What About Alice? Contest
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. I just spend endless hours sitting here writing little stories about Stephenie Meyer's characters for laughs, with no intention of treading on anyone's copyright. I really need a better hobby—all this sitting in front of a screen is making my ass spread!
To see all the stories that are a part of this contest please visit:
www .fanfiction-challenges. blogspot. Com
Laurent paced while his blond companion stood at the entrance of the alley, staring at the women's dress shop across the road. This was the third day they'd spent here now. Laurent wished James would just get it over and done with. No human could smell nice enough to drag things out this long, but then James was all about the thrill of the chase.
"If you want to kill her then, please, get it over with. What exactly will this stalking achieve?"
James turned and smiled. "Humans that smell this good don't come along every day, and I intend on drawing this out as long as possible." His tongue came out to lick his smirking lips. It was all he could do to hold himself back, knowing that she was so close. Luckily, the burning sun kept him prisoner in the alley. "You don't drink good whisky quickly in one go—you sip it and enjoy the burn." In an attempt to numb the thirst he swallowed the venom that had pooled in his mouth. It did not work—nothing and no one stopped the pain since he had caught her scent.
"Always playing games. I'm not sure that Victoria would approve."
"I don't give a damn what Victoria thinks." Her adoration was an annoyance, and James was grateful that she had again initiated a continent-wide game of hide-and-seek. He would allow her to think she was winning, and then find her quickly to let her know what he'd done once it was over. And it would be...soon.
James sniffed the air and the girl's taste still hung on the air. Little Mary Alice Brandon. With his enhanced sense of smell he could tell she had walked by the alley only hours before, and the thought sent a fresh flood of venom into his mouth.
Oh, he was going to have his fun with his pint-sized prey. Examine the body, smell the bouquet, and then drink. 1920 was going to be a very good year.
Mary Alice was sickly. She had a poorly formed set of lungs, which had stunted her growth and opportunities in life. But despite her illness, she was determined to get as much out of her existence as she could.
Her lack of physical strength had not stopped her from being a rather accomplished dress maker. With her pixie-sized frame, the ability to sew had become a necessity if she wanted to wear anything more than young girl's clothes for the rest of her life.
Not that Mary Alice cared for such superficial things, but now that she was nineteen she knew she should at least try to look like a woman. Jesus knew that, with her health, she was unlikely to get too many womanly years on this earth to enjoy. She was not bitter—just quietly accepting of the fate that God had bestowed upon her.
She sighed and folded the coat dress she had just finished for a customer. As always, it was a testament to Mary Alice's eye for simple style and a good cut. She had a talent for being able to visualize the finished garment as she chalked out the design, and simply followed her instincts. The results often astounded Mrs. Ross, whose husband owned the store.
Mrs. Ross was a matronly woman, only just in her thirties. Her cheeks and nose were ruddy and she frequently smelled of gin. Always exuberant and very demonstrative with her affections, whenever Mary Alice produced a garment that pleased her, she would be swept up and her frail body crushed between a pair of large, cushiony bosoms. This happened quite frequently, and Mary Alice had learned to accept her employer's invasion of personal space as a fact of life.
For women's clothing, this was a very exciting time. Nowhere else in Biloxi, Mississippi could you come in and expect to find an exact replica of the latest styles from Paris, France. Ross Ladies Wear had become a very successful venture, since they'd uncovered Mary Alice's talent for mimicking the newest fashions. So much so that they could afford to pay Mary Alice a very generous wage despite her inability to work a full day.
"That's me finished for today, Mrs. Ross." Mary Alice squeaked, and subsequently began a coughing fit.
"Did you finish the—" One look at the tiny girl answered her question before she could finish. "Of course you did. You're just so good." Mrs Ross waddled along and smothered Mary Alice in warm folds. "You get on home...and tell your daddy I said 'hi'."
Mary Alice smiled as she pressed her hat down on her short, dark hair and grabbed her bag. Her religious parents frowned upon Mrs. Ross and her unchristian addiction to the demon drink, but Mrs. Ross was so friendly and kind that Mary Alice wished her parents could be as warm, and less stiff.
As she stepped out into the May sunshine, Mary Alice felt renewed. The sun beat down on her skin and she took the deepest breath her lungs could manage.
For a second, her eyes flicked over to the alley, and she thought she caught a glimpse of a stranger watching her across the road. Her mind began playing tricks and an image of a blond devil with red eyes, leering at her, flashed through her subconscious.
"Don't be so silly!" Mary Alice scolded herself. "If I did see anyone it was probably just a man taking a bit of shade from the sun." Still, Mary Alice did not linger and trotted off as fast as her little legs could carry her.
From the alley, a blond devil inhaled and smiled in anticipation.
Mary Alice was in the alleyway, but she was not alone. Behind her stood a blond monster with red eyes. His gaze bored into her and the proximity made her flesh crawl, even though she had her back to him. The image was still, as if Mary Alice were looking at a painting of the scene, but the lack of motion did not make it any less real. The image then faded to a thick, glistening red before Mary Alice woke in a sweat.
She sat up in bed, struggling to breathe, and her lungs burned through lack of oxygen.
"Mary Alice?" The covers on the small bed across the room moved, and up popped a small, dark, pretty head.
"I'm ok...Cynthia," Mary Alice wheezed.
The covers were flung back and a small form skipped across the room, bouncing on Mary Alice's own bed.
"Did you have a bad dream again?"
"No," Mary Alice replied. "I'm fine, honestly. Now please go back to bed before you wake up Mother."
"Okay, if you're sure you're fine." Small arms wrapped around Mary Alice in the dark. "I love you. Sweet dreams."
Cynthia danced back across the room, and did a little pirouette before she climbed under the covers. Mary Alice was so proud of her younger sister. The whole family had been so pleased when it became apparent that Cynthia had been born healthy. Despite the four year age difference, Mary Alice was already the much smaller of the two.
Facially they looked very similar, definitely sisters, but Cynthia had the long, lithe limbs and grace of a dancer. She practiced as much as she could in secret. Dancing was not something that Mr. and Mrs. Brandon approved of, but Mary Alice encouraged her. Maybe one day, Cynthia could take to the stage and be a prima ballerina. The thought filled Mary Alice with pride; she loved her sister with more passion than her tiny body could hold.
"I love you too, Cynthia," she whispered huskily. "Now go to sleep." The sound of regular, even breathing from across the room told Mary Alice that Cynthia was already gone.
Unable to close her eyes for fear of the nightmarish pictures returning, Mary Alice lay awake in the dark. This was the third day she'd dreamt of the alley and flashes of red. Maybe God was trying to tell her something?
Back at the shop the next day, Mary Alice was looking through some samples of synthetic silk for inspiration when the door bell rang. In walked Lydia White, her red jaw-length curls peeped from underneath her fashionable hat, and her face was thick with make-up. She was Ross Ladies Wear's best customer.
Mrs. White took off her gloves and sashayed up to the counter. She spent an obscene amount of money in the store. Once, she had told the dressmaker and her buxom employer that clothes filled the empty void in her life, and they were everything to her. Mr. White was a known philanderer, but rich enough to support his wife's expensive habits.
"You, Alice," she snapped haughtily. "Is my coat dress ready?"
Mary Alice struggled to her feet. Lydia White had a very bossy, impatient air, and she was not the kind of woman who waited to be served. She was a woman who got what she wanted, and yesterday.
"Yes, ma'am, I'll go get it for you now." Mary Alice rushed off as quickly as her ill-health would allow. By the time she returned with the coat dress she'd finished yesterday, she was breathless. Mrs. Ross saw her distress and ambled up to aid her.
