I was right. I knew I was right. He created me to be this, so that's what I was going to be. Why did I need to deny myself? To only keep his conscious free from guilt? That wasn't a problem I should have to deal with. He knew this, yet for ten years I lived by his rules—upheld his lifestyle. And what did I have to show for it? Nothing. I was exactly the same as I was ten years ago, and I would continue to be exactly the same. I would constantly crave human blood. There was nothing more in the entire universe that I would ever want more, yet I was to control that instinct for eternity so that I could lead a life full of guilt free suffering. How splendid was that?
The guilt I could live with. By all means, I was already guilty by association. Carlisle warned me of this guilt, saying that it was not something I would want to carry for eternity. But what did he know of it? He had never taken a human life.
But the guilt of murder would not pertain to me, for my actions could not be classified as murder—it would be justice. I would not take an innocent. I would know if my prey would be worthy of life. And in that, I found my calling. The purpose of my gift, as Carlisle called it. He was always too sanguine to see that it was truly a curse.
Hearing the thoughts of those who chose to take victims as a sick sport would allow me to make them the victim instead. I would be their judge, jury, and executioner. No longer would they be a liability to the people around them. As long as I resided in a city, murderers would not. My killing would be completely justified. It would not be taking lives, it would be saving them. Isn't that what Carlisle wanted? How could this be seen as so wrong?
Carlisle argued that we were not to play God, and should not have the power to decide who lives and who dies. It was not up to us to execute the human race at our choosing. However, no one was there to stop the lion from choosing his gazelle, or to stop the fox from choosing which rabbit he wanted to partake of. No one even dictated to any man which cattle he chose to slaughter. So, why should anyone be concerned with which human the vampire fed from? If God did create every being on this planet, as Carlisle believes, then he created the vampire. God himself gave us the instinct to drink human blood to give us life. God created us to be killers and hunters of the human race. Not obeying those instincts would be us playing God. If I was created by God to kill humans and I don't do it, then I would be an abomination of what he created. I knew I was right about this.
A new set of thoughts brought me out of my musings. She was young. That much was clear from her trifling thoughts. She was thinking about a boy. Of course she was—they all think about boys. She was contemplating on what kind of hair style, and what color dress, would aid in gaining his affections. I rolled my eyes. I would never understand human mating rituals. She was late in getting home, and her mother would be upset. She was taking a short cut, at night, alone. In short, she was stupid.
I tried to focus on what the girl was seeing rather than thinking. I had to locate her quickly, because I knew he wouldn't be far behind. He was watching her earlier tonight thinking of how she reminded him of his ex wife that left him twelve years ago. Seeing the resemblance in the young girl's features brought forth the emotional torment and rejection his wife had put him through when she decided that his sober brother would make a better husband and father. He hated the woman now, and wished that he could cause her a fraction of the pain she put him through. He wished that he could take the woman's life in turn for ruining his. After a few drinks, he decided that tonight he would settle for the life of the young girl—that she would be a good enough substitute. After all, the others were good enough, until another tall, blue-eyed, blond would catch his eye. He was more stupid than the girl.
Why would he not just take his own life if he was so miserable? He was nothing to society and yet he thought ridding the world of something precious that held so much potential was a suitable trade? Well, I guess that was the wrong that I was going to right.
And there again was my confliction. Was this about what was right and wrong, or was it me rationalizing my rebellious behavior, as Carlisle put it? I had starved myself for three weeks while I contemplated the new life I set out to live. I was now very irresponsibly, delirious with thirst. I didn't have more time to decide. The wretch would quickly be approaching the girl from where he stalked her. There was only one thing that I knew for sure: my feeding was about to get a hell of a lot more interesting.
I watched through both their eyes to locate them as I moved along the streets. Thankfully, I wasn't far and could reach them while still appearing to be casually making my way home,—just as the other humans were. I wanted to reach him before he reached the girl. I didn't want her innocent mind to have to know of the evil that was stalking her tonight. Well, if I wanted to be fair, there were two evils stalking her, but at least one of them had good intentions.
Then the realization of what I was about to do finally set in. I was going to feed from a human. The taste of human blood would finally no longer be a mystery to me. I wasn't prepared for my reaction to this revelation. There was fear. There was excitement. There was anger. There was resentment. A whole plethora of emotions I couldn't place.
