Screaming in the Silence
Chapter 1: Chance meetings.
A.N: This story starts in 1863, shortly before Jasper is changed. This is just the first chapter, and the story will finish before Jasper meets Alice. Big thank you to my betas, Bronzehairedgirl for her suggestions, and Pseudo Hedgehog for reading the first draft, and telling me to write a longer story in the first place. I do not own Twilight/New Moon, and no copyright infringement is intended. Enjoy.
I heard a voice behind me and turned towards it.
"Sir," panted Matthew as he caught up with me. I looked at his face. He was excited and a bit hopeful.
"Can I help you Mathew?" I smiled. Matthew was one of my best friends and we often spent our free time together.
"I was just checking you were planning to come with us to the village this evening. It being the last night and everything, lots of people are going – and you know what the men are like," he explained. "You always manage to calm them down if things start getting out of hand."
I smiled and clapped a hand to his shoulder.
"Don't worry about it Matthew, I'm coming," I told him. "Remind the others that we're leaving at 6 in the morning, and we won't be waiting for stragglers."
Matthew grinned back. "I'll tell them, Jasper. See you later, okay?"
I watched him head off in the opposite direction, then ducked into my tent. I looked around at the familiar objects, things which would be safely packed away by this time tomorrow. Aside from the small camp bed and the box containing my uniform, there was also a small desk covered with writing materials. I walked over to this now and picked up the letter I had finished earlier. It told my sister of where we planned to head next, after we left tomorrow. In some ways I hated writing to Margaret, because each letter could be my last. On the other hand, I liked having someone to talk to, someone I could tell almost everything about me.
A sigh escaped me as I folded the maps and sketches, and began to pack them into my satchel. What would our new destination bring, I wondered? Would I be able to sit at a desk and write to my sister again? Most of the time I liked the uncertainty that came with my occupation, but today it was disconcerting. In only a couple of weeks, my life could change completely. I pushed these thoughts away as I left for the village with my friends.
"Come on, Major Whitlock," my friend William called. "Show us how it's done!"
I grinned up at the young officer standing at the edge of the dance floor, and obligingly got to my feet. Who knew how long it would be until we next had a chance to enjoy ourselves like this again?
"All right Captain, I'm coming!" I called back.
I made my way over with several of my companions and found myself partnered with a beautiful young woman whose blonde hair was held back beneath an elegant blue bonnet.
"Would you like to have this dance?" I asked formally as the music began.
"It would be a pleasure," she replied in a sweet voice, and I took her slender hands in mine.
I was immediately struck by how cold her hands were. It was like holding a small block of ice. I looked down at her, confused, but she smiled up at me and we began to dance. If her hands were this chilly, it must have been colder outside than I'd thought. I brought my eyes back to her lovely face, and gazed down at her while we moved through the familiar steps, trying to drink in all of her astonishing beauty.
She kept her eyes shadowed by the brim of her hat, but her lips smiled sensually as we danced. She moved gracefully around the room, her simple dress clinging to her slender form. I found I couldn't take my eyes off her; she was breathtaking. Far too soon, the dance ended and she stepped away from me, then beckoned me over to a table.
"May I know the name of such a magnificent dancer?" I requested.
"Maria," she answered. "And yours?"
I was entranced by every move she made, and it took me a couple of seconds to answer.
"Jasper Whitlock," I managed eventually, "I'm a Major in the army stationed up the road," I explained.
"Really?" she replied. "That sounds fascinating. Tell me more, Major."
She tilted her head back to look up at me, and I caught sight of her eyes for the first time. I had to stifle a gasp: her eyes were a bright, ruby red.
She gave another laugh. "Oh, they've always been like that. But don't worry about it Jasper, tell me about yourself."
I had to suppress a shudder, despite her reassurances. There was something not quite right about this girl with red eyes and cold hands. I pushed these thoughts away as I looked down at her, and was again mesmerised by her beauty. I began to tell her a bit more about myself, and we spoke easily about our lives.
We talked for most of the evening, and I only noticed how much time had passed when Matthew came over to let me know they were leaving. I hadn't noticed the time; Maria was so interesting to talk to.
"It was nice meeting you, Maria."
"And you, Major. Sorry you're leaving tomorrow. You never know, perhaps we'll meet again someday."
I smiled as we left, enduring the good-natured teasing of my fellow officers. My thoughts were still on Maria as I fell asleep that evening. As I drifted towards unconsciousness, one image floated clearer than the others: a pair of bright red eyes, staring up at me.