Author's Note: I wrote this while in rehearsal. The story's plot isn't set in stone yet, but I'm really excited about it! And I also still have to finish I SET YOU FREE so please be patient!
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight!
I walked slowly down the sidewalk completely unaware of my surroundings. The fresh air was clearing my head and nostrils from the heavy scent of animal blood I just consumed. I've overdone myself while hunting, and decided to take it slow for a while to calm my predator instincts. I saw no point in rushing, I had all the time in the world and more.
I heard a child's shriek and looked in that direction from the pavement I was walking on. In the sandbox sat a little girl, probably around the age of six years old. She had chin length, curly, brown hair. Her skin was a pale milky white with a clear shade of pink on her small cheeks. Her eyes were unusually bright. It was a deep brown, almost black. She looked adorable, but she wasn't smiling at the moment. She was surrounded by a group of older boys.
The boys were throwing fistfuls of sand at her and howling with laughter when she screamed. Yet, she never got up; instead, she sat bawling helplessly. Why was she just taking this?
The tallest boy hurled a large fistful of sand and the breeze carried a few particles of it into the girl's eyes. She let out a painful scream and rubbed her eyes repeatedly.
Something about her pleading cry made me run to her. Suddenly, I felt the urge to shield her from the bad ways of this world. I wanted to preserve this young child's innocence. Somehow, I wanted to see her smile and help her dry those tears that ran down her cheeks.
I ran as fast as I could toward the sandbox without seeming too odd. I made enough noise getting there for the boys to scatter in all directions of the playground. I wanted to teach them a lesson, but I couldn't leave the girl by herself at the moment. She was still crying with her eyes to the ground. Perhaps she didn't even notice that those boys had already left.
When I got next to her, I bent down and put a hand on her tiny shoulder. She flinched away and whimpered in fear. I noticed that her face was now flushed bright red.
"Don't be afraid. I won't hurt you," I told her, almost pleading. I held out a hand to her and kept my distance. It was probably better if she came to me.
Her cries ceased and she peered at me through her large brown eyes. I smiled assuringly, hoping to not scare her again. She studied me for a second and relaxed her posture. She inched toward me just a bit, but I knew I was making progress.
"What's your name?" I asked softly.
"Abby," she answered with a cracked voice.
"Hello, Abby. I'm Jason."
This time, she cracked a weak smile and glanced down at my hand. Then, she hesitantly placed hers in mine. I took this as her not being afraid anymore. I closed her hand in mine and inched closer to her. I pulled a handkerchief from my pocket and carefully dried the moisture from her face. She sat still with her gaze on the handkerchief as it moved.
After I was done, I gently pulled her up from the sand to a standing position. At first, she was obedient, but suddenly she pulled back and plopped onto the sand again. I froze in shock as she turned away and pulled her shoes off her feet. She was moving very slowly, and I wondered what she was doing.
Abby pulled her sock off her ankle, and I saw a large cut that was oozing red blood running down her ankle. Why haven't I smelled it yet?
I felt an uncomfortable feeling from my chest and realized I haven't been breathing at all. I quietly let the breath I was holding out of my lungs and took in a new one. The scent of warm human blood filled my nose instantly. I froze as my predator instincts threatened to take over. I took a long moment to calm myself. It was much easier than usual, because I was not thirsty at the moment. I was thankful that I went hunting this morning, or else I would've committed a crime I cannot live with.
Abby stared at me with a puzzled look. She seemed to have forgotten about her wound altogether. I forced a smile back on my face and used the air I had in my lungs to speak. I would have to reduce breathing to ensure Abby's safety. Her wound made things a lot more complicated than I intended.
"Let me give you a piggyback ride," I said as cheerfully as I can manage. This should ensure that she doesn't hurt herself or bleed any further. More blood would only make things harder for me and more dangerous for her.
Her eyes lit up and she nodded eagerly. I turned around to face my back to her, and she pulled herself up using my shoulders as leverage. Abby wrapped her tiny legs onto my waist tightly and locked her arms on my neck. I held her legs up with my hands just in case she should slip. I pulled her sock back into its original place at her ankle to lower the scent of blood in the air if I had to breath. She winced in pain but calmed quickly. I placed the tiny shoes back on her feet, expecting her to cry again, but she seemed just fine now.
"Ready?" I asked.
"Yep!" She answered.
I walked slowly toward the sidewalk. It was strange to have something so fragile attached to you. It was like carrying a glass vase on your head. I had to be careful of my speed and how hard I gripped her legs. If I wasn't careful, I could easily break her like a twig. While I worried, Abby got comfortable and laid her chin on my right shoulder with her innocent face touching mine.
"Mister, you are very cold," she said.
I stayed quiet, unable to answer her comment. How can I tell her why my face is as cold as death? How can I tell her I am a monster that preys on the blood of creatures like her?
"But your back is very warm," she added before my thought ran wild.
This made me smile, genuinely. Most humans stray from our kind, because their instincts tell them we are different. Still, this child actually enjoyed being close to me. She accepted me. It made me feel human again; I could hardly remember that feeling. I suddenly remembered her leg. She hasn't cried about it yet. In fact, she hasn't even complained once about it.
"Does your cut still hurt?"
"Yes, but I'm okay," she said bravely.
As she spoke, I heard the annoying music of an ice cream truck approaching us. Abby hasn't caught the sounds yet; it is too early for her human ears.
"Abby, do you want some ice cream?"
If I'm not mistaken, humans eat ice cream when they're down. It seemed to cheer them up some. Since Abby was a child, shouldn't this treat make her forget about her cut for a while?
"Ice cream! But there's no ice cream man," she cried, disappointed.
"Not yet, but if you do, I'll find one for you," I assured her.
"Really?" I chuckled and nodded.
"Okay," she agreed with interest. She acted as if I was a magician about to pull his biggest trick.
I locked onto the sound of the truck and began walking in that direction. Abby swung her legs back and forth at my sides and looked around for any signs of an ice cream truck. Occasionally, her breathing would tickle my ear and sting me with its warmth.
When we came close, she heard the sound and gasped in amazement.
"You really did find the ice cream man!"
"Of course I did. I don't lie to sweet little girls like you," I laughed.
In the midst of all this, both us have forgotten the cut on her leg and how dangerous it could be to her very life.
I turned the street corner and spotted the ice cream truck coming toward us. I waved it down, and the truck came to a halt in few feet in front of us with the childish song blaring from the speakers. I wanted to plug my ears, but refrained from it.
I bent down to let Abby off my back. She hopped down safely with a scream of excitement. I expected her to run toward the truck, leaving me trailing behind her. Instead, she grabbed my hand and stood obediently at my side, waiting for me to lead her. She looked up at me with her large brown eyes dancing with admiration and happiness. I smiled and led her to the truck slowly so she wouldn't hurt her leg or trip over something.
The side of the ice cream truck was covered in pictures of frozen treats. It may have looked appetizing to Abby, but to me, it tasted no different than dirt.
Inside the truck was an old man with a kind, welcoming face. He looked like he's worked one too many years and needed rest. He gazed at me and his eyes shook a bit with amazement and surprise. I was used to this reaction and ignored it completely. I was just glad it wasn't a woman instead; I could not tolerate anymore mindless flirting. Instead, I turned to Abby.
"What would you like, Abby?"
She studied the pictures on the truck carefully and pointed at a plain fudge bar. I turned unwillingly back to the man, whose eyes were darting from Abby to me curiously. I gave him a cold look to repress his questions from escaping his mouth.
"One fudge bar, please," I said pulling the money from my pocket.
The old man turned his back to get the ice cream all too slowly. Abby nudged my hand to catch my attention. I was glad of a reason to look away from the overly colorful ice cream truck.
"Don't you want something too, Mister?"
I quickly formulated an excuse in my head for my inability to eat ice cream. I was used to this so it did not take long..
"No, I'm not hungry. Besides, I wouldn't want to spoil my dinner." She nodded hesitantly.
"Here you go, young man," the old man said handing me my purchase.
I gave him the money and laughed inwardly. I was probably twice his age and possibly more. Yet, he called me 'young man'.
I got down on knees and peeled off the covering of the ice cream. The scent of the chocolate repulsed me. I held it out and Abby took it. She brushed my hand with hers and it burned with her warmth. It was pleasant to feel warmth again after so many years.
"Thank you," she said politely. She seemed so easily satisfied, so simple.
"You're very welcome."
