The Innocent Heart of Darkness

I don't think that many seventeen year olds think much about death. Just a few months ago I never once gave it a thought – thinking incorrectly, that it was a subject best pushed to the recesses of my mind. Ironically, I now find myself bloody and bruised huddled against a cold, unforgiving wall breathing my last few labored breaths. In these last few minutes of life I wonder how to prepare to face what I can easily imagine will be a violent and brutal death.

Instead of worrying about the pain of death or how my parents will suffer, how my brother will grieve, or how my sister will spend the next few years crying herself to sleep – I think only of her - Bella. I think of how I have lost the chance to live my life loving her, taking care of her, and reminding her of her humanity.

I know the end is close. I can sense that my time is up. I have never been more afraid – I can feel the fear in every inch of my body, in every shaky breath I take. My only hope is that Bella will live on, to find love again. No matter how badly she thinks of herself, she is an angel, and she deserves happiness. I will think of her when my blood is drained from my body. And when the venom begins to kill me, her face will haunt my last breath.

*

When my father gathered the family together to tell us that we were moving again I was less than happy. Even though I never really embraced our life in Alaska, I couldn't imagine that living in Forks, Washington would be any better. I was tired of remote living in the cold and wet and longed for a warmer climate and preferably one in a big city with music and restaurants and culture.

Despite the fact that my sister, Alice and I preferred the advantages of city life, our mother, Esme, continued to encourage our father, who was a doctor, to keep us safely ensconced in the smallest, most remote towns of the country. My father and my older brother, Emmett, were content for our fate to be decided by our mother's whims but I was getting tired of her wanderlust. This was our third move in two years.

I was now in the middle of my junior year of high school and Alice, Emmett and I were going to be starting at Forks High School on Monday. I had gotten good at being the new kid – I never upset the balance of power. In each new school, I quickly developed a reputation for being brooding and mysterious – it kept the guys away and intrigued the girls. I can't say that I ever was wanting for attention from the opposite sex but I never met a girl who captured my interest for long. In a way, moving on to a new city helped out in this respect.

I was hoping that maybe Forks would be a place that we could stay for a while. Even though I was tired of small town life, I was more tired of constantly being in motion and longed for some stability. Maybe Forks would finally be the place we'd call home – the signs were good. The small medical center seemed more than excited to welcome a doctor of my father's caliber to their staff. Carlise Cullen's reputation preceded him – guaranteeing that we could live wherever Esme desired.

So Esme found us a beautiful house in the woods to live in and she'd already begun renovating it from the inside out. I was beginning to feel optimistic – at least maybe we'd stay long enough for me to graduate from high school.

Because we never stayed in one place too long, it was hard for Alice, Emmett and I to make many friends. But that just made us closer to each other. We were a pretty tight-knit trio and often kept to ourselves. I was aware that we sometimes developed a reputation for being pretentious and unapproachable but really we were just protecting ourselves from the inevitable goodbyes. Even though this scenario suited my introverted nature, I know Alice often longed for a best friend who she could shop with – someone with whom she could do typical girl bonding activities.

Emmett was the only one of us that was able to adapt easily no matter where we ended up. He was taller than most high school aged boys and built like a linebacker – predictably, he was immediately accepted into the jock crowd of all our former schools. He dated a lot too – but never seriously. I always felt like maybe he was holding out for someone special.

Maybe we would all find what we needed here. At least that is what I kept telling myself. But I couldn't help but wonder if it was possible for me to get attached to anything.

The piano had been the only constant in my life. Esme loved piano as much as I did and she always made sure to find me lessons when we moved to a new place - until a year ago when she decided that I was more advanced than any teacher she could find. Now I just practiced my own compositions. I just couldn't seem to finish my latest work – I'd been working on it for over a year now. It lacked something that I couldn't put my finger on – maybe inspiration.

The first thing I always did whenever we moved was to sit down at the piano and test the acoustics of the house. I pulled a battered folder from one of the boxes in my room and sat down on the piano bench in front of Esme's grand. Inside was tucked several sheets of music hastily scribbled by my hand – scarred with eraser marks, with entire sections crossed out, and endless corrections.

I should have been unpacking and organizing my room - we only had one day to unpack before our first day at Forks High. But instead I glided my fingers across the keys, and I was transported by the sound of the music echoing through the wide open spaces of the new house. When I had finished I looked up to see my mother and father watching me from the doorway to the kitchen, love and pride on their faces. I turned away, ashamed to be caught in such an emotional state and overwhelmed with a sense that something incredible was going to happen to me here in Forks, Washington. Strangely, already it felt like home.