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A Litany at Dusk

Summary:
Thanks to hellacullen for the awesome banner! Edward’s rebellious period wasn't just a few years; it lasted seventy. Having spent his years hunting on the edges of society, he rejoins his family in Forks ready to abstain when he runs acorss a young woman praying. Can a choice be made between one's desires, one's heart and one's soul? Will Edward be willing to fight for her instead of fighting against her? A/U a bit OOC, rated for lemons and adult content, some violence


Notes:
Thanks to PTB for their assistance and to hellacullen, who is the wind beneath my wings! Her consistent and intelligent commentary, suggestions and cheerleading were incredible and I wish everyone a beta like hellacullen. I own nothing of Twilight. Let's see who could be the owner? Possibly SM?


9. Chapter 9 May God Have Mercy

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3616   Review this Chapter

Edward

It was a few hours before sunrise when I arrived in Seattle, feeling dark and dangerous. The news from Prince George weighed on me, making my emotions alternate between disgust and despair for the condition of the human race.

I stashed the bike behind a fence in the back yard of Isabella’s apartment. She wasn’t home, so I let myself in through one of the screened windows and paced her apartment. Her small, yet gallant cat hissed at me before making a break for safety under the bed. Her space was modest, just a living room, a galley kitchen and one bedroom. The Bible held a prominent place on her nightstand, and I checked the titles of the other books she was reading. A biography of Gandhi, inspirational quotes, and Austen painted a picture of a romantic and spiritual seeker. I snorted when I came across the book of Scott Adams cartoons.

I looked through the cabinets and drawers, trying to get a handle on what kind of person she was. If only I could read her, it would make things immeasurably easier. I would know what to say and be able to get a true reaction to it, not just the facade that people called communication.

Unable to help myself, I fingered through her lingerie drawer, trying not to feel like the pervert she was making me become. The delicate, lacy scraps of fabric were so different from the corsets of my youth or even the sturdy cotton and nylon items I remembered Tanya wearing. I sat on her bed while the fragrance rolled off it in waves, intoxicating in its strength and richness. I grabbed her pillow and brought it to my nose, imagining her head and hair there, making me feel weak with desire.

Oh, this is wrong. I knew it was wrong as I was doing it, but I was helpless against the surges of need that were pounding relentlessly against me. A half hour passed this way, until I found myself pacing the length of the apartment, unable to think of anything but where she was or who she was with. A feeling of deep uneasiness was settling on me, and the craving to see her and assure myself of her safety became unbearable.

I would go find her. Maybe she was working—I remembered the nametag. On her dresser were pay stubs with the address of Ray’s Diner. I slipped out the window and, after replacing the screen, started running through the dark streets.

I opened my mind as I ran and a flood of images from the surrounding buildings came pouring through it. …fell asleep again with the TV on…hate night shift work…just give me the damn shit… another nightmare. Can I sleep with you?...ah, come on, come on, do it!...gonna teach this bitch a thing or two…

The last one brought me up short. Through the eyes of a mind filled with cruelty and lust, I saw Isabella’s terrified face, her eyes scrunched shut. The floor dropped out of my world; suddenly I was terrified. NO!No harm to Isabella! I started zigzagging through the streets, invisibly fast, trying to get a triangulation on where this was occurring. After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably mere seconds, I flew at an impossible rate down the street and to the dark alley where I saw three figures crouching above a prone fourth one. Like buzzards starting to pick at a corpse, they were hunched over her.

Isabella was pinned down and laid out before them like a buffet. Something dark and furious grabbed me, and I lost all rational thought in my anger and rage. Through it all, weaving its scent like a song, was the fragrant perfume of Isabella’s spilled blood, calling to the bloodlust like a siren. The whole world turned red and black, and I felt a roar as deep and primordial as a jungle rip from me.

I flew at the first who was reared above her and between her knees. As I grabbed him by the throat to pull him off her, I felt the bones in his neck crush under my hand, and his head popped off like the head of a dandelion. I threw the headless corpse deeper into the alley as the head rolled away. The thick, metallic smell of blood filled my nose and mouth, creating an aromatic cloud flooded with the fragrance of death that I was ready to revel in. The bloodlust, which had been lying dormant, burst from its cage inside me and triumphantly demanded blood and death.

