregnancies."

My mind raced with ideas. I must have looked as discombobulated as I felt because Eric soothed me, calming me with his mind and words. He put his arm around me and we began walking back towards Char's house.

"We will tell her I have urgent business with the King. We can make our arrangements and get a plane right away. I will tell her we will return in a few days unless the King is having a major problem," Eric said.

That made sense. She was used to the whims of the King taking precedence over all other plans. We had at least three months before the baby was due, being gone for a few days to sort out whatever Anna Hita wanted to tell us wouldn't drastically cut into my chance to be there for Charlaine. And I would keep whatever weirdness was happening to me as far away from her and Darren and the baby as possible. That was a relief.

Since Char and Darren were already asleep by the time we got back to the cottage we left a note for them explaining our urgent call for the King's business.

Eric made arrangements for us by phone - our luggage and our travel containers to be picked up immediately and for a private flight to Sydney where we would be transferred to a major Anubis flight back to the States. This was going to take until tomorrow night before we were back in Louisiana.

The thought of all that travel without a bodyguard gave me a sick feeling in my stomach. If Augustus was gunning for me how hard would it be for him to figure out our travel arrangements and blow up our plane?

Eric had that covered too. He booked us under the names Griselda and Alexander Skarsgård. He paid for the flights using an alternate identity he had. Vampires often had several sets of identities complete with passports, bank accounts and citizenship in other countries.

Griselda and Alexander Skarsgård were Swedish candy merchants. It worked for me. With our fake eye glasses, my makeup scrubbed off, and our hair pulled back into tight knots we didn't look anything like ourselves.

But that wasn't all Eric had up his sleeve. The doorbell rang. I opened it, expecting to see the Air Anubis taxi driver and his assistants come to pick up our belongings.

Wrong.

It was Batanya and Clovache.

They were Britlingens, warrior bodyguards from another dimension. They cost a king's ransom to bring here. Again I wondered if their electrons might be my electrons.

The song "John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith" flashed through my mind, "Their electrons are my electrons too" my inner goofball sang.

Clovache, the junior member of the team, had her sword drawn and was looking over my shoulder to see if there was anyone she needed to slice and dice behind me. I stifled my inner goofball. This was serious bodyguarding happening here.

My mouth hung open for a second before I recovered my manners.

"Come in!" Eric called.

They flowed past me, limber and catlike in their fighting armor. The armor had a strange metallic sheen to it, yet it moved like kid leather. It probably protected them from a variety of bad things including stuff we didn't even have on this planet.

I knew better than to try and shake hands with them. Since I was Turned Vampire they wouldn't expect it. Batanya now sported a severe Betty Page hairstyle. It suited her. I don't think I had ever seen her smile.

Clovache had soft brown curly hair and looked friendlier if you didn't include the great big gleaming double edged sword she held at the ready in both hands.

They were the best bodyguards a ship load of money could buy and they were worth every penny.

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more to come .... (Greetings Fanpires! Hope this day dawns on your good health and good spirits. I'm so very happy to see you stopped by, my beloved vampanions. See you Wednesday, until then, fangs for visiting me here.)

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

86 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

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Chapter Eighty Six

"What is the message?" Eric asked, seemingly oblivious of Madge's attempt to charm him.

"Don't you want to know who the message is from?" Madge asked with a teasing tone to her voice.

She winked at me, her long mascara coated lashes covering one eerie yellow eye for a split second. Does someone make cosmetics for dragons? Madge had on lipstick too. It would have to come in large containers - a bucket of mascara and a log of lipstick.

Madge liked to flirt with Eric even though there was no possible way that a vampire and a dragon could have a real love affair. Since Madge was batting her eyes in front of me I knew this was only a little innocent fun on her part.

Madge made goo-goo eyes at Eric, puckering her lips just a tad. It was cute, if something the size of a commercial jet could be called cute. Coyness came naturally to her.

