What in the unfair eff-upped-ness was going on here?
Dream Niall could speak Viking vampire?
The logical side of my brain was trying to work through the hidden meanings. Not the gobbledygook that was coming out of their mouths, but what my subconscious mind was trying to tell me.
Was it that Niall knew what he was talking about no matter what language he spoke in? That I was in a dreamy delusional state when it came to my illness?
It kind of made sense considering he’d tried to convince me to tell my family about my diagnosis, but I didn’t want to burden them with the news until I had no choice. It was one of my bigger reasons for wanting to go to Sweden with him because I was a master at putting stuff off for another day.
Just call me Scarlett.
But before Niall would agree to take me with him, I had to promise him I’d tell my Gran and my brother about my illness when we returned to the States. After already suffering through my parents’ untimely deaths and then my Aunt Linda’s losing battle with cancer, I really didn’t want to bring my Eeyore dark cloud to their doorstep until it was absolutely necessary.
Some might call my actions selfish, but I called them humane.
It was no wonder I would dream about becoming a vampire. That way I’d have all of eternity to put off going home and breaking the news to them.
I was drawn back into their conversation, hearing Niall say, “Sookie,” but I could only tell they were talking about me, not to me. And seeing Eric-er’s lip snarl, I figured whatever it was they were talking about wasn’t to his liking, so I asked, “What are you two saying?”
I’d gotten used to not understanding the conversations going on around me over the previous week, but for the most part the other researchers on the team made it a point to try and speak English around me so I wouldn’t feel left out.
Apparently I’d been spoiled by their hospitality because now I felt like pitching a fit.
And I doubted Rosetta Stone had a Gobbledygook For Dummies program.
Niall sighed just as he said, “I’m trying to convince the man you’re with to return you to the university grounds. He’s refusing.”
If it weren’t for Eric-er’s and my pointy teeth and the fact I’d seen him wake up from being a Viking-sicle, I might question the rationality behind his statement. As it was, I was starting to have a harder time trying to remain rational myself in my continued belief (denial?) that this was still all just a dream. Instead I tried to temper my rising frustration over not waking up yet by asking, “Did he say why?”
Eric-er wouldn’t have much of a choice when I woke up anyways, but something clicked inside of me when Niall said, “He claims you are now his.”
“His what?” I asked hesitantly.
Hesitant because I remembered feeling the same thing when I’d growled at Barbara over not wanting to share my Eric-er’s bone.
“His child,” he sighed and before I could point my finger at the phone and say, ‘Neener neener! Told ya so,’ that this had to be a dream, he added, “His vampire child.”
Well…I supposed that was true – in the dreamiest sense of the word – but then Niall spoke up again saying, “Sookie, I believe perhaps this man has drugged you. Maybe he’s part of a larger organization that’s behind the theft of the body from the lab. I don’t know why they would find it so valuable, but it would explain why he knows how to speak Old Norse. I only learned the language as a part of my studies so that I would have a better understanding of the Viking Age.” He paused for a moment and skeptically asked, “Are you sure he doesn’t understand English?”
I glanced back at Eric-er, but he was looking pretty skeptical himself, keeping one questioning eye on me and a wary one on the cell phone in my hand. He didn’t appear to understand what we were saying, but then I shook off my hesitation because this was just a goddamn dream and said, “No.”
Because Dream Me could feel that he didn’t.
Booyah! Reason Number Two this was just a dream.
“I want you to try and get away from him as soon as you’re able to. Don’t trust him. I’m hoping he doesn’t understand what we’re saying right now, but take nothing for granted.”
I already trusted him because I could feel that I was safe with him.
Booyah! Reason Number Three.
“You’re taking for granted that I’m not gonna wake up any second with my face stuck to the table with dried up drool,” I replied.
“YOU’RE NOT DREAMING!” he shouted, making Eric-er growl menacingly at the phone and bark gobbledygook at it. Niall paused, I supposed doing his gobbledygook translations, but instead of saying anything to Eric-er, he only asked, “Do you trust me Sookie?”
“Of course,” I replied automatically.
