Eric tickled both boys and talked to them as he removed their wet diapers and put them in the bin in the corner of the bedroom on the plane.
“What did my good boys do today?” he asked, not really expecting an answer as he put a fresh nappy on Alex first.
Alex looked him straight in the eye and whispered “Shhh… as’ Mamee, nah-nah!”
“Ask Mommy? Does Mommy have a secret?” Eric asked in a playful way, expecting Alex not to understand him.
Alex gave him one of his exaggerated nods and said “bid wond!” Eric was startled. He knew Alex was telling the truth, but he couldn’t imagine what it could be.
“Should I ask her now?”
“Nah! Mamee stheepeen.”
“Is Mommy asleep now?”
Alex had a lot to say so he spoke slowly and deliberately so Dadee would understand.
“Nah – daygid om. Baf dub. Mamee beduh an me an Obee ma beduh!”
“I should wait until we get home, take a bath and get in Mommy’s bed while you and Auberon are in your bed?”
“Ee-ah!” Alex laughed and clapped, pleased that Daddy knew what he said. He thought he was really coming along with this talking thing.
Eric remembered what he was doing, putting a new diaper on Aubie and asking “what do you think, Auberon? Does Mommy have a secret?”
“NAH, Obee! As’ Mamee!”
That stunned Eric. It sounded as if Auberon was saying the name of a Norse Goddess, Sunna, and seemed to be saying it with a Swedish accent. How would he know Sunna and why would Alex object to talking about Her?
He continued to amuse the boys, playing “spider” and making them squirm and giggle, but focusing his attention on Sookie.
‘Sookie? Can you hear me?’ he projected to her with his mind. ‘Sookie, if you hear me, come to the bedroom now.’
Sookie excused herself from Amunet and went to the bedroom door, “Eric?”
“Yes, my Angel?”
She stuck her head through the door, “you rang?”
“Come in, Sweetheart. The boys say you have a secret but that we should not talk about until bedtime, after we’ve had a bath.”
“They said all that?”
“I’m paraphrasing, of course,” he laughed.
“Is it urgent?”
“I don’t think so. It’s private, just for family. It’s nice!”
“Why is Alex so intent on waiting until later.”
“I don’t know, but he told me the same thing earlier. He wants it kept quiet for some reason, so I think we should.”
The captain spoke over the intercom then, asking everyone to return to their seats for the landing, so they took the boys back out and strapped them into their little travel seats. Amunet had moved over next to Badru so Eric sat with Sookie and the boys.
The plane touched down with a couple of hops, and the cars were loaded very quickly, so they were back in the penthouse at Sang Riche New Orleans in less than an hour. It was very late, however, so Badru excused himself and Amunet because he needed to complete some work with his office in Cairo.
Eric had asked that a small meal be served for everyone in his group, so the extended family enjoyed linguini with crab and really tasty toasted buttered bread, but alas, no garlic, as Sookie and Bobbie pointed out wistfully.
“Question : why are we staying here if Margaret and Octavia are already at the Prytania St. House?” Sookie asked as she let the servers refill her bowl from a big pot.
“Didn’t you want to spend some time with Amunet, Sookie?” Eric asked.
“Oh – well, yeah, I guess that’s easier done here, huh?”
“Yes and it will also give Margaret time to get settled. There’s still a bit of work being done by the decorators so things aren’t quite up to her standards. That should all be completed this week and we’ll move the day after this club’s opening this weekend.”
“OK, that makes sense. What’s the weather supposed to be like tomorrow?” Sookie asked hopefully.
“I don’t know – has anyone heard a weather report tonight?”
“I have,” Bjorn reported, “It should be hot and sunny all week…”
“Nah-nah, Bhord. Mamee as’ Dadee!”
“Alexander, say ‘Mommy will tell Daddy, thank you,'” Eric ignored the fact that only Alex, Aubie and Sookie knew what was going on.
“Oday, Mamee wiw tew Dadee, dayoo, Bhord!” Alex spoke slowly, trying to say exactly what Dadee said.
