A Dying Wish
In the year 2084, Jared dies. The night he dies, he relfects on his life. He's lived through so much, almost too much. But when someone unexpected shows up in his hopsital room, someone deadly from his past, what does he do? Worst than all, does he survive from this lethal visit?
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May 27th, 2084
It was the middle of the night. The full moon shone brightly through my window and into my room, casting lurking shadows on the wall. I heard the night nurses making their hourly patrols up and down the hospital hallways with their carts of medicine and pillows echoing loudly. They squeaked as the ungreased tires rolled on the linoleum floors. I cringed as Patty, my senile and nearly deaf neighbor, God bless her, hit a rough patch on one of the tiles with her IV pole. She mumbled her apology, to no one in particular, and kept walking. I listened as she passed my closed door and coughed. Not only was Patty senile, but she was dying with lung cancer. I could tell her health was slowly declining. She would be gone soon, like so many in this dreadful place they called a hospital. And not only was she close to death, but so was I. Tonight was the night I would die. I could feel it in my heart, in my mind, in my bones.
I grumbled as I pulled myself into a sitting position. God, I was so old. My muscles were completely mush as I had grown older and heart disease had started to gain control of my body. I didn't mind, though. Kim had already been taken by diabetes, and there wasn't much left in this world for me to care about. I had my children; two girls and three boys, my grandchildren; sixteen total; and one great grandchild; my pride and joy. But no amount of visiting hours with their joyous smiles and pity tears could compete with my Kim. I felt tears well up in my eyes and I looked out towards the full moon. I would die on a full moon. The right way for a werewolf, I mentally told myself.
Sharp pain shot up into my chest as I leaned over to the side of the bed. I gasped, cradling the spot over my heart like a newborn baby; with care and caution. A cough racked my body and I wheezed into my hand. I thought back to the glory days of being a young, strong werewolf. Those were the days. The days where I had brothers, friends, family. Love. I tried again to lean down over the side of the bed, but the pain returned. I mentally cursed myself for allowing my body to get so weak. I grabbed the small white call button and pressed my russet, wrinkled finger down on the red button. I sighed in relief, a nurse would be here soon. A few minutes later, a soft knock was heard from my door. I grunted loudly, telling her to come in.
"Hello?" The nurse poked her young face in the door crack. Her bright blue eyes were wide as her ivory skin reflected light from the bright moon.
"Could you help me, miss?" I gasped quietly at how old my voice sounded. It was deep and rough, like sandpaper was being rubbed against the back of my throat. I tried to clear it quietly as she responded.
"Of course, sir. What is it?" She smiled kindly as she fully stepped in my room. She closed the door quietly behind her and then turned to face me.
"There's a small box under my bed. Could you get it for me?" I tried to return her smile, but the pain in my chest made it impossible. It turned out to be more of a grimace.
"Oh! Of course." She walked over to the side of the bed and crouched down. Her eyes squinted from the lack of light as a new wet cough shook my frail body. She looked up, worried, as I shook. "Are you alright?" Her concerned voice made me smile. Not a grimace, an actual smile.
"Don't worry about me. I'm fine." I winked, wondering when death would take me. This minute? In the next five? This hour? I only knew I would be gone from this world by sunrise, and I would die alone. I couldn't even tell you how I knew this if you asked. It was just like my body was telling me.
"Ah! Here it is!" She triumphed as her young hands brought up a cherry wooden box marked with carved swirls and designs. My eyes lit up at the sight of it. I had missed it so much.
"Thank you so very much, miss. You have no clue how grateful I am," I whispered, as I took her small delicate hand in my wrinkled and worn one. She smiled gently as she set the box on my lap. I returned her hand to her as I tried to keep the tears in my eyes from overflowing.
"Is there anything else I could do for you?" She cocked her head to the side, her blonde locks spilling out over her shoulders. I shook my head, gazing down at my box, as she nodded sympathetically and laid her hand on my shoulder. After a few moments she slowly walked out of the room. I looked up, listening, as the door made a final click when she closed it. I lifted an arm to my head, running my fingers through my snow white hair, remembering the days when I had a full head of rich black hair. Now, I still had a full head of hair but it was just a different color.
