On our way to the airport, Sookie reported that Bobby was standing on a short pier, sobbing and tossing keys into the river… And Bill, still completely oblivious to how fucked he was, was in the comfort of his travel box, playing Sudoku on his cellphone…
But there was a problem.
Sookie’s new ability only proved to be more useful by alerting us to the fact that Bill wasn’t traveling alone.
As per the usual, airport security only needed to be told I was the Sheriff of Area 5 (and that a fugitive, traveling under an assumed name, was about to land) before they pointed me to the correct tarmac.
Meeting Bill’s plane eliminated several variables. Sookie’s new geopathy offered insight to where he was and what he was doing, but the drawback was akin to watching a movie. Without the ability to interact, and the luxury of proximity, he could put something into motion and we’d be powerless to get ahead of it… Being at the airport when the cargo hold of the Anubis jet was opened gave us the advantage. Specifically, travel boxes were latched from the inside, but Bill had opted for the ‘Level 1 Security Package’. His box (with a silver mesh exterior) was strapped with silver belts to keep Vampires from having access to him. Only daft fucks like Compton bothered with the measure because anyone whose head wasn’t lodged in their ass knew the box could be covered, moved and breeched with items from any hardware store. He’d accidentally gift-wrapped himself.
One at a time, the other Vampire passengers disembarked the plane, but Bill’s box was brought to me on a dolly.
His companion was less than pleased.
Mata’utia, Sheriff of Washington’s Area 2. He was young, but he’d earned his position by being extraordinary in battle. I’d heard the word ‘magnificent’, but I was sure he’d heard the same about me.
He eyed me carefully, offering an obligatory nod, and growled, “Care to explain how you knew when we’d arrive?”
I shook my head. “No. Am I to assume you came along to reclaim the Vampire I abducted from your Area?”
He raised his eyebrow as though he was surprised. “Yes.”
“Then go home. Bill Compton wasted your time.”
“I recovered what Bill Compton stole from me.”
He nodded towards Sookie. “His child.”
“My pet. Sookie Stackhouse, you know her as Sonia Stillman, was my pet. Bill Compton brought her over, abducted her, and told her I had been ended. She believed they were in hiding…”
Sookie nodded to substantiate the mild exaggeration. She’d opted to remain silent so Bill wouldn’t know she was a willing participant until the last moment.
I continued, “I’ve already contacted Queen Sophie-Anne LeClerq on the matter and have been given an order to execute Bill Compton.”
“I was told they were hiding from you because it was the other way around.”
“I’m going to assume Bill explained in a language Sookie didn’t understand or while she wasn’t within earshot. She believed the Queen had taken me because I was keeping news of my telepathic pet to myself.”
He scowled at Bill’s travel box and offered, “French.”
“He didn’t know Sophie-Anne was fully informed as to Sookie’s ability and status. What’s more, Sookie could have been assisting you in your endeavors since she arrived in your Area, but Compton’s a greedy fuck… Why is it that you weren’t pleased for Bill to return to your Area?”
“It was the news of Lorena’s murder that displeased me. Am I to assume you didn’t end her?”
“No. That was Sookie. Bill and Lorena staged his abduction in an attempt to lure Sookie from Louisiana. Sookie ended Lorena in self-defense, before she was brought over no less.”
Without warning, Mata’utia balled up his fist and punched Bill’s box, caving in the area just over where Bill’s face would be. No reaction to the silver burns on his fist. He might have been silvered as many times as I had.
I chuckled, “You’re welcome to stay for the party, but I’ve already made arrangements for you to return to Seattle. Your flight leaves in twenty minutes.”
He gave a much more gracious nod than the last. “Thank you. I’ll leave you to your fun.”
Pam used a plastic tarp to cover Bill’s box while we moved it (gently, of course) to the van she borrowed from her recently closed florist.
As we drove to my warehouse just a couple of miles away, Sookie observed, reporting that Bill was yelling at me. Mata wasn’t his only ally. I was going to regret crossing him…
Meanwhile, Pam was already torturing him by ‘singing’ Afternoon Delight loud enough for me to hear her with the windows closed, and four cars between our vehicles.
