*Disclaimer: All characters and back-stories belong to Stephenie Meyer. No profit is being made from this fan-fiction.
RESURRECTION: THE REBIRTH OF EDWARD CULLEN
|...on temporary hiatus...|
This is one of the very first fan-fictions that I ever wrote for the Twilight fandom because I became fascinated with Carlisle and Edward's interactions while he was still human.
This is my interpretation of their early accounts from Spanish Influenza to newborn vampire with two alternating POVs (because I didn't know how to write in third person back then).
I don't expect this to be a "full-length" fic. It will possibly have around eight chapters once it's completed (whenever that may be).
Possible use of adult language
Draped Sheets and a Burdened Morgue
We walked the long blocks to the hospital, our faces draped with the provided gauze masks to shield our mouths from the world.
Chicago wasn't like it used to be. A once thriving city turned into a nightmare, seemingly, overnight.
What was called the Spanish Flu lurked in every crevice and lay in the gutters of the street, attacking the healthy and innocent.
We stepped over the dead appendages that were helplessly strewn in our path, the owners already blank from the final stage of the sickness. They were dying quicker than they could be picked up. By this rate, the whole city would be gone soon. I couldn't help but be reminded of my father only months prior. Mother and I watched him die and were helpless against the virus that he fought alone. The memory was still fresh, and still pulled at my chest no matter how hard I fought it.
I tried to breathe in delicately, afraid of the infected air that was lingering, but our pace, combined with the cool September breeze, hit the back of my throat and instantly turned the scratched flesh into icy embers that blazed into my lungs. My sickness developed rapidly in a few days. I first started experiencing dizzy spells which turned into fever, and the fever caused cold chills and sweats. It was uncomfortable to move but it didn't quite hurt. Only my head panged and swelled with an ache that was too harsh to be described. It made my eyes tired and my ears ring with a low rumble.
My mother was showing symptoms as well, only, thankfully, she was better off than I was. She was certain that the doctors would be able to slow the progress of the virus before it became too serious. And I, as I always have, believed her. For seventeen years, I have done nothing but listen to her words and trust her judgment. Even now, as we picked up our pace in the grisly sea of stone and bile her words were repeated in my head: You are going to be okay.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to harbor hope as we neared our destination. The mood became impossibly heavier as we rounded the corner onto the street that the Cook County Hospital was located. I had been here before, not many times but at least twice when it was first built a few years ago. The eight story structure was a mere façade of its true purpose. The architecture was marvelous and defiant against the surrounding city. The details of its stone exterior plead to be studied. It's haunting yet beautiful faces with the scaling columns and arches seemed other worldly to me.
Before entering the large building, my mother clasped my wrist and turned me to face her. There was an urgency to her movements.
I studied her closely. Her pale skin and the darkness under her eyes were, I knew, from her lack of sleep. But her lips, which were usually pink and vivid, were as pasty as her complexion. There was a quality about her in that moment that was unnerving.
Her eyes searched mine as she tried to lend me her best smile, but it fell short. It was cut by worry, those thoughts that she was never able to keep from her expressions.
Without warning, words formed in the back of my mind just as she opened her mouth to speak.
"You're—" she started.
"Going to be fine." I interrupted in a hoarse voice.
I always knew what she was going to say before she spoke.
Even though half of my face was covered by fabric, I gave her a reassuring smile, but I could tell by the pull of my cheeks that it was weak and it wouldn't silence her worry.
She reached up and cupped the sides of my face in her palms. She was searching for an answer she hadn't said aloud and I, unknowingly, was searching too.
She patted the side of my face. Her cold hands lingered briefly before returning both of them to her sides. I pushed through the doors of the elaborate building, and held them while she walked through. I would have though this to be the busiest building in the city, but it was the opposite. It was bare of life at first glance, with a strange odor that lingered. It wasn't a stench that I could interpret, but it caused my stomach to twist the further we walked into the lobby.
It didn't take long for an older, brown-haired woman with a mask covering the lower half of her face to find us. I could hear her heavy breathing as she stopped in front of us, and combined with the way her heels clicked heavily against the floor as she approached, I could only assume that she had been running around.
