Summary: A young woman stumbles into Forks hospital, desperate for help. Story set after New Moon, just before Eclipse.
So Eden sank to grief
~Robert Frost ~
Time meant nothing. Consumed by the fire it seemed relentless and unending. Eternity passed and the pain scorched my body from the inside out. People talk of torture but no one truly understands the depth of the word until they've been put through it.
Agonized screams ripped from my chest. It did nothing to ease the pain but I wasn't strong enough to suppress the cries. Eventually my voice faded to a hoarse plea for death. It would be the first of many.
Eyes pinched shut; I endured the heat in complete darkness. I'd convinced myself I was already dead. That this was hell and if it was I didn't want to look around and see how much worse it got.
Coherent thoughts cut in and out, grappling for what was left of my sanity. Though the fire refused to relinquish its hold I was able to understand some of them. I knew that I couldn't remember who I was. That at one point I'd been hiking through a thick, patch of forest until something had knocked me down. All other memories had been stolen from me; lost in the forever fire.
At some point the heat decided to give in. The fire receded to nothing. It trickled out my body slowly; first in my legs and arms and continuing until it had left completely.
Days of being rigid with pain, left me feeling incredibly malleable. Hesitant, I opened my eyes. White light blinded me. It was unbearably bright and I had to squint to take in my surroundings. I could see no fire and brimstone in the near vicinity, so it was safe to assume that it wasn't hell but it sure wasn't heaven either.
I turned my sights to the leafy treetops. The green canopy overhead blocked out the gun metal grey sky. It hit me then, that after some time I was still struggling to see straight. The daylight was overwhelming. Though there was no sun to be seen, brilliant rays continued to light up the forest. Shining through each dark crevice until every shadow was swallowed in the clearness of it. Never had I seen anything so radiant.
I found myself taking in the world for the first time. Not only was the light more clear but I could make out minute details of things that would have been impossible to see with the naked eye. A spider weaved a web from one branch to another and I could see him do this from thirty feet away. Every mark on every tree and every tear in every leaf was so palpable. The woods had somehow been transformed into this work of art. It dazzled me.
The scurry of small feet startled my senses. The sound was amplified and echoed almost painfully. I turned to the sound. It came from somewhere next to my hand. Through the pile of dead leaves and twigs I made out the hard shelled beetle. He trudged across the mosey earth, the pounding of his feet splitting my head. I shooed the bug off to the side. I didn't hit him hard; it was barely a push but somehow I managed to knock the insect clear across the forest. The sound of my hand scraping across the ground was reminiscent to nails on a chalk board.
Horror stricken, I sat there. Suddenly the pretty colors and bright lights weren't so captivating anymore. Every creature and shrub moved about. They made noise and filled my head with it, sending me into another fit of discomfort.
It was then I remembered who I was. I knew that I'd been hiking alone as I usually did on Sundays. I could remember being knocked to the ground and then pain. The pain that left me stranded for some unknown time in those woods.
Panic set in as my memories slowly came back to me. I wasn't sure how far I'd come into the forest and I had a vague recollection of where I lived. The woods were outside of a small town. I lived there. That was all I needed. A moment later and I was running. I weaved in and out of trees. The way I moved was unnatural. It was too fast for a human. Normally I could pull off a light jog until I hit the wall but I wasn't even winded yet. Come to think of it, I wasn't even breathing.
The fear consumed with this realization. If it was possible, I doubled my pace; tearing out of the imprisonment of trees seconds later. I hit the highway that led to town and kept running. The time it took me to make it home was too short.
I climbed the stairs to my apartment, knowing the elevator would take too long. The door handle to my home became another victim in this sick game. I took the brass knob in my hand and with half a turn, managed to destroy it. A metal ball rolled into my palm. The frame holding my door whined when I pushed my way inside. Seconds later the door teetered forward onto the linoleum floor of my entranceway. Wood splinters shot into the kitchen and I managed to track every one of them with my new vision.
Another door opened behind me. Ms. Michens stuck her grey, perm fried head out.
It was meant as a whisper, though it sounded so much louder. Another noise filled the empty hall; the sound of a heartbeat. Thump. Thump. Thump. Steadily pumping blood throughout her body, it called out a sirens song.
I turned to look at her. An aged face, frozen in terror stared back at me. Ms. Michens was never at a loss for words but there she stood, without any to save her.
I found myself pulled in by the beating of her heart. The sound lulled me. My eyes roved over her frail, wrinkled form. Crippled with arthritis, it would be so easy to take her down. I imagined my hands around her neck. Twisting it too far in one direction; it would be quick and painless. She wouldn't have a chance to scream. I pictured myself going through the motions. I saw myself tearing strips of skin off her bones with my own teeth. Shredding her to pieces until I found blood and then drinking until I was full.
