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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.

Souled Owt – XLVII – XLVIII

A famous poet once said that “Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” All I have to say is, aint that the truth. The average Joe’s inability to get the heck out of dodge when faced with danger never ceases to amaze me. Just like in any creature feature movie, all stood there, stock still, glamored by the sight of an immortal being that could steal the last breath of everyone in the room.

No one could look away. Some imagined him sinking his sharp fangs into my eagerly awaiting flesh. Many wanted to switch places with me. People fought the irresistible urge to touch him. I wouldn’t advise anyone to pet the animal right now. His mouth was closed like a trap but I knew his fangs were fully extended and threatening to burst out of his mouth. He was ready to take out anyone that looked at me funny. His heroism lasted all of two seconds.

I heard the uncharacteristic poppysmic that left his mouth gaping and realized that the king had exposed a hand that he usually held very close to the vest. I was surprised that he didn’t drop me on the floor right then and kick me under the skirt of the nearby display table. Then he could pretend that he didn’t just grab me up and flee like I was the most precious thing in the world to him. This was the first time that the narcissistic king was confronted with the protective instincts for his love and he didn’t like it one bit. He was willing to be my wittle kissy wissy face behind closed doors. In public, the vampire king could not show any signs of weakness.

Surprisingly, most of the crowd’s attention was on me. They assumed that I was a vampire and shrieked at the otherness of my iridescent eyes and the fire that smoldered within. Felipe empathized with my pain; at seeing Eric, at feeling the rejection from humans. His eyes were filled with pity for me. I pulled up my shields and forced their prejudice thoughts from my head and the thoughts of Eric from my heart.

The single thought of “damage control” was heard loud and clear. He needed to roll back the blunder.  He placed me on my feet and I quickly and awkwardly straightened my clothing. Then he nodded regally to onlookers and said, with the thickest accent, “Gooood-a-Evening.” WTF! If that was an effort to calm the crowd, it was an epic fail. He sounded like he was straight out of Transylvania and his dark hair and soulless, obsidian eyes were not helping. Thank goodness he was minus a dramatic widow’s peak.

“Hey . . . hey y’all” I stammered in the dead silence. You could hear a pin drop in the room. They were seconds away from sheer pandemonium. “That vampire on the screen there,” I added. Everyone looked to the video which was stilled on Eric’s face. “He’s my . . . fi . . . fian . . ” the word caught in my throat. Could I still call him my fiancé? I could try to put on a good act or display my proud face but my tears could not lie. The vampire next to me, however, had no problem embellishing on my soliloquy.

He pulled my head into his bosom and chimed in with tears in his voice. “He jilted my sainted sister at the altar. . .” sniffle, sniffle, added for effect, “for a man.” My shocked screech was all that lingered as we made our hasty exit with vampiric speed. The sound was soon accompanied by audible gasps and indistinct chatter.

“Felipe! You need to do a retraction or something.” I fussed as his imperial guard enveloped us, once again. “Take it back,” I demanded and yes, I was indignant. He was getting a little ticked at me and he was jealous of my tears for Eric, I was sure. At a command the caravan halted. Their bodies turned away from us at a second yelp to give us some privacy. I fought the urge to yell out “Cool!” I wanted some guards of my very own.

“Human!” He screamed so loud in his head that I jumped. “You forget yourself.” He stared me down and my courage zapped into thin air. He looked at me as if to say “You dare question the king!” Instead, cool hands gently cupped my ears. “Hear them!” he spat with utter disgust and I did.

Our bogus confession had endeared most, if not all, within our hearing. They swapped around our identities in their minds, creating martyrs and villains and adding whatever else they could to make the scenario more acceptable. Not only did they feel sorry, most could relate.

“No one said vampire . . . or danger . . . or dinner,” he said, ushering me into a hidden passageway. I shook my head. “Fortunately for us, humans care more about sex, scandal and seeing a train wreck than they do their own safety. And that is why your kind will soon be on the verge of extinction.” I couldn’t argue with his logic. Their reaction spoke volumes to our fickle nature and just how easily we can be distracted.

We got lost in the Fangs 'N Fortune Casino. It was on the next level and overlooked the showroom. The decorum had the cheesy setting of a Count Dracula theme park, complete with fog machines and Halloween soundtrack. Vampires, Weres, ghosts, and goblins wowed the public, dressed in theatrical costumes. For a small cover charge, humans can gamble, dance, date, and dine with all of the creepy crawly things that went bump in the night.

