Chapter 40 – She’s gone where the goblins go
March 30, 2004
The next evening, Sookie was napping on the couch at Fangtasia when two women barged into the room, startling her awake. She’d returned Hunter to his daycare earlier that day, but her short nap at home before Fangtasia wasn’t enough to make up for the busy days with a 3 year old and she fell asleep in the middle of doing homework. The taller of the two women yelled to Eric. “Vampire! My name is Hallow and I’m here to set my fees for protection money.”
Eric actually chuckled at the woman. “Protection money? You believe you can protect me? Just what would you protect me from?”
The woman stood tall and proud and answered. “Protection from a very powerful witch. Specifically: me.”
He stood so quickly his chair flew and hit the credenza behind his desk, cracking the wood at the impact. His fangs were down and he loomed over the woman, but he did not touch her. He knew witches could spell themselves. “You dare to threaten me?”
“Step back vampire. Since I believe you are unsure of my abilities, I’ll give you a sample.” She nodded to her partner.
A few minutes passed and Eric smirked. “And what is this sample? I don’t see anyth . . . ”
Just then, Pam ran into the office. “Master, all the toilets in the bathrooms just clogged and started overflowing.”
He turned to the witch. “Explain.”
“I want 50% of your business for my protection. I’ll be back in a week’s time to settle this with a contract. If you don’t comply, problems will occur all over your bar, EVERY night. I can create spells for spoiled blood, mini floods, and dangerous cracks in your dance floor. You know, things that will put you out of business. I’ll show myself out and put your restrooms back in order before I leave as a sign of good faith.” She turned and left the office.
When Pam followed them, Sookie finally spoke. “I heard them, it’s bad”
THAT had his attention and he vamped to her side, kneeling on the floor. “What did you hear min kära?”
Pam returned to the office before she answered but she remained quiet while Sookie answered. “We need to call Alcide.”
“The woman talking was a Were, so I think he should know.”
“Yes, I smelled Were before the magic.”
“More importantly, they started on some Were businesses in the area first. Thank goodness I can hear Weres now or we would’ve missed some pretty important stuff. There’s a Were that owns a Bridal Shop that has refused their ‘protection’. Eric, they’re planning to kill her tomorrow as an example. She’s got to be part of his pack, he needs to know.” She started to wring her hands from worry. “There’s more, but can we cover the rest after Alcide gets here?”
“Sure. I’ll call him to come over. He’ll probably bring his Packmaster.”
“Eric,” Pam started, “Did you smell the vampire blood?”
“Yes, that’s very troublesome. How many left with the two from the office?”
“Two others that had been in the bar while she stormed in here.”
Eric placed the call to Alcide and since it was still early, just about 10PM, Alcide was able to call Flood and arrive at Fangtasia quickly. Eric stood and handled the introductions. “Colonel Flood, may I introduce my bonded and fiancée Sookie Stackhouse? And you remember my child Pam.”
“Ladies, a pleasure. I’m the Packmaster of the Long Tooth Pack. I’ve heard a lot about you already Miss Stackhouse.”
“Certainly, please call me James. I understand you heard a threat to one of my pack?”
Looking at Alcide while she spoke she confirmed “You’re aware of my ability?” She shifted her focus back to the Colonel and saw him nod. “We were visited by two women tonight. One who called herself Hallow, claimed to be a witch but was also a Were. She threatened Eric in an attempt to negotiate for 50% of his business intake. Then she flooded the bathrooms as proof. While she and Eric were talking, I was listening. Her friend was thinking about their tasks for tomorrow, including a trip to a Bridal Shop – Verena Rose or something like that? Do you know it?”
“Yes, the owner, Adabelle, is part of my pack.”
“Well, please warn her, they plan to return tomorrow and kill her for lack of compliance. They want to get a message out early for the Weres.” She turned to Eric. “This is the part I haven’t told you yet, the part where we were waiting.”
