Les Femmes Noires One-Shot Contest
Title: Avenging the Fallen Angel
Your pen name: Nostalgicmiss
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, that pleasure belongs to Stephenie Meyer. The song doesn't belong to me either. WARNING: This is a very dark Story. Please do not read if you are offended by violence, gore or rape.
To see other entries in Les Femmes Noires Contest, please visit the C2 page:
Avenging the Fallen Angel
All the things that form their lives, but
Dead, their sighs, their songs
They know what they do is wrong.
Stay here with us, it's just time.
Satan has been sighted
Transylvanian Concubine - Rasputina
The burning in my throat was the single most annoying thing I had ever endured. I was being hidden away from society like a deformed circus act and all I wanted to do was show the immense beauty that now shrouded me.
Certainly, it was my beauty that had been my downfall, but being able to see this reflection staring back at me was divine. The red eyes that penetrated my stare would be perfect for what I had planned for my murderers.
I didn't want to stay like this, trapped forever in a body that had been abused, what those animals had done to me would always been ingrained in my skin, on my lips, in my hair. I would never feel clean after what they had done and I would have to endure an eternity of remembering how it felt to die, how it felt to be raped and beaten and left as a bloody pulp under a gas lantern on the street. I couldn't let them do this to anyone else, I would be the judge, jury and executioner.
I wasn't at all sure of my own restraint when it came to this new life, but I was willing to try, willing to keep the crimson surrounding my pupils a little longer if it meant that I could get peace from the murderers that had taken my human life.
Carlisle and Edward had tried to discourage me on more than one occasion, and the woman, Esme, had simply told me I had to do what I needed to do to find peace. I spoke to Carlisle constantly and as genteel as he was, he would never have agreed to take another life. Nor could I ask him to. I wanted this, and I wanted to do it alone. A long drawn out process, saving Royce King for last, I wanted him to know I was coming for him, I wanted to know that I would be the last thing he would see as he took his final breath.
"Always so sanguine, Miss Hale."
"You shouldn't listen to people's private thoughts then, Edward."
I couldn't imagine spending an eternity with this morose man. He wouldn't even look at me, and the things I'd heard while changing had irritated me to distraction. He had no interest in me and it bothered me, for reasons I could not explain, even to myself.
"Do you think of anything else at all, Miss Hale?" Edward drawled, tapping on the keys of the baby grand in the parlor. He was in another room and he was still annoying. I wasn't sure if this enhanced hearing was a blessing or a curse.
"And what's that supposed to mean?"
"There is always an I or me in your thoughts, does that not get a little tiring?"
"Do you wish to drive me insane so early in this new life, Edward?"
"I could ask the same of you, Rosalie."
His casual use of my given name threw me for a loop, he had been nothing but entirely proper since the moment I had awoken. His cordial demeanor always riding a fine line of being snide. Strangely, I didn't mind his being more casual with me. The formal way in which he had interacted with me before had done nothing but make me feel like an outsider.
Edward was in front of me in a flash, if I hadn't have picked up his scent or the subtle weight change on the piano bench, I would have been startled, but these new senses prepared me for anything.
"I never intended for you to feel uncomfortable. I do not pretend to understand your need to make our lives so difficult Rosalie, however, I do understand the disorientation you are feeling, and your need for revenge. Your life was stolen from you in the most violent of ways, I have thought much on this matter and I have decided to aid you. I will not take a life, but I will help you find the men that did this to you, and I will wait to make sure you do not drink from them. It's all the help I can offer."
I smiled, feeling each of the muscles coiling in my face with the effort. I wouldn't drink of them. That much I was certain of, I would not taint this hardened body with any part of those men. My hands would do the work.
"But did you counter in the smell of the blood? Do you remember your first hunt, Rosalie? The burn as the smell of the blood tickled your senses, the throbbing beat of the heart in the pulse points of the animals you hunted? You are designed to hunt humans, their blood will call to you more than that of an animal, their blood will smell sweeter to you."
"You will not move me on this, Edward." My voice was harsher than I intended and it took me a while to soften my tone, I did not want to offend him again. "I must do this so I can live in peace. I cannot let anyone else suffer my fate from the hands of these men. I believe I was cursed to stop them. To stop men like them. No one should have to suffer what I did."
Edward bowed his head in acquiescence. He seemed to understand me more because of his talent. He had been in my head these last few weeks, even with my hostility. In this new expanded and broadened mind, Royce king had been the only constant, along with all of the dull images of that one night.
"Please, stop," Edward asked, cringing slightly as the smell of my own blood tainted my memory making my mouth pool with venom.
"I apologize. I forget myself sometimes, lose myself in the memories so I will not lose my anger."
"Will this give you peace?"
"I can hope, Edward."
I bided my time training myself as best I could to withstand the temptation of the humans. Carlisle was not willing to have me in the general populace until I could control my thirst. I could easily kill anyone if I lost even the slightest control. I understood that more than ever when I encountered my first human.
The fire was all consuming, my body craving the liquid that flowed through their body. I was in the main house when the doorbell rang and I could hear the steady beat of the heart pumping blood through the veins, the subtle heat in the air as the warm body lingered on the other side of the door. The sliding and stretching of the skin as the Adam's apple rubbed as he swallowed.
My senses wanted to overtake me, drive me towards the scent, but I fought it the best I could, I had been living in this shell of my body for almost six months. Yes, I could hear the subtle flow of the blood coursing through the veins. Yes, it was maddening, but I fought it with everything I had in me.
"Rosalie, you need to distract yourself if you want any chance of fighting this. You're focusing on the sounds and smells of the human too much, it will overwhelm you when the door is opened."
I should have known Edward would listen to my thoughts, but I appreciated his help. He knew as well as I did, if I could resist this human, I would bring me closer to the revenge I so desperately sought.
I heeded his warning and distracted myself with the book I was trying to read. I concentrated on the words as they danced across the page, absorbing every syllable as I read them. I could hear everything so clearly, I could still smell the blood pumping through the body outside the door.
