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.
The Waltz of the Ruby Slippers…a Halloween Story
Chapter The Only: Change out the furniture for Miss Stackhouse
The night of October the twenty first, Eric came into work and found etched into his office wall in Nordic Runes, It is your time to Waltz with the Ruby Slippers. Take good care of that body. On Samhain it is mine.
“Fuck,” he breathed out as he pulled up the security feed. As he watched the monitor, the wall in his office began to shimmer and looking through it he could see the skeleton and its bony index finger that reached out to write the message on his wall. When the last Rune had been placed, the green fire from the being’s eyes focused on him and grinned, a hundred teeth making the smile obscene. “I am coming for you.”
Staring intently at the bones that made up the figure until the being winked out, Eric closed the lid on his laptop and stared at the wall. “Well just fuck…” Taking out his phone, he dialed her number. Sookie Stackhouse. Pain in his ass. Hole in the middle of his head where his brain used to be. Guaranteed hard-on tits. Made him weak in the knees with the rest of the package. Fangs dropped, penis roared and he lost the ability to reason on a fuck’em and leave’em vampire level.
The little blonde telepath that had been enamored of Compton until Bill, Queen Sophie-Anne’s major ass kisser, had the great misfortune of being caught with his pants down around his ankles and doing his best to fuck Sookie’s cousin, Hadley, in the parking lot of Merlotte’s, no less. “Bill has no finesse and no dick to satisfy,” Eric chuckled while the phone rang.
Of course, just perhaps Pam had paid Hadley some money to come-on to Compton, but Billy had been more than willing to dip his cock in anything warm. When Sookie had taken out the garbage and caught them, well, that was just fucking perfect! “Some things you just cannot plan, although I come damn close,” he congratulated himself.
Bill pleading that he thought it was Sookie he was doing was just beyond belief. Him crying and blubbering and carrying on soon had everyone out of Merlotte’s and out back, watching the spectacular spectacle. “What a dumber than Were shit asshole,” Eric chuckled. “Like anyone could mistake the two of them.”
Thinking about her caused parts of him to heat up and King Eric started to stir in his pants. Thumping against his leg, Eric patted his boon companion back into place. “Are we going to see her?” King Eric pleaded.
“Yes, yes we are,” Eric replied as he eyes shifted back to the wall.
When she picked up and said, “Good evenin’ Eric,” he felt a smile cover his face as he sat back in his chair, adjusted King Eric one more time and began his story.
Sookie disconnected from the call. Eric…well one thing for sure, he enjoyed pissing people off. Apparently he could do that to the dead as well.
He was never dull, boring, or looking to pass the buck. He owned to his shit. And for a moment, while he was telling the story, she thought maybe he was even proud of himself.
“Even as a human he was larger than life,” she thought as she rolled her eyes. “And yet he still lives…” she rolled her eyes, again, and smiled despite herself.
“Time to talk to Lafayette.” Hitting one on her speed dial, from her living room she watched the moon rise above the trees.
When he picked up she began her story.
“Lordy,” Lafayette whispered, “and sweet Jesus save us. I will be right over.”
Sookie sat with her feet up on the love seat. Lafayette was sitting across from her. For the past hour they had been engaged in a staring contest.
“Sookie,” he began again. “Miss Sooks,” he was shaking his head. “This mo’ fo’er skeleton dude has not seen the light of skin and blood for a thousand years. What makes you think that your skinny blonde ass won’t be whats he is lookin’ to jump into…or just jump?”
“Lafayette,” she said quietly. “Gran is in re-hab. Doin’ better but her Medicare is gonna run out. Northman has promised me a blank check if I would just sit in with him and see if I could read anything from this…this…undead guy.
Gran’s stroke was…was…” she choked back the tears. “She is gonna need to continue rehabbin’. Maybe two more months of rehabbin’ and who knows how much longer. I want the money. I want a lot of money and I will try and listen into the devil himself if that gets me what I need.
Her hospital bill was three hundred thousand….” Sookie shook her head in disbelief. “My gawd….Lafayette, three hundred thousand for the hospital which thankfully Medicare is picking up. I have not yet received an Explanation of Benefits for the time spent in rehab. One hundred days is all she gets. We are on day ninety. She still needs a feeding tube on some days and how I am supposed to work and take care of her? I can’t leave her here by herself…to…to die,” she sobbed.
Reaching over he took her hand. “I knows you would not,” he said gently. “Stopped by yesterday to visit with her for a spell. Nothin’ wrong with her brain,” Lafayette said with a sure nod. “She recognized me when I sat with her and told her how good her roses were still lookin’. She was lookin’ real pleased about that.”
“No,” Sookie sighed and wiped her eyes. “Brain is good. Just the paralysis. She is getting stronger…but…but she needs more time in rehab. She has come a long way…but…”
“I gets it,” he nodded. “Believe me I do. I pay for Miss Thang to have someplace safe to be and for her meds to keep her on level ten, instead of screaming on level one-hundred.”
Sookie nodded in agreement and squeezed his hand in understanding.
There was not much to be done for this. Being poor sucked the big one just most of the time. Sookie could see no way out and Northman offered her a rope line. Whether it was to hang herself with was yet to be seen. “So,” his concentration was on the coffee table. “I see you been addin’ up the numbers. I sees your hen-scratchin’ over there on that legal pad. How much you askin’ for?”
“Couple of million,” she replied. “I figure it is gonna’ take one million just to get Gran back on her feet. I mean, to do it right and me just not comin’ home and doin’ what I can for her. Another million to take care of other medical bills and meds,” she shuddered, “that are sure to pop up. Medicine. Fuck me…” she sadly shook her head. “If you have any money, the meds, they eat it. In terms of Medicare medicine money, they call it the donut hole. You use up all your money, slide into it and there is no more money for meds until your next fiscal year. And her stroke medication…” Sookie shook her head. “I will never make enough money in my lifetime to pay for one month of that.”
“I know you need and I cans’t doubt your figures,” he let out a low whistle, “but millons. That is a mighty big chunk of change.”
Her face was fixed in that fuck with me and I will blow you ass off with my shotgun. “I will see just how serious Northman is. If he wants this, it is gonna’ cost him.”
“So you are gonna’ go tonight?” Lafayette could tell by the set of her shoulders. She wanted to be there already.
“Fuck yeah,” she nodded and took a deep breath. “Fuck yeah!”
Halloween…Samhein. Call it what you would. Seriously, it was one night a year he liked to take off and do nothing but watch the fights on TV. All respectable Supes took the night off. As in, stay at home, don’t open the door and let the night pass in peace!
Eric was still scowling at Pam. “Tell me again the reason we are open on All Hallow’s Eve. Because as much as I like the human’s money, I hate pandering to the crowds, clowns and conscious objectors.”
“Oh please my maker,” Pam was all business. “You know those protestors will not be out front on Halloween. They will be busy at home dressing their little angles as angels as they bitch about how the world has gone to hell in one of their expensive you can only purchase at a home party basket.
They may preach how evil comes out on Halloween,” she snickered, “but all those self righteous mommas and daddies, they all go through their little darlings candy bags when they are asleep.”
“How do you know that?” he asked, his eyes still mere slits.
“I stand at the windows and watch,” she replied as she took out her mirror and adjusted her lipstick. “Now, Miss Stackhouse is due to arrive at ten. You want me to switch out the furniture?”
“Yes, please,” he growled. “I want her to be as comfortable as possible. The small gold settee. The leather couch we used the last time swallowed her whole. Her feet could not even touch the floor. Include the throw pillows and the fur throw as well. In case she gets cold.”
“How bad is this?” Pam asked.
“How the fuck would I know,” he replied. “This evil bastard would make his way through my village. The last time he did, I was outside in a fire pit, covered in ash because I was just so cock sure of myself that I could survive where others did not.
And yes, survive I did. But he cursed me before he disappeared. By all that is unholy, I can see still those ruby slippers he was wearing,” Eric shuddered. “He reached down with his skeleton hand that was surrounded by all this lace and satin and yanked off the rubies that sat on them. I could hear the two jewels screaming to not be removed but he just laughed and began to juggle them. They will lead me to you and I shall come for them and you in a thousand years, he hissed as he threw them at me.
I have not seen the rubies before tonight. There, in the wall, where he left the message. Do you see them? The two rubies?”
“No,” she said as she went over to the wall and traced the Runes with her finger in the air, being careful not to touch them. “I do not,” she said turning to look at him. “You think your grandmother’s magic allows you to do so?”
“Yes,” he nodded. “That I do. But I was able to survive my encounter with him while Grandmother was still alive.”
