Disclaimer: I don't own anything Twilight except the DVD, the books and a few posters – everything belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome. – Isaac Asimov.
It was dark. It was quiet. Only the blackness surrounded me. Only the beatings of my heart pierced the crisp silence.
I didn't know where I was, or how I had gotten here, though I couldn't wait to leave. It was like I had been sucked into a black hole – there was only darkness. I didn't move as I had no idea what was surrounding me, what was lurking in the blackness. For all I could know, I could be surrounded by water or stood on the edge of a cliff. Staying as still as a statue was good. It was safe.
However, suddenly there was light. It had brightened so abruptly – like someone had flicked on a light switch. I greeted the light with a sigh of relief, letting myself relax.
I looked around. I was stood in centre of nothing. I was surrounded by nothing. My brow furrowed as I spun around, trying to find some sort of clue as to where I was. Though, as I was just about to complete a three hundred and sixty degree turn, my eyes fell upon a familiar face that stood out amongst the nothingness.
'Gran?' I asked.
My Grandma Marie stood there, wearing her usual familiar smile. She looked exactly the same as the last time she had starred in one of my dreams; her skin was soft and withered, bent into a thousand of tiny creases that clung gently to the bone underneath, with a puff of thick white hair standing out in a cloud on the top of her head. I knew it wasn't myself mirrored this time as, before I could even say anything, she spoke in her gentle voice.
'It isn't your time, sweetheart,' she said.
It wasn't my time? What wasn't my time? I cocked my head to the side, letting Gran's words twist and turn in my head as I tried to unravel the meaning behind them.
'You aren't ready to come here … not yet.'
'I don't understand,' I whispered.
Gran frowned sympathetically at me. She took a step forward and stroked my cheek.
'You have so much to live for, Isabella,' Gran said.
Finally, everything made sense.
I had died.
I guess Fate had marked me as a target since I had came to Forks. It had been furious that I managed to get away from Death once – thanks to Edward – and had now decided to come back and take me when he had left, when I was unprotected. Maybe even if Edward hadn't left me – I was surprised how I felt no pain thinking about him – then I still wouldn't have been able to be saved. After all, it hadn't been supernatural forces that killed me. A car had been the murderer.
'I'm dead?' I replied. It came out as a question, yet I already knew the answer.
'You have a choice,' said Gran, letting her hand fall from my face. 'You are hovering between life and death at the moment. You can stay here or go back down to Earth. Your body might not be able to accept you yet, but I know this isn't your time to join me. Not yet.'
Did I want to go back though? Did life still have a purpose without Edward? Could I continue to live without him in my life? I realised how simpler it would be to give up now, to let myself rest in peace, and stay with Gran. Yet, at the same time, I couldn't help but hate myself for being so selfish. Did Charlie deserve to be deserted? He had already been abandoned once by my Mother, he didn't need to be abandoned again. I had a choice here – I had an actual choice whether I could live or die. Many people probably didn't get that chance. I decided to use this choice to the best of my advantage.
Gran nodded before I even spoke. 'I'll see you one day, honey, when your time has come.'
And I knew she would. Before Edward had left me, I had never intended on dying. Now, however, death was the end of the road for me.
'I love you,' I whispered.
'And I love you too. Go make me proud,' chuckled Gran, pressing a kiss to my forehead.
I looked around and realised I was in a hospital. I knew I was in a hospital because I had visited so many times that it had become like a second home to me. The walls were the same dull crème colour, there was a certain scent the building held, and I could hear the steady beats of a heart monitor penetrating the thick silence.
My eyes fell upon the person sat besides the bed, slouched slightly in the chair, sleeping peacefully.
What was Charlie doing here?
His face looked troubled. He twitched nervously in his sleep. Sweat pooled on his forehead, his brows pulled together.
And then something clicked …
'You are hovering between life and death at the moment. You can stay here or go back down to Earth. Your body might not be able to accept you yet, but I know this isn't your time to join me. Not yet.'
Gran's words echoed in my head.
Your body might not be able to accept you yet …
Slowly, my eyes fell onto the person lay in the bed.
My body lay unmoving on the bed, attached to the heart monitor, with many wires connected to my body. I was almost unrecognizable behind the deep bruises and huge, red-rimmed gashes that littered my face. My skin was a dull grey colour. It looked very unhealthy. It was odd to see myself looking so broken, so lifeless …
I crept closer, my eyes never wavering from my own body. It was an odd experience. Being stood above your-self in a ghostly form was much, much different from looking at your-self in the mirror every morning. In fact, looking at myself now, I was able to tell how much the mirror lied. My skin looked much paler than it appeared in the mirror, though I didn't know whether that was because of the damaged state I was in. My hair seemed a darker shade as well.
