Just like Eric knows how to make a grand entrance…so does Deborah and her writing!
Deborah sent in the next chapter in her Eric & Sookie story, “The Dark Queen”, and it’s a GREAT chapter! OMFG, I had to read it a number of times before posting this, because it’s just SO good and awesome – but I’m warning you now – it has a few disturbing scenes!
Sorry for keeping you waiting after I teased you about it on Facebook! *hides* But trust me…you’re going to LOVE it! ♥
As you may recall – there were 2 polls featured at the end of the previous chapter, where you decided what happened next! Deborah was really excited by the results and hopes you like what she’s written!
Before you start reading, we wanted to remind you that you can now order Deborah Court’s novel, “Bound To The Prince” in paperback through Amazon.com! It will make a great Christmas gift for that special someone or a gift to yourself from “Santa”! You can order it here, along with the Kindle edition! Who says, you’ve been bad this year…? You deserve it for putting up with what happened on True Blood!
Now, we know you’re probably anxious to get started reading Chapter 4…but first, we have to warn you!
WARNING: The contents of this chapter contains extreme violence and disturbing scenes. Those under the age of 18, or have sensitive stomachs, probably shouldn’t read this. Please read at your own risk!
Now, on with the story…
The Dark Queen
By Deborah Court
Twelve hours earlier …
Fangtasia’s tasteful interior was dark and unnaturally silent while it was locked up for the day. Yvetta silently closed the door to the employee entrance, grinning to herself over the vampires’ stupidity. They hadn’t thought about changing the code of the safety lock, but why should they suspect her of coming back? Eric had paid her royally before he threw her out, hissing at her that he’d kill her if she ever dared to enter Fangtasia again. He hadn’t even bothered to compel her, assuming she was too cowardly to ever cross him again.
Well, he’d been severely mistaken.
She was smart enough to know that this place stank of money. That sonuvabitch had screwed the shit out of her, and he owed her much more than he’d given her. Although he was damn hot to look at and a magnificent fuck, she had hated every minute she’d spent in his presence. But she hated vampires, anyway – even if she liked working for them. They were great employers. Usually they were wealthy and paid much better than humans, if she let them take a sip of her blood and fuck her from time to time. It had been the same with the other vampire she had worked for undercover – the one who had sent her to Fangtasia to apply for a job as a dancer.
She had met him in a table dance bar for vampires, back in Baton Rouge. After she’d danced for him and spent a night with him in his hotel room, he had offered her a good sum for spying on his archenemy, the Sheriff of Area Five. He was particularly interested in all of Eric Northman’s business activities, and in his moves towards a human woman with whom both vampires seemed to be enamored. Yvetta had seen this plain little blonde a couple of times, never understanding what a man like Eric could possibly want from her.
One night, this Sookie had disturbed Yvetta’s six-hour romp with Eric in Fangtasia’s basement, and at first she’d been amused by Sookie’s shocked face. But then she had clearly seen raw desire flashing up in the other woman’s eyes, only briefly but long enough for Yvetta to notice. Eric had simply left her hanging there, even stopping to pleasure her just because that waitress had walked in. When they talked, both were lost in each other, not even realizing anymore that she was with them in the room. After Sookie had left, Eric had completely lost interest in Yvetta and just sent her away. It had been the last time he’d had sex with her. Being dumped because of that Miss Goody Two-Shoes from Bon Temps was an affront Yvetta couldn’t simply forget.
“Fucking Sookie,” Yvetta murmured as she crossed the empty club, heading towards the direction of Eric’s office. When she reached it, the door was locked. Cursing, she rattled at the door, but accomplished nothing. Then she remembered that there was a rack with keys behind the bar. She quickly fetched them and tried one after the other. Finally, the last one fit into the lock, and she opened the door. It was astonishing how little Eric cared about safety in his own four walls. She would have bet that he’d protect his waitress by all means; but a vampire of his age and power probably didn’t imagine that someone would be bold enough to steal from him.
She started with the filing cabinet in the corner, but all she found there were earning accounts of Fangtasia, written in black ink. They were kept in neat rows, in a slightly old-fashioned, determined handwriting that looked undeniably male. Obviously Eric had an aversion to computers, a fact that didn’t seem to apply to Pam, who had started to add printed-out accounts about a year ago, when Eric had suddenly vanished, just like Sookie Stackhouse.
What a coincidence.
Yvetta proceeded to Eric’s desk, opening the drawers and searching them for anything that would be valuable to her vampire employer. He had been most adamant in his demands, that she should find anything at all he could use against Eric. There was some trouble with the vampires’ Authority, she had not really understood but knew that the vampire who was paying her to sneak into Fangtasia one last time had been accused of something himself and now needed some evidence to get Eric booted while he got to keep his job – as vampire king of Louisiana.
Finding nothing, she crept under the table and ran her fingers along the smooth, polished mahogany, searching the wood for any discontinuity. Finally, she found a small hole and pushed her fingertip into it. She started to smile when she heard a faint click and saw a hidden compartment in the side of the table swing open. Reaching in, she retrieved a small, leather-bound notebook and several thick rolls of hundred dollar bills. She grabbed the money and stuffed it into the inside pockets of her jacket.
