Saturday, March 30, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty Nine

The next night I woke to the sure and certain knowledge that Jure had telepathically entered my mind, had tried to implant a fake memory. I ran to find Eric and tell him.

He was in his office, taking care of some business matters, waiting for me to rise as he did every night. Some nights he sat by my side watching over my rest, some nights he tried to get some work done until I was up. Since he was a thousand years older than I was he rose almost an hour before me.

"Eric, Jure tried to trick me. He told me the truth but telepathically he tried to give me a different story. That is why I was confused, it was like trying to listen to two messages at the same time."

Eric spun in his swivel chair and frowned. "I want to hear all about it. First you must eat."

He could see the drawn look I had when I was hungry. I was so upset that I hadn't thought of my meal first thing. I was using bagged donor blood lately. It was still pretty fresh and heated it met my immediate needs. Not too bad. Kind of like the difference between fresh and frozen vegetables. You prefer fresh, still the frozen ones will do nicely.

Once I was fed I got dressed while talking to Eric. I explained what had happened, how I felt reality shift. I was sure that was when Jure sent the alternative scenario to my mind.

"What are you going to do about it?" I asked when I was done. We were going to the club tonight so I wore an appropriately black long gown and red lipstick to highlight my chalk white skin.

Eric dressed too, and as he pulled on his favorite Ramones tee shirt and tight black leather jeans he thought.

"I am going to have a talk with him and tell him not to do it again," he finally declared. It was a mild response, tempered, I was sure, by the knowledge that his daughter was in love with Jure and the repercussions of alienating him.

"How can he kill Drevan again?" I asked. I was looking through the coat closet for my floor length velvet cape until I remembered it was at the cleaners. I settled for a black wrap. Why do people think vampires should look funereal? We are the ones that live forever.

"He can not. That does not concern me. It is the abuse of his telepathic powers that is the problem. How dare he enter your mind and try to change the information enshrined there," he said, getting angry. "That is unacceptable."

I agreed. Before we left the house we called the club to make sure Linda and Jure were there. After we parked the 'Vette, before we entered the club, I had a thought,

My new notion was so startling I put my hand on Eric's arm and said, "Please, let me take the lead. I will explain later. I just had an idea, an alternate explanation for what happened to me. I need to ask Linda something to find out if what I suspect is true."

Eric was going to ask me more about what I meant when Pam opened the back door and motioned for us to come inside. She must have heard the car and was waiting for Eric.

Pam looked like a disco queen tonight in a flowing peach colored quiana side-tie dress, puffy teased up frizzy bangs, bangle bracelets, and the kind of high heeled platform shoes you couldn't pay me to wear. I heard a muffled version of "I Will Survive" coming from the club and remembered, too late to do anything about it, that this was their semi-monthly disco dance party. Anyone that showed up dressed in the disco style got a free Sex On The Beach drink in a lit up tumbler. Looks like I wouldn't be getting one, I was dressed like Vampira. Not that I could drink one anyway.

Pam and I nodded warmly at each other. I could feel the kinship flowing between us. It was a good feeling, like family. Pam and I might have had our bumps in the road, but at the end of the night we're friends. If permission for her to Turn Jason and Angellica was ever granted we would be entwined even further in our connections.

"Master, we have an inspector here that is questioning our liquor license. I renewed it myself but he says there has been a complaint filed against the club and until it is resolved our license is suspended. We have a line waiting to get in and I don't know what to do," she said.

Periodically, especially when local  elections were looming, some minor politico tried to close down the club on one pretense or another, hoping to garner the ultra-conservative anti-vampire vote. Eric and Pam ran a squeaky clean club, for the most part, and the few secrets Fangtasia had .. well, they were kept secret.

Eric said, "I will speak to him and find out what the problem is. Meanwhile, keep Ginger in the back. She does not make a good impression."

I said to him, "I have an idea, why don't I go speak to Jure and try out my idea, you take care of the liquor board guy, and we'll meet out here by the car in a few minutes and share stories?"

I saw a flicker of curiosity in Pam's eyes when I mentioned Jure but she didn't ask any questions. We all went in the employees door, the uninspiring back entrance to the club. Linda was going to redecorate it once she finished with the office, in the meantime the chipped linoleum tiles, hanging fluorescent tubes and flaking paint was left over from the Clinton administration.

Eric went with Pam into the club, I went to the office. I knocked before entering just in case the silence I heard from within meant they were smooching.

