The prologue was written in a third person perspective. But I find that I'm much more comfortable writing in a first person POV. I hope you won't mind that I'm changing it, and that you'll enjoy reading this. Thank you for taking the time to do it, and please review if you can. Oh, and this chapter was betaed by the lovely Charhamblin. Hugs from Portugal, Célia
I wanted my "happy ever after".
And I had been waiting for someone to dazzle me since I was a young girl, when I was first told "The Little Glass Slipper" story. And I absolutely loved how the word Cinderella had, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes had been unrecognized but who had unexpectedly achieved recognition and happiness, after a period of obscurity and neglect.
Because, you know, I had always liked to think that I was a Cinderella myself.
First of all, my parents had died when I was a child. And even though I was lucky enough to have been raised by my loving Grandmother Adele (who I missed terribly, since she had passed away the previous year) and not some spiteful Stepmother, the truth was that I had always felt different from other kids at school because I was an orphan. And despite the fact that I didn't have any vain Stepsisters, my brother and I were never very close, especially when we were both in school because he was ashamed of me (people at school even used to call me "Crazy Sookie", and, I guess, they continued doing it even after school). Like I said, I was always different from other kids there and I had never had any real friends. But the upside of that (deep down, I was always a positive person, despite my misfortunes), was that after taking care of the house and working at a local bar, I had lots of free time to read and to dance (by myself, obviously), which I absolutely loved.
And, like I was saying, you could tell I didn't get out much. And it was not because I wasn't pretty. I was. I was blond and blue-eyed and twenty-five, and my legs were strong and my bosom substantial, and I had a waspy waistline. Besides, I knew that I looked good in the warm-weather waitress outfit my boss Sam Merlotte had picked for us: black shorts, white T, white socks, black Nikes. The problem was that all men in Bon Temps, the small-town in Louisiana where I lived, were not my "cup of tea". Like I said before, I had always liked to think that I was a Cinderella myself, and I guess that I was still waiting for my Prince Charming, who'd be nothing like the rest of Bon Temps men.
But even though I had never felt that I really belonged in Bon Temps, people were nice (except when they called me "Crazy Sookie" behind my back, obviously), in a small-town-niceness kind of way. I mean, for example, if there was a death in a family, everyone would go there, bringing food and offering to help this way or that way; but at the same time, they'd be noticing if the house was clean enough for receiving guests, or if the coffin was an expensive or cheap one, and other things like that. Yes, they were all good people, and everyone looked out for each other, but on the other hand, because everyone knew each other, everyone also knew what happened in everyone else's life and boy!, were they judgmental. And so, because I had been refusing dates with the town's bachelors since I was 18 years old, and instead I would rather stay at home or at the library reading, I continued to be "Crazy Sookie".
And Bon Temps was probably the only little, quiet town in the whole country where a young woman's passion for reading was frowned upon. But the truth is, that it was. And the worst thing about it was not that I was called "Crazy Sookie" behind my back. In fact, what bothered me the most about Bon Temps was that it was a too little, and too quiet provincial town, where every day was like the one before, full of little people. And I don't mean short in height, but rather in their mentalities and ways of life.
Anyway, I was right in the middle of my break at Merlotte's, the bar where I worked, when William "Bill" Compton entered the place. His family had lived in Bon Temps since before the Civil War. Actually, they had been there when Bon Temps was just a hole in the road at the edge of the frontier.
Because it was only a little before 4 pm in the afternoon and the bar was almost empty, I had been enjoying my break and minding my own business, reading a book in a corner booth, when Bill sat in front of me. Uninvited, of course.
"Well, well, well Sookie. I can see that you were sitting here, just by yourself, waiting for me…" he said, before he added, smiling and completely full of himself, "Now, tell me: how did you know that I would be coming to Merlotte's now?"
Bill was a little under six feet, he had thick brown hair, combed straight back and brushing his collar, and his long sideburns had always seemed curiously old-fashioned to me. He had lips that were lovely and sharply sculpted, and arched dark brows. His nose swooped down right out of that arch, like a prince's in a Byzantine mosaic. And he had very, very dark eyes, which made the whites incredibly white. And, all in all, I'd say that Bill was a very attractive man. And I knew that all the single girls in town would be glad (ecstatic really) if he was to sit with them.
