I've gone back through and put these in sequence according to how things happened in the book. Originally, they were in some bizarre order based roughly on when I wrote them, but mostly what I wanted to post when I wanted to post it. :P So the disclaimer is somewhere in here, but for the record, I'll re-emphasize now that I don't own Twilight. ;)
Enjoy my PERSONAL FAVORITE chapter - Carlisle's installment (he's so incredibly BA...) ;D
Carlisle Cullen felt a distinctive since of pride as he hit the ground, writhing in agony.
He had found them. The last coven in London.
Admittedly, he had come rather unprepared. But how exactly does one go about preparing for something regarding which he is absolutely naïve? Armed with his father's infantry of monster hunters, a trusty rifle, and his own overbearing, twenty-three-year-old sense of pride, he had hoped to triumph. Or at least come out alive.
Sadly, it looked as though neither of those things was going to happen.
Carlisle couldn't have imagined the kind of power that these creatures possessed. They had smelled his party while they had still been above-ground and had been waiting when they arrived. Not that that mattered at all anyway. When Carlisle saw their bright red eyes glowing in the pale light from the sewer grate, he knew that it would take far more than fifty or so pious, well-intended Englishmen to save him. Yet he hadn't given up.
Now, as he lay on the ground in the London alley, it all seemed rather meaningless. What had it been for, in the end? Had he really been that enthusiastic to "purge London of the filth?"
It had been one more vie for his father's approval. Something within him honestly believed that if he worked hard and accomplished enough, Cullen would look upon him with something other than glaring disapproval. They never had anything in common, father and son. Carlisle had been fascinated by the world around him, researching and learning about all kinds of religions and interpretations of mortality. His father had read over his shoulder with disdain for what he considered all-corrupting evil. Yet Carlisle still longed for his approval, for some strange reason.
Not that it mattered at all now.
The pain was so intense; it was a struggle to think. And it wasn't near lessening. Carlisle took a sharp breath, the freezing night air stinging his throat. Or maybe his throat was just stinging anyway; every other part of him was, after all.
Though it seemed much further away than it was, Carlisle could hear the battle continuing to take place between his comrades and the sewer vermin. It didn't sound as though his side was doing well. On the contrary actually – with each second that passed, he heard fewer of their voices. For a moment, he almost scorned the survival instincts that had allowed him to escape with merely a wound at the base of his neck. It would have been kinder to die, really…
Damn, wounds this simple just shouldn't hurt so much! And at the very least, the pain should have been constrained to his neck and shoulders, surrounding the actual wound. Not coursing through his entire body like lightning.
Deep, somewhere behind the millions of voices that simply cried out in pain, there was a weakened presence of reason in his mind. The vampires were still on the loose; now they were hungrier than ever… It was unwise to stay here. And if he was going to die of blood loss, it would have already happened.
For a moment, it occurred to Carlisle that it would be easy enough to worsen the wound the tiniest bit and end the suffering. It would be so terribly simple…
But no. Those blasphemous thoughts ended as quickly as they'd come. According to his father's beliefs, suicide did not merit so much as judgement – it was one of few crimes against the Lord that sent the perpetrator straight into the eternal fire. Though this back alley did seem at the moment very akin to his idea of hell, he was still terrified to the core at the prospect of the real thing.
He couldn't make it that far.
At the end of the alley, farthest from the opening to the street, he could make out the back door to a house. Beside the door, there seemed to be a smaller opening with a simple latch. A cellar, perhaps? Twenty meters away or thereabout. He could make it that far – he had to.
Though wasn't sure exactly how it happened (things were progressing more and more quickly toward a dream-like state) Carlisle soon found himself beside the cellar door. The lock was rusted, and incidentally, somebody had left it unlatched. He cast open the doorway with all the strength he could muster, and was surprised to find that it all but flew off. It must be lighter-weight than he had expected... With a few clumsy motions, he managed to throw himself down into the dank, earthen room.
Potatoes – it smelled like potatoes. That was the first sensation his brain managed to interpret from his pain-weakened senses. Groping out into the pitch-darkness, he could feel a few of the cool, leathery roots. A potato-cellar. Well, at least he wouldn't starve.