When she opened the notebook and scanned the pages, she knew that she had struck gold. It was clearly Eric’s handwriting, and on the first page, in an elegant italic script was the simple letter “V”. The other pages contained the names and addresses of several business partners, along with dates and quantities of bottles, measured in ounces, complete with earnings. She instantly knew what she had found.
She put the notebook into her handbag and emerged from beneath the table. Then she took out her cell phone and made the call that would make her a wealthy woman, if her employer kept his promise. With a bit of luck, she’d never have to work as a stripper again.
Unsurprisingly, she only heard the voice of the mailbox. Her boss was sleeping during the day, just like the other vampires. “Bill”, she said, knowing he would listen to the message as soon as he awoke. “I found something you’ll like very much. I think I have proof that Eric has been dealing vampire blood. You’d better grab the money you promised me and head over to the airport. My flight is departing at 10 p.m.”
Shutting down her phone, Yvetta rearranged the office so that – with any luck – no one would be able to tell she’d been here. If Pam noticed her scent later, she’d already be on the plane to Vegas.
With a triumphant smile on her face, she left the office, locked it behind her and replaced the key. She had just turned to leave the bar area when a deep, harsh sound drew her attention. Gasping, she crouched down to hide, hoping that the intruder had not seen her. She wondered who it was. Maybe that annoyingly stupid barmaid, Ginger.
When she heard the strange noise again, it had changed to something else, and it was definitely not human. Whatever the thing was, it made disgusting, sucking noises, like a fish on dry land that struggled for air. Did Pam keep a watchdog during the daytime? Even if this were true, Yvetta knew that no dog could ever utter such horrible, unnatural sounds which seemed to draw nearer and nearer. She was shivering with fear now, sensing that something deadly was in the room, and had found her scent, for the snapping noises got more frequent, and … greedy-sounding. She pressed her hand to her mouth to keep herself from screaming.
After a moment, she dared to breathe again. Silence had fallen over the vast room, and she almost laughed out with relief, telling herself that she had just been imagining things. She turned her gaze to the open end of the bar, intending to get up.
Without forewarning, a dark, slender form appeared in the opening, and Yvetta winced, a painful gasp of fear wrung from her chest. It was a tall, ebony-skinned woman, clad in a long, flowing azure dress. A turban of golden silk was wound around her head, and she wore huge golden earrings. She was beautiful in an exotic way, with huge, dark eyes that shone from a flawless face, and she held herself proudly, like a queen.
Yvetta’s strange fascination only lasted for a moment, for suddenly the woman’s eyes narrowed to slits and weren’t dark anymore, but light green, with vertical slits as pupils. When the woman smiled, she bore a pair of sharp fangs.
The woman turned her head and said something in rapid, harsh, French, making it sound like a command. Then she stepped aside, and a huge black shadow began to creep its way into the aisle behind the bar, heading directly towards Yvetta. Eventually she was able to see the creature’s face, and make out what it was.
Yvetta began to scream.
“What a mess,” Eric said, staring at the obscene parody of what had once been his club. Sookie was right behind him, reaching for his hand. He took it and turned to her, his eyes dark with concern.
“Sookie, I’d really like you to stay back,” he said. “Let me examine this first and make sure that there’s nothing left that might put you in danger. Will you listen to me just this one time?”
“Yes,” she breathed, stepping back from the pool of blood that threatened to stain her white linen slippers. She must be in shock, or why should she worry about her shoes right now? Wearing them had been a very bad idea, even if they made her tanned legs look good. On the other hand, she hadn’t known what would await them here when she had changed during the flight back to Shreveport. She most definitely was glad that she still had such foolish thoughts, since they were the only thing that kept her from screaming hysterically. What she saw on the dance floor was too gruesome to bear, and she quickly looked away.
She shuddered when Eric crossed the blood-covered dance floor in his biker boots, not caring about shoes at all. He looked more like the vampire she had met here for the first time, wearing jeans, a black shirt and a leather jacket. His hair had grown while they had been on the farm, almost reaching down to his shoulders now. He had combed it back, but a wayward golden strand fell over his forehead, making her fingers ache to touch it. Every time she looked at him, he seemed to be even more beautiful to her, although she’d never admit that to him.
Pam had left them alone, to give her master time to gain his own impression of what had occurred here. Eric waded through goo and organic remains Sookie didn’t even want to think about, heading to the grotesque sacrifice that had been tied to the dancing pole on the small dais.
It was Yvetta, the Estonian dancer – or what remained of her. Her hands were tied behind her back, and she was tightly bound against the pole in a mockery of her former job. Someone had slit her throat, and her body was sliced open from her chest to her navel. Her heart and several of her organs appeared to be missing, but they had not been cut out. It looked as if they’d been violently ripped from her body – by something with very sharp teeth.