But, like I said before, I was never like my peers, and the fact that he had thought that somehow I was hoping and waiting for him, bothered me to my core. Nevertheless, I had been well-raised by my Gran. And if there is something that a "Southern Lady" must be all the time, it is polite. And so, quite unwillingly, I acknowledge Bill.
"Hello Bill," I said, taking my eyes from my book to look at him and trying my best to smile at him. However, my smile disappeared when he took my book from me, and turned it around, so he'd take a look at it. And that was when I immediately asked, "Bill, may I have my book, please?"
"Why do you read this Sookie? No one's making you read, you're not at school anymore, and this isn't a magazine with pictures of famous people…" he said. And you know what? I think that he was actually curious about my reasons for liking to read books.
I sighed and then I said, "Well, some people use their imaginations."
"Sookie, it's about time you got your head out of those books," he started to say with an arrogant attitude, as if he were my father, or some authority figure in my life, who I should listen to, and obey. As if I was his, or something. And then he added, "And you should pay attention to more important things… like me! You're about to be 26 years old, and… well, the whole town's talking about it. It's not right for a woman to be alone and care for herself. And everyone knows that your brother just likes to drink and party with different, loose Shreveport women all the time. And despite the fact that it's his duty to provide for you, everyone knows that he doesn't. And that's why you must marry as soon as possible, so you'll have a man to take care of you."
And he said that whole speech with a serious face, as if he truly believed in his words. But I, on the other hand, could only silently laugh at him, while I answered, "Bill, you think like someone from the Civil War era. You are positively primeval."
And even though I had meant it as an insult, he actually thanked me; right before he asked me if I wanted to walk over to his place, so he could show me his new bathroom. His bathroom? Why would I? Anyway, I took my book back from him, I got up and then I said, "I'm working now, and my break's already gone. So, maybe some other time."
And as soon as I was out of the booth, Selah Pumpfrey, a local girl, sat in my previous place and started giggling because of something that Bill had said. And Dawn, another waitress immediately ran to his table, asking Bill if he wanted anything from the bar, and apologizing because I hadn't offered to bring him his customary whiskey. And that was when I heard another "Crazy Sookie" comment whispered at another table.
I took a deep breath, I decided that I wouldn't care about it, and I went back to work, wondering if I would ever meet my Prince Charming.
I had once heard that no matter what you have, or who you are, you need people all around you because humans truly are social animals. And now I completely believed in it because I had been isolated for almost ten years with only Pam as my companion; though I never stopped feeling sorry for what had become of her because of me.
With Clancy, Dahlia, Maxwell Lee, Indira and Long Shadow, on the other hand, I had barely talked to since that fateful night, unless I would be ordering them around. And yes, humans really are social animals, and that isolation wasn't doing me any good. But the thing was: I was no longer a human. I was a vampire, an animal who only wanted to satiate its thirst. Of blood.
And so, I had spend the last decade, since I was 21, in my house, or in the office or the huge basement below my bar, getting completely bored with my life, cursing the night when I met Marnie Stonebrook, and missing the sunlight and the smells of the day time. And even though I could hear the humans and my staff working each night in my bar, I always stayed away from them because they'd immediately recognize my inhuman nature. And each night, each month and each year that passed, I got even more bored, more isolated, and more hopeless that I would ever be a human again.
Thus, on a boring, lonely night, like any other of the thousands of nights that had passed since I had become a monster, something new happened and Pam entered my office almost breathless. "I… we have a problem Eric," she said.
"A guy went downstairs when Clancy was feeding tonight. He's drunk and he had already tried to pick a fight with another guy upstairs. And I should have put him out of here already, but I don't know why, I didn't. And then he went downstairs and he saw everything," she said. But I was left with the feeling that it wasn't just that. Yes, a human going downstairs and watching Clancy feed was problematic, and none of the vermin should go there. Let alone watch one of us drinking blood from another human. But it was an easy-to-fix problem: we just had to glamour the person into forgetting everything.
"How did a human have access to our basement?" I asked. The basement was huge, and it had a sort of living room (where they spend their free time, with a pool table, a television, stereo and other things, and where I never went), three bedrooms, with our coffins, where we sometimes spent our days, when we didn't want to spend it at the house (one for Pam, Thalia and Indira, another for Clancy, Maxwell and Long Shadow, and other for me), a couple of bathrooms and another room that they all used when they were feeding or whenever anyone of them needed to be alone (because I had my own bedroom, I refrained from using that room as well). And it was very guarded. There were three doors, always closed, two alarms and it was absolutely prohibited that a non-glamoured human would go there.
"I don't know," Pam answered me, before she added, "Clancy was probably reckless and he might have left the doors unlocked or something… I just know that the guy was downstairs and he saw Clancy biting and drinking from a girl, who was barely twenty one…"
"Call Clancy here to my office, and glamour the guy into forgetting everything that he saw," I answered with my fangs down. Clancy should know better than to leave our day resting place free for a human to go there.
"Yes. But the thing is, the guy… he… he smelled very good, and because tomorrow is my feeding night, I decided that I'd drink from him tonight, and then I wouldn't taste anyone tomorrow. And so I drank from him. But he… well, he…" she started saying but then she stopped. Pam was nervous about something, as if she had done something wrong. Maybe she had killed the human? Well, it wouldn't be the first person to die while feeding us or in a moment of rage. Especially in the beginning we would sometimes kill, without meaning it, our dinner. But Pam and the others' thirst had been manageable in the last few years. A couple of mouthfuls of blood, once a week, were more than enough for them, and they would be alright until their next time to feed, a week later. But I, on the other hand, had a much harder time controlling myself. Recently, I had been the only one of us who had killed a human during feeding. And so, I was almost sure that Pam hadn't killed anyone. She was actually the one with the best self-control of us all. And even if she had killed someone… Well, like I said, it wouldn't be the first time, and we already knew how to get rid of bodies without any problems.
"He what?" I asked when I realized that Pam wouldn't continue talking.
"Well, like I said, I drank from him, because he had already been getting into trouble upstairs, before I glamoured him. But he…" she then stopped talking, yet another time. Pam was never one who didn't know what to say. Actually, if there was one thing that Pam had always been, it was blunt. I was left wondering what the hell had happened to have Pam that way.
"He what?" I asked again.
"Well, I decided that he'd deserved to be fed upon and I drunk from him…" she repeated. Yes, Pam was nervous with something and I was worrying what it was.
"Did you kill him?"
"No," she answered immediately with an almost repulsive air about the whole thing. Pam and the others still felt bad about what they had become, and they tried to keep their human nature as much as possible. I, on the other hand, had already quit it, and I had embraced my monstrous nature. I was what I was, and I had already accepted that no one would ever love me and that I'd be that way forever.
"He can't be glamoured."
Ah. What? Everyone could be glamoured. We had never met anyone who couldn't be glamoured. We had been feeding from one person a night for the last nine years, and no one, absolutely no one had ever been immune to our glamour.
"Maybe you're doing it wrong," I said, but without much belief in my own sentence. Pam had been glamouring humans to forget that they had been bitten and drunk from for as long as the rest of us. She knew how to glamour.
"I asked the rest of them to try it as well. None of us were able to glamour this guy. And he's…"
"He saw our fangs, he remembers everything that he saw when Clancy was feeding and later glamouring his dinner; and he also remembers everything of when I drunk from him. And it scared his drunkenness away. He's… he's freaking out about what happened." Well, of course, someone would be freaking out about it. They always did. But luckily, glamour always resolved everything. What the hell would we do if glamour suddenly stopped working? How would we feed? There were already rumors about "the elusive" bar-owner who never showed up. And people actually thought that I was a Satan worshipper. The gossipers even used the word "beast" referring to me. If they only knew how right they were… But, back to the problem at hand: how would we feed if our glamour stopped working? Would we have to kill everyone, to keep our existence a secret? But then we'd have to keep moving from place to place because of all the murders… Fuck.
