***Warning: This story is not for people who have sensitive stomachs or get upset easily.***
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of the characters from the story. No copyright infringement is intended.
Nightmares or Memories
The putrid smell of rotting flesh is so thick in the air that I can taste it. I dare not breathe through my nose for fear that the smell will bring on another bout of uncontrollable retching. I cover my mouth with the neckline of my nightgown to keep the flies out as I breathe through my mouth. I brace myself for the worst as I open my eyes and take a look around. I'm trying to get my bearings. This is always the worst part. I am in a dark room. It looks to be round, with a domed ceiling. The walls are a dark shade of reddish brown.
Without looking down, I move to take a step and hear the sucking sound as my feet work their way out of something wet and sticky. As my foot takes purchase back on the ground, I feel the squishing between my toes. I know not to look, but I can't seem to stop myself. As my eyes cast downward, I see that the entire floor is covered in about three inches of partially congealed blood and severed body parts. That's when I realize that the walls are not painted in that particular shade, it's coated in layer upon layer of cast off spray and the spewed blood of an unimaginable number of victims.
I take another step toward the wall and see that one of the severed hands on the floor is still twitching. I can't tell if this is from a recent incident or if something else is causing the movement. The answer comes when a tiny hole appears in the skin of the palm of the twitching hand and a fat little maggot climbs through the opening. I can't stop the retching this time. I turn and heave for God only knows how long.
Once I have regained my composure, I wipe the stomach acids from my chin and take another step. I vow not to pay close attention to any of the body parts in the room. I know better now.
I reach the wall and find the door. The knob is almost indistinguishable from the crust that coats the walls of this place. I have to use my bare hands to scrape away some of the filth. I wipe them on my nightgown, so I can get a grip on the knob and open the door.
The first things I notice as I step through the doorway are the screams of hundreds, if not thousands of people as they beg for their lives and pray for mercy. It is so loud that I have to plug my ears with my fingers. Thankfully, my hands are clean, as is my nightgown and everything else, as a matter of fact.
Unlike the previous room, this one is spotless. It appears to be made of cold white marble. The only coloring comes from the gray veins of the marble that line every surface of this long narrow hallway. The hallway appears to be about a half of a mile long with unmarked doors all the way down each side. I've seen this before. I know that each door leads to a different place and time. Some of these will be good places, but others will be very bad.
I turn back and see that the door I came from is just another door in the hall and that it extends another half mile or so the other direction. I reach inside a pocket and pull out two crayons. One is green and the other red. I place a red X on the door that I came from so I know not to go back in that room and start walking to my left.
The first door I come to feels warm. I carefully crack the door open, but shut it quickly as fire shoots through the crack. The entire room is engulfed in flames. After shutting the door, I mark it with a red X but as I go to walk to the next door, I realize that the heat from the fire is causing the wax from the crayon to melt and drip down the door. The result is an X that appears to be bleeding. I decide that is okay. It still gets the point across. I will not go in that door.
The next door opens and I feel a cool breeze across my face. I peek through the doorway and see that I'm looking into a field of wildflowers. Most of them are blue and red. This is a good place. I can see a horse off in the distance, but he does not appear to be coming any closer, nor does he appear to have a rider. Over to the right, I see a well and further up a hill, I see a tiny farmhouse with chickens running around in the yard. This is a good place. I step back into the hallways of screams and place a green check mark on the door as I close it.
I open the next door and find myself witnessing a brutal fight. There are probably seven or eight vampires fighting each other. I hear the loud crashing as they slam into each other and a screeching sound that partially resembles of fingernails on a blackboard combined with something metallic. I see that the sound is that of a vampire's head being ripped from his body. As the head rolls away, I see what they are fighting for. There is a frightened child hiding under a wagon. His parents lay dead in front of him. They have been drained dry. The remaining vampires are starving, so they are fighting each other for his blood. I hear a loud scream and a crash as one of the vampires tosses the wagon out of the way effortlessly and seizes the child. I jump back into the hallway and slam the door before I have to witness the death of the little boy. I mark the room with a red X and fight back the tears before moving on to the next door.
I continue on for what seems like days, but I know it's probably only been a few hours. I have grown accustomed to the screaming in the hallway. It seems like indistinguishable background noise to me now. I look back and see that most of the doors I have checked are marked with big red X marks. Sadly, there are only a few green checks. I still have a lot of doors to check, so I hope that I find many more good places as I go, but I know that this is not very likely. These are Jasper's memories after all. He warned me when we started this project that his head was not a good place to wander around, but I wanted to do this for him. If I can map his brain and help him find reason to believe that his good deeds and actions outweigh his bad, then maybe he can start believing that he is worthy of the life that he lives and maybe he can let go of his past. The question now is whether or not I will be successful or whether I will prove him right while I destroy my own mental stability in the process.
