A/N: Hey. This is my first fanfiction where I've really broken away from the story Stephenie Meyer wrote. It's uncharted territory to me so tell me what you think and help me navigate it. Read, Review, Pass it on!
Annamarie is the four year old daughter of Carlisle and Elisabeth Cullen living in London, England in the 1660s and 1670s. Read on to find out what will happen to this little girl…
I'm going to say this once, Stephenie Meyer owns Carlisle and all the other fantastic characters. I think the closest I come is Anna and possibly Elisabeth, but that might be pushing it. Anyway, no copyright infringement intended.
London, England 1663: Nightmare
Annamarie padded softly across the cold, wooden floor, clutching her worn, plush bear to her chest. The cold of early morning seeped in through her nightgown, raising goose-bumps along her arms. The walk from her room, down the hallway to her parents' room seemed so long. Annamarie rested her hand gently on the doorknob and turned it slowly, opening the door.
Before her, just visible in the beginnings of the sunrise, rested her parents' bed. Her mother, with her dark, curly hair, slumbered peacefully on the left side, her brown eyes closed. Only her head peeked out from the comforter.
Annamarie shuffled along the width of the bed to the other side, where her father slept. His chest and shoulders were uncovered by the blanket revealing a worn, white nightshirt. Unlike her mother, Annamarie's father wore a serious expression in his sleep. He was a young man, the son of an Anglican pastor. Annamarie knew that her father went out to help her Grandfather sometimes. Each time, he came home grim and thoughtful. Annamarie knew he needed her then. She would curl up in his lap and listen to his heart beat as he stroked her soft, blonde curls. Her mother's curls, but her father's color. Annamarie never remembered going to bed those nights. The rhythmic thumping conspired with her father's body heat to make Annamarie's eyelids heavy.
This morning, Annamarie was the first up. She'd had a nightmare. It had been dark, not like night in London. Night in London, England, even though the sky was dark, was never fully black. There was always some sort of light. Annamarie was scared of this dark, a dark that pressed in on her so thoroughly she couldn't even see her own hand in front of her. Then, something broke the dark. At first, all Annamarie could see were two red dots. But as they came closer, she realized that what she was seeing wasn't just dots, but eyes. Blood red eyes that bore into her and swallowed her up…
She reached out her hand and took her father's limp one. It was just as warm in sleep as it was in waking. She watched as her father's face relaxed and then felt his own, larger fingers curl around her hand. Finally, he opened his sky blue eyes that sparkled as he looked to his daughter.
"Annamarie?" He sat up, his expression puzzled. Next to him, his wife turned over, but remained asleep. "What are you doing up so early?" He looked out the window. The first rays of the sun did not even reach over the rooftops of London.
"I had a bad dream," Annamarie whispered. "I'm sorry, Papa."
Her father stretched, yawning and looked over to his wife. She was rousing.
"It is Annamarie," Carlisle replied softly. "I'll take care of it, go back to sleep."
He stood up and, taking his daughter's hand, led her out the bedroom and back into the hall.
"Do you think you can go back to sleep?" he asked gently.
Annamarie shook her head. She reached up to hold her father's hand and still clutched the teddy bear in her other. Carlisle nodded and picked her up as he descended the narrow, step stairway of their house in London.
"Do you want to tell me about your bad dream?" Carlisle asked his daughter.
"It was really dark and the red eyes gobbled me up," Annamarie told him.
"Red eyes? Have you been listening to too many of Grandfather's stories?" He set her down again and they walked back into the small kitchen. The cooking fire had burned down to embers. Annamarie perched on a low stool as Carlisle laid another log on and coaxed the embers back to life. It was meticulous work, but it gave him time to wake up fully. By the time he had the fire burning strongly again, the sun was beginning to shine in through the windows. It would be a rare, sunny day over London, England.
He turned back to Annamarie, who had been watching his back. He picked her up off the stool and spun around once, holding her close to his chest. "It was just a bad dream," he assured her. "Alright?"
He felt Annamarie nod under his chin.
"Do you want to help me?"
She nodded again.
They busied themselves around the kitchen. Carlisle did most of the work while Annamarie watched. She would sometimes ask her father questions about what he was doing, but most of the time she remained silent. Carlisle worked, slicing bread in even lengths with smooth motions. Then they filled a pot with water and made a thin porridge over the cooking fire. They were running low. Annamarie carefully stirred the porridge while Carlisle kept an eye on her. She knew not to touch the pot, and especially not the flames themselves. Carlisle sometimes alerted her when she got too close.
As they finished, Annamarie's mother, Elisabeth, descended the stairway. She stood in the door, watching her husband and her daughter with a slight smile on her face. Annamarie was so much like her father. They had the same hair, the same eyes, the same warm smile. She loved them both.
Carlisle caught sight of his wife and held out his hand to her, not realizing she'd just been admiring the same smile that had broken across his face. Annamarie watched, giggling as her father swept her mother up, dancing a quick spin around the kitchen before gently placing a kiss on her forehead.
