Banner for The Man I want to be

The characters of the Southern Vampire Mysteries belong to Miss Charlaine Harris. No infringement on my part is intended. The characters on True Blood belong to Mr. Alan Ball. No infringement on my part is intended.

I have no BETA, editor, or other such charming person. All mistakes are my own.

Dear Readers,

Miss Galwidanatitud wanted to know about Act in Hell. And of course, I can not leave out taking another cheap shot at ole’ Bill. So, this does not follow the story time line. It begins before they pick up Act.

 

This story is rated M.

Chapter 22   Epilogue—Deuxième Partie

Judas knew when they had passed out of Hell and back onto the Earthly realm. Things smelled different. The air felt different. Those in the back of the truck became…well…more hopeful and yet more despondent. There was something about being back on Earth. You knew, deep down in the very depths of your soul, that you were not going to be able to escape from your destiny that was Hell.   He had tried once or twice to push his way out when Earth was the road they traveled on. The harder he tried to push his will, the weaker he became until one time, he had nothing left as he collapsed into a puddle of righteous goodness for some lesser than he to ingest. Fortunately, those that were picked up that day…there was not much left to them as well. Whatever battle they had been fighting, they had lost, significantly, allowing Judas to retain his being until he could garner enough strength and charm to dine off one of them.

They normally made the early morning run. He had hated sunrise as a human and now, well, he still hated it as he felt the life-giving goodness edge up over the horizon and begin to heat the truck. Which was different from the heat he felt in Hell. Here, with sunrise, he felt how the air had shifted and smelled sweeter and reminded him of when Jesus had walked, here. Jesus, he rolled his eyes. Loser.

Hm-m-m, they were back in the desert. He knew that smell…plus there was sand blowing in and the awful texture was now everywhere. When he wiped his eyes, it just rubbed the small annoying bits in even deeper. Perfect…those in Hell would find him a tasty treat, picking the individual grains out one at a time if given the opportunity. And yet another reason to stay in the truck.

Gabriel, he choked on the thought of that one, was training a new driver. You always knew when she was at the wheel. Things just went smoother. When she was teaching, it was like watching gladiators battling for their lives in the arena.   Swerves, sharp curves, rolling the truck and them shouting in glee and yelling “Woooohoooo!” as one impossible move after another was accomplished.   And because there was nothing to hang onto in the back, you bounced around and were slammed into every surface.

Good, they were slowing down. Most excellent. He could use a snack. Time to be charming and polite and helpful.

“You ready?” Gabriel smiled at Godric.

“Yes,” he nodded. “I am most ready.”

“The family will be here as well. Would you like to spend some time with them?”

Godric slowed the truck down as they approached Samuel’s drive. “Yes I would and yet…I want to be the one to take Act to Hell. And I also know that we cannot spare the time. We really are on a tight schedule. Our God was not kidding about that,” he chuckled as he stopped and backed in. “There is a lot to do.”

“Yes,” she nodded. “But I just wanted you to know that you had options.”

“Yes and I appreciate that. But I will hug Eric and let the love I have for him flow from me and into his being and he will know.”

“Yes,” she patted his hand. “Eric will know.

Nice job backing in,” Gabriel high-fived him. “I can’t back up worth a damn!”

Hopping out of the truck she headed for the back yard. Everyone was there…to include Act. Bless his little black soul. She had waited for this minute since The Fall. It was with pleasure she was returning this one to the fold. You can run but you can’t hide. Eventually, all comes back around and it was sweet that she was waiting for him with open arms, literally.

Act had endured the punishment The Viking had dealt out. The Viking, The Viking, The Viking, his mind held that thought. Was there no end to the pain that he was enduring? Was there no hope for sweet release? Act’yed had ended her life. As well as Godric. Was there a reason he was not granted the same right?

Then he felt the vibration that was exclusive to Gabr’iel coming for him! The one that had pushed him from Heaven!

“No,” he whimpered when his mind felt the same vibration coming from The Viking and there was another in the group that held her signature! Godric might have turned this Viking, but the one that had destroyed him carried her blood! There was no sense of fairness about this. The Viking was descended from her line! So, he had declared war on the house of Gabr’iel. Just what the fuck! Something that resembled laughter choked out from him. His pain had not even started.

Hearing the gate open, he could feel the vibration as his terror increased.

“Hear to collect the trash,” he heard the melodious, sweet, screeching of her voice. “We are running a special pick-up service today and I gotta get him on board. We are running a bit late. I am breaking in a new driver and he is still finding his way, around. We don’t haul ass, he is going to be buying another round tonight. He already owes one.”

