Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance of justice. Injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged.—Samuel Johnson
“Uh—Eric?” Jason said, his eyes back on the computer screen. He was pointing to a file that had appeared when the computer refreshed itself with the main server. It was one I’d not seen before and had a name that made my dead heart lurch—”Pam.”
I quickly clicked on the file and saw my eldest progeny performing fellatio on Finn’s pathetic excuse for a cock. Immediately, my mind flew back to the life Pam had risked everything to leave behind—a life where she had to sell herself. A life where she had very little control.
Pam had never felt ashamed of being a member of the world’s oldest profession; she was too pragmatic for that. But that didn’t mean that she didn’t hate the work she’d been forced to do in order to survive.
That didn’t mean that she wasn’t ready to slit her wrists and gamble on the mercy of a vampire in order to get a better life.
After I had turned Pam, I promised her a life where she could do things on her own terms—always. I closed my eyes. A part of me knew that she had “done” Finn on her own terms—probably in trade from something she wanted or needed. Still—I had hoped to spare her from ever having to sell her body again.
I had failed her.
From the scent, I knew that Finn was next door—knew that it would be satisfying to kill the sniveling “psychologist.” But I also knew that I owed Pam the kill; I owed her for allowing the world to put her into a position where she was on her knees in front of a human of the ilk of Finn. I should have made sure she was never there.
I quickly deleted the file before I had to witness my child taking the doctor’s tiny—and seemingly eternally flaccid—organ into her beautiful body. As soon as that was done, I looked at Jason and caught his eyes. “You did not see a video of my progeny—did you, Jason?”
Caught in my glamour, Jason quickly shook his head. “Nope.”
“Excellent,” I said as I released a somewhat dazed Jason from my glamour and quickly finished copying enough files to incriminate the deceased governor, Sarah Newlin, and many other public officials, as well as offer up proof about the happenings at the Vamp Camp and the plans to poison vampires with Hep-V.
The jamming device I’d activated earlier interfered with all communication signals, but I’d programmed it to function for only two hours—just long enough to make sure that no help would be called by the humans in the complex. Fortunately, those two hours had just passed. Unfortunately—as I tried to email the files I’d copied to my lawyer—I saw that the ability to communicate with the outside world had also been cut off because of a lockdown program in the building. Luckily, the solution to my little problem was lying dickless on the floor. Given the fact that the doctor had a secret side business, I figured he would have a way around the “standard” communication methods.
“How do you avoid the main server when you upload to your porn site?” I asked him.
“Portable router,” he had to respond. He flinched from the added pain.
“Where?” I asked.
“My briefcase,” he sobbed.
I quickly found the router and hooked it to the computer. Then, I emailed all the files to Desmond Cataliades with the orders that he not send them to those I had deemed ‘appropriate’ until noon the next day.
Jason had fully come out of his stupor and was now studying the man who continued to writhe on the floor, even as his hand was still protectively covering his own penis.
“Hey,” Jason said, looking up at me, “is he gonna die from that wound?”
“Left untreated, he would bleed out slowly,” I said, “but he would eventually die. However, there’s one more thing that I must take from the good doctor, and that will quicken his fate.”
Even as Overlark looked up at me in horror, Jason shuddered. “I’m not gonna wanna watch this part either—am I?” he commented before returning to the door and facing away.
I laughed darkly and took a letter opener off of Overlark’s desk. I also grabbed his suit jacket.
I bent down next to Overlark. “I’m afraid I’m going to need a hand with one more thing, doctor,” I said with a smirk. “You don’t mind—do you?” I asked.
“Fuck you!” the doctor felt compelled to answer before more pain hit him.
I winked at him and then used the letter opener to neatly cut off his hand before wrapping the new wound with the suit jacket. After all, I wanted him to suffer for as long as possible before blood loss made him lose consciousness.
I went over to the computer and saw that I’d received confirmation from Cataliades that he’d received the files I’d sent. Relieved to know that the trustworthy demon lawyer was now on the case, I quickly removed the hard drive and threw it to Jason. “Look after this?” I asked him. Jason nodded and put the hard drive into one of the oversized pockets in his pants.