Obviously I did. Or else I wouldn’t have told him about my diagnosis.
“Then find a local newspaper. Find a television or go to the US Embassy. You’ll see that you’re not dreaming, but I’m going to hang up now and call the local authorities. Keep the cell phone on and with you and hopefully they’ll be able to trace its location.”
I opened my mouth to tell him not to bother because it was just a dream, but then a second later the call was ended.
The pixie’s claim he was my child’s mentor angered me. She was mine now no matter whom she’d looked to for guidance in the past. Magical creatures who dwelled in a tiny boxes or not, Soo-key was my child.
No more sound came from him, so I assumed he’d wisely given up the hope of reclaiming her. But I felt her skepticism as she began tapping her finger on the magic box and then her shock at what her ministrations had produced.
“No no no…it can’t be,” she chanted, with her fear rising. “It’s just a dream. It’s just a dream.”
My eyes fell to the magic box where hers were glued to and I could see an image of Soo-key. Not a reflection, but some sort of magical recreation of her. She smiled back at us, looking happy and carefree.
So I snatched the magic box from her hand and crushed it in my own before it could steal any more of her soul.
“Eric!” she exclaimed in even more surprise, but then her emotions shifted as she said, “No, that…that was probably a good idea. Even if this is a dream, I don’t want them to come after you and according to that article, I’m missing. Now if Niall calls the police they’ll think I’ve been kidnapped.”
She stood up quickly, with her eyes darting in every direction, while the need to flee built up inside of her as she said, “We need to get out of here, just in case they were able to locate the phone before you crushed it.”
She then began making gestures with her arms that looked like she wanted me to stand as well, so when I did, she took off running. I caught up to her easily and then caught her arm to halt her progression. As her Maker it was my responsibility to keep her safe. To lead her and to guide her.
Not the other way around.
Her magical pixie box would have been helpful in this instance, but now that we were back to trying to communicate with nothing else to guide us, I tried to convey my meaning with my eyes as I said, “We need to find shelter and weapons if we come across any.”
It wasn’t unusual to happen across other vampires and with Soo-key being a newborn, and with all of the strange things I’d seen so far, I knew I was out of my element, so we were at a disadvantage. I’d never had the cause to be the strategist in my vampire life. My Maker was the one who made the decisions and hadn’t looked to me for my input. It had taken me until the end of our eighteenth summer together when I’d finally freed myself of him, but I’d led human men in battle before I’d been turned.
I was sure I could manage to lead one woman and keep both of our heads.
“I…I…I don’t understand,” she softly whispered, with bloody tears filling her eyes. “I don’t know what’s happening, but I’m starting to think this isn’t just some dream and I’m scared. For both of us.”
Her need to be comforted overwhelmed my senses, so I didn’t stop myself from reacting to it by taking her in my arms. This was how a Maker should treat their child. Of that I was sure, so I continued to hold her and whisper words of comfort. Our language barrier didn’t seem like a hindrance in that moment when she burrowed further into my embrace and allowed herself to seek solace in my arms.
We still had a few hours until dawn, but I didn’t want to wait until the last moment to look for shelter and feeling her resolve, I pulled back in preparation to lead us away when I felt hope fill her chest as she said, “Maybe…maybe if Niall could see us and see that you’re you and I’m me, then maybe he would stop thinking we’re a couple of whack-a-doodles.”
“Whack a doodles?” I asked, trying out the words she’d emphasized on my tongue that had no meaning to me.
Such a strange language.
Soo-key chuckled at my mimicking, but she nodded and repeated, “Yes. Whack-a-doodles,” and then gestured between the two of us while allowing her fangs to drop down.
I could only surmise the word for ‘vampire’ in her language was ‘whack a doodles’.
At least we were slowly learning to communicate with one another.
“We should go to him,” she said, with a sense of urgency slowing filling her veins. But looking up at me, I could feel her confusion as she added, “But how do I make you understand?”
She pulled away from me completely and spread her arms out at her sides before slowly running in circles while saying, “Fly. You and me flew here, didn’t we? So you can fly us back?”
I wondered if she was playing some strange game.
Or was this a courting ritual for her kind?
She wasn’t feeling any amount of lust, so I doubted it – which was a shame, really because I could certainly be talked into spending time worshipping her body before we sought shelter from the coming daybreak. I wasn’t even close to being sated by her and looking at her I doubted I would ever be completely satisfied.
So it was a good thing we had all of eternity together for me to try and get my fill.
Soo-key eventually stopped her strange dance and filled with frustration before she dropped to the ground on her knees. Picking up a stick, she used it to begin carving into the ground as she said, “Back. We have to go BACK HERE.”
I stared down at the drawing she made into the soil and thought it looked like the room where I’d first woken up, but I couldn’t be sure. At least not until she added what I assumed was me, lying on the table with fangs in my mouth, and her off to the side with a mouth rounded in surprise.
Gesturing once more between the two of us, she said, “Eric-er and Sookie,” before pointing at each of the figures as she repeated our names, and added, “We need to go here.”
Had that place been her home?
Perhaps she thought we would be safer there, but she didn’t know vampires couldn’t return to their homes once turned. It wasn’t safe, not only for their families, but because if they were seen by anyone who’d known them as humans, our kind would become known.
So I tried to convey my disagreement with a shake of my head, which I knew immediately she understood.
It wasn’t hard to distinguish what with her jumping up and yelling, “WE HAVE TO!”
“Hold still,” I ordered, infusing my words with my Maker’s command over her. While I wanted to give my child the opportunity to flourish under my tutelage, I would not allow disobedience. She needed to learn her place and although I enjoyed her fiery spirit, I could not allow her to be ruled by her emotions.
It was the quickest way to get herself killed.
I knew that firsthand thanks to how easily it had been for me to allow my emotions to overrule my head. It had earned me many corrections from my Maker and ultimately it was my emotional state that drove me to flee from him at any cost at the first opportunity. However my relationship with Soo-key would be different and I would not allow her inability to control her emotional outbursts to be the cause for our demise because I would surely defend her to my true death.
Being passionate was one thing and I would encourage that side of her. But being temperamental was something else altogether and I would not allow it.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
I could feel her trying to fight against my command over her actions, but I knew – also from firsthand experience – it was a fruitless exercise. And feeling her rising fear, I attempted to soothe her with soft words as I explained, “You must learn to control yourself. I am your Maker so you must obey me when I command it of you. I will not use it without just cause, but I will not hesitate to do so when I see fit.”
I knew she couldn’t understand my words, but hoping to ease her growing worry, I reached out and gently cupped her face, while filling our bond with pride as I added, “You have already shown me your remarkable restraint when you fed earlier. I am very proud of you and proud to have you as my child. It will not take long before you learn to control yourself in all situations.”
Undoubtedly she could feel my pride – just as I could feel her confusion at feeling it when coupled with my unfamiliar words – so I hoped to make her understand by using some of her words when I explained, “You must learn to control your emotions. If we were in the presence of other…whack a doodles…and you acted out, you could provoke a fight.”
Soo-key’s confusion gave way to shock as her eyes went wide and then she just as unexpectedly filled with amusement as she laughed out, “That’s what you picked to pick up? Whack-a-doodles?”
“Whack a doodles,” I nodded, not understanding what was so funny. My words only made her laugh harder, so thinking perhaps I hadn’t understood as much as I’d thought, I captured her chin so she’d look into my eyes. When I knew I held her attention, I dropped my fangs, making hers drop again as well, and pointed at her and then myself before gently stroking her fangs as I repeated, “Whack a doodles.”
Her body visibly shivered at me touching her so intimately and her lust zoomed up as she hoarsely whispered, “You ain’t kidding.”
I could feel yet another emotional outburst building within her, but this one I was much more willing to entertain, so I released her from my Maker’s command to hold still and caught her body as it immediately dove towards mine. Our lips collided just as our bodies had and we quickly went to work ridding each other of our garments before I drove my body into hers. Doing so only drove home something else I’d been mistaken about.
Eternity wouldn’t be long enough.