He pulled her back into his lap and she settled in for the comfort. “Go on.”
“This Hallow and her brother are both Weres. Their plan is to take over and control all the supe businesses in the Shreveport area using some other local witches they have recruited. This is their second large city in the south. Jacksonville Arkansas being the first due to the high Were population there. They’ve already got 2 vampires they feed from to boost their magical power and strength as Weres. Eric, Hallow plans to spell you somehow if you don’t comply when they return in a week.”
He didn’t hesitate. The relationship he had with the Packmaster made his next comments easy. “I want to work together to take this coven down.”
“Agreed, let me call in a few from the pack to strategize. Can we meet here?”
“Yes, we close at 2AM, how about then?”
“We’ll be back with reinforcements.”
“Wait.” Sookie called. “You’re going to call Adabelle? Right?”
“It’ll be my first call, I promise.”
After they left, Eric turned to Sookie. “Sookie, I think you should try and rest until they return. My guess is you may be needed tomorrow to investigate with your gift.”
“Of course. We need to take these witches down.” She laughed. “I NEVER thought I would say something like that.” She thought for a moment then yelled. “That witch!”
His eyes darted around, confused for a second before he asked, “Are you cursing at someone? What are you saying?”
“The one that made the ward around the house. Can you call her for help?”
“Good idea. You’re still napping though.” He turned to his child. “Pam, head back out to the floor. I’m going to do some planning here while Sookie naps.”
“Yes Eric. Sweet dreams Sookie.”
As Pam left, Eric rose with Sookie still in his arms and he placed her on the couch. She sighed though. “I’m tired but I’m also upset about this witch. What kind of spell could she do?”
“I don’t know min älskade. We will have a plan shortly. Rest now.”
“Will you rub my back for a few minutes?”
The blanket from the couch was wrapped around her; then she felt his hands through the material, lulling her back into her nap.
She woke a bit disoriented. “What time is it?”
“About 2AM, we just closed. The Weres are here.” He rose to help her up. “Let’s join them and put together a plan.”
“I need a quick pit stop.”
“I’ll wait in the hall for you.”
They joined the group in the bar area. Eric had called in his fighters from Area 5 and Flood had certainly brought in more than the ‘few’ he promised. Sookie was impressed. She was surprised to see Potts in the group and she walked over to chat with her. “Couldn’t resist a good fight?”
“My job is to help protect Eric, that alone would have me here.” She smirked and added. “And YES, I love a good fight. Diantha and Glad will be joining us as soon as they get here from New Orleans. Seeing them fight is impressive.”
“Ah, NO. You may be part of the intel gathering, but I’m pretty sure you won’t be at the fight.”
“I beg to differ. I can count heads; I can listen in for strategy – DURING a fight, not just before.”
Eric called the group to attention from his dais, Colonel Flood stood next to him as a show of solidarity. “Thank you everyone for joining us. We have five additional guests arriving from New Orleans and I just received word that their plane has landed. As the five arriving are already familiar with the situation, I thought we could review those details while we wait. Let me first introduce my bonded and fiancée, Sookie Stackhouse.” Sookie moved to stand up front with Eric. “Sookie has the unique gift of telepathy and . . .”
A faint voice in the background could be heard saying, “Stupid fangbanging whore.”
An icy stare formed Eric’s face. ” He stopped and stared toward the back of the crowd while several of the vampires hissed and a few Weres growled. “What was that?” When nobody answered he shared what he heard. “I’m pretty sure I heard a comment about Miss Stackhouse and that won’t be tolerated.” He was walking as he spoke. “I believe it was you who made that comment, am I correct?”
The Were in the chokehold knew he had been caught. “It was.”
Eric appeared calm as he asked, “Colonel, in the interest of our success, could you clarify our working relationship?”
“You were warned Eddie.” He turned to Eric. “He just moved here from Florida where they don’t have the benefits of a supernatural working relationship. He’s dating Adabelle so he wanted to participate.”