The sudden creak of the door opening brought me back to focus. I looked up to see a blonde-haired doctor enter my room. For a slight moment, the beating of my heart accelerated. For a slight moment, I had thought it had been Carlisle who had entered my room with his clipboard held in between his fingers. However, with one look over at the man who had entered, I realised he had nothing on Carlisle. I felt almost guilty that I had thought this average human mimicked the beauty of immortality that Carlisle and his family held.
'Charlie,' said the doctor, sympathy deep in his voice. He lay his hand gently on Charlie's shoulder, being careful not to shock him and cause him a heart attack.
Using Charlie's first name with that much sympathy, I wondered if the doctor and Charlie already knew each other. It had mostly been Carlisle who had treated to me with every cut, bruise, broken bone and fracture I had normally somehow been blessed with. Realising that this beautiful pattern was gone forever, my bottom lip trembled. I sucked it in between my teeth, hoping to control it. I wondered if ghosts could even cry …
'Charlie,' repeated the doctor.
This time when the doctor shook Charlie gently, Charlie jumped out of his seat and let his hand fall instantly to his gun. Realising that it was only the doctor, he gave a gruff cough and let his hand fall from his weapon, throwing the doctor an apologetic glance.
'Jason,' nodded Charlie.
'It isn't good news, Charlie,' sighed Jason, rubbing his palm across his sweating head.
I saw Charlie gulp. His eyes were suddenly full of panic. 'Tell me.'
I positioned myself side by side with Charlie, keeping my eyes on his face only. Without even thinking, his pained eyes had me reaching out and stroking his cheek. Even though it seemed impossible, his head slightly twitched to the side … as though he had felt my touch. I smiled.
'Bella is not getting enough oxygen to her brain,' said Jason.
Charlie's face instantly became emotionless besides me. The composure had me reeling back to the day when Edward left. I inwardly flinched. I couldn't even remember when that exact day had been. Had it been years ago? Months? Weeks? Minutes? Seconds? I couldn't even remember.
'What does that mean?' questioned Charlie.
Jason sighed, rubbing the back of his neck roughly. His eyes glanced down at Charlie's gun, almost trying to work out if telling Charlie the truth was worth his life.
'It means that Bella is in a coma,' Jason croaked.
Charlie's top teeth sunk into his bottom lip. I knew the look in his eye … it was denial. I understood his reaction. I knew Charlie didn't want to believe his little girl was in a coma, knowing that there was a chance she would never awaken. Though I needed him to have acceptance, it was the only way it would spark hope within him.
Once again, I reached out and stroked his arm. And, once again, his arm twitched slightly at my touch.
'Is she in pain?' he whispered.
Jason's eyes fell downwards to the floor. It was obvious that this was a question he didn't want to answer.
'Jason,' Charlie said gruffly. The tone of his voice sounded commanding.
'Essentially she's drowning,' answered Jason.
Charlie's eyes fell upon me. Maybe it was because I was his daughter, or maybe because everything was seen differently from this point of view, but I saw the pain tear across his face like a savage tornado. To everyone else, to the whole world, Charlie looked in control at this moment, yet I was the only one who could see the strong Chief of Forks police breaking.
Jason left, looking unbearably guilty, a few minutes later. I knew that informing a patient's family was probably the worst part of being a doctor. Who wanted to be the one to admit that a loved one's fear was true? Who wanted to be the one to tear apart a family's life? Watching someone finding out their loved ones were either critically ill, in any sort of danger or pain, or even dead had to be heart-wrenching. I was suddenly able to appreciate doctors more than I already did. I now admired a doctor's bravery. Only a doctor was brave enough to be the one to tell the truth when all someone wanted to hear was the lie. Only a doctor was strong enough to repeatedly watch people's whole world shatter around them.
Charlie stared at my body for a long time, keeping my small limp hand wrapped in his large one. It was the emotional side of Charlie I had never seen. He, like me, wasn't the type of person to wear their heart on their sleeve. It was comforting seeing him trying his hardest to cling onto me in any way possible.
What seemed like hours passed before Charlie fell asleep, his hand falling from mine. Unlike Charlie, I didn't feel tired. In fact, I felt rather numb. I realised that since I had returned to Earth, I had felt no sliver of emotion whatsoever. I guessed that I was as disconnected from humanity as I was from my body.
I missed life already.
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