Banner The Curse of the Eclipsing Blood Moon

Chapter 8

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 Curse of the Eclipsing Blood Moon

Chapter 8

There was a road running through the corn field. Eric had them vamp speed to where there was parked an RV.

“Nice ride,” Sookie said when Eric put his hand on the biometric display and the doors opened.

“Me or the RV,” he grinned at her.

“Both,” she smiled back.

Stepping in there was an audible intake of air from her. “Really nice ride,” she nodded and turned and looked at him. “Marble inlaid floors, granite counter tops. Leather and even a fireplace.”

“Two full baths and a bedroom with a king size bed,” Eric nodded. “All the comforts of home. Would you like something to eat or drink? The fridge is stocked. There is an ice bucket with champagne and I believe even room for dancing.”

“M-m-m,” Sookie sighed, “I would love to dance. The music  playing is Benny Goodman.”

“How do you know that?” Eric asked as his hands arranged her braids.

“Gran,” she answered with  a smile. “She loves to dance and so she taught me. The big band era was somethin’ else. She loves the music and so do I.”

Sookie looked at the champagne and shook her head. “If I want to keep my wits about me, I guess that would be no to the champagne,” she said picking up the heavily carved flutes that were beside the bucket.

Her eyes rested on him. His face. The way his brow was lightly furrowed. “This is really lovely. Thank you.”

“No,” Eric replied bringing her hands to his lips, his eyes never leaving hers. “Thank you,” and you could hear the passion in his voice.

Moonglow,” Sookie smiled to hide her embarrassment as the next song started. “One of my favorites.”

Eric’s placed a hand on her cheek. “I am so sorry about this. It saddens me that this has to be. That you are giving your all to one such as myself. That I am not what you deserve.”

“Eric,” she let go of the bewildered feeling that tried to dominate her. “There is a sayin’. In the end we all get what we deserve. If this is to be my last meal, so to speak. I could not,” she smiled at him, “have imagined any of this,” she smiled at him. “Truly. I could not…no correction…I would never have dared to dream this big.”

“My lady,” Eric bowed to her, “would you care to dance?”

“Why thank you kind sir,” she smiled up at him as she stepped into his arms. “Yes I would.”

Sookie sang along with the song as held her and danced her around the floor.

“You have a lovely voice,” he said to her.

“No,” she grinned. “The Seid has a lovely singing voice. Sookie does not.”

“Is that a fact?” Eric asked her as he dipped her to the floor and slowly brought her back up.

“That is a fact,” she grinned. “Sookie cannot carry a note in a bucket. But I do like to sing and so I do. Not everyone enjoys it as much as I do.”

“Are you sure? I could easily offer you a recording contract.”

Laughing, she kissed him on the cheek. “That is so sweet, but when this is over and the Seid has retired until the next event, no, I really do not think you will.”

“How bad can it be?” he asked.

“Plenty bad,” she grinned.  “My gran loves me to death but when we go to church, she sings in the choir and I sit in the back of the church. Mr. Hershel, he is tone deaf and he loves to sing also. So the two of us has the grandest time singin’ for all we are worth while the rest of the church sings louder to drown us out.”

“You go to church,” Eric nodded. “If I might, how do you reconcile this…this…evil that is coming from the stars with your beliefs?”

“I believe in God and His son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. That means different things to different folks. I have my own personal take on that as well. And because of what I believe, I have found that faith is walking to the edge of all the light that I have and taking one more step. That because of what I believe, I will never be swallowed by the darkness that looms in front of me. And the light that lives in me, the darkness cannot over-come it.

So evil comes and evil goes. That is every day of my life. And if it kills this body, my light lives on in Heaven.”

“And what if there is no Heaven or Hell?” Eric asked.

“If this is all there is,” she shrugged, “then I have had a pretty good time.

I like who I am and what I stand for and at the end of the day, or at the end of this life, if I have done the best I can, then I  figure I will rest easy in the grave.”

Eric stared at her. “You do not fear death,” he said slowly.

“No,” she responded.

“You are a remarkable woman,” he raised her hands to his lips and kissed them. “A woman that values herself. That lives what she believes. You are rare, Miss Sookie and I am honored to say I know you.”

“Not that rare,” she shrugged as he twirled her around and back into his arms. “Lots of good folks out there. I know several. It is just that after puttin’ in a full day’s work, all you want to do is get home, kick your shoes off, put your feet up and enjoy your family.”

Laughing, he spun her around the room and then back to face-to-face. “So what you are saying,” he grinned at her while she laughed, “is that I probably won’t meet them if I only associate with the dregs of the supernatural society.”

Sookie shrugged and became very serious. “Probably not in the dregs of any society.

What are you thinkin’,” she asked him. “Your eyes just changed color.”

“We have about forty minutes,” Eric noted the time. “And you are naked beneath that robe,” his smile was impish.

“Yes, I was wonderin’ if you were gonna’ notice that?”

“Oh, believe me, I noticed,” his fangs dropped down just a bit.

“I believe you mentioned that you wanted to do some smoochin’.”

Grinning at him, she blushed and nodded her head, yes.

“Well, we can smooch standing up, or sitting down with you in my lap. We can also smooch on the couch lying down or in front of the fireplace.

And there is that king size bed in the back,” he wiggled his eyebrows at her. “So are we going to pick the box, the curtain or door number three?”

“Let’s go with what’s behind door number three,” she motioned with her head.

He waltzed her there and opening the door, he announced, “You have picked the king size bed. Now let me tell you what you have won. Shall this be with clothes or naked or a combination.

O’, wait one,” he grinned as her robe disappeared. “Looks like the fates have decided.”

Scooping her up in his arms, he carried her to the bed and placed her under the covers. “You under the covers, me on top of the covers, and if you don’t mind, a lot of French kissing. Put your spit all over my mouth and anywhere else you have a mind, too.”

“Hear! Hear!” was called from his crotch as he began to disrobe.

“What?” Sookie asked sitting up. “Does your crotch speak?”

“That is King Eric. My penis. He talks. I was hoping he would keep it to himself, tonight, but apparently not.”

“She looks like Venus rising up out of the waves, Eric,” he gasped. “Her light shines around her like the luminescence of a perfect white, South Sea pearl. Her breasts reflecting dazzling snow-capped mountains in the brilliant sunshine and her nipples, the pink glow of the fiery sunset as the ocean sprays her with a fine mist and sets all aglow declaring her the perfect woman!

I am glad you brought my knives,” his voice was solemn and proud. “Gladly I would go to my death defending her. You may count on me fair lady, I will keep you safe and the evil ones dead!”

“Thank you,” she replied as her eyes went up to Eric’s. “Really? A knife?”

“He is deadly with a knife,” Eric replied. “And he has, more than once, saved my life. I bought his arsenal. After tonight I am going to have a Bowie knife made for him and present it to him with much pomp and fanfare.”

“Really?” Sookie replied, her eyes going back down to Eric’s crotch.

“Yes. Because of our unusual circumstances this evening, Madame Vedo has stitched sheaths into my pants to hold his knives. So they shall be at the ready and easily accessible.”

Sookie was smiling. “I have never thought in my entire life that I would need a penis to protect me, let alone know one that carries his own knives.”

“Truthfully,” Eric smiled, “I did not either. Yet, here we all are. You, me, and King Eric. Ready to cross blades.”

“War is my middle name,” King Eric replied. “And Trouble is his. That is why War is my middle name,” he snorted. “To keep Trouble intact. I am the brains and he is the legs that walks us around.”

Snorting, Sookie swallowed the chuckle. “He comes with attitude,” she nodded.

“Yes,” Eric sighed,  “more often than not he gets me slapped. I am happy to see he is on his best behavior.”