I heard the lock click as Carlisle reached the door. His slow human facade making him take longer, so he wouldn't frighten the sentient being on the other side of the door. One thing I had learned from Carlisle was just how fragile humans were. Their bones would turn to dust in our hands if we squeezed too tightly. So many lessons, and yet I planned to someday use them for wrong.
I had learned that humans would steer clear from us when they encountered us, giving us wide berth as their instincts screamed at them to run. I vaguely remembered that when I had thought of the Cullen's. I hated them for their beauty, but feared them when they approached. Their ghostly skin and perfect proportions making them seem alien.
I heard the strangers heart pick up as he came face to face with Carlisle. I couldn't help but be amused at that, he was the most gentle of us all, fearing him seemed almost ridiculous to me now.
It took a fraction of a second for the overwhelming scent to reach me where I sat. I could now hear the membrane of his skin moving over the muscles and fat of his body, I could hear the beating of his heart, I could hear the blood rushing through his veins. His heart pumping it faster as the fear incapacitated him.
"Easy, Rosalie. Concentrate, you can resist."
I stopped the breath in my lungs. The scent lingered slightly, but my sense of smell was now useless. Without breathing I couldn't smell a thing. My other senses over compensated almost immediately, reaching out. I could taste him on my tongue, feel his heat on my skin, hear his heartbeat, the blood coursing through his body.
The fire raged in my throat but I ignored it, not breathing seemed to dull the sensation slightly, but it was still a pain I did not want to remember. I compared it to those long three days that I had writhed in agony. This, compared to that, was bearable. Anything was better in comparison to that pain, and my perfect recall made the distinction easy.
"You're doing very well," Esme praised, patting my hand gently as she sketched on the paper in front of her. The outline of our modest home was beginning to take shape on the page.
The burning intensified as the wind blew a steady stream into the house. It danced across my skin bathing me in what I knew would be his scent. Fire seemed to rage within my mind pushing me towards the sound, but I was stronger. I was stronger. I took in a breath and hissed as the fire intensified, it was pure pain. The temptation seemed to bathe me.
Edward took a step closer, but I ignored him and concentrated on the human life that stood beyond only two walls. The stretching and breathing of the skin seemingly calling my name. Venom pooled at the back of my throat, making the intensity of the burning more acute.
"Fight it, Rose," Edward said, his voice sounding satin and smooth as it danced over my skin. I hadn't realized how beautiful the tone of his voice was until the rough raspy voice of the visitor filled the house.
My body wanted so badly to move towards the smell, to move towards the heat and the taste, but I fought it, now taking in measured breaths as I fought the fire. I could do this. I was ready.
Edward didn't say a word, but his nod was all the confirmation I needed. I was ready to start the small task of paying back each of the men that had taken my life from me, and I would save Royce until last. I wanted him to know death was the only solace he would find.
Edward slowly helped me move through the city without being seen, he'd nailed it on the head when he'd said I was recognizable. Anyone who saw me would take a second look and know without a doubt that it was me.
We took the rooftops across the city, running and weaving, jumping and pouncing when no one would see us. We moved under the cover of night, always aware of what was below us and where we were going. We'd covered the entire city, and there was still nothing to deter me, though I imagine that was all part of Edward's test. All of the blood below us and I hadn't flinched once. My mind was on the one thing I wanted, always trained on the prize at the end.
"Rosalie, are you sure you're ready for this?" Edward asked suddenly. He'd stopped at the peak of a house in Anthony Park. I stopped and lithely skipped my way back to him. If I'd had a heartbeat it would be pounding from my chest now. I knew what he was asking me.
"Rosalie, I only know the scents that were on you the night Carlisle brought you home. The chance this could be one of them is sketchy at best, do you remember who was there?"
"As clear as a bell, we were under a gas lantern when . . ." I shuddered as pictures, however humanly two dimensional they were, ran through my head.
"Second window on the right," Edward said gritting his teeth as the pictures moved through the expanse of my mind and the faces of the men that had been there, cataloged from the moment I woke up with this new body.
"Thank you," I whispered, leaving the sound behind me as I easily scaled down the house. My straight skirt was becoming a hindrance, the flowing of the material falling about me as I moved easily to the window. Even in this body, in this situation, I would not be seen in gentleman's pants.
I reached the window quickly, balancing on the ledge like a feral cat as I looked past the lace netting covering the window. My skin crawled as one of the last things I'd seen as a human walked towards a small bar in the corner of the room.
"His conscience is bothering him. He drinks when he thinks of what he did that night," Edward's voice said from above me, his body was perched on the edge of the roof by the gutter. His knees bent and his elbows resting on his knee caps. His hands were clasped by his mouth as though her were preparing to stop breathing if it became necessary.
"You should prepare for the same thing," he said softly.
I nodded. I was afraid of alerting the dog of a man on the other side of the glass to my presence.
"If you're going to do this, it must be soon. Everyone is asleep."
I nodded again, fear finally finding a place within me. It wasn't as though he could hurt me anymore, but the memory of his body hovering over mine made me feel weaker. It was then that I knew I was doing the right thing, it was then that I flexed my muscles and slid my fingertips under the jam of the window.
I applied very little pressure to get the window to move. It wasn't locked either, so I knew he must not expect anything to come for him in the night. Nothing could make it to the second floor unnoticed. Or so he thought.
I slipped my leg into the room following it closely with the other, silently and easily. I worked slowly, I wanted him to see me, I wanted him to see my face and my eyes. I wanted him to die from fear alone.
I slid into the room surreptitiously, his back was to me as I approached him. His smell was pungent, the salt from his sweat gave off a rusty smell but it was still almost too much for me. I could see the blood pumping through the veins on his neck, could hear his heart picking up in pace. He sensed me in the room with him.
The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as I sidled up behind him, the coolness emanating from my skin was surely felt by him when I was this close. I parted my lips, the taste of his scent was close to me.
"Remember me?" I whispered, my voice barely a whisper.
He spun around, but I was quicker than him, I moved with him, my shifting only ruffling three strands of his hair.
"Who's there?" His thick southern accent was laced with fear.
