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.

 This story is rated M.

Red: Chapter 2—Hello-o-o-o-o Red!

Sookie was laughing so hard she was holding her side, tears running down her face. “Seriously, Eric, what do you know about being a Were and Pamela, you know something about being a granny?”

“I have talked with a Were or two in my time,” Eric arched an eyebrow at her. “And I have certainly been around dogs. I had one as a boy. My elkhound was exceptional. Having observed dogs, I know they lick their own balls and butt…I did not even approach that disgusting avenue and they do so love to chase their own tail. All dogs are descended from the wolf. A noble creature of the wild.

A Were is not so noble, or as smart as a wolf and Weres are easily distracted. I think a Were would hold some type of contest to see who would hold the record for chasing their tail the fastest. I believe there is a pack in Shreveport that hosts this event every year. Some type of ribbon is given…I believe it to be Pabst Blue Ribbon. Although I do not track Weres’ on-goings, I do from time to time hear rumors or perhaps a joke or two about the slow and stupid of the supe world.

The Were in this story is fortunate that I am telling this from my point of view. I do bring a certain class and charm into what would other wise be a very disgusting and perverse situation.

That I would even consider playing a Were speaks volumes of just how seriously I am taking story time with Baby Signy. When she arrives, as a family, we shall rule these tales of the fairies and our daughter will look forward to bedtime with delight as we recount to her the stories of old.”

Still smirking, Sookie leaned over and kissed him on the nose. “Well, yes.

So Pamela,” she switched her attention to their oldest. “You know I hate to ask, but have you any great observations about grannies?”

Licking her fangs, she batted her eyelashes. “Never before has there been a Granny like me and that is all I am sayin’. Eric will steal my thunder if I give anythin’ away.”

“Nothing unseemly child,” Eric’s gaze tried to penetrate that head that had formulated plans to lay waste to empires.

“Oh, my maker, it is all going to be unseemly.”

Eric growled low and deep and Pamela smiled at him and blew him a kiss.

“Momma Sookie, do me proud,” Pam smiled at her. “You get this opening volley on me, make it a good one.”

“Well all right then. Time to get started,” Sookie smiled at both of them and then began.

My name is Reddiford Redding Reddom. Folks just call me Red for short. I live with my Granny Woman out in the woods a bit. Not half way to the next village or I guess I would be working there, instead. I am learning the ways of baking. I think I have a good grasp on the breads. Of course, it all depends on how your fire is in your oven.   For different temperature burns you need different types of wood. Wally, the owner of The Wide Gate, he does a good job of keeping the kitchen woodpile stocked with the different types of wood that is needed. Makes my job easier when I don’t have to go track down green oak limbs for setting the coals.

There are things going on. Wally came back to the kitchen, chest all puffed out with self-importance, to get me to bring out the newest loaf from the oven. The Huntsman has arrived and he is an important guest. The only time I am taken from my kitchen duties and seen out on the floor is when some one really crucial visits the inn. This person always rates an entire hot, fresh, loaf; an entire crock of butter and a pitcher of beer.

As I place the food on the table, I can see why he has been dubbed The Huntsman. He bristles with all things sharp and deadly for killing and skinning! And those sharp things, they are also lovely. Carved antler for knife grips, silver inlay, and he has an axe head that is silver. That is worth more than I will ever make in my lifetime.

Not that it matters.   I am grateful for my small life. We live in a snug house and we eat. And I am old enough now that my Granny Woman has said that I must have a trade other than spreading my legs for the locals and out-of-towners. She says a good and decent woman only spreads her legs for her husband after he builds for her a nice house, has put in the crop and owns a horse, a farrow pig and several goats that can be trained to herd other goats back to the barn to be butchered right away before their owners come looking for them.

When we speak of a husband for me, she says that there is no man living in our mountains that is of a high enough caliber. That they are all fat and lazy and the wife must work doubly hard so that they can eat and have shelter. The only good thing the wife receives from this is the nice sampling of other men’s dicks and the coin she is paid for spreading her legs at The Wide Gate as the husband’s gut is so large and his dick is so small that it is impossible for the poor woman to find release, or indeed even his dick. A fat and lazy husband, she told me, is not to be my lot in life. I shall have a trade! I shall be independent! And so we sat and pondered that idea.

