Sookie woke up the next afternoon after killing Bill and went through her routines without conscious thought. Her mind seemed to be hiding behind a block somewhere, as though a wall separated her thoughts and her feelings, and she decided that she liked it that way.
It made life easier but the need to clean, to keep moving and moving and moving was overwhelming.
She managed to clean the entire kitchen from ceiling to baseboards before confronting the fact that she’d killed Bill.
With her own hands she had killed the first man she’d fallen in love with, the first man she’d ever had sex with, the first man who’d ever broken her heart.
He hadn’t been the first man to lie to her and he hadn’t been the first man to use her, but he had been the first she had loved while he did it.
Her eyes dashed frantically around the now-spotless kitchen searching for something, anything, to do.
The floor…the floor could always use another good mopping. There had been so much happen in that kitchen, so much…so much blood, so much pie, so much…so much…
Finally she finished with the floor and was drenched with sweat.
She had just made herself a glass of iced tea when it dawned on her that she’d killed Bill because he had asked her to, because he had demanded that she take his life.
He had been too damn cowardly to do it himself.
And he had actually wanted her to use the last of her fairy powers to do it, too, the bastard!
He had wanted her to change something fundamental about herself because he was too damn cowardly to end his own weak existence with his own filthy hands.
Bill was such a fucking coward…such a liar…and he hadn’t cared one bit that, regardless of her past, he had wanted her to become a cold blooded murderer.
He’d had the gall to pay her…to in effect pay her to kill him, had paid her in money and manipulation to end his time on the earth.
And she had.
Sookie stared down at her hands as though they belonged to someone else.
She had killed him.
She had killed her first love, her first lover, her first true romantic heartbreak and get back together and…because of his own cowardice and incompetence and strange notions that she would never, ever understand.
Her glass sailed through the kitchen window before she even realized she’d raised her arm.
The fact that she’d killed Bill, had killed him with her own hands, sickened her. The fact that he had emotionally manipulated her into doing it pissed her off even more.
The fact that she could still hear the sound of the broken shovel handle going through him…
Soon every dish, every glass, every cup, every breakable thing in the kitchen littered the floor in pieces.
She had lost so much, too much. Loved ones, friends, her cat, parts of her soul…
Her father and mother had been gone so long she barely remembered them, only felt the void their loss had left in her life. She had lost her grandmother, had lost her brother who was now so lost in his own mind that she didn’t even recognize him – didn’t want to, even. Tara…Tara she’d lost long ago, and Sam…he was nothing but a lying dog pandering for politics anymore. Everybody who wasn’t dead or hadn’t flow away was just an acquaintance who kept her around for their convenience.
She’d given all that she had to give, given it willingly, and now she was left with absolutely nothing.
Not one damn thing.
Not even her damn cat.
Sitting in the corner of her kitchen in the bright afternoon light, Sookie faced the cold, hard fact that she had nothing and no one.
Her family…dead and gone in body or mind…or both…
Her first…everything…everything romantic was now dead and by her own hand through his incessant manipulations.
Her…whatever Eric was…whatever he’d been… He’d been hers once…for a while… Heaven had been hers for a blink in time…then she’d had to watch him leave and her heart had been so blinded and breaking and numb and scattered that she hadn’t realized he was taking such a huge piece of her with him, too.
But he had.
They all had.
They had all taken pieces of her that she couldn’t afford to lose – they had taken those pieces of her with them when they left and there was no getting those pieces back and now all those empty spaces ached and burned as they collapsed.
It was too much.
Numb now to all but the most basic functions and impulses, Sookie placed a tarp over the broken window, and within an hour had packed the few things most precious to her, and somehow remembered to pack some clothing, too.
She spent the first countless weeks in nameless motels in nameless small towns. Side roads beckoned in a way she couldn’t explain, meals and showers came when she remembered to find them, her meager pile of laundry was washed when she had nothing even vaguely clean left to wear, and calls weren’t made because she had no one left to call.
Eric, Jason, Tara, Sam, Arlene, Willa, even Jessica who undoubtedly hated her…in one way or another, they were all gone from her now.
Bill… Bill had broken her trust with his cowardice and, as she eventually saw, his manipulative ways, but at least he’d paid for her efforts with more than waves of sickening remembrance.
After that ridiculous wedding Bill had thrust a large wad of cash at her, had told her it was her share of his “will” he’d never actually gotten to make, and at first she had refused to accept it.
The thought of his death because of that damn virus was sickening, but the knowledge that he was so fucked in the head that he refused to even take the cure made her even sicker.
He wanted to die.
He actively wanted to die.
That concept was so foreign to her, even when his blood had coated her hands and arms and had run down her body, she still couldn’t understand it.
But the money he had all-but forced upon her person had felt…used.
Like blood money.
It had felt too much as though he had truly been buying her assisted-suicide services in retrospect.
If he was so determined to die, why couldn’t he have just walked out into the sun? Why couldn’t he have just fallen on an appropriately aimed stake?
Why did he have to bring her down with him?
No, he had kept pressing her to do his will – as usual, she eventually realized – both with his money and with his death, and finally to shut him up she had accepted the cash.
Now she was glad she had.
Whether he’d meant to or not, he’d paid the way for her to find her sanity, what was left of it at any rate.
She knew she was lost inside, knew she was deadened and floundering, knew she needed to find solid ground in a world that wouldn’t stop turning, but she didn’t have any directions, no GPS, not even a compass.
Six months passed before the days and weeks stopped blurring together and her eyes stopped just staring at the patterns of the shabby wallpaper in whatever room she happened to be in for the night.
She had no one left, no one…no one at all, but eventually she realized that she hadn’t lost everyone – she still had herself.