Sookie was visibly anxious, but she didn’t seem to be wavering at all. She was determined to see Bill pay for what he’d done to her.
She watched while Pam used her new saw to cut the bottom of the travel box away, taking Bill’s feet with it.
While Bill wailed, Sookie didn’t show a reaction…
I pulled her to take cover behind a stack of boxes so she could watch without being seen. “You can block it all?”
She actually smiled when she nodded.
“I’m jealous. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve considered ending my Maker just because he can’t seem to stay out of trouble.”
She laughed through her nose and quietly offered, “He’s behaving right now though.”
“He’s in Cyprus. He’s dead for the day.”
She snickered, “But he’s behaving,” as she squatted down to begin unpacking the ‘Bill-kit’… She wasn’t the only one who’d added to it. Pam added her own items… and technically, my sword was part of the kit, but it wouldn’t fit into the bag.
Sookie separated everything, laying it all out like a surgeon would arrange their instruments for inventory …
Once Sookie tossed a pair of latex gloves to Pam, Pam unfastened the silver belts, opened the box, tossed Bill to the floor, moved the straps and repositioned the bottom of the travel box so the flat side was facing up, stripped his clothing, and yanked Bill onto the flat underside of the box to strap him down… It would have taken more time to narrate than Pam spent on the process. He arched and bowed his back against the flat side of the box, howling and whining while Pam laughed at him.
She was already having too much fun, but leaving the buckles for the silver straps where Bill could reach them and then using her saw to remove his hands was the metaphorical cherry on top.
I took an old desk chair from the collection of items I’d probably end up donating to charity, and wheeled it over to sit next to the idiot laureate of Louisiana.
“Fancy meeting you here. I could have sworn you were told to take your program to the Queen, Bill.”
He hissed, “I have a messenger doing that! I came for Sookie!”
“I’m sorry to tell you this, but Sookie’s dead. Some asshole murdered her.”
He smiled, actually proud of himself. “You would have done the same thing. You’re just jealous I beat you to it.”
“Correction; I wouldn’t have brought her over to exploit her. I would have brought her over based on her potential. She’s exquisite as a Vampire.”
Sookie actually blushed from her hiding place behind the refrigerator boxes full of ping pong balls. She shouldn’t have been made to wait six months to hear that compliment.
His nostrils flared when he sampled my scent. “You’ve been fucking her!”
I chuckled, “Even when I’m holding her down, she’s fun. I think I’ll keep her.”
“I came to retrieve her!”
“I think we’ve established that you won’t be leaving my Area, Bill.”
“The Queen will make you turn MY CHILD over to me once she’s been given the database!”
He said that as though I’d take his hands and feet, then release him with a ‘just joking’.
“I’m sure you heard me tell Mata’utia the Queen is aware I have Sookie. I’ve been given permission to keep her, and end you.”
He looked down at the stump where his hand used to be and snarled, “What could you possibly use her for now that I’ve brought her over?”
“Nothing. I prefer taking advantage of situations rather than individuals.”
“Like using her stupidity to get your blood into her?”
“Actually, I was surprised she was so sympathetic. I completely expected her to hit me…”
I leaned back in my chair and fished my phone out of my pocket, lifting my legs to use his thigh as my ottoman while I waited for Andre to answer.
He started with, “Are there problems, Northman?”
“None. Our little friend arrived under an assumed name. He’s under the impression his child will be returned to him and he’ll be set free.”
“Learn what you can about Nevada’s games, but don’t waste time…” Bill’s eyes bulged. “We might need you and your foster child to visit New Orleans.”
Sookie fumbled through her purse for a pen and began writing on the side of the box she was using as her shield.
I chuckled, “Are you already waiting for Gwen at the airport?”
“I can only hope she didn’t travel under an assumed identity like Compton did.”
Sookie shook her head and offered a thumbs-up to confirm Gwen hadn’t been smart enough to leave any false trails.
“Since she thinks you’re expecting Compton, I’m sure she’ll arrive as scheduled. I’ll call you with news.”
