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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.

Movers & Fakers – LI - LII

All I have to say is Sorcerers R-O-C-K! That was AWESOME! I teared up at the intensity of the moment, my whole being vibrating with the Ohhhhhh What a Rush! I sighed and panted with giggles escaping in spurts. “CJ could do that!” I kissed my arms and hands and checked my body parts. All was accounted for. I reached out and grabbed the proverbial hips and pumped and pumped in celebration of Sookie Stackhouse finally sticking it to the man! Or the vampire. Or the Fae. Whatever! “Take that you CHARLATAN!” I screamed and screamed during a victory lap around the gym where I had reappeared. I laughed until my stomach ached. Dr. Switch-Blade is probably still standing there with this stupid look on his face and saying WTF! Aww man! This is rich!

By this time I could tell that a sorcerer coming into their power is a high like no other and I basked in the glory. I felt like I was on speed or something, I guessed. Never tried the stuff, or any other street drug for that matter. No drug could make me feel like this, I knew. It's a natural high, a Supernatural high. I can’t believe that CJ entrusted his most precious gifts to me. TO ME!

I AM INVINCIBLE! Like nothing or no one can touch me. Who knows how it happened. I just thought of not being in the grimy clutches of the creepy fairy dude or in the same vicinity of the witch and “BAM!” I disappeared from one room and reappeared in another in an instant. My destinations weren’t as accurate as my mentor’s, though. I had no control over where I ended up so I ping-ping-pinnnnnnged all over the building like Ricochet Rabbit.

I moved swiftly from room to room, never escaping my imprisonment known as the NVL HQ. When I think of all the horrific places that I’ve been and the hovel that the Fae held me in, this was like a vacation. The visuals were a true feast for the eyes. No expense was spared in creating this monument that clearly reflected that vampires had truly arrived and were walking in tall cotton.

Although a few parts seemed like a theme park, this was no Mickey Mouse operation. It was clearly a collaborative effort of combined resources of some of the most powerful and most ancient beings in the world; which was made evident when I ventured into the Las Vegas Museum of Supernatural History where priceless artifacts abound. It was the pride of the vampires. The lobby displayed a dinosaur three stories tall and claimed that the fossilized reptilian creature, as well as, a Sabre tooth feline was some of the original carriers of the virus know as vampirism. The skeletal remains still had the fangs to substantiate the lie and they were sticking to it.

There was also a stilled Neanderthal with the distinctive glow of the vampire. It was barely able to stand upright. “Caveman Lagniappe!” I dubbed him because he was definitely something extra. Even with the poor posture, he didn’t look like the missing link between man and animal that we were accustomed to seeing. Oh no. Like all of the undead, he was positively and resolutely mesmerizing. Men and women, alike lingered near, or shall I say stalked the ice age exhibit, hoping for an early thaw. Since the undead disintegrate after their final demise, I thought that he was a mannequin or wax replica that was dressed to look the part, until he winked at me. I glared back at him with an amber glow of magic to put him on notice that there was more to me than meets the eye, as well. He conceded with simultaneous infinitesimal movements of a raised brow and an inclination of the head.

I totally spooked the curator and she rained sacred scrolls all over the place. I'd appeared right in her path as she walked through the library which was on the floor above the museum. She looked like a banshee herself (at least I think it was a lady) yet she was screaming at what she assumed was an apparition. Her skin looked like worn leather and her long dark hair was stringy and snarled. She was built low to the ground and I wondered if she was related to Dr. Ludwig, who was a Supe doctor that I suspected was a hobbit. I decided not to ask the poor little trembling thing who was uglier than the east end of a horse that was traveling west. Geez Louise!

Who would have thunk it? That mug was a true house haunter. She works for the undead, gathering manuscripts of, what used to be, folklore to categorize as history, yet she gets flustered by little old me. “Sorry, my bad.” I said just before I was outie again. My telekinesis was activated with a wave of my hand to help sort and shelve the artifacts in a jiffy. That’s just how sorcerers roll aaaaand I wanted to see what other powers were at my disposal.

“HQ, I think I Love You!” I spoke to the dwelling while taking in all potential it possessed. "But I wanna know for sure." I finished to the melody of Jimmy Hendrix's "Wild Things." The song just jumped in my head and I wondered if this too was a sorcerer thing. CJ always had a song in his soul and a hymn in his heart that he chose to bless my hearing with, day in and day out. Or maybe it was this place that was filled with wonder and majesty. If I could only evict the current residents, I could stay here forever.

Humans roamed freely in the mecca that was open around the clock and I saw no one being glamoured. It was crammed with all the sights and sounds and hustle and bustle of any modern day office building and shopping mall. It reminded me of the live and let live, hippy-like society that was all the rage back in the olden days of the 60's and 70’s, minus the fashion faux pas. I couldn't say that I was willing to pin any flowers on these children of the revolution, because vampires and Shifters usually don't play nice together and a fight could break out at any given moment. I did appreciate the effort that was being put forth to achieve solidarity among the Supes. I also loved the fact that no one had to pretend to be just a mere human to fit in.

