Northman Homestead, Bon Temps, Thursday 27th April
Sookie was waiting on the porch as Eric pulled up in his new four door car with a baby seat in the back. The robot had spent a lot of time preparing for this day, the day Pam came home. Eric had been much more relaxed since they consummated their pairing and every day Sookie learned more about the little things that Eric liked and disliked, storing everything for use in their further interactions. Eric carefully lifted Pam’s car seat out and closed the door with his foot, grinning widely at Sookie as he strode towards her.
“I know this is a big day Sookie, but you know you should stay inside the house.”
Sookie turned around and looked at the front door. “I apologise Eric, I was not aware I had crossed the threshold. We should check for bugs in my system.”
“Maybe it’s the excitement?”
Sookie looked blankly at Eric and blinked a few times before going into the house. “I have set up a crib in your bedroom and one in the living room. Do you know when her next feed is due?”
“Three hours from now. Would you like to hold her?”
“That would be beneficial in my quest to learn about Pam.”
Eric put Pam’s car seat down on the floor and gently lifted the baby girl out, holding her to his shoulder and swaying a little before handing her to Sookie. He watched as Sookie emulated his action and swayed with Pam against her, Pam nuzzled into Sookie’s cardigan and let out a small contented sigh. It was the most natural thing in the world for Eric to put his arms around both his girls and bask in the long awaited glow of them being a family.
Ashwood Court Care Home, Ruston, Saturday 6th May
Johan practically bounced in his chair as he waited for Eric and Pam to arrive. One of the female wardens had been ecstatic when he mentioned having a Great Granddaughter and volunteered to go shopping for clothes as her family was all boys. She had left the honour of wrapping the very pink, very cute outfits to Johan, as he folded the paper around the gifts he tried to remember how long it had been since he had been this excited. Eric rapped on the door and Johan leapt up, well stumbled quickly, and opened up to gaze upon his little Pam.
“Ah! Here is my kleine Prinzessin! She’s is so much bigger now!”
“Yeah, she’s up to eight pounds three ounces now. Eating more all the time!”
“And how is Sookie with her?”
“She’s an angel! I don’t have much work on right now but it’s so much easier with two of us, we’re having such a blast spending time together as a family!”
“Well, is that so?”
Johan gave Eric a pointed look, then went back to the serious business of cuddling with Pam while Eric opened the gifts Johan had bought for her. Pam was having an ‘awake’ moment and seemed to be taking in every line on Johan’s face as she reached her hand up and brushed her fingers over any part of Johan she could.
“Have you managed to keep Sookie out of sight?”
“There was an incident the day I brought Pam home; Sookie was on the porch waiting for us. We scanned for bugs but nothing came up, Sookie said she hadn’t realised she’d gone outside the house.”
“That is … odd.”
“Very. If I didn’t know any better I’d say she was excited and that’s why she didn’t notice.”
“That’s just … impossible!”
“I know but let’s face it, what are the chances of someone seeing her so far back from the main road? It was an isolated incident; Sookie will be more careful next time. Besides, didn’t you read the papers this morning?”
“Pfft … you know I don’t bother with those things, since I can remember they’ve been full of what celebrity is dating the other. Why what has happened?”
“Thomas Compton died two days ago, he was 83. His large intestine ruptured during a routine colonic irrigation.”
Johan paled and spoke without thinking. “He had sole access to the work I left behind!”
“Are you kidding me? He had copies of everything?”
“Yes, it was part of the deal. Who will take over from him?”
“His Grandson, Bill, is taking over research and development of special projects.”
“That miserable dumbkopf? He was always useless! This … this is bad Eric!”
“Look, if he’s as stupid as you say he won’t know what he’s come across even if he does find your work but if he does then we’ll deal okay?”
“Yes … yes, you’re right … I hope.”
Northman Homestead, Bon Temps, Thursday 11th May
Eric was working in his recently declared ‘female-free zone’ on a project for the Infant ICU where Pam had been, he wanted to make a statue of Dr. Allan holding and rocking a baby. He was disturbed by his phone buzzing with a text message.
Unknown number? I hope it’s not spam again.
