Note: i wrote this in my head years ago, an a few days ago was finally inspired (for no apparent reason) to actually write it down. It's really bleak, which is strange, because I'm so ridiculously happy right now. Why would I write something like this? It's so sad, I think I actually hurt myself.
Anyway, warning: this deals with depression, and the bad things that can ensue.
Condemned to Life
A one-shot in two parts
She had never thought about suicide.
Well...she'd thought about it, in the abstract, occasionally wondering how deeply depressed, how profoundly sad a person would have to be to consider it as the only solution to a life that had become unendurable. But she had never considered it for herself. She'd never needed to.
She understood a whole lot better now. Depression, before it finally culminated in suicide, had very little to do with an overabundance of sadness, or indeed an overabundance of any emotion. It was more about a total lack of any emotions at all.
Sighing deeply, she turned over in her bed, staring through the inky blackness of her bedroom at the window she no longer kept unlocked in the hope that he would somehow make his way through it once again. Hope wasn't even a memory anymore, having long since fled. Even during the warm weather, when she kept the window cracked, the night locks were in place, exactly as her safety conscious father wanted them to be.
Tired as she was, sleep continued to elude her. She shifted again, rolling on to her back to stare sightlessly at the darkened ceiling.
It seemed like a lifetime since the roiling mess of heartache, grief and rejection caused by Edward's departure had faded into a complete and utter lack of any feelings whatsoever. And that had been absolutely fine by her, until it stopped being fine. Eventually, that lack of feelings, comfortable and comforting at first, became a prison she couldn't escape from. Didn't really care enough to escape from. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months until one day she realized she had stopped caring about anything, including herself. She kept it hidden though, engaging in life around her only enough to keep the scrutiny and questions of others at bay, just enough so that no one decided she needed medication, therapy, or god forbid, to be put under a psychiatric hold. If her problems had been normal, maybe, just maybe drugs and therapy might have helped; but since she could never be completely honest about what drove her problems, it would be pointless. So she pretended, day in and day out, that she was coping. That she was just a normal teenager. It was absolutely exhausting, and it was getting harder and harder to do every day. She was tired, she was bored, and she just didn't want to do it anymore.
As she lay there under the covers, staring straight up at nothing, she abruptly realized that she didn't have to. If she had stopped caring about being alive, didn't it also follow that she didn't really care if she died either?
So, for the first time, she actually considered suicide. She considered every aspect of death and dying, not in the abstract this time but as it pertained to her. She thought about her death, her dying, and found that not only didn't the idea didn't frighten or sadden her, it actually filled her with a mild sense of relief. So why keep fighting then? Why keep trying and pretending? She could just end it, and be done with it all.
She sat up suddenly, the sheet slipping to her lap, as her thoughts about how coalesced into an actual plan of action. She had an almost full bottle of Percocet left over from when James broke her leg. All she had to do was swallow the pills, get back in to bed and go to sleep, and it would all be over by morning. In that moment of blinding clarity, her heart started pounding, and Bella Swan made a split second decision to end it.
Decision. Alice saw the future when people made decisions. Bella was sure Alice wasn't watching her future; she obviously had never cared enough about Bella for that. But that wasn't necessarily how her gift worked. Sometimes she just saw. And if she saw this decision, she would surely intervene.
Bella was on her feet and running through the silent house before those thoughts had even fully formed. Just in case. As she skidded on the rug at the bottom of the stairs, her cell phone, abandoned on her nightstand, started playing the tune associated with her once best friend's number. She didn't even hesitate in her dash to the land line in the kitchen, knowing it would be ringing next, and needing to catch it before it woke Charlie up. Snatching the cordless handset up just as it started pealing, she clutched it to her chest, listening with a pounding heart for sounds from upstairs. When nothing but silence met her, she tentatively raised it to her ear.
"...do it, please don't do it, Bella, Bella, please!" It was Alice, frantic, pleading, almost screaming, her voice rising above the pandemonium that reigned in the background. Bella heard garbled words of inquiry and then shock as someone, possibly Jasper, explained what Alice had seen, an anguished cry and then sobs from Esme, and then the angry, frightened rumble of Emmett's voice. She listened to it all dispassionately, feeling no more than faint curiosity at the uncharacteristic display of emotions exhibited by the vampire family she once loved as her own. She didn't understand their reactions, but couldn't find it in herself to care.
"Carlisle." Her voice was flat and expressionless, his made higher than usual by anxiety. With his next words, he sounded more like himself. Calm. Composed. "Bella, whatever it is, we can work it out together. Please don't do this."
"Why?" she asked, not really interested in the answer.
"Because we love you," he replied. "You are like a daughter to Esme and me. Sweetheart, you're family."
"I don't believe you," she said without rancor, absently picking at the chipped formica of the kitchen counter. "You're just saying that to stop me. If you were family, you wouldn't have left the way you did, without saying goodbye..."
A ringing in the living room startled her, and she moved to the doorway to locate the source of the sound. There, on the side table by the couch, next to an empty bottle of beer, was Charlie's phone, which he always kept by his side because of his job. She had completely forgotten about it, and fortunately, for the first time since she could remember, so had he. She saw it as a sign. A sympathetic universe had given her a helping hand by causing Charlie to forget his phone when he went to bed that night. Whichever of the Cullens was calling him - and she had no doubt it was one of them - would not be able to reach him so that he could stop her.
