This is not a new story. It is one I wrote several years ago for Halloween. So I thought I would drag it back out and re-post it here. You can find it in fan fiction, I believe. I do not think it has been pulled, there. It is also on my fiction pad account. It is attached to the end of Preemptive Strike and I believe it also stands alone with its own banner.
By Halloween, I should have all of the chapters up here.
This follows on to Preemptive Strike. It is Halloween after the Northman twins are born and Hunter is a most excellent big brother.
And Bill Compton comes slithering up out of Hell into a round fae portal. Oh joy! Let the games, begin! (You know, sometimes I just need to whack on Compton…)
As always, thanks for reading!
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 and contains sex, foul language and Bill Compton.
Preemptive Strike—The Hell Mouth Opens!
Chapter 5—-All the King’s horses and all the King’s men….
It was a splendid, spectacular, and somewhat strange night to be out Trick or Treating in the great and grand town of Bon Temps. Eerie clouds danced across the face of the moon and formed uncanny likenesses of folks that lived in these parts. It was so very peculiar a night there seemed to be dragon shadows that danced along in the gas lights of the old town square and jack-o-lanterns, especially those carved with fangs, that laughed along with the crows. Please dear God, those were crows!
Perhaps, for those that were not locals, perhaps this had been a bad idea to come Trick or Treating in a town that was not their own. Unnatural, out of towners would shudder from time to time as they peered into shop windows and onto porches that were lit with the smiling faces of jack-o-lanterns. It was uncanny and noticed by any that were not locals that everyone seemed to be wearing monkey socks. It was unnatural the way nature invoked the weird and the strange and monkey socks had been clasped to their bosom of fashion sense.
It was noticed and noted that the entire town had turned out in costume and those at home passing out the treats were all decked out in their Halloween finery, as well. This was the stuff of surreal dreams and the beginnings of freakish nightmares…monkey socks…what the fuck?
Sookie took one last picture of the family as the cast from the Wizard of Oz. Lafayette was just too gorgeous for words in his ruby slippers. Pam was all pouty in peach and Wallace was indeed pretty in pink. The Grandmas were not to be outdone as they loaded onto the bus as The Munchkins, beer steins in hand, filled with anything but beer. When everyone was loaded into a form of transportation, they started for town.
“My bride,” Eric grinned at his green and glowing wife as the twins were in their carriers strapped to his front and Hunter was riding piggyback style on Eric’s back. “Shall we take to the sky?”
Sitting astride her broom, Sookie laughed wickedly as she levitated into the air and cackled, *“I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!”
The babies squealed with laughter at their momma as Eric turned his head and kissed Hunter on the cheek and then was up in the air after her.
The King’s and Queen’s Own checked their monkey wings and then took flight, following the royal family out into the night sky.
Jack, Jill, Bo, and Lamb were experts in their respective, supernatural fields. They arrived in Bon Temps just as the sun was getting ready to set. They were on a mission. They had left their camera crew at home and were just going to do a walk about of Bon Temps. They had all heard the stories. After all, a writer from the X-Files had grown up here and had more than once said that all of those stories were true.
This night, these of the ghost hunter persuasion came in Halloween disguise, searching out on this most unholy and spine-chilling of days, paranormal events.
“I’ve always wanted to be here on Halloween,” Lamb said into the camcorder. “This is my destiny, my fate to be here in the sinister town of Bon Temps to unmask its alarming citizens and free the world from frightening fiends.”
“Oh fuck me,” Bo hissed as she leaned in and the camera caught her face. “Really, must it be about you all the time?”
“Bitch,” he hissed at her.
“Well yes I am, glory hogging bastard,” she smiled and winked at him. “Put the glory-hole machine down and pick up the instruments so that we can actually see for ourselves if haunts walk the earthly plane, here.”
“Fucking righteous bitch,” he glared back.
“Stop it you two,” Jack spoke up. “Lamb, just get over the fact that you are your own crew, tonight. And no one is going to see your pretty face in that sheep mask. We are here in disguise. We do not want to be recognized. We want the town and its citizens to be relaxed and go about their business. We shall be discreet. We all know this is the best way to unravel this mystery that is Bon Temps.
This is just a fact. We have always wanted to ghost walk Bon Temps. This is our best opportunity to do so. We have got to make the most of it. Our hours wandering the streets in disguise are very limited so we have got to get moving on this. Turn on your cameras and don’t forget to engage the GPS so we will know where the recordings and pictures were taken. Once we download them to the lap top, the computer will pin point it on the map and we can come back and do a site specific follow-up.”
Jill pulled on her Monica Lewinsky mask. “Suit up. We want to be the first to get Bon Temps as active with the creepy and crawly so we can get off local cable and actually be carried on a channel someone has heard of.
If you want to get paid for this gig, get your ass in gear. Now, I’ve set up the camera on the tripod. Let’s do the intro and roll on 3, 2, 1…”
All four settled into their familiar spot of the intro.
“It is All Hallow’s Eve and we are here in Bon Temps, Louisiana. My name is Jack Hill and I am a psychic.”
“My name is Jill Hill and I am a Druid.”
“I am Bo Peep, clairvoyant to the unseen.”
“And I am Herrs Lamb, warlock, one with nature, one with the universe.
We are here to prove to you that the dead walk among us. That the unnerving live with us. That the paranormal is an everyday event to us. What is spine-chilling to you, our viewers, we see just as a soul to be released from this realm and sent on to their reward. We are the highly skilled and specialized team of The Unnatural Order and we are here for you.”
“Cut. Perfect. Now,” Jill continued on, “I’m rolling with the sun setting and the moon rising…our first shot of Bon Temps,” she said as they finished adjusting last minute nuisances that came with wearing a costume. “And don’t forget the fucking trick or treat bags. From what I can see from here, looks like most folks are carrying one.
Damn…” her eyes were pulled to the large orange harvest moon that was peeking out over the horizon. “It looks like the moon is actually choking out the sun’s rays. I hope the camera caught that!”
Jack took a step, back. “My gawd, sis, you are right! The moon grew hands and…and…strangled the last bit of sunlight. Fuck…!”