I walked to stand over the broken man crying on the floor. “I must thank you, Doctor Overlark,” I said. “Thanks to you and your computer, I now have the chemical composition of Hep-V, and I just happen to know someone who can likely find a cure for it. And I also have enough evidence about those who conceptualized this place and that virus to cause a scandal ten times larger than Watergate.” I grinned and squashed his severed cock and balls under my boot.
“Harsh,” Jason observed quietly.
“All your work—and your corrupted vision of the world—will one day be but a footnote of history,” I said in a low tone. “This place and people like you will be the reason that other humans fully accept vampires one day.”
Overlark shook his head as tears rolled down his cheeks.
“It is inevitable. I have lived over a thousand years,” I said evenly, “and the kind of hate you’ve tried to peddle never lasts.”
With those words, I walked out of the room without looking back; Stackhouse was on my heels.
“Remind me never to make you mad,” he said as he looked at the severed hand I was carrying.
I chuckled and followed my bonds to Willa and Pam until we came to the “round room.” With Overlark’s top-clearance hand, we were able to enter the control room adjacent to the “round room,” and I quickly knocked out the two humans who had been hiding inside—probably having been given orders to open the hatch at dawn.
“Why not just kill ’em?” Jason asked of the people when I threw him some rope so that he could tie them up.
“I don’t know how hungry they will be,” I responded, motioning toward the windows where we could see my progenies and several others looking toward the roof of the building. It was still about ninety minutes until sunrise, but the vampires were clearly already nervous.
“And I’m assuming you aren’t volunteering to be on the menu?” I added in Jason’s direction.
“Hell no,” he answered immediately.
I chuckled. “Keep watch from here, and use that,” I said pointing to the intercom, “if you have any problems.”
“Gotcha,” he responded.
Taking Overlark’s hand, I zipped around the perimeter of the “round room,” making sure that there were no humans other than Jason in range. Then I opened one of the doors.
“Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?” Pam deadpanned, quoting her favorite line from Star Wars.
“I’m Luke Skywalker,” I said playing along. “I’m here to rescue you.”
There was a beat as the others looked at me and then Pam and then me.
They were trying to catch up. Good luck with that.
“What the fuckity fuck took you so damned long?” Pam demanded. “And why the hell are you wearing something four inches too short for you, Urkel?”
“Borrowed from Bill,” I muttered under my breath, angry at myself for allowing one pant leg to ride above my boot. It had apparently gotten dislodged because of my activities.
“Mistake,” Pam commented snarkily.
“At least I’ve been working to give my outfit some color,” I remarked, referring to the blood splatter. “You’ve been trying to get me to wear something other than black for years.”
She rolled her eyes, but I could see them twinkling. “That powder blue sweater was breathtaking—until you ruined it!”
I winked at her and then looked at Jessica. “Your maker awaits you, but I need a favor from you—in exchange for your freedom.”
“I need you to stay in this building until ten minutes before dawn. And I need you to promise me that you will not contact Bill until nightfall tomorrow,” I added.
“Uh—why?” she asked confused.
“Your maker had a plan, and I’ve gone off-script out of necessity. And I don’t need a demigod angry with me,” I told her as I punted Steve Newlin to Pam when he tried to slip past me.
Jessica tilted her head a little. “So I wait here until ten minutes before dawn?” she asked.
I nodded. “Preferably somewhere a little more secure than this area, but yes.”
“But where will I stay during the day? Will I need to—uh—go dig a hole?” she asked.
“Here,” I said, handing her a piece of paper. Sookie had insisted that I make sure Jessica had a haven. It just so happened to be two miles in the opposite direction of where my bonded was waiting for me. “It’s an abandoned warehouse—with a basement. You can seek shelter there. We will likely meet you there to shelter right before daylight as well,” I lied.
“But—uh—I’m sure Bill’s worried,” she said, biting her lip.
“He is,” I conveyed truthfully. “But I will text him to let him know that I saw you tonight—safe and sound. The address on that sheet of paper is within two miles, so Bill will likely not even notice that you have moved until tomorrow night, but he will be able to tell that you are safe. Your silence—for just one night—would help me out greatly, Jessica,” I said, using all my charm. Then, I threw in my trump card. “Listen—I tried to follow Bill’s plan to the letter, but when I discovered Jason was badly hurt, I had to heal him, which has prevented me from continuing with your maker’s plan.”