Granny Woman said everyone has to eat so something in the food industry would probably be for the best. The Wide Gate has the best kitchen in the village so I am learning my trade here. Plus, Wally serves any and all of my kitchen mistakes to the drunken patrons where they declare it to be the very best they have ever eaten.

It is not my kitchen mistakes I bring to our newest guest. Setting down the victuals, I am discretely checking The Huntsman for weapons, when the hand the size of a bear’s paw reaches out and takes hold of my very small, delicate, strong hand.

This distracts me. I am searching his person for armaments. I think I have counted eight knives so far. I am sure that is one sticking up out of his boot. And he is a very brave man to have that hefty, solid stake for killing vampires hidden in his pants because a penis does not come in that size.

Raising my eyes to his face, I am startled at just how blue his eyes are and just how white his teeth are…and …

“Huntsman, what blue eyes you have…” I murmured to the most handsome man I have ever seen in my entire life.

“All the better to see you with my dear,” he smiled at me and rubbed his thumb against the palm of my hand.

What felt like lightning swept through my body and caused me to tingle and I think I even licked my lips. Granny Woman said that there were really were men in the world that could make you come alive and welcome being a woman. I did not believe her. I owe her an apology.

“And Huntsman, what lovely white teeth you have,” I grinned in complete wonder. Never have I see such teeth on a male! Normally the ones I see are rotted and green.

“All the better to feast upon your loveliness with my dear,” as he flashed me a smile and pulled me down onto the bench next to him.

I looked at Wally who sat down across the table from us. “You have lived here your entire life, Red, you can give him an untainted account of what goes on around here. I know I would be biased and he does not need to know who I think is the abomination doing these terrible things. Because I would tell you,” Wally leaned across the table to speak only to the Huntsman, “It would be Arnold, he owns The Goat Song tavern. Yes, I know he is my competition, but I also think he is the one,” he added with venom in a whisper, crossing himself and then pulling back to his side of the table he nodded in rightness. “I would start there.

But have your meal. Good, here comes your haunch of swine. Enjoy and when you have finished, the town fathers will wish to speak to you.”

Sitting quietly next to him, he was a tidy eater. He actually used a knife and fork and went about the task of neatly devouring his meal. And quiet, he reeks of quiet in all that he does. The wool that he wears masks the sounds of his weapons. His leather is so well oiled that it does not creak.

Warmth radiates off him and he fills up a lot of space. It seems no matter how I shift on the bench, there he is. His leg against mine. His arm next to mine. His shoulder next to mine. The smaller I try to make myself on the bench, there is more of him to fill the empty space. Those are some seriously long legs attached to a body that hunts and kills. His hand wraps completely around the tankard. Mine does not even go half way.

I refilled his drink and then refilled the pitcher, twice, before he wiped his mouth, washed his hands in the bowl of water I had sat before him and nodded to me and said, “You may clear all of this, away. Find Wally. I am ready to entreat the elders of the village.”

I do not know the ways of high finance. So I listened carefully to all that was said. The Huntsman said no to a standard contract. His demands were not unwarranted, I thought, since he was the one taking all the risks. What seemed to bite the elders the most was that he wanted per diem, which was to start when he left his own house in the pre-dawn hours. They haggled about that. I brought out another pitcher of beer and the sorting of the agreement seemed to go much better.

When the document was written up and signed, they all shook hands and toasted to his success.

As I started to rise, once more his hand was on top of mine. “I’ll see you home,” was all he said, no expression on his face. “And this,” he pushed several gold coins at me, “this is for your help, tonight. If they had not been drunk, I would never have gotten to keep the trophies from the monster doing this.”

“Trophies,” I felt a bit uneasy. “You mean…” and my voice trailed off.

“Yes,” he smiled. “If it has horns, they are mine. If it has colossal teeth, they are mine. If its pelt is as thick as the walls on this tavern, it is mine. If it is male and the scrotum is gargantuan, also mine. Once tanned, this makes a nice place to age cheese.”