Why fear? What was there to be afraid of? I was a vampire for crying out loud! This should have felt completely natural.
The excitement, however, was exhilarating. The monster in me made it very well known how badly he wanted this—no— needed was more accurate. With that thought, everything else was pushed to the back of my mind. It didn't matter. All that mattered was the life running through the wretch's veins that would soon be mine. I would finally taste what I have deprived myself of for a decade. I wanted it. I wanted it immediately.
Someone walking by noticed my wild expression, catching my attention. I tried forcing myself to relax once again. However, the passerby's opinion of me being "creepy" alerted me that I may not have been so successful. I was shocked at the anger I felt at this. I was stalking my first human meal, and I had to be concerned with looking like a proper member of society, so that Mr. Judgmental could feel more at ease with my presence. Maybe I should have carried a sign that said "Unstable Vampire". Perhaps that would have lowered his expectations of my behavior and kept him from hindering my hunt. My hunt. I needed to focus on my hunt.
What was wrong with me? My erratic emotions had me behaving more of a newborn vampire rather than one who has practiced strict control for ten years. Perhaps that was my problem. Knowing that the monster was finally getting what it wanted after a decade of being caged was sending me into a tailspin. Focus. I needed focus. I wanted the blood.
The man was getting closer to his victim. I needed to catch up, because I didn't want him near her. He didn't deserve to even touch her for a moment, and I wouldn't allow it.
The girl rounded a corner at the end of the street, and the man picked up his pace. So did I. Just as he was about to make the same turn, I was behind him with a feral sound ripping from my throat. The man stopped immediately. The hairs stood erect on his neck, and his skin broke into a cold sweat. The monster was here and the man knew it.
I was going to do this. I was really doing this. There was no going back.
I grabbed the back of his brown jacket and pulled him into a nearby ally. I forcefully let go of the garment causing him to stumble to the ground. The adrenalin that was now joining his blood made his scent even more alluring. The monster hungrily breathed it in with a groan of satisfaction. Perhaps I should taunt him a bit more. It seems escalated fear brought on a more appealing scent. Maybe that also applied to taste.
His eyes then met mine. His thoughts were confused, having had no idea how he got on the ground, or how the sound he heard could have come from a boy that looked to be no older than his son, Benjamin, that he never sees.
The thought of his son almost stopped me. Could I steal someone's father? I had my father stolen from me. Could I cause someone that kind of pain?
"Where is your son, Benjamin? Where is he?" I demanded from him.
"Why the hell do you want to know that?" he countered defensively. Having no patience for his manner I crouched down in front of him and grabbed the collar of his shirt, pulling until his face was inches from mine.
"I said where is he?" I snarled. The scent of him hit me like a battering ram with him being so close to me. I wanted to take him right there, but I couldn't without knowing if his son would miss him. I may have been a monster, but I was not completely heartless.
"With his mother," he quickly replied, seeing the danger imminent in front of him. His thoughts told me everything I wanted to know as memories flashed through his mind. He hadn't seen Benjamin since the day his wife left. The boy was four at the time and probably knew nothing of his father. The man will never forget the way his son looked that day with the bruises that littered his face and body. He remembered administering those bruises in a drunken stupor.
"What do you want?" the man asked.
He was a disgusting excuse for a man. Benjamin would certainly not be missing him. At that moment, I no longer saw a man—I saw a meal. I decided I wanted him to know as much when I answered him. Pulling him slightly closer to me I whispered into his ear, "Your blood."
The man immediately reacted as he tried to pull himself free from my grasp and push me away. His fear only spiked more when he was unsuccessful at doing so. The monster in me was enjoying the struggle and wanted to have more fun with the man. I let go of his shirt collar, and he clumsily got to his feet as fast as he could. Staying crouched to the ground, I watched as he looked at me one last time, registering my features. The pale skin, the black eyes—it was all so unnatural. He made a run for it down the alley.
Why on earth he went the opposite way of the more crowded street, I will never know. His thoughts were a jumble of fear, and his survival instinct was kicking in, but it seemed rational thought had eluded him. That must have been the hindrance of the alcohol. However, his foolish action made my job quite a bit easier.
I watched him run from me for a few seconds before the excitement of the chase forced me to go after him. In an instant I was in front of him, snarling like an animal. The monster was furious that his prey had tried to escape him, and would not tolerate it again.