"Quarantine?" she asked, muffled.
"Yes." My mother nodded, placing her hand gently on my back.
The older woman sighed indifferently then pulled a pen from the front pocket on her white nurse's uniform.
"Names?" She asked looking down at her papers she was carrying, preparing to write.
"Elizabeth Masen, and this is my son, Edward."
The nurse scratched down our names and when she finished she looked up at us. "We have two quarantine units here, one for men and another for women and small children. For obvious reasons, we do not allow co-ed, so Mrs. Masen, if you'll come with me. Son, if you'll please wait here, I'll be back for you."
My mother turned to me, her gaze still fevered with worry and now tainted with panic. "But, he's my son." Her voice, once a strong and confident wind was reduced to a delicate breeze. It turned my already churning stomach.
"I'm sorry ma'am there are no exceptions for young men to stay in the women and children unit, regardless of whether or not he is your son. We can provide you with some stationary items and your nurse can exchange letters if you wish. Surely, you can understand." Her tone was more unpleasant than I cared for but I didn't argue with the woman. Instead, I turned to my mother.
"We can write letters. It will be fine," I said, attempting to bring her peace of mind.
I knew she was worried about me but what else was there to do? Our options were exiguous. hy did this feel like good-bye?
She touched my cheek once more. "I love you. We'll see each other soon."
And with that, she stepped away from me.
"Stay here. I'll be right back," the nurse said.
I watched my mom watch me as she disappeared into the shadows.
A low rumble shook the building and I recognized it to be thunder. A storm was rolling in which wasn't surprising. The sky had been threatening strong weather for a few days now and personally, I was anticipating the wet. I imagined it washing away the death to the sewers below. How I wished it were that simple.
I let out a sharp, painful cough that disturbed the thickness in my chest. Just as I began to clear my throat I heard the returning clack of footsteps from the hall my mother had retreated down. The nurse appeared from the shadows.
"Come with me," she demanded.
I resisted the urge to clench my jaw. Her tone was frustrating, but I did what she asked, attempting to be respectful of this rude woman.
I followed her down the same corridor. I didn't remember it looking like this when I was here a couple of years earlier. I recalled the vibrancy and light that lit up the darkest chasm. This wasn't the same building to me. It was solemn, painted with sadness.
The stench that had taken over me earlier made itself known again and came in a more concentrated dose. I attempted to focus my attention on anything but the scent and turned my eyes to the dark walls that were lit dimly by a light being filtered from somewhere ahead of us. The walls were a graying white, and were broken by wide one-windowed doors to match. A sheet had been covered over the glass to give what ever lay behind them privacy. I was sure this was why the hall was so dark but nothing could take away the scent that assaulted my nostrils. It was suddenly rancid and stung the skin under my eyes as I breathed it in.
I gulped the air, carelessly, hoping to calm my upset stomach but the rotten odor was too strong even for the back of my throat. I tasted the putrid aroma on my tongue and I couldn't move forward anymore. I stopped, unable to follow the nurse down the hallway for fear of my sickness and the motion. My breath staggered through my nose; my stomach leaped at the scent and the burning started to crawl into my throat. I wanted to fight the reaction but there wasn't any way that I was going to be able to keep the bile from rising further. I needed something and frantically searched the hall for any signs to hold the contents of my stomach. But I was too late. The sensations burned my eyes and it hit the top of my mouth. I heaved forward to the floor unwillingly. The acidic liquid was agonizing against the raw flesh of my throat as the contents spilled into my mask and splattered onto my clothes and the floor.
I closed my eyes, squeezing out the tears. "I'm sorry." I spluttered out roughly after emptying the contents in front of me. I was slightly embarrassed not being able to hold myself together.
"Don't worry. We'll have an orderly clean it up. Don't think that you are the first that has vomited. Most everybody does when they first get here…Including the volunteers." She had turned to look at me, not caring about the contents from my innards in front of me. I pulled my mask from my face with as much force as my hands allowed and threw it onto the floor. I wiped away the excess with the back of my hand.