“Best behavior,” she ran her hand down the side of his face. “I believe you said something about French kissing. I have never done that. And I am looking forward to doing that. Now should I help you with your clothes or can I just watch?”

“Do you want to watch?” he asked her, his voice low and sultry.

“I think so,” her voice was curious. “Yes,” she nodded, “I want to watch. Would you please do just sorta go slow and easy?”

“Well yes I can,” he said standing and because he could, pulled his t-shirt up very slowly up and over his head. Then, like a slow trickle of water running of the bloom of a rose, he was running his hands down his chest and into his jeans. With a low moan, he rubbed his upper thighs and said, to her, “I wish you were doing this.”

Sookie’s eyes were riveted as his hands moved and he was now rubbing on King Eric.

Sookie was moaning softly as Eric slowly moved his hands out and undid his belt.

Then the top button.

Then the next button.

“The Levi Denim 501 Five Button Fly,” she nodded, her eyes finally looking up at his and not watching his hands. “Straight leg. Hugs your ass. Looks like they were made to fit you.”

“Tailored,” he grinned and licked his bottom lip.

“Part of the seduction?”

“Well that depends. Do you like it?” he asked, undoing another button.

“Oh yes,” she nodded, as she was once more watching his hands. “I like it very much.”

“What?” he asked her as he undid the last button and his hands reached in and pushed his jeans down until he stepped out of them. “What is it that you like the most?”

“The way your hands are so sure and steady. And that low moan you made. That was pleasure. That is the same kind of satisfying sound I make when I rub on myself. But it is dark and I am under the covers.

You are not at all embarrassed about…about anythin’.”

“No,” he said as he approached the bed. Getting on, he lay down beside her, his face buried in her neck as he placed kisses there.

“You are more than welcome to cover me in your spit,” he licked her pulse and then her neck.

He left a small trail of kisses along her collar bone, then down her side until his ear was even with her breast. As his mouth worked toward her nipple, his hands slid under the covers and then under her. Mouthing her nipple he began to suck. Then his hands cupped her butt and he pulled her up to him.  “Just ride it,” he said as he thrust his hips forward  and put his considerable concentration on one nipple and then the next. Listening to her cry and whimper and whisper “Please, Eric, please,” was enough to make him this side of crazy. Who needed to be a genius? The nice thing about crazy was that it had no limits…and he was going to push her over that limit…if he did not end up there first!

My name is King Eric and I am sure you have heard all manner of rumors about me…may I just stress to you that they are all, true.

I have been with The Viking since time, began, for us. Yes, I am the Y chromosome that keeps the big oaf from just being a really tall, ugly girl. And he is tall…that is the Viking blood…and yes, he is blond and blue-eyed as well, which is also his Viking gene pool. And his dick…well, that is all me and I am my own man, King Eric, Viking or no! I get my girth and robustness from my sheer strength of will and never ending devotedness to wanting to please the ladies!

I am deeply embarrassed to say, there was a time in his life when I went on strike!

Yes…I know… it still assaults me to my very soul!

There was a hundred years when he was not the best person that you would want to know. His grandmother and mother would have shamed him in front of the entire clan for doing some of the outrageously disrespectful things that happened on his watch.

I still roll my one eye at the thought of some of the things that he did. And we would have shouting contests about this! One dark he got so tired of me speaking the truth to him, that  he put a geas on me so that I could not speak and berate him for his sad lack of manners and the way he conducted himself!

I just want you to understand that I did not encourage nor did I participate in his immoral, outrageous acts.

That is correct…for a hundred years, he could not get me up. No one knows this, but when he was with a woman, he was forced to use a strap on, then he would glamour them, tell them what a great lover he was and send them on his way.

Poser! And then some…!

It was a stone circle that brought him back.

I am proud and pleased and deeply humbled to participate tonight in this stone circle that is going to wipe his name from the list of dumber-then Were shit. You know the list I mean. That awkward moment when someone in the crowd yells out when you are telling a story… “Well just how dumb was he?”

And you are forced to speak the truth so you reply, “He was dumber than Were shit!”

“Oh, man…” they all take a step back, shake their heads and roll their eyes. 

“You just cannot come back from that! And as the King, there is no way I want my name associated with dumber than Were shit. After all, I might be  the little head, but I am the brains of this outfit!

So, this evening, that is my intent. Tonight we are coming back from…from…that!  And all though my name is clear on this account, I am attached to the big oaf! And I suffer from guilt by association. Yes, I know, I am all heart and soul and take the responsibility! But this is who I am! And it cannot be helped!

So am I looking forward to tonight? You know that I am! I shall do my job! It might be the quickest one stroke on the face of the planet, but Miss Sookie shall know pleasure   and we shall put that beastly one hundred years behind us, once and for all!

Eric and Sookie were both giggling. The spit idea seemed like a good one, so they were taking turns licking each other, starting with their feet and working their way up.

Sookie now had her tongue on the back of Eric’s knees. He  was ticklish there and his giggles caused her to giggle.

When she was finished with those, she laid down and he licked the back of hers.

Her whooping with laughter could be heard by the vampires at the stone circle.

“I thought he was sexing her up?” Vlad said to Attila. “You know, that she would be screaming with pleasure…not laughing…” his voice trailed off as the merriment just got louder.

Everyone looked at Pamela and then Samuel.

They both shrugged.

Pamela and Samuel looked at each other and shrugged.

“This is new,” Pam mumbled under her breath. “Screaming his name in pleasure, yes. Laughing so hard that she is gasping for air, I am not for sure what that is…” she was shaking her head and her focus was now on the direction of the RV.

“They have thirty minutes,” Madame Vedo replied, watching the moon.

“We have thirty minutes,” Eric said looking up at her. As much as he wanted her to work over King Eric, who was gasping for air, they had to move on.

“I will hurry it along,” she replied as she licked her way up his chest to his neck.

“Your turn,” he said, lying her down on her back. “As much as I hate to, vamp speed from here on.”

“Yes,” she replied as she let her body enjoy the following moments. “Yes,” she whispered as she grabbed his head and held on!

Sookie purred when Eric finished with her face and he pulled her fiercely to him.

“We have to go,” he whispered into her ear.

“I know,” she nodded and watched him get up, go over to a chair  and pull on a long linen shirt.

“Madam Vedo made one for you as well,” he said reaching to the chair and walking it over to her. “These have been treated with tin. I do not know how she works her magic, only that she does very well. Until yours manifests, this will serve you well.”

Sitting up, she took it from him and slid it on over her head. Helping her stand, she shook the shift out. “Well, it covers the girly stuff. For now, that is all that matters.”

“Let us away,” Eric smiled at her.

“Front or back?” she asked him with a grin.

“Front, front, front!” was being yelled from King Eric.

“Front it is,” she wrapped her arms around him and then her legs.

“How about a kiss for the road?” she asked.

“Oh, we shall kiss while we are on the road,” his tongue reaching out and licking her lips.  “We have five minutes to get there. Five minutes to get into position. We shall have a five-minute kiss to get there.”

They were out the door and moving not at a high rate of vamp speed, like they had coming over. But a more moderate pace. Which she enjoyed, immensely! King Eric was singing the Ride of the Valkyriesand Eric’s tongue was all over her mouth in time to it.

It was, she thought one of the funniest yet most sensual things she had experienced thus far.

“Or maybe it is just my nerves,” she reflected on that for a moment. “Does not matter,” she tightened herself around him while her tongue licked his. “I like it!”

When they arrived at the henge, there was the appearance of a battle already taking place…Mother Nature was warring against what wanted to descend from the sky!

Everyone had fled, except for the vampires and the dragon and his ryder that now stood in the circle.

“You smell like each other,” Ian said when Eric stepped them into the henge.

“Yes,” Eric nodded as he walked them toward the altar.

“How is that possible?” Vlad asked.

