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is an avid fan of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, so much so, that waiting for the next book was not an option! This Sookie Stackhouse Fanfiction fantasy picks up where CH's book 9 left off. Tune in weekly for the next installment of Back from the Dead. Disclaimer: J. Barrington does not own the characters of the Southern Vampire Series AKA Sookie Stackhouse Novels. All rights are reserved for Charlaine Harris.

Bleeding Heart - XXXIX - XL

My body swelled with yearning ---

A deep longing unfurled ---

My core was a raging inferno --- Enough of that!

That kiss was HOTNESS! With a capital HAH!

On a scale of one to ten it was HOT!

It was “get an umbrella cause the sprinklers are 'bout to go off” HOT!

It was “Slap yo mamma and call your auntie a lie” HOT!

It was “look for that man in the daytime with a flashlight” HOAAAHT!

“Shh! Roomie” Amelia’s voice urgently whispered. My body was flung like a rag doll over broad shoulders. I didn’t know who carried me but the woodsy smell was unfamiliar. Hairy legs propelled me across the lawn and into the dense woods at a quick pace with Amelia in tow. Not hairy . . . furry. He walked upright like a human. Khaki cargo shorts hung gingerly about his waist. A gentle rhythmic purr rumbled from deep within its belly.

I purred too.  My mind enraptured in a kiss that seared magic through me from my tongue to my toes. I floated between a state of consciousness and a dream state of euphoria. My gift has found a home at last; a home that welcomes and embraces it, nurtures and . . . loves it. CJ and I were no longer in the same vicinity or even the same plane of existence, for all I knew, yet, our thoughts were intertwined. His visions came rushing in, invading every corner of my mind. His visions were sweet. His visions were loving. His visions were erotic. The sounds of ecstasy that escaped my lips grew to a beautiful song of yearning.

He had been so careful not to awaken love until it pleases and oh yeah, it pleases, boy, does it please. How I love the feel of his pretty mouth caressing mine. I love the taste of that velvety tongue that skillfully strokes, tantalizes and teases. I love the intoxicating scent of him invading my nostrils and saturating my senses. I beg him to please, please, possess my body the way he has taken possession of my mind and soul. He acquiesces as only a sorcerer can, making our meeting of the minds better than the real McCoy. Never have I known such pleasure. His essence filling me, completing me, finishing me. Each release, a sacred offering unto him.

The incalculable joy and elation of our long awaited union quickly turns to agony as he crosses the threshold from the human realm to the spirit realm. Paradise for some, for CJ, his own personal hell. His torment is my own. The barrier of separation left me cold and shivering.

I wonder if his last words to me were the last that I would ever hear him speak. Was the kiss that had enchanted me into a state of bliss his farewell? Would I never see that beautiful face or be soothed by his song?

I cried out in desperation and he responded, stoking the fire within me.

“Sleep Princess, please,” he pleaded. “Do not look on me now.” Part of my mind obeyed. My telepathy, however, went rogue. It had to see all. It had to know all. It had to hear all of the evil that lay beyond the veil.

Through his mind I could see the harrowing journey. He was flanked by the two that took him into the portal; Marley is the servitor of the spirit, Baron Semedi, Guardian of the Dead. I gawked as the handsome Marley morphed into a white skeleton or maybe his face and body was just painted as such. His warm up suit turned into a dark tuxedo with tails and a top hat. He had a cigar in one hand and he laughed cynically. He deserted the others soon after they'd entered the realm.

I knew the other spirit as Atiban Legba, Guardian of the Gate. He was the one that I refer to as the Boogey Man. He had no discernible features or should I say, he had no features at all; no eyes, no nose no mouth. He was just a great form of energy in the shape of a man . . . perpetrating . . . pretending.

I had total recall on every Loa (or spirit) in the Voodoo pantheon. They were a part of the extensive archives implanted in my brain. The fact sheets on these two made bile rise up in my throat. Both are very powerful and both a dichotomy of good and evil forces, essential to keeping balance in the world. Both are interchangeable with several of the Catholic saints. One is the bringer of chaos. One is the bringer of death.

The two silhouettes were moving toward a distant place. A loud popping sound and a blinding light left me frantically searching the emptiness for the two. I was suddenly filled with so much magic that I could hardly focus or breathe. “CJ!” I called out when their images reappeared and then started to fade. Then I watched in horror as Atiban Legba consumed my sorcerer like inhaling a vapor.

