A/N: This is an entry into Bethaboo and TheEdwardEmmett's "Make It Count" contest. The only rules are that it must contain Twilight characters, be a one-shot, and be 1,000 words or less.

This is the first fanfiction contest I've ever entered, and I did it to challenge myself. This was originally much longer, but I hope I've kept the essence.

Please visit the contest site available from the sponsors' profiles to check out the other entries and then vote for your favorite. Voting begins March 22 at noon. I would, naturally, love to win, so if you like it (that may be the wrong term, as it's pretty depressing), please vote for me :)


Esme's POV

They buried him today in a wooden casket so tiny it seemed fit for a doll. I'd stood beside the gravesite, my belly strangely empty and still distended, my body aching and torn, my breasts engorged and straining with the milk that was unable to save my precious little one.

I'd dressed properly, standing with my hands clasped in front of me just beneath my belted waist. I had kept my eyes properly downcast on the rich earth revealed by the gaping hole that seemed to be calling to me, whispering to the darkest recesses of my mind. The wind blew tendrils of my caramel-colored hair free from my proper hat.

I said my proper lines and nodded appropriately to the other mourners. When the service was over, I tossed the first handful of dirt into the pit and turned my back, leading the way to my house, where I put on a somber face and served tiny sandwiches on tiny plates to those who came to pay their respects.

Their respects.

What an odd word for such a time. Unfeeling husband, well-meaning friends. Tongues clucking. So sad, so sad. So tragic. Such a waste.

Such a waste…

Such a waste? My heart. My life. A waste?

You can try again. How long will you wait until you have another?

There is no other…there is only my soul, buried deep beneath the earth in a tiny wooden box covered with the murky darkness and wriggling worms.

I said the proper words, received the proper hugs. And then they were gone. The mourners returning to their lives, their homes, their families. Hugging their precious little ones tight, kissing foreheads, wiping sticky mouths.

Not for me. Never for me.

That day is over for me.

I now stand alone on the ledge looking up at the light of the full moon. I gaze at her pale, cold face, and I imagine what she sees as she stares down upon me in judgment:

A woman, her body soft and wrecked by childbirth, arms spread wide against the wind whipping along the cliff face that blows her caramel-colored hair wildly, free for once from its proper pins. Naked flesh gleaming in the moon's own pale light with silver trails of milky tears dripping down from her breasts, bathing her in her shame and despair for all who will look to see. Feet bare and dusty, torn and bleeding from the sneaking midnight trip to the precipice away from the husband who could never be enough.

Striking beauty the moon must see, and sorrow.

Will the moon cry out to stop me? Or will she watch impassively, observing the heartbreaking splendor of a mother no more?

I struggle to find emotion in my breast. There is none. Though milky tears leak from my body for its loss, there are none for my soul. It has gone into the depths of the stinking earth with my heart, no more to return.

I stare defiantly into the face of the moon, cold judging mother of the tides. Her children spread all over the surface of the earth, and she watches them nightly with her gentle smiles and tender caresses, pulling them as she will.

She will not judge me.

I raise my chin to the proper angle, my eyes never leaving her face, and I step forward at a proper pace, my last step plunging me into the abyss that has claimed my soul.


Word Count: 577

The title "Silver Shell" is inspired by a brilliant Oscar Wilde quote: "Beauty is a form of genius – is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon."