Things are starting to get very interesting in this latest chapter by Deborah!
Eric goes searching for Sookie, but winds up getting a surprise he never expected! What’s that? You will have to read to find out! Hehehe…sorry for being a tease.
There is not a poll at the end of this chapter, but there is a short little quiz! Let’s see if you can predict what happens in this story and get your thinking caps on!
*hums the theme song to the Jeopardy game show.*
♪ ♪ Do, do, do, do, do, do, do…do, do, do, do, do, do, do-do-do, do. Do…do, do, do, do-do-do. ♪ ♪
Before you start reading and answering the quiz, we’d like to remind you, that you can order Deborah Court‘s novel, “Bound To The Prince” – through Amazon.com! Plus, she has a new novella, just released – titled, “House of Pleasure”! You can order it for your electronic devices such as; Kindle and Smashwords!
Because it’s a Monday and you know how those can be, or you can’t remember anything about this story or just want to catch up on all of the chapters – you can read The Dark Queen here!
There’s no time limit on the quiz…this is just to test your knowledge, have fun and get your minds working again after the weekend!
We’re bored you long enough…let’s see what’s in store for Eric, as he searches for Sookie! Read Chapter 10 below!
The Dark Queen
By Deborah Court
Royal Street belonged to one of the more refined areas of New Orleans, featuring an exotic mix of art galleries, antique shops, boutiques and first-class hotels, the most renowned being Eric’s. On this particular evening, the tourists that had been strolling along the sidewalk scattered away like frightened chickens when they heard the deafening noise of smashing glass as a full-sized cupboard was thrown out of the penthouse window and landed in the pool of the balcony. Soon the street was covered with tiny shards that rained from the heavens like the tears of a glass giant.
When the passersby heard the deep cry of pain from above, its sheer, heartbreaking agony made them shudder with fear. So they instinctively chose to continue their way, not daring to loiter on the sidewalk to feed their curiosity. Maybe they sensed that a predator was about to lose control, a creature that could end their fragile existence with a single blow. Eager to get away as swiftly as possible, they hurried away, and no one thought of calling the police. As a result, no one was hurt when an antique pianoforte came down from the top floor and crashed into a million pieces on the pavement.
Eric knelt beside the bed, the only intact piece of furniture that had remained in his penthouse. Gripping the sheets so hard he tore them apart without even noticing, he greedily inhaled her scent still clinging to them. It was the only thing that was left of her, and it faded as rapidly as the human life she was desperately holding on to. He could feel her pain, her panic as she screamed for him to come and rescue her, kill whoever had dared to take her away from him.
Oh, how he wished he could. In the same moment he had seen the message on the mirror, he had been on his way to Gervais’s house, not even bothering to open a window. Hovering over the estate, he had known all at once that she wasn’t there. He couldn’t feel her anymore; it was as if his senses were dulled, as if he’d been struck dumb and blind at the same time. Perhaps the drug he had so foolishly indigested during last night’s dinner was strong enough to leave him bereft of his powers, rendering him weak and helpless.
When he decided to circle over the city instead, attempting to locate her, it was just the same. He could feel her, knew how she suffered and finally became unconscious, still alive but weakened. Her silent cries ripped through his soul, causing deep, gashing wounds. He felt that she needed his blood to survive, and he would have gladly rammed a stake through his own heart to give it to Sookie – if he only knew where to find her.
After a few hours, he gave up, returning to his hotel to contemplate what to do next. However, when he entered through the smashed window, smelling her sweet scent still lingering in the air, he lost it. Now the apartment so lovingly decorated by Pam was completely destroyed, and he didn’t give a damn. He could have killed a dozen people down on the streets with all the pieces of furniture he had thrown out of the windows, but he didn’t care.
All he wanted was to have her back, to keep her safe after he had failed her so badly. The sheets were stained dark from his tears when he finally stood up, intending to go to the one place he could hope to find help. It was the first time he was forced to ask for it, but even that was nothing in comparison to the torture of knowing that she might be lost to him forever.
