Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of its characters. They belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended.
Author note: Thank you again to Bronzehairedgirl for her opinions and for helping me fix my mistakes. Also, I value your opinions, people! Let me know what you think. On with the story…
Awareness came to me like surfacing from beneath the waves. I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off me. I could move again. The pain that had held me captive for so long had finally relinquished its hold. It was fantastic. I felt reborn, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. It was as though I could run for miles, climb mountains, do anything. I felt so alive. I had to get up and do something, go somewhere.
But where was I to begin with?
I looked around the place I had been lying in for however long I had been ill. I was sitting on a makeshift bed, in a slightly shabby room with bare stone walls and some candles on a table near the single window. As I cautiously stood up, I was surprised to find I was no longer wearing my uniform. I frowned. Where on earth was I? And who had dressed me in the clothes I now wore? The last thing I could clearly remember before the agonizing pain began was lying on the battlefield. Someone must have found me and brought me here. But I still didn't know where here was.
I stepped towards the window to see if the view could give me any clues. Outside, the dark clouds hid the sun, and gloomy looking fields spread out across the horizon, towards a forest a couple of miles away. From what I could see of the building I was in, it appeared to be some sort of farmhouse.
I turned away from the window and contemplated my next move. Common sense told me that I shouldn't be able to move this easily after being in so much agony for so long. I was curious, however, and wished to leave the room in which I found myself, to try and discover who had brought me here. I turned to the door in the corner of the room and stepped towards it. As I reached out my hand, suddenly it was pulled open to reveal a startlingly beautiful young woman. My eyes widened as I recognized her. "Maria," I exclaimed softly, moving backwards.
Puzzled, I looked at her. I felt curious, but somehow I knew it was not my emotion, but hers. How could that be? What did this mean? I struggled for something to say that didn't start with "What are you doing here?" Eventually I gave up and asked anyway. She smiled at me, and gestured that we sit down. Then she started speaking.
"I found you, Jasper. You were on the battlefield. And then I brought you here."
"I'm not sure that I quite understand you. What was a young lady like you doing near the battlefield? And what do you mean, you brought me here? Why?"
"Oh, I'm a fair bit older than you think, Major Whitlock. And as to why I brought you here, I must confess that I believe you could be useful to me. Your recent... illness has brought out some interesting characteristics in you."
Something in the way she paused before saying 'illness' disturbed me slightly, as did her statement that she was older than she looked. I tried to find a nice way of asking what she meant, but she seemed to notice my confusion and asked, "Why don't you come with me?"
She led me out the door and down a corridor, then we stepped outside. I took a breath of the fresh air and was suddenly assaulted by smells. I gasped in surprise, and stepped back slightly. Maria glanced at me, smirking.
"So you noticed. Never smelt all that before, have you Jasper? Do you know what it is you're smelling?"
Taking a more cautious sniff, I shook my head.
"That is the smell of fields full of corn ready for the cutting. That is the smell of the three creatures who've been staying here for the last four days. That is the smell" she paused, "of blood."
I stared at her, shocked. There must be something wrong with her. I should take her to a doctor. She must have noticed something of my thoughts on my face because she laughed and said, "Let's walk a little further, and see if you can be convinced, Major."
I shook my head and kept quiet, unsure of what I should do next. As Maria led me in the direction of the nearby gate, I heard the sound of footsteps and glanced around to try and see whoever was making the noise. My brow wrinkled as I failed to spot the intruder, and I looked further away. I was shocked when I noticed where Maria was looking, and, following her eyes, picked out two people crossing the field some distance from us. Surely it couldn't have been their footsteps I was hearing.
"Did you get it?" Maria asked. I turned to her, puzzled, before realizing she wasn't talking to me. I was even more surprised when I heard one of the people answer. It was as though they were standing right next to us.
"We did, Maria. We left it back there beside the woods."
Whatever this meant, it obviously pleased Maria, and she beckoned me to follow her through the gate towards the couple.
