Author's Notes: This was my entry for the Twilight Canon Fodder Challenge. It didn't place—if anything, I'd guess it might have possibly offended a few people—but I'm still happy with it. It's from Carlisle's father's POV and rated PG/T for crazy religious extremism and sexism of the time. To check out more of the (truly awesome) entries of this challenge, visit fanfiction(dot)net/community/Canon_Fodder_Challenge/79719
On the outskirts of London, the evenings were quiet, less given to the boisterous human activity of the inner city walls. I could hear the gentle breezes whispering down the dirt paths and the chirrups of crickets as they leapt to and fro in the dewy grass. Beyond these natural sounds, I am sure few heard anything else. Man was particularly silent on Sunday evenings, as families rested and observed our Lord's day.
I had to wonder how many of my neighbors could hear the other sounds, the subtler ones that only the faithful and obedient heard. Being a man well-versed in the scriptures, I myself could hear the near-soundless footsteps of the blood drinkers running daringly between our cottages, of the werewolves howling in the distance as the sky cradled the moon. I heard the evil prayers to spirits and little carved or stuffed idols as the witches in our midst embraced the Devil. If it is the last thing I do, I will stamp out every one of these evil spirits. I possessed unwavering dedication, and with good reason.
I was carrying out God's work, and it brought me great joy to know that I pleased Him.
Surely, I often reasoned with myself, these sounds and the accompanying sights prove that our Lord God shall come to us soon. It seemed that the words of Revelation were coming to pass before my very eyes, through the evil I saw in the world—from the pompous and corrupt figureheads, to the shamelessly adulterous wives. I watched with great expectation for the first of the Four Horsemen, who would ride in on his pale stallion, baring bow and crown.
Yes, the time was drawing near, and yet God did not, as of then, see fit that I should rest. Though He would ultimately conquer all the wickedness the world harboured, as one of his faithful servants, the eradication of evil was still on my shoulders for now. It was my duty to protect the little congregation that the Lord had blessed me with, and I should do as I could to uplift His name and will among my town and possibly all of London itself, if the opportunity ever arose.
The fire crackled behind the hearth, lending a muted, brassy glow to the otherwise shadow-filled room. Scents of smoke-tinged cedar clung heavily to our modest stone walls, nearly overwhelming the senses. When my wife had been alive, there had also been the scent of wildflowers in this little den. That was a long time ago now, in a time before the Lord shook me with the murky dreams of the evil creatures of the night, in a time before my purpose was known. In some ways, I wondered if the Lord had not taken Lily, solely so I could focus on the task at hand, so I could praise Him with all my thoughts.
It was early evening, and I found myself led to Leviticus once more.
And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
Ecclesiastes reminded us that there is no new thing under the sun.
These creatures…these blood-eating vampires were not new. They were old and crafty minions of the dark lord they served. They were here to strike terror and encourage doubt.
Though we knew they were not new to this earth, we did not know how vampires were made, if they were a result of man's sinfulness or directly spawned from the depths of Hell. Ethan Smith, one of the most devoted men of my congregation, said that when cats leapt over dead bodies, the bodies would reanimate as to become undead. We had since been more dutiful with our felines, killing most of the females in an attempt to make the population more manageable.
Alexander Tully's wife—rotund, rosy-cheeked Rebecca—swore that the evils of vampirism lay within the filmy caul that remained on some newly born babes. Those infants born with a caul would be natural vampires, she warned us. It was for that reason that she quickly broke the membranes and prayed over these children's heads, in hopes of saving them from the demonic mark that they were born with. We observed these children diligently, but none had craved blood as yet. It was likely our persistent prayer kept them safe.
Yes, we had many theories, but at the end of the day what mattered was that we were not giving in to the fear or doubt. No, we were battling these evils head-on.
And tonight I would send my only son, Carlisle, after one of their covens.
