Carlisle Cullen, a young Anglican man with his entire future ahead of him, finds himself an unwilling leader of a small team charged by Pastor Cullen to hunt and kill the vampires in London. Can Carlisle succeed on this mission, a mission his entire future rests upon?
My first Twilight fanfiction, featuring one of my favorite characters from the Twilight cast. First story in a series called Afterlife.Amen - (interjection) so be it
1. Part I
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1617 Review this Chapter
Amen: Part I
by Marauder by Midnight
“And I close with a familiar yet necessary warning against the foul creatures of the devil…”
I sneak a peek at Frederick sitting to my right as I tune out my father’s voice. A childhood friend, and longtime member of the congregation, he has heard the sermon almