From the Files of Dr. D.
The Case of Edward C., Week 5:
Edward is getting worse. His delusions are rapidly growing more intense and more disconnected from reality. He was looking very ill this morning. His skin is always pale, but his pallor has now assumed an almost ghostly hue, and there is a feverish glitter in his eyes. He is no longer speaking to Bella directly, or communicating coherently to anyone in his family. The Cullens are extremely worried.
Edward is not answering my questions anymore; he simply sits quietly in my office and talks, as much to himself as to me. Why is has his illness taken such a sudden turn for the worse? What is happening to him?
I listened carefully to his fevered ramblings, for I do believe that his subconscious knows what ails him, and that some part of his mind is trying to communicate the truth to me, if I can only decipher the strange symbols of his hallucinations.
She agreed to marry me. Bella is my wife now. We travel to a remote island for our honeymoon, the Isle Esme, and Bella becomes pregnant right away. But something is wrong; there is something unnatural about the child in her womb. It is a monster, a vampire-human hybrid, and it will be the death of her. She must get rid of it, before it kills her! But Bella refuses; she wants to keep the baby. She gives birth to a baby girl, but Bella is dying. I have no choice; I transform her into a vampire as well.
We call our daughter Renesmee, after Bella's mother and mine. And Jacob loves her from the moment he sees her. He calls her Nessie, which makes Bella upset; she does not want her child named after a monster! But others grow suspicious; they believe her to be a forbidden vampire child, an "immortal child". The vampire Irina reports her to the Volturi. Immortal children are not allowed to live. There was a vampire named Sasha who created an immortal child; his name was Vasilii. The Volturi found out and executed them both. But Sasha's three daughters were not immortal children; they were allowed to live.
The Volturi come for us; they come for the child. But Bella protects us all; she is a natural shield against their powers. And Alice and Jasper find another being like Renesmee and prove to the Volturi what kind of creature she is: Not an immortal child, but something different, a being that should be allowed to live.
Children... Children play in important part in Edward's delusions. First it was an army of murderous newborns, and now his own newborn child, threatening to destroy its own mother! Is this why he is afraid of consummating his relationship with Bella, because he fears that she will give birth to something monstrous? What kind of monster would she produce? A child who will inherit his mental illness, perhaps?
Renesmee, the hybrid child, is neither human nor vampire, or perhaps both human and vampire. An immortal child, who must not be allowed to live... Why must she not be allowed to live? Nessie... Like the Loch Ness monster! Of course Bella would not want her child to be a monster. Does she represent a real child, I wonder, or something more abstract - a monstrous consequence of Bella and Edward's forbidden union?
Sasha and Vasilii were executed. He was a monster, unnatural, and should not live... Sasha and Vasilii... Sasha, the traditional Russian nickname for Alexandra, or Alexander? There are so many Russian names in this story: Sasha, Vasilii, Irina, Tanya. And wasn't there also a Demetri, one of the Volturi?
I wonder why Sasha's son was different from his sisters? Why was he an accursed immortal child, while they were not?
Some children are forbidden... Why? The imaginary Nessie, named after an archaic monster, was conceived on the Isle Esme, an island named, perhaps significantly, after Carlisle and Esme... A strange place for a first sexual encounter, an island named after your parents. There is a hint of something almost incestuous here...
Something incestuous... There are allusions in Edward's hallucinations to family relationships that are a little too close... He has transformed the name of Bella's father, made it similar to his own father's name: Charlie and Carlisle... But if the two fathers are, on one level, one and the same, then that would make him and Bella siblings... Perhaps this is a fear that all adopted children share when their own birth family is unknown: If you do not know who your parents are, you could end up marrying a sibling. And some of the Cullens will do just that, it appears: Marry a sibling... Rosalie and Emmett, Alice and Jasper. They are social siblings, adopted siblings, rather than sisters and brothers by blood, but there is still something vaguely discomforting about this... And to make things more complicated, Jasper appears to be drawn to Bella as well, his brother's girlfriend. And from what I've seen of Alice's admiration of Bella, I'm not so sure that the lovely pixie doesn't harbor similar feelings for Bella on some level as well...
Is this what Edward fears? Some kind of incestuous union that will produce an unnatural child? Perhaps he himself is the product of such a union? No, there has to be more to his fears than that. The blood... The scarlet line that runs through all his delusions... There has to be some significance to the blood.
"Doctor? May I interrupt for a moment?" Miss M.'s voice from the intercom interrupted my stream of thoughts.
"Of course, Miss M. Any time."
But what was this? Miss M. was almost as pale as Edward as she entered my office, a large leather-bound book under her arm. She sank into a chair.
"My dear Miss M., what has happened? Are you ill?"
She shook her head slowly. "No, not ill. Just a bit shaken up." She swallowed. "I found something in this book that I thought you should see."
She opened the volume to a bookmarked page and handed it to me. I looked at it with curiosity. Dear me, it usually takes a lot to rattle Miss M.! This was going to be something interesting!
The book was a work on Russian history. It was open to a page about the tragic death of the Romanovs, the last czar of Russia and his family. I knew the story well, of course. After the Russian revolution, the czar himself, the empress Alexandra and their children were executed by revolutionary soldiers in 1918. But there are all kinds of fantastic legends about one or more of the children surviving the bullets and the bayonets, perhaps the youngest girl, Anastasia, or her brother Alexei, the young heir to the throne. Mysterious women have claimed to be the lost Anastasia, and a few men have claimed to be Alexei. Including, I believe, a man called Vasilii?