"Put it on my account. I need to order an evening dress, too, for my travels a week on Saturday. This material here," Mrs. White fingered the samples Mary Alice had been sorting through earlier. "I like it, but I'm not sure what color. It's got to be very cutting edge—something exciting."
"Oh, Mary Alice has been looking through some wonderful designs from Paris. I'm sure she has something perfect in mind. Don't you, sweetie?" Mrs. Ross smiled at Mary Alice expectantly.
Mary Alice stared back blankly. "Red. I see you in red."
"Red! With my coloring? Darling, I do believe you are losing your knack. Put some ideas on paper, and I'll come by later after my lunch appointment. Make sure they're good ideas—you wouldn't want me to take my custom elsewhere." With that, Lydia White turned and breezed out of the door with the confident air of a powerful woman.
"With all those graces you'd think she was some sultan's wife," Mrs. Ross puffed and picked up piece of paper to fan herself with. "Are you alright, dear? You look a little pale. I should never have left you to deal with that strumpet on your own."
"Oh, I'm fine," Mary Alice panted. "She just took me by surprise, is all. I'll just sit down for a few moments. I'm fine, I promise." She aimed a wan smile at Mrs. Ross, who then disappeared out back for 'a moment'.
Mary Alice sat on her stool and took a moment to compose herself. It wasn't Mrs. White that had unsettled her, it was the mental picture that had sprung to mind when she'd tried to visualize the perfect evening dress.
Instead of a dress, all she had been able to see was Mrs. White sprawled on the floor of the same alleyway that had been haunting Mary Alice for days. Mrs. White's eyes had been wide open and staring, and she lay in a pool of dark red.
Her own mental picture disturbed her, but try as she might Mary Alice could not get it out of her mind. It felt so real—too real to be ignored.
Mary Alice couldn't concentrate for the rest of the day. Over and over again, the image drifted back into her conscious mind, making her feel nauseated. She barely made it to half one before she asked Mrs. Ross if she could go home.
Once out of the building, a pale and worried Mary Alice stood and looked at the alley in the shade across the way. It was ridiculous, she told herself. She was imagining things, and blamed a lack of air in her lungs for her hallucinations. What would Mrs. White be doing in an alley, anyway? She didn't seem the type to hang around in such places.
Her eyes scanned the scene. Just an ordinary day in Biloxi; there was nothing strange happening outside of her oxygen starved mind. It was then she looked just down the road and saw the Green Orchid, a new oriental restaurant that had recently opened. Just the type of fashionable establishment a woman like Mrs. White would lunch at. Chances were that she was close by.
But why would she be in an alley? An illicit encounter maybe? It was no good. Mary Alice's morbid curiosity got the better of her and she had to go look.
The tiny girl crossed the road and once close enough, she peered in apprehensively. It was empty—completely empty. Mary Alice chided herself for spending most of the morning on tenterhooks over nothing.
She walked into the alley, just a few steps. Although the coast was clear, she just wanted to stand where Mrs. White had been in the vision, just to be sure. One more step, then another, and she was there. Mary Alice shook her head at her own stupidity when she realized that daydreams had gotten the better of her.
The relief only lasted two seconds, for she now she recognised the surroundings. The bricks, the position in the alley, and the way she was gripping her purse. She didn't have to turn around to know he was there.
"Mary Alice Brandon, it's so nice to finally become acquainted." The girl turned to find herself face-to-face with the tall, blond stranger from her nightmares.
The investigation of this morning's daydream had brought her nocturnal fears to fruition. Her wide, brown eyes looked into his narrowed black and red.
"Who are you? H-How do you know my name?" she stammered. "What are you?"
"Let's just say I'm a secret admirer, and I'm just dying to get to know you a little better. It's so nice of you to drop by because you've made my job so much easier. Shame you didn't come to visit earlier—you could have met my friend, Laurent. But I guess I'll just have to entertain you myself. I never was one for sharing." His face looked cruel, with a slight hint of amusement, as he spoke.