I returned my gaze to the cherry cigar box that lay on my lap. I brought a trembling hand to the lid and lifted it slowly, slowly. It's familiar creak warmed my heart and soul as I remembered its comfort it had given me over the years. So many memories, so many happy times. It seemed like an eternity ago. A bird squawked outside as it flew from the pine tree outside my window, its jet black wings pounding as it flew in the nighttime sky. I jumped, the unexpected sound scaring me, and the sudden burst of pain returned in my chest from the jerky movement.
I laid back, not wanting to disturb my old and tiring heart. I looked down at the cigar box, taking in its swirls and patterns as I traced them with my finger. It really was such a beautiful box. In my will this was the one object that I owned that I hadn't given away. As much joy and pain it had brought me, I didn't want another to use it, to trace its designs, to love it. Instead, I wanted it buried with me.
I returned to my task of opening the heavy lid, its wood feeling cool against my skin. The fresh smell of wood polish and cigar smoke filled my nostrils. Such comfort. I laid the lid back, feeling its pressure on my legs. I looked inside, waiting for the pain to return to my chest. The pain wouldn't be from disease though, it would be from heartache.
I felt salty tears spring up in my eyes as I looked down. There, gently and carefully laid inside the box, was my beautiful Kim, smiling at me brightly with her kind eyes. I picked the picture up, wiping frantically at my eyes so the tears would not leak and stain the undamaged photograph. I took my time, taking in every detail and feature of her. She was so young here, so innocent. I flipped the picture over, wanting to know when it was taken. On the back was scribbled in her messy handwriting June 13th, 2008. La Push, First Beach. I smiled, remembering the day. I may be old, but my memory was not harmed by age.
I sorted through the pictures, taking my precious time as the night wore on. I wanted to soak in as many memories as I could before I left this world. I wanted to be able to leave and remember everything from my life. I wanted to remember Kim, the pack, our wedding, my children, my grandchildren, my great grandchild. Hell, I even wanted to remember the leeches. Anything, and everything. I wanted it all. And I would settle for no less.
By the end of the hour, I had four pictures laid out in front of me. All of the pictures in the box were meaningful, but these four were my favorites. I gently picked up all the other pictures and laid them back in the box. Then, I returned to looking at them. They were all so perfect, so flawless. And they all had a story behind them.
The first one brought silent sobs that I tried to swallow down. It was stunning. It was in perfect condition. It was lovely. It was my wedding day. The date written on back was of May 27th, 2009. This was the picture that I had wanted to hunt for tonight. I had wanted this picture with me when I died. After all, it was my 75th Anniversary. My lips trembled as I took in every gorgeous detail of her dress; the white satin, the lace, the beading, the ribbon, and the train. She looked heavenly, absolutely heavenly. Her dark black hair was in a french twist with beautiful white beads and ivory leaves. Her small, brown eyes glittered in the light as her russet skin creamed beautifully with her white satin dress. The sun shone brightly down on her and she looked like an angel from heaven. I turned my gaze to me, looking dashing in a black tuxedo. Everything was perfect that day. In the picture I was swooping down for our first kiss as husband and wife. I could almost feel the warm tingle on my lips as if we had just kissed, even though she had been gone for nearly three years.
The next picture was of the pack. My long passed friends. I felt the tears travel down my wasted cheek, not even bothering to wipe them away. There we all were, Leah included, lined up along the sand and the waves on First Beach during one of our famous bonfires. I chuckled a throaty laugh as I remembered Quil eating nearly eleven hot dogs. The fire shone brightly on our skin as our smiles radiated off happiness. We had been so carefree here. The leeches nearby had been trouble, but nowhere near as painful as our lives had been after they left. My eyes traveled over the faces, mentally checking off the pack members that were still alive.
Sam; gone. Emily and him had been in a devastating car accident before she had even given birth. She was 7 months pregnant with their first child: a baby girl.
Paul; alive and nearly forty five. He had stopped phasing a long time after I had because he had been waiting for his imprint. Finally, Lilly came along and stole his heart. I smiled, remembering their wedding day.
Embry; alive and seventy six years young. He had imprinted just a few years later to a beautiful girl named Taylor. My forehead crumpled, thinking of how lucky he was that his wife was still alive and healthy.