Annamarie giggled. "Me next!" she called, reaching her hands up to her father.
Carlisle and Elisabeth laughed at her antics, but Carlisle swept her up too, tossing her into the air so that for the briefest of seconds, Annamarie was flying. But before she could feel scared, her father's strong hands caught her firmly and pulled her close again.
"Okay, enough fun," Elisabeth said. She'd taken the porridge off the fire and was ladling it out into two good-size bowls and a smaller one for Annamarie. The family sat down at the table to break fast together.
Annamarie sat with her mother, waiting for her father to return. He'd left that night excited. "I think we have finally found one," Carlisle confided in Elisabeth.
"Be careful," Elisabeth had urged.
"I always am," Carlisle replied.
He'd left as the sun set to the west of London. Annamarie couldn't know exactly how much time had passed since then, she'd been drifting in and out of sleep. Her mother seemed reluctant to send her to bed, as if doing so could be accepting that Carlisle wasn't coming home. Annamarie remained curled up with her mother, snuggling up to her teddy bear and fighting the Sandman that made her eyes so heavy. It was a losing battle and soon she drifted off to sleep…
Thud. Thud. Thud. A rapid succession of urgent knocks at the door interrupted Annamarie's slumber. She opened her eyes just in time to see her mother hurrying to open the bolt. But Annamarie didn't understand why. The knocks hadn't been like her father's. When he came home after they'd already bolted the door, his knocks were gentle taps as to not wake Annamarie. But these were on the edge of desperate. Did her mother not realize this?
Annamarie stood just in the doorway to the sitting room, watching as Elisabeth heaved the bolt away. She swung it open to reveal three men with torches. Annamarie didn't know them, but her mother seemed to.
"John, Benjamin, Michael. What is going on? Where is Carlisle?"
The tallest of the three men sighed. "We got separated. We had hoped he'd returned home."
"No," Elisabeth replied. She looked beyond them. "Come inside. You can explain all this." She beckoned the three men in and then shut the door behind them, but didn't replace the bolt. They sat in the sitting room as Elisabeth busied herself in the kitchen. Annamarie peeked around the doorway to watch the curious men.
They seemed anxious, glancing around the room. They spoke amongst each other in hushed tones.
"The real thing?"
Annamarie could only hear snatches of their words. Eventually one of them noticed her. He was the shortest, the youngest, and had the nicest face. He smiled to her. "Hello there. You must be Annamarie."
Annamarie nodded shyly. She didn't know these men. She didn't know how she should act around them.
The other two turned to look at her when the youngest spoke. "So this must be the famous Annamarie," the tallest commented genially. "Your Papa always told so many stories about you."
Papa? "When is he coming back?" Annamarie asked. She moved out into the doorway.
The three men looked between each other, uncertain. "Soon," answered the youngest finally.
Elisabeth rushed back in toting a tray of steaming mugs. "Annamarie, go to bed," she said. Annamarie stood in the doorway a moment longer, and then turned to climb the stairs, teddy in hand. Behind her, she still heard the conversation from the sitting room.
"She looks just like her father," commented one of the men.
"Yes," Annamarie heard her mother reply, absently. "What happened?"
"Well, we were waiting for it. Carlisle had tracked it to a drain. They lived in the sewers. We waited for it for a long time. Some of the men were unsure whether or not to believe Carlisle. But he seemed positive this was the right spot, so we waited. One of the monsters crawled out of the drain eventually. We waited a bit before ambushing it. The monster fled Carlisle right behind him. Ben, Michael, and I tried to follow right behind them, but that thing ran with ungodly speed, only the devil could give. Carlisle took a few detours to head it off. We got separated from him a bit and lost our way. By the time we found the spot we were too late. The creature already killed two of the men, and we think he dragged off a third. None of the two killed were Carlisle, though there was so much blood. We've confirmed that he wasn't the one dragged off either. We don't know what happened to him."
"That was why we came here," the youngest added.
"Elisabeth." Annamarie hadn't heard this voice since they'd come. "If Carlisle has been attacked, if he has been bitten, he is not himself anymore. He is soiled. You must tell us right now. Did Carlisle return injured?" The force behind the man's words worried Annamarie. If her father was injured, they should be helping him.
"No," Elisabeth replied. "He has not returned, injured or whole."
"If he does, you must tell us, regardless of what he says. If he's injured and we catch him quickly, we may be able to help him. Do you understand?"
The room was silent. Annamarie crept down to look at the shadows in the flickering candlelight. The shadow bobbed its head.
"Good," the third man approved. They stood up and Annamarie scurried up the last of the steps and out of sight. The final salutations said, Elisabeth showed the three out and then replaced the bolt with ominous finality. Annamarie padded back down the hallway to her room and climbed back into bed. It was chilly and she curled up in a ball, waiting for her mother to climb the stairs to kiss her goodnight. But her mother never came, and neither did her father.