Twilight is not mine I do not own the story or any of the characters.


1. Innocent

1658

The shouting of the mob and the heat of their torches made my heart throb painfully; I felt just as sick as I always did before an execution. I did not like to watch the men and women my father had accused of being witches, werewolves and vampires burnt at the stake, mostly because I knew the people he accused were innocent. My father was quick to judge, and he saw even the slightest abnormality as a sign that someone was a demon.

I could hear the sound of horse's hooves, and the wheels of a carriage beating against the cobblestone path that led to the square where this mob was gathered. The carriage came into view as it rounded the last curve of the path. The carriage stopped a few feet from the mob; the back of the carriage was a cage, reinforced with iron bars. Through them I could see a man, chained and kneeling, praying. My father went to the door and unlocked it; he harshly he pulled the man from the carriage and dragging him through the mob of shouting villagers towards the pyre. The man cried, and pleading with the crowd trying to convince them of his innocents, as they tied him to the stake in the middle of the wood pile, but they refused to listen.

As I listened to my father rattle off the list of crimes he accused this man of, every part of me wanted to start running in the other direction, before they set fire to the innocent man. I wanted to get far enough away so that I wouldn't be able to hear his dying screams, or smell the stench of burning flesh. However, I didn't dare move. My father thought that I was weak because it hurt me to watch monsters burnt at the stake; and even thought I was now eighteen I was certain he would beat me if I left before the accused demon was executed.

As my father's speech came to a conclusion he turned abruptly for his torch. As he stepped back he flung the burning wood in to the center of the mound. Flames engulfed the wood, licking up quickly towered the bound, screaming man. Blood curdling screams echoed in my ears and made my head hurt. I shut my eyes in a desperate attempt to ignore what was happening but it was a wasted effort. I could feel the heat from the fire and the scent of burning flesh was so thick in the air that it was hard for me to breath. I started to feel dizzy, my ears started to rig, as scream after scream echoed out from the pyre; I wanted to vomit as I struggled to take breath after breath of the stench filled air. A thick sheen of sweat came over me; I wiped the back of my hand across my forehead, but it was of little help. I felt a firm hand on my shoulder and looked up into the face of Peter. He was my closest friend and he knew how it pained me to watch executions. The nausea and dizziness grew more intense, my legs shook as my body started to feel weak. I leaned against Peter for support and concentrated on keeping the blackness from coming over me. Just when I could bare it no longer, the screams became quieter and less frequent, and the heat of the fire became less intense. As more time passed the pyre became nothing more than smoldering ash.

"Let us pray," my father said to the crowd after the accused vampire had been killed "For we have done God's work tonight by killing a demon." The crowed fell silent as my father recited the same prayer he always said after demon executions. I did not bow my head in prayer like the rest because I knew the man we had just executed had been innocent. If it had been a true vampire we had burned here tonight I would have happily joined my father in the execution but I knew better than him and I did not see demons where they did not exist, unlike my father. The praying ended, and the crowd started to disperse; my father walked up to me, and without a word from either of us we started off towards his waiting carriage.

It was a silent ride home and though my strength had returned I still felt slightly nauseated; the stench of burnt flesh hung in the air and clung to my clothes. It was early fall, and now that we were away from the flames of the mobs torches and the execution fire, the chilly night air was making me shiver.

Our carriage pulled up in front of the parsonage. Though I have lived there my whole life with my father, I never thought of it as my home. Through my entire childhood my father always made me feel as though I had to earn my place as his son and, by extension, a place in his home; and since I was always disappointing him I never felt as though I belonged there.

As soon as my father pulled the horse to a halt he jumped out of the carriage and went to unlock the door to the parsonage. I got out of the carriage and took our horse around the parsonage and left it in its small stable. When I made my way back around to the front I found that my father was still standing in the doorway. As I approached him, he turned to me and struck me across the face so hard I fell back onto the cold ground. The pain in my face stunted me and for a minute; all I could do was lay on the ground holding my hand over my nose and mouth. When I finally pulled my hand away from my face it was covered in blood. Then I looked up at my father; his arms were crossed tightly over his broad chest as he glared down at me. I studied his face for a moment; his mouth was set even deeper into his permanent frown. His light blue eyes were as cold as ice, though that was the way they usually were. I knew he was waiting for me to stand up, and so, never moving my eyes from his, I stood, staggering slightly.

"You are a disappointment Carlisle." He said through clenched teeth.

"And what have I done wrong in your eyes this time, father?" I asked, trying to make my voice sound strong.

"You do not care to execute the demons that walk our streets, taking innocent lives!" He retorted angrily. So he had noticed my pain during the execution.

"I do not care to execute the innocent; that man was not what you though he was and he did not deserve to be executed like a demon." I countered, my voice getting stronger as I spoke.

"You are still as ignorant as a child Carlisle, you will learn to do the work of God and you will learn to kill these demons where ever they exist!" He shouted at me.

"You do not even know how to do the work of God. You are so blinded by hatred for these monsters you see demons where there are none." Then, just as I expected, my father struck me again, I staggered back but managed to keep my footing this time, despite the searing pain around my eye and the right side of my face. Before I could recover, my father grabbed me by my jacket and pulled me close to him, so we were face to face.

"You are the ignorant one Carlisle, you are the one who cannot see these demons for who they are; you fall for their human disguises and fake innocents, but you will learn!" My father shouted at me then threw me backward; I stumbled and fell on the ground again. My father glowered at me, his cold eyes burning into mine, and then turned inside the parsonage; shutting and locking the door behind him. I picked myself up off the ground and started off down the street towards Peter's house.

Peter and I have been friends since we were children so he knew my father had a temper and that I was usually on the receiving end of it when I disappointed him. He would help me clean my wounds and give me a place to sleep tonight. As I walked I pressed the sleeve of my jacket into my lip and nose to stop the blood that I could feel trickling down my chin and dripping on to my clothes, staining them.

Peter's house was only two streets away from my father's. As I walked I watched my breath fog in front of me, and though the cold night air had bothered me earlier, now I found that it really helped ease the throbbing pain in my face. When I arrived at Peters I knocked softly on the door just in case he and his family had already fallen asleep. When Peter answered he looked at me for a long moment shaking his head slowly.

"Oh, Carlisle," he said "how have you offended him now?" He didn't have to ask where my injuries had come from. It was natural for him to assume my father was responsible, just as every other time I had shown up bruised or bloody on his door step.

"We just have a difference of opinions on how to correctly identify a demon."I said, my lip barley twitching into a smile. He smiled and stepped aside, allowing me to come in. He led me to his room where he brought me clean cloth and water, and helped me tend to my wounds. He and his younger brother used to share this room before his brother died of pneumonia three years ago. Peter's family still had his younger brother's bed, saved for the occasional visitor, such as myself.

I laid down in bed and sighed heavily; my wounds still throbbed but even that could not compare to the horrible throbbing in my heart. I wondered how my father could be so blinded by hatred that he could kill an innocent man. I thought of his words during our last conversation. I have always known that I would someday take his place; that I would be charged with finding and destroying the witches, werewolves and vampires that haunted our community. I did not know if I wanted that responsibility. One the one hand it would be a good thing; I would be able to protect people, and I would make sure that no innocent person was ever burnt at the stake. Then again I was afraid to have that responsibility, what if I became my father, and started to see demons where there were none? No, that will never happen, I thought to myself. Even when I'm put in charge of finding monsters, I would never become like my father.