A HOLE IN THE WORLD
I was there when the last drops of rain fell from the sky. We watched en masse from the tip of the highest mountain surrounding the ravine, as first one small droplet hit the dust and rubble of the town below, followed immediately by a seemingly infinite cascade of water from the heavens. No one spoke, but all held hands, grasping for loved ones and raising our eyes together in wonder at the nightmare above.
The crash of thunder that followed the first drops of water signaled the beginning of the end. We had seen this coming. We knew what to expect, and with our desperate eyes we gravely followed the path of hail the size of baseballs from the clouds above to the ground below as it tumbled from the sky. The thunder followed, shaking and bending the trees in deafening vibrations so that had there been animals left, they would have abandoned their nests in favor of drowning and run down the mountain into the sea of water in terror from the roar. Lightening fired the forest in eerie red flame for miles in each direction, sending smoke billowing into the atmosphere, blocking out the light with acrid density.
We watched as the water fell relentlessly onto the town, onto our homes. Untamed by dams and reservoirs, unchecked and contained by nothing, taking first the dead bodies, followed by the cars, and finally whole buildings as it swept through the streets.
The rain poured down in sheets from the sky in an almighty storm for nineteen days. Until at last, it fell no more. It stopped as suddenly as it started.
There were no more clouds.
A silence filled the air, and nobody had the heart to break it. I hadn't worried, or been frightened, or had a care in the world since a time so long ago the memory of it I could barely recall, but watching the sky shed it's last dying gasp onto the dry, cracked, rotted Earth below left me with a feeling I had long forgotten, pushed back into the depths of my ancient mind.
I felt fear for the first time in a thousand years.
"It's over" My husband muttered solemnly.
"I know, we have to leave" I replied.
The world had begun to disintegrate many years previous to the event. The Earth was already crumbling long before the rain fell. Or perhaps it was the human beings themselves who were crumbling in their reluctance to put right their own atrocities to nature. Either way, it was a longer process than they would have themselves believe. For them, the ending of their planet was an abominable, yet unavoidable notion, but one they all knew was inevitable as the end grew nearer. The humans thought of it as a sudden great terror forced on them. Blind to the cause. They tried to ignore the darkness, but in the end it swallowed them whole.
They knew in their hearts what they had done, and knew that they were powerless to prevent it. Their world would be destroyed because of their own failings to keep it safe. Such a precious thing, home to millions of precious lives. They treasure so few things in life, apart from perhaps their own self preservation, their own dreams of immortality. It proved to be their undoing. Creating their own perfect existence using technology they shouldn not have dabbled in. The vampires were appalled at their grievous mistake.
Edward and I had attended numberous rallies in the city squares, each time hoping for a different outcome. Each time hoping the masses would approve a new proposition to rectify the disintegrating climate situation. We watched as varying groups of new leadership teams fought and picketed each other in attempts to win crowd satisfaction as their peers looked on with jeering faces. Each time the rally ended in the same result; no further action would be taken.
Their indecision to provide the problem with a proper solution after each exhausting display of Government fuelled propaganda only stalled their leaders from making the proper decisions. The decisions which needed to be made. Edward and I hadn't ever harmed another human being in the entirety of our immortal lives, but at a time when all other outcomes were impossible, we came down on the side of the vampires. Kill millions, to save billions.
It was the biggest fight my husband and I had ever had.
We had argued for hours into the night. We used voices we had never used for each other, a thousand years of happiness together and it was ending here, at this circumstance we could not avoid, but could not agree on.
We had spent the night screaming at each other. I knew Edward was only trying to save our lives, continue our blissful forever after, but how could we be so selfish to overlook the happiness of others for our own gain. We had lived for centuries, surely that didn't give us a right to all the ages of the world when others had so few years to accomplish their dreams. We had lived a hundred perfect lives. It wasn't fair to abandon the humans to their fate, watch from above as they die in agony while our perfect bodies remain unharmed. Edward had agreed with this outcome instantly, and I was horrified. It was inescapeable, but it was a cruelty I could not bear. I could not entertain the notion of continuing to live, while others who deserved life were taken from theirs so unfairly.
As I argued my points to Edward, I found myself lying. Not to him, but to myself. I knew what points I was supposed to be making, but I found I could not live with them. I could say I didn't deserve to live longer than the humans, that I shouldn't live while so many millions would in the end, I knew I couldn't watch Edward die. I would not leave this world after all the centuries of happiness and pleasure I had spent with him, I couldn't give it up. He had called me his personal brand of heroin once, and he was mine. I had given him my heart, my body and soul.
Edwards argument on the matter was essentially the same as mine. I thought I had persuaded him to forget his feelings about his soul. But when it came down to it, all these years later, he still wouldn't let us go to Hell.
He was so angry at me for feeling guilty about the humans. He knew my points, and I knew he agreed with them, but he had to be the one to dismiss them. He was being so callous about the fate of the humans, so uncaring, and I knew in my heart that it was because he cared for his family above all others. That just made it harder to fight him. I needed to argue with him. My despair at the situation needed a release, and at the moment Edward and I were releasing it all onto each other in a thunderous rage.