And so, I asked Pam where the guy was, and then the both of us went to the basement. Everyone but Clancy was there. As soon as I got there, I saw a good-looking young man who smelled strongly of alcohol and who had obviously drank more than he should have that night. However, his eyes told me that he had been scared enough that the booze was no longer influencing him. The dark-blond man was tied up and there was a cloth preventing him from talking. Or, if his scared eyes were any indication of his feelings, from screaming.
I told the other guys to go upstairs, and tend to the bar, which was almost at its closing time, and I stayed there with only Pam and the human. Besides, they were supposed to call Clancy (the only one of us who wasn't there) to my presence.
"Did he come here alone?" I asked Pam. It would be hard to explain his absence if he had been at the bar with friends.
"Yes. And he drove here, so no taxi driver knows that he came to this place. And I've already parked his pick-up truck in our garage, away from curious eyes," Pam answered.
"What's his name?" I asked.
Pam moved to me, with a wallet in her hands, which she gave to me, and said, "Jason Stackhouse. He lives in a small town an hour away, Bon Temps. He has been here before, and he was also drunk then."
I opened the wallet and I saw a couple of receipts from a liquor store inside, with an AA's card that listed the time and place of AA meetings in that part of Louisiana. So the guy really was a drunkard. Maybe it was the excess of alcohol in his body that had prevented Pam from glamouring him?
I moved close to him, and I noticed that his fang marks hadn't been closed yet. Pam had probably discovered the guy's inability to be glamoured before she had had the time to deal with the neck wounds. And as soon as I smelled the blood that was drying there, my fangs immediately came out, right in front of the guy. I focused on his eyes and I proceeded to try to glamour him myself. But I could only succeed in scaring the guy even more; he stood un-glamourable.
Right at that moment, Clancy arrived downstairs and I asked him how the hell the human had been able to go to the basement. And the fucker tried to lie to me and say that some of the others had probably been there when he was feeding and left the door open. And that pissed me off incredibly. Clancy was clearly the most irresponsible of us all, and he had already left the doors unlocked several times before. But there he was, lying to me instead of assuming his mistakes.
I grabbed him by his neck and I threw him up and over. Clancy's back hit a wall and I was instantly next to him. And I kept punching his face and his stomach until I grabbed him again, and again I threw him into the air, towards another wall. The witch's curse had given us very quick recoveries whenever we were hurt – what before that fateful night would take several weeks to recover from, now only took us a few days to get better from (unless we were to meet the sun, which burnt us like fire – hence the reason why we all usually slept in the bar's basement, it was even safer than my house; though we sometimes stayed there as well). And so, I knew that Clancy would be better in one or two days. But at that moment, if you were to look at him, you'd only see a guy with a broken nose and some broken teeth, coughing his own blood and with his back completely shattered.
And so the human man, seeing that, was even more scared then before.
With my fangs still out because of the fight's bloodlust, I ran to him and I said, "I'll take that cloth from your mouth so we can talk, but if you scream or make any sound other than quietly talk to me, I'll kill you in a second. Do you understand me?"
And after the guy's nod, I looked at Pam, and she immediately went to him, and freed his mouth.
"Who are you? What were you doing here, downstairs?" I almost screamed at him.
The guy looked very scared and was trying to back away from me. But he was already with his back towards a wall, and there was no place where he could run or hide from me. And then he said, "I was lost… I was drunk and I was trying to find the bathroom and…"
The guy was staring at me, and my fangs, and it bothered me. I knew that he thought that I was a monster. And hell, I was a monster. But I hated that people always looked at me that way. Whenever I was about to feed from a human, that person would always glare at my fangs and see a monster in me. And I fucking hated it. And so, advancing towards him, with my fangs still out, I told him that he was not welcome there.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, still looking at me. Pam was right there beside me, and she too had her fangs out, despite the fact that she wasn't drinking. But the guy only looked at me.
"What are you staring at?" I said.
"Noth… Noth… Nothing," he said trying to get up and moving away from me.