While still holding Eddie by the neck he discussed the Were with Flood. “If you can control him he can stay AFTER he apologizes. If he’s going to be a problem he needs to go.”
Flood moved closer to stand in Eddie’s space and stare him down. “The lady you just insulted is the reason we know to protect Adabelle. She called US when she heard the threat.”
After Flood backed away, Eric resumed. “You would’ve had the same problem in Florida. Sookie and I will be traveling to Florida next month to help the Weres and Vampires establish better relations.” Eddie scowled and turned away from Eric.
Flood didn’t hesitate. He had a few new members and a hard line was the best way to enforce their rules. “He apologizes AND he goes.” He moved to warn Eddie; face to face. “This is your one warning. We get along in this area. End of story.”
Eric and Flood exchanged stiff nods as Eddie left the bar – after apologizing. “As I was saying, Sookie is a telepath and while two witches were in my office to demand 50% of my business, she heard several thoughts concerning the supe businesses in our area. First, as the Colonel just told Eddie, there is a threat to a local Were, the owner of the Verena Rose Bridal and Formal Shop. Adabelle Rose has been warned. She also heard that the witches have control over the supe business in Jacksonville, Arkansas. This was confirmed after I spoke to my Queen and she called King Threadgill of Arkansas. Finally, the next target is Fangtasia, specifically; they plan to spell me as I am the Vampire Sheriff for the area.” He moved to take Sookie’s hand. “Sheriff Baldar of that area in Arkansas was spelled to lose all his memories. They have some local witches trying to reverse the spell, but they’ve had no success.” He could feel Sookie’s panic, but he needed to be honest with her and everyone about the situation.
The meeting was interrupted by the arrival of the guests from New Orleans. “Ah, here come the others.” Eric waved to the new participants. “Octavia Fant and her assistant Amelia Broadway are both witches and most of you know Gladiola, or Glad, and Diantha, both formidable Dae fighters.” He gestured to the two brightly dressed young women. “Finally, Rasul is a vampire from the palace and he will be joined by several more palace vampires. They are being selected and sent to us for the fight. Peter Threadgill is also sending a team of vampires to assist.” He heard collective murmurs of approval from the group. “Now I will turn this over to the Colonel to discuss the plans for the day tomorrow.
“Thank you Sheriff.” Before moving to the Dais, he nodded at Pam. “Pam is handing out photos of Hallow taken from the security cameras here. My pack, I need you to be sure you can identify this woman.” He moved to the center of the dais. “Tomorrow, several Weres and the two Dae will be stationed near the bridal salon with Sookie. Our hope is to identify the witches, gather information from their thoughts, and plant tracking devices on any automobiles. It’s my understanding that Octavia and her assistant Amelia are working on a charm to protect all of us from being spelled.” He turned to the two witches in attendance. “Is there an ETA?”
Octavia spoke. “Yes, we need a personal object from everyone that can be worn: necklaces, earrings and rings work best. Bracelets work in a pinch, but if you’re in a combat situation, bracelets can be broken to easily. If you don’t have something like that, anything you can hold onto your body easily will work.” With a quick nod from Octavia, Amelia moved to a table and unpacked her bag. “Amelia will take each item and keep it in a labeled bag. We’ll spell the items and they’ll be returned to you before we leave tonight for the day walkers; the vampire items will be ready by first dark tomorrow.”
“Excellent. Let’s plan the stake out for tomorrow.”
The group met for another two hours planning the specifics for the next day including locations of the team members near the bridal salon and the cars that would follow the witches in a tag team fashion. The vampires were unable to plan anything specific until after the reconnaissance mission was complete, so they provided strategy tips were possible. By 5AM Sookie was flagging and Eric needed to get her to sleep for as long as possible, Alcide was picking her up at 9:30 to be in place when the bridal salon opened. He decided to end the meeting. “The team that is watching the bridal salon has to be in place early, I suggest we break for the night so they can rest.” The group nodded. “We’ll meet as a group tomorrow at 2AM again. Alcide, Flood, I’ll meet you at my house at 7PM tomorrow to plan?”