“Excellent, my son! Daddy is very proud of you!”
Everyone at the table clapped and praised Alex, who was beaming.
“Ah’m dokkeen dood?”
Eric stroked his cheek with the backs of his fingers, “yes, you’re talking very well, my little vampire.”
“Ah’m dokkeen bewy wewuh.” Alex repeated to himself. He was going to talk just like Dadee some day.
“Bapya!” Aubie repeated in his silly voice, giggling.
“You, too, Auberon! You’re talking well, too,” Eric laughed.
Aubie felt like showing off a little, too. Pointing to his brother, then to himself, he said “Bumby Bapya, Me Eff!”
“Very good, Auberon! Daddy is proud of you, too, my little elf!” Everyone applauded for Aubie, too, including Alex.
Sookie let out a big yawn then, making everyone laugh. “I think I’m done for the night, y’all!”
“Let’s go up then, Sookie, and I’ll work later.”
“Eric, we were talking about going down to the club for a bit, if that’s alright?” Bjorn asked, pointing to Bobbie, Amelia and Jerry.
“That’s fine as long as you or Jerry is stationed with Sookie and the boys before I rest, and you are able to stay awake at your posts.”
“That won’t be a problem.”
“Alicia, do you have any plans?”
“I’d like to turn in once the dishes are cleared.”
“Alright then, everyone proceed,” Eric laughed, “boys, are you ready for bed?”
“Baf dub fuhss, Dadee!” Alex insisted.
“Alright, bath tub first, then bed,” Eric laughed.
“Sounds like a plan,” Sookie laughed, too, cleaning her plate as she stood and pulled Aubie out of his chair. Eric simultaneously took Alex out of his chair, and. The four — or, actually, five — of them went happily up to the loft, kitten and tiny dragon at their heels.
Eric ran the bath as Sookie undressed the boys, and they were all comfortably seated and snuggled in the warm, vanilla scented water very quickly. Alex was calling the shots, to Eric’s great amusement, making sure they “wath Obee ayr fuhss,” then his own, and “Dadee wath Mamee” and finally “Mamee wath Dadee.”
While Alex was directing the action, Aubie was playing with his ducky and snuggling into Mama when he was able, making his little happy sounds when she washed his head with her soft hands. Aubie loved this family bath thing because of Mama. Mama made wada all kinds of fun, in the “baf,” “sthowa,” and “poo’,” and she was warm like nothing else Aubie ever felt and sweet in a way nobody else was. Aubie could still remember the other place, where it was dark and quiet all the time. He was comfortable there, but when Mama began to come feed him, things got brighter and she took him to live with her and his Bumby and Dada and there was laughter and sunlight and more fun than he could ever have imagined. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt how lucky he was Mama came for him, and he would never forget that.
Once everyone was clean and dry, Aubie wanted to feed from Mama so he got snuggled in her lap as she sat Indian style on the bed. Alex, already asleep, was tucked into the co-sleeper by Dada. Mama moved gently back and forth, looking into Aubie’s eyes, kissing his little hand when he reached for her face.
Eric slipped into bed beside her as she gently rocked Aubie, putting his arm around them and stroking Aubie’s back and head. Aubie’s eyes twinkled as Dada rubbed his back.
“He likes that, Eric, look at his eyes.”
“He always looks at you that way, Sookie, as if he’s got stars in his eyes.”
“I’m sure that sparkle is for you, too, Sweetie.”
Eric addressed the baby directly, “we know who that sparkle is for, don’t we, Auberon? Only Mommy inspires that feeling of warmth and magick. You’re a very lucky boy!”
As if he were agreeing, Aubie stopped feeding just long enough to smile and say “Mama” as he patted her breast, then he immediately went back to feeding.
“Aww! That’s Mommy’s sweet boy!” she said softly, making him giggle. “Eric, we might be a while. He’s showing no sign of slowing down, and he didn’t eat much solid food today.”