There were more undead Elvis impersonators than you can shake a stick at. I wondered if Bubba would like it in Viva Las Vegas. It would probably just agitate the former King of Rock and Roll. He didn’t like being reminded of who he was in his past existence.

Banners hung from the ceiling, advertising an all Supe cast of Las Vegas showgirls on one side. On the other side of the advertisement was, none other than, Quinn. My Quinn. He was as big and beautiful as ever and his fancy attire said that he was long past fighting in the pits for the Nevada regime.

“The Shifter show is one of our most lucrative ventures,” Felipe said when he saw me staring up at Quinn. “Your old boyfriend is the main attraction of a show that sells out every night.” I had a million questions but decided I would rather pick through the king’s brain than dignify his statement by speaking.

The subject was a sore spot with me and I got a pang in my heart thinking about my former flame. Quinn is a rare Weretiger. He had been forced by the vamps to fight for sport to pay off a debt that he acquired to save his family. Quinn was involuntarily instrumental in the Nevada vamps' hostile takeover of Louisiana. Somewhere during that time, Quinn and I stopped being a couple.

“I thought you would be happy to know that he was doing well,” Felipe pulled me into a private elevator. Nothing was going according to planned and it frustrated him no end. “His sister and mother are so proud of his success.” I guess that I could be happy for Quinn, too. He is the “Rock Star of the Supe World!” and now, the human world.

The NVL HQ was teeming with vampires, vampires, and mo’ vampires and would be quite the conquest for the Fellowship of the Sun (a Supe hate group also known as FotS) and their followers. Years ago, I watched in horror as a hotel (dedicated exclusively to vampires) known as the Pyramid of Gheza was leveled to the ground by the FotS. I was happy to note that the vampires learned from the tragic incident.

“The NVL uses the valuable core of the Nevada headquarters (because it isn’t exposed to sunlight) for offices and apartments for the upper echelon of the organization,” the king told me when we resumed our tour. They rent the other spaces to human businesses, thus surrounding themselves with human shields, was the part he didn't say.

I thought that I recognized Jonathan the spy in the hall and almost spoke to him. Then I decided against it. He didn’t see me anyway. He was sent to Bon Tempts to scout out the opposition before the take-over, which included checking out the telepath.

My favorite place was the atrium on the very top floor. Windows surrounded the circular observatory that rotated in a very slow motion so as to appreciate the true and spectacular view of the brightly illuminated City of Lights. My chamber, I realized, was a replica of this (at least it used to be). This was also the source of the subterranean video monitors that looked like windows.

This was where the high stakes movers and shakers of Sin City got to rub elbows with the Supe elite, celebrities and many others and could gamble til their heart’s content. Human and Supes, alike, were dressed to impress, had money to burn and dined from the TrueBlood menu. Synthetic blood inspired dished were considered extravagant delicacies.

Rasul opened the door for us. He bowed low, not daring to meet the eyes of royalty. He was the lone survivor of Sophie Ann’s guard and one of my favorite of the New Orleans crew. He helped save me when Quinn and I were kidnapped by Shifters. Survivors of the old regime were as scarce as hen’s teeth. I wanted to hug his neck. That wouldn’t be wise either. I wasn’t the Sookie that he had a crush on before the changing of the guard. I was “incognito.”

Everyone quieted as we made our entrance. Their thoughts were blaring at me and I clutched Felipe's hand tighter. He squeezed right back to let me know that all was well. Rumors of the new queen were rampant but most thought that I was just the king’s toy for the night. All thought that I was not worthy of being so close to the king, whoever I was. I had on Felipe’s blazer but had no recollection of putting it on. I do remember shivering from the cold when we got on the elevator and then I was warm.

Reserved for the king was the largest of several private skyboxes that lined the walls of the night club and casino. The walls were glass, as well, and guarded by a barrier of imperial guards. The door closed the sounds of the club out and the King and I in on (what he considered) our first date.

A blind man could see that I was a little preoccupied with my surroundings. Holding hateful thoughts at bay was draining and if looks could kill I would be lying on the floor. I also wondered who was in the other private rooms. The jacket that I had on was changed to a fur wrap in an instant. Felipe stood across the room, staring at the night sky as if he had nothing to do with my presto change-o. It was a gentle reminder that I could not afford to take my mind off of Felipe.