But then, in just a second, I raced to his side, and I blocked his moves with a speed that no doubt surprised him. "So, you've come to stare at the beast, have you?" I asked.
No matter how hard we had trying to hide our natures, and especially mine (because my physic was much more monstrous than Pam's or the rest of them), we had never managed to avoid the gossip that the bar's owner was a hermit, a tyrant and a mad person. And, quite fittingly (even without knowing how right they were), like I said before, most of the gossiping included the word "beast" when they talked about me.
And that was when I decided, that we'd try to glamour the guy on the next night. But if he kept unglamoured, then we'd drink from him, and kill him.
No one could know about us.
No one could know about me.
"Please, I meant no harm. I just needed to go to the bathroom, and I was trying to maybe find a couch where I could rest for a few minutes, and…"
"I'll give you a place to rest!" I screamed.
And then I picked him up, and I carried him out of there, and down another floor, where we had a sort of a jail. At the beginning, whenever the thirst was too hard, and someone felt that he or she wouldn't be able to be among humans without drinking from them, the others would jail him or her, until the thirst was controlled. And there was where I dropped the guy before slamming the door, plunging the den and letting him totally alone and in darkness. Not even a single light was there.
Not in that room. Nor in my heart.
Saturdays had always been the busiest day at Merlotte's. But that day, there was even more people there than normal, and most of them had almost a nervous air about them. As if they knew that something was going to happen there. And so, it was turning out to be a hard day to work. Besides the increase of patrons there, I was always being called from table to table, because both Arlene and Dawn had been in a bad mood the whole day – it was, again, as if they knew that something was going to happen; except that they weren't nervous or excited about it, but sad.
But anyway, I was, like I said, working, when Bill Compton entered the bar.
He had a pompous air (as usual), and he immediately told young Hoyt Fortenberry to get out of "his" table, which he immediately did as if Bill was the owner of Merlotte's or the Mayor of the town, or even the King of Louisiana, or something. Yes, the Comptons were one of the founding families of Bon Temps, and they were rich and powerful as they could be, considering our town's size. And yes, William Compton was somewhat tall, and strong and broad-shouldered, and yes, he was very good-looking as well. But he was spoiled, selfish and he always talked and looked at everyone else as if he was better than all the others. And the worst part was that he actually believed that he was better than everyone else, with a huge snobbish and arrogant belief in himself. And no matter how deep his dark-brown eyes looked, I knew that he was as shallow as a little pond that only lasted for half an hour after a light rain.
After I took a deep breath to calm myself down, so I wouldn't scream at Bill for his attitude towards Hoyt, I went to his table.
"Hello Sookie," he said smiling at me.
"Bill, here again. Two days in a row, now."
"Yes. And what do you think of it?"
"Well, it's a… surprise," I managed to answer while thinking over and over again that he was a customer (a good one), and that I had to be polite to him.
"Isn't it though? I'm just full of surprises. You know, Sookie, there's not a girl in town who wouldn't love to be in your shoes," he said still smiling at me. And, despite his arrogance, I was forced to think that Bill had indeed a beautiful, though manly, smile. And then he added, "This is the day…" but then he immediately stopped talking because he had somehow been distracted by the napkins' holder reflex… of himself. And so he paused what he was saying to take a look at his own reflex, and licked his teeth clean, in a completely self-absorbed way, before he continued, "This is the day your dreams come true."
I wanted to laugh at his words. "What do you know about my dreams, Bill?" I asked him.
"Plenty. Here, picture this," he said while plopping down in the chair and propping his mud-covered boots on another chair, before he added, "My huge house cleaned and smelling fresh, my latest kill roasting on the stove, and my little wife, massaging my feet, while the little ones play with the dogs." And yuck, poor wife. Having to clean after Bill, and massage his feet. I'd rather stay alone with only my books as a company than marrying that pompous ass. I wondered why he was saying that to me. Was Bill about to get married? I sure hoped so, and then, maybe he'd stop annoying me, and just leave me alone. No matter how attractive and rich Bill was, he'd always be a pretentious guy who thought that everyone's job was to caterer to his needs, and I'd sure be happy if he was to marry someone and, hopefully, move away. "We'll have six or seven," he then said, taking my mind out of my thoughts.