“He doesn’t love food as Alex does. Given a choice, he’d choose you every time, my Angel. So,” he said as he scooted down in the bed, resting on his elbow, “tell me what it is that Alex wants us to keep quiet?”
“OK, you know the boys came looking for us this morning, right? And they were in Freyja’s garden?”
“I knew they came looking, but you were never able to explain where or how you found them.”
“OK, the secret is that Freyja was busy elsewhere so She sent our daughter to lead me to them.”
“You saw her?! What is she like? What did she say?!” he could barely contain his excitement. He thought about their daughter a lot more than Sookie realized.
“So all at once, I’m not in the carriage in Elfyria, I’m on my butt in the sand on the shore where I usually see Freyja. Before I can really understand what’s going on, I hear a voice calling “Mom! Mom! Hurry, I can’t touch them but you can!” And I see this pretty little girl of about 9 years old, blonde hair flying in the breeze, wearing a little pink sundress just like I wore at that age. So, I start to follow her and she tells me I need to get “‘Lexy and Aubie” before they teleport.”
“If you think about it, that’s what a little girl would call a brother normally called Alex.”
“At that point I asked her if she was my daughter and she says “yeah, Mom, don’t you recognize me? Daddy always says I look like a miniature version of you!””
Eric laughed with delight.
“Then she said, “it’s me, Sunny” which she explained is her nickname because Daddy named her “Sunna!””
Eric dropped back on the bed, staring up into the night sky, repeating to himself, “Sunna!”
“Did I say it right? She pronounces it with a Swedish accent.”
“So did Auberon earlier. They must already know her.”
“Yep, seems that way. She told me Alex hadn’t been to Elfyria yet, but she called it something else, so he didn’t know how to get there, but it’s really easy for, quote, “us kids” to get to Freyja’s and he probably figured I’d show up there eventually.” Sookie gently put Aubie, who was now sound asleep, in the co-sleeper next to Alex, covered them both with their soft blue blanket, then scooted down so she and Eric were face to face.
“She was beautiful, wasn’t she?”
“Yep, she was.”
“I knew she would be! And bright! I knew she would be bright as the sun!”
“Hence the name “Sunna,”” I guess?” Sookie laughed, “When were you going to spring that one on me?”
“The day she was born, if possible. I knew you’d agree when you could see her.”
“So, have you “seen” her the way you have Aubie and Alex?”
“I’m not sure.”
“I have a picture in my head of a beautiful little blonde thing with your eyes and the sweetest laugh you can imagine, but I’m not sure if it’s a vision or a wish.”
“Well, since Freyja has designed all this to make your dreams come true, I’d bet what you’re seeing is the real deal.”
“I hope you are right, my Angel, because I’m already in love with her,” he laughed as he squeezed Sookie and kissed her forehead. “Daddy’s little Angel,” he said wistfully as the ambient lighting faded away and left them with an unaltered view of the seemingly endless starry sky.
“What a beautiful view tonight!” Sookie purred sleepily. “I’m glad it’s not cloudy. There’s not an outdoor light of any kind visible from this bed.”
“It’s even better than I had hoped up here. I wanted it to feel as if we’re floating in the sky.”
“It definitely does – it’s a little disorienting to me, though.”
“That will subside with experience and practice. Once you are sure you can fly and will not fall, you’ll begin to enjoy the limitless sky. You are already adjusting to it, you just don’t realize it.”
“Is it safe up here for the boys, though?”
“They can’t fall Sookie – they fly as well as anyone I’ve ever seen.”
“I just know that if I ever wake up and they’re crawling around the outside of the ceiling, I’ll have a stroke before I remind myself that they aren’t human babies,” she said, only half kidding.
“Prepare yourself for those little shocks, Sookie, because Alex is getting very imaginative and bold…”
“OH, I know he is! I can see what he sees, too, and it’s all just one big playground to him. Sometimes I think he sends me pictures to show me what he will do eventually, so that by the time he does it, I won’t be surprised by it any more – is that possible?”
“Possible is a wide, wonderful word where our elder son is concerned, my Lover. Just be glad he’s bringing us along for the ride. There will come a day when he no longer feels the inclination to include us in his plans, and it will come sooner than we expect.”
