“Are you sure you’ll be alright?”
Looking up at my mentor Niall and seeing the concern on his face, I forced a bright smile onto my own and said, “Yes. I just want to stay for a little while longer and soak up as much as I can.”
He chuckled when I lifted the wet rag in my hand, but he knew I wasn’t talking about the water.
I wanted to enjoy as much of this moment as I could before I couldn’t enjoy much of anything anymore.
“Well then, I’ll see you in the morning Sookie,” he nodded and left me for the night.
Niall was the head of the Archaeology Department and had been my professor at LSU. My Gran’s love of history had rubbed off on me, but mine went back much further than the American Civil War. It was what brought me to Sweden a week earlier and why I was currently spending the night with a man I couldn’t have even imagined in my wildest dreams.
Frozen in time and perfectly preserved, the Viking warrior lay encased in ice for over a thousand years. He’d been discovered by accident, floating near a newly split open glacier, by a freighter traveling through the Arctic Ocean on their way back from Greenland to Denmark. An expert in the Viking Age, Niall had been contacted by his Scandinavian counterparts and I’d been lucky enough to have been chosen to accompany him. And ever since, my mind had wandered often, wondering what his life must have been like.
Had he gone a Viking and fallen overboard? Been lost at sea in a battle of fur-clad warriors, feuding over land or treasures? Did he have a family that had waited for him to return only to die a thousand years earlier never knowing what had happened to him?
And staring down at him now, slowly thawing in a strict temperature controlled environment, I couldn’t help but wonder how old he was because we appeared to be around the same age. Once he was fully thawed, we would be able to run tests to have a better guess, but for now I liked to believe we were similar in age.
And like him, I would be taken before my time too.
I’d been diagnosed with a rare form of ALS a few months earlier. I was literally blindsided by the news, but the disease was progressing rapidly and there was no cure, so I was doing my best to put as much living as I could into my time left. If there was a way to fight it, I would have, but there wasn’t.
And being able to be there now literally looking back to a moment in time I could only dream about, there was nowhere else I wanted to be. Even if I’d lived to be a hundred, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Niall knew of my illness, but he was the only one I’d confided in. I didn’t want to be treated like I was on death’s door until I couldn’t deny it any longer and more than my mentor, Niall was in many ways like the grandfather I never had. So he was indulging me in my fantasy that everything was fine and I wouldn’t be dead before the end of the year.
Luckily, most of the other researchers spoke English because my mastery of the Swedish language was nonexistent. All of the Scandinavian languages seemed to have an overabundance of either vowels or consonants – too many for this Louisiana girl to grasp quickly – but I found their singsong dialect to be both beautiful and soothing. It made me wish I had more time to learn them all, but time was something I didn’t have much of, so I did my best to learn what I could and laughed at myself when they laughed at my feeble attempts.
At least I still had my humor to fall back on and I would need every bit of it in the coming months.
The sound of another large piece of ice breaking free from our frozen mystery man pulled me from my thoughts and allowed his face to come into full view for the first time. Removing the ice and setting it aside, I stared down at him and was struck by how beautiful he was. It really was remarkable how well he’d been preserved.
To look at him one might believe he was merely asleep.
Which was why I had to question whether or not I was asleep when his eyes popped open to stare back into my own.
But then I was sure I was dreaming when two fangs appeared in his now open mouth a moment later.
It was all I knew, even above the pain of my semi-frozen limbs slowly coming back to life, and I reacted on instinct. Grabbing the nearest source of sustenance hovering over me, I pulled it down to my mouth and bit down. The frightened screams I could hear were muted by the taste of the warm blood now filling my body, thawing my limbs even more, so that I could wrap my body around theirs and fill myself up on their life’s elixir.
But when their warm body began to cool in my arms and they no longer fought my grasp, a part of my mind returned to me now realizing what I’d done.
The exact same thing I hadn’t wanted done to me.