A thirst like I'd never felt consumed me. I stood, clenching my hands into tight fist. Body tense, I rooted myself to the carpet and stared, longingly at my neighbor. The thoughts that filled my head begged to be carried out but some part of myself could not bare to maim the old woman. I didn't understand why, the thirst was too strong for me to think of a reason. I just knew that I couldn't.
The landlady seemed to recover, though fear laced her voice when she spoke next.
"What happened to you, girl? You're covered in blood."
At the mention of the word, my mouth began to fill with a tasteless liquid. My eyes darted to the artery in her neck. I could see the blue of her veins beneath the covering of skin. I wanted to claw my way to them.
Ms. Michens frowned in response. Suddenly more confident, she continued.
"I'm taking that door out of your security deposit, you hear me?"
Restraint dwindling, I took a hurried step back. A deep, animalistic growl tore from my chest.
"Get. Away from me."
My voice was different. Harsh and yet beautiful in the same instant; it carried at musical quality when I spoke. It was upsetting because it wasn't me.
Where was I? What was this thing I was becoming?
I let loose an agonized cry that made the old woman jump. It was just the sort of thing to finally make her turn tail and run. Her apartment door slammed shut, the chain lock sliding into place behind it. Even though she was inside, I knew she wasn't safe. Not from me. I could knock the door in without any effort at all.
Heartbeats; a dozen of them made themselves known. Filling the hall with their delicious rhythm, it made the thirst stronger. I was loosing out against it. I had to get out. I needed to get away from the temptation. I needed help. Something was wrong. Something had been done to me in the woods.
I cried a broken sob and started to run; away from the sounds. I ran until I found myself in the waiting room of Forks hospital .It was a small, cramped building, for a small cramped town. A row of chairs lined one wall and people wielding numbered cards waited for their turn to register.
Their blood called out to me. Tricking me to kill them; kill them all. I closed the small distance from the door to the registry desk too fast. No one had even seen me come in. I felt the eyes of a few of the patients on my back, surprised by my sudden appearance.
A man, nearing his mid forties stood in front of the desk, chattering away at the petite blonde receptionist. It was all dribble to me and my patience had worn away to nothing, long ago. I didn't have the time to wait around and kill one of them.
Gliding forward, I slipped in between the man and the desk, managing to keep my hands down in fear of hurting him with my uncontrolled strength. Our eyes met. A dark, glare was sent my way, one which I ignored.
"Hey, go wait your turn in line like everyone else."
"Step. Aside" came my feral reply.
The receptionist piped up "Miss, please take a number and have a seat."
"I'm not waiting."
"Miss, its policy that everyone…"
My loud, untamed growl ripped through the waiting room. It was a vicious sound. The man who had once been at my side moved nearly ten feet back. The petite blonde stared, wide eyed, with the same terrified expression.
"I want to see a doctor. Now."
The receptionist eyed me up and down. I remembered what Ms. Michens had said about being covered in blood. It must have been bad because a moment later, I was being handed a pile of papers and a pen.
"You have to fill these out first…"
Her eyes welled with tears. The hand holding the question and answer forms began to shake.
"Just, direct me to a doctor. I don't care who, just do it, now."
It wasn't long before I found myself standing in the small doctor's office. There was an examination table but the idea of sitting down made me feel vulnerable. My legs weren't sore, not like they should have been after all the running I'd done. In fact, I imagined I could stand for days and not be bothered. I'd become this almost statuesque creature.
My attention drifted to a pair of framed, paintings on the wall. They were repulsively tacky. The sort of cheap art one would expect to find in any medical building. I suppose it was to relax the patients but it only antagonized my mood swings. I decided it would be best to look somewhere else when the rumbling in my chest commenced once more. It didn't take much to make me angry these days.
To occupy my time, I took in the rest of the room. The stainless steel sink with its finely polished counter top. A thick layer of antiseptic covered every inch of it. Cabinets rested over top; neatly labeled and locked. Three glass jars, filled with cotton balls, popsicle sticks and swabs were pushed in the far corner on the counter. I wasn't paying much attention to any of it. It was all so bland and expected.
But as my eyes continued to wander, I caught a glimpse of something I didn't think to see. Deep crimson pulled my attention around. Back to a mirror that I'd passed off when I'd first entered the room. It held my interest now.
The sight startled me. I moved, slow and precise; turning to face the mirror. The monster was still watching. Blood laced eyes; hungry for a life. They looked out at me from the reflective glass. They were my eyes. I was the monster.
A strangled cry escaped from me. I felt the familiar sting of rising tears but nothing else. The demon eyes took on a desperate, anguished appeal and I realized then that tears would never fall from those eyes. They would only ever look as they did right then.