Before I knew what I was doing, the man was thrown against the brick building that lined the alley. There was the sound of a light crack as he hit the ground. Pain registered in his mind permeating from his hips as he let out a strangled grunt. His pelvis had cracked. I smiled. I fucking smiled. The monster enjoyed the man's pain to the point of satisfaction. If only Carlisle could see me now. No, this was not the time to think of Carlisle! I already knew what he would say. I didn't need to waste any more time mulling over his beliefs.
Gaining back my focus, I was again stalking my prey. I paced in front of him like a caged lion with my teeth slightly bared, small growls emanating from my throat. I was stalling, but I wanted to answer the ongoing question in his mind of 'Why me?'. I wanted him to know the sins he was paying for tonight—to remember each life he stole. I wanted him to regret it, and I wanted him to feel the guilt that seemed to escape him with every bottle of scotch he drank.
I snarled as I bent down once again to meet his eyes. The fear that met me there was so intoxicatingly gratifying that I once more found myself smiling. The monster was enjoying the taunt. It was a type of foreplay to him.
"Perhaps the question you should be asking your self is why not you?" I suggested. "After all, is there anyone in this town that deserves what you are about to receive more than you do?"
"Fuck you!" he retorted trying to seem at least a semblance of intimidating. He then tried another feeble attempt at escape in his injured state. His meager crawling was quickly halted by my right hand slamming into the brick beside him, blocking his path. With eyes wide as saucers, he stared at my hand on the wall covering the multiple cracks the force of my blow inflicted on the brick. He turned his gaze slowly to meet mine wile panting in horror and pain.
"What are you?"
"The last creature that will ever see you alive," was my droll answer.
He then tried to then move in the other direction but my left hand instantly joined my right on the brick causing more cracking and destruction of the structure. I now had the man pinned to the wall. He had nowhere to go and was panicking.
"Please don't do this," he feebly pleaded. "Have mercy, please."
"Mercy? You want me to show you mercy?" His begging had me livid.
"Do you think you deserve mercy after the torture you delivered to eight innocent young girls? Where was mercy on your list of priorities when you encountered them? Not to mention the ninth victim you were planning to take tonight!"
"No, I wasn't," he panted. It was a lie.
"You can't lie to me!" I yelled. Rage shot through me. I was so furious with this man. I had never felt this level of anger before. I didn't know where it came from. The only thing I did know was that I needed to end this man's life. I needed to quench my thirst and sate the monster.
My hands were now gripped into the lapels of his coat, lifting him to his feet roughly against the wall. He whimpered with the added pain when I heard yet another crack—it was a rib. Another smile spread across my face. I wanted him to feel pain.
The man was about to scream for help, but I couldn't have that. My hand reached for his throat on its own accord, blocking his air way. No sound escaped him. I tilted his head slightly with the hand that already grasped his neck, while the other held his body to the wall.
"Mercy will have no place with you tonight," I whispered with my teeth inches over the pulse point in his neck. It was now my breath that was coming quicker. Instinct was telling me to just tear into the flesh, consume with haste, but I wanted to savor the moment. I wanted to savor the taste. I didn't want that part to end so fast. I loosened my grip of the man's throat slightly, just enough to let some air through. Suffocation would not be his cause of death tonight.
Slowly, carefully, I lowered my lips to his neck. As soon as I came in contact with his skin, I let out a shuddering breath. The scent was amazing—I could almost taste him. The feel of his pulse against my lips was like an aphrodisiac to my senses.
The confusion of the man's thoughts as to what I was doing would have been comical if I wasn't so enamored of the aroma consuming my awareness. My lips pulled back, exposing his neck to my teeth. Slowly they pushed through the flesh with ease. My attention was caught by the registered pain in the man's thoughts. It turned out that being bitten in the neck by a vampire hurt like hell. Good.
My tongue then pushed into the puncture created by my teeth searching out the artery I was after. Once located, I wrapped my tongue around the vein pulling it into my mouth. The taste of this blood was beyond what I could even imagine. It was heavenly euphoric. I found myself moaning in gratification, and couldn't wait to truly drink of it. With that thought, my teeth cut into the artery causing the blood to pour into my mouth like a fountain. It was incredible. I swallowed the first pull of blood feeling it's affects on my body. It tingled all the way down to my dead stomach. I immediately felt it's life radiate through my whole body, to the length of all my limbs. I felt stronger, more complete. For the first time in ten years I felt like I was doing something right.