His tanned skin was pebbled with fear now, he shuddered slightly as I stepped away from him, waiting for him to turn and face me. I knew it wouldn't be long, I longed to see the color drain from his face as he saw me as a ghost in front of him.
He turned slowly, I stepped back again, leaning against the bar in a sultry position. I had never been one to sway and sashay, I hadn't needed to, but I had seen the silent pictures with the women being temptress'. I had seen them use their hips to gain a mans favor. It was all a facade to make him fear me even more, men feared women with power.
I watched his face to see his fear, his eyes grew large and round and his skin became pallid in the dim light, his jaw slackened as his mouth fell open, he looked like he'd seen a ghost. In a way he had, only I was far more dangerous than a ghost and I planned on hurting him.
"No, it can't be, you're dead."
I pushed off the bar and stalked towards him with my hips swaying mercilessly. I lifted my hand slowly trailing it down his jaw. He shivered from my ice cold touch as I smiled at him, my razor sharp teeth glinting against his skin in the dull light.
"Are you sure about that, John?"
He closed his eyes so tightly they became small slits inlaid deep in his face, the skin creasing at the edges. I could hear his bowels moving within him.
"I wish I was back on the ranch, this isn't real, this isn't real, this isn't real . . .."
My tinkling laugh came out like music as I walked towards the bar. I picked up the glass full of bourbon. It smelled vile to me, but I would give him this one last thing, I would give him something they had never given me.
"Would you like to finish your drink before I kill you?" I asked, my musical voice cooing as though I were attempting to sooth him. My fingers brushed down his hairline as I held up the drink. My eyebrows raised in an inquiring fashion.
His eyes flickered open, drinking me in as the fear moved slowly through him. His pupils flickered, dilating as he drank me in again.
"Did you know that I had never been tainted by a man?" I asked as his shaking hands took the glass of bourbon from me. "That I had been kissed only chastely by my intended before that night? Did he tell you that as you walked away from my broken body, John?"
He darted towards the door quickly, the glass toppling from his grasp and smashing against the ground. I was faster though, I thought the action and I was there before him, staring at him with my angry eyes, the red was fading but the crimson still skirted the edges.
"Where are you going?" I asked, pushing him against the chest sending him stumbling back a few feet.
I could smell the adrenaline coursing through his body as I laughed wickedly. I walked towards him, my body instinctively dropping into a pouncing position as I took my measured steps.
"Terribly sorry, I don't realize my own strength." My voice was saccharine sweet.
"Please, don't hurt me," he begged pathetically.
"Oh, now that's not fair. Where's the justice in that? I believe I requested the very same thing!" I growled, the sound was menacing, feral, as if poison coated the words.
"Oh God help me," he muttered.
"No one's going to help you," I snarled, pouncing.
I landed against his soft body, feeling the frailness of his skin as though it were putty in my fingers, his bones nothing but mere chalk between my capable hands. He was breakable, too breakable. I had to make this look as though a human had done it, as much as I wanted to tear him limb from limb, this had to be simple.
His bones crunched and snapped beneath me as we hit the ground together and I sprung from his body making sure that nothing would touch me. The moment his blood bubbled to the surface, I held my breath within me. I would not be tempted by his crimson nectar, I would not drink his contaminated blood.
Talking to him had made me angry and I could feel myself losing the small measure of control I had been holding onto at his request. It tormented me, echoed into my mind, bringing the memories of my screaming pleas. The multitude of 'no's' that had poured from my lips as I begged them not to hurt me, not to take away my dignity. Little did I know they would take so much more.
My fingers gripped around the first thing I could find and I let it snap within my fingers, it broke off easily, the wood splintering into a spike, I held it above his heart the tip making his skin bow to it's point.
I emerged from the house with my breath still held firmly in my chest. I couldn't breath until I was free of the place. I had been careful in my execution, I was completely clean, nothing on me eluded to the fact that I was in that room tonight and no one would believe it anyway.
Edward sat at the very tip of the peaked roof, taking in deep calming breaths from the gentle breeze that skirted across the rooftops. I felt suddenly shy, unsure of how to act. I had just murdered someone in cold blood. It was justified, but I was suddenly terrified of being judged by my new family. It was irrational considering our very nature. I had never once been unsure of myself and it was quite disorienting.
"I'm not judging you, Rosalie. They didn't deserve to live after what they did. You're justified in your actions, however sadistic they may be."
"Talking to him, I could hear how it made you feel."
"Then you should also know how good it felt to see the fear in his eyes, I'm not a violent person Edward, but these pigs will be hunted and executed for their part in this. You have seen my memories, however dull and two dimensional they are. You saw the last thing that I saw as a human, being left to die in the street like I was no more than a stray they had euthanized."
"Which is why I do not judge you, and I am willing to help you find these men. I have been alone in this life, Rosalie. I left Carlisle for a while after he found Esme, and I hunted."
I looked at the copper haired boy in shock. Next to Carlisle, he was second for the ease in which he dealt with the constant temptation. He could walk through a crowded street and not even blink at the scent surrounding him. I had not yet found that plane of comfort, but it was more tolerable with each passing week.
"Yes, after my newborn stage I went through a rebellious phase. I preyed on human predators, leaving the innocents alone and feeding only on the attackers that had no regard for human life. The brutality of my actions began getting to me after living like that for a while; even giving into my baser instinct I could not escape their thoughts. They were still human, even with their transgressions. Your humanity is still prevalent within you and I fear it will cause you more harm than good, however justified you are in your actions."
I thought about his words. I was not a callous woman, I had been vain, and I had put myself in a higher regard than most. My station was above others after all. I was not, however, a murderer. Could I live with my decision if I saw this through?
"We have time for you to think on it. We will wait for news to spread of his murder. The other men may or may not think this is connected, but it will be easier to find them as they think of their friend by name. Our instincts will cover the rest if this is really what you want."
I nodded in response and followed him back towards out home, my mind filled with nothing but calm thoughts. I knew I should be feeling guilty, at least a little remorseful, but there was nothing but satisfaction at knowing the streets had one less rapist to contend with.