“Block them out, love,” he ordered and I did. He had my full attention now and I wondered what else he did that was too fast to track. He was in my face in an instant and schooled me on the matter, right after he retrieved his tongue from deep in my throat. “You feel me?” He meant, was I picking up what he was putting down. Did  I comprehend. Reality was, I was feeling that in the other sense. Boy was I. I dazedly replayed the last few moments over and over in my mind before I slowly nodded my head and tried to stifle the groaning sound. My eyes were wild with amazement and my liver was a quiver. The thick scent of him had my mind reeling. I collapsed against the wall to gather myself.

He returned to the window with me in tow and enjoyed the conquest with a slight smile curving his full lips. I would like to say that he was remorseful but I would have to categorize the look as simply thoughtful. Pulling one over on the telepath was the perfect cat and mouse game and he was enjoying it. He wanted to come back for another taste but my enchantments held a shock of their own. His tongue flicked over his full lips, over and over, savoring and weighing the worth of revisiting the sorcerer's intoxications.

I actually enjoyed our night out when he let me. Just as quick as he arrived, the predator left, leaving a perfectly behaving Felipe. He wanted me to relax and let get go. I downed a few glasses of serum and I was mellow.

My poor attempt at a Salsa to accompany his Spanish guitar solo made him laugh. He thought that I was more suited for the Rumba. He insisted that I teach him the Fais do do. It was a popular dance from my neck of the woods and I was surprised that the primordial lord heard tell of it. Needless to say, Sookie shook a tail feather. I love to dance and he was a quick study. We didn’t go hog wild but we made a go of it.

We danced over to the ledge of the observation deck. It was a glass balcony that extended a few feet away from the building and provided the breath taking sight of the 50-story death drop.

“If you stretch your arms out against the glass you will feel like you're flying,” he said, much too innocently. He was not getting me again this night. He was setting me up for the trap door in the third, no the fourth compartment. He tried to guard his thoughts but I got that much. He planned to swoop in and do a super hero save just before I hit the ground, thus saving the damsel and rewarded with a kiss.

My wrap dress was not something that he took into consideration. It would be wrapped around my head before he ever got to me. Although I was sure that he wouldn’t have a problem with the end result, I didn’t want to moon all of Nevada.

By midnight I was physically and mentally exhausted. I had no idea that there was so much to see. There was still more but I told Felipe that I needed a break and returned to ground. I wanted to check on Amelia and Tray. I didn’t want her to think that I had completely jumped ship or that I didn’t have my priorities in order.

The repeated knocks on her door went unanswered. The worst part about being a telepath is that you know when you are being ignored. The fact that she knew that I could hear her thoughts made it worse than if she were screaming at me. She wished that I would stop straddling the fence. She thought I was playing with fire . . . and was going to get burned. Preaching to the choir, girl friend. Tell me something I don't know, I thought to myself.

“Just beautiful, Amelia,” I said to the door. “Just freakin’ beautiful.”

“My sentiments, exactly,” A familiar, cheerful voice mumbled behind me. I didn’t need to visually identify him. I would know that voice anywhere. Victor Madden.

I cooled my eyes and whirled around not knowing what kind of reception awaited me. Victor is the pompous right-hand man or shall I say, vampire, of the king. It wasn’t long ago that Victor stood in my living room and threatened to take all that I hold dear. Victor organized and carried out the takeover of Louisiana. Victor orchestrated the execution of the vampire queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Ann Le Clerq, and her royal court. Several area sheriffs, as well as their constituents lay slain at his feet. Victor was now kneeling at mine. Well, well, well. Look who’s preparing to suck the c*ck of Karma!


“My gracious queen,” he said, regally from a nearly prostrate position. “If I may, let me be one of the first to welcome you to Area Seven.” If I thought about disappearing, would I? It worked for CJ. I sure didn’t want to fool with Victor right now and was thinking of a queenly way to say “Go away kid, ya bother me!” Then I couldn’t enjoy the egg on his face when he saw just who he was paying homage to.

Seeing him grovel was a special treat. Magic smoldered behind my eyes and I made the painful decision of closing them to prevent cooking up a fresh serving of charbroiled vampire.

After a perceptible pause he looked up and quickly turned away. “Rumors of your beauty precede you and the reality does not disappoint. If I may be so bold?” he said aloud. He thought, “She . . . Iz . . . HOT!” and then he thought “Why does the king get all the good toys?” and then he thought “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” It must be inappropriate to say such things to the queen because he didn’t let any of it escape his lips.

