- Edward, Cullen
My skin sparkled in an inconstant pulse, one minute I was glowing as the tiny shards of mirrors slotted under my granite skin reflected down the parted sun-rays, and the other I’d be just another lengthening and twisting shadow during the sunset.
The colours setting against the sky sent my skin aglow in varied colours – they deepened as the bleached-out sun was compressed beneath the horizon by the over-casting of bleak clouding.
A part of me mourned the loss of my partner shadow, the curved feminine figure of it running beside me. I missed the long flow of black ink against the ground latching onto my dark silhouette and following.
I smiled thinking of her curving around my own path, jumping and skimming through the trees in her camouflage outfit – her arms reaching out and grasping the branch, swinging around it and landing gracefully on the balls of her feet, her eyes scanning the proximity for our company. The company we had been following for the past three days, ever since our prom reminiscence, and to no avail.
The thick consistent thudding of paws caught my ears. I steered myself towards the sounds. The jet black wolf and its smaller counter-part were ripping through the under-growth, their glowing eyes staring into the distant with blank and incoherent thoughts. I tried to read them with struggling effort, but their lack of consistency only made my head feel as if it was a stirring black hole; sucking all the stability of people’s internal judgment away without remorse. I resisted the urge to scream out loud.
Also, Sam’s operational exertion was taking a toll on the group exceedingly; somehow his attitude was more violent and vehement than usual. I watched him carefully as I matched his pace and slowed, so that I was running at his forceful speed. I caught snaps of a diverging dispute in his thoughts, but not long before I discovered his thoughtful discord, he sped ahead and away from my immediate distance.
My own inner accordance supposed it was due to the missing members of his pack, yet his distaste left a bitter irritation behind. I swallowed it back, the angry emotions circling my head.
With the others running ahead, the wolves with their noses to the ground – the smells of this unknown territory misleading them – I turned swiftly left and swerved off onto another course, using my arms to slice the thorny branches as if they were garden sheers carving a hedgerow in the garden, severing wooden limbs to gain the shape I desired. I could feel the thorns raking over my skin, tearing my shirt, but the after effect was only parallel striations of blemished skin.
“I shouldn’t be doing this,” I chuckled darkly to myself, my voice a mere buzz in the lazy melody of the forest life at sunset. I knew Bella wasn’t going to be happy knowing I had driven off her designated course for me – it was true, she plotted every route I made, even if in life …or just a simple task.
She was my compass and I followed her directions, knowing my heart would always in the end lead me to her. I always had thought of my heart as a bird, its wings beating hysterically as if to take off and find its true match and as the distance grew between us, the more painful it became. Bella kept me grounded, which was the way I liked it.
Slowly my pace suddenly, so my feet dug into the ground.
There was that eccentric and alien tang to the air again – it was thick and soup-like, as if my legs were once again human and trying to cut through water faster than average mundane speed. I raised my head to the air and sniffed. It was my most outlandish reaction – I retched up air and fell to my knees.
“What is happening?” I moaned in a guttural tone, clutching my head in agony.
It was the natural born terror, fear and instant pain that I reacted to. My head felt like it was an inflated balloon, blood welling inside in a throbbing headache that echoed like thousands of assembling screams. I pushed my arms to my ears trying to tune everyone out, to block out these senseless shrieks of accusation and pleading sobs for survival.
I sank into an isolated hollow of my mind; trying to avoid the gut-wrenching pain, watching sinister walls collapse around me as I retreated into my safety hole until the screams broke the barrier and consumed me.
I didn’t know what was happening.
What threatening and obscured menace was forcing me to retreat, to recoil from its murderous plot? How long my withdrawal would last before this overriding torture would conquer my haven, and it would burn up leaving me in internal anguish.
I couldn’t go back to that, to the dark. Without Bella. I had experienced the dreary lifestyle based around the sweet delicacy of bloodlust, the desperation in my victim’s eyes as they begged to see the bitter sight of sunlight once more before death …and the flowing fury and parasitic lust encompassed in those ruby red eyes.