I listened and I did spend quite a while thinking through what I talked about with Edward. I found myself wandering the rooftops alone in the constant darkness that the night afforded me. It wasn't until I found myself on the roof opposite Vera's house that I was able to think with a clear mind.
I could see through the thin netting that worked to hold their privacy within the confines of their home. Vera and her husband sat upon the floor playing with little Henry. He was beginning to walk well now. His dark curls and wide eyes were full of excitement as his parents chased him merrily around their home.
I watched them for quite a while, until the windows grew dark and silence enveloped their home. I couldn't let these people walk around while such innocence was at stake. What if it had been Vera at my house, walking home with Henry when my drunken betrothed and his band of dogs had happened upon her?
I immediately sensed Edward's presence as he approached. He was familiar to me now, a friend in this new life. It still annoyed me that he seemed apathetic towards me, but I pushed it from my thoughts as he came closer. I didn't need him knowing how much his indifference affronted me.
"Good Evening, Edward."
"You're far from home, what brings you out to this side of town?"
"I came looking for you, I picked up another scent."
I was on my feet before I could even think about the action; my legs pushed me up until I stood before Edward. His amber eyes appraised me, as though he were awaiting irrational thoughts to infiltrate the expanse of my mind.
"I am of my own mind, Edward. I have also thought of what you said. I cannot live in peace while I know these men waste the air they breathe."
Edward pinched the bridge of his nose as though contemplating whether he was willing to tell me or not. I ran over my last thoughts for him, my silent contemplation while watching the small family.
"She is my friend; I must do this for her as well as for myself."
"You will have to be cautious; he is at the Powers Hotel, drinking to his friend's death, blaming himself for insisting he start another business here. He blames himself but does not find anything suspicious in his death. You passed through his thoughts only once, but it was enough for me to catch the scene."
"You were in a bar?" I asked incredulously.
Edward smirked at me.
"Fine, keep your secrets. Is he still there?"
"He is, but he's inebriated."
I took off along the rooftops at top speed knowing I wouldn't be seen by the human eye. My feet were lithe on the slate tile as I moved, unsettling none as I ran. I was careful in that respect.
I murdered another man that night and still felt no remorse. I had followed him from the bar taunting him as I walked in front of him, before dashing out of sight again. His audible gasps had alerted me to the fact that he had recognized me. I couldn't fight the images of his assault on me, and found myself toying with him too. The conversation served only as foreplay before I took his life.
I stalked away from his cold body, feeling nothing but a blissful numbness. The constant tally in my head dwindled down to three. Only two more before I was able to face the man that was supposed to have loved and protected me. Not raped and maimed me.
I grasped onto the rage that replaced the blood that no longer worked through my veins, pushed around my body by the ghost of my heart. Its haunting beat would stay with me until I could finally finish this act of redemption, a constant reminder of what I was doing, and why it was so necessary.
I caught up with another one of them not three days later; his fear was palpable as he scurried down the street. I could taste the adrenaline on the air as I followed him from the bank. It was raining that night and the hood of my coat covered my lustrously long blond hair and cast my face in a deep shadow so I would not be seen.
I passed my father as I followed the man ahead of me. I buried my pain with the haunting beat of my heart as it reminded me of my curse. His scent forever was locked away in the deepest caverns of my mind. I knew there would be a time we would have to leave here, and I would say goodbye to them one last time, if only from a distance.
I was more brutal on my victim this time; there were no games as the pain from seeing my father ate away at me. I pounced the moment the opportunity arose, snapping his neck as I passed him in a blur of speed.
Still there was no remorse for my actions, and the tally dwindled leaving only two.
I did not find another of my attackers for almost two weeks after the last; my mind had pulled me within myself as I planned the final act. My curiosity from my old life got the better of me as I wandered in the evenings, hopeful that I would stumble upon the one man I needed before I attempted to reach Royce.
Carlisle and my new family grew increasingly concerned about my growing silence. I spent hardly any time at all with them now. When I was seeking solace I took up a perch opposite the house of the family I had spent the last hours of my life with. They brought me a sense of calm.
Christmas was on the horizon, I watched as twinkling lights began to adorn the windows of the homes, yet there was still no news. The waiting was making me hollow, the haunting beat of my heart still pushing the hatred around my body.
I wandered the streets as people slept; looking through windows that offered gift ideas for the ones you loved. I found myself outside the very bridal boutique that had held my dress. I couldn't stop the idea from springing into my mind; I knew how to affect Royce more than I would ever affect the others.
I broke the lock easily, slipping inside the shop silently as I pulled the door closed behind me. Rows of beautiful dresses hung in the dull light from the lamp on the street outside, the sheen of the satin looked like liquid silver. I found one as similar to my own as I could find and left what little money I had on the counter. The size didn't matter I was apt at using a needle and thread.
I spend days fitting the dress to myself, too afraid to ask Esme for her help. I didn't want her gentle nature to have any part of my vindictive act. It was immature of me to react this way, but I wanted to see the look in his eyes as I finally descended upon him.
The wedding dress seemed to bring new life to me. My vindication was almost close enough to taste. I hated that everything in this life seemed to revolve around getting revenge, it had been from the moment I had woken up and I was beginning to wonder what I was going to do when this was all over. I hoped I would fit in with this dysfunctional family Carlisle had put together because they made me comfortable.
My revenge had been the one thing to bond Edward and me, I was truly beginning to see him as a brother. He was even as annoying as one in some cases, especially when it came to the mind reading thing. I was sure things would eventually work out; I just had to get past this so I could move on.
Eternity was a long time, and I had accepted these people as my family. I was even growing to love them in my own way. I couldn't keep pushing them away, forever. So I started spending more time with them. I knew I couldn't truly settle until I had finished the task I had set for myself. Still, I found spending time with them wasn't quite as miserable as I had imagined it would be. Edward in particular had a dry sarcasm about him that I found amusing, he was growing on me slowly.