They weren't smooching. They were sorting paperwork in banker's boxes. Jure must really love her to help her with this tedious chore, I thought. He had his snow white shirt sleeves rolled up revealing muscle thickened forearms lightly covered with jet black hairs. Even the hair on his arms was the iridescent blue-black of a raven's wing.

They stopped sorting and greeted me, Linda giving me a hug and Jure giving me a nod. Linda wore a red velvet dress and and emerald necklace, another gift from Jure. With her blond hair and blue eyes she looked spectacular.

"You look lovely, Linda. I'm so happy to see that what you learned last night hasn't upset you."

"Oh I was upset, plenty upset. I'm used to things the way they are now, civilized and logical. Old time vampires were like the wild west, I guess. Everybody kept the law just for themselves. They made up the rules as they went. Jure could never have let Drevan go, not after he tried to kill him."

"Who tried to kill who?" I asked, confused.

"Drevan tried, more than once, to kill Jure and take his land. Taking Celandine was just the final straw. Drevan wanted the family fortune and he would stop at nothing to get it."

I looked at Jure. He had stopped sorting and stood still with a sheaf of papers in his right hand. He said, "Drevan was ambitious. He wanted to usurp King Tomislav and become King. He wanted to have the first openly Vampire country in the world. He would have ruined our family fortune in pursuit of his unrealistic goals. He would have exposed us to humans that wanted nothing more than to stake us. He was, in a word, mad."

This wasn't the first time I had heard of a vampire that had gotten graniose delusions of world take over, nor would it be the last. Once the power of becoming a vampire took hold, some saw it as merely a first step in a larger plan of owning and controlling everything. Vampires were no different than humans. Every so often one came along that would stop at nothing to rule the world, to run things according to the way they saw fit. Like they said, power corrupted.

"So you have forgiven Jure for killing his brother?" I asked, just to make sure that was the story she had heard last night.

She put her arm around his waist. "There was nothing to forgive. He did what he had to do to prevent a major blood bath."

I thought of all the dictators that were operating even now and how much better the world would be if they had brothers that saw the rightness in stopping them from their crazy plots.

Just as important I had the answer to the question that had occurred to me. He hadn't telepathically planted a thought in my mind, I had gone into his mind and heard the bogus story he told everyone about what happened to his brother. Linda heard what he said, not his thoughts. It was my mind that had blinked out reality for a split second, not his. It was my mind that entered his mind, not the other way around.

What this meant for the future I did not know.

more to come ..... (Happy weekend to everyone .... hope you find renewal and good things. See you next Saturday with bells on my toes!)


Saturday, March 23, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty Eight

Linda and Jure looked into each others eyes and connected. I felt out of the information loop.

"What's not him?" I asked Linda, guessing I stood a better chance of getting a straight answer out of her. Jure was like information sushi - a riddle wrapped in an enigma surrounded by mystery.

She wrenched her gaze away from her betrothed and focused on me.

 "That wasn't Jure staking Celandine. After I was done crying I thought about what I had seen. The stake was in the left hand of the man, not the right. That meant he was left handed. Jure is right handed. I put that together with something else Jure had told me and I figured out that it wasn't Jure, it was Drevan."

"Who is Drevan?" I asked the both of them. This sounded suspiciously like what Eric called the SODDI defense - Some Other Dude Did It. I saw Jure with my own eyes in the ectoplasmic reconstruction. I recognized him.

"Drevan was my twin brother," Jure said. "Celandine left me for him."

"There were two of you?" I was astonished. Jure was so unique it was almost impossible to picture him doubled like those old gum commercials.

"No, there was one of me and one of Drevan," he said with a small crooked smile. "Now there is just me."

Linda said, "They were like mirrors. Jure was right handed, Drevan was left handed. Jure has a mole on his ..." she smoothly changed direction in what she was going to say, "...  on his right side, Drevan had an identical mole on his left."

"Weren't you married to Celandine?" I asked Jure, though even as I said it I knew that wouldn't prevent her from taking off with someone else.

"Yes, but she discovered she had more in common with Drevan than with me after she Turned."

I knew that once a person Turned it was unpredictable how they would react. Some people adjusted, some went mad, and some went hog wild into blood, sex and death. That was why Eric had spirited me away to a remote location to Turn me and then took me even further away to watch over my fledgling stages of vampirism.