Blood lined the left side of my face. It was caked on dark brown though I knew what it was. The red from it shone clear under the fluorescent lights; I could see it with my new eyes. Reminders of my time in the forest lay matted in my hair. Leaves and a bits dirt and moss, it was nothing to me. My face was nearly translucent. Cut from marble and defined more elegantly than it had ever been before. Freckles sprinkled on my nose still remained as did my red hair but it was all altered. None of it was human.
I was wretched and beautiful all at the same time and I hated it. I preferred my old self. Where had my green eyes gone? There were no scars or imperfections. It wasn't me. Where had I gone?
I heard him coming. Expensive shoes clipped their way down the hall. I steadied myself against the wall furthest from the door. Jaw tight, I held myself at bay, waiting for the sound of his heartbeat. The delicious pumping of his blood that played my favorite tune.
The door opened. A blonde headed doctor stepped inside. He flashed me a quick smile. I waited for the nightmarish images to fill my head; the desperate need to overcome me. But nothing happened.
He has no heartbeat.
Topaz eyes watched from the entrance. They fell on me and widened. The overhead lights danced across his skin. Pale; cut from a rock skin.
With one hand he shut the door, never taking his sights off me.
"You must be the young lady who was causing all the commotion in the waiting room."
"I'm not good with first impressions."
A small smile upturned the corners of his lips. It was an act. I could feel it. There was no sincerity behind it. I could feel him trying to figure me out. He was wary, keeping his distance. He was right to be afraid of me. I was a monster.
But then what was he?
"What can I help you with today?"
A feeling of vulnerability crept upon me. The bundle of emotions was overwhelming and the pain of unshed tears stung again. I dipped my head, letting my hair drape across my face. I couldn't shoulder this. Whatever it was, I wanted it to stop.
In a voice barely above a whisper I answered.
"What, am I?"
A few strands of hair parted and I was able to peek through them. I saw him. Frozen in place the way I was now. He cocked his head and inhaled deeply through his nose.
"Do I have heartbeat?" I asked.
He shook his head. No.
"Where…where is yours?"
"My heart has not been beating for over a hundred years."
All of a sudden my world had been ripped away from me. Reality was nonexistent. In place of it all was this man. This pale faced doctor with no heartbeat. He was the walking dead. I was the same.
"You don't know what you are, child?"
His voice was calming. I turned to it, desperate for the touch of another human being. When I looked up I found him standing much closer than before. He hovered directly over me.
"Monster" I whispered. "I'm a monster."
He sighed. A strong hand fell upon my shoulder. I jumped under the feel of it. I stared at the pale, still fingers, afraid that my movements had broken them.
"Have you hurt anyone?"
The question caught me off guard. It was insulting. It angered me. I sidestepped out from under his hand.
"No, have you?" I growled.
"Not humans, no."
I straightened. "What do you mean, not humans?"
"You are a vampire. A newborn I suspect." He shot me a questioning look. "How is it that you are able to control yourself with all these people around?"
"You're doing it."
"Practice" he said. "Can you not smell it? How long has it been since you were turned?"
He was outright curious now. No longer the hesitant blonde in the lab coat, he waited expectantly for my answers, though he'd done nothing to resolve my problems.
"I have congenital anosmia. I've never smelt a thing in my life."
"Amazing. That must be why you've managed to adapt so well."
But I wasn't managing at all. It was a struggle to get from the waiting room to where I was now. I'd nearly torn the head off my landlady. I'd lost my security deposit for destroying my front door. I was a…vampire. Things were definitely not as amazing for me as they were for the good doc.
"It wasn't easy."
The growls erupted without my control and I was too distraught to quiet them. His smile fell.
"I understand you're upset…"
"No, you don't understand. I nearly killed over a dozen people today. I can't get these horrible images out of my head. The sound of their hearts beating; their blood pumping. It won't go away."
"It's alright. I can help you."
"Just. Make it go away" I pleaded. "Reverse it."
Sadness shone through his topaz eyes. It was unlike any I'd ever seen. My stomach cart wheeled into my throat. I choked back the pain. Struggled to keep my emotions reigned in at the sight of him but it was becoming difficult.
"I'm sorry. It cannot be undone."
I stumbled backwards, looking for an escape. The nightmare was too real, I wanted to wake up. I wanted my old life back; a simple mundane existence that I could understand.
My legs bumped against the frame of the examination table. It cried out against the abuse. I shot my eyes downward. A dent had formed in the steel.
"Its fine" the doctor called.
"Nothing will ever be fine."
With inhuman speed I crossed the room. I folded my hand gently around the knob and disappeared into hall. I left the blonde vampire back in the room and continued to run. It seemed to be the only thing I was good at. The only thing I had left.
I became a blur in the lobby of Forks hospital, ignoring the sounds of the fragile and sick. I stepped out into the grey afternoon and faded into the sheets of falling rain. I was heading for home.