Bo and Lamb stopped their bickering and turned their heads towards the new darkness but it was too late.
“Did not see anything out of the ordinary,” Bo said, eyeing the two. “Do not,” her voice carried the warning, “start with the eerie bullshit. We have enough sound bites of me screaming from you two setting me up. It is bad enough knowing vamps are real…there has got to be other sinister weirdness out there as well. No need for you to be making shit up.”
“Make sure every fucking piece of equipment is up and running,” Jill snarked back. “I know what I saw. I’d play it back for you right now but I don’t want us all so scared we blow this.”
They had parked a couple of blocks off of Main. They had picked a quiet neighborhood that was dressed for Halloween. Jack-o-lanterns lit the porches of the most humble of homes. Cornstalks danced in the evening breeze. Even with the sunset, crows still called in the dark. There were small children coming out of doors with an adult in a costume while someone else passed out the candy as the little voices called out “Trick or Treat!”
“What was that?” Jack asked as there was a howl that floated across the vastness of the star lit night.
“Just a Were Wolf,” Lamb scoffed.
“That is so not funny,” Bo said as she pointed her night vision binos in the direction of the howl.
While in the small, quiet, neighborhood, they were walking and constantly checking their EMF’s, thermometers, and thermal cameras. Jill kept shooting pics with her full spectrum digital camera.
Jill knew what she saw with the moon. If the X Files were true, then this town was a loaded gun of weird. There was howling in the distance and then one seemed to answer back from in town. Well fuck…, she turned with her camera in that direction, just how could this be good? Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the full moon as clouds flitted like bats across it.
That was not possible but yet she knew what she saw with her own eyes! “Flying monkeys across the moon, hundreds of them, ” she stuttered under her breath, “following,” she gulped, “ and escorting what could only be a witch on a broom! Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck…!” she felt the terror grip her heart.
“Just stop it,” Bo spit out. “You might have had me with the moon sprouting hands, but now you are just ridiculous. Flying monkeys my ass. These kids have the right idea. Let’s get to Main. In my research, I found that they have some old buildings in town. A couple that date from the war when this place was just a mud hole but battles were fought in the area.
Let the wolves howl and the crows call…and the kids caterwaul Trick or Treat. We are looking for spooks…something that will put us on the map. We don’t need a Disney movie of floating orbs, we need blood and guts and a night of the living dead as Confederates look to take retribution on the North.”
Lamb looked up from his EMF and thought about that as he chuckled to himself, “I could certainly narrate over Bo screaming. I have done it before. Hmmm, if I play this right, she just might pee her pants this time. That would be great footage seeing the wet streak on her pants. Time to get started on that.
The Friend Cox House,” he said out loud, “dates from the early part of the twentieth century. It started out as a Parlay Parlor. That might be a good place to start. They used to Parlay for blood according to the stories I have heard.”
“No fucking kidding,” Jack stopped and turned to look at Lamb. “My great-grandma used to tell stories about the Parlay Parlors in New Orleans. When she was a girl, she used to be a maid in an old mansion called Petit Ami Fortin, there on Lafayette Square.
One night, there was a tall, blonde male, good-looking guest that Parlayed until the early morning hours. Granny’s job was to empty his ashtray and keep his glass filled with rum. He smoked Havana’s, she said. The kind with the real gold, embossed, cigar band on them. He gave her the band every time he took out a new one. He had amassed a fortune in gold, jewels, deeds and folding money. Someone accused him of cheating and this…this…something…appeared in a whirling funnel of lightning and sparks and…well, blood was spattered, everywhere. This guy just went on playing like it happened to him everyday.”
“Vampire,” Bo said with a sure nod of her head.
“Yes…” Jack was thoughtful. “Granny said a true Parlay Parlor was protected. That she had seen that before. According to the rules, if you lie or cheat when challenged, the dead came calling and consumed you.
She had worked there since she was small and had seen all manner of weirdness and wrong doing. That this was not the first time that they would get a patron drunk so they could beat him at Parlay. Granny kept filling Goodlooking’s glass with some high potency rum. Granny said that at some point he giggled.
After that, the lady of the house was all over him, pushing her cleavage up in his face and brushing up against him when they would take a break before they began the next round. Then, towards the end, the man of the house stepped in and wanted to Parlay. It did not end well for him.”
“Duel, huh?” Lamb said, “They thought they could set Goodlooking up. After that much to drink, the Mister of the house should be able to beat him at Parlay. If not that, then a duel, kill him all fair and square defending his wife’s honor and then just help themselves to his winnings.”
“Yes,” Jill replied. “Her husband called him out after the last Parlay. He had bet the mansion and his wife, and lost it and everything in it. Pistols were the choice of weapon. Everyone was standing out on the veranda and you could hear the paces being counted off. Great-granny said the crack of the pistols carried the death knell. Then the screams of pain from the wife, started.
The victor carried the screaming and cursing wife slung over his shoulder back inside. He collected his winnings and handed them off to his man and then set fire to the mansion, starting with the top floor where it is known for a fact that he left the wife. Many saw her at the window as the room burned around her. What was that family’s name again….Granny said the house was named after them? Petit Ami Fortin…oh, that’s right, De Beaufort. Lots of folks say that around the first of the month, if you are standing in Lafayette Square, if you smell smoke, you can still see wisps of flame as Madame De Beaufort roams the block, looking for her home and cursing her daughter, Pamela.”
“Did the daughter die in the fire?” Bo asked.
“Ah-h-h, no,” both siblings shook their head.
“She ran away,” Jill shook all over, “when she was seventeen. Apparently her folks used her to get them out of some tight money deals.”
“Oh ick,” Bo hissed.
“Yes,” Jill hissed right back. “Apparently they had one Parlay patron that liked them young and blond. Granny said the whole house shuttered when the fifteen-year old daughter was called to watch the game one night. And now Mrs. De Beaufort continues to burn in the flames of her mansion as she roams Lafayette Square, cursing her daughter for leaving them.”