One would think that being around so many Supes would make me anxious but I was Cool-i-o! There were mostly vampires but also more Supes than I had ever seen in my life. A true to life Supe Rainbow Coalition with so many voices that I couldn’t possibly discern who was what. Now more powerful than ever, I could block out anything and the silence was golden. The sorcerer was officially armed, dangerous and in my element, I thought as I made more things move with my mind. It was like being trapped in a laser tag arena, armed to the enth degree. I was a little mischievous, I admit, and delivered my own brand of b*tch slap justice to a deserving few, and disappeared before they ever knew what or who hit 'em.

I snagged a sports drink because my crime spree was dehydrating me. And no I didn’t pay for it and I wasn’t nice about it and “Ploooaaahk!!!!! True!!!Blood!” I spit it out. It was more like a violent vomit, Linda Blair style. Well, maybe not that dramatic but it was nothin nice. This time I did apologize to all within my spraying range. That’s what I get for throwing my weight around. “For the love of PETE! Can a gal get a bottle of Gatorade or RedBull?” A little boy, who must have been around Arlene son Cody’s age, had pity on me and gave me some good old H20 that he retrieved from a personal stash in his backpack. He was happy, at first, thinking that he was being a gentleman to the perdy lady. The otherness of my eyes shackled him were he stood. His small hand held on to the bottle as I cracked the seal and as I drank. To his surprise, and my chagrin, I disappeared from his sight. Catchin’ flies. That’s when the words of my sensei came to me “To whom much is given, much is required.” Loud and clear, Miyagi, I hear you, loud and clear.

Going on the offensive is a side effect from the knife in my back of which I had yet to retrieve. It felt like someone was pushing the sharp tip in deeper and deeper and turning it so the wound would never close. The pain would never, ever stop. I would never heal. I had a lot of anger and pinned up aggression that was screaming to get out. The traitorous actions of a few would change me for the worse? I think not! That's not the Stackhouse way and I ain't going back on my raising.

See, this is the part where Sookie, poor victim of circumstance, usually gets brutally beaten, kidnapped, beaten, assaulted, poisoned, beaten, staked, raped, drained, beaten, bombed, shot or, did I say, BEATEN! But not today. I am that fire breathing dragon, who can rescue herself. Yep! That's me. At my will, my puny human casing is reinforced with the steel. I fear nothing and no one. The night fears me.

I only wished that I looked the part. You know, dress for success. The black wrap dress and pump ensemble is something Sara Newlin would wear. Conservative and practical does not exactly inspire fear. It says preacher's wife or "Avon Calling." I need one of those cool outfits like Laura Croft in Tomb Raider, cause my body is sa-lammin’. I had fought CJ, tooth and nail during my accelerated basic training. He had pushed me like a drill sergeant while we were at the Carmichael Compound impromptu boot camp; 5K runs, fighting techniques, weaponry, magic, self-discipline and finding the “Chi” which now seems to be MIA.

The pungent aroma of magic was thick in the air with every inhuman act that I performed. There was a surge of energy before; followed by it quickly depleting after I became visible and it took a moment for me to get my bearings. Part of me believed or hoped that doing magic would reveal my location to CJ. I didn’t believe for a single minute that he had asked the two-faced Amelia to hide me. She was the one who kept up with the incessant “No Magic Roomie!” She is a no good lying dog and everything she told me in the past is suspect, including the Loas coming after me. Then again, I could be wrong. You can’t hit a moving target, so I kept on a moving.

The king’s playmates didn’t flinch when I stood over them in the statuary or tomb or whatever the heck you call it. Scaring them would be the bee’s knees but that just doesn’t happen with vampires. They do the scaring, and a fine job of it, I might add. The two were lounging on furniture and giggling like school girls about the many talents of their master, as well as, simultaneously enjoying one of their favorite past-times, pleasuring each other. Kudos for multi-tasking! Umph, umph, umph.

“Stop that or you’ll go blind!” I mumbled under my breath. Knowing of my presence would probably just heighten their excitement, so I stayed quiet and slipped into the shadows. I wanted to avert my eyes but my eyes said uh-uh. No way were they missing out on . . . "W-w-wowzers! You're just going to dive right in there, huh?" My eyes were chugged full of the scene that was playing out like an episode of National Geographic, or shall I say Pornographic. "Hand stand? Ooh! Did you see? Ahh! Don't!" It was a true "Wow! No hands!" learning experience. I now know what a Tantra Chair is, as well as, its many uses.

Daybreak found me in, what the king would call, my rightful place. The Queen’s chamber had been restored to its B.S. (Before Sookie) state. It was the last place that I wanted to be but the illusion was actually a welcomed surprise to my hellacious night. The Flower Fairy had, again, bombed my room with arrangements lining the floors in an assortment of pots and vases, on stands and tables.