"What do you want with me?" By now fat tears were rolling down Mary Alice's cheeks. Her nightmare made flesh and blood moved pinned her tiny form against the wall.
Something about him wasn't quite right; he was too cold for a May afternoon, and his skin was pale. Once his face was dangerously close, he inhaled deeply.
"Mary Alice, I just wanted a little alone time with you. You are the most exquisite thing I've ever come across in my entire life."
"Please don't hurt me," she whimpered.
"I'd like to be able to say that it will be quick and painless, but I'd be lying. I fully intend on making the most of every second of the rest of your life." It was true, but what he failed to mention was that he also wanted to make the most of every second once she was technically dead, too.
He'd never felt anything like this toward Victoria. Sure she was good in the bedroom, or on the forest floor should the occasion call for it, and her talent for evasion was undeniable, but he'd never loved her. Until earlier this week, he thought he'd been incapable of such an emotion.
He removed Mary Alice's hat, and took a lungful as he smelled her hair. It was short, dark, and hung to the nape of her neck. Her mother had prevented her from having it cut any shorter; she thought looking like a boy was unchristian.
"Please..." Mary Alice's bottom lip trembled. She had no idea what he was about to do, but didn't need to be psychic to know that he was a monster.
He smiled down at his prey, and the expression chilled her to the bone. Regardless of his final aim of making her his, he still intended on having his fun first. After all, he only had to leave just enough blood in her body for her to be turned. It would be a shame to not drink from the most mouth-watering human he'd ever met before her blood was gone forever.
Besides, he enjoyed the power that his victim's fear gave him. He would play the game first.
Without speaking he grabbed a handful of hair and yanked her head to one side, exposing a thin, delicate neck. She was frail even for a human. Once she was turned, she would be a lot more durable. Something told him that the dainty object of his affections would be able to stay one step ahead of him much better than Victoria ever could. It was fate, and he did love a good game of kiss-chase.
His grip was painful, and more tears fell from Mary Alice's eyes before they glazed over. The image of Mrs. White once more popped into her mind, clearer than ever, before her voice was heard in the alley.
"Alice? Alice! Where are you going, girl. I've been shouting you from across the street. I'm ready to look over those—"
Mrs. White stood at the entrance of the alley, and stopped abruptly when she saw the tall, blond vagabond pinning her dressmaker into the wall. The sickly girl was crying and he looked like he was about to attack her.
"You there! What are you doing? Let go of that girl at once!"
James groaned in frustration as Mrs. White yelled. He whispered in MaryAlice's ear. "It looks like we're going to have to continue this at a later time. You aren't something I plan on rushing."
With that he moved as if he were the wind, and as he went he took a large chunk of Mary Alice's hair with him. He dragged the statuesque redhead into the alley. Mrs. White's haughty voice grew quiet as she stared up into the vampire's eyes and recognised that this was a situation beyond her human control.
Mary Alice screamed as James' teeth connected with Mrs. White's throat.
The sound of approaching feet and shouting was heard, and the vampire dropped Mrs. White's well-dressed corpse to the floor before seeming to disappear into thin air.
The body landed precisely as Mary Alice had foresaw. All she could do was stand with her back pressed against the wall, and stare at the mental picture made real. Even when she was dragged away, she was barely aware of the bustle around her and the questions. The only thing that was real to her was Mrs. White's staring eyes and the slick red puddle that she lay in.
Her tortured mind went a mile a minute, and a million swirling images of what would happen when her nameless attacker caught up with her filled her brain. There was not enough room inside her head to process real life. On the outside, Mary Alice seemed catatonic and lost inside her own mind.
After a while, Mary Alice's parents accepted that their prayers were not going to deliver their daughter's mind back to her body. They committed her to an insane asylum, under the care of Dr. Schmitt.
The ancient doctor observed the frail, dark-haired girl arrive. He didn't normally see his patients arrive personally, but this one was exceptionally fragrant. She had caught his attention.