Hidden away from the pungent and acidic suffering, I didn’t know if I had fallen onto the ground in submission or relinquished my faith that Bella would find me – her pale angelic face answering my prays as I retained a suppressed conviction that she would arrive to save me, to pull me away from this unholy, dejected and vacant void.
I didn’t even know how long I was there, I was just aware that I was slowly slipping away – the screams creeping closer, the pain neither drawing away but gaining a raw and burning dominance over my resigning body and that soon I would be pulled away from everything I loved.
Two last logical thoughts dragged through my mind: this was not natural and whatever was happening was being forced upon me, as Bella’s mental shield is too far away to protect me; and whatever we had been following was stalking us and therefore we are the victims. They were the hunters, and we were the prey.
“Edward?” the voice was dim and sinking further away. If I had the strength in my throat to shout back I would have. The assembling screams were penetrating what isolated silence that I could muster and slowly slipping away, taking my conscious with it. “Edward, where are you?”
I could remember sitting frozen on Isle Esme when Bella had told me of her pregnancy, everything washing over me as I sat paralyzed. This was like that, but worse. I was losing control – the creatures we were once pursuing closing in on me.
One of them must have some sort of talent – and I’d left the protective radius of Bella’s shield. She had been protecting me from this gift until I escaped its barrier. This was my fault. Now I was sinking into my own personal purgatory because of my doubtful mistake.
“Edward Cullen you come out right now! If you’re hiding –” There was that sweet voice again, pulling away my concentration from strengthening the mind barrier to ward off the pain. If I wasn’t hiding inside of my mind, trying to cower away from the shrieking internal voices, I would have laughed and stalked the beautiful woman. Climbing through the tree’s and dropping behind her, ambush and then capture her in my arms – and to end it all, kiss her and let everything melt away besides us two.
My heart ached to be released.
Suddenly, I felt everything collapse inside. I still wasn’t even aware of what was happening; it was as if this talented creature could torture me through my own skill of reading minds, letting the begging and screams of all the people I killed in my early years wash over me, causing me to retreat inside.
A sharp stab of realization came to me, that is what was happening! I was hearing them, listening into their pleading last thoughts before I had killed them. From the murderer’s, to the rapists, to the innocent lives I had taken by accident when I was a newborn. The venom curdled in my stomach.
Now I was aware of being on the ground, of having the sharp rocks jabbing me in the face. I could feel them scrapping against the skin of my cheek, and I couldn’t move. I was aware of the hunched and painful position of my body, the muscles in my arms and legs protesting. I was shutting down, the voices overwhelming me and I could feel myself slowly slipping away. My skin was burning as if on fire.
So this would be how it would end.
Footsteps echoed behind me. “This is the end,” I said in the thinnest whisper, feeling pain encapsulate my body. They were everywhere – the pleading voices suddenly becoming angry, angry at me for killing them, and now they were getting their revenge.
Then they vanished. In a rapid jolt they were hurdled back. The painful and threatening voices receding, a weak-kneed feeling returning. I coughed up air, clutching my chest. Then, more footsteps. A blocked mind.
The figure burst through the thick undergrowth, a flurry of green’s and hair that looked like it had been nested in. Twigs and leaves were weaved into it in complicated knots. “Edward,” she breathed in relief, dropping to the ground immediately.
“Bella,” I replied somewhat breathlessly.
She grabbed my face and kissed me fiercely without warning. I could feel the strength seeping back into my bones as her shield wrapped around me. Hugging every part of my weakened body. When she pulled away, Bella grabbed my shoulders and shook me. “Don’t you ever do that to me again!” she cried, slumping against me.
“It’s my fault, Bella. I shouldn’t have left your course, and then I left your shield and I was attacked.” She gaped at me, her eyes strolling up and down my body examining for damage. I grabbed her hands and entwined our fingers. “It was a mental attack, darling. Physically, I’m fine. Mentally however, I’m drained.”
“Explain this to me, Edward,” she demanded.
I exhaled a long heavy breath. “I believe our little guest has a talent – I think it’s to manipulate our own gifts and turn them against us. My reading minds ability was reversed, instead of hearing others, they came back to haunt me. Voices of past people,” my voice dragged off. I despised talking about my past, dredging up all old things I had done.
