Chapter 21 – Get Out Alive
“Where are we going?” Sookie demanded from the backseat of a car where she was tied into a lying down position. She knew they were driving, but nothing else.”
“Ahh, you are awake. Just relax; we will be at our destination very shortly.”
“Bill, you’re insane. When you’re caught, I’ll be able to charge you with kidnapping and assault. How do you expect this to go for you?”
“It’ll go exactly as I want it too.”
“I don’t think so. Even if you were to keep me at your side, I’ll never want you, I’ll never love you.”
“Oh Sookie, I have my ways, you will love only me when I’m done with your training.”
“How did you get Jason to help you?”
Humoring her he explained that he had convinced Jason that Eric was very bad for her, that he was sucking her into the evil world of Hollywood and then would just dump her. “Sookie, your brother is so stupid, it did not take much to convince him to help me and say nothing to you. He doesn’t even know where I’m staying or what I have planned for you so he will not be able to help you now. Just be grateful I’m not killing him to get my way like I have done with others.”
Sookie panicked at that statement, ‘Others, what the hell is he talking about? Oh My God, he is a madman.’
The car slowed as he made some turns and Sookie could hear gravel. Once stopped, she strained her neck to see out the window. “The old Bellefleur house? I demand to know what is going on.”
“You don’t make demands of me Sookie. I own you. You will obey or you will feel pain.” Her feet and hands were bound so when he pulled her roughly from the car she landed on the gravel driveway causing several cuts and scrapes. He pulled her up and threw her over his shoulder to take her into the house. “Sookie, your first task will be to lose some of this weight. I watched you work to lose your baby fat, and as far as I am concerned, you’re not done. I think several days of limited food will be a good start.”
“Fuck you!” She punctuated her statement by trying to move her legs hit him in the stomach, but he stopped her and just laughed.
“Save your energy Sookie, you’re going to need it.” He carried her down the stairs and dumped her on the cot. While he was taking each limb one at a time from her bindings to tie her down to the cot at each corner, she turned her head and her eyes opened in horror. Tara was slumped into Robert’s side, her head hanging down. Robert’s face was swollen and red from crying.
“Tara, Robert! Are you OK?”
Robert sobbed and said, “He hurt Mommy real bad Aunt Sookie.”
“Is she awake, has she been talking?”
Bill stopped their discussion by slapping Sookie’s face. “Enough talking Sookie! I need to take care of some errands for a while so let me go over the rules for your stay here:
*You will not speak unless spoken to when I am here. When I do ask you something, I expect an answer.
*When I leave, you will not move.
*You will listen to me and obey me when I’m here.
*More rules may be added as needed at any time. If one of you breaks any rules, anyone of you can be hurt.
Do I make myself clear?”
Bill turned and quickly hit Robert. Sookie let out a horrified gasp. “You see Sookie; I don’t even need to hit you to hurt you. I only need hit the child. “So I ask you again, do I make myself clear?”
“Good. Now I’ll un-tie Robert so he can use the bucket; then I’ll be leaving.”
Robert finished his business and Bill chained him again. He turned to Sookie and said, “Don’t move; I’ll be back tomorrow morning.”
Sookie waited until she heard the car drive away; then continued waiting for several more minutes to be sure it wasn’t a trick and she finally spoke to Robert. “Robert honey, what happened to your Mommy, when was the last time she was awake?”
Sobbing, Robert answered, “He hit her with the handle of a hammer. She went to sleep then, but she did wake up for a while. She goes in and out of sleep. Sookie, we’ve hardly eaten since he locked us here.”
“When was that honey?”
“Almost right after you and Miss Pam left on Thursday night. I’m getting real hungry again.”
“Hang on Robert. Let me see if I can move at all.”
“Nooo, Sookie, if he comes back he will hurt us if you move.”
“Robert, we need to be brave. We have to attempt to get some help. I’ll work quickly and if I don’t make progress soon, I’ll stop and get back to how I was. Now let me try to hop this cot closer to you.”
