What the hell did Eric mean that Bill had my home under surveillance? How the hell did he get the cameras into my home? And more importantly, where the hell are these cameras located? I know they can’t be in the bedroom otherwise Bill would have known that my relationship with Alcide was a ruse. I feel extremely violated knowing Bill has watched me inside my home; I feel the need to crawl in the shower and scrub myself raw. Part of me is nervous to do that however; what if he has cameras in my bathroom? Sick mother fucker!
Bill has Hepatitis V? How is that possible? So much about this situation doesn’t make any sense. I’m about to question Eric further when I hear shuffling from the other end. “Sookie, I’m going to hand the phone over to Godric now. He’s going to tell you where all the cameras are hidden so you can remove them. I am going to resume searching for more clues about where Compton may have gone.” Eric’s voice is clipped and his accent is becoming more pronounced with every word. I have only ever heard Eric like this one other time in my life. It was when we were in Russell’s mansion and he was telling me I meant nothing to him. At the time those words destroyed me; now I know it hurt him to utter them as well.
“Good evening Sookie.” I smile as I hear Godric’s voice. I’ve always found him to be a soothing presence, and I appreciate having him here now more than ever. He will be able to keep Eric in check, help him deal with his emotions and think analytically.
“Good evening Godric,” I say with a smile in my voice despite the distasteful subject we will be discussing. I cannot help it; I have genuine affection for this man, vampire, whatever the hell you want to call him. To me, he is simply Godric; if I were to describe him to you, saying that he is a vampire would probably be somewhere around fifteenth on the list. “Where shall we start?”
“Let us start at your front door,” he tells me as I hear a whirling sound in the background. He must have vamped to the basement of Bill’s home so he can verify that I remove all the cameras. “There is a camera mounted to one of the hanging flower arrangements you have over the porch railing.” I’m not able to reach this on my own so I call for Alcide to help me. During the entire conversation, Alcide and Lafayette have stared at me worriedly. Fortunately, Nicole and her mother have retired for the evening; tomorrow they will be having a moving crew coming for all the items Nicole wishes to take from her home with Sam. Nicole offered me the opportunity to come over and take anything I wanted. While I appreciated the offer, there was nothing I could think of that I wanted. I have pictures and my memories of Sam; taking something that had been his personal property doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe when all of this shit is over, I’ll get a Border collie and name it Dean. I think Sam would like that.
“What do you need Sook?” I know with his Supernatural hearing, Alcide has heard every word of my conversation. His eyes have taken on that yellow glow and I know he is fighting the need to shift. I got so caught up in everything I forgot for a moment that it’s not just my privacy that’s been violated, but it’s Alcide’s too.
“There’s a camera mounted to one of the hanging plants. Godric, can you tell which side of the porch it’s on?”
“The left side.” Alcide inspects the pot closest to the door and finds the camera attached to the rim of the pot. Alcide shows the device to me, and I am amazed by how small and nondescript it looks. I would have never known that was a camera, nor would I have ever realized it was there unless I was replanting something in that pot. Hell, I might not have noticed even then.
“What do you want me to do with the cameras? Do you think he might be able to check these cameras from somewhere other than his home?” Alcide will not say Bill’s name; it reminds me of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named from Harry Potter.
Rather than continuing to hold the phone up to my ear, I put it on speaker. I know they are Supernatural and can hear each other, but this way seems less rude to me. Godric’s voice is suddenly loud in the otherwise silent evening. “I do not think he is able to watch the cameras activity from anywhere other than this room. From what my people have told me, it seems as if the cameras run on batteries and only have a short distance they can send images. In all, I think there are close to twenty cameras in the house though only six are active now. It must mean the surveillance has been going on for some time,” Godric offers apologetically. “As the batteries would die, it seems Compton would have new cameras placed in your home. Do you wish to have all of them removed or only those that are working?”
I shiver in revulsion. Twenty cameras have watched me for who knows how long. My stomach turns and I feel the need to vomit. Alcide gives me a one-arm hug to comfort me, but I shrug him off. I appreciate the gesture, but right now, I just feel dirty. I feel like I’ve been soiled and will never be clean again.