“So-o-o-o-o,” Jill eyed the group. “What do you think about doing a little walk around The Friend Cox House. See if there is anyone or anything that would like to be captured on my nifty, new, full spectrum camera.”
Maxine and Hugh sat out in the tiny Egyptian barge on the front lawn and chatted with any and all that came by as they passed out candy. There was indeed, a line for the smallish, mince-meated pies.
Lifting her hand to his lips, Hugh was resplendent with his kisses as he said, “My,” he empathized that word with a wink at Maxine, “Queen of the Nile,” more than once as the pies were dipped into the Sweet Baby Ray’s and made much over as fae came and went and shared or sat and visited.
“Now there is something you do not see every day,” Maxine turned to Hugh. “Monica Lewinsky and President Clinton roaming the streets of Bon Temps. I can appreciate no one wearing an Obama mask, especially since my last run on with that President ended in killin’, but Billy Clinton and his paramour? I did not realize we were doing tacky retro this year.
I am trying to place who they are. No one of that size comes to mind. They are not locals,” she eyed the four as they strolled along, but were headed their way.
“My Sweet,” Hugh winked at her, “I do believe that you are correct. I see no monkey socks and smell nothing of fae about them.”
“Well, we welcome one and all and we have our tricks and treats at the ready. Just let them come on.”
“Let’s turn up this block,” Jill said, “take the alley. We should be able to walk past the back of the house and start shooting, there. I see the owner’s sitting out front. This gives us time to get as much film footage as we want. As long as we do not step onto their land, we are not trespassing.”
“Most odd,” Hugh remarked when the four turned up 2nd. “There are not houses for Trick or Treating that way and those businesses are closed.”
“Clock, my darlin’ girl,” Maxine stroked her little dragon on the nose that was resting around her wrist. “Would you be so kind as to see just what is goin’ on?”
“Of course Mother Berry,” she smiled with delight. “I shall soon return.”
Clock went to stealth mode. Without disturbing the air currents, she was gliding along, listening to their conversation. Popping back in, she was now standing on Mother Berry’s lap.
“Their names are Jack, Jill, Bo and Lamb. They are talking about Parlay houses. They are in the back, in the alley, taking pictures, hoping to take a picture of the unseemly,” Clock said with the raise of an eyebrow. “I am not sure what that is.”
“Oh lordy,” Maxine sighed. “They are four wanna be ghost hunters out of Shreveport. They have a little studio in someone’s garage where they show Halloween masks and listen to electrical static on their ghost box. Hugh,” she sadly shook her head, “if we scare them, they will continue to come back, if we don’t scare them, they will continue to come back. I would invite them in to run their electronics, but the grandbabies have not yet been by and I don’t want to miss them.”
“Oh my Queen of the Nile,” Hugh brought her hand to his heart. “This shall not happen. We shall both be in attendance when the grandbabies come by. I have the camera at the ready.”
“I know what has to be done,” she sighed. “The unseemly. Hugh, do not try and stop me. I know that you think that I am beautiful, but believe me, to these twenty-somethin’s, I am not.”
“My bride,” he began in protest.
“I know that you love me and that is all that counts. And if my fat ass ends up on YouTube for the rest of days, then so be it. But I treasure our privacy on our little balcony so I am gonna go take care of this. You just sit here, I’ll be back in two shakes of Lamb’s tale of woe.”
“There is movement inside the house. And it has heat, it is registering with my camera,” Jill’s voice held a nervous but happy edge.
“It’s big, whatever it is,” Lamb responded, “and it is coming this way.”
“There is no place in the alley to hide, unless we get behind the garage, but then we won’t be able to see,” Jack said, tracking his instruments.
They all head the door open and then a white specter stepped down out onto the small porch and started down the steps carrying the trash.
“Evenin’,” Maxine called out and waved at them as she opened the lid on the garbage can, in went the trash and the lid went back on. “Happy Halloween,” she called as she went back inside.
“Oh fuck,” Jack put his bino’s down. “She was nude.”
“Awww shit,” Lamb gagged, “oh-h-h man, old and nude. I think the retinas in my eyes have been etched forever with that…that…”
Jill eyed the two men. “She’s naked. It’s her yard. It’s dark back here and we are running infrared and thermals. I just Googled The Friend Cox House. It is owned by a lawyer. Any spooks in there and he is charging them by the hour. If the lawyer thinks we are taking girly shots of his wife on their property with spy stuff, we could be in some deep shit. Let’s haul ass before she calls the cops and then delete, delete, delete. I have not yet even begun to pay off my college loans. I’d hate to be working to pay him for the rest of my life.”
Maxine put her Queen of the Nile dress back on and went to sit back out front with Hugh.
“Please don’t be angry,” she smiled at him.
“My bride,” he bit back on his pride. “They gazed on your lovely self and then got the perfect view of your magnificent ass as it went up the steps,” he pouted.
“Later tonight,” she winked at him, “I’ll do it for you,” she smiled, “if you want to watch from the alley.”
Hugh had a great big burning and yearning deep down inside of him as he snuggled in closer to his Mrs. and started counting down to later. He put his arm around her as the next batch of Trick or Treaters headed their way. “Never was a man so blessed,” he kissed her cheek as they both called out “Happy Halloween” to a troop of flying monkeys that was coming in for a landing.
In the town square sat the merry-go-round. Or perhaps the correct wording would be the Resplendent Carousel! It was a new feature and Smilwoth was the official proud owner and operator of one of the most whimsical and noteworthy menageries of all time. The Fae Realm was represented by wooden carvings and then painted life-like-true-to-form colors on the replicas.
Dragons flew and belched fire and smoke and mermaids swam and spewed fountains of water from their mouths. Unicorns were majestic and could be rode bare-back with only a nudge of your thighs to direct them, while the Sookie Hawk soared up and down on the pole.
This place of wonder and a dime ride, was where the great and good honorable Grandmas were headed.
After unloading from the bus, the Grandmas had stopped to call “Trick or Drink” at certain establishments as they made their way to the town square. Fortified against the cold and any haunts that thought to be out tonight, they happily made their way to the merry-go-round, each one depositing a dime into Smilwoth’s hand. With a flourishing bow and a hand kiss, he helped each lady to mount their stead and then the music started…Liszt’s 2nd Hugarian Rhapsody.
