I think it was the first time I was seeing the Queen without her entourage. The only other person, who was with us, was one single bodyguard. She must have trusted him to no end because we outnumbered them. I couldn’t be sure how old the Queen was, but I was pretty sure Eric was older than her and her bodyguard combined, so one could argue if Pam and Eric really wanted to , they could take them. She either had completely trust in them or she was just plain stupid but then again, I still didn’t know why Eric had not come himself to the castle. It was entirely possible he was in no shape to fight.
When Pam had requested the Queen alone, she had of course protested at first but eventually Pam had had her way and won the argument. I didn’t understand all the secrecy but there was so much in the supernatural world I didn’t understand, I just had to learn to go with the flow.
We exited the castle through the main doors surprising the shit out of me. Was it possible I was leaving this place? I must have smiled at the thought because Pam looked back at me with a quick smile and then kept on walking towards her car. The Queen and her bodyguard sat in the back while I sat in the front with Pam as the driver.
We must have driven for at least an hour before Pam took a tiny unpaved road off to the side. It was one of those dirt ones that clearly was not being taken care of by any township. We eventually reached a clearing where another car was parked. It was dented in many spot with black stuff all over it. It was pretty evident this car has seen some kind of war, perhaps even explosions. It wasn’t Eric’s car but instead, one I had never seen. It was some generic black sedan I couldn’t tell the brand. I wasn’t a car person per say. I looked around the woods and then up to the empty sky. There were no light pollution but the sky was cloudy making it impossible to see that stars. Why was she bringing us here, it was so damn secluded?
“What is this place?” I asked Pam as we left the car and shut the doors.
“Safe house.” She said pointing to it.
“The people here are now the only ones who know its location.” She declared with a tone that suggested it wasn’t just a fact but a warning.
The Queen was suspiciously quiet during the whole ordeal which made me nervous. I guessed something had happened to Eric, otherwise why would we have to come all the way here? But I had repeated to myself that Eric was strong and old and that he would be fine. The further we had come on our journey the harder it had been for me to believe he was going to be okay and her silence now just fueled my anxiety to the point I felt I was going to throw up.
While a part of me was worried sick about his well-being, my survival instincts took me somewhere else. I couldn’t shake the words from Hadley and Jake, remembering their warnings, remembering their intensity. Whether what they had said was true or not, they believed it with all their hearts. No one can act this well. So the question was and is, were they right?
Here I was standing in the middle of nowhere surrounded by vampires. If I was to go missing, If they were to kill me tonight, no one would ever know where and how or even why. So is was normal to wonder whether I was the foolish stupid one or just very very trusting but then again, I don’t think I had much of a choice anyway.
Pam opened the front door and went in first. As soon as I entered, an atrocious smell hit my nostrils causing me to hold my breath as long as I could until I had no choice to take a breath and to repeat the exercise. It was a one room shack, with a small kitchenette in the front and one couch on the opposite side. It was pitch black in here and when I reached for the lights, Pam stopped me.
“No Sookie” she said to me and I looked at her confused. I couldn’t see as well as them in the dark so I would have to rely on her for my eyes.
The Queen entered last and was directed to the couch while Pam moved to the side and pointed to the dark far corner of the room. I heard groaning and I looked at her again as if I needed her approval. I knew Eric was there, just a few feet away from me but was I ready to see him this way?
I felt panic growing inside me and of course; this triggered the words from Hadley back in my mind. They were using me… what if they were for real? Why was I here? I had no purpose, I wasn’t a doctor and as far as the supernatural world was concerned, I was a simple pet. Why would they trust me with the location of this cabin? I started shaking and took a step forward so Pam wouldn’t know I was hesitating but truth be told, all I could think about right now was that he probably needed to be fed. I was in a remote cabin, with a bunch of vampires and was the only human here.
“What’s wrong?” Pam whispered and I took a step back.
“I can’t do this.” I said trying to make my way back to the door.
“Sure you can, he needs you.” She said pushing me in his direction and I froze.
Oh my god, could Hadley have been right and was I walking to my death like an idiot?
“NO!” I yelled and ran for the door but they were both too fast and stopped me before I could reach it. The bodyguard had stayed outside but had run in when he had heard me scream. He had reached forward to me and had pulled me into an embrace that restricted my arms.
“What the flying fuck Sookie!” Pam exclaimed.
“She is scared.” The Queen said as she sniffed the air.
“Of what?” Pam said in shock but it didn’t help my shaking. “What the fuck do you think we are going to do to you?” she said in a voice that if I didn’t know Pam better I would have thought was hurt.
“Let me go!” I said now crying because I couldn’t think and was terrified.