I sucked the next gulp down my throat, the feelings intensifying. Holy shit, it was amazing. I continued to pull at the vein trying to take my time—I never wanted it to end.
Pictures of people, lots of people, started to run through my mind. Certain faces were repeated but appeared in different ages. It didn't take me long to figure out I was seeing the man's memories. His family was on the fore front of his mind—the family that he would never see again.
He thought about his parents, how he failed them, and the shame they would feel if they knew the truth about him. He thought about his siblings. His sister used to swim in a creek with him when they were children, and he would swim around with her on his back while she was pretending he was her pet sea monster. Her name was Samantha—he loved her. He thought of his brother who used to race him down the street to his cousins house where they would all play together pretending to be army soldiers. He thought of how he knew his brother was a better man than him and deserved to be the husband of his wife and the father of his son.
He ached when he thought of the son he would never get to apologize to and make amends with. He wanted to make things right with his family. I winced at the sadness and emotional pain. I couldn't handle it, but I kept pulling at the blood. I needed it.
The images kept coming. Some were happy, some sad, and some murderous. I didn't want to see any of it. I just wanted to feed and be done with it. Why did he have to taint what was supposed to be the most enjoyable thing in the world for me.
Then it occurred to me that it would never be enjoyable. The taste, yes, would always be remarkable, and the feeling of real life only human blood could give, filling my body would always be the most incredible sensation. But the emotional torment would always be paramount. I was a hypocrite for calling this man, and the young girl he stalked, stupid. I was the stupid one. I was killing a man thinking it would solve the confusion of my existence. I was trying to find solace in murder!
I screamed angrily against the man's flesh as I took another pull of the blood. The anger and resentment I felt earlier were now at the fore front of my mind. But something else was creeping into my conscious. Guilt. Guilt over the fact that after all the bad this man has done, he will never get the chance to redeem himself. He desired to redeem himself, but he would never be made whole. The choice to repent was no longer his, as I was taking that away from him with every gulp of his blood I greedily took into my body.
After all the arguments with Carlisle, the dramatic scenes at which I displayed my resentment toward him, and the hurt and rejection I put him and his wife, Esme, through with my leaving, it turned out he was right. I couldn't handle the guilt. Damn it all to hell, he was right!
I gulped down another mouthful of the blood. Oh God, the taste. My body was radiating with the life in this blood. I had never experienced so much physical pleasure in my existence—I didn't know it was possible. There was no way in hell I could have stopped, even if I had wanted to. It was way too good. I needed this blood more than I needed anything.
The man's thoughts kept replaying his memories for me as if to taunt me. Ugh, I hated this man! I wanted him to suffer.
The hand that was on the man's chest holding him to the wall, contracted, and shattered three of his ribs. He screamed out in pain, which made me feel better, but also made me feel worse. I needed more. His jaw was crushed under my other hand. The sound that emanated from his throat was horrifying, and I reveled in it. I continued to snap and crush his body while drinking and pulling at the blood hurriedly. I wanted him dead quick. I needed his mental musings to stop their torment.
His heart was finally slowing, his memories getting fuzzy and blurred. The supply of blood was dwindling, so I needed to savor the taste. It wouldn't last much longer, and would soon be gone. The man's body grew weaker and weaker. I was completely supporting him.
One last memory flashed through the man's eyes before his heart finally gave out. It was of his wife just as she was about to leave him. He was thinking how as horrible as the death that he was experiencing was, that moment was much worse. I crushed another bone. He would never forget her words to him and the effect they had on his life, and I would never forget how those words affected me.
It occurred to me that I didn't even know the man's name—I never cared to find out. The memory of his wife solved that mystery for me with her final words to him. Just before the man's heart beat its final beat, and the last pull of blood was through my lips, his wife's voice penetrated my mind saying, "You are dead to me, Edward."
I let go of the man with a gasp, and watched his broken mangled body fall to the ground. His wife's words were on repeat in my head—I couldn't stop it. He had done something so heinous, so unforgivable, that she considered him dead.
"You are dead to me, Edward."
