Disclaimer: The Twilight Saga & all associated characters are the copyrighted creation & property of Stephenie Meyer. Any other publicly recognized characters, brands, quotes or "catch phrases" are the sole trademarked &/or copyrighted property of their respective creators. No copyright or trademark infringement is purposely intended with this story. The plot & any original characters of this story are the property of Artemis Leaena. This work may not be reposted, reproduced, or translated without the permission of the author. This disclaimer will appear only once throughout the entirety of this fic.
This is the first half of what was originally my contribution to the 2011 Fandom Against Famine Compilation.
Oodles of thanks and love to my extraordinary betas, Mel/mcc101180 & wmr1601, and to my pre-reading goddess, caz12771! Love You guys! =)
The Beginning of the End
~June 23, 2011~
I allowed the wracking sobs to overtake me as I collapsed back against the wall and slid down until my ass hit the floor. I couldn't think or breathe, which was fine because I no longer had the will or desire to do either. I just wanted to curl up and allow the gaping hole that had just been ripped through my chest to take me over this event horizon into sweet oblivion.
I fell over onto my side and curled into a fetal position in an attempt to keep my insides from spilling out onto the pristine floor. The pain was so overwhelming I felt certain I could and would never survive it. Completely heedless of my surroundings, I allowed the agonized scream I'd been trying to hold in to make its way up my throat and out of my mouth. It was eerily comforting as it reverberated off the walls and echoed down the hall.
I vaguely became aware of the sound of multiple footsteps as they ran down the passageway, and I recognized my father's cologne when he skidded to a halt and bent over me.
"Son, what's wrong? What happened?"
I squeezed my eyes shut. I didn't want to think about what had just occurred. I wanted to just be left here in my misery to die … alone. But my dad wasn't going to allow me that easy exit. He grabbed my upper arms and hauled me up until I was again sitting with my back to the wall and gave me a rough shake.
"Edward … what … happened?" he gritted out.
I could tell he was trying not to lose his patience with me, and my chest burned as I attempted to take air into lungs that no longer functioned. I opened my mouth to speak, but all that would come out was blubbering gibberish. Another harsh shake, and a sharp crack of my skull against the concrete and drywall behind me, and I was able to open my eyes and stammer out the three words I never thought I'd ever have to say.
"Sh-sh-she … le-left … m-m-m-me!"
"I …" he shook his blond head slowly as if the motion would bring him clarity "… I don't understand, son."
I screamed in his face, "She's gone, and she's never coming back. I've lost her." I glared at him in naked hostility for his stupidity.
I watched as my strong and unflappable father fell out of his crouch onto his ass. His jaw was slack and hanging down, his eyes wide in horror, and silent tears were streaming down his cheeks as he slowly shook his head in denial. My mother's keening cry of despondency hit me before her body slammed into me and attached itself, surrounding me. Watching and feeling my parents – the ones who were supposed to pick me up and put me back together after my crash – fall apart was all the permission I needed to give in and allow myself to drown in the anguish and agony that washed over me in wave after bone-shattering wave of despair.
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