Before the remaining two vultures had time to react, I pulled them off her and knocked them face down to the ground. They would pay, oh, they would pay. My fury knew no bounds, and I was trembling with a passion for vengeance. Seeing no movement from Isabella, I froze. I had pulled the miscreants from her, but she lay there unmoving, her lips whispering a prayer over and over while her eyes remained squeezed tightly together. They had parted her uniform, and she lay there exposed to the eyes of these vermin. For that alone, they would die.

But she had to leave. She shouldn’t see the justice that was about to happen in all its ugly glory. Also, I feared for her, if she should be too near while the feeding was taking place. Her scent was too deliriously beckoning and I didn’t want that nearby while I became the mindless bringer of death that was a vampire feeding.

My throat was parched with the desire for blood, but hoarsely, I whispered to her to leave. She opened her eyes and saw me pinning the two attackers to the ground. She stared at me, and I saw her mouth my name. I felt a sudden pang of embarrassment and shame that she was seeing me in the midst of this violence. This was when I was sure I looked most inhuman, most monstrous. I wanted to pick her up gently and explain to her this was just an aberration, that this wasn't who I was.

But it was. I was a vampire at the kill.

I took in the scrapes on her hands and knees, but it was the long, shallow slice on her left hipbone from which her dark, fragrant blood was dripping. The trickle of color down her pale flesh was mesmerizing and richer than rubies in its hue. Under the pale, delicate skin of her arms were the blooms of bruises yet to show. There were no words to describe my rage that these vermin had dared to lay their hands on her. The dark, greasy criminal under my left hand started to struggle, and the bloodlust started to overwhelm me. In the scented fog of the perfume of spilled blood, my anger and fury were feeding the bloodlust and I knew I was powerless to stop myself. Moreover, I didn't want to stop; I wanted to deliver justice badly. I could feel my hand start to shift position on the neck of the criminal who would be my first feeding. I would have begged Isabella to leave so that she wouldn't witness my shame, but instead I shouted at her to run.

At last, she was released from her paralysis. She jumped to her feet and, clutching the shreds of her clothing around her, vanished around the corner. I listened to her feet pounding the concrete as she ran towards her home before turning to the men under my hands.

I rose to a standing position, bringing the dark one up with me while I placed a foot on the other one's neck so that he would remain in place until I could attend to him. The dark one, feeling my strength, went limp with terror and began to curse me and pray in Spanish. I let him look into my eyes, which I knew were black and fierce with hunger.

Trembling, he looked at me and whispered, "¿Que es usted?"

I smiled and whispered back, "El diablo. ¿Como se llama?"

He looked at me, paralyzed with fear. I shook him and demanded louder, "What is your name?"

"Jesus Perron," he whispered.

"And the ones with you?"

"Roland Deschain and Darryl Hunnings.”

"May God have mercy on your soul," I whispered to him, "for I most certainly will not."

His flesh was soft under my teeth and the first mouthful of blood was so sweet and thick, it swirled around my mouth in a paroxysm of taste and richness. Closing my eyes, I pulled the salty, tangy nectar from him. Never had I been so enraged at a kill. With one long draught, I heard his heart thud to a stop as its purpose for beating disappeared into me. The satisfaction of ending his life was so great; I raised my face to the dark sky and laughed.

I threw the empty corpse to the ground and staggered back a step, feeling the new blood course through me. It was a rush of pleasure, ecstasy and fulfillment more intense than any I had ever felt. Peripherally, I saw Roland trying to crawl away, but with an exalted roar, I grabbed him and inadvertently crushed his shoulder and collarbone while bringing him to me. Again, there was the sweet crunch as I broke past the skin and into the soft flesh of the neck where the jugular nested. I took this one slower, more deliberately, letting the blood drain into me, until I felt the minor gush into my mouth with each fading heartbeat. Finally, I had taken his life within me, and I threw this corpse on top of the first. I had no other thought than the transcendence of a human meal. The rapture burned within me and started to spread to my extremities until I was wholly engulfed by the spinning, tumbling euphoria. The animal within me roared in pleasure, and I dropped to my knees, overcome by the ravishing delirium.