“We covered each other in our spit.”

“But vampires do not make dry saliva,” Ian pointed out. “Only if we are preparing to feed.”

“Apparently I do,” Eric responded.  “I see we are on time. And o’, here comes the stairs. And you have the gate! And what looks to be weapons at the ready. Love your holstered bodies! You bristle with armament!  My fellow warriors, on to victory!”

“Pamela is standing by at the ready with yours,” Samuel told him, watching the stairs and now the changing of the starfield above their heads. “And your swords are under the altar, along with other things we may not want or need.”

“Into positions,” Eric called out.

Pam was down on the ground with Sookie now standing on top of her. She had the mead in one hand and the bowl of millet resting on the altar. Eric was holding the bread.

“How are you doing?” he asked her.

“Your smile makes me all warm and hopeful inside,” she grinned back.

He leaned in and she kissed his bottom lip, pulling it into her mouth and suckled there for a few seconds.

“Thank you for being so thoughtful of me,” her smile got bigger. “You have treated me with nothing but respect. And I just want you to know how much I appreciate that.”

“The Druid is on you,” he rubbed his nose against hers. “I can see it. Your eyes are glowing. How are you doing?”

“Good, no outside interference yet. But I do feel like I am being bombarded on the top of my head with…with…something. Feels like fine grains of sand raining down on me.”

“Good thing I licked you there,” he grinned, “just maybe it will keep their screaming voices out of your head. I am right here beside you,” his eyes held hers. “And as soon as you dump the mead and the millet, I will have you in my arms and we will be up on the altar.”

“Yes,” she nodded as she kept her eyes focused on his. “It is nice to be here with family,” she could feel the shadows begin to lengthen. The warmth of the moon beams giving way to the dark, pulsing dark that wanted to consume her! Instead, she watched his eyes, as the blue in them began to fade and the deepest of night was going to consume them. With his hands on her, she paid no attention to what was happening around her.

“Heads up!” was yelled by all as the last sliver of moon still shone proudly against the blood red and the screams of agony, despair and triumph were coming down the staircase!

“Madame Vedo,” Vlad yelled, “rip off their clothes!”

Vedo was at the altar, her especially stitched, prepared garments removed with a flick of her wrist.

“I’ve got this,” Pam bellowed up from the ground, her weapons strapped to her body.

Leaving the comfort of Eric’s arms, Sookie stood on top of Pam.

“Darkness in five, four, three, two, one,” Samuel yelled above the raging sounds of Mother Nature and the evil that wished to descend to earth!

Sookie noted when the circle went to black…and she could see nothing…

…and if there was terror, or disco lights, or beings assaulting her brain, she was not aware of it.

Her hands were sure and steady. . .

“Dump the mead,” she spilled it out onto the altar.  “Cast the millet,” she repeated to herself as she made a sweeping movement with the bowl, sending the grains, everywhere,  “wrap my legs around Eric and…” and up they went.

Her legs were wrapped around his waist. Her butt on the altar. “Put my feet on the altar, he pushes in,” she felt him push in and pull out, “I put my fingers in then,” she could feel the blood “and then out and spread the blood on top. And put  my bloodied hand on his shoulder.”

He drinks, eats,” she could feel Eric doing these things.  “My  fingers are in his mouth and the gate closes.”

And then there was something completely unexpected! “Stay safe,” he said and then pulled her fiercely to him.  His mouth covered hers in a searing kiss!

Eric was up and shoved her under the altar, with a “Shoot to kill!”  and then he was gone.

Taped to the inside  of the altar were air pistols. She had been practicing with the ones that were positioned down here. Her hands found the guns and removing the tape, she was armed and at the ready!

“He kissed me,” she smiled and allowed herself a small moment of pleasure. “And him breakin’ me, well that did not hurt at all!”

Cacius had gotten into his car and drove out to a rise that overlooked the cornfield! Stripping down to naked, he held his staff in his hands and bowed to the four corners of the all the worlds.

“Glorious, glorious, glorious,” he wept as he prostrated himself toward the stone circle. “I hear and obey, I stand and I do not falter. I am justice and pure of heart. I will tell the Queen that I sacrificed the Were and that her glorious reign shall continue forever!”

Standing, he could see the henge and it wasglorious. He began his dance of the openingand felt the last of the cold moon’s rays run off his body as he cast aside this world and was ready to embrace the next.

 Dancing in the moonlight…the last bit of the cursed white light disappeared as his dance became fevered and the blood red captured and would now control the face of the moon!

Then something marvelous began to happen! He could feel it in his leg and arm! The change of purification and of   collapsing vanguards. The old was ending! The new beginning!

“I am righteous, I am righteous,” he cried out and beat his fists in the air! That is when he noticed. His right arm had shifted to that of…of…a wolf! And the splendor that was his right leg, tattooed with the protection spells of the ages, had changed to wolf as well!

“By all that is unholy!” he screamed. “The gods of my other-worlds, save me! What is this? What has happened?”

On top of a small rise in a cornfield outside of New Orleans, Cacius had a small, come to Jesus meeting. Not that he would ever admit that, but it was now time to think some serious shit, through. Because his life and future undeath depended on this. Out here screaming like a banshee would do him no good. Okay, the right side of his body was seriously fucked. Because of the horror of his body that he was beholding, there could be a loss of bodily functions, later. At the moment, he could not shit, himself! Could not! S-A was going to want a full report. The who, what, why when, where and how. All he had to do was stand here and watch.

Could he do that? Fuck no! He had to work his own agenda! Gain where no other could. Walk with eyes where no one else could see! Own the world and all those in it!

Now he was cursed! Not fit to be an immortal, a vampire or even a complete wolf! Nor was he a man…he was now an unspeakable! A hybrid, he shuttered at the thought! An outcast!

Whoever the winner was, be they a god  or vampire, if they knew about him, he was fucked! Here in the corn was the best place for him! Here in the corn he would stay!

Sookie knew her hand was in front of her face. It was pitch black in the circle. Like being inside of a cave! Which made the stars that were foreign to her eyes, look like you could reach out and touch them. What held her attention was watching the light show up in the air. Yes, the stair case was a grand, sweeping show of power, with all manner of ungodly things in a bottle neck, on it. She could see the gate. It was doing its job. And their team was in the air and shooting and you could hear the screams of those that now sizzled with embedded tin.

But it could not compete with the air bursts that were coming from on high! That had to be Lafayette and O.I.

Lafayette had been practicing with a sling shot. Those bags of tin pellets went winging through the air to be hit with O.I.’s flame and even down here, the stench of roasting…something…was horrific!

They were perhaps two minutes into the battle. As she got her bearings, she realized she was still naked and her watch was missing. “I could use some Druid magic,” she said out loud as the yelling and screaming continued and she could hear their guys yelling   above the wind and using O.I.’s fireballs as light to shift positions!

You could see the movement around O.I. That was the vampires, coming in to take a better shot, get more ammo, which O.I. had strapped to him, or just fuck with the evil in general. Vlad had said something about how he was going to moon them.

“Any time now, magic! Give me some Druid!”

Nothing happened! She was still nude and her hair was still loose and just what the fuck had happened to her watch?

“Well, just what the fuck?” she hissed.

“Sookie!” she heard Pam yelling.

“One, two, three…” she began yelling the numbers so that Pam could find her way to her.

Despite herself, Sookie grinned. They had rehearsed, everything! Down to the second. Pam was to check on her on the fifteen-minute mark. Really, that much time had passed? And what had happened to her watch?

The vampires rotated in and out to O.I. just like they had practiced. Giving everyone time to reload and rethink the battle plan. That was the thing about wars, the battle field was constantly changing and you had to be able to adapt with it.

“That gate was just pure fucking genius,” Eric smiled as he continued to spray bullets at the bottle neck. The stench was overpowering. More than once, he thought he was going to puke!