Windows lined the walls of the large cylindrical space and now displayed live video feed of a beautiful garden. The magnolia blossoms were in full bloom, right next to it and the colorful flowers and greenery swayed like dancers in sync with the gentle breeze. The picture reminded me of my grandmother’s and I got goose bumps at the sight. A Mamosa tree? As kids, we spent many a summer climbing and sitting on the branches. It looked so real, like I could walk into the yard and be home, sweet home in no time at all.

The last time I saw that lush lawn, we were blazing through like our *sses were on fire. Our departure was so abrupt that I hadn’t given much thought about one of my most favorite places in the world. Stackhouses had lived on that parcel of land for more than a century and it had been bequeathed to me. Just a stones throw away from the flower bed is my humble farm house. It has been improved and added to over the years. It’s really nothing special that anyone should be drawn to it, yet, like the HQ, many supernatural creatures had frequented my neck of the woods. It was a special place with “Fairies at the bottom of the garden.” Adele would sing that song all the time to her children and her children's children, which were Jason, Hadley and me. Hey, where is my little fairy? I wondered and was immediately side tracked. I could almost hear the water in the creek that flowed behind the house and feel the moisture in the air and the warm breeze tickling my skin.

Queue Ashton Kutcher. At any moment he could jump out and watch me fall to pieces ‘cause I’d been punked. That's NOT how sorcerers roll. We are hard and we don’t cry. “Right CJ?” I said aloud. Right! I answered silently for the brother who was definitely not here. Under no circumstances would my organic friend ever venture into the valley of the dead.

A fire pit, displayed in one panel of the wall, resonated heat. That was where the fireplace used to be, I noted. It felt really good and soothing, just like home. Then I realized there was a soundtrack playing and mist lightly dusting from fixtures in the ceiling. I put my hands on my hips and scowled in a huff as I gave the rest of the room a once over with a hairy eyeball.

A feast was set to one side of the room on a round table with fancy linen. I hadn’t eaten any real food since I'd arrived and the sight was truly mouth watering. Crawfish étouffée, country fried chicken, red beans and rice with sausage, home made biscuits, gravy, Creole gumbo, cobbler and pecan pie, all my favorites. The fact that I could not smell aromas of the food on the lavish spread confirmed that all were products of the TrueBlood Menu. I decided not to partake and my stomach protested with debilitating hunger pangs. I fought through the gnawing, fatigue and queasiness.

No vegan lasagna, I thought. Food was simply fuel for the journey. That was the sorcerer’s take on nourishment. Pleasing the pallet was secondary or ranked a lowly third.  That didn't jibe with my southern roots. I tried to recall the contents of the green concoction that CJ used to drink. It smelled awful, like shoe polish and tasted like sh…, um, it tasted as bad as it smelled but I bet it didn’t contain synthetic blood.

The largest bed had, indeed, been brought in “to accommodate our love.” My vampire’s words played in my head. It was big, round and cheesy with lots of black and red satin. My descent to nocturnal bliss was halted by his scent. Dark spices and vampire saturated the smooth shiny duvet. He wanted me to smell him. He had lain right were I was, I knew. The bed had his touch, too, rose petals strewn all over. I could almost see him standing before me, full pouting lips, shirtless with those satin sleep pants hanging gingerly about his waist and ebony eyes, smoldering through me with a promise of passion. My heart was warmed for a moment.

Then I remembered that he was a major player in this masquerade. The atmosphere, once like a tropical breeze, became cold as the grave. Seeing him as anything other than enemy number one, was playing Russian Roulette.

“No more illusions,” I said, picking up some of the rose petals and crushing them. I had a good mind to sorcer-fry all of it, no matter how pretty they were or how desperately I needed them to be real. I slumped down in the middle of the bed, ready and willing to pass out. I didn’t want to fool with him now. What I wanted to do was curl up and listen to CJ’s song play in my head. Total recall of his velvety voice was all I had left. On that note, sleep crept up on me, real quiet like and bopped me on the head. I slept the sleep of the dead.

I knew nothing until full dark. I jumped like someone had yanked all of my limbs at the same time and was up and on full alert. In a quick motion, I was on my feet on top of the bed and posing in a fighting stance. Lucky for whoever, there was no butt to kick in sight. Reluctantly, I retrieved the card that was perched in the center of the most exquisite bouquet. It was balanced on a tall pedestal in front of me. Even standing on the bed, I still had to strain to reach it. The personal note was scrawled by the king’s own hand and I looked around full of suspicion. I didn’t remember this particular display being there before I went to sleep.

“Lord save me from freakin’ day walking vampires,” I mumbled while nearly shredding the envelope as I tried to open it. Nice stationery, foo foo scrolls, yeah, yeah, yeah. I quickly opened the card and was startled by music that softly played like one of those recordable greeting cards. The familiar strumming sounded like the Spanish guitar solo that Felipe had played on our date. The acoustic repetitive chords were slow now, more like a ballad and the melody different. I closed the card and the music stopped. Open, play, close, stop. That went on a few times before I finally opened the card and read to the mood music in the background. Candles flamed to life and created the ambiance to urge the few words come alive and resonate.