"So she went over to his castle?" I asked, trying hard to sort all this out in my mind. That must have been awkward.

"When she told me she preferred my brother I left her in my castle and she moved Drevan in. I didn't like the castle, I didn't live in the castle. I preferred Vineta or Riga."

He saw I didn't know where or what those were. "Those are cities in the Baltic. It was easier for me to remain inconspicuous in a more populated area. The missing humans in our ┼żupanije of rural Croatia made the locals suspicious. They had gotten to the point of organizing to storm the castle and kill the vampires that lived there. Drevan had stopped killing years before, but Celandine ... she was addicted to killing. Drevan finally got tired of her excesses and staked her."

"So that was Drevan we saw tonight?" I asked. "How do I know it wasn't you? You might be ambidextrous."

He barked a laugh at that and held up his hands in an "I don't know what to tell you" shrug.

"Um, Sooks?" Amelia said timidly. I had forgotten she was still standing in the doorway.

I looked at her. Jure knew she was there so the things he was telling us must not have been big secrets.

"When we were doing the re-enactment - the way the window doubled in size when the vampire .. er ...  entered, that showed me that Drevan is also not living. His ectoplasm was way too strong for a living person. Sorry for your loss." She said this last bit to Jure. He gave a short nod.

"Didn't Drevan have his own castle?" I asked.

"He was the second born son. I was born first so I inherited everything. He had a small farm and a smaller annual stipend." Jure looked unmoved by Drevan's bad luck.

Seeing the frown on my face he added, "It was the custom in those days. No one questioned the fairness of it. We were both Turned the same night. I was first then too."

That must have made Drevan wild. I remembered how crazy Jason had gotten when Gran left me her house and possessions. He was bitter and angry over it until I pointed out that I had turned over our parents home and land to him.

 If Drevan couldn't get the castle and land then he must have figured he could get Jure's wife and get even with his brother in the process. He must have felt triumphant living on Jure's estate and sleeping with Jure's wife. I felt bad for Jure.

"That must have been rough, having him move in and take your wife," I said sympathetically.

His surreptitious glance at his jeweled wristwatch led me to think that he was tiring of this topic. "To tell the truth, it was a relief to get her off my hands. She was not the same person once she Turned," he said in a dismissive tone.

Maybe he really was bored that easily with ancient history, or maybe that whole episode of his life was too painful to dwell on.

To Linda he said, "Are you ready to leave?"

"Amelia, Stanley's in the oak tree again," one of the witches called down the stairs.

"Oh bother," she groused. "Excuse me. It was good seeing you again," she said to Jure in case he left while she was gone.

He again gave her a small polite nod. Amelia sped out of the room at the sound of a big crash upstairs.

"I'll walk you two out," I said. I had one more question for Jure.

Linda got her coat and they headed for the door. I would bring the box of objects later, I wasn't sure if Jure knew Linda had them.

Once outside Jure questioned me in a mild tone. "Why the elaborate scheme to get the truth about my past? Why not simply ask me?"

I noticed he didn't ask Linda so he was holding me primarily responsible for this uninvited visit to his past. That was only right, it was my idea. 

"I needed to know if something was going to come back to threaten Linda. She's my daughter, I feel very protective of her." I thought of what else he might reveal to me.  "All right, if you're willing to be open and honest then tell me this, what happened to Drevan?" I challenged.

His face and voice remained completely expressionless. "I killed him. I had to, it was a debt of honor."

"You killed your own brother?" Linda gasped, stepping back from him. "Because he stole your wife?"

"Not because he took her. I loved her enough to give her the freedom to choose where and how she wanted to live. I executed him because he murdered my wife. She might have preferred to live with my brother but she was still my wife. I was her Maker. I could not permit her to be staked and not demand payment. A life for a life. That was the law back then."

He was confessing a crime, a great crime, to me. I knew I could not and would not keep this from Eric. He might choose not to bring this to the attention of anyone but it was too great a secret to keep from him. Was there a statue of limitations on Vampire murder? I didn't know. This wasn't my call to make, it was Eric's.

As if he was reading the thoughts in my head Jure said, "Naturally you will need to tell Eric the truth about what you learned tonight."

Then there was the strangest thing, like a great cosmic blink. Everything, all reality blanked out for a split second, then it was back. Linda looked around squinting, as if she was a tad surprised to find herself in the parking area of our old farmhouse. I heard an owl in the woods and Amelia in the side yard coaxing Stanley down from the tree with a peanut butter sandwich. I noticed Linda was wearing a blue sweater under her coat. Hadn't she been wearing a green top before?

