I had submitted the first half of this story for the Free writers and readers contest, Musical Cues. The contest was to take a song, and evoke the feelings from the song with a one shot. My story was based on Lachrymosa by Evanescence. I found out about the contest late, and was the second to last person to submit. Because of the time deadline, I submitted only the first half; here the story is complete. I think it's sad, but I know that it's important to understand how the world looks without love in order to understand the depth of joy love can bring. Thank you to my wonderful and pesevering beta, Mr. Bigg, and to everyone who voted for me.
I had submitted the first half of this story for the Free writers and readers contest, Musical Cues. The contest was to take a song, and evoke the feelings from the song with a one shot. My story was based on Lachrymosa by Evanescence. I found out about the contest late, and was the second to last person to submit. Because of the time deadline, I submitted only the first half; here the story is complete. I think it's sad, but I know that it's important to understand how the world looks without love in order to understand the depth of joy love can bring.
Thank you to my wonderful and pesevering beta, Mr. Bigg, and to everyone who voted for me.
A day like another other, some might say. Typical Forks afternoon, others would remember. But this day, filled with ominous portent held the beginning of the end, my last moment of happiness, of light, of love. This day, I discovered the fires of hell were unconfined by the underworld. This day, I was burned by the deceit of love.
I had followed him in earnest, longing to be at peace with him, to capture some modicum of happiness and light in the tangled notes that became our song. He did not touch me, and I took no pain; he did not watch me, I took no notice. We were together again, and that was all that mattered, all that ever mattered. I was in his presence, the world was acceptable, correct, turning on its axis in harmony.
What a fool I was. I had no idea.
"Goodbye, Bella," he said with finality. The tenderness of his caress did not touch me; it was not there to be felt. "Take care of yourself."
And I was alone. The soft whoosh of air floated past me, heightening my confusion and disbelief, chilling me to the bone. Goodbye, Bella. His words cracked the twilight sky, ringing with pain in the air. I couldn't think, I couldn't breathe. Goodbye, Bella. "Wait!" I cried into the rapidly darkening forest, stumbling blindly against the obsidian breeze.
"Edward!" The gasping pain gripped me as I called his name. The dark did not answer.
"Edward!" The word fizzled into the night; no sound reverberated or echoed. The lonely gloom engulfed me, yielding no return.
"Edward!" Through the hysteria and madness in my voice, the muffled world spoke my desolation and aloneness. I plunged into obscurity and loss.
Where had he gone? Where was he now? I needed to find him, to make him see, to see the spark of love light his eyes one last time. Incompetently trying to run, I stumbled after him, seeking, searching, keening his name as I staggered and lurched. My pace was frantic, each step a heartbeat, each slip a breath; I blundered and bumped as day receded into night, losing me in the transition. I wandered, I searched. "Edward?" The words fell off my lips, convulsing to the ground, seeping into the dampened and deadened earth that was my world. Edward… His name became foreign, strange sounding in my head, abstruse, confusing, incomprehensible.
The earth was against me and fought me for control. The roots twisted out of their hold, grabbing and pulling at my feet. I tripped, I fell. I rose, only to stumble again. The root dug into my knee, tore my pant leg and threatened to pull me under the dark earth to my grave. I sobbed his name aloud, knowing it would fall to silence.
Why now? Another year - Stupid, stupid Bella. The tears welled in my eyes, remembering my absurdity and naiveté when he'd said the words "We're leaving." I had no cause, no case to believe we'd stay together… Except for the words he'd spoken to me. I I love you. You are my life now./i Lies! Deceit! Treachery! Anger flared in my chest and fury gripped me, propelling me forward with unexpected force. Damn it! Why had he lied? Why make me feel, only to rip the emotion from me? I tore through the forest, the tears flowing freely as I openly wept. The ground sped to claim me, and I tumbled to the dirt, mold and bracken of the forest floor.
There was no reason to rise, no cause to resist. Perhaps this is what I should become: decay and soil. It was not his fault; he had tried to live a lie. I could not blame him for the love he didn't feel for me, I could only accuse myself of deception to believe I was worthy of him. I had given myself more credit than I was worth and inflated my value; I was nothing, a useless husk, a depleted shell. I curled around the emptiness that filled me and dove into the pain, praying beyond hope that the dark grave that beckoned me would drag beneath the soil and end this hell on earth.
But my end would not be so easily given. My head pounded with the words that released him from me, sweetly singing my demise. "I don't want you to come," he'd said, the killing jab of desertion finally piercing my make-believe world of love and need. I was deflated, free-falling, lost. I let him go, my stupid human reflexes too slow to call him back or persuade him to stay.
