No More Running
“I don’t pretend to tell you how to find happiness and love when every day is a struggle to survive, but I do insist that you do survive because the days and the years ahead are worth living for.”
I woke slowly to those words. At first I thought that Sookie was talking to herself again. Sookie! I remembered her screaming then I sat up quickly and looked around. She had opened the barricade and left the door wide open to the study. At the moment she was sitting on the floor watching what appeared to be an episode of Star Trek. Kirk was on the screen staring longingly at a woman. Since there was really nothing unique about that the exact episode escaped me.
My head no longer hurt and as I sat there staring at her small back I found my mind wandering again. Russell obviously had a generator and she had gone out to find it. I wanted to remind her about safety but it was moot at this point. At least she wasn’t screaming.
My internal senses told me that it was about an hour before sunset. If we were leaving tonight we needed to be getting ready to move. I debated on staying here another night. Sookie was completely enraptured by the television. I suppressed a shudder imagining Russell and Talbot curled up together on this very sofa making kissy faces while they watched the Star Trek DVD’s. Sookie had them spread around her on the floor. All the stations had stopped broadcasting months before.
Kirk was now walking with the woman down a street dressed in twentieth century clothes.
“Are you afraid of something? Whatever it is, let me help.”
“Let me help.”
“A hundred years or so from now, a novelist will write a classic using that theme. He’ll recommend those three words even over “I love you.”
Ah, The City on The Edge of Forever by Harlan Ellison. I had been a science fiction convention in Atlanta once and seen him dragged away by the police ranting over this story. It was a very sore point with him and whenever it came up he completely lost his composure. Godric had been with me that night and we had watched him being hauled away with rueful expressions on our faces before two beautiful women had taken us back to their hotel rooms.
Science fiction fantasy conventions had been a great place for vampires to hang out before the Great Revelation. Everyone thought it was a costume. Those who found out different did not remember.
At least she picked a good episode to watch. She rose then and came to me, climbing into my lap her eyes still glued the screen. I sighed, feeling such relief to have her close. It had always mattered to me, but now that we were fully bonded it was more important than ever. Not thinking I kissed her temple and folded her into my arms. She relaxed against me and we sat there as though we had all the time in the world and finished watching this episode. Sookie cried at the end when Kirk’s woman died, turning her face into my chest and closing her eyes again.
“Are you ok, Sookie? It’s just a TV show.”
“I’m sorry about before,” she said to my chest. “I didn’t know that would happen, that you would be able to read my thoughts when the bond was open. I panicked. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“I’m fine,” I reassured the top of her head. She sniffled and nodded. “I see you’ve been out today.”
“I found the TV and the DVD’s. I wanted to see if there was a generator so I could watch. I found some more food in Russell’s kitchen and ate, too. Are we staying here tonight?”
“I had considered it.”
“I want to, if we can.” The decision was made then. This was not the most secure location, but if we turned the lights back off and stayed quiet inside there was every reason to think we might pass the night in safety. “Pack our things in case we must leave quickly. Is the water working? I could use a shower.”
“Yes, I had a bath earlier, too. I listened in case anyone came but there was nothing near us all day that I could hear.” I felt reassured by that. She was thinking reasonably enough to have some concern about security even if she was being more reckless than I was comfortable with. It was inevitable though that she would need to get out and use the bathroom and get food and water during the day. I had not had time to consider that in the wake of everything that had happened.
“Do you want to come with me?” She shook her head no. I was disappointed but thought it might be for the best. I had no idea what would set her off again. “Was it me, Sookie? Did I do something wrong?” She shook her head. “Was it what Karin said?” She stiffened in my arms and tried to wriggle away from me but I held her fast. She had always been a runner but there was no more time for that now. There was no place to run to. There was just Sookie and me and our unbreakable bond and whatever there was to come. The future felt large and looming before me.