Pam was considering her options. They were limited. If Eric fell…she shuddered at the thought. Just what did you fight a skeleton with? Apparently Eric thought Sookie had the answer. “I will get the furniture.”
He said nothing as he watched her go. Sookie would be here at ten. “Just name your price,” he sighed and felt better. “You can even have me.”
Eric was waiting for her in the parking lot. Opening her car door, he offered her his arm and escorted her to the back door where Pam was waiting to usher them in.
When Pam unlocked his office door they stepped in and Sookie turned and looked at him. “Must be really bad. I see you are pandering to the small blonde. Not that I don’t appreciate the furniture scaled more to my size. And it is just cold in here.”
“Please,” Eric walked her to the settee, “sit and cover up. I will bring the laptop over to you.”
Sookie’s eyes scanned the walls. “Those Runes, that the message he left?”
“Yes,” Eric nodded.
“Are those…those some type of jewels embedded in that wall? They look like eyes.”
Eric had a moment. So did Pam.
“You can see them?”
“Yes,” Sookie got up off the settee and walked over. “I can. Why, is that remarkable?”
“Pamela cannot,” was all he said.
“Oh,” she responded. “I would paint over those. It feels like I am being watched.”
Eric arched both eyebrows. “Wood ash and water. Make a paste,” as Pam disappeared and then reappeared with a glass full of smoldering ash and a knife.
“We have a fire in the club, tonight. Helps set the Halloween mood,” was all she said as she went over to the wall. “Where?” she asked looking from Eric to Sookie.
“Here,” Eric said holding out his hand to take the glass from her.
“Can you do those Runes as well?” Sookie asked. “I swear, it looks like they are vibratin’ or somethin’.”
“Can do,” Pam replied. “I’ll be right back with more.”
Sookie watched as Eric spackled. “That’s interestin’,” she said coming over to stand next to him. “That Rune, you need to cover it again. I still see a tiny bit of a glow around the bottom edge.”
“Most excellent,” Eric commented, trying to keep the mood somewhere between fun house carnival and the house of death.
“Good, here comes Pam with more ash. Once all is covered satisfactorily, we can begin. So tell me Miss Stackhouse, what amount am I to make the check?”
“I need a couple of million,” she said watching him as he filled in the last two Runes. “My Gran had a stroke. Her Medicare is about to run out. She needs lots of care, still.”
“Medical expenses,” Eric nodded as he handed the glass to Pamela. “What you really need is three mil. One third is going to go for taxes. Just count on that. Now, do you know the Purple Heart Thrift Store?”
“Yes,” she nodded, “I shop there all the time.”
“Good. Tomorrow night there will be a man there by the name of Samuel. He works there. He will show you The Book of Urizen by William Blake. Take it to the counter and purchase it. Then we will auction it off at Sotheby’s. This will explain your windfall and no relatives will come clamoring for their share of the family fortune.”
“Okay,” she breathed out and gave a small nod. “Now, you tell me what you want me to do.”
“Tonight, we are going to watch the video of when all this happened. I want your take on it.”
“Can do,” she replied. “It is really cold in here,” she shivered. “Is it alright if I sit down on the settee?”
“Please do, and cover up. Get warm and we shall start.”
Sookie wrapped the fur throw around herself and snuggled in. Eric sat down next to her with his laptop and tucked her in as well.
“Now, stop me anytime you notice anything or have a question or just need me to stop. As far as skeletons go, I guess he is not so ugly. It is just a little odd to see one dressed in silks and satins and wearing a crown and ruby slippers.”
“Ruby slippers,” Sookie stifled a laugh. “Is he from OZ?”
“Where?” Pam asked.
“The Wizard of Oz,” Sookie turned to her. “It is a series of books. But everyone knows the movie. You know, in the book, the slippers were silver. I believe when they were enchanted they became red. But Hollywood had problems filming the silver shoes, so they just rolled with red.”
“What?” Pam was looking askew at Sookie with a furrowed brow.
Sooke shrugged. “When vampires came out and ratted out all the other Supes, you were the ones that said all the fairy tales were based in some type of reality. I am just pointing out that maybe the shoes were as well. After all, this guy, and by the way, we need to name him, he wears ruby slippers. I find that just a bit odd.”
“Pam,” Eric looked at her.
“On that,” she nodded and poof she was gone.
“She has gone to her office to do research. Now, if you are ready, let us begin.”
“I’m ready,” she nodded as she burrowed deeper under the throw.
As the wall began to dissolve and the skeleton became visible, she asked. “What is he doing?”
“What?” Eric responded and stopped the feed.
“What is he doing? There is some type of movement to his body. A rhythm.”
Eric backed it up and started it again. “You are correct, Miss Stackhouse. He seems to be moving in a 3/4 time. One, two, three, one two three…he is waltzing,” Eric mused. “That was his message. That it would be my time to waltz in the ruby slippers.”
“Okay,” she nodded, “so he is dancing. I wonder what that means, if anything.”
“Ready to move on?” Eric asked.
“Yes, hit it.”
“Lord have mercy,” she shuddered as the skeleton came into view. “Look at all those teeth. That is not human normal.”
“Not even close,” Eric nodded.
“I wonder why he uses his finger and not his nail to write the message with?” Sookie said as she leaned in closer.
“What?” Eric asked.
“Watch his hand. He is not using his nail but the pad of his index finger.”
“I had not noticed that,” Eric nodded. “Good catch.”
“Thanks,” she said. “We must be getting closer to the end. I am getting cold.”
“What?” Eric asked stopping the feed and looking at her.
“The more that I can see of him the colder I get. I am shivering on the inside, now. Feels like all the warmth has been drained out of me.”
“Not that I am warm, but,” he said as he put the laptop on the coffee table and opened up his arms. “If you want to push in next to me, just the comfort of being with someone can help fight the demons that knock at your door.”
“You sound like you speak from experience,” her teeth started to chatter.
“I do. As a Viking, there were many things that went bump in the night. We locked our doors and huddled together, swords by our sides.
I have, as vampire perhaps taken on more than I should. I am still here because I had friends that stood by my side to help me fight off the demons.”
“Demons,” Sookie eyed him. “Are we speaking figuratively, here?”
“I know not,” Eric answered. “There is evil in this world Miss Stackhouse. Evil that I cannot explain. Such as this one that stalks me now. Is he a demon? I know not. Is he evil. Yes.”
“I would welcome pushin’ in next to you,” her voice was earnest. “I want a really good look at him when he says he is coming for you. And I really do not want a good look at him. So if I try and hide behind you, just give me the moment.”
“Can do,” Eric felt a smile form on his face. “You are just liable to find me hiding back there with you.”
The first time Sookie watched the end she just kept repeating…”He looked right at the camera. Oh gawd, he looked right at the camera…”
Eric tightened his arms around her. “Yes, he did,” was all he had in the way of an answer.
When it had ended they sat huddled together for long moments. Eric wondering what it meant to be just a skeleton that danced in ruby slippers while someone else owned his body.
“You know,” she finally unwrapped her arms from around his chest, “I feel warmer, now. Just about human normal. Isn’t that strange. Let’s watch it again and see if I react any differently.”
After the fifth time, Sookie sat up in Eric’s lap. “So, you waited in a fire pit, covered in wood ash for him to come stalking through your village. He had taken others, but always left their clothes, to include their foot wear. And he had on the ruby slippers the night you saw him.”
“Yes,” Eric nodded.
Sookie was thoughtful. “Vampires, creepy crawlies, who does, Weres, and now this guy, all react to wood. So let’s just lump all Supes under allergic to wood.”
“Let’s,” Eric nodded.
“So, if he does not like wood, when he comes callin’, have your office done in wood. Floors, paneling, furniture…you know, the real stuff, none of the processed. All done like it would have been back in your day.”
“Raw wood,” Eric could see it now. “Straight from the mill.”
“Yes,” Sookie looked around. “You have a nice space here but seriously, you keep cheap tequila and rose water and pickles on a shelving unit in your office?”
“Why,” he chuckled. “It shows my queen just how poor I am.”
“Well, maybe you need to step up your game a bit. I mean, not Library of Congress kinda grand but something more than a log cabin with vending machines.”
“Crown moulding do you think?” he chuckled.
“Well yes,” she nodded. “And I know you are laughin’ at me, but yes. I love crown moulding. Just finishes the room.”
“Crown moulding it is, then,” Eric smiled at her. “Now, do you want to watch it one more time?”
“Yes,” she responded as she blew a lot of air out of her mouth. At that time, the wall that had been patched shook. The second and third blow landed in rapid succession.
