Dead in Denmark – chapter 5
From the previous chapter:
I plastered my stupid smile on my face, the smile I always use when I`m insecure or when I hear something nasty in peoples` minds. I turned around and started walking.
“If you liked this, you should see the Viking center in Ribe. That would really be something for you!”
I didn`t realize my mistake before he was in front of me in one jump.
“How do you know that a Viking center would be something for me?” He looked me straight in the eyes.
What did this woman know? Who had told her? And who had she told about me?
It`s not as if I have “Viking” tattooed on my forehead or one of those stupid plastic “Viking”-helmets with horns on my head. Vikings didn`t have any fucking horns on their helmets. That would have been something in a tug of war: “Sorry, could you stop the slaughtering just a bit? I need a time-out. My horns are stuck in the branches of this tree”.
I was tall and had long blond hair, but I could really be from any period of time. It wasn`t until the last century or two all men had started cutting their hair short. There was nothing in my appearance that gave away my age.
I could hear her heart pounding, but her face was relaxed in a way that was almost impressive. How had she learned to control herself like that?
“I didn`t know that a Viking center would be something for you,” she answered. “I was just guessing. You do seem very old, you know.”
If it hadn`t been for the fact that I could hear her pulse racing, I would almost have believed her. And she was clever to suggest that I look old. To a human being, that might just be the worst sort of thing you could say, but to a vampire, it was a compliment. Sookie definitely knew how to appeal to a vampire`s vanity.
I figured I had to scare her into telling me the truth. I grabbed her by her waist and before she could scream or resist, I had us high in the air.
“You really shouldn`t lie to a vampire”, I whispered in her ear.
I flew her up over the forest, over Guldborgsund and over Nykøbing. I flew us out to the beach of Marielyst. I figured it would be deserted in the cold of November. I picked the part of the beach furthest away from all the summer houses and cabins and landed. This would be the perfect spot for interrogation.
I noticed a sign saying “Nudist beach” and smiled a little inside. I wouldn`t mind a little skinny dipping with Sookie, at some other time. Now I needed her to tell me the truth.
“How did you know about me? Who did you ask?” I stared into her face while holding her head in my hands. I even growled a little. Oh, how I wished I could glamour her now.
She stayed silent.
“Sookie, my undead life depends on you telling the truth now.” That got a reaction. She blinked and I noticed her eyes watering up a little.
“I can`t tell you how I know,” she whispered. “All I can say is that I haven`t asked anyone about you.”
I studied her face closely. To my frustration, I concluded that I couldn`t tell if she was lying.
“I would really hate to hurt you, you know.” She flinched and looked me in the eyes. “But I have to know how you know about me”. She looked past me and out over the sea. I could almost hear her mind working. I waited and almost enjoyed touching her, smelling her hair and hearing the waves breaking up on the beach.
I mentally slapped myself. I needed this information and I had to get it, one way or the other.
She sighed and looked back into my eyes. “I`m sorry, Erik. I promised not to tell and I have to keep my promise. As I said, I have never asked anyone about you. My finding out about you didn`t involve anyone else”. She straightened up a bit and her voice got stronger. “I would tell you if I could, but I can`t, so stop being this big, bad vampire. Just believe me when I say that I haven`t brought you into any danger. I wouldn`t do that.” She stomped her foot to prove her point.
I wanted to shake her. Why couldn`t she just tell me?
I was so frustrated; I left her on the beach.
Thank you very much, Erik, for leaving me stranded on the most deserted part of the beach. I can`t just fly off like you. I have to walk.
There are 30 kilometers of beach from Marielyst to Gedesby. 25 of them have people living or vacationing close by. I was in the middle of the 5 kilometers of beach with no summer houses, no cabins and no ice cream stands. Not that any ice cream stand would be open in the middle of the night in November. All I could see was the ocean, the beach and the forest.
I started walking. I hate walking on the beach wearing shoes and socks, and it was too cold to take them off, so I made it up to the dike. The island of Falster has dikes on all sides. It`s no wonder since half the island is under sea level.
I walked the dike back towards Marielyst. I knew it would take me an hour or more to get there and my farm was probably 10 kilometers from Marielyst. I couldn`t walk all the way home. I was tired and I just wanted to get home to my bed.
I also wanted to get home to check if Erik was there. I should have been angry with him, but I was worried. And sad.
She was walking on the dike. I could see her from above. She didn`t break down in tears and she didn`t run. She just walked. I would have given a Viking treasure to be able to read her thoughts right now. Not just to know the secret she wouldn`t reveal to me, but to know why she wouldn`t. Who had she made that promise to? And why?
I knew her farm could be unsafe for me now and I knew I ought to pack my things and get out of there asap. To another city. To another country.
I looked at her again and before I could second-guess myself, I went downwards.
I landed just in front of her, causing her to stop walking. Actually she walked right into my chest, but she stopped walking, when she hit me. She lost her balance from the impact and I caught her before she fell. We stood there in each others` arms for a minute, saying nothing. Then I let her go.