“Ugh – I know that. I just don’t want to lose them so early.”
“They’ll never be that far from you, Sookie. When we are all grown, being together will require only walking between the worlds, and they did that today.”
“You’ll be able to do that, too, right?”
“I don’t know – I have never tried. I was in a panic when you disappeared from the carriage in Alfheimr this morning…”
“Alfheimer? What is that? Sunny said that word…”
“That is the Norse name for the Fae realm.”
“Oh, OK – that’s what I thought it meant but I couldn’t remember it to ask you.” Sookie let out a huge yawn then and Eric laughed and kissed her forehead.
“You must sleep, my little Goddess! You’ve got a lot to do tomorrow.”
She rolled so her back was to him, saying “yeah, yeah, tu a atu, tu a atu…”
“What does that mean?”
“I have no idea, I just see these juicy red lips saying it over and over: “Anekh hrak, anekh hrak, tu a atu, tu a atu…”
“Any idea what language it is?”
“Bobbie thought maybe ancient Egyptian.”
“Don’t you have an expert in Egyptian magick here in this building?”
“Yeah, but the thing is – what if those red lips are hers?”
“Do you think they are?”
“Yeah, probably, and I don’t know why she’s saying it over and over where I can hear it in my mind. Not knowing what it means, I don’t know if it’s a prayer or a spell, and I don’t know if it’s directed at me or if I’m just picking up on it.”
“Are you afraid to ask her about it directly?”
“Not afraid, but not eager to do it, either, because I don’t think she’ll tell me the truth.”
“Do you distrust her?”
“No – no, I’m sure she’s my friend and has good intentions toward me, and I never hear anything negative when I listen in on her, but what she wants for or from me might not be something I want to give.”
“Sookie, try to let the answer to this question come to you without examining it. What does Amunet want from you?”
“A gift… she wants a gift of power she thinks I’ll learn to bestow on her.”
“Any idea what it might be?”
“No, but I think it will be possible, but I won’t want to do it.”
“It could come back on all of us in a big way, but refusing to do it will make me seem petty. I’d rather avoid the conflict all together,” she said a little darkly, ending her answer with another big yawn.
“Alright, as you let yourself go to sleep, ask Freyja what you should do about this. It might be as simple as lying about your abilities.”
“It won’t be, but…” sleep overtook her in mid-sentence.
Eric thought it best not to wake her, but put in a request of his own. “Freyja, my Goddess, guide Sookie in the use of her powers, don’t let her get hurt, or hurt anyone else unjustly.”
“Come on up, Jerry.” It flashed through Eric’s mind that he hadn’t gotten a response from Freyja, but he forgot about it as he filled Jerry in.
Jerry came quickly up the spiral staircase, as Eric put on his pants. “I feel as if I am forgetting something…” he said as he opened the lid to his travel box, “but I don’t know what it is.”
“Did she have her Ambrosia?”
“Shit! Thank you for remembering that. We don’t want her missing doses. She’s been very busy so we have to be sure to give it to her.” He said, more to himself than to Jerry, as he took the bottle and cup from the little fridge and got Sookie to drink. She was already back in a deep sleep before Eric could return it to the refrigerator. “The boys went to sleep very late, so we didn’t get our quiet time tonight,” Eric explained, “Warn Bjorn and Alicia that they might want to eat very early today. I’ll see you tonight!” he said happily as he closed the lid on his box, falling asleep nearly as quickly as Sookie had earlier.
Sookie felt like she was twirling in space, flailing a bit until she realized she was making it worse by struggling. Once she stopped fighting she was able to get her bearings and give herself some direction. “Freyja, will you please meet me in your garden?”
Sookie almost instantly set foot on the shore where they usually met, and there was no one around so she went over the dunes at the back that led down to Freyja’s gardern. A small cloud of little butterfly fairies with pink, blue and lavender wings playfully surrounded Sookie, who laughed with delight and gave them a proper greeting. “Hello, little fairies! How are you today?”