No, it had been a long night filled with magic and bizarre events. I was reading too much into what might have been a momentary glitch in my concentration. I needed to get home to Eric and share what I had learned.

I hugged my daughter and watched her drive off with Jure. Then I went back inside and thanked the exhausted witches and my dear friend Amelia. I got the box of items Linda had brought and drove home as fast as I could without getting stopped by the police.

The lights were on in my house making me feel warm and welcome. Eric came out on the porch to greet me. We sat in the living room and I told him about the night's events - Stanley, the reconstruction, the death of Celandine, Jure appearing as smoke, and the things he had revealed to us about his past.

Eric listened intently without interrupting. When I was done he asked, "Did Jure ever say what happened to his brother Drevan?"

Oh, I had left that out.

"Yes, he did. Drevan felt so bad about killing Celandine he met the sun."

Wait .. wait .. that wasn't right.

"No, no. I meant to say, Jure killed Drevan in retaliation for killing his wife."

I had a weird feeling in my throat and an uneasy feeling in my head as I said this. Was this post traumatic shock over the memory of seeing a vampire meet the sun a long time ago? That seemed hard to believe.

In my mind I heard Jure's deep voice saying, "Drevan felt so guilty about staking Celandine that he went to meet the sun the very next day."

But I also clearly remembered what he had really said, about the debt of honor.

"What is wrong Sookie? You look confused," Eric said, moving to sit next to me. His face was drawn with concern.

"My head feels a little funny, fuzzy, like all my thoughts are blurred. Maybe I'm hungry or just overloaded from the reconstruction?" I said more as a question than as a statement. "Maybe hearing about ... about .... what's his name?"

"Drevan?" Eric supplied.

"Yes, Drevan. Maybe hearing about him being killed by Jure, ..." but I didn't finish.  Confusion swirled around me.

"Let me get you something to eat," Eric said in a kindly way. "You have had a big night and protected the best interests of our daughter. That is enough to put anyone into a fog."

Into a fog .... yes, I was surely in a fog. Then why did it seem more like smoke and mirrors?

more to come ..... (Howdy everyone! I hope my story makes you even a bit as happy as your kind and encouraging words make me. See you in a week, until then, be good to yourself.)




Saturday, March 16, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty Seven

Amelia came up behind me, patting my shoulder. "It's better that she knows what happened, Sooks. She can't make an informed decision without the facts. You did the right thing, the only thing."

She was going to say more when Stanley scampered in, his whole face twitching with nerves or excitement.

"There's smoke going down your chimney!" he chattered, his big front teeth making enunciation of the word "smoke" difficult. He wrung his pointy little hands like he was washing them.

"That's impossible, the fire isn't even lit in the fireplace," Amelia said, turning from me, clearly annoyed by his appearance.

"That's what I'm saying!" he squeaked excitedly, hopping up and down a little. "The smoke isn't going out of the chimney, it's going in to the chimney!" His tail was flicking and shaking to beat the band. He pronounced "chimney" in three syllables - chim min nee.

"Where were you? Up on the roof again?" Amelia asked. "I thought I told you specifically not to go up on the .."

She was interrupted by Witch Iris rushing back into the room. "Amelia, you should come and see this!" she said breathlessly.

I followed Amelia into the living room. My eyes slid past the crazy cartoonish flowered wallpaper, the odd lamps shaped like giant dishes of spaghetti and ice cream sundaes, and the strangely shaped clear plastic furniture filled with stuffed animals of every description to look where Iris was pointing. Smoke was eddying into the room from the fireplace opening. It swirled and condensed into a shape. I suddenly realized what I was looking at.

Amelia had her wand raised, ready to zap whatever emerged from the smoke. I placed my hand on her arm and stopped her.

"It's OK Amelia, I know who this is." I told her, dread filling me.

Well, here it was ... another OSM ...

I told myself I didn't have anything to feel guilty about. I wasn't the one that had killed my wife. I just hoped Jure didn't go berserk and kill us all for knowing his terrible secret.

A very severe penalty was imposed on a Vampire that staked another Vampire, no matter the provocation. The verdict on a Vampire that killed another Vampire over the murder of a mere human was surely death. Like the human legal system, the Vampire legal system was behind the curve, trying to play catch up.

