This little story was my very first attempt at writing for Twilight. I thought it was lost forever thanks to a USB drive that went in the washing machine last winter. (OOPS) However... on a whim, I decided to make sure that the device was truly "dead" before I finally threw it away. To my shock, the stupid thing worked and my files were intact. Needless to say, I was thrilled!
When I opened this up to read it last night, I was even more thrilled to see how much I had written for this story. I made several attempts at recreating it after losing my data, but just couldn't seem to recapture the magic. Not surprisingly, the original is much better than my attempts to reconstruct it, even better than I remembered it being.
So I cleaned it up a bit (some of the writing was indeed choppy) and decided I wanted to post it. It hasn't been beta'd and there are some word repetition issues, but I think might be worth reading.
I hope you'll enjoy it at least as much as I enjoyed re-discovering it!
All My Best~ Ginnie
I sat beneath a large Magnolia tree as it swayed gently in rhythm with the wind moving through the branches. The aroma of tree bark, grass, and blossoms not yet in bloom filled my lungs. The breeze brought with it other scents. Herbivores grazing nearby, birds of prey in flight, even detectable hints of pollution from some forbidden corner of human civilization far from here.
The sun-warmed earth had its own scent and seemed to echo the feeling of the sunlight on my hard, cold skin. It was entirely pleasurable sitting here, in this place I rarely allowed myself to go. Remote as it was, I knew the consequence were I to be seen.
After all, I was a mythical creature. An impossibility. My very being went against nature, defying both evolution and creation. Yet, here I sat; very real, highly evolved, and unlike anything else in all of creation. For that reason, there were rules to be followed and I could not afford to be seen here in the sunlight.
I closed my eyes, relying on my sharp sense of smell and keen hearing to keep watch. There was little chance anyone would find me here and even less of a chance that I would not hear them approach.
I could hear everything; the insects burrowing in the tree behind me, crawling on the earth below me, and buzzing in the air around me. I could hear the sounds of small birds and mammals stirring in the distance. I could even hear an airliner miles above me in the sky, and somewhere off in the distance I'd become aware of the sound of a large animal running.
The animal's size must be great, I thought idly. It wasn't headed towards me at the moment, but nevertheless a part of my thoughts would remain focused on the animal's course and direction. Hunters were common this time of year and the sound was only five to six miles away. Should someone be tracking the beast, I had no desire to encounter them today.
My only wish this day was to spend whatever precious moments I had left here. I desired to enjoy the sound of my own breath, the feel of the sun on my face, and the smell of the blossoms I would probably not get to see. I opened my eyes and tilited my head to watch the wind playing in the trees and the sunlight streaming through the boughs. I smiled and closed my eyes once more. My breathing grew deeper as I tried to draw in as much of this experience as possible. I hoped to memorize the peacefulness and serenity of it all.
With little warning, the wind shifted and a rich new scent slammed into me. Like a wave knocking me down and sweeping me under, I was suddenly out of control and taken away by the current of my instincts.
All of the joy and warmth that I felt moments ago were gone. The raging, uncontrollable demand of thirst now took their place. I was terribly weak with hunger, from once again trying in vain to draw out the inevitable. It had been weeks since I last had any blood and I now had no strength left in me to fight the instinct to feed.
My throat burned with an acid fire that should have ignited this entire forest. The burning brought with it a rush of venom that cramped my jaw and twisted in my stomach. The feeling threatened to have me gagging at any moment. My breaths were desperate gasps now taking as much of the scent as possible. My eyes were frantic sentinels searching for the source. My ears were the radar listening for any blip of sound that would betray the direction in which I needed to travel.
I jumped upright and then flipped into the branches of the massive tree above me.. I dared to stand upon the highest limb to search for signs of my prey. The only thing I heard were the thundering paws still running off in the distance, now straight north of me.
Upwind and coming fast.
Suddenly, despite the thirst that drove me to hunt, my senses became alert for another reason. Something was off. The scent in the air now was human, but the only sounds were animal. My nose told me one thing, my ears another. I crouched down on my perch, suddenly wary. A vampire's keen senses rarely misguided them.