“Damn, scared me,” she said as she pulled the cover more tightly around her.
Pam stuck her head in the door. “The wood ash holding?” she asked as she headed toward the wall.
“All looks to be good, but I am mixing another round.”
They both watched her as she walked out.
“What?” Sookie asked as Eric settled back onto the settee.
“She’s scared. I have never known Pamela to be afraid. This has her rattled.”
“And you?” Sookie asked.
“I have known this day was coming. I am just a bit surprised that I am still alive to see it.”
Pam returned with more mortar and this time she had a trowel. When she finished she came over and sat down next to Eric and then pushed into him. “Go ahead, play it,” she nodded. “I am ready to watch it now.”
Eric put his arm around Pam and with Sookie on his lap, both of her arms wrapped around him with his chin resting on her head he thought his life was just about fucking perfect if it was not for the fact in ten days this thing was coming for him and he did he honestly think that hiding behind a layer of wood ash was going to slow this fucker down.
“Did he dance through your village?” Sookie asked. Eric was pulled back to the moment. Her warmth melting into him made all this worth it…so far…
“I don’t know,” he replied. “I was hunkered down in a fire pit trying not to scream my head off. It is some kind of vibe he gives off. Scares you into doing things you never thought you would.”
“Like the pounding on the wall,” she nodded. “That was really creepy but there was nothing over riding that.”
“Correct. Just a tactic to scare you. Or maybe not. Maybe that is just him being pissed off because he cannot see through the wall.”
“Now there is a thought,” Sookie nodded. “Like a three year old child who throws a temper-tantrum when they cannot get their way.”
“So that was not to scare us?” Pam asked looking around Eric.
“Maybe not,” he shrugged. “Maybe he is just pissed off by being thwarted.
“So why…”Sookie paused. “So where has he been?”
“Don’t know, but if you are asking why he has not been walking through cities and taking people, I think it has to do with the fact that the rubies have been off his slippers. I think he did not realize that when he threw them at me. Remember the rubies were begging and pleading not to be separated from the shoes. So I think he did not understand the full value or the power of the shoes.”
“Got it,” Sookie nodded. “He’s back because he can now locate the rubies and they are close to being returned to the shoes.”
“Something like that,” Eric replied while he absentmindedly stroked her back.
“Anything else here to be learned?” Pam asked.
“No,” Eric replied. “The hour is late and I am seeing Sookie home. Pamela, if you would drive her car, once you have parked it in her drive, you are excused for the rest of the old dark.
I will call Herveaux and get him in here starting tomorrow morning and then leave a message for Ginger to let him in.
Sookie, if you would give Pam your address, she will log it into her GPS and your car will be there when you rise in the morning. Remember, thrift store tomorrow night at seven-thirty. Samuel will be there with the book. After you purchase it, he will be waiting for you in the parking lot to take it from you. Now, let me get you home. It will be cold flying. I am going to wrap you up like so,” and lifting her into his arms, they were out of his office, down the hall and out into the night.
Pam stood and watched as they lifted off. “He just never stops,” she mused. “Even with death and destruction wanting to claim him, he is still trying to get the female into bed.” She stopped and smiled. “Good plan, I need to work that myself.”
With Sookie’s keys in hand she walked out into the parking lot. “Time to get this junker home. Damn, I hope after she pays those medical bills there is enough money left over to buy a new car. Wait one,” she paused. “Hours there are before sunup. I bet Bill is lurking in her yard. Tonight just might be the night,” as she took to the air.
Bill Compton had been lurking around Merlotte’s all night, reliving the moment he had seduced that sweet, sweet, Hadley and wondering just where in the Hell his sweet, sweet Sookie was? It was not like to her miss work. Especially now with Gran not doing well. What was she going to do for gas money when he needed her to drive him to Shreveport? He depended on her tip money to get him where he needed to go.
After Merlotte’s closed, he was now lurking around her yard. When he got tired of lurking from afar, he decided to lurk from up close. He was now sitting on her front porch swing. When she pulled in and her car lights hit him, that would make a clear statement! Just where the hell had she been until all hours and he was here waiting…on…her. William T. Compton, vampire, was here waiting on her!
“She possible cannot still be upset,” he mused. “After all, I am vampire and my needs are great. And her denying me her body is without precedent. No woman denies me her body. Only my sweet Caroline when she had the headache. Or was bleeding…or was tired from birthing my children…or had to help in the fields. Or her hands were so badly blistered from scraping corn. I hated it when one of the slaves would take ill and die. But she would gladly step in and do what must be done to see to the continuation of the fine running of my household. She was a real treasure, my Caroline,” he sniffled. “Always understanding how I must look my best in order to receive our guests that might drop by at any minute. And how work must be done and as the lady of the house it was her job to well…see to it that the work got done. Of course, she was always tired after working in the fields and I had to find release out in the barn…”
There was a disturbance in the night sky and then Northman landed with…with…Sookie in his arms!
“Get the hell off my porch,” she hissed as Eric set her on the ground.
With a yelp, Bill stood and began his backward march down the steps and into the yard.
“Northman,” the disgust sounded in his voice. “What are you doing here?”
“Better question Bill, what are you doing here? I heard you fucked her cousin out by the trash dumpster at Merlotte’s. What, cannot even take them home…oh…that’s right, the dumpster at Merlotte’s is cleaner than your home.”
“You degenerate sex maniac. The only reason you are here is to seduce my sweet Sookie.”
“Your sweet what?” she yelled at him. “Eric,” she turned to Northman and smiled sweetly. “Do you have anything on you that shoots a silver bullet. Because,” she glared at Bill, “I would like to put one right through his heart.
Now get the hell off my land,” she was yelling, again, “and do not ever come back.”
“That only works for your house…” Bill said looking very smug before he began a backward trek from her front yard out into the road, complaining loudly about how this was all Were shit and impossible. “What would your gran say about the way you treat your guests?” he was finally whining as he was pushed out into the graveyard. “I am an honored guest in your home,” he yelled as he kicked at the ground and found himself standing in front of his sweet Caroline’s tombstone. Sobbing, he kneeled down on her grave and began to dig. When he hit her casket he broke through and pulled it up into the night. “My sweet wife,” he wept as he finished pulling the lid off and then took a step back. “What the fuck?” he gasped. “What the fuck?” he yelled. “What the fuck?” he screamed. There was his sweet Caroline, the lower half of her skeleton without clothing and on top of her was some man who had on no pants. There arms entwined about each other, locked in a lover’s embrace! “Just what the fuck…” he cried, bloody tears running down his checks as he sank to his knees. “Could she grace me with a down and dirty before I went off to war. Hell no, she had a soirée in my honor instead. Toasting me out the door and onto my horse and waving me down the lane wishing me God speed with her mouth instead of sucking on old Nub. I was done wrong and now…now…Were shit, that is the Queen calling me. My phone must have fallen into the grave.”
Frantically he shoved aside the grave dirt. When he found it his phone went silent.
“Were shit,” he sniffled. “She hates it when I don’t pick up on the first ring. How am I going to explain this? Not even blood sucking is more important than speaking to her. I am in deep Were shit! Maybe I can tell her my phone was broken in a fight to the death with an unknown. But then,” tears fell faster, “I would have to break my phone and purchase a new one.” Kneeling to the ground, his phone cradled in his hands, he placed it on the dirt and picking up a rock smashed it.
“You whore,” he hissed at his wife. “You fucking whore! You are still costing me money!”
With a swipe at his bloody eyes and standing, he headed for home.
Pam was laughing so hard she had her fist shoved into her mouth and was now rolling on the ground. “Glad I captured that with my phone,” she shrieked in silent glee. “My gawd…who knew!” Walking over to the happy couple on the ground, she grinned. “Damn, they make some good plastic these days,” and she gave a little hop of joy! “Best one yet! Not only is Compton stupider than Were shit, just as we all knew, he really is stupider than Were shit which was just proved.
Well fuck….” she sighed, “back to business,” as she collected the two fake skeletons and thought about the best place to station them on Compton’s porch. “After all, what good is it if he does not know he smashed his phone for nothing. Then…” she did laugh out loud as she took out her lipstick and wrote The Viking’s Child wishes herself a fuck filled Happy Halloween on both skeletons. “What good does it do for him to not know who sends him such joyous greetings?” With a chuckle and a skip in her step, she started for Compton’s, hoping to do her very worst.
Eric and Sookie were sitting out on her front porch steps, listening to the racket coming from the cemetery. “That Pam,” Eric rolled his eyes and told her what his child had done. “Mrs. Compton is still in her original coffin. Pam just dug her a little deeper and put the two lovers on top. Any time she gets to fuck with Billy Boy, she is a happy child.”