Suddenly, however, the scent completely changed in his mind. It was as different as humanly possible from the comforting, wintry scent that meant meat stews and shepherd's pie in his childhood. It was a foreign, disgusting odor that made him gag. Leaning over into what he hoped was a corner, Carlisle retched violently. After a few minutes of this, it felt as though his stomach was completely empty – the emptiest it had been in his entire life. Yet, even long afterward, he didn't feel a single pang of hunger.
Experiencing nothing but exhaustion and pain, Carlisle lay flat on the ground for what could have been hours. He wasn't sure. Part of him wanted to sleep, but he couldn't. He couldn't even manage to pass out. The pain was ever-present. If he could have slept, he thought, the dreams would have been painful too.
What was wrong with him?
After what could have been a day (or perhaps a century, who knew?) Carlisle felt as though the pain was no longer worsening. It was far from getting better, but at least it wasn't becoming more severe by the minute like it had before. The voice of reason (who was now getting stronger) informed him of the likely possibility someone would come down for a potato. With this knowledge and the fear that it instilled, Carlisle managed to drag himself on his hands a knees into a dark, rounded-off cranny behind what felt like some empty crates.
Even if someone found him, the outlook wasn't good. Provided they knew the Cullens, as most of the locals did, they would only drag him back to his house, thus forcing him to admit his failure to his father. On top of that, he would be blamed for the death of the entire army, who had all indubitably fallen in the underground battle with the coven.
Admittedly, dying in a cellar seemed the preferred route.
It was as though movement had given him new energy. After a few minutes of listening to his thoughts race and his stomach churn, apathy became a sorely missed luxury.
How long would this last?
On the off-chance he survived, where would he go when all was finished?
Would this end at all?
Why was his neck healing so quickly?
Of all his questions, this was the most logically bizarre and thus perplexed him the most. A gash that sizeable should take months and a few stitches to heal properly, provided one managed to evade contamination and it did at all. Why, then, was the skin simply mending itself like water droplets fusing together on a rainy windowpane? The actual cut was closed up already, and he could feel that the scab was dry and hard. Though he couldn't see it, Carlisle knew the bleeding had long since stopped.
As Carlisle's faculties slowly returned, he became more and more alarmed. Something was happening, something with which he was horribly unfamiliar. He wasn't the same man he had been when he felt the vampire teeth graze across his neck back above the ground. Though he was hesitant to admit it, even to himself, Carlisle had few hypotheses as to what could be taking place. He shut them out obstinately. There was no way.
Some part of Carlisle wanted to cry. It sounded stupid and pointless even to him, but it wasn't like anyone was down here to see him. He was in more pain than ever before in his life, it had logically been hours since he had eaten or even wanted to consider eating, he was separated from anything that he had ever loved, and he didn't even know when any of this was going to change.
In Carlisle's mind, these things merited a few tears. Sighing raggedly, he resigned himself and waited almost impatiently for them to start falling.
But strangely enough, they never came.
He looked around now, and was surprised to be able to make out shapes in the darkness. There were crates of potatoes stacked wall-to-wall, and several little piles of them sitting around on the floor. A shelf with a few jars on it sat in the corner beside the door. It was funny, now, that his surroundings were so clear. His eyes usually adjusted fairly quickly after he entered a room and then the level of clarity remained the same. Somehow, over the time that he'd been here, it was almost as though his eyesight had improved.
Carlisle's reverie of confusion lapsed for a moment when he heard a dreaded creaking sound. Someone was coming down to his place of refuge. He shifted towers of crates around in front of him until he was certain that his hiding place was well obscured. Had potatoes always been so light and easy to move?
No time to think about that.
By this point, distinct footsteps could be heard on the packed dirt floor.
Carlisle was far too anxious to notice that the light from the cellar door didn't blind him, even after days of darkness. All he could focus on was the silhouette of a young woman coming through the small wooden passage. A light breeze followed her, catching her long hair and the corner of her skirt. She reached dangerously close to Carlisle to pick up a few of the potatoes.
The effect was instant and terrifying.
Suddenly, every single thought in Carlisle's head was one of trapping and brutally killing her. Every nerve ending in his body screamed for him to lunge at her while he still could. She was fresh and young, and she smelled so full of life. Life that he desperately needed!
Carlisle was horrified.