“What you did in the past is not relevant now, Edward. Don’t think about it,” Bella reassured.
“Bella,” I whispered my throat still tight. “What I did, it’s always going to be there. If this creature tries a–”
Bella rolled her eyes, “You will be under the protection of my shield,” she grumbled, crossing her arms around her chest. “I would never let an–”
I held up a hand to silence her. “Quiet for a second, can you hear that?”
Everything was silent. Even the quiet hum of the leaves whistling in the wind. Beyond that there was the sound that made me clamp my arms around Bella and haul her to her feet. It was a low growling – it wasn’t the same as the wolves, but deeper and more threatening, even malicious. I had forgotten that I could have lain on the ground for hours and now the sun had vanished, the light replaced by the dark. The moon hung high in the sky.
“Edward, I think we should join the others,” Bella reasoned. She held out a hand to pull me up. Once on my feet, I wrapped a protective arm around her waist.
There was that muffled and malevolent growl again; we turned around and instead of seeing the black silhouettes of the bushes we saw something that made us want to run – a pair of angular, deep yellow eyes coming towards us and another snarl ripping through it’s lips.
(A few hours earlier)
Mary-Lynette dropped the salt shaker and looked up at her company, who now sat across from her. He had his hood pulled up – this was abnormal behavior for him, but she didn’t care. He needed to speak to her, that’s all that mattered. “Sure, sure. I’m sorry,” he muttered.
“So how are you doing? Been getting on alright?” he questioned.
He was watching his hands and looking around the small cafe, as if someone might instantly recognize him. “Cut to the chase, why did you want to meet up? I was going to go back to the hospital for a check-up, this asthma ain’t getting any better, you know,” she shrugged. “You said you knew something that might interest me,” Mary-Lynette added, leaning on her folded arms on the table.
“You might not want to do that after you’ve seen this,” he said as he reached inside his pocket and pulled something out. Mary-Lynette went to take whatever it was from his hand, but he snatched it back. “This is some serious stuff.”
“Are you going to give me a look, or what?” she demanded. She wasn’t getting any more patient, in fact she was getting irritated. The guy hadn’t even called her in weeks, just a few text messages to ask if she was alright. Going through things he had said. It’s not like we’re dating, just friends, but his behavior is real strange, she said to herself.
He took one last fleeting sweep around the room with his eyes, double checking the door for any new customers, then leaned over the table and beckoned Mary-Lynette closer with his finger. “You know how I’ve got access to loads of records,” he stated in a low voice.
“Of course I do,” Mary-Lynette chuckled. You mention it practically all the time. If you ever need some information on someone, just call me,” she did a small imitation of his voice. If anyone looked over, they’d think they were a couple of love-birds (not!)
He smiled. “My voice isn’t that high-pitched,” he mused. “Right, anyways I found some dirt on this guy you were going on about. I was in there searching for someone I knew here anyways, and since you mentioned he lived nearby I was curious.”
“You did what?” she replied aspirated. Mary-Lynette thudded her fist against the table, it was loud enough to attract the attention of a waiter. He sauntered over and asked for their order – nervous beads of sweat were rolling down his face. “I’ll have a black coffee, please.”
He looked at her company easily – most likely thinking he’s some kind of terrorist the way he was dressed. “Same as the lady,” he responded. The waiter shuffled away. “Now don’t be mad at me Mary-Lynette. You made it sound as if the guy had some sort of problem. I had to check up on him.”
“Oh right,” she rolled her eyes compulsively. “So what did you find?”
“I found an old article dated back maybe forty years ago, it was an award ceremony for something – I don’t know – take a look yourself.” He unfurled what now looked like a photograph that had been clenched against his palm and pushed it across the table towards Mary-Lynette.
The black-and-white photograph showed a large man with a receding hairline and bulbous cheeks, he was shaking hands with another. He was taller than him with platinum blonde hair and what looked like, light butterscotch colored eyes. He was completely unchanged! And this was taken, what? Forty years ago? How was this possible? Carlisle Cullen was still the same. “This has to be a fake or an ancestor at least? It can’t be real, no-one can live that long and look the exact same!”