“How happy is she going to be if you are slammed into a pair of ruby slippers and a skeleton?”
“Are you always about business, Miss Stackhouse?” he asked her pushing a strand of hair behind her ear.
“Look, I get it,” she replied, looking in his eyes. “You have been alive for so long you can laugh and joke and pull elaborate practical jokes. You have seen and done multiple times and can just keep workin’ it until you get it right. My life is short and when business calls, I have to answer. I may only have this one chance to get it right. Humans do not always get to have enough time for do-overs.”
“Noted,” he nodded.
“I have a copy of the movie The Wizard of Oz. Do you want to come in and watch it?”
“Yes, thank you. That would be most helpful,” Eric held the screen door open for her.
“Eric Northman won’t you please come in,” she said as she unlocked the door and stepped inside.
“Thank you,” he bowed his head. “I am honored.”
They watched the movie without speaking and then watched it again, Sookie interjecting how it was different from the books.
“There is a Witch of the South. She/he is not really talked about.
Now this thing that is stalking you,” she was thoughtful. “You said that when you were human, you would find the male’s clothes. All of them to include the shoes. And they would be neatly folded.
What man leave clothes neatly folded? I hear enough women bitchin’ about how guy stuff is tossed everywhere. My brother is a perfect example of that. And…and always takes the captured male nude? Almost sounds like he is being previewed. Perhaps if he does not meet the standard, she just eats him right there and does not carry him off.
And the dancing…? I know some guys love to dance. But while they are working? I can see a woman dancing all the time before I could a male. Shoot sometimes Gran and I would check out a video from the library and learn a new dance step. And sometimes I dance around the kitchen while I am cookin.
Do you have any male friends that dance around while they are doin’ stuff?”
Eric gave that some thought. Jules was a dance instructor he had known for the past twenty years. Not even he did that. His movements were fluid and graceful, but he certainly did not waltz everywhere. “So maybe it really is a female we are dealing with?” Eric responded.
“I would say yes,” was her reply. “Four sisters, one for each compass point, one for each element. Earth, fire, water, air. In the books they talk about how they fear the dark. So maybe air can also equal dark. And let’s say one element kills one of the sisters if applied properly.
The house falls through the air and creates a dark place for the East Witch to die. The Witch of the West is killed by water.
Since this one fears wood ash, I would say fire, perhaps would do the trick.”
“We will prep for fire until we know differently,” Eric was now planning this one’s defeat. His mind ticking through their weapons arsenal. “When she comes for me, she will not enter into my office because of all the wood. Miss Stackhouse, if perhaps you would be waltzing with me out in the club. I can see you dressed as Marie Antoinette. Or something similar. I will get your measurements to Madame Vedo. And somewhere, there has to be a pair of glass slippers. And if not, I am sure Stuart Weitzman has a pair of diamond studded ones that will pass for the occasion.” Her eyes told the story of her soul. She was not afraid and she was determined. But he had to ask.
“You sure you still want to do this?”
“Yes,” Sookie nodded. “We have an agreement. I am not one to break my word. Just as I trust you do not either. I want the money to take care of my Gran. If I don’t survive this, can you set it up to make Lafayette Reynolds the trustee or whatever of the money. And he will take care of Gran.”
Eric paused. “You trust your friend a great deal.”
“I have trusted him with a lot more. When Gran starts to get better, maybe there will be enough left over so he can take care of his momma, as well. She is also in a home. I’ll talk to him and explain. If you would just make this happen. I’ll text you my measurements.”
Eric knew when he had been dismissed and could take the hint. She would not be asking him to hold the tape measure around her lovely bosom. That would come later. He had to woo her. This would be no clumsy effort at seduction. What she must have endured at the hands of Compton! And Bill had not gotten very far…Eric hid his grin. That young woman had a great deal of self esteem. She was not one to jump into bed with any male that looked her way.
“Will do. After you pick up the book, I’ll be by at around eleven if you don’t mind with all the particulars. If you could have Mr. Reynolds here at that time, we will use his biometrics as well to show him how to open the account.”
“Thanks,” Sookie let out a big sigh. “I feel a thousand percent better already.”
“Until tomorrow night then, Miss Stackhouse,” Eric picked up her hand and kissed it. With a bow and a flourish he was out the door and up into the sky.
When Eric left, she called Lafayette and explained to him what was going to take place.
“I am comin’ over,” he grumped at her. “You puttin’ your life in danger! His La La Fineness wants this face-to-face!”
Lafayette sat in silence as Sookie explained what was going to take place.
“No,” he said at the end of the explanation. “I cannot do that’s. Not right. You can’t be trustin’ me with that much money.”
“How dare you say that,” she was weeping. “You are honest and true and your heart is so good. Lafayette I am countin’ on you to do this, to take care of Gran. You are one of her grandkids, Lafayette, don’t you dare leave her to rot someplace by herself.
And there will be plenty for you to take care of your momma as well. You stop workin’ three jobs and see to the women who loved us the best they knew how. You will do right by them, I know you will.”
Rubbing his hands all over his face he poured himself a shot of tequila. Threw it back and then sadly shook his head. “You survive this,” he said pointing his finger at her. “I ams workin’ the lunch shift for Sam, today. I gets off at seven thirty. You calls me when you are home from Shreveport and I will comes on over.”
“It’s a deal,” she wiped her eyes and then going over to him sat down in his lap, wrapped herself around him and together they cried in gratitude.
As promised, at seven-thrity, Sookie was inside the Purple Heart Thrift Store. It was just like Eric had said. There she was in the book section when an employee went about straightening the books and then handed one to her.
“Thank you,” she mouthed.
“Miss Sookie,” he mouthed back, “you are more than welcome.”
Walking with the book to the check out, she paid the seventy-five cents that it was marked and once it had been bagged she headed out side.
By her car was the employee that had given it to her. “I am Eric’s brother, Samuel,” he smiled at her as he extended his hand and shook hers.
“Thanks for doin’ this,” she handed him the bag.
“No, Miss Sookie, thank you. Eric gets himself into all types of situations and manages to extradite himself. But sometimes he needs a little help. I have already talked to him tonight and he said your words and knowledge of Oz has been most helpful. I am very grateful. We shall chat more later tonight. If you do not mind, I would love to sit face-to-face with you and your Lafayette. Just makes things easier. Especially setting up the biometrics.”
“That would be fine. I am supposed to meet Eric at eleven. Does that work for you?”
“Indeed it does,” he smiled and raising her hand to his lips, kissed it. “Until then,” he smiled at her and helped her into the car.
“Thanks, really,” she nodded as she got in. “I appreciate this.”
“My pleasure,” was all he said as he grinned through the glass and she started the car and motored off.
Samuel took out his phone and called Eric. “The book is in play. We will set up the accounts tonight and activate them once the book is auctioned. This should take no longer than three days.”
“Perfect,” Eric was watching the wall in his office vibrate. They had dry walled over the Runes and rubies. “The wood flooring got laid today along with the tray ceiling. Not the walls. Those are tomorrow. I believe that there is an on going temper-tantrum being played out in another dimension. Or where ever she calls home. She is mightily pissed off.”
Eric turned his phone so Samuel could see the ripples that were skating across the new drywall.
“Indeed. I will see you at eleven,” Samuel grinned.
Eric did a double take. “You going to Sookie’s?”
“Indeed I am,” the smile got bigger. “I met her and I am intrigued. She has worked off and on for you for over a year now. I think we are long past due a sit down chat.”
“Perhaps,” Eric smiled. “Until eleven,” as he shut down his phone and turned his attention to his child.
Pam was watching the wall. “I glamoured the Were,” she told him as she continued to watch it ripple. “Told him we had been hit by a car. That is why we needed the re-work and why we did the patch job. We did that in a hurry to keep honest folks honest. I told him today he got the rock-work done on the outside wall. Just in case someone comes asking,” she eyed her maker.
“Most excellent,” Eric nodded. “Drunks,” his voice held disdain. “Our Queen,” he took on a serious and yet I am your subject voice, “we were just fortunate that when the car busted through our wall they did not hit the shelves that held the stock. That would have been more money lost.”
“Yes,” Pam nodded. “She hates it when money is lost. Especially money that could have been her money.”
“Yes,” Eric grinned. “Now, Gervaise is coming in at nine. He wants to talk about splitting the cost of the guards for the New Year’s to-do at the Queen’s residence. This is going to be a short conversation. Area One is hosting, Area One is covering the cost. If he wants money from Area Five, I am going to refer him to Compton.”