Both men agreed and the group disbanded for the night. Eric took Sookie home and got her to sleep as quickly as possible.
“You ready Sweets?”
“Yeah, do you have the fake glasses?” She asked as she headed into the foyer.
“I do. WHOA! You look completely different as a brunette. I’m not sure you need the glasses as a disguise.”
“Yeah, Eric ran out for the hair color after I was asleep last night. I’d rather be safe than sorry. That witch didn’t look directly at me but I’m not taking a chance. Besides, it’s one of those products that will wash out quickly so it was an easy decision. Let’s get going.”
“Where are the Dae girls?”
“They drove over early just in case. They don’t need sleep like us.”
“Must be nice.”
“Really. I drank a ton of coffee to get myself going this morning. Thank God we got have the empty store front next to the bridal shop to hang out. I’ll be peeing all morning.” She cringed. “I just said that out loud didn’t I?”
“Uh, yeah.” He chuckled at her.
Alcide had them parked behind the strip mall that contained the bridal salon and he rushed them into the empty store. The strip mall was owned by a Were so they really lucked out on a stake out location. Diantha and Glad were already in place and reported that there was no activity in the parking lot or the shop. “Alcide, where are the other Weres?”
“They’ll be taking turns across the street in various cars. The chase cars are in place up one block in both directions with the second leg of the chase ready to go as well. Everyone is in communication via Bluetooth.”
“It’s a wireless communication method. Eric was able to get prototypes of the 1.2 version that’s not due to be released until next year. The chase cars each have a ‘sister’ contact for switching out cars. They all wear the Bluetooth device and with an open phone call via their mobile phone and hear and talk to each other Once one car moves out of the chase, the drivers for the next switch off call each other.” He shrugged indicating it wasn’t such a big deal. “Walkies are good but don’t have the same range.”
“Is there anywhere Eric isn’t connected?”
“I don’t think so Sweets. He owns one of the telecommunication companies that are part of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.”
She shook her head at that information. “Of course he owns the technology. He’s like a big boy with his toys.” She put her hands out to her side and asked, “so what do we do now?”
“Now, we wait. I packed a folding table, we can play cards. I’ll get it.”
“That was a great idea.”
Alcide received a text after they’d been playing for about 2 hours. “Sweets, they just pulled in.”
She focused quickly on the heads outside, catching their thoughts right away. “Ok, I hear three of them?” He nodded. “So Glad is outside to try to drum up conversation?”
“Yes, she’s in place.”
‘Place looks closed. Good, maybe we can go home. I don’t want to be here, I didn’t sign up for hurting people physically.’
‘Where is SHE! She must have run. COWARD!’
‘I want my son. I can’t believe our coven was taken over by this evil witch.’
Sookie knew that voice. Holly from Merlotte’s was here? And it sounded like she was being coerced. Maybe this was an ‘in’.”
“Jeez!” Glad started. “I had a fitting appointment today. I wonder where they are.” She turned to the witches that had shown up on at the door to the bridal salon. “Did you have an appointment too?”
Hallow responded, keeping up their rouse. “Yes, this is bad business. My bridal gown is in there!”
“Oh – that’s horrible. It’s only my bridesmaid dress, but to have a bridal dress in there?” She paused as if in thought. “Maybe we should go report them or something? We might have better luck together.”
“I don’t know if we need to report them today. There may just be a sickness.”
“True. Are you local? Where do you live, maybe we can check in with each other in a day or so?”
‘YES!‘ Sookie thought. ‘Glad’s questions got her the information she needed.’ She closed her eyes to focus.