“Young people are so naive and unaware these days, but I’m surprised at you.” He was slapping the table with the palm of his hand. “But then again, I suppose it’s for your own good.”
Mary-Lynette folded the picture and stored it in the pocket of her red vest jacket. “What are you talking about? Tell me.”
Picking up the pepper, he sprinkled some on the table and started shifting it with his finger distractingly. “If I tell you, will you promise me that you won’t freak out and run away? This is crucial. What I’m about to tell you is pretty bizarre and somewhat crazy, but it’s the truth. Okay?”
She nodded in response, “I understand perfectly.”
“Did your mother use to tell you about the ghouls that were hidden away under your bed? Well this is sort of something like that.”
Mary-Lynette raised an eyebrow. She was starting to become somewhat worried about her visitor – secondly, she had no idea where this conversation was about to go.
He continued. “Did she ever tell you about vampires?”
Her ribs tightened in her chest, her breaths coming out as heavy pants. “I have heard things, but there all twisted fantasies of vamp-lovers and internet geeks.” She knew it was a lie, she had heard things, but not in that way. The “Sister’s” had told her, but when they had said something about some of the vampires being on vegetarian diets, she gave up believing. It was ridiculous and crude lies!
“I know that you know about them, Mary-Lynette. You would have been told these things. Yet, you don’t believe them. But, vampires are real –” he moved away when the waiter came back, two steaming cups of black coffee in his hands. Mary-Lynette paid him quickly and he pushed off.
“This is crazy talk, but continue,” Mary-Lynette gestured, as she sipped at her coffee.
He pushed his coffee away, his nose wrinkling in disgust. “They live in small clans around the world, some feed on humans, and others don’t.”
Mary-Lynette snorted, how was it possible that they didn’t feed on humans, they were blood-sucking vampires?
“They never age, never eat or drink, and another thing. Their skin is always ice cold.”
Mary-Lynette remembered Carlisle Cullen’s cold skin against hers. A shiver rippled down her spine. Carlisle Cullen, a vampire? That was an insane idea! “You really are crazy, aren’t you?” she asked. “This can’t be real.”
“I must go, Mary-Lynette. But believe me, it is the truth. Search through the facts and you will know.” With that, her company stood up, leaving his black coffee, pulled his hood tighter around his face and left the shop.
Mary-Lynette was left sitting by herself, all alone, and confused. How was it possible that vampires existed? Or even the kind doctor being one. Carlisle had been sweet and gentle-man like – but there is evidence towards his theory of vampires, isn’t there? Her mind told her.
It was true. His icy-cold and deathly pale skin, the flecks of hungry black she thought she had imagined within his eyes, how graceful and fast he was when he had caught her arm in the hallway, only two seconds after she had gotten up. And last but not least, the way his eyes had lingered at her throat.
All of a sudden, she knew what she was doing before her heart reacted. Clambering outside of the cafe and into her old battered car, she drove towards the hospital. She was going to confront Carlisle Cullen, and then end his ever-lasting life.
Julian was pacing back and forth in the forest a few miles away from Leah’s home; he hadn’t wanted to make her feel uncomfortable knowing he was standing outside. Actually, he was glad for the privacy.
The full moon spared little light to the forest floor, so Julian was pacing in the dark – not that he needed the light, he could see perfectly, although the green contacts didn’t help too much. Many had asked why he wore them, but he always answered the same: it helped him blend in. Yet he knew better. It was to do with feeling human again, to not have people cowering away from his blood-red eyes – hopefully they weren’t to red anymore.
Since arriving in La Push to protect Leah, while avoiding her – as painful as that seemed to be – he had kept to a diet of animal blood. He knew feasting on the nearby humans would only upset her and that was the last thing he wanted to do.
The lustful monster inside him however, begged him otherwise. It cried out for a diet of the sweet pungent flavour of human blood. It was hard to resist. Yet he did. And it was all for her, for Leah.