Struggling against the devastating thirst, I swallowed the venom filling my mouth and tried to think. Am I losing it? Maybe I really will go mad if I don't feed enough.
I held my breath, knowing the scent of blood would assault me again if I inhaled. I listened, honing in on the thudding of the paws now only three miles north of me. They had deviated course again, still coming south but not in a straight path. One, two, one, two, one and two... and three? One, two, one, two. One and two and three...
I strained to filter the sound better, still not breathing. It became clearer with each second. There were two separate rhythms. Two separate runners.
They changed direction again, allowing me to hear the distinct quality of each rhythm. One was definitely animal, canine of some kind, but large. One was definitely upright, almost certainly the human I smelled. The steps moved in such harmony that, at times, I lost the second lighter rhythm.
How is that possible?
I took another breath, wondering if I had just imagined the scent that burned my throat still. What human runs around in the woods with an animal like that? What human could possibly keep up? There was only one way to know if I was mistaken, or if I were crazy.
Breathing in was a little less acidic this time. There were different, unusual aromas mixed with the mouthwatering scent. Some of what I smelled was completely unappetizing and gave me something to focus on besides the thirst.
The human scent was still there, but it was a strange mix of human and sweeter, more familiar aromas. Still, I could not identify it. The experience was akin to when I'd smelled magnolia blossoms for the first time. They were distinctly floral, but not matching any other scent I had experienced at the time.
This new human-like scent had triggered my instincts but held an atypical quality, one I had no category for. Human, but not. Vampire? No, that wasn't right at all. Yet... something about it was vampire-esque. It was like... Coffee?
Yes, I decided. Coffee was a good metaphor. The scent of it was a vivid memory for me. I could remember distinctly that in my human life the smell of coffee had been delectable, mouthwatering even. The taste however, had been bitter and acidic. It was appealing to one sense, but unappetizing to another.
So while I'd reacted to the scent of this strange blood on the air, I could tell now that it was different. I had a feeling that, like coffee, I would not enjoy the taste as much as the smell.
Despite that, I struggled against my thirst. It was a fight to push it back and regain focus. I found it also had a strange new ally; curiosity. Before I had a chance to think it through all the way, I was flying through a clearing and into the woods to the north.
My feet were moving again with a speed I rarely used. I was good at faking it, but in my heart of hearts nothing about my superhuman abilities had ever been comfortable or fun for me. The preternatural way I moved often frightened me, and the predatory way I interacted with the world and everything in it horrified me.
I knew the reason. I knew why it was that these things would likely never change for me. Unlike others of my kind, I could remember being human.
I could remember seeing beauty, goodness and love in the world. I could remember faces, names, sounds, smells and emotions. They never left me, never faded. Even after seventy some years of this immortal life, I carried it all with me.
Being a vampire was the one thing I actually tried to forget. But in this moment running and swinging through the trees, more an animal than a person, it all came so naturally. Part of me was having fun. Part of me hoped that I could let go of the human leftovers in my mind this time and embrace what I really was. Another part of me was screaming to get my attention, telling me that I was at risk of losing myself to the predator forever.
I ran on until I reached a small creek, stopping only to find cover and then the trail that I sought. As efficient a predator the instincts made me, I was unsure what exactly I would find at the end of this trail. It was a good cause for hesitation. I crouched on a branch and put my senses to full use.
"What are you doing here!" A small female voice rang out ahead of me. Its owner was only a few hundred yards away.
The running skidded to a stop as a low growl sounded. I could hear the girl's heartbeat pounding now, along with the heavier beating rhythm of the canine's heart. The sound of the blood pumping made my stomach clench.
The girl spoke again, her voice musical but full of fear. "What happened? What's the mat-" The voice was suddenly cut off.
I silently jumped one tree closer. There was obviously someone or something else out there, though I couldn't determine where. The only the sounds now were of feet and paws shifting in the dirt, along with some labored breathing.
I moved to gain a vantage point from which to see what was going on. I didn't see anything when it happened; I only felt the rush of the air as my challenger suddenly appeared in front of me on the branch. Then another rush of air as her partner landed behind me.