I feared my guilt would consume me, and no matter how many times Edward told me I deserved to be alive...to live with him forever...I was angry with him.
The storm raged on...
"How can you possibly stand there and tell me it's the right thing to do?...All those people Edward! It's mass murder! I won't agree to it." I screamed at him.
"You have to agree it's the only option" he countered.
"I don't HAVE to do anything" It wasn't the best comeback I admit.
"So you'd let her die then, Renesmee, your daughter, you'd watch as she burned?" Edward asked me quietly, his expression serious as he looked me dead in the eyes.
"Don't you dare." I was seething.
"Would you?" He asked again.
I had no answer. I knew I couldn't watch my daughter die, both Edward and I would protect her to the end of our existence, but I didn't like the fact he had to bring her up to justify his own views on the outcome of our lives. She wasn't to do with this. Or maybe she had everything to do with it. All I cared about at that moment was making Edward realize he couldn't just disregard human life as if their race was inferior. We had both been human once, so long ago we could barely recall it, but our roots began with skin and bone, not ice and stone. He knew he was right, and so did I. I wasn't going to let him win that easily though, I was too upset with him. This argument was about Edward making choices for both of us, and only one of us agreeing with the choice.
The silence was deafening.
"Bella would you?" He asked again as I glared at him with hatred for being right.
I opened my mouth to argue but he got there first...
"BELLA I WON'T LOSE YOU!" Edward barked and slammed his hands down on our stone coffee table. It smashed into pieces.
I found my voice.
It didn't shout, it whispered...all my anger had dissipated into despair.
"Edward I don't want this to be over...I would sell my soul to the Devil himself to stay with you, but we cannot stay here it isn't safe, and if we leave...I don't know how I can live knowing what we've done."
I looked at the floor, at the pieces of our table now scattered around our living room.
He paced the far wall of the cottage, not saying a word.
I picked up a piece of the crumbled table, and crushed it to dust in the palm of my hand.
Edward had stopped pacing, he glanced up at my ashen face and I found I could not look away from his gaze. His golden eyes bore into mine with an intensity so fierce I couldn't escape it. My anguish was echoed in the deep beauty of his own eyes, tainting his gorgeous face into an equally melancholy expression. He was searching for my thoughts, and I blocked them instantly. I loathed to shut him out, but I needed him to leave me some privacy with my thoughts. I couldn't bear it if he heard my inner voice screaming in agony. It would cause him too much pain to know how destroyed I felt. His face fell in dismay and he turned and walked to the front door. He had resigned his efforts to convince me. My heart was breaking into pieces, and I could tell his was too. He didn't look back at me.
"I can see you need to be alone for a while" he whispered almost inaudibly. My accute vampire hearing picked it up of course, and I nodded once, still staring at the ground.
Edward disappeared into the night.
He appeared as dawn broke. He waited at the edge of the forest for me. I wondered if he had been there all night, watching our house from the corner of the dark wood. I had not moved at all for the entire night. Maybe he had gone hunting, I didn't look into eyes to check.
We walked in silence to the square as the rallies continued.
We stood for an hour watching the debates, listening, but not really listening to them at all, standing right next to each other and feeling oceans apart.
It was draining, there was so much I wanted to say, and so much I found impossible to explain. How could I ever justify our actions? So many times I nearly spoke, but found myself at a loss for words every time. It was unbearable.
We couldn't keep it up any longer. Edward was the first to speak.
"Bella there is simply no other option" he had whispered to me in the crowd. His silk voice did nothing to disguise his contempt for his words. I knew he hated saying them, but it still didn't make them any easier to take.
I couldn't speak to him, wouldn't. I looked the other way, towards the mountains. I couldn't cry, but I knew he would see my misery etched over my marble face if he looked at me and I knew it would destroy him to see me in that state. So I stared, blankly away across the square, before bolting for the hills in a blur of speed. The humans did not see me move. One second I was there, the next it was only Edward. I could feel him staring after me. He could catch me easily if he tried, he was always faster. But he didn't move a fraction of an inch, he just stared.
Finally I spoke to him. I was two miles away before my resolve dissipated and my anger subsided. I had made my decisions in the twenty seconds it had taken me to run up through the town border and up the hillside. I spoke with my mind, and I knew he could hear.
I spoke just two words.
Edward was beside me in an instant.
"I'm sorry Bella"
"I know" I replied.
I was devastated to have come to this conclusion. But Edward was right, he had been all along. He confirmed my fears that I would allow this atrocity to happen with just one word. Renesmee. When he had said her name in the cottage during our argument the night before, I realised I already knew I would be willing to kill every single human being on the face of the planet in an instant to keep her safe. I didn't like it, but it didn't make it any less true.
I loved our daughter, as did he. We had cherished and loved her since the day she was pulled from my stomach. I would die for her. I had died for her. If my heart could beat again it would beat for only two things, Edward, and Renesmee.
I had spent the entire night in solitude inside our home, scanning my mind for other possibilities...some way for this not to have to happen. But in all the ways I tried to solve the problem, I just came careening back to the same unavoidable circumstance. There were just too many of them.
The humans had to die.