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Sleep

Summary:
Edward Masen had everything that mattered to him - good grades, a loving family, and the comforts of a home. For him, the only dark cloud on the horizon was his impending draft into a war he hardly knew about, and that, he goes toward voluntarily. But something much more sinister comes toward him, threatening his family, his future, and his very life. Companion to Angel. Edward's transformation.


Notes:
Fifth installment of Afterlife. Companion to Angel. This was actually penned a long time ago, before New Moon came out. Before Angel even. So this is the very first Twilight story I'd ever written, only posted now because I wasn't sure of my writing capabilities and the popularity of Edward's story.


1. Sleep

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1670   Review this Chapter

Sleep
by Marauder by Midnight

A myriad of voices swirled around above me. In my feverish state, I couldn’t identify any of them. Everyone spoke in harsh, whispered tones, obviously debating on one subject: me. The few words I could catch were words that I could hardly understand and that would easily separate me, the patient, from them, the doctors, to make the loss of another human life easier. Wouldn’t be too good if they were emotionally attached to each patient in this ward, would it? Especially when survival rates –

My bitter thoughts were interrupted by a voice muffled by an air mask declared, “The blood transfusion would never work.” I could imagine the doctor shaking his head, sealing my fate. “Look at him. He’s barely conscious. Even if he survives the transfusion, he won’t live for more than a couple of weeks.” Papers rustled as the doctor looked through my file. “Plus, he’s got no one to go back to. Family’s deceased.”

As the crowd of doctors around me shuffled away, most of them probably avoiding look back at my pathetic shape one last time, I registered the last words. My family, dead.

A pain sharper than any I’ve felt before stabbed my core. Images of my mother, thrashing about as she tried to breathe. My father, laying broken in an unfamiliar hospital bed. A piercing moan echoed in the small ward where I undoubtedly laid alone. I felt my eyelids fly open, yet I could see nothing. I began kicking, struggling in my grief. Another shriek of immortal pain rushed through my room before I realized where the cries were coming from.

I heard a rush of skirts as nurses hurried to my side to restrain me. However, in my frenzy to escape, I only saw them as the enemy, Death, that had come to take me away. I jerked against their attempts to tie my wrists to the siderails.

“No!” I shouted. “Get away from me!” As I screamed, I could hear garbled speech ricochet across the room.

The nurses, unable to understand my incoherent babble, called loudly for the doctor. I missed the name, but suddenly my arms and legs felt too heavy to lift. The familiar rush of sedatives flowed through my veins as my eyelids began to droop. I felt the nurses lift my appendages with ease as they prepared to tie me down. I mumbled, feebly trying to stop them. However, just before I lost consciousness, I heard a voice. It was the angel who visited my ward every night.

“No, don’t restrain him. He won’t go anywhere. Let him rest in peace.”

In the darkness of my eyelids, I saw the pale figure, bending over me with concern. “You’ll be all right,” the angel whispered. “Sleep.”

I tried to touch the angel’s perfect face floating before me, but, as always, perfection alluded me.

*

Swimming through the heavy fog of the morphine, my mind’s eye found a precious moment hidden in my memory. I felt Death’s long claws clinging to my legs as I tried to stay afloat. I knew it wouldn’t be long until I’m with my mother and father again. Still, human nature made me fight the grip. Helpless, I threw myself at the memory.

I sit in front of the crackling fire, clapping my hands happily as I admire my new train set. I run my hands gleefully down the length of the polished train, pushing it playfully around on the plush red carpet.

I look up cheerfully at my father and mother who sit comfortably in matching armchairs facing me. My mother, in my favorite green dress, smiles at me gently as she sets down her tea. My father, legs crossed regally, grins while staring at me through his spectacles.

“Thank you, Father!” I cry, throwing myself at his lap. “Wait until William sees this!”

My father chuckles in response. My mother leans forward to rustle my hair. As I push away to attend to my new toy, I hear my mother laugh quietly, “Look at him, Edward. Isn’t he beautiful?”

*

I was thrown out of my own memory by a new awareness. I was moving. I heard the metallic creaks of the wheels on the hospital bed as the nurses transported me to God knew where. My guess was that the doctors have finally given up hope and were preparing me for a long visit to the morgue.