I didn't stop my hunt for my last quarry before I could hunt Royce. He seemed to have all but disappeared from society since the last murder and I was concerned that he had left the city and gone into hiding, but thankfully, Edward spent much time among the humans, and the gossip was impossible to escape.
Edward found me one afternoon in the middle of my concerns.
"He's still in the city."
"Royce?" I asked. It was sometime disorientating when he pulled thoughts from my head.
"Yes, there is talk that he's gone into hiding. His father was concerned about him and spent a small fortune arranging his protection."
"Protection?" I asked, amusement evident in my tone. There wasn't much defense against us; people could not build walls strong enough to keep us out.
"Yes," Edward laughed, hearing my inner monologue. "Apparently he resides in a windowless room with a door that rivals a bank vault. Two armed guards stand at attention on the other side."
"Oh how tormented he must be, I look forward to putting him out of his misery."
"I have no doubt," Edward smirked, "I also have news on your other target."
I sat up from the seat I was currently occupying, my interest more piqued than ever.
"He turned himself in to the police for the murder of Rosalie Hale."
"He did what?"
Edward slid onto the piano bench his finger hovering above the keys.
"I heard it in the thoughts of the sheep that congregated for church this morning. They were sufficiently shocked themselves. My curiosity got the better of me so I made my way to the jail. It was easy to find him; his thoughts were on you alone."
"And why would he turn himself in?"
"Incarceration was more appealing to him than death."
"It's sadly not his choice to make."
"I know, Edward, I will heed the warning and be careful. No one will even know I was there. I wouldn't risk being caught before finishing."
"If you need me to come with you, I will oblige."
"Oh it won't be necessary. I don't want you to have to be a part of this. I regret having to have you so close the first time. This is not your fight to be fought."
"But you are now a member of this family, and we look after one another."
Before I could answer, his fingers started a complex dance across the ebony and ivory keys, twisting more quickly than I had ever seen in my life. The sorrowful sound filled the room, resounding from the walls, the vibrations stirring the dust motes in the air as it swirled around us.
I tried to ignore the distracting visuals as I got up to watch him play.
"Will you teach me one day?" I asked as my eyes traced the movements of his hands. Even with my elegant dexterity I doubted I could ever play to his caliber, but I could spend an eternity trying.
"Thank you, Edward. For being so accepting, for helping me. I know it's not something you're particularly comfortable with."
"We're a family, you may be abrasive at times, but I have accepted that as part of who you are."
"I will take that as a compliment and choose to ignore the sarcasm."
Edward chuckled as his fingers made another sweep of the keys, never missing a beat. "I should add tenacity to that list."
"You have a list?"
Edward released a laugh this time, his fingers stilling on the keys as he turned to face me. "Not literally, Rosalie."
I rolled my eyes and turned from him. I would wait for the cover of night to visit my next victim, and I needed to prepare my attack. I needed to check out the jail before I made my move. I had to be stealthy in my movements and not alert anyone to my presence.
I slipped out into the heavily overcast day and headed towards where I knew the jail was. Edward followed closely behind as I moved almost too quickly towards the stone building. I slowed and kept pace with Edward so I would not gain unwanted attention. Thankfully, it had been snowing so wearing the hood of my coat was acceptable.
Edward was silent beside me as we walked together. He didn't say a word until we reached the tall cold building that resided behind the police station in the heart of the city. He stopped at the back of the building bending to tie the lace of his shoe that was already perfectly knotted.
"We're being watched. His cell is on the third floor, the third window from the right. The bars should be easy to manipulate, but you'll want to bend them rather than pull them free, that way you can easily replace them. The guards on the first floor are scanning surveillance now, but if you come in from above they won't see you."
He stood up and offered me his arm with a bow of his head, which I knew was for show. He could hear the thoughts of whoever was watching and must know how suspicious they were. I looped my arm through his and continued walking beside him.
"Lights go out at ten pm. He doesn't sleep well so you will have to be silent in your break in and also reform the bars. He is terrified so you must use the element of surprise before he can call out. Even being in the cell he is a nervous wreck. I can hear him as we speak, begging salvation for his sins."
"Too late for that," I said smiling sweetly, hoping I was playing my part well.
"Very. They don't suspect a thing."
We walked away from the building at the slowest speed I had moved since my conversion. My mind and eyes planned a route to get to the roof of the jail. It was only four floors so it wouldn't take much effort to get to the window I needed. With Edward's advice it would be easy, and it satisfied me to know that it would terrify Royce were he to hear of the circumstances.
"Ah, the avenging angel," Edward laughed as a vision of myself in the wedding dress fluttered through my mind.
"I wouldn't go as far to say that. Ghost of fiancées past, perhaps!"
Edward laughed at my comment and picked up the speed a little as we became closer to our home. He politely released my hand with a smile of reassurance. I knew he didn't want to offend me, and he hadn't so I gave him a small smile and pulled down the hood of my coat with a long breath. The air was clean here. Carlisle had acquired a home on the outskirts of the city, so we could come and go as we pleased with no questions. The air was fresh, not contaminated by the smell of human blood.
Suddenly, my head snapped to the west as a scent caught my attention.
"Go. You should feed before you go back this evening. It will give you strength."
I nodded and ran at a human speed to the trees that surrounded our home. Not taking any chances before the veil of the forest swallowed me whole. I took off across the snow and frozen bracken towards the smell I had picked up on the street. It was west, a little from where I was now, so I brought my body lower to the ground and picked up my speed.
Hunting brought with it a sense of freedom which I embraced as I weaved through the trees to the heady heartbeat that seemed to call to me. Venom pooled in my throat as I closed in on the sound. The steady pounding of its heart seemed to match every other one of my steps.
I slowed as I approached the sound, using the trees to hide my advance. I knew the doe could sense me, her head picked up, her heart pattered roughly in her chest. I waited until she turned her head again and stalked towards her silently. I could hear the herd to the east of her and knew she would not fill me.
I pounced when I was only a foot from her, my limbs tangling around her body as my teeth brushed the pulse point in her neck. I drank deeply, reveling in the ease of burning in my throat. I buried her body before moving towards the herd, needing to be completely satiated before I went after my target.