Hallow left after sharing a fake mobile number with Glad. After driving around the area for a while to ensure she wasn’t followed, Glad returned. Sookie smiled widely at her. “You were perfect. I have a location, an actual phone number for her and more details about their plans.” The smile turned to a frown. “Right now though” she turned to Alcide, “Alcide tell your contacts she’s heading to the Hair of the Dog when they open later to threaten someone named Amanda.”
Alcide picked up the phone and made a call in warning. Once the information was delivered, he turned his attention back to Sookie. “What else?”
Demonstrating her complete disgust at their thoughts, Sookie’s mouth screwed up before she spoke. “They are also using witches against their will. I know one voice was a woman from Merlotte’s, my old job. She was thinking about wanting her son back when this was all over. I don’t want those being forced to participate to be hurt.”
“Can you reach out to her?”
“Let’s talk about it back at the house. I need some food, and I want to plan that call carefully.”
“Sure. Potts has lunch prepared.”
They arrived at the house and tucked in for lunch. “So, I’m not sure how Holly will react to a call out of the blue. I mean, it’s been months since we spoke. If she acts like it’s odd, Hallow might pick up on that.”
“So you have a house or mobile number for her?”
“House, but I’m sure I can get a mobile number from Sam. You’re thinking a text aren’t you?”
“Yes. Well possibly. Tell me about the other stuff you heard.”
“Well, the spell they want to put on Eric is that same one – a memory wipe. Hallow also plans to offer Eric a reduced fee for sex. That’ll happen over HER DEAD body.” The group chuckled. “They use local ‘good witches’ to build their energy in these areas. Hallow was thinking about her brother as well.” Sookie returned to her lunch for a few bites. “That’s it for now. HEY! Can we get Octavia and Amelia to help us with the identifying the good witches maybe?”
“I’ll call them.”
Once Octavia and Amelia arrived, Sookie shared her information and asked if there was a way to help the ‘good witches’. Octavia struggled with an answer and Sookie grew frustrated. “Sookie, I’m not saying no, but I need to research more. I promise I will look into this before we meet tonight.”
“Thank you.” With a glance at her watch she announced, “it’s only 2 now. Do we need to do anything right now? I really want a nap.”
Sookie gasped at Potts. “Says the daemon that can survive on 4 hours sleep.” She stood to leave the table. “I’ll see you guys later.”
“Sweet dreams sweets.”
Eric enjoyed rising next to his purring fiancée. Her warm, naked body was tucked in so close; they could’ve been the same person. Her hot little breaths were blowing on his chest where her head was facing. Her soft hair was fanned out over the arm she’d maneuvered around her head. Heaven. He was in Heaven. They had until 7PM before the meeting would begin and it was just after 4. He decided they had plenty of time for some fun so he let her sleep for now. ‘I should do some work, but I’m just enjoying her warmth. I’ll stay here.’
An hour later she started to stir so he took advantage and put her on her back; positioning himself between her legs. She was still mostly asleep as he spread her fully and started licking her awake. Her moans started first then a hand went to his hair. He lifted his head for a moment. “You were wet before I made my way to your pussy, were you dreaming about me?”
“What were we doing in your dreams?” As he expected, her blush grew deeper. “Tell me min älskade.”
She bit her lip, knowing she couldn’t lie, and told him. “You were . . . you were watching.” In embarrassment, her eyes turned away.
“Watching?” Then it dawned on him and he smiled. Another of his fantasies was about to come true. “Oh Sookie, I would very much like to watch. Will you touch yourself; make yourself cum while I watch?” It took her a moment to make eye contact and when she did, he made a pleading face and begged, “please?” His smile grew even wider when she nodded and he leaned back to improve his view. Nervous but determined to follow through, she slowly moved her hands down her body keeping her eyes on Eric’s. His eyes moved continuously from her eyes to her hands, not wanting to miss anything: The way she bit her lip, the slight tremble of her fingers as she moved along her body and the ever present blush that occurred anytime she was aroused. The fact that he could feel both her lust and her slight reluctance pleased Eric since she was doing this at his request, but she was still enjoying it. As her fingers made their way lower, he gave up the fight with himself over maintaining constant eye contact and instead focused on her actions. She did not disappoint. Starting out timid and growing with confidence, she worked her clit then pushed her fingers in and out of her entrance. His erection grew harder as he watched them slide out, slick with her juices. Her moaning started next and Eric lost it. He dove in, replacing her fingers with his tongue and finishing her work quickly. While she calmed down, he moved up her body again. “Sookie, that was beautiful.”
