Author's note: To you readers out there, be warned this is INCREDIBLY AU—all the characters are out of character and there are OC's (yay).
The lyrics in between sections are from Hellfire, Hunchback of Notre Dame. YAY DISNEY!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything I'm writing about.
The Dead Wept Thus
Bella Swan dies in the rain, her carefree adolescent soul slipping from the mortal world in a heavy downpour of spilled blood. The heavy, sticky droplets fall to the carpet in an abstract explosion of red smears; crimson trails curl about the house like a python weaves around its helpless prey, encircling the small creature until it is crushed by the predator's massive weight. To compress and press, suffocate and asphyxiate; to slaughter and butcher is its life.
The rain does not cleanse the drenched—it drowns them.
The executioners wield no knives in their pale, slender hands bloodied with the art of death, the art of murder. The wingless angels use their own hands to tear the skin from the flesh; their crimson eyes burn with the bloodlust that consumes them. The scarlet rain flows onto their snow-white skin, staining it forevermore with its sorrow, its cold, unspoken mourning: the grief of the dead.
The human cowers in terror; fear paralyzes her as she watches them tear her family limb from bloody limb, drinking the warm liquid oozing out of their lifeless bodies as they do so. She hides from their merciless gazes—oh, how she hides, as if it justifies her watching, her helpless, powerless, immobilized watching.
They are drunk on their power, these destroying angels, these gods of death, intoxicated on the blood that drips into their mouths, the cannibalistic revel that they partake in. They stumble and laugh at the chaos they have created, and each whoop and holler sounds like the peals of bells. The triumphant joy echoes through the room, terrible in its beauty and horror.
These monsters, these angels, these gods, these demons… they leave all for dead as they suck them dry, leaving only hollow shells that used to be human, forgetting in their lust and greed to look for the silent witness who stares out from behind the closet door.
Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti
I confess to God almighty
The Isabella Swan that Charlie had been expecting did not step off the plane into the hustle and bustle of the airport. The daughter he had known for the past seventeen years had upped and left him with the dark and rather brooding girl that stood before him.
She had grown taller, he dimly noted, and her height was, no doubt, further increased by the obsidian boots she wore and the weight she had lost. Her pale skin practically glowed beside the gothic articles of clothing she had selected as that day's garb. Every individual inch of the ebony fabric accented the change within her, but perhaps the greatest shift in his daughter was her expression—grim and bitter, it looked like the face of a criminal rather than that of a seventeen-year-old girl.
"Hello, Charlie," she said glumly, her pale, drawn face betraying none of her thoughts. Such a change. The girl who had once worn her heart on her sleeve was now as readable as a closed book penned in ciphered Klingon.
Two words. Two simple, two syllable, familiar words. That was all.
Who is this girl, he wondered, and where had his daughter gone?
That was the last she spoke to him that day. For the whole three hour car trip from Port Angeles to his home town of Forks Washington, there was not a single word. Oh, that's not to say he didn't try to talk to her, this gothic adolescent, but she seemed to deem it unworthy to respond to any of his attempts at conversation.
She would simply stare out at the rain pounding against the car window, her dark eyes roaming the green landscape as it rushed by, her pale fingers tapping a rhythm out on the car's leather seat. Not a single word would escape her tightly closed lips.
Her eyes, he had noticed, seemed darker, as if the light had been drained out of them; dark circles drooped below them, betraying her lack of sleep in the past year. She looked tired as she stared off into the distance; her mind was weary of carrying itself along the broken path of rehabilitation. But still… she was doing well, for being Bella.
One year ago, Isabella Swan had been the sole witness to the brutal murder of both her mother and step father. Inside the Arizona home the police had found two grotesquely mutilated corpses, the victims of what they believed to be gang violence; their teenage daughter had been found cowering in a closet, her thin, pale arms hugging her knees to her chest, all the while screaming as she looked up into the faces of her rescuers.
They had claimed it was a sound that could have raised the dead.
That was the last seen of his Bella, his daughter. The girl now living in Forks was not his daughter. She hardly even resembled his daughter. Bella Swan was dead. In her place was a gothic shadow with a silver cross dangling from her neck
Beatae Mariae simper Virgini
To blessed Mary ever Virgin
This was Hell. This sea of trees, this ocean of endless forests, was Hell. There was no doubt in Isabella Swan's mind as she stared out her window at the familiar surroundings of the house. Oh, how she hated this place, this water-logged hell-hole, this small-town, gossip-filled rat-nest.
The room itself hadn't changed—still the epitome of the small-town lifestyle, still the same pastel paint colored the walls, still the same wood desk with its Jane Austen novel stacks… even the same bed, with its childish comforter, lay against one side of the room invitingly. Isabella sneered at the familiarity. As if Charlie thought it would be comforting for her to live in the same damn room as before. As if she could still fit within the brightly colored décor and not look out of place, like a penguin in a science fiction convention.