I knelt there for a moment, feeling the new blood course within me. On the ground I saw a shred of nylon stocking, and my head snapped up. Isabella! Had she made it home safely? Was she alright? I took a few steps toward her home before I looked back into the alley where the two bloodless corpses lay, accompanied by the headless one. The edict against leaving evidence pounded against the need to see to Isabella's safety. I compromised by grabbing the two ex-sanguinated corpses under my arms and bringing them with me. I would pass by Isabella's on my way to the coast where I could dispose of the corpses in the Sound. This was a definite advantage to Seattle, being surrounded as it was by water. A corpse, having spent any time in the water, would lose any evidence of blood-draining.

I easily followed Isabella's scent home, enriched as it was by her still bleeding wound. Checking through the window, I saw her moving around inside and, satisfied that she would be safe for a while longer, I continued on my disposal mission. I got to the docks and, finding some heavy chain, wrapped the bodies tightly in it. Dropping my clothes at the shore, I waded into the dark, polluted waters. I walked along the bottom, the dead bodies trailing along behind me, until I found a tangle of debris that I could tuck the bodies into.

I returned to shore, dressed and flew back to Isabella's home. I saw the pile of ripped clothes on her floor and heard the shower running, so I entered through the window I had now designated as my doorway and waited for her. Pacing the room, I caught sight of myself in the dresser mirror. My eyes! They burned as redly as flames; they would be terrifying to her. Flying around the apartment, I turned off all the lights but one in the entranceway. The shadows would have to be enough to hide my eyes. I waited in a dark corner of the bedroom for her to come out.

Finally, the sound of running water stopped. A few minutes later, Isabella came out, wrapped in a towel. By the light leaking from the bathroom, she made her way over to the closet, passing me by mere feet but not acknowledging my presence. She grabbed a garment from the closet and turned around. I took a step forward and said her name.

Her scream reverberated through the apartment like the siren of a fire alarm.

Holding my hands out in front of me and trying to appear harmless, I said, "Isabella, it's me. Edward." My heart dropped into my feet. What was it she saw when she looked at me?

"Edward..." she whispered. Then she flew towards me and wrapped her arms around me, pressing her head with its damp hair against my chest.

I was stunned into immobility. The warmth radiating from her made my chest burn and her arms around me awakened emotions in me that I had not felt, well ever, in this vampire life. But then her smell wafted up to me, not only her natural perfume, but the smell of the wound on her hip. The bloodlust, which had so recently been stuffed back into its cage, rattled the bars, willing me to feed again on this most delectable tidbit. I saw the pulse point on her throat throb as she stood with her arms wrapped around her potential executioner. Shivering with desire, I fought the urge to bend my head and drink from the font that seemed offered up to me.

"Why, you're trembling," she murmured softly. "Please, don't be scared."

I almost laughed aloud at this. She had her arms around a murderer of hundreds and hundreds, and yet this weak, fragile girl was admonishing me to not be afraid. I was struggling with this when the phone rang. She reluctantly broke away, staring at me and gesturing with her hand that I was to stay while she walked over to the phone by her bed.

"Hello?" she asked. Watching me by the faint light leaking from the bathroom, she talked with the person on the line. "No, I am fine. I was just startled ...It was a spider. No, no, everything is fine. I am sorry I woke you up...Alright then. Good night."

She set the phone back in its cradle and stepped forward. "You saved me. Thank you."

I was at a loss for words. I had no idea how to begin to court this woman, so I said the only thing that came to mind. "You're welcome."

Her warm umber eyes looked at me, as trusting as a puppy. "You are my guardian angel…"

I shook my head. "Oh no, Isabella. If only that were true. I am no angel."

I didn’t know if she heard me because she repeated herself while her eyes started to fill up with tears. "You saved me..."

She started to cry, and when she took a step toward me, pulling her into my arms seemed like the most natural thing to do. "Oh, I was so scared," she wailed. "I tried to run, then I tried to scream, but they just kept coming. I prayed and prayed and you came." That was as much as I got before she slipped into total incoherence, her small frame wracked with the intensity of her sobbing.

I held her lightly in my arms, drinking in her scent and the way she moved against me. I was ashamed by the way the small movements of her body pressed against mine were making me feel, and the desire to bend her head back to kiss her fought with the desire to bend her head back and drink. Instead, I tried to calm her and soothe her, stroking her hair and murmuring, "It's okay. You're safe now. They're gone."

