I should have magically spread open my legs to Eric from the moment I returned from the land of the Fae. He had kept me safe once more and he wasn’t even here to do it. There was another attack by a swarm of Hep-V infected vampires last night. The numbers totalling far more than ever before. Eric had kept me safe because of the cubby.
Violet is presumed dead or infected. She wasn’t the type to take anything lying down, except Jason apparently. I’m still trying to erase those memories from my mind, it didn’t help that he was the only other breathing thing in the cubby with me. Willa was the only other non-breathing being with us under the ground. She was too young and untrained to go out and fight. Eric had helped her temper the bloodlust that was raging inside her over the phone for most of the night while fighting the pull of the sun on his side of the world.
It was a revelation to me to hear Eric be so fatherly with her. I knew his relationship with Pam was a special one and because of that she was yet to like me. Their relationship was something of equals, their roles interchanged to necessity and need. I had always pictured myself with children of my own and a husband but last night showed me there were different incarnations of that. I had been somewhat of a reluctant mother to Jessica but mostly because Bill was slack in his parenting.
I was sad to hear that Jessica had come to an end at Eric’s hands. He had acted on instinct in his injured state. There was no doubt in my mind that Jessica had been commanded to do so and Bill should have known it was a suicide mission to send a baby vampire to kill a thousand year old one, even a severely injured one. Either that or he was ridiculously overconfident in Jessica’s abilities. In any case it was a cruel spot to place his child in, the responsibility of her final death lay with him. Even posthumously I was adding names to the list.
Tara is resting in the shared grave of Pam and Lafayette. She had insisted on doing so despite her maker’s protests that her presence added nothing to the process. Apparently Tara’s patented bitch glare got her more sway with her maker than with anyone else. Thankfully we found their grave undisturbed this morning. The destruction of the town, however, was all encompassing. It made the damage of the maenad pale in comparison. My own beloved farmhouse lay half in ruins.
We couldn’t find any bodies, it was a complete ghost town. Blood was abundant as was debris till we stumbled upon the Loudermilk field that once housed the fairy club. It was a mass grave that Jason insisted was a cover up by the government. As if they had the time, they could barely spare the men to contain the swarms of Hep-V infected vampires. The mystery, however, remained to why the deranged vampires would bury their dinner as we had yet find a body or living being.
It was faint but I heard tears and my telepathy senses a distant presence. Jason thought me insane once more as he heard none. It wasn’t till my light activated that I understood it was coming from Hooligan’s. I hadn’t been inside since Warlow had eaten the entire buffet of fairies. Jason and I found Adilynn huddled over her father’s drained body in the desolate space. The poor girl had lost so much at the hands of vampires. She didn’t even notice our presence till my hand touched her shoulder from behind.
She screamed in fear till I mentally reached out with my mind to soothe her that she was safe. At the realisation she sank into my arms sobbing in earnest. I read from her mind of the events that had taken place in the dead of night. One by one the homes that were the last bastion of protection against their kind were razed to the ground till the magical barrier of protection was gone. Even in their weakened state a human had no chance with the infected vampires. Adylinn was far too young to be able to process it all. While I soothed her as best I could Jason shed a few tears for Andy in the privacy of his own mind.
Andy Bellefleur had never given me much respect. The Stackhouses were always considered backwards trash by the likes of the established Bellefleur’s even though our families were of the first in this town. Andy’s own failing to meet the grand standing of his own last name made him especially unkind to Jason and I. In my absence in Fae he and Jason had established a friendship, granted it was over covering up Eggs’ death but it stood strong regardless. They had been there for each other and in doing so Andy had found respect in the Stackhouses despite our last name.
He was always wary of what I could do with my mind but hoped for my assistance in his police trials whenever he was stuck. I gave him as much as I could afford which often wasn’t much.
“He’s been drained,” Jason, aka captain obvious, said.
“So?” I returned with a bit of a snip, my thoughts concerned with the grieving Adilynn.
“He’s been drained,” Jason repeated once more before it dawned on me. All the other bodies we had seen after the first attack were ripped to shreds like they were flesh eaters. Most bodies were identified by Sam’s discerning nose, there hadn’t been one open casket funeral.
I sat Adilyn down gently beside me as I looked at Andy’s corpse properly for the first time. There was blood on his lips and after witnessing a turning twice now, I recognised it as not his own. The mass grave beneath us was simply a temporary holding cell. It suddenly made sense to me why their numbers were increasing when the supply of infected Tru Blood was no longer available. It had nothing to do with the blood of humans infecting the healthy vampires.
The quarantine was a farce, they were simply containing a lethal situation. We were left here to die as they protected the borders. Either they eradicated all the Hep-V infected vampires that ventured to the border or they died when the food supply ran out. The humans were sacrificed to placate to the safety of the rest of the world. The government had no means to control the outbreak so they let it implode from within. It sickened me to my core and Jason’s anti-government ramblings didn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.
“Adilynn honey,” I said softly to which her glistening eyes reached my own. “We need to burn his body.”
“No,” she whimpered as my heart broke for her. She wasn’t ready to let go just like I had been incapable with my Gran’s sudden death.
“Andy wouldn’t have wanted to be a vampire,” Jason said consolingly with his own tears no longer hidden from view. “Especially one with HPV.” I refrained from rolling my eyes at Jason’s mashups of the two decidedly different diseases. Six months with hearing the words Hep-V every thirty seconds and he still went with the cancer inducing infection.
Adilynn gave a brave nod and did what I had been incapable to do with Tara. She let a loved one go. She wasn’t selfish in keeping him here in whatever form, she respected his wishes for an honest death. It was the right choice to make, especially knowing Andy wouldn’t last long as a vampire and his death would come regardless either by the containment or the lack of nourishment.
