"Dying is a wild night and a new road."
"For love is immortality."
Chapter One: A short history of my life
I do not know exactly what it is to die, but I do know what it feels like to be dying. I was seventeen years old when my body was racked with the Spanish Flu. I felt death hover over me, a dark cloud of dreamless nights, a sky void of sun, stars and moon. It was terrifying and yet I remember I embraced it, happily. Almost as if I wanted to die, yearned for it. But that was not to be.
Carlisle saved me, if saved could be the word. He more like prevented my body from dying. The pain I felt the next three days as his venom coursed through my veins, changing my body, my molecular makeup, was ten times as painful as dying. Carlisle says that is why I have trouble remembering my life just before the change. The pain seems to erase the most recent memories a new-born has of being human. Only those who are able to hold onto themselves during that pain remember everything.
Somehow, though, I remember the feel of death, its sweet kiss before being pulled from it.
Needless to say I was bitter after that first year of learning to control myself. The thirst I felt was almost as strong as the pain of the venom. It seemed I was always thirsty. Carlisle took me to a remote wilderness in Canada where he taught me to hunt. Soon I could down a caribou in ten seconds flat, without it ever knowing what hit it.
"The only way to keep what humanity you have left is to feed off animals." He had said.
It sounded logical, and so I did what I was told. Eventually I was able to push the thirst from the forefront of my mind, strong enough that I could live amongst humans. We did not go back to Chicago. We lived as brothers in New Hampshire where Carlisle worked as a Doctor and I went to school. He told me stories of his earlier travels, meeting with Aro, Marcus and Caius and studying in France.
He told me of his first days of being a vampire, what tremendous shame he felt as he drained a person of their blood after trying to starve himself to death. "You must drink at least every two weeks or your defenses will slowly deteriorate and your vampiric instincts will take over." He warned just before we moved into the city.
Let's say I did not feel grateful to Carlisle for "saving my life," as he puts it. He explained having been a Doctor at the hospital where my Father, Mother and I were when we contracted the Spanish Flu. She told him to save me, only he knew how. He interpreted that as "Bite my son and make him part of the living dead."
The only things I have left of my previous life is my Mother's ring, which had belonged to my paternal Grandmother, and the diamond heart pendant my Father gave her when I was born. I used to always keep them on my person but Carlisle insisted I leave them in the safe.
Money was no object for us. Over the years Carlisle made a collection of trinkets and such and discovered after a century they were worth a lot of money. He was also able to hold stock in companies over many generations, invest in banks and he even regaled me with his pirate days working under the British Crown.
"Something I don't recommend." He would shudder, "Having to suck fishy blood for months at a time begins to ware on you."
I thought that perhaps it would be just Carlisle and me for the rest of eternity, living our vegetarian lifestyle, moving across the country, occasionally meeting up with other vampires who either shared, or did not share, our views on humanity. I hoped that I would be the last vampire Carlisle would ever have to create.
I was wrong.
Carlisle found Esmé in the morgue at the hospital he was working at. It was some sick, twisted version of Sleeping Beauty. He had known her at about the same time he turned me, having set a broken leg of hers when she was a young girl. After trying to commit suicide her body was thought to be dead and only a vampire could have heard the faint traces of her heart. He bit her, and she awoke.
I left at this time, having sensed the relationship beginning to form between the two people. I was angry and upset with Carlisle for ruining innocent people's chances of going to heaven. I could not believe anyone like me ever had a chance in a place like that. How could God allow a monster into such a sacred place? I would never again be reunited with family, and the thought festered within me.
I became a sort of vigilante. I stalked the dark streets of big cities, searching for those seeking to do harm to others. I thought that if I had become such a nightmare, I might as well prevent someone else's nightmare. Only the people I was "saving" seemed to be more afraid of me than those I was saving them from. I expect seeing someone leap out of the shadows and suck your would-be attacker/rapist/burglar dry of blood is a horrifying experience. Needless to say I stopped.
The living arrangements with Carlisle were changed a little. I was still his brother but now he had a wife. They seemed so happy, living within their fairy tale. I tried to not let the bitterness show. Carlisle must have had me on his mind the night he brought Rosalie home.
"She was just laying in the street, I couldn't let her die there." He explained. "I heard some loud noises, then smelled her blood. It was horrible what they did to her."
Saint Carlisle, I dubbed him. "You could have taken her to a hospital to die."
