- Carlisle, Cullen
The stale smell of the lingering disinfectant temporarily silenced the afflicting scuffle of my disorganized thoughts and peaceful resolve as I walked quietly down the hospital halls, the clipboard seized between my hands.
Children tired to pull their parents arms away like parting the tide as they were clasped tightly against their chests, their cries of indignation piercingly shrill. Elderly sat as still as statues, their heartbeats feeble with age. And then there was the girl with the olive eyes, hidden under the crown of short-cut blonde hair.
Her hands were tightly clasped together, fingers running nervously over her knuckles. “Hyde, Mary-Lynette,” I called.
The girl’s head snapped up, her fair brows drawn together. “Here,” she responded, pulling her tall and lean figure from the chair.
Mary-Lynette stood at my shoulder height; she was wearing a pair of black jeans and a “Guns N Roses” T-shirt with a pair of worn shoes. Either she liked to walk a lot or her funds were scarce. I pulled the curtain along and gestured for her to enter into the small hospital space.
“If you would just like to sit down, Miss Hyde,” I said, motioning, pulling my chair from under the desk as I flipped through her medical records mutely.
This girl was a peculiar and rare sight: my patients were friendly in a platonic way, but were somewhat always reserved and their countenance was not always courteous. This girl, on the other hand, was refined and genteel for this modern generation; her language and posture neither coarse or pinched – but sociable and open.
“Call me Mary-Lynette please.” She looked at my name tag warily, “Doctor Cullen.”
I half-smiled warmly. “Your records are quite clean, Mary-Lynette. Have you ever experienced this degree of pain before?” I asked, blocking out the omnipresent buzz from the nearest surgery room, the clang of sterile metal and the newly formed guttural screams from a new-born child.
“I have not; rather it started a week ago when I was visiting in Minnesota,” she answered and her ears pricked up when she caught the sounds of light footsteps behind the curtain.
I clicked my pen and started to write; the words of no interest to me but rather the person they came from. “You have relatives there?” I guessed.
“I do.” Her head bowed, obscuring the angelic features of her face in the shroud of her spun golden hair.
I looked away to spare her from my conflicted gaze. “Can you tell me some of your symptoms, Mary-Lynette?” I intruded a few moments later, cutting her silence in half by the supple and inhuman presence of my voice. My eyes then caught something glistening; it was no jewel or precious metal, silver wasn’t that rare, but something that sparked a memory of the distant past I couldn’t reach.
The years flicked back like tossing the pages of a calendar until it rested on around the 1640’s – it was absurd to know that my reminiscence of the foremost dates in my life were as dim as a lantern with a dully flickering flame. I could see the depiction of mobs with pitchforks and blazing torches chasing a woman who was carrying a baby in a shambolic bundle of sheets as she sped away on her heels printed behind my eyelids.
My hand gripped the side of the chair tightly, the plastic crumbling in my viper grasp. The reel of images rolled on like the tide of the Thames River in London, the smooth and fairly discolored turbulent waves swelling against its banks as it slid down the stream.
I saw my father, an Anglican Pastor, stand in front of the congregation of people in his black robe and white neck tie while gesturing to the woman – who was grasping her child tight against her chest to silence its wails – tied to the pole and ready to burst up into flames for her hypothetical leisure pursuit of witch craft. I had closed my eyes tightly. Another innocent life wasted for our cruel and dim-witted experimentation.
I hadn’t heard her shrieks as the flames licked at her body like tongues of spitting fire, but my father’s words rung through my ears as I hid behind the crowd, the reflection of fear in the woman’s eyes as she ran imprinted forever in my mind. I pushed myself away from this unsightly and threatening remembrance firmly and sat staring at the cross – the handles of the chair snapped in half.
“I better get out of here,” she asserted suddenly, seizing my attention away from the hollow at the base of her throat – the small silver necklace in the shape of an Anglican cross hung there, nestled against her collarbone as if it belonged there. She sprang up and retreated towards the curtain, away from my stretching fingers, like an arrow twanged from a bow. Pulling it aside she paced out into the corridor with a gentle gait, an arm held over her eyes to hide them away from me.
I heaved myself up quickly and moved through the curtains with a spur-of-the-moment alacrity. I grabbed her free arm and pulled her back. “Mary-Lynette, wait,” I burst out.
“I can’t be here,” she sobbed mournfully, struggling to gain a grip at her words. “I’m sorry, Dr Cullen. I shouldn’t have come; it’s too soon for me.”
I put a finger under her chin and lifted it so I could see her face; a tear hung underneath her thick dark lashes like a crystal tear drop. With a light touch I swiped it away from her face. “Call me Carlisle.”
The creases faded from her brow, color flooded her cheeks the shade of an amaranth rose.
William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 strode through my mind, like a stiff wind sending the autumns leaves marching through the air:
“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.”
Shakespeare’s sonnet was wrong in terms of her mesmerizing appearance, but it detailed all the thoughts that scuttled through my mind in the moment her tear was clasped within my fist and my eyes roamed across her delicate, yet strong-minded, facial features – eyes the color of green dyed blown-glass and satin; skin tainted with a layer of an ivory complexion, lips as red as the crimson elixir that ran through the threads of veins in her body like a sweet wine waiting to be sampled, and hair as pale as sunlight.