Finally able to see with my already opened eyes, the strangely dressed woman in my arms was lifeless. Her heartbeat was slowed to a near stop and I was struck with not only a feeling of remorse, but of hesitation as well.
Should I allow her to die or should I attempt to bring her over and spend an eternity trying to make up for my misdeed?
Searching my blood for my own maker I found I no longer felt his hold on me. I couldn’t feel his presence at all and it was likely the only reason why I finally succumbed to my guilt. His undead life must have been ended or else I wouldn’t have subjected her to the likes of him and his sadism when he felt my return and would have merely let her die. The horrors I knew he was capable of was why I’d jumped from the ship we’d been traveling on through the icy fiords however long ago.
I had to get away, even if it meant taking my own life.
The men on the boat we’d kept ourselves hidden from had been ice fishing, so it was easy to submerge myself underneath the frozen water. Even his Maker’s call hadn’t been enough to force my body to the surface when my already cold limbs began to freeze instantly.
At least Odin had given me that one wish, even if he’d held back his Valkyries from coming for me. With my weakness at taking my own life, I had expected no different.
Sitting up, I could hear her heartbeat was still weak and nearing its end, but I was shocked for a moment finding myself in a room filled with things I had no name for. Things I’d never seen before, but I could at least sense it was nighttime, so I lifted us from the forged metal slab and eventually spirited us both out into the night.
Taking to the skies, I was confused by the brightness down below. The lights beneath us didn’t come from any fires I could smell, but I flew us towards the darkened land I could see in the distance. The air was cold, but not as cold as the ice.
I just hoped the ground wouldn’t be too cold in order to complete the change.
I knew what I needed to do. Feed her my blood and lie with her in the earth until she rose, but I also knew it didn’t always work. I’d witnessed for myself my own Maker’s attempts at bringing over two more in my time with him, under his command to not flee while he lay in the ground with them for three nights, only to rise alone.
I’d envied them both their quick deaths.
But now I hoped the woman in my arms would be strong enough to survive. While I’d wanted away from Ocella at any cost, I hadn’t realized just how alone I would feel without his presence in my blood until now. And not knowing where I was or how much time had passed, she would be useful in guiding me as well.
My survival instincts were much stronger now that I no longer had Ocella to contend with.
I landed us on a small hilltop and took a moment to scent the air. Smelling nothing more than the traces of a few squirrels, I laid her down on the ground and began to dig with my bare hands. The earth wasn’t frozen solid, so it didn’t take long before I had a hole big enough for the both of us and I carried her into it, only then noticing her appearance for the first time.
She was remarkably beautiful and even paled by her blood loss I could see the leftover traces of a golden hue on her skin. Our hair color was very similar as well, but sensing the spark of life leaving her, I stopped my visual inspection and bit into my wrist, willing my blood into her body. She eventually swallowed enough for me to be able to faintly sense her with my blood and only when her lips ceased moving against my skin, did I pull my wrist back from her mouth.
Covering us both with the misplaced dirt, I settled in next her and when her heart made its final beat, I sent another prayer to Odin, hoping in three nights’ time my new child would rise.
In the pit of my gut I felt like it was on fire and I immediately tried to curl into a ball, but found that I couldn’t.
Nor was I alone.
I lashed out on instinct, fighting against the unknown person holding onto me, only for them to let go and begin fighting the confines surrounding us with me. The smell of fresh dirt invaded my senses and I freaked out even more realizing I’d been buried alive and before I knew what happened, I was plucked from the hole and set on my feet.
“You are safe.”
Cheese and rice.
It was the Viking.
I didn’t understand a word he said, but before I could freak out any more, I was hit with a sudden wave of calm.
It was nice, but disconcerting.
“How?” I asked and looking around I added, “Where are we? What happened?”
The last thing I could remember was a nightmare where the Viking before me had turned into a vampire and made me his midnight snack.
“I do not understand,” he said in more of his unfamiliar language. “But you are safe. You are my child now and I am your Maker.”
I had an overwhelming desire to be the clichéd ugly American by shouting, “ENGLISH!” but I had a feeling it would be just as foreign sounding to him.