Her reprieve would be short lived, that she knew for a fact. Their next step would be to call the police station. If they called now, she had maybe five minutes before a squad car showed up at the house. That knowledge galvanized her into action.
"...did you hear me? Bella?"
"No, I didn't." She started quickly and quietly up the stairs to the bathroom as she spoke. "But Carlisle, it doesn't matter. It's too late. I'm already dead."
"Honey it's never too late. Please think about what this will do to your parents. Think of the devastation this will cause them. And Edward..." his voice cracked. "My God, this will kill him..." he rasped, sounding like he was speaking to himself.
She barked out a mirthless laugh, freezing at the entrance of the bathroom, listening again for signs that she had roused her father, but Her luck held. There was no sound from his bedroom. "You don't need to worry about that. Edward never cared for me, he told me so himself. I was just a distraction. I wasn't good for him." Quietly she shut the bathroom door, flipping on the light and going to the sink, barely recognizing the pale, lifeless ghost she glimpsed briefly in the mirror as she opened the medicine cabinet and reached for the Percocet.
"He lied! Bella, he lied to you to get you to move on!" Carlisle's voice took on a frantic edge, one she had never heard from the controlled, centuries-old patriarch of the Cullen clan. In the background someone keened in despair, and she heard angry male voices. "He wanted you to have a normal life! He loves you!" Carlisle continued desperately. "You are his mate, you..."
She put the phone down on the edge of the sink and twisted off the cap, tipping as many of the pills into her mouth as she felt she could comfortably swallow and filled up her glass with water, chasing them down. Carlisle was still speaking, though she couldn't make out his words. It didn't matter though. Nothing he could possibly say, nothing any of them could say could make any difference. She repeated her actions with the pills until she had taken them all, then picked the phone up again.
"...please, Bella, Bella...please..." Esme had taken over, begging, practically chanting, offering mangled protestations of love, her love, Edward's love, Alice's love...words of caring and concern that held no meaning or truth to Bella. She felt a vague regret at causing Esme such grief, and wished she could somehow explain, make her see that this was for the best, that she was absolutely OK with giving up her life.
Because she had once cared about them, Bella stayed on the phone as long as she could, sensing it gave them all hope, despite knowing their hope was in vain. She kept the phone to her ear as she debated taking Charlie's gun, just in case she was found before the drugs took effect, discarding the idea as soon as it born. He might wake up if she tried to enter his room, and she knew that this, right now, would be her only chance in a long while to end her life. She couldn't afford the risk.
She stayed on the phone as it was passed from a sobbing Esme, to a panicked Emmett, to Alice, to Carlisle, and back to Esme again. She stayed on the phone through the pleading and the crying, murmuring soothing, meaningless platitudes, trying to placate them as she walked down the stairs, through the kitchen and out into the back yard. She heard them argue, probably debating their options, while one or the other of them would take the phone and try to talk her out of her course of action. They stumbled back and forth between cajoling, anger, bribes and threats, always coming back to the fact that she was family, that they loved her, that they would come back for her. Anything and everything, she knew, to keep her alive, and all of it well-intended lies. Still she kept the line open, wanting only to offer comfort and assurances, but not knowing how. She stayed on the phone until she was too far away from the house, and the line blissfully, finally went dead.
She dropped the handset to the ground without watching where it fell and continued walking deeper into the woods. Nature was on her side too, it seemed. The sky had uncharacteristically cleared and the moon was full, providing enough light for her to navigate in the deep gloom of the forest. Even the weather was warm, a fact she was grateful for as she realized she had walked out of the house in the panties and t-shirt she had been sleeping in. She hadn't even thought to put on shoes.
In the distance behind her, she heard the sound of sirens and broke into a jog, tripping only once in her flight.
She had no idea how long she ran, then walked, then stopped and just stood. At some point, she realized three things: she was high as a kite, it felt incredibly good, and she didn't want to stand upright anymore. She was in a clearing, and looked for somewhere to hide herself, to delay the chances of anyone finding her in time, then simply sank to her knees where she stood and stretched out on her back in the dew-drenched grass. Come what may, she would go no further.
For the rest of her short life, Bella listened to the sounds of the night and watched the stars as she, and the earth, wheeled slowly below them. She briefly thought of those she was leaving behind, and barely registered how few were the people who would mourn her. Angela, Jacob, Renee, Phil, and Charlie. A short list. Could she have felt anything, it would have been for her father, who relied on her so, and would be left all alone.
Soon, she stopped thinking at all. Exhausted, she let sleep claim her. Her eyelids drifted closed for the last time.
As she died, the world kept turning. The nocturnal denizens of the woods came and went, going about their business. The moon continued it's slow arc through the sky, traveling to the horizon and setting beyond it, and with its departure the night deepened to black, then lightened again. Morning crept in, darkness gradually fading, and birds started to stir in the trees. Dawn broke, oblivious to the cold, lifeless figure stretched out on its lush bed of green grasses, and life in the forest continued on around it. Time, as always, marched on, relentless.
The sun found her around mid morning, shortly before the large black wolf did. He emerged cautiously into the clearing, his muzzle streched out toward her, his nose twitching, recognizing and confirming the scent of death, and then melted into the deep green shadows again, the rustles of his passing fading into silence. The clearing continued to exist as it always had, silent and unmoved.
Less than an hour later, it would be overrun by people.
Part II in the next few days.