The trip to the scrap yard where the Magister had decided to hold his Tribunal was quite awkward. Jason and Pam had traveled together in his Escalade while I was stuck with Compton and Chow, Long Shadow’s successor. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I still didn’t trust Chow completely, I would have rode with my Childe and my lawyer. I was this close to rip both my traveling partners’ heads, their talks about Wii and golf was as boring as hell.
My only haven was the several texts and photos that Sookie sent me. My little fairy was a naughty one. As she prepared herself for Ms. Fowler’s party she sent me very titillating pictures of her delectable naked body as she dressed herself. It didn’t really help me miss my lover less, but it was better than nothing. What can I say? My Childe said it well: I was pussy whipped!
My cell phone panged and I was greeted by a selfie shot of my beautiful lover dressed in a sexy red number.
“What has gotten you in such high spirit, Sheriff?” asked Chow. “If I hadn’t been to a Tribunal yet I would think you’re excited.”
“I don’t do excited, Chow. And honestly I have better things to do than deal with our dear Mr. Compton’s crap.”
Sitting in the back seat Compton snorted.
“I bet you’d prefer to spend your time between Sookeh’s thighs!”
I grabbed the hand brake, stopping the car abruptly and sending Compton in the dashboard.
“Shit, Sheriff! I know it’s your car, but could you warn me the next time you decide to pull such a move? And who’s this Sookeh? Your regular feed and fuck?”
My fangs were down and my hands were wrapped around Chow’s throat.
“The name is Sookie, not Sookeh as Compton keeps mispronouncing it. And she’s not a feed and fuck! As for you Compton, you’re in enough shit right now, don’t add more.”
We arrived to the scrap yard and I was thankful to finally exit the confine of the car and my travelling companions.
“How was the ride, Master?” asked Pam, a smile I hated gracing her face.
“Do you really need to ask?”
She laughed. “Well Jason and I had a blast. Thank you for not closing the bond, we had so much fun! Lust, annoyance, lust, boredom, lust, lust, lust, anger, lust. Did Sookie send you dirty texts?”
Strangely it was Jason who came to the rescue.
“Pam! I don’t need to know that my sister is sexting Eric!”
“Thank you Jason!”
“What the hell! According to Dear Abby, in-laws should barely tolerate each other!”
“In-laws, Pam? They’re not even married! And I can’t not tolerate him, he’s my boss!”
“And your boss is now telling you to shut the fuck up about it! Let’s go, we don’t want to make the Magister wait.”
They all followed me to the site of the gathering. The Magister was holding court, sitting in the trunk of a pick-up truck while what I imagined was a younger vampire being defanged. Pam, Chow and Compton all cringed at it, even Jason seemed to feel the pain.
“I imagine the pain is similar to being kicked in the nuts, right?”
“Even worse, Stackhouse” answered Chow. “Try imagining having your balls ripped off your body…”
“Shit indeed” said Pam. “And that defanging was pretty tame, you know. One time, the Magister had the fangs of a 400 year-old coated in silver for a whole week before defanging him…”
“Fuck! That’s extreme!”
“Jorge Alonso de San Diego was, during his human life, one of the Spanish Inquisition’s most feared inquisitor” I explained.
The defanged vampire was dragged away, screaming in pain with a fountain of blood spewing from where his fangs had once been.
“Well that looks interesting” said the Magister. “Eric the Norseman… Sheriff of Area 5. It’s been a while, Norseman. You usually run a tight ship.”
“Magister… I ‘m sure you received the report from my lawyer, Mr. Stackhouse.”
The former monk smirked.
“Indeed, we did. Very well written, I must say. You live up to your father’s reputation, Mr. Stackhouse. I must say that I was saddened to hear about Corbett’s passing… But such is the lot of you humans. I don’t really have much respect for humans, but I did have respect for your father. He was a great asset to the vampire community.”
Jason politely nodded. “Thank you, Magister. The respect was mutual.”
“Pray tell me, how is your delectable sister, Susannah, right?”
“You are probably the only person to still call her that, Magister. She joined the family business, shortly after our father’s death.”
The smirk that graced the Magister’s face grew a little more.
“Give her my regards, will you? I’m pretty disappointed that she’s not here tonight.”
He looked at the crowd and pointed to Jason.
“I know what most of you must think. ‘The Magister has respect for humans! It’s a show of weakness!’ But then, you would be wrong. Corbett Stackhouse spent decades working for and with the vampire community. The Norseman was quite lucky tohave him in his retinue. And from what I can see, he’s still lucky to have the next generation of Stackhouses working for him…”
I felt a wave of pride rise in me. The Magister wasn’t known for acknowledging humans. In fact he normally despised humans in general. But Corbett Stackhouse had been exceptional and so were his children.
“Now, Norseman, bring in your murderer.”
Compton’s eyes grew bigger as a coffin and silver chains were brought in. I could almost feel the fear slowly taking residence in his body.
“William T. Compton… You are accused of killing a fellow vampire. And to make your crime even worse, you murdered the vampire Long Shadow not only in front of human witnesses, but in front of two other vampires… While I’ve read Mr.Stackhouse’s report of the event, for the benefit of those who didn’t, would you please tell us your side of the story?”
Compton gulped. “Sheriff Northman had a thief in his midst. As the Investigator for Area 5 I was present for the interrogation of his staff. Through these interrogations, we finally discovered that Long Shadow had been the one who had stolen the $60,000 from Sheriff Northman. When his deception was brought to light, Long Shadow jumped on the girl who had discovered his guilt and was choking her. He would have killed her.”
“So you murdered a higher life form for the sake of a human? You broke an ancient and fundamental law. You decreased our number at a critical time in our history. Very bad. Very, very bad.”