Vasilii and Sasha... In Russian, the empress Alexandra, Alexei's mother, would be given the nickname Sasha, wouldn't she? What an odd coincidence...
I looked a little more closely at the illustrations on the page. What was this? I stared at the black and white portrait of the handsome young tsarevitch Alexei, a pale teenage boy with large, soulful eyes. There was something familiar about that face!
It was Edward's face...
No. This was impossible! The resemblance was uncanny, but nothing more. The boy in the picture had been dead since 1918.
Wait... Didn't Edward say he had been transformed into a vampire in 1918? I felt a sudden shiver run through my body.
Then I slammed the book shut.
"Enough of this!" I said firmly, as much to myself as to Miss M. "There is an interesting resemblance between Edward and the young tsarevitch, but that's all. I refuse to believe..."
Now, what was it exactly that I refused to believe? I might as well say it out loud.
I sighed. "I refuse to believe that Edward is the lost heir of the Russian czar, transformed into a vampire in 1918. That would be completely absurd."
Miss M. nodded eagerly. "Yes, it would be." She was very ready to agree with me. "Coincidences... All coincidences. Including, of course, all the poor boy's talk of royalty, and the reports in the paper that some poor disturbed Russian woman was seen near the place where Edward was found as a baby..."
Ah, yes. I had forgotten about that.
"And they did have a lot of wolves in Russia back then, when the czar lived. I overheard the poor boy speaking about wolves... And about being cold. You know, the Romanovs were imprisoned in Siberia in the winter before their execution. And their execution was carried out by a Bolshevik by the name of Yaakov, or Jacob, who wanted to rid the society of the royal parasites, the bloodsuckers, as the communists called them..."
"My dear Miss M., enough!" I got up from my desk and began to pace the room while I turned the facts of the case over in my head. Blood. Vampires. Royalty. Victoria. Wait, wasn't the tsarevich Alexei related to Queen Victoria and King James on his mother's side...? The royal families of Europe were always interbreeding - quite unhealthy. But surely, this didn't mean-?
Oh, seriously! I pulled myself together. Edward was a boy with strange hallucinations, but that did not make him one of the accursed Romanovs!
I froze mid-step. The curse of the Romanovs! Blood, always blood... That was it!
This would explain everything, Edward's obsession with blood, his brother's tragic death, his fear of the monstrous newborns!
I reached for my phone and dialed Dr. Cullen's number. He had to get Edward to the emergency room at once. There was no time to lose.
"So he is a Romanov after all!" Miss M. sounded rather pleased.
"I suspect he is," I said, "although certainly not the tsarevich himself. That would have been impossible..."
"Of course it would," Miss M. agreed readily. I smiled a little.
"Whether he is a distant descendant of the Romanovs or not, Edward does indeed suffer from the same rare disease that afflicted Alexei and other male members of his family, the terrifying hereditary disease passed on from Queen Victoria's family to the Romanovs through the Empress Alexandra: He is suffering from hemophilia, a disease whose name literally means "the love of blood"."
"The love of blood... Blood-thirst. " Miss M. shuddered a little.
"A hemophiliac lacks a clotting factor in the blood, and this can be deadly. The smallest scratch can make a person bleed to death. I suspect that this is what happened to Edward's unfortunate brother. The disease is passed down through the female line, although it only affects males. Sometimes the bleeding is internal, and when it occurs within the brain, it can lead to psychosis and hallucinations. I suspect that Edward's hallucinations began with a small rupture in one of the blood vessels in his brain. I think he must have known, unconsciously, what ailed him, although his conscious mind was not able to articulate it. He is a well-read boy, and perhaps some part of his mind realized the connection between his own disease and that of the Romanovs and began to spin a strange tale of blood and danger..."
"What will happen to him now?"
"I received a call from the hospital. He is out of danger; they were able to stop the slight bleed in his brain. He will need to be monitored very carefully in the future and given regular infusions of a compatible clotting factor, but I do believe he will be all right. After all, he has a very loyal girlfriend by his side who will watch over him."
Miss M. broke out in a delighted smile. "So, they are back together, then?"
"Oh, absolutely. Edward's delusions are gone, and he is ready to resume a normal life. One day, they may even be able to have children. Although his subconscious mind was terrified that he may pass on his hemophilia, his dreaded "vampirism" to Bella and their future children, there is no reason for his fear. Bella, of course, won't catch it from him - although his doctors do advice him to be a little careful when making love, so he does not get injured. And his children will not suffer from the disease. Hemophilia is hereditary, but since it is only passed down from mother to son, Bella's children will be free from the disease, since it is he who has the disease, not she. Their children will be shielded from the affliction by their mother's genes."
And with this I will conclude my notes on the strange case of Edward C. I received a beautiful letter from Bella, thanking me for saving her lover and bringing her more happiness than she had dared to hope for. Ah, the lovely Bella! She never became the bride of a vampire after all, but Miss M. is still secretly hoping that the man Bella loves is a long-lost prince.
Perhaps it is true.