Sookie used all her strength to make the cot move closer to Robert. It took several tries to get the movements down to make the cot ‘hop’ but she got it. When she thought she was close enough, she stretched her arm at the top left of the cot towards Robert’s D-ring that was holding his chains closed. She would never be able to get the cuffs off his hands clasped behind his back, but once the chains attaching him to the sewer pipe were off, his legs would be free and he could run. She had little concept of the time, but the light that had been creeping in around the edge of the window was quickly fading, ‘I have to work fast to get Robert out of here so he can be long gone before Bill returns.’ She was able to twist the D-ring lock and separate the chains. Her arm muscles were cramping from the angle and the stretching required to reach Robert but she carried on. She pulled the chains apart and asked Robert if he could wiggle free. It took several minutes, but he was out. “Run Robert” she told him.
He looked back at his Mommy and Sookie said, “I know you don’t want to leave her, but I can’t get her free, and even if I could, you can’t carry her. Your Mommy would want you free first. Run Robert, get help.”
He did, he stumbled and fell once from the numbness in his legs and the dark since night was falling, but he stood and started up the stairs. “Sookie, the door is closed; my hands are behind my back.”
“I know honey, you will need to turn around and get the knob with your hands without looking. I know you can do it.”
She heard him turn and fumble with the knob, finally the door opened and she heard footsteps overhead. A few seconds later, she heard the front door open and he was gone. She wept at his freedom and prayed to God that he was safe and he could send help.
“Eric, I’m scared. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to handle this.”
“I’ll be there as fast as I can.”
“We want you with us. The girls are a mess. Jason just left when he came home and I was talking to the police. He…” She broke off in sobs.
“We’re boarding now and will be in Shreveport by about 6PM. Hang in there Pam.”
“We’ll meet you at the airport. The drive will give us something to do, and I would rather not even wait the hour it will take you to drive to Bon Temps from Shreveport to be with you.”
Pam did her best to occupy the girls for the rest of the day. The police informed her they needed them to leave Jason’s while they gathered evidence; so she took the girls the MC’s to wait for official word. They finally called at about 4PM and said they were done in Jason’s house. She asked if Jason had returned and he hadn’t. Frozen with indecision on what to do next, she ignored the fact that she could return to Jason’s and just decided to head toward Shreveport. ‘I would rather wait at the airport than at Jason’s. I’ll only see the reminders of Sookie’s struggle.’
They fidgeted on the other side of the security exit waiting for Eric. When the announcement board finally showed their flight had landed, they stood and stretched to see the crowd approaching, finally seeing the tall blond running. As soon as he passed the gate, he grabbed the girls and drew Pam in a hug. They all sobbed together, not caring the local reporters had actually started tailing Pam once the story of Sookie’s kidnapping had made the news. Russell, Alcide, Jesus and Maxwell who had flown in with Eric formed a wall in front of Eric and the girls and tried to get the newscasters to back off with no success. They finally realized that pushing Eric, Pam and the girls to the side then agreeing to answer a few questions was the best way to resolve this situation without Eric becoming violent. He had been ready to kill before they boarded the plane. The questions started:
Shreveport Nightly News: “Who are all of you to Eric Northman?”
Alcide: “I am Alcide Herveaux. Jesus Velsasquez and I are Mr. Northman’s friends from California . This is Russell Edgington, Ms. Merlotte’s friend. Behind us with Mr. Northman is Maxwell Lee, he is here as our private security.”
Shreveport Nightly News: “It looks like Mr. Northman and Ms. Merlotte have not broken up – can you comment?”
Alcide: “I think you can make your own conclusion, and given that a woman has been kidnapped, I can’t believe you’re more interested in Hollywood gossip questions, really?”
Bon Temps Local News: “What can you tell us about the kidnapping, how can the news help?”
Alcide: “Thank you – I gather you have all been sent a picture of Ms. Merlotte and now I have one of William “Bill” Compton her alleged kidnapper. We are asking for anyone with any information to contact the hotline set up by the local police.”
Bon Temps Local News: “Do you believe Sookie is in danger?”
Russell: “That’s Ms. Merlotte. I cannot get into specifics but yes, we believe she is in danger”
Bon Temps Local News: “My apologies Mr. Edgington, I went to school with Ms. Merlotte.”
Russell responded with a nod.