Panic threatened and I froze, my wide eyes in confusion and fear.
The tiny black-haired vampire in front of me looked me over with strange golden eyes. They danced as she made her assessment of me, almost as if she was delighted to meet me. Her behavior was strange, but her stance made it clear this was not a challenge. Still, I felt threatened and crouched, glancing behind me to assess her companion's intentions.
The moment that my head turned enough to catch sight of his eyes, I gasped. These eyes were fierce, brilliant, piercing, but also pained and unsettled at the same time. They were the same color as the female's eyes, but belonged to a face that I was sure I should know. I struggled to recall where I'd seen them before but it was clouded in my memory. It became apparent that I was looking for a human memory. That was the only explanation as for why I couldn't immediately access it.
I narrowed my eyes. Where was the memory I needed? How could my flawless photographic memory do this to me now?I couldn't not remember, that was impossible!
As I stared at him, the blond-haired male stared back, and I knew one thing for certain; I knew those eyes.
It came to me very suddenly. The eyes were his. They were his eyes, but they were wrong. It took me almost three seconds, but I finally realized it was the color of them that was wrong. His eyes had been black rimmed in dark scarlet.
I felt like I was slowly, very slowly, being taken back in time. Back to somewhere dark, terrifying, and very painful.
My breaths started coming quickly, the burning thirst I'd been suffering from letting up only to be replaced by crippling fear.. I took one lightening-quick sidestep and allowed myself to fall limply to the ground. I would be no match for the beautiful pair above if it came to a fight. I just wanted to get away from the memory of those eyes.
By the time I hit the ground, the pixie-like female was already there in front of me. She watched me carefully, examining my expression. The male landed a moment later just in front of me and to the left of the female. He looked at me fiercely, his brow furrowed.
I tensed, feeling my muscles going into flight mode. There was a thrilling little pulse in my body as I felt my muscles flex, tense and then relax again. I readjusted my footing and balance, muscles flexing again. It was decision time; confront or escape.
Escape seemed vital. I was confused, disoriented and feeling more and more threatened. A flood of emotion swept over me, while I simultaneously planned my retreat. I crouched with the intent to flee, but instead of springing into action, I fell to my knees. The physical threat combined with the emotional turmoil I felt had immobilized me.
I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, the scent of blood now faded and replaced with the scent of my own kind. I hated my kind, just like I hated myself.
I felt a renewed urgency. Self-preservation was taking over and pushed my now out of control emotions aside. I rocked back on my heels and sprang up from the ground with a speed and power that had never failed me before. In less than half a second, I had launched myself forty feet away.
I was prepared to hit the ground running, but before I got even a single toe on the ground, the little female was standing right in front of me again. I stopped just short of ramming into her.
"Alice! No!" the male shouted.
I let a growl escape my mouth and in the same moment decided to dart around the girl. Again, she was already in my path reaching out to me with her arms.
"Stop, we won't-"
I swung to knock her arms to the side, hoping to catch her off balance and lunge for her neck with my now exposed teeth. She flipped around one tenth of a second before I moved and knocked my legs out from underneath me.
I felt myself flying backwards and howled. In another thirtieth of a second and the male was right on top of me. His knees and feet pinned my legs, while his strong hands held my arms to my chest. I was suddenly overcome with the strangest drowsy feeling and in the fog, all my fear, rage, and panic faded. Still, I closed my eyes preparing for what would come next. I was surprised it was an argument.
"Alice, are you crazy? She's terrified and starving!"
"She was going straight towards Ness & Jake! She would have gotten past all of you."
The small one, Alice I guess, looked past me and I followed her eyes. There were two more vampires approaching. Just great.
Alice continued. "Anything could have happened, Jasper. I can't see past Jacob."
"You just can't do that to me though, babe," the male sighed and shook his head. "Even if you are amazing in a fight," he whispered, winking at her. It was obvious they were a mated pair.
As I watched their exchange from flat on my back, I started feeling confused. I sensed no threat from them at all, which was strange. I tried to remember how I felt moments ago and how exactly I had ended up here.
