Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns the Twilight series.
Author's Note: Remember the people Heidi brought to the Volterra in New Moon? I was particularly struck by the lady with the cross and decided to write the story from her perspective.
Thanks to Aiedail01 and XxXRoseVixenXxX for reading and editing this story...they really turned it around!! I also recommend you read their stories--they are great!
New Moon, page 482
"I noticed one small, dark woman in particular. Around her neck was a rosary, and she gripped the cross tightly in one hand. She walked more slowly than the others, touching someone now and then and asking a question in an unfamiliar language. No one seemed to understand her, and her voice grew more panicked."
Volterra, Italy: a city of mystery and intrigue. I desired none of that, wishing only to see its history in the architecture and this tour was the perfect opportunity. Heidi, our impossibly beautiful guide, led us to our first stop. Her peculiar red eyes glittered with anticipation when we reached the base of the cathedral in the square and a slight shiver ran through my body.
She first spoke of the unique masonry of the church, but ignored the stained glass windows, the cathedral's most notable feature. Curious, I looked up at the massive windows and shuddered. In each piece, there were three prominent figures. In each piece, their eerie red eyes sparkled.
Soon after we entered the cathedral, she asked if we would like to see the catacombs below, which were usually restricted to tourists. I began to get nervous and instinctively reached for the cross at my neck. Though it seemed irrational, my fear was growing and I had no wish to visit the graves below. I had been raised to respect the dead and I would have rather let them rest in peace.
But the pushy American tourists sprang at the opportunity. "Yes, yes, of course!" a woman said eagerly. "We wouldn't miss it for the world," her friend reiterated. I shuddered at their lack of respect for the deceased and turned my attention to the guide. Heidi smiled, showing her pearly teeth.
"Wonderful." she said simply.
I followed the rest of the tour, reluctant to stray far from the guide. I was not confident in my ability to find my way out of either the cathedral or the town square. As we continued down the stairs to the ancient catacombs, it became gradually darker. My heart began to beat faster and I fingered my cross.
When we came to the bottom of the staircase, Heidi led us into a small, well-lit, stone chamber. The room was beautiful and the stonework intricate, but the atmosphere was bleak. Stunning employees surrounded us. Their smiles were kind but their scarlet eyes claimed otherwise. Had I been able to maneuver out of the catacombs, I surely would have run. Something was very wrong.
Most of the tour seemed to be oblivious to the ominous atmosphere. The Americans were enthralled by the masonry, pointing out carved figures and ancient arches. Some people took pictures of the chamber, fascinated by the history it held. A few seemed confused--this chamber looked nothing like the pictures of catacombs we had all seen. Lightly touching my cross and looking again into the eyes of our guide, I suddenly recalled the stories I had heard as a child. The red eyes. The pale skin. The impossible beauty. The terrifying appetite.
And with that connection, the horror hit. I gripped the cross at my neck, embedding its image into the soft skin of my hand. Did the others know? I questioned several people, but no one seemed to understand me. I willed myself to be wrong. The stories didn't matter, merely childhood tales. But fear gripped my heart like a vice and even I could hear the tremor in my voice as I tried to warn the others.
"Welcome, guests! Welcome to Volterra!" a tall, handsome man boomed. His pale skin, glowing gently as he passed through the candlelight, was unnerving. I held my cross tighter, pressing it softly to my heart.
To the side of the chamber, three young people were pressed against the wall, trying in vain to leave the room as quickly as possible. A young man, skin as translucent as our guide's, gripped the hand of a girl around his age. There was fear and confusion in her eyes as she looked at her handsome friend, whose own eyes revealed great anxiety as well. Slightly behind them, a pixie-like girl followed. She too was anxious to leave, her skin as pale as a ghost itself.
Fright and apprehension were not the only things revealed by their eyes. These children shared a knowledge of something sinister, something that was prevalent in this cold stone chamber. I gripped my cross, my only comfort in this dark chamber. There was a break in the crowd and I saw the pale ones slip out the door, pulling the brunette with them.
"Save a few for me."
The words sent an involuntary tremor throughout my body. I was not wrong. The stone was even colder here in this dark place and I wished I could only see the sun. The little cross had grown warm under my persistent grip and it reminded me of the city above. Volterra.
Several people stepped out of the gloom and I saw they all shared the same ivory skin. The tallest one, a man, grinned, baring his teeth. His crimson eyes glimmered with a menacing delight. He slowly walked toward us and even the American couple had become silent.
And then I began to scream.