“Jason was hurt?” Jessica and another woman asked at the same time.
I ignored the other for a moment and kept my focus on Jessica. “He will be fine, but I could not let him die. And—as you know—Bill does not currently care about the lives of humans. I had to make a choice,” I lied smoothly, “Jason’s life or Bill’s plan. I chose Jason.”
Jessica’s lip quivered as she nodded. “Thank you.”
Another fish on a hook.
“I promise. I won’t contact Bill until tomorrow night,” she agreed as she grabbed the hand of the male vampire next to her. I felt Jason’s jealousy as she did. “But—uh—can James go with me?”
I bowed a little. “Of course. And thank you, Jessica.”
She smiled shyly at me.
“Northman, you said my human was hurt,” the brunette vampire next to James said. I knew her well.
“Hello, Violet,” I drawled.
“You—uh—know each other?” Jessica asked.
“Violet is the sheriff of Area 8 in Texas,” I said.
“Eric,” she greeted me evenly. “Where is my human?”
“Yours?” I asked.
“Mine,” she said forcefully.
I felt Jason’s fear rise. His lust increased too, but his fear was paramount in that moment.
I smirked and looked pointedly at Violet. “Here’s the deal, Violet. Jason Stackhouse is under my protection.”
I heard Pam snort—rather loudly—at that.
“He. Is. Mine!” Violet insisted.
“Actually,” I looked at Jessica. “Jason Stackhouse belongs to Jessica—if you want to get technical about things. Before they came to this place, she had his blood, and he had hers. Surely you sensed that.”
Violet scoffed. “This yearling didn’t even bother to challenge my claim.”
“A claim you should never have made—given the tie between them,” I said. “And—as you well know—her age does not matter when it comes to such things.”
Violet growled, demonstrating the temper that had garnered her the nickname “Violet the Violent” in the 1800s. Thankfully for Jason, she’d mellowed a little over the years.
My fangs snapped downward. “Remember that I am 500 years your senior. Do you want to challenge me?”
“He. Is. Mine!” she maintained even though she backed up a step.
I shook my head. “To save him, I gave him my blood, and—even as we speak—I feel his reticence at you claim.”
Violet immediately looked toward the nearest camera.
“Uh—hi,” Jason’s voice said.
I chuckled and retracted my fangs. “So—Jason, am I correct in assuming that you’d prefer to keep your autonomy?”
“Uh—yeah—but what do my body parts have to do with anything?” he asked over the intercom.
Jessica gently helped him. “Anatomy is your body parts, Jason. Autonomy is your freedom.”
“Oh,” Jason answered. “Yeah—I definitely want my auto-freedom thing.”
I laughed again. “Well, then it seems we have a problem, Violet. By rights, Jason belongs to Jessica, and her maker, Bill Compton, who is still the official king of the state you are in—by the way—is also the reincarnation of Lilith.”
“That rumor is true?” the strong vampiress asked with a gasp.
“Oh yes,” I confirmed. “I witnessed the transformation myself. So—how about a compromise?” I asked. “Before you challenge a thousand year old and the daughter of a demigod?”
“That’s like an agreement—right?” Jason’s voice asked over the intercom.
“Yes,” I smirked before looking at Violet. “For now, Jason officially belongs to Jessica, but if he chooses you—without your glamouring him—you can have him.”
Violet smiled and looked toward the camera. “You will choose me.”
“Remember—no glamour,” I warned.
“Agreed,” she nodded. “May I go?” she asked. “I’d like to get to my nest before dawn and spread the word in my area that the TruBlood is not to be consumed.”
“You are strong enough as you are?” I asked her. “You do not need to feed?”
“I fed earlier today,” she said, licking her lips and looking at the camera.
“Then be safe,” I said. She zipped by me a moment later.
“Uh—what just happened?” Jason asked over the intercom.
“A very determined vampire just agreed to make you a challenge rather than a forgone conclusion,” I answered. “Being with her will now be your choice, but good luck refusing her.”
“Uh—thanks. I think,” Jason said.
I looked at Jessica and her friend. “You are in control—correct?”