Andy’s body didn’t burn when we carried it out into the sun. Adilynn’s taking his body above ground most likely interfered with the turning process. Regardless we had decided all the bodies had to be burned, we would take no chances with anyone. Jason left to get the stacks of firewood Eric had filled one of our barns with. It was yet another reason I was thankful for Eric’s presence in my absence. Adilynn and I set to wash the blood off Andy’s corpse with supplies we found inside the club and water from a nearby creek.
When we were through we started to dig at the first corner of the shallow grave, instantly a few bodies caught fire while others remained as unchanged like Andy’s. Apparently the success rate of turning among the Hep-V infected was not so high, on average one in three took to flames. I recorded every single name as I set my pencil to paper. These people had lives and families, they would be missed. The population of Bon Temps had dwindled to a saddening three overnight but I would see to it that everyone who knew these people would be informed.
The physical labour was good to us, it halted our tears for the people who had surrounded us all our lives. Jason and I continued to dig upon his return while Adilynn diligently washed their bodies clean. The children were the worst to find, the innocence lost at such a young age. We placed them beside their parents where we could.
My tears were no longer contained when I came across Coby and Lisa. Their hands were clasped tight together fear penetrating their dead eyes. I had known them both since infants, Lisa I even sensed before Arlene in her womb. Bon Temps was never going to offer them much of a future, Lisa was well on her way to become the teen mom she dressed up as for Halloween. Cody was set to follow in Jason’s tomcat ways. Regardless they deserved to live that life because they had barely lived at all.
I closed the lids to their eyes as I was unable to stand witness to their haunting any longer. We were barely through half the field by midday as our energy was running ragged. Jason had brought some food along with the firewood but despite our grumbling stomachs none of us had an appetite. We ploughed on and I was hardly startled when I found Holly’s body as it instantly disintegrated into flames.
The arrival of the natural witch had made me suspicious of her at first, considering the state Amnesia Eric was in at the time. Despite her participation in that, I knew her heart to rest in the right place, she was forgiving and saw the larger scheme rather than nit-pick at the insignificant details of life. In forgiving Andy’s infidelity she took Adilynn and her sisters in as her own, standing ready at their birth. I was glad Adilynn had not witnessed the instant cremation as I just had. She was like a real mother to her and it was far from a pretty sight.
Maxine Fortenberry would be glad to know she was not turned. Her hatred of vampires would have made a successful turning hilarious under any other circumstances but not today. And not any day after this. Hoyt was a proper orphan now, lost on his own to Alaska. Despite their unhealthy relationship I knew he would miss her every day from now on, I never stopped missing my mother despite the hateful things her mind would tell me.
We placed Andy besides his grandmother Caroline and his sister Portia. At least they had been close together when they were drained. Jason gave me a weird look when I instructed to place Kevin Ellis besides Kenya Jones. Apparently only in my mind was it known that those two co-workers were hopelessly in love with each other but neither one had ever spoken a word of it. I had learned long ago with the people of this town that I best keep my mouth shut when it came to their private affairs. Now all I could feel was sad for not revealing what lay hidden in their minds. They could have had a chance at consummating something they had both desired.
Tara’s mother Lettie Mae was gone in seconds together with her newly found husband the preacher. At least they went together whether it be to heaven or hell. I had no concept on how God would judge this anymore. I stayed true that forgiveness was all, but of all the evil creatures I met Mrs Thornton/Daniels was the one I would find it hardest to forgive. Perhaps our lord had a larger heart than mine. For the souls that were departing around us I hoped he did. None of them had deserved this hell on earth.
I fell to pieces when I found Arlene. Not that our friendship had withstood her scrutiny of me that well, but because of the infant that was smothered to her chest. He bared no fang marks, his head was snapped. I knew no Hep-V infected vampire would cleanly kill a babe of not even two years old. They had no human values or vampiric ones for that matter. Like a true mother protecting her cub she had released the life out of her own child before anyone else could. I finally understood what my father had been trying to do with me. Mercy.
A fate worse than death was what he had protected me from. It took Warlow revealing his true sadistic self to discover that. I should have known my father had acted out of a place of love no matter how misguided it had been. Millennia by the faepire’s side would have been my personal hell on earth and not even Eric could have saved me from that.
Big John was the last body we found. He wasn’t a man of many words but when he spoke you knew. It was always profound with a timbre that made you think. His mind was anything but quiet, it’s how I knew his speech was always carefully selected. He was kind and didn’t deserve this. None of the citizens of Bon Temps did.
Their bodies were cleansed while ours were speckled with dirt, ash and blood. Adilynn and I collapsed at the side of the mass grave as Jason doused the bodies with gas. The firewood lay like connecting branches of trees between the bodies. It would have been a beautiful sight had it not been an effigy to death.
We drank some of the fae water from the club to energise our lights and bodies. The sun was close to meeting the horizon so we knew there was little time left. Adilynn and I gathered the strength of our lights and without speaking we bundled our strength to a magnificently bright orb releasing it above the assembly of our former kin and fellow citizens. As if it were the sun itself the bright light descended slower than gravity would allow. It fell to the bodies beneath, flames travelled across the branches as an assembly of barely one and a half thousand slowly succumbed to ash.
We held on to each other tightly as we said our tearful goodbyes. Despite the hate and judgement they had all placed on me I would mourn every single one. They were my people and now they were gone. Perhaps it was poetic or simply chance that the last descendants of this town’s two founding families stood witness at the end of these glorious dead. We stood there regardless as I was gifted with silence in this town for the first time in my life.
I found I could not care for it.