They say that you can tell a lot about a man by his handwriting. Right away, my eyes were drawn to the dark signature, since it was the largest of the handwriting and penned with such an impressive flair; a large fancy schmancy F screamed self indulgence or self-centeredness. The simple, cursive but separate, small e and l were the careful creative strokes of an artist, someone who is methodical and pays attention to every detail, no matter how menial the task. My further scrutiny was derailed by the heightened, intensified musical notes and my body swayed instinctively. I actually recited a full verse of “Black Magic Woman,” which is like an anthem in bars across Louisiana, before I caught myself. By then, the music had a hold of me and I could feel it deep inside as I thought about how to pronounce the nick name that he had put to the paper, Fel. Would it sound like Phil? no, Fell, Fe-al, Feel or Fill? Ugh! He is so nasty.

The writing above took a moment to make out. The one line phrase was incorporated in the bloom of a single rose and I had to rotate the card. “Wishing . . .” turn “that I was . . .” turn, turn “the thorn” turn “ . . . in your . . .” what does that say? “rose . . . bush.” Eww! Corny! I scoffed. Who says that? and Why? Why would anybody say something like that?

“Then I could prick you anytime that I wanted,” a whispered voice silenced the melody. I gasped, dropped the card, stumbled back, fell over the bed and evaporated, again.

I wanted to be done with the treacherous place. After I get out of this mud pit, I could probably do that. The Tournament of Supes, was a sporting event that I happened into. It looked like the Gladiator show that Jason and I used to see on TV and sponsored by TrueBlood: It Does the Body Good. Or so the banners read. Unlike in the "Pit," they actually had rules and didn’t fight to the death. No one got their guts ripped out or lost a limb. It was more like the Olympics, I guess. But I don’t remember mud wrestling being an actual Olympic event.

My hands were tied, literally. The pool of goo was waist deep and I could have sworn I felt large hands on my legs, deep underneath the surface. I couldn’t worry about that now. A sleek black panther was barreling down the AstroTurf and headed straight toward me. It leaped in the air and transformed into a young woman amid cheers from the audience. Shifters shift in the nude. I wasn’t sure if they were excited by the shifting or the fact that she was naked but what ever it was, it worked. In reality, it was only a few seconds but the modern technology of instant replay and slo-mo will ensure hours of entertainment. She landed before me with a splash, sending mud all over my face and upper body. It was kind of boring for Supes but an entertaining less traumatic exhibition for humans.

I was not in the mood for this sh*t, I thought and I yawned. I had literally just gotten out of the bed. A hot cup a Joe is what I was in the mood for. I’d settle for a bacon and egg sandwich. That growling sound coming out of the panther was working my last nerve. It was the wimpy sound of a panther trying to sell wolf-tickets. I wasn’t buying. Sorcer-frying her would not be good publicity for the Supes so I crouched down and braced myself for impact. It was a little intimidating, seeing her circling me, though and her mud covered frame flying through the air when she launched herself at me, again. I leaped in the air with a spinning kick, my right foot targeting her left cheek, when I disappeared . . . and the crowd goes wild. Aaaaaaahhhhhhh! I threw my hands up relishing in the moment. They like me, I thought, they really, really like me.

“EHEM!” The needled nose professor tapped on the podium, where I was now standing. And not a speck of mud on me.

“YESSS!” I said jumping down and scrambling to find a seat in the rear of the auditorium. The Mainstreaming 101 class was filled to capacity at NU U (Nevada Undead University). All were vamps and therefore, accustomed to seeing the extraordinary. They continued on as if I was a fly that the instructor had shooed away.

The school took up about ten floors throughout the building. When I found out that consuming human blood was strictly prohibited and painfully enforced, I decided against hailing down fire on the masses. Which was going to be a load of fun for me, I do declare. Big brutes and average Joes sat side by side. They all looked so studious and dedicated. Vampires are highly flammable and fire was sure to send them packing. Suddenly, I felt like I was a part of something bigger, a renaissance of sorts.


The Nec-Romancer Internet Dating Service / Reality Show / Wedding Chapel were all based on the Seventh floor. Nec-Romancer is a trademark of the TrueBlood Corporation. Originally for vampires, it’s a one stop shop to find love, announce it to the world and make it legal. Consorting with, dating and/or marrying a Supe is either illegal or shunned in most places of the world. In Vegas, anything goes. A photo of Barry Bellboy was on their wall of fame, along with his new wife. I couldn’t tell what kind of Supe she was or if she was a Supe at all. She was a little pale but pretty, just the same. I wondered what my raising would have been like if the whole world was as accepting as Sin City.

I could judge vampires all day long but part of me envied their resolve. They had come so far. These, so called, monsters were making great strides to ensure a better after-life and could be proud of their assimilation into society as of late. It wasn’t their fault that they were reborn with a voracious appetite for human blood. They took the lemons that life had served them and made some nice cool lemonade. Starting life anew with a controlled diet of synthetic blood was an excellent alternative. What I found most commendable was that they sought others of their kind and helped them as well.

