Title: Solo Flight
Pen name(s): Sarifina85
Beta’s pen name(s): treewitch703
Virgin Writer (yes/no): No
Unsolved Mystery: The Lindbergh Kidnapping
Characters: Stan Davis with appearances by other characters
Disclaimer: I do not own the South Vampires Mysteries series and I do not know what really happened to the Lindbergh baby. No. Honest, I don’t. I swear! Just read the story and enjoy what might have happened.
I hated being in New York. I hated the oppressive smell of dirty humans dying and decaying in the streets. This polluted city reminded me far too much of the grubby existence I had known when I had been human.
Poverty had been the only thing I had known as a human, but in over five-hundred years of my new life, I had long since left my sordid beginnings behind. Many others of my kind may not have known me, but those who did had learned to respect me.
My appearance garnered me little notice. Even to others like me. To most eyes, I was small in build and unremarkable in appearance. But others often learned that appearances, especially in the supernatural world, were all too deceiving.
“Don’t know where he go. Please, let down,” the stilted and accented voice begged. He too had learned the hard way that though I had a slight build, I was a powerful vampire. He had underestimated me, allowing me to capture him. It had been so easy, it was tedious.
I tilted my head to look at the upside-down suspended body as he flailed and pulled at his confinement. Strong though the Were may have been, there was no chance that his thrashing would dislodge the chains I had wrapped him in.
As I circled him, I took in the musty and mildew-laden surroundings of the warehouse I had commandeered for my temporary use. The stale smell of this Bronx warehouse only further reminded me of the poor village I’d been born to in what was now Slovakia. I despised the dank wet smell of my village, and I despised this Were for forcing me to seek such a location for my interrogation.
I could not stand to hear the stilted English Isidor was trying to speak, so I grabbed the hair at the top of his head to bring his face into view and responded to him in German, “I know you know where the vampire has gone. I tracked his scent to you. Tell me where he went and perhaps I will not prolong your death.”
The filthy Were drew back and tried to spit at me, but my speed allowed me to easily dodge the spittle. My backhand sent the Were spinning, suspended by a chain. I stifled the urge to sigh at this continued boredom.
As the Were seemed to need a little more encouragement, I removed my suit jacket and pulled off my bow tie, missing the elegant styles of the previous century. The suits of the 30s were being made more and more cheaply because of the sagging economy. Rolling up my white cotton sleeves, I pulled on a pair of leather gloves and unrolled my leather toolkit. Taking out a silver inlaid knife of medium length, I proceeded to ply the Were with questions.
While in his human form, the silver would not burn the Were as it would if he had shifted, but using it to cut into his mortal flesh would further weaken him and slow any healing. I wished I could have glamored the Were for my needed answers, but using glamor meant you would only get answers to the questions you asked. It was hit-or-miss whether you would get all the information you wanted. Better to persuade them to willingly give up everything they knew.
“I tell you vat I know. I tell you vat I know, Mister Davis,” he finally gasped out, his English somehow becoming even less intelligible. I had taken the more Americanized name of Stan Davis to blend in, but my English was far better than his pathetic attempts. My own voice was still lightly accented, but I could pass for having been born here, unlike this man.
Pulling the bloodied silver away from his body, I reminded him, “In der deutschen.” No need to listen to his choppy English when I spoke German as well.
“Fine. Fine. I’ll tell you anything,” he eagerly attested in German. It was far easier on the ear to listen to his pleading in his native tongue.
But it was almost pitiful how easily he had given in. No vampire would have broken so easily. Weres truly were pathetic creatures. Ones I had little use for. Especially those that would imbibe vampire blood as this one did.
We continued conversing in German. “What did the vampire want from you,” I once again asked him. I continued circling him, taking in the sight of my handiwork as he panted, trying to regain his breath in his inverted position.
“Let me down and I’ll tell you everything,” Isidor pleaded in an uneven voice.
“Tell me what you know first, Herr Fisch. If the information is appealing to me, then I’ll let you down,” I assured him. I kept my gloves on and my blade in my hands in the event Isidor needing further convincing.
Isidor’s body continued gently rotating on his chain, propelled through the air by his panting body.
Making his decision, Isidor continued, “Very well. That vampire came to me and wanted to make a barter.”
I knew what kind of barter he would have made, but I still pressed, “What did he want to barter for?”
“He wanted me to find him a boy or girl. One that was extra tasty. So I found him a boy that smelled extra good.”
I felt my jaw tighten at his words. The practice of drinking the blood of children had once been accepted, and though vampires did not change in appearance, we too had evolved. Drinking the blood of children was no longer permitted. Those who repeated this offense and furthered the crime by leaving their victims scattered across the countryside would be terminated with extreme prejudice as ordered by the Vampire Council.
Missing and dead children outraged humans and could only lead to our possible discovery. Humans were less suspicious of missing adults, but missing or dead children would bring nearly every human up in arms against us. And every year humans continued to make better and more effective weapons. They would one day be a force for even vampires to reckon with. One we were not yet prepared to deal with. At least not openly.
So my quarry, like many others, had been ordered to death. If their makers yet lived, they were ordered to put their progeny down, as well being punished themselves. I had hunted down many vampires adjudged guilty of feeding on and killing children, but my current prey was by far the oldest. He was also proving to be the most cunning and difficult to catch.
But I would not be deterred. I would see my foe ended as I had been ordered.
“What did he offer you in exchange for finding him this boy?”
Isidor’s eyes widened as he averted his gaze. I grabbed a handful of his hair once again to bring his eyes back to my own. I knew, of course, what he’d been offered, but I wanted to hear him admit it.
In a small voice he confessed, “He gave me some of his blood in exchange for the location of the boy.”
I could smell that he had ingested some of the blood, but I doubted that he had taken all of it. “Where is the rest of the blood?”
“I sold the rest to Bruno. He sells the blood in the Bronx.”
I had managed to keep my fangs retracted until now, but this piece of information incensed me. It was not only disgusting that a vampire would barter away their own blood, but I despised those who used and sold it as a drug to humans and other supernatural creatures.
Seeing my obvious anger, Isidor rushed to add, “I know where it is. I can tell you what I gave the vampire and you can find him. He was going down there tonight. You might still be able to find him!”
“Tell me where,” I growled.
He proceeded to rattle off a location in East Amwell, New Jersey, an area near the town of Hopewell, he said. “The home of Charles Lindbergh. The boy’s nursery is on the second floor. I checked it out yesterday. I even left a ladder for him to get up to the window,” he explained. He seemed almost prideful that he had left a ladder to get into the child’s room. He obviously was not aware that my prey was gifted with the ability to fly and would have little use for a ladder. The name sounded vaguely familiar, but I paid little heed to the doings of humans.
Isidor continued to give me directions to the house as well as a description of the terrain. He’d obviously done his work well in scouting the area.
When he had finished speaking, he looked at me expectantly. “I told you everything I know. Let me down.”
I studied his face, gauging whether he had told me everything. By the eager look in his eyes, it seemed he had indeed come clean with everything he knew.
Clamping my hand over his mouth and twisting his head to the side, I yanked his neck to my mouth, and clamped down on his warm flesh. Pulling deep drafts from his throat as he jerked and struggled, I eventually drank the last of his blood. Pulling the chains away, I let his limp body fall to the ground.
“There, I have let you down as I said I would.”
Less than an hour later, I had cleaned the blood from my hands after tearing the body to pieces and dumping it into the harbor. I would have preferred to have the time to find the other Were, Bruno, who was distributing the vampire blood, but I would have to leave that task for another time. I knew from looking into Isidor’s life who Bruno was and where he lived, so I could easily deal with his offense later.
For now, I had to continue tracking my prey. This might be my first and best chance at truly catching him since I had begun the chase nearly three years ago. I had trailed him all across Europe, but had just missed him by days or weeks. Now, I was within hours of my goal. I would catch him. I had not been stymied by any of my prey yet.
I stood at the base of the ladder Isidor had so proudly provided. Now I was glad for its presence as flying was not one of my skills and I did not relish the thought of having to scale the side of a house with my bare hands. The house was spacious and well-built being in what the humans were calling the Depression. The human must have been wealthy indeed.
Inhaling deeply, I could tell that my prey had recently been here, but my guess was that he had come and gone.
Climbing the ladder to the open window, I could hear a human male exclaiming from inside, “What do you mean the baby is gone, Betty?”
I waited at the window for the human, likely the boy’s father, to enter the empty nursery. As soon as the human entered the room, I caught his gaze with my eyes. “Invite me in,” I commanded him. Though vampires could not cross the threshold into the homes of mortals, it was easy to force an invitation from them.
“Come in,” his dull voice answered.
Slipping through the window, I quickly caught the gazes of the two women who entered the room behind him. One, by her dress, was a nursemaid, leaving the other to be the mother. “Silence,” I ordered them.
The scent of the mother almost instantly overwhelmed me. I started moving toward her before I caught myself and stopped, making sure not to breathe in any more of her scent. She was partly human, but from her scent, was also partly Fae. Maybe half or a little less. Now I knew why my prey would have been so excited with the find of this child. His blood would be sweetened with the essence of Fae.