It was odd the way they just appeared on my tree branch. Almost as if they were expecting me to be there. If so, what did they want with me? They didn't look like members of the Volturi guard and I had done nothing wrong besides sitting in the sun far away from human eyes.
If they weren't Volturi, what did a group of four vampires traveling together want with me? What had I done to them? Or, more frightening, what were they going to do to me? I started to panic.
"Whoa there..." the male holding me down said. "We're not here to hurt you, little lady. Try to stay calm."
A bizarre feeling of ease came over me then. Intellectually, I knew I shouldn't be so calm, but I couldn't make myself be fearful anymore either.
"We can let you up if you can stay in control. Can you promise not to run off?" The one called Alice had a surprisingly kind voice and shocked me into silence by kneeling down unexpectedly to brush the mess of hair out of my face. "Better?"
Before I could answer, a fierce but feminine voice interrupted the little bubble of comfort Alice had created for me. I jumped at the sound coming from behind my head.
"Get a grip, Alice. You can't let her loose yet."
I looked, but could not see the female it belonged to.
"It'll be fine," Alice said.
"We can't take any chances. She could be a tracker for all you know."
A different voice sounded now, also startling me.
"Rose is right, you guys. We can't be too careful."
A very large male bounded up next to Alice and the blond male sitting on me. He was huge. I tensed and squirmed before another dose of eerie calm washed over me. The large dark-haired male was then joined by the other female who'd spoken. She was tall and blond and easily one of the most beautiful immortals I'd ever seen.
I marveled at the new couple for a while before I started to wonder why I was not fighting to get free. I should be running away from them. From all of them. I should be thrashing and clawing for my chance at escape, but I couldn't seem to feel the need to. In all honesty, I felt slightly lethargic. Why couldn't I feel the panic I should?
I glanced up at the four vampires who had me at their mercy. There was nothing else to do. Soon I realized that I was staring into four pairs of the same strange golden eyes. I regarded them one by one. It only took me a half a second to examine each set in perfect detail.
I noticed right away that the blond female's eyes were darker in color, almost black. The faint bruises under them were more pronounced than any of the other three. She was thirsty. She also looked ready to kill beauty would have been startling, if it hadn't been for the hideous way she looked at me.
It dawned on me then.
He was thirsty that night, that's why his eyes were so different!
I glanced back at the blond male holding me down and compared the eyes in my memory with the eyes in front of me, imagining them thirsty, black and rimmed in red.
"It was you," I choked out weakly. My voice was barely audible. I sucked in a quick breath and then screamed angrily, "It was you!"
I pushed and kicked with all the strength left in my current state of weakness. I fought and struggled to get free. I wanted to cry but I could not; not ever again.
The memory of his face came back to me right away now, I didn't have to struggle for it and it came back with overwhelming force. The anger came first and then the emotions of that memory flooded me, as if I were experiencing it all over again.
Walking on a wooded country road. The sun setting. A strange sound. A rush of air. My hair flying up behind me. My feet leaving the ground. A crushing pain in my right arm. Searing pain and pressure on my neck. Blackness overtaking me. Fear, paralyzing fear.
Growling, gnashing, thunder colliding. The ground quaking. My body weightless. My body broken. Shock. Cold. Wet. Agony. Suffocating. Gasping. Freezing. Wet and falling. Slipping. Cold and then colder. Then burning. Burning like fire. Burning in pain. Pain. PAIN.
My eyes fluttered and I blinked to regain focus again on the real world. I inhaled and it hurt, the phantom pain still fading. I felt so heavy, there was a crushing weight on my body and someone's cool breath brushed my ear. I moved and dark blond hair tickled my nose. Then I turned my head to see pain filled eyes staring into my own.
"Jasper!" Alice cried.
"Oh, crap. Jasper? What the hell?" The large male was moving to pull him off of me.
"What is she doing to him?" The blond female sneered and grabbed me by my leg, jerking me up.