Leave, damn you! he silently willed her. Get out now, for your own safety's sake!
The madness wasn't ending. He gripped the crates until he was sure his knuckles were white. Finally, the cellar door opened and closed, and the waves of bloodlust seemed to abate.
As soon as the woman left, Carlisle slumped back against the wall. After all the panic, he wanted to catch his breath.
But he didn't feel breathless.
His heart should have been racing too. But it wasn't. In fact, he couldn't feel any heartbeat at all. His hands beginning to shake, Carlisle felt his wrist. Nothing. Well, that was excusable… his pulse might be too weak to register so far from his heart. After all the pain, that kind of made since. Surely he'd feel something on his neck.
Raising his hand to the place where his neck met his skull, Carlisle pressed down with his index and middle finger. Nothing. Other side, then? Nothing there either. Carlisle's eyes widened, and he muffled into his sleeve a scream of terror and understanding.
He was becoming one of them.
Naturally, the possibility had occurred to him earlier when the potatoes seemed so repulsive and his arm healed so mysteriously. He had painstakingly pushed it out, unwilling to believe that he could fall victim to something so foreign, so vulgar. But now, with a numb sense of finality, everything was coming together. He could see perfectly in the darkness. He didn't need to breathe. He didn't have a heartbeat. He couldn't cry. The want, the need to devour human life was already beginning to consume him.
It was only a matter of time.
Carlisle moaned into his sleeve; the physical pain hardly seeming to be an issue anymore. His life wouldn't go on like this; he wouldn't live in darkness and prey on innocents. He refused.
What of the young woman, then?
It was only a matter of time until she returned, and thinking of it, he already felt a prickle of thirst in the back of his throat. No, no, no! He could feel the voice in the back of his mind, once the source of reason that led to his survival, willing her to return. No one would miss her. It would be quick. And he was so hungry.
Carlisle's hands balled into fists, and he gritted his teeth until they should have throbbed. Why now? Why him? Why like this?
Squeezing his eyes shut, he prayed silently.
God, I know you're not listening. I'm not on your side anymore. You wouldn't want me, and you know I don't want me either. Just smite me now, before I can hurt any innocents. It's not worth this…
Minutes passed. Carlisle still sat in the cellar, his fingernails digging into his unresponsive palms. Heavenly judgment didn't seem to be coming.
Were there any other options?
Well, clearly, he had to get out of there. But into the crowded streets of London? The streets that swarmed with women and their children, working men drinking tea and reading newspapers? He couldn't do it.
But he'd have to. There weren't any other choices. Getting to his feet, Carlisle felt an instant change.
The pain stopped. Not even a dull ache remained. He flexed his fingers hesitantly, terrified that it would return as quickly as it had abated. However, after a minute or two, he began to grow certain that it was finally gone for good. For the first time, he seemed to be able to think clearly again. He had to be able to use that to his advantage; his whole existence prior to the change had been based on his abilities to think above and beyond other men!
But where the pain once had been, now another problem arose, perhaps one more severe than even the pain had been. It was hunger – outrageous, insatiable amounts of hunger. Worse even than that which he had felt when the girl had come down and almost met her death in the cellar.
Well, perhaps the hunger was not insatiable, the logic voice reminded. But Carlisle refused to consider the alternatives. The alternative. There was only one, after all.
Carlisle shook his head, his usually perfectly-kempt but now dirty and tangled blonde hair falling into his eyes, which he didn't even a mirror to tell him were glowing red. He had to go up to the surface. If he stayed down here, he would kill the girl and then his hunger would eventually lead him up to the surface where more of her kind would fall victim to the hunger… to him. He had to get as far away from the humans as possible before that could happen.
Pushing towards the door, Carlisle felt his head spinning. He was famished. And vampire hunger didn't feel like human hunger. It was an all-consuming obsession, very different from the familiar dull ache that could be ignored if one found other ways to occupy his time. But Carlisle would find a way to do that with vampire hunger – if it killed him.
An idea occurred to Carlisle – a painful idea, but one that he knew had to be the only choice the second that it came to him. If God in heaven wasn't going to intervene, he would simply have to take care of the smiting on his own. The issue of damnation no longer hovered; he had no chance of getting into heaven after what he'd become.
There had to be a way to kill a vampire… hadn't there?