Dylan Knew His Shit
I had fancied myself a student of the world. It was necessary to adaption and survival to understand the motivations of those you moved among. If you were able to see paths that people and plans might take you could get ahead of them. You could not only survive but triumph. Most of my long life I had excelled at this kind of thinking. I had the library of time in my mind, surely something in that vast archive could help us now.
Stop. I need more information. Information that Sookie knew. Information that Karin knew. Information that I had been on the edge of since I found Sookie whispering to candle just a few nights past. Before I could find a way around I had to know the height and width of the mountain I was facing. My fangs snapped down and I rose to my full height. “Explain.” Karin stood tall as well facing what could be her own death in the next seconds without flinching.
“I am meant to channel the magic of this place, and the two of you to reset time and give the world another chance to prevent this all from coming to pass. The Z’s, as you call them, know of this plan and are coming here right now to stop us.”
“How do they know? They are but shadows of mindless skittering things.”
“You know this is not true, Northman. The faster you can accept what I am sure is unacceptable to you the more secure a different outcome will be for us all.” Rage bubbled up inside me and I took another step toward her. No one had the balls to say what we were dancing around and yet I was expected to just accept these unformed truths complacently and with ease. Oh, fuck no!
“Speak truth to me witch or we will leave you here to face the hordes alone. I am not a puppet!” Sookie placed her hand on my back but I shrugged her off in my anger. She had known this and had not told me. I was furious with her at this moment, that she would place me in this position with no preparation.
“Fuck you, vampire!” Karin snarled at me, provoking me further in my rage. “You act as though you are the only one here to pay for this! I was pulled from my mortal life and made into this vile form to serve, to be here in this moment only! You are not the only one who will sacrifice this night for a chance at a better tomorrow. Fuck you for thinking you are too good to bleed! We all bleed for this cause!”
“YOU WANT ME TO KILL SOOKIE!” I roared out the unacceptable my hands clenched in claws with rage so thick in my veins that I could think of nothing other than how this was not going to happen.
“It’s more complicated than that, Eric,” Sookie said behind me, speaking for the first time since we had landed in this clearing by the river. I turned my rage on her then.
“How dare you do this? You said nothing! NOTHING!”
“And what could I have said that would have done anything other than send you in the opposite direction of hope? If you had suspected you would have taken us as far from this place as possible until it was too late!” She was right but that did nothing to soothe my rage and pain.
“It was my choice to do that!”
“And it was mine, too! I can’t live in this world anymore! The night you showed up like a dream I was planning to kill myself. There was nothing left for me. Every fucking one I knew was dead already or trapped in a hell that you cannot imagine and I cannot escape! I can hear and see them, Eric! They are in my fucking mind all the time. ALL THE FUCKING TIME! I CAN’T STAND ANOTHER MINUTE! NOT ANOTHER GODDAMNED MINUTE OF IT!”
She threw open the bond then and reached out to me taking me into her mind showing me all the things that she had hidden from me. Showing me all the things that had torn at her sanity until she was in pieces that could never be sewn together again. The gaps were too wide and the crazy just keep seeping in.
Together our minds flew across the world, to the hive that I had only suspected. It was a dim cave deep underground. There thousands of them slithered and crawled through the dark with ravenous intent. Their hunger crippled my body and left it shaking by the river as my mind went deeper into the hive and their twisted desires. All the way to the leader, their queen.
All the way to what had once been my beautiful Pamela.
She was covered in them as they worshipped and adored her. Masses of them writhing at her feet awaiting her every command. Ready to do anything she asked. My Pamela had adapted and survived exactly as I had taught her to do. She had triumphed turning disaster into opportunity exactly as I had taught her to do.
My Pamela was the leader of the Z’s.
I needed to sit down. That never happened. I clutched at Sookie as I listened to what she was subjected to day and night from the hordes that Pam commanded. At first it was like the hissing of snakes, low and quiet and then the volume rose so loud my skull vibrated from the force of it, from the power of millions of minds united in single thought and purpose.