She lifted me easily and I didn't fight. She turned me right side up and held me around my biceps. We moved away from the others, her hands like iron shackles around my clothed arms. I thought briefly that my stone-like flesh might begin to crack from the pressure. Her hold was almost painful, but nothing similar to the remembered pain of my change. I stared at the one who was the cause of that agony and the death of my human life. He remained lying face down on the ground.
"Jasper, baby? Feel me here with you. You're okay. It's okay." Alice was kneeling in front of where the big guy held Jasper. She placed his face between her hands and pressed her forehead to his. She kept chanting and touching him until he sagged less again the other male who knelt behind him.
"I'm alright. I just... I couldn't control it." His breath was still uneven, but he looked to be uninjured. Not that I should care. "Her fear was overpowering and she was in immense pain. I was unable to stop it from taking me over."
I gasped. How did he know that? I felt like screaming at him. Did he even understand what he'd done to me?
"You did that to me. It was you," I said, willing him to meet my eyes.
He did, looking around Alice to see me. His gaze was curious, suspicious.
"You said that before. Who is it you think that I am? I don't know you."
"You're really going to pretend that you don't know me? You made me!" I yelled.
He stared back at me obviously confused and a little stunned. He took his mate's hand and stood up, moving closer.
I shook my head and leaned back against the female holding me. I didn't want him any closer. Lying jerk!
What was his deal?
Perhaps he didn't want his mate to know what he'd done; biting me then abandoning me. Or maybe she was the other vampire there that day? Maybe she was the reason I was left alone. But if that were the case, how could they just leave me to my own devices? It was forbidden by the others to abandon someone undergoing the change. They could have both been punished had I'd only known who they were.
I closed my eyes, trying not to remember it again. I only wanted him to remember and admit it.
"If you don't remember me, then do you recall ever losing a meal to another vampire? Maybe a little snack that looked something like me?" I narrowed my eyes at him and pointed. "You made me like this, Jasper."
I heard a small gasp from Alice and the large male muttered a profanity laden, "No way."
Everyone looked to Alice who had the strangest expression on her face. I guessed that she knew nothing about this. She held on tightly to the man I now recognized as my sire, staring ahead almost unseeing. When she finally blinked, she looked at her mate and nodded once. All eyes collectively snapped back to me.
"That's impossible," Jasper answered after a pregnant pause.
He examined me with large, wide eyes, searching my face for any hint of deception. I held his gaze and arched an eyebrow daring him to find any. I could easily prove to him that I was right; all I had to do was touch him again. But I wanted to know if he would admit his crime against me on his own.
He couldn't possibly not remember. Vampires didn't forget.
Suddenly his eyes widened further and he shook his head. "Impossible."
He took a step back when my anger flared at his denial. He placed his arms up placating me, as if he sensed how angry I was becoming. I scrutinized him and thought back to how he'd collapsed on me. Could it be that he felt my emotions? Maybe he could read my mind.
"What are you doing?" I asked him. "Can you read my mind? If you can read my mind then you should have seen my memory. It was you who attacked me. You're my sire."
He shook his head. "I can't read your mind. You are very perceptive though, I can read your emotions. I sense that you're not being deceitful, but... You must understand that I have never been able to bite and not kill. If I'd bitten you, I would have drained you."
He frowned deeply.
"Do you forget things?" I asked, wondering if perhaps he were different from others of our kind in more ways than one. Maybe he could forget. I wondered briefly if perhaps he'd been newly changed himself when he bit me. Of course, then his eyes would have been bright red, even if he'd been starving the irises would have held a crimson tint from pupil to rim.
"No. Never," Jasper answered.
"Then you must remember me, or at least the other vampire? Louisiana, 1939? I think it was a fight."
"You think?" The large darker-haired male asked skeptically and took a step towards me. My eyes shot to him and I hissed and cowered instinctively because of his size. The female holding my arms tightened her grip on me and growled in my ear.
"Stop," Alice said, scowling now at the two other vampires I now feared.
She looked back at me and smiled sweetly. "I'm Alice. You know Jasper it seems." She looked at him lovingly before pointing towards the others. "The big one is Emmett. He's harmless really, just very protective. And the one trying to take your arms off is Rosalie… she will let go of you now."