“Oh,” I managed to eek out. “Well I thank you then for the coin. But I am safe enough to walk through the forest. My Granny Woman has seen to this.”

I can see the puzzlement in his eyes. “Unless your Granny has spelled you against all evil, you cannot stop this beast that attacks women in their own homes.”

“Well, I feel very confident that I can. I have a magic stick.”

“A magic stick,” he said standing and putting my hand on his arm then he led me out.

“Yes, it is in the kitchen. I need to get it before I go.”

Matilda the baster eyed the two of us as we made our way past the roasters and the smoker. Wiggling her eyebrows at me and drooling just a bit, I put on my cape and picked up my stick.

Standing at the back door, The Huntsman drew his sword. Then he pulled it open and he stepped outside. When he gave the all clear, out into the light of the full moon I went with my walking stick in one hand, my other hand upon his arm.

As comfortable as old friends, we strolled through the village, as I pointed out who lived where and answered any questions he might have about them. When we lost the light of the torches, he said to me, “Show me the magic of your stick.”

“It will hurt you,” I said aghast.

“Well,” I could hear the humor in his voice. “I trust you can stop it before it kills me.”

“Well, yes,” I answered. “You ready?”

“Yes,” he said as we stopped. “Do your worst.”

“Beat Stick,” I said as I watched my trusted companion hesitate for only a second.

“Are you sure? He is so handsome and robust! A fine husband he would make. Your Granny Woman would approve of him and I am sure he could charm the goats into stealing others and you would never want for meat.”

“Beat Stick,” I said with a sigh, and Stick…he did begin to beat.

I heard the roar of surprise when Stick came down on top of him. Then, the most amazing thing happened. The Huntsman grabbed ahold of Stick, thinking to control him. Only there is no controlling or getting around the beating of Stick. The Huntsman was hanging on and was now being slammed though the air and onto the ground, against a tree, and The Huntsman yelled “enough” when stick had him in the creek, pounding him into the water.

“Stick stop,” I said and by magic it returned to my hand.

“I can see,” he said standing and removing the fish from out of his shirt, “how your Granny would not worry to see yourself home. That is a very nice piece of magic. Would you consider selling me a small piece of it?”

“What?” I stumbled over the word.

“As a walking stick, it is too tall for you. If you would sell me about eighteen inches, this would make it a useful walking stick for you. Now, you just get it caught in the branches.”

Well, he was right about that.   “Stick,” I asked, “what do you think? Is it possible?”

“Like a virgin, I can be broken only once. If you wish to sell a bit of me to him, get a very good price.”

“What do you offer?” I asked.

“You have no husband, I have no wife. I propose marriage. Just as Stick seeks to keep you safe, I can do the same and provide for you and our children.”

“For a piece of Stick?” I say shocked.

“For a piece,” he replied, his hand once more on mine and his thumb is stroking my palm.

“I need, I need to ask my Granny Woman,” is all I can reply. “But yes, here, take your axe and cut here. If Granny Woman does not approve of you, then…” and I shrugged. I very much wanted her to approve and I was thinking it would not matter what Granny Woman said. Maggie was always coupling with someone outside the kitchen door. I could hear her groans of pleasure. When she returned to work, it was always with a smile on her face. I wanted a smile on my face and I knew he was the one that could put it there. I could see my future and it was glorious. Being in the creek had worked its magic on his pants. I was wrong. Penis does come in that size.

Pam came back into the living room, carrying a heated bagged blood. “So Samuel,” she eyed the two lovebirds on the couch. “I know those two are in cahoots and I can’t trust what either of them tell me. I heard King Eric mentioned. So my maker is showing off his Queen maker and making a play for the virgin. What else do I need to know?”

Samuel looked up from the notes he was taking. “The Huntsman has purchased a piece of Red’s magical walking stick and wishes to discuss marriage with the Granny Woman.”

Pam snickered. “Just wait until Red gets a load of Eric’s magical walking stick.

So,” she smiled gleefully. “Nothing has changed. Good.

Welcome to the world of the Granny Woman,” she laughed out loud. “where unseemly is just another day.”