"It's the smell." I said then coughed repeatedly, wondering if she was unaware of the stink.
"I know. The morgue is directly below us. We have to store bodies here longer than usual. The city can't bury the victims fast enough and it is becoming too crowded, too quickly. The morgue has reached its occupancy and we've had to find elsewhere to store the bodies," she explained.
I was surprised that she was offering all this information to me—a patient, a potential victim. If I didn't make it out of here alive, this would be the fate of my remains, or my mothers.
The thought made me want to heave again but I knew there was nothing left to empty onto the floor. The lady walked back to me, carefully so she wouldn't get anything on her dress and cupped my arm but maintaining her distance. She pulled me away from my liquid. According to the papers, the Influenza was extremely contagious. They believed it was spread through the nose and mouth, so I did my part to keep from coughing on her, although some part of me wanted to infect her so she would experience the feelings. She led me through a door with a sheet hung for privacy. The letters were bold and black: QUARANTINE.
Beds were lined in rows upon rows, all full of people. I wanted to cover my now bare mouth but remembered that I, too, was sick and it wouldn't do much good, but instincts were the better of me and I slipped a hand over my mouth and nose; providing a fleshy screen for myself. The nurse let go of my elbow but continued to walk into the room and I followed her between the spacious aisles of white sheeted beds. A new smell was in the air - remains of food and urine overpowered the rotting flesh below us.
"We don't have a bed available for you, Edward. You can sleep on a palate until a bed opens. I'm sorry." She turned back to face me briefly, her brown eyes flat and careless. She spun and rattled keys in her hands then continued to walk her inferior steps to a door on the opposite side of the room.
By the time I caught up with her, she had already unlocked the door and pulled white cloths out of the rather large storage cupboard.
"These are your dressings. Your palate is over here." She motioned towards an empty space between two beds that held patients. I followed her dutifully and she dropped half of the cloths onto the floor bed. "Please change so that we may treat you without your clothes getting in the way." She handed me hospital grade clothing that consisted of a thin shirt and thin pants. I looked around for a room to go change into but was confused when I saw no direction at all.
"Change." She said again, noting the expression on my face. She started to unfold the sheets.
"Where do I need to change at?" I asked her, forcing the words through the thickness in my throat. Surely, there was a sheet I could stand behind or a wash room that she wanted me to go into.
"Here. Change here." Her tone was forceful and a staggered breath escaped my chest into the tainted air.
"But you're still here." I looked around briefly, swallowing around the lump in my throat. "And so are the other nurses." I tried to keep my voice at a steady whisper, resisting the urge to give her my rude tone.
"Sir, this is why we don't have co-ed quarantines. You may keep your undergarments on, if that is what you are concerned about. You don't have anything the volunteers and nurses have never encountered before, I assure you." She spoke into the makeshift bed as she straightened and tugged at the white sheets.
I sighed in defeat and started undressing.
I hurriedly outfitted myself in the thin attire she provided for me and folded my clothes at the foot of the floor bed she had provided. Despite my careful folding, she scooped them up carelessly into her arms, holding them away from her and motioned for me to lie down. I obeyed and slipped underneath the rough sheets and onto the hard floor.
"What are you going to do with my clothes?" I asked but was afraid of her answer.
"These will be thrown out. They are too soiled for the nurses to deal with."
She walked away.
I felt fragile and small under her watch. She treated me like I was a child even though I was almost old enough to join the military. I rested my head on the pillow and turned to look down the long aisle of beds. My vision was interrupted by additional patients laid out on the floor like I was. There was little movement on the floor but it wasn't silent. Coughing surrounded the room and echoed briefly in the rafters above us. It was accompanied by the roar of thunder and the pounding on the rain on the windows on either side of the large area.
"Don't worry about her." A voice said above me. The accent was heavy Italian. "That's head nurse Pat. We secretly thinks she hates men which is why they put that God forsaken woman here with us." My eyes ascended to the owner of the heavy voice. I was met with a pair of tired brown eyes and a thin pale face. His brown hair was matted to his head and his breath was rank. He couldn't have been older than me but his worn features suggested otherwise. He paused to give me time to answer but I said nothing; my throat was still burning from the vomit incident in the hall.
