Blood of the sky?
Hearing the mumbo jumbo coming from the Mambo Number 5 in front of us, I inconspicuously pinched myself in the hopes I would actually wake up.
But while my curse made me sneaky enough to kill with a kiss, the rest of me apparently wasn’t. It only cemented the idea that no matter what Voodoo Vader thought, I never would’ve been able to pull the wool over any billionaire’s eyes for long enough for me to black widow them because the poltergeist formerly known as Lauryn Hill eyed me knowingly while she practically sang out her melodious words of, “You won’t be waking from this.”
She was killing me softly…
Finding no refuge in the Fugees song now stuck on repeat in my mental playlist, I pushed it out of my mind and tried to pretend that she was right.
That this was actually happening.
That I was awake, standing in my backyard with a Hogwarts Alumni and an Uber driver, whose route took her back and forth between humanity and The Almighty.
With a vampire sheriff there – and my slayer-like blood – it was like I was in the middle of a bad episode of Buffy.
Focusing only on the present, I found myself asking, “The blood of the sky…what does that even mean?”
I was usually good at solving puzzles, but I had a feeling if she set up camp underneath any bridge, not even Edward Nygma would be able to cross it.
But not everyone was a specter – or even Phil Spector – so while I knew what blood tasted like, I couldn’t say for sure what the sky tasted like.
I imagined it would be something akin to Febreezy.
Maybe Eric would be willing to stop by the nearest Yankee Candle shop on the way back to his place, so I could at least get a whiff of what it’s supposed to smell like.
I was beginning to wonder if maybe she hadn’t heard me when she didn’t answer. And then I began to wonder if maybe there was an AA meeting she was missing because she walked over to the makeshift bar and tore open a bottle of rum, chugging it like we were at a frat party.
But before I could card her, cut her off, or call her an Uber cab, Eric spoke up and – looking like he’d seen one too many ghosts himself – he answered, “Your fairy lineage stems from the Royal House of the Sky Fae.”
I felt my eyebrow hit my hairline, with my head whipping his way to ask, “Royal? Like Roy. All. Tee?”
And without waiting for him to answer, I threatened, “I swear to God, if you’re fucking with me again, like with your Field of Bad Dreams, and telling me I’m really Sookie-rella, I’m gonna Papa Smurf your ass when you die for the day, so I won’t be the only royal blue one in the room. I know where you sleep.”
“The vampire tells the truth,” Fugee Mama interrupted and sounded half-wasted when she added, “But only the half-truth. You are both the light and the dark.”
But before I could ask if she was talking about my tan – or maybe because of my name, she was confusing me with a black and white cookie – she explained, “Dark magic fills your veins.”
What the Fugee fuck?
Like double, double toil and trouble?
I was tempted to tell her to go to Hell on the horse she rode in on, but she’d arrived there on the back of the Black Stallion’s son, Satan.
They obviously knew the way.
So instead I did what I did best.
I heard only what I wanted to hear and filed that little nugget away for future use in case of an emergency.
Like if Eric’s super sniffer got a whiff of any other little nuggets I might produce in his bathroom and he asked me what the smell was.
But obviously feeling like this situation qualified as an emergency, Eric broke it out first by asking, “What do you mean by, dark magic?”
I smirked with his question, but didn’t think now was the time to tell him about the brown eye of newt that I would be adding to the cauldron in his bathroom, when she replied as though it was the most obvious thing in the world, “Her blood.”
That told us nothing.
So King Jaffe Joffer donned his Admiral James Greer and took the helm of the conversation, looking at me to explain, “Your bloodline – to make you what you are – could have only come about through the mating of a fairy and a sorceress. Their individual magic would have had to have been very strong, so it makes sense that you have royal blood in your veins.”
“Makes sense?” I questioned, questioning my own sanity.
Because my grip on reality was long gone.
But Eric came with not only a super sniffer, but a freakishly strong handhold because he anchored me to my present nightmare with his hand grabbing ahold of mine and said, “So the legends are true. She was made to be a weapon to my kind.”
“Yes,” they both nodded at the same time I said, “No.”
But ignoring the only sane one in the group – me – Mufasa explained, “The magic would have only affected the females of your line. The males would have merely passed the trait on until a female was finally born.”