The horrible thought struck me that I might have to hear this case. This was the kind of high level trial the Pythoness would be used for. Could I recuse myself? Too many thoughts crowded into my already crammed full head. First I was going to have to deal with Jure, now becoming very solid and real right in front of my eyes.

He must have been scowling like the wrath of Zeus when he turned into smoke because he was scowling as he re-congealed. I wished Eric was here. I had no idea how violent Jure might be. I was glad Linda was in the bathroom, I hoped she had the sense to stay in there and stay quiet. I hoped the scents of the candles, incense and various witchly perfumes would mask my daughter's presence in this house.

Stanley made a terrified mechanical whirring chittering sound from the doorway, his face twitching like crazy. Amelia said, "Rue, would you please take him upstairs? You other girls help her get him settled. We'll take care of things down here."

The young witches looked at each other, not sure if leaving us alone with the huge threatening looking vampire was a good idea. On the other hand, Amelia had asked them to go and they were most likely not going to be able to defend us. Slowly they took the jabbering squirrel-man and headed up the stairs.

"Amelia, why don't you help them too, keep an eye on Stanley. He looks like he's very nervous. You might have the strongest influence on him," I suggested. I wanted to get her out of harm's way.

I needed to speak to Jure privately, to ask him about what we had seen. I also wanted to get him out of the house before Linda emerged.

"Jure, let us go outside to talk. I am sure some of the things we need to discuss are private and personal matters," I said invitingly, indicating the hall and front door. "Things always seem better in the moonlight, do they not?" I crooned, walking slowly, hoping he would follow.

Amelia had powerful protective bans on the house, he would not be able to re-enter if he decided he was here to do us harm. I wondered if he used the chimney because it wasn't protected. I mean, aside from Santa Claus, who else would you expect to be entering your home down the chimney?

Or maybe Jure could deflect magic, maybe he could circumvent it with his own powers. Be that as it may, I wanted to get him as far away from Linda as possible before the you-know-what hit the fan.

"Where is Linda?" Jure's deep voice rumbled. "I need to speak to her."

He looked around, slightly confounded by the bizarre modern furniture, the reversed Lego moose head over the mantle, the kaleidoscope of colors and shapes.

"I'm going to need to ask you to not talk to her until you explain a few things to me," I said with as much authority in my voice as I could muster.

"I'm going to need to ask you to mind your own business," Jure said flatly.

Behind Jure I could see Amelia creeping back into the room, lifting her wand, getting ready to place Jure under some kind of binding spell, no doubt. I immediately thought of a blank wall, the woods, anything that would not allow him into my mind and know what Amelia was up to. But he already knew what was going on.

He turned to her and said calmly, "There is no need for that, Witch. I mean no harm. I wish to talk to my fiancee, that is all."

He looked past Amelia at the way to the downstairs bathroom. I could feel the telepathic force emanating from him, it was like static electricity causing every hair on my body to stand, like icy hands sliding over my skin.

Tray's coon hound Plato started to bay and howl from out on the back enclosed porch where Amelia put him when she was doing magical work or having company. Dogs in the surrounding countryside howled back.

Linda emerged from the back of the house, arms held out straight in front of her, staring and stiff legged like a sleepwalker. She came up to Jure and said, in a dull dead voice, "You summoned me, Master?" She stared straight ahead, unblinking.

I was horrified, he had her under a spell, glamoured!

I opened my mouth to speak but before an outraged word could leave my lips Jure said, "Knock it off Linda. You're freaking your mother out."

Her lips twitched and she smiled. "It wasn't you, was it?" she asked him, putting her arms around his waist.

"No," he answered in a tone of relief. "It was not me."

more to come .... (Hi everyone! Spring is on the way here, hope you are doing well and finding good in each day. Thank you for stopping by! See you next Saturday, til then ... (sends telepathic love)


Saturday, March 9, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty Six

The walls of the room seemed to dissolve and re-form into the walls of a castle. Flickering candle light illuminated a stone walled room, the hard stone softened by tapestries and huge swaths of thick velvet draperies hung over the small casement windows.

A blond woman turned and said something to someone outside her sphere of magical ectoplasmic reconstruction, then another smaller woman, dressed in a plain dress entered the scene and began helping the blond woman remove her robe.