Rosalie tightened her hold yet again. I felt my bones protest under the assault and my shirt began to tear. She leaned over my shoulder and whispered in my ear. "If you run, I'll take your head off."
"She won't run. If I were to guess, I'd say that she's not going anywhere without Jasper for a while," Alice said, smiling widely.
My eyes shot to hers and then to the one who had ended my human life.
Why would I want to stay near him? And how could his mate possibly want that? Was she insane? Couldn't she see that I just wanted to hurt Jasper right now? In fact, the more I thought about it, the better that idea sounded to me.
"Let her go, Rosalie," Jasper commanded with an ominous tone. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck go up and my body instinctively recognized that he was an older, stronger vampire. The scars I'd almost failed to notice spoke volumes.
Rosalie released me and walked over to Emmett without looking back. She wrapped her arms around the big one's waist and he leaned down and kissed her cheek. Another mated pair.
It occurred to me that the four of them were almost the largest bonded group I'd come across in nearly five decades. Then I remembered that there were two others that they'd been trying to protect when they found me only minutes ago. My sense of unease increased at the thought.
Alice and Jasper exchanged a conversation that was too fast and low even for my keen hearing. I rubbed my arms and tried to decide what I should do, what I should say, and what I should not. I really didn't want a fight.
Soon my sire and his mate were looking at me.
"What can you remember about your change, sweetie?" Alice asked.
I took a breath and decided the quickest way out of this was to cooperate. I relented to Alice's inquiry, pulling up the fuzzy human memories to the active part of my brain. It took me a moment to find my voice. I gritted my teeth together, knowing that when I recalled these memories I would most likely feel everything as if it was happening all over again. I took some comfort in knowing that Jasper would feel it all too.
"I was fifteen, it was a late afternoon in the fall. I was on my way to the house of the only doctor in our parish. He lived on a quiet country road, two miles from my own home. I had... little brothers." My voice faltered over the words. "Three of them. They were sick." I closed my eyes in grief.
Years later I learned that my mother and father had not only lost me on that fateful night, but because I never arrived at the doctor's house, they lost two of my brothers as well. I went missing and it was the next day before the doctor got to them. It was a devastating blow my parents never recovered from. My father volunteered to serve in the war in Europe a few years later and never returned. My mother was devastated again and never recovered. Eventually, my youngest brother ended up having to care for her in lieu of an education or any life of his own.
My anger flared again.
"You-" I pointed at my murderer. "You attacked me when I was on my way to get help for them. They were babies! The doctor never came! My parents lost three children because of you!"
I started pacing and rubbing my eyes furiously. I wished for the relief of tears. I wished that I could forget. I wished that I had been strong enough to fight him off that day so that I could have saved my brothers.
I felt an odd sense of calm wash over me again and looked around, alert to the fact that it was coming from somewhere foreign. My anger faded and was replaced by my doubt and trepidation. More calm ebbed over me and I met Jasper's eyes. He hesitated to speak, likely waiting until I was willing to hear him. I marveled over how well he could manipulate me. Alice muttered something to him.
"Will you tell us your name?" he asked softly.
I stared at him for a moment, not trusting them enough to give them my name. While I stared, it took only a sixteenth of a second for me to be distracted by his strange golden eyes.
"Why are your eyes like that?" I asked, ignoring his question entirely.
He raised an eyebrow in surprise. "We abstain from human blood."
"We survive off of animals."
"I don't understand. How?" I'd experienced animal blood. That was no way to survive.
"We drink their blood."
"But how do you do it? All of you..." I gestured to them. "How do you stomach it?"
"It is not without difficulty. You get used to it though. There are advantages over time," he said looking down at Alice and squeezing her hand.
Alice smiled at me and answered my next question before I could even ask it.
"We're able to live a more humane lifestyle in many ways. We have a family. We are bonded not just to our mates, but to our brothers and sisters as well."
So you can have a larger coven, big deal. Were there any other benefits that made the nasty taste of animal blood worth it? I was just about to say those very words when Alice started talking again.