"I'm George Fanatoni. But you can call me Georgie. Don't call me Geo though, ya know…Cause I hate that." I grinned at his enthusiasm. He seemed quite chipper for someone who was situated with deathly sick people. I had to wonder if his Flu was as serious as mine.
"Edward Masen." I pushed it out forcefully so that he could hear me through the mucus.
"That over there is Frankie Stanford." He gestured with his chin to the bed next to me. "But Frankie don't say much. He's in the final stages so it's hard for him to talk. He sleeps most of the day and night and only wakes up to eat per the nurses. If they didn't wake him up, poor Frankie would sleep all the time."
I looked up at the other bed but only saw traces of pale flesh that belonged to an arm. "You'll probably be getting his bed. The doc doesn't think he'll make it but another day, if he's lucky."
I cringed at the thought of inheriting a dead man's bed. It was a gruesome practice.
"What about you? How long have you been here?" I asked him.
"Me? About a week. My parents sent me here as soon as I started the cough. Ya know, they didn't want my sisters to come down with it. Haven't heard from 'em either. They don't let visitors in here."
"You're the only one in your family that is sick?"
"Yeah. I'm hoping that it stays that way. What about you?"
"My father died in the first wave earlier this year and my mother is in the women's quarantine now. I don't have any other family." I said roughly.
"I'm sorry." Georgie offered softly.
I could only nod, biting back the silent tears that formed against the slick mucus lining the back of my throat. The brunette that Georgie had named Pat, was stalking back towards my bed carrying items in her arms. She bent down and produced them on the floor next to me; two small shallow pales, a metal bed pan and a small white towel. She went to work immediately, her gauze mask rising and falling with her stinted breath. She submerged the small fabric in a pale with water and swished it. The sound was almost soothing when it was combined with the rain beating against the windows.
She washed my face first. The wet dented material of the towel rubbing the remains of my accident away from my skin. It felt good to be clean, even if there was no soap on the fabric. I knew that this was as close as I was going to be for a while. She dipped the rag in the water several more times to wash my neck and hands then slapped the towel back in the pale and went to stand.
"Thank you." I murmured and cleared my throat.
She turned back and looked down at me and nodded simply. She grinned, slightly and then went about her duties, taking the pale of water with her. The water reminded me how thirsty I was. My throat was parched and the sickness was tiring but I didn't want to bother Nurse Pat since she seemed perplexed. My neighbor didn't offer any other words and neither did I. A flash of light lit the room and seconds later a clap of thunder shook the building. My breath hitched and I jumped at the sound, feeling the shock through my chest and arms. I coughed into my fist as I turned over on my left side. I wanted to rest, to find some peace and comfort in the blackness but I found myself inspecting the people on the floor around me. Their stillness was unnatural. I tried to breathe evenly while keeping my breaths shallow, to avoid the odor and having to use the pale next to me, although I wasn't sure what was left to spill.
It was hard to not smell the combination of ammonia, vomit and other strong scents that evaded my knowledge. It was hard not to imagine the death cart that carried away the victims and the full morgue below us that Nurse Pat told me of earlier. Regardless, I tried to clear my head of everything but the sound of the rain and the claps of thunder. I closed my eyes tightly against the flashes of light and reveled at the refreshing weather. Memories seeped back in through the filtered flashes in the darkness behind my lids. I saw myself playing in the rain as a boy, enjoying the drops wetting my hair and rolling down my face. I didn't like getting my clothes wet but there wasn't much I could do about that. My mother would call me back inside only after a few minutes to change my wet garments. She didn't enjoy me getting my clothes soaked either.
I shivered under the sheet, not knowing if it was the air or the memory that caused the chills. I squeezed my eyes tighter and pressed my lips into a tight grimace.
I needed stationary so I could write a short note for my mother and I wondered how she was doing. I hope she had a bed to lie in, instead of lie on the hard floor like I was. I brought a loosely clenched fist to my mouth and coughed into it roughly. My chest ached and never settled until I drifted into the darkness that I always welcomed where everything was better.