Samuel, who was just somewhere below O.I., had puked. He knew it was not Lafayette because they had equipped him with a gas mask. And Eric knew it was not O.I. because there would have been something like lava raining down on his very fine vampire ass. He had seen O.I. puke, before, and it got dangerous if he was projectile vomiting!

That only left his dear brother. Who was undoubtedly singing The Psalms as he wretched.

His watch vibrated on his wrist. They had been in here for fifteen minutes. One thing you could say about technology. These fuckers could give you the appearance of slowing  down time or speeding it up, but unless you could slow down the rotation of the earth, science continued to track the spinning of the earth down to the zeptoseconds, and the gods only know how far down the physicists tracked it.

 Pam had gone to check on Sookie. Good. You could not see worth a Were’s shit in here, but those off-worlders could do nothing about the vibration on your wrist.

There was now about forty-five minutes left. Most excellent. The big bad had yet to put in an appearance.

Eric figured this being’s ego would not let him keep out of sight much longer.

Flexing a bit he felt ready for the battle…and then some. Wanting it to start so he could push his limits.

Because he now had new limits. He was more. What he and Sookie had done tonight, was an interesting phenonium.  He had extra somethings. He could feel it and it was a powerful thing. Now he wanted to know what it was that had changed and with a sword in his hand was the only way to find out. He always felt good before a battle, tonight was no different. Although, things had changed a bit for the evil.

There was not the constant influx of the big bad. For which he was grateful. They were still coming down the stairs, but not in the numbers that they had seen in the past. So maybe they had closed it. Which meant they were going to have to kill everything that came down, because there would be no returning to their home dimension. So Abhartach died tonight. “Well just the true death to that fucker,” Eric snarled as he open-fired on those that were rushing the gate. “Or maybe not,” he held that thought. “Maybe for those on this side, it is a two-way door. They can escape back up.

What?” he said feeling his wrist vibrate, again. “Another fifteen minutes has passed. Don’t get lost in your thoughts Northman. Those uglies would love for you to go adrift in this and never come out.

There it is,” he saw the fireball light up the sky as those from the top pushed those that were standing back from the gate into it.

“Took them long enough to figure that out,” Eric snorted. “What a lot of posers,” he grinned as he pulled his sword.

This morning, Sookie was hopeful. By afternoon, she thought maybe she was not ever going to talk about what was going to happen to her. Now that she was here, she was sure she was not going to speak of this evening ever again! This is not what she had envisioned!

Naked, she was armed and sitting under the altar. Her Druid self was not anywhere. Just what the fuck? Was she worried…well that was the question!

“No,” she honestly answered to herself. “Not worried. The moon is going to go back to white light. The team seems to have things under control, because there was nothing for me to shoot at. Surely, by this time, there would be one or two that I could claim as my own personal kill.”

“Sookie,” she heard Pam calling her name, again.

“One…two…” she shouted.

“Sookie, where are you?” was yelled back. “I can’t see you in this hell-hole!”

“Oops…” she pulled back under the altar into a tight ball. “Guns at the ready,” she steadied herself. “Just let that fucker roll on past here. You can just feel the sting of my tin b-b’s. come on, come one, come on.” And maybe, she thought she sounded a bit gleeful!

This blood moon was not going to set on her cold body! She was going to live to see her moonlight return! And once more wear clothes!

“Come on,” she grinned, “Please allow me to take you back to Hell.”

There was the distinct smell of something unearthly that grunted when it ran into the altar. Pulling the trigger, there was a scream, and the sickening sound of flesh opening where she made the wound as the body fell.  Next came the work of the tin sand that had been scattered over the area popping open the exposed flesh and burning away at the evil. “Putrid,” she shuttered.  “Hopefully, that thing is now dead.”

There was another one coming this way. The entity tripped over the body and landed on top of their fellow legionnaire. Firing more shots, she heard the shuffling of what she could only call insanity, and bracing herself, she began to shoot out into the dark and with much satisfaction, she heard grunts and screams as her aim hit true and more bodies fell.

“They must have rushed the gate,” she thought as she kept firing. “Knew that was going to happen. The guys even planned for it. Damn, so glad this is not their first time in a battle zone,” as she dropped the magazine from her air rifle and pulling another one from the holster taped to the side of the altar, loaded another one. “This would just suck if there was no plan.”

Eric felt another vibration on his wrist. He was standing on the rock beams on top of the henge uprights, fighting those who wanted to play King of the Hill.  King Eric had insisted! There was no way of knowing how many they had pushed to the ground and the bad guys continued to fall like hail stones from the sky. Fifteen minutes, left,” he nodded to himself as he slashed his way around the circle, King Eric doing just as much damage as himself!

Then something interesting happened. He could see the eclipse of the moon begin to fade. And the stairs in the Earth’s night sky were beginning to twinkle through. “That’s different…and…is it, perhaps, not as black in here…?”

“What the fuck!” King Eric shouted in glee. “I have grown two more inches! My reach is now as long as yours, my comrade-in-arms!”

Sookie felt the changes taking place on her body. Clothes were back and her hair was in some elaborate braid. Still no watch on her wrist, though.

And she thought maybe she could see…maybe…and the wind and noise were gone. And maybe the stink…she no longer wanted to puke. Yes, their moon was making its way back to them!

Abhartach was watching what was going on around him. His time was not up and yet…yet…the moon spoke of a different reality!

His troops had been fleeing back up the stairs and others had not been able to come down them to re-engage. Things  were horribly wrong!

He had one chance left. And only one as the stench wafted back up the stairs and now polluted his private space. “Retreat,” he bellowed.

His followers did not need to be told twice. There was pushing and shoving and an ending of their reality at the hands of these humans as they fled to get away from the death that lurked there in the dark.

Left alone, he was standing on the stairs. “I would speak with the self-proclaimed lady of the light,” he shouted. “That abomination that calls herself a warrior and a hero! That putrid amount of flesh that wafts deceit on the breeze!”

There was a glow by the altar and it came towards the staircase. It was Sookie! Or perhaps not, Eric reasoned. Her hair was done up in an intricate braid resembling a staircase. On her forehead, a simple gold circlet, also engraved in Runes. From her body flowed a gossamer gown that light surged from and filled all the dark corners of the henge. Around her swirled a purple robe. Gold medallions  the size of dinner plates, done in fanciful embroidered Runes adorned it!  Along with the lavish matching trim that framed the edges. Around her waist hung her sword, and on her arm, she carried a matching shield.

As she approached, she said, “My fellow heroes, not one word. Not one. Whatever you say he will use, against you.”

Abhartach smiled.  “Lady of the Light,” he gave her a deep bow. Then, with a turn of his body, he dismissed her.

“To the men that fought so bravely here, this dark. Your countless fallen comrades would rise from the ground and slay you if they knew they had sacrificed themselves for the likes of her.  I say to you she lies,” he shouted, placing his hand over his heart. “And is a war monger. And a lover of dead flesh. Your lives are forfeit while she sits as a queen and eats honey and comb and washes it down with sweet nectar and your blood. She utters words that true men would never heed.  Promises riches that she does not have and spread her legs to whoever asks. And gives birth to all things unclean and abhorrent. I hope those of you left standing will at last make your will known to her,” he smiled as he thrust his hips forward and then pulled them back. “Let her serve you as is your right! Who here is the man among you that would broker a deal with me and cast this whore into Hell? For Hell is where she belongs. Yes, she is a lady of the light. But you need to ask yourself, what light fuels her? I can tell you, it is the crippled, crushed pieces of a looming dark night. One filled with anguish and hate that she brings here and disguises as good deeds.”

Everyone still held their weapon at the ready.

Eric took careful aim and pulled the trigger.

