It is September, and school is back in session for the students of the world. To help celebrate this right of passage, Charlaine Harris (and several other authors) has recently published a collection of short stories that have a school theme. The anthology is entitled “An Apple for a Creature” and contains what could possibly be the last short story from the Sookie universe, “Playing Possum” featuring Sookie and Hunter. In fact, Sookie and Hunter are the only existing characters we see in this story (Remy and Erin are mentioned but not a part of the story) and all happens during the school day. Yeah sure, Merlottes gets an honorable mention, with Sookie feeling the effects of working the night prior, but this story all takes place in Red Ditch. Sookie was bringing homemade cupcakes to Hunter’s class to celebrate Labor Day. A normal activity, right?
But it would not be a normal day in the life of Sookie unless something goes terribly wrong. And it did, but not in the supernatural way. Sure, we have 2 telepaths and a witch (substitute teacher for Hunter’s class. She also has met Amelia) but it was the human ex boyfriend of the school secretary who shows up at the elementary school.
With a gun.
This story was aptly named “Playing Possum”, for that was what Sookie did while this mad man roamed the halls looking to kill his ex girlfriend. It was really intense, the waiting. Waiting on the floor pretending to be dead/injured. Waiting for the police to show up. Waiting and hoping to make sure the children are hidden and safe. Waiting while the principle (who was shot) continues to bleed. Waiting for the right moment to help take the gunman down. This moment is a collaborative effort between Sookie communicating via Hunter to his witch teacher Ms Sabrina Yarnell who used her powers (and a few well thrown apples) to assist the police woman in arresting the gunman.
The story ends with the gunman in custody, the parents rushing to the school. We also see the resilience of the kids through this ordeal as they start dealing with what happened. Some with tears, some willing to be distracted with song and cupcakes. And one with a well aimed apple at his fellow classmate.
Now, I need to deal with my reactions to this story.
This story could possibly have been the most scariest thing I have ever read… and Vampires, Weres or shifters were not even mentioned in this short story. As a member of the generation who has seen the aftermath of Columbine, the DC Sniper terror, the Virginia Tech shootings, and most recently Aurora, Colorado… this story hits very close to home. Yes, this is a work of fiction, but the chills you may feel reading this story won’t be of the happy variety. Whether Charlaine meant to or not, she has taken on a very serious subject matter. This may be a story that many are not ready to read, but I am glad Charlaine has done so.
All and all, it is always good to slip back into the Sookie universe and spend time with our favorite telepathic barmaid/bar owner.
Now if only we can have an Eric side story, while waiting for the final book. I say side story cause there is nothing short about him.
For those who have read “Playing Possum”, what are your reactions? Please share below.