Part of My Mind
What did it mean that the Z’s didn’t want Sookie? As I lay beside her in the dark my mind raced to comprehend not only why but what this might mean in the bigger picture. Did the answer lie in her hybrid nature? It was the only thing I could conclude, but there was much about her that I did not know as evidenced by her unicorn story.
“It’s the little things that make us who we are,” Godric’s voice whispered to me taking me back to another time when we had talked of such matters as we pretended to be SS officers in Hitler’s Germany. Oh, Godric! I wish you were here now! What might be different if you had found the strength to stay here with me just a little longer?
Sookie turned in my arms bringing me back to the here and now. No time for such flights of fancy. The simple fact was that Godric was not here. I was alone. I had to accept that and keep moving forward.
I slipped out of bed and headed first to the surveillance room to check outside, then I would go and prepare something for Sookie to eat. I had taken so much blood from her and she need to build her strength back.
Outside there were more now just standing there looking at the door as if they were in a trance. This was new. Before they had always been moving, shuffling around even if they weren’t actually going anywhere. The only other time I had seen them stop and focus on any one thing was when I had looked down at the field outside Sookie’s house as we flew away. I got the same chill up my back now that I did then. I didn’t know why but seeing those mindless creatures focused on any one thing was chilling. It was chilling because it might indicate that they were not so mindless after all.
I headed to the storage area thinking of some of the theories that had run rampant in the stronghold before I escaped. One of the scientists had theorized that they were not mindless at all, but rather hive minded. He thought that there was one that commanded the others. One that had mutated to lead and the masses were little more than drones acting out the single will of one individual.
He wanted to capture the creatures for study to prove his theory but there was vicious resistance among the others about bringing any of them into the stronghold. The arguments raged some asking how they could test and find a cure without a test subject while others declared the risks were too great. It was this fear of exposure to the Z’s that had left me to fight my way out to get to Sookie.
Some of them felt that any exposure was too great a risk. I would have agreed if self-preservation had been my goal. I would have counseled that we wait and see what happened when there was no one left to be infected. It was the safest thing to do as long as the supplies held out.
I was not being driven by self-preservation, not then and not now. Shaking off the chill I moved to storage and tried to find something that would help Sookie regain her strength. I still had not been able to convince her to bathe. Any approach from me or suggestion that she do that sent her into hysteria. I would try again tonight after she ate. Perhaps our earlier interaction had helped to heal her ravaged mind in some way.
After I finished preparing her meal I moved back to the room where she was sleeping. As I drew closer I heard her speaking to someone. This was not new either. She often talked to people who weren’t there. My hopes for her improvement were dashed to hear her doing it again, and then bottomed out completely as I heard what she was actually saying.
“I don’t understand, Karin. How will that help to change things? No, no, that can’t be right! First, Eric isn’t here, just like you aren’t here and I am alone! What you suggest isn’t possible! If he were here it could work, but he would never allow-“
She stopped as she sensed me in the doorway, turning toward me fear and anger in her wide open eyes. I would never get used to seeing that. She was supposed to be so many things but never afraid, not my Sookie. She was stronger than that!
“Sookie?” She didn’t answer or move. “I made you something to eat. You need to keep up your strength. I took too much before. I am sorry.” She sat there on the bed looking at me and she slowly tilted her head to the side, processing my words or perhaps my very presence. “Sookie?” I called softly again, praying she would answer. That she would remember I was here, really here with her. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Then she held out her arms calling me to her.
I moved to her immediately and sat down pulling her close to me. She kept her eyes closed and felt me next to her, her arms wrapping around me as she again rested her head on my chest. She was panting now, I could smell her fear and it broke my heart. “I am here.”
“I made you something to eat, will you let me feed you, Sookie?” She nodded her head but didn’t speak. Nor did she open her eyes or let me go. I picked her up again and took to the small dining area that again Pam had insisted we have for our human emergency kits. “They will need to feel comfortable here, Eric.” I had almost thought she cared, and then she had corrected me. “They taste better when they are happy.” A ghost of a smile ran over my face as I thought of her insistence that essentially boiled down to a better way for her to survive. I had taught her well. In some ways I had not failed her. It hardly made up for all the ways I had.
I kept Sookie in my lap and fed her bites, telling her when to open and watched her as she ate every last bite. Her body demanded sustenance at least that was still functioning even if her reason had fled permanently. Please let her come back to me! I thought and then wondered who might listen to my prayers, who was out there that might care about how much I cared about her. Hugging her to me I braced myself for what came next.
“I would like to bathe you, Sookie. Would that be all right?” She hesitated a moment and then nodded, her eyes still tightly scrunched shut. Rather than risk upsetting her I moved slowly and carefully to the bathroom before sitting her on the toilet. She reached for hand, holding it tightly as I turned the water on and let it warm up. I knelt at her feet. “I need to undress you now.” Again she surprised me letting go of my hand and raising her arms over her head for me to remove her shirt.