"Well, we don't have to live as nomads because we can stay in one place for several years. We have a home, well several actually, and we're able to acquire and enjoy possessions. We're able to have relatively normal lives considering. It's not a perfect existence, but it's the right way for us. And..." She paused, closing her eyes for a moment. "Perhaps it's the way for you too?"
She phrased it as a question, but there was a knowing gleam in her eye that negated her tone.
I shook my head, "I don't think so."
I couldn't survive off of animal blood, there was no way. Donated blood would be better than that, even as thick and stale as it was.
"Hmm. Well, perhaps you won't be staying with us then," Alice said sadly.
I looked at her in shock. The blond called Rosalie muttered about Alice and her 'strays', and then I scowled at them both.
"Why would I want to stay with you?" I asked.
"You're lonely, and you want to know more about Jasper. It will drive you crazy… the wondering about us. You could end up in Alaska looking for us."
"What!" I asked, incredulously. This girl was obviously a little off her rocker. "There's no way that you can know what I will or won't do! Or what will or won't happen!"
Alice smiled and shrugged lightly. "I'd agree with you, except that I do know."
"Uh huh, sure you do," I scoffed. How could she possibly know the future?
"I don't know how it works. I woke up this way." She shrugged again and danced towards me. "I just know things. Like how I knew which tree to find you in, and when you would be here." She stopped and crossed her arms in front of her.
"Who are you?" I asked, taking a step back.
"I'm Alice. I was born Mary Alice Brandon, though I can't remember my human life. I woke up alone with no memories at all, but I saw him in a vision." She put her arms around Jasper's waist as he moved to join her. "And them," she gestured to the other couple. "I saw them all in my future. I found them all eventually."
"Oh." It was all I could think to say.
"Will you tell us your name now?" she asked.
"Lillie," I said, looking at the ground. "My name's Lillian Margaret Chisham. Or it was..." I thought of my family again. I missed them so much, even seventy years later. My only surviving brother had just died this January. I was now completely alone.
"You're alone now?" Jasper asked gently.
"Because of you," I answered without looking up.
"You woke up alone?"
"Of course I did, you weren't there." I snapped my head up and growled at him.
He sighed. "I'm sorry that you're lonely and angry, but I am not sure that it's possible for you to remember enough about your change to be certain who sired you. Not unless they were there when you woke. As that was not the case, would you please tell us what you do remember?"
"I remember everything," I glared. "It happened just as I told you. I was fifteen. I was walking on a dirt road. Suddenly I was on my back and my arm and neck hurt more than I had ever experienced. I never saw you or heard you until I was on the ground. My arm hurt first, but then the pain moved to my neck. I only saw your face and eyes for a moment. I didn't remember you really until just now. It was too painful to remember small details. But when I saw your eyes I knew them. I knew my sire's eyes. The color maybe wrong but I remember, they were red then. Blackened from thirst with crimson at the edges."
I looked at Jasper who was unexpectedly nodding.
"Nineteen thirty-nine." he whispered.
I continued my story.
"I remember feeling more pain and there was a lot of gnashing and growling, and then I was thrown through the air. After that, I remember being wet and cold. I remember the burning and the feeling that I was drowning at the same time."
I cringed at the emotions stirred by this memory. Jasper groaned lowly while I concentrated on exactly what I was feeling at that moment in time. I looked away and continued my story.
"There's not much I remember after drowning. Just blackness and nothingness. I don't know how far I traveled or how I got out of the water. I woke up on the ground, on a shoal near a bridge that went over the river I landed in when I was thrown. I couldn't understand anything that was happening to me. I was terrified and felt the pain of my early thirst almost immediately. I would have scratched my own throat out to try and stop the burning, but then I smelled something warm and wet, and I heard the heart beats coming toward me. I didn't know what was happening or what I was doing until it was over."
My voice dropped to a whisper as I continued.
"It was morning. Sunday morning. I know they were on their way to church. There was a man, a father, and… his child. The boy couldn't have been more than ten."
My voice was full of disgust, self-loathing, and remorse. I would never stop feeling sorry or guilty for what I had done. I would never forget. And I would really like to forget… or to be able to go back and change it.
