Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chapter Sixteen - The Reckoning

Bill Compton had thought he understood the meaning of the word terror, but now realized that he had been mistaken. He could sense Eric and Pam behind him as he felt his coat being pulled from his arms. Nothing in his previous experiences, as either human or vampire, could have prepared him for this dreadful feeling that rocked his mind as he gazed into the black, souless eyes of the Magistre. Black eyes that were lacking in compassion for anything human or vampire and who obviously found great enjoyment in witnessing the pain and suffering of those he held power over. As he listened to the excited bloodhowls of the ragtag collection of vampires behind him as they gleefully and enthusiastically demonstrated their approval while the fangs of some unfortunate were being yanked out by the root, Bill realized that this was going to be a very long evening indeed. And he was afraid. There was no point in admitting anything less. He could not even begin to imagine what fate had in store for him on this night.

For a brief moment he turned his blue eyes up at the full moon. It was such a beautiful moon, a lover's moon. But not for him. Bill knew that in all liklihood he would not see Sookie again. If he did, it would not be for a very long time and by then she would be a very old woman. Who would protect her now? Would she join others he had loved and through his mistakes, be forever lost to him for all eternity? He could not even begin to imagine anything so painful as knowing a gravestone would be the only part of her he could touch. Another love stolen from him. As he reflected upon the events of the previous evening, Bill realized that he had only himself to blame. The sheer stupidity of agreeing to accompany Sookie to Fangtasia was only the beginning. He now knew the gravity of this mistake. From the moment they walked through the door of that place, it was as if this evening was as inevitable as the rising of the sun. He should have known better. If only. It seemed as if his entire existence had been full of "if onlys". If only he had kept her away from Eric. If only he had done more to help in her efforts to clear her brother's name. If only he had not wandered off the road and sought respite from his hunger and thirst at that cabin. It was the beautiful, luminous full moon, much like the moon of this night as it came from behind the cover of a thick, dark cloud that had led him to Lorena's door. If only.

In spite of the humiliation of it, Bill found himself clinging to a small spark of hope that Eric would come to his aid in some way and perhaps it would hold some sway with this Magistre. He hated more than words could convey that feeling of helplessness and the needing of Eric's influence. This dependence on Eric bothered him almost as much as the validation of this terrible fear he felt. Bill had never attended a tribunal. He found no pleasure in witnessing or participating in the misfortune of another. As the Magistre began to speak, Bill thought back to last night. He had never, in all his years as a vampire, witnessed the staking of another. He had only heard it spoken of. As he recalled the feeling of the wooden stake in his strong hands as it plunged into the back of Longshadow, he felt his fear renewed afresh. Whatever his punishment was to be, it would not be pleasant. Could no one here see what a wonderful, special human Sookie was? He had to protect her. Why could they not see this?

"Five years in a coffin chained with silver". Bill's mind tried to absorb those words, but all he could hear was a dull, humming sound. If he had possessed a heart that still beat, Bill had no doubt that it would have stopped at those words. He could not even begin to think about anything that could be more horrible, more cruel. Or so he thought. It was at that moment that he heard Eric speak. Perhaps Eric speaking had made some difference. The Magistre seemed to hesitate for a moment. What could possibly be more horrid than five years chained in silver?

No, no. no. Bill's mind was reeling in utter shock, disbelief and abhorance at the words he heard. He could not, would not do this terrible thing. Everything in him rose up in abject horror against the words he heard this cruel monster say. It was as if he was watching from a great distance as a terrified and desperate young girl was thrown from the trunk of a car. His mind began to recoil against what he knew was coming. No, no, no. Anything but this. Oh please God, no, no. no!

Bill felt the softness of her hand as he knelt before her. Her eyes, they were so blue! She was a lovely young girl. It was not fair. But there was nothing at all about life that ever was. Bill had never hated to do something this badly in his entire existence. He had caused the death of humans, that was true. And it bothered him greatly each time it happened. But it was never a deliberate act of violence or cruelty such as this. After all these years of witnessing the cruel deeds done by man, Bill truly wondered if God existed. If He did, then Bill could only hope that somehow he could be forgiven for this unholy deed. As he gazed into her bright blue eyes in an effort to calm her, he heard that cruel voice once again. Bill had no doubt the Magistre meant every word he said and would have enjoyed nothing so much as the torture of this unlucky young girl. Bill could not let that happen.

As she desperately struggled against the inevitable and in spite of his resistance and revulsion, Bill could feel it overpowering him. As badly as he would like it to be different, he could no longer deny who and what he was. As his fangs sank into her tender flesh, a raging bloodlust began to consume him. The smell of virgin blood began to drift in the night air and Bill could hear the howls of lust and anticipation. This is who he was. He wasn't a man. Not any longer. The beauty and savagery of who and what he was took over and it was a relief to finally stop fighting against that part of him that only wanted to be Bill Compton. As he accepted and welcomed the rage that came with the knowledge of defeat, he felt himself consumed with the need to feel this young, virgin blood flowing throughout every part of him. He was no longer a man. He was vampire.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful as always!!!I look forward to the next installment :-)