I felt like Alice once she went through the looking glass, except this wasn’t Wonderland. No, the Fellowship of the Sun was anything but Wonderland. When we arrived at the church, the Reverend asked ‘Jace’ to follow him, thus separating us. Telepathically, my brother told me everything would be okay, that he would find a way to get to us later. And that’s how Gran, Hunter and I ended up in one of the church’s Bible Study with Sarah Newlin and several other mothers and their young children. But studying the Bible we didn’t.
It pains me to admit it, but I barely remembered my mother. I had been so young when she passed away… One thing I remembered clearly were those times she would have her friends at home for tea. I would sit on the floor, with my doll and listen to their thoughts as they were chatting. Those were fond memories… That had nothing in common with the current situation. While the ladies were all nice and charming in appearance, their thoughts told me a totally different story.
Lady #1 was thinking of how good of a time she had with Lady #2’s husband the previous evening. Lady #2 was thinking of ways to get her son’s pediatrician to renew his prescription of Ritalin early since she had taken all the pills for herself. Lady #3 was criticizing the other women fashion’s choices. Lady #4, who from what I gathered had went to high school with the reverend, was recalling the time she had seen a young Steve Newlin pleasuring himself while watching her brother by their swimming pool. And Sarah Newlin was thinking of how she could get ‘Jace Turner’ alone to… I shook my head, I didn’t need to see her sexual fantasy regarding my brother.
“Your family will love it here in Dallas” said Lady #3, who reminded me a lot of Pam with her Soccer Mom getup.
“You’ll have to bring your husband as soon as he gets back” added Lady #1.
I smiled my Crazy Sookie’s smile. I was getting sick of this endless idle chitchat. How was I supposed to find Godric if I was stuck in this room? I needed to find a way to excuse myself and excuse Gran. There was no way in hell I would leave my Gran with these harpies.
“If you’ll excuse me, ladies” I said, getting up. “This little guy needs a change. Gran, would you mind coming with me… RJ has a horrible rash on his little buttocks and…”
As if she was the mind reader, Gran smiled graciously.
“Of course, dear. Ladies, duty calls! You know how those first time mothers are, always doubting themselves…”
“Do not worry yourself, Mrs. McCain, we all went through this” said Lady #3.
“I’m still scare to death whenever my son comes back home with scrapes on his knee” added Lady #2.
“Of course we understand, Mrs. McCain… Well, except Sarah… She’s not a mother yet…”
You could hear the disdain in Lady #4’s voice. Yep, with friends like these you didn’t need enemies. As we made our way out of the room and through the endless hallways of the labyrinth-like building that was the church of the Fellowship, I kept my shields down.
“Any ideas where to start, dear?” whispered Gran.
I sighed. “Well, if I was keeping a vampire hostage…”
“The basement would be the best place to keep him” she finished, taking Hunter in her arms and letting me lead the way.
Using my gift, I was able to allow us to wander the hallways unnoticed. Luckily during our visit of the church, Sarah Newlin had showed us the crypt where the remains of the late Reverend, his wife and daughter were located in one part of the basement which was near the bathrooms.
We stopped in our track at the sound of the voice behind us. How did I not realize someone was standing right behind us? I turned around and smiled at the man wearing a Light of Day Institute t-shirt about one size too small.
“You looking for something?” he asked, looking suspiciously at us.
“Yes, we’re looking for the bathrooms…”
“Bathrooms are on the main floor, lady… You ain’t got…”
“I know they are upstairs, but this little guy needs a change and the only one with a changing table is…”
“Luke, man, is there a problem?”
Thank God! Jason to the rescue!
“Hey, Jace, man! Where the hell have you been? We waited for you at dinner tonight!”
“Went to the big house and had dinner with the Reverend, the Missus and their guests, Mrs. Preston, here, her grandmother and her son.”
“Dinner at the big house? Fucking Jace! I bet he’s doing Mrs. Newlin!”
“You lookin’ for somethin’, Mrs. P?” asked my brother.
His Southern accent seemed quite forced to my ears. Neither Jason nor I had an accent. Sure, dad had retained his Southern drawl, but he had mastered the Bostonian accent enough to sound like a local.
“The bathroom with the changing table. This little guy desperately needs a new diaper and Mrs. Newlin… I mean Sarah said that the one in the basement had one.”
“Yeah, the bathrooms are this way” he said pointing to a hallway past the crypt.
“Jace, as I was telling the ladies, this area is restricted…”
“We just want to change the baby, young man” said Gran.
“You go ahead, ladies” smiled Jason.