I woke up, startled at a noise that was unrecognizable. I looked around briefly, confused about where I was at first until the day's events came back to me. The room was more active next to me and I rolled over to see shoes and legs in my direct view on the other side of the Frankie's bed.
"I told ya, he wouldn't last long. Poor bastard didn't even make it to dinner time." Georgie said beside me.
"Do you know what time it is?" I asked absently; still groggy from sleep.
"No. I never know what time it is until the doctor gets here. Then I can tell you that it is eight on the dot. But my guess would be five o'clock."
"Does he get here at the same time everyday?"
"Yeah," he drawled. "Dr. Cullen only works nights. Rather odd he is."
I became curious and suddenly more aware of the nurses beside me tending to the dead man. "Why do you say?" I asked distracting myself.
"He never works during the day and his skin is white as these sheets…But that could be from never going out in the sun." He grinned at the not-so-humorous joke.
I nodded. A lot of people didn't go out during the day, especially now while all of public Chicago was becoming infected. A gurney held up by two men caught my attention as it passed by overhead in the aisle. I was calm, not affected by the sight as I told myself that death is natural. I was, however, not as composed when I thought about climbing into the bed he had died in. It was more or less of the word, creepy.
A young, petite blond dressed in a white uniform came and knelt by my palate. Even though her mouth was covered with the large mask, I would say that she was fairly attractive. Her curls were pinned to the side of her head under her delicate folded nurse's hat and her blue eyes seemed kind and sympathetic.
"We're going to put you in the bed. We'll have to use the same sheets that you're using. We've nearly run out of fresh."
I nodded in understanding, not minding. I had only lain on these sheets for a few hours at most. I watched her as she stripped the mattress above me and pile the sheets at the end of the bed on the floor. Without asking, she helped me up, her hands cupping under my elbow.
"Let me get your sheets on, dear." She said quietly.
I stood while she tucked, tugged and smoothed the sheets then motioned for me to climb in. I did so, trying not to let my mind wander to Frankie being carried away to be stacked in the morgue—or elsewhere. I was unsuccessful. The blond nurse put the remaining sheet over me as I laid my head on the pillow.
"Thank you." I muttered. She nodded, her eyes squinting above a grin.
The bed was comfortable enough but cold against the length of my body and sleep was too far away for me to reach. So, I stared at the ceiling overhead, listening to the sounds and defining each of them. Coughing, liquid dripping somewhere across the room, the rain beating against the windows—which was obvious, sniffling, painful moaning and soft delicate sobs. It was becoming increasingly hard to breathe appropriately and I gulped for air through my mouth. With the air a sour scent touched my taste buds. It wasn't like anything else in the room yet it was familiar; unkempt skin and dirty sheets. The smell reminded me of the last moments with my father.
I remained the same for hours, trying to cough inconspicuously into my fist to reduce attention to myself even if there wasn't any. I ate a small dinner that consisted of a bland soup and a chunk of bread with water. Nurse Pat came by a few times to check on me and to test for fever, which I had. She brandished a look of worry each time she inspected me and then slipped over to her other patients and to light lanterns that were placed around the room. The dim light flickered and danced impossibly on the high ceiling. I closed my eyes to shut out the amber room that was my new reality but they didn't stay closed for long. A new commotion of voices caught my attention. I opened my eyes and turned my head in the direction where the noise was coming from.
"Eight o'clock." Georgie murmured beside me then coughed laboriously.
I watched the tall figure make the rounds and speak to the nurses. The poor light restricted me from seeing his face or any other details other than the obvious fact that he had sleek blond hair. He finally settled next to Nurse Pat a few feet away, his back to me. She motioned towards me and his head snapped to attention then he focused on me and walked to my bedside.
He was frightfully pale even in the amber glow but more bewildering were his eyes. They seemed to gleam like melted gold and were just as auroras. He offered a grin, his teeth as white as the sheets I was laying on.
"Hello Edward," he said. "I'm Dr. Cullen."