ERIC. SOMEONE AT FRONT DOOR. NOT GOING AWAY. SOOKIE XX
While Eric’s first thought was ‘how did Sookie get a cell to send a text?’ it was soon dwarfed by ‘who the hell is at my door?’ He left the work shed and spotted an unfamiliar car parked next to his, walking around the house, Eric leaned on the visitors car and cleared his throat. The man who stood on Eric’s porch turned around, he was dark haired, perhaps six inches shorter and ten years older than Eric with strange sideburns and a solemn expression.
“Can I help you Mr …”
The stranger smiled and strode towards Eric with a hand outstretched. “Compton, William Compton. I was looking for a Johan Northman, do you know if he still lives here?”
“No he doesn’t live here anymore. Was there anything else?”
“Not really, I just needed to see him and talk to him. Did you know him? Is there any way you could tell me where he is?”
“I do know him, I’m his Grandson, Eric Northman but I wouldn’t want to tell you where he is until I speak to him and see if he’s up to visitors.”
“Oh … I understand. Is he … unwell?”
“He’s got a few things wrong but he’s still got his wits about him. Can I ask what it was you wanted to talk to him about?”
“He used to work for my Grandfather’s company, Compton Robotics. I came across a project he was involved in and wanted to know if he remembered it.”
Fuck! Typical, you wish for a day to never come and it shows up quicker than you could imagine!
“Hmm … well I’ll tell him you stopped by the next time I call him. Do you want to leave your number so I can pass it on?”
“That would be great! Just let me …” William dipped his hands in the multitude of pockets his sports jacket provided him with and pulled out a business card. “Here we go! From what I could understand, the project was very … unique. I really would appreciate his call.”
“I’ll do that. Y’all have a nice day now ya hear.”
“Uh … yes, I’ll try Mr. Northman. Bye.”
They shook hands again and William Compton drove away in his brand new car. Eric watched him until he turned off the driveway, then went into the house to find Sookie. He called her name a couple of times before she appeared from the hallway that led to Eric and Pam’s rooms with Pam in her arms.
“I did not know what else to do Eric, so I contacted you the only way I could without leaving the house and exposing my presence to the visitor.”
“You did the right thing Sookie. How did you manage to send a text to me without a phone?”
“I connected to your network and sent the information through your phone line.”
“Huh! Amazing!” Eric smiled; it seemed that every day he was becoming more aware of Sookie’s capabilities. “The visitor was William Compton of Compton Robotics. He found Grandpa’s records of the work he did with you.”
“That is unfortunate, it could jeopardise my role as carer for you and Pam.”
“Don’t worry Sookie. I’ll try to take care of it as best I can.”
“I know you will Eric.”
Eric took Pam so he could change her and give her the afternoon feed. Sookie always pointed out that she was there, so he didn’t have to do it but he liked to. He wanted to spend as much of his time with Pam as he could and even though Sookie was an excellent ‘Mother’ for Pam, he didn’t want to leave all of the work to her, even if she was a robot. While Pam drank her bottle, Sookie cleaned the kitchen and tidied the living room, giving Eric a peck on the lips every time she passed him.
Now I see why having a robot wife like Sookie wouldn’t be popular – she’d shame most wives these days. Women would basically be redundant, except for breeding, if guys could have this treatment at home all the time. Although Grandpa’s intentions were honourable, Sookie is a threat to the nuclear family ideal.
Eric put Pam down for a nap and decided to call Johan and tell him about William Compton’s appearance at the farmhouse.
“Hello junge! How goes it?”
“Not good Grandpa. William Compton stopped by today, he found out about a project you were working on and is very interested in it. He left me his number to pass on to you so he might be able to ask you some questions about it.”
“Oh … yes, I can see how ‘not good’ that really is. I worked on a number of projects, perhaps it’s something else? Let me have his number and I’ll give him a call, at the very least I may be able to throw him off your scent.”
Reluctantly, Eric gave the details on the card to Johan, he had the awful feeling that any information William Compton got would only spur his interest more.
Ashwood Court Care Home, Ruston, Monday 15th May
“Mr. Northman, thank you so much for seeing me.”
