I leaned against the tiny landing where Cross Lake narrowed to a small river. It was new moon making the night even darker than usual. There was a malevolence contained in the woods that surrounded the water creating the perfect concealment. The secluded area was imperative to the anonymity of this meeting. The vampire I had chosen for the initial phase of my plan was guaranteed to keep silent and follow orders. He was an unknown variable. No one would expect him to be the lynchpin of my plan.
He arrived at midnight exactly and wandered over. He looked excited to see me.
“Hey Bubba. Are you doing alright? Adjusting to all the changes?” I asked to ease him into what I needed. It wouldn’t do to rush him.
“Yes Eric. Pam’s been taking care of me. But I don’t think that you should be with that Queen. I don’t like her, I like Sookie.”
“I know. I don’t Queen Freyda either. But I have a mission for you. I’m going to text you a list of names and addresses. I need you to gather people on it one by one for me. Tell them I sent you and that I need to call in my favor. Their presence is required in Oklahoma.” I paused for a moment to make sure that I had his undivided attention. The look on his face was one of quiet concentration and I knew he was focusing on everything I said.
“There will be a party on Halloween and my people will need to be there in the weeks ahead of time. They will need to visit Freyda to pay their respects for being in her area. I will find a way to speak with them when they arrive to give them further instructions. I trust you to do this, but you can’t talk to anyone about it, only the people on the list. Can you do this for me?” He was childlike but loyal and I knew that he would memorize every word that I said. The people I was gathering would not ask questions. They would know by the messenger I sent that the shit had hit the fan.
“Absolutely Mr. Eric. Will I get to see you again?” He asked hopefully.
“Yes, but it won’t be for a while. Would you like to come to the Halloween party? Maybe you could sing for us?” His head bobbed up and down eagerly. “Then I’ll make sure you get an invitation.” I could use Freyda’s arrogance and need for a show against her. The chance to host the once famous Bubba would ensure her agreement to a party.
“Mr. Eric, I miss Sookie. Do you think I could go and visit her?” I knew if there was any vampire she wouldn’t mind seeing, it would be him.
“Sure, I know that Sookie would like to see you. But you can’t go until after you complete your mission for me. It’s very important and will be a great help.” I didn’t want to give him too much information, but I knew he liked to feel useful.
“I can protect her.” He raised his chin, squaring his shoulders, and for a second I saw a glimmer of the charisma he once had. “I’m good at protecting Miss Sookie.”
“Yes you are, but you can’t let her know you’re doing it okay? You can visit with her, but she needs to feel strong all on her own.” She wouldn’t mind the visit, but I knew how stubborn she could be.
“I need to go now Bubba. The Queen will wonder where I am if I am gone too long. Will you be okay? I hired a driver for you and he’ll pick you up tomorrow night for your mission. Do you still have the money I set aside for you?” The driver had been paid well and could be counted on for his silence and discretion, but Bubba would need places to stay and I knew he liked to buy trinkets.
“Yes, thank you Eric. You take good care of me. Better than anybody else that I visit with.” His eyes lit up and I knew that even if didn’t completely understand he would never betray me.
“Okay Bubba. Bye for now, I’ll see you on Halloween.” He nodded and wandered off back in the direction of Shreveport proper.
I stood for a minute longer, enjoying the sounds of the night. I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and sent the message to him, making sure to erase anything incriminating while leaving the innocuous messages. I was invigorated having moved my first chess piece. There was still much to be done, but I felt better knowing that the plan had been set into motion.
As I took off into the sky I smiled for the first time in what felt like weeks. The Queen might have believed she had beaten me, and I would continue to let her think that: for the time being.