And what was he talking about? Six or seven what? "Dogs?"
"No, Sookie! Strapping boys, like me!" he said with the same smile.
"Imagine that," I answered him. And then I could only think again about the poor girl who'd marry Bill, and how desperate she'd have to be, to be willing to clean after Bill and six or seven of his kids. Oh my…!
"And do you know who that wife will be?" he asked, almost as if he was listening to my thoughts.
"Let me think..." I knew that Selah would love to be Bill's wife. As well as Portia Belleflour, Lorena, and even Dawn or Arlene. Perhaps it would be that new girl who had moved to the blue house…
"You, Sookie!" he said, once again, interrupting my thought.
Ahh… What? Me? He had to be kidding, right? I would never, ever, marry William Compton. Hell, I would never even date him, or kiss him, unless he'd made me take some drug that would give him some sort of power over me.
"Bill… I am…" And then I stopped because I didn't know what to add after those "I am" words. And what was I? Well, I was mortified that everyone there at Merlotte's was looking at us, and mad at him for even thinking that I'd want to marry him. But, of course, I didn't tell him that. And instead, I just answered, "I am speechless. I really don't know what to say."
And that was when Bill got up, grabbed my arms and pushed me, before trapping me against a wall that was right there. "Say you'll marry me."
And that was when I realized that he hadn't even asked me to marry him, he hadn't given me a ring nor dropped onto his knees. No. Instead, he had basically assumed that I'd be so happy with that conversation, that he had thought that the outcome as a sure-thing. A definite "yes". However, I'd never agree to marry him.
And then and there, in front of everyone at Merlotte's, I just said, "I'm very sorry Bill, but I just don't deserve you." And then I ducked under his arm and I left Merlotte's through the employees' door after telling Sam Merlotte, my boss, that I was done for the day. There was no way in hell that I'd stay there, working, after that scene. Sam only nodded at me and then I almost ran to my car after I picked up my purse from Sam's office.
I immediately started the car, and then I drove home, and I could only think about what had happened. I had never imagined that it could have happened. But it had happened. He had asked me to marry him…! Me, the wife of that boorish, brainless… Mrs. Compton. No way. Mrs. Compton, his little wife. Not me, no sir, I was sure of it. I really wanted much more that that provincial life, and marrying Bill Compton would be the same as putting a nail in my coffin. I'd never leave then, and I sure wanted adventure in the great wide world somewhere, and I sure wanted someone who'd understand me, and love me just like I was. Not someone who'd try to change me into a dutiful, obedient, little housewife. I wanted a Prince Charming who'd take me away and love me for what I was.
Anyway, as soon as I got home, I heard my phone ringing and I immediately ran to it. It was Catfish Hennessey, my brother Jason's boss, saying that he hadn't been to work that day. And apparently, he hadn't come home the previous night from a Shreveport's bar, Fangtasia (he had even talked to Jason's neighbors, earlier that evening). I immediately told Catfish that I would go there myself.
Well, like I have explained before, Jason and I were never close. When we were young, he was ashamed of my "Crazy Sookie" status. And in the last few years, I had been telling him nonstop that he had to stop drinking as much as he did; which was a conversation that he hated having. That whole "the first thing is to accept that you have a problem" was very right. The problem was that Jason still didn't believe that he was drinking too much, and he absolutely abhorred when I tried to tell him that. But despite that, I was always insisting, because Jason was already having kidney problems.
And I could only think about the possibility of Jason having had a kidney-episode, the whole drive to Fangtasia.
Shreveport was just an hour from Bon Temps, but I hardly ever went there. Especially to that part of the town. And apparently, my car's tracking system didn't know it either. Fangtasia was located in a suburban shopping area of Shreveport, close to a Sam's and a Toys "R" Us. It was a shopping strip mall, which was all closed down at that hour. In fact, because it had taken me a while to find the bar, it was just a barely more than an hour before sunset when I arrived there.