Sanity might be over-rated but it made buying the odd grilled cheese sandwich easier.
One day she realized that she was bored, that she hated the used car she’d had to buy when her former vehicle had died on some road somewhere, and out of the blue she suddenly decided that she wanted some pretty blue nail polish.
The last realization, startling in its oddness, caused some sort of dam to break and she had cried, wailed, for the rest of that night.
Several days later, maybe it was a week, she couldn’t remember exactly, she found a Wal-Mart. After sitting in the parking lot for half an hour or so, the wilted buttercup sucked it up, and bravely entered the store. Soon enough she’d bought that pretty blue nail polish, several different shades of it in fact, and some polish remover and a bag of cotton balls because she’d never been able to paint between the lines.
On a whim she also bought a local paper and was surprised to find herself in Yuma, Arizona.
Afterward she sat in her car in the store parking lot and looked around as she let her gleaming nails dry. The area looked much like any other big store parking lot, a detail she found strangely comforting.
The generic impersonality of it all struck her as…perfect.
Eventually she realized that dry or not heat was heat, so she started her car. As she circled to exit the parking lot, for the first time in recent memory she realized that she wanted a real meal – something warm with vegetables and meat and maybe a slice of bread.
Fearing that she would probably get sleepy after eating more than a pack of crackers or a bag of chips after such a long time, she guessed it had been more than a month since her last grilled cheese sandwich, she wisely secured herself a motel room for the night.
After a shower to wash off the car sweat, she went in search of cooked food.
As she was mopping up the gravy on her plate with the last of her bread, she thought back to that odd little combo-appliance thing in the room. It looked as though a single-slice toaster, a mini-frying surface, and a 4-cup coffeemaker had some sort of strange Twister accident and were melded together afterwards. None of the other motels had had anything like that, but then, this motel was decidedly…unique anyway. The room even had a little bolted-down micro-fridge with a mini-microwave on top of it.
Strange things looked like cooking toys, but intriguing.
She then realized with a small burst of something, she thought maybe it was pleasure or longing, she didn’t care which, how it might be…nice?…to have something on hand for breakfast.
Breakfast…she hadn’t actively thought about “breakfast” in so long.
That night two new things happened: she returned to the motel room with a bag of food in her hand…and considered maybe, possibly, staying a little longer in…oh, yeah, Yuma.
She wasn’t sure why the thought occurred to her, didn’t honestly spend a lot of time thinking about it, really, but she rarely spent more than a few nights in any area before moving on to whatever else there might be. Roads were wonderful things and if you remembered to keep gas in your car you could keep going down them to new and other places.
Something about this place, though, seemed calming in a way she couldn’t define, but figured it appealed because it was so completely different from everything else she’d been used to.
Even the air smelled different.
The mid-priced motel room had been a vaguely pleasant surprise with its bright, clean mid-century decorations, the unusually clean scent of disinfectant, and that weird combo appliance and micro-fridge thing taking up one corner of the small room.
Once she placed her carry-out order on the low dresser, she wiped the old looking phone handset on her jeans a few times, called the manager, and asked about extending her stay a whopping two more nights. She heard the older lady tapping away on a keyboard and was kindly told to come by first thing in the morning to pay for the additional time unless she wanted to put it on her card?
Sookie rolled her eyes. She’d never used that stupid card after she’d paid off what little debt Gran had put on it, but had faithfully destroyed the old card and replaced it in her wallet with the new one every year. She told the lady she’d be down in the morning.
The next morning as the complimentary coffee brewed sluggishly through the mini-coffee maker and her breakfast sat steaming on the tiny table in front of her, she shook out the now slightly crumpled newspaper she still wasn’t sure why she’d bought.
She didn’t particularly want to stay in the area, but she didn’t enjoy feeling as though she was constantly running, either, no matter how pretty the roads were. It wasn’t as though there was anything she was running from, exactly. It wasn’t as though anyone was looking for her. All the people who could hurt her were either dead or presumed dead or dead by her own hand, and anyone living back there either didn’t count or couldn’t count.
Sookie coughed after she inhaled a sip of water during the unexpected bark of laughter at her unintentional joke, then congratulated herself for not falling apart. She avoided all thoughts of…back there…whenever possible, but sometimes thoughts of him, of what killing him had felt like, of his manic insistence, of his…
Suddenly her breakfast seemed entirely unappealing and she slid the container away, then stopped. With angry determination the pulled the container back and took a resolute bite of sausage.
It was really good.
Once she had cleaned over half her “plate” and returned it to the micro-fridge, she picked up the paper again.
Even Yuma had to need waitresses, she decided, and while she didn’t actually want to go back to waitressing, it was a skill she and her brain could always fall back on. At one time she’d wanted to go back to school and learn to do something that didn’t involve standing on her feet and catering to assholes for hours, but just now that dream seemed too far away.
When even a full night of sleep was an unattainable dream, any plans for the questionable future didn’t warrant further thought.
Two weeks later she sat, stunned, in her tiny new-to-her one room furnished apartment. Somehow she had acquired a job and a place to live and she still wasn’t sure how either had happened. She knew that things like timing and luck and her boobs had made it happen, but it was still a blur.
Thankfully both the job and the apartment were temporary if that was what she wanted. There was no way she could handle a commitment to anything or anyone just then, but she had something to do that made surprisingly good money considering the tips she’d been used to making, and she had a cheap but clean roof over her head for as long as she wanted it.
And there were no vampires around.
Yuma wasn’t anti-vamp, but with all that lovely sunshine…
The years passed.
**A/N: Should I continue posting this mini-fic? Does it have legs, or is it a sad little flop best ignored in hopes that it goes away? Remember, this story is short and already complete… So, what did you think?**