“She’s Sheriff Northman’s human! He and his second didn’t even move to help her! Long Shadow would have killed her!”
The Magister frowned. “Sheriff Northman’s human, you say? Mr. Stackhouse, nowhere in your report was the name of this girl mentioned.”
“I didn’t think it would be relevant, Magister. Mr. Compton killed another vampire. The fact that he did it to save a human doesn’t alleviate his crime.”
“You are right. But humour me, who was this girl?”
Jason looked at me then turned to the Magister.
“The girl was Sookie Stackhouse, Magister, my sister.”
Something changed in the Magister. It really was a ‘blink-and-you-miss-it’ change. I was pretty sure I was the only one who noticed it.
“Well, that works in your favour. And you seem obedient to your Sheriff.”
With that he looked at me.
“For the most part, Magister. When it matter, he is.”
Compton seemed surprised by my answer. But then, it was the truth. Apart from his insistence toward Sookie, there was nothing to complain about him.
The Magister played with his cane, starting to look bored.
“The usual sentence is five years in a coffin chained with silver. During which time your body will waste to leather and sticks. You’ll probably go insane. However… I’m feeling a bit… creative.”
Sensing that the Magister’s sentence was going to be out of the ordinary, Jason cleared his throat.
“If you’ll excuse me, Magister… If you don’t need me for anything else, I would like to be excused. I’m sure you would prefer not to have any human present for such a… special sentence.”
The Magister nodded. “You are excused, Mr. Stackhouse. Don’t forget to give your dear sister my regards.”
Jason smiled reluctantly before turning toward me and Pam.
“I’ll go back to Shreveport directly” he whispered. “Unless you wish for me to stay in the area and wait for you?”
“No, go back home. We’ll call if we need anything.”
As soon as he left, the Magister gestured toward Luisa, his enforcer, who in turn sent a text on her phone. Quickly a red convertible pulled up next to us.
“You have no nest” said the Magister to Compton. “And according to several witnesses, you seem to prefer to consort with humans. You seem to have lost all sense of our priorities.”
“I am mainstreaming, Magister” said Compton, defending himself. “I am following the AVL’s edict about coexisting with humans since the Great Revelation! If someone is consorting with humans then it is Sheriff Northman!”
Before I could even mutter a word, the Magister shut him up.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk… The Norseman is not the one trialled for the murder of one of our own. You owe us a life, William Compton.”
With a quick nod of his head, Luisa opened the truck of the car and a sobbing redhead girl exited it. She tried to find a way to escaped, but the enforcer pushed her to the ground. She was clearly scared and looked like she didn’t know what the hell was happening.
“No” simply said Compton, realizing what the Magister was demanding.
Pam was by my side and, for the first time since that night when we thought Sookie was dying, she looked devastated. My Childe can be a cold hearted bitch most of the time, but she still had a heart – a dead one, but one nonetheless.
“Oh, precious Jesus, God, save me, save me” prayed the girl.
“Put me in the coffin, Magister” pleaded Compton. “I will go willingly.”
“Please, it’s the first time I ever snuck out” explained the sobbing girl. “I just wanted to go to Ashley’s party!”
She continued to explain how she never got to go out and how she promised not to tell anyone about all of this. But the Magister simply laughed at her pleading.
“Please, please, just please help me.”
“There’s no help for you, child” was his answer.
A part of me had to fight not to react. I kept imagining my little fairy in this poor girl’s place. No one deserved that, certainly not a girl barely out of childhood.
“Meet your Maker.”
Still on her hands and knees, she turned toward Bill, begging.
“Please don’t kill me. Please, I don’t want to die.”
Compton kept looking at the pleading girl.
“I can’t! Magister, I won’t! She’s just a girl! If you want to torture anyone, torture me!”
“Torture? This? I don’t think so. I could show you torture, if you like. You can quit stalling. What you see in this cow, Mr. Compton…” he pointed to the girl, “is merely a response to stimuli. Humans are quite primitive, incapable of feeling pain as we do. But you know that.”
Another nod at his enforcer and Luisa was grabbing the girl by the hair and pulling her toward Compton. The poor thing was reciting Psalm 23 between sobs.
“According to our records, you have never been a Maker, is that right?” asked the Magister.”
“Yes” answered Compton, stoically.
“But you know the procedure?”
Another yes came from Compton. In a way I felt bad for him. My maker had chosen to turn me and I had agreed to be turned. And while Pam had kind of pushed my hand, at least she had wanted to be turned. Compton and the girl both had no choice.
The vampires had gathered closer, as if to get a better look at the whole spectacle. The poor little girl, because that’s what she was, had retreated in a fetal position on the ground, softly singing to herself. Compton kneeled in front of her, softly took her hand in his.
“Are you a Christian?” she asked, her big blue eyes filled with tears.
“I’m a good girl” she explained. “Jesus will take me home to heaven.”
“What’s your name?”
Compton’s voice was barely a whisper.
“Look at me, Jessica.”
The fool was glamouring her! As if the Magister would allow him to glamour her before turning her!
“I hate to interrupt” finally said the Magister, “but glamour is not permitted.”
“She’s just a girl!” pleaded Compton.
“You are really boring me. Shut up and do as you’re told.”
If Compton had thought that Magister’s earlier good words about the Stackhouses meant he would show some compassion by letting him use glamour on the girl, then he really must be a fool. He tried to calm her, to no avail. He finally got a grip on her.
His fangs sank in her throat. The smell of the blood was too much, my fangs went down – as did everyone’s there. I felt bad for young Jessica when she drew her last breath. When she would rise next, her whole life would be different. And she was stuck with probably the worst Maker ever.