“Good one,” Pam chuckled. “Where are you taking the meeting?”
“I’ll be out front in my chair. If he wants more privacy than that, we will come back here. If the wall shakes, I will just tell him with the repair work came a ghost.”
“Really?” Pam eyed him.
“Really,” Eric grinned. “Might as well speak the truth as we know it.”
“Boo,” Pam said as she got up to leave. “I’m on the floor. See you in a few.”
Eric switched into a tight pair of jeans and an even tighter Fangtasia t-shirt. “Time to go to work,” he sighed to the wall. Then, “Behave yourself,” as he slipped his shoes back on and headed for the front.
Gervaise was a non-event. No he did not want to sit out front and be stared at. Who enjoyed that?
They stepped into Eric’s office and he presented his case for splitting the cost. If Eric would go in with him all the other sheriffs would chip in as well.
“No,” was all Eric said.
“Had to try,” the Sheriff of Area One sighed. “I thought maybe face to face might help.”
As he stood to go he looked around Eric’s office. “Glad to see you spent a little money on your office space. I can now tell you how embarrassed I was for you to know you were conducting business in a storage room that had a desk shoved into it.”
“Were owed me a favor,” Eric grinned. “Or I would still be in that store room.”
“Figures,” Gerviase rolled his eyes. “Every one owes you a favor. Compton said it was a real shame that the car that crashed through the wall did not take your head off. He fancies your job,” the other sheriff chuckled. “I’d just let him do it. He’d be dead after the first old dark and it would solve a lot of our problems.”
Eric grinned. “Billy Boy, he is not very original in his sentiments towards me.”
“See you New Year’s,” Gervaise said standing. “Until then walk well in the dark and trust no cocksuker during the day.”
“The same to you and yours,” Eric responded as the younger vampire stood and was out the door.
Eric would sit for thirty more minutes out in his chair. Then he was changing into business casual and heading for Sookie’s.
The meeting at Sookie’s went well. Samuel was very straight forward about the money, where it went, what it did and how much interest it would earn. Who could access it, when and from where.
Eric had positioned himself across from Sookie so he could watch her as Samuel discussed business. She was shocked, appalled, embarrassed and grateful. But there was no fear when they discussed what was expected on the night of All Hallow’s Eve.
Lafayette had said nothing the entire time. It was obvious that he was worried for Sookie and astounded at the business that was going on around him. That he would be a custodian if anything happened to Sookie made him weep. It was easy to gauge the man. He loved Sookie, Gran, and his mother. And he thought that he could not be trusted. Samuel had explained to him how the accounts would be monitored closely even when Sookie did return. The whole point of this was to provide care for Gran and his mother. Not to purchase the most expensive car made and throw the money away on frivolous things.
When it was over, Eric walked Lafayette out to his car and watched Samuel take off into the night. When he turned around, Sookie was sitting on the porch swing, wrapped up in a blanket.
Walking up he sat down next to her. “I have ordered your dresses and shoes. We will be waltzing all evening until she shows up. I have decided to call her Mabel.”
“Mabel,” Sookie chuckled. “Such an ordinary plain Jane name for one so old and dangerous.”
“Yes,” Eric’s smile got bigger. “How could you possibly fear a Mabel?”
“Good decision,” she took his hand and brought it up to her lips and placed a kiss there. “Thank you,” she wrapped both hands around his. “Thank you,” she said softly as she began to weep.
Putting his arms around her, he pulled her in close. “You are going to be fine. We have a plan,” he lifted her chin up so he could see into her tear-streaked eyes. “Now perhaps we should practice our waltzing.”
“Oh,” she brightened. “That would be lovely. I have never danced with a guy, before. This should be fun.”
And Eric, who had waltzed his way across the continent for a thousand years and had seduced just as many women while doing so, brought her hand to his lips, placed a kiss there and then escorted her inside as he slowly and carefully consider his hand placement.
Moving the furniture out of the way, Eric cued up the music on his phone and the waltzing lessons began.
“You are a good dancer,” he said more than once as they glided across the floor.
“Thanks,” she smiled. “I love to dance. Gran and I would have dance nights when I had the night off. We’d splurge and have a bit of chocolate and maybe share a glass of wine when I got older. The library keeps up with all the newest dance lessons and the old classics as well. Gran loves to dance,” she nodded. “I…”her voice caught, “I just want her to be able to do that again.”
“You are an exceptional person, Sookie Stackhouse,” he said, his voice serious.
“No, I just love who I love and want the best for them, nothing exceptional about that.”
“Oh,” Eric shook his head and he spun her around the room. “You would be surprised at just how exceptional that is. Now, I will be back every evening and we shall rehearse. Vedo is working on your dresses. They should be ready in a couple of days. Then we will practice with you in the full regalia to include shoes and hair. All must be believable.
Tell the shifter that you have a new job and that is taking care of your Gran.”
“Okay,” she nodded. “I will.”
At an hour before sunrise, Eric took to the sky. She was sublime. And wise. And lovely. And smart. And he could not get enough.
Sookie called Sam and left a message that she would not be back anytime soon.
Heading upstairs to bed she heard the first bird announce that sunrise was on its way. “Gonna’ sleep, today,” she yawned as she made her was up the stairs. “Maybe all day. Damn, he is a good dancer!” she smiled. “I wonder if he kisses as well as he dances?” Shocked she stopped in mid step. “Where the fuck did that come from?” she yelped out loud. “Shit, Sookie,” she pinched herself. “None of that. Now we will brush our teeth and go to bed.”
Each evening, Sookie’s waltzing got better and Eric perhaps became a bit more….well Eric. His smile was genuine, his hands holding hers while they danced were steady, sure and re-assuring. Was he horny? Well yes! Did he want her? Well hell yes! Was he going to survive this lower than Were shit creature that had the audacity to stalk him? Fuck yeah!
On the forth night their clothing arrived.
“Eric…?” she called out from upstairs, concern in her voice. “Ahhhhh, would you help me please.”
When he appeared at the door she had on a robe. “What is all this and where does it goes and how does it stay up?”
“Well,” he began as he stepped into her bedroom, “we should start with the chemise. That is the layer that lies closest to your skin. This one is silk. Put this on,” he said turning his back and hoping for a glimpse of her in the mirror, “and you shall be very decent and we shall proceed from there. I should have brought Pam,” he sighed, “to help you do this.”
“No,” she turned her head to look at him. “Seriously, she makes me uncomfortable. I know she does not approve of me and that because I am your employee we should not be…well…socializing. Not that we are really socializing. This is work, after all. Ahhhh,” she picked up the corset, “we…we are not socializing are we? I mean…” she stammered a bit and blushed. “I almost feel like I should be paying you. This past week has been fun. I mean that. I love to dance and you are a great dancer and this has been,” her voice slowed as she ran her hand across the brocade of the dress, “this has been the most fun I think I have ever had.”
Eric said nothing, just turned toward her and took a step. Raising her hand to his lips he placed a passion filled kiss, there.
“Ask me anything,” he said, his eyes searching hers.
“Do you kiss as well as you dance?” the words slipped out and she blushed as she lightly bit her lower lip.
“You would be the one to decide that,” he took another step towards her and placing his hands on her face, he carefully kept his body a hair’s breath from hers so that only his lips would influence her. Ever so lightly and gently his lips suckled her bottom lip and then her top. When his mouth enveloped hers she sighed and melted into him.
When she opened her lips to him, he took a step back and gently broke off the kiss.
“Let me help you get dressed,” his voice was slow and lazy, his eyes the blue liquid of desire. “The dance tonight will be different, because of the clothing. Tomorrow night we shall add the shoes but only one major obstacle at a time.”
“Did the kiss become a major obstacle?” she asked, watching his face.
“No,” he shook his head.
“Okay…good, because that was …not fun,” she smiled, “but very nice. I love to dance…” she blushed, “apparently I love kissing as well. New very pleasant
experiences…it just adds to this perfect week.” Thoughtfully, we picked up his hand and studied it. “So strong, so capable,” she observed. Her eyes met his. “Eric, we are going to survive this, right?”
“Yes, oh yes,” he nodded as he turned her around and put on her corset.
“Good,” she was lost in thought. “Because if I thought we were not, I would ask you if you would mind having sex with me. I find I do not want to die without experiencing that as well.”
Eric felt King Eric give his leg a resounding wallop! Crossing his eyes and biting his lip, he helped Sookie get dressed.