Dr. Schmitt prided himself on his ability to sense the workings of the human mind. He would look into a patient's eyes to see how the chemicals mixed, and how the synaptic energy crackled. He had been diagnosing the insane since 1740. It worked like a charm; he would feed on those who were beyond cure, and the inhumane treatment of the mentally ill made it very easy for him to cover his tracks.
He had not examined the Brandon girl yet, but her aroma distracted him from his morals and he went back into his office to write a letter of condolence to her family. Her body was so weak that he was sure her sudden death so soon after her arrival would not be questioned.
He went through the motions and made sure that the nurses saw him assess the girl. It was all he could do to stop his mouth from watering as he sat down in front of her. He would make his diagnosis, get the nurses to settle her into a bed for a night, and then take her as she slept.
Her eyes were empty and she did not respond, but a quick glimpse inside her head shocked him. Behind the catatonic front, everything upstairs was still functioning; in fact, it was working more frantically than he had ever seen. The small, fragile human's mind was even more beautiful than her alluring aroma.
The way the electricity in her brain flowed was new to him, as he had never seen this pattern of flashes. He decided he had been too hasty in his wish to feed off her. Dr. Schmitt had never been one for companionship and he chose to live solitary, but this small girl was different.
Right now, he could not speak to her to find out how these alien impulses in her brain translated. He'd read her notes; apparently she'd been a normal, functioning member of society until she'd been found in an alley with a dead woman, and then her mind had detached. No-one knew what had happened—whether the girl had been a witness to some atrocity or the perpetrator. Judging by her physicality, the latter was highly unlikely.
Her body was in poor health and unlikely to survive long in an environment such as this. He knew what he had to do if he wanted to make her stronger. Maybe the transformation would heal her tortured mind and return her personality? Then he would be able to talk to her to find out more. He hoped that in doing so he would not freeze her in her catatonic state, or put an end to her interesting mental processes.
The Brandon girl's mind seemed to flicker and crackle more fiercely than ever. Intriguing, Dr. Schmitt thought to himself.
He left the room and told the nurses that this girl should be kept away from the rest of the patients. He suggested that she be put in one of the padded cells immediately, and strait-jacketed for her own safety.
The doctor took a little fresh air to prepare his self-control for the act he was going to perform. He caught scent of a nearby strange vampire, and was glad that the padded cells were without windows. He was going to have to work quickly, as the girl smelled like catnip for his kind. He could understand how another vampire, who would not appreciate this girl's potential, could destroy her for a small dose of her precious fluids.
The only one who would taste Mary Alice Brandon's blood would be himself. He would change her tonight for her protection, and for his curiosity.
It was dark in the cell, and Mary Alice had been propped up against the wall. She was still in the position they had left her in, as movement of limbs wasn't something her mind had time to govern—it was left to the care of others. She was vaguely aware of distant moans and howls, though she had no idea where she was. Her mind was too occupied with the 'pictures' to care where her physical form lay.
Ever since the moment in the alley, her mind had become dizzy with images of the blond, red-eyed monster and a variety of different scenarios in which Mary Alice met a bloody end in his arms. She also saw remorse in the face of the beast after her body lay cold and empty.
The moment she had arrived in the hospital, the images changed. Now she died in the arms of an older man with a beard, a doctor. She'd been placed in a cold room and the man from her new waking dreams had sat down in front of her. Her mind fluttered in panic, as her body was unable to react.
Then the images had changed again. She no longer saw herself lifeless on the floor, but writhing in agony in the dark, with wild and animalistic eyes rolling in her head.
What did this mean? Was she now reprieved from death at the hands of a vampire? Why did she appear in to be in pain?
By now, Mary Alice had found she could focus her attention on the future, and wait for more specific pictures to come. Beyond the writhing she could see nothing—not her dead body or her living form. Nothing.