“That’s okay Mr. Compton; I’m intrigued as to which of my projects that has piqued your interest so much that you would seek me out.”
William’s expression darkened and he regarded Johan through narrowed eyes. “Come now Johan, I can call you Johan can’t I?” Johan nodded slightly. “You and I both know which project I’m looking into.”
“If you’re talking about what I think you’re talking about – I need to remind you I signed a gagging order when I was allowed to retire.”
“Mmm … yeah, speaking of that. $30 billion? That’s some retirement package isn’t it?”
“It was honestly earned. The R&D Thomas Compton bought for that price from me had made him 100 times more than that over the years.”
“I know that the project you worked on spawned the creation of MiPet in our domestic line and the infiltrator series in our defence contracts. I know it was a combination of both but so much more. I want to know everything Johan. What were you making?”
“It wasn’t a weapon and it wasn’t a sex toy and it most definitely wasn’t a combination of those two things. Look … Mr. Compton …”
“Call me Bill, please.”
“Bill, I really don’t know what you want me to tell you. Your Grandfather was very clear that I was to speak to no-one, ever, not even him about my last project at Compton Robotics.”
Bill snarled and pinned Johan to the couch, digging his fingers into the old man’s weak shoulders. Johan gasped for breath and attempted to stop the tremble of fear running through his aged body.
“Johan, I know you were making a wife! A lot of guys might think that to be a sad and pointless project but not me. I want one, I want a perfect wife for my perfect life, I have no time to waste on dating the vapid socialites out there and I have no time for gold-diggers. You will make me a wife.”
“I … I can’t. My hands … they shake too much, too many years of working with machines.”
“Ah! You think my Granddaddy didn’t know you tried to dupe him? The parts you gave him to be destroyed didn’t make up a full robot, so either you kept some very important parts, breaking your agreement or you gave Granddaddy a shit load of spares once again breaking the agreement. I’m hoping it’s the latter and that you’ve got most of a sweet little lady already stashed away somewhere.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! Why would I do such a thing?”
“You weren’t the only one making video diaries Johan. Granddaddy made a few too, he mentioned a few times that you had developed feelings for your creation – and that is why you wouldn’t destroy it.” Bill twisted his hands around Johan’s biceps, making the old man cry out in pain. “You’re going to tell me where the prototype is. Is it in that dilapidated shack where your Grandson lives?”
The fear shone in Johan’s eyes and confirmed everything Bill Compton wanted to know. Bill smirked, knowing he had won and that soon he would have a perky robot woman running around after him at his beck and call – he just had to get past the Grandson. What better way to get Eric Northman out of the house long enough to conduct a search than his Grandpa’s funeral? Bill released Johan and left, ensuring an orderly checked on Johan to confirm the old man was still alive when he left. Flipping open his phone he dialled a special number that his Granddaddy had left him for occasions like this.
“Chow? I need your expertise with a Johan Northman at Ashwood Court Care Home in Ruston.”
“He works there?”
“No, he’s a resident.”
Chow sighed. “Look Bill, I know your Granddaddy left you the business but you’re calling me too often. First there was the girl who refused to date you in high school, then there was the guy who took your first girlfriend’s virginity before you could … now an old man? Have you lost your mind?”
“Chow do you like being paid and not going to jail?”
“Oh that’s a good one!” Chow laughed. “You seem to be forgetting I have just as much dirt on you Billy boy, I’ll do this last job and you lose my number got it? Or else those pictures of what you did to Felicia go viral.”
“I understand.” Bill ground his teeth together in distaste at having his ‘cleaner’ abandon him. “Just get rid of the old man – he’s a security risk to the company.”
“Whatever. I’ll get the job done, don’t you worry your pretty little trust-fund addled head about it.”