Bill was so scared he was shaking, visibly. Not ever was that a safe thing to do when you were a resident of Hell. They loved fear…ate it, licked it off of you and then ate you, accordingly. Like the bottom dwellers they were and imitated, they started with the soft, fleshy parts.
“Concentrate,” he kept repeating to himself as lecherous faces gloated and eyed him gleefully. With a tremor in his voice, Bill began his newest spell. **“Eric Northman is a butt monkey supreme, from Eric Northman, Sookie, from him I shall glean, And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men shall ride Eric Northman again and again.”
Gently the light began to pull on him. With relief he felt himself begin to drift upward. This time, he believed that this time, he would walk away from all this and once more rule the night.
Liszt, someone was playing Liszt. How refreshing to hear sweet, pure music instead of the constant screeching and screaming that was constantly assaulting his ears and pounding inside his head. That awful noise that vibrated through every part of his body, causing his cells to sizzle and in turn, to shriek at him for his body being used so foully.
There were several other notable and noticeable agreeable changes. The air became cleaner, the heat less, and the oppressive feeling of damnation gave way to something a little more serviceable and charitable…like maybe hope was a fuel that he could use to get himself re-instated back to the topside since Sookie would so gladly sacrifice herself for him.
The music continued to lull him to blissfulness. To cheer his aching heart and sooth his pierced soul. Liszt would from this moment on would be his savior, his mantra, the song in his heart. When he ruled the night, and then the world, this song would be held and cherished and played every evening upon his rising to greet the new dark.
Looking upward, it was like seeing through a smoked piece of glass. He could see, why, he could see the outline of a carousel! He had ridden one of the first ones to be installed on Coney Island. That had been a magical night. The movement of the horses, the up and down motion reminding him of the fierce orgy of fucking they had done upon rising and the feeding frenzy with Lorena that had followed. Feeling the gentle tugging on him turn into something a little more insistent, he knew he had to be close.
You just had to love opening a Fairy Portal, why, you could wind up in the smack-dab middle of a bunch of fairies.
“You smell that?” Grandma Esther said.
“Shhh-ewww!” Grandma Sara curled her nose and looked around. “Where is that smell comin’ from?”
Esther was working her nose. “Smilwoth,” she motioned for him to come over, “that smell coming from the Carousel? The gears, or somethin’? That sure does smell like rotten eggs and somethin’ dead all rolled into one.”
“No, most honored Grandmother,” he shook his head. “This is not of my doing. This…”
The air on the carousel begin to shimmer.
“Fae portal opening,” they all said together.
Smilwoth raised his hand and the magnificent beasts stopped as all the grandmas hopped off and were staring intently at where the air now appeared to be the sheerest and there stood the form of a man.
OI’s ear’s twitched at that moment but he knew he was too late!
“Compton!” all the grandmas yelled, and then “Sic’m!” as the fledglings on their arms rose up and spit dragon fire that cut through the last of the portal before Bill had a chance to step out. Then the little ones were airborne, screeching in on Mach 5 air currents and blasting the cursed cocksucker, calling on the strength of all the dragons in the realm to fuel their fires!
The dragons linked minds and as one, they channeled all that they were to the small ones who held fast and true! Then, a riot ignited in The Bond! The fledglings were trumpeting their victory before the first of the fae could pop in!
Liam was shaking his head and wondering about the wrongness of it all. “Fuck…a…duck…” he said to Clayton. “Fledglings. And just not anyone’s children, but OI’s. We shall never hear the end of this. Because of his child, ZZ, OI has guardianship of Oberon. His son Wallace is married to Princess Pamela and carries his heirs. OI is making sure that his reign continues. Do not think for one moment that Mer’lyn’s and Princess Tin’s daughter will not be wedded to one of his. And now this. The Cursed Cocksucker has been sent back into the darkness of his own foulness by OI’s youngest of the young. Fuck a duck…I do so understand what the oldest child means by that.”
Clayton was chuckling as his friend finally caught his breath. Breaking his Kit-Kat bar in two, he offered Liam a piece. “Feel better?” he chuckled.
“Sadly, yes,” Liam sighed and then laughed. “Not even Old Smilwoth was able to get in on the kill. And he was standing right there.”
“You bet on Smilwoth?” Clayton asked with a huge grin.
“Yesssss,” he sighed. “But only with the Princess Pamela. I am going to be standing in for Wallace in my down time for the next bit and a bit. This is something I can actually work off. As opposed to owing OI who just carries your fucking marker, forever.”
Miss Dorothy and her Toto were strolling along and collecting Tricks or Treats and Tricks or Drinks, accordingly. Lafayette was sharing whatever was put in his bag or in his glass with his bonded. “My little mans,” Lafayette kissed the little dog on the nose that was draped across his shoulders. “Yous babies are just likes you. A powerful forces of natures to be reckoned, withs.”
“My big mans,” he smiled at his bonded, “they did a finenesses job of representin’s The Realm and the Wind Riders this fine and blessed Halloween Evenin’s.”
“Yes, that is some righteous prides you gots in your family. But yous is mighty pleased ‘bouts somethin’ or another’s.”
Hearing his name called out followed by “Happy Halloween”, Lafayette looked across the street. “Happy Halloween Princess Tin and her fine husband!” he called back.
Lafayette made contact with the purple eyes that were watching the couple across the street. “Oh, I sees, says his Ruby Reds La La-ness. You gots a boy child in minds for that sweet baby Sofia that Princess Tin is nuturin’ insides her body? Mmmhmmm, don’t yous be tryin’s to fools me none.”
OI cleared his throat. “Sweet Sofia’s daddy is a true forces of natures, my big mans. This is gonna takes some times and some finenesses and some sweet, sweet, talkin. Mer’lyn’s been so long humans, he can magics pure and true as human or dragon. Makes him potent and strong and potent. The Wind Riders has never seens such as him.
