Even when Sookie was finally able to open her eyes, her world was still black; moreover, the space she was in was much more confined than the elevator had been. She tried to move, but found that she could only wiggle a little. Her hands had been tied at the wrist behind her back, and her ankles were also tied together. As she squirmed, she bumped up against something solid—something covered with a blanket: Bill.
She was in the trunk!
Grunting and struggling against the ropes that tied her, Sookie tried her best to kick against the interior of the trunk.
Immediately the lid opened, and Debbie Pelt came into view, her eyes still lit yellow.
“Would you like to spend your remaining hours unconscious? Or would you prefer to dread them?” she cackled as Sookie continued kicking and yelled for help. The werefox only smiled wider. “Rest assured—very few people park down here. No one will be able to hear you—especially not after I’m done with you.”
“Let me out!” Sookie begged. “Please!”
“I think you look good in there,” the werefox giggled as her eyes faded to their natural caramel color. “Of course, you’ll look even better once the vampire wakes up and takes what he wants from you. You really can’t imagine how much pain he’s suffered over the last few days and nights. And he’s had only TrueBlood and animal blood to see him through it. He’ll think he’s died and gone to vamp heaven when he wakes up and smells something as sweet as you.”
“Debbie, please. Don’t do this?”
“Don’t do what? Get rid of the woman who’s tryin’ to steal my man from me?” she asked angrily.
“But you’re engaged to another man. Alcide isn’t yours!” Sookie insisted.
Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say considering the slap against Sookie’s cheek.
“Alcide is mine! He will always be mine!” Debbie screeched, even as Sookie kept her shields down and pushed out with her telepathy, despite the fact that her head was pounding from the concussion Debbie had given her earlier—not to mention her fresh wound to her cheekbone. Unfortunately, Debbie had been right; there was no one close enough to hear either the deranged werefox or her victim, though Sookie readied herself to scream her lungs out again, nonetheless.
As if she was the one who could read minds, Debbie pulled a bandana from her pocket and bent over toward Sookie, clearly intending to use the object as a gag.
“Please!” Sookie cried out—pleaded. “I know Alcide isn’t mine.” She felt tears on her cheeks as she continued speaking. “Bill is my boyfriend. I came to Jackson to free him, and Alcide was just helping me.”
Debbie looked confused for a moment, but then laughed almost madly. “William? That’s perfect then! Your vamp boyfriend is gonna be the one to kill you, especially when he smells how rank you are.”
It was Sookie’s turn to look confused. “Rank? With blood?”
“Not just that—though it’ll help,” she snickered. “But I really meant that you smell much more strongly of a different vamp than this one,” Debbie said, as she took the blanket from around Bill and then wrapped it around Sookie’s body—hindering her mobility all the more. “This will limit any noise you can make in here—unless you’ve decided that you want me to knock you out again,” she grinned.
“Why will smelling more like another vampire matter?” Sookie asked with fear in her eyes. Plus—she was stalling, desperately trying to think of a way to convince the maniacal werefox to let her go.
“Vampires are territorial—very, very territorial. This one hasn’t been fed much for the last several nights,” she said, nudging Bill’s motionless body. “When he wakes up, he’ll want a meal. And—if you are his girlfriend as you claim,” she laughed, “then his hunger will double when he smells that you reek of another vampire. Not to mention how angry he’ll be that you betrayed him.”
“But I didn’t betray him! And Bill loves me! He would never . . . ,” Sookie began.
“Try telling that to yourself when his fangs are in you—when he’s raping you,” Debbie emphasized. “Now that I’m close to you both, I can tell you’ve had his blood. Did you know that he can feel your emotions? Knowing what sick fucks vampires are—he’ll probably enjoy feeling your terror and pain. He’ll want to punish you for the other vamp’s blood—the other vamp’s scent. And especially for the remnants of your being aroused by that other vampire recently,” she added airily.
“Really?” Sookie asked, hoping to keep Debbie talking—praying that someone would descend to the lowest level of the garage.
“Oh—yes! William here will be feeling your anguish and terror as he kills you. As he does worse than kill you!” she exclaimed as she moved to tie the bandana around Sookie’s mouth.
The telepath’s scream of “NO!” got caught up in the cloth.
“So,” Debbie grinned, after Sookie was gagged, “do you want to be conscious for what’s coming?”
Sookie thought about that question for a moment as the direness of her situation hit her harder than Debbie’s punch had.
She could tell by Debbie’s eyes—and by the werefox’s more coherent thoughts—that she was certain that Bill would kill Sookie as soon as he woke up. The question was whether Sookie wanted to spend her last few hours awake or unconscious.