I immediately rang the bell, and a girl who said her name was Ginger opened the door. I could see behind her the bar's interior. Everything was in gray, black and red. The walls were lined with framed pictures of old movies and the lighting was dim. The waitress then told me that I would never be able to get inside, nor talk to the owner, unless I was to come again after 10 pm, pay the entrance fee and then be just another patron of the place. And the way she said it… Well, it was as if Ginger really didn't want me there during the day, when the bar was closed. And that, obviously, just made me more curious about it, and more determinate to get inside.
And that was why, when half an hour later, I saw Ginger carrying a bag to a close by dumpster, I immediately ran inside so I'd take a look at the place. But it only looked like a regular, empty bar, and there wasn't anything there that would grant for Ginger's absolute necessity of keeping people away from there. I was behind the counter, trying to find what in hell was Ginger trying to hide, when I heard her footsteps getting in again. And so I ran to the back of the bar, so Ginger wouldn't see me. And then I opened the bathroom's doors, but both the men's and the women's were windowless, and I sure wouldn't be able to get away from there that way. And neither from the other two doors, who only had regular, windowless again, offices. And that let me door number five, which I finally opened.
And despite the fact that there wasn't any window there as well, there were stairs to what might be some sort of basement. I immediately got inside and I closed the door behind me, thinking that I'd try to leave later, after the bar was full of clients. And so, I started going downstairs. However, the floor immediately below the bar had a closed door, which I tried to open but without any luck. I kept walking down the stairs to another floor.
And it was dark in there, with only a little security light. And cold. And it scared the hell out of me. It was as if bad things had happened there… What was that place?
"Hello? Is anyone here? Hello? Jason? Jason, are you here?" I asked, no longer caring about Ginger finding me there. When the stairs ended, I kept advancing down a narrow hallway, almost as dark and cold as the stairs. "Jason? Anyone? Is… is there anyone here?"
And that was when I heard a voice echoing from down the hallway. And, oh God, it sounded just like Jason's. I immediately ran towards the voice, and I saw my brother in a sort of cell.
"Sookie?" he whispered.
I then rushed up to the cell and I saw him clearly, despite the poor light in the place. "Oh, Jason!"
"How did you find me?" he asked.
"Catfish called saying that you had missed work. And he said that you had told him about coming here yesterday," I answered while grabbing my brother's hands. "Oh, your hands are like ice. We have to get you out of here," I told him. It was so cold and dark in there. Had Jason spent the night there? He then coughed for a minute or two.
"Sookie, I want you to leave this place," he said with a husky voice. Jason was probably with a cold, and I was sure that he hadn't taken his meds that day. He shouldn't be there, in the dark and cold. He should be at home, being taken care so he'd come back to health.
"Who has done this to you?"
"No time to explain. You must go… now!"
Despite being ashamed of me, my brother had always protected me while we were kids. And he had helped me to deal with our parents and later our grandmother's deaths. And I would not lose him as well. And so, I would not leave him. Not at all. I couldn't lose Jason as well. Not to his kidney disease. Not to alcohol. And not to whoever had jailed him. Jason was the only one left in my life and I couldn't lose him as well. "I won't leave you," I told him.
I was trying to better see the way that the door was closed, so I'd find a way to free Jason, when someone grabbed my shoulder and whipped me around against a wall. There was something here with me, but it was dark in there, except for one beam of light from the hallway, and so I couldn't really see who had grabbed me. I could only listen to him. Or perhaps, to it? Because then, I could only hear someone or something sniffing the air, growling and groaning. And I was already thinking that perhaps it was an animal rather than a person, when he spoke.
"What are you doing here?" a man's voice asked.
"Run, Sookie," Jason immediately screamed.
"Who's there? Who are you?" I asked into the darkness.
"The master of this place," he answered with a voice as cold and as dark as the basement.
I took a deep breath while I mustered the courage to speak to that… person. I heard Jason telling me again to run, right before he started coughing again. And the mere thought of losing my brother gave me audacity necessary for me to say, "I've come for my brother. Please let him out! Can't you see he's sick?"
"Then he shouldn't have trespassed here," he immediately said.