My mind automatically flipped through the family scrapbooks that I’d memorized forever ago and I gasped out loud, now seeing the proof in their pudding.
“The Stackhouse side,” I whispered. “They only ever had boys.”
Gran had miscarried her second pregnancy, so I couldn’t be sure what that would have produced, but I laughed without any humor, saying, “They’d seen it as a blessing back in the day. Having a son to pass on the family name.”
And I supposed it was a blessing.
I’d been born a curse.
But I shook off the sadness creeping up inside of me and tried to make sense of the nonsense by asking, “So what are you saying? I was put on God’s green earth to kill vampires?”
And without waiting for an answer, I pointed at the very alive – as he was going to get anyway – vampire at my side and said, “That was pretty piss poor planning, if you ask me.”
Sure, I had somehow managed to kill every other vampire that tasted my blood, but Eric had tasted more than that and he was just fine.
Which played no small role in how we both came to find out he would be just fine tasting more than just my blood.
He was too fine for my own good, really.
“Had you already shared your blood with her before the elf ran her tests?” Papa Jenkins asked, now looking at Eric.
The doctor was an elf?
Did she crank out cookies, while running the blood work of the damned, or cobble shoes for old men who should have retired already?
Thankfully, no one in the crowd appeared to be a mind reader, and Eric nodded before he seemingly thought to add, “But it isn’t only her blood that is deadly.”
His words had pulled out the cork I’d shoved into the hole in my heart to keep the ache inside because that wasn’t something I’d learned from any Doctor Keebler Cobbler.
The guilt and sadness washed over me like a tsunami, remembering how everyone I’d ever loved (and one I didn’t love at all) had died because of me.
And likely caught up in the riptide of my emotions, Eric put his hand on the small of my back to offer me what comfort he could with his touch, but pressed on nonetheless, explaining, “She drank my blood from a glass the first time. But the other times she had it directly from me, and I from her.”
His brow rose up, I assumed from hearing Eric say he’d had my blood numerous times.
Other than the whole she’s-as-deadly-as-Medusa’s-stare thing I had going on, I didn’t know why he was so surprised.
Of course he would’ve wanted blood for his main course.
But tired of every damn thing by that point, I spoke up and asked, “So what you’re saying is because I was the only pink blanket in my family, that’s why I’m cursed?”
Girl power had never sounded so lame.
But the Loco Loa Lauryn shook her head, giving me a false sense of hope before pulling the rug out from under my feet, with her reply of, “Gender is not the only ingredient to make one such as you.”
Me – Queen of the Damned.
Then popping the top off of another bottle – the perfume that time – she spritzed it on her body, like it was a can of OFF! bug spray and she was caught up in cloud of mosquitoes, before adding, “The child would have to be born with the spark.”
Was she talking about Thunder Ass?
I didn’t think I could summon the Power of Greystoke again – not that I really wanted to – so I didn’t know whether or not it was a good thing when she clarified, “The essential spark.”
Well that explained nothing.
Eric had been right. I didn’t know anything about their stupid-natural world and I wasn’t so sure I wanted to. For my entire life, all I’d ever wanted was to be normal. And since that wasn’t going to happen, at the very least I’d wanted answers that could tell me why I would never be normal.
But now that I had some of those answers, the only thing I could be sure of was that God had a twisted sense of humor.
And supposedly having a direct line to Him, it made sense when she cackled like a loon at the joke he’d made of my life and – without another word – she staggered over to her stallion Satan and made the gallop of shame back to Hell.
Smelling like a two-bit floozy from the perfume and alcohol wafting off of her.
The bitch in me hoped she got jacked up in some intermediary sobriety checkpoint.
Acting like the entire night had been nothing out of the ordinary – and maybe for him, it hadn’t been – Mr. Clean began cleaning up her mess, while saying, “The essential spark. It is what all fairies are born with. It is what gives them their magical powers.”
“Uh huh,” I nodded, more out of bitchiness than agreement. “Just call me Sparky.”
Maybe the local fire station company would take pity on me and adopt me as their mascot instead of a Dalmatian.
Either not noticing my attitude or – more likely – ignoring it altogether, he straightened up and kept his eyes on me, while seeming to talk to only Eric when he said, “I will do more research on her kind and get back to you.”