“Thank you. Later then.”
I couldn’t have smiled wider… the look on Bill’s face was priceless.
My phone hadn’t been returned to my pocket before he spat, “You might as well kill me! I won’t tell you anything!”
Sookie spun the box to show me what she’d been scribbling… “Where are Gwen’s cronies? Victor Madden. He’s with DeCastro now/talking abt casino expansion. Gwen- laptop/plane. Rehearsing what she’s going to tell the queen. Bill- under the bus. ‘Bill acting under Maker’s orders. Bill took the program to WA so he could work on it and sell it to Edgington’- back to Lorena’s friendship with him. Gwen made a note to look surprised if they mention me/Vampire.”
Interesting. Gwen was rehearsing her performance, committing it to memory so it seemed more genuine.
Sookie almost died to help him and he was loyal to someone who would sacrifice him so quickly.
I offered, “Funny that you’re loyal to Gwen when she would blame you for everything. Apparently, you absconded with the database because you found a higher bidder. She plans to disavow knowledge of your new child as well.”
His lip curled, but he refused to say anything.
I motioned for Pam and watched her lick her lips as she approached slowly with the ‘dildo the size of Texas’ in one gloved hand, and a roll of duct tape in the other.
A- Bobby was either seriously mistaken about the size of Texas or the asshole was hung like a flea. The dildo’s size caused Sookie to have a giggling fit while James was reading his contract… and when she explained what was so funny about it, he laughed hard enough to take a break so he could use the restroom.
B- Pam was wholeheartedly disappointed to learn what Sookie planned to use it as. Even I misunderstood its purpose, but that was based on the conversation we’d had about eqta’u. I assumed the dildo’s purpose was an extension of Bill’s false advertising that led to Sookie giving herself to him. I couldn’t have been more proud of her when she explained it was going to degrade him, but as a gag. The primary reason for Sookie’s silent presence and Bill’s silver-leafed cock-gag were that Sookie wasn’t sure if she could ignore a command from her Maker. She didn’t want him to have the chance to command her to hurt me or Pam.
Pam stood over Compton, smirking and vamping with the ‘Glow in the Dark 6-inch Jelly Dong’ that had been coated with Pam’s Chanel body lotion and a layer of leafing.
The retard hurt himself trying to clench his thighs together… not only did shifting give the silver fresh skin to burn, but he crushed his own balls between his legs.
I chuckled, “I might miss you when you’re gone. I didn’t know you could be so much fun.”
Pam snickered, “I could do this for nights on end. I still say we should have gotten two of these. I have a machine…”
She shook her head. “More like a piston.”
“If we had time to prepare for Bill’s arrival, you could have ordered a silver plated fist for it.”
Her eyes lit up. “I might do that anyway… I’ll call it ‘The Violator’. I’m sure we’ll find someone to use it on…” Pam thumped Bill’s forehead with the dong and pouted, “Poor Bill won’t get a silver anal-fisting…”
Some of the leafing flaked away from the dong, falling into his eyes, and when he hissed at Pam, still clenching his thighs together, she shoved the dildo into his mouth… and down his throat… and the way he struggled only made it easier for her to wrap his head with duct tape so he couldn’t eject it or speak.
Pam giggled, “Atta girl. Take the whole thing.”
Meanwhile, Sookie tested herself to see if a Vampire could die laughing. She was covering her mouth and shaking violently.
“Pam, I think we’re having too much fun… we should invite Sookie to the party.”
Pam sang, “Sookie, come out, come out, wherever you are.”
Bill contorted to watch the collection of spare furniture and boxes, looking panicked as though he expected Sookie to be carried or wheeled out.
Sookie approached carrying her little kit with the coldest expression I’d ever seen on her face.
He already knew he wasn’t going to enjoy their reunion, kicking and screaming in spite of his restraints and gag, but when Sookie dropped her bag on his dick and sat on my lap, he went completely still.
I would have given nearly anything for a view into his mind.
