“Hello my child.”
Three simple words, yet there is a wealth of meaning behind them. To the untrained observer, my maker’s short declarative statement may seem commonplace, but to me, it conveys much. First and foremost, is the simple joy I know he feels in hearing from me; even after a thousand years, there is still much affection and love between Godric and I. My maker and I have not seen much of each other in the last one hundred years or so, but that does not mean we are indifferent to one another. He is my father; my brother; my son. It took me a long time to realize what those words meant. Sometimes, he is the leader, the one to teach me the ways of my vampire existence. Then there are the times when we are equals; comrades in arms. But Godric was wise in that he knew there would be times when I am the one to lead, the one to teach him. My maker’s benevolence and wisdom, as well as his ruthlessness, are only a few of the reasons I am still fiercely loyal to him; and why I have never asked for him to release me as most makers do their children. Godric has never abused the power that he has over me as my maker, and I adore him for it. Most makers release their progenies to find their way in the world, and there is usually little to no love or affection between a progeny and their maker. It is a hard relationship to explain to one who has never experienced it. While your maker may be the most important being in your existence that does not mean that you have positive emotions towards them. Often in my dealings with others of my kind, I have found that the progeny despise their maker yet have no choice but to serve them loyally. I am fortunate to have the relationship with my maker that I do, just as I am fortunate to have a similar type of relationship with Pamela. My maker and my child are the only two beings in this world that I would willingly give up my existence to make sure they survived. I knew they would do the same for me.
In addition to the pleasure he feels in hearing from me, there is also a sense of unease in my beloved maker’s voice. Given that our last conversation was before The Great Revelation, Godric knows that something is wrong.
And lastly, the way Godric answers the phone lets me know that he is available to speak freely. Godric and I have never broadcast our relationship that he is my maker. In fact, most people think that I am the superior when they see us because of my size. By calling me his child, he is letting me know that he is either alone or surrounded by those he trusts implicitly, a short list of people indeed. With this piece of knowledge firmly in mind, I begin speaking freely.
“Master I am in need of your help. We have a killer in my area that is targeting vampire-friendly women. I think he is a member of the Fellowship of the Sun,” I say the name of the distasteful church with a growl. They are no better than those fools throughout history that have believed in the principle of ethnic cleansing. Removing an entire race of people from the planet because of a common shared characteristic is a practice as old as the creation of man itself, and it seems to be one practice that humans are doomed to keep repeating no matter how much history proves it a futile attempt.
Godric remains thoughtful for a moment, weighing my words. “It is possible,” he says after a time. “The church is growing in popularity, especially after Theodore Newlin, his wife, and their young daughter died in a mysterious car accident. The new leader of the church, the deceased reverend’s son Steve Newlin, and his wife have embarked on a propaganda campaign, blaming vampires for everything that is wrong with human society. They have even begun to hold leadership camps designed to teach humans how to better protect themselves from vampires. In reality, they are camps to train soldiers to fight against us,” Godric says with a resigned sigh.
Mysterious car accident indeed; I know it was actually the work of a band of rogue vampires in Area Nine of Texas. As the Sheriff of Area Nine, Godric had ordered none of his vampires to attack any members of the Fellowship of the Sun. However, his order had been disregarded, resulting in the deaths of the leader of the Church. In punishment, Godric slaughtered all the vampires that participated in the attack, with the exception of the band’s leader, Stan Davis, who is now encased in a brine bath for a year after having been filleted like a fish. The brine bath keeps the skin from healing, and the salt water will bloat his body, causing unimaginable pain. It’s a punishment developed during the Spanish Inquisition when the Spaniards were looking for heretics. In my opinion, it still isn’t enough for the damage that Stan and his band of idiots have caused for vampires across the country.
“Why do you trouble yourself with the deaths of the two women? It isn’t like you to concern yourself with the issues of mortals unless they somehow affect you personally. What’s in it for you?” Godric’s words are not spoken with any malice nor disregard for the humans; my maker may be known as Death but he does not kill indiscriminately. In fact, as the centuries have passed, I tend to think Godric has a more Buddhist approach to his existence than anything. Or is it Zen? Doesn’t matter; I think they are both bullshit.
“I am concerned because the killer seems to have turned his attention towards my pets. One he is framing for these crimes; the other he is targeting as his next victim. It seems too coincidental that these murders began after I claimed the Stackhouse family as mine,” I say with a sigh. This is not how I wanted to tell my maker that I have claimed three humans as my own. In our thousand years together, I have rarely claimed humans as pets, usually only doing so if it was necessary to ensure my survival. And the last time I claimed a human as a pet, it damn near got me killed.