Was there some sort of library of the stupid-natural Westminster Kennel Club?
Probably next door to some discount knock-off of Olivander’s Wand Shop, Satan’s Shillelagh Sticks-R-Us.
Visions of old leather-bound books, filled with aged parchment and handwritten, using an ink dipped quill swam behind my eyes.
Maybe because I’d watched one too many episodes of Grimm and that Nick Burkhardt was a cutie.
He was a cutie patootie.
With all of the grim answers I’d gotten tonight, it would have at least softened the blow if I’d gotten them from a David Giuntoli lookalike rather than a James Earl Jones one.
But beggars couldn’t be choosers and Gran would’ve shot out of her grave to tan my hide if I didn’t show him my gratitude.
And with the way my night was going, that was a very distinct possibility.
So I forced a smile onto my face and said, “Thank you for everything you’ve done.”
His responding smile was more genuine than mine, making me feel like a heel – a hobbit’s heel, no amount of elves could cobble a shoe for – when he said kindly, “Remember, child. It is your choice in how you make your mark on this world. Knowledge is power and I will do what I can to help you learn more about what you are. But only you can decide who you are and who you will be.”
I felt even worse. Not just from his kind words, but for likening them to a fortune cookie and wondering if that was his day job.
After all, how much work could a voodoo high priest get in this day and age?
Once he’d left – and after I’d talked Eric into stopping to pick up a pint of the beef lo mein I was suddenly craving – we got back to his house where he just sat and stared at me while I ate.
“Want some?” I asked when I couldn’t take the silence any longer and held out the cardboard container towards him, smirking when he made a stank-face.
I had a feeling I would be seeing it again when he got a whiff of the dark magic it would produce later on…
“You are handling this surprisingly well,” he commented, ignoring my offering.
Only time would tell if he chose to ignore my sinister offering to the porcelain god later on.
So I chose to ignore the intent behind his words and went with the obvious of mine, by saying, “It’s only a pint. Not that much to handle.”
“You know what I mean.”
Sighing – because this chicken would much rather hide her head in a cardboard box of beef lo mein than deal with Kung Pao punch I’d been the recipient of that night – I asked, “What am I supposed to say? Do? I can’t change who knows how many generations of history. It’s because of me that I don’t have a single family member left to ask about fairies and witches knockin’ boots and gettin’ knocked up in the woodpile of our family tree.”
Then meeting his eyes with my own, I shrugged, “James Earl Jones’ doppelganger might believe I have any choice in the matter, but I think we both know that I don’t. The cards have been dealt, so I’m just playing my hand until it’s time to fold.”
Pulling me onto his lap, he made an exaggerated stank-face at the carton still in my hand, so set it off to the side and snickered, “Just wait until you get hit with what it smells like on the way out.”
And then I used an over the top telling creepy stories by the campfire voice, adding, “Dark magic.”
He smirked in return and mumbled with an eye roll, “I can’t wait.” But his expression morphed into something more serious – more sincere – when he said, “Your ancestors may have had evil intent behind your creation, but they failed. Spectacularly so.”
Before I could argue they obviously hadn’t – did he not see all of the Stackhouse grave markers in the cemetery? – he went on to add, “They intended you to be a weapon to my kind and yet here you sit, on the lap of a vampire. You put your own life at risk to rout out those who would seek to do me harm. They are to blame for the death of your loved ones, Sookie. Not you. The only dark in you is the knowledge they kept from you about what you are. The bokor was right when he said it is your choice in who you want to be and who you will become in the future. Whatever you decide that will be, I will be there with you.”
He sounded so certain.
Not only in my decision making, but confident that he would be there with me every step of the way.
His certainty certainly made me feel better.
But I was mentally exhausted and rather than beat a dead Loa’s horse, I chose to take a different route.
And feeling something else that had nothing to do with how happy he was to see me, I asked, “What was Mr. Mambo Jumbo talking about when he said something about us trading the mini Excalibur sword in your pocket?”
But I guessed Eric actually was happy to see me – really happy – because he brought his lips to mine – and they eventually made their way to other places on my body – until I forgot all about his obsession with SkyMall’s Most Expensive and Least Necessary.
And I was perfectly okay with that.