Apartment 7F, Harris Memorial Building, Shreveport, Tuesday 16th May
Chow hung up on the call he placed to his ‘finder’, Rasul could find anything from vintage posters of Anna Paquin to … uniforms for various institutions around the country. He found it odd that only a couple of months ago one of his few female clients paid him to make Peter Northman look like he’d had a heart attack and now Bill Compton wanted him to take out the father. Were Stella and Bill having a thing and working together to eliminate the blocks to the Northman money? If that was truly what was happening, then Chow expected a call from either Stella or Bill to take out the Grandson, Eric. Despite telling Bill not to call him after this last job, Chow knew Compton was arrogant enough to ignore it and stupid enough to push him into playing his ace.
Walking through to his bedroom he looked at Felicia curled up under the smooth cotton sheets, she truly was a beauty. Exotic caramel skin, long black hair and almond shaped eyes, Chow was very rarely shocked but when he witnessed Compton’s treatment of Felicia he was dumbfounded. He had found her, hiding, in a bathroom at a ‘party’ Compton was throwing around five years ago, Chow knew he was being invited to an orgy but many of the guests – particularly the women, didn’t. Felicia’s face was swollen and mottled down the left side and both her wrists were broken, she had been injured trying to get away from Bill when he told her to ‘service’ his friends; he was disgusted that the elite Daddy’s boy’s were so used to robots they didn’t know how to treat a real woman. It was a sad indictment on modern society.
Chow shook his head; those idiots didn’t know what they were missing. Let them have their robots, leave the real women for the real men; he kissed Felicia gently and left to meet with Rasul to pick up his uniform for Ashwood Court Care Home. A job is a job, after all.
Northman Homestead, Bon Temps, Tuesday 16th May
Eric rolled off of Sookie and flopped onto the bed next to her; every time was better than the last, the robot had memorised every inch of his flesh and all of the reactions she got when she touched, stroked and licked different places. After the second time they’d had sex, Eric had asked more questions about Sookie’s abilities to sense enjoyment, the artificial clitoris that she had been provided with actually a clever piece of technology. It was touch sensitive and when a certain amount of pressure and friction was reached – Sookie’s orgasm sequence was initiated. It pleased Eric greatly that, despite her not having a true orgasm in the human sense, he could still do all of the things to Sookie that he would do with a real woman and get a reaction from her. It was a testament to Johan’s genius that the robot he created was designed for a man who gained pleasure from giving as well as receiving; Eric doubted that the MiPet’s were supplied with such a feature.
He was brought out of his pondering by his phone ringing. “Hey Grandpa!”
“Eric! Bill Compton came to visit me yesterday.”
He sat bolt upright in bed and Sookie regarded him with interest. “What?! Why would you tell him where you were?”
“I had to know how much he knew and, Eric, I’m afraid he knows everything. He knows I didn’t really destroy Sookie and he wants her for his own. You will need to be very careful.”
“Well he’s not gonna get her! She’s my wife Grandpa! She’s Pam’s Mom and I won’t let him take her away! I’m calling Herveaux security right now, I want the works on this place – no fucker is getting in here to take away my Sookie!”
Eric heard a voice in the background and his Grandpa answering a question. “It’s time for my meds Eric; I will speak to you later. Keep well Junge.”
“I will Grandpa. See you later.”
Eric scrolled through his contacts but before he could call Alcide to reinforce his security system, Sookie laid a hand on his arm.
“Eric, I am designed to be able to lift and exert pressure up to three times my own weight. If an intruder gains access to the property, it will be relatively easy for me to apprehend and subdue him or her. I will protect our family, Eric, be assured.”
“I know you will Sookie, I know. I just don’t want to be reliant on your superior strength for our safety, we need a back-up and Alcide can install a monitored system. Right now it’s just a standard security system where a bell rings if anyone walks through the lasers and it has to be activated for that to happen – which it never is because you’re always here and would set it off when you do your chores and play with Pam. The security team that would come out from the panic button being pressed would be easily fooled into believing you’re human.”
Sookie nodded. “I understand. If I am here and an intruder enters the property, I must press the panic button to alert the security team.”
“That’s the idea anyway.”
Eric spent the next half hour on the phone to Alcide while Sookie checked on Pam. The robot saw that Pam was stirring in her crib and would be ready for her next bottle soon. If it were at all possible, Sookie would feel contentment but she was a robot therefore incapable of feeling … but she comprehended that Eric was a very good master and Sookie functioned at her highest level because of it. The robot’s level of self-awareness made it that she understood that she would not endeavour to learn as much about a different master – and as such she would not function on as high a level. If Sookie was human, at this point she would be realising that she loved Eric.