“Something fed on her, eating her flesh and organs,” Eric said coolly, slowly circling the body but not touching it. “But it wasn’t a vampire, or she wouldn’t have bled out. A vampire couldn’t have restrained himself from draining her, smelling all that blood.”
Sookie only now noticed that he was struggling to control himself, too. His jaw was tight, and she saw that his hands were fisted, his knuckles even whiter than the rest of his skin. A younger vampire without his powers and experience probably would have gone into a mad killing frenzy by now. Sookie winced as a thought came to her.
“Couldn’t you taste her blood?” she suggested, trembling with disgust at the idea. “Wouldn’t it tell you what happened to her in her final moments?” At the same time, she wished that Eric hadn’t bonded with Yvetta.
He shook his head. “No. I never gave her my blood, didn’t even care to taste hers more than once or twice.” He threw her a backward glance. “There was another woman I was craving instead of her. She was nothing to me.”
Maybe it wasn’t the most sensitive thing to say in front of the dead woman’s body, but Sookie’s heart pounded faster as relief washed over her. When she had seen Eric in an intimate situation with his dancer, it had occurred to her that she was more beautiful than herself, more seductive … Sometimes she still wasn’t sure why Eric had chosen her. But deep inside she knew that he loved her with a force she couldn’t even begin to understand, and she’d never have to fear losing him to another woman. Since he had given his heart to her, it would belong to her forever.
However, at times he was simply too beautiful for her to believe that he was actually hers.
“I’m glad to hear it,” she admitted.
After giving her a hint of a smile, Eric returned his attention to the examination of the body. Sookie looked away when he reached into the woman’s mouth that was still opened like a silent scream, retrieving a strange-looking object. He stretched out his hand to show it to her.
“It’s the rooster’s claw,” he said, gesturing to the dead animal that was lying near the edge of the pool, “and some herbal ingredients I can’t identify. It’s supposed to make the dead speak.”
Sookie shivered. “What could she possibly tell us?”
Eric shrugged. “Nothing. What happened to her wasn’t a real voodoo ritual. Someone only wanted it to look like a religious sacrifice, but it wasn’t. It was a message, and it was directed at me. Maybe a warning, I’m not sure yet.”
Sookie gasped. “Eric, this could be a trap! And who would possibly do this, just to send you a message?”
“Actually, I have no idea. But I know a vampire who might be able to tell us more about it.”
“Us?” Sookie said.
“Yes, us. We’ll go to New Orleans together, my lover. We both know what you would do if I told you to stay back in Bon Temps.”
“Follow you anyway?” she suggested.
“Exactly,” he said, returning to her. He took Sookie into his strong arms and crushed her against his chest. “And who knows what could happen to you then. I want to have you at my side, where I’ll be able to protect you,” he said, placing a kiss on her lips.
Sighing, she buried her face against the cool silk of his shirt. She knew that he wanted to keep her safe from harm, but he also respected her own wishes when he simply could have told her what to do. “I fear you are stuck with this human, Viking,” she said, smiling.
For a long moment, he was holding her, listening to her heartbeat. Sookie felt an unfamiliar emotion through the bond. It was something like regret, almost anxiety, and he seemed to hesitate. Suddenly she knew that something was terribly wrong. Eric usually didn’t behave like this.
“There’s something I have to tell you, Sookie,” he said finally. “I don’t want to see you hurt, but I must tell you. There’s another victim here, a vampire – which, as Sheriff of Area Five, makes me duty-bound to hunt down the murderer. You didn’t notice since there’s not much left of him. I smelled his blood the moment I entered.” When he felt her stiffen with realization, he tightened his arms around her, never releasing her from his embrace.
“I am so sorry, Sookie. The other victim is … was … Bill.”
To be continued…
© All characters are the property of Charlaine Harris and True blood HBO. No copyright infringement is intended. No monetary compensation is gained. Used for entertainment purposes only.
The results of the polls had the highest amount of votes yet! The one about the murder victim had over 88% of you wanting Yvetta to die. In the other one, the majority of you (73%) wanted Eric and Sookie to play Mulder and Scully.
Now to today’s questions!
YOU, lovely readers, will decide the course of the story! But beware, today we have some serious q’s to answer! Choose wisely.
What will happen next?
- - Sookie’s grief over Bill’s death leads to a heated argument with Eric.
- - An unexpected survivor will reveal Bill’s plans to betray Eric to the Authority.
Who the heck will be king of Louisiana after Bill’s death?
- - Eric Northman
- - Russell Edgington
Cast your votes in the polls below! You have 48 hours to cast your votes starting…NOW!
Thank you SO MUCH Deborah!! The first thing I want to say is…DING-DONG KING BILL IS GONE!! LOL The second thing is, that was amazingly written, disturbingly brilliant and all-round astounding chapter!! Can’t wait to read more!!
I picked Eric to be King, of course. And an unexpected visitor will inform Eric on Bill’s betrayal! Looking forward to the next chapter!
Now it’s your turn…Deborah LOVES reading all of your comments, so please don’t be shy! Tell her what you think in the comment section below!