Rosalie was in the other room, going through the change. I was away when he first brought her home, and a good thing too. The smell of her blood would have sent me into a feeding frenzy. I was good around non-injured humans, but if one of them sprung a leak I high-tailed it before I had time to think.
"We'll have to leave to give her time to adjust." Carlisle said matter of factly. "I believe it's time we visit Tanya."
I was attending Juilliard at the time, studying piano composition, and was reluctant to leave. Of course I had a never-ending amount of time to study any musical instrument I chose, but I had found a certain release when playing the piano. I was able to forget for just a moment the monster I had become.
"Tanya better have a piano." I murmured, then left.
It wasn't until later I realized the ulterior motive for changing Rosalie. Carlisle thought her and I would become mates and I guess create our own little happy coven. No way was he getting rid of me that easily. He created me, he'd have to endure me.
I didn't know why I refused to choose a mate. I could tell it hurt Rosalie some when I never made any romantic overtures to her. Perhaps it was the crazy, murderous rampage she went on soon after she recovered from the change, killing her ex-fiancé (also her murderer) and his buddies. No, that didn't sicken me as much as I thought it might. For I had gone on my own little murder rampage. After refusing Tanya's advances, Rosalie kind of contented herself that I was just oblivious when it came to the female sex. I don't know, maybe I was.
I left the coven before Rosalie was finished with her transition to finish my musical training. I went to a school in Washington that had a small music department and learned from a man there who had studied in Europe. He taught me all that I know. He was old and died after only two years of working with him. He had lived a full life and how he would rest.
After Rosalie was fully recovered we moved to a small mining community in Tennesse. Carlisle, of course, worked as the Doctor at the hospital, mostly night shifts. I worked down in the mines during the day and played the piano at night. Our house was so far away from any other that no one realized the Cullen's never slept. It was a small community and we knew that this was just a temporary stop on our search for a better place. Rosalie managed to shorten our stay much more than we had anticipated.
It was her turn to bring home the dying body.
"Please change him." Was all she had said to Carlisle.
After making sure that the bear mauling would otherwise kill the boy, Carlisle bit him. Rosalie was with him the entire time. The love and patience she showed was shocking. I had never seen her act in such a selfless way before. She had been known to dress up and go to the nearest big city and walk around town basking in the admiration from the residents. Esmé didn't approve, but there really was no harm in it. It was on a return trip that she had found Emmette, dying in the woods from a bear attack.
"And then there were five." I said when Emmette awoke from his transition, thirsty as ever.
He was the toughest of us all to adjust. He seemed to accept being a vampire but having to give up the preferred food was just a little too much. Rosalie, however, managed to convince him it was the only way they could live together. He fell off the wagon a few times, but Rosalie helped him with his shame and they moved on.
And so we all had to move on. It seemed Rosalie had been seen in the woods with Emmette and there began to be talk in the neighboring communities. I had even heard the hostile thoughts of some of the men who had begun to wonder at our astonishing beauty and lack of aging.
"Forks will be the perfect place. I've heard Tanya mention it. They were going to settle there, but decided on a more secluded place in Denali. We'll be able to call it home."
Home. A vampire by rights shouldn't have a home, or a family. We were cursed to roam the world at night, searching for victims. I didn't believe we would ever fit into any society.
The town of Forks was small, with cloudy skies most days out of the year. We renovated a run down cabin in the woods, and resumed our "family" charade. Emmette hadn't finished school before Rosalie changed him, so we all enrolled in the local school. Of course it wasn't long before we had trouble.
The local Indian tribe, the Quileutes, had apparently had run-ins with vampires before, though not within living memory. A strange phenomenon happened. It seemed that young boys would change into wolves in order to protect the tribe from the "cold ones" as Carlisle had put it. There were a few fights, especially with Emmette around, but Carlisle managed to talk with their Chief.
"There is a truce." He announced, eyeing Emmette. "We will not cross onto their land, and they will not cross onto ours. As long as we are peaceful and do not bite any humans in the area, then they will not attack. Any violation of this "treaty" and they will try to take us all out."
"We can take them!" Emmette said, slamming one huge fist onto the other huge hand.
Rosalie placed her hand gently on his arm. "So we can stay?"
"Yes, for the time being."
And life moved along. After Rosalie and Emmette graduated, they got married. They bought a house on the Canadian border and honeymooned there for a month. I stayed on a little while longer, then left to go to college. It seemed I went to one college after the other during the next decade, occasionally returning to Forks to visit. But soon it was time to move on. People can ignore the fact that someone doesn't age for only so long.