“Eric.” She admonished while her blush grew and she slapped his arm. “Don’t embarrass me more.”
“You don’t need to be embarrassed. I enjoyed that very much. I want to see that again, maybe even control myself and let you finish on your own.”
“We’ll see. Now I want a reward.” His eyebrows rose. “Make love to me before we have to deal with business.”
They left their chamber to prepare for the planning meeting with their colleagues. In his commander mode, Eric stood at the head of the dining room table where they were assembled and led the meeting. Flood was on his left hand side, Sookie to the right. “Sookie, what did you learn?”
“I heard several things:
*The address and phone number for Hallow – and her real name is Marnie by the way.
*That witches are being coerced to work with Hallow
*A threat to the owner of the Hair of the Dog
*Details about the spell they want to put on you – the one that wipes your memories
*That Hallow also plans to offer you a reduced fee for sex
“That’s quite a bit of information from one encounter min kära.”
“Glad’s conversation really helped direct her thoughts.” She smiled at the daemon across the table.
Directing his gaze to Alcide, he asked. “Based on the information gathered, do we have any plans in place?”
Standing to provide his update, Alcide started. “With Sookie’s help, we found the warehouse serving as the witches’ stronghold. We have eyes on it now.”
“Excellent. Do we know what the brother looks like?”
“We do. We’re tracking the front and back doors to determine whether they are both inside. We also warned the owner of the Hair of the Dog to stay away for the moment, using a vacation as an excuse.”
“We need to move quickly. If we keep hiding their next targets, they’ll be suspicious.” Several heads nodded in agreement.
Octavia stood to take over. “Amelia and I have found a way to identify the unwilling witches.”
Sookie was excited by this. “How?”
“We’ll need to be close during whatever invasion or fight you have planned so we can perform a chant. It will light up the witches in the coven that are there unwillingly.” She looked around the table to ensure they all understood. “You won’t have much time to identify them. The chant will need to be continuous and will drain our energy. We can last 15 maybe 20 minutes I predict.”
Flood addressed this concern. “We understand. I would hope with the resources we have joining us we won’t need all of that time. Thank you for your work.”
“Eric,” Sookie jumped in. “One of the witches being coerced was a fellow waitress from Merlotte’s. We were trying to figure out if I should try to call her or not.”
“How close were you when you worked together? Did you call her outside of work?”
“Not really. That was my concern: That I would reach out to her when she was too close to a ‘bad witch’ and she would react.”
“I agree I think we need to leave this potential off the table.” He turned back to Octavia. “The protection charm, it will work against any spell? This memory wiping spell for example?”
“My best answer is: It should. If she for any reason suspects an anti-spell charm, she could work around it.”
Eric was quiet for a moment, the group at the table watching and waiting, but he didn’t care that he was under scrutiny while he pulled his plans together. Sookie could feel his determination, anger, regret, concern and finally his resolve. It was after she felt the resolve that he spoke. “We need to guarantee that Hallow and her brother are in the warehouse and if they are, we attack: Tonight.”
There was some murmuring of concern around the table and Flood stopped it. “I agree. Another day won’t give us much more intel. I would say the only thing we’re missing is how many witches there are in total. The Weres watching the warehouse have seen some traffic, but there’s no way of knowing how many there are in total.”
Sookie spoke up. Eric knew this was coming so he remained quiet. “I can get the total.”
Potts and Alcide both barked out, “NO!”
Eric stayed quiet to let her make her own arguments. She needed to participate, as much as it killed him, she couldn’t be sheltered from everything. “You know damn well I can count the brains in the warehouse, get a bead on the good versus bad before our witches start their chant, AND I can confirm that Hallow and her brother haven’t left without our knowledge.” She turned to Flood. “No offense against your Were’s James.”
“Understood, they could easily have a masking spell or alternative exit. It’s a good idea.”
Sookie was reeling. Scared and exhilarated at the same time to be part of the fight. Any second, she was sure, any second Eric would jump into the conversation and say ‘no’, but it hadn’t happened yet so she sent him a wave of gratitude. She confirmed what she felt was his tacit approval. “So, I’ll go ahead and listen, but I how do I tell you my information? What happens next?”
“Yes,” Eric stated, he was so proud of his warrior. “You will go first, as close to the building as you can then text me the confirmation of Hallow and her brother, the total number of minds and anything else you can hear. Then you will wait for us to move into position. I want you fighting back to back with someone at all times.” He thought about the resources for the fight and made his decision. “I’ll pair you with Rasul.” After seeing her confusion, he explained. “If you’re paired back to back with me, I can’t react quickly and I can’t see if you need extra help. Your focus will be finding the good witches and securing them from the fight.”
“I got it.”
She sent waves of happiness at his comments. Knowing he wasn’t trying to talk her out of the fight had her almost giddy with happiness, but she kept it to herself since everyone in the room was so serious. “When do we attack?”
“Midnight. That gives us a few hours to gather our resources. They should be in the area already as we were planning to meet at Fangtasia later tonight. I’ll text the address of a safehouse for us to meet and make final plans at 11PM. We’ll head out from there.”
They broke up the meeting at the house so everyone could contact their particular resources and plan. Once alone, Eric asked Sookie to take some extra blood to build up her strength. “Sure Eric, but I want you to feed too.” They were seated in the den, and the house was empty. “We have two hours before we need to meet up with everyone and I find myself with some extra energy. Perhaps we can exchange and make use of that energy at the same time?”
“Is it warm enough for you outside?”
“Looking for a little exhibition?”
“The chaise on the back porch is well hidden from the property perimeter, so our guards won’t see anything.”
“But they can hear.”
“Sookie, with as loud as you are, they’ve already heard plenty while we’ve been inside the house. We’ve already had a campout, remember?” The look on her face was priceless as he carried her out back for their exchange working very hard to contain his laugh.
As planned, the fighters met to engage the witches a few hours later. Eric led the group. “Everyone is ready?” They all nodded. “Very well, we’ll meet up at our posts as soon as I have texted out the details from Sookie.” He turned to Rasul and Potts. “I’m counting on you to guard Sookie while she approaches the building.”
Potts spoke for both of them. “We won’t let you down.”
Thirty minutes later they arrived in a run-down part of Shreveport where the warehouse was located. The area surrounding the warehouse felt creepy to Sookie, she just couldn’t think of a better word. The warehouse itself was boarded up for the most part with some lights peeking their way out of the gaps in the boards. According to the Colonel, the warehouse was abandoned so the vamps could walk right in. Knowing that relieved one of her concerns. With Potts and Rasul, she approached the warehouse from about two blocks away on foot. By the time they were in the parking lot hiding behind a dumpster she had counted 22 minds inside, including Hallow, a male Were near her and her friend Holly inside. She texted the information to Eric and waited for him to arrive.
Once Eric was with them at the front door and the witches began their chant Eric kicked the door in. The screaming, snarling and hissing started immediately as the fighters forced themselves into the building from the front and back entrances. As promised by Octavia, several of the women in the group were glowing so Sookie started herding them up towards a back corner. While gathering, she did have a short skirmish with a non-glowing witch, but with her blades she forced her back. The witch attacked again and Sookie was forced to spin and cut her throat while Rasul and Potts took down another that started chanting towards the good witches. After a few minutes, all the glowing good witches were collected into a corner and Sookie, Potts and Rasul took a protective stance in front of the group.