The man appeared to be slightly older than me, with shoulder length dark hair pulled back in a ribbon at his neck. The woman was a similar age, but the way she had her blond hair pulled off her face into two plaits made her seem younger. As before, with Maria, I sensed a curiosity surrounding them. It was as though I was feeling their emotions, not just reading them in their faces and body language as I usually did.
"Jasper, this is Samuel and Hannah," Maria explained. "They have helped me look after you for the past few days."
Still unsure of Maria, and now her companions, I hesitated before extending my arm to shake hands with them. As I did so, I looked at their faces, and noticing something, couldn't help but jump back, afraid. Their eyes. Like Maria, both Samuel and Hannah also had red, demonic eyes.
I felt fear rise within me as I continued to back away. What were these people? What did they want with me? Hundreds of questions raced through my mind, pushing logical explanations away.
Maria, seeing my distrust, moved closer to me and took my arm. "You must not be afraid, Jasper. You need to understand. Come with me to the wood," she pleaded. "Come with me, and let me show you what you are."
Drawing on my army experiences to keep my unease at bay, I relaxed my body and let her lead me away from the curious faces of Samuel and Hannah. Maria walked faster and faster the further we went, until we were running effortlessly across the field, amongst the corn. It was exhilarating how fast we were going. I couldn't remember ever moving with such speed and grace. Truly, I had been reborn. My old body could never have done this. As we neared the trees, Maria let go of my hand and I ran ahead of her, caught up in the joy of going so fast. And then I caught a scent that pulled me up sharp.
It was the most delicious thing I had ever smelt. It made me powerfully aware of the ache in my throat, a longing for something to quench my thirst. I realized I was running again, trying to reach the source of this beautiful scent, knowing instinctively that it would be good for me. I forgot about the trees on one side of me, of Maria behind me, forgot about everything except this wonderful, overpowering smell.
It was getting stronger and clearer. There was no room for any other thoughts or emotions in my head apart from the smell and my hunger.
The next thing I was aware of was my teeth, somehow much sharper than usual, sliding through soft flesh as though it was paper. Where my teeth had passed, a liquid flowed down into my mouth. It was hot and thick as it dribbled down my throat, easing the tension in my body that the smell had caused. I sucked at the skin, thinking only of getting more of this inside me. I wanted it, needed it, so badly. It was as though the only thing that existed in the world was this beautiful liquid pouring down my throat. I didn't know what it was, nor did I care. At that moment, it was the best thing in the world, and I never wanted it to stop flowing. I could feel the life seeping into me with every gulp I drew into my mouth. It soothed my insides as it sank into my stomach and the more I drank, the more I relaxed. It tasted like nothing I'd ever tried before, and yet it was the perfect food. I could not identify the exact smell at the moment, but it didn't matter. I knew it was good: I didn't need to think about it right now.
Gradually, the amount of liquid flowing into my mouth slowed down. When it ceased to flow altogether, I came back to my senses somewhat. Suddenly, I was aware of the wind rustling the trees beside me, and the corn crushed beneath my feet. I was aware, too, of the fact that I was clutching a body, and that both of us were drenched in blood. Aghast, I leapt back, letting the body of the man drop to the ground. I stared down at myself in horror. What had I done?
It slowly sank in that it must have been blood that I was drinking. This alone was enough that I backed away further, shaking my head in mingled horror and disbelief.
"No," I murmured to myself. "No, no, NO!" I yelled the last word, spinning around to see Maria walking towards me. I had so many questions I needed to ask, so much disgust with myself that I needed to express. But one look at Maria walking away from another body, lying still on the ground, silenced me at once.
"Do you see now, Jasper?" she asked, somehow serene despite the blood she casually wiped from the corner of her mouth.
"We are not human. We are far more than that. We can run like the wind. We can lift ridiculous weights. We have amazing, unique red eyes. And we require the most wonderful of foods, as you have just discovered. We, my Jasper, are vampires."