Ashwood Court Care Home, Ruston, Thursday 18th May
“Time for your meds Mr. Northman.”
“Ah! John, is it?” Johan smiled at his new orderly.
“Yep, John Smith – my parents had a wonderful sense of humour!” Chow chuckled along with the old man, being careful not to stretch the paper-thin silicon mask he had on to disguise himself.
‘John’ handed the little cup of pills to Johan with a glass of water. “John … this little green pill – I don’t usually get this, could you throw it in the trash for me?”
“Oh that’s just a different brand of Oxidopamine, I know it’s usually blue but the doctor’s managed to get a good deal with a different supplier for it. Do you want to call the Doctor to have him confirm?”
“Oh no, I don’t think that will be necessary.”
Johan swallowed all of his pills and John smiled and waved as he left Johan’s room. Johan settled down to read the headlines on the BBCWorld site. Within 30 minutes of taking his meds he felt very weary, which was odd but he’d had a lot on his mind recently and concluded that all of the worrying about Eric, Pam, Sookie and Bill Compton has eventually taken its toll. He laid down in bed for a nap and that was the last thing he ever did.
Northman Homestead, Bon Temps, Friday 19th May
Eric cried into Sookie’s shoulder as Pam gurgled and chewed on her blanket in her crib. Unsure of how to react to Eric being so upset, Sookie gently patted his shoulder and shushed him, much the same way she would with Pam.
“I … I never thought … but I knew his time … I can’t believe he’s dead Sookie!”
“Death is the unwanted constant in every human life, Eric, I am sorry for your loss my husband.”
Eric dried his eyes on his t-shirt and looked at her. “It’s your loss too Sookie, your creator is gone. I … wish I could stay here while Alcide comes over but I have to go to Ashwood court to make arrangements. Just smile a lot, give short answers to any questions, you … you’ll be fine.”
The robot nodded and followed Eric through to his room to help him, picking out his clothes as he showered. Ordinarily this was something Eric would do himself but Sookie garnered that he required extra assistance on this day. When Eric was clean and clothed he went back into the living room where Sookie was playing peek-a-boo with Pam.
“Thank for setting out some clothes for me Sookie, I’m real mixed up today and … just … thank you for everything.”
“I’m your wife Eric, you don’t have to thank me, it’s my job to look after you.”
“I know but it’s still nice to be acknowledged for things that you do.”
Sookie nodded and Eric said good bye to his wife and daughter and made his way to the care home to take care of the funeral arrangements for his Grandpa – Stella wouldn’t lower herself to taking a personal interest and Eric was damned if he was letting a stranger make decisions about his Grandpa’s farewell to the world. He spent all afternoon with the funeral directors and Johan’s lawyer, it turns out that Eric was not only the executor but the main beneficiary of Johan’s will. Stella was given a moderate monetary amount for ‘services rendered in birthing his Grandson’ but other than that she wasn’t mentioned. Eric knew that his Grandpa hadn’t liked his Mother but had no idea that the only reason he tolerated her was because she had Eric.
Johan had no real friends or extended family, Eric was saddened to learn that the only people that would attend his funeral would be himself, Stella and a couple of orderlies from the care home who had taken a liking to the old man. Going with the sentimental option, Eric arranged for his Grandpa to be buried next to Grandma Adele in the cemetery that bordered the Northman Homestead. Not only was it what his Grandpa would have wanted, but he wouldn’t be far away from Sookie and Pam.
Compton Robotics Executive Suite, Shreveport, Monday 22nd May
Bill Compton perused the obituaries with interest. The fact that Johan Northman’s funeral was to take place at Restful Home cemetery in Bon Temps would make things more risky, but he was sure that he’d be able to gain access to the Northman house and complete a thorough search for the s00k-E prototype in the time Eric would be at his Grandfather’s graveside. From what he understood from speaking with employee’s who knew Johan – he and Eric were very close and Johan’s death would devastate the younger Northman. Two days, all he had to do was wait for two days then the perfect wife would be his to fuck and order around the house whenever he wanted. Bill always loved getting what he wanted.