The fighter in Sookie didn’t want to give up. Maybe someone would pass close enough by the Lincoln for what little muffled noise she might make to matter.
“Sleepy time?” Debbie asked.
Sookie shook her head, indicating the negative.
Debbie chuckled darkly. “To be honest, I wouldn’t have knocked you out anyway. I enjoy the thought of you suffering for the next,” she paused and looked at her phone, “eight hours. That’s how long it is to sunset—give or take. So you’ll have plenty of time to think about how you ought never to have crossed me!”
Sookie struggled against her bindings and tried to scream out her plight, but the noise she created was negligible at best, and Debbie celebrated the telepath’s futility.
“You know—I was gonna take you and the vampire both to Russell Edgington so that I would be the one rewarded for a change,” she mused. “But Charles would have probably found a way to insert himself into the situation—to take credit,” she growled. “And who knows what you might have said to implicate Alcide.”
Sookie shook her head, desperate to indicate that she wouldn’t say anything about the Were who’d escorted her to Jackson.
“Vamps have ways of finding things out,” the werefox responded to Sookie’s wordless pleas. “Plus, it’ll be better this way. After William kills you, any connection back to Alcide will be severed. Anyway,” she sighed, “I have another way to ingratiate myself to King Russell—one that doesn’t require the effort of hauling you to the mansion or the risk that Alcide will find out I was the one who turned you over to the king.”
Again, Sookie shook her head, pleading with her eyes. Certainly, finding herself in the king’s custody wouldn’t be good. But it was preferable to almost-certain death—at Bill’s hands.
“You have a long day ahead of yourself,” the werefox grinned, her musing clearly over. “I hope that the torture you will feel in this trunk is just as bad as what you will experience when the vamp wakes up. Actually, I bet it’ll be worse,” she added with a wink.
And then Debbie slammed down the trunk lid, leaving Sookie in darkness once more.
EIGHTY MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET
Thunder boomed overhead, seeming to rattle the Lincoln and certainly jolting Sookie out of the restless nap she’d managed to fall into after what seemed like hours of struggling against her bonds—hours of trying to make any noise she could.
Debbie had been right about the lowest level of the parking garage getting very little traffic. Sookie had seen with her own eyes that there were far fewer cars down there when she’d parked. That morning, the telepath had been happy about that—but that was before she’d been locked into the trunk.
She scoffed against her gag, but immediately regretted making the noise because her throat was raw from trying to scream.
Of course, it was human nature to try to get out of a dangerous situation, so—for many hours—Sookie had done all that she could think of, including trying to bite through the gag!
But her best hope for rescue had come around 1:00 p.m. when someone finally parked near her on level G-3. From the parker’s thoughts, Sookie knew that the man—just returning home from work—was thinking about getting a meal, watching the news, and then taking a nap.
The telepath had waited until she figured that he was as close as he was going to get to the Lincoln. And then she’d screamed against the gag. Moreover, she’d twisted her blanket-burritoed body to the point of agony in order to make the loudest sounds that she could; for all her efforts, she’d managed to create only light thuds against the metal of the trunk.
But—by some miracle—the man had heard her!
Ten feet or so away from the Lincoln, he’d stopped to consider what could be making the odd bumping sound. She’d seen in his thoughts that he’d actually looked right at the trunk!
And she’d hoped, even as she’d continued her attempts to make noise.
But hope was as fickle as chance, for it was—at that very moment—that the very first thud of thunder from an impending storm had been heard. Consequently, the man had determined that the noise had simply been a precursor to the thunderstorm before he’d turned toward the elevator. He didn’t give the Lincoln’s trunk another thought!
Still, Sookie had continued to make as much ruckus as she could—long after the man had ascended in the creaky, slow-as-molasses elevator.
Other than wearing herself out from futilely screaming whenever anyone was in the elevator or on parking level G-3 or even G-2 (because she’d been hoping for echoes), Sookie had spent her seemingly-endless (but all-too-short) time thinking—contemplating many things that she’d put off considering for so very long.
Too long—as it turned out.
She didn’t know if it was the most random thing—or the most expected—that quite a few of her thoughts had been about Scarlett O’Hara, the heroine she’d always adored from Gone with the Wind.
Oh—Sookie had seen the flaws in that movie since she was a teen. Indeed, there were parts that seemed to romanticize the horrible practice of slavery! But she’d never been able to stop herself from loving the film overall.
Or its lead character.
But—as she lay in the trunk—she reassessed her adoration. “Why did I love Scarlett again?” she asked herself through the gag.
As ridiculous as it might have been, she found herself reviewing the character—like a film critic (or a psychologist) might. Scarlett had been spoiled and privileged—and popular. The exact opposite of Sookie. Scarlett had “decided” she loved someone—Ashley Wilkes—empowering herself to go to whatever lengths necessary to get him. The last trait sounded familiar to Sookie.