After three consecutive doors of battles fought in which I did not hang around to determine if they were won or lost, I reach a door that confuses me. When I peek inside, the first thing that I notice is that the room is small. The walls are covered in old paper. It is yellowed and fraying in places. There is ink on the walls in wide slashes and swirls. It looks like someone took a straw broom and used it to make designs on the walls. I can hear a baby crying, but there is no baby in the room. The only object in the room is a dead goat. Her neck has been snapped. On the other side of the room is a door. It is only painted on the wall, so I know this is not somewhere that he actually went. There is a pile of straw in front of the door that appears to be shaped like a nest. As I walk over and look, I see the nest is empty. When I turn back to head toward the door I came in from, I can see that the markings on the wall are a note. It looks like the note has been blown up larger than life and has been used to line the walls. From the painted doorway I read it.
It is with my utmost regret and sympathy that I impose upon you this child. Her mother is no longer of this world and I am unable to feed or care for her on my own. I ask that you please aid me in finding a loving Christian family that will care for her as if she belongs to them. Thank you for this generous gift and please pray for my soul.
The note is in Jasper's handwriting. I don't understand what the goat is doing in the room or why Jasper would have written the letter. What would he be doing with a baby girl? I am not sure if this is a good room or a bad room, so I leave the doorway blank and move on. I will have to ask Jasper about it when I find him. He is in here somewhere, but I have not located him yet, but then again, I'm not even half way through the doors in the hall. I only hope that I don't find another hallway hidden behind one of the doors. That is always incredibly frustrating.
I continue along and find a doorway that opens up to a thick fog. My heart is pounding in my chest as I hesitantly make my way into the room. Somewhere in the back of my mind I almost expect creepy music to start playing, like in scary movies when the bad guy is just about to jump out and attack someone.
I realize that I am walking through tall dried grass that crunches beneath my feet. This tells me that I'm not really in a damp fog at all. This is a human memory. It is foggy with age, not due to a creepy weather condition. This makes me feel a little better, so I walk on with more confidence.
I can see light in the distance and I smell gunpowder in the air, but there is no sound of fighting. As I come closer, I can see that there are multiple campfires burning in the field. I walk past campsites. Some have tents, while others just have blankets on the ground. I make my way toward a large campfire and can hear the men laughing and telling stories about how they are going to win this war. Their faces are indistinguishable, just blurs of features where their faces should be. Jasper doesn't remember their names or what they look like. He does remember what they say.
"Major Whitlock, sir, when do you think they're gonna give us a shot at them bastards?"
"Major Whitlock, have you seen the post yet? I ain't heard from my wife and she should've birthed our second one already. I'm hopin' it's a boy this time."
"Major Whitlock, when are they bringin' the rations round? We ain't had nothin' to eat in two days."
"Major Whitlock, I was thinkin' that them Yankees might be getting' at our supplies. Do ya think that's why we ain't got no food or letters in weeks?"
"Major Whitlock, Jimmy's real sick. I think he needs a doctor. His foot done turned black from where he got bit by that rattler."
They keep on and on. One question or comment after another. As I reach each campfire it is the same thing. There is no food or supplies. The men are sick and starving. They are growing anxious and bickering among themselves. They want to fight or go home. They aren't happy just sitting around. I find myself agreeing with these men. They would rather die fighting than die of starvation just sitting around in a field in the middle of nowhere. As I leave this room, I can't decide if it is a good a bad memory. It is safe, so I mark it with green, but instead of a check, I just mark it with a dash.
I move on and eventually find the memory of when Jasper first ran into Maria and her sisters. He really did think of her as beautiful. This memory is foggy, like his other human memories, and just slightly skewed. He recalls her standing on the side of the road looking like a Spanish angel. There are two blonde women by her side, one taller and one with slightly darker hair than the other. Maria speaks to him in Spanish, so I don't know what she is saying. She smiles seductively as she walks toward the rear of a cart. As she turns to step behind it, her facial features change, making her look like a demon. I'm sure that's when Jasper realizes that she was not human and that he is going to die. He doesn't know that she has other plans for him. Since this is an important memory, but not a pleasant one, I mark it with a green dash.
I find a memory of the first time Jasper saw a movie. He and another vampire kill the other people in the theater and stay to watch the rest of the movie. It's black and white with no sound. They killed the piano player along with the other patrons, so they don't have any sound effects or music to listen to. Understanding that killing the people in the theater is vampire nature, I don't mark this as red. This room does not have any signs of regret, only fascination with the wonders of technology, so I mark it with a green check.