The connection between us goes silent for a few moments as Godric digests my words. The bond flares with humor an instant before my maker’s deep chuckles come through the speaker. Despite my concerns and irritation with this conversation, my lips spread in a smile of genuine happiness. It has been far too long since I have heard the vampire that gave me everything laugh. Even though he looks like a youthful boy, Godric has become hardened to life and not many things bring him enjoyment anymore.
“Pamela emailed me that you have been required by Sophie-Anne to take the Stackhouse family as your pets, something I know you deplore doing. Your darling progeny made mention of how . . . entertaining the situation has been for her. I have monitored you through our bond the last few days. Your emotions have been all over the place on more than one occasion. It was especially interesting the night you were in bloodlust. Tell me what happened.”
“There was a situation that arose between me and one of my pets,” I begin quietly. “Things got a little out of hand when I gave them my blood.”
“Hmmm,” Godric says knowingly. “Would this situation have involved Miss Stackhouse? Pamela did mention she is an enchanting individual.” If my maker were sitting here, I would see him giving me a little half smile while cocking his left eyebrow. And people wonder how and where I got the expression from . . .
I sigh heavily as I think about everything Pam has told Godric involving the Stackhouses. I did not introduce the two of them to each other until World War II when I left Pam in Nora’s care in England. Godric and I were among those vampires that fought to rid the world of the likes of Hitler and Mussolini. I believed they should have ended Stalin, not because I thought the idea of Communism was wrong, but because the man himself was nothing more than a Renfield under the control of his master.
After the war, the four of us traveled together for a time, but only for a short while. Pam and Nora do not get along due to both women being jealous of the other. I thought Pam would be jealous of my closeness to Godric too, but she is not. In fact, she adores my maker and keeps in contact with him far more than I do, which I think she does just to have someone to gossip with.
And in this moment I regret becoming a maker.
More than likely, my progeny has told my maker everything about my relationship with Sookie, including any information she gleaned from Dawson. Knowing Pam, she has taken great joy in reciting the tales of my emotional upheaval. I am going to make Pam cover herself in glitter and wear contacts that give her red eyes for gossiping about this situation with Godric. Perhaps I’ll even glamour the staff of Fangtasia to call her the name of one of those insipid emo vampires from that completely ridiculous book series. Why must humans create such ridiculous travesties portraying my kind? We are vampires; we fuck and drink human blood. We do not sparkle!
“Sookie Stackhouse is . . .” What exactly is she? There are a plethora of words I can use to describe her, but none of them truly convey what she is. I have to weigh my words carefully otherwise I am sure my response will get back to Pam, which will result in her teasing me. I settle for describing her in terms of her ability and her blood. “She is valuable.”
“She is that my child, but not for the reasons you seem to think,” Godric says cryptically but then returns to the reason for my call. “I do not think anyone would be foolish enough to attack you; at least, not anyone supernatural. Your reputation alone deters anyone from going against you. It’s why Sophie-Anne lobbied so hard for you to be one of her sheriffs; though if someone wants the state of Louisiana, it would make the most sense to take you out before taking over the state. Without you, Sophie-Anne will fall,” Godric says astutely.
“But why wait until now? These attacks have only begun since I have claimed the humans,” I argue though I will now have to contact the Queen to let her know of this possibility. Perhaps her obsession with her new pet has already expanded beyond our borders. The barbarians may be at the gate. If I have to think of anyone off the top of my head, my first suspicions would be Threadgill, Edgington, or de Castro. Fuck!
Godric’s voice pulls me back from my internal strategizing. “You said you think the killer is a member of the Fellowship of the Sun. Why?”
“Sookie has a special way of finding out information from people,” I say slowly. Switching to the language of my human days so no one can understand, I tell him about her telepathy and how she heard the killer’s thoughts about the Fellowship. When Godric speaks again, he continues the conversation in the same dead language I had spoken.
“I too have concerns about the church given what you say. Lately, they have become increasingly knowledgeable of our ways, almost as if they have a spy in our midst,” he says with a growl. His tone turns wry as he continues. “Of course, my spies in their organization have also relayed more information about their organization to me. One of my informants has an uncanny ability to discover the truth. His talent works even better than glamour, similar to that of your Miss Stackhouse I believe.”