There was a screech from the being on the stairs. Turning to Eric, he roared his discontent  and threw a fireball at him. Dropping the rifle, Eric used his sword as a bat and knocked it back to him.

Contact!

Abhartach screamed as he patted out the flames with his hands.

“You will regret this, you whores’ sons, all of you! You think you can stop me? There is always someone who wants power of the unworldly type! I will find them and then I will be back for you! You shall feed those who thought to never again taste flesh and you shall fuel their desires!”

Turning, he ran up the stairs as they began to disappear.

Their moon was back to its white, cold light. And their familiar night sky had never looked so good.

“Thank you,” Sookie looked around at the group. “Thank all of you. From my heart and from my world, I thank you.

O.I., if you would not mind, I know Gran is worried. I would like to go home and rest in the comfort of her love.

This is indeed a reason to celebrate,” Sookie bowed to them as O.I. landed with Lafayette on his back. “I will leave you to it,” she smiled at them as Lafayette helped her on and settle in.

O.I. and Lafayette both saluted and with a lift of the dragon’s wings, they were airborne.

There was a comfortable rocking as O.I.’s wings moved up and down.

“You ready?” Lafayette asked her as he handed her his phone.

“Yes,” she nodded.

When Gran picked up Sookie said, “All is well. We are coming home. I love you Gran, we will be there shortly.”

Hanging up, she handed the phone back to Lafayette.

When Sookie began to cry, Lafayette took held her in his arms and held her all the way home.

The vampires watched the dragon take flight. “She would not be wrong,” Vlad smiled as he turned his attention to his fellow warriors. “Time to celebrate!”

“There are blood whores and other pleasures waiting at the penthouse,” Pam smiled. “The last one there has to pay the bill!”

All you could hear was laughter as the vampires disappeared into the darkness.

The night air cooled the henge as the moon smiled down.

Samuel approached Eric who was sitting on top of the altar. “You are quiet,” he said as he hopped up and sat down beside him.

Eric looked around and let out a big sigh. “I believe that our family’s part in this is finished. That we have locked the portal and it is no longer our job to fight this evil.”

“I would say it was a job well done and congratulations are in order,” Samuel replied watching his brother as Eric’s eyes shifted colors and his face remained in neutral. Things were not right. His brother was troubled.

“Is there anything you would have done differently?” Samuel asked.

“Sookie deserved more than what I gave her.  She did not know if she would live or die,” Eric voice was far and distant.  “And she wanted to dance. She said she had danced with her gran but not with a male. And what could have been her final hours here, she just wanted to dance…with me.

I…I feel like I cheated her. She should have had so much more. Instead, she danced, with me.”

“Is there anything I can do?” Samuel asked him.

“No, I need a couple of days to process, this.”

“Do you want to sit with me while I work?” Samuel’s voice was soft and comforting. “We can go, anywhere.”

“I believe so, my brother,” Eric sighed. “Quit. I seem to crave it.”

“I can do that,” Samuel smiled at him. “Let us be gone.”

The Bon Temps Triad landed in the front yard. Gran was out the door to greet them.

There was hugs and kisses and laughter and a lot of “Thank you Jesus!” as her family made their way into the house.

“Tell me!” Gran said as she closed the front door. “But get drinks first. And maybe some dinner. I made beef stew and the biscuits are hot in the oven. Lots of honey butter! What else is needed?”

“Tequila,” the three heroes said as looked around this place they called home.

“Home,” Sookie smiled as she ran her hand along the wall. “I love being home!

And tequila. I could use a jelly glass full of that!”

They sat at the kitchen table and ate and drank and Gran asked what else do you want and Sookie said. “Could you please make monkey bread? Lots of cinnamon! I could eat the entire pan!”

An hour later,  amidst “Lord have mercy!” and “Thank you Jesus for my family!” they were having dessert and Gran was making another pot of coffee.

“So the portal is closed,” the older woman said with a sure nod of her head. “Our family obligation is done this night.”

“Yes,” Sookie nodded. “Abhartach can just go…”

“What?” Gran said. “It sounded like you said a heart attack. All the women in our family die from heart attacks!”

Sookie looked at Gran. “You think this thing cursed our family with heart attacks?”

“Well if it did, it is not going to any longer,” Gran replied. “You saw to that, tonight!”

“Amens and hallelujahs, His La La Fineness says! That mo’ fo’er is not spreadin’ his filth around no mores!”

“Amen and hallelujah  is right,” Sookie sighed. “I am full, ready for bed and I think I am headed that way.”

“You doing okay, Sookie?” Gran asked, taking her by the hand.

“I am more than okay,” she smiled. “I am covered in vampire spit, which I do believe kept the crazies out of my head and I am now tired. Feels like all the air has been let out of me.”

“Get some sleep, honey,” Gran said as Sookie stood up and kissed her on the forehead.

“Will do,” she hugged this woman that believed in her and stood by her.

When they heard Sookie’s door close, Gran looked at Lafayette.

“It worked Gran,” he said with a shrug. “The two of them  rehearsed it and it worked.

It was indeed black as pitch in the circle and nothing could be seen. Let alone heard. For her it was a private moment. I think she intends to keep it that way.”

“Do not blame her a bit,” Gran nodded. “I just wish things could have been different for her,” the older woman sighed. “I am going to bed.”

Kissing her on the forehead, Lafayette watched her toddle off into the house.

“Gran, at times I wish things could have been different for all of us,” Lafayette sighed.

“My Big Man’s,” O.I. fluttered in front of him. “You gots regrets?”

Lafayette smiled at the love filled eyes that stared back at him. “Maybe that I was kinder, more loving, considerate.”

“Yous is not lacking, my La La,” he stroked his face with his claw. “Not lacking at all.”

The vampires were at the hotel, partying. It had been a great victory!

They all admired the storm that was beginning to build off the cost.

“Going to be one hell of a blow,” Pam remarked.

“Yes,” Madame Vedo replied as they both stood out on the balcony. “Something to wash clean the air and rid us of the stench of evil.”

There was a storm building up in New Orleans. The thunderheads had pushed in, filled with warm water from the Gulf. Before the sun rose, lightning lit up the sky and for twenty minutes, there was a spectacular light show in the air. Then the rain moved in and for ten minutes it fell so hard you could not see ten feet in front of you.

With sunrise, it promised to be a nice day. The air had been washed clean, there was a cool breeze and the humidity was low.

Outside of town, the cornfields benefited from the rain and the rocks that made up the henge held a high degree of iron ore, which made them very attractive to the lightning. When the storm dissolved, the henge was no more as well. The thunderbolts had done a most excellent job of reducing it all to rubble.

Before sunrise, Cacius was on the phone, sobbing and pleading. “My Queen,” his words tumbled out. “The henge was  secured. The darkness cannot control us. But it is now rubble. A storm moved through and brought it to an unjust end!”

“Was secured and now destroyed!” the voice of reason drawled out. “You told me you had this. That you had secured my position in the realm of the Ether and Mist. How does a storm destroy rock?”

“Lightning storm my Queen,” he shook his head.  It would not do to show fear! What the fuck had he been thinking to  call her? “I need to know how you want to proceed. I am at a loss without you here.”

“We will be on our plane back to our residence. Now, this Druid that was in attendance with Northman. Is she dead?”

This was a tricky moment. He wanted the job as Druid.  He wanted to be a vampire Druid! Was she dead? He had no way of knowing.

“I do not know,” his voice dropped. “The darkness kept everyone from seeing.”

“So she could be dead?”

“Perhaps,” he replied.

 “Find out for me. And if she lives, I want to meet her,” she replied.

“I…I do not know her name,” he sobbed.

“Well, who does?” her voice went up an octave.

“Alcide Herveaux,” he stammered.

“A Were?” she hooted.

“Yes,” he replied.