“I want all the cameras gone,” I say firmly. “I’m going to give the phone to Alcide so you two can make sure all the cameras are removed. I think I’m gonna be sick,” I say as I toss the phone to Alcide before running in the house and locking myself in my bathroom. I slam the toilet lid and seat up as I fall to my knees in a panic. I can feel the sickness bubbling up inside me; it’s acidic, burning, and I desperately want to purge my body of the venomous bile. I sit on my knees, hovering over the commode, praying to just let me get sick. But all I have are dry heaves, noisy retching, and a bitter taste in my mouth. Weakly, I flush the toilet then turn the shower on as hot as I can stand it. My clothes fall to the floor as I slowly strip myself out of them; I feel battered and aching all over. Pushing the shower curtain aside, I step inside the tub and let the hot water scald my skin. I do not stand under the spray; instead I sit in the tub with my knees drawn up to my chest, letting the water cascade down on my body. My head is pressed against my legs and I finally start to cry.
I hear Lafayette and Alcide both calling for me through the bathroom door, trying to make sure I am OK, but I don’t answer them. No, I’m not OK. How can I be OK knowing that my first love, my first EVERYTHING has never truly cared for me? Bill has never seen me as someone he loves; I’ve only been something he can use. I hate that I was so lonely, so naïve that I fell for all the bullshit he fed me. It cost me my cat Tina . . . Gran . . . I almost lost Jason . . . I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve almost died . . . and I almost lost Eric forever.
My tears finally subside and I feel this sense of resolve settle over me. Pushing myself up, I reach for my loofah and body wash. I need to scrub my body; I need to scrub away Bill Compton and everything he has done to me.
I had to get off the phone with Sookie. As much as I wanted to reassure her that everything is fine, I needed to get my emotions in check because of everything I had just read in Bill’s journal.
Bill had been infected with Hep V while on his goddamn book tour. He had reports from Dr. Ludwig indicating that the virus was not affecting him as it affected others. It was as if his blood somehow slowed the mutation, preventing it from acting as quickly. A sane vampire, a rational vampire would think it possibly had something to do with the most recent blood they had ingested. Hell, given Bill’s abilities after drinking the blood of Lilith, I would have argued that perhaps it was her blood that slowed the progression of the deadly disease. Fuck, I could even make the argument that it was Warlow’s blood even though it seemed all other perks of drinking his blood vanished the moment he ceased to exist. But Bill believed none of that; he thought his limited immunity was due to Sookie’s fairy blood. Bill discussed his theory with Dr. Ludwig, but she had blown his theory out of water. She had treated several vampires infected with the virus that had fairy partners with the essential spark, some having a higher percentage of Fae in their DNA than Sookie. Every single case of a vampire drinking from a fairy hybrid accelerated the progression of the disease, it did not decelerate it. But Bill was adamant that his Sookeh was the cure for his disease.
The journal I found outlined Bill’s plans to isolate Sookie and eventually take her; draining the life out of her so she would be his fairy-vampire child. Except he didn’t plan to treat her like a progeny; he intended to make her his blood and sex slave, keeping her shackled in a cage made of iron and silver. I knew that sick mother fucker would keep her close by; his attachment to his human home made me believe that he had a secret room somewhere in this fucking piece of shit. After tossing the phone to Godric with the last of my restraint, I tell both of my progeny to rip this fucking place apart. I know that fucker is hiding something else here and I will find it.
Godric returns to the office once he has finished his conversation with Sookie. He stands in the doorway to admire my handiwork. The only thing intact in Compton’s office is the window. All of the furniture has been smashed, paper and books have been shredded looking for more evidence of Bill’s douchebaggery, and I have pulled all the drywall down, stripping the walls so the only thing standing is the wood framing of the house. Bits of insulation float in the air as I stand amidst the rubble, looking for something else of Compton’s to destroy with my hands.
“I had Alcide remove twenty cameras from Sookie’s home,” Godric states as he watches me stalk towards him, intent on moving to the next room to continue my search. Godric blocks my path momentarily so I am forced to look at him. “Eric,” he says my name as both a warning and a command. “You will not catch Compton if you do not begin to use your head. Destroying this house serves no purpose. Remember this home also belongs to Jessica.”
“She will need to find somewhere else to stay from now on,” I bite out. “This building will be piles of burnt rubble come the early morning light. I do not want this place to stand as a reminder to Sookie of everything she has endured because of Compton.” If I burn down the house, maybe it will burn out all of my beloved Sookie’s memories. I can feel her hurting through our bond. I want to go to her, comfort her, but I have to do this first. We need to know everything we are dealing with; I need to know every single fucking thing Compton planned. I will be exacting my pound of flesh from that son of a bitch when – not if – I find him.