There would be no more running for either of us. We had been fooling ourselves that all roads didn’t lead back to each other. “Just stay here with me,” I pleaded. “Just a few moments, please.” Cautiously, I opened our bond again ready as I could be to have the door slammed on me. Her end was closed off tightly. Seeing a door in my mind I reached out and knocked. She opened it just a crack and out came the deepest anguish I had ever felt in my thousand years.
It made my misery for the loss of Godric and Nora seem insignificant. “What is it, Sookie? Tell me what’s wrong?” I felt the door ease shut this time, but shut none the less. She kissed my cheek softly. “Go take your bath. We need turn the generator off and make quiet for nightfall.” Was she reading my mind now, too?
I sat her on the sofa and moved to the door, glancing back once to see her bury her head in her hands and hunch her shoulders like she was carrying the weight of the world on her. I started again to ask her to come with me but stopped. I let her be and went to bathe.
I had run my bath when she killed the generator. Sunset was about fifteen minutes away. I hurried, and once I was dressed I searched for Sookie in my blood. She was above me and I was on the second floor and she was feeling nauseous. So much so that I too felt it. It was disconcerting. I rushed to her side and found myself at the top of Russell’s house in the cupola.
She held her hand up in front of her lips as she felt me come up beside her and then she took my hand. I felt her open the bond and closed my eyes reveling in the sensation. I was a live wire again from head to toe.
Can you hear me?
Yes. Can you hear me?
What is it? I moved closer, pressing my front to her back and looking out into the dusk that was growing darker by the second. I saw something moving about a quarter mile away. It was creeping through the grass slowly. Then I heard voices.
“Over here! I can’t believe it made it this fucking far! Cock sucker buried itself in the ground for the day! Just came right up in front of me. I was sure we would need to go back to find it but damned it you weren’t right!”
“Fuck, Dan! Look at that thing crawl!” I zeroed in and saw that they were following the moving torso of a Z through the grass. It’s body had been cleaved in two but it was still moving away from them and toward us, making pretty decent time since it was pulling itself along the ground with only it’s arms.
“Evil sumbitches! Fucker should have died when we cut it in half! Where you reckon he’s so hell bent to go? Ain’t nothin’ round here for a country fuckin’ mile?” I saw Dan take off his dirty yellow CAT hat and scratch his head trying to puzzle it out before he jammed it back down with the practiced ease of man who wore a cap every day.
“Get the silver outtin’ the truck!”
“Damn it, Deke. You know silver don’t work no more!”
“Oh, yeah. So, what now then?”
“Damn if I know.” They stood there for a minute and then Dan clapped his hands together. “Let’s set the fucker on fire!”
“Fuck yeah!” Deke went off, presumably back to the truck while Dan followed the crawling Z. He wasn’t as dumb as he seemed because he kept his distance from the long arms reaching out over and over again as it pulled itself along.
It’s looking for us, she thought to me. I couldn’t argue. It seemed unlikely but not impossible.
Not when they burn it, I thought back to her. She shuddered against me. I held her tighter but still made no sound. Dan and Deke might be less troublesome than a Z, but I had had enough trouble to not want anymore. Ever.
How did you know they were out here?
I heard their thoughts. Your blood increases my range. It also give me better control I think. It…you, you make me stronger. I can do anything if I am with you.
I feel the same.
Deke came back then with some matches and a gas can. They threw the gas and lit the match and I watched transfixed to see if fire would indeed kill this loathsome creature slowly crawling toward our hiding place. When its scream lit up the night along with its body I knew. Fire still gets the killing done. Fire and sunlight. Maybe Sookie’s light bolts, too. They didn’t seem too anxious to eat those either. Was there a connection between her light, the firelight, and the sunlight?
There had to be some way to stop this madness.
There is, she thought to me. I had forgot I had an audience. For just a moment I appreciated why she freaked out last night when I had read her mind and she wasn’t expecting it.
Do you know what it is? The door shut again and she just pressed back to me as we looked out at Dan and Deke’s bonfire. We stayed until they left mumbling to themselves as they headed back to their truck planning to get them some “deader zombies”.