And then there was one. The image that the Boogey Man morphed into was just spooky. He was very old but his eye was not dimmed. His hair was gray, almost white, yet his body and stance hummed with the virility of a god. He was statuesque and strutted down the gold laden streets of an island that appeared to be submerged under water. He proudly took his post at a cross roads. A cane was held tightly in one hand and a pipe in the other.

Gone were all signs of my tall, dark and handsome CJ. My CJ was pure and wholesome. He would never smoke a pipe. He would never, ever leave me.

Yeah. That’s where I lost it for a moment. My mind whirled with incantations as the beast that carried me sprinted through the wooded acres of land on winged feet. My momentary bouts of consciousness placed us just outside the Carmichael estate. I was jostled violently and his hard shoulder wore a grove into my stomach. Flanking us was the mental signature of, what I accessed were, Weres. Although I saw none, I assumed it was those that had been staying at the house.

Through desperate sobs I chanted:
Over land, over sea,
bring my love now to me.
I love him and he loves me,
bring my love now to me.
Blue skies, bright sun,
by rain and by snow,
Tis my will, now make it so.
Tis my will, now all will know
my heart is yours in this tableau.

It was a binding spell to join us. My heart warmed instantaneously and I knew it was working.

“Hush! You have to be quiet, Roomie.” Amelia was running close behind the beast as he carried me. She sounded breathless and exhausted. Lightening illuminated the dark night and I saw her petrified face, clear as day. She was running for her life. Shall I say, we were. I continued my summons. He would answer me, I knew.

“Over there,” she told the one who carried me. He let out a high pitched sound and headed toward a private cemetery that belonged to her family. I had seen the acre of land on many of the morning runs that CJ and I had been on. As with all burial sites of Louisiana, graves were above ground, in crypts or sarcophagi. We dodged through the maze of assorted sized structures.

Strong, bulky arms cradled me and placed me on the ground at the entrance of a stone edifice. It actually looked like a miniature church, complete with steeple and a statue of St. Peter at one side of the door. I was handled like a fragile babe being put down for a nap. The gesture was filled with adoration.

The midnight sky was clouding up to rain, I noted when I looked up. I rubbed my aching tummy that was sure to be sore for days to come. Then my eyes were drawn over to the face of the one who had carried me. No one would blame me for passing out when Tray Dawson smiled down at me as I recognized him. Then he meowed.

As soon as I regained consciousness I started the desperate chant again. My mouth spoke the words involuntarily and my heart seized with longing. I needed my rock. All else is but sinking sand. My hold on reality, a fragile strand.

Amelia’s pleading came out of a dark corner near the door. “You must not do this, Sookie.” Sconces were lit all around the empty (thank God) tomb that was stifling and humid. My body was stretched out on a cooling board, as my grandmother used to call it. I looked around to make sure that there were no "winding sheets" in the vicinity. That would have meant that I was being prepared for my final rest. Fortunately, that was not the case.

“I know that you don’t want to trust me but you must,” Amelia said. I finished my chant before I addressed her. My heart hummed with excitement when CJ answered with a burning in my core.

“I trust you Amelia,” I assured her. She and I went way back and I couldn't blame her for her bitter feelings. She started to cry quietly and curled her body in a ball on the floor. We were all pawns in the world of vampires and I knew that she, like Bill, did what she had to do to make it in the Supernatural world. When Mr. Cataliades’ mind revealed that she came to live with me at the Queen’s behest, I didn’t even get mad. I was more shocked than anything. I’m telepathic. I should have known but if she didn’t think about it, I couldn’t pluck it out of her mind.

“Sophie Ann asked me to ward the house when you had kicked Bill and Eric out of your life while in New Orleans. She feared that you wouldn’t accept help from any vampire at the time so she asked me not to tell you.”

“Why would you do that?” I asked.

“For an up and coming witch, the Queen’s endorsement would have been a great boost. She also had the ability to blacklist me and I wanted to stay on her good side. Besides, Quinn was on the road all the time so he was unable to protect you and she thought that I could.” I looked at her disbelievingly. Yeah, I just bet that the Queen’s intentions were noble. She was trying to protect her newly acquired telepath. It was her sole purpose for sending Bill into my life. Amelia noted my dubiousness and added, “She said that seeing after you was the least she could do for her beloved Hadley.”

