Back to Normal: Chapter 2
Eric and I decided that it was time that he resurfaced, and we told Pam and Bill and Jason what had happened. Since Victor Madden was dead, we could go back to Louisiana. We planned a trip, but the closer we got to going back, the more I began to doubt our decision. I couldn’t help but recall how I felt when we were last there together, wondering whether or not we should move forward, worrying about a future with a political vampire. I even started to feel jealous again thinking of the lines of fangbangers in the bar. Suddenly being back there felt like a big step backwards, and I just wanted to stay where we were. It was all irrational, I know, but I couldn’t help how I felt.
Eric kept saying that he was completely committed to me and my happiness, but then he told me about another woman that he had been in love with. It was very hard to sit still and listen to him speak of another woman that way, and I felt the familiar wave of jealousy. I hate that feeling—will I throw up? Faint? Cry? Then he told me how she died and I lost it. It was so sad. My heart broke for Eric and all I kept thinking was that he would suffer at my own death the same way. Would I be just another sad tale that he told some future love of his? It was all just too overwhelming.
Eric wanted to console me, but I just wanted to be alone and asked him to leave. He walked out to the beach and I proceeded to have a good solid cry. My face was in my hands when I became aware that someone was in the room with me, but still sensed Eric far down the beach and felt a brief instant of fear. I opened my eyes to see none other than the recently finally deceased Victor Madden standing in front of me with a sickening smile on his face.
“Sookie, my dear. How lovely to see you.”
I started to jump up, but before I could move, his hand was over my mouth and I smelled a strong chemical smell, and then I was out.
I’m not certain how long I was unconscious, but when I came to it was dark and I seemed to be lying on a bed and it felt like I was on a boat. I tried to feel Eric and he was fairly close. I sensed no human brains nearby but there were two empty vampire voids. My head ached and I was lying on my back with my wrists and ankles bound to the corners of the bed, but I was still clothed. I wondered how I got there, but I couldn’t remember anything beyond being in the hammock and seeing Victor.
I was shocked to see Victor of course, and then chastised myself. If Eric could fake his own death and fool the world, why couldn’t Victor Madden? And why would he kidnap me? Then I had the sickening thought that I was lying here, tied up like bait in a trap. Victor wanted Eric dead. And somehow since Eric’s announcement that he still lived, Victor had gotten wind of it and wanted Eric. I closed my eyes and tried to force calm through the bond. I tried to think happy thoughts. I didn’t want Eric coming after me to save me, because I knew that this was a trap.
I heard voices above me on what I assumed was the deck of this boat, and within minutes, Victor came into the room and turned a light on. I tried to pull my knees together, aware that I was wearing a skirt, but my ankles were tied too tightly to the bed frame. Victor was grinning as he spoke, “Good morning sunshine! How are you feeling?”
“Look Victor, I know what you want, and I think we can work something out.”
“Oh, really? The human tied up on my boat wants to negotiate with me? You are funny, my dear.”
“We don’t need to involve Eric in this, Victor. I was planning on leaving him anyway. Honestly, when you found me, we had just had a huge fight and I told him I was leaving. He’s so mad at me right now, he probably won’t even try to find me. Seriously.” He just kept smiling as if I was the most amusing little child telling a fairy tale.
Then he grew serious and said in a menacing tone, “Northman made a fool out of me. I knew that his death was too easy. I should have taken care of it myself the first time. I would still be on the throne if it weren’t for him. He will die and I will return to power. He is just a loose end that I need to tie up before reclaiming my kingdom.” He kept babbling on about revenge and his being king again. I decided that I would offer a trade.
“Victor, listen. I am a free agent now. I am. You can have me. You can drink my blood every night, have sex with me all you want. (And here I swallowed hard before I could go on.) You can turn me and I’ll be your child. I’ll help you get your power back. Together we can take back Louisiana.” I was determined to save Eric if it was at all possible. I would do anything to protect his life.
“How sweet. You’re sacrificing your little self for your boyfriend. You stupid cow, I can do all of that and still kill Northman. I don’t need your pathetic help to return to my throne. When I am king again, you will be my property. You’ll be so fucked and drained into submission, by the time I’m through with you you won’t even remember Northman. You think you’re in a position to bargain? With me?”
I heard a scuffle on the deck above me and a man’s scream. I knew Eric was near and he was pissed. I screamed, “It’s a trap!” just as Victor slapped me across my face. He didn’t have to use much force, but I wondered if my jaw was broken from the contact. The pain was overwhelming. Then he stepped back and put his hand on a rope that was hanging against the wall.
At that moment, an extremely bloody and enraged Eric burst through the door, and I watched in defeat as a silver net dropped from the ceiling and covered him. He first fell to the floor, screaming in pain and anger, but then stood and faced Victor still wearing the net. I turned my head to see that Victor was wielding a huge sword and to my horror he swung it and sliced through the net and the front of Eric’s shirt just as Eric jumped back. Blood splattered on the wall as Eric staggered back and fell to the floor again. I could see his flesh burning from the net as he tried to stand again. His blood was all over the floor from the wound in his chest, and I watched as he slipped in it, losing his balance and falling forward. As if in slow motion, Victor raised the sword, aiming it at Eric’s neck. As the sword came down, I saw Eric roll to his left and the blade came down on his hand, slicing fingers off. I noted tiny links of silver netting flying through the air along with Eric’s fingers and a stream of blood. I heard a high pitched scream and realized that it was mine, and then there was nothing.