I didn`t understand myself. This woman had broken my trust by going to my room when I was asleep and by getting information about me from an undisclosed source. She couldn`t be glamoured or coerced. She was pretty, but not that pretty. Her blood tasted exquisite, but if her blood was all I wanted, I could just drain her and take it all. Yes, I wanted her blood, but what I wanted most right now, was to take her back in my arms.
She looked up in my eyes. She didn`t look angry and she didn`t look scared. She looked sorry.
“Let`s get home”, was all I could say and I lifted her up in the air again.
I didn`t know why he made such a big deal out of this. I could understand how he would have some serious trust-issues after having his place burned down and his child killed by FotS, but there weren`t any FotS in Denmark, so even if I had told someone about his whereabouts, Eric would be as safe on my farm as anybody.
I mentally kicked my shins for how the evening ended. I had wanted to cheer Erik up and instead I had made him distrust me. The whole evening had been a rollercoaster. From the childish happiness I had felt when I showed him Middelaldercenteret, over the lust when we kissed, to the anxiety when he found out that I knew a bit too much about him. Now I was just sad – and angry at myself.
I was back in his arms, but being in the arms of a vampire several hundred meters above ground wasn`t romantic. It was terrifying. I held tightly around his neck and he had his arms around my waist. Deep down I knew that I was safe, but I didn`t know where that feeling came from.
The air blew my hair into Erik`s and Erik`s into mine. “We`ll both need a brush big time, when we get down”, I thought. I giggled a little, imagining Erik`s and my hair tangled together into one big mess. You get all kinds of weird images when you`re afraid.
Suddenly he lifted me up a bit. He ducked his face through all the layers of hair and down to my neck. I was sure he was going to bite me, but he didn`t. He sniffed. He sniffed and said “aahh”, as if I was a big chocolate cake right out of the oven.
What a smell. She smelled perfect and I knew she tasted even better. Why was I so conflicted over this woman? I had met her only a few days before, I could not glamour her, I could not trust her and she wouldn`t tell me what I needed to hear.
I didn`t get to be over a thousand years old by being careless. Still, all I could do to this woman, to Sookie, was to take in her lovely smell, when I should have been torturing her, or at least making her speak somehow.
I needed to get a hold of myself.
When we landed on the farm, she whispered: “Erik, I really need my car tomorrow”. She looked embarrassed. Against my better judgment, I asked her for the keys and flew off to retrieve it. Was I becoming her personal servant now?
I was a little relieved, though, to have this task to see to. I was conflicted over Sookie and I just didn`t want to be under the same roof as her right now. That was not entirely true because where I really wanted to be, was in her bed, making love to her, but that would be counterproductive.
I landed on the parking lot where Sookie`s sorry excuse for a car was parked. I pulled out the keys, but changed my mind. I wanted to go back in time again and relive some of the more happy days of my undead life.
Some would think that my days as a Viking were my most glorious; the Viking age has become pretty popular the last hundred years or so and everyone today would assume that being a Viking was just “sooo cool” (I`m quoting some of the kids at Fangtasia now). I`m not saying that the Viking age wasn`t a great time. I`m just saying that I didn`t get to live the Viking life for very long. My days as a Viking were over the day I was turned. My master hated those “savage Nordic beasts”. He was after all from the “noble culture of Rome” as he loved to point out. He taught me to fight, but I had to leave Scandinavia. When I finally came back, this time without my master, the Viking age was long gone. So the Medieval days were truly the days where I found out who I was and who I wanted to be. I was a strong warrior and a passionate lover.
I flew over the wall again, this time without the smell of Sookie in my nostrils.
Maybe Pam had been right. Maybe it was healthy to go back to one`s roots. I did like walking around in this small medieval village. My unbeating heart felt heavy thinking about Pam, though.
I hadn`t planned on turning her, but when I saw her lurking about in the streets of London, I knew that she was going to be my next child. I hadn`t had many children, but I hadn`t gone many years childless either, at least not after my master let me go my own ways. I have been very lucky with my children, always seeking out strong, willful and smart women. Women who could support me in my efforts, but also women who would speak their mind, when they disagreed. Pam had been the perfect choice.
I walked around in the medieval village and took in all the little details I hadn`t seen in so many years. I had of course never been able to live in a village after my turning. A vampire had to live by himself in the countryside or hide in a big city. Everyone knew each other in a village and people would soon notice if their very pale neighbor only came out at night. But I had visited many a medieval village and this one was a good copy of the real thing. I sniffed the air and smiled a little. Only the stench lacked. Medieval villages would not have been something for the refined noses of today.
I went over to the meadow where I had tried to seduce Sookie. I laid down, closed my eyes and let my memories take me back to the blood and fighting of my earlier years.
After half an hour I flew out to the car, got into it and drove back to Sookie`s farm. I was at ease with myself and mentally thanked Sookie for showing me some of my past. Then I recalled her unwillingness to give me the information I needed and was disappointed with myself. How could I be grateful to a woman I couldn`t control?
All lights were off at the farm and Sookie was clearly asleep. I went straight for my room, removed my clothes and went to bed. I felt like a pathetic excuse for a vampire.