She leaned back against me and stared at him for a few minutes. I honestly didn’t think she had it in her to witness anything so gruesome… His wrists and calves were tattered and mangled. The odor of silver-seared Vampire flesh was anything but pleasant. And it was Sookie… the Sookie who apologized to her donors and opened doors for them.
She finally took a deep breath (part of me expected her to back out of her plans for him), and reached into her bag carefully to remove the box of latex gloves.
Sookie quietly slid her hands into a pair of gloves before reaching into the bag again… this time for soda cans.
She and Pam poured the soda over Bill’s torso while he watched curiously… it didn’t dawn on him how much pain he was about to experience until Sookie and Pam removed the envelopes of silver leafing from the ‘Bill-kit’.
The sodas… the sugar content offered more adhesive qualities than water… and the carbonation allowed for little air bubbles to form. As they burst, the silver would make contact with the skin underneath.
Impressed as I was by her coolness, her fresh ideas on torture devices (who else would have thought of soda?), her meticulousness… I was watching a stranger work.
She’d closed the door on the compassionate little spitfire who argued for the life of complete strangers last summer, the girlishly kindhearted little thing who wanted to use her newly acquired ability to find lost children. She was emotionless… It was actually upsetting.
I was awed, but I was all too anxious to have My Sookie back.
Sookie and Pam tiled Bill with little sheets of leafing from his knees to his chin while he protested as much as he could.
I’m sure he thought Sookie was finished with him until she reached into the bag again. This time was to remove a can of Sterno and pass it to Pam, and then she removed the first hat pin.
Pam would be assisting.
Sookie leaned forward and asked, “Would you mind grabbing my list, please. I don’t want to get silver on my jeans.”
I chuckled, “Just your Maker.”
She shook her head. “I wouldn’t dream of getting silver on you. Just that pile of shit.”
Pam gave me her impressed look and mouthed, “Boner.”
Sookie stood to loom over her Maker and explained, “Just so we’re clear, I’m not now, nor have I ever been, stupid. I was an easy target because I was naïve. I was an easy target because I was raised to be tolerant. I based my views on Vampires on your self-deprecating propaganda about monsters and mainstreaming… I regret every time I defended you, every time I told you I love you, every time you touched me, every favor I’ve done for you, every insecurity you caused and every drop of blood I’ve given you. You’re a liar and what you did to me is the same as stealing candy from a baby because I just didn’t know better. That’s what this is about. Got it?”
Pam dredged the bead of the hat pin through the Sterno and handed it to Sookie.
Sookie started, “Since you played up the Southern gentility to worm your way into my life, I thought it would be fitting to turn you into my own personal Voodoo doll. I know Voodoo dolls are actually placebos given to tourists as pacifiers, but that just makes it more fitting since real gentlemen aren’t so full of shit their eyes are brown… I’m going to start small for you, so you can wrap your head around what I mean… This…” She waved the first pin in the air just before stabbing it into Bill’s shoulder and Pam immediately struck a match and lit the Sterno. “Is for Bartlett. My molester was MY cross to bear. There wasn’t a bit of chivalry in what you did to him.”
Pam passed another pin to Sookie.
“This…” She stabbed it into Bill’s other shoulder and Pam lit the tip. “Is for my cat. Yes, my cat. I don’t know what the hell you’ve been reading or watching, but dead roses or mealworms on my pillow would have been just as convincingly disturbing as finding my cat spinning from my ceiling fan.”
“This is for schmoozing with my grandmother. Ass-kissing and playing the civil-war-hero routine to get her seal of approval like I wouldn’t have dated you without it. Screw you and your modern oblivion.”
Another pin. The Sterno from the other pins was beginning to drip onto the silver leafing covering Bill’s chest… silver and fire… and his squirming only made the situation worse.
“This is for glamouring the Rattrays to ‘attack’ you so I’d have sympathy for you. You could have just talked to me.”
“And this one is for watching me get assaulted, beaten to within an inch of my life, so you’d have the excuse to give me your blood.”
“This is for glamouring Rene to go after Gran. That woman defended you to the people in town and tried to befriend you. That woman deserved a peaceful death in the comfort of her favorite chair with a good book on her lap, but because of you…” Sookie reached into the bag and removed several more pins and stabbed them into his chest around his heart as she screamed, “She died fighting a bigot glamoured by someone she trusted!”
