Chapter 64: Murder of One

Fucking Sophie-Anne. Hadley wasn’t her first contact with the Stackhouse family. Since Sookie and Hadley looked so much alike as children it would be easy to think Hadley was Sookie. But how had Sophie-Anne learned about Sookie’s grandfather? Was it just a happy accident or did she have information pointing her toward him?

Eric felt the bonded male in him rising up, ready to rip the throat out of anything that attempted to harm the woman sitting at this side. Sookie was still weeping over the letter informing her grandmother of her grandfather’s death. She dropped the letters and nearly crumbled into herself. Eric scooped her up and put her in his lap when he sat on one of the nearby chairs. He stroked her arm in a soothing kind of way and attempted to push a little comfort into her end of their bond.

“Gran always said that Granddad was missin’,” Sookie sniffled and started to wipe away her tears. “She never told us he was dead.”

“Since he was drained by a vampire before we revealed ourselves, she did so to protect you,” Eric kissed her head.

Sookie looked up at him and asked, “It was Sophie-Anne, wasn’t it?”

“Most likely,” Eric nodded his agreement.

“How did she know?”

Good. Fucking. Question.

“How well do you remember your grandfather?” Eric asked her.

Sookie sat up a little straighter and said, “Pretty well. I remember when I was little people used to say that he just ‘knew things,’ but they weren’t afraid of him like they were me. One time this kid went missing. He’d been out playing with his friends in the woods, and he didn’t come home for supper. None of the friends knew where he was, and when word got to Granddaddy, he went out to the woods and found the kid in less than an hour. He told everyone it was just because he was good at following tracks, but I don’t think anyone believed that. Ever since then, people had a way of going to my grandfather whenever something got lost.

“They weren’t afraid of him at all. They didn’t think he was crazy, or evil or any of the things people have thought about me since I was little. The last time I saw him he was packing for a trip to New Orleans. He had a meeting with some big banker down there that was going to help him file for a small business loan so he and Gran could expand the little company they were running back then. The trip was supposed to last just three days, but he never came back. It was like he just vanished. He never even checked out of his hotel. Bud Dearborn said the police down in New Orleans had no leads and no reason to think anything violent had happened to him. No one saw anything, hell no one other than that banker he met with even remembered him. The last time anyone saw him alive was at that meeting.

“I never believed that Granddaddy ran off with another woman; he just wouldn’t do that. He loved Gran way too much. It’s true that he and Gran were stressed out over having Jason and me to take care of full-time, but they were happy to do it. They were figuring out ways to make ends meet, and in the south you do whatever you have to in order to make it work. Gran would have started cleaning houses for the rich families in Monroe. Granddaddy would have taken on odd jobs fixing things or mowing lawns… whatever it took. He wouldn’t have left, but he never came back. Now I know why,” Sookie sighed and tried to blink away a fresh batch of tears.

If Sookie’s grandfather had been in New Orleans that explained how the queen was able to get her hands on him, but what would she have been attracted to in the first place? Was it luck of the draw, or had she preyed upon him knowing that he was special?

“Sookie, all those times that your grandfather helped the people in town find missing things were there stories in the newspaper about that?” Eric asked her.

She thought for a moment and said, “They might have been. I don’t remember ever seeing anything like that, but it’s possible.”

“We need to check the newspaper’s archives to see if they were,” he told her. “If there were stories published about how your grandfather just ‘knew things,’ as you put it, it’s possible word traveled down to New Orleans.”

“I could also check the other letters that are left at the penthouse to see if there’s anything in them about it,” Sookie sighed. “Tomorrow I’ll call Johnny Moss over at the Bugle and see if he knows anything about that. His family has owned the paper for as long as it’s been in publication.”

“Good idea,” Eric nodded.

Sookie exhaled slowly and rested her head on Eric’s shoulder again.

“What if it wasn’t an accident, Eric? What if Sophie-Anne has been stalking my family for decades?” she asked.

“If that’s true, she will regret the day she ever found out about your grandfather,” Eric promised her with a kiss to her forehead.

oOoOoOo

“You recover nicely, little girl,” Dr. Ludwig said after taking Sookie’s vital signs.

“Claudine, my cousin, healed me last night after you left,” Sookie explained.

“I noticed,” Dr. Ludwig said. “You’ve got the glow.”

“The glow?” Sookie lifted an eyebrow.

“You’re shimmering,” Dr. Ludwig informed her. “Of course I wouldn’t expect you or your vampire to be able to see it, but I’m a Healer.”

“Right,” Sookie said, as if she should have known. She wanted to ask Dr. Ludwig what she was, but decided she probably didn’t want to know.

“You’re clear to start feeding your vampire again,” Dr. Ludwig said as she put her supplies back into a medical bag that was almost as big as she was. She pulled another bottle of Illumia from her bag and handed it to Sookie. “I want you to keep this. You never know when it might come in handy.”

“In case I almost get drained again?” Sookie snickered as she took the vial.

“Or for other things,” Dr. Ludwig winked at her. “Tell the vampire I’ll send my bill,” she said and then she was gone.

Sookie turned the small vial over in her hands and wondered what else she could possibly use it for. Per the doctor’s order, just a drop of that would be enough to drive Eric completely insane. So what did Sookie want having something like that lying around for? She decided to tuck it away somewhere for safe keeping. If Dr. Ludwig was giving it to her, there was obviously a purpose for it. Sookie sincerely doubted Dr. Ludwig gave away a free bottle of Illumia to every injured patient.

Since she had nothing better to do, she planned to spend a little time doing some investigating of the premises. Her favorite room, she’d discovered, was the library. It wasn’t very big, but some of the texts appeared to be ancient. There were books in all different languages and stages of decay. The oldest books were in display cases to keep them safe from humidity, she presumed. A few of the volumes were handwritten, but she didn’t know who had written them.

There were first editions of a great many books that would probably be considered collector’s items now. She pulled a copy of the Canterbury Tales with the intention of reading until sunset, but then remembered the phone call she needed to make to Johnny Moss over at the Bon Temps Bugle. As luck would have it he was out to lunch at the time so she left a message with his secretary, Bonnie Sue Finch, to have him call her back as soon as he could. With that done, Sookie set her phone aside, picked up her book and went to the living room to read until the sun started to set.

 

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