It was still two hours until sunrise. They had spent the night waltzing and now they were doing The Lindy. Sookie had adapted to the dress. Learned its in and outs and how her balance had shifted a bit. She was easy to dance with. Since the kiss…she was sumptuous and divine and very easy to dance with her body next to his her hands small yet strong inside of his.
When the song ended Eric escorted her back upstairs to her bedroom. Without blushing or any awkward moments, she turned her back for him to help her undress.
“Have you had sex with a lot of women?” she asked.
His fingers were on a button when he hesitated, but only for a second.
“Yes,” he replied.
“Even before you were a vampire? As a human?”
“The women in a Viking village could hire a lawyer just the same as a man and demand justice. They saw themselves as equals. So if I was invited to a single woman’s bed, as a rule, I did not refuse.
Then, once I was made vampire, sex excites the blood and makes it hot, salty, and very satisfying. The blood is flooded with all the hormones that come into play during sex and takes blood to a whole new level.”
“So you really like to have sex and then feed, is that right?” she asked.
“Yes,” he answered.
“Thanks for treating me like a lady,” she said turning to look at him. “I figured you must have been with a lot of women. You just have a certain way about you. Relaxed, kind, patient, accommodating.
Compton had no way at all about him. No manners really to speak of, even for a Southerner. And the way he treated women. You could tell, equality was a foreign concept to him. I don’t think he believes anyone is his equal.”
“Why Miss Stackhouse,” a layer fell to the floor, “you describe Bill perfectly.”
“Turn your back for a second while I slip on my jeans and sweatshirt.
Okay,” she smiled up at him as she took his hand and headed downstairs. “I am ready to see you out the door.”
Opening the front door, she tiptoed up and kissed him lightly on the lips. “Thanks for a wonderful evenin’,” she smiled as she placed her hands on his chest. “Truly, the best part of my life so far.”
“Well,” Eric grinned, “with the new dark we add the shoes. Who knows what marvel will be revealed.”
“I know,” she giggled, and looked embarrassed. “I don’t know that I have ever giggled in my entire life. But I gotta tell you I can’t wait!”
Pam was waiting for Eric when he arrived home.
“How goes the dancing lessons?” she asked.
“Good. Actually very well. Tonight it was with the dress. Tomorrow we shall add the shoes.”
Pam said nothing as she showed him the different dresses and shoes for him to choose from for Sookie to wear.
“Vedo outdid herself,” he nodded when he picked up the ice blue dress that matched the shirt he would wear All Hallow’s Eve.
“When it is for you, my maker, she always outdoes herself. Compton was nosing around the outside of her shop tonight. Just you know, lounging about on the bench there on the sidewalk…like he fucking belongs there. Chatting to whoever passes by and holding his own little version of court.”
“He was sorely disappointed when I only carried out well…nothing,” she chuckled.
“Awww, nothing to report back to the Queen. Well yes,” he fopped Bill’s voice, “I saw The Viking’s child going into Vedo’s. And then coming out of Vedo’s. She must be much poorer than we suspected. She had nothing. Not even a hat box.” They both had a good laugh and then Eric was back to business. “You have what you need?”
“Oh yes,” she nodded, “and they shall be stashed all over the club. Now, Vedo is still working on your cape and other gentlemanly apparel. She says not to worry. It will be ready by the end of the week and well before Samhain.”
“I never doubted,” Eric said as he continued his inventory of Sookie’s 18th century wardrobe.
Each night, as more clothes were added, they became more relaxed with each other. With each new layer there was an added feeling of intimacy. Eric was now wearing his to-war clothing as well. Sometimes with a cape and then without a cape. Floor length, knee length, thigh length velvet swirling around them. All of their clothing and accessories done in the same blue velvet that matched his eyes and Sookie’s dress.
Sookie’s hair was swept up and diamond pins held her curls in place. The pearl and diamond necklace, bracelets and rings that she wore had belonged to the Elizabeth the First. As they practiced their moves by the light of her fireplace, she shimmered in the radiance of the jewels and her joy.
With the clothes added, he picked up the pace a bit each night, the waltzing just a bit faster, their clothes beginning to intertwine and echo what their bodies now longed to do.
It was eleven the morning of All Hallow’s Eve. Sookie walked with Lafayette down the steps of the old farmhouse into the waiting limo.
Everything had been moved to Fangtasia. From here on out, this is where she would spend the rest of the day. Lafayette would help her dress and she would be waiting for Eric when the sun went down.
Lunch and dinner would be catered in. Into the Gothic styled structure had been added a living space with a lovely bathroom. Ginger would be there to let them in. Eric has assured her this was the plan and it would be executed, faithfully. “Keep that thought,” he had grinned after saying it. “We are executing that bitch tonight.”
The drive into Shreveport was uneventful. She was not for sure what she expected, maybe tornadoes, blistering heat, hail the size of baseballs and a tidal wave. But the ride was quiet and Lafayette talked about the physical therapist that was taking care of Gran. “His name is Jesus,” his voice was honest. “I thinks this means I has Jesus on my side. No disrespect,” he said lookin’ upward, “but I coulds sure enough use this blessin. He’s a good man and a hard worker and he cares about the folks he sees too. I sure coulds use a good, honest man to cares about me. Amen and Amen,” he said with conviction.
“Amen,” Sooke took his hand and squeezed it. “I know who you are talkin’ about. Hispanic, nice lookin’, and he does wonders with Gran. Charms her into tryin’ to get up and move about and talk to him.”
“That is the one and the same. He does the same to me. Speaks them pretty words and makes me feel special.”
Sookie squeezed his hand, again. “Looks like we are here. You know, I don’t think I have ever seen Fangtasia in the daylight. Wow, can you believe it was just an old warehouse? It really does look like a Gothic manor home from the outside.”
“Indeed it does,” Lafayette nodded as he peered closely at it as the drove by.
“The new re-do is around back so that is where we are headed. Oh look, there is Ginger waving the driver over. This is where we get out.”
“Sookie…” Lafayette took her hand when the driver opened the door.
“Do not, Lafayette. I am countin’ on you to see to me today and if it all goes to hell, to see to Gran. She has already deeded me the house just in case somethin’ like this happened. I think maybe she had been havin’ mini-strokes all along and said nothin’.
Now, I left the house to you. Samuel has the will. You and Mr. Jesus move in with Gran and take care of her and your momma and the money will last. Samuel will see to it. Now, here we go. We are off to see the wizard. Or hunt for the Tin Man…and most assuredly kill the witch…or somethin’.
But you better believe, whatever it is, I am gettin’ my nails done. Eric said someone would be comin’ at one.”
“Amen, sister!” he shouted to the heavens! “I see a mani and a pedi in our future.”
“And lunch,” Sookie grinned, “a fabulous lunch. And see that Jeep Grand Cherokee sittin’ over there. That is yours. Ginger should have the keys. After I am dressed, you are to drive yourself home. Tags, title and license has all been paid, in your name, and sittin’ in the glove box. Inside there is a monitor along with a CD as to what makes all that work.”
It was a very pleasant afternoon. And as far as Halloween’s went, Sookie thought that perhaps this was the best one ever!
Lunch was catered in from The Brick Fireplace, a place so upscale that Lafayette had said that even he could not get reservations. “And I is the most upscale persons I knows,” he said with a snap of his fingers.
“I could eat this cheese fondue and nothin’ else,” she sighed as she dipped the bread into the pot.
“Seriously. His La La Fineness says I does not needs to be collectin’ my old cheese bits to make fondue whens I could bes orderin’ out this. Lordy…did you see the hundred year old wine they poureds in! Just like it was cheap ass beer.
I want’s chocolate-ee fondue goodness for desserts.”
They ate, they laughed they got their nails done. Lafayette learned all about his new ride and Sookie cheered him on when he went out to the parking lot to start it and as they drove around the parking lot, she was hanging out of the sunroof and practicing her queenly wave.
“It’s threeish,” Lafayette said when they parked. “Times to get back inside and start the process. Sookie…” his eyes filled with tears.
“Stop it,” she leaned over and kissed him on the nose. “Now, just stop it,” she said gently. “Eric said they had this. Which means I will be livin’ and I expect you to be drivin’ me around in this very fine, leather appointed, luxurious automobile.”
“Luxurious yes, automobile, no. Call my rides what it is. It’s a truck,” Lafayette corrected her.
“Woof!” she laughed. “My brother, I hate to correct you, but Jason drives a truck. And I am gonn’ expect you to drive me around so I can sit in the back and watch movies and listen to them in surround sound. As racists as it sounds, you are gonn’ be Drivin’ Miss Sookie.”