The blond looked slightly like a Stackhouse. Same hair color, same blue eyes, same curvy figure. I could believe we were of the same bloodline somewhere way back. Her hair was much wavier than Linda's and mine, though that could have been the way she styled it.

I thought her eyes were more almond shaped and slanted and her brows were definitely different, higher and more arched. She did not have our lips at all. Her lips were full, ours were much thinner. Her chin was more pointed too, giving her a less friendly kind of face, in my opinion.

Her expression didn't help either. Her eyes glittered coldly, the corners of her mouth drawn down in chronic dissatisfaction. From being a waitress for years I had gotten good at reading faces. If she had been a customer I would have pegged her as hard to please, demanding and short tempered. I would have hoped she went to someone else's section. When she turned completely towards us, her invisible audience, I almost gasped.

The blond was the woman from the painting in Jure's castle. It was like seeing the ancient painting come to life. This must be Celandine, I thought. I glanced at Linda, She was mesmerized by this window into the past, a vision that seemed almost real, though I knew that if you tried to touch it your hand would pass right through the images, like a hologram.

The smaller plain woman, a maid, servant or slave, helped Celandine into a blue and silver brocade gown, struggling to fasten the many laces and buttons that closed the back. I bet they would have paid big bucks for a zipper. The dress, once finally fastened,  was so tight through the bodice it pushed up Celandine's bosom almost to her chin.

They struggled with it, laughing and tugging it down, until her figure settled in to the normal place it should be. The huge skirt, held out by a wire frame, made her narrow waist look even smaller. She had an exaggerated hourglass figure in exchange for a dress a human woman wouldn't even be able to breath in.

Next came strand after strand of pearls and gems. The placement of each strand was adjusted before the next was added. They lay on her snow white bosom like gifts being offered to the eyes of her admirerers. Earrings and bracelets, rings and more rings. Then her hair was carefully arranged by the skillful maid into an elaborate style, held in place with more jeweled combs. A small pointed hat with a gauzy veil was offered but waved away.

The maid held up a large rounded piece of highly polished metal like a mirror and Celandine looked at herself approvingly. She applied some colored lip balm from a small glass pot, using her index finger.

Then she did what I have so often done since Turning, she opened her mouth and popped out her fangs to admire, and maybe to see if she had lip color smeared on them. The startled maid jumped back dropping the pot. From the way the color drained from the maid's face I knew she was human. Human, and frightened of Jure's Vampire Bride

Celandine instantaneously became enraged, pointing down at the floor, which we couldn't see. The maid began weeping and pleading, bending down to pick up the pot of lipstick. Celandine grabbed her by her hair, lifted her up in the air, and bent her back. She savagely bit the maid's throat, causing terrible damage, and drained her.

She threw down the lifeless woman with a snarl of contempt. She wiped her bloody mouth with the back of her hand, smearing blood over her sleeve and bracelets. Then she looked down with utter coldness and indifference at what she had just done.

Linda had her hand up over her mouth, perhaps to keep from crying out and breaking the spell. She had never seen a Vampire do something so savage and it shocked her to the core. I wished I could have protected her from this sight, from this knowledge. It was one thing to know that something could happen, it was another to actually see it happening in front of your eyes. This was a side to Vampires she would now have forever etched in her memory.

Celandine pulled a tasseled rope near a roaring fireplace and a manservant appeared. It was Ogneslav, the same servant that watched over the castle now. That meant that this was Jure's castle. He had lied when he said had never lived in the castle. If his wife was there, if his manservant was there, then Jure must be there too.

Ogneslav limped over to the dead maid and hoisted her up, cradling her like a child, her head hanging back revealing her torn throat. He carried her out of the room. Meanwhile Celandine wiped her face clean with a lace edged hanky and repaired her lip color with another pot from the many on her dresser.

She looked up suddenly, smiling in a welcoming way and saying something. The circle of magic grew bigger showing more of the room. That meant someone else included in the ectoplasmic reconstruction was entering the scene.

So fast I could hardly, follow even with my vampire vision, Jure entered the room in three big strides and grabbed the bloodstained Celandine. They struggled, his back to us. Her face showed first anger then fear, then went blank and limp. Smoke began rising from her and right before she combusted I saw the stake in her chest. Then Jure let her drop and moved back as Celandine ignited in one white hot second to her final death.