Shreveport Action News: “Does the danger have to do with the restraining order where Bill can’t set foot on Sookie’s property?”
Russell: “Again, we cannot get into any specifics on that history or our reasons for being concerned about her alleged kidnapper.”
Shreveport Nightly News: “Is there a reward for the return of Ms. Merlotte?”
Eric turned to the reporters, a girl wrapped in each of his arms with their faces buried in his neck and Pam standing behind Eric, her hands fisted in his shirt and her head leaning on his back as she wept. He grimaced out his answer: “I would hope that anyone with a decent bone in their body would help locate a kidnapped woman without the promise of a reward, but yes, I’m certainly offering a reward and I will discuss the particulars with the police. Now, if you will excuse us, we need to meet with the police on the situation.”
Shreveport Action News: “Mr. Northman, what can you tell us about your relationship with Freyda?”
Maxwell: “I believe Mr. Northman made it clear that he was leaving to meet with police, now OUT OF OUR WAY.”
Russell whispered to Alcide, “Grab that reporter from Bon Temps. Let’s see if we can get the right news to help us as much as possible. Offer an exclusive.”
Alcide did get the reporter’s number and told him he would call once they had a location in Bon Temps where they would be stationed waiting for news from Sookie. While Alcide secured the newscaster, Maxwell went to the car rental desk and rented a larger SUV for them to use, trading in the smaller Sedan that Pam and Sookie had rented. Maxwell drove and Eric and Pam sat in the middle seat, each holding a girl. The car rental agent who made a comment about seatbelts for the girls was met with a death glare from Maxwell as they pulled out. Within 30 minutes they were headed to Bon Temps to meet with the local police and the FBI that had been called in. Normally the FBI would not be brought in so quickly, but Russell had placed several phone calls, blatantly using Eric’s public status to secure the additional, expert resources.
“Has anyone heard from Jason?” Eric asked Pam.
“No, he ran out when he saw the house and the police and we haven’t seen him since. I didn’t return to the house, but the police left at 4, and at that time, he hadn’t yet returned. I tried his phone a few times and got no answer.”
The front of police station was a zoo so Maxwell exited the car to scout the area and determine how to get his charges in with minimal public contact. He returned to the car and drove to a back entrance where they were met by an escort and rushed inside. The group had decided that Russell would be the spokesperson, with Maxwell ensuring security. Russell requested a meeting with the FBI lead and they were taken to a meeting room where they were introduced to Tom Lattesta and Russell asked, “What do we know?”
Sheriff Bud Dearborn suggested “Let’s get the girls settled in my office and we can talk?” After Pam left with her teacups, the meeting proceeded.
“The blood on the door was Sookie’s, and I don’t know how she managed it, but someone else’s blood and skin fibers were mixed in as well. We’re trying to identify it now.”
“Do we have any samples of Bill’s for comparison?”
“We are working with representatives in Morgantown to gather permits for his house to obtain samples as we can. That may take some time.”
Russell interjected, “Why the delay?”
“With the holiday, they are short-staffed at the Sheriff’s office and we also need to get a judge.”
“Who can I call for you, the sheriff and the judge at home? We can have this done in minutes. I have all the numbers you need in my phone.”
Special Agent Lattesta continued, “Let’s finish this update and make those calls then. We have alerts throughout the area and Bill and Sookie’s pictures are on the news with our hotline number for tips. At this time, we have none that have panned out. The folks outside the station are here to assist with any searches; they are Bon Temps residents many of them grew up with Sookie. Of course, there are tons of reporters, even more now that you’ve arrived. Maybe you would like to get out of here and we will contact you with updates?”
“Where will you be staying?” Bud asked.
“We don’t know yet, since we haven’t heard from Jason, I’m not really interested in staying there.”
“Jason still hasn’t turned up? Damn, let me grab his friend Hoyt. Why don’t you call Tara and see if you can stay there? If not, here is a business card from the local inn; we really don’t have a large hotel in town.”
Bud returned with Hoyt and tried Jason’s phone, he did answer his phone for Hoyt and he was drunk. “Jason, are you OK, where are you?”