She continued to stare at me even though her treat is in her hand. I worried that she changed her mind and didn't want the ice cream anymore. Or perhaps she couldn't take the pain from her leg anymore and wanted to be cheered up.
"What's the matter? Why aren't you eating?"
"Mister, you're like a prince," she stated matter-of-a-factly.
I was unable to answer. I thought of myself as one of the damned, not a prince. Yet, the innocence of ths child judged me as one of the most noble people in her eyes. It warmed my dead heart to hear those simple words.
"When I grow up, I want to become Jason's wife," she said confidently.
She said my name, not Mister. She stated my name for the first time. She wanted to spread her life with me, but she knows nothing about what I am. I knew it was impossible and childish, but it gave me tremendous joy. I grinned at her. Why can't I enjoy the moment?
"Okay, if you behave. When you are old enough, I'll take you as my wife," I lied happily.
This seemed to make her happy too. She held out her hand with a tiny pinky sticking out toward me.
"Pinky promise?" She asked.
I wasn't sure. If I promised her, would I damn her to an eternity of darkness with me? Would her fate be tied unwillingly to mine forever? But she would probably forget about me in a few weeks. It couldn't possibly come back to haunt me years from now. She is just a child, the promise couldn't possibly be valid.
I stuck my pinky finger out and hooked it to hers. A breeze blew by and tousled her short curls. It also sent the scent of her blood loose in the air. I held my breath again as a precaution.
Abby unhooked her pinky from mine after a moment and reached into her small dress pocket. She pulled out a green charm in the shape of a frog hanging from a knotted string. The charm made soft bell sounds whenever it was moved. It was a pleasant and innocent music.
"This is for you. You are my frog prince." She dropped the charm into my hand. I stared at the frog's tiny smiling face and painted pink cheeks.
"It sort of looks like you," I commented. Abby giggled. We both stayed silent for a moment.
"I have to go home now," she said sadly.
She turned and ran to the other side of the street. I wanted to stop her, but she seemed to know exactly where she was going.
When she got in front of a quaint white house with white lilies lining the front, I realized that she really was going home. We were only a few yards from her home the whole time.
I looked down at the charm in my hand. The human in me wanted to give Abby something too. I wasn't going to stay here long. The chances of us meeting again was close to none. I wanted to thank her for her kindness and her warmth.
"Abby," I called.
She halted and faced me. I stood up straight and walked across the street toward her. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a tiny black velvet box. I meant to give this to Rita for her birthday, but this seemed to be a more urgent occasion.
I made it across the street and Abby closed the remaining distance between us. I bent down to her level to look into her innocent eyes one last time. They were like portals into a simpler, more picturesque world.
"I have something for you," I said hiding the box behind my back. She looked at me with interested eyes, but stayed silent.
I showed her the box and opened it slowly to build her anticipation. Her eyes lit up as she looked at the sparkling cherry hairpin. I grabbed the hairpin from the box and set the box down on the pavement. I reached up to put it in her hair. Abby bent her head to give me a better reach of her hair. I clipped it in place and dropped my hands to my sides.
"Very pretty," I complimented. Abby flashed me a smile. She was adorable when she smiled. Her smiles revealed the two deep dimples on her pink cheeks.
"Do you know what this clip means?" I asked. She shook her head and the pin seemed to wink at me from her dark hair. "Those are cherries. Cherry is pronounced a lot like cherish. This means that you are someone I cherish." She stared at me.
"Do you understand, Abby?" She nodded and grinned, but I was quite sure she didn't.
When I bought this clip, the designer told its meaning. She was careful to say it was one of a kind and worth every penny. I thought her story was laughable at the time. I do not know why I am repeating it now. I don't even know why I cherish this little girl.
"Thank you, Mr. Jason," Abby said. I laughed at this new name.
Abby suddenly leaned in and pecked me on the cheek. I saw her coming, but I didn't flinch away. I wanted her affection, no matter how momentary it is.
When she pulled away, she waved and flounced away toward her house again. That woke me up into the cruel reality. It was time to leave. I watched her reach the door and heard someone opening it. Then, I got up and ran away as far as possible.
My time in her life has ended. I may never see her smile anymore, but I will always remember it. I dangled the charm in my hand, and it jingled softly. I dropped it into my pocket as I approached Rita's house.