Everything he did right about now was for the shifter girl. It was a strange feeling he had in the pit of his stomach – almost as if it wasn’t empty anymore. Like she filled a missing part of him. Could it be?
Finally the mobile vibrated in his pocket. Giving an irritated sigh of relief, Julian fumbled for it and raised it to his ear, “Hello?”
“Sir, we have bad news.” The voice over the phone was trembling, as if ready to be punished for lack of tolerance.
“What is it?” he demanded, Julian’s fists clenched at his sides. He knew he would have had to leave his team behind when he came after Leah, but it also worrying to know that they wouldn’t be-able to perform their tasks correctly without his orders. He growled over the line, “Enough of your silence, tell me,” he barked.
There was a small whimper. “We have lost him, sir. We can’t find him.”
Julian was silent as he ran his fingers through his hair. He bit back his anger, it circling his head. Walking over towards a tree, he punched it squarely into its trunk, a small dent left were his fist had came into contact with it. “I told you to keep an eye on him. What happened?”
“We were, we were watching everywhere he went, but all of a sudden we lost sight of him. He can’t still be in North Vancouver, we have checked all over the place.”
“Where was the last place you saw the shifter?” Julian challenged as the mobile was shaking in his fist.
The cold nipped at his skin, the silence being penetrated by the leaves crackling underneath his boots. “He entered the university campus, sir. After that we lost track of him.”
“I told you to keep an eye on the shifter, Daniel, while I’m away and you can’t even do that. You’re a pack of imbeciles,” Julian shouted across the phone, his eyes scanning the perimeter of the woods. He sensed a presence coming towards him. “Find the boy, otherwise I will,” he demanded then snapped shut the phone.
Leaning against a tree, a hand pressed against his forehead in annoyance, he waited until the slim figure of Leah broke through the darkness and she could see him. Something stirred inside of Julian; it was a deep feeling of longing.
“You came,” he stated. “I was starting to think your human life might entice you more than coming out with me.”
Leah snorted, trampling over twigs and logs to walk towards him. “My life would be so much duller if it wasn’t for all this secret stuff.”
“Does that include me?” he chuckled, helping her over a large fallen log, moss coating its rotten trunk.
“No,”Leah answered. Julian’s face fell, but then he realized that she hadn’t pulled her hand from his – was she frightened of him anymore? “You’re no secret, just some sort of strange coincidence,” she added. “Thanks for helping me as well; I owe you one for this.”
Leah smiled and he felt a grin spread across his own.
Julian glanced over at Leah.“Would you come back to North Vancouver if I asked?”
“No I wouldn’t,” she said, looking to the ground. That was when she pulled away, but still didn’t flinch. Their shoulders were brushing past each other. “I couldn’t abandon my family in a time of need. And that would be now.”
“Do you really?” she asked, now looking at him with wide, warm eyes.
Julian stopped walking, his throat tight as he tried to reason with himself. For once in his life he felt like disclosing this secret, a secret he had been harboring for years. “I do,” he stated, clicking his tongue. “After I changed, my family was in crisis. I stayed with them, even though I couldn’t be with them, until it was over. I stayed with them until they passed away – something I should have done as well.”
He watched Leah’s reaction – but, it was calm, as if she was appreciating what he was saying to her. Like it was confirmation that he wasn’t all monster. He was trying for her. “That was very sweet of you,” but then she burst out into a peal of laughter.
“What are you laughing at?” Julian inquired.
“I was just thinking; if you were really dead, what I’m about to do would be kind of gross.”
Julian was about to ask, but he was then silenced as Leah leaned over and kissed him softly on the cheek. It was at that moment he was about to tell her about the disappearance of Daniel – her imprint, Julian ground his teeth together at the thought – but he didn’t want to break the preciousness of the moment. Her lips were soft on his skin, it caused him to close his eyes and enjoy the tingling it left there.
Leah blushed deeply, “Just to say thank you and then there is this,” she punched him playfully on the shoulder.
“And that was for?” he asked as they started to walk through the forest again, the trees were less compacted together now so the moon shone down on them. Her skin was glistening in the white light.
“For making me blush like an idiot,” Leah responded.
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