Godric needs to know every sin I am laying at Compton’s feet when it comes to Sookie. “He stole Sookie’s innocence, Godric; literally and figuratively. She’d been a virgin when he seduced her with false claims of love,” I spit out with revulsion. The idea of that bastard touching my beautiful lover makes my skin crawl. “Compton was going to give her to the Queen so she could become Sophie-Anne’s broodmare. Sophie-Anne wanted to have Sookie mate with other fairies or hybrids so she could have a never-ending supply of fairy blood. We all know Compton killed Sophie-Anne for his own gain; it wasn’t to protect Sookie like he claimed. He was the one to benefit the most from her True Death; he became King of Louisiana and there was no one else who would attempt to claim Sookie. Except me,” I admit softly as I let my love for her creep in my voice and I smile as I think about her. However the smile and affection in my voice disappear as I remember what I recently read in Compton’s journal. “That skitstövel (shit boot) intended to turn Sookie, keeping her locked in a cage as his slave.” My body is quivering with the depths of my rage. As if it is a reflex, my fist flies through the air, punching several holes in the nearest wall as the need to destroy something rolls through my body.
“Eric,” Jessica says timidly from the foyer of the house with Jason by her side. She looks scared to approach me and I cannot say that I blame her. I do not blame her for Compton’s crimes, but he is her maker. Jessica has always been an unwilling victim in Compton’s schemes and this is no different. However, she could also become his pawn and she would have no choice. “I couldn’t help overhearing everything you said about Bill. I don’t know if it will help you any but there are secret passages that lead from what used to be the slave quarters to the kitchen. When Bill had the house renovated, he had the passages reinforced. The area that used to be the slave quarters is where he had apartments built for the guards he used to use.”
“Show me,” I demand. Sensing my impatience, Jessica vamps to the kitchen and throws open the pantry door. There are old food stuffs in there, no doubt left over from when Bill employed human guards. Godric and I, as well as Jason, have followed her to the kitchen.
“The back wall of the pantry opens to show the tunnel,” she says while running her fingers along the edges of the door frame. “I just need to find the mechanism that opens it.” She stretches up to run her hands along the top of the frame. My impatience gets the best of me and I subtly push her out of my way.
“Allow me,” I say while running my fingers along the top of the frame. Jessica makes no comment, no doubt not wanting to antagonize me since I’m already pissed off. I find a button in the middle of the frame. Once I press it, the back wall of the pantry swings out to show a dark tunnel. Godric grabs my arm before I can vamp down the tunnel.
“Do not be reckless my son. You do not know what Compton has down there. It may be a trap,” Godric cautions. I nod my head in understanding and once again send up a silent prayer to my long silent gods that Godric has returned to me. I have missed his cool, methodical demeanor that keeps my emotions in check. While he was speaking, Pam and Willa have joined us. It is decided that Willa and Jason will stay in the kitchen if something goes wrong. The rest of us will inspect the tunnel and where it leads. The walkway is narrow and smells dank. All of us keep our eyes on the lookout for booby traps. After several hundred feet, the tunnel splits in two paths.
Godric asks, “Where does each path go?”
Jessica shakes her head. “I don’t know. I never knew there were two paths down here.”
“We will split up then,” Godric directs. “Jessica and I will take the path on the right; Eric and Pam, you will take the left.”
My progeny and I continue our walk in silence; she knows my moods well and recognizes that I am barely in control of my fury. I need to lash out and I’m reaching the point that I do not care who suffers my wrath; the only one safe is Sookie. We do not travel for very long before the path is blocked by a large stainless steel reinforced door.
I move to inspect the door, seeing if I will be able to break my way through. “Something tells me that this is not just a wine cellar,” Pam deadpans while I continue to inspect the door. There are no weaknesses that I can see. I pick up the scents of silver and iron mixed in with the stainless steel. Whatever is behind this door must be of great value to Compton if he has ensured that all Supernatural species will be weakened by attempting to break open the door. I stare at the door in frustration since I cannot break through it and have no way of knowing what is on the other side.
Pam stares at the door thoughtfully for several minutes before she smirks. “I always knew he was a fucking idiot! He has accounted for vampire, Were, and Fae weaknesses but he’s forgotten one simple thing: anyone with the right tools and patience can pick a lock,” she says scornfully. I watch with pride as she pulls a Swiss Army knife from pocket and works for a few seconds to pick the lock. With a satisfied smile, she rises to her feet while turning the door knob. “Shall we?”