As human, his magics is more than mine. More than any dragon’s in The Realm. Dragon wants to challenge him, Mer’lyn could decides the challenge to be as human to human as would be his right and he would smoke your fine ass and all your parts.
M-m-m-m-hm-m-m, this baby girl’s daddy…his word is law when it comes to his baby girl. You thinks to challenge him for the privilege of marryin’ his baby, you will be his trophy and from you’s skin he will make his wife and child a dragon’s cape.
And I knows there will be one or twoish who will not heed my fair and fine warnings. They will challenge, Mer’lyn will pick the weapon which will be human. And thens they is just fucked…on a stick…like at the fine and goods street fair as a tasty treat. ‘Cause you will nots defeats him as human. So yous best have another plan.”
“You gots the son for her already in minds,” Lafayette chuckled.
The little dog laughed, heartily. “Woulds not be OI, King of the Dragons if’n I dids not.”
“Good times,” Lafayette smiled as he watched his Tin Man chatting away with Doc Brenda as they trick and treated their way through town. Good times!
*The Wizard of Oz. 1939, MGM.
** Humpty Dumpty, 1684.
Chapter 6 “…poetry and justice…”
Bill’s body was on fire. Flames licked all over him, consuming him as he screamed in outrage and pain. This fire was not like what he had encountered anywhere else. This…this was pain that not even Satan had inflicted upon him!
His lungs had been seared but that did not stop the screams. Parts of his body had melted, away, as the wind currents continued to feed the flames as he fell back into Hell. With the force of a comet he struck the bottom of Hell as he skidded along, his open mouth, now the receptacle of everything unholy that was refuse on the floors of The Pit.
“Let him burn himself out,” Bill heard her voice. “It is just not anyone who can start a fire on the spirit.” Laughter erupted from those standing around her throne.
“William T. Compton,” she chuckled, “court jester and cursed, even by worse standards than those of us here in Hell. Just who did you manage to piss off, besides me, of course? Some type of angelic?”
Nothing he said could be understood. His silent screams still reverberated off the walls. She thought maybe he managed to get out “no one,” but he was a little difficult to understand. Besides she had checked his file. Liar was at the top of the list. And if no one had started that fire, she would hate to see the someone that could.
“Oh now,” she watched as the last flame went out and his misery did not lessen. “Do not lie to me. I know unsheathed fire when I see it. I was not blessed with such a flame,” and all around her snickered. When she frowned in disapproval, the laughing stopped. “Mine is just a bit different. But this, this…” she shrugged her shoulders, “this is poetry and justice. This is real wrath of God burning. The kind that was called down on Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Slyyth, standing next to her let out a low sigh. “Good times,” he smiled at Bill. “S and G were the very best of times. There was no debauchery to perverted and no pleasure left unexplored. Pain, on a massive scale was a way of life for those fortunate humans we called our own. We gloried in it! Miss those days,” he said with a sigh.
“There was a lot of fun to be had,” Satan nodded her head in agreement. “And Bill, from the looks of you, I hope you had just a little bit of fun before you ran into that…that…just what did do that to you?” You could hear the curiosity in her voice.
All he could do was moan as the filth inside his mouth came alive and began gnawing on what was left of his tongue.
“He’s stopped flaming,” Satan mused. “Pick him up and shake that shit out of his mouth. I want some answers.”
There were several minions in attendance that were much taller than Bill. With glee, Bill was picked up by his ankles, dangled, and shook, repeatedly, bouncing his head off the floor just to make sure it was all rattled loose. His screams of agony could be heard once things began falling out of his mouth.
“Dragons,” he was finally able to make himself understood as he twitched and moaned.
Nodding her head at the two that held him up, he was then slammed back onto the floor.
“What size?” Satan asked.
“Small,” he was able to gasp out.
“Crabby,” she addressed the small demon that was picking the dead skin off of her and eating it. “Do you remember small dragons?”
“Yes, of course,” he stopped his munching. “Yes, at the beginning, before the humans, there were dragons. Yes, most assuredly. Different sizes and shapes and purposes, but yes, small dragons.
That burn, that smell, that disgusting odor of the light,” he chuckled, “that gags even us here in the depths of the pit. Yes, dragons. This one has been flambéed by dragons. Notice the sweet, abiding, loathsome, stench. Several of the old ones, here, that thought to consume a dragon back in the day, still carry that smell. That was a hard lesson for them to learn, to leave those fire breathing beasties alone.”
“Feed him,” she said and then she kicked him, crushing in one side of his body and then she stomped on his back, collapsing him flat. “Then we shall talk.”
Everyone knew when the family landed in town. There were flying monkeys, everywhere, all with tricks or treats bags. The cutest of the flying monkeys were also the smallest and there was a five year old and two that were three months and a bit.
“Daddy,” Hunter clapped his hands, “just look at that merry-go-round! May we ride?”
“Of course, my son,” Eric squatted down and Hunter slid down off of his daddy’s back.
“I want to ride a Sookie hawk,” Hunter shouted with glee over his shoulder as he went racing toward Silwoth. His mirth caused everyone around him to chuckle. He slowed down when he got to Silwoth, but his eyes were still on the Sookie hawks that looked like they were alive.
“I’ve got the dimes for my family,” Hunter said proudly as he pulled the money from his pocket. “I have five. That means fifty pennies or ten nickels. And there are five of us ridin’ so that is five dimes.”
“Prince Hunter,” the old fae smiled at him as the small prince counted out the money into the open palm. “Your math skills are exceptional. You are learning most excellent things in kindergarten.”
“Yes sir,” Hunter grinned. “I miss my Aunt Sissy but Miss Mitchell is just the best, too. We are learning to count by fives and I can count all the way to one-hundred by ones and fives.”
“Most excellent, my young prince. And I can see by your tricks or treats bag that you have had an exceptional evening.”
“Yes sir. Grandma Berry had little tiny coconut custard pies. M-m-m, that sure was good. And Grandpa Hugh gave everyone a cup of hot chocolate. And when we stopped by the book store, the sisters had lemon cupcakes!” his eyes were wide with wonder. “With a lemon cream cheese filling, my La La said, with a strawberry on top!” Patting his tummy he grinned. “And we all got a book wrapped in Halloween paper. Momma says I can open it when we get home and have it for a bed time story.”
