Edward revisits his hometown in 1929, having left Carlisle and Esme during his rebellious period. IN CANON... Written as a response to a challenge issued by sillybella on fanfiction.net, but ended up to be much more...
1. The Souvenir
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1409 Review this Chapter
May 5, 1929
The sun was finally hanging low in the sky, and I stirred from my hiding spot. It’d been a good day, and I felt better than I had in a long time.
Even though it’d been nearly two years since I left Carlisle and Esme I was still unaccustomed to being alone. Carlisle’s constant warnings to be careful and Esme’s unending adoration for him had worn on me until I’d left; but I missed the laughter we sometimes had, and the way Esme cared for me like I was her son. Maybe I’d see them again someday, though I doubt they would feel the same way about me now; me with my bright crimson eyes…
What was so bad about taking human life – especially when my prey barely qualified as human? I snorted to myself when I thought about last night’s meal. One of the many gangsters roaming Chicago… he’d been planning to defile a young woman who was foolish enough to roam the streets alone. I’d enjoyed hearing his mind fill with fear as I took him and saved her. What was so wrong with that?
Carlisle just couldn’t understand – he’d never tasted human blood… and that’s why I’d left, to find out for myself.
My travels had taken me all over, and now I found myself back in Chicago. I hadn’t bothered to find an apartment here; my intent had been to just pass through – a short visit. Being in my hometown had brought back more memories than I thought I had, though, and here I sat, reliving my favorite.
On this sunny Sunday I lounged in an old boxcar on the South Side. Out the open door I saw one of the few places I remembered from my human life – White Sox Park. Everyone called it Comiskey Park now, but I could remember when it had opened. My father took me to that first game, and we endured the Sox loss together. So long ago…
Today’s game was now over, and the Sox had taken another loss. I’d listened to the game from here, hearing all the announcements, the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd - visualizing the contest in my mind. It was a sellout crowd because the Yankees were in town. Everyone had come to see Babe Ruth beat their White Sox.
As the crowd started pouring out of the stadium the buzz of their thoughts filled my mind. This was the price for indulging in my fantasies, I told myself as pinched the bridge of my nose. I should just go, get away from the swarm of people, but I wanted just one look inside. They would be gone soon and then my mind would quiet.
After what seemed like an eternity, the parking lot emptied out and the sun crept down below the horizon. I stepped out of my rail car into the fading twilight and walked toward the stadium. There were still a few people here; I could pick out several minds in the vicinity. The players had all left, heading to the train station and their next venue, so I strode up to the gates. I leapt over them with ease, and slowly walked in, remembering when I was one of the crowd – a young and excited fan. I proceeded through the stands and down to the field.
The grounds crew had already finished for the night, so I hopped over the rail and stood on the field. At my feet was an old baseball the crew had missed, so I picked it up and massaged it slowly in my hands. As I looked toward center field I imagined how the crowd ooh’d and ahh’d when Ruth hit one out… How they’d admired his strength, his power.
I laughed, and with one quick movement hurled the ball in my hand over the fence easily, sending it half way to Lake Michigan. Not so hard, I thought to myself. One more laugh, and I turned to go, my reverie over for the day.
On the concourse again, I stopped in front of a souvenir stand. The pennants and programs caught my eye, and I decided to pilfer one. My father had bought a pennant for me; I didn’t realize I still remembered it.
I had broken the lock on the fence protecting the merchandise and was reaching for a program when I heard footsteps coming in my direction. My memories had been so strong that I hadn’t been listening to the minds around me. All I could do was pull down the brim of my cap and hope that I was ignored.
“That was some game, wasn’t it?” The first voice said.
“Yeah, the Sox weren’t the only losers today, though,” a second one laughed.
The thoughts coming from these two men were vicious, dangerous. I remained frozen, but now my hunting instinct started to kick in. My thirst wasn’t great, but these were just the sort of monsters I’d come to enjoy preying on…
“Hey kid, grab me one of those programs, will ya?” I turned slightly to see a big man in a white fedora addressing me. I looked at him, confused.
“Yeah, you. Toss one here, will ya?” he demanded.
I reached through the now open fence and took a program off of the stack and handed it to the man, hoping he would then go away. I wasn’t in the mood to deal with humans. His tall, muscled comrade snickered. “A souvenir for the game, Al?”
The one named Al laughed, “Yeah. I love it when the Yankees win.” He looked at me again. “You weren’t planning on stealing anything for yourself, were ya kid?” He was enjoying feeling superior to me. I just shrugged as I heard more thoughts coming this way.
“You can take what ever you’d like, my treat.” Al said with another snicker. He turned to two more men who came from the opposite direction. One had a baseball bat that he was cleaning with a handkerchief. The smell of the blood on the wood lit the fire in my throat. I could hear the two newcomers’ memory of the deadly beating they’d just given another in the restroom at the other end of the stadium. My instincts were in high gear now, but I forced myself to pick up a program and turned away from the group.
“Is it done?” Al demanded.
“Yeah, Mr. Capone. He paid the… debt he owed Johnnie in full.” This new man chuckled before looked at me curiously. The man’s memory of the killing stunned me. They had assumed that this man in the restroom, a rival gangster, had killed their comrade, Johnnie, down by the docks last night; and had pictured their dead friend as they swung the bat over and over. I recognized the face they saw at the docks – Johnnie was the reason my eyes were bright red now.
“Good. If Moran comes after any more of my guys…” Al paused, glancing at me over his shoulder. “Let’s get out of here. My wife is expecting me.” He took one more look at me. “Thanks for the program kid. Here’s a real souvenir for ya.”
Al took the bat his gangster buddy was holding and tossed it to me. “It’s still got a few home runs left in it…” He laughed loudly, then turned and walked away, his henchmen in tow. As one passed me he slapped me on the shoulder.
“Get some sun, kid, you look mighty pale.” They all laughed again and strode out of the stadium.
Part of me wanted to follow them and hunt them down, but I didn’t move. I stared at the bat in my hand as my mind circled around the fact that I’d caused not just one death, but at least two last night. I heard Carlisle’s voice in my head now, chastising me for thinking that I could take a human life without consequence.
Maybe there were consequences… and as a result another human monster had died. So what.
These gangsters had chosen how they wanted to live, just like I had. I’ll be more careful next time, and only the intended monsters would pay. With a deep breath the tiny twinge of guilt I felt disappeared.
I set the bat next to the souvenir stand and chose a pennant to go with my program. As I left the stadium my thoughts turned back to my father and the time we’d shared here and I smiled.
It’d still been a good day…