There might be some way to stop this madness, my cynical side thought, but was it worth saving assholes like Dan and Deke? I had no answer for that and Sookie was no longer sharing thoughts with me. Why did she shut down every time I asked about Karin? Was it possible that Karin wasn’t real and I was only seeing what Sookie thought she saw?
I searched the surrounding area and felt nothing. No Z’s and no more rednecks. Looks like we were in for a peaceful night I thought as I followed Sookie back down into Russell’s house.
Sookie lit the candles again along with some more she had found somewhere. She picked up a large thick book off Russell’s desk and moving to the couch motioned for me to join her. She opened it to a place she had marked and handed it to me. The light was dim but she knew I could see anyway.
Karin Svensdotter. In 1656, Karin Svensdotter, who worked as a maid, was put on trial at Västra Härad in Sävsjö in Småland. She was put on trial because she claimed that she had a sexual relationship with a male fairie with whom she claimed to have issue. Karin Svensdotter told the court that she had met a beautiful man in golden clothes in a mountain called Grönskulle (Green Hill), where they had sung and danced with others. The man called himself Älvakungen (King of the fairies), or Älven (Fairy), and he gave her gifts and had intercourse with her. Seven times she had given birth to their issue, and every time he had come and taken the children away to the land of the fairies. She stated that these births had taken place during her reoccurring attacks and fits, after which she was very tired. Her fits had been witnessed by many, and Karin’s employer testified that he had often heard her searching for her faerie children in the forest.
I raised an eyebrow and looked at Sookie waiting for the shoe I could feel dangling above the floor.
“My great granddaddy Niall was her lover.” I sat back.
“Your…great granddaddy was…The King of Fae?”
“So your grandfather was…”
“One of those seven.”
“And this is your Karin?”
“Yep.” I looked back at the book. She had barely avoided being burned at the stake after being accused of witchcraft in 1656.
“She was a fairy, too?”
“Partly, like me.”
“And sometime later she was made vampire?” She nodded. “And this is who we are to meet in Four Points?” She nodded again. “What is she going to do?” Sookie sighed.
“She is going to cast a spell that will fix all this. She said it was why she was turned in 1658 by someone she called the Ancient Pythoness.” It hit me like a kick in the chest.
“Does the Ancient One still live?”
“She didn’t say. Only that this was why she had been turned.”
“And you believe her?” She looked at me then. Really looked at me for maybe the first time since I had found her.
“She said you were coming for me. I didn’t believe her yet…here you are.”
Yes, here I was. In my enemy’s house, bonded to the only woman I had ever loved on my way to Four Points to save the world.
I was speechless.
A/N- If you are reading this on my WP site the hyperlink will take you to the wiki page on Karin Svensdotter. If not, you can Google her. She was real and her story to the best of my knowledge is true. The excerpt about her was pulled verbatim from the wiki page.
I was actually present at the convention where Harlan Ellison was forcibly removed for his behavior over his infamous Trek episode. I did not see it happen myself but it was the talk of the weekend at the Con. I have nothing but the deepest respect for Mr. Ellison and I understand his passion and his grief. There is much written about this brilliant man and his story and this is but one link. If you want more, Google will be your friend here as well.
Lastly, while the idea for this story has been in my mind for over a year it was the picture of the girl with the lamp that Kittyinaz is using for her January writing competition that inspired me to find and use the story of Karin Svensdotter. I had planned to enter this tale in that competition but I am not a patient person and when my muse starts to dance I am but his fingers that tell the tale.
Special thanks to whoever wrote the wiki page about Karin, to Harlan Ellison for being a fucking genius and for Kittyinaz for working so damned hard to inspire art in the world around her.
Also, a shout out to http://www.voyager.cz/tos/transcripts.htm for taking the time to write out the transcript I used for the excerpts of dialog in this chapter. Those words are not mine but I honor them here.
Blessings to you all. Thanks for reading! 🙂