The draperies were on fire. While my eyes had been fixed on the flames Jure had exited. A moment later Ogneslav and several other men arrived with wooden buckets of water. They doused the flames and left, returning with more buckets and dousing the curtains again. Jure had not returned with them. The fire extinguished, the bucket brigade went out,  leaving the room with the tatters of charred fabric hanging from the window and a haze of smoke hanging in the air.

Linda continued to stare at the room. A slight breeze moved the draperies. Moonlight glinted in from an angle. A log in the large fireplace shifted and fell off the back of the huge andiron to the bottom of the fireplace causing sparks to fly up the chimney. That was all. Nothing more happened.

Still Linda waited as if it might all somehow reverse and come out differently until Amelia said gently to her chanting witches, "We can conclude our spell, we can release the past now." She lifted her wand and waved it in a counterclockwise direction.

The chanting changed, slowed, dwindled and ended. The past slowly dissolved and we were returned to parlor. Linda turned to me and said, "He killed her! He killed his first wife!" Her eyes were brimming with tears and horror.

Then she ran from the room crying. I heard her enter the ground floor bathroom and shut the door. I heard her crying her eyes out. I think I might have even heard her heart break.

Poor poor Linda, now she knew the truth. Would it have been better to just let it alone? Amelia caught me gaze and the compassion in her eyes brought a lump to my throat.

The rest of the witches filed out of the room to give us a moment to ourselves. They were probably hungry and thirsty too because of the enormous expenditure of energy it took to do a reconstruction. Their job was over. Mine, as Linda's mother, was just beginning.
more to come ..... (Howdy Fanpires! Hope this weekend brings you all kinds of good things! Thank you for taking the time to share it with me. See you next Saturday. )


Saturday, March 2, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty Five

"Isn't that sweet," I commented, gathering my purse and the box of objects Linda had brought, "They have all the lights on for us."

Linda squinched her eyes shut for a moment. Then she opened them and said, "Um, Mom, I don't think we're the reason the house is lit up like a Christmas tree."

She had listened to the minds of the folks in the house and discovered something. I hadn't thought to do that. I hoped they weren't having troubles in the house.

I remembered when Gran had been murdered in the farmhouse kitchen, I had all the lights on, every last one, upstairs and down, day and night, for almost a week until I finally came out of my grief long enough to think of the astronomical electric bill I was creating.

I checked in to the minds inside the modernized farmhouse too and found ....


Many minds scurrying around searching .. for something hidden. Loudest of all was Amelia's mind, worrying, fretting .. "Where is it, oh where can it be ... all my fault .. that damn Stanley ... what was I thinking ... wait til I get my hands on him ..."

She always was a first class broadcaster.

"We might as well go in and see if we can help," I said calmly. Being a Vampire had really settled my nerves in so many ways. Things just didn't get to me the way they used to.

We went to the front door and knocked, then I rang the bell. No answer. Finally I just turned the star shaped knob and we walked in.

"Hi, I'm Iris," a young woman with wild wavy flaming red hair called breathlessly as she rushed past to run upstairs. She hiked up the hem of her black robe and took the steps two at a time. "I'll tell Amelia you're here."

"No need Iris," Amelia said from the upstairs landing. "I'll be right down."

Amelia clumped down the steps on chunky black high heeled shoes. The height of the heels and soles made them look very dangerous. I readied myself in case I would be needed to break her fall.

"What's wrong? Can I help you find something?" I asked after giving her a hug.

I didn't need to hide my telepathy from her, she knew all about it.

Another young woman walked past us almost bent double, studying the wood floor for all she was worth. "I think I found his trail," she muttered.

"Good to see you, Aunt Amelia," Linda said, hugging her Aunt. "I hope I brought the things you need to do the spell."

"I'm sure they'll be fine," Amelia said distractedly, " ...  IF we can ever get the spell underway."

She looked at me blinking, realizing I had asked a question. "My wand is missing. Stanley has hidden it somewhere and we can't begin without it. We're all looking for it. Do you want to search too?"

"What was it made out of? Was it anointed?" I asked. I didn't want to run around the house searching but with my sense of smell I knew I could find it if it had some distinctive scent.

Through the dining room doorway I could see the modern art chandelier Char had given to Amelia to replace the one I had accidentally broken a while back. It wasn't to my taste, but it went with the wacky and wonderful modern art objects decorating the house.

"It was simple pine, made from that big twin pine in the back, the one that was hit by lightening a few years ago. You know the one?"

