Back to the Past: Chapter 2
Without a seatbelt, I bounced around and hit my head on the ceiling. I gave up on holding onto my boobs and wound up kneeling backwards on the seat, gripping the back of the seat for dear life until I finally came to a stop. It was daylight again—seemed like early morning light, and I was in front of the mansion in Shreveport. I jumped out of the car and ran to the front door and started knocking on it. I knew Eric would be in his daytime rest and felt so incredibly frustrated that I couldn’t get inside. Just as I started to turn around to go and check the windows, the front door opened and a middle-aged man in a bathrobe answered it. His jaw dropped as he took in my appearance in my little sack dress. I blinked and stared at him for a moment, wondering who he was, but then decided it didn’t really matter. I just wanted to get to Eric.
I dipped into the stranger’s mind and he was just thinking that I was some crazy women—what else is new. I pushed past him and ran up the stairs towards Eric’s bedroom. I opened the door carefully and slipped inside so no light would spill into the room, and turned on the overhead light. The room was in perfect order and just as I remembered it from when we lived there in the future—the happy future where I was a shoe mogul and I lived with Eric. The future I was anxious to get to to be turned. But the bed was empty.
I pulled off my gunny sack and tossed it into the trash and stepped into the closet. One side was full of Eric’s clothes and the other held mine. I saw the odd shoes lined up on the floor on my side and started to look through the hangers until I found a pair of old blue jeans and pulled them on. I dug through the drawers of the dresser that sat in the center of the closet until I found a plain white t-shirt and pulled that on as well. I didn’t bother with underwear or shoes. I just wanted to find Eric.
I flung the door open and started into the hall and ran into the stranger who’d answered the door. “Where’s Eric?”
He looked at me blankly. “Um…ma’am. I don’t know anyone named Eric. May I ask who you are and what you are doing here?”
I listened to his mind and he was telling the truth. He didn’t know Eric. I opened my mouth to speak when I was interrupted by a voice behind me. “Sookie.”
I turned around and saw an old man in pajamas, tying the belt of his bathrobe as he emerged from a bedroom. “It’s alright, Nicholas. I know this woman. You can go back to bed.”
Nicholas nodded and turned to head back down the stairs. I faced the old man again. I recognized his thought signature, but didn’t understand how it was possible. He smiled at me and held his hands out. “It is you. How lovely to see you.”
He took my hands in his and as we touched, his thoughts intensified and there was no longer any doubt in my mind who he was. I gasped and whispered, almost to myself, “Hunter.”
He led me downstairs and offered me something to eat or drink as if I were a guest in his home. I only wanted Eric and told him so. He smiled sadly and sat me on the sofa, settling beside me. The painting over the mantel was a landscape. I realized that he was probably confused as to why I was there so I started to explain myself. “This is going to sound crazy, but I came here in a time machine.”
Hunter’s face lit up. “So, it is true. Eric invented a car that actually travels through time.”
“You heard about it?”
“Of course. He supposedly invented it when he was mourning your death and then brought you to him and convinced you to travel back in time and allow yourself to be turned so that you could be together. Such a romantic story.”
“Yeah, well it’s all true. I need to see him, Hunter. Please.”
“I’m so sorry, my dear cousin, but he is gone.”
“What do you mean? I need to find him.” I looked around the room. It was the same room, but there were no photographs of me or of Eric, and of course, the painting was different. I was starting to panic.
“He’s gone, Sookie.” He took my hand and I heard in his mind that Eric was finally dead. I snatched my hand away and stared at him.
“It can’t be true. The car wouldn’t have brought me here. It finds his DNA.” I felt the sting of tears, but just wiped them away thoughtlessly.
“I don’t know all the details, but I can tell you what I’ve heard. Do you want to hear it?”
I nodded and stopped bothering to wipe the tears away.
“After he turned you, you lived here together for a number of years as the king and queen of Louisiana. But because of your telepathy, many other monarchs tried to steal you away or coerce you or even purchase you, but of course, you’d never leave Eric.