Stepping back from the mother, I forced my gaze away. I could not afford to indulge in her blood and become intoxicated, allowing my prey to once again escape.
Turing my attention to the man, I asked, “Have you called the police?”
“Yes.” His gaze was as dull and vacant as his voice.
I swore at arriving too late to keep the human police from being alerted. They would be here soon, so I would have to work quickly. Leaving the humans locked under my influence, I quickly searched the room. A piece of paper had been left in the child’s crib. There was no writing on it, but I had little doubt that my foe had left it for me. He either knew I was on his trail, or he was hoping I would find his offering at some point.
There was no writing on the paper, but he had pierced the paper with his fangs, creating two holes through it. Between the two holes was a small dot of red at the intersection of two circles drawn in red and blue. Not even I knew the meaning of the symbol, only that it was used by the Vampire Council. It appeared my foe wanted to remind me that he was far older than I and more knowledgeable of vampire customs and facts that not even I, as an agent of the council was privy to.
I had to quickly formulate a plan. I knew the child was likely dead already, but I needed to slow the humans down in their search for the boy. Grabbing a pen from my jacket pocket, I quickly scrawled a letter out in poor English.
Have $50,000 redy $25,000 in
$20 bills $15,000 in $10 bills and
$10,000 in $5 bills After 2-4 days
we will inform you were to deliver
We warn you for making
anyding public or for notify the Police
The child is in gut care.
Indication for all letters are
and three holes.
This would explain the symbols on the scrap of paper I had available and a demand for money would delay the humans scouring the countryside looking for the child. Hopefully it would give me time find my prey.
The kidnapping also gave me the perfect opportunity to ensure that the other Were selling blood, Bruno Hauptmann would be implicated in this. I would return to Bronx later and instill in him the desire to carry out the kidnapping scheme. Bruno was slow, even for a Were, so it would only be a matter of time until the humans caught and punished him. I cared very little whether he met his end at the hands of humans or vampires.
Tossing the forged note into an envelope I found, I left it on the radiator near the windowsill.
“You did not see me. You will wait until the police arrive and follow their instructions, giving them the envelope on the windowsill,” I instructed them.
They nodded mutely, and I descended the ladder once again. My dominion over the three would quickly diminish once I left, only my orders remaining in their minds.
Traveling quickly, I followed the scent of the child and my prey. The child did not smell as strongly of Fae as his mother did, but the scent was unmistakable.
A short run of a little more than four miles brought me to the body of the blond, curly haired boy. The scene stilled me. I had come across countless dead children in the pursuit of my current target, but never had I been so dismayed. The sight of this child evoked my human life. The memory of my own brother. He’d been tow-headed as well, his hair laying in similar thick curls. I’d never known what happened to him after my own turning. I could only hope he hadn’t met a similar dismal fate.
Though I was reluctant, I knew I had to hide how the child had died. Bringing my hand back, I let it collide with the child’s skull, crushing it on impact. I could only hope that the kidnapping ruse would keep them from finding the body long enough for the evidence of the child’s draining would be obliterated by the wildlife. Digging with my hands, I gave a hasty burial to conceal the boy’s body, hoping it would also slow the discovery.
Once again on the trail of my foe, I followed over rough and rocky terrain, and I finally spotted his prone form in a clearing a mile from the child’s body. He was small. Even smaller in stature than I was, but I knew not to let his appearance deceive me. He was by far the oldest vampire I had been sent after, somewhere near or pushing two millennia.
I fingered my sword, slowly and carefully moving forward, not wanting to alert him to my presence. In all the years of my chase, I had never been within sight of him before. I knew his scent well, but I felt almost giddy to be so close to him at last.
I finally crept close enough to see his face. His youthful features were smoothed in an expression of bliss, eyes closed in ecstasy as he remained on his back in the grass. Hoping he would remain unaware of me in his intoxicated state, I crept forward until I was within reach of him with my sword.
He rolled towards me more quickly than I would have thought possible, kicking out at my legs and shattering one knee before he rolled away. I cursed myself for letting myself by lulled by my assumptions.
Ignoring the pain in my damaged leg, I swung my sword outward, hoping to catch the other vampire and slow him down.
Jumping easily out of my reach he mumbled in a language I didn’t know before taunting in English, “You are that youngling they sent after me? The same that chased me all over Europe?” He laughed as he continued to dance just out of my sword’s reach.
I ignored his taunts and deliberately let my own movements drag as if from blood loss. When the other vampire was once again within my reach, I sped up my movements and managed to slice my target across his side.
Clutching the wound, he cursed me and moved even faster than I’d seen him move yet. He spun into me and wrenched the sword from my grasp. Before I could move out of his reach, he had returned the wound, slicing me far more deeply in my own side.
