The Water's Edge

The stiff wind continued over the ocean, bringing with it the harsh chill from Alaska's air and the stinging saltiness of the Pacific Ocean. Menacing grey waves continued their ceaseless assault against the great granite cliffs, wearily holding the sea at bay. Atop one of these cliffs a young woman stood with her toes to the edge, casting a longing look into the turbulent waters below. Her eyes, red from crying, seemed drawn by the swirling tide. She took a few deep breaths, stepping a few paces back from the edge she collapsed down onto the rocky shore. The sand and rocks bit into her skin through the old jeans she was wearing. She didn't mind the dull pain as the rocks pressed against her skin; it was oddly comforting to feel something, even pain. The pain reminded her that she was alive; even if she didn't want to be.

She squeezed her eyes shut hoping that she could see his face, once more. She was close to doing something reckless; standing at the edge of a cliff with her lack of grace was a fatal tragedy waiting to happen. But still there was nothing, no glimmer of his face, not resonance of his voice, not a wisp of his breath. Everything that she'd come to expect from him when she did something stupid and reckless was gone. In its place was the empty void that her life had become. Once again she felt worthless; the man she loved had abandoned her. Fresh tears started streaming down her face, as she listened to the roar of the water below her.

A soft breeze, so different from the harsh wind, swept over the cliff and gently lifted loose stands her hair and brought them behind her ear. In that instant her eyes snapped open and were met with the warm golden eyes of the man she thought had completely left her, even in her mind. At that same moment she knew it wasn't the breeze that pushed the hair behind her ear, it was him.

"E – Edward?" Her voice cracked as she spoke. She was numb, to everything; to the pain in her legs, to the pain in her heart, to the numbness working its way from the cold air into her fingers. Of course he'd come, but she couldn't expect him to be there right away, surly things like that take time.

"Of course it's me." He said in an even voice as he pulled his cold hand away from her ear, slowly cupping her cheek. "I'm always here with you."

"No, no, you're not, you left." Bella said, tears still streaming from her eyes. This was the first time that he'd appeared to her for more than a few seconds, warning her not to do something stupid. This was different, he was staying, he was touching her. Was he really there?

"Bella I love you too much to ever leave you for long." He said as he stood up, holding out his hand. The brunette took it immediately, worried that if she didn't he would just disappear into the mist again. He led the two of them back over to the edge of the cliff and stopped, with his heels hanging over the edge, a few loose bits of sand and a couple of pebbles cascaded down the face of the cliff until they were swallowed by the ocean. "Bella Swan, do you trust me?"

"With my life," She replied without thinking, her grip around his hand tightened. The tears still brimmed in her eyes but she accepted that Edward was really there.

Her Edward was there.

In front of her.

No longer a meaningless vision or a faulty apparition; but the real thing, flesh and blood. Well, no blood and the flesh made of stone, but he was there, sure as the water at the base of the cliff and sand beneath her feet.

"If you trust me," Edward began, "Then follow me." Without waiting another moment, Edward freed himself from Bella's grasp and let himself fall backwards into the inky sea below. A piercing shriek escaped Bella's lips as she watched her one true love plummet.

Before he could hit the water below, Bella's eyes snapped open, and once again she was alone. Alone on the rocky cliff, her legs had gone numb save for the sharp pain of the rocks that dug into her. Bracing her hand on the loose sand, she slowly rose to her feat. Her legs shook violently beneath her, partly because of the frigid air pushing its way through her clothes, but mostly because of what she'd just seen. It wasn't a dream or a memory; it was so much more than that. Edward was there, and not just in her mind.

She staggered to the water's edge looking down at the turbulent water below. Again, the voice played over in her mind (his voice.) "If you trust me, follow me." Once again the voice wasn't the whisper of a memory constantly being distorted with time. It was crystal clear, a whisper that bypassed her ear and went straight into her brain.

How was she supposed to follow him? Did he want her to jump? But if she jumped, wouldn't she die? He may have left her, but in her mind, she couldn't believe that Edward would want her to die. He'd told her time and time again that if she died, he would soon follow. Maybe that was his plan, if he could convince her to die, and he were to follow then they could be together without the constant fear that he would hurt her.

Yes, it was for the best.

She would jump.

She stepped up to the edge of the cliff, looking up at the sullen sky. A single tear streaked from her closed eyes down her cheek as she leaned forward. "I love you," she whispered as she picked up speed. The ocean, rushed to meet her, but she never saw it; and she never felt any fear, because she would soon be with the person she loved more than life.

The water parted, allowing her to enter, before binding tightly around her; Bella never struggled though, that would have been pointless for her. She wanted to embrace her death. The cold sea quickly seeped into ever stitch of clothing, weighing her down, so with every passing moment escape was less and less likely.