I continue on with room after room of memories. Some of them are very clear and it was obvious what is going on, while others are distorted and disorienting. I go into one room where everything seems to be twisted and deformed. I can hear a loud heartbeat thumping like a quick drumming in my ears and hear the sound of the blood as it slides through veins, but the room smells bad, like wet dirt and something musky. The trees around me appear to be tangled like wild vines, but as I approach, they separate for me and move out of my way. I hear a voice that echoes in my head, and it takes a moment for me to make out the words. "It will get easier with time, I promise. Try not to hunt by scent, just focus on the sounds and drink. The first one's always the worst. Trust me." I think the voice belongs to Carlisle. This must be his first vegetarian hunt. I exit the room and mark it with a green check.
I realize that the rooms that are confusing or jumbled but otherwise clear are memories from when Jasper was hungry. From other memories, I have determined that Jasper tried to go as long as possible between feeding for quite a while before he became vegetarian. I have also found that he felt an overwhelming sense of guilt after feeding. This is especially evident in a room that is filled with the sounds of sobbing and apologies. I recognized the voice as Jasper's. The room is black, but there is a dinner table sitting in the center of the room that is brightly lit, like a display in a storefront. Sitting around the table is an old man, possibly a grandfather, a married couple, and their three teenaged kids. Judging from their clothing, I would say that this is sometime during the late 1950's, so Jasper is already with the Cullens at this time. This must be one of his slip-ups. Every member of the family has their throats ripped out and they are drained dry, but they are seated at the table as if it were just another Sunday dinner. It is a morbid display to say the least. The thing that strikes me is the sincerity in Jasper's voice as his cries echo in the room, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to. I just couldn't stop myself. Please forgive me. I'm a monster. I'm a horrible monster that doesn't deserve to live. Someone please stop me. Dear God, please stop me! I hate this. I hate all of this!"
I step out of the room and think about how to mark this room. It is important that you remember your mistakes so you don't do them again, but this one was especially hard on Jasper. This is one of reasons he feels he is unworthy of life. I decide to mark it with a red dash.
I keep on categorizing rooms and eventually find the day Jasper met Alice, a wonderful memory. I find the day Jasper attended school for the first time with the other Cullen kids. I find a foggy human memory of the first time Jasper ever kissed a girl. I also find the day Jasper met me. All of these I marked with a big green check mark. I find other memories that are good, like the time Jasper learned to use the computer, the time he and Emmett went bowling together, and the time he learned to drive a car. I find some bad ones too, but we won't go into any of those right now.
I find Jasper in the very last door that is left to check. He is standing at a window, looking out. The room is foggy. This is a human memory, but there are pretty decent details, so this is a place that he is very familiar with. As I enter, Jasper turns and looks at me.
I nod my head. "Yes. I found you. What is this place?"
"This was my childhood bedroom. I shared it with my two brothers."
I look out the window at the rolling hills covered with snow. "It's beautiful."
"Yes. It snowed during the night, which didn't happen very often where I grew up. I woke up before anyone else did that morning. I remember being amazed that there were no footprints in the snow. It was perfect. I watched until a rabbit wandered out of the bushes and left his tiny footprints on his way to momma's garden."
Jasper stands beside me as we watch a little brown rabbit make his way to the garden in search of breakfast.
"Where are your brothers?"
"They should be in the bed sleeping, but over the years they have disappeared from the memory. I'm not sure if they were in the room or if they were in momma and papa's room. Papa used to light a fire in their room when it got really cold and we would all sleep in there. It's possible, that we were all sleeping in there and I came in my room to get dressed for the day. I don't know."
"You come here for peace and quiet?"
"Yes, this is where I go when I just need to relax and get away from it all. I guess you could say it's my happy place."
"Do you mind helping me understand a memory?"
"Ok, which one?" Jasper follows me through the door, into the hallway. "What is this place? I've never been in a white hall. Why would this be in my mind?"
"I put it here. This is one of the mind mapping tools that I use. It helps me sort through the memories that stand out in your mind. The doors allow me to separate myself from the memory and it allows me to determine if it is a good place to go back to, or if it should be avoided all together. For example, this room is filled with fire. I don't know why, but it is definitely not a door I wish to open again."
"That is my memory of being changed. It felt like I was being consumed in flames."
"That makes sense now." I walked over to the blank door. "I'm not sure if this is a good or bad memory." I open the door and walk into the room with the dead goat. "Do you remember what is happening here?"
Jasper hesitates for a moment and then steps inside. With him in the room, everything shifts and now we are engulfed in the memory. Jasper explains as things are happening. Everything is twisted and slightly distorted because Jasper was hungry at the time that this happened.