My breathing picked up, and I started to panic. Is that what Carlisle and Esme would say if they ever saw me again and knew what I did? They would never forgive me for my actions tonight. I betrayed them. I might as well have just slapped them in their faces before I left, too. Oh, I was stupid. They would never again see me as their son. I would be a stranger to them—just a random murderer who threw away what little humanity he had, and for what? A decent meal? I was disgusting. I was no different than the man I killed tonight. I lost my family for my own selfish reasons, and took the anger I felt over it out on someone who had nothing to do with it. A man I didn't even know was dead, and I was a murderer.
I stared at the dead body I drained the life out of. I killed a man. I couldn't take it back—it was done.
I was angry again. It wasn't fair that this was what I had to be. I didn't choose this! The resentment was back. I picked up the body and threw it against the wall. It cracked, crunched, and bent in ways that should not be humanly possible. My anger was not placated, so I repeated the action again and again, until the body was no longer recognized as the form of that man it used to be. The sight was horrifyingly gruesome. His bones were shattered and protruding out of the shredded clothing and flesh. No one should ever be subjected to such a grotesque sight. The image burned itself into my memory making me shudder in revulsion. How could I have been capable of doing such a thing?
I ran. Like a coward, I ran. I needed to get away from him. I knew I needed to hide the body, but I couldn't look at him anymore.
"You are dead to me, Edward."
I kept hearing it. No matter how fast I ran, the voice followed me—I couldn't escape it. I just wanted to go home, but I no longer had a home. I was dead to that home and I couldn't go back.
Eventually, I found myself in a bordering forest. Oddly, the place held a semblance of comfort for me. I slowed to a walk, not in a hurry to be anywhere. I had nowhere to go.
"You are dead to me, Edward."
I winced. It kept reminding me of what I had done tonight. My hands roamed my face and gripped my hair, trying to force the memories out, but it wouldn't happen. It wouldn't change what I'd done. I killed him. I killed Edward.
It wasn't beyond me that irony seemed to find me at every turn in this existence of mine. In regards to me, it was true. Edward Masen was dead, and I had killed him. He didn't die of the flu or by the hands of Carlisle when he chose to save me, as he put it. I killed Edward Masen through my actions and decisions. I knowingly gave him up, presenting him as a burnt offering to the monster that now resided in me. Edward died along with what little humanity I had left, and now only a vampire existed in his place. That was what I was, and I had to accept it.
The sounds of a creek nearby interrupted my thoughts. I made my way over to it, thankful that I had somewhere to clean myself up. I still had the man's flesh between my teeth and his blood on my skin. I needed to be rid of him. I approached the creek bed, watching the moon light sparkle off the moving water. As I bent down to dip my hands, I caught my reflection in the surface. I hated what I saw, but strangely found comfort in it. My eyes were no longer the gentle tone of a golden hued brown. No, staring back at me were the red eyes of a vampire. I was a vampire. What I did tonight was normal; it was what I was created to do. The emotional torment was yet another perk of what I was. Occupational hazard, you could say. It was my cross to bear. If I had to relive each of my victims' pain along with them in their final moments, then that was just another aspect of the curse I carried. The guilt would always follow me. I had to live with it for I would always want and crave death. As long as the thirst…
And that was when I noticed it. I was too distracted by my childish tantrum to notice it before. The thirst was gone. The fiery pain that was always constant in my throat, which was only dully muted by the blood of animals, was completely gone. The burn was finally soothed. For the first time in ten years I rubbed at my throat feeling only comfort in the gesture. I sighed in relief.
I took that as my proof. If human blood was the cure for the thirst, then it was undoubtedly what we were meant to drink. I was right. Killing humans for their blood is what we were supposed to do. And to top it off, an innocent girl kept her life tonight. Who knows how many more victims that man named Edward would have taken in his lifetime? The world would never have to know. It was safe from one more murderer tonight. I was right.
While forcing myself to believe this, I dipped my hands in the water rinsing the dried blood and grime from myself. I watched as the red tinted water ran down my arms into the creek. The scent still permeated my senses and peaked my interest. I could still taste the blood in my mouth. The thought of it had me purring in satisfaction. I truly was an animal. I would never escape that. It's what Carlisle made me to be, and behaving as anything other was truly ridiculous. I refused to live in such denial any longer. I took comfort in believing that I was right.