Jason answered and Bud sent a deputy to go pick him up and return him to the station. Hoyt turned to Russell, “Look, if you guys need someplace to stay, just call me, I can stay with Jason and you can have my place. Sookie was family when we were growing up. Hell she still is; anything for family.” They exchanged numbers and Hoyt left with the deputy to pick up Jason.
Eric went to Bud’s office with the girls, waiting while Russell made the calls to Morgantown and Maxwell and Alcide worked to get them reservations at the inn and talk to the local reporter. Jason arrived in his drunken state about 30 minutes later. The deputy and Hoyt were both struggling to control him so Maxwell joined to help them. Finally, he was settled in the meeting room and drinking coffee in an attempt to sober him up. Eric joined Sheriff Dearborn and Hoyt while they talked with Jason; he was simply trying to figure out why Jason left as he did.
“Jason, you OK? You had all of us worried.” Asked Hoyt.
“Yeah, I just freaked out when I saw my place and Sook’s blood. What’s going on with the search?”
Eric answered. “Well, we confirmed the blood on the doors was Sookie’s and her abductors. We’re waiting on a warrant to search Bill’s home in Pennsylvania to confirm it is his blood as suspected.”
“Yeah, about that. It was Bill, I can confirm that fer ya.”
Eric furiously asked, “Why do you know that?”
“He came to me after work on Thursday. He told me how awful ya been to Sookie, with the cheatin’ and all, and got me to agree that she needed to break up with ya. He said he just needed time with Sook since ya been keepin her away from him. I agreed to call him when she was alone and gave him a key to my place.”
THAT was all it took to release Eric’s rage. He screamed first, “You Fucking Idiot!” then attacked grabbing Jason from his chair and throwing him against the wall. Maxwell and Alcide heard the racket and ran to the room in time to stop Eric from picking him up to start beating. They pulled him off Jason and held him back.
Eric explained quickly, “He knew Bill was here, and helped Bill arrange to meet Sookie alone at his house. This time, Maxwell had to hold Alcide back.
Once everyone was settled, Bud cleared his throat. “I don’t want to mention this, but I can arrest you for assault, if Jason has the nerve to press charges, and I have damage to my wall. Can I bill you for the repairs and we’ll call it even?” Alcide just handed him a business card, reported that they were all staying at the inn and they left.
They stopped quickly at Jason’s house to gather some clothes. Alcide offered to find what they needed, but Eric knew Pam would be quicker so he went in with her. They walked into the living room and Eric froze. Feeling the loss of Sookie became more real when he saw the signs of the obvious struggle. Pam nudged him and they packed a few items quickly and returned to the car. Once at the inn, Eric got Pam and the girls all settled in one bed right away since they had all had a distressing day and he could tell they needed to stay close. He joined the other men in the waiting room of the Inn to discuss Private Investigator (PI) options. Maxwell already had contacted a local firm and had informed them of all they knew. They were waiting for an update that was expected by 11PM.
“Tara! You’re awake! How do you feel?”
“Sookie? How did you get here?
“Bill. Your captivity was all part of his plan to kidnap me. Are you OK?”
“My head hurts. I think I’m hallucinating because Robert was here the last time I was awake, and he’s not here now.”
“He was here, we worked together to get him unchained. The last I heard, he was running out the front door.”
Tara just started weeping and thanking God. “Tara, I’m so sorry I got you mixed up in this madman situation. I’ll never forgive myself.”
“Sookie, Bill’s actions are not your fault. Let’s just figure out how to survive the night. Hopefully Robert will get help. How long ago did he leave?”
“Tara, I have no idea what time it was or is now, it was already getting dark and I feel horrible sending him out alone like that. Tara, you need to be prepared. Bill warned me against even moving when he left. When he returns tomorrow morning, he is going to be pissed that Robert is gone. It could be very difficult for us until help arrives. Even knowing that Robert may not get us help at all or in time, I still wanted him gone.”
“You did the right thing.”
“Tara, can you spin around that pole so your hands are facing me? I have something I want to give you”
They worked together so that Sookie could hand Tara the stuffed bunny purse to Tara. After they were through, they repositioned themselves back in case Bill arrived before help. They had agreed to not piss Bill off and play his game. They couldn’t afford to be hurt and possibly unconscious. A short while later, Sookie heard a noise and whispered. “Is that a car? Maybe it’s help already?”