That tidbit of information just tugged at my heart strings. My cousin Hadley had been turned by Queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq, herself. They had been lovers. When my cousin was killed, the Queen was truly distraught. I could believe that I was being protected for Hadley’s sake but I knew that Sophie-Anne was all about protecting her own backside.

“Why didn’t you leave when the Queen died?” I inquired. Certainly she was no longer obligated after that.

“Actually, I was released from my duties right after I secured the Stackhouse grounds,” she told me. “The devastation of Katrina gave me an excuse to avoid going back home a telling my father that I was up to my old tricks. He hates magic and had his suspicions. You know my dad. He has his ways of finding out.” I knew that to be true, too.  “Several Ectoplasm Reconstructions, countless protection wards, a personality adjustment spell and a feline fiasco later, we had become good friends. Let’s face it, you, being the flypaper for freaks that you are, needed my protection and I wanted to protect you. I felt like I was meant to keep you safe.” Her words were said with the utmost sincerity. “No way was I leaving after the hostile takeover of Louisiana.”

Amelia and I had come a long way in the short time that I had known her. She had helped me as much as I had helped her. I was deep in thought for a moment. I was mad at myself, more than anything else. Naiveté has no place in the world of vampires and I could not blame her for being duped.

“Do you think that CJ knows that I was the one who invited Felipe into your house?” Now, that I didn’t know. That confession just earned the witch a ride on the hairy eyeball express. I was stunned for a moment but I played along shrugging my shoulders. Looking back to the day that I told CJ about Felipe being able to enter the house uninvited, he did look a little green, so I guess he did. It was clearly an inside job. That would also explain our swift departure and why he left Amelia behind.

“Felipe told me that he was going to make you into Supe royalty.” She cried, nearly reverent in her belief in the Vampire King of Navada's words. “He promised me that he would not harm you or turn you.” Her words became inaudible as she blubbered. So I had to decipher the rest from her head. “He said that a mere sheriff could never protect one as valuable as you.” I saw in her mind that she was thinking of the night when Eric pulled my broken and battered body from the van after the Fae war. Then I saw her crying at the coffin of Tray Dawson. It was a pretty pitiful scenario.

I looked over to Tray who stood at attention before the entrance. He reminded me of one of those Anubis statues, part man and part beast. I didn’t even want to find out which parts were which, nor did I want to know the details of how the dead Werewolf came to be alive again. He was no longer a Werewolf though. He was more like a huge Werecat Man thingy. He had the ears and fur of Amelia's cat, T2, but his face was unmistakably Tray.

"It's really you," I choked out. He smiled slightly and nodded. “I’m sorry Tray.” I had always wanted to have him hear me say that.

My brows lifted in surprise when he purposely thought to me, “It’s still my own damn fault.” To know his rugged cadence again made me smile and cry.

“I’m sorry, too Sookie,” Amelia added “for the way that I have been acting.”

Suddenly, my body burned white hot. The etchings on my wrists started to glow. I undulated on the hard surface as magic flowed through me like an electric current. My entire being was filled with an irresistible need and I instinctively called CJ to me again: “Over land, over sea, bring my love now to me.”

“No! No! No!” A small, cold and clammy hand slapped over my mouth. “The third time is the charm!” Amelia's face was next to mine. “YOU MUST BE CAREFUL WITH MAGIC, Roomie!” She was looking over to Tray who was apparently her last magic catastrophe. “This spell will bind you forever.”

Forever is good, I thought. I like forever. “I need him,” I cried. “He needs me.”

“Be he alive or be he dead,” she said somberly. I did not care. I felt like he would die if I didn’t finish. Scorching beams shot from my eyes and put the kibosh on my chanting. Tray made a startled cat noise and Amelia gasped. I tried to look at her but the beams obliterated anything in its path. The last thing I saw, before I slammed my eyes shut, was a portion of one wall of the crypt falling into ruins.

“Oh God! Oh God!” she cried. “Keep ‘em closed, Sookie.” She fumbled around for a few moments and then I felt her rip the bottom of my night gown and then she tied the rag around my eyes with trembling hands. Tray held my body down and she spoke in calming tones “I got you, Roomie . . . I got you.” That’s what CJ used to say to me. My body stilled.

We sat utterly speechless and bewildered for a long while. “He has impregnated you with all that he is.” She sounded positively devastated as her daunting declaration broke the silence with a shaky voice. Her body fell across me and she sobbed aloud. Her thoughts flowed freely in the tomb. She was thinking that I drained CJ of his magic somehow. She wondered why receiving all that magic didn’t kill me instantly. She was also jealous because he didn’t give it to her. Then she got scared as she realized just how vulnerable CJ was now.

“Finally!” A pixie voice squeaked. “I’ve been trying to get in this place for the longest.” I was wondering where my attack pixie was. It sounded as if she came in through the hole in the wall. “Ya’ll wrong for locking me out there,” she ranted. “It’s raining cats and . . . CATS!” The word came out aghast as she took in Tray. “Oooookay!" she said, flittering in my direction. Her cheeriness quieted in the somber atmosphere. “What’s up with the witch?” She went on when I didn’t respond. “I told you about hanging out with her trifling ass.” I still couldn’t see but I interpreted the whooshing sound and heavy foot falls to mean that Tray was trying to swat her. “I know he did not just try to . . .whoa!” she screamed with laughter. The commotion I heard from the two from that point on traveled outside. It was perfect timing because I needed to talk to Amelia alone.

“Give it to me straight.” I could not bear to hear it in her head. I didn’t want to hear it at all. My voice shook in panic. “Is he dead?”



The witch was thoughtful for a moment. “Can you still feel him?”

“With all that I have in me.” My body was trembling with his presence and I could hardly speak. She raised her head up and remained stoic for a long time. The catman/pixie fight resumed outside. It sounded like Dyxie was winning. A loud thump shook the building and Tray screeched like a mountain cat. Amelia jumped and I sat up, blindly turning toward the ruckus.

“Missed me!” Dyxie laughed. “Missed me, now you gotta . . . Hey, you're kind of cute and that fur is fierce!” She delivered the statement with a snap of her fingers and much attitude. The next few minutes were filled with screams from the pixie. Apparently Tray was not interested in making a love connection at the present time. The clumsy thumping of his feet told me that he lacked the agility to catch her. It also made me question Tray’s mental capacity. The voyage back from the dead can be a daunting journey, leaving the brain with irreparable damage.

Amelia took my hands into hers and held them for a time. She positioned them on my lap, palms up. Dainty fingers traced the etchings that were still warm to the touch. “This,” she said through sniffles, “is the veve of ...” She paused again and thought the name to me as “Papa Legba.” Even thinking the name evoked power and we heard a clattering of thunder.

Her body stiffened and she spoke a little faster. “This one,” she touched the other wrist “is the veve of”

“I know.” I interrupted. “We’ll just call him BS.” I was about to tell her that I had learned about all the spirits and protection wards through Melody. She shushed me.

“Voodoo is a highly malleable religion with many spirits AKA Loas in the Ethos. People pray to the deities and use the symbols to specify which one they are seeking help from and the type of help they need.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know all of this stuff.” I wanted her to cut to the chase.

“The Guardian of the Gate has the ability to stop your soul from entering the spirit realm and going” she pointed up “or” she pointed down. The Guardian of Death can refuse your entry unto the valley of the dead. What you don’t know is that CJ added the BLOOD of a SORCERER to the mix of these etchings. It changed the prayer of protection to a command.”

“Let me guess, the all powerful big guys did not appreciate being ordered around.” Their egos were not about the let that fly.

“It is forbidden but the command must be obeyed which is why your heart still beats and your soul is in tact. It was especially insulting, coming from CJ.” She paused as if she had said too much.

“I don’t want to hear that ‘CJ’s secrets are his to tell crap, Amelia Broadway'” I scorned. “My body is on fire, CJ has been abducted and taken God knows where, I am hiding out in the middle of the woods and I don’t even know what I am running from.” My anger rose and my voice grew louder. “Amelia you know I hate being handled in this highhanded fashion. I have a right to know all that you know.”

“Okay, okay!” She climbed up on the slab and we sat facing each other with our legs folded. She looked around with care before she spoke with trepidation “Spirits may enter into our realm at will but dissipate into mist if the host is not willing to allow it to enter their body. Some humans willing but they are not strong enough to host for long and tend to break rather easily. Mages are chosen to serve as such. A good Loa/Mage pairing is a rarity, so when one is found the Loa sticks with that Mage throughout eternity. Upon death, the Mage is reincarnated again and again and has to wait until he or she comes of age, to be used.”

