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1918

Summary:
Elizabeth Sophia Masen has everything a woman of her time could want; A loving husband, a son she adores and a easy lifestyle in Chicago. Yet the Fall of 1918 threatens what she holds most dear: Her son Edward The Last few days of Edwards life through the eyes of his mother. "Sequel" to 1918 Now UP! For More of Elizabeth and a vampire Edward turn into "Returning to Chicago" ASAP!


Notes:


7. 28-29 September, 1918

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2392   Review this Chapter

I awoke to the faint whispers of a methodic voice, “Margaret, get some fresh linen on bed three, Susana, I need you to go to the storage room and pick up some antitoxin, we may have to give it to some of the patients tonight.” My eyes opened, my breath still hoarse was taken aback once again by the presence of Dr. Cullen. He looked so beautiful, so unhuman. Was it possible to be that handsome and still be mortal? Of course it is silly, I thought, there is no such thing as Immortals on the world; unless in which case there are and he’s an angel sent form the heavens to save Edward.

I do believe in Angels, I thought, praying diligently as though If I prayed hard enough, he would be one and I could rest assured my son would survive.

I watched silently as the doctor stood over my son, gently bending down with his stethoscope to take his heart beat. He continued his medical examination, checking to see if his neck was swelling; obviously there was something to smile about, possibly good news I hoped as I watched the doctor smile a small faint smile as he wrote some instructions down on Edward’s chart to be carried out at the times he had designated.

“Are you ready for your check up Mrs. Masen?” Dr. Cullen asked, not looking up as he finished writing his instructions.

I was started, he hadn’t looked up, I hadn’t said a word and yet he knew I was staring at him. Maybe coincidence, I thought, but this was an uncanny one.

“Yes Dr. Cullen, I think so” I said, only having my voice crack through half way my sentence. He smiled and placed his stethoscope above my heart. Only the chill that was to accompany it was very, very faint. The fever must be warmer then I had thought.

“Well you’re heart is beating beautifully, a little harder then I’d like but under your condition I believe there maybe a chance of survival,” he smiled, making a note on his board.

“What about for Edward?” I asked immediately, forsaking that news that would make the normal person relieved.

The doctor didn’t let his smile stay on his face however hard he tried. “Well, he’s not doing as well as I would hope, but I think that he could pull through this.”

I believed him. Why shouldn’t I? “That’s my little boy, he can pull through anything,” I smiled faintly as I began to cough again, blood still accompanying.

“Consumption.” I whispered, looking at my dirty sheet that I had used to cover my mouth. “Is that what I’m dying of Dr. Cullen? Is Consumption killing my son and I?” I had had a great Aunt who had suffered the disease and I knew its course all too well. Of course if it was the disease of the lungs, it would have been better for Edward and I to have gone to the country. “No, I’m afraid that this is much stronger then that illness,”

Dr. Cullen sighed. “May I?” he asked, gesturing to the corner of the bed to sit and explain life to me. I nodded politely, wanting to know what was going on.

“What has been going around Mrs. Masen is a disease that the doctors in Europe are calling the Spanish Influenza. It’s a form of flu but it can also leave those that have it to cough horribly, and eventually they can cough up blood. If the victim does not receive proper medical attention there is a chance their lungs will collapse and fill in with blood from being damaged by the virus, making the victim quiet literally drowned in their own blood—similar to the Ebola virus, but not quiet as fatal—thank heavens. Other symptoms include vomiting, intensive sweating spells, and I have read in the papers of people changing blue but I have only seen that in a handful of victims here in Chicago.” He recited looking at me with those warm topaz eyes that alone where trying to tell me that everything was going to be alright.

“Is sparkling a side effect as well?” I asked, my hoarse voice cracking.

“Sparkling?” he raised one of his beautifully arched eyebrows.

“Never mind, I had a nightmare and Edward was sparking like jewel... obviously I had to much medicine right Dr. Cullen?” I watched as his face seem to cover up something. I don’t know if it was laughter or fright, so I continued on with a new topic, “What are the chances of survival for this influenza?” I asked, trying not to expose my creaking voice.

“There is a small percentile of survivors,” he answered with an equally quiet voice as though he was trying to hide the truth. “Dr. Cullen, Don’t let me survive if Edward won’t make it,” I asked. Breaking the silence that had formed while he had finished his diagnosis.

“Both you and Edward have excellent chances of recovery,” he said while he unintentionally frowned.

“Dr. Cullen, I’m a mother. I can see right through your comforting assurance that is as fake as can be, but thank you,” I whispered, “Is your family well? I mean, none of your family is sick of this are they?” I asked trying to change the subject form my sad existence that was dwindling.

“I have no family,” he answered with a faint grin. It wasn’t a happy one, but he was trying to act as though I hadn’t’ offended him.

“Not married?” I asked shocked. How could a man this handsome and intelligent be unmarried?

“I just haven’t found the proper girl yet,” he grinned, “This profession, although very attractive in salary, just doesn’t allow me enough time to be a good husband I’m afraid. Someday though.” Although he sounded very convincing there appeared something in his eyes as though he knew that this girl was most likely never to be.

“What about your parents,” I asked, “I’m sorry to pry,” I added quickly, “I just need something to distract me from Edward’s illness.” The kind doctor smiled, “My mother died when I was born. My father, he was a Pastor in London for his whole life. I was to continue his parish but I was more interested in medicine. So when father died, I left England and have been a doctor in America for several, several years now.” He explained.

“I’m sorry to hear about your family and I know that I keep on prying but, do you ever miss them? Your mother any ways, do you miss your mother?” I was wondering if Edward would miss me should I die, I knew that he would feel loss, but would he miss me?