Same plain, mundane room. The same room she had seen all her life for two weeks every summer. Oh, how Charlie must have loved the familiarity, but Isabella—Isabella had been fleeing the familiarity for quite a while, running from the familiar faces of her peers, avoiding the recognizable street corners, letting the gossip trickle right through her. She turned from the gossip, the whispers, the piteous gazes, the self-righteous belief that they should feel sorry for her. As if they had any idea what had gone on in that house; as if they had loved the blood that had been drawn from the bodies. They believed they knew the truth, and that she was the delusional one.
Confusion, delusion, incomprehension, dementia; oh, how men worked to keep themselves blissful in innocence and ignorance and oh, how they wept when they failed.
What pious fools who filled the world with their lies, their ignorant lies—for it is only the greatest fool who isn't aware that he is a liar. The silver tongued serpent hiding among the branches, the hand that holds the apple, the mirror that reflects the monster…. Who is truly guilty—the deceived who took the bite or the deceived who offered the fruit?
Fate is not kind to those who ignore her workings.
Isabella knew this.
Bella had failed to realize this; Bella had died in denial of this. Bella had been shut into darkness, believing that good things happened to only those who deserve it, and that the wicked would be punished. It was Isabella, born into the darkness the dead left in their wake, who realized the truth.
All men are born to die. It is their destiny; it is their one true right.
'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.' Isabella had seen that valley, she had walked through that great shadow, and she had felt no god walking beside her.
I will fear no evil. I will see no evil. I will hear no evil. I will speak no evil.
Blood stained the earth beneath the feet of men; it flowed like a river, trickling down the cleanly streets of the cities; it fell from the sky in drops of rain. Death was in everything. Even in the rain.
Beato Michaeli archangelo
To the blessed archangel Michael
She didn't sleep. That was one of the first things Charlie learned about Isabella (because she was certainly no longer Bella). He hadn't noticed at first. On the earliest nights, he thought it was the rain—something that must have been deafening after living in the desert all her life. But it soon became obvious that she didn't have a normal sleep pattern and that she didn't expect herself to hold one.
The first night, she humored him, trudging upstairs diligently and sitting in her room, twiddling her thumbs for twelve hours. What a joke to find her five days later sitting down stairs reading 'The Lord of the Flies' at three a.m. because she was bored of staring at wallpaper.
"The rain is unusually loud tonight," she said, closing her book and looking up towards the ceiling. "I hope you don't mind that I came down here; it was hard to sleep with the noise." Then she smiled a pseudo, forced smile that reminded him vaguely of the girl he used to know—the terrible liar.
And yet, Charlie simply nodded and turned to go back upstairs, where his bed awaited him. He didn't bother to tell her that it had stopped raining. He had no doubt that she already knew.
Sanctis apostolis omnibus sanctis
To the holy apostles, to all the saints
"You're Isabella Swan, aren't you?" The gangly adolescent smiled, confident in his speech and mannerism. The girl's dark eyes moved over him once, analyzing, and then dropped back to her desk to observe the casually written notes from years prior.
"So, where's your next class?" Eric slicked back his greasy black hair in nervousness, watching as the girl continued to stare blankly down at her desk. Finally, her eyes turned away from the gray surface to meet Eric's.
"Government, the root of all hypocrisy; Jefferson, the sixth building." She smiled, amused by some thought, and chuckled, turning her attention away from Eric once again.
Despite the bell having rung, Eric noticed that she seemed in no hurry to rush over to building six, even though she must have been hopelessly lost due to this being her first day on campus. She didn't seem to notice the way everyone would stare at her; it was practically as if she didn't know she was an anomaly. She looked almost like a black and white photograph, with the color drained away from her skin and clothing. But even then, it wasn't the gothic clothes or the obsidian combat boots that had caught Eric's attention—it was her eyes, her dark brown eyes that saw everything, that, with one analytical look, could create a force disturbingly similar to a slap in the face.
With certain reluctance she stood, hoisting her back pack up onto her shoulder and walking out the door. Eric had to practically run in time to grab his rain jacket and catch up with her. He hadn't even mentioned that his class was in building four, "ridiculously close to hers"—or that's what he would have told her.
"So, this is different from Phoenix?" Eric could have slapped himself for stupidity. He knew Phoenix was different—Hell, what person didn't? Phoenix was a desert, practically another planet compared to Forks.
She stopped, ignoring the rain that poured from the sky, oblivious to the mob of students listening in on their conversation. Her shoulders hunched over and began to shake with a laughter barely audible over the rain pounding against the sidewalk.