To this human realm, his eyes were sightless. But not to the angelic. She walked in light, a light that burned him even more and she was coming for him. Fear consumed him as she walked over and threw him over her shoulder! The pain…please end this…the pain!

“Nice light show, tonight,” he felt her smile as she carried him out. “Reminds me of my younger days,” she laughed as she slapped him on the ass, causing the blue sparks from the chain to leap up and out and then fall back upon him. Yes, he had felt her wrath  before when she had battled with him up to the edge of the East Gate of Heaven and felt her righteous as she pushed him out and he fell.   With a terrifying scream, from his mouth came the cursed word, “Gabr’iel!’ Followed by him pleading, “No, no, no…!”

His end was near. He knew it when he heard her words. “To know in your heart he is really gone, you need to see him tossed into the back of my trash truck.”

Trash truck! Trash…truck…! Was he to be taken away in a lowly, filthy trash truck?

“G,” a voice called out, “I see you have him.”

No-o-o-o-o-o he wanted to scream out into the universe! No-o-o-o-o! But it was too late! His child, his youngest, the one he had mocked and tormented the most, had him. And Godric’s words were not even for him. They were for that cursed Viking instead.

“I am sorry my child,” as Act felt himself tossed into the back, “that I cannot stay but we must haul ass. I love you!”

Love, that word made him freeze in every part of his being and burned with an anger he still possessed.   The lid slammed closed and they backed out and thunder off down the highway. The stench and the filth of the ages filled him and made him gag. There had to be someway out of this. For those that were meant to rule, there was always a way out!

“Hello Friend,” he heard from the front of the truck. “Welcome aboard the voyage of the damned.”

“Friend,” he snorted as he tried to right himself and found that his body could not respond to his desires. “Do you know who I am?”

Because Judas was in the darkest corner, he knew he could not be seen and rolled his eyes. Apparently everyone in Hell was a SOMEBODY…he snickered.

“Why, no I do not. But you sound of great importance,” he stayed hidden, his voice full of wonder. Wondering what the great not-yet-fed-upon would say next as he put his finger down his throat and gagged.

“I am Act, one of the first to fall. And I have come to claim my rightful place in the hierarchy. Take me to your sovereign.”

A first! Really! This just might work. “Well,” he stepped out of his dark corner, “that is interesting. Because I am going to depose she who is the stupidest creature to ever reign and I shall then be the one to rule Hell. Perhaps I could answer some questions for you in exchange for your backing of my claim to Hell’s Throne.”

“Perhaps,” Act responded carefully. “But what is in it for me? And why have you not done so already if you are so powerful?”

“Oh,” Judas bowed his head. “Those are questions. And answers are not free. But because I am such a generous soul and enjoy your company, I will tell you this. Back me and I can offer you minions. You will need them. And they will be fresh. There is a difference. As you eat them, suck out their essence first. This will help you to regenerate. You will once more become your handsome self.”

Before Act was thrown into the court of Satan, a deal had been struck. And now that Act was serving before the great stupid one, Judas was right. Minions were a good thing to have. His strength grew and so did his damaged body.

It was a new day. Drivers had switched, Judas knew that for a fact. Whoever was driving today could not clutch worth a damn. There was a constant back and forth jerking motion that was making him sick. Oh, they were back on Earth!

There was screaming and he forgot his own ills as his ears perked up. Why, that sounded like William T. Compton!

“E-e-e-e-u-u-u,” Judas slide back farther into his corner when a sludge pit was tossed in and splattered, everywhere. Then in came poor, long-suffering Bill wrapped around a newel post, blubbering about the family’s mansion and how he was landed gentry and he had talked to God and been guaranteed that he would get to haunt his home for the rest of his days. Why, he even had it in writing. It was in the book that had been given to him.

When they started up and left, Judas went over and sat down beside him. “Poor Bill,” he sighed. “Did not read the fine print, huh?”

“What fine print?” Bill blubbered.

“Oh come Bill. You know me. Judas. You were just a fresh dead way back when the first time I met you. Information is not free.”

Bill wiped his eyes and licked the snot that was coming from his nose. “You have never lied to me,” he nodded in agreement. “Judas, you have been nothing but truthful. So tell me, what do I need to do so I might get to the bottom of this horrible wrong?”

“Well, I have a friend, Friend Bill that is presently working Hell’s Throne for me. You know my plan is to one-day rule here. I shared that with you the last time we passed a pleasant exchange. Well, I have my inside spy and he needs an assistant. Act is a first fallen. He saw it all happen and he knows who is whom. Who can be trusted to stand with us when we declare war and who can not. I was just wondering if you would be willing to do that? Be his assistant.”

“Friend Judas,” Bill sat up straighter. “Truly. A first fallen and I could work with him. See how things are done. And perhaps in your reign I could still help.”

“Friend Bill,” Judas’ voice was all-aghast. “Well of course you would. You would be in with us on the ground floor, helping to build a new empire.”

“Yes, thank you, of course.   I would be honored to be Act’s second-in-command.”

Judas offered his hand and they shook.

They were back in Hell, most excellent. Judas pounded on the front of the truck. When the back opened, he said. “Bill here has agreed to be Act’s minion. Can you drop kick him there?”

Dan’iel leaned and in and grabbed Bill and shook his head. “One born every minute, hey Judas,” he raised an eyebrow as he looked into the back. “Consider him on his way.”

Closing the back, Dan’iel shook his head at Bill. “You know, right, that you still have to tell the truth. You agreed to that and that still stands. For the rest of eternity, William T. Compton. The truth and nothing but. Good luck with that,” he chuckled as he dropped kicked him into Hell’s palace of the righteous.

“New One,” a voice slithered in his ear in the darkness. “How may you be of service to us, today?” as Bill felt hands roam over his body.

“I am here to see Act, the First Fallen,” he said with dignity. “Take me to him if you value your position in court.”

“Act,” the voice hesitated. “Well of course. He is presently assigning duties to demons. Are you sure?” his hands caressed Bill and then stopped. “What? No man bits?”

“No,” he said righting himself. “Now take me to Act.”

There was a long, lingering look and then the journey, began.

“This is a true place of sin,” Bill kept looking over his shoulder and around him, watching the debauchery, torture, and orgies going on. It was a good thing this was all going to change.

Good, they had protocols. He was being announced. It would not do to be somewhere for all of eternity where those that were better were not treated so.

“Enter,” was growled, as Bill stepped in. Wait one? Just what the fuck? Was that Eric?

Turning, the tall being faced him and rolled his eyes. “And just what is this?” he screeched out. “What a miserable little fucking worm you are,” he snarled as he pushed him to the floor and went to the door. “I am suppose to feed on this?” he yelled out into the hall. “I have been fucked over yet again!” he screeched.

“Eric,” came out in a whimper. “No, no, no,” he was crying. “No, this is not possible. As much as it pleases me to know you are in Hell, you miserable fucking Viking,” Bill was shaking his fist, “I will not be your assistant. I will not serve you. If I had a dick, I would not even let you blow me!” he was screaming as tears rolled down his face.

“Erikr, the Norse Man, The Viking,” Act walked back in. “You know him?”

“Yes,” Bill spit at him.

“Oh, story time,” Act pulled up a chair. “Tell me everything you know about him. And leave nothing out. I want to hear all.”

“No,” Bill pouted.

“Minion,” Act smiled nastily. “You agreed to this with Judas or you would not be here. So begin. Tell me the first time you heard of him and proceed from there. I want every delicious detail. Tell me how handsome he is how much he looks like me. How smart and glorious he is on the battlefield and how he obviously inherited this from me. Glory in the telling of his sexual exploits and I want to hear it all. What you do not know, make it up and make it delicious. Oh, yes…and his wife…she was so sweet…build for me that world where he takes her for the first time…in my soul I know she is virgin and tell me just how sweet that was when he brought her to orgasm and then bit as he plunged into her for the first time…”

Once upon a time, there came to be story hour in Hell and Act charged dearly to be in attendance. Bill would blubber his way through Eric’s many and glorious battles and sexual conquests. Bill knew them all because as procurer for Sophie-Anne, his job was to gather as much intel on Eric as possible. And he did. He had even considered writing a smutty novel about it but he knew his Momma would not approve.

But the very best part of story hour for those present was when he had to imagine Eric taking Sookie for the first time.

“Are you sure she was virgin?” was said with reverence from more than one at each telling.

“Yes,” he would bawl. “Yes, her smell was that of innocence and the clean after a spring rain.”

“Oh-h-h-h-h-h,” would echo through the chamber and Act would be left with a little something extra for nourishment to help him pass the time.

And so Bill lived in Hell. When he was not recounting Eric’s numerous exploits, he dreamed of living out his forever days in that dead car lot. Where metal would crush and eat him. That fear was nothing compared to that of having to look upon the countenance of Eric everyday. Act now demanded it. No one bowed to Act and all must look him in the eyes. Those damnable eyes. Eric’s eyes. Bill wept.