“I ams lookin’ forward to that,” he smiled at her. “And ams countin’ on that. Now, let’s get started. Oh, looks like Tinkerbell from Tink’s Hair and Magic is comin’ to do your hair and makeup. We gots to get inside. He hates it when anyone is late. To include himselfs. He fusses the whole time at himselfs in first person plural insteads of fussin’ over yous.”
As the sun continued its trek across the sky, Ginger was there to help what appeared to be livery servants light candles and build the fire in the massive stone fireplace. A massive silver service was set up with both tea and coffee pots with a silver and crystal pyramid holding a variety of sweets and cheeses.
“Those has gots to be the real deal,” Lafayette said to Tink when the Louis the Sixteenth couches and chairs were brought in and placed strategically around the room.
“Looks like the Versailles palace. Not thats I ever been there but I sure enough loves lookin’ at the pictures,” Lafayette nodded.
“It’s the stone work, chandeliers, velvet, and the gargoyles,” Tink added with a sure nod. “Just look at this,” as they watched the empty room transformed into an 18th century palace.
Lafayette and Tinkerbell were both there when Eric walked in dressed in his 18th century finery. Tinkerbell started fanning himself and shouted, “Lordy, I dones died and gone to Heaven. Someone catch me before I faints! I am hopin’ that is yous Mr. Eric with out stretched arms doin’ the catchin’,” he said batting his eyes.
“Tink,” Eric grinned at him, “thank you. Lafayette, you are forever in my debt. Miss Stackouse,” he turned and looked at her and raised her hand to his lips. “In the past thousand years, to my knowledge, no woman has ever been more beautiful.”
Sookie blushed. “Thank you, Eric. I…” taking a breath she smiled at him. “Thank you,” she said with a bow of her head.
“All looks to be at the ready. Gentlemen, this is where we wish you a found adieu.”
Over the speakers the music started. The Blue Danube Waltz floated out. Eric bowed deeply to Sookie and taking both of her hands in his, they began their once in a lifetime death to the witch Mabel, dance.
The evening was beyond anything Sookie could imagine. When they danced past a mirror, Sookie could not believe that the woman staring out of the mirror was herself. That woman had poise and grace and knew exactly what to do while her dance partner led her across the floor.
From time to time, they would stop. Eric would feed her a tidbit from the heavily carved and gilded table. Pour her a sip of coffee or tea. They had both agreed that there would be no alcohol tonight. Just the bottle of champagne that sat on ice in case Mabel wanted a drink. But for Sookie, no, she wanted her wits about her at all times!
It was during the Voices of Spring, that Sookie noticed the temperature dropping.
“I can feel her vibration,” Eric said as he pulled her in closer and continued on with the waltz.
“Yes, like a hummin’ in my blood,” Sookie responded when she pulled him down for a light kiss.
Eric rubbed his nose against hers. What had been filled with laughter and humor had now turned deadly serious. The light flirtation that they had exchanged in all evening was now becoming far more serious. All had to be believable that Eric was indeed in love and the beautiful woman that he held in his arms loved him in return.
There was the now the constant building pressure! Rolling from the front of the club. Interesting, she was going to come in through the front doors. The massive oak doors blew open. Smiling at Sookie he whispered, “Good thing we left them unlocked. I would hate to have to replace the hinges on those doors. They are originals and hard to come by.”
The wind skittered through the building, finding its way to their dance floor along with leaves in its wake. The candles flickered out but the fire in the fireplace continued on. It was going to take something more than her huffing and puffing to put out the gas logs that were powered by CenterPoint Energy.
“Female,” Sookie mouthed. “And she hates me already. Apparently she can feel the emotions that are passin’ between us.”
The grandfather clock struck down the time. Eleven forty-five. They had at the most fifteen minutes. If she cared to linger, until the bewitching hour of three. Eric was counting on midnight. He could not see this bitch letting him have a good time with someone he cared for.
“Lovely,” they both heard the word slither out of the mouth.
Eric waited until the song ended and had them strategically placed in front of the fireplace.
“Thank you,” he replied as he dropped Sookie’s hands.
Sookie could see her, if you could call the skeleton female. On her head was a crown. On her body, she wore a fancy dress man’s jacket done in brocade and a pair of knee high pants. Black stocking crept up her claves and the ruby slippers glimmered on her feet.
“It is a quarter of midnight,” he said to her. “You have no power here until the clock chimes it last on the hour.”
Taking Sookie in his arms one more time, the music began, this time something slow and romantic. What folks in country bars called belly-rubbing music. The Keeper of the Stars, floated over the sound system as Eric took Sookie in his arms and pulled her in close. His face on hers, hers hands on his cheeks as they kissed their way across the floor.
Next was Evergreen, as they did a slow Lindy, Eric twirling Sookie around the dance floor and picking her up as she arched her back over him, to have him set her gracefully back down on the floor without missing a step, his hands roaming her back while she danced on her tip-toes, nuzzling his neck.
“Enough!” was finally screeched from the being when he dipped Sookie back and kissed her, both of their lips hungry and wanting more!
“Fucking enough!” she screamed as the green fire flashed from her eyes.
“Jealous,” Sookie mouthed to Eric. “Consumed with it.”
“Do you hear?” the creature creaked as her bones ground one upon the other. “The clock strikes it down,” she laughed gleefully, the bones in her hands making a horrible rasping sound while she clapped them.
“You,” she pointed her finger at Eric, “you are mine, now. Foolish of you to think you are the one that got away. No one,” the hundred teeth in her mouth stretched out, “no one gets away.”
“Would you care to waltz?” Eric asked her.
“What? Is this some sort of trick?” she hissed at him.
Shrugging, Eric continued on. “You hold all the power. Do you hear? The clock hit ten, eleven, twelve. Your time has come and mine is no more. So I ask you, would you care to dance? I do not know what lies beyond this moment. I do not know if they have dancing where we are destined to go. I do not know if I shall continue or if you will devour me once we are there. All I know is this moment. And if you are to be my mistress, I would be honored to dance with you. My last act upon this plane of existence.”
“Your last act….here…with me…I must say Norse Man, that appeals to my vanity. She is lovely, but clearly, you are correct, I am your mistress. To have your flesh touch me in this way before you are such as I. Yes, yes this would please me.”
Moon River started as Eric walked toward her. Bowing at the waist, he held out his hands. Taking hers in his, they began their steps across the dance floor.
Sookie retreated to the table. Standing behind it, she poured herself a cup of tea.
At the end of the first refrain, Eric was going to spin Mabel around. That was her cue to…
“Duck,” screeched through her mind as she hit the floor behind the asbestos tablecloth as flames shot across the floor.
The heat, screaming and the stench were horrific! When the screaming stopped, she ventured up. There was Pamela, still holding the flame-thrower and advancing on Mabel. Or what was left of her. Eric was huddled under his flame retardant cloak as Pam did her worst!
“Clear,” she said and Sookie watched as Eric stood up and stepped up and away from the embers that were now cooling on the rock floor.
“I’ll sweep whatever is left of her up and dump her into our eternal flame in the fireplace. I don’t know if this bitch can regenerate is she’s not in flame, but we are never going to get the opportunity to find out.”
“Nicely done, child,” Eric grinned at her.
“Vedo does nice work,” Pam smiled. “Damn, you look smokin’ in that,” she laughed as she blew out a few embers that clung to him.
“Now, you two run along and leave me to put Fangtasia back to rights.” Licking her lips at Eric and wiggling her eyebrows, she crossed her eyes and mouthed, “Get some!”
Eric narrowed his eyes to mere slits and grinned despite himself.
“Miss Stackhouse, if I might offer you a ride home?” he said extending to her his arm.
“Yes thank you,” she replied as she slipped her arm through his and they stepped out into the night.
“Hold on,” he said to her.
“Oh,” she replied. “I…I thought maybe you would drive me.”
“Not tonight,” his voice was most sincere as they took to the air.
When they landed, he carried her up the steps to her door.
“Thank you for a very lovely evenin’,” she smiled at him. “I mean that. I got to be the once-upon-a-time princess for Halloween. Complete with crown jewels.
Would,” her voice hesitated, “would you like to come in?”
“Miss Stackhouse,” he leaned in and kissed her softly on the lips. “Nothing would please me more. I would give all that I have at this moment to just hold you in my arms. My discipline is good but not that good. For I would not stop at just holding… or kissing…” he said as he ran his index finger across her face. “There would be dancing,” his voice was low and husky, “but not the kind where people would be invited to watch.”