Deep, black darkness had fallen by the time Carlisle walked in; I had just been browsing through Proverbs. Punctual as always, Carlisle had come at the time he promised he would. The fresh and milky scent of goat's milk soap was on his skin, and he wore the clean, beige cotton shirt that Samantha Day washed and dried for him for these occasions. It occurred to me that I should discuss Samantha with him at some point soon. Our families worked well together; a marriage would be most advantageous for all involved. She was nearly seventeen, at the pinnacle of feminine loveliness; she was quiet and demure and had hips that would bear him many sons. He would need to ask for her hand soon if he was to secure it.
It was the halo of Carlisle's blonde hair—his mother's hair—glowing in the brass-hued darkness that brought me back to the task at hand. He wore Lily's expression, too, that haunting blend of compassion and concern that I feared might ruin him and eventually render him less of a man. A man had to be strong in his faith; Carlisle could at times be too lenient.
Ever mindful of the manners taught him, he dipped his head in respect. "Father. May I speak with you?"
I could hear the small band of men outside our home as they roused themselves for the hunt. They were waiting for Carlisle, their torches lit and held high, knives and pitchforks and stakes at hand. I rubbed my eyes tiredly and waved my hand, motioning for Carlisle to proceed.
"I am…troubled," he started guilty, as if confessing a sin. "The latest trial has shaken me greatly. Some do not believe that Beth was the witch you accused her to be. What if we were wrong? What is that to be called, but murder?"
I knew I would have to tread lightly with this one, for the unexpected and sudden loss of Beth Walker to the evil spirits, to the very hands of Satan, had most assuredly shaken us all. But I was strong in my faith; there had been no faulty judgments—not with Beth nor those who came before. The Lord does not allow death and destruction to befall his obedient children. He would have rescued Beth had she not been a witch. She was rightfully hanged.
"Have you taken to listening to the sinners around you now, my son?" I asked, fearing for his soul. It was so easy to fall from grace. "Only sinners would declare Beth innocent."
"But we knew Beth…"
Brown-eyed, curly-haired Beth had been all but a sister to Carlisle, the daughter my wife had never lived long enough to give me. She had brought us baked goods from the time she was eleven and had continued on through the years as a form of tithing to my place in the church. And then on Thursday nights, she would come to our door, asking if we had shirts or pants that needed mending. She was never without warm smiles or soft touches.
Of course, I knew matters had changed when she sullied herself before marriage. It was the first sign of what was to come. Her behavior changed quickly after that, for truly it is just one sin that can permanently change our lives; temptation led the weak into shadows all too easily. She became mad, possessed with the demons she let into her life and heart. This naturally led to witchcraft. Men came forward, telling me stories of how she had tried to defile them as she had defiled herself; she was a loose woman. It is so often the women who are corrupted. They have not the same godly fortitude of a man.
"We did know Beth," I allowed. "At one time, she was a delightful young woman, but you must see what she became."
"Surely she could have been redeemed," he whispered sadly. "We did not even try to help her before putting her on trial."
"Not all are redeemable," I reminded him. "We should be thankful that God has not instructed us to burn down all of London, as it has become squalid in its sin. Our Heavenly Father would once have told us to smite the inhabitants of this city, right down to its livestock, for even entertaining the thought of worshipping false gods. We cannot allow women such as Beth Walker to lead us to our eternal deaths."
Carlisle nodded. "It is my hope that we are doing God's will," he said, but I heard the doubt in his voice, the weakness.
I narrowed my eyes at him. "Do you question the work that the Lord has bestowed upon us?"
"I do not question whether God abhors evil, but are we sure that these hunts are what He desires for us to do about it?" He paused, and I watched as he wiped what I knew must be a sweaty palm against his pants leg. He had never found it easy to speak with me. "Does God not hold dominion over all?" he asked. "Including these other beings?" His voice was soft. "Might even the lowliest of creatures have some redeemable qualities?"
Blood rushed into my cheeks as I slammed the flat of my hand down on the wooden table. The thin pages of my Bible fluttered. He could not be serious. "Do not mistake a creature of darkness for one of the light," I spat, quickly rising from my bench. "There is nothing redeemable about a demon."