It was the first blatant show of emotion.
“Sookie, are you alright?”
She nodded without looking back at me. “That’s the one I’m bitterest about. He did it to isolate me. He knew Jason would be upset and blame me. He knew it would ostracize me.”
“I don’t want you to be too upset. We can finish the list for you.”
She held her hand out for another pin and stabbed it between Bill’s ribs.
“That’s for convincing me I’d be Eric’s slave. Let me tell you something, buddy, slaves don’t have choices. You’re the one who took my freedoms from me one at a time… Eric could make me do pretty much whatever the hell he wants me to, but he’d do it honestly…”
She stopped and tilted her head up to stare at the ceiling. She sighed, “Yeah?”
“This isn’t about me, remember?”
“A lot of it was about you. I mean, look at the list. He used you as a scare tactic for months. He lied to me about your position and…”
I interrupted, “Your brother. Abducting you kept you from finding your brother before he died.” She’d been doing so well. She needed to get back on track.
She finally turned to look at me. “You want me to… You want me to stop?”
“Have any of those pins relieved how betrayed you feel?”
She growled, “No, but…”
“They aren’t going to. He isn’t going to live long enough to regret how you suffered. I’m not sure he would if we released him… You’re protecting yourself from his call and his pain. Can you feel his lack of remorse?”
“You’re defending him!?”
I shook my head. “Fuck him, Sookie. I have a deli slicer in one of those boxes. We can watch a millimeter at a time liquefy as we slice away at him until he’s a quivering stump. This form of punishment needs to have a purpose. If he isn’t learning anything, if those pins aren’t relieving you at all, this has no purpose.”
“HE NEEDS TO KNOW!”
“Do you need another regret? Are you going to look back at tonight and feel pride for standing up for yourself or are you going to harbor that much more hate for him because of what he pushed you to? I never would have thought you’d have it in you to go this far, but could you watch someone else do this?”
“He should suffer!”
“I completely agree with you, but why? If you take that gag from his mouth, do you think he’d apologize to you? No. It’s more likely that he’d command you to commit suicide… He’ll never care about the pain he caused you, Sookie. You’ve always been too amazing to be his…”
I reached for her, taking her hips to pull her back to sit on my legs again. She watched me, confused and disappointed, while I peeled the latex gloves from her hands.
“Those hat pins don’t prove you’re not weak. If he didn’t realize how strong you are when you survived the Rattrays’ attack, or Rene’s, or the Newlins’, or Lorena’s, or the Jackson Were’s, those pins aren’t going to enlighten him to what I noticed the night I met you. Read your list, get those things off your chest, so he dies knowing what a complete failure he was… but don’t abandon part of what makes you so incredible for a Roman holiday you’ll regret later.”
When I leaned back, taking her with me, I couldn’t tell what she was staring at for the long moment before she kicked Bill’s hip with enough force to leave her shoe print indented in his side.
“You son of a bitch! This is a close second to the Gran thing! You built Eric up to be cold and evil until I was scared enough of him to second-guess nearly everything he did! He’s probably the most rational person I’ll ever meet!” She kicked his side again. “And he just talked me out of turning you into a pin cushion!”
When Pam looked at me, I nodded towards the bag and offered, “He’ll still be a pin cushion. Pam can play along while you read, on the condition she stops harassing me about watching Quantum Leap.”
“A bargain at twice the price. Deal.”
Pam didn’t hesitate for a moment before yanking the unlit pins out Bill’s chest to dredge them through the Sterno.