“A most excellent tricks or treats, my Prince. Here come your parents. Pick out the Sookie hawk you wish to ride and if you need help getting onto one, just ask.”
It was All Hallow’s Eve in Bon Temps and it was just as spook-tac-u-lar as it wanted to be! Lance eyed the family coming down the street. There was no mistaking the Foggs’ family. Lacy had wanted to come as a family of mere-maids. Every blessed one of them was wearing some type of tiara. Even E.H. You could see the flash and sparkle from here! Their costumes with beads and sequins would put Vegas to shame. Damn, you could light the entire town with the brilliance that was dancing off of them.
“Evenin’,” Lance smiled as the family approached. “Miss Lucy, my Mrs. is in the book store, having another cupcake. Apparently Thunder Jack likes lemon,” his grin covered his face.
“Oh-h-h-h,” little eyes got big. “Down Daddy, pease, upcake!” Lady Bug gave him a kiss. E.H. put L. B. down and watched his family as they all went trooping in shouting “Trick or Treat” as they entered the store.
E.H. smiled at Lance as he shifted Lulabell in his arms. “Having a good night are we?” E.H. thought he had never seen a Were look so happy!
Lance was bursting at the seams! “The wife is craving anything lemon. Some nights she gets my old Were ass out of bed and I fix her a cast iron skillet baby cake and dust it with powdered sugar and a fresh squeezed lemon. Damn, I love being pregnant!” Lance added with gusto while he was watching the Were standing next to him. Body language was everything. That grin E.H. was sporting was going to crack his face wide open. So, it was true.
Lance knew the joy that this Were felt. “Rumor mill has it that Miss Lucy is expecting.”
There was a tremor that went through E.H.’s body. His joy could not be contained! “Yes,” he smiled. “I have got four gorgeous kids. We are going to be having one more around or about the end of May.”
“Congratulations are in order!” Lance slapped him on the back. “You picking up anything about this one?” Lance asked.
“Not trying,” E.H. said. “I do not care about the sex. I do not care if the baby shifts. I just want healthy and as many babies as my lovely wife will grace me with.”
Lance nodded in agreement. “We saw Doc Brenda this morning. Guinn is doing just fine. So is the baby. Any day now…” and his voice trailed off as he wiped at his eyes. “Damn, at times, I swear…,” he chuckled. “You would think I was a pregnant female the way I get so emotional about this boy. Guinn just looks at me and says she is the one that should be crying. Fifty and having a baby. Just what the fuck am I boo-hooing about? Then she throws something at me. I duck and she misses. She has a good arm. She does not throw like a girl, at all. Almost got me the other day.”
“You, ah-h-h, convince her to have another one?” E.H. asked.
“Fuck, this is not like you and Lucy. Lucy can bless you with one or two more before she tells you to just jerk off quietly on your side of the bed and not wake her up while you are doing so.”
E.H. raised an eyebrow.
Lance shrugged. “I still don’t know if that is a yes or a no to that question. I bring up another baby and she tells me I have had decades of practice of taking care of myself and just because I am married not to stop now…continue to jerk off, just don’t wake her up. I am taking that as a sign. I am just believing that since she has not said no that Thunder Jack will not be an only child. ”
E.H. laughed. “I saw Tin and Em. Speaking of any day now…”
“M-m-m hm-m,” Lance chuckled. “Princess Tin has laid down the law to Em. She still has maybe another week, maybe, to go…dragons take a bit longer to gestate. But as soon as Sofia is born, Em had best be on his game and give her another baby. She just gets down right scary when Em says maybe they should wait a year and a bit. She is not having any of his bullshit. She says she dreams every night of nursing both her baby daughter and her infant son at the same time.”
E.H. replied thoughtfully. “If Tin is dreaming this every night, that sounds like a sign.”
“Yes,” the Were nodded respectfully. “And it’s more than that,” Lance replied. “From dragon lore comes the stuff of our human legends. You think the thunder gods and their tales of power and greatness are something,” he shook his head. “They do not even come close. From the beginning of time the dragons tell of a sister and brother very close in age, the likes of which the dragon realm has never before seen. She will rule the dragons, her brother will always have her back.
Mab and Oberon,” he grimaced. “They tried to distort the dragon lore. Those two fuckers tried to apply those legends to themselves. Some fae believed, some did not, the dragons were just beyond pissed… When that did not work for them, Mab pretended to have her brother killed and then she just used brutality to forge her way into their dragon histories.” Both men locked eyes and shook their heads. “The war in fae would still be raging if not for Eric and Sookie,” Lance added quietly. “And would have eventually spread to here. Can you imagine a pissed off OI and his brethren gracing our skies…?”
“Oh fuck…” E.H. mumbled under his breath as he got the visual. “Glad that did not happen.” Both men nodded in agreement. “So, these legends apply to Em’s line…” E.H. let that thought trail off.
“Yes. Sexton has been consulted and she reads the same thing. There has been a new dragon clan named in the Realm of the Cold and Blue Moons. A daughter will be born first. The runes say Tin is her mother. This girl child that Tin is carrying is blessed and will be a blessing to the wind riders. Since Sofia has been conceived, Em says that all the dragons can feel the hum in the bond and that she is even now, subtly changing them. Making them stronger, faster…and…and a bit more human.
And Em is scared…” Lance softly said. “His daughter and his son are going to fulfill their sacred dragon texts and redefine dragon. He says he cannot imagine how from his dragon bones this is going to happen.
And Princess Tin…well just fuck…” Lance chuckled. “My baby sister really is all that. She is descended from old fae. That tattooing she does that comes alive. When the old fae worked their magic here, that is how they would heal things. Just sketch and color it in and it would go back to being whole. Em is fucked,” he laughed. “Their house is going to be baby central. And OI is doing the happy dance. All dragons will tell you that they are direct descendants of the original fae. Up until now, that may have been just some very wishful thinking and creative dragon bullshit. But now…no bullshit to this, they really are going to be descended from the original fae through Princess Tin. Em is just terrified. And rightly so.”