You know, like I was actually awake when in reality I was sure Niall would be shaking my shoulder any second now and tease me for drooling on the man in front of me.
But looking at him, I could admit he was drool worthy.
Now’s not the time, Stackhouse!
Also not the time for, my dream Viking decided now would be a good time to strip himself naked and shake the dirt from his fur pelts.
I hadn’t really gotten past the sight of his naked body to know for sure that was what he was doing.
Nor was I sure about the clicking sound coming from my mouth, but my tongue told me my dream had made me a vampire too.
And seeing his eyes darken back at me – and other parts of him showing interest as well – I thought what the hell.
After all, when was I gonna dream up my very own Viking vampire god again, who wasn’t so lame that he sparkled?
He seemed to know I was coming for him because he held his arms open in just enough time to catch my flying body. My clothes went flying next and when our lips met, we spoke a universal language with our tongues.
My body was flooded by sensations of elation and lust, more than I had ever felt before, but I just went with it and let my body do things my waking self would never imagine.
Well, I’d imagined doing them before, but my morals would have never allowed me to have sex with a stranger.
Stranger still, I had the overwhelming urge to bite him. To drink his blood, but I held off when his fingers slipped in between us to find the wetness I could feel coating my upper thighs. Noises I didn’t even think I was capable of making left my throat, but then I’d never felt anything so heavenly before and when I was ready for more, I took it.
I flipped him over onto his back and reached down to stroke him once before setting him at my entrance. Sinking down, he filled me up and we both growled out our approval. I’d never felt so alive before and I felt like I could go forever, so that was what I was shooting for when I began to move on top of him. His hands came to rest on my hips to help me along and when I felt my impending orgasm build up, the urge to bite him made itself known again. I almost wondered if my dream man sensed it because he sat up and moved to hold the back of my head. Placing my mouth at his neck he said something else I didn’t understand, but I didn’t need to.
I knew what he wanted.
So, I didn’t stop myself from doing just that and bit down. When I felt him sink his teeth into me a second later we both exploded.
It was mind blowing.
It was glorious.
It still wasn’t enough.
Fate had done me well by putting this glorious woman in my path. I’d been with my fair share of women in the past – before Ocella had tried and failed to retrain my preferences – but this woman felt like she’d been made just for me. Her lust was colliding with my own, so feeling her need for more, I gave it to her.
Flipping her over onto her hands and knees, I slammed back into her body and gave her everything it was demanding from me. She met each of my thrusts by rocking her body back into mine and I gloried over the feel of how tight she was. Her temperature was now similar to my own, but she still felt hot around my shaft, with her muscles pulsing and contracting, pulling another climax from me quickly.
I pounded right through it and kept going until we both reached our third, but it was only feeling her hunger that made me pull back from going again. Having my blood would only strengthen our now unbreakable bond as Maker and Child, but she needed human blood to survive.
And as her Maker I would make sure she survived.
Her body gasped for air it no longer needed out of habit, but she would learn that on her own in time. However learning to communicate with one another was the primary challenge before us. I didn’t recognize her strange language, nor did she seem to understand me, so when she felt ready to listen with her ears rather than her body’s wants, I turned to her and put my hand on my chest, saying, “Eiríkr.”
My new child seemed to understand because I felt her initial confusion give way to acceptance and she mimicked my movements, placing her own hand on her chest, saying, “Sookie.”
“Soo-key,” I said, forming the strange name on my tongue.
Stranger still, she just laughed and lied back chuckling, “I wonder when I’m gonna wake up.”
I could feel a sense of anticipation from her, but no real fear or confusion over what she now was.
Had vampires come out of the shadows to live amongst the living?
Wondering if that was the case, I let my fangs drop to see what her reaction would be. She’d been feeling too many other things to have focused on them before, but even now she laughed again when her own fangs made an appearance seeing mine drop.
“Weirdest. Dream. Ever.”
So very strange.