I stayed silent. I was really speechless and could not believe that he didn’t recognize Sookie Stackhouse, famed telepath extraordinaire. What the fudge! I was almost offended. I offered a quick and silent thank you to CJ who had given me the make-over. With my dark hair and hazel eyes, I look more like my cousin, Hadley. When I said nothing, he stood, took a few steps backward, bowed again, turned toward the imperial guard that lined the hallway and walked away.

Victor was slightly taller than me and had dark curly hair that was cut short. He was strikingly handsome with a jaw cracking smile that displayed beautiful teeth. Large brown eyes scrutinized his surroundings suspiciously but the smile never left his face. As always, he was impeccably dressed in a sharp dark suit. He had a cocky attitude and strutted like he owned the world.

“Your highness,” he said, leaning his perfection against the wall at the end of the hall. He was not willing to be dismissed so easily. After all, he was Victor the Conqueror! “Permit me to show you something?” Victor’s mind was dark and daunting so I didn’t wander far into the abyss but I was intrigued by the images swirling in his head.

Find Felipe is what I needed to do, remembering that curiosity killed the cat. I stepped into the corridor and the guards immediately surrounded me. When I moved, they moved, so I headed to the king. I couldn’t see much but trusted that they wouldn’t steer me wrong. The pixie slipped from my ear, held a finger over her mouth and disappeared. I could see from the trail of pixie dust that she had perched on the shoulder of the lead guard.

“There is a side of your empire that you have not seen,” Victor said in a quiet voice as we passed him. “Believe me, it’s to die for.” Only a bellowing mwhahahaha would have made his statement more ominous . . . and inviting. It sounded like a challenge. He was calling me out, testing my mettle, trying to see if the new queen was worthy of the crown.

“I’ll bite,” the vampire within accepted. I had barely spoken when the guard assimilated the eagerly awaiting vamp into the group. The human in me was wishing that the vampire in me would shut the hell up. I was sure that the imperial guard would sooner rip off his head and crap down his throat before they allowed him to do me any harm.

He extended an elbow cheerfully of which I declined. He couldn’t tell if I was dead or alive and I wanted to keep it that way. Plus, I just didn’t like him.

Time to root hog or die, I told myself. It’s what Grandpa Stackhouse used to say. It means that we all must work hard to survive. I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of coming out unscathed but I thought it was a good opportunity to earn some good old R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

We moved laterally under our own steam and without much warning, we accelerated to vampiric speed for a time and then a steep vertical drop before arriving at our destination. My mind was consumed with keeping up, keeping the contents of my stomach down, and staying with the unit that seemed to move at the speed of light. It was exhilarating. My pixie reunited with me as soon as we stopped and she wasn’t happy. If she was expecting a midnight stroll, she was sadly mistaken. She rested on my shoulder until the dry heaves subsided.

A labyrinth of catacombs snaking through the mysterious underworld, complete with human skulls spackled to the walls with human secretions and a collection of brittle bones crunching beneath our feet was what I expected to see deep in the bowels of the bustling oasis.

“Welcome to the Dead Zone,” Victor said in his usual cheerful tone while splaying his arms out as a series of dark tunnels came into view. Appropriately named, it smelled like something (a great many somethings) had died down there. The guard spread out so that I could see but they didn’t let me out of their fortress, as they had when I was with the king.

“Formerly home to vagrants, vampires have taken residence below the metropolis, virtually unknown and unseen to those that work, live and play above,” he told me, not really paying attention to our surroundings, which were swarming with bugs and vermin. It was not for the squeamish. Dark and dank and the perfect habitat for the growing populace of undead.

While most went to the surface at full dark, some lingered and took the time to enjoy their dining experience. Deep in the earth is home sweet home to vampires. It invigorated and empowered them. The human cries went from ecstasy to pitiful within a matter of minutes. What I couldn’t stand, what made my head want to split wide open was the unspoken. My mind was bombarded with so many thoughts, excuses, prayers, regrets from humans and vampires alike. It made me sick to my stomach.

Victor stared at me the whole time, trying to glean some recognition. He hoped that he could spook me into giving away a hint of my true identity. My poker face was unreadable.

“The concrete tunnels were built to protect the desert playground and surrounding counties from the infrequent cloudburst,” he said.  He continued to steal glances as I took in the intricate underground storm system.