“I am missing something…” E.H. said.
“My boy, he never studied,” Lance chuckled. “Not as a human. Not as a dragon, not as a dragon in a human body, not as a dragon locked inside a human body for a millennia as he pranced around as Mer’lyn. He has bullshitted his way through the centuries.
And you know how the dragons are about keeping their histories,” he snorted. “Either Em is going to be remembered as being very, very good at this father to their Queen business or he sucked the big ugly one and she is magnificent in spite of him.”
“So, if that is not pressure enough, Tin is calling him on his shit, huh,” E.H. chuckled.
“You bet she is,” Lance laughed out loud. “And he is scared shitless. Well, except of course, for tonight. Some of his shit is actually required.”
“What?” E.H. quizzed him.
“You heard this morning about Compton and how he wronged Miss Sookie…” E.H. nodded yes. “I know you had to get back but you should have stayed just a bit longer. Tonight the veil is thin and Billy-boy is slithering up out of Hell through something round and water or round and fae-ish. He has already been pissed on by Hugh in a garden hose and then the Grandmas’ fledglings blasted him with fire as he tried to come up through the merry-go-round. Em is shitting a nice round, steamy pile out it in the woods, tonight. Compton will be very blessed,” Lance managed to say with a straight face.
“Ah, poetry and justice.” E.H. was laughing so hard he got out a little howl. Lulabell tilted back her head and howled along with him. With a lot of pride and love he kissed his baby girl on the cheek. “I love living in The Realm,” E.H. managed to choke out.
Lance laughed along with him and then looked over at the bookstore door when he heard his name being called. “Lance, come on,” Lucy called and waved. “Get here. Guinn’s water just broke. Call Doc Brenda. Thunder Jack is on his way! E.H., come on. We may need you.”
Doc Brenda, it appears, was just a little bit busy. It seems Princess Tin went into active labor at about the same time. The Clinic was the newest party place to be!
Both women were in the birthing room at the clinic. E.H. was keeping a careful eye on Guinn. Doc Brenda was dividing her time equally, but no one was real sure just how fast Tin was going to deliver Sofia so she kept drifting back there.
Someone had popped Jesus in who had positioned himself between Guinn’s legs so that he could see when the baby would crown. All of them could hear Lafayette and the family out in the waiting room as he and OI popped open champagne bottles and toasts were being offered up to the newest of the new before they had taken their first breath.
Tin was breathing in through her nose and pushing the air out through her mouth. Between each breath, she would pause and call Em a cock-sucking dragon.
Guinn was breathing in through her nose and pushing the air out through her mouth and was calling Lance a cock-sucking Were. Apparently, she did not feel the need to pause to express her opinion of her husband between each new cleansing breath.
E.H. knew the first couple of days the new daddies would bask in the glow of “Just look at what I have done!” and strut their stuff and crow. But if they ever wanted to have sex, again…they would pick up the slack, fix meals, rub the wife’s feet and walk the baby at night or any other time Momma wanted a break.
E.H. was watching the excitement in the lobby. Yes, he had this all figured out and wired seven ways to Sunday, he congratulated himself. Lucy was pregnant and he knew how to cook, get the kids to school, check homework, get them into bed on time, and walk Lullabell at night. Fuck, he was a sixty-five year old Were. He was born to do this.
Sofia was born at 8:07. Thunder Jack took his first breath at the same time.
Before nine o’clock the babies had been brought out and made much of. Toasts to them were still ringing through the air.
When the daddies had returned the babies to the mommas, quiet settled back into the clinic as empty bottles were picked up and carried out and the world settled back into a natural rhythm.
It was time to move the party out to Eric’s and Sookie’s. It was time for Compton…it was time for some very good times…!
The two proud fathers were sitting in chairs next to the mommas as they held the baby that was now theirs for the rest of their days. “Only one thing left to do,” Lance looked at Em.
“The time has come,” Em replied.
Lance gave the baby back to Guinn and then lightly tongued her a kiss.
Em nestled Sofia into Tin’s arms and then ran his tongue across her bottom lip.
They both walked out into the lobby where they found a bottle of champagne waiting on them along with two Smithwick’s.
Eyeing the bottle of champagne, they both shook their heads and then picked up a beer.
“To Thunder Jack,” Em said as he raised his bottle.
“To Princess Sofia,” Lance responded as he lifted his bottle and they clinked them together. Raising the bottle to their lips, both took a long, deep, pull and the bottles were empty. Em held both bottles in his hands and then blew out a very small blue dragon flame. As the two bottles melted together, Em formed the molten glass into two hearts. “A paper weight for you and one for me,” he smiled as they cooled. “We’ll get one of the fairy gods to etch something into it when we have their name-giving.”
“But in the mean time…” Lance grinned.
“Yes,” Em chuckled, “in the mean time, time to tell the world that our children have arrived.”
Going outside, Lance faced the moon and roared his pride at the orange glow in the sky that had often mocked him. But not anymore! Never again! He kept howling until he could hear the echo of a thousand voices reverberating on the air. All congratulating him and welcoming the newest member of the pack!
Lance chuckled with delight as he made a grand sweeping bow toward his friend, his alter-ego, his companion that had kept him safe and sane and had more than once driven him to the brink of insanity. They would be brothers to the end of time…and then forever after that.
Bowing his head in return, Em shifted to dragon and was hovering about the tree line as he trumpeted a call to his dragon clan that the house of Emr’rys still stood and welcomed the newest daughter that would bring honor and mercy to his mother’s name.
Lance thought he was ready for this, for the dragon’s call, but nothing could disguise the clean, pure note from Em that caused the very stars in the sky to shine brighter. Wherever there was a dragon, the note was harmonized and stars began to shoot across the night sky as the heavens lit up in a blaze of glory and then exploded as stardust fell gently to earth.
When quiet once more ruled the night, Em put his arm around Lance and they started back toward the clinic. “We have never spoken of this,” Em’s words were a whisper that moved the still falling star dust. “Sofia, she is destined for more than I shall ever be, just as she is destined to marry your son.”