My mind was reeling with questions. She shushed me again. “Just listen and please do not say the spirit’s name, even though you know it. It gives them the ability to locate us. Marley and . . . BS are the perfect example of the amalgamated relationship. At the spirit’s summoning, the two become one, good, bad or indifferent,” she said. “To have a physical body and enjoy life is something that the Loas long for. They can do things like humans do when they are in a solid form.”

“Like screw French maids named Fefé in broom closets?”

“BS is a lewd one. One of his symbols is the phallus so you know what’s up with him. No pun intended. Many of the things they do are good. Some, not so much.”

“Are you saying that CJ is to serve um . . . the Boogey Man dude?”

“It is kismet. His incarnation was foretold in the annals of Voodooism; the spawn of a powerful priestess and a unique shifter, trained to become the most powerful sorcerer of all, serving the most powerful deity. It is said that the potent pairing could save the world . . . or destroy it.”

“With great gifts comes even greater responsibility,” I quoted CJ. It was what he said after the accident on the freeway. He said that the first rule of the Shaman is to do no harm. I understood the conflict.

“He could not imagine that the powers that he was born with could possibly be used as a weapon of mass destruction,” Amelia continued. “When he came of age, CJ rejected the calling and the religion as a whole, leaving Him without a host.”

A great thunder rolled again, shaking the foundation of the already compromised structure. Heavy rain came pouring down like a plague. I called out to Dyxie and Tray, who at first, refused to cease their horseplay but then surrendered to the violent downpour.

“CJ's rejection angered the gods,” I said.

“Yep. And they couldn't do a thing about it because the host has to be a willing participant. You know the who freewill thing. CJ walked away from it all; magic, healing and a family of magical beings. He even walked away from his first love, Melody, who was betrothed to the servitor of the most high.”

“Is that why she married Marley?”

“That decree was ordered to punish CJ for his insolence. Melody refused to comply. She became very depressed and went on a hunger strike, nearly killing herself.”

“That’s such a sad story.” That’s why he had that love sick puppy mixed with pity look whenever she came around.

“CJ used his magic to transfer all of the love that she had for him to his cousin, Marley. The action pained him so that he vowed to never do magic again. He stuck to that promise for years. He would not come home, which was one of the reasons I never wanted to go back home. His song has magical properties because that’s just who he is but he never uttered another chant, cast a spell, used telekinesis or teleportation, piloted the dead or any of the like.”

“Until Sookie Stackhouse came along,” I mumbled under my breath and she agreed. I was a witness to him going back on all that. He did magic even when he wasn’t trying. His mere presence prevented Felipe from entering my house. He used his gifts to calm Amelia and me after the Fae war. I thought of how he pulled me into his mind. That was some magic. I would never forget the most rewarding and erotic telepathic experience that I'd ever known. I saw him use necromancy to disable one of the oldest and strongest vampires. He destroyed Sam’s apartment building in a fit of rage. All of that was before we left Bon Temps and all in direct relation to me.

“Is that why they took him away?”

“CJ’s talents come freely to him and are irrevocable. Only the forbidden requires penance.”

“They are going to make him serve?” I asked in disbelief and defeat. That realization hurt like nobody's business.

“Nope,” she said. “Servitude requires powers and they are missing an essential component.”

“Of which he has bestowed upon . . . yours truly.” Conviction registering in my mind.

“Yep. They managed to abduct the mag without the ick and are most likely not very pleased with their conquest at the present time. The spirits have no way of knowing who or what has the power. That will not stop them from looking, which is why CJ told me to get you away from the house.”

“Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Boogey Man!” I laughed. It was a small victory but a victory just the same. "Remind me to thank CJ for saving me and bringing down the wrath of the gods (literally) on my head if we survive.” Just what I needed, a higher bounty on my head.

“Don’t be silly. He has given you all of his protection and left himself defenseless,” she said angrily. “That’s the kind of love I never want to know. Your powers combined make Sookie Stackhouse the most powerful Supe alive.” I was in awe of that and terrified for CJ. I was so engrossed in our conversation that I didn’t notice the fierce winds that whirled through the cemetery. Amelia hopped off the slab and I heard the sound of sloshing water.

“Uh, Sookie!” The fear in her voice was too much and I opened my mind to read what was going on. The water level was at her thighs. I reached to snatch off my blindfold and Amelia clamped her hands over mine. “You must learn how to control that before you unleash it on the world. I like my head just where it is, thank you very much.”

