Sookie’s Turn: Chapter 2
Waking my second night felt much easier than my first. I suppose that I had adjusted my levels of sound, sight, touch so that it wasn’t all quite so overwhelming but still extremely pleasurable. Eric was beside me with the glass of blood again but this time he was only wearing a smile and I was very happy about that. We packed a small bag and stopped at Fangtasia on our way to the airport.
Pam and I exchanged what I had previously learned was an appropriate nod when two vampires greeted each other, but we were both beaming with delight at my new status. As I entered the bar, however, my smile quickly faded as I realized that something was terribly wrong with my telepathic abilities. It was as if someone had turned the volume way down rather than up. Every other sense was greatly enhanced, yet the thoughts and feelings of the humans in the room were severely muffled, almost as if under water. Eric sensed my panic and he ushered me and Pam straight back to his office and closed the door. I sat on the sofa and tried to explain it all to Eric. He nodded, taking in my explanation.
“Is this normal, Eric?”
“I don’t know, love. I’ve never known a telepath who was turned. These are uncharted waters.”
I turned to a very serious Pam. “Would it be possible for me to try to read someone?”
She quickly returned with a young woman who was clearly a regular fangbanger. She was dressed in the usual black leather and lace and had several fading fangmarks from her neck down to her perfect cleavage. She smelled incredible. I was aware of her pulsating veins, but can’t actually say that I wanted to taste her. It was like appreciating a beautifully dressed turkey at Thanksgiving even if you’re a vegetarian. I wondered if I would find it equally as easy to resist a young handsome man. Pam explained to the young woman that I needed to touch her and not to be frightened. She clearly was used to being around vampires and did not look in the least like she would be afraid of me. I leaned forward as she sat down and put my hand on her forearm.
“What’s your name?”
“Would you mind terribly trying to think something directly at me?”
“Not at all.” She smiled silently and I closed my eyes. All I sensed was that same vague muffled sound—no words, no specific images.
“Okay, now could you think of a specific thing? Like an object or a person?
“Sure.” This time the sound was almost undetectable and I felt something vaguely light blue, maybe fuzzy or soft, but it was so unclear. I looked to Eric and he must have sensed my frustration.
“What are you thinking of, Carmen?” Eric watched me as she answered.
“Elvis Presley.” My mouth must have been open. I never in a million years would have known that the silent light blue something was even a person.
“Wait. What was he wearing?”
“Um…one of those jumpsuits with the jewels on it.”
“Thank you Carmen.” I released her arm and Pam ushered her from the room.
“What is it, lover?”
“It’s bizarre, Eric. It’s all fuzzy and muted. I can’t read anything. In a way, it’s almost a relief. I mean if those senses were as heightened as my others, I might feel completely overloaded. But as it is, it’s almost as if my shields are up all the time.”
“Can you read me? Don’t be afraid to tell me if you can.”
“No, nothing. I would have mentioned it by now, believe me. This whole bar full of people is just white noise, and I don’t even think I could pick out the vampires. You’re all usually voids in my mind, but now it’s all too vague to even try to separate people.”
Pam came back and Eric left her with instructions before we drove to the airport. Eric held my hand when he wasn’t changing gears and it comforted me in my confused state.
I concentrated on reading people at the airport, on the plane, and then again when we checked into our hotel in Knoxville, but it was all the same. Carmen’s light blue blob was the clearest image I had received and I was touching her and focusing at the time. In just milling about with humans, I had no idea what people were thinking. It did worry me a little, but a part of me felt relieved that I was free of the constant din of voices and images. Eric and I wondered whether or not this would change as I began to get more comfortable in my new skin. I almost hoped that it wouldn’t.
We still had most of the night ahead of us and so we drove in our rental car to Bear Creek. I directed Eric to my apartment and he sat patiently while I boxed some personal items—mostly clothes and photo albums. I took framed pictures of John off the walls and Eric brought me a tissue so I wouldn’t get blood on the carpet while I cried quietly. I saw him studying one of the photos and he excused himself and returned moments later with red-rimmed eyes. I didn’t need a bond to tell me how he was feeling. He stuffed an envelope with money while I wrote out instructions to my building manager on where to send the boxes that I’d sealed and marked and to please donate the rest (or to help herself to anything she might want).