After seeing the footage of the ‘home-maker’ robot, Bill was intrigued by the design of the machine’s facial and bodily construction. Sure, the MiPet’s were gorgeous and sexy, but there was something … virginal and good about this robot’s appearance. The wife of a successful businessman should never look like a slut – which was what Bill considered most of the women he’d courted to look like. With their short skirts and exposed cleavage, what else was he supposed to think of them? His Mother had been the epitome of class, always well dressed and well mannered – and she also knew her place! These young women with their independent thinking and scanty dresses were just not good enough for him … but that robot would be perfect and if it wasn’t? Then he could just reprogram her until she was.
Restful Home Cemetery, Bon Temps, Wednesday 25th May
Eric watched as his Grandfather’s coffin was lowered into the ground, wiping away the odd stray tear every now and again. Stella was stoic next to him, she had openly expressed her bitterness at receiving so little of the Northman fortune and the only reason she had gone to the funeral was so that she would not be looked on unfavourably by her peers. Any thoughts he’d had after his Father’s passing away about building bridges with his Mother were gone.
At least I have Sookie and Pam.
The minister said his piece, Stella got back in her limo and went to lunch with her socialite friends and after some time for inner reflection, the orderlies, Brian and Paul, left. Brian and Paul had each taken a turn patting Eric on his shoulder and expressing their sympathies; they had worked at Ashwood Court as long as Johan had lived there and knew Eric was a good Grandson who genuinely cared for Johan.
Eric stayed by the gravesite as the staff from the cemetery started filling the hole with earth and taking away the chairs and other comforts that attempt to take mourners minds off the fact that a person they love is being buried in the cold, cold ground so they can decompose and never laugh or sing or eat their favourite meal ever again. Eric knelt in the patchy grass and wept for his Grandpa’s loss.
Northman Homestead, Bon Temps, Wednesday 25th May
Bill pulled up outside the Northman house 20 minutes after the funeral was supposed to start, he figured he’d have an hour or so to check out the most likely places to hide a human sized robot and all of the R&D back-up. He figured it wasn’t a big house, so an hour would give him plenty of time. He smashed one of the glass panels in the front door with his jacket covered elbow and reached in to unlock the door. Once inside, he immediately headed for the upper floor.
If this Eric guy isn’t aware of what his Granddaddy hid in this hovel, it’s a safe bet everything is in the attic.
Bill opened the hatch of the attic and climbed the ladder, poking his head through the hole to find a few boxes and a couple of trunks. Immediately he spotted the one marked ‘s00k-E’ and made a beeline for it, throwing it open and staggering back when he found it was empty. Bill spun around in a circle, thinking perhaps the robot was sitting somewhere under a dustsheet but there was nothing else to find. His anger got the better of him, how dare this red-neck Eric use his robot? He clenched his fists and made his way back to the hatch where he began to descend the ladder, when his head became level with the thick frame of the hatch, he felt someone grab the back of his head – then all he saw were stars.
Sookie caught his body before he could fall off the ladder and carried him downstairs. The robot laid him on the sofa, knowing that she had bumped his head enough to have caused him to become unconscious but not enough to have caused a serious injury. Once she was sure Bill wasn’t going to roll off the sofa and Pam was safe in her crib, she went outside to pull the cables out from under the hood of Compton’s car.
Intruder, William Compton, intends to remove me from the company of Eric and Pam. That is not acceptable and I will not allow it.
Sookie went back inside to tend to Pam and wait for Compton to wake up from his little shock. Pam whimpered in her crib and as Sookie went into the kitchen to prepare a bottle, the whimper turned into an all out wail. Bill came round to the sound of the baby crying it’s lungs out and took a few seconds to remember where he was and what he was supposed to be doing. He leapt off the couch and looked around desperately to find Sookie standing in the doorway, effectively blocking his exit from the house.