I had to admit that a high beam that could knock down a building would not be very handy at the present time. I stood in the rising waters and we waded our way outside. Through Amelia’s sight it looked like a hurricane. Rains were pouring down and trees cowered under the strength of the winds. We clung to a mausoleum that was tall and smooth like marble. I bet it was pretty, but an anchor in the storm only works if you are tethered to it.

“Mombu and Simbi!” Amelia silently communicated to me.

“Damn!” The effect on me was the same as if the had screamed the names aloud. If I had on boots I would be shaking in them. They called out the “big dogs!” I dreaded. Torrential rains and wreaking havoc on the lands by overflowing the sea levels were their specialty. These two spirits can claim entire cities in seconds. They were trying to literally flush us out of the woods.

I could feel Amelia staring at me, waiting for the all powerful Sookie to create some great sorcery miracle like part the waters or walk on top of it. I found it a challenge not to shrug and say “I got nothin’.” I had to stand and stay calm in the face of danger.

Seeing Tray Dawson being carried away by the current shot our attempt at being calm, cool and collected straight to hell. Without a second thought we both dove in and aimed for him. I am not a very strong swimmer and was surprised at how the adrenalin (or maybe it was the magic) prevented me from drowning. No way was I watching Tray die a second time. The cold water chilled me to the bone, making it difficult to move or think. One by one we made our way to a floating log and held on for dear life.

We were fighting the energy-draining water for a while before I was able to think of WWCJD. What Would CJ Do? I had to think quickly. The cold water had arrested my lungs and I could scarcely breathe. Tray climbed up into a tree. He pulled both of us to the base and was helping us upward in turn. Amelia kept losing her footing. Those gladiator sandals were cute but not practical for tree climbing. They were also difficult to slip out of.

A protective sphere flowed from inside of me. I didn’t try to do it. In my desperation to avoid our calamity, it just happened. It engulfed me first and then Tray who was nearest me. It grabbed a hold of the witch and sucked her inside the barrier just before she dipped below the violent torrents for a third time.

We lay exhausted in the belly of the protective bubble that floated on the raging rapids. Amelia was face down beside me. The top of her body rested on my thigh. She was breathing so heavily that I worried that she would not be able to calm herself. I wished that I had the gift of song but I wasn’t about to put my pipes to that test. Sookie cannot sing. It’s just a fact of life that I had to accept after my first school musical. My singing was more likely to send her into cardiac arrest.

I did not need my vision or sixth sense to know when Tray kneeled down and cradled his love’s dripping body in his arms. Large hands tenderly brushed the stray hairs from her face. The gentle kiss that he placed on her lips, full of love and devotion. His toasty body temp and loud purrs lulled her to La-la land. She was resting easy breezy in no time. Tray was tired, too, but no worse for the wear. Hardy-har-har.

About a mile down the river, a tapping on the top of the enclosure told me that Dyxie was present and accounted for. I think she was steering us out of harm’s way. I willed her to come inside of the bubble and she slid in. I was not sure of how she could help but somehow I knew she could. The humming of gossamer wings rose and lifted us in the air following my single word command of “Sanctuary.”  It was all that I had strength to say.

“Roger that,” I remember her squeaking before sleep stole me away.

An eerie feeling of doom shocked me into reality the next day. I thought of the beautiful serenades that I had grown accustomed to and cried out to my songbird. “You promised me that I would not lose my heart to you,” I whispered. Tears streamed down my face and a golf ball lodged itself in my throat.

“Your life or death is in the power of your tongue now,” were some of the last words he spoke to me. What the heck did that mean? The power is in my tongue, hell, I thought he was talking about kissing.

I infused all the power into the spoken words of the chant that would bind us for all eternity. He would come to me, I knew, be he alive or be he dead. I took a deep breath and paused. I took another deep breath and paused. And another. And another. I couldn't concentrate for the unnerving scent. I would be damned if I did not smell vampire!

I snatched off the blind fold but held my eyes shut while I willed the magic to simmer down within me. I didn’t want to obliterate any of my friends as I scanned my surroundings. I cautiously peeked when I felt the magic calm and I didn’t kill anybody or destroy anything. The power was rumbling behind my eyes like lava, ready to burst forth at the slightest sneeze.