If his words were not so exacting, if his lips not stone, I would have believed he was lying. I had stood, offering him my will, my words, my life, blindly watching him leave. His jaw was tight, his eyes hard and set. His features and gestures screamed his veraciousness, and I was too inept to grasp his meaning quickly enough.
"You're not good for me, Bella." Not good for him. My fault, my fault. But you are good for me. I wanted to heal him, to help him, to lift him as he lifted me, to show him the beauty of our lives forever intertwined. How could I be better? How I could I be good enough? The words knotted in my chest, pulling, tensing.
"My world is not for you." But you belong in mine. I had never been happier, more loved, more alive than since the first moment Edward spoke to me. He saved me. Saved me from a tomb of twisted metal, from a mental grave of rape and ruin, from torture and devastation at the hands of a sadistic killer. How could I live without him? How would I live without him? How would I live? Without him, it would not be life. The taunt tendons became tenuous and thin, threatening to snap and sting.
"I'm tired of pretending I'm something I'm not." But… My response was blank and empty. I had no come back for this, no clever words to turn him, to make him stay. How could I? I was not what he needed, not special, not unique, not fast or graceful or beautiful or godlike. Ordinary, plain, silly, and dull, I was a stupid girl grasping at the stars, cemented and tethered to the ground. iSomething I'm not/I Not interested, not fascinated. Not in love with me. The cords severed and snapped, cleaving my heart in two, opening a yawning wound in my chest. The undeniable reality spiraled sharply inside me, a razor of truth on which I slid into the depths of despair.
Down, down I sank. Bella, I don't want you… I plummeted through the darkened caverns of my mind, past self-doubt and self-pity, twisting and turning as I fell, finding my demons calling to me through the pain. The path to hell was paved with betrayal, the gates guarded with golden idols of faithlessness and deceit. The black angels screamed in my head, blocking out my senses, bleeding into my brain, beauteous, horrifying, unified. Let him go, they sang, and their truth rang in my head. I covered my exposed ear and begged them to stop.
Go; my love, go into the night. Don't look back, you're no longer mine. If they ever ask, tell them it was my fault. Tell them I was a stupid child who fell in love with a god, flinging my dreams against the reality that was my undoing, that was always my enemy. You were everything, now you are gone. Too beautiful. Too perfect.
The night fell on me like a stone weight, crushing and heavy. His absence grew inside me like a swelling hollowness, bloated and useless. It was right, it was fitting. Of course he had to go; why would he stay? I lay in the blackness, examining the shattered pieces of my soul scattered around me, knowing that I couldn't change who I was, and now, I could never change bwhat/b I was, or what I was to him. Human, young, foolish, alone.
The sounds of the forest hushed as I faced the tenebrous truth: Whatever I had felt for him, whatever I had gave to him – it wasn't enough. My love wasn't enough to hold him here, to keep him by my side. My blood was not enough to entice him to stay. I wasn't enough.
And there it was, like a pulsating rock of ages that lived in the heart of my psyche. That was the truth of it: I wasn't enough. It was plain, and obvious, as it had always been and would always be. I knew it the first time his velvet voice had spoken to me, the first time his stone lips had pressed to mine and he'd kissed me, and now, the last time he'd kissed me and broken my beating heart into jagged little shards. My tears were the only warmth I knew. As they spilled through the dirt and muck where I lay, they turned to ice, burning as I wept and they flowed. I drew in the leaves around me on the ground searching for some way to dull the pain, to staunch the gaping hole of my chest, to stop the demon song in my head that summoned the black angels from the pit. I was alone. I'd done nothing wrong. I'd been nothing right – for him. I had to let him go, to stay behind and crack and break and survive as the darkness and pitch folded over me in an empty embrace. I felt the sob growing deep within me to a sharp, incessant, howling wail that would never surface; a silent scream I would carry for the remainder of my days, however absently I persisted through those few left to me.
A breeze of darkness blew over and around me. I was no part of it; it was free and unabated while I lay tethered to the uncaring earth. The clouds overhead darkened and hung heavy in the sky, opening to weep in unison with my keening. It was appropriate; it was cold. He was gone, never coming back, and I was pitiful and morose, stupid and numb. The mourning murk drip-dropped, plinking into my hair and ears. I was a useless toy, deserted by a insensitive boy, left to rust and rot in the rain.
Go! Go and leave me… alone. I will never heal, never heal, never love. And though I want to beg, to lie to you and prostrate myself to have your company – as much as I want and need and long for you, Edward – I will not ask you to stay. Find your way in this cold world, and I will be here, motionless, unchanged, unchanging, unwanted and solitary.