“What did you do to me?” It took Bill a while to place her familiar face but eventually he did. “You … you’re the robot! Did you see … wait … you! Did you attack me?”
“I saw an intruder enter the residence and proceed to search the property, I did what I had to as a home owner to protect my daughter.”
“Y … your daughter? But I know you! You’re the robot! She can’t be your daughter – you’re a machine and I’ll be taking you home with me!”
“You will not be going anywhere Mr. Compton, out of the window you will note that I have disabled your automobile. If you would please sit back down, I have a baby to feed.”
Bill walked sideways to the window, keeping his eyes on the robot the entire time only looking away from her to see the hood of his car sitting awkwardly and cables spewing out from under it like the car had thrown up its contents. Contrary to what many people thought, Bill wasn’t a stupid man, he was simply more adept at craftiness than logic. He quickly thought about how his Granddaddy’s video diaries had talked about how protective the robot would be over any children in its care and took action.
Sookie had very little time to react as she saw Bill run for the cradle and push it over, spilling a frantic Pam onto the floor. Sookie ran to aid the baby and Bill took his chance, slipping past her and out of the front door. Even if he had no means to get anywhere, he thought, at least he was out of the house and it would be harder for the robot to attack him again in the wide open space of the yard. He thought about how long it would be before Eric got back home and that surely there would still be employees around after Johan’s funeral to help him?
He ran towards the graveyard, towards the only place he knew there would be people, even if he did run into Eric, Bill was sure he could convince the cemetery employees to take his side and protect him. Just as Bill was coming to the edge of the trees on the property line, he looked back at the house to find Sookie was on the porch holding the baby and even from the great distance between them, he could have sworn she was glaring. Bill turned to look where he was running but smacked into something large and solid before his eyes could face fully forward. Two large hands circled his biceps and prevented him from falling, ass first, onto the ground.
“What the fuck are you doing here Mr. Compton?”
“Uh … hey! Eric! How are you?”
“Don’t play idiot Compton. Did you know that Sookie can send instant text messages to my phone by connecting wirelessly to my landline? She doesn’t even need to take the time to type out a message … just boom! There it is. Can you guess what message I just received?”
Bill grunted and kicked Eric in the shin, making him lose his grip and Bill once again made a run for it. Bill could see the fresh grave and sprinted towards it, hoping that the crew were still there. Eric was right behind him, taller, faster, stronger and it wasn’t long before Bill was once again in Eric’s grasp. Eric tackled Bill to the ground and straddled his lower thighs to prevent Bill’s legs kicking around before pinning his elbows into the dirt.
“The staff here will see you Eric! What will they think when they find you attacking a respected businessman right after your Grandfather’s funeral?”
“The staff took a break to leave me by myself for a while. I know you know about Sookie and I know you want her but she’s mine and more importantly – she wants to be mine. Did you break into my house to try and steal her?”
“Urgh … yes! Okay! I didn’t know she’d been activated. I stupidly thought Johan would have kept his mouth shut about it like he was supposed to!”
“Who else knows about her?”
“No-one. Since I took out your Grandpa we’re the only two who are aware of Sookie’s existence.”
“Where do you keep the information that you found out about her from?”
“Argh! It’s … It’s in the trunk of my car … dammit! I hired a warehouse not far from here, I was gonna take the robot and store everything there so I could work on its programming somewhere no-one would see or suspect.”
“Well … isn’t that convenient … for me.”
“What do you mean Northman?” Bill laughed mockingly. “You think you’ve got the stones to put me down? Go get your robotic wife; it’ll be able to do it.”
Eric lost his concentration for a second after Bill’s dig and Bill took advantage, squirming out from under him and grabbing one of the spades that the workers had left behind. Bill held the spade like a baseball bat behind his shoulder.
“Don’t think I won’t do it Northman. I could take your head clean off with this.”