I shook my head. "The worst part was... it wasn't enough. I slaughtered them both and the horses and only then, with the putrid taste of the animal blood in my mouth, did I stop to notice what I'd done." I dropped to my knees. "He was just a child. And the father... It could have been my father. They could have been my own father and brother and I wouldn't have known until I drained them all."
I looked up at Jasper. He obviously abstained from human blood now, but apparently not then. Would my actions shock him? Would he feel sorry? Would he feel responsible?
He stared at me with impossibly large eyes, shaking his head. After a moment he approached and knelt down in front of me.
"I didn't know. I... I was weak and was nearly starving myself at that time. I went as long as possible between feedings." He looked up at Alice briefly. "I remember now. I was wandering. I don't even know where I was when it happened. I'd been hiding from the sun all day, my throat on fire after almost four weeks without feeding. I couldn't resist the thirst any longer and then suddenly there was a human." He studied me and then looked to the ground between us. "I never looked at the person's face."
"Well, you can look at it now. Can't you?" I retorted sharply.
I was irritated that he couldn't remember me, that he'd had never stopped to look at me. Even now he wouldn't look me in the eye. I was growing angry.
Feeding had obviously been so easy for him. He could feed and forget about his victims when I could not. He'd bitten me and then lost me to another vampire and never thought twice about me.
I was beyond angry now. It was just all so monumentally unfair!
Jasper didn't have to live through what I lived through every day; he could feed with no remorse, without being haunted forever by the source of his sustenance.
"You're angry that I can't remember you. I'm sorry," Jasper said softly. "You were just so small and I thought you were dead. No, I thought you were drained. The other vampire involved was claiming his territory and you were his as far as he was concerned. I fought him only to defend myself because he'd attacked me. I didn't challenge him though, I was too weak and weary of fighting. I lost. Then I left."
Jasper gazed up at Alice as though he were begging her forgiveness. At that moment, I realized his confession wasn't for me at all. His apologies were for his mate, not for me. Not for the life he stole from me. Nor for leaving me to become the monstrous abomination that I became when left on my own. Not even for sentencing me to an eternity-long walking nightmare.
For just a moment, I wanted him to feel what I felt every time I needed blood. The conflict, the need, the self-hatred, and the agony of my crippling remorse. I wished that he could know the pain it caused me to hold on forever to the memories of everyone that I'd ever killed. All of it... I wanted him to go through all of that for himself.
A shaky moan broke me from my thoughts. I glanced up to see Jasper's gaze locked on mine. The pain and grief that I saw there shocked me.
"Please… I'm… so sorry," he whispered. The words were barely more than air moving over his lips. I might have thought that imagined them, they were that soft.
Unfortunately, I hadn't imagined what seeing my own feelings reflected back at me in the eyes of my sire would do to me.
I took a tentative step towards him and my hand twitched at my side as though I were going to reach out to him. Then I did reach out to him.
What the heck was wrong with me?
I ripped my eyes from Jasper's. His eyes made me feel guilty and I hated that I even cared. I hated that I wanted to go to him and comfort him at a time I should have been rejoicing. For the first time in my existence I was not alone in my suffering. The one responsible for my miserable existence shared my pain. I should be glad. I should not care that he hurt.
But I did.
A feral scream ripped from my chest and before I could think twice about what I was doing, I turned and ran.
To be continued...
As I mentioned above, this was my very first attempt at fanfiction. I have one more chapter written and then... you tell me?
I know Original characters are not hugely popular in FF, and this story is Lillie's story. She will not replace any of the Cullens, nor will there be any AU elements or character death. She's just a nomad with a gift trying to find her way through eternity. As she interacts with the Cullen clan, she'll find out that maybe she doesn't have to do that alone.
If you'd like to read more about her journey, please review and let me know. :-)
Name: Lillian Margaret Chisham
Year of Birth: 1924
Year of Change: 1939
Gift: Memory transfer*
*Skin to skin contact results in Lillie seeing and feeling the memories of the person she touches. (NOT as powerful as Aro. She does not know what the person was thinking at the time of the memory.)