I moved to the next face, Quil. His joyous, round face brought a barking laugh from my lips. His life story had been hilarious if anything with his two year old imprintee. They were still alive, both growing old in age.
Then, there was Leah. I sighed, remembering her bitterness. She was still twenty one. After Sam had died, she gave up on love. I think over all those years she had still held onto the hope of him coming back to her. She thought she would never imprint, and so far she hadn't. She kept to herself after the car accident, never coming out of her room. We just let her be.
Next was Seth, who was gone. He had never imprinted either, just like his sister. Eventually, he gave up, growing old just like the rest of us without any true love. He was then shot at a bank robbery. He died on scene.
I smiled, going to Brady. He had lived a joyous life, no doubt. He had imprinted quite early, on a traveling European tourist. He ran off with her back to England, head over heals in love. I always knew it was a mistake, going to another continent. But he wouldn't listen. After living for fifteen years in England with Tiffany, a vampire coven moved in close by. He tried to fight them and failed. Tiffany and him died together.
Collin. His young, smiling face was next, set right next to Brady's. He was still alive, in some hospital up in Canada with his imprint, Holly. He was nearly as old as I was, but was slowly wasting away from respiratory problems.
I closed my eyes tightly before looking at the next face. I didn't want to see his shining eyes, full of hope, or his brilliant smile, full of love for a woman already taken. I gulped, opening my eyes slowly. Oh, Jacob, I sighed. He was the only one I had no clue what happened to. No one did. He simply never came back after getting that disastrous invitation to Bella's wedding. He was so far away we didn't even hear his thoughts when we phased. Paul had thought he had committed suicide. At first I agreed, thinking the same, but then I changed my mind. It wouldn't be like Jacob to go down without a fight. He wouldn't give up so easily.
All of my still living friends resided in La Push, except for Collin. My old and fragile heart yearned to be there, young and wild. To phase and run through the forest, without a care in the world besides ripping apart the monsters of the area. I swallowed, my throat constricting. Almost everyday they would come up, Paul, Embry, and Quil. With their imprints too, obviously. They would pat my shoulder and wish me good luck and tell me not to give up. I only hoped they knew that in the end, I had fought. Hard. I had tried so desperately to get rid of this plague, but it was too strong. And I was weak. I covered the picture, it was haunting my memories too much. Jacob's bright face flashed behind my eyes.
The third picture was in the hospital, but a very long time ago. In the picture I leaned over an exhausted Kim as she held our first baby, Lisa, in her arms. Her eyes looked up at the camera, happy but tired, as I smiled brightly. Lisa was a beautiful baby, so sweet and gentle. I looked to the last and final picture as I tried to hold back the tears. It was taken only three years and two months ago. Two short months before Kim had left me to face the world alone. We sat at one of the new benches along First Beach as the waves rolled in and the sun set behind a brilliant sunrise. The reds, oranges, and yellows looked stunning as they reflected on the cold water. I sniffled, remembering the day as I held her small wrinkled hand in my large and wasted one.
I was suddenly brought from my reflections as a soft knock echoed on my door. I sighed, couldn't I just be alone in my last few moments of life? My shaky voice came out of my mouth, betraying my emotions, as I asked who it was.
"May I come in?" The sweet voice asked back, ignoring my question. It sounded soft, feminine, and unlike the young nurse who had helped me earlier. I narrowed my eyes, wondering who it could possibly be.
"Sure, why not," I grumbled, angry that someone was disturbing my peace. I piled the pictures up and dropped them in the old, cigar box. The door creaked open quietly as a dark, cloaked figure took a hesitant step inside. I looked up, my failing vision not recognizing who it was. I was sure it was a female from the voice, and now I was even more convinced as the petite form stood in front of the closed door, her face hidden by her hood.
"Who are you?" I croaked out. She laughed, softly, and it was a stunning, musical sound that filled the room. She walked forward, slowly at first, but then gaining more confidence. When she was at the foot of my bed she stopped and from the movement of her head, I guessed she cocked her head to the side.
"You don't recognize me, Jared? I thought your memory would be better than this," She scolded, her voice tinkling quietly as she whispered.