I was not cold. I was not sad. I was not anxious or worn, tired or tempted. I floated in the air, raised to the heavens by a heaving huff. Perhaps I moved; perhaps I flew. I was no longer sure what was real, what had been real but was no more, what had always been false. I no longer cared. The trees moved in lurching sway, some sort of movement dragging me through the endless night and still I found no rush of understanding or concern to assuage my loss. My mind knew only my solitude, my abandonment and desertion, and my thoughts were empty and numb. Tears flowed without effort or suffering as the words of my disgrace flowed around me in muffled murmuration from my mouth. I babbled indecipherably, silently, senseless, ceaseless, careless, hopeless.
"He's gone, he's gone, he's gone…" The world was such an empty place without him. Even the patter of my chanting was hollow and meaningless. He's gone, he's gone, he's gone… I was such an empty place without him, hollow and worthless. He's gone…
Goodbye, Edward. Goodbye.
She was not going to let go.
She stood before me, fighting against her freedom so desperately. She had done nothing to deserve this beguilement; I wanted to shake her, to hold her, to push her away, all in the same tearing moment as I looked at the ground. It would take a crushing blow to rip her away from me. I'd been callous before, unknowingly, without intention. But this, this… this was different.
I felt my cold heart rip in two as the words fell from my lips, words that were meant to barb and sting. "My world is not for you." My world, my need, my love - places cold and dark, shadowy and evil. She could never belong there; her warmth and light were misplaced in me. She could never know that the words that damaged her were the very words that damned me for the remainder of eternity.
"Bella, I don't want you to come with me." The lies convulsed on my tongue as I spat them out; venom singed my veins and set fire along my nerves. Every cell of stone flesh willed me toward her, shoved me to wrap my arms around her as her soft, delicate features crumbled into despair. But my mission was set, clear: I had to be stronger than my need for her; I had to be less of a man and more of a monster.
"You… don't… want… me?"
Pity claimed me as she stammered out her response, twisting my words to cut herself more deeply. It was undeserved, cruel and inhuman. I allowed her slice and shred; I allowed her to take more torment than I had intended. My resolve faltered as the pain on her face echoed in my chest, lacerating my determination to do what I must.
Iron. Granite. Rock. Unfeeling, Edward, you are unfeeling. Ignore the twist in your gut. There is no pain. Cold. Ice. Glacier. "No." I had to make her let go.
My thoughts took shape around every hard surface I had ever known. There were only moments remaining in her company, and though I wanted to fall to my knees and beg her forgiveness for these torturous minutes, this was the only way. The few finals words I uttered were only for her safety, the only way I had to offer any care. I delivered them with such dispassionate gracelessness, that when she did not justly accuse me of falsehood, the pain of surprise was my only reaction. Her love was a grip tenacious and firm; my only weapons to loosen her grasp were the cold, uncaring falsity I spoke to pry her care from me. And oh, how well they worked, shaking and loosening her hold, and destroying me in the process.
Bella had been my strength, my light, my air; watching her slowly dissemble in the poisoned atmosphere of my dissociation, my tethers to this world began to shake free and dissolve. I no longer cared that I should feed or breathe – what difference made these minor acts if they were not done in the name of Bella? Moments, moments, I thought, I had only moments to hang on before my the razor of my words would rip me into shreds.
The final moment had arrived.
I inhaled deeply, too keenly aware it would be the last time I received the gift of her scent, the healing warmth of her presence. I swallowed down the scent, the anguish, the remorse, and steeled myself for the self-mutilating task at hand. "Goodbye, Bella."
Leaning forward, I took my love in my hands one last time. The silken threads of her hair seemed to tangle around me, begging me to stay. Everything, my everything, my forever stood before me, trembling, shaken, never to be mine. Her lullaby swam around her, filling my mind and momentarily clouding what must be done. She reached for me, so delicate, so human; my purpose rang back to me, drowning out the song. I held her wrists in my hands, knowing I could not falter, not now, not ever. I pressed my lips to her skin, willing myself stone, unfeeling, uncaring. Her skin flushed warm beneath the granite of my mouth and I yearned for the sweetness of her mouth. Her tears burned me like holy water. I pushed away, I turned away, the warmth of her skin still on my lips, a premonition of the fires of hell awaiting me.
Her sharp inhalation at my touch screamed my faithlessness. I betrayed her with a kiss. The symbolism of the moment was not lost on me; I was clearly her Judas, and I would be as my predecessor before me, forever damned. "Take care of yourself."
And, like the coward I was, I ran. Disgust and loathing ripped through me, propelling me into the approaching night. In the hundred years I'd walked this earth, the need for tears had never so engulfed me as in this moment. Monstrous, vile, repulsive – no words were hated enough to describe the creature that had stood before her, breaking her heart as it ripped out its own. I plunged through the night crepuscular, hideous regret trailing as I ran. My pace was slow, unsure, fearful; how could I leave my love behind forever? Oh, that I were truly stone, to be unfeeling and unaware of the pain before me! I pushed my legs harder, faster, away, offering a silent prayer for her safety to a God who could not care for the beast I'd become.