As my bed moved into the hallway of the sterile hospital, a breeze of fresh air hit my face. I opened my eyes, welcoming the new musk, for I’d been in that ward for too long. Realization hit me as I breathed in the air heavily; I’d been living in a room of Death. The stench had been there for so long, I was never aware of it. Until now.

Thoughts of my impending doom brought more hidden memories to the surface. This time, I dove into them quickly, hoping to relinquish myself of the thoughts of dying.

*

“Will you be gone for the war?”

I turn to the pretty little girl sitting on the wall next to me. She dresses modestly, as do all girls in the neighborhood. Her features are dainty, fragile, and breakable. Yet she smiles shyly as me as she asks. I could tell from her lowered eyes, fidgeting hands, and innocent voice that she’d hope I’d say no.

“I suppose so. Everyone else is gone.” I turn away but not before I see her expression droop slightly. “I’ll follow shortly after my eighteenth birthday.” A surge of excitement runs through me as I imagine myself in one of those army posters circulating around the city.

“You shouldn’t go, Edward. Don’t be as foolhardy as the rest!” The girl struggles to restrain her emotions. “Some of us would rather you stay and live,” she mumbles.

I let out a soft chuckle. “It’s my duty, Caroline. There’s no way I can escape that.” I look at her with raised eyebrows. “Surely you understand that better than I do,” I whisper.

Unsurprisingly, her blue eyes widen at my words. “Yes. All too well,” she turns away. Finally, I’m sure I’ve shaken her off. Caroline Robinson always withdrew at the mention of her arranged marriage.

Deciding to leave her to her thoughts, I hop off the brick wall separating our houses. “I must go now, Ms. Robinson. Have a good day,” I nod politely before walking away, not bothering to look back. As I open the door to the dimly lit house, I feel my body tense. Something is wrong.

“Mother?” I call.

“Oh!” a muffled voice cries.

Panic courses through me. I run toward the voice, toward the sitting room. I find Mother there, kneeling by Father’s armchair. She is shaking something resting on the armrest. As I approach, I realize that it is my father’s arm. Tears are streaking down her powdered face. “There’s something wrong with your father!” she screams, not looking at me.

My father sits slumped in his favorite chair, still in the suit he wears to work. His face is an ashy grey color. Beads of sweat have broken out on his forehead, and his body is still save for the trembles that ripple through. I feel myself shuddering, for I have seen these symptoms too often now. I look at my mother, and another torrent of dread washes over me. Where the powder has melted away, flushed, pink skin is visible. Her eyes, normally so calm, now contain an unfamiliar wildness.

I opened the window and in flew Enza.

*

I struggled against the haze in my mind. I wouldn’t let them take me without a fight. I opened my eyes, but all I could see was blackness. It was then that I realized it was silent – too silent. Anxiety pierced my heart. Was I dead? Have I been dumped in some cold morgue?

I tried to see, tried to find out what was happening, but my muscles disobeyed me. My arms and legs would not move no matter how much I willed them to. I knew it then. I was dead.

Surprisingly, the thought did not scare me. I knew my parents had gone beyond. I knew that I was with them once more. I waited patiently for Mother to reappear, her arms wide open to embrace me and for Father to walk up to me, chuckling and reassuring me that everything would be all right.

A figure appeared, but I couldn’t see him face. I could tell he was one of the beyonders, as I now called them. I wanted to call out to him and ask him who he was and where my parents were. Before I could, he spoke in a familiar voice, “This may hurt a little.”

This puzzled me. I thought I had already died. What could possibly hurt more than –

I felt something bite my wrist. Then nips at my neck, chest, and ankle. I would have been curious had it not been for the tormented agony that I was forced under. I felt completely submerged in pain with no way out. I felt as if my blood, still rushing in my veins, were being turned to venom, a cold liquid that poisoned all of my tissues. I opened my mouth to scream, but all I heard were my strained grunts.

Is this death? Is this how the Grim Reaper claims his victims? I wanted to beg for a less painful method, less torturous, anything. I groped blindly for hope, for a signal that this would all be over soon. I felt so terribly alone. I wished for my mother and for my father to be by my side, to whisk me away to those golden gates just like they had promised me before.Why weren't they coming? Have they abandoned me?

“I’m sorry,” the angel whispered, and I felt myself being scooped up in his arms. “Sleep, Edward. Sleep to nullify the pain. Sleep.”

Sleep.