Me, I knew many Supes but I had come across only two other telepaths in my whole existence. There had to be more like me; labeled as cooky or crazy, devalued, afraid and covering their ears to block the disharmony of voices. Arbitrarily finding other clairvoyant life forms on my sea of despair was like a life raft that kept me afloat. Other magical beings had thrown me a life line and pulled me to shore. I should be willing to do the same.

What gave me the right to be so sanctimonious? I had to ask myself the question. I said “Self, if I died tomorrow, how would my epitaph read?” SOOKIE ADELE STACKHOUSE: Beloved Daughter, Sister and Friend. That was about it unless Barmaid is included. Pi Ti Ful! Alcide would scribble “of the Pack” right next to Friend. The Long Tooth Pack had claimed me as one of theirs long ago, as well as, Calvin and the Hot Shot Werepanthers.

The king would make a royal sepulcher for his “Queen” of the Damned, I thought. He would also add “House Guest from Hell” especially after he sees what I did to the queen’s chamber. That thorn and rose crap kind of got to me and I had to leave a proper sorcerer's response for his royal heinous; Charbroiled boudoir, on a fresh bed of roses. “Bon Appetit, Mother F*cker!” I would burn my rose bush to the ground before I ever allowed his thorn to prick me. “Fire Starter?” I think that could work but I was definitely nobody's “Black Magic Woman.” Right?

What would CJ call me? “Glorified Supe Toy,” I imagine. No, no, no, he would regally say “Here Lies the Princess of the Fae.” That made me smile. "Cher" was Sam's term of endearment for me. Like the Shifter, it was short and sweet. Eric would have just two words, MY and LOVER. My mind wandered for a while with that one. To Quinn I would always be Babe. Then there’s Bill, Bill “F*ck You Till You Faint” Compton. I laughed at the memory and warmed. Good times. He had actually said those crude words to me on my grandmother’s porch. He was such a bad *ss. I think that I’ll change his grave marker to read as such, which is literally in the cemetery that's two shakes of a duck's tail from my house. Bill didn’t have a pet name for me but had said a many things that made my liver a quiver. The most precious “I would die for her.” I don’t know how to word that on a tomb stone but I definitely want it.

Many had called me things that were not so nice. The derogatory was more than I care to list. It’s not what they call you but what you answer to. Right? “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive,” I said to myself, quoting Audrey Lorde. Truer words had never been spoken. My whole life was spent with people trying to define and objectify me, trying to force my round peg into their square hole. I just didn’t fit. I’ve been a lot of things and seen so much that sometimes I wonder who I am. But I can start with what I am not, which is dead. But I could appreciate what the undead were trying to accomplish.

TrueBlood’s testing kitchen employees will find my recipe for the Sookie Special written on the chalk board that was on the door of the Sub Zero. I just appeared in the room so I decided to make myself useful. I was suddenly struck with an urge to leave my mark on the world, even if it was a small one. I had a sinking feeling that my days were numbered. Besides, it was too good to waste, if I do say so myself. Could I be known as the one who warmed the cold dead hearts of the undead with a home cooked meal? My vampire seemed to have no appreciation for fine Cajun cuisine. The presentation to him was used to decorate the walls and ceiling in a colorful array that still spotted parts of the ceiling.

I sold the Shifter clothing store on my idea of breakaway casual, athletic and formal attire. It was on the Mezzanine level, adjacent to the casino and open to all. I had been meaning to suggest this to the Shreveport Weres for years. Shift – Rip, Shift – Rip, Shift – Rip. Their monthly clothing expenses had to be astronomical. Sometimes they had time to disrobe but most times it was too late and Shift – Rip, another one bites the dust. If my grandmother were alive, she would salvage the remnants from the ruined clothing and make patch quilts. She believed that one man's trash is another man's treasure and left me an attic full of riches. Quilting was she and Mrs. Fortenberry's favorite pastime and they would create works of art by cutting shapes, matching patterns and sewing for hours. They are precious heirlooms now, so I guess Gran was right.

The store manager made a sketch of my idea and said they would go into production right away. Shifting in public was becoming more and more acceptable, so this type of clothing would be a hot ticket item in the near future. It’s great to be queen, even though it was a temporary farce.

“Drinks on the house!” I yelled, serving Tom Collins to all that could stomach it. That was quite a popular drink back home. I had served more than I could remember while I was a barmaid at Merlotte’s. It made me feel like my old self. The real bartender looked like Lurch from the Addams Family but I pretended that he was Sam. He even answered when I called him that. There was something endearing about his smile, what was left of it, anyways, and we became fast buds. He could see that I knew my way around a bar and let me have at it. One stern warning before he left me to my own devices “All drinks must be or contain Trueblood” house rules of the Fangs N’ Fortune Casino. Go figure.