"I had left Maria's army and ran. I couldn't live like that anymore. Peter said that there was a better way up north, so that was the direction I was heading. I was on the outskirts of a big city and found a family living under a bridge. They were filthy. I think they were homeless. I fed from the man and his wife before I realized that they had a baby wrapped up in blankets in a grocery cart. She woke up but didn't cry. When I approached her, she smiled at me. Even though I was still hungry, I couldn't drain her. I don't know why, but I decided to take her with me. I wrapped her in blankets and held her to my chest as I ran. I was careful not to go too fast, so she wouldn't be injured. I ran until she started to cry. She was hungry, and I had no way to feed her. That's when I realized that I was crazy for thinking that I was going to keep her at all. A vampire cannot raise a human child, obviously. I found a goat in a field and snapped her neck. It took a few minutes, but I got the baby to latch on to the goat's teat and drink. I had to help the milk come out, because the baby couldn't suckle hard enough. When she fell asleep, I carried her to the next town. I looked through the windows of all of the houses to see how the people lived. I was pretty sure this was a good place for the girl, so I waited until the pastor went inside the church early Sunday morning, and then I left the baby in a pile of straw on the steps. I wrote a note and knocked on the door before disappearing behind the building. I watched through the window as the old man opened the door and found the child. When he picked her up and carried her inside, I ran and never returned to that town."
"What was the name of the town? Do you remember?"
"It was Georgetown, Colorado. I've never been back there, but it seemed like a beautiful place. It was a small town tucked in the mountains. I liked it."
"So this is a good memory then?"
"Yes. I think of it as a memory of a time that I defeated the monster inside of me and did something good for once."
We step back into the hallway. "I think you will see that you have plenty of memories where you did something good. As you look down this hallway, you will see all of the doors marked with green checks. Those are memories that appeared to be good, in my opinion. If you continue to use this hallway as a path to sort your own thoughts, you will find that you have a lot of good in you, Jasper. There are more good doors than bad ones. It just seems that your bad memories probably stand out more than the good because they are truly horrible. Don't go in those rooms. Those are dark places that are best sealed off for good."
Jasper looks up and down the hall and says, "Why are the walls in this hallway white and clean, but the screams never stop?"
"Only you can say, Jasper. What are the sounds to you?"
"They are the cries of my victims, right before I took their lives. They weigh heavy on my mind. I can also feel their fear. Can you feel it?"
"No, I can't. I can only hear them. With enough practice, you should be able to confine them all in one room and get them out of the hallway, but it takes time and patience. I can show you how, if you like?"
"I think I would like that very much. Thank you."
"Now, let's get out of here before everyone starts to worry about me. I don't have any way of telling time in here, so I could have been under for an hour or a couple of days."
"It's only been seven hours. They think you're sleeping. How do you get out of my head?"
"I just have to picture an exit and take it. I have one more question before I leave. When I came in, I was in a room full of blood and rotting body parts. Where was I?"
"That's what I envisioned my stomach would look like from the inside, when I found out that I was a vampire. It was a very disturbing image. Maria had a hard time convincing me to feed the first time. I held off much longer than any other newborn that she created. She ended up having to slit a man's throat with a knife and force my face to his neck. When I felt the warm blood gushing across my lips, I couldn't stop myself."
"That's gross, but I understand. I still marked it with a red X because it was nasty in there."
Jasper laughed. "I thought so too."
I picture a heavy wooden door at the end of the hallway. I open the door and see a spiral staircase leading down. I turn and wave at Jasper, "See you on the outside."
He waves back as the door closes. I walk down the winding staircase and find another door. I open it and step into a bright white light. I can hear a voice in the distance. As I get closer, I can hear it more clearly. "Bella, it's time to get up. Alice is going to barge in here any minute and force you to go shopping whether you're ready or not."
I open my eyes and look around the room. I'm in Edward's house. I remember that I was spending the weekend with Edward and his family. That's why I'm not at home.
Edward walks over to the window and says, "What were you dreaming about last night? I couldn't make out anything that you said."
I think back to the memories of walking around in Jasper's mind and shiver. "I don't really want to talk about it. Just remind me to never watch the movie TheCell with Emmett again. It totally creeped me out and messed with my head."
A few minutes later, I'm sitting at the table eating a bowl of cereal when Jasper comes in. I suddenly feel very nervous. Jasper gives me a concerned look and says, "Are you feeling ok, Bella?"
I can't help it. I have to know… "Jasper, have you ever been to Georgetown, Colorado?"
"Only once, but that was many years ago. It was a nice place. Why do you ask?"
"Why haven't you been back?"
"The town is tiny. I saw everything there was to see there, so there was no particular reason to go back. I've been skiing in Breckenridge a few times. That's not too far from there. Do you want to go to Georgetown?"
I let out a sigh of relief. He isn't avoiding the place for fear that he will run into some child that he abandoned there years before. He just prefers the ski resorts.
"I've never put much thought into it."
Alice comes downstairs and whisks me away for a torturous day of shopping. Maybe I can convince the family to watch a Disney movie before bed this time, so I don't have anymore nightmares.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this twisted view of Jasper's mind. Leave me a review and let me know what you think.