“There! How do you like that! I was just lying here enjoying my own high when you attack me for no reason,” he grunted.
My hands flew to the wound to stem the blood and hold my body together. Struggling to remain on my feet, I held my chin aloft and informed him, “Your death has been ordered by the Council. I have been sent to mete out your punishment. Accept your fate!”
He laughed and flourished my sword at me. “I am far older than you. You have no hope of ending me. I will live as long as I so desire!” He laughed again as he spoke, but I held my ground. I would not run or hide. If he was going to end me, I would meet my fate.
“You have been entertaining, youngling,” he continued condescendingly, “But I tire of this place and our chase. But you have come closer to catching me than any other, so I will let you live.”
With those words, he dropped my sword and spun around, disappearing. I gathered my sword and gave chase. But he was far faster than I, and my wound finally forced me to stop and feed to heal. I spent the rest of the night searching for his trail, but he had vanished.
My mind came back to the present. I swiveled in my chair to look at the battered human seated before me.
“He truly met the sun?” I asked in astonishment.
She nodded and repeated her tale of her capture and imprisonment in the church of the Fellowship. I only partially listened as she repeated to me how Godfrey had told her of his wishes to end himself and him bravely meeting the sun alone.
After implicating Bruno Hauptmann in the kidnapping and death of the child Godfrey had killed, I had searched across the countryside for him. But Godfrey had vanished.
The human child had been the son of a famous human, a man who was famed for a solo flight across the Atlantic. To a vampire, it seemed a silly thing to be famous for, but the disappearance of his son and the subsequent discovery of the body made world-wide news. And though Hauptmann was effectively blamed for his murder — aided by over-eager police who were all too willing to fabricate evidence along with what I had provided — the ruling Vampire Council deemed my actions as failure.
Not only had Godfrey eluded me, the death of the child had drawn attention uncomfortably close to our kind. My services were no longer required, and I was adrift in the Americas. I eventually found myself in the service of the King of the new kingdom in Texas and worked to attain the rank of Sheriff. I hated my king, but I would bide my time in his service.
When it was discovered that my nest mate Farrell had been taken by Godfrey, I knew it was his twisted way of taunting me. Letting me know that he continued to evade me. Many times since our fight in that glade in New Jersey, I had pursued rumors and stories of him. I may not have been under the Vampire Council’s authority to bring Godfrey to his death, but I was determined to end the chase.
I turned away from the human woman briefly as tears escaped my eyes. Our battle was now over. For years my thoughts had obsessed over finding him. I came so close to catching him once again at the Fellowship, but again he had evaded me. Only to meet his end on his own.
Just as he said he would, he lived as long as he had desired.
Turning back to face Sookie again, I told her with admiration, “What resolution and courage.” I wiped at the few blood tears and admitted, “It makes me weep.” I had not even wept at my own turning, but I wept now to lose a worthy foe. One that evaded me even in his death.
I even admitted to the human that I had dug into Godfrey’s past to discover where he had been living. “After Bill identified Godfrey the other night, I made some inquiries and found he had belonged to a nest in San Francisco. His nest mates will be grieved to hear of this. And of his betrayal of Farrell. But his courage in keeping his word, in fulfilling his plan!”
I shook my head in admiration. He had killed the son of a human made famous for his solo flight, but Godfrey’s solo flight into the sun after two millennia would leave its impression on me for the rest of my own existence.
A/N: Who knows for sure if Bruno Hauptman actually really perpetrated the crime he was executed for. Many argued that Bruno was framed, possibly by his business partner Isidor Fisch, who supposedly returned to Germany, disappearing. Much of the evidence against Bruno has been argued to have been fabricated by the authorities who were certain they had the right man. We may never know who was truly responsible. Maybe it was Bruno, maybe it was someone else.
The impacts of the kidnapping and death were long lasting though. After this case, the Federal Kidnapping Act, commonly known as the Lindbergh Law, transporting a kidnapping victim across state lines, become a federal offense allowing what would one day become the FBI the authority to step in and take over any kidnapping case.
Hundreds of stories and conspiracy theories have sprung up since the kidnapping, but nothing has ever been proven.
This story is for tvgirl who posted a great piece on her blog, www.thesookieverse.com, about the dearth of fanfiction out there for poor Stan, I think there’s only 2! I always liked him myself, so I decided he needed one more story told about him.
A million thanks to my wonderful beta for polishing this up for me! She also gave me fantastic first-hand knowledge of the area and the history of the Lindbergh house and kidnapping. Thank you, thank you, thank you, my lovely lady!