“It’s kind of funny,” I finally said breaking my silence. I was trying to act as if I experience these types of things everyday; scream after blood curdling scream, rodents of enormous size, No BFD. “I mean, it’s ironic that the vampire’s haven is the city drain system.” He didn't get it. I thought that it was pretty freakin hilarious, myself. I hate vamps with no sense of humor. Sometimes you gotta laugh to keep from crying or in my case, to force the cries of others from my head. I kept my voice strong as the pleas became more numerous when we made our way into the thick of the denizens. My tour guide was becoming bolder with his inspection of me, not caring if I caught him staring.

I tried hard to ignore him and focused on the many compartments that were actually quite cozy. Some were the size of a coffin, others as large as a one bedroom apartment. They can be empty as a tomb or decorated to the nines. Were it not for the water that pooled on the floor and the stench, it wouldn’t be too bad.

“Watch your step,” he warned as we rounded a gaping hole in the ground. A dark substance that looked sticky was splattered over the walls. Weapons were strewn everywhere. I wasn’t sure but I think that I saw a bloody body part.  The pixie spat a curse at the nauseating display. It was “The Infamous Pit” his mind said but he didn't need to tell me. Gladiator Supe style came to my mind. "The NVL voted to shut down the barbaric sport," he informed me. "Not good for the Main Stream image."  He raised his fingers using air quotes. "But I still do a little side business," he bragged. 

This was the side of vampirism that no one wanted to see and certainly no place for the queen. Felipe would definitely not approve of our excursion into this hellacious dormitory.

“It’s rude to stare,” I finally said when my anger was boiling over. I wondered how many Shifters died while I dined in oblivion above ground. I thought of Sam and my brother, Jason, and God knows what other Shifters could end up down here.

He thought he had finally pegged me and blocked my path. He came too close for comfort, closed his eyes and took a deep inhalation of my scent. Dyxie pulled my hair back in an instant and blew pixie dust straight up his nose to camouflage my scent. He shook his head for a moment. It must have hurt. He held on to the wall and sneezed a few times. Vampires don’t normally sneeze but they do get agitated by things that catch them off guard.

"Dyxie!" I cried out. "No!"

“Vampires smell their food first,” she responded “then they bite. I’m not havin’ that.” Her voice took on a coldness that I had never heard from her. I was reminded that she was, in fact, Fae and highly capable of inflicting a true hurting.

“Calm down, Cujo.” He wasn’t about to harm me which is why the guards were standing down. He had crossed a line though, and was sorry for it. His nose was bleeding pretty bad and didn’t heal as fast as vampires normally did. When he rejoined our party he acted like he had some sense.

“Pretty boy brought that on himself,” Dyxie squeaked while he tried to get his bearings. “He knew good and damned well that you were packing a pixie,” she fussed. “A vampire can smell fairy a mile away.”

“I thought that you were . . . that you were . . . her,” he said apologetically and only sorry because his nose was pouring like a faucet.  I felt bad for him but was glad that I hadn't blown my cover. He was shaken up and could do for a drink. I wasn’t giving up jack. He did look rather pitiful. “She was from a small town that I conquered for my regime,” Victor said as we turned to make the long trek back to HQ. “It was considered a great conquest by my king.”

“Here we go,” I mumbled. I hate it when vampires get in the sharing mood. Now that our Lewis and Clark was derailed, I decided it was best to go back. We walked the regular old human way, with one foot in front of the other. It wasn’t nearly as much fun as our arrival.

Victor was having a hard time and I wanted to leave him. However, I didn’t want to explain to Felipe that I left his comrade bleeding in the creepy catacombs. It was tempting because he wouldn’t shut up. “All the vampires in her area wanted her,” he said in disbelief “and not to just drink from. Go figure that!” He stumbled a few paces and then fell to his knees. The guards would just as soon trample over him than carry him. I called out to Dyxie who heartlessly told me to leave him where he lies. I just couldn't.

“I just need to get him back, in the same undead obnoxious form that he left in.” The house guests from hell had caused enough problems. I’d learned the hard way that killing a vampire required restitution. I thought of when Eric killed Longshadow in my defense. He had to pay a large sum of money for causing the final death of one of his kind. Longshadow’s maker still wanted revenge and tried to have me killed, figuring it would hurt Eric.

When he finally got to his feet he groggily said “She had your spunk, too.” I reluctantly put his arm over my shoulder. We moved a little faster now since I was carrying some of his weight. “She was something, I admit.” We were making headway and I thought that I recognized a stack of bones that I spotted on the way in. Victor planted his feet which caused our whole group to screech to a halt. He started to sway and was beginning to ramble as he looked directly in my face and spoke as if telling a secret, “The area’s procurement officer actually told me that he would D-I-E for her, A HUMAN!” Leaving him was sounding real good right about now.