I'm sure Eric found this girly display tedious and annoying but he had learned from past experience that getting testy with Madge would serve to slow things down. If he tried to hurry her he would end up having to soothe her ruffled femininity with a lavish display of manly charm before her hurt feelings would allow her to continue.

Madge had a temper too and that was something to keep in mind. Even a vampire might be in danger from a creature that weighed as much as a herd of elephants.

"If you care to share that information I would be most appreciative," Eric said with a smile that looked a little forced.

"The message is from Anna Hita," Madge said dramatically.

Was this about my queer spells? Did Anna Hita know what was going on with me? Why did she send Madge instead of just calling?

"What is the message?" Eric asked.

I knew this was a tactical mistake. Madge wanted to get a reaction from Eric and he was not exclaiming in astonishment.

"Do you want to know why she entrusted me to bring you the message?" Madge asked, her voice lowering to an icy whisper.

She didn't wait for a response. "It is because Windy has spies everywhere!" she gasped, putting her hand or paw or whatever to her golden green throat. A few blobs of ice blew out of her pretty mouth.

Windy?

"Who is Windy?" Eric asked.

Madge blinked rapidly. "Wait a minute. Maybe I have the name wrong. I used a mnemonic device to remember because I'm so bad with names."

"How about Breezy?" she offered.

I knew a kid in school nick-named "Breezy" Malone but he had become a priest and was a missionary in Africa the last time I heard. Didn't think it could be Father "Breezy" Breward Malone.

"I do not know anyone by that name," Eric said patiently.

Good thing we're immortal, however dawn was coming in a few hours. I hoped we could speed this thing up.

"Oh darn!" she griped, tapping her polished nails on the ground, thinking.

"What was that name now? Those darned mnemonic devices only work if you can recall the right word. I might need a mnemonic device for my mnemonic device," she giggled.

In a second she brightened. "Oh yes, it was Gusty! No, wait, that was the word to remind me .... Augustus! Augustus has spies everywhere! Does that make sense?" she asked hopefully.

"That makes perfect sense, Madge," Eric said, stepping up on her arm, reaching up and petting her cheek. "Thank you for coming all this way to bring me an important message where the ears of my enemy can not hear it. You are a valuable and trusted friend, my sister." He gave her cheek a little kiss.

This was the sort of emotional gratification she had been waiting for.

"The message is that you need to get back to New Orleans and meet with Anna Hita right away!" she exclaimed in her husky sexy voice.

Her breath caught Eric as he was climbing down from her arm and half his hair froze solid. It would thaw pretty quick in the tepid New Zealand night.

"I will do that," Eric said. "Thank you for coming all this way. You might have saved our lives."

I wasn't sure if Eric was laying it on a bit thick to give Madge the maximum feeling of importance or if he really believed what he was saying. Either way it was just the right note to hit with her.

"Oh anytime, my dearest brother, anytime I can help," she bent her neck and gave him a big forked tongue lick and a noisy smooch on the cheek.

It was a testimony to Eric's stoicism that he didn't shriek "Oh yuck!" and wipe off the slime and lipstick. He smiled up at her.

"Thanks a bunch Madge, you're a real sweetie to come all this way," I chimed in.

"I'm happy to help. And I can go visit Lakey," she said.

"Lakey?" I asked.

"He lives in Lake Coleridge not too far from here. I'm just going to pop over there if you don't have any more need of me," she said.

"It was real good seeing you again Madge," I said with genuine warmth. "You give those adorable children of yours a big hug and kiss from their Aunt Sookie and Uncle Eric. And say howdy to your mama too. You're the best."

"Why thank you," she preened, gratified by my Southern manners, "I most certainly will."

"Bye now!" I called as she unfurled her huge leathery wings and took off.

"Ta-ta," Madge called, her unmistakable silhouette flying across the glowing celestial midnight blue sky.

We waited until we could no longer hear the sound of dragon wings.

Eric, looking serious, turned to me and said, "We must leave for the States immediately."

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more to come ..... (How-deee! Hope this day finds you well and chipper. So very good to see you were here and still with me. I treasure you! See you Saturday.)

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