"It's not visiting hours. What do you want?" I tried to reach subtly towards the call button, but her pale white hand shot out from under the black cloak. I recognized that hand, I knew it from somewhere. The pale whiteness of it all, looking like paper stretched over skin. I squinted, trying to remember where I knew it from. Her hand grabbed the call button as she glided soundlessly over to my bedside.
"Please, don't do that. I need to talk to you," She whispered, desperately. Her voice cracked softly and I could imagine the hidden tears traveling down her masked face. I nodded, too scared to talk. She sighed, almost inaudibly, as I leaned back in my bed. Her head raised, and I could make out two wide topaz eyes staring at me from beneath her hood. I gasped quietly, topaz eyes. I knew those topaz eyes. Those abnormal, yet strangely beautiful eyes belonged to my enemy.
"Reveal yourself, leech," I hissed. She took a graceful step back, her head turning towards my window where the moon hung lowly overhead. She turned around, grabbed the chair in the corner, and brought it to my bedside before sitting slowly down. I shivered, all thoughts of dying had left my mind.
"I'm surprised you didn't recognize me sooner, Jared. Who else would visit you at such an hour of my kind?" Her breezy whisper met my ears as her pale arms lifted up to her hood. She slowly started to lift it back, revealing a crown of brilliant mahogany hair that looked like silk. I let a breath leave my lips as her wide topaz eyes met my own, staring at me with intensified emotions. Her narrow, angled nose and cheekbones made her look just like any other of her kind. Not like how she used to be. Her full red lips curved up into a hesitant small smile as her head cocked, silky hair spilling over her narrow shoulders. Bella.
"What do you want, Bella?" I was more than shocked that she was here. Where was her mate? Surely he would never let her visit a werewolf without supervision. I scoffed, thinking he was probably outside waiting for her in their 'getaway' car. My once wistful and prepared for death mood was immediately turned to a bitter sourness.
"It is good to see you too, Jared. It has been many years since I last saw you and your pack." Her flawless forehead crumpled in slight pain. I shook my head, she was undoubtedly thinking of Jacob.
"What do you want, Bella?" I repeated, ignoring her last statement. She squirmed uncomfortably in her chair. The moonlight caught her hair, making it shine angelically in the night.
"I wanted to see you, Jared. I know what has happened to the rest of the pack. I keep updated. And another thing I know is that you're dying tonight. You know it, too. Is it too hard for you to think that possibly I would not want you to die alone?" Her wide eyes questioned with kindness. It was so easy to trust her with her innocent face. I had to remind myself she was a monster. A cold-blooded monster.
"Well, you saw me. Now go," I hissed through clenched teeth, wanting to be alone, "Plus, don't you have somewhere to be? Your coven, perhaps? Or your mate, what's-his-name, he surely needs you." I raised my white eyebrows, suggesting she take her leave. Her enchanting laugh echoed softly around the closed room.
"Oh, Edward doesn't mind. He knows it's important for me to see you. To be with you when you leave this world. And my family, well, they don't mind either. Don't worry so much, Jared." Her sparkling eyes glittered with laughter as her small body shook slightly. Her smile could light up the heavens. I sighed, she wouldn't be leaving anytime soon.
"Bella, why though? Why me? There's other members of the pack," I mumbled, soundlessly. I knew she would hear. Her icy face instantly turned from joyous to serious and pained. She swallowed loudly and looked around the room, taking in the small amount of personal items.
"Well, I know I can't go to La Push. It's against the treaty, I know that and I understand. I like you Jared, and I always have. You were never too prejudiced with me. And I appreciated that. Plus, well, you're my last tie to - to," She stuttered off, silence enveloping her. I knew who she was talking about: Jacob. Her golden orbs for eyes flitted downcast to the tiled floor, her mood instantly morose. I lifted my withered hand and brought it to her ice cold shoulder. I tried not to gasp at the iciness and hardness of her skin. I had forgotten what they felt like.
"I know, Bella. And I guess somehow I can understand that." I smiled lightly as she raised her magnificent head and looked at me curiously. Her brows furrowed.
"You do?" Her light tone questioned.
"I do," I assured her.
"Oh. I thought I would have to explain more. Thank you for understanding. I appreciate it very much." She smiled, blowing me away with her sparkling white teeth. I reminded myself that she had venom in there, stored away in her pretty little mouth. Her red lips curved softly, making her look like an angel instead of a monster. I smiled back, and then she did the unexpected. She held my hand.