“I will contact Compton and get the Were to us. With the new dark, he shall answer our questions.”

Bill was lounging in the pool at the Big Pull Motelin Jackson, Mississippi. This trip had been a bust. He had not been invited out to the King’s mansion and he was out a tank of gas.

Northman must have been successful. The moon was once more white. There were no demons dancing on the light posts or angels singing to STOP signs. Things were looking good. Time to take his ass back to the residence and take over and rule!

His phone trumpeted with the horns of Reveille.  It was Sophie-Anne.  Picking up he heard:

“Get me Packmaster Herveaux. We will be there with the new dark. He is to be in attendance upon us at that time.”

The phone went dead. “Why me?” he sobbed. “I have been a good and righteous Queen. I am not deserving of this short notice Were shit she throws at me.”

Getting out of the pool, he took a towel to dry off. “This is not fluffy at all,” he complained. “And has no nice nap to it. Good thing I am not paying to stay here,” as mumbled as he went to the locker room and changed into his clothes. “Well,” he held up the towel once more after he had slipped on his shoes. “I guess it is good enough to dry the car off with after I have washed it.”

Tossing it into his bag, he walked through the lobby and out into the night. Getting into his car, it was time to haul his ass on back to N.O.

Alcide had driven all night to get back to his own bed. He just fucking hated sleeping in hotels. There was nothing comfortable about them. Even the king size beds cramped his style. He liked to sleep spread out. As in spread eagle all over the bed. It was a bit hard to do on a bed that was not his own.

When he pulled in, six Weres stepped out of the bushes, all of them with shot guns.

“What the fuck?” he said. “Samson, I was just in N.O. You could have called me and I would have met you for coffee.”

“S-A wants to do a meet and greet,” he replied.

“Really? I doubt that. It is morning,” Alcide chuckled.

Samson snarled at him “No fucking kidding. I know morning! I am not a dumb ass Were! I did go to school, you know. Auburn kicked LSU’s sorry ass that year. You really were not all that at the end zone and I was when I blocked your sorry ass from making that TD.” (touchdown)

Samson smiled. “S-A wants you there when she shows up.”

“You got breakfast, somewhere?” Alcide asked. “My ass is tired from the ride back and my stomach is growling.”

“Chicken fried steak smothered in gravy.”

“Why Cher, you remembered. Well fuck, let’s go. But I need to call Momma. She is expecting me for lunch.”

“Can do,” Samson replied. “Tell Auntie that I send my regards and will see her on my Momma’s birthday! Now, let’s get to the chopper.”

“Chopper, really, she sent a chopper for me?” In Alcide’s voice was surprise as a car pulled up to give them a ride. “Hell no! This is for us to get you back there.  And you are walkin’ back from N.O.

Momma has never ridden’ in a chopper before and we are takin’ this opportunity to make that happen for her. We are stoppin’ off at the house. That is where it is parked. Cousin Willy is there now, showin’ Momma and Aunt Susan the ins and outs.”

“Oh man,” Alcide sighed. “We havin’ Auntie Carol’s chicken-friend steak? And those tater tots she deep fries?”

“Hell yes,” Samson replied. “You don’t think I eat anyone else’s do you? If you think that, you are the dumb ass Were.”

It had been a quiet flight to Breckenridge. It was best to let Eric fight his own demons until he asked what Samuel thought of the situation.

When they landed, Eric retired to his chambers. Before sunrise, Samuel went in to tuck him in.

“I love you my brother,” Eric sighed when Samuel kissed him on the forehead.

“Rest well this day, Eric, and know that the God of my fathers watches over us.”

Everyone at the old farm house slept that night. And the next day. It was quiet and peaceful and no one tried to influence their dreams!

With the new dark, Eric sat out on the roof of Samuel’s home on Peak 8 and watched it snow. Beautiful, quiet, peaceful. And he had taken a virgin on top of an altar in a henge! And with one thrust he had spent himself inside of her!

Samuel walked outside and looked up. There sat a gargoyle covered in snow on the roof’s top peak. He knew staring out of the face of that gargoyle were blue eyes that belonged to his much-troubled brother.

Samuel floated up until he was face-to-face with Eric.

“What distresses you, my brother?” he asked.

“Beside the fact that I took a virgin on an altar. And still live…not struck down for my not so stellar behavior?”

Samuel waited. With Eric, there was always more…

“It took maybe a second…maybe…” Eric shrugged and the snow fell off his shoulders. “I was in, out, and in that fraction of the turning of the earth, I ejaculated inside of her. I kissed her, put her under the altar, and here I am.

Only, this is not the first time I have done that.”

“What do you mean?” Samuel asked.

“When she tasted my mother’s mead and I placed my tongue where hers had been on the glass.  My blood ignited and I…I…grunted as the power started at the root of my penis and traveled up like a bolt of lightning!

“Twice in one lifetime!” King Eric shouted, as the snow fell off Eric’s crotch. “It was a powerful thing Brother Samuel…shook me to the base! Same thing happened with the old dark. Lefty and Righty are once again in a state of shock! They have no idea what hit them! Me neither. And being inside of her was like reliving a dream in slow motion. He says we were in and out. I say we lingered there, forever.”

“Interesting,” Samuel nodded.

“I just need time,” Eric said as he put out a finger and a snowflake landed on it.

“I will see you inside,” Samuel smiled at him and left his brother sitting on the roof, watching it snow.

When Sophie-Anne woke, she knew she was home. There was just something sweet and overly ripe with a hint of salt   about the New Orleans air.

“Time for business,” she chuckled. “Dinner can wait.”

Sophie-Anne sat in her throne room. Cacius had begged off from attending this evening. The henge had been hit by lightning and was in a sad state. He had observed it during the day and now he wanted to walk it at night. Which was fine with her. She had gleaned from him what she needed to know.  Northman had defeated the evil and the female druid was perhaps alive.  Perhaps…

Time for business.

The Were, Heveraux, was being brought in. She had questions. And this hairy beast had better have answers!

The doors opened and in stepped the Shreveport Packmaster. She had heard he was nice looking. Carried himself well and was intelligent. Perhaps those rumors were not wrong.

“I hope he really is all that,” she thought to herself. “Hairy beast or not, he is a good-looking stud!

“Packmaster,” she said standing, a smile covering her face. “So nice of you to join us this evening.”

“Did I have a choice?” he asked. “You sent Weres for me? All you had to do was call. I could have gotten myself here and I would have been assured of a ride home.”

“I apologize for that,” she smiled at him and approaching him she extended her hand. “We were away, on a fact-finding mission and my guards took my words with a bit much more zeal than what I had intended. I do so apologize for any inconvenience.”

“Missed a day of work,”  he replied, shaking her hand instead of kissing it. “Good thing I was only going to run inventory and not actually doing construction on the job. I would have to bill you for that.

Now, what can I do for you?”

“You are to the point,” she smiled at him.

“Ma’am, I run my own business. Which makes me self -employed. Time is money.”

“We were told you were at the henge on the night of the eclipsing blood moon.

That my Sheriff of Area Five was there to help defend my home from evil that would perhaps descend from the stars.”

“As far as I know, that is correct,” he replied. “But I would not know for sure. I left early.”

“Did you know the henge has been destroyed.”

“I had not heard that,” he said. “How did it happen?”

“Lightning storm that passed through. I was just wondering if you think the female Druid that was in attendance had anything to do with that.”

“What? She can call down storms to destroy the henge? If she could do that, I would have thought she would have done so last night and side-stepped the war.”

Well fuck! She had not considered that. Maybe the female really was not all that. “We are in need of a powerful sorceress and we would like to meet her to see if she could be of any type of help. We have been told that blue sparks obey her.  We are in need of this type of power. We have heard that Eric called her Cousin.”