Even though she didn't want to escape her tomb.

Opening her eyes she exhaled, watching each individual bubble trail its way to the surface, which looked now looked too bright for such a cloudy day. The waves pushed against her, sending shadowy grey figures swirling around her. Her fingers and toes started to lose all feeling; until they felt like heavy lead weights. The numbness continued creeping up her extremities, but it wouldn't become painful, she'd end up inhaling seawater before it could. Resigned to die, once again she closed her eyes, shutting out the painful saltwater and the ghosts living in the water.

When Bella opened them again, she found herself in the meadow, in their meadow; she must have died and been taken straight to heaven. The clearing was in full sunlight, a rarity that no longer seemed to matter. The grass was heavily spotted with wild flowers of every vibrant shade; even the trees had shrugged off the mute, matte green and took on a sheen of their own. Looking around, she found herself encircled in Edward's cold arms. His skin sparkled brightly, only adding to the majesty of the scene around them

"You don't know how happy I am that you joined me." He said, leaning down placing his lips on hers kissing her deeply, breathing her scent in as deeply as he could; for the first time without the danger of the monster inside him lashing out and hurting Bella. For Edward Cullen this was so far beyond paradise, nothing short of pure bliss

"I know how happy I am to be here."

"Then you should know that I died well before you, soon after I left you in fact. I know that you've seen me, heard me. Mostly when you've done something foolish and reckless. I was too weak to come to you, unless I had enough emotion in me, and I thought it best to protect you; then today I found I'd grown strong enough to come to you for more than a few moments. And I couldn't be without you anymore. I had to bring you hear with me." He said, laying back into the grass taking her with him.

"You, you, you killed me?" Bella said trying to break free from his grasp, but it was useless. Edward tightened his grip, pulling her closer to him, until his grip threatened to break Bella's bones. Even in this paradise, the blinding pain began to build; her bones began to creek as they threatened to break. She opened her mouth to scream, but no sound would come out, only a heavy gurgling sound.

"No, no, I didn't kill you; I brought you here to be happy." Edward said, as if nothing were wrong, casually brushing the hair out of Bella's face. For the briefest of moments his hand completely covered her eyes and when it was removed, the sunshine was gone, and replaced by a dull grey light; the brilliantly colored wildflowers met the same fate. The color was still there, but it had become dark and ominous: crimson replaced by maroon, azure by midnight, and teal by olive drab.

She shook her head, trying to look around; Edward stopped moving, his eyes glazed over and had a glassy look to them. His mouth hung agape, like he was about to speak but he'd frozen before he'd ever gotten that chance. Slowly Bella managed to wiggle free of his arms, feeling a thin slime ooze from every nonexistent pore along his arms and face. As soon as she was free of his grasp, he crumpled the ground curling up into the fetal position.

As she watched his mangled body, black ichor quietly seeped out of his eyes, filling the glen with the rancid smell of rotting flesh. Small, black spiders skittered out of his mouth and nostrils, moving quickly over his face, never stopping. In their wake nothing remained but bleached white bone. The spiders flitted towards Bella, who wasted no time in running away, through the thick underbrush. She could hear the spiders as they aptly crawled over the leaves, sticks, and bark littering the forest floor. The forest grew thick around her, reaching for her, ready to drag her to the ground and hold her there until the spiders could do to her what they did to the vampire. Before the forest could capture her; however, she found herself breaking through the tree line and emerging onto a rocky cliff. She couldn't stop her feet before once again she tumbled over the edge of the cliff into the glistening sea below.

Bella screwed her eyes shut as tightly as she could before impacting the water. The dizzying impact made her eyes snap open, stinging immediately from the salt water; her lungs already burned, and her muscles already ached. Through the haze of disorientation, she no longer knew if she was in heaven or if she hadn't even died yet.

Wherever she was, the cold was gone, and it had been replaced with mellow warmth. Instead of floating in seawater she was suspended in bathwater. The currents slowly pushed her up towards the surface, and the waves pushed her down again, until she was finally suspended between the two.

She lay there, watching the shadow figures continue to dance around her, just out of her reach. Finally she could hold her breath no longer, she gasped for air, but there was none. Salt water ripped through her lungs, sending flashes of pain through every fiber of her being. The pain became too great as she tried to cough, but she couldn't. Eventually, she grew too tired to cough and succumbed to the darkness.

The last thing she remembered was a ghostly pale light towards the surface, she tried going towards it, but the waves held her down. The light came closer, and closer, and closer, until the light was on top of her, grasping the dying girl in it's cold arms.

Taking her away from the water.