"Well, maybe I can sympathize a little bit," I managed to respond before a wet cough racked my body. The pain continued as I jerked forward from the blast of the cough. I felt woozy and lightheaded as my heart sputtered out of control. Bella rubbed my back and smoothed my hair back as she tried to soothe my coughing. I was shocked. Since when were vampires comforting, soothing creatures?
"Oh, Jared, are you alright?" She asked, concerned, as she pushed me gently back into a comfortable position after my coughing fit had died down. I shook my head, not trusting my lungs to speak. Her topaz eyes grew wide and her lips trembled. If she were human, she would have been crying.
"Thank you. I know I should be upset that one of your kind is here, but I'm oddly comforted. Thank you," I rasped as I looked sincerely into her eyes. She smiled gently, lightly, as she nodded back.
"You're welcome, Jared. I just wanted to be here. It felt right," Her kind voice said. She stood up, knowing that my coughing was under control. She took off her cloak, revealing black designer pants and a dark button up long sleeved blouse. There was no doubt in my mind she had snuck in here. She set the cloak on the back of the chair and sat back down, grasping my hand tightly. She closed her eyes, her lavender eyelids looking hauntingly beautiful against her pale skin. Her lips moved, fast as lightning, as I felt an unnatural breeze float by. I looked around, wondering what in the world she was doing. Her hair began to lift lightly from the breeze as her eyes, hidden by her lids, flittered constantly. Then, it stopped. She dropped my hand as her eyes snapped open and the wind stopped. Her eyes held pity, sympathy, and sorrow.
"What did you just do?" I was worried. Had she just called her family? Was this an ambush? My trust in her instantly died. She cocked her head and grabbed my hand once more.
"Jared, you know that some vampires have powers, right?" Her hurried tone whispered softly. I nodded, remembering that her mate could read minds.
"Sure, like that little psychic one in your coven." I smiled, proud that I could remember such a small detail.
"Yes, yes, like Alice. Well, I have a power." I watched as her golden eyes grew darker and darker. They were soon an empty, bottomless pit of darkness.
"Really? What is it?" My curiosity got the better of me as I asked. Her lips turned downwards into a frown and I couldn't resist thinking that such an angel should not be frowning. They should be smiling.
"I can tell when a person's life force is draining. When their life dooms the call of death and darkness. In other words, I know when someone is going to die," Her voice shook on the last word, her eyes turning downcast. My eyes grew wide, I knew what came next. I knew I was dying, and I knew I was going to die tonight. Even though I had known this for hours, I couldn't help but feel upset. Her visit had changed me, let me know there was more to life than dying the second I could. I instantly wanted to talk to her, figure out how her life had been, to know all the hidden secrets of vampires. To simply chat with an old friend. There was so much to do and so little time.
"Oh," I responded. Was there even much more to say?
"Jared, are you ready to die?" Her pained whisper asked as her head raised. Her pouty lips shook as she asked, her troubled eyes seeing into my soul. I gulped, could she give me more time? Could she heal me?
"Bella, please save me. Please. Give me more time in this world. There's so much I've wanted to do that I haven't done. What if you healed me? Can yo-" She cut me off as she stroked my burning cheek with her freezing hand, leaving an icy trail down my face.
"It doesn't work like that, Jared. It just doesn't." She swallowed, watching as I took it all in. I was going to die. Soon.
"Then end it. Please. Just end my life now," I begged. Now that I knew there was no more time, I wanted it over with. I just wanted to die. She knew what I was asking. I wanted her to bite me, to drain me, to kill me.
"I can't. Jared, no. I won't do that. You don't want that. Not when you'll be gone in two minutes anyway," She whispered the last part as her eyes traveled down. I gulped. Two minutes? I would never say goodbye to Paul, to Embry, to Quil, to Leah, or to Collin. I would simply die and never look back. I felt tears well up in my eyes. I wanted to live, dammit, I wanted to survive.
"Two minutes?" My rough voice asked.
"Rest, Jared. Just rest. Save your voice. There are many who love you here in this world, never forget that. Just picture her face, Jared, picture Kim." I did as she wished, picturing my personal angel. I would see her soon, at least I had that. Whatever place I was going, she would surely be there. I closed my suddenly heavy eyelids, reveling in the feeling of peace.