"Why did you ask me that when you already know the answer?" she shouted back at him, barely attempting to repress her uncontrollable snickers. Without his prompting, she continued to speak. "It doesn't rain much, if that's what you're wondering. Very different, weather-wise. Phoenix is in no danger of flooding." She continued chuckling between gasped words.
Eric swallowed, still determined to finish the conversation, asked his next stupid, obvious, question. "You don't look very tan."
Of course she didn't look tan. Isabella looked like a ghost, like a dead girl come back from the dead to haunt the living.
"Incredible. The boy has eyes, and yet doesn't posses the brain power to use them." She smiled again, this time directly at him, before walking away towards Government class in building six.
It took Eric a moment to realize how soaked he must be from standing in the rain so long, and how late he was going to be to class for talking with the bizarre new girl.
Et tibit Pater
And to you father
Children are the future.
The next generation must be prepared for what awaits. So here they are, thrown together, the girls with boys, into a montage of hormonal meltdowns and social gatherings. The place itself has almost nothing to do with education—oh, yes, there are teachers and academics, but no one really pays mind to those.
Forks High school: the small town with an even smaller high school, the place where everyone knows your name and personal history, the charming little community where people know you the instant they see your face. Isabella never had much tolerance for closely knit communities; being dragged to Forks had not changed things.
Driving in high style in a beat-up crimson Monster Truck, Isabella sighed as she noticed the stares—all the wide, naïve eyes staring up at her in… what? Shock, surprise, horror? What was it like, she wondered, to watch a small, ebony-clad girl drive up in a truck the size of an army tank? Terrifying, by the looks of it. Their heads quickly whipped away as she jumped out splashing in a puddle.
It never stopped raining in Washington. The air, it seemed, had more water than oxygen, making it perfectly plausible to drown in early morning mist. Her eyes roved over the outdoor campus, watching the students scurry about, laughing and chatting with one another.
She smiled, thinking about how ironic that she, the girl from the desert, should be paler than every one of them. At that thought, the smile slipped from her face. The absence of the sun was beginning to worry her. The dark clouds looming ominously over the sun seemed… uncomfortable. She missed the bright orb hanging cheerily, obliviously, in the sky, protecting her from the dark creatures of her memory.
The things she was forced to remember, the things that wouldn't let her forget.
She breathed in the damp air, clutching the silver cross dangling from her neck, then turned and walked towards the administrative office, tucking away her fears and nightmares from the eye of careless humans.
Quia peccavi nimis
That I have sinned
Charlie Swan was out of ideas. As he stared blankly at yet another game of baseball, he realized that he had nothing left to say to her.
The dark girl living within his house was a mystery, a confusing Chinese puzzle that he had neither the time nor patience to solve. Back when he had been a younger man, he remembered being obsessed with an object called a Rubik's Cube; every hour of every day had been spent on that damn contraption. Eventually, he had tossed it aside, proclaiming that one matching side was more than most people could do.
He turned to watch his daughter sitting behind him, tightly gripping a book between her pale hands as her dark eyes practically burned the text with their intensity.
Another cheer traveled through the television set, drawing his attention back to the game and away from his dark-haired daughter. He tried to ignore the dull scratching of pencil against paper and the cold analytical commentary that would peek out of the book's thin pages. Before he had looked in her books, he had never known just how thorough she could be when thinking about the many implications of the book Dracula. Tiny notes written in block-like letters covered nearly every page, each one painting another piece of that Chinese puzzle.
What confused him was the countless reference to Christianity within the text. Bible verses were a common form of personal annotation in that particular book, but last he had checked, he would have sworn Bella had never touched a Bible, let alone been able to quote it.
He hadn't meant to look through the books. Not at first. The desire had built up through the constant scratching of graphite, through the drumming of pale, slender fingers against the cheap wooden table, through the icy brown analytical gaze of his only daughter.
Dracula had been the first book he had found; the ebony cover had somehow managed to chill him to the bone. What had happened to Jane Austin? Charles Dickens? All the authors she used to worship—had they all disappeared from her life?
Even as he read his daughter's scribbled words, he found them cryptic. Most, he realized, were notes attempting to rationalize or cross reference vampire lore. Sunlight and running water were common themes within the margins, occurring several times on each page and all across the cover's inside. It was amazing, Charlie found, how much a father could not know about his daughter.
He never brought up her books, or the notes she wrote in them. Charlie found that he preferred not to know. He would rather be left in the dark than to learn what really went on in this dark mind.
Isabella was lost within a sea of adolescents; she felt their doubts and insecurities weigh her down, dragging her to the ocean's bottom. She hoped that somehow, she made them feel better, that her own misfortune allowed them to believe that they were better than her; allowed them to think that they would never have such a troubled life as Isabella Swan, daughter of a murdered mother and stepfather… victims of gang violence.