Tiny voices replied, “we’re going with you.” We’re going with you,” We’re going, we’re going, we’re going with you! Freyja’s eating jam and bread.”
“Jam and bread?” Sookie knew that phrase should mean something to her but couldn’t remember why, and she forgot about it for a bit as she saw Freyja waving and laughing as she sat under her favorite peach tree.
“Good morning, My Angel! Come sit for a spell,” the Goddess called and then laughed at Her own joke about spells.
“Good morning, Freyja, you look glorious today!”
“As do you, Sookie, just as you always do! Come sit by me and talk – we rarely do that, you know?”
“Yeah, I guess not – not since I spent that week here one day,” Sookie agreed as she sat in a large throne next to Freyja’s, accepting a big golden cup of Ambrosia.
“Well, today is our day!” She clinked their cups together, “Ask me anything you like!”
“I’m not sure where to begin… well, the biggest problem I have right now is that this religious nut Garner is trying to kill us all. Is there anything I can do about it?”
“You can kill him before he kills you!”
“But the only thing I’ve read or heard so far that is anything like what I’d have to do is the thing where I reach into his chest and squeeze…”
“Yeah, but that’s kind of grisly, don’t you think? Shouldn’t a Goddess be able to just smite someone and be done?” Sookie laughed a little as she said it, but she was serious.
Freyja cracked up, her golden waves of hair bouncing around her shoulders as she laughed. “Sorry, My dear, but the Council has decreed that only one method shall be used or there will be a magnified price for breaking the pact!”
“The Council gets to limit that?”
“Why else would we need a Council? It’s to keep a bit of order and fairness in our dealings with humans. The world was chaotic when every god and Goddess smote people at will – huge civilizations, far more advanced than yours, were wiped away on a whim! The Earth’s energies were twisted to produce floods and earthquakes and an extremely inconvenient ice age – why, a few of the Aesir sent a comet to Earth! The world was a mess and that doesn’t even include the wars among the gods and Goddesses! It was just too much, the events too far reaching for humans and the penalties too slight to deter the deities from smiting one another. It finally occurred to us that Karma should apply to US, too, at least to an extent. And if you’re going to take the very extreme position of ending a life, you ought to have to face it head on. If you’re afraid of a little blood now and then, you’d best not enter the realm of the Goddesses. Killing will always mean blood on your hands.”
“Is it possible for me to become a Goddess and never kill anything?”
“No, My Angel, it isn’t. You have already killed and you will kill again. Be sure that your cause is just, prepare for the unintended consequences, and do what you know you must.”
“I don’t know if I can…”
“You still imagine that you have a choice, Sookie. Your choices were made an eon ago, and your destiny is nearly carved in stone.”
“Nearly… but not completely?”
“Don’t try to barter with the Universe, My Angel – She’ll out smart you every time. You’ll know what to do and when to do it, and you’ll pay the price when you do.”
“Is Amunet chanting at me in my sleep?”
“Yes, she is, and you need to ask yourself why.”
“Is she really my friend?”
“She thinks she is. You must remember, all that glitters is not gold.”
“I have no idea what you mean by that.”
“When you need to know, you will.”
“Isn’t that an awfully Zen attitude? I thought Goddesses didn’t work within Oriental patriarchies?”
Freyja laughed again. “There are better words than “zen” to describe it. Try “Harmony” and see if that fits. Think about baking cookies.”
“Isn’t that from The Matrix?”
“Believe it or not, we in the divine realm do occasionally indulge in various forms of art and performance, and sometimes we favor an actor or actress – I understand that reference. In The Matrix, the boy bent the spoon because there was no spoon. You will bend the spoon because you ARE the spoon. You’re the boy and the spoon and the room and the house – Change yourself and nothing will ever be the same again.”
“What’s that got to do with baking cookies?”
Freyja laughed again, explaining “when you bake cookies, there are obvious things you include like sugar and butter, but there are other things, like salt, that are added to enhance the sweetness. You use a little of one to balance a lot of another, and when you have harmony among the ingredients, you get a delicious cookie to eat.”
“NOW I want cookies,” Sookie laughed.
“Here we are!” Freyja held her palm up expectantly and a golden tray with a variety of cookies appeared in her hand. “What’s your most pressing issue, Sookie?”
“Will Amunet ever hurt me?”
“Only if you give her the power.”
“Riddles. I wish you could just give me straight answers.”
“I am – you just don’t have the context yet. Sacrifices have to be made, Sookie. For every seed of growth and happiness you create there will be a response from the Universe, but it will rarely be what you expect. Make up your mind to do the right thing, then do the thing and be centered in the knowledge that it is all happening as it should in spite of Us.”
“I told Garner to leave us alone – will he just go away and let us live our lives?”
“Sookie, our time together is precious. Do you really want to spend it asking questions you already know the answer to? You’ll have to leave Us soon.”
“Is there anything special I have to do to squeeze a heart that way?”
“No, you focus your energy and put it all into your hand as you reach in, squeeze as hard as you can, as long as it takes, and try not to get blood on you. It can be very messy and traumatic but the results are guaranteed, unlike using poisons or assassins.”
“What if I did a pre-emptive strike? Are there rules?”
“Has your enemy attempted to harm you?”
“A response is not pre-emptive — there is already provocation.”
“Oh… I was thinking of future attacks…”
“The war has begun, Sookie – the die are cast. Commit yourself to your family’s protection.”
“So if I kill Garner, the war will end?”
“Your sons will lead their kingdoms before the last arrow flies. We are only at the beginning. Think Sookie – is there something else you should ask me?”
“Um, no – I asked about Amunet, and killing and Garner…”
“No, not now.”
“Be safe, Sookie, I’ll see you very soon.”
Sookie sat up in bed to find no one in the room.
“Hey, where is everybody?”
No response. Sookie considered her next best move which she decided was writing about the conversation she’d just had with Freyja. She called up her book and was writing in it when she came back to the last thing Freyja had asked her. Was there anything else? Freyja sure seemed to think there should be, but Sookie couldn’t think of what it might be. She drew a big question mark with curly-cues and flourishes just because she felt like it.
“Damn – where is everybody? I don’t even hear a TV downstairs” she thought to herself as she pulled on her favorite purple and black nursing dress. She bounced down the spiral stairs, fully expecting to see a full apartment of babies, Weres, maids and girl friends, but she stopped flat footed as she reached the living room and there was nothing. No babies. No Alicia, no Were or Daemon guards outside the door, even.
“OK, I know no one would leave me alone this way, so I must be between worlds, right? There must be something I need to do here?”
“Sounds right to me,” Dionysus spoke from behind her and made her nearly jump out of her skin. He laughed, smugly enjoying the idea that he had made her jump. “So, my Goddess, what would you like to do? We can dance!” He tried to swirl her around but she stepped away from him. “We can fuck,” he tried to hook his arm around her waist and pull her in for a kiss but she pushed him away.
“Why are you so mean!?” Sookie finally exploded at him. “What is the point? Does Freyja owe you some kind of tribute? Are you watching over the boys? Are you here for me? Eric? All of us?”
“Now, now, Milady, careful what you say — I’m not nearly so indulgent as Freyja.”
“I thought indulgence was your whole act?” She said in a much too sassy way. “Was that what I forgot to ask Freyja about? Your connection to me?”
“That wasn’t what She was hinting at, but now that you mention it, that would have been helpful in dealing with me now, wouldn’t it?” He laughed again, “What to do, what to do?”
“I heard somebody else think that recently…” Sookie said aloud, “Whomever it was was not on my side…” She stepped back suddenly as Dionysus reached for the aquamarine stone on the heavy gold chain and shook it as he looked at her expectantly. “Niall! At the Wiccaning, Niall thought that when he saw me wearing the stone!”
“Nicely done, Milady! Wonder where he is now?”
“Do you know where he is?”