Tara and Sookie anxiously waited for what they hoped was their savior. The door opened and a blinding light came on. Still blinking as they turned to look at the stairs, the both gasped in horror. It was Bill, and he had Robert lying in his arms. “Oh my God,” Tara exclaimed, “Is he dead?”
He reached Tara’s spot and locked Robert into the chains again. “No, but he should be for that stunt. Maybe I’ll just kill you instead.”
Tara moved herself around to touch her child while she wept. Bill watched as Sookie looked on and realized that watching her friend cry while she touched Robert was torture enough, so he let it continue for a few moments.
When he had finally had enough, he simply backhanded Tara across the face and told her to stop. She bit her lip to calm her crying.
“Bill, please. Let Robert and Tara go. I’ll go anywhere with you.”
“You are not to speak to me unless you are spoken to.” He slapped her across the face then added. “You will be going anywhere I want regardless. Do you understand?”
“Yes Bill. I have a question.”
“What did you mean before when you said I should have always been yours?”
“Sookie, I saw you in the bar first that night, we even danced together. I was the one who loved you, but you picked Sam. You picked the wrong man. When you and Sam dated and took me out like a fifth wheel, I sat and watched and waited. When you got engaged, I served as the Best Man and waited. When you wanted him to stay in the south he stayed like the pussy-whipped asshole he was, and again I waited. Finally, I had enough and I stopped waiting. When you couldn’t leave your precious Gran to move North as Sam had asked, I arranged for her fall so we could move out of this godforsaken town. When you didn’t leave him after he slept with Selah, I arranged for his brakes to be cut and had a deer run into the road. When you started dating Eric, well that was the last straw Sookie. You will avoid me no longer; you will reject me no longer; you will deny me no longer. I’m done waiting.
Sookie turned away from Bill to sneak a terrified look at Tara. Tara’s eyes were filled with tears, but she remained as quiet and she could for fear of being hit. Bill pulled her chin back to force Sookie to return his gaze again and continued. “The little game you played releasing the boy. Did you really think I was leaving you alone all night? I’ll admit I’m impressed that you got him out so quickly. Do you know he ran right back to his house where I was waiting for him. So predictable, so stupid Sookie. Sookie, you are so stupid, you didn’t even see me boarding the same plane you flew to Louisiana. I was waiting at the same gate for our flight to be called. Well, you don’t need to worry about being stupid like that for long. Soon you will have no control, no thought over your own life. You will live to serve me. I’ll un-tie you now so you can use the bucket, then we will discuss what’s going to happen for setting Robert Free.” Sookie finished her business and Bill instructed her lie face down on the cot. He tied her arms and legs again.
“Tara, I’ll un-tie you now for the bucket.”
“I don’t need it Bill.”
“Very well. Now Sookie, you will be punished for your actions.” The next thing Sookie heard was the unmistakable sound of Bill’s belt being unbuckled.
Eric, Alcide and Maxwell had just seen the PI out. They were feeling pretty good about the results since the investigator had confirmation that Bill Compton did fly from Philadelphia to Shreveport last Wednesday. They used photos of Bill and had personnel questioning the flight staff to identify him since he had used a false ID. The investigator was now trying to locate a car he rented or purchased in the Shreveport area. They called Special Agent Lattesta with the news and he agreed to coordinate with the PI.
Eric was headed upstairs to bed when he heard Maura start screaming. He ran the rest of the way followed closely by Alcide. Pam and Eleanor had woken from the screaming so Pam calmed Eleanor while Eric lay next to Maura trying to calm her down. When he thought she had fallen asleep, he moved to get up but her eyes popped open and she begged him to stay with her. He looked over at Pam and whispered, “I guess it’s a slumber party.” Then he turned to Maura, “OK Min Princessa, let me get changed and I’ll be right back.”
He returned to see that Pam had arranged the kids in the middle so the adults could each take a side. He hardly fit, but he made the most of it and found himself lulled by rubbing Maura’s back.