“Dude…” started Luke.
“Come on, man. The Reverend asked me to brin’ you up to get ready for later…”
With a wink Jason followed the LoDI guy back upstairs.
“I’ll try to stay close by, just in case… Good luck, sis…”
I looked at Gran and sighed deeply. This was a close one.
“Here, give me this little angel and go find our Godric…”
I handed my son to Gran, dropped a kiss on his chubby baby face before closing my eyes and concentrating on my surrounding. First I completely dropped all my shields. I was flooded by a tsunami of voices. Then I started the harrowing task of separating each and every one of them. When I was a child Jason had helped me a lot with my shields or, as I called them back then, my walls. I remember one day in particular when I hid myself in the attic after a rather traumatic visit to the playground near our brownstone. He had found me crouched between several boxes of Christmas decorations, my hands on my ears trying unsuccessfully to block all the voices in my head. He then proceeded to tell me that I was like Superman. Superman had super-hearing and he could hear everything, but he had learned to control it except in my case it was people’s thoughts I could hear. He told me I needed to do what Superman did, build walls in my mind. It took me years to perfect it, but I could now block people’s thoughts whenever I wanted… Except when I was drunk. I had an unfortunate experience back in college after a rather rowdy night in a bar near campus when, after a couple of shots of Patron, my shields had crumbled like a house of card.
So after separating all the voices in their own separate little rooms, I begin looking for a familiar vampire’s void. Bingo!
“I found him! Stay here, if I’m not back in 10 minutes leave and call Eric’s cell phone.”
“Don’t do anything stupid, dear. You have a little one to think of now.”
I smiled weakly. Yes, I had to think about Hunter. No need for any unnecessary risk.
“I promise, Gran.”
And with that I made my way toward the darken hallways. The void was large but weak. The odds that Godric might be too weak to leave unassisted didn’t escape me and I had talked with Eric the previous evening about the possibility of having to feed his Maker my blood. For vampires, blood was sacred. Eric had once told me that I had been the only human to have his blood, well except Pam for her turning. And to my Viking my blood was even more sacred than his own. He would only ever allow members of his bloodline to feed off me and even then only in case of extreme emergency.
I was getting closer to the void when someone grabbed my arm from behind.
“What do you think you’re doing here?”
I was startled by the sight of the tall bald man now standing in front of me. He looked nothing like the other Fellowship churchgoers I had met until then. No, he looked more like a menacing drill Sergeant.
“Sarah, I mean Mrs. Newlin sent my grandmother down here to use the bathroom with the changing table… My son needed a change of diaper, you see… I was coming to see what was taking her so long, but… I’m ashamed to say that I got lost…”
“Fucking woman! She knew better than to send somebody down here, especially with what we have plan for the morning…”
“How about I escort you back upstairs so we can find your grandmother?” he asked.
“That would be so nice of you” I answered, fake smile plastered on my face. “By the way, I’m Victoria Preston. Nice not meet you.”
“I’m Gabe” was his only answer.
I lowered my shields, hoping to catch a glimpse of his thoughts. I soon regretted my decision.
“Shit, I need to get to the Reverend… If what that fangbanging Hugo said was true, those fucking fangers have infiltrated us… Gotta find that fucking Sookie Stackhouse… What the fuck is a Sookie anyway? We can’t allow a fangbanging whore to put a stop at our bonfire…”
Hugo? So he was the spy? Shit, we needed to escape and soon.
“Is there a problem, Ma’am?”
I frowned. I had to find a way to stall him, I couldn’t allow him to go and tell the Reverend.
“I… A problem? I… You’re just walking so fast! And I need to catch my breath.”
From the corner of my eyes I could see a baseball bat lying on the wall. Quickly grabbing it I swing it with all the force I had.
“Take that, fucking ashole!”
The first blow hit Gabe on the side of his face. Unfortunately for me, he blocked my second blow, sending the bat flying across the hallways. He tackled me to the ground, pinning me to the floor. The look in his eyes made me sick.
“I guess you’re the fucking spy those fangers sent… The Reverend will be glad I found you. But in the meantime Gabe is going to enjoy that hot little body of yours. So you like them dead, don’t you? Let’s see how much you’ll like having a live man pounding in you.”
I let out a shriek before his hand clasped on my mouth. I could feel his filthy hands roaming on my body, trying to rip out my clothes. I closed my eyes for a second, then his weight was lifted off my body with the distinctive sound of a neck snapping. I didn’t dare open my eyes until I felt a cold hand stroking the side of my face. I finally opened my eyes and sighed.