Night was falling as I returned, the shadows growing deeper in the forest as I took my time to walk home. I still couldn't seem to fear what I was going to become once all of this was over. After I had finished with Charles in the jail, I would go directly to where I knew Royce would be hiding. His little castle on the hill was protected anyway, something he was always prepared for. It was his safe haven.
As soon as I got home, I folded the dress neatly into a small bag I had borrowed from Edward. I had added a couple accessories since and I added them neatly on to the top of the small pile.
All of this would be over tonight; there would be nothing to hunt anymore, nothing to live for. It was a frightening thought, but I knew I could deal with everything after this was finally over. I wanted to ask the family if we could leave here, if we could finally move away as they had been wanting to for a while. They stayed for me to finish this, risking getting themselves caught so I could avenge my death. Even with his gentle nature, Carlisle would not rob me of vindication.
I pushed the bag onto my shoulder with ease and headed towards the door. Esme and Carlisle were nowhere in sight, but Edward seemed to be hovering in the parlor.
"They have had a home arranged for us since you joined us, they have gone to get things set up, and we will follow them when you are finished. I hope you don't mind that I told them you were ready."
"No, I don't mind. It seems you come in quite handy at times," I laughed nervously.
"Yes, and you should know you have nothing to fear. You will have a life of peace. We are enrolled in school in the new city, so you should prepare yourself for that too."
"Is it too late to go to hell?"
Edward chuckled but moved away from me as he sunk back into the room. "Go and do what you need to do, I will wait for you here."
Edward nodded once, and I backed towards the door, turning as I reached it and disappeared into the night.
Snow fell gracefully from the sky as I stuck to the shadows. It would still be a couple of hours until lights went out, but this would give me time to get a feel for the situation, to hear what was going on around the one room I would infiltrate tonight.
Getting to my perch at the bottom was easier than I had imagined, people seemed to avoid this area during nightfall. The quiet streets were dusted white, undisturbed by human traffic. Small rainbows seemed to bounce from surfaces as the gas lanterns beamed warm orange light over it. Prisms of color danced in my field of view as I listened intently for any routine in the building below me.
There was only one guard near the area I needed. By his heavy footfalls I could tell he was slovenly. I imagined he would retreat to his office once the lights went down and the inhabitants were forced to slumber.
I sat perched atop the building like a gargoyle watching over the building, listening as my eyes scanned the streets looking for signs of movement. It was still, other than the gentle falling of the white flakes.
The lights went out at the stroke of ten. The gentle muttering of the inmates extinguished slowly and it was still another thirty minutes before the guard retreated. I had been right about his actions. He moved towards a small office. The chair groaned as it accepted his weight and screamed in protest as he reclined it, two gentle thuds of his boots on the desk. I waited silently for his breathing to become a steady rhythmic sound.
Leaving the bag I had brought with me safely on the roof, I scaled the building silently. There was minimal space on the small ledge of the window, but my balance was perfect as I situated myself on the mere inches it gave me to work with.
I crouched slowly, finding the center of balance as I ran my fingers along the iron bars to where they were inlaid to the brick of the building. My fingers worked through the masonry causing minimal noise as the small chards of stone fell from the ledge.
Freed from the masonry, I bent the bars slowly upwards, stopping when they threatened to groan in protest. I only needed enough space to squeeze my frame through, and it didn't take me long to reach my goal. The window was locked from the inside, and I knew pushing it against the resistance would make too much noise.
The glint on my fourth finger of my left hand caught my eye. I hadn't even thought about it when I had put on the diamond engagement ring. It seemed as though it would be a good finishing touch to the wedding dress, but the insurmountable amount of reading I had been doing seemed to finally come in handy as I slid it from my slim finger.
I twisted the metal gently, loosening stone that was cradled in the small arms of gold. My fingers picked up the diamond delicately with minimal pressure. I pressed it against the glass just above the small latch holding the window closed. I pushed against it and drug it over the surface, listening for any sound that could alert the occupant of the room to my presence.
The sound it made was only in a frequency I could hear so I proceeded dragging the precious stone in a circle around the latch. I knew the moment it had freed the small circle from the pane, the scent from inside of the room grew stronger through the small line. The circle of glass wobbled in its encasement, threatening to fall inside and clatter to the floor.
I brought my face inches from the small circle and sucked the air into my lungs. With the air came the small piece of glass. It stuck to my lips as I continued the gentle intake of air. I stopped only when my hand was cradled beneath it.
I reformed the ring and placed it back on the finger I had taken it from before pushing open the latch. It opened easily, leaving the frame free to slide open and let me inside.
I stepped into the darkened room moving towards the bed on light feet. The steady breath of the sleeping form never changed as I edged towards it. With perfect vision I could see the face that belonged to Charles. His death would not be gruesome; he was blessed with my deeper need for Royce. He would know the terror I had felt though.
I placed one hand over his mouth and one hand on his chest and was rewarded with his eyes immediately fluttering open, filled with incapacitating fear. His hot breath filled the palm of my hand as he struggled against me in a futile effort to escape.
"Hello, Charles. Didn't think you'd see me again, did you?" I purred, my voice fluid with my satisfaction.
He moaned into my palm as a cold sweat broke on his brow. The gentle dripping from the bed alerted me to the fact that he had lost the control of his bodily functions. Humiliating him like this brought back the memory of that night, stronger than I had ever experienced it. I remembered more details, details I had blocked out without realizing it.
"I am going to take from you, what you took from me that night. I was eighteen years old the night you murdered me, you stole my future, so in turn I will take yours."
He moaned as tears rolled down the sides of his cheeks, he knew what was coming, he just had no idea how it was coming. I replaced the hand on his chest with my knee, moving my hand to pinch the supple flesh of his nose as my hand flattened against his mouth cutting off the last of his air flow.
I stayed that way, even when his body began to struggle for air. His legs kicked against his mattress trying to find purchase in something to give him leverage. There was nothing to cling to though, so his hands clasped my wrists in an attempt to move my hands, but my strength was too much for him. I stayed that way until he stopped kicking, his heart slowly faded and the blood stilled in his veins. I needed to know there was no way to bring him back from this death.