The bodyguard held on to me tightly as I tried to wiggle myself free. I kicked him in the shin which caused him to yell out in pain and squeezed me harder. The more I tried to break free, the harder he fought me until I had nothing left in me. I was exhausted, panicked and crying.
“Soo…k..ie” his voice stopped me dead in my tracks, my eyes widening as I realized it was coming from him. It was just a whisper, it had barely made it to me but I had heard it. His voice was broken and hurt, the kind of tone you never forget.
The bodyguard released me and Pam pushed me in his direction. There was no energy left in my body, my shoulders were sunken forward, my head down. I let Pam guide me to him as I suppressed a sniffle. Hearing him reminded me I had nothing to fear. Why was I so scared? They had plenty of opportunity to hurt me and had never done so? Sure I was in a remote location but Eric trusted me, which was why I was here. I couldn’t be sure, but I clanged on the thought, the only thing that would allow me to calm down and breathe.
With caution, I walked to him. The poor lighting was sparing me the spectacle but Eric was bloody, and I realized that the stench had come from him. I was pretty sure he was missing limps too.
I kneeled beside his bed and groped the side of the bed until I found his hand. I wrapped both of mine around it and took a deep breath. What could I possibly say or do to make all of this better? My tears resumed falling but this time it wasn’t out of fear. I let my head fall to our hands and I let go of my emotions.
I cried long and hard, at everything that had happened and at seeing him in such brutal way. I heard Pam states he was going to live, he just needed time but it didn’t matter. I was letting it all out. I let go of my anxiety, my fears, my sadness, and my worries. The resulting tears were all over my face, on our hands and on the bed sheets but I didn’t care if I was slowly drowning, as I let out a silent scream, his thumb weakly stroke one of my hands.
I couldn’t be sure how long I stayed like this; my head on the bed sheet beside his arm that was lying inept on the mattress. My eyes were crusted with tears that had run out a long time ago and were heavy with exhaustion. My knees were hurting from being on the ground for so long and my head was pounding; I must have fallen asleep. I lifted my cheek from its resting place and silently took in my surroundings while I reminded myself what had happened and where I was.
I heard shuffling behind me; Pam was in the kitchenette and was putting something in the microwave. After a few minutes, she was standing beside me and kneeled herself to my level. She was holding a bag of a dark liquid. She brought it closer to Eric and placed the straw that was sticking out between his lips. I heard him drink but I was pretty sure he kept his eyes shut the darkness of the room not allowing me to see everything. I had concluded that the lights were not on because it was easier on his eyes.
He slowly drank, to the point I had to focus really to even know he was. He had not said anything to me since I had gotten here except for my name when I had my little freak out. I don’t know why I let Hadley and Jake under my skin but now after seeing him in such condition, and now that he was obviously using a different source of blood, I hated myself for having believed it for a second. Eric and Pam had never given me any indication that my life was in dangers why did I let them plant such disgusting idea? I was proud of my Christian values and I had been raised to be kind and trusting of others. Everybody deserved the same fair chance so why had I been so unfair to them? Of course it wasn’t just a racial thing, I mean I had witnessed them glamouring humans and I had seen Eric killed another vampire. Even the people in the alley, which of course made sense to be hunters, I was pretty sure he had killed. I couldn’t be sure but it made sense.
Eventually Pam took the straw out of his mouth and walked back to the kitchenette without a word. I assumed I had offended her and I felt an apology was owed but I didn’t know how to approach her. I wasn’t scared of her in the sense of fear but I was afraid of how she might react. I felt as if I was in a china store and I had dropped a plate.
I looked back at Eric and inserted my hand under his. I squeezed it gently, waiting for a sign, for anything, but his hand simply laid peacefully on top of mine. I was thinking about what I could say to Pam when it occurred to me that the Queen and her bodyguard were gone.
“What happened to the Queen?” I said breaking the overbearing silence.
Pam dropped whatever she had in her hands on the counter and turned to face me. I couldn’t see her face very well with sole light a small candle on the table close to her but I knew she was looking at me; I could feel it.
“She went back to her castle.” She replied dryly.
“She is not claiming me anymore?”
“No, my maker is alive, why would she? You are his.” She said in a firm tone that rubbed me the wrong way. If I didn’t know better I would think she was trying to push my button.
“Maybe in the vampire world.” I cautiously declared shrugging.
“There is no doubt about it.” She growled and went back to whatever was on the counter.
“Look Pam, I am sorry for earlier I panicked.” I blurted out, not exactly how I had imagined it but now that I was out, I had to own it.
She dropped the thing on the counter again and slowly turned her body as if it was taking her great restrain to not jump to my throat or at least that is how it felt. She took a few steps towards me but then opted to stop half way.
