It had not been long after the daytime slumber took me that I began to dream.
Vampires, as a rule, do not dream. We are, after all, dead for all intents and purposes during the day, so dreams only come through strong magic.
I dreamt of Sookie.
My lover was in my arms looking up at me sleepily through thick blonde lashes. She spoke to me in Sylvan, though it was a language I knew she had never learned. I did not understand her and tried to tell her so.
She simply smiled sadly and pulled away from me.
I tried to grad a hold of her, somewhere, anywhere to prevent her from leaving me. I could not bear the thought of not being able to touch her, but I could not maintain a grip on any part of her. It was as if she were made of smoke.
Rage filled me as the last wisp of her disappeared.
I killed indiscriminately. All that dared come within scenting distance of me were annihilated.
I pulled myself onto a throne made of bloody limbs and bones and flesh hideously contorted to accommodate my body. I scowled at nothing, willing a soul to dare approach so that I could try once more to slake my blood lust.
The horizon before me was desolate. Burned ruins of swamps and masses of rot as far as I could see.
I did not feel satisfied. I wanted to destroy it all.
I wanted it never to have changed to begin with.
As I watched, leafy vines began to creep over the wasteland I had created. They rooted themselves over each charred and ruined mound of earth and flesh and began to grow.
I heard a faint singing. This too was in Sylvan, and though I did not recognize the words, I knew they were encouraging the life taking root to live and thrive.
I listened to the melodious voice. I let it wash over me, easing my rage, soothing the beast within me, assuring me that life would find a way to bloom despite chaos and destruction…
I looked at my hands, unable to brook the flood of shame I felt at my inability to control myself. I was startled to find vines tangled in my fingers. I tried to drop them, unwilling to soil their beauty with my taint of death embodied, but they clung to me. I looked closer and saw that they were not merely tangled in my fingers, but a part of them.
No… My hands were the source.
The throne of broken bodies was no longer. Only twisted and verdant vines remained to support me. Everywhere I looked new life had taken over. What was once desolation, was living, breathing forest.
And she was standing quietly in the middle, looking at me with her strange eyes. The soft melody was emanating from her, but her lips did not move. She simply stared at me with eyes of gold.
Eyes like liquid sunlight.
I stood to move toward her, but she retreated as I did.
I went very still so that she would remain. I did not want to make the mistake I had made with Sookie and have her, this specter that resembled my beloved but radiated life and light, disappear in a puff of smoke.
“Tínnu Mæthor mån lí næg?” she whispered as the night breeze carried her scent to me.
My fangs descended of their own volition when the delicate scent of honey and wheat and sunlight hit me, and she was gone along with the dream.
I woke surrounded by moist earth, aware of the night stealing its jealous way across the sky.
I waited in the ground until I knew the last vestiges of sunset had been consumed my the velvety blackness studded with diamonds before I began my ascent.
Being buried in the earth is cathartic. It feels primal and right. We take for granted as a race that this is what our bodies were designed to do, and we never feel more safe nor more at peace when we are ensconced in the dirt. I emerged feeling a peace I had not felt in a century.
I found myself, once again, with Sookie’s remains in front of me.
I studied the little garden growing on the plots before me. I realized each of the little gardens represented a human in Sookie’s line. I counted eight. Eight deaths in her family since we had been separated. Including her own. I wondered how many she lived to witness. Perhaps I did not protect her as well as I had believed. The dates on some headstones confirmed that she had know terrible loss and grief.
Human lives were so short and fragile.
The newest addition had been very recent indeed. Less than a year.
Corbett Samuel Merlotte
Beloved Son and Father
My thoughts turned to the young woman I had seen at dawn.
She was likely his daughter. She was likely the keeper of the little patch of life amongst all the death. And, judging by the headstone next to Corbett Merlotte, likely alone in the world.
But she was not… Sookie…
I resolved to leave having said my goodbye, and not think of the girl that was Not-Sookie.
I touched the little plant of vines again as I had before and again felt the little burst of warmth and life spread through me from my fingertips.
They were the same vines from my dream.
I took off into the night sky and found myself in a familiar back garden. I settled into the shadows and peered into the warmth of her farmstead.
A little blonde head was bobbing through the windows from the kitchen into the living room. Though it was a warm night, smoke curled from the chimney into the sky. Smelling it brought back memories of laying before that very fireplace and listening to stories of vampire ‘hos’ and heroism.
Memories of passion, anger, contentment, longing, and pain. Memories of happiness. Pure. Simple.
Before I could stop myself, I was on the back porch knocking.
Indecisive is not a word I often associate with myself, but inside I heatedly debated staying or leaving before retreating to the cover of the trees.
Not a moment after I was concealed, the door opened and Not-Sookie (I did not know what else to call her) looked around confused.
“CLAUDE!” She bellowed into the night air. “Come in, or knock it off! I’m sick of your fairy games! I’ll see you in a week anyway!”
A moment before closing the door again, she looked in my direction. She could not have seen me, but I saw her face clearly. She was my Sookie reborn.
But with eyes like sunlight.
She closed the door, and I was alone.
I stayed watching her until she closed her book and retreated into a bedroom. Then I stayed just looking at the house until it was time once again to bury myself in the ground.