Condemnation: The Life and Death of Carlisle Cullen
"I fought, I fought for my immortal soul." Carlisle Cullen is a rarity in the world of vampires. But what was Carlisle like as a human? And what more is there to the story behind Carlisle's long life as a vampire?
This is the first in a series I plan to write currently simply titled "Stories" Edward's story is next in the series, followed by Esme's, Rosalie's, Emmett's, Jasper and Alice. I have not finished any of these yet but I just wanted to test the waters and see if there was any interest in stories like this. Here is the prologue and most of the first chapter for Condemnation.
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Each of us has a story to share. My story is quite long and full of resentment. Resentment not directed towards others, but at myself. It took me centuries to fully come to terms with what I am. The only thing that kept me from continuing my mad attempts at self-destruction was the knowledge that perhaps there was still hope for me. You see, I never really lost my pastoral sense of redemption and forgiveness. I hoped that, as long as I continued to help people, to save their lives even, that I still had hope for forgiveness and that my soul could be saved. I never thought it was gone, simply pushed aside as this new entity attempted to take over my body. But I fought. I fought for my immortal soul.
Chapter One: Ascension
“Remember that flesh-pleasing is a great contempt and treachery against the soul. For the immortal soul is more deserving of our time and care than our mortal and earthly flesh. Those who spend their time gratifying their flesh are handing their soul over to its enemies, putting an end to their souls joys and hopes for a deathless future with its creator. They are giving up eternal happiness and purity for a few moments of earthly pleasure of the flesh. I ask you my fellows, is this an acceptable sin? The corruption of the soul, the festering of all that is good about you, for mere moments of mortal pleasure on Earth?”
The room was scorching in the heat of the deep summer evening, even with the rain pouring down outside. Every drop of water on the roof and walls caused the old wooden planks of the church to creak and moan in protest. Were these noises as prevalent to the congregation as they were to me? Or was I just afraid that the noise would take away from the force of my sermon, the meaning of my words. I cared deeply about the souls of my flock. Cared more about their eternal resting places than I did my own. Was that not the true purpose of a preacher? To put the good of his congregations souls before his own?
“Would you sell you wife or children into slavery or torture? No! So why do we so easily give over our souls to the slave-drivers of hell? Is it acceptable to betray our everlasting soul to hell fire and damnation to purchase the fleshly pleasures of so short a life? No! And yet we do it on an almost daily basis. Take heed my friends of devils in the disguise of pleasure and desire.”
A loud peal of thunder made the finality of my sermon all the more prevalent. The contemplative silence of the men and women gathered in the worn pews was almost tangible in the stale air. I left them to their whispered conversations amongst themselves while I quickly gathered my own thoughts and exited through the worn oaken door off the side of the pulpit. The door led to the preachers quarters of the small, low class church. My church was the church of the working man. The church of those who were forced to labor in the mornings on Sunday while the gentry attended the large stone and glass church in the middle of town.
“Inspired, as always Preacher Cullen.” Daniel, my closest friend, brought me a mug of warm water and stale brown bread. It was all I could afford with my measly savings from my previous job as a cobbler That seemed like another life, as if it had happened to someone else and I had just been watching. When my father had gotten ill and realized he would need to leave his life long profession as Preacher, I had immediately assumed the role. People still came to me with their problems, just now I was repairing souls instead of soles.
“But is it inspiring?” I looked up from my mug and into Daniels kind eyes. “I just hope that I am reaching them Daniel.”
“Of course you are reaching them Carlisle.” Daniel slipped into the informal and friendly use of my name. We had been friends since childhood yet he felt obligated to speak formally to me most of the time now that I was a preacher.
I gazed around the room I had been using as my replacement home. Tucked in the corner was a bed roll sitting on a frame that one of the members of the congregation had made for me. I sat in the only chair in the room, beside the three legged wooden table where I took meals. There was a wash basin on the floor at the foot of the bed and a pile of dirty linens on the floor by the back door. It would be a lie to claim I had decided to stay here simply out of piety or dedication to my religion. That was a part of the reason but the main reason was my father. Always my overbearing and quick to judge father. I was the only male in my family with two older sisters, Laura and Elizabeth. My mother had died giving birth to me and my father had always resented me for that.
“I suppose.” I sighed in frustration. “They just don’t feel right.”
“What? The sermons?” Daniel asked, inquisitive as always.
“My father does not trust me Daniel. He forces me to use sermons from his time as preacher. But I want to make them my own. I want to feel the words I am speaking!” My emotional rant, I knew was already drawing to a close. I was always reserved, never letting my emotions get the best of me. Emotional instability was a sin after all. I laughed internally at my joke. My father had always been cold and aloof, distinctly not present in my life. I never knew how much of his personality was just who he was and how much of it was his deep rooted hatred for me and the pain I had caused him.
“Preacher, surely you understand how deeply your words affect your people.” Daniel had quickly changed back into the foreign and proper Daniel that made me miss my friend.
I was about to protest for the hundredth time that day at his formality when I heard the door slam behind me. I did not need to turn to know by the look in Daniel’s eyes who was now in the room.
“Hello father. I hope you are feeling well.” I greeted him as kindly as I greeted anyone else. I had made up my mind long ago to not let my fathers treatment of me change who I was.
“Carlisle I am appalled at your behavior as preacher of this church.” he reprimanded me through gritted teeth.
I looked at him in confusion and frustration. What could I possibly have done now?
“When I was Preacher-” he began and I settled in for another long lecture of his glory days as preacher of this church. “- we had raids at least every Sunday if not more frequently.” he paused to reorganize his thoughts so he could better antagonize me.
I took this pause to interrupt. “Father I refuse to condemn people with no proof. I am researching different leads people have given me so that I can find the most promising.” He scoffed.
“How do you expect your congregation to feel safe if you have not shown them you will protect them?”
I did not respond and he used my silence to continue.
“You claim to care about the souls of your fellows, but if you cared at all you would be leading raids to protect them and keep them safe. Or do you want your entire congregation to start convening with devils and casting spells in the pulpits?”
I stood still, hoping that his tirade would soon be over. He knew how to hit home with my emotions and I was dangerously close to leaving that night to go on a bloody raid for demons.
“I demand that within the week we have a raid. I know you must know of somewhere that vampire activity has been rumored. I have heard whisperings from some of the shop owners that people have been going missing just down the street!” he glared at me and I cringed internally.
“As you please father.” I replied hollowly. I would gather a few final pieces of information on a lead I had and then I would set up the raid.
“Give me three days.” I heard Daniel let out a gasp behind me. My father, having completed his reason for being here turned and left without another word.
“Is three days really long enough Carlisle?” Daniel was beside me now. I was too engrossed in the job I now faced to appreciate the fact that he was again the Daniel from my past. I was too consumed with worry that things would never be the same after my first raid as preacher.