If what I can infer from my maker’s remarks is true, then it would seem he has also found himself a telepath. We’ve gone centuries without knowing the ability existed. Now within weeks, I have learned that an entire supernatural species has it and two humans have it. Perhaps it is more prevalent than we thought. That fact alone should please Sookie; it will ease some of her burden to know that she is not alone in the world when it comes to what she can do. Perhaps Godric will allow his telepath and mine to communicate with each other, share similar experiences when all of this is over. But first, I have to protect her.
“Can your contact find out if there are any followers in this area? I have a list of names that are potential suspects.”
“He should be able to; he has an accounting position within the organization.”
Always follow the money; it will tell you everything you need to know. That sentiment was true a millennium ago and it is even more true now in the age of greed and excess. By having an accountant as his spy, Godric is able to know who is supporting the church and where the church is spending its money. Gordon Gecko may have said ‘greed is good’, but it’s one of the main reasons for failure; it’s a bitch when it slaps you in the face. One should never be too greedy; it never ends well.
“When this situation in your area is resolved, I would like to meet your pets. It has been too long since I have seen you my child,” Godric says reproachfully as he switches back to English.
The funny thing about eternity is that you lose all concept of time because you have an inexhaustible supply of it. I have been so caught up in the mundane activities of my existence that I have failed to talk to or see my maker for several years. Suddenly I am filled with an intense longing for my maker. I miss him. There is so much about Godric that I cherish that it would take me thousands of nights to explain the depth of my feelings, and yet I still would not be able to convey my emotions correctly.
“Would you come here Master? Pam will certainly enjoy seeing you, and I will be honored to have you visit me.” My voice turns hopeful, and I allow my longing for his presence to fill our bond. I ache with how acute the need for him is.
“I cannot Eric. My area is too volatile for me to leave it now. I fear the madness that would ensue; it could destroy us if there are any more attacks against the church,” Godric says regretfully and I feel disappointed. Every child wishes to show their parents how successful they are in their life. I want the opportunity to show my maker everything I have built here. Godric’s expression when he sees Fangtasia for the first time is one that will be for the ages.
“If it pleases you Master, I will bring the Stackhouse women to Dallas.” I’m still on the fence about Jason.
Godric chuckles again. “I shall very much enjoy meeting the Stackhouses. It takes something extraordinary to disturb you, so I am most curious.” With that, Godric ends our conversation. Before I can put my phone in my jacket pocket, a text message from Mustapha comes through. He will have a preliminary report for me when I arrive at Fangtasia tomorrow evening. Like Dawson, Mustapha is ex-military, specializing in covert operations. It if hadn’t been for his scent, I would never have been able to detect Mustapha the first time I encountered him. He knows how to camouflage himself better than a chameleon. It is ironic that he dresses more like the stereotype of a vampire than I do; always wearing a trench coat with a pair of opaque sunglasses, with teak bladed knives strapped to his chest. Pam continually pesters him to sit on the throne in Fangtasia and pose as a vampire. She calls him Blade because of how much he resembles the comic book character. The definition of irony is a vampire that loves a comic about a vampire hunter.
I turn around to look at the Stackhouse home again. Dawson is sitting on the porch steps smoking another cigar. Inside the house is silent; both women have fallen asleep. The magic of the blood ties allows me to distinguish each tie and trace it back to each human. The ties are as unique as the three humans themselves. The ties with Jason and Adele are relatively peaceful, but little flickers of emotion come through. For Jason, most of the flickers of emotion are lustful; Adele’s are more nostalgic and bittersweet. But the tie with Sookie is anything but peaceful. She may be sleeping, but it is not restful. There is pain and sorrow coming through the tie. Without a word, I walk past Dawson and head in the house. As only a vampire can, I move quietly through the home until I reach Sookie’s bedroom. Opening the door, I find her tossing and turning in her full size bed, whimpering pitifully. The air reeks of her tears. Instinctively, I cross the room, soundlessly setting my boots and leather jacket on the floor before climbing on top of the bedding. Sookie is curled up on her side, her head resting on her bent arm. I move my body so that I am completely wrapped around her, cocooning her body with mine. She sighs my name in her sleep and settles down, finally falling into a deep sleep.
My face is buried in her hair, inhaling her delightful scent, letting it soothe me. “I’ve got you Sookie. I’m not letting anything happen to you; I promise,” I whisper in her ear.