After a few moments, she began to calm and the sobbing turned to sniffling. In my arms, she raised her face to mine, her eyes red-rimmed and teary, and her nose blotchy from crying. She looked at my lips, and I saw her tongue touch her bottom lip briefly. Then she looked into my eyes, her own half-lidded while her breath caught in her throat.

I realized she was looking into my eyes, which were red with the blood of my victims. Could she see their hue in this light? I dropped my arms and stepped away from her. She was startled by the suddenness of my movement, and I saw embarrassment cross her face. Why would she be embarrassed? The morass of silence coming from her head was suddenly more than frustrating-it was infuriating.

I smelled as well as saw the dark trickle down her left leg under the short hem of the towel. The wound on her hip was continuing to seep blood.

"You're still bleeding," I whispered. "Let me help with that."

She looked trustingly at me while I gently pushed her shoulders back against the wall. I felt her become still with alarm as I slowly knelt in front of her. Pushing the towel out of the way, I saw her naked loins before me. Above the gentle swell of her sex, there was a long horizontal scar, and I denied the urge to touch it tenderly with my fingertips. Instead, holding the towel up, I grabbed her waist with my hands to keep her still. The fresh cut on her hip was almost six inches long but was deep only where the skin rose over the curve of her delicate pelvic bone. Pulling her toward me and starting at the midpoint of her thigh, where the ooze of blood had reached, I licked upwards in one long stroke, up to the seeping cut on her hip. Her skin was like warm glass, and my tongue slid easily up her leg, chasing the trickle of dark liquid.

I heard her gasp above me at my touch, and she moaned, low and throaty, as my tongue traveled up her sweet-tasting flesh. The sound of that moan reached deep inside me and stirred something that had been sleeping a long time. It leaped forward ferociously, fed by the knowledge I could create such a reaction in her. The sudden desire to pull her to my lap to caress all of her filled me, but savagely I pushed it down. I finished my clean up: two quick laps on either side of the cut to rid her of blood smeared by the towel.

It was only the sloshing of the blood of the two victims inside me that was allowing me this kind of control. As good as her blood smelled above the scent of others, the taste was so much more lush and complex. It was intoxicating, it was paradisiacal, and the small taste of it set my mouth and my throat alight with small explosions of pleasure. I had to close my eyes and let the taste fade from my mouth before I could proceed.

Very lightly, I licked my lips to glaze them with the venom that was flooding my mouth and then pressed my venom-tinged flesh against the cut. The small amount of venom would seal the wound and stop the bleeding, but it wasn't enough to endanger her health in any way. I pulled back to examine my work and saw the wound pull itself together. But there was another smell that was calling me, something as warm and rich as blood, but different. At the apex of her legs, which she clenched tightly together, was her pubis, gently shadowed with its covering of silky hair. I stared at it as I fought the urge to lean forward and kiss it as well.

"...Edward?" Isabella was saying, concern and fear in her voice as I came back to awareness. "Edward!"

My eyes rose to her face and I saw that she was overcome with modesty and embarrassment. I realized then I had totally exposed her sex and the girl was almost naked before me. I let the towel drop down and cover her again as I slowly rose to my feet. Some part of me wanted to stay on my knees and worship what was beneath that towel for the next month or year. I wanted to pull that towel away and bury myself deep within her.

Isabella was blushing furiously and I realized I had crossed a line of propriety and social convention at some point. Perhaps I had done enough damage for one night, and I felt my control teetering on the edge. Outside, I could see the minimal lighting of the sky as dawn prepared to make its entrance. It would be best if I left. I looked down at her face, which was turned to one side. In her mortification, the poor girl couldn't look me in the eyes. "I should go now," I murmured.

I stepped away, out of the bedroom and to the entranceway, wondering if she could ever accept me now. I heard her follow me as I walked to the door.

"Edward," she called softly. "You'll come again?"

I reached for the doorknob and paused, not turning towards her. I took a breath, knowing she could slay me with a word. “Would you like me to?”

“Yes,” she confirmed and my heart soared. “I’d like that very much.”

Over my shoulder, keeping my back turned so she wouldn't see my eyes, I answered, my voice hoarse with pent up emotion. "Look for me after dusk."