"But he could die. He needs his meds. He has a kidney disease," I answered, trying to reason with the tall person in the shadow, "Please, I'll do anything!"
"There's nothing you can do. He's my prisoner."
Prisoner? Who was that person? Why would someone have a "prisoner"? And why would that prisoner be my brother, the only one left in my family. I remembered again my Gran's voice and her last wish and plead when she was dying, for me to take care of my brother. She had told me that despite the fact that he was older than I was, Jason would always need my help throughout his life, and then Gran made me promise her that I'd always look out for him. And then, not two minutes after I promised her that I would, she passed away.
Alas, for Gran's memory and for Jason's health, I said, "Oh, there must be some way I can...wait! Take me, instead!"
"You! You would take his place?"
And then I heard my brother's voice, "Sookie! No! You don't know what you're doing!"
But I did know what I was doing. I was doing what I had promised my dying grandmother that I would, I was taking care of my brother, so he'd be able to go back and have a life. Deep down, I knew that I would never marry or have kids, and so, my brother was really the only possibility of another generation of Stackhouses. And I owed it to Gran to make sure that Jason would be able to have a family. "If I did, would you let him go?" I asked the shadow.
"Yes, but you must promise to stay here forever," he answered immediately.
Forever. Forever meant not going back. Could I really do that for my brother? But then I realized that I didn't really have much to go back to: no friends, a job that I enjoyed but with no future, and only a pompous Bill Compton after me. And Jason, on the other hand, despite his health and his drinking problems, had a young girl, Chrystal, who despite still being unmarried to him, was carrying his baby.
"Can you turn on some light? I'd like to see you…" I whispered before I answered the man in the dark.
And then he grabbed a lighter and a huge fire flame illuminated the room. It was not that it was a great light, but because up until then we had been almost without any light at all, the flame from the lighter was quite an improvement.
And that was when I saw him. He was blond and blue-eyed, tall and broad-shouldered. He was wearing boots, jeans, and a vest. And nothing else. And he… he had fangs. There were actual fangs coming out from his mouth. And his eyes… they were incredibly beautiful. But cold too. He was a man who hated life and people. He had hatred in his heart. He looked strong, mean and violent. And he absolutely scared me to death.
"No, Sookie. I won't let you do this!" Jason said, almost crying like a baby.
A baby… I then remembered that Chrystal was already four months pregnant, and starting to show. So, no matter what Jason would say, I had already made up my mind. And, after I regained my composure, I stepped into the beam of the light, closer to where the monster was. I took a deep breath, and then I whispered, "You have my word." And with those words, I left everything I knew behind, and I entered into a whole new world. One where there were beasts with fangs, and where I was no longer free, but a prisoner of a cold, heartless monster. It was a whole new awful world.
And suddenly, the beast ended the little light that was coming from the lighter and he said "Done!", right before he moved over to unlock my brother's cell. And that was when I felt that I couldn't take it anymore and I collapsed to the floor with my head in my hands. I then heard the door being unlocked and Jason rushing over to me.
"No, Sookie. Listen to me. I'm older; I should be taking care of you. You deserve to have your li…"
But then I could no longer hear Jason, because that thing had grabbed him and was dragging him through the hallway towards the stairs.
"Wait," I screamed to him, but with no avail.
"Sookie!" I heard Jason's voice screaming back, right before I heard the beast telling Jason that if he was to say anything about what had happened there, to anyone, he'd kill me instantly. Jason then begged him to spare his sister.
"She's no longer your concern," the man with the fangs answered him, "and remember: not a word, or she'll be history."
And then I heard a door closing, and nothing more.
So? What did you think about it? Please review if you can. I'll update again, in just a couple of days.
"A Whole New World" is the Oscar winning featured pop single from the soundtrack to the 1992 Disney film Aladdin. It was composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Tim Rice. The song is a ballad between the primary characters Aladdin and Jasmine about the new world they are going to discover together. The original version was sung by Brad Kane and Lea Salonga during the film. They also performed the song in their characters at the 65th Academy Awards, where it won Best Song.