Seeing that she was just in danger, Sookie was quite calm as she watched the fighting in front of her. She could see Hallow and Pam fighting and Pam was quite excited, easily overpowering the witch. There were already plenty of others ready to step in, but their group had the witches significantly outnumbered. Just a moment later, the fight between Pam and Hallow was over and Hallow was bound in chains. Sookie knew she would be needed soon to help get the spell details from her brain. Since the room was relatively quiet, she scanned to take in the final tally. Two vampire puddles were on the far side but she had no idea who had died – finally. There was one naked man and he appeared in pretty bad shape. Alcide was standing near him looking grim. Continuing her scan, she noticed Eric was making his way towards her and she smiled briefly before she pointed to the scene to the side. Alcide was speaking to some other members of the pack, all naked from having shifted back and the expressions conveyed bad news so she approached them. On her way over, she heard it from Alcide and Peter’s heads: Colonel Flood had died in the fight. “I’m sorry.” She spoke out to the group. “He was a good man.”
“Yes Sookie, he was.” Alcide confirmed.
She squeezed his shoulder and approached Eric. “Min kära, you did well.”
“I only had to fight off one witch and Rasul had my back.”
“I was watching. That you fought and fought well for someone new to combat was impressive. Don’t underestimate yourself.”
Before she could respond, she heard Pam call to her. “Sookie, can you come over here and help with the spell?”
“Sure Pam.” Sookie approached the naked, bleeding and bound Hallow to read her mind. As insurance, her brother was kept alive and restrained by Rasul.
“Sookie, can you question Hallow?”
“I won’t answer questions!” Hallow yelled.
Pam nodded to Rasul and he in turn raised a knife to hurt the witch, but Sookie stopped him. “Rasul, I can’t have her distracted by the pain. ” Sookie saw Hallow smile almost as if in victory, so she added. “You can hurt her all you want when we are done with the Q and A portion of our evening.
Glaring down at the witch Pam threatened, “you WILL answer Sookie’s questions.” She looked to Sookie. “Go ahead.”
With her telepathy, there was no need for the torture. Pam knew this and she still was going to let Rasul cut her. They would have words about this later. Pushing that issue out of her mind, she stood tall before the with and started her questions. “Hallow, how do we reverse the spell on Sheriff Baldar in Arkansas.” She made notes on a tablet that had been provided.
“What other spells are in place in Arkansas and Louisiana already?” More notes.
“Are there any people in danger that you used as collateral for the witches in the corner?” With her final notes taken she turned to Pam.
“I need to check for something, I’ll be right back.” She returned quickly with a spell book and checked for the entries in her notes. “I think I have what I need. Anything else Pam?”
“Could you consult with Octavia before I end these two?”
Hallow was angry but not angry enough to squelch her curiosity. “What are you writing? Why are you asking questions and I never answered? You don’t smell like magic so you aren’t a witch.”
Sookie got in her face and answered. “Because you stupid witch, I’m a telepath. I’ve known your plans since you first walked into Fangtasia. I don’t mind telling you my secret because in a few short minutes, you won’t be alive to share the information.”
The consult with Octavia was quick: Using the spellbook and Sookie’s notes, the Arkansas Sherriff’s memory was restored. Hallow and her brother were no longer needed. Not wanting to see anymore violence than necessary, Sookie left the area for the final act of the evening. A short while later, Pam walked by her as she was waiting outside singing. “Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.”
Sookie continued in her off-key voice. “Let them know . . . The Wicked Witch is dead!”
She’s gone where the goblins go – the chapter title is from the song DING DONG! THE WITCH IS DEAD / The Wizard of Oz. Just trying to throw in the hint at the beginning – kudos of you got that one. M