Oddly enough, or maybe it was rather apropos that “The Gambler” was playing overhead. It seemed to be a crowd favorite and I sang along while I mixed drinks. “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.” I danced, poured, crooned and decided that it was sound advice. I know when I am in over my head but um tired of running. Besides, no matter where I go, there I am. In mid-pour of creating my first signature Martini, I just melted away, flashing a cool, Deuces! Dyxie style, to substitute Sam as I went. Where was my pixie anyway? I hadn’t even had a chance to taste the drink that I called Queen’s Ransom. It contained just the right amount of Vanilla Vodka, sweetened with strawberry syrup (cause strawberries are plentiful in Louisiana) and a good helping of de- ee-lish, shaken, not stirred.

Fatigue rode my back but I pressed on. Maybe I was doing something wrong. This teleportation stuff was tiring and so unpredictable. Instead of getting better with practice I was getting worse. My comings, goings were a complete surprise. If I could just concentrate I would do better, I knew. No matter where I went or what I did to distract, betrayal kept me in a choke hold. I just couldn’t get past it. My roommate had come to count on me, time and time again, like I had freakin' numbers on my freakin' face. We lived under the same roof, breathed the same air, ate from the same table. And SHE is the one to do this to me? I just hate it!

The crazy events had shaken me to my very foundation; Amelia, Tray, Dr. Blade and not to mention the recently departed, Victor Madden. I wasn’t sorry to see any of them exposed or to lose the vampire. I guess that seeing an undead come to an end, or anyone die for that matter, put emphasis on my own mortality. We all have to leave this earth sometime and I understood Victor’s need to make it big and make it count. “Nice guys finish last” is the way the adage goes and he wanted to be first. Like Bill, he was willing to sell his soul (or what was left of his humanity) to get to the next level of success, an old barbaric practice.

“Out with the old and in with the new.” I made a toast alone in the king’s suite on the top floor of the building. The staff of the Fangtasy Island Lounge and Casino must have recognized me because they led me right to the king’s suite like a certified VIP. There must be a royal decree to appease the king’s consort. The atmosphere put me in the mind of Fangtasia. Maybe it was because of all of the vampires. I was willing to bet that this was Eric’s baby. The Nevada regime was willing to financially back a franchise when the success of the vampire hot spot in Louisiana was made evident.

This one was no macabre fantasy land. It was an upscale, posh dining experience where all Supes received celebrity status. It was like having Wayne Newton or Elvis at every table with the wealthy elite flocking in four on a mule. It was sprinkled with jewel encrusted slot machines here and there. Vegas vamp style gave the winnings a twist with a tryst; trade in the chips for sips, of TrueBlood that is. The synthetic blood mixed with pricey libations is a delicacy. The gamble was in how the body would react to it. I refused to do the customary bottoms up with the serum that was presented in a flute like champagne. It even had bubbles and I watched them float to the top of the crystal as the room rotated showcasing the splendor of the desert oasis.

All that surrounded me represented the new way of vampire negotiation, wining and dining. Corporate board rooms, private planes and exotic locales are their glamour. And Influence? I held up the flute that had diamonds in the glass and that’s when it hit me. “Shepherd of Judea!” I whispered in astonishment. TrueBlood! It does the body good. That’s the latest slogan that markets the synthetic blood to humans.

Their name is everywhere. I was looking at a bill board down the street. It was high above the ground and had a picture of kids in a playground swigging the beverage like Kool-aid. It’s the active ingredient in popular energy and sports drinks, which I discovered the hard way. There was a tiny TB logo on the back of my bottle, like it contained Splenda or somethin'. Heck, I even saw a Starbucks and golden arches in the building. It’s been incorporated into recipes and a proud sponsor of a cooking channel on cable. The not so subliminal message that people are buying into: Drink the Soup of the Supes and you too will be Supe-like. The liquid gold is taking the world by storm and everyone is gobbling up the bait, hook, line and sinker.

When I found myself on the wrong side of the locked doors of the research lab, I was mighty anxious. I sank into a corner near the door and was swallowed up by a rack of guard uniforms. There had to be hundreds of them, black, light weight and made to hug every contour of an extremely well defined physique. It was like the good doctor had made a mold from his own body and formed each one. Of course, I thought that they were the real deal and had a momentary but silent altercation. If they were guards, they would have been sorry. I stilled the moving garments when I heard footsteps come near and tried with all my might to disappear. I froze as a current of magic flickered through me, off and on like a bad light bulb.

Dr. Blade walked right past me. I was sure that he looked right at me. He paused for a second, shook his head in a tiny movement and then continued on his way. He was preoccupied with adding a new unit of synthetic blood to the IV of poor little Amelia. I followed him into the vast space and hid behind one of the many gigantic sized apothecary jars that lined the floor. He handled her with such care and adoration, stroking the hair from her face repeatedly and speaking so very gently. I wished that I could place that handsome face that was now all crinkled with concern and, dare I say it? Love. T2 lay huddled in the bed next to her. A fury feline in the ICU wasn’t very sanitary or sterile but I was sure that Amelia would not have it any other way.

