Based on the tumblr prompt: "Imagine if Twilight was about Charlie Swan, finding out that his best friend is a werewolf, and that the town doctor he's trusted for years is a vampire? And then he helps them stop the vampires that are murdering everyone?"

August 2009

Charlie's whole life has been leading up to this.

The sun goes down out of sight behind a line of trees, and

The whole sky is bleeding red. He

Cocks his shotgun filled with

Crude silver bullets - bits of his ex wife's old

Charm bracelet; his daughter's earrings;

His grandmother's antique cutlery - and tells himself

That he's ready for this. He

Wipes the sweat off his upper lip and tries to stop shaking

But there's no stopping the devil – he knows;

Reaches into his pocket for a cigarette;

Fumbles with a box of soggy matches.

As the tentative flame casts hard shadows across the plane of his face

Charlie wonders if this is the last cigarette he'll ever have.

April 1972

"Momma, there's somethin' movin' in the field."

Charlie has seen pictures of bears before but he's

Never seen a thing like this. Last week in class Miss

Hatherley taught them about the Big Brown and the

Grizzly Black so he considers himself something of an expert;

Stands up on his tree branch and cranes his neck

Practically falling off with one foot in the air for balance

And says again, 'Momma, look!'

But Momma is tired from working two back-to-back

Shifts at the clinic and is in no mood for games;

So instead of an answer the bone-weary

Slump of her shoulders is the best response she can muster.

Charlie briefly watches her take a swig from

A plaid-print coffee flask laced liberally with whiskey before

Turning his attentions elsewhere; back to the beast.

The thing moves again; long grass parting like hair

Against a comb and Charlie wonders if all bears move

This way; so quickly and quietly it seems like a dream -

But then he sees it pause at the edge of the forest,

Silhouetted against the bright light and suddenly

Realises that it's not a bear at all - it's a wolf.

The beast is stone-still and Charlie hasn't noticed it

Yet but he's barely breathing. They watch each other

For a long moment and Charlie doesn't quite know how, but

Something doesn't feel right. Then wind picks up again

And before he can blink the wolf turns around and

Melts back into the whispering shadow of the woods.

December 2008

"I love him, dad."

Charlie throws his head back as he takes a swig of

Coffee laced liberally with whiskey. He

Uses his mother's plaid-print flask;

Looks up at the girl in the doorway and wonders

When his daughter turned into a stranger;

Thinks back to her fifth birthday when

He drove her down to Seattle for the day and they

Strolled leisurely through Pike Place Market;

Stopped to pet the bronze pig and eat whoopie pies

At the park overlooking the bay.

He recalls the soft curve of her cheek from when he

Cradled her in his arms and watched the sun go down

Over Puget Sound; wonders where his little girl's gone

And who this woman is instead; watches her turn away

And remembers that Belladonna (tinker-bella, baby-bell, my

Isabella) is deadly nightshade.

June 1978

"I'll let you in on a secret," says Charlie,

Voice dropping low to a whisper so that

Billy has to scoot closer to hear -

"I think there's somethin' in the forest."

Billy leans back and his face is sour like a lemon;

Tells Charlie he's talking out of his ass and that

Big foot isn't real.

"Never said it was Big Foot," Charlie starts,

But Billy's already gone, one arm thrown around

Quil's shoulders with a careless laugh.

Charlie scuffs the toe of his sneaker against the dirt

And tries not to feel lonely.

November 2004

Charlie hates hospitals on account that

He's spent more time in them than out of them,

But he's doing pretty poorly these days and

Sue Clearwater said she'd have his hide if he

Didn't get looked at by someone other than

The drugstore pharmacist. He takes in the

Blinding whiteness of those walls and

Fluorescent lights, faintly-buzzing like

Flies 'round a fruit bowl, and tries to ignore

The stench of sterility in chlorine and rubber

Gloves and the flap of a labcoat worn for

Twelve straight hours; thinks he's got a migraine

Coming on - Goddammit.

He's not prepared for what comes next - for when time

Inexplicably stops and all those things that annoyed him so

Fade into nothingness in the wake of the most

Beautiful thing he has ever seen – more than Renee, more than

Baby Bella, more than the rising sunlight

Against a mountain; finds himself drawn to those

Burning eyes and thinks that he might be in love;

Basks in that unwavering gaze and wonders if this isn't God.

"Officer Swan," says the apparition, and in a flash the

Spell is broken. Charlie's face grows hot and red like a

Plum; feels a kind of embarrassment he's never

Known before - an abject humiliation that he will carry

Within himself for the rest of the month. He averts

His eyes and clears his throat loudly, forcefully; pinches

The bridge of his nose and feigns a headache (for all of

Three seconds, until the migraine returns with full-force).

When Charlie thinks he has recovered he manages a gruff

Nod and looks up at the man (it is a man, he tells himself stupidly),

Smiling warmly like he's been practicing all day on little

Old ladies in the waiting room outside; takes his hand in his

For a firm handshake and says, "I'm Doctor Cullen."

It is in this instant that Charlie realises that the rumors

Might have some weight to them after all.

June 1972

"This is Billy."

Charlie looks away from the ornament of eagle

Taking off and rests his gaze on the boy in the

Grubby green sweater. Sizes him up in a minute; likes the

Transparent cautiousness of his eyes and the surety of his

Body, standing strong with both feet firmly planted

On the ground. Charlie also likes that he's got a slingshot

Tucked into the pocket of his shorts because he's a

Pretty good shot himself. Billy looks like 'trouble' is

His middle name and Charlie needs a bit of

Chaos in his orderly life, and so

Yes, he decides, they can be


August 1992

Isabella won't let go of his trousers and will not be

Cajoled; says she doesn't care that all the other kids

Are already having a great time and that she wants to

Go home – 'Why can't we go home, daddy?'

He's half-tempted to give in and take the day off himself

But he knows that there's no escaping some things, and he

Wants his daughter to know that too; wants her to learn how

To stand strong and sure and keep going even when the going

Gets tough. He drops to a squat and puts a hand on her soft head,

Gives her a quirky smile and a kiss on the forehead; says

That if she has any trouble all she has to do is call the station

And he'll be there, sirens wailing and lights flashing.

"But just in case you decide to stay," he says,

"Mom'll be here to pick you up after lunch."

August 2009

There's no sense in waiting, Charlie knows. He

Rolls the cigarette along the length of his lips

But absentmindedly never smokes the thing;

Lets it turn to ash and drop to pieces on his

Regulation police jacket. As the sun goes down

The shadows stretch and close in on him.

Charlie strides ahead; tosses the stub onto

The ground and leaves it there to fizzle out;

A red eye withering to nothing in the dirt.