“From what my father told me of her, yes I do,” he answered quietly. “ I think that I am much more like she was then my father would like to admit. I would pay gold to have a relationship as strong as your son has with you with my own mother” he grinned, patting my hand. “And for that bond to continue strong, I must ask you Mrs. Masen to remain strong, remain alive for your son,” his eyes penetrated my own.

“That means, I’m asking you to let us nurse both of you back to health; can you do that for me?” Against my will, I felt my head nod as the doctor smiled. “I’ll check on you two in a few hours. But until then, I must ask that you will sleep. Please, sleep.”

I nodded again and he got up from the bedside, making a note on my chart and headed out the room to another patient. I closed my eyes and once again fell into an abyss of sleep.

*******

I walked away from the two beds that I had been watching attentively since the occupants of them arrived. Thankfully, both mother and son where now lost in a deep sleep. The fevers had yet to break. The son, Edward, I was convinced would probably not live to see sunset. The illness was raging in him like the fire that had consumed half this city decades ago. He had to have lost three pints of blood since his arrival three days ago. Thank Heavens that the blood was weak. It seems to have a sweet aroma to it, warm and welcoming like a feast. My eyes where still topaz, I didn’t worry about having to hunt—I didn’t want to hurt these souls, they had already had to go through enough pain without help from my illness.

I didn’t want to be the one to break the news to Elizabeth when Edward passed on.

I didn’t want to be the one to discover that he had died.

I know it is wrong, but I’ve grown attached to these patients since their arrival. The circumstances for meeting two such people, I wish could have been better, but I have grown attached. Elizabeth with her emerald eyes that seem to shimmer in the light, she has a kind, gentle demeanor, warm and welcoming. Inquisitive—very much so, but in a way that doesn’t drive one crazy...and her son, Edward, he seems like a very charming boy. Very protective of his mother, wants the best for her and is extremely kind and loyal. I was drawn to him, as though he was the sort of boy I would have wished to call son should I have had a son. He has a kind face—he gets it from his mother.

Yet with each passing hour, the face shows a new sense of pain running through him. It twists his handsome face. I get goose bumps at the thought of what should have happened should they have returned home following Edward Sr.’s death. They would be dead by now that’s for sure. Between Elizabeth’s constant nursing of Edward and Edward’s condition worsening, They would have surly died.

I haven’t told Elizabeth yet, but when I got off duty this morning, I stopped by their home on Cherry Lane. She had asked me to check on her young companion, A Miss. Sherrie Keeley who had fallen ill to the disease two days prior to the Masen’s themselves showing symptoms of the influenza. When I reached the house Mrs. Masen’s neighbor let me it, I made my way up to where Mrs. Masen had told me her young companion was residing.

The hallways leading up to the room where silent, no sign of life at all. The walls where decorated with paintings of European hillsides, and the occasional framed photograph of the Masen’s in happier times, Edward sailing in a sailboat as a child, Mr. and Mrs. Masen as a young Married couple.

At last I discovered the young girl in the bed upstairs, white as the sheets she laid in. She was dead. Her face resting in a way I’ve only seen the dead able to compose, peaceful, but still haunting of what led them to their death. I couldn’t begin to guess how long she had been in such a state, I called for an hospital crew to come and take her to the morgue. At this time Mrs. Masen’s neighbor rushed to the house to have me look at her son, who had not yet risen from his sleep. The young man was in a rest similar to that of the young woman next door. I’m afraid that Edward’s friend had also passed away. So I returned from work with two deaths fresh on my mind. A beautiful young Irish girl, and a young man who had everything to live for but died before he could take it.

I hate staying inside while people I care for are dying. I stare at my walls to my apartment across the street from the hospital. I see the cars bringing in victims that I can’t help because I am ‘sleeping.’

The apartment is fair enough, a small kitchen that’s never been used, a bedroom that has a couch and daybed that never gets used either and then my study, which is probably the only room put to use. Books, thousands of books that have been collected through my over hundreds of years... my friend Aro gave me a whole chest full when I left for the Americas a hundred and twenty years ago, they are probably among my most used. But even they can not seem to console my worry as I sit infront of my window looking at the shadows as all these people walk into the hospital who will probably not walk out.

My thoughts return to Edward and Elizabeth, lying in a state of comatose; waiting, just waiting for death to come and ‘steal the honey from their breathe.’

I didn’t want to be there when they died.

I didn’t belong to be so drawn to them as they lived either.

But I needed to, I needed to be the one taking care of them. I needed to be the one who carried them to the morgue like I did for their husband and father. I needed to be the one. There was no other option, they either had to pull through this or let death take them.

You have forgotten the third option Carlise. A voice whispered as a menace in my mind. You know Carlise, you could always make them your family, it hummed. Yes, Elizabeth looks twice your age—but as a vampire, would it really matter? She could play the role of a wife—and Edward seems like the perfect son, why not let this family live on as your own???

I thought it out. Elizabeth had asked why I hadn’t married, I honestly didn’t think marrying a mortal was the wisest thing for a vampire to do, but if she where to be a vampire as well—“It was like we where in love all over again, just like everyday had been for the past twenty years!” Her voice rang through my ears as I remembered her kneeling by the body of her dead husband. Was it right to rob a dead man of both his wife and son? I cleared the voice from my mind. I wouldn’t change Elizabeth, she deserved to live, but if she was to die, she deserved to be with the husband who she loved.

The clock chimed, it was 6:00; I was on duty. I had lives I needed to save.