"Edward!" My breath stopped, my legs ceased to move, darkness splintered around me as her light harkened me home. Her voice was my beacon, calling me back to her arms, back to the safety and comfort of her love. Immobilized, a shiver ran through me that had nothing to do with the night; heartache and escape battled within me, nullifying to indecision.
I could go back. I could confess my lies, empty my heart of this black deceit and rotting betrayal, proclaim my love however wretched, my need however reprehensible, my desperation to stand at her side however unworthy. Her little lullaby pounded through my thoughts, the simple and pure melody entreating me to stay, to love. The path was so healing, so inviting and appealing, my feet moved of their own accord, leading me back to the little white house in the woods, hearth of love and redemption. Steps began to fall, my body tense to run, run to her.
No! I could not return. What little vestiges of humanity left within me halted my footfalls and rebuked me for the weakling I was. My cruelty knew no bounds, if I could so casually flay the beating heart of my love, only to return with the danger unchanged. I flung my head back, my hands balled to fists, muscles taunt as pain wracked through me, my body arching and aching in a silent scream of desperation and despair. The forest swallowed me, welcoming me back to night eternal. I turned away from the light, dragging my feet away, away, away from her. Her lullaby became broken, a minor chord, stopping, weeping, bleeding… The monster inside me roared with delight as the force of my egress swelled to bullet pace.
"Edward?" Though the sound was weak, its pull was not. Bands of agony in my chest clenched and strained with a stunning ferocity, clamping closed my lungs. Single notes of her song rang out in my loneliness, chimes harkening me to heaven. For just an instant, my furious escape wavered as the tug of her need pulled me back one last time. No; never; I was not of heaven. No amount of my need could change that; nothing, nothing I could do, no act of love or thought would change what I was. I was not worthy of her. I redoubled my pace, opening my mouth to breathe as I ran, tasting the everlasting night that would forever be my companion.
I would never walk in the light again. The crystal memories of warmth and love would torment me the remainder of my nights alone, a wound gaping and oozing, always threatening, always excruciating, never healing. I would never know laughter. I would never know joy. Never again. The hopelessness sank like a weight down my arms, through my fingers, embedding beneath my nails; despair pulled, shrieking and shredding, down my chest to my belly. Guilt and remorse consumed me; my brain quivered and pulsed with shame; I would exist in desolation.
I had not considered the pain. Each tendon and fiber ached and burned, a fire more intense than the charring brightness of my change to this unnatural state. The wound that was once my heart ached and throbbed, tender with infection. My bones were too sharp, too brittle, stabbing with each step away from her. It was as if I had deprived the very cells of my body of the essential agent that held them together, giving them purpose and meaning. My love ached, my need screamed, my desire flamed and burned to ash.
"Where you are is the right place for me." My God, Bella. How I wish those words were true! How could a rose blossom and grow surrounded by filth and pestilence? How could the beauty of her song exist in a toneless cave? How could that angel belong in the depths of hell? I had left to the human world, where she could grow and thrive; she would never know the heartbreak of a life with the dead thing that I was.
The rush of the run did not cool me; the night offered no salvation. My thoughts twisted in anguish, the words, her words the razors, her pain the blades, slicing and shredding my already tenuous hold on sanity. This green world would be a memory; her soft lips the closest I would ever be to heaven. As the anguish surged, pushing me onward, I was suddenly seized by the last place I must visit before I left this world behind. Before conscious thought overtook me, I stood alone in the moonlight on the meadow.
The little field stood empty, waiting, abloom with wildflowers and lavender. A step into the field, two, and I fell to my knees. "Bella," I whimpered, choking on the sweetness of her name. My voice was as dead as my heart, empty as my future. My body shook with violent sobs, overcome with the need for tears. This would be the final remnant of beauty, the last marker of my love. "Bella, I love you. I love you." A shell of pain, a mass of anguish, I clenched my fists against the onslaught of searing agony the words invoked. My vision blurred, my face wet with impossible tears. Confused, alone, despairing, I smeared the wet across my face, and wept on, weltering, writhing, allowing my need, my fear, my despondency release into the earth that had been my asylum.
I was unsure how long I wept, how long I sobbed. The new moon still hung in the sky as the wracking sobs ebbed away. My hands before me, sticky and slick, were covered in blood. How fitting; grieving for my paradise lost, I had wept blood.
Irresolutely, I stood. I knew the truth; I was damned. This meadow was no longer meant for me, no longer a happy memory. Exiled from my refuge, I fled into the night, never to return.
"Goodbye, love. Goodbye."