I nod and Pam pushes the door open. We both pause in the entry way, assessing for possible threats. “Stay here,” I command. I walk down a short hallway which opens up to a large room. There is nothing of value in this room, but the contents of the room are extremely important to me. Against the wall opposite me is a single twin bed without any coverings. Attached to the bed as well as mounted on the wall over the bed are shackles made of iron and silver. The wall to my left houses instruments that I’ve frequently used to torture my enemies: pincers, knives, gags, pliers, and so much more. The wall to my right is bare. I step further in the room and turn around so I am able to see the wall that had the doorway in it. This wall is covered in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pictures that go from the floor to the ceiling . . . and all of them feature Sookie. The pictures range from images of her at Merlotte’s, inside Compton’s home, a few are from Fangtasia which I have no idea how he got, but the overwhelming majority are from inside her home, showing her in various states of undress. There are also pictures of Sookie and I together in various sexual positions from our brief time together when I was without my memories. Without thinking, I begin ripping the pictures down from the wall, shredding every image. The most deafening scream I’ve ever heard accompanies my savage destruction of the pictures. This is the room Compton planned to keep Sookie in. My beautiful mate would have been trapped like an animal in a cage, treated far worse than any creature in a zoo. There are no windows, no fresh air; if she had been confined down here and something had happened to Compton, she would have been trapped forever. She would have gone mad; she would have been broken. Compton would have destroyed her.
As I continue to systematically destroy the stalker’s shrine to the woman I love, I sense another’s presence coming quickly towards me. A pair of arms wrap around me, pining my arms to my sides. I bellow in rage like a cornered animal and fight desperately to free myself from what feels like a steel band around me.
“Eric!” Godric’s voice is firm and commanding as he calls my name, holding me tightly to keep me from hurting either one of us. Hearing his voice causes all the fight to leave my body and I slump in his arms. We slide down to the ground and he cradles my body as one would a child. I did not realize I had cried but I watch as bloody tears fall from my face to fall on my clothes. My hands and arms are bloody as well. I finally feel the pain where the jagged, torn flesh is trying to stitch itself back together. I grit my teeth in pain as the broken bones of my hand snap back in place. Suddenly I feel as if I am suffocating; I need to get out of here!
As if he read my mind, Godric speaks softly. “Come my child; let us leave this place. Nothing good will come from remaining here.” Godric escorts me from the room as one would an invalid. Pam and Jessica stand by the entrance, worry clear on both their faces. Pam opens her mouth to speak, but Godric shakes his head in warning. My maker and I lead the way out of the tunnel with the women following behind us.
When we return to the kitchen, we find Jason and Willa standing worriedly by the pantry. They stare at me in horror. “Jesus Christ! What the hell happened to you?” Jason looks at all the blood on my face, hands, and clothes with concern on his face.
“Jason,” I say in a gravelly voice, “I need you to get me as much gasoline and alcohol as you can. Jessica, you have two hours to get your belongings out of this house.” She opens her mouth to protest but I silence her by raising my hand. “I have a place where you can stay.”
“Or you could stay with me,” Jason offers the redhead shyly. “The basement’s been made light-tight. You uh, could move in if you wanted,” he offers with a sheepish smile on his face.
Jessica smiles at Jason and takes his hand in her own. “I’d like that, but I don’t think it’s a good idea.” Jason’s face falls and he tries to tug his hand back but she clings to him. “As long as Bill may still be out there, I’m a danger to y’all. I’d never forgive myself if something happened to you because of me.” I’m impressed with Jessica’s rational thinking; she has certainly grown from the headstrong, impulsive child I first dealt with all those years ago.
Godric draws Jason’s attention to him. “Mr. Stackhouse, I will go with you to get what we need.” The two of them leave the house quickly followed by a car starting then pealing out of the driveway. I absently think Godric must be the one driving; he always did drive like a maniac.
Jessica is the next to leave the room, saying she is going to go pack her belongings. “I’ll go with her,” Pam offers. “I’ll take her to the house in Monroe. It should have everything she needs for the next few days.” I nod in agreement and watch Pam vamp from the kitchen to follow after Jessica.
Feeling every day of my thousand-year existence, I trudge back to the office, gathering the documents I want to take with me about Bill’s activities. I make a mental note to contact Ludwig; she needs to tell me everything about Bill’s condition. The dwarf may be gruff and sarcastic, but she never sides with those harmful to the greater good of the Supernatural race. Plus, she has an affinity for my maker and my mate; if I have to, I will use it to my advantage.
Willa has followed me to the office and stares in awe at the destruction I caused. “Now what are you going to do?”
Grabbing everything I want, I walk back to my youngest progeny and escort her from the building. Once outside, I turn back to look at the offending structure. “I’m going to burn it,” I say with every ounce of hatred I feel for its owner. “Burn it down to the ground.”