I was utterly fascinated with this girl. I adored her in new complicated ways, it wasn’t love – Esme was everything I needed and wanted. I was Esme’s satellite and I worshiped the ground she walked gracefully upon, like a majestic swan gliding over water – but, this teenager, Mary-Lynette, she sent my mind spiraling out of control. And she held a piece of my hazy history around her neck.
“Carlisle,” she mumbled, her voice still dry and throaty after spilling her tears. I watched her with caution. I couldn’t get too attached to this girl; the thought of hurting her twisted my chest in new anguished patterns.
“What’s wrong?” I questioned, my eyes drilling into hers and the thrill of her using my name shivering down my spine.
Mary-Lynette looked down at the floor. “This is going to look strange if another doctor walks by,” she raised her face and nodded towards her arm.
I stepped back, aware of the situation. “My apologies, I didn’t mean to. A simple mistake of mine.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she rubbed her arm, before going back to grasping a fist of her T-shirt in her fingers. “I’m going to go. It was nice meeting you, Carlisle.”
I looked at her through worried eyes, my regular custom of habitual breathing ceased to exist for a moment before I brought myself to breathe in to make myself look somehow more human than a vampire. “You came to the doctor’s, Mary-Lynette, for a diagnosis – not to leave. Come inside and I’ll sort you out with some medication.” I gestured inside, holding my hand out to her.
“I–” she stammered, looking unsurely at me. Then she walked back to the crowd in the waiting room. The moment when she went to take a step towards me, was too slow for my liking. Truth be told, I was being engulfed in a perpetual nightmare with each uncertain look that drew on her face. “I’ll be fine, Doctor Cullen. I won’t keep you any longer, there’s a lot of people out there that need your help,” she answered sternly, before turning and walking away.
The rapid rat-a-tat-tat of her heart echoed in my ears, and briefly I let myself be diverted from reality as I listened to her pounding heartbeat until it left the building.
I was sitting opposite my next patient, my legs crossed at the ankles and my shoulders straight. I was gazing at her intensely, but I didn’t see her at all. Every image I saw throughout the rest of the morning was polluted with a resembling silhouette of Mary-Lynette Hyde – her figure watching me in return with wide and puzzled eyes, her lips moving but no sound escaped.
I couldn’t comprehend what was happening, the illusion became stronger and all of a sudden the room felt too constricted, my rib-cage tightening with a lack of oxygen.
“Did you hear what I just said; I mentioned that after having my appendix removed I’ve been feeling much better. Will I have to make some diet changes to accompany the healing process?” she questioned, a subtle fury brewing behind her strangled words. “Since you’re back from your not-breathing exercise and dazing into space, maybe you can listen now.”
I kept calm, deepening my breathing. “My sincerest apologies, Ms. Cope. Do you mind if I briefly excuse myself? I wish to check your records to see if I can gain an answer to your question?”
She nodded and I swiftly left the room, wincing at the thought of almost exposing my family because of a foolish hallucination. It’s only because she may be able to relieve you off some of your lost memories, my mind added.
“You look as pale as ghost,” Doctor Snow began tentatively as I was piecing together Ms. Cope’s report from the large filing cabinet. “I suspect you’ve already met her out-of-character temper this morning?”
“I have observed it directly, and it can only cause me distress to think of the reason behind it,” I said, closing the drawer and opening the next.
Dr. Snow shrugged. “No-one knows. She snapped at Dr. Gerard earlier when she went for her X-ray – probably because she had to wait a while before gaining his attention.”
“How can you be sure, Harold?” I asked, flicking through her folder to find her track-record.
“I gained insight to the situation first-hand, from the source itself. He was surprised by the woman’s sudden attacking temper,” he responded, biting his bottom lip.
I frowned for a long moment – my forehead creased with concentration as I skimmed a pen across the words on her record.
“According to my schedule, a woman has just been checked in after having a heart-attack,” Harold Snow said earnestly.
I smiled back. “May I request their name?”
“Sue Clearwater,” he replied, moving away and pacing.
My sudden concern triggered an alien response in my mind that I was unable to fathom. I inhaled a little too quickly and slammed the drawer shut a little more violently than usual.
My lips were pursed tightly together – what had happened to Sue Clearwater? Was she to have the same fate as Harry? “I will take care of Ms. Cope,” he stated. “Don’t dwell too much on the fact that her husband died of a heart–attack,” he said with a confident smile. “I have seen her and she is recovering fine. I believe she has faced tougher challenges.”
The recognition of what I had been thinking of caused my voice to shake in determination and resolve. “Thank you for your understanding.”
After handing over my patient to Dr Snow, I headed towards the ward Sue was residing in. I knocked on the door feebly with the rap of my hand; Leah Clearwater opened it, her face streaked with dry tears. “Don’t think you can come here and say you feel sorry for me,” she said in a trembling whisper.