“Maybe, but probably not. I could give you a location, but would you trust me enough to go there? With no one around who knows what you’re doing?”
Before she could answer, a clock on the red wall struck 12 and Dionysus quickly said, “Oops! Time to go!” and disappeared.
Sookie’s head was spinning. She always felt so unsettled when she encountered Dionysus, and she was kicking herself now for not asking Freyja about him, though he claimed that wasn’t what She was getting at.
Not sure what to do, Sookie flopped onto the white couch and used the remote to turn on the huge TV. The news was just coming on and she thought that might make her feel a little more settled, or connected to the real world. She wasn’t really paying attention until she caught the phrase “CEO of New Centurion, LTD” in the introduction of the next story. Maybe this was it!? Maybe this was what she needed to know?
The announcer continued : “Hearings before the National Security Council will continue in the House next week. In the mean time, Garner is headed back to his Savannah compound where his family and friends will celebrate his 56th birthday on Saturday. He is expected to be back on Capital Hill by noon on Monday.”
Now she was talking to herself. “OK, so he’s home in Georgia through this weekend? I need a scrying tool, damn it!” She looked around the room to see if there was anything useful, but the room was nearly devoid of decorative items. “Freyja, what can I use to scry?” Sookie asked aloud and was answered, “the Aquamarine, Sookie! She’s much more than She seems. Talk to Her!”
“OK, She’s a ‘She,’ not an ‘it,’ and I’m supposed to talk to Her? Does She have a name?”
Sookie didn’t hear an answer so she put the gem up to her right eye and heard a voice say, “lean back.”
Anekh Hrak, Anekh Hrak
Tu a atu, Tu a atu
Anekh Hrak, Anekh Hrak
Tu a atu, Tu a atu
Anekh Hrak, Anekh Hrak
Tu a atu, Tu a atu
The Hills are alive!
Her eyes flew open as Amunet, Bobbie and Amelia surrounded her on the bed, giggling.
“Wow, Sookie, we were starting to wonder if there was something wrong!” Amelia said with relief, hoping for a non-drama filled day for a change. “We were hoping to wake you before anything exploded today,”
“Really, Darling, we were tempted to just throw you in the pool,” Amunet teased her, Sookie just noticing Amunet was in a gold bikini, though there wasn’t much of it.
“I see you’re ready to play in the pool?” Sookie laughed. “Where are the boys?” she asked as she quickly drank a strawberry supplement they handed her.
“Watching Teletubbies in their swimming diapers and waiting for Mama to shake a tail feather!” Bobbie laughed. “They’ve already eaten their breakfast.”
“OK, I guess we’re swimming now?” Sookie said as they dragged her out of the bed. She was trying to catch on, but still hearing those voices in her head.
The girls got Sookie into her bathing suit as a group project, then they nearly carried her downstairs.
“MAMEE!” “Mama!” Alex and Aubie were bouncing on the couch in front of the TV ready to swim.
“There are my sweet boys!” Sookie was so happy to see them, she was almost relieved, as if she had been away and missed them. What the hell had she been dreaming? She felt as if she left a part of herself somewhere else.
“Tu a atu!” Sookie laughed as she hugged them both to her, walking toward the open door and jumping into the pool from the side.
There were already mattresses, inflatable rides and other toys scattered all around the pool and it was sparkling blue and clear. The sun was out but not too hot to enjoy the roof. Sookie gradually realized that part of her mind was still back in the dream, in the empty apartment, focused on the aquamarine crystal, but her body was playing in the water with her babies and her friends. She was impressed that she seemed able to function both places at once. Bobbie and Amelia were entertaining the boys so Sookie just went ahead and asked Amunet for help with the chanting.
“Amunet, I keep hearing these words in my sleep – do you know what they mean? Anekh Hrak, Anekh Hrak! Tu a atu, tu a atu!”
“Interesting – do you hear them or see them?”
“I see red lips saying the words over and over.”
“Write that in your book. “Anekh Hrak” means “all praise to you” and “Tu a atu” means “I adore you.” You must be dreaming of Isis, Sookie!”