I did indeed, it had been the biggest tree on the property and had cost a bundle to get taken down after lightening had charred the whole north side.

Amelia added, "The wand was anointed with holy water from the St. Philomena church in New Orleans. And cured with rosemary oil. And rubbed with leaves from a trifolium. And kept in a woolen bag made from an old Icelandic sweater I re-purposed. Does that help?" she asked, wringing her hands as I lifted my nose and sniffed.

With all those distinct scents to go by there was only one place it could be. "The attic. It's up there with a ... very large squirrel?"

Did she have a pet squirrel? If she did it must be a record winning size from the pure blast of scent it gave off.

"The attic!" Amelia yelled into the whole house and seven pairs of shoes all thundered up the wooden steps to the attic. I followed behind Amelia worried she might take a tumble in her platform shoes.

We all crowded into the unfinished space. It had been used for storage when Gran had the house and it was used for storage now. From behind a pile of boxes I heard an angry chattering.

"Be careful," I warned her. "A frightened squirrel can be dangerous. Maybe we should just open a window and wait for it to escape."

"Thanks Roomie, but I have this covered," Amelia said, regaining her composure.

"Stanley, come out right now and bring the wand. You're not helping matters," she ordered.  The four pretty witches behind her looked at each other, impressed with the flat tone of command in Amelia's voice. Amelia wasn't just a pretty witch, she was one of Hecate's Handmaidens and a thirty second degree witch, the highest level after Hecate herself.

From behind the teetering pile of boxes a man emerged holding out a wand on both palms like an offering. He was short and bushy haired, his wiry gray hair parted in the middle and up in two tufts like little ears. He had bulging fat cheeks, two huge front teeth and very wide hips supporting thick short legs. His suit was old, looking like something from a Dicken's play. His small dark eyes glittered in a most cautious way. I noticed his stubby fingers ended in pointed nails like claws.

"Sorry mistress, I was afraid you was going to send me back." He looked down, trying to look contrite, while ruining the effect by peeking up at her slyly to see if his act was working.

"I may well do that, but not tonight. Tonight I have other urgent matters to which I must attend. Stay up here and do not, for any reason, come downstairs until I tell you. Otherwise ..." she left off the specific nature of the threat.

"I know, mistress, it's back to the oak with tree with old Stanley. If you don't mind mind mistress..." his high pitched whining voice trailed off.

"I'll send Rose up with a jar of peanut butter," Amelia told him. "Now stay put and don't try anything like this again or I'll change your name from Stanley to Stew."

Somehow Amelia had turned a squirrel into this strange subservient but troublesome little man. He was a freak of nature and I could tell this would not end well for her or him. Changing him back was the only right thing to do, but I kept my opinion to myself. I was here on more important matters than a squirrel in the attic.

We all clumped out of the attic but not before I had seen Stanley turn around and display a magnificent tail. It twitched a few times, perhaps in anticipation of his peanut butter snack, perhaps in annoyance,  then Stanley whisked out of sight behind the boxes again. Weird.

"Mom, did you see that?" Linda whispered to me on the way down to the parlor. "That guy was some kind of a squirrel!"

"I did see. I wonder what Amelia's gotten herself up to now," I mused.

The parlor was lit with white candles and the witches formed a circle. Amelia took the box from Linda and carefully took out the fragile blue wool shawl. She laid it gently, still folded, on the table.

"Oh my, isn't this lovely?" she said. "So old, so very old. It must have been kept in a cedar chest, kept from the damp, for hundreds of years."

She removed a broken watch from the box too, and a black silk hair ribbon. The ribbon was partially faded in spots to a purplish hue and it was falling apart. Amelia placed the watch and ribbon next to the shawl and said, "We can begin."

Amelia and the four pretty young witches, Rose, Iris, Daisy and Rue,  began chanting, a sound that fell and rose like the tide rolling in from a vast ocean. The candle flames flickered to the beat of their words and the air grew cooler as the magic forces began rising in the room, swirling around like invisible smoke, carrying her intention to raise the past on the wings of their sweet voices.

The musical language was one I had never heard, yet it seemed as if I could try and in a moment understand it. Linda took my hand in hers, her fingers cold and tense. This was the moment of truth, now we would know the what had happened to Jure's wife.

more to come .... (Greetings Everyone .... THANK YOU for stopping by, always happy to see you. I'll be back next Sat with the next chapter ... til then stay well!)