This is Mrs. Myers Universe, I am just a guest.
Snow was drifting out of the steel gray sky. It sparkled in the street lamps' beams on the lawns rolling out from the Museum of Science and Industry toward Lake Michigan. I stood in the shadows on the maiden porch, watching the ground turn pure. The statues, the graces with their loads on their heads felt burdened, I too felt heaviness in my head, and it spread softly like the snowfall to cover me. I felt the list in my pocket as an anchor, not the badge of honor I had thought it would become. I recalled the afternoon I had decided enough of fighting with what I considered our natural manner. I had decided to go nomad.
Esme's mind had grown more and more quiet around me. I knew how she had suffered from her parents and her marriage - her mind held so many more human memories than my own, I had often encouraged her to remember, to cement them into her new brain so that I could get a sort of a vicarious history of my own. It hadn't worked out as I had hoped - it had filled me with a desire for vengeance - on anyone who could inflict horrors on the innocent. That afternoon I waited for her return before I left. I had left a letter for Carlisle at the hospital, but I could not go before I spoke with her. As soon as she walked into the living room she knew.
"You're leaving us." a statement - no question in her tone. I nodded.
"I can't stop you - I know you have to go for a while - I hope, no I want you to come back, whatever, whenever. You will always have a place with us." I don't care - I have to let him go, a mother always has to have the little ones leave the nest.
I did not answer her thoughts directly, "I know" my response as I gave her a hug then I pulled back. "Esme, you are my mother now - and that is why I could not leave you with just a note. " Then I turned to go.
As I picked up my small satchel and opened the door, she put a hand to my shoulder. "You will come back when you are ready. I hope you find your answers."
I left quickly, putting space between me and the house, I did not want to hear another thought as I turned off the nature I had learned from Carlisle and allowed my monster to take over.
In the weeks and months to come, my monster grew and fed and romped. I thought I would find release, peace and joy as I ended the so-called war inside me. HA - I was a Masen as much as a Cullen. I only felt a measure of peace when I stopped a violent heart from a fateful act. It didn't last long. My self always asked why I was fit to be judge and jury.
Because I can had stopped to fulfill that answer.
Tonight the reality had hit me that in truth, I was striking out against my own loss of innocence, my own fate. I could loathe, I could cause fear, I could care - but I could not love. I had lost count of the ladies I had rescued from a mortal fate, the many I had saved, from one day's horrors, only to give them a new monster to fear. No redemption in their eyes, I had taken to reminding them that I was the avenger, they were freed of guilt. I would carry that - and I did.
The child I had wrapped in a blanket and returned to her mother was the last straw. She cried into her mother's shoulder that grand papa was gone. The relief, the fear and loathing and confusion that filtered over their faces- and I had taken that into me.
I as only kidding myself thinking I was transforming that darkness into strength for vengeance. In truth it was transforming me. My humanity, if any remained, was being eaten by the evil I had found and consumed. I doubted I would ever love, not like Esme and Carlisle had each other, like the pure loves I had heard in my travels. Sure, I had passion, I could hate, but that was not what I wanted.
I wanted to do something.
Something good, something lasting.
I figured I had time to decide what that would be.
Maybe Carlisle was right; maybe my mother was right in requesting my transformation. I wasn't satisfied as a sword of vengeance or a dark angel. If I have a passion, it is to learn, to make something more rather than to take - that would fill the empty place. I had only a dim memory of my father - he was advising a young man, a relative? - they sat by the fire in our living room and his voice was still clear in my mind "Leave something more; always more than you take - build and grow - that is the way of our family." Now I had gone against the grain, when I thought I was following it.
I could not do this by myself - I knew Esme would welcome my return with open arms, but could Carlisle?...that letter
That dammed letter I had written. I didn't need a copy. I burned it like everything else, into my memory:
By the time you are reading this, I will be far. I am not sure where I am headed, but I am sure that I must end this war inside my head. I want to live the life we were meant to, consigned by fate to, become the predator that we are - that you made me. I am grateful for your guidance and teaching. I consider you and Esme to be my parents now. I hope I shall see you sometime in the future. Do not worry, you have taught me the rules well.
With Great Respect and Affection
When I checked on "my" house in Chicago, I had found a letter addressed to Mr. E (C) Masen waiting for me.
I can only imagine the torment that drove you to your decision. I can tell you that Esme and I will hold you in our hearts always. No matter what. There is always a place for you in our home. Join us when you can.
A key to safety deposit box was enclosed. The box contained a hefty sum of cash and a set of alternate documents, as well as an address. I guessed those would be updated from time to time.
If I felt the same as I did tonight when the sun rose, I would head for the bank, then for home.
Home, a place I felt drawn toward.
If I was really honest with myself, I wanted to begin again - be 17, really 17 again. Play the piano, read, study; find a way to do some real work in the world.