A few hours later, the door opened and the room was temporarily illuminated. A tall, dark form approached, whispered something in her ear, and then Mary Alice was aware of stinging pain in her neck.
The figure stood up suddenly and rushed from the room, leaving her in darkness once more. Mary Alice laid there confused for a second, until she made her first sound since the scream in the alley. This time it was a scream of agony.
Searing pain from her neck spread slowly throughout her body. It was like acid in her veins. Mary Alice dropped onto her side and rolled, as if somehow the movement would stop the burning sensation. It did not work and the pain intensified.
Mary Alice tried to struggle out of the straitjacket but it was impossible. It was then that she began to be aware of physiological changes. She felt stronger, her lungs no longer struggled to take breath, and sometimes she was sure she had forgotten to inhale at all as she gave out long wails of agony.
The one relief Mary Alice did find was mental, as there was nothing more to see beyond this moment. The tortured visions ended, but instead, her mind burned from the inside out. It felt like she was dying. Somehow the vague pictures of lying cold and dead on the floor, drained of blood, seemed much more peaceful.
Mary Alice struggled to say goodbye to her friends and family. They all seemed so distant, as if they were being scorched from her consciousness. With all the energy she could find, she conjured a memory of a dark-haired girl, prancing, twirling, and smiling. It seemed as if she viewing through a veil, or through thick smoke.
She tried to visualize her parents, as she knew she must have had some, but all she managed to remember was being swept up off her feet and crushed into soft, fragrant flesh. She could not picture a face, but she vaguely remembered friendliness and warm enthusiasm.
The lack of memories confused her as she lay, and the acid moved closer in towards the centre of her torso. Surely there must be someone or something important to her that she could recall. With every ounce of mental energy she could find, she tried to focus.
She was rewarded with image of a faceless woman in a room that smelled of clean cotton. The woman stood with confident poise, in stylish clothing, and she was beautiful. Somehow, it seemed vital that this fashionable woman was remembered. The burning girl remembered a voice.
"But darling, clothes are everything to me. They help me forget."
In the dark and through the pain, the girl tried to think of something, anything, other than the painful present. She got a quick glimpse of a tall, blood-thirsty, blond man, though she had no idea how he connected with her or who he was.
Her heart began to race uncontrollably, as if it were going to explode out of her chest at any moment. The pain buried all the uncovered memories again, so the girl could remember nothing.
Who am I? Why am I here? The girl could not even remember her own name. As the pain intensified to a whole new level, the girl tried to focus to remember this one inconsequential detail. Finally, as her heart pounded like humming bird wings, she remembered a high, clear female voice.
Then suddenly, the pounding stopped and her senses became clear. She was aware of everything around her. The taste of the dusty padding on the air, the moans and breathing sounds of numerous others in the building with her. The burn had left her arms, her legs and her torso, as it had now settled in one part of her body - her throat.
She looked around her, now she was able to see even in the dark. There were fragments of ripped material on the floor around her, and the top she was wearing was torn, white, and covered in buckles. The girl made a noise of disgust; this was not a good fashion statement.
Other than her acute awareness of her surroundings and the scald in her mouth, there were only two things that she knew with any certainty about who she was.
Alice. Her name was Alice, and she was looking for a tall, blond, red-eyed man.
James watched the building from a distance as a tiny, dark-haired vampire made her escape from the asylum. His sense of smell told him that his intended prey was no longer human. The exquisite smell of Mary Alice Brandon had been polluted, and she'd become a vampire. He punched a tree in frustration. He had lost the game
He could see the doctor in his office. James decided that he was going to pay him a visit—he wanted revenge on the person who had briefly tasted what should have had been his, and robbed him of what had promised to be the finest moment of his afterlife.
He would let her escape while he tore the doctor apart. A chase was always more fun if his prey had a head start. Something told him he would catch up with vampire Mary Alice Brandon sooner or later—there was no rush.