"Bella?" I whispered, wanting to hear her sweet voice and imagine it as Kim's. Her grip tightened on my hand, telling me she was here.
"Shhh, I'm right here. I won't leave. Not until later. Can I ask you something, Jared. Will you do me a favor?" I nodded, telling her I would do whatever I could to help this angel. "If Jacob is there, if he's left this world already, tell him I love him. Tell him I won't ever forget him. Tell him I'm happy. And if he's not, when he does get there, tell him just the same." I nodded, I would do it. I would. I would wait for him, tell him her feelings. Tell him how beautiful she looked. Tell him how kind she was. I would tell him everything.
"I will, Bella. I'll do it for you," I smiled. My voice sounding strangely young, like it did when I was a strong young man. She sniffled and tightened her grasp on my hand even more. I kept repeating in my head what she had told me. I would tell him. I needed to tell him. For Bella's sake and his.
As my body convulsed with tremors, so similar to phasing it brought tears to my eyes, Bella held my hand. Tightly. I could feel the coldness, and that's when I knew. Her hands may be cold, but her heart was warm and always would be. Jacob had been so wrong to think her being a leech would change any of it.
As my life slipped away and I shook, the box of pictures fell off my lap and slid across the linoleum floor, making a soft bang as it hit the wall. The sound echoed in my mind. It was the last noise I heard among the living.
And the last feeling? My last feeling was of Bella's icy lips touching my suddenly cold forehead.
The doctors wheeled out a gurney at 7:12 a.m. The nurse with the pretty blue eyes and blonde hair had found the older man's body as she came in to give him his morning medications. She had cried, he was the first dead body she had seen.
"You would think working in the hospital, you would get used to it. But it's only my third day on the job," She had wailed as she told the cops what had happened and her fiancee held her hand, whispering in her hair that it was alright. That everything was alright.
The elderly patients stood around the now empty hospital room. They had liked the older man, Jared his name was. He was kind and considerate. Never talking to loud to his visitors or bothering anyone. He was calm and quiet. And even though he kept to himself most of the time, he was very well-liked. The patients murmured back and forth, gossiping about their friend's death.
"I was awake in the middle of the night. I swear, an angel was here. She was the Angel of Death, I tell you! She took him!" Lucy, the eighty four year old delusional patient murmured to her friends. They didn't believe a word she said. After all, she was delusional.
Across the room, sixty seven year old Travis, whispered to his friends, "I saw a cloaked figured. A demon, a monster. She came in and stared at me through my open door with these weird topaz eyes. A demon," he urged. His friends all rolled their eyes, thinking Travis had gone off the deep end.
In the corner of her room, Patty the senile and nearly deaf patient mumbled as she wrote in her diary. She had written in one since she was seven. As she wrote, she talked to herself and read what she had written. Her raspy voice echoed powerfully around the room, "I know I heard it. I know I did. A chuckle. A heavenly chuckle. It was so beautiful, so flawless. An angel. Not the Angel of Death, not a demon, but a sweet angel. One who loves and cares. One who comforts. She came in at 2:07 and left at 2:43. Beautiful, beautiful. Wide topaz eyes, full curvy lips. She smiled at me as I passed by her in the hallway. She didn't flinch as my IV pole scrapped the floor. She didn't flinch. Such gracefulness! Such beauty! An angel! She was cloaked in darkness, not light, but an angel all the same! I can only hope that when I die, she comes. She will come. I know it. She will come." And the ironic thing was, Patty was too deaf to even hear that heavenly chuckle.
And outside the room, in the hallway, a young Native American man stands and listens. He listens to all the gossip, all the rumors. He listens to it all. His eyes are closed and his body shakes lightly with grief of his brother, from the anger of her coming, and from the sickening sweet smell covering the hallways. His dark hair covers his face as his head is turned downwards and an unnatural breeze floats past and a shiver runs up his spine. And that is when he knows. His brothers and friends may mostly be gone, but one has returned.
And this is when he gets the feeling and thoughts of his friend. This is when he receives the message: You are loved, you are remembered, and she is happy.
He knows, right then, that wherever his brother is, he is in the form of the wolf.