I understood then. Sookie had struggled to shut out random individual thoughts but the power of millions united into a single thought was like a psychic atomic bomb that was constantly exploding in her mind. It could not be shut out. It could not be denied.
All the loved ones that had fallen, Jason, Tara, Alcide, Bill, Pam had taken their knowledge of Sookie and used it to fuel her hatred. She knew how to target her long range missiles better than a computer guidance system. She knew just how to hurt her. Taking me as they had been trying to do since I touched down in Bon Temps would have been the coup de grace.
There was that, but there was more. If Karin was right then the hive had picked up someone who knew of this plan to reset time. Pamela was still doing exactly as I had taught her to do. She was fighting to survive. If I was the only one who could do this then taking me out was essential to her survival.
A part of me had to admire the unstoppable vampire I had made so long ago. She was a wonder to behold. Her strength! She had mastered the Hep-V and turned it into something else entirely. I could judge all I wanted from where I stood but I knew that in truth if I had been in position I would have done my best to survive as well. I would be doing what she was doing right now because she was mine and I was hers as well. I would seek to bring her to the hive and keep her by side.
But I had a different vantage point. I still had the things that she had been forced to surrender in order to survive in this world. Given the choice with what I know now I could not take this road with her. Nor could I as her maker, the one responsible for her in good faith and good conscience allow her to stay on this path either.
Before I could speak I felt Sookie take a breath which was all the warning I got before we were overcome with a barrage of bloody images. Over and over I saw the horde kill her loved ones. Over and over I saw them rise, transformed and adapted to their new existence of perfect killing machines. I saw the people they ate and killed and felt their resplendent and utter joy at knowing only one thing and satisfying it over and over. Their endless hunger their bottomless emptiness sucking at me like quicksand.
It was Sookie’s screams that brought me back to the here and now beside the river. I held her as she thrashed and whimpered in my arms. I cried with her as I finally understood. Forcing myself to gather my wits and look around at our exposed position I saw that Karin had been moving. She had laid out a grid of stones around us forming a square approximately twenty feet in diameter. Inside that square she had laid out three larger stone forming a triangle. Sookie and I stood in the middle of that triangle but that was not what made my blood run colder than normal.
What made me feel like the blood had turned to ice inside me was that outside the square Karin had laid out was a horde of Z’s standing with their hungry gazes locked on us. I deduced that the magic square was holding them out somehow. I had studied magics along with everything else and little scraps of knowledge from my rational mind came back to me about the magical properties of geometric shapes in conjunction with vibrational frequencies, ley lines, and abilities of certain stones to enhance them.
The square, the triangle and then came the circle. I was still holding Sookie anticipating that Karin would draw that shape next when she stopped and came to us. She was holding the dagger her face stern with intent and showing the effort that she was exerting to hold the magical barrier together. I was ready to kill her if she tried to hurt Sookie, then we would fly away from here and figure this out somewhere safe.
Except, there was nowhere safe left. If I had felt it before I now knew it with certainty. Pam would never let me go. I knew that because I would have never let her go.
Karin stopped and reached out a hand to touch Sookie throwing herself telepathically into our wide open bond. I have a message, she thought to us and then I saw the visage of the Ancient Pythoness commanding her progeny to pass this on to me when the time came. Her words crashed like thunder in my mind and Sookie whimpered again, burrowing closer to me, too ravaged to do anything other than hold on.
Viking what is asked of you is the greatest of sacrifices. The love you hold for the halfling burns bright across all time and space. If you can find the strength to do what must be done then we might set this right. We might give you the chance to do things differently and stop this future from coming into existence. You and your love are the only hope that is left. Follow your heart. Make better choices.
When the message ended Karin stepped back and moved away. I watched as she started a small fire inside the square. Then she gathered a small pile of earth before turning back to me. “We have all the power here that can be summoned on this plain. Earth, air, fire and water,” she said gesturing to the river. “In conjunction with ley line, the square and the triangle.”
“What of the circle?”
“The bond shared by you and Sookie is the sacred circle. No end. No beginning. Your love and sacrifice the catalyst that will make this world spin backwards on its course to a time when all this might be different.” She held the dagger out to me again. “What say you?”