I worked on my music while visiting Tanya's coven. She had gotten a baby grand piano to replace the old upright she owned. It was a beautiful instrument and while Carlisle and Esmé were on a second honeymoon of sorts on an island somewhere, I began to compose a song for her for when they returned.
Tanya would come sit on the piano bench by me and watch my fingers dance across the keys. I played sometimes all day and all night without a break. That was one of the best things of being a vampire. You could sit in one pose for however long you liked without getting sore or achy or tired. Tanya asked if I could teach her, but she really didn't have any musical talent.
Rosalie and Emmette stayed with us, mostly to hunt the bears and other large wild life in the area. It was very peaceful here, miles away from any civilization. I didn't know how they were able to seclude themselves here, away from everything, and be happy.
"Whenever we get lonely," Irina had said one evening while Tanya and Kate were out hunting. "We go into town and find someone who is as lonely as we are."
I understood at once. They sought companionship with men and what better place than Alaska to find lonely men?
When Carlisle and Esmé returned it was time to find another place to settle down and live. Carlisle chose a small town in Maine on the New Brunswick border where there was a small hospital that needed his skill as a Doctor. We left almost immediately. The charade was picked up again, only this time I started College right away instead of High School where Rosalie and Emmette went.
"He thinks he needs to do it at least one more time." Rosalie said. Emmette wasn't exactly the brightest person.
Life settled in as normally as possible. Carlisle took the night shifts because sunless days weren't as predictable here as it was back in Alaska or Washington. We got a surprise one night while Carlisle was at work.
"Can you get the door?" Rosalie's thoughts called from one of the back bedrooms where she was tutoring Emmette with the most patience in the world.
I had been playing the piano at rapid speed and hadn't even heard the door. In a flash I was at the door and opened it. On the other side was a small woman with spiky black hair and a tall man standing beside her.
"Hi, we're finally here. Would have found you sooner if you weren't so paranoid and jumped around a lot." The girl smiled, then entered the house with the man looking not so optimistic as she.
"Excuse me?" I knew at once what they were from the lack of heartbeat, but what were they doing here?
Alice explained who she was, as much as she could, and introduced Jasper. It wasn't until Carlisle got home later that night that her presence was explained more thoroughly. Her and Jasper had a private meeting with Carlisle. I did my best not to listen in on their thoughts, but it was too tempting.
The visions Alice could have were amazing and I think studying her is the real reason why Carlisle welcomed them whole heartedly into our "family" as he dubbed it.
"Esmé, we have two more children." He beamed.
I could hear Esmé's joyous thoughts as she welcomed them both with hugs. Alice and I quickly became friends. After hearing Jasper's jealous thoughts I reassured him that Alice definitely didn't think of me that way and I didn't think of her that way either. There was something different about Alice. She seemed to me to be the most human of us all. Perhaps it was just how easily she managed to interact with them.
Soon, Alice seemed to take over the purchases of the household. We no longer lived in sparsely furnished houses. We rarely had human guests over, and if we did we had a small couch and television set up in one room to fake the appearance of humanity.
Alice bought furniture for each room of the house, appliances for the kitchen, and clothing that filled all of our closets. Rosalie didn't mind at all. She liked the attention Alice was giving her. Living in luxury for the first time since she'd become a vampire was a welcoming experience.
"I don't know why I didn't do this myself." She said after dressing up in a red evening gown Alice had bought her that day, showing off to Emmette.
Even though our coven had grown considerably over the decades, I had never felt more alone. I decided I needed time by myself, so I spent a few years traveling the world, meeting up with other vampires for short stints, then moving on. No matter how hard they tried to be human, it never changed who we really were. Monsters.
We couldn't go out in sunlight for fear of exposing ourselves to humans. We couldn't eat food, at least not without gagging. We couldn't grow old, watch our children mature, and finally be laid to rest next to our family members.
The only thing we could do was exist.
When I got back to Maine the house was nearly empty of furniture.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"We're going back to Forks." Esmé said, excitedly.
"Ephraim Black is dead and there are no more wolves. We can go home."
And so we moved again, this time to a more familiar place. As we moved I wondered how many more times we would do this, how many more moves, life style changes? It seemed endless because it was. I'd been around the world twice over, and I'd probably do it hundreds more time. Nothing would ever change, especially in such a little town as Forks, Washington.