“OK, who are the Copper Goddesses?”
“Where did you hear that phrase?”
“I don’t know, but it’s going to be important.”
“Be sure you write that down before you forget it. I want to see where that goes.” Amunet encouraged her. “Keep detailed notes of it all, Sookie. These things that are happening to you are amazing gifts and other people will learn from them some day.”
“I can’t imagine how or why, but I’m trying to keep better records anyway because everyone tells me that.”
“Believe it, Sookie! The Universe is showering you with gifts, it’s only right that you should share them when you can.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Can I ask a favor, Sookie?”
“A favor? What is it?”
“Can I touch the aquamarine stone you are wearing? I know you can’t take it off, but I’d love a chance to look into it.”
That didn’t seem unreasonable to Sookie, but she’d rather not. “Sure – you just want to look at it?
“Yeah, just to see if I get anything from it empathically, you know?”
“OK, sure.” NO-NO-NO-NO! The crystal screamed, but it stopped when Amunet touched it. She looked at it closely, feeling the facets, reveling in the color of it. “I guess it’s true!”
“It’s a woman’s stone.”
“Yeah, I know it’s female.”
“Wait – the stone is female or the stone only works for females?”
“The Stone is female, but I don’t know Her name yet. I don’t know if she’d work for a man or not.”
“My guess would be “Not.” If NIall tries to take it, I’ll bet he’ll get a nasty surprise. You should tell him that, Sookie, so he’ll leave it alone.”
“There’s no point, really. If I see him again, I’ll kill him so he won’t have a chance to try.” Sookie took a minute to listen for any reaction from the crystal, but everything seemed fine at the moment.
Alex was entertaining everyone by giving Aubie a ride in one of the floats as Sookie and Amunet spoke. Sookie was telling herself that there was probably no harm done in letting her see the crystal.
“Mamee! Woogie! Ahm sthimmeen!” Alex called to her as Amelia pointed him at Sookie and Amunet.
“OK, Baby, come to Mommy!” She laughed and caught Alex when he headed for them like a torpedo.
“He can really swim!?” Amunet was blown away because she had no idea Alex was that advanced.
“Yeah, at human and Vampire speed both. There’s really not much Alex can’t do, is there, buddy?” Sookie laughed as she nuzzled him a little, getting ready to put him back in the water toward Amelia.
“Waby Amaduh!” Alex insisted as he leaned toward her. She was surprised. but she took him in her arms and hugged him.
“You’re such a smart baby, Alex! You’re just amazing!” She said as she thrilled him by giving him a big kiss on the cheek.
Sookie translated, “Amazing means good, Sweetie – really, really good!”
“Oday! Dayoo. Ee dinder, Mamee?”
“I guess we have been out here a long time. Hey, y’all, is it about time for lunch?” Sookie asked hopefully, since she just realized she didn’t have breakfast, unless you count the strawberry supplement and she didn’t.
“Good question,” Bobbie said, “I wonder if Alicia ordered anything?”
“I’ll bet she did,” Amelia said as she headed for the steps to get out. “I’ll go ask her when it will be ready,” she said, wrapping a towel around her.
As usual, Alicia was ahead of the game and by the time the girls had all dripped dry the table was being set with fish, shrimp, fries, soft shell crabs, cole slaw and big pitchers of sweet tea.
The girls all just wrapped beach towels around themselves and ate at the dining table for what turned out to be a fast food feast.
“Hey,” Sookie laughed, “this seems like Long John Silver’s food!”
“It is,” Alicia laughed. “You mentioned wanting some the other day. The only things made here were the tea and soft shells.”
“Good call, because this is out of this world.”
“Woogie, Mamee, pish!” Alex said with excitement as he recognized his lunch and took a big bite of it.
“Alex, Sweetie, don’t take such big bites!” Sookie fussed over him, though Bobbie had him well under control. Sookie quickly went back to eating, letting her attention turn back to the crystal in the empty apartment. It was pulling her back somehow, and she didn’t want it to stop.