I slammed the monster in me into a corner - Carlisle had saved my life - and I had thrown that back at him, claiming he had created the monster. The thirst was nature - how I chose to slake it - that was now 100% me. I realized that now. I realized everyone - we all make decisions. I now accepted my choices, and their consequences.
Some of those I killed - being honest here, that is what I did - were quite clear in their choice of the evil deeds; some, no really all, there were few truly crazed - and those minds, those tortured minds, begged to be released from their torment.
I sat on the concrete of the porch, eyes to the east bit of sky, waiting for sunrise.
I left for the bank early, realizing a longer journey was in front of me, one that I would undertake in human fashion, human speed. It was my decision. My choices now had to bring my world back into line. I realized I would need new clothing, more in tune with winter. I would also need a ticket to Rochester, New York.
Many hours later I was stowing my satchel on the overhead rack of the train to New York. I was now Anthony Platt.
I had found a few deer in the forested area near the lake.
I had tinted glasses, and a warm coat.
I placed my hand on the back of my seat and stared out the window.
"Oh, so sorry"
I barley registered the touch, as a petite, red haired lady stretched to place her satchel in the rack. "May I" as I lifted the edges of the tapestry bag and slid it next to my own. She met my gaze with a brief smile; she was older, not elderly. She led an air of warn dignity about her, the last few years having been hard ones in the country. I slid into the window seat, watching the snow begin to fall again. After a moment, I turned back to watch the car fill with passengers.
"Thank you, young man." Her voice was soft but firm, reminding me of Esme, "Heading home for Christmas?"
Christmas? Christmas - I had spent so much time tuning out the crowd that I had not noticed the usual buzz of thoughts about the holiday. As I drew in a deeper breath, I caught the scent of cinnamon and ginger - sure signs. "Yes, I haven't been in a while."
"Oh, you're surprising them? Just like me. I didn't think I'd get on this train today, but I knew they'd need me, all in all, so here I am." She smiled to herself, settled into her seat and said no more aloud as the train began to move.
Her thoughts were far from silent. She organized her gifts, prayed for good weather and solace to her family. For a quick entrance into heaven for her grandson. His face filled her mind - from a few years past. Such a good hearted young man - trying to help another when he tumbled through the thin ice, chilling him and now the dreaded pneumonia had set in. She envisioned the family around him and she filled her heart with prayer again.
A single tear caught at the edge of her eye, she still looked off into the distance, finally closing her eyes as the train picked up speed.
All night passengers came and went around them, but they stayed seated and silent.
Then, the conductor came down the aisle, calling "Ten minutes to Erie, Pennsylvania." That brought a response. All through the night the lights had been down, now the conductor illuminated the car as he exited to the next. She began blinking her eyes.
My stop? Oh it is so early, I hope there is a taxi about.
She stood to retrieve her bag and with a graceful move only he could accomplish, he came beside her and said, "Allow me."
Her hand again brushed his as he set her bag on her seat.
"Son, your poor hands are still chilled, now that's a good sign of a warm heart." She shook her head slightly as she opened her bag, withdrawing a slim parcel wrapped in newspaper and tied with twine. She pressed it into his chest. "I can't let you travel on without gloves, and I, I don't think he'll need them, good to see them go where needed."
He gently grasped the package. "Thank you" came out more thickly than he had heard his voice before. "Merry Christmas to you your family." In the midst of her worries, she worried about him?
"You too, young man. It's been a hard year, but the gift of being with family, it's best, you know that." She nodded again, pulled her own gloves on, took the satchel and moved toward the exit as the train slowed to a stop. I watched her walk off the platform, keeping tuned to her thoughts, waiting for one bit more of information. As soon as I had it, I closed my eyes and pulled down the window shade. Just a few more hours to Rochester
Cloud filled skies covered the city. I stopped at an antiques shop near the station, and quickly had the two parcels tucked into my bag.
I stood in front of the bank, considering. When the plan was fully fashioned, I entered and was directed to Mr. Hale. He was surprised at the request, but agreed to see its completion. I added a bonus if all was completed by Christmas. He knew it would bring no joy, but a little comfort and peace was all we could send. I thanked him for his efforts.
As I left the bank, the snow began again, a graceful white veil, covering the dirt of the day, making everything smooth and new.
I remembered the letters, how I had been so cutting, and Carlisle so gracious.
I could have found the house without the address, even with the cinnamon scent masking my parents –
My parents, their scent calling to me as soon as I grew close. Esme must be baking for the hospital staff. She was remembering the recipes:
One cup sugar, one cup flour, teaspoon of ginger - OH Edward!
The light spilled around her as she opened the door. Carlisle isn't far, he'll be so happy.
She was right; he was coming behind me on the street. He caught my presence on the wind as it blew in his direction.
His arm fell to my shoulder. "Let's not keep her waiting." I fell into step with Carlisle.
"Welcome home" They said aloud as I crossed the threshold.
Just like that.
I was home.
I had made Christmas Merry for them; maybe I could have a New Year.