Indeed, she’d thought she loved Bill Compton so much that she would have risked anything for him; she did risk everything for him!
But she’d learned the wrong damned lesson from her film idol!
As an adult, Sookie could judge Ashley Wilkes for being weak—for being a douche, really. But, as a girl and then as a teen, Sookie had just seen Scarlett fighting for what she wanted most—love.
Maybe it was Scarlett’s hapless—hopeless—pursuit of love that Sookie had identified with. Scarlett had, after all, been just as inept at love as Sookie in many ways. And, of course, they were both stubborn—sometimes to their betterment and sometimes to their detriment. Oh—there were differences between them—beyond the size of Sookie’s bust-line or the color of their hair. It hadn’t been telepathy that had proven to be Scarlett’s greatest foe; instead, the film’s heroine had been forced to act and adapt to the various struggles that war had brought with it.
And when those struggles became too much—well—she would find a way to deal with them another day.
Another negative lesson Sookie had picked up.
Inarguably, Sookie had always loved the idea that tomorrow could bring with it a different version of life. Moreover, she’d always esteemed Scarlett for finding ways to exist in that new version. But, in the past, Sookie had found herself torn between admiring Scarlett for staying ever-committed to the supposed “true love” of her life (Ashley Wilkes) and wanting to kick her for not recognizing that Rhett Butler was ultimately so much better-suited for her.
Rhett—who was so dashing. And liked her for her.
Rhett—who recognized her fire. And liked her for her.
Rhett—who saved her whenever she couldn’t quite save herself. And liked her for her.
Rhett—who gave her credit when she could save herself. And liked her for her.
Rhett—who tried to give her love, even though he was clearly uncomfortable with “feeling.” And liked her for her.
That rogue sounded an awful lot like Eric Northman.
But Rhett, ultimately, lost some shine in Sookie’s eyes—thanks to a discussion she’d had with Lafayette during their early days working together at Merlotte’s—a couple of years before her friend had been murdered. Sookie felt a tear fall down her cheek as she recalled that Lafayette’s blood had been found in a trunk—a trunk that had been her friend’s first coffin.
She trembled as she recalled what she’d “heard” from Mike Spenser’s disturbed thoughts—that Lafayette had already been dead when he was thrown into that trunk. Sookie was not dead yet, but she was feeling more and more certain that she soon would be—that authorities would soon be able to find much more than just “traces of blood” in the Lincoln’s trunk.
A trunk that would be her first coffin.
More tears fell from her swollen eyes as she thought about other snippets of the thoughts she’d “heard” from Lafayette’s killers’ heads. Lafayette had enjoyed the orgies the group had—up to a point. He’d tried to leave the last one he attended when most of the others there became violent. But Mike Spenser and the other men wouldn’t allow him to go because he was the only “bottom” there. They’d brutally raped him and then decided that they had to kill him so that Lafayette couldn’t turn them into the police. Sookie closed her eyes, hoping to God that—at least—his death had been quick.
Her eyes stayed shut as she wondered how much like Lafayette’s death hers would be. Would it be quick? Or would Bill take his time punishing her—as Debbie had implied?
Earlier during that long day, Sookie had denied Debbie’s theories. Bill would not bite her—right? For one thing, he was still too weak—right? Right: he’d barely been able to help her get himself to the trunk that morning.
Also, the blanket would protect her—right? Right: even if Bill could get to her neck, he couldn’t get through the thick comforter to rape her. Hell—when she’d stolen it, she’d even noticed how high-quality the textile was. The King of Mississippi wouldn’t have bought cheap bedding!
And once Bill had drunk just a little blood, he’d be able to come back to himself enough to realize that he was hurting her—right? Right: Bill would be disoriented at first and his bite would hurt, but—contrary to what Debbie claimed—he’d respond to her fear and pain by pulling away.
Then—he’d get them out of the trunk, free her from her bonds, and drink the TrueBlood Eric had provided to finish healing. Sure—he’d have questions about why she’d had more of Eric’s blood. But she’d explain her staking; she’d explain that she was weak and needed all the strength she could get to help Bill escape Lorena’s clutches.
And then Eric would show up and they’d all go home.
“Yes,” Sookie had tried to tell herself, “the worst that would happen was that she’d be a little anemic for the next several days. Right?”
Of course, there had only been so long that Sookie had been willing to believe the lies she’d tried to sell herself. They were too expensive; they would cost her the last opportunity she would likely ever have to be brave enough to face the truth.