“I don’t pretend I understand what being a human means because I haven’t been one for a century but my maker has never shown you anything remotely close to a threat and has treated you with respect ever since he has met you. What baffles my mind is why, after months working for us, after clearly connecting with him on a different level than just work colleagues, I mean you are all he talks about and it’s so annoying” she scoffed off and then continued. “Why would you question your security amongst us?”
I got up from the floor, my legs aching under the weight they we no longer accustom to and numb from being on my knees for so long. I wanted to face her so she could see I was genuinely sorry about it and felt terrible. I stayed by the bed not wanting to be too close.
“I was scared, actually I was terrified. I know I have nothing to fear at this second, but you got to understand that I have been prisoner for a couple days not knowing whether either of you lived. “I took a deep breath, regrouping. I did not want to sound defensive but it was hard to control my tone. I had had reasons to fear them and while they had made sense at the time, they no longer did. I wanted to share it with her but at the same time I was concerned about my Gran, Jason heck even Hadley. Jake knew where they were and they had assured me I would see them again but I wasn’t allowed to talk to anybody about what they had shared with me, especially Eric.
“I…I…. am sorry. I don’t know what to say…. I wish I could explain but.” I could tell my hands were shaking and as I tried to control them I felt another hand brushing against one of them. I turned around to find Eric reaching for me. I didn’t hesitate and immediately wrapped my fingers around his. I took back my post on the side of his bed and extended my hand to his face. There were no longer blood on his skin and I wondered when Pam had washed him.
As I brought my face closer to his, it was only then I realized the real reason why the lights were out. Eric’s eyes were open but I couldn’t be sure how much he actually saw. There were no longer icy blue eyes intensely gazing at me leaving in their place gaping holes baring the beginning of his new eyes. I gasped in horror but did not say anything. Instead I frankly caressed his cheek which caused him to bring his own hand to mine.
“Why…” His voice was deformed but after clearing it a couple times he continued with a voice that wasn’t his but wasn’t as bad as the croak from earlier. Clearly, the blood Pam had given him worked really well and fast. “Why are you afraid of me Lover?” he managed to articulate as my heart wrenched under the guilt.
“I am not afraid of you. I mean I was for a brief second but I do have an explanation, if it wasn’t for my cousin and her friend, they warned me against you and I had nowhere to go, I wasn’t even sure you guys were alive and…. And what they said made sense at the time.” I risked and then quickly glanced at Pam who had moved closer to the bed undeniably excited that her maker was now speaking.
“Go on” she pressed and I nodded.
“Of course I was sworn to secrecy or my own family would pay the price but I know who has them now and it is pretty clear what they had warned me about was not true.”
Pam was looking at me as if I was from another planet. I wasn’t making a lot of sense and I knew it. If it wasn’t for the slur speech, my words were coming out so fast that it wasn’t surprising she looked so puzzled. I took a deep breath, made a point of clearing my thoughts and started from the beginning.
“What I mean is that my cousin Hadley is one of the Queen’s consorts. I met her as soon as I got there and she warned me telepathically that vampires are not who they pretend to be. She introduced me to Jake, who by the way is the library guy you had supposedly dealt with. Well he is at the castle, and he and Hadley are plotting something. “I watched Eric as he sat up in his bed. He was getting better by the minute and I guessed the blood Pam had been feeding him had something to do with it.
“Anyway, they scared me, told me I was being manipulated and that you guys only looked out for your own. It made sense at the time I guess and it made me doubt. They also revealed where Gran and Jason are, with their community, the Hunters.”
“What?” Pam exclaimed in a chilling tone.
“I don’t know to what purpose, all I know is that they are both spying agents and that the Queen is not safe.”
Eric signaled to Pam something and Pam had moved closer to the bed as a result. She bend over me and brought her ear closer to Eric’s lip as I pushed myself out of the way and sat on the side of the bed in an effort to save my poor knees. It was strange in the dimmed light to see him looking in front of him and not to us having no need to since he couldn’t see anyway. He whispered a few things and Pam seemed to agree. She them walked out of the cabin without even looking at me. She was angry with me and while I did not blame her, it hurt nonetheless.
I don’t know where she went since we were in the middle of nowhere but as soon as the door closed, I felt Eric shifted in the bed. He had raised his upper body a bit so he was in a semi-sitting position. He placed a hand on my thigh and started to gently stoke. He took a breath and I watched him pondered as if he was trying to fine the right words.
I shuffled closer to him suddenly craving his body touching mine. Only my lower back was touching his side but it was what I needed at that moment and it felt as if it was what he needed to.
“Sookie,” he began, still looking in front of him but somehow I felt as if he was looking through me. “I would never hurt you.” He said in a soft voice.