“Yes,” he nodded.  “And he also called her The Late Druid….she called him Cousin and Ass Hole. That is all I know about her.”

“Truly. Is that all you know? We know that you were in attendance in my sheriff’s club the dark she used her staff to place a star guide on the ceiling of Fangtasia.

“Myself and a couple hundred others saw her do that. I suspect your spy did as well. Just what is it you want me to say? You know as much about her or perhaps more than I do.

I know Northman by his reputation. That night, I saw the   two of them together and they are indeed, family. One just as surly and circumspect as the other. That is a lethal combination. Both of them looking to start a fight. Both of them capable of kicking your ass. So I do not go around asking questions about them or sticking my nose into their business. I have heard that more than one person has gone missing when they desired information about Northman. In Shreveport, he is referenced as Trouble. No one says his name. Because no one wants Trouble raining down on them. Keeps us all alive that way.”

With a flutter of her hand, Alcide was excused. She turned to walk away and then turned back to him. She had to know if she yet lived! It was time to be coy! “Did she leave there on her staff?” she asked. “I was told she used it as a witch does her broom.”

The bitch clearly wanted her. Alcide shrugged and decided it was time to fuck with her. “I don’t know if she survived the war. At the meeting at Fangtasia, it was my understanding that the druids of the past normally did not. That it took all of their energy to defeat the evil that came down the stairs. And that if there was anything left, it was just a screaming husk. And for mercy’s sake, it was killed and put out of its misery.

But I left before the battle started.”

“Mm-m-m-m,” she said with a flick of her wrist as her guards fell in beside him, took him by the arms and escorted him out.

He was walked to an outer perimeter gate, shoved out onto the street and the gate closed. “Dumb ass,” he chuckled as he began walking. He was being followed.

Heading for the French Quarter, he kept walking until he found his favorite beignet stand. He stopped and ordered a bag full of sweet. “And Cher, I need an extra special one.”

“Can do, Alcide,” the owner grinned back at him. “How’s  Momma? I need some advice. She still talkin’ to Jesus?”

“You know she is,” he grinned. “Give her a call and go see her. Been a while since she saw her favorite god-daughter.”

“Well now wait one,” the twin of the young lady came up from under the counter.

“And her other favorite god-daughter,” he chuckled.

“That’s better. Now, I poured us all a shot of tequila. We’ll just sip this while we finish off your order.”

They passed a pleasant time, together, catching up on family gossip and the newest dry-rub recipe. Paying out, he took the bag and continued walking, eating as he went.

The street vendors were gearing up for the evening and the place was taking on its night time persona. A bit more mysterious and a bit more dangerous with things that went bump in the night.

It was a vampire that was following him. What a dumb ass! Alcide drifted into the crowd and watching the vamp’s reflection in the store window, he turned sideways and lobbed the beignet right into his face!

There was a screech and the scream of “Garlic!”

With a smile he continued on until he entered the bar, Quarter Moon Distillery.

For a Were’s place of business, it was a little upscale. This was not someplace where you caused a scene. T-shirts and jeans were fine but if you thought you were gonna start a rumble in here, Dixie would fill you full of lead. Weres, being hard to train, she had to do it once or twice. She liked her clientele neat and clean and if you thought about pissing on her floor, she would use your face for a mop. He saw her do it one night, as well.

“Packmaster,” was called out when he came in. Saluting them, he sat down at the bar and took out his phone. Punching in a number, the voice at the other end said, “Northman.”

“I was picked up outside my house in Shreveport and I am presently having a beer in N.O.  Folks are asking questions. Who lived who died.”

“Can you talk?” Eric asked.

“No Cher, that is not possible.”

“Were you followed from the Residence?”

“You know I was,” Alcide chuckled and motioned for a beer.

“Are you safe?” Eric asked.

“I am having a beer at the Quarter Moon Distilleryif you want to meet me here.”

“Put Dixie on the phone, please,” Eric said.

Alcide motioned for the owner to come over. When she arrived he handed her the phone.

“I understand completely,” she grinned. Hanging up she handed Alcide back his phone and said, “Come with me. I’ll show you the bike if you are really interested in buying it.

Helen,” she yelled to the blonde behind the bar. “Got a live one here. Maybe tonight I will unload that piece of shit bike my x-old man gave me as alimony. We’ll be outback in the store room. Toss me the keys!”

They were out in the alley and Dixie unlocked the garage door. Opening it, there sat various paraphernalia from the bar along with what looked to be a brand-new Harley.

“This way,” she said skirting around chairs, tables and an old pinball machine. Shifting something on the back brick wall, a panel in the opposite wall slid open.

“Follow this all the way to the end. You’ll come out in a basement. Take the elevator to the seventh floor. Before the door opens, push 13, 2, 10 and 4. The doors will open on the opposite side. Push the emergency bell. You have five  seconds to exit. Then the doors are going to close and return to the basement where a new code will be set. If you do not push the emergency bell, it is going to drop to the subbasement and you are going to be dead.”

“Seventh floor. Before door opens, push, 13, 2, 10, 4, doors open, behind me, push the emergency bell and get out.

Thanks,” he said as he stepped away from her. His curiosity got the better of him. Northman was avoided like the plague!  “Why?” was all he asked.

“You ever hear of a Were paying alimony?  As a rule, they like to come around and beat the hell out of their X. Who do you think gave me the Harley and got rid of my old man?” she smiled.  “Haul ass, Cher. You will be safe once you get there.”

Locking up, she went back into the bar, tossed the keys back to Helen and went out onto the floor to bus tables.

Of all the fucked up Were shit! Putting away his phone, Eric floated down to the pool entrance.  Stripping, he left the snow and his cleared his mind by the fireplace. Her royal highness of bad timing and greed had pissed him off. Hovering above the deep end, he executed the perfect dive into the water and then swam to the shallow end. Pulling on a bathrobe, Eric went to find Clifford. “I need to make contact… if he does not know her last name, time to do work the search engine.”

Clifford listened while Eric explained about the newest development.

“I do not have her last name.  All I know is that her name is Sookie and that she lives about an hour’s drive somewhere outside of Shreveport. O.I. said Sookie and His La La Fineness both work at the same place. Merlotte’s, he said was the name. O.I. was very taken with this. He helped to cook Lafayette burgers and watched for when the fries were ready to come up out of the oil. He would chat her up whenever she came in to pick up the food.”

“Merlotte’s,” Eric said. “I know of it. Thanks.”

Passing through the house, Eric found Samuel in his study. Samuel noted when Eric came in. He would have been hard to miss.

Things were not sitting well with the tall blond. From somewhere he had acquired a sword and Eric’s fangs were down.

“What happened between the roof and inside? Things did not get better, I see,” he said to his brother.

“I got a phone call. That fucking Sophie-Anne…” he hissed as he paced back and forth in front of the fireplace and told Samuel about his conversation with Herveaux.

When he had finished, he sat down on the arm of Samuel’s chair. “I have got to haul ass back to Shreveport.”

“You want a plane?” he asked.

“No, I am going super-sonic. I’ll get dressed and see you before I leave.”

Samuel watched as Eric took off into the night sky.

Sophie-Anne…her days were numbered. The small vampire returned to his office and began looking at her assets. Before too much longer, Eric was going to own what was hers.

It was midnight and Eric’s first stop back in Louisiana, was the henge.

“Looks like it has had the hell blasted right out of it,” he said to himself as he walked around the pile of rubble. You could still smell the ozone in the rocks where they had been struck by the lightning. The altar stone had been hit and was in four separate, but equal pieces on the ground.

“Interesting,” he smiled as he regarded the four.  “Looks like it was broken right down the center. A stone mason could not have done a better job.”

Stacking the four of them together, he carried them across the cornfield to the old graveyard behind the barn. Placing them on top of graves, they looked like they had been there, forever.