Gang violence had nothing to do with what had happened. She remembered the day clearly, as if she were still there, trapped in that bleeding closet, her breath ragged and hoarse from holding in her screams, her trembling limbs held closely to her body as she could do nothing but watch.
They were so beautiful. Even as they had torn her family apart, they had glowed in their perfection. The blood that soaked their pale hands only added to their grace; their crimson eyes laughed and danced with joy as the blood dripped from their mouths; their golden hair cascaded down their backs in gentle waves, somehow untouched by the scarlet waste.
Isabella had never had time or patience for Gods. Whether it be the Christian God or the Hindu gods (and everything in between—Greek, Roman, Sumerian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Celtic), they had all seemed temperamental and too easy to displease. Isabella had believed herself master of her own fate until she saw them that day.
They, the flesh-eating angels.
She didn't know why they hadn't found her shivering in a closet; didn't know why their dark eyes hadn't seen through her pathetic attempt at hiding. But as day broke, the demonic angels smiled, licking the crimson stains from their full lips, and danced gracefully out of the room, their laughter sounding like the tinkling of wind chimes in a summer breeze.
Isabella didn't leave her hiding place until the policemen came and forced her out. She hadn't wanted to abandon the one place where she could still lie to herself and pretend everything was alright, and yet, they tore her from that resting place, that sacred haven, and threw her out into the cold, bloody, world where her mother was dead and demons existed.
The closet was a lie. The closet was safe. Why did they believe that she had wanted to leave the closet?
Could no one comprehend that perhaps, Isabella hadn't wanted to know? That she hadn't wanted to be questioned, interrogated, grilled for the identity of the killers? After all, how could she possibly have told them the truth—looked them in the eyes and told them that a pair of demons with golden hair and crimson eyes had torn her mother limb from limb in an intricate dance that made even slaughter look beautiful?
Bella Swan died inside a closet, choking on the spilt blood of her mother and step-father. In her place, Isabella rose from the ashes. Cynical and morbid, she took what was left of herself and walked into therapy each morning staring blankly at the doctor and wondering what he would have done in her place. She walked through the hallways of her school, watching each pitying glance and wondering what they would do if they ever truly understood what had happened.
The staring is what drove her to Forks—the ceaseless pity of strangers, the whispers of old women and teachers. She didn't need their help and she didn't want it. At first, she had thought that if she stayed away from her father, no one would ask too many questions… but even Charlie with his betrayed looks was better than the suffering the superiority of endless speculation and pseudo-empathetic gazes.
Anything was better than Phoenix.
Verbo et opera
In word and deed
Jessica Stanly was something that didn't take too much effort for Isabella to comprehend. The girl was small and thin with wild, curly hair. The dark ringlets springing from her head seemed to embody the entirety of her personality. Verbose and energetic, Jessica had decided to take it upon herself to change the new girl's ways. Isabella felt it might have had to do with the eyes locked on her own dark figure. Jessica was the spotlight seeker, forever being pushed upstage by petty dramas. To her, Isabella Swan was simply another way to find herself within that bright circle of artificial lighting.
Still, Isabella found herself indulging the wiry girl with offhand remarks about the weather in Phoenix, her family, past relations, hobbies. The lies flowed easier now. There were no longer any awkward chuckles, or pleading eyes; she no longer stammered over personal details of her life… her perfect, imaginary life, where Isabella Swan was an ordinary girl with a great appetite for classics and a vocabulary to show for it. Jessica didn't need to know about the late nights or the obsession that consumed them.
Jessica didn't need to know vampires and demons. Isabella herself sometimes wondered whether it was worth knowing, whether it was worth the isolation it brought her. The first nights in Forks, when the rain had pounded against the windows, she would stare at the white-plaster-spiked ceiling, contemplating her choices in life.
But Isabella wasn't a liar; she found that despite the turns and twists in her life, she still could not lie. Oh, the petty things yes, the small personal details—those were easy. But the true lying, to lie about her very being… that was impossible. It was not in Isabella's nature to heal. She would simply limp onwards, refusing to stop and wait for death as he surely waited for her. Time would not heal her wounds; time would not turn back on itself and provide the girl she used to be.
The Phoenix police had let her go after only a few rounds of questioning. They had believed her to be in shock, unable to speak. After that, she had found herself standing outside the police station, feeling like an empty shell devoid of everything she had once believed in. It meant nothing to her anymore. Who was Jane Austin but a human? What was the arid desert but a pile of ground up rocks? Everything she had loved had dripped out of her, replaced by a feeling of meaninglessness. Within that moment of self-examination, though, she found something else, something that hadn't existed before, an obsession waiting to burst into existence… a fierce desire to know what she had seen that day.
Isabella never looked back. She instead moved forward, dragging her wounded limbs behind her as she gazed towards the horizon.
Author's note: Read and review.