They both nodded.
“You two should find a safe place to stay for now. Jason will let you into the control room,” I said. “You can take the two humans in there with you—to feed on.”
“I don’t wanna kill anyone,” Jessica said warily.
“Then just feed and leave them in the building glamoured,” I said nonchalantly, knowing that would be a death sentence all the same.
Jessica nodded and pulled James out of the room behind her. Because Jason had forgotten to turn off the intercom, we all listened in as Jessica exchanged a few awkward pleasantries with Jason and promised to call him when they all returned to Bon Temps. After Jessica and James were safely out of the area and out of earshot, I turned my focus to the four vampires still in the room with me.
Pam had Steve Newlin by the scruff of the neck and Tara was standing next to Pam. Willa was holding Tara’s hand—still obviously frightened.
“You came for us?” Willa asked.
“Of course,” I responded. “You and Pam are my children. I did not choose you to let you perish in this place.”
Both Willa and Pam smiled at that.
“Jessica was spouting shit about how we was all gonna die in here,” Tara drawled.
“Bill had one vision,” I told my ‘granddaughter.’ “I had another.”
“I like yours better,” Tara sassed.
“Me too,” I smirked. “Come,” I said to my girls. “There’s some silver in the control room for that one,” I added motioning toward Newlin.
Jason opened the door for us, and Steve Newlin was quickly secured. Jason had also found a ball gag for the good “reverend.” All the better.
“Why did you give Red and Lover Boy both of the humans?” Pam asked with a pout. “Willa and Tara are fucking hungry!”
I winked at Pam. “Don’t worry. I saved a fat one for you all to feed from before we go. He’s not much to look at, but he’s got B-negative blood.”
Pam smiled sinisterly. “Finn?”
My eldest progeny took the lead to Finn’s office. As we passed Overlark’s destroyed doorway, Pam looked inside and saw the mutilated doctor, still clinging to consciousness and sobbing quietly in pain.
“Your handiwork?” she asked.
I nodded before “opening” the door to Finn’s office for Pam and the others. Unlike Overlark, Finn had no gun.
And no fight.
It didn’t take Pam, Tara, and Willa long to begin their “psychoanalysis” of the hack psychiatrist.
“Jesus,” Jason said, looking away from the bloodbath ensuing in the room. He was white as a sheet and clearly about to vomit.
“Did you know that people getting drained react in all kinds of ways?” I asked Jason, trying to distract him from the sounds of my girls taking their fill.
“Really?” he asked.
I nodded. “In my experience, their mode of dying often matches their personalities. Most scream and kick, fighting for their lives until their dying breaths.”
“Motherfuckin’ right,” Jason said, seeming to regain his color a little.
I chuckled. “Yes—that is how you would go. But some simply go limp, giving up their lives without fight. By far, the most satisfying to the vampire is the first variety.”
“You—uh—like when people fight?” Jason asked in a quivering voice.
“Of course,” I said. “We are hunters.”
“Makes sense,” Jason said, now nodding. “So—um—if I wanted that Violet chick to lose interest?”
I grinned. “Don’t play what humans call ‘hard to get.'”
“Got it,” he said. “So—uh—the fella in there. Is he—uh—the first or second kind?”
“Sadly,” I said, “Mr. Finn is neither. He’s a beggar. He’s also pissed himself—twice, which probably accounts for their extra aggression.”
“Huh?” Jason asked.
“He has—in effect—ruined their meal,” I informed. “And they are—understandably—pissed at him,” I smirked.
“Oh—oh. Ohhhhh.” He shook his head. “Remind me never to get on their bad side either,” Jason remarked as he continued to keep his eyes trained toward the hallway.
I nodded. In truth, I was proud as I watched “my girls” gorging themselves. All three of them had been extremely hungry, and I was especially proud of Willa for not trying to attack Jason in her hunger. Yes—she was going to be an excellent vampire.
Pam stopped the others right before Finn died.
“Lesson one in draining to kill,” she drawled as Tara and Willa looked on attentively. “Never kill them all the way.”
“Why the fuck not?” Tara asked, wiping the blood off her chin.
“They shit themselves if you kill them all the way,” Pam informed. “It kinda,” she paused for effect, “taints the whole meal. And this one already stinks of piss.” She looked down at Finn and spoke derisively, “If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that he was an adult bed wetter.”
I clapped my hands together. “Well—now that you ladies have had your dinner and a lesson, might I suggest that we take our leave?” My ears were telling me that the building was cleared out, though a few vampires were still enjoying themselves by experimenting on their erstwhile captors. I was confident that Rasul would make sure they were out by dawn.
After grabbing some gloves from Finn’s desk, Pam took hold of Steve Newlin, who’d not been allowed to feed and who had been looking at Jason like a lost puppy—clearly making Sookie’s brother uncomfortable.
I chuckled to myself over the fact that Jason would likely be having some very discomforting dreams about me over the next several nights. When I bonded with Sookie, it would break my tie with her brother, but the dreams were independent of that. I sort of wished I’d be around to see the effects on Jason, who was a bit of an anomaly. He seemed to accept homosexuality as a concept that others had the right to, but he was nervous about it nonetheless.
I led my group to the side entrance I’d used with Nora. I wasn’t sad in the least to find that there was carnage strewn everywhere along the way.
But among the gore, there was also a heartbeat.
I bent down and picked up the hiding human by the scruff of the neck. “Sarah Newlin,” I said triumphantly. “How nice to see you again.”
Pam scoffed. “White after Labor Day? For that alone, she deserves to die.”
“Yeah—kill the bitch,” Willa said forcefully.
I chuckled at my children.
“Jason—please! Help me! Don’t let these monsters have me! I’ll do anything!” Sarah begged as she looked at my only human companion.
My fangs clicked into place. “Come now, Sarah,” I scolded, “I know you want to be bitten.” I winked and felt her heart rate increase out of a mixture of fear and lust. “Or do you just want me to fuck you?”
Sarah’s eyes dilated a little and the scent of her arousal was clear. I smirked. “Too bad—for you—that I have already pledged my fidelity to another—someone who is a thousand times your worth. Otherwise, I might enjoy fucking you—to death.”
Her eyes grew even wider and the fear was back in them. My smirk grew. I’d met a lot of people—especially since vampires had come out of the coffin—whose attraction and repulsion to vampires battled in equal parts. Most of them became fangbangers. Others joined a church—a radical one.
Sarah Newlin was obviously of the latter variety.
“Jason, please,” Sarah whimpered.
Jason had bent down to get some silver handcuffs from one of the dead guards. I pushed Sarah to the floor—a little roughly—and then watched as Jason’s police training went into effect. As he cuffed her, he recited a modified—and amusing—version of Sarah’s Miranda Rights: “You have the right to shut the fuck up ’cause your begging ain’t gonna help you this time. Actually, lemme help you with that.” He ripped a piece of fabric from his shirt and gagged her. “Oh—and you have the right to quit bein’ such a fuckin’ bitch!” He stood up with her struggling against him, but he controlled her easily. Yep—it was safe to say that I was really starting to like Jason Stackhouse.
Steve Newlin obviously did too. Jason’s manhandling of his ex-wife had caused the young vampire to get an erection, despite the fact that he was secured with silver. I rolled my eyes and made sure to stand so that I blocked said hard-on from Jason’s sightline.
As we exited through a crowd of corpses that made the Atlanta scene in Sookie’s favorite movie look tame in comparison, we found a very nice white SUV with the vanity plate, “GodsAgnt,” on it.
“She got keys in her pocket?” I asked Jason, who was dragging Sarah with us. I noted that she had a lot more fight in her than her ex-husband—the vampire.
Steve Newlin was such a waste.
“Yep,” Jason said, pulling a set of keys out of Sarah’s jacket pocket.
“Excellent,” I said. “Then you all have a ride to where we’re headed next.”
After the Newlins were secured in the back of the SUV—so that they could neither kill each other nor help each other—everyone except for me piled into the vehicle as I gave Pam the address where to meet me.
That done, I quickly took to the air.
My mission had gone much more smoothly than I could have dreamed—thanks to Sookie’s idea of letting the others take care of much of the work.
But now that my vengeance had been set into motion and my progenies were secure, I was anxious to get home—to my bonded’s arms.