The room was empty and like a vault, no windows, no doors in a light tight chamber. The ceiling was very high and had a single vent with shingles that swayed in the wind. I heard the wind in the vent ‘cause I couldn’t see jack shit.

My cries grew desperate. I did not want to be here but was afraid to go out to face those who sought me. “Come to me.” I pleaded and my heart warmed and overflowed with . . . love. The response signal flickered between hot and lukewarm. He could hear me.

I see him in my mind’s eye. His still body was lying prostrate on the ground. His limbs were tied and stretched in every direction. Beings stalked around him. They were causing him pain. I could feel it piercing through me like a hot poker. He had no defense. The sorcerer was screaming in agony like a . . . human.

“Hold on!” My voice echoed in the chamber as I urged him to return to me unharmed. I cannot lose him. He is my world, he is my . . . soulmate! I finally admitted to myself through sobs. “Please!” My heart was growing colder with each word. I was losing him. Resolutely, I said “CJ, you are MINE!” The word reverberated in my throat. It came out all possessive like a vam-pi-re.

“If you say, ‘He completes me’ I’m gonna barf.” A tiny voice squeaked in my ear. I was so relieved. I thought that I was alone. “Snap out of it girlfriend. We gotta figure out a way to get out of here.”

“Where is here, Dyx?” She paused for a long while. The inner workings of her little brain were nearly palpable.

“See, what had happened was,” she said with the most proper diction, pursing her lips. “The witch had told me that the Loas were after you. They detest the undead and this guy is the most undead I know.”

The dark walls began to change right before our eyes. They slowly went from obsidian to transparent, revealing a breathtaking view of a bustling metropolis. The cylindrical chamber was on the top floor of a very tall building. It rotated in a slow motion.

Amelia lay cuddled with T2 in her arms on pallet on the other side of the room. They were both dead to the world. A rectangular shape broke the flat line of the floor as it rose. When the ascension was complete, a very wide and long bed set atop a platform. Dark, thick curtains were all around and tied back with rope sashes at the ornate posts.

“Ooh! Master, Look at what the cat drug in,” a female voice said. No brain pattern, vampire.

A second one chimed in “May we play with her, oh, great one.” She sounded like she wanted to take a bite out of her right then. They were heading toward Amelia.

“Dust them both.” I commanded.

“On it!” Dyxie got ghost and shot over to protect my friends. In a few moments the witch and her cat disappeared. The two searched frantically but could not locate Amelia or the tabby cat. My relief was short lived as I realized that I sent my own protection clear across the room.

My canine’s quivered as they elongated. In reaction to the immediate threat, I guessed. The unexpected daggers ripped a gash in my lower lip and warm blood trickled down my chin. I felt like a bleeding carcass in shark infested water. I listened for my own heart beat before I flipped out. The loud and violent thumps rattled my rib cage. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I stifled a giggle and then straightened up. This was serious. I was surrounded by wampires, woooo. I was actually becoming giddy at the thought of an impending battle.

I snickered aloud and my spine stiffened with courage as I wiped the blood from my mouth with the back of my hand. I looked at the dark liquid that stained my skin. Then I licked it off and smiled. Super Sookie does not fear the undead. Not one of them could stand against me and my abilities. I was feeling kind of cocky. “Bring it!” I bounced on my heels and loosened my limbs with a vigorous shake.

A familiar scent invaded my nostrils making my head swoon. I went through my catalog of vampires to identify this unique combination. My heart flat lined in the recognition and then clinched into an aching and throbbing ball. I was not ready for . . . him. Please, not him. In my panic, I resumed the chant, my words desperately exploded from my mouth:
Over land, over sea,
bring my love now to me.
I love him and he loves me,
bring my love now to me.
Blue skies, bright sun,
by rain and by snow,
Tis my will, now make it so.
I must find a way to let him know
My heart is yours

He moved with vampiric speed, too fast for my eyes to track. Strong arms banded around me pulling me up against a steely chest. The closeness was suffocating. Before I could react, he leaned his head down and caught my lower lip between his teeth. He gently stroked my bleeding lip with his tongue and savored the flavor and then he hissed and slowly brewed down to a delighted groan.

I was breathless and tongue tied for a moment. My heart was about to pound right out of my chest. His name exploded from my lungs in a breathless whisper “Felipe de Castro.”

“Ahhhhh! I knew that you would eventually come for me, my Queen.”

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