Oh, so slowly I removed her dirty clothing. Pam had clothes here that I could replace them with as soon as she was done with her shower. I regretted that there was no tub because I knew I was going to have to get in with her and help. I removed only my shoes before picking her up and stepping into the shower with Sookie in my arms and my clothes still on.
I thought of her telling me that I wasn’t really there because I hadn’t tried to bed her and I could see her point. I had made that bed, so to speak. It was easy to offer her my body. It was almost impossible to offer her my heart, but that is what I was doing as I let her lean against my clothed form as I shampooed her hair working it to a lather and then tilting her back to rinse the suds out.
Her eyes were still shut and she was making such sounds of pleasure that I shampooed her again, massaging her scalp gently encouraging her to relax with me. When I rinsed her again I took the body wash and washcloth and starting with her feet I bathed her, ending at her shoulders where I massaged her again. Aside from her moans of pleasure she had been silent the entire time. I had almost hypnotized us both with the rhythmic squeezes of her shoulder and neck.
“We’re not safe here anymore.” I looked down at her closed eyes and relaxed features. I had not seen her look this at peace since I had found her. “Karin says-“
“We are safe here, Sookie. You don’t need to worry.” I wanted to reassure her, keep her feeling relaxed and safe.
“No, Karin says-“
“Who is Karin?”
“She’s…” she frowned again struggling for words. I regretted pressing her when I felt her stiffen against me as she tensed up again. Wanting to comfort her I made a shushing sound and continued to massage her shoulders. She started to struggle in my arms and I feared that she might slip and fall so I reached behind her and turned off the water taking her out of the shower and wrapping her in a towel. She stopped fighting as I dried her hair with another towel.
I carried her back to the room she had been sleeping in and set about finding her something to wear. Pam had brought several of her designer track suits here and some tennis shoes. I picked out a soft pink suit and some tennis shoes and was about to turn back to her when she spoke again.
“I tried! He won’t listen!” I closed my eyes and braced myself on the closet door. I had to find the strength to face this. I had to find a way to make this right! “I know! I know, Karin! He won’t listen to me!” Taking a deep unnecessary calming breath I turned back to face her planning to just go with it as I had earlier. It hadn’t turned out so bad then.
“Tell me what, Sookie?” I was shocked to see her eyes open and even more so when they turned to me and she did not flinch or scream.
“We’re not safe here anymore, Eric.” I shook my head and moved to her side. She stood and so much like her old self that it made my chest clench she grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the control room. She did not seem to be bothered by her lack of clothing at all, but I was still holding them when she pulled me into the surveillance room and pointed at the monitor.
Planning to humor her, or to make her truly see that there was no way anyone was getting into this place I glanced at the monitor and then turned back to her to speak. As I opened my mouth what I had seen registered and I turned back. One of creatures was punching numbers into the keypad that secured the lock.
As I watched him input numbers I saw but could not accept that that it was indeed entering in sequences that were combinations I had used in the past as well as standard sequences that were in my rotation to use. There was a long list of them, but they were all rotated through on a regular basis in this and my other secure locations. WHAT. THE. FUCK?
Sookie took the clothes from me and started pulling them on as I stared at the creature bent on cracking my safe house code. Somewhere I registered that Sookie seemed better, that she was dressing herself. Somewhere I heard her telling me that if there was anything from this place that I needed that I needed to gather it quickly.
Part of my mind bent itself to that task. Food for Sookie was at the top of list. It was a long way to my next safe house and I didn’t think we could fly there before sunrise.
Part of my mind was wondering if we should try and return to the stronghold I had escaped from. If her immunity from Z’s held some secret that might lead to a cure?
Part of my mind was wondering how long we could run and hide?
Part of my mind was wondering how many were in the house attached to this shelter and would we be able to get through them unscathed when we went out the back door to this place?
“Who is Karin?” I asked as I watched the creature continue to enter sequences of numbers into my solar powered keypad.
“Move, Northman!” was the only answer I got. Right, move Northman. Moving at hyper speed I grabbed a back pack and threw in change of clothes for myself and Sookie as well some canned goods and a can opener. Then I changed into dry clothes and reappeared before her in less than a minute.
She reached out and touched my chest as I placed her in my leather jacket. She broke contact only long enough to put her arm in the sleeve. It swallowed her, but it was meant for warmth not fashion. I was about to ask who Karin was again when I heard the bolt roll back on the door.
They had cracked the code. Their howls and growls echoed through my underground halls as the horde rushed in seeking to satisfy their endless hunger.
I slung the pack over my shoulder, grabbed Sookie and headed for the exit that went up into the house above.