I took a step further, pushing the door open and entering. The small rectangular room was bathed in a dim golden light from a lamp, a discolored armchair in the furthest corner of the room with an old blanket half on the floor.
I watched her crawl back onto the seat and curl up into a ball; I closed the distance between us daringly attempting to seek some sort of explanation. “I am not here to say I am sorry, although I feel a deep sorrow for the matter,” I explained thoughtfully. Leah scowled at my words. “What happened?”
Leah froze and stared past my shoulder towards the unconscious figure of her Mother for a long moment; she was shaking fiercely as she grasped the blanket closer around her body. The silence felt like it continued for hours, but I kept my patience, pulling a nearby chair closer and perching upon it tolerantly.
She swallowed down a lump in her throat. “I did it.”
I shook my head and slipped my hand into my pocket and retrieved a white handkerchief and handed it to her hastily. “I believe your good-nature would not allow you to hurt your mother, Leah. I know you would do anything to avoid hurting anyone.”
“I – I don’t understand anything,” she whimpered in a strangled, hollow tone.
“I can’t help you if you don’t give me an explanation of what is going on,” I said, placing my cold hand upon her heated skin. She didn’t flinch, but rather gazed at me in a rational manner.
Blinking the tears away from her eyes, she heaved a heavy sigh and in a quiet agonized mumble she responded, “I have nothing to lose.”
I pulled my hand away from hers and watched Sue’s breathing, the rise and fall of her chest humming in my ears. I ignored the wild desire that burst through my veins – I might have been almost immune to human blood, but I could still smell the bouquet of intoxicating smells that leapt from the skin of humans. “No more secrets,” I stated after moments of stillness.
“I had a feeling something was going to happen,” she answered in a tight, choked, voice. “My dream was so realistic, yet I was blind and took no attention to the warning I was given. It was awful; the more I struggled to gain passage out of the nightmare it made it worse.”
I laced my fingers tightly together, watching her carefully as she stiffened against the chair.
“Do not torment yourself with these thoughts, Leah. You have done no wrong.”
“I was walking over the crushed bones of the people I loved. I could see their scarred faces staring up at me with blank eyes, hands stretching out and grabbing at my heels,dragging me down into the depth. I saw the destruction of your family as well,” she added, closing her eyes sketchily.
Her heartbeat was unsteady with a pungent fear; it was like a coiling serpent in my stomach, spreading the dread – the alarming panic of my family’s safety a growing ache.
“Continue,” I said, narrowing my eyes.
Leah wrinkled her nose for a split second – my sweet smell obviously wasn’t helping the situation. “I walked onwards, holding my head as high as I could – seeing their faces would have only made me collapse on the spot – and then I saw it,” she stopped hesitantly and then retched up air.
A flood of tears started to spill over her lashes and she leaned firmly against the chair, as if it was the only support she could use to keep her from falling further.
I leaned in closer and rested my palm on her shoulder consolingly.“You’ve done great, Leah. But you must remember this is only a dream. You cannot account it as a reason for your mother’s heart-attack.”
“But it is my fault!” she confessed, leaping up and shouting as spurts of tears rolled down her cheeks and pooled on the floor. Too many tears, first Mary-Lynette and now Leah Clearwater. “I shouted at her every obscenity that would ever hurt or injure her, and it did! Don’t you get it? I said that Harry wasn’t my Dad and that she didn’t love me. It’s entirely my fault,” she spluttered, falling to the ground against the wall, her face buried in her arms.
“Now I cannot condone and account for your insolent behavior towards your mother, Leah, but I can tell you something.” I bent down and whispered in her ear slowly. “Your mother will never back down, and even your words would never cause her that much harm. Suffice to say, her heart-attack was caused by something else.”
She looked up at me with sad eyes, her fingers knotted in her hair in frustration. “I’d never thought I could talk to a leec-vampire before and that he’d make me feel better,” she disclosed.
“I must be a first then,” I chuckled, helping her up with my hand.
With her settled back into the chair – the blanket pulled up to her neck, her breathing slow and steady as she was ready to drift off into hopefully a dreamless sleep – I opened the door and went to slip out.
“Carlisle?” she gulped.
“At the end of the dream, I saw my mother and brother lying on a huge memorial of twined sticks and branches as it was set alight. Around it were the corpses of the wolves and then two others that I love dearly,” she uttered quietly, her eyes closing. “How can one’s dream be so cruel?”
I spared a glance at Sue as she was in trance-like state across the bed, her eyes tightly shut and the thrum of the blood in her body constant. A shiver ran down my spine. “I don’t know, Leah. Maybe one day we will figure it out.”
1. Will Carlisle ever seen Mary-Lynette again?
2. Is she tied with his past?
3. Do you think Sue will recover? Will she remember anything before her heart-attack?
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Quick Author’s Note:
Sorry for my apparent absence lately; but college was too demanding and my education is far too important. However, now since Winter Break has officially started I now have free reign over my postings. I hope you enjoyed the new entry. One thing before I go: I don’t intend to replace Esme with Mary-Lynette if you are wondering; she is simply going to be a character within Carlisle’s plot-line with whom he will have a friendly, and protective, relationship with.