Mama Valerie’s shop was closed when he arrived, a sign on the door confirming this. Eric knocked twice. When no one answered, he ripped the door from its hinges with a single movement of his wrist. He’d pay the priestess for it later. Entering, he tried to pierce the darkness with his sharp eyes, but there was no sign of anybody, not a sound, not a smell, although he believed that he sensed … something indefinable.
The back area was pitch black. Only a beam of light from the street fell through the entrance. Eric saw well enough what had happened here. The shop was in a state of total chaos – all the shelves thrown over, Valerie’s countless jugs with their ingredients smashed, the contents spilled over the floor. Every drawer was torn out and seemed to have been searched through, books and yellowed papers with unrecognizable drawings spread across the room.
Someone had searched for something that had been hidden here. Evidently, they hadn’t found it, as the room looked as if it had been destroyed out of anger. A piece of fabric lay on the floor beneath the knocked-over workbench. When Eric walked over to pick it up, he saw that it was Mama Valerie’s turban. His keen nose told him that the blood in which it was drenched was undeniably hers. So they had taken her, too.
There was a soft sound in one of the corners. He whirled around but saw nothing. Probably it was just a rat from the alley, drawn into the house by the indescribable stench of some of the released ingredients – many of which were of animal origin. He shook his head in the futile attempt to clear it. His senses still had to be impaired if he couldn’t even make out a small animal that was hiding in the debris.
He turned to go when he was suddenly overwhelmed by the strong feeling that he’d missed something. His thoughts had only been occupied with Sookie’s safety so far; but now he realized that he had overlooked the clues that were so obvious.
What had Mama Valerie’s abductors been looking for? He couldn’t shake off the feeling that her disappearance was related to Sookie’s. He had sought out the priestess just the day before, and now she was gone, just like his lover. But what would a powerful vampire like Gervais want from a voodoo priestess, the item’s absence so important to him that he destroyed the whole shop? Normally vampires his age didn’t lose their self-restraint so easily.
It was clear that Gervais planned some ritual, and he might have searched for a rare ingredient here. Yet if this was true, why would he have taken Valerie with him if she didn’t have it? Why not just go and look somewhere else for it? No. It must have been something else he wanted.
‘What was it, Mama Valerie?’ he thought. Undoubtedly he had not gotten what he had been looking for, or he’d just have killed the woman and left her lying dead on the floor. Gervais practically ruled the city, and Eric was sure that he had undermined the police, too.
All at once, the truth struck him. There was only one answer.
“Knowledge,” he whispered. Some of the rituals that were considered dark voodoo, or Petro, as their religion was called, had been written down in ancient texts that were known only to a few. Their secrets were safely kept, only handed down to the most worthy from generation to generation.
So Gervais couldn’t perform his ritual without Mama Valerie’s wisdom. Eric began to pace up and down the room, trying to think. He didn’t stand a chance of knowing what it was that the Mamba protected from her intruders without finding her first, and he wasn’t sure if she was still alive.
By chance his gaze wandered to the working bench. It was lying on its side, and when he examined it further, he realized that there was something wrong with the proportions of the table. Quickly he ran his hand along the underside of the countertop and found that it seemed to be narrower on the left. He traced the outline of the wood with his finger and wasn’t surprise when a secret compartment opened. It contained a small book that seemed to be very old. Eric opened the leather-bound cover and began to read.
A sound from behind made him turn around and stare in the eyes of the most absurd creature he had ever seen. He didn’t know how it had managed to sneak up on him without him noticing. The drug must still be affecting him, and the thing didn’t make a sound as it rose from a crouching position to its full height, which was that of a tall man’s. Eric now knew that this was what he had been smelling – a sickening mixture of mold, dried blood and rotten, decomposing flesh.
The creature’s eyes were dark and empty like dried-up wells, with just a hint of life lurking somewhere in their soulless depths. But as he watched, there was intelligence in them, rising up to the surface with an expression of raw, blind hate. The man opened his mouth – for this was what it once had been, a tall black man who was now wearing half-rotten clothes, nothing more than a cruel mockery of the life this body had once held. He tried to speak, but only dry, croaking sounds came out of his throat, his tongue a useless, shriveled piece of mummified flesh in his mouth.
Only witchcraft that had gone terribly wrong could have created such a zombi, as the voodoo priests called the walking dead. Although Eric felt very much alive, the thought crossed his mind that maybe he himself wasn’t supposed to walk this earth, just like the black monster that was leaping at him right now, probably not knowing that it didn’t stand a chance against a vampire his age.
“Where is Mama Valerie?” Eric hissed. His hand closed around the zombie’s neck, ready to snap it into pieces like a dry twig. “Where is Sookie?” he asked as he rammed his fist into the creature’s chest, ready to rip its heart out. When the undead laughed, it sounded like nails scratching over a chalkboard.
“You’ll never find her on your own,” he croaked, every word painfully wrung from his throat. His Creole accent still distinguishable. “She is … dead meat. All that matters is her blood.”
Eric lifted his arm until the zombie’s feet dangled in the air. “I want her back. Now, or you’ll leave your worthless life as quickly as you have gained it back.” His other hand closed around the creature’s heart, the only thing in his body that was filled with blood, stubbornly pumping to bring life into this corpse.
“Go on and kill me,” the man said, chuckling. “It wouldn’t be the first time. But my wife wouldn’t like this at all. Oh no, Monsieur. She’d kill your fairy with pleasure, and she would suffer more than you’d ever be able to imagine.”
Eric closed his eyes for a moment as he fought to restrain himself. Slowly, he lowered the man to the floor and retrieved his hand from the creature’s chest, but still held on to his throat.
“What do you mean, it wouldn’t be the first time?” he growled.
“I know you, Eric Northman,” the creature whispered, an evil smile spreading across its mummified face. “And you know me. My name is Jacques Paris. Do you remember the year of 1820? It was a good year. I was happily married, and my wife was carrying our first child.”
“I … remember you,” Eric said, aghast. An image began to form in his mind, a memory of a well-spoken, charismatic man whom he had once met. Jacques Paris had been a free Haitian, and the beloved husband of the most powerful woman in all of New Orleans. He released the zombie from his grasp, staring at him in disbelief. “I killed you. But who could have raised you from the dead, if not …”
“Yes,” the creature replied, his black, liquid eyes glittering with delight. “Marie Laveau is still here, after all that time. And now you’ll bring me back to life – my real, human life. Find out which last ingredient is needed to perform the ritual, and meet us tomorrow at the cemetery as planned. Should you fail, your human’s screams will haunt you throughout eternity.”
With surprising speed, Jacques left the room. Crawling out of the window like a huge beetle, he melted into the night. His mocking laughter was still ringing in Eric’s ears long after he was gone.
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.
There are no polls concerning the plot today as Deborah’s story is rapidly progressing to the next chapter, but we have a mystery quiz for you! Can you predict the course of the story?
We now know the identity of the monster. But what is Gervais’ part in the whole plan? What does he want to gain from the ritual?
- unimaginable power
- he wants to revive someone he lost
- he wants a cure for a mysterious illness
Where is Sookie hidden?
- in a crypt
- in the old sewers
- in St. Louis cathedral
What will Eric do next?
- sleep until his full powers are restored
- wander the streets and search for Sookie
- visit a voodoo show
Think you know what’s going to happen? Let’s put that to a test! Choose which answer you feel is the correct one, in the poll boxes below! You will be able to read the results and there’s NO time limit! Good luck!
For those interested in the poll results from the last chapter…here you go!
39.83% of you, chose that Eric will visit Mama Valerie and ask for advice!
64.1% of you, want Eric to meet Gervais at Marie Laveau’s grave in the St. Louis cemetary!
Thank you once again, Deborah! Ooooh, this is getting suspenseful now! Can’t wait to read more! Wonder what will happen when this Jacques is made human once again? This is really getting good and there’s much more that meets the eye!
Now it’s your turn…Deborah loves reading all of your comments! Please tell her what you think and feel free to share the predictions you picked, in the comment section below!