I say this is fucking crazy.
I say there must be another way.
I say I am about two seconds away from flying the fuck away from here with Sookie in my arms and letting the fucking world just burn to a cinder.
I say…NO… FUCKING…WAY!
“MMMMMMMaaaaaasssstttttteeeerrrrrrrrrrrr,” the Z’s moaned from the edge of the square. “Join us! Be one with us forever!” I closed my eyes and held Sookie to me. What a fucking nightmare.
Save us, Eric. Our bond was still open and she thought her wishes to me. She showed me the missed chances that we had spoken of just last night. She showed me her hope for the way things could be if I were strong enough to set this right. She showed me that she needed me to do this. The whole fucking world needed me to do this because the dark was closing in on the light and soon there would be nothing left here.
I can’t, Sookie. Please don’t ask this of me.
Let my death have meaning, Eric. If they are right you will get another chance to set this right. We will get another chance to do the things that we should have done. I love you, Eric. I will always love you. Don’t let that be taken from me. Don’t leave me to die here in the dark!
I kissed her forehead and steeled myself to do this. Once the decision was made it was like turning on a light switch. The night was split when light shot up to the sky first from the edges of the square into the heavens. As one the Z’s cried out, burning from its intensity. Next, the triangle lit up offering another wall of protection. Last, Sookie and I lit up with the power of her light passing to me as well through the wide open bond. Her head fell back on my arm around her shoulder and I could feel her starting to burn in my arms.
Karin pulled a small tape recorder from her pocket and pressed play. The night was split with the mystical tones of Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower with Hendrix on the guitar. I raised an eyebrow at Karin and she shrugged. “Dylan knew his shit,” was all she offered in way of explanation. I filled in the rest. It wasn’t Gregorian chanting, but there was definitely power in these tones.
When the ley line heard the beats and strings of Hendrix it picked up the tune and suddenly the universe was filled with magic and music. It felt glorious when the music pushed back the dark and the barriers around us became a light show pulsing to the beat. Despite what I had to do, there was so much beauty here in this moment that I could not comprehend it all. It reminded me that here there had once been great good in this world and there could be again.
I looked down at Sookie, squinting in the glare of her fire. She was smiling at me. A real smile and it reassured me once again that this was right.
I will find you again, Sookie. In this world, or any other. Nothing will keep me from your side. I swear it!
She reached up to touch my face and I could feel her burning my skin with her touch.
I slipped the dagger into her back and pierced her heart in one quick decisive thrust. Her light intensified and just as Hendrix hit his powerful guitar bridge the light show intensified to match her own pulsing light.
I could my feel body dissolving as she burned me up with her in the heart of the fire that was our love.
I love you, Sookie, was my final thought. In the last strings of our bond I heard her tinkling laughter and felt her love come back to me like a river again. Her voice following me through to wherever I was going.
I was falling and flying all at once the stars shooting past me like streaks of light infinite in length. This was where forever lived. If there was a God any moment I might be able to touch his face and finally divine his purpose. But something was missing. Something I needed very much.
I needed Sookie. I pictured her before me. The girl in the white dress her hair like sun, her smell the sweetest of sins. I had no body but I had my soul and it called to hers.
The stars fade and the universe spins around me… until…
…I am on my throne in Fangtasia and before me stands Bill and Sookie. This is the first night we met. The first time I saw her.
“Yes, of course. Uh, sorry. Eric this is my friend…” I cut him off.
“Sookie Stackhouse.” She looks at me like I just walked over her grave. She has no idea.
“How do you know my name?” I raise a hand to silence Pam before she can speak.
“I know that you want me to help you find a killer. I will do that.” She looks at me intently and I can see that she wondering how I know this. She is wondering if in fact I am the killer she seeks. Dropping the cold demeanor I wore then like a blanket of protection the first time around I look at her with my heart in my eyes and I smile thinking of all the adventures and love we will share in times to come.
I see her take a deep breath and respond to the warmth she sees in my gaze. I lean forward slowly and still smiling at her like I am seeing the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, I say the one thing that she promised me would make this all go differently.