Chapter 10: Ghost

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Sookie walked the path she had walked a great many times in her life. Too many people she loved were buried in that cemetery. In one box she carried the letters, and in the other a few wildflowers she’d pulled in the backyard. Sookie looked up at the birds moving from tree to tree in the early morning light, and stopped short when she heard her name being called.

“Sook!” the whisper shout hit her ears, and Sookie turned to see where it was coming from.

Lafayette stepped out from behind a line of trees, and Sookie’s heart about exploded in her chest from the spookiness of it. She managed to hold onto the box of letters, and sucked in a deep breath when she saw that Lafayette wasn’t alone. An athletically built Hispanic man appeared as well, and she assumed that must have been Jesus since there wasn’t much of a Hispanic population around Bon Temps.

“You gotta stop sneakin’ up on me!” Sookie admonished from where she was standing.

“Sorry, Sook, but I couldn’t risk goin’ to yo’ house,” Lafayette came to a stop in front of her. “Sook, this is Jesus. Jesus, this is Sookie.”

“Howdedo?” Sookie curtsied a little, but didn’t have a spare hand to offer him.

“I’ve heard a lot about you, Sookie, it’s nice to finally meet you.”

“I only heard of you last night, but the feeling is mutual,” she smiled, but then her smile faded. “I thought it was too dangerous for you to be hangin’ around here?” she looked to Lafayette.

“We haz a problem,” Lafayette looked to Jesus.

“What kind of problem?” Sookie asked nervously. She had enough on her plate to deal with, without getting sucked into whatever was going on with Lafayette.

“That vampire of yours is in trouble,” Lafayette started, but Sookie piped up to correct him.

“Eric isn’t mine,” she said firmly.

Lafayette smirked and said, “I ain’t said nothin’ about Eric.”

Sookie shot him a dirty look, even though that would give her food for thought. Why had she assumed that Eric was the vampire he was referring to? Shouldn’t Bill’s name be the first to come to mind? Sookie mentally shook herself; she’d think about it later.

Instead, Lafayette continued, “He done pissed off Marnie.”

“What does that mean?” Sookie asked, looking back and forth from Lafayette to Jesus.

It was Jesus who spoke up and said, “It’s my understanding that vampires keep a close eye on those who can do magic, since they are susceptible to any spells that might be cast. When I met Marnie, she was… she was kinder, gentler. She’s changed in the last couple of weeks. Ever since we rescued Lafayette she’s been different. She knew that rescuing Lafayette was a dangerous thing, but she insisted we do it. I’ve known Marnie for a long time, and she’s never been malicious in her magic, but now… she’s gone dark.”

Sookie continued to look confused. “I still don’t know what that means.”

“It means that the sort of magic we’ve been doing as always been rooted in the elements. We chant; we use herbs and things found in nature. Any spells we have worked have always been in a positive light. But now Marnie is moving into blood magic, which is much more dangerous and has the ability to do real damage. It’s dark magic, and it can be deadly if the person casting spells doesn’t understand exactly what they’re doing,” Jesus explained.

“What does that have to do with Eric?” Sookie asked, looking from one man to the other. “It isn’t like Eric is just going to give her his blood. Lafayette, of all people, should know how vampires feel about that.”

“If she can get him under her control that changes everything. As a vampire, Eric isn’t going to be easy to kill. I don’t know the specifics, but he managed to offend her somehow and she’s looking for revenge,” Lafayette offered.

That wasn’t hard to believe. Eric had a way of being dismissive and rude, to say the least, and it stood to reason that it was only a matter of time before his arrogance got the better of him.

“She wants to kill him?” Sookie’s eyes went wide.

“She wants to kill all vampires,” Jesus spoke softly.

All vampires?” Sookie felt a little bit of panic. “Why does she want to kill them all?”

“We aren’t exactly sure,” Lafayette looked over to Jesus.

“Marnie has become much more of a dictator than she used to be. She has a plan, and the power she’s gained from doing all the blood magic has made her scary enough that most of the coven is too afraid to leave,” Jesus explained.

“What if she finds out that you’re here?” Sookie asked.

“Let us worry about that,” Lafayette said.

“Why are you trying to help the vampires after what they did to you?”

“Because not all vampires is evil, crazy bitches in Prada heels,” Lafayette said, “And even that psycho woman serves a purpose somewhere. What Marnie’s doin’ ain’t right, and if she succeeds with vampires there’s no guarantee she’ll stop there.”

“We can’t take that chance, Sookie. This is dangerous stuff she’s messing with. She doesn’t understand it,” Jesus rolled up his sleeve to reveal a brand on the inside of his arm.

“Cheese and rice,” Sookie muttered, taking in the scary looking design that was burned onto Jesus’ skin.

“El Diablo,” he said in a perfect accent. “Do you know what that means?”

Sookie shook her head, “No, I only took French in high school.”

“The Devil, Sook,” Lafayette supplied, and her jaw dropped.

“I don’t worship the devil, if that’s what you’re thinking, but that’s where the magic I was raised to use comes from. It’s a very dark form of magic, and not the kind you want to mess with if you don’t know what you’re doing. Somehow Marnie is tapping into this kind of magic. The kind of magic we were doing before wouldn’t allow for necromancing,” Jesus said.

Sookie gasped and asked, “Wait, does that mean she’s trying to make the vampires all human again?”

Lafayette and Jesus exchanged another glance before Jesus said, “It’s a possibility. We aren’t sure what, exactly, she’s planning to do with them. She could try to reanimate them as humans, or she could cast a spell to compel them out into the sunlight as they are now. There are lots of options to choose from.”

This wasn’t good.

Once again Sookie found herself gobsmacked by just how ignorant she was to the supernatural world. In the last twelve hours alone she had learned that fairies and witches were real things, and not just myths that parents could use to charm to terrify their children. There she was, living breathing proof, and she was standing across from two witches who were trying to tell her that vampires were in danger.

If she was the fainting type, that would have been a good moment to fall out.

Her shields did slip, however, and for the first time she got a glimpse into Lafayette’s mind since the white curtain was gone. He was looking at Sookie, but oddly enough he was thinking about Eric. In his mind she saw what he had survived in the basement at Fangtasia. The torture he had endured wasn’t nearly as horrific as it could have been, but the vampires had bitten him repeatedly while taunting him, taking him to the brink of death only to feed him some TruBlood and put him back down in the basement with the others.

There had been an escape attempt resulting in a pretty savage death for one of the vampires responsible for the fire that Sookie had thought killed Bill. For just the briefest flash of a moment, Sookie wished Bill really had been in that fire. Maybe if he had a lot of things would be different. Or maybe she would be dead, too.

Still, after seeing all the awful things in Lafayette’s mind her respect for him grew by leaps and bounds. If he could look beyond what had been done to him to save the lives of people who had tortured him, then Sookie knew she had to do her best to give Eric another chance to prove himself. She decided then and there that she would help in any way she could.

“What do you want me to do?” Sookie asked.

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