“Can you focus the remainder of your energy on moving instead of talking?” I told him. His speech was beginning to slur anyway and I could hardly understand him. He quieted for a few moments, only for a few moments. His thoughts were loud and clear. He was thinking that Eric made a fool of himself by allowing a blood bond to exist when he could have just brought me, or shall I say, her over. For the undead to be pledged to a human is ludicrous, or so his mind read.

“I heard that she had accepted a real marriage proposal from him,” he said aloud. He was completely disoriented now. His behavior reminded me of Bill and the silver poisoning. My panic propelled us a little faster. Silver poisoning nearly took Bill out. The thoughts continued to flow but went to darker vampire things and I put up my shields. If he made it back and got some TrueBlood, he would be good as new and I would have no blood on my hands.

We finally made it back to the corridor where we originated. I called out to Amelia and sent Dyxie to find some blood. His body started to tremble and I laid him on the floor. The guards moved down the hall as if suddenly and silently called away on a mission.

“Don’t you dare die on me now,” I threatened while shaking him. He laughed low in his throat and I would love to know what was so dang funny.

“To the victor go the spoils of war,” he slurred triumphantly. His lips were cracked and crusty now, like he was dying of thirst. He tried to stand but took a preacher’s seat instead in the middle of the hall. I called out for help again and he said “I, however, wanted no parts of that booty.” I looked at him questioningly as I knelt down and propped his upper body against the wall. He’d better elaborate or I was going to stake him myself.

Dyxie arrived with the vampire elixir of life and I poured it into his mouth. It flowed everywhere but down his throat. It was like he had a blockage or he was refusing to swallow.

“What are you doing?” I said with a shaky voice. “You gotta drink!” Instead, he coughed spewing up some of his own blood.

“She,” he coughed again, and again, “that girl was poison,” he said breathlessly. I couldn’t believe that he was still trying to finish his story. Who knew a little human had made such a big impression on an immortal? Amelia joined me on the floor with towels while Tray looked on from the doorway of the bedroom. I bit into my own wrist. My fangs just jetted out at my will. “She had Supes fighting over her!” he hissed at the scent and started to pant.

“The Viking was the biggest embarrassment of them all,” he said in a hoarse voice and I detected a tad bit of animosity toward Eric. “He did the unthinkable to save her first love.” His strength was flailing and his eyes rolled back into his head. "Even after her former BF broke their blood bond." Amelia clamped a tight grip on my arm and shook her head.

“Too many unknown variables, Roomie.” She quickly swiped her own wrist across my open mouth, slicing it open. “He may end up a super vampire from your booby trapped blood,” she cautioned. “Knowing CJ, if a vampire drinks from you, he is more likely to end up super dead.”

I barely heard what she said. Her blood dripped from my mouth and was all over my clothing. The scent clung to my nostrils. I was taken aback for a moment and wiped profusely to prevent myself from tasting it. My mouth watered and then went desert dry. Let me just add that touching fully extended fangs that are covered in blood is not a good idea and certainly not the sensation I needed during a crisis. I had mistakenly stim-u-la-ted myself thereby triggering the need to feed.

No true vampire can resist human blood and Victor was no exception. Amelia cried out as his sharp fangs sank deep into her dainty flesh. He took long greedy pulls on the witch’s arm while his eyes gaped at me and then bulged out. He watched in awe and conviction as the sorcerer shackled the vampire within me; eyes aglow, my fangs instantly retracted and the blood lust died.

Victor suddenly stopped drinking. Startled, he dropped his happy meal and his jaw went slack. The jaw cracking smile returned. It was less attractive with Amelia's blood staining his mouth. His jovial laughter bordered on hysteria as he closed out his tale. “The vampire was so taken by the human,” he said dreamily, “that he rescinded an edict to prevent her first love from meeting the sun. Talk about to true love.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. And she lived happily ever after,” I mocked. His color was returning to a rosy pink. I was dog tired and collapsed against the wall and breathed a sigh of relief. As I mopped my proverbial brow, I couldn't believe we'd averted another catastrophe.

“Here's the best part. Rumor has it, that after all that the Viking did to please his human,” the vampire leaned over and lowered his voice to where only I could hear, “YOU RAN OFF WITH A SORCERER!” Those were the last words of Victor Madden. His body turned to dust before our very eyes. The witch, the Were and I sat there in stunned silence while the pixie blew away the remnants of the vampire in one breath.

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