When the small room was silent, I slid from the bed and listened for the sound of anything. I had been careless, listening only to the diminishing of his heartbeat as he slowly drained of life. There was no sound in the building, no movement.
I left the room quickly, everything as it was, except for the small shard I left on the outside of the window. I stood on the roof, dragging the crisp fresh air into my lungs. The numbness that always consumed me after killing one of my murderers infiltrated my system, giving me freedom from the remorse I knew I should feel.
I picked up the bag I had left and moved to the edge of the building, my eyes scanning the streets before I stepped from the edge. I landed on one foot and used it to push me into a steady run. I stuck to the edges of the building as I ran towards the last man, the final stroke on my tally. The one I so desperately wanted to take out from the beginning.
There would be no hiding from me tonight. I wanted this finished, over so I could move on and never have to think of this again. I let the vindictive side of myself drive me forward in the shadows of the city as I made my way to the King's Castle.
I knew the King house well, I knew Royce's wing; I knew it would be where he'd holed himself up from the world. I almost pitied him. All of this effort was wasted, there were no defenses against me.
I hopped the gate with agile precision and moved across the lawn in the shadows of the trees that dotted the large expanse of land. It didn't take me long to reach the house, I moved like a banshee low to the ground.
I broke in through the basement, the locks on the doors easy to manipulate.
This was the easiest pursuit so far. I had managed to get within a mile of him with no effort at all. This wing of the house was quiet but I could hear the steady thrum of three heartbeats above me, and two over in the opposite side of the house, strong, but a lot further in distance than my intended target.
I ducked into one of the bathrooms on the ground floor, knowing I wouldn't be disturbed by anyone at this hour of the night. The King's wouldn't even hear his screams from the other side of the house. And I planned on making him scream.
I dressed quickly, the silk fitting my perfectly sculpted body, hugging all of my curves. My hair, I threw into a complicated twist at the back of my head. A veil flowing freely from a couple of pear adorned combs, rode down my back to my waist. The white on white gave the desired effect making my skin white and pallid. I knew I would put the fear of God in him. I would be the last thing he saw before he died, and if it were able, my skin would have pebbled at the thought of it.
I carried the bag with me up the stairs, but left it at the end of the hallway where a wide window was located. I opened it just enough that I could easily slide it open and escape should it become necessary. It wasn't as though anything could hurt me, but I didn't want to have to hurt his parents should they hear something and approach in curiosity. I was only here for the guilty. The guards were already going to be unfortunate victims, but they would fight loyally for Royce and raise the alarm if I were to leave them alive.
I took a deep unneeded breath and took my first step towards retribution.
The house was still as silent as it had been when I had approached. I had wondered, fleetingly, whether or not Royce had been smart enough to get people on the grounds, apply some kind of warning system that so he would know someone was coming. Fortunately for me he hadn't, but I wondered what state of mind I would find him in if he had overlooked something that logical.
It didn't take me long to find where he was hiding, the heartbeats and smell of blood was like a sanguine trail of breadcrumbs straight to my prize. I didn't hide from the two men who stood outside the solid door, there was really no point. I wasn't going to make them suffer. Dying to protect Royce King was ridiculous, but I would not make them suffer for being loyal, and for one brief instant before approaching them I thought about their families and how they would suffer and hurt from the loss of their fathers and husbands.
I approached so quickly, I knew I must appear to be floating to them. I stopped not a feet in front of them and tilted my head to the side as their wide eyes appraised me. We stared at one another for what felt like an eternity, but were in realty only seconds.
The one on the right was the first to move, his hands twitching at his sides as he made a move to alert Royce of my presence. I moved as quickly as the wind, grasping his hand with more force than necessary. I saw the other move in my peripheral vision and sprang into action. I snapped the first man's neck with a swipe of my hand as I turned to face the other man. My ears heard the first body drop to the ground, as the audible click of the second sounded down the hall.
I watched his body fall to the ground as well, finally feeling the remorse. These men did not deserve to die, and I would deal with that one day. For now though, it was Royce and his impending death.
I banged on the metal door, not loud enough to wake the house, just enough to disturb the man inside. I knew he would assume it was one of the men knocking.
"What is it? I told you not to disturb me unless it's an emergency."
I kept silent, not saying a word, I actually thought for a second he would open the door in his frustration as he mumbled to himself on the other side of the wall. I could hear him pacing on the other side of the thick metal door. The gossipers hadn't been exaggerating, the thick metal was as close to a bank vault as you could get without it actually being one.
"Well? Is this an emergency, or have you turned mute?"
"Oh, Royce, I would certainly say this is an emergency."
"Who are you?" he asked, not recognizing the new musical voice I had acquired.
"Oh that hurts coming from my fiancé." I said, my feigned pout evident.
"R . . . Rosalie?"
"You do remember me, see that wasn't hard."
"But you're . . . You're, it can't be!"
"You would know, Royce. You were the first to taint my body, you will be last to die by it."
"Good luck getting in here, sweetheart."
I rolled my eyes at his cockiness, always so presumptuous. He hadn't even considered I wasn't actually alive."
"Who said I need a door, Darling." I growled.
"Stay away from," he cried, panic and fear seeping through the reinforced walls and dancing around me like a victory of it's own.
My fingers dug easily into the drywall around the frame of the thick door. I knew there was a layer of bricks between it to make it wide enough for the door, and it would take me less than a second to infiltrate it, but he was proving the most fun to taunt.
I chipped away at the drywall slowly, and reached the brick in less than five minutes.
"Rose, you still out there?"
"Where would I go, Royce? You killed me, now I belong to you."
I heard his pacing become frenzied before it slowed down again. He stopped on the other side of the door his breathing labored. His hands hit against the metal as though he were waiting for something to happen.
"If you can get through, why haven't you come through?"
"Just making you sweat, do you want me to come in?" I could hear the smile in my own voice. He was panicking.