“I know,” Lance responded. “They shall continue they path that you and I begun.”
“Know this,” Em’s eyes sought out Lances. “Your boy ever gets out of line with my daughter, I will skin him alive and nail his sorry hide out by the front gate as a warning to any other male who thinks to trespass where they should not.”
“Noted,” Lance replied. “I would expect no less.”
“Good talk,” Em said as he opened the door for them to go inside.
“Good talk,” Lance replied as they both grinned at the path that now lay stretched out before them.
“I am never coming back here,” Bo said for the nth time. “This place gives me the creeps. Especially all these monkey socks. What the fuck?”
“And that woman coming outside nude,” Jack shuddered.
“And yet,” Bo’s voice was hushed, on the verge of hysteria, “ she did have on monkey socks.”
“Oh man,” Lamb shook all over. “If she is the trophy wife, I am fucking glad I am not a lawyer.”
“Stop it,” Jill snipped at them. “So, tonight has not turned out like we wanted. We still have some time. Everyone seems to be headed to the merry-go-round. That will give us some time to do some serious snooping. Get some pictures of that old hotel. If nothing else, maybe we’ll just get the lay of the land, wait until everyone goes to bed, watch for the locals on patrol and then add a few ghostly lights of our own. I am ready to break out of Shreveport. We have the technology to make this happen.”
“You mean fake shit?” Jack regarded his sister.
“Hey look, this is Bon fucking Temps. Yes, I mean fake shit. What do we care. We will make our bones with this town and then not look back. I say we fuck with this place and let the Area 51, wack-o tourists set up camp, here. If there are no spooks that wish to show themselves to us, then let the alien encounters start calling this place home.
Do you fuckers here that,” she snarled out into the night sky. “You fucking spooks had better show yourself right now, or your precious town is going to have an influx of real crazies of the Mother Ship, type. You can kiss your small town charm and quiet, good-bye.”
Chester wiggled his eyebrows at Wallace. It was game on!
When the howling started throughout town, there was snarling and rustling in the bushes next to them which caused all of them to back pedal away from the shrubbery. The wind began to screech as four small, Barbie doll size tornadoes formed with faces that spit blue ball lightning out at them. The mighty ghost hunters from Shreveport took off running for their car!
Bo, crying that none of this was funny and she just might have shit her pants!
Lamb was not going to stop long enough to take a picture of what was running down her leg or was chasing him! He was running for his life! He had been struck by that ball of blue lightning and it had cut right through him…causing his testicles to draw back up into his body!
Once the howling had stopped, the nightmare had started! Something so horrific filled the night sky above her that Jill thought she had been possessed. All she could do as she ran was stammer, “I do believe in ghosts…!”
Jack was the first one to the car. Fumbling with his keys, he was finally in and hit the lock, started the car and took off.
The neighborhood was all standing out on their porches as they listened to the tires squeal down the road as the man behind the wheel was screaming in panic. Nothing to be done now except to make the phone call. Grandma Crofter went inside and picked up her old black rotary phone.
“Officer Stackhouse,” she heard the comforting words on the other end of the line.
“Jason, this here is Grandma Sybil, ya’ll need to bring yourself on out here. I got three out of towners all caught up in my spider webs out in my yard. This is the third time this month. I’m glad I got those on sale and did not pay full price. There just might not be much of them left. Looks like you might have to cut them out of them the way it is.
And the way they are a’goin’ at each other, last time I heard that much cussin’ was when those nice FBI folks were leavin’ town. These three are caterwaulin’ and carrin’ on, I’m afraid they are gonna’ have themselves a heart attack. I’ve already been out once and poked them with my broom, trying to talk some sense into them, even offering them a popcorn ball, but that just made them scream louder. Can you send a squad car on out here? I’ve got the grandbabies who are gonna’ be back this way soonest.”
“Will do, Grandma Sybil, I am on my way.”
“Oh, and Jason, just be prepared. They have all shit themselves. I could smell it.”
“Bio hazard, got that,” Jason sighed. “I’ll have Andy drive me over and I’ll walk them back. Thanks for the heads up. And Grandma Sybil, you got any of those popcorn balls left? You always did make the best ones in town.”
“I got one here with your name on it Jason. You just come on.”
“We’ll be right there,” he said with genuine delight.
Jason hung up and rolled his eyes. “Good times,” he rolled them again. “We are here to protect and serve…even those out of towners that need to be someplace else when they go lookin’ for good times.
Clean up on aisle six….” Jason said out into the room.
“Who?” Andy asked.
“Grandma Berry said earlier that those ghost hunters out of Shreveport were here, lookin’ for a story. They were out in their alley and she outed them and sent them on their way. Sounds like it could be them.”
“Did I hear bio-hazard?” Kendra rolled her eyes.
“Yes, ma’am,” Jason said with all sincerity. “If you’ll hook up the hose out back, we’ll just have them strip down, hose’m down then bring’m inside to dry off and get dressed. Andy, if you will drive me over and I’ll walk them back.”
“Buyin’ things at the thrift store has worked out real well,” Kevin stood up and went over to the locker. “This is what, third time this month we’ve had bio-hazard ghost hunters.”
“We need to move this along,” Jason said as he stood up and grabbed his hand sanitizer. “Kiddos will be comin’ home once the merry-go-round shuts down at nine-thirty. We got to get these folks out of Grandma Sybil’s spider webs before her grandbabies come home. I could hear them yellin’ and cussin’ over the phone and someone was sobbing about never again are they doin’ Jack shit and callin’ all sorts of other foul names. Can’t have the babies that live on that street hearin’ that kind of nasty talk…”
“Jason, would you ask Grandma Sybil for a popcorn ball for me too, please?” Kevin asked as he rummaged around getting out towels. “When I saw her at the store buying popcorn yesterday, she told me if I had time to stop on by and get one. She’d put my name on it.”
“She does make a fierce popcorn ball,” Andy sighed. “Damn, I loved trick or treating at her house when I was a boy. Glad we are headed there now. Those were some good times…”