 “Anyone who wanted that altar stone for evil intent, good luck with that.”

Dusting off his hands, he was once more airborne and into the night. His direction was North and a bit East.

Merlotte’s was outside of Bon Temps. It was time to make contact.

The sleep today had been good. She had not paced back and forth and had a pity-party like maybe she thought she would a week ago.

Eric had been exceptionally nice to her. No fairy tale romance could have compared to that! She had experienced a world class lover that had turned what could have been a terribly awkward situation into bliss. Parts of her body on fire while others had smoldered and shivered with want! “He is very good at what he does,” she sighed with joy at the remembering!

The world was set to rights and she had helped with that. “Good-bye family curse! Evil can just continue to burn in hell or walk the stars, or whatever the fuck they do. They are just not gonna be doin’ it here! Go Team!”

The clock struck down the hour the magic hour. Turning off the TV, she thought about what needed to be done. She had taken time off and played. Her paycheck was going to reflect that. It was time to get back to work. “I’ll give it fifteen minutes,” she thought to herself as she pulled on her shoes.  “You just have to wait of things to die down at the bar.”  Around midnight just seemed to work for the best if you needed to have words with Sam. Good, bad, or indifferent to the night’s till, fist fights and drunks puking, Sam was more agreeable at midnight than any other time.

There was no mistaking the vampire that walked into the bar. Sam had seen him once or twice before skulking around town. Just what he was doing here was anyone’s guess.

Looked like he was going to find out. Here came the blood sucker now.

“You must be Sam Merlotte. I am Bill Compton. Do you have someplace where we can speak in private?”

Since Sam had never met this vamp, he guessed N.O. had pulled his file and showed this cock-sucker what he looked like.

“My office,” Sam answered him and led him to the back. “Have a chair,” Sam pointed to one as he sat behind his desk.  Bill was looking around with a critical eye. “Your establishment is new to the area. My family used to live around here during the war. The  Compton planation. Perhaps you have heard of it?”

“The Old Compton place,” Sam looked at the vamp and did not smile. “Old man Compton died about three years, ago. It was run down when he lived in it. It has been abandoned since then.”

‘Truly?” Bill sounded shocked. “Well, I cannot imagine a Compton letting the family manse go to ruin.

It is indeed fortunate that I have come home, so to speak.

I will now need to correct this matter while I am looking for workers for my Queen’s residence.”

“What?” Sam eyed him. “You have come far North to be looking for work so far South.”

“I realize that, but I am looking to re-establish my home that apparently is now in need of repair,” the look on Bill’s face was one of shock.

“And so all will know my good intent, I am just looking to spread a little good will. If someone needs a job, I know where they can get one. Our Queen can be very generous.”

“Your queen,” Sam pointed a finger at him. “And that is quite some commute,” Sam answered him.

“I am just trying to be a good neighbor,” Bill answered.

The door was left partially open so Sookie stuck her head in. “Sorry, did not realize you were doin’ business,” she said.

“It’s okay. Come on in, Sookie.  What can I do for you?”

“Sam, I need to work the early shift, tomorrow.”

“I have all those slots, covered, Sookie. I have you off the schedule until next week. But if someone calls in sick, I will call you.”

“Thanks, I appreciate that,” she said.

“This is what I am talking about,” Bill said with a sincere smile on his lips and in his eyes. “Hard workers. Always wanting more hours. The back bone of the South. My name is William T. Compton. A hero of the great war. Perhaps you have heard of me?”

Before she could speak, she felt him behind her.

“Most excellent, you are here,” came the voice that vibrated through her and caused parts of her to flare up! “And Bill, no one has heard of you. Great hero my ass.

Sookie,” she turned to look at him. “I am back in town and need you for a couple of hours each day this week.”

There was shock on both Merlotte’s and Compton’s face!

 “Short trip,” was all she said to him.

“Indeed,” he smiled at her and then looked over her head at Bill. “What are you doing in my area unannounced, Bill? And sounding like you want to spirit my day walker, away.”

 In Eric’s voice was a hint of mine,  that Bill had no problem reading.

“I have a letter from our Queen,” Bill replied, patting down his pockets. “She sent me here.”

“That does not excuse you from notifying me.”

“We are not to discuss vampire business in front of non- vampire,” Bill preened.

“Spare me the trivial,” Eric responded.  “And the attitude. Are you trying to piss me off? What are you doing here?”

“I am on a mission of our Queen. She returned this dark and sent me here to see if any of the hard-working folks of Bon Temps would like a job working in her Residence.

I stopped by the club but you were not there.”

“That is one long commute,” Eric smirked at Bill then his attention was back on Sookie. “I need clothes for this weekend. A couple of suits, shirts, ties. Heavy gold cufflinks.”

“What about shoes?” she asked.  “And most importantly, socks. You still want cartoon character socks?”

“Yes,” he nodded. “And I have the shoes I am going to wear. Oh…and I am also going to need highlights!” he winked at her.

“Got it,” she nodded. “Did you bring your laundry?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Okay. Sam,” she turned to him.  “I’ll be day walkin’ for Eric for the next week. If you would, please put me back on the schedule any time after that. And I don’t know about workin’ anyone’s sick hours.”

“Do not count on that,” Eric responded. “ Maybe more like two weeks. There are properties I want you to look at and evaluate. Along with some land. I want photos of everything. You will need the Jeep. Some of it is hard to get, too.”

“Sookie,” Sam stood, horror in his voice. “Is this what you do in your spare time? You work for Northman?”

“Yes,” she nodded. “Sam, you pay minimum wage and I make not even gas money in tips. Gran is gettin’ older and I can’t always depend on her bein’ around. Been thinkin’ about asking Lafayette if he wants to move in and pay a little rent. Maybe I will consider that more in depth after Gran passes. But for right now, I am lookin’ after me and mine and not countin’ on one source of income.”

“Where,” there was still dismay in Sam’s voice, “where did you two even meet?”

Eric noted the interest. In Sam’s voice was…well perhaps worry and jealousy. So the Shifter was sweet on her. So little, so very, very late!

“Laundry mat,” Eric supplied. “I lost a bet so I had to do my own laundry.”

“And he was clueless,” Sookie chuckled. “Which turned out for the best for me.”

“Come on,” Eric extended his arm to her. “Please allow me to see you home. We’ll take your car and I will come back for mine. I have already dropped my clothes at your house.”

They went out to the parking lot and Eric waited while Sookie unlocked the doors.

“You drive,” he smiled at her as Merlotte was watching them out a window. Bill’s sad little face was at another window.

“Let’s give them what they are expecting to see.”

“What’s that?” Sookie asked.

“That you are hired help.”

As they were driving off, Eric looked at her and said “You are exceptionally short.”

“Was I not this short as a Druid?” she asked.

“No,” he shook his head. “You were not. I would have even said that you were tall.”

“What’s up?” she asked. “As in why are you here? And did O.I. tell you where I worked.?”

“Well, he told Clifford. The dragon king was apparently entranced by how French fries were made. He likes them with mayonnaise.

As to what is up,” Eric replied as he watched the road while watching the small young woman that sat next to him, driving a car that was older than her. “That is a story. The Vampire Queen of Louisiana wants to know if the Druid is  still alive and kicking ass. They pulled Herveaux into N.O. this morning, wanting to know about you.

Then I walk into Merlotte’s and there sits the biggest ass kisser this side of the Old World. I thought he would go up in flames if you got him this far away from the throne.”

“Is that a problem?” she asked.

“Oh yes, but not for us,” he grinned as she put on the blinker and turned onto Humming Bird Lane.

Dear Readers,

On to the holy days!

To quote an angel: Jesus is not here, He is risen!

As always, thanks for reading!

Be blessed and be the blessing,

CES