"I don't believe that you're capable, quite frankly." He mumbled; I was sure it wasn't intended for me to hear.
"You don't believe me?" I sighed dramatically. I pushed against the brick with my hand and it started to give way. I tried to keep it as quiet as I could as the drywall and bricks began to shake under pressure. I pushed my mind out to the other heartbeats, listening for a quickening in pace, or voices to join them, but there was nothing. Their heartbeats stayed the same pace as they had been, and the gentle snore of Mr. King stayed the same.
I pushed hard against the wall until all of the material that had put it together began to give way, falling into the small gap of the room I had already made.
"No, no, please, I believe you."
It was too late though, a big enough gap had finally appeared for me to squeeze through. I kicked at the bottom of it and with ease it shifted into dust and spilled into the room. There was now a clear path for me to enter the room, and there was no sign of his family waking.
I put on the best smile I could, even though his vile face could been seen through the hole. I took slow steps forward, but Royce was already retreating.
"You're not happy to see me?"
"You're not real; my mind is making up images. I have not been sleeping well. You're dead."
I used my speed then, my face very close to his, leaning over him as he leaned away. My eyes were narrow slits as a hiss slid through my teeth. His whole body vibrated in fear, his stale breath blew pungently over my flawless skin.
"Yes, dead because of you, and your foul friends. For that you will die tonight, but how you die is up to you," I said stepping back.
Determination suddenly shrouded his perverted eyes; I could almost see his mind turning as he appraised me. If someone had been here to wager with me I could have told them what was going through his mind. He was making the same mistake again. He was beginning to see his fear of me as irrational. I was just a woman. One he had overpowered before. Or so he thought!
He angled his body away from me, his fist clenching by his side. He was going to hit me. I almost wanted to laugh at the thought of it. My skin was impenetrable, his fist, which had done much of the damage to me that fateful night, would do nothing to me now.
He moved quickly, swinging his body around, putting all of his weight behind his fist. I stayed still, waiting for impact, curious as to what was going to happen. I watched as his fist came within inches of my face. I felt as though I should brace myself but my quick instincts deciphered he would do more damage if I moved into his fist.
I pushed my body towards his hand with rigid tension. Pleasure ran down my spine as the cracking of bones filled my ears. A sharp crack followed. There was silence for a second as the pain registered with him.
A pealing bell sound filled the room, and a scream of pain echoed it. I was laughing at him, laughing at the fact he had induced his own torture. I drew in breaths as I laughed, and my mind immediately registered the smell of blood. I stopped my laughing immediately, cutting off my own oxygen.
"Devil Woman," Royce howled in pain as I extended my hearing out to the other side of the house. There were still the steady rhythms of their hearts.
"Perhaps, but you can't blame me for your stupidity," I said using the limited store of oxygen I had in my lungs.
"What the hell are you?"
"Dead, Royce. I am dead."
I moved quickly towards the hole in the wall and drug in another breath, the fresh air from the window had filled the hall giving me the burst of clean oxygen I needed. I turned again to see the macabre scene in front of me. He was cradling his crushed arm to him, his hand hung lip, blackening from the trauma it had endured. The most disturbing scene however, was the bone protruding from his forearm, as his crimson blood seeped over his pale skin and dripped to the floor.
"I need a doctor!"
"You're going to die, you need a hearse."
Royce stared at me blankly, his fear overshadowed by his pain and disdain. Irrational anger at his reaction bubbled inside me. I wanted him to feel a fraction of the fear I felt that night. I wanted him to be terrified of my presence.
Taking another lungful of fresh air, I started towards him, my body crouching ready to pounce. I wrapped my fingers around his broken arm and tugged gently on it, eliciting a scream from the man it belonged to.
"Do you think I am playing with you, Royce Howard King?"
"No, NO!" he screamed in pain. He dropped to his knees in front of me, his arm pulsing blood as his heart sped up in fear. I looked down to find the beautiful satin had been tainted with his blood. The amount was minimal, almost invisible to the human eye, but I could see it.
My hand lashed out as quickly as my mind had decided it, my fingers locking in his hair. I pulled him towards the bed leaving a trail of blood behind him. At this rate he was going to bleed to death.
I tortured him slowly, my fingers boring into him making him scream. Blood littered the room as I held onto the breath I had stored in my lungs. I didn't need to breath, but it was disorientating not to. I watched the color drain from him as I slowly killed him, reveling in his screams. They would be with me for the rest of eternity; my mind wouldn't forget the things I had done.
The birds were beginning to chirp and I could taste the sunrise on the horizon by the time he took his last breath. I knew my job had been done. I still had hours before anyone would wake, but I was finished. Vindication was mine. No one would ever be hurt by these men again.
I washed up in the bathroom, still holding my breath as the murky pink water pooled in the basin. I changed back into the dress I had worn earlier in the night and pushed the morbid silk into the bag I had so I could burn it later.
The numbness no longer consumed me, but remorse had not found me either. I felt at peace, as though I could truly breathe for the first time since I had lost my life. I closed the window behind me as I left and moved to the roof to gather air.
I stood atop the King house, my arms spread wide as I tilted my body to the heavens, to God, offering myself to him for my sins, but he never came. The wind scattered snowflakes over the soft lines of my dress, and still nothing happened.
Was this my penance? An eternity to think about what I had done.
I laughed once, the sound emitting more like a snort. If this was indeed my penance, I would take it, because all of the King's horses and all of the King's men, couldn't put Royce back together again. He had taken his last breath, and given me my first as I stepped into my new life .
A/N: A huge thank you to my newly acquired beta, cravingtwilight, who hails from the great state of Texas, as I do. She managed to turn this around for me in only a couple of hours, so thanks to her for her speed and helpfulness.
To my hand holders and pre-readers, Miztrezboo, Bemylullaby and bendingmirrors. You guys are awesome, thanks for talking me off the precipice and not pushing me over it ;) I love you guys!
Thank you to the hosts of the competition also ;) For having such a good idea to begin with!
I think this is the darkest thing I have ever written. I would love to know your feedback on all of this.