The truth was that Bill had been weak that morning because he’d been tortured and denied adequate blood, but he’d still been strong enough to stand and walk sluggishly to the car trunk (though with Sookie’s help). And the sun had been up then! During the long day, his body would have begun healing—now that he was not being silvered. Come nightfall, he’d be plenty strong to attack the human in the trunk with him: a human who smelled of blood from the wounds Debbie had inflicted upon her body.
The truth was that a blanket, a T-shirt, and a pair of loose sweats wouldn’t prevent Bill from raping her—if that’s what he wanted. She’d seen vampires tear through things much stronger than cloth. And it’s not like she could do anything to struggle against him—not with her wrists and ankles bound.
The truth was that, if Bill was in a bloodlust, she didn’t trust that he could pull himself out of it—perhaps, not even if he did have an inkling of who she was. He’d once told her that fear and pain could be strong aphrodisiacs for vampires and that some vampires (he’d implied vampires like Eric) liked the taste of it in the blood.
The sad, ironic truth was that she wouldn’t have been worried if Eric were the one next to her. She somehow knew he would keep control of himself.
But Bill would almost certainly be a shark in the water, and the trunk was a very small tank. She had little hope that he would do anything other than attack without thought or pity.
And—once he had her blood—Bill would want more. Hell! Bill had told her—warned her—enough times that vampires equated blood with sex. Sookie couldn’t help but to remember that there had never been a time when Bill and she had had sex that there’d not been blood involved—her blood.
She shivered at that thought—and she felt a little used. A little like the fangbanger she was in so many people’s thoughts.
She shook her head. Feeding a vampire wasn’t something that made her ashamed. It was recalling that her relationship with Bill had become little more than feeding and sex during their last weeks together. She’d tried to tell herself that the change had occurred only because of his work on his computer project. Or only because every couple eventually dropped out of their “honeymoon” period. But—now that she refused to lie to herself—she made herself remember the way Bill looked at her at times: like she was a bother to him. Or the way he was no longer interested in holding her after he’d had his meal and his pleasure. Or the way he’d seemed impatient anytime she tried to start a conversation with him.
He’d begun to treat her as a fangbanger—even if that’s not how he’d actually seen her.
And—though she’d not wanted to recognize it—she’d felt like a fangbanger at times: disposable, but handy. Yet, despite the fact that she’d felt like that sometimes, she’d stayed with him. Only now was she certain that Bill wasn’t good for her—just as Ashley Wilkes was never good for Scarlett. Bill and Ashley—intentionally or not—had done much more harm than they’d ever done good in their respective “heroines'” lives. Yes—finally in the darkness, waiting to die—Sookie was glad that her relationship with Bill would soon be over—one way or another.
Or would it be? Sookie quivered.
Debbie had managed to leave Sookie with a parting thought that was snaking itself more and more into the telepath’s consciousness. Indeed, Debbie’s own mind had graphically imagined what she thought would be happening to the telepath: William would awaken like a rabid dog. He would smell blood and lunge immediately for Sookie’s neck. She wouldn’t even be able to scream into her gag before William’s fangs ripped into her vocal cords and his hands ripped through the fabric so that he could satisfy all of his needs.
Chillingly, the last thoughts that Sookie had picked up from the werefox as she’d driven away had been about “odds.” Apparently, if Debbie had someone to “bet” with, she would wager that Sookie would be drained before Bill “finished” with the sex part. Morbidly, Debbie had thought that all vampires and fangbangers were necrophiles anyway—so what did it matter? And as she’d driven her car past the Lincoln, the werefox had wondered whether Bill would have the presence of mind to turn Sookie. That thought had amused the werefox.
But it horrified Sookie.
Would the trunk simply be her first coffin of many? Would Bill force her to become his child—just so that he could keep her forever?
A/N: Well? What do you think? I always wondered why CH didn’t spend more time with Sookie in the trunk. After all, she saves Bill in the morning, and he attacks her at night. That’s almost a full day of waiting. The book Sookie doesn’t seem to understand what might happen to her, which I think is a little too naive on the character’s part, given what had happened to her before this. My version of Sookie in this piece is realistic enough to understand what could happen. I’m also having her “stew” in the fact that “tomorrow is NOT going to be another day” for her. There is no more putting things off. She cannot act, but she chooses to think about her life and choices (even more than she’d done in Chapter 1). I felt that was an essential step for her. The next chapter will continue with her in the trunk. But-soon enough-our favorite vampire will wake up.
Please let me know what you think or if you are liking this. I don’t have the time and energy to respond to comments like I wish I did, but they help to bolster me and encourage me to keep writing. I appreciate them all.
As always, thanks to Kleannhouse for the second pair of eyes and Sephrenia for the wonderful story art!