Despite Bill’s tone, Eric wasn’t a bit threatened. He might be an artist but Bill was a fool if he thought Eric got his physique from sitting around tinkering with metal and wires all his life. Eric feinted to his right, causing Bill to swing before he ducked to the left and pushed Bill from the side making him drop the spade, which Eric picked up and swung at Bill’s face. In his haste, Eric had picked the spade up at an awkward angle and instead of the flat part of the spade hitting Bill and knocking him out – the edge of the instrument wedged into Bill’s face at the bridge of his nose, death came instantly. Eric stood looking at the body of the man he just murdered, when he was distracted by the cracking of twigs. He turned to see Sookie standing, holding Pam, looking at Bill’s corpse.
“It … it was him or me Sookie. He was gonna kill me, I just … got to him first.”
Sookie scanned the area with her blue eyes and held Pam out to him. “Where are the staff?”
“Break! God! They’ll be back in … like … 20 minutes! What’re we gonna do Sookie.”
“You will take Pam and I will take care of the body. I apologise for this, but the most logical place to dispose of him is in the fresh grave of your Grandfather.”
“Uh … yeah I guess it is but its fitting seeing as he was the one to order Grandpa’s death. Can you do it in time?”
“I can work very quickly and will not tire as a human would.”
“Okay … I’ll see you back at the house.”
Sookie nodded and watched Eric walk away with Pam for a moment before emptying a large amount of dirt back out of Johan Northman’s grave and dumping Bill Compton’s body on top of the coffin. She had just completed replacing the earth she removed, making sure to pack some down before putting a loose layer on top to prevent the workers becoming suspicious at a ‘fuller than they left it’ grave. She spotted where the spade had been forced into the ground before they went for their break and put it back where Bill had found it before walking back to the house.
Northman Homestead, Bon Temps, Monday 7th August
Eric smiled as he read the newspaper, the police were still searching for Bill Compton – missing multi-billionaire owner of Compton Robotics but it wasn’t looking good for Mr. Compton. An ‘associate’ called Chow had come forward with evidence that Compton was an abusive man with a very dark side. This story had been backed up by several of Bill’s friends and as such the police were beginning to conclude that he had pissed off the wrong shady underworld character. They were almost right.
“Will you be working today baby?”
“Sookie, Lover, how many pet names are you going to test out on me? But yes, the answer to your question is: I will be working.”
“I have deduced that Pam may be ready for smooth solids, would you like me to get some baby rice at the supermarket today?”
“Sure Sookie, our little girl is sure growing up fast huh?”
Sookie cocked her head to one side. “Eric, Pam is growing at the average rate for a human baby.”
Eric laughed at Sookie’s failure to grasp the simplest human expressions; it was humorous most of the time but he was a little worried about the times she went out on her own, for groceries or for other things they might need. Now that the only other person in the world that knew about her was dead and all of the schematics and video logs Bill had were destroyed they were free to live their lives as a family.
Speaking of family, Eric had tried to contact Andre regarding his desire to be in Pam’s life but his few attempts had been met with Andre’s garbled excuses about it ‘being the wrong time’ for him to get involved with his niece. During the last call Eric had told Andre, in no uncertain terms, that he did it now or he didn’t do it at all … to say Andre’s answer of ‘Without Sophie-Ann, Pam doesn’t mean anything to me’ was confusing for Eric was an understatement. Considering only a few months ago Andre had said that Pam was all that was left of Sophie-Ann, it was a disturbing turn of attitude. Andre had promised never to bother them and let them live their lives in peace. Considering having someone around on a regular basis could expose Sookie for the machine that she is, it wasn’t a bad thing.
They would, of course, have to let Pam on Sookie’s little ‘anti-aging’ secret when she started to notice that her Mom looked the same in photo’s of her when Pam was a baby and when she was older but they would cross that bridge when they came to it. The fact that Sookie would never age and had the possibility of living forever had preyed on Eric’s mind once or twice but they had many years together to work out those little kinks.
I am a man who is in love with a beautiful robot, she treats me with respect and shows me love and I return this with gusto. She will be the only Mother my daughter will ever know and what’s to say we won’t adopt another baby in a few years? Yeah, that sounds good.
Eric sat at the kitchen table, shocked at his own thoughts. Then he watched Sookie gently toss Pam in the air and heard his baby girl laugh and Sookie giggle in response. That was a sound he could listen to for the rest of his days and die a happy man.