“Then one day you were kidnapped during the day by humans who worked for the king of Morocco. They slaughtered your human security staff and bombed their way in, damaging a part of the mansion that has since been repaired. You were taken and held against your will in the palace of the king in Casablanca. As soon as Eric learned of your location, he organized a contingent of Louisiana vampires to rescue you. Many weres and Weres also joined forces with the vampires because of their loyalty to you.
“They stormed the palace and there was a bloody battle for your freedom. Many were killed, including the king himself. It is said that Eric beheaded him as he sat on his throne. The Moroccans were defeated, but unfortunately, Eric was killed in battle. You returned to Louisiana with the remaining vampires and lived in this house alone before finally meeting the sun in despair.
“I was a still a fairly young man when I inherited the house and Stackhouse Shoes. Well, I share the company with Jason’s children, of course. I have lived a rich and happy life here, thanks to your generosity. In your honor, I have left your living quarters just as you left them.”
I silently wept through his story. “And what about Pam?”
He shook his head. “I don’t know of a Pam.”
“Pam Ravenscroft, Eric’s child.”
“You were the only child of Eric’s that I knew of. I’m so sorry to have to tell you all this, Sookie.”
I shook my head to clear it. “This doesn’t make sense, though. He can’t be gone. Why would the car bring me here if he’s not here?”
“You said that the car finds his DNA?”
“Yes, he designed it to always find him because he’s the only one who knows how to operate it. I can’t get back to the past without him.”
“Wait. I have an idea. Perhaps we can learn how to operate it ourselves.” He stood and held a hand out for me. “Come with me.”
We went out the front door and around the house until we came to what looked like a pair of garage doors. Hunter started to open one, but it was too heavy for an old man, and so I helped him. We walked down a paved ramp to another set of doors, but this time, I raised one myself. Hunter flipped on a light switch and we found ourselves inside a large windowless room full of work tables and desks. Tools were mounted on large peg boards covering the walls. There were five different computer monitors on the desktops connected to all kinds of equipment by tangles of wires. There was a thick layer of dust on every surface. “I don’t touch things in here, but I have enjoyed looking. I have no idea what most of the tools are for, and there are these books.” He led me to a stack of books on a table. One was open and I recognized Eric’s handwriting in it. The pages were covered with script and small geometric renderings. I blew the dust off and read some, but it made little sense to me.
“This was his workshop.” I assumed that this was where he had built the time machine. There were panels in the floor like I’d seen at mechanics’ shops, so the car could be raised up and worked on from beneath.
“Perhaps we could decipher his notes and learn how to send you back. If not, we could hire scientists…”
“Have you looked in there?” I spotted a small refrigerator in the corner of the room.
“No, I told you, I never touch anything.”
I walked to the corner and opened the refrigerator door. There were two bottles of True Blood on the shelf. Then I opened the small freezer compartment and there it was: a little ziplock bag with four used condoms in it. “We don’t have to learn how to operate the car, Hunter. I know a way for it to take me back to Eric.”
I held the baggie out for Hunter to see it. He scrunched up his face, trying to figure out what I had, and when he did, he smiled and looked at me both amused and puzzled.
“Eric’s DNA. It’s what the car runs on.”
I didn’t want to spend any more time in this future than I had to, so I said my goodbyes to Hunter and thanked him for all his help. For the first time, I was a little bit afraid as I got into the car, not knowing exactly where or to what time it might take me. I wished that Eric was with me to set my course, but I had to trust that the car would take me to Eric and hoped that I’d find an Eric that knew how to get me back to the present. My trepidation was increasing with each trip through time and I wondered what kind of havoc I had wreaked by leaving my clothes and the contents of my pockets back in the time when Pam was burned up. It was all so complicated and over my head. What started out as a great idea to make me appreciate Eric more was quickly turning into a nightmare with severe and serious consequences.
I pulled the baggie from my pocket and retrieved an already unfrozen condom, returning the remaining fuel to my jeans pocket. After I’d filled the tank, I turned and waved a last goodbye to Hunter before turning around and sitting on my knees, grabbing the back of the seat. I reached back and turned on the ignition and I was off to find yet another Eric somewhere in time, but I had no idea where or when that might be.