“Oh-h-h,” she breathed out. “I would very much…”
“No,” he shook his head and placed his index finger on her lips. “Not one more word. I have only about no resolve left,” he said through gritted teeth. “I am going to make love to you,” he kissed her one more time. “But I have to meet your Gran first. I know how much you value her opinion and I want her to know me and like me and approve of me. Then…” he picked up her hand and placed fevered kisses all over it. “Then I will dance you into the sunlight.”
“What?” she arched an eyebrow at him.
“Well, or as close as I can get,” he grinned and kissed her on the nose. “Lafayette is inside. He will help you to undress.”
With one more sweet kiss on her lips, he walked over to the edge of the porch and poof! He was gone.
When Eric walked into Fangtasia, there was nothing left of what had transpired here.
Pam was in her office. When he walked in, there on her desk were the silver slippers.
“Brother Samuel called. Said he was in residence. You taking him the shoes?”
“Yes,” he replied picking them. “Thank you child for tonight.”
“Can I have Sookie?” she asked sweetly.
“You do so know how to spoil the moment,” he shook his head at her and was out the door.
Eric was seated inside Samuel’s plane. They were presently sitting in his office as Samuel got the story of how the evening had transpired.
“No longer ruby, but silver,” he kept glancing at the shoes.
“Yes,” Eric was staring at the shoes as well. “The rubies are embedded in my office wall. I have had wood placed on all flat surfaces. And I have had another layer of rock added to the outside of my wall.
“Excellent,” Samuel nodded. “I think you are correct. Keep the rubies and the shoes separate from each other.” There was a wooden box siting on his desk. Written in ancient Hebrew was the Psalms. The complete Psalms. “I will keep the shoes safe,” Samuel said placing them inside the box and then nailing it shut. “These shall go with the other things.”
“Most excellent my brother,” Eric nodded. “Shit that cannot be explained, you and your God are the keeper of.”
Smiling as he stepped off the plane and out into the night, he had another stop to make before the sun rose.
Gran was sitting up in her bed, a book on her lap, her glasses perched on her nose. She knew that there were words on the page that she should understand. Jesus had told her it was important to work on not only her gross motor skills but her fine ones as well. He had brought her The Wizard of Oz. This one had pictures in it to help trigger her brain functions.
“Hello Gran,” she heard the voice and turned in that direction. “My name is Eric and I am in love with your grand-daughter.”
“S-s-s-s-s,” she tried hard to say the word.
“That is correct, Sookie. She wants you to be well and so do I. Now,” he said pricking his index finger with a fang. “I want you to have a taste of my blood. This is going to make you feel better and help you heal. Now, your body will heal instantly, but we cannot have people questioning your healing. So, what you are going to do is over the next two months, you are going to continue to improve. And when you leave here, you will be able to talk and walk and will be on the road to a full recovery.
And when you meet me for the first time,” he grinned at her, “please like me.”
“Last stop,” Eric laughed wickedly as he took to the air. “
Landing, he adjusted his clothing and his hair. It was time to see the queen and give Compton a Halloween to remember.
Standing before his Sophie-Anne, he bowed and said, “A joyous All Saint’s Day to you my Queen. However I come bearing a report of wrong doing perpetrated upon your person.”
“How so, Sheriff,” she said leaning forward in her throne.
“You pet, Hadley Savoy went home to visit her family.”
“Yes, that is true,” she replied. “Her family lives in your area Five. I notified you that she would be coming your way.”
“Yes my Queen,” he said bowing again. “It has come to my attention that Compton was caught fucking her outside of Sam Merlotte’s place of business. Back by the dumpster.”
There was a snicker that ran through the crowd as Compton’s mouth opened and closed.
“He…” Bill pointed his finger at Eric. “And he is fucking the telepath.”
“I would hope so,” Sophie-Anne stood and snarled at Bill. “You are keeping her happy, Eric, correct?” she asked sweetly.
“Oh yes my Queen. I know how important she is to your kingdom.”
“Most excellent,” she smiled at Eric and blew him a kiss. “Thank Sheriff, you are excused to return to your area.
Bill,” her voice was dark and dangerous, “I want you to tell me all about fucking what is MINE!” she roared, causing the crystal chandeliers to rattle, causing several crystal to drop to the floor and shatter. “Take him,” she yelled. “And silver every orifice he has!”
Eric landed at the back door of Fangtasia. Pam had known he was inbound and had come out to meet him. She was still carrying the flame-thrower. How could this be good?
Standing in the parking lot, there was something lying on the ground. “I found this trying to come in the window in the ladies bathroom. Do you know what it is?” she asked as she drew back the blanket that was covering it.
“I do believe that is a flying monkey,” Eric responded as he took a photo and then looked out into the night sky. “Burn it. I see you are prepared,” he grinned at Pam as he noticed her shovel.
“Always,” she smiled at him. “Because I work for…wait for it…TROUBLE.”
“So I have been told,” Eric grinned as he motioned with his head behind her.
The woman approaching them was floating on the air. Her long hair flowing out behind her as her crown held her ringlets in place.
“You must be the one that got away,” she grinned, a hundred teeth reflecting the moonlight. “Once I finish with you, you will give me the shoes and they will help me find my sister.”
With a gasp, she clutched at her throat as a shovel of dirt was tossed into her face. Followed by another another. Then another as she dissolved into the earth that was now a mound in the parking lot.
“Well done, child,” Eric grinned at her. “Burn that,” he pointed to the flying monkey, “find a hill to bury her under and take the rest of the night off.”
“What? And miss out on all the fun,” she laughed and then became sober. “Good thing you financed the making of The Wizard of Oz.”
“Yes, apparently it has saved my life. And that flying monkey…looks nothing like the one in the movie. Vicious creature. Resembles almost something prehistoric.”
“Yes, those little hooks on the end of their fur. Must be millions of them. Razor sharp teeth and claws. Ick,” she shuddered. “I am always up for a good fight but if there was more than a dozen, I would need something a bit more for this bastard of nature. Like maybe an Uzi loaded with depleted uranium rounds.”
Eric arched an eyebrow. “Do they even make those? And if they do, do we have we one of those?”
“Well maybe,” she wiggled her eyebrows. “You never know when this gene splicing is going to get out of hand and those mad scientist actually bring back dinosaurs. I am just ready for when it happens.”
“You are so my child,” he grinned and kissed her on the check.
“My maker, normally I am so pleased when you reference our exquisite child/maker relationship. But she seemed to think her sister might be here.”
Eric shrugged. “To what end? The shoes and the rubies are buried to time. Samuel has seen to this.”
The blinds were open and the sunlight was streaming in the room. Gran was sitting in the hospital bed practicing writing her name.
“Can you tell me your full name?’ the nurse asked.
“Yes, I am Witch of the North Mrs. Glenda Adele Hale Stackhouse. I also go by Gran. I think Gran is my favorite. ”
“Very good,” she smiled at her. “You feel up to eating breakfast. We have oatmeal.”
“Oatmeal sounds just fine,” the older woman smiled as the nurse adjusted her pillows.
“Oh,” the nurse’s smile got bigger. “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”
“I am the Witch of the North. That would be a good witch, of course. It is my sisters that are evil,” Gran laughed as the nurse turned and phoned in her breakfast order.
Happy Halloween! Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve. Whatever you celebrate, celebrate it well!!
This is just a short story to help get in the spirit of things…look at this, I wrote a short story….and they thought it could not be done! Miss Trudy, buy that lotto ticket!
On the Onest, welcome to November. I will be putting away Halloween before I leave for a couple of weeks for Wales. I will be back in time for Thanksgiving and then on to Christmas! The Daughter is coming home from South Korea where she teaches English so it will be decorating, baking and just good timing in general so I very possibly will not be back this way again until the beginning of the New Year.
I still have not gone back to editing my own original fiction…sigh…because….. “We have written that story,” my muse is fussing! “What! But we have done this! Move the fuck on!”
……seriously, where is that tequila bottle?
As always, thanks for reading!
Be blessed and be the blessing,
I have included the photo that inspired the story. I saw the figurine at Home Goods and went back to take another look. Walked back after I shopped for a bit and I brought it home and glued the sparkles on the crown and painted on the ruby slippers.
LOL…ahhhhh….When I purchased it, I thought it was a male. But when I got it home and started gluing on bits, I said…I do believe it has breasts! But I want it to be male! So making a slit in the far side of the front of the body, I reached in and…and…tugging, I felt something come loose and it was a red pom-pom. I did a double take when the red peeked out. Then I pulled out the other one……red pom-poms…who knew?
So there you have it. My muse….there is no telling what inspires her.
And to answer the question…is Gran the Witch of the North? To that I say, it certainly looks that way.