While Pam worked, she offered, “Eric’s right, you know. If you regret defending Bill, just disagreeing with your friends, you’ll start to question yourself. You’ll start to doubt if you’re really better than him. This prick…” She quickly redistributed the pins in Bill’s abdomen and began lighting them. “This prick has made you insecure enough. This isn’t any different than your Human life, if you ask me. Your mother treated you like a pariah. It was your Gran who nurtured you and let you be who you are. Your mother treated you like something was wrong with you, but it was your Gran who encouraged you. Your ability scared the shit out of Michelle, but you’ve used it to save lives. Gran would have been proud of you. In other versions, You are an amazing mother. Do you think that had anything to do with Michelle? Of course not. That was Gran, most of the time. If you’re going to have a shitty Maker, darling, better to get him the fuck out of the picture as soon as possible… Not that I know from personal experience, of course.”
Sookie snorted, “Because Eric’s splendiferous.”
Pam nodded. “And brilliant enough to see potential, even if it is in a wild, mouthy blonde… or two.”
As Sookie itemized every injustice Bill had committed against her, Pam stabbed a pin into Bill and lit the Sterno… It didn’t matter that Bobby had only bought twenty pins. Pam didn’t mind recycling the pins to rearrange them with fresh dabs of Sterno for ‘maximum drip’. Yes, Sookie did kick Bill from time to time.
When Sookie was finished with her list, Pam recycled two pins for her own grievances, one for Bill’s ‘dashing douchebag’ wardrobe and one for his ‘man-bangs’.
I might have made a list of my own, but I had what I wanted. I didn’t need ‘closure’ because I had Sookie.
The hardest part of the event was deciding how to end Bill. Sookie insisted that she do it herself so she could look him in the eyes… Enough of her spirit remained that she was convinced it would make a difference.
There wasn’t anything special about the options. It wasn’t as though any of us were trying to be creative by then…
Pam brought a stake. I brought my sword. And dawn was an option… but only technically.
Sookie didn’t want to wait until dawn. She bitterly jibed that he could have another girl conned into thinking he was worth saving.
Stake versus sword…
She held both, studying each one in turn… She seemed to be genuinely weighing her options, but the process clearly needled Bill.
He wormed and fidgeted as the Sterno dripped from the hat pins, to sear his flesh, baking the silver that already made his skin feel alight.
Sookie finally asked, “Is there really a difference? Beheading or staking? They’re both instant and painless, right?”
Pam and I nodded. Both of them were too good for Compton… But burning to death in the sun would have been too quick as well.
Sookie finally tossed aside the stake and offered, “Well, I already know how to work a stake, huh Bill?”
Pam laughed in her throat and sang, “Amazing grace… how sweet the sound… that saved a wretch like me… but then Sookie staked your twat Maker and dumped her pile of rot into a pool…”
I shook my head. “I’m almost positive those aren’t the lyrics, Pam.”
She shrugged and mumbled, “It’s a cover. I’m allowed some artistic license. Did you hear what Janet Jackson did to that Carly Simon song?” and plucked a few of the flaming pins protruding from Bill’s body. “I really like this… this… I’ve got it… Instead of acupuncture, it’s fuck-you-puncture.”
Sookie’s face puckered as she whined, “Eric, tell Pam to stop so I don’t laugh.”
“It’s not funny. She’s completely serious.”
While Sookie’s eyes were closed and her head was shaking, I approached her, taking her hand and leading her to improve her angle and stand behind her…
Both of her hands on the hilt, my hands cupped over them, I lifted the sword and enjoyed every bit of the way Bill flinched as the tip grazed his neck.
Inching closer, sliding the blade over Bill’s neck, until the center of percussion was perfectly aligned.
Somehow he managed to simultaneously look terrified and furious that I was touching Sookie at the same time.
I raised the blade to shoulder height and whispered, “I’m going to let go. When you drop the blade, your goal isn’t removing his head. Swing as though you’re chopping firewood.”
When I released her hands, she steadied the sword and waited for a moment…
Bill’s eyes widened when she raised it slightly…
She sighed and very calmly said, “The only good thing that came from you being a part of my life… was that I met Eric.”
The last thing he heard… that last fucking thing she said to him…
My name. Her voice.
Sookie thrust the sword through the air as though she was trying to split the concrete slab beneath us, but as soon as Bill’s head had been separated from his body, she lost grip of the sword…
Her legs buckled and she would have crashed to the floor like my sword if I hadn’t been there to catch her.