It's a bit short, but I needed it to be. ): Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Carlisle, his father, etceterah etceterah, sadly belong to Stephanie Meyer. -sniff-
The Life and Immortality of Carlisle Cullen
Beginning of the End
The journey to the center of London was unremarkably pleasant, and my call upon Miss Forster might have now been forgotten if it were not for the news she gave me. Upon arrival, her countenance was stricken, and drove me to immediate inquiry after her health. Seated down, she, shaken, recalled a tale that occurred just the night before.
"I was readying for bed," she began, "When a rapid knocking on my window startled me from my activity. My room being on the first floor, whoever was at the window I knew to be crouching in the garden, which is difficult to enter outside of the house unless you know it well. I took a candle and made to open the window, ready to use it as a light or a weapon, when the light shone a most terrifying face. When I recovered my senses, I saw it to be my dear brother, who had left that very day for business with the Parliamentary archivists. He was expected to be home earlier that night, but we had assumed his absence from supper to be for some reason founded. His countenance was bloodied and he stared at me in great pain.
'I am not long for this world Di, the creature hunts me and I know he merely toys with me. I fear him close even now. Tell Mother what has become of me. Take care my dear sister.'
"His words haunt me still. And after he spoke, he ran off, ignoring my protestations, and then I heard a great and terrible scream that soon was stifled. I ran into the garden, heedless of forethought, soon accompanied by our manservant Jerold, but we could not find a trace of my darling Peter but for his blood upon my window frame."
At this point, Miss Forster had been overcome by her sorrow, and I stayed only a little longer to make sure I left her in higher spirits. It had been in my plans to ask for her hand in the near future, and so took it upon myself to properly console her, thought it was not as if I did not feel myself great sorrow for her brother's fate. It only fueled my ambition to catch the monster. And thus, I told her of my investigation, and upon her sudden despair of my well being, I assured her that I would be in no danger, for God held my soul safely in his hands. Yes, I believed that faithfully. She then, after recovering, directed me to the habitations of the persons my father had suspected earlier, though she insisted they were from capable of doing such inhumane crimes.
Once I was sure she was well, I took leave in pursuit of suspects. I do not remember their names or faces, but I know it took little to see that the men were incapable of slaughtering their own dinner, much less ravage fellow human beings. Though relieved at their innocence, I was without leads, and it meant further delving on my part. Miss Forster's tale stayed in my head, the word 'creature' revolving in my thoughts. That, and another tale I discovered upon my inquiries that day.
I returned home perturbed, and was thankful Father had already retired for the night. Besides fruitlessly questioning common men, I had received this second tale from a family member of the wife of a 'suspect'. Her cousin had set off to Fleet Street for shopping, and had disappeared. Her body had then been found a week earlier from when I was told the tale. Her throat was slashed, and her heart ripped out. This, and Miss Forster's story sent chills down my limbs profusely, and I knew that these murders were not by a human being.
Over the next few weeks, my trips to the main parts of London were frequent. I found myself prowling the streets at night, baiting myself, and at the same time seeking a crime in its making. The places where many victims were last seen, and others where victims were discovered, these places became my second home. However, my vigils were unrewarded. I might have become discouraged if I hadn't convinced myself so thoroughly that I had come upon the trail of a vampire. The draining of blood was evident in victims, and the amount of power that it would take to physically rip out one's heart I figured to be enormous.
The elation I felt at finally bringing forth one of my father's greatest aspirations fueled my patience and determination. My father, though, was hardly aware of my activities. He was too ill to leave his bedchamber, and I myself had taken in at an inn in order to stay at a convenient distance from my haunts. Most people knew of Pastor Cullen's past and reputation, and upon my name, I was given wide berth for my work.
The season was turning cold as my investigation went on. I soon found myself one of the few who braved the cruel weather at night. I grew frustrated with my unsuccessfulness, as in a month, there were no missing persons or discovered corpses. I learned nothing but locations from victims' families, and there was no pattern in choice of prey. I was left with nothing. It was if the monster knew that I was hunting him. And so, I decided to return home, and create an appearance of surrender. I might have been catering to my own ego, thinking the monster was hiding from my watch, but I distinctly felt the leering jeer that was mentally directed at me. Though it painted me to create any sort of semblance of defeat, I took my leave of the inn, and returned home.
My father was glad to see me. According to our housekeeper, he was quite put out with my absence, especially when he was too ill to do any sort of activity he might've enjoyed, in order to distract himself. I too missed his aged voice, and spontaneous sermons that often happened throughout the day. Happily, he was not too ill to sup at the table, and I was able to properly account to him my recent investigations. Surprisingly, he made no comment, other than to remind me to be wary for myself. His sentiment touched me, for it was rare for him to so voice his concern. But the moment was soon left alone as he irritably inquired when I was to marry my Miss Forster and give him grandsons.
"Soon," I told him.
I visited Miss Forster often during my repose from 'work', and I also was given the honor of running the Sunday services. Father deemed it time for me to practice my future profession, but it pained me to know he could no longer handle the profession in which he took so much passion and joy. Nonetheless, I made an effort to live up to his reputation, though I knew my sermons were far less damning or exciting. I tended to preach filial precepts, and more peaceful acts, with the families of the victims in mind.
Miss Forster did not fail to attend my services, and I could see that she was reciprocating my affections. It gave me great pleasure, and as the winter progressed, I decided upon a date in which I would ask for her hand. I was already three-and-twenty, far old enough to be married.
I can still remember her wind-reddened face as she accepted my proposal. She was a pretty, fair thing, and young. Though naïve, she was grounded, and had steady mind. My father had grinned, and clasped me firmly on my shoulder, his strength still present in spite of his sickness. Mrs. Forster had been ecstatic, for she would have a man again in the family. She had lost her husband half a decade ago, and the loss of her son was a mighty toll upon her. I myself momentarily forgot my pursuit of the vampire, in joy of my impending nuptials.
However, it was the night where I was having a small Christmas dinner—which we allowed ourselves to have in curbed celebration despite our religious values— where my father and I were invited with the Forster's, that my pleasant respite ceased. In the middle of eating, there was a frantic scream in the street, nearly just outside the townhouse, and our party froze in our activity. A second scream woke me from my petrified state, and I rushed from my table seat to outside, barely leaving time to don my coat.
In midst of the street lay a gruesome blood trail, and with no hesitation, I made to follow it.
Thank you for the reviews I received on chapter one! But...
PLEASE REVIEW. Everyone~
Otherwise I'll slowly lose motivation to update quickly. ):