My fingers tented together in front of a sly smile and my eyes shifted around the room. This was an excellent opportunity to throw a monkey wrench in the works. The sorcerer likes to go hem and a little sabotage would be a splendid way to feed my demon. "I'll get you my pretty and your little cat, too and your fairy bf," I said in my mind and I threw my head back and silently cackled. I thought of how CJ had demolished Bill's hospital room in a matter of seconds. He had made objects fly around the room like a twister had touched down indoors. It was so scary and so cool and I am so with that plan. If CJ could do it, so could I.

I pushed at one of the jars with my human hands because my telekinesis seemed to be on the fritz. All of the jars were taller than me but I still gave it the old college try and then I jumped back on a gasp. It wasn't quiet either and I knew that I'd blown my cover. So, I went ahead and cursed aloud. I couldn’t help it. The jars, they were filled with clear fluid, and each one housing an adult body. A cacophony of heart beats confirmed that they were still alive. These guys were huge, gray or silver eyes with that translucent looking skin and were creeping me out big time. I wanted to investigate further but my body had different plans. My tank was running on E so it took a little longer but I finally made it out.

I was seriously considering recanting my “Sorcerer’s Rock” declaration as the putrid scent of the Dead Zone assaulted my senses like hard slap in the face. I threw a hissy fit but it didn’t matter. I wasn’t going anywhere for a while. “See, God don't like ugly,” and aint too fond of pretty. I was certainly planning to do some ugly things to that lab. A current tickled in my center revving and dying over and over like a car with a weak, no dead battery. Still, I tried and tried with all my might.

Who was I kidding? CJ had told me that it takes years to train the trinity powers of the Sorcerer to live in harmony, forcing the animal, ego and spirit to work together. If one power is too strong or too weak, you have chaos. "Yep!" That 'bout summed up what I had. Unfortunately, finding the CHI right now would require deeply inhaling the funk of forty thousand years (give or take a few thousand) and that wasn't going to happen. I sank to my haunches, praying to God, almighty that stink rises. It didn’t. I think it was worse and my gag reflex went into overdrive.

Formerly home to vagrants, the intricate storm system, which was built to protect the city from flash floods, is at the base of the NVL HQ and stretches out in every direction. The snaking miles of the labyrinth are in the hundreds, undead inhabitants, in the thousands. It's now a haven to transient vampires who migrated to the Fang Capital or newbies, who have yet to make it into the mainstream by adopting a synthetic blood diet. They are the most barbaric, the most dangerous, the lowest of the low and I am a fresh, mouth watering steak that was just dropped into the lion's den.

My only consolation was the quiet which announced that rest for the vampires was imminent. It did seem a little early still but I trusted that dawn loomed on the horizon. A rising sun was like shining the Bat Symbol in the sky of Gotham City, urging all the blood suckers to take cover. And it wasn't asking twice. The fireball was no respecter of persons and totally merciless to any undead who dared show their face in daylight. It was one of the few things that could and would destroy the durable creatures, toot sweet.

My panting and heavy footfalls echoed in the darkness in a steady cadence that was almost hypnotic. As I focused on the unknown ahead of me, I thought of another long mile that I had trekked. I had never given much thought to dream interpretation, until now. Maybe the parallels of my travails since had a deeper meaning. It had happened just after the Fae war, when I was sound asleep in my family home. I had been traumatized by my recent abduction but was coping and trying my damnedest to stay on the right side of sanity.

Eric was MIA and CJ had come to help a severely depressed Amelia. Felipe had been tormenting me for days; albeit pleasurable it was non-consensual, for the most part. He seduced me with the chimera of a beautiful, unmarred Sookie that I had once been. I wanted, I needed, I had to yield to the picture perfect union of the king and I.

I know now that it was more than a dream. It was a premonition. He invaded my slumber and summoned me out; because the new wards restricted his carte blanche status into my home. I had to go to the vamp headquarters under the pretence of helping vampires acquire civil rights. The king of my dreams had told me that my assistance would help vampires all over the world. When I arrived, I walked through a long corridor that seemed to go on forever. Pictures covered the walls in gilded frames.

Maybe that is the many compartments that I see lining the walls now. There were so many, deep dark holes on either side of me. Many were no bigger than a coffin and others were the size of an apartment. All were black as pitch and filled to capacity. I refused to peek in and see the soulless ghouls lurking inside of these tombs, in hiding, and waiting to seal my doom. I only glanced and quickened my pace.

In my dream I was moving toward a door when the images on the wall caught my attention. They were of me; all were of me at various points in my life. Some where taken long before I ever knew the Supes existed. At the end of memory lane, on a door, was a photo of Hunter and me, sitting in his father, Remy’s living room. We had never posed for such a picture yet there it was in living color.

Hunter was my late cousin Hadley’s four year old son, who is also a telepath. I take this to mean that they, the vampires or Supes, were going to use anything that I hold dear to get to me. Or, it could mean that if I didn’t be all that they wanted me to be, there was another waiting in the wings.  That was the why of my life being laid out on the wall. Ending up here is my destiny, or one would think.