I strode across the space between us and grabbed hold of my son's shoulders. He was taller—another trait from Lily's side of the family—but I was his elder, and it did not stop me from shaking him in my unbridled wrath. "You must determine whose side you are on!" I shouted into his face. "You are either on the path of evil or the path of righteousness in Christ! There is no middle ground, Carlisle! Do not be deceived by these creatures of the night. That is how the Devil works. He is the very author of deception and trickery."
Carlisle stood calmly, regarding me with the same concerned, compassionate stare that he had walked in with. If I were to be honest with myself, it bothered me. The Lord needed his strength and resolve, not his wistful, bookish tendencies. He was far too forgiving of things that the Lord had condemned.
I let go of his shoulders after a moment, eager to see him complete the task he had agreed to. "Now, this coven you have found…are you still of the right mind to seek it out with the others?"
Carlisle's blue eyes were somewhat troubled, but he nodded slowly.
"Good," I said with a nod of my own. "Then come retrieve your things."
Held in the top drawer of my dresser were the items I always gave to Carlisle on these hunts. I pulled them out one at a time.
Reaching up, I slipped the strip of leather over his head; the tiny, iron cross rested in the middle of his chest, protecting his heart. The garland of garlic was then roped around his neck, and for good measure, I placed cloves in his pants pocket and dabbed oil on his wrists—for we did not know which form of garlic was more potent against the creatures. At last, I handed him the foot-long, sharp-tipped stake that Paul Adams had finely carved for us. It would never be as effective as a longer weapon, such as a blade or pitchfork, but it was good at close range and reputed to be very effective.
Familiar with our tradition now, Carlisle fell to his knees before one of the large wooden crosses that I had crafted; it was nearly identical to the one I had positioned above the pulpit in the vicarage. He bowed his head and clasped his hands before him. Closing my eyes, I placed a hand on his shoulder, and one on the cross, and began to recite the words that Paul had written to the Romans.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day…
I merged this with the twenty-third Psalm.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Amen.
Carlisle opened his eyes and slowly stood. He looked at me beseechingly, but whether this was out of want to say something himself or out of a desire for me to speak, I did not know. In the end, we parted with a wordless clap on one another's shoulders.
I would have said more, said something, had I known it was the last night I would see my son. His body was never found, and I knew then, somewhere deep in my soul, that I had lost him to the darkness, just as we had lost Beth Walker and so many other young men and women.
Though I felt sadness, I shed no tears over the loss, for I knew that if Carlisle had truly been needed, the Lord would have saved him.
My son became my enemy.
Author's Notes: I wanted to explore a really different point of view, and considering I spent nineteen years of my life in a fundie household, I thought I'd finally put all that to use and write from Carlisle's father's POV. From the way Edward described him in "Twilight," and then the way Carlisle spoke of him in "New Moon," he sounded like a true extremist. I hope that was communicated here, as well as his reasons (flawed as they may be). I'm sure he did believe he was carrying out God's will; extremists always believe that.
All the verses used in this one-shot are from the King James Version of the Bible. You should be able to plug them into Google or BibleGateway and locate the actual scriptures. Verses I alluded to, but did not directly quote, include Deuteronomy 13:13-16, wherein God commands that if the inhabitants of a city are worshiping other gods, you are to kill all of them and their cattle and burn the whole motherfucking city down. (Awesome!) The other is Luke 14:26-27, which says that Jesus thinks he should come before all else, including your family, and that, as a disciple of Christ, you should fully expect to suffer / bear a cross. In declaring his own son an enemy, Carlisle's father felt he was carrying out the word of God, which, well, he would be.
I used British English in this, because I'm anal and Carlisle was from London, and this is his father's POV, so there. I did not, however, use the English of that period, because that would have driven us all insane. He does not use any contractions here, though (unless I missed one), so that's something.
The origin theories regarding vampires are all real theories that people had during different points in history (as learned via my encyclopedia of monsters and witches). Weird, huh?
Much love and, please, no city-burning!