Just like in reality, all roads lead to Felipe. In my dream, I eagerly and voluntarily opened the door, which symbolized me crossing the point of no return. On the other side, my dark prince was waiting for me with open arms. I stepped into him, even though my body started to shiver with apprehension while burning in anticipation. The sight and smell of him held me captive. It was as if I was being glamoured.

The Dead Zone looked like a ghost town but provided a plethora of creepy crawly things of which I dipped and dodged at various intervals, never slowing down or breaking my stride. I slid through tunnels, waded in water and down embankments like going over the river and through the woods to my grandmother's house. The streets were wide enough to drive a car through and littered with tattered, torn, dirty and damp clothing strewn around. Randomly placed chairs and tables, as well as other indoor and outdoor furniture were turned over or in pieces like they hadn't been used in years. There were lots and lots of shopping carts. All signs that once upon a time humans lived on this deserted isle. I prayed that I had enough strength to fry anything that jumped out at me. I sped up just in case God couldn’t hear the prayers of those who were lured into this den of iniquity.

I know first hand how strong the pull is and no mere mortal can resist. Even in my dream, the king’s call was is so strong, making my mouth water and then became as dry as the desert in an instant. My thirst obeyed, like there was no other option. His was the only summons that I, the one who is immune to vamp glamour, was compelled beyond reason to answer. I had to take what he offered and drink of him, no matter the price. I would die if I didn't satisfy the hunger that craved the crimson tide. With a glide of his hand he scored his neck, closed his coat around me and drink, I did, in long greedy pulls. The taste was so sweet, setting my senses ablaze.

“More, more, more!” I pleaded, frantic and panting and aching. The memory is so fresh in my mind and my hands clenched in fists as I reminisced about the intense encounter. I loved the sensation of pleasing him and hated being so vulnerable to him. He laughed low in his throat and he knew that he had me. That’s when it happened. That is when I slowly drifted away. I was wrapped in a cocoon of wards where the vampire could not reach me and returned to the safety of my bed. My yearning to be joined with my dark prince ceased to exist. I didn’t know it then. That was CJ snatching me out of the jaws of death, once again.

Where, o’ where is the exit sign? I wondered. I could sure use that protective cocoon right about now. I stumbled and braced myself just before my face planted into the wet, sticky pavement. My wrist stung a little and I worked my hand back and forth to alleviate the pain. The passageway ahead was faint but open and, after a long country mile, it finally led me to a fork in the road. More and more vampires hunkered down for their day time rest, to the left of me. A long tunnel, illuminated by a faint light at the end, was to my right.

Gathering my resolve, I turned to the right and followed the light. I didn’t look back, not running but moving on. I placed my hand on the cool railing with a firm grasp and slowly made my ascension. The bright lights from the strip poured into the opening, more brilliant and the sight far more spectacular than I could ever have imagined. It was a direct contradiction to its dark underbelly. I knew that the concrete wall of the tunnels were wet but now, in the light, I could see that they were covered with graffiti, a mural manifest of the many party heartiers that had checked into motel hell and never checked out. Lush palm trees lined the busy street that was awash with vehicles and pedestrians.

The vision of the moon and stars suspended in space were awe inspiring. With no doors or gates to entrap me, I closed my eyes and breathed in the sweet smell of freedom. I felt a warmth wash over me in an instant and I smiled, big and wide, with the appropriate greeting of “Morning Niall.” The sun had risen so fast, I thought. Like someone had just flipped a switch. It was invigorating. My great-grandfather is the only living Fae Prince. Our bloodline is from the Fae of the sky. There is where I belong.

Suddenly the spirit of fear dissipated. I felt liberated as the invisible shackles crumpled around my feet. Sookie Stackhouse is alive. The granddaughter of Adele is free. The spirit image of Fenton is also, so out of here. I was tired of looking over my shoulder, wondering where the next attack was coming from. I tired of the dog eat dog mentality, all wanting to take a bite out of me, literally and figuratively. Survival of the fittest was the vampire way and wrong on so many levels.

Felipe’s diabolical plan revealed a New World Order via TrueBlood. It was the ultimate glamour and the ultimate influence and the ultimate mind f*ck, making the living just sentient puppets. So when the puppeteer pulled the strings all would have to join in the dance. I wanted no parts of it. He and Dr. Blade were also building a Supe army, reverting to the primitive doctrine of might deciding the rights for all. It was just sick and twisted and only the tip of the iceberg, I was certain. If I subscribed to this existence, Victor wouldn’t be the last vampire that died in my arms or lay slain at my feet.

Thunder rolled and lightning flashed in the distance with a loud crackle and pop. My vision was drawn to the angry skies and seeing the clouds consume the light, instantaneously turning the day to night. Errr? My body vibrated with excitement and trepidation. Then, all of a sudden, the sky opened with an unearthly light and released a blanket of fluffy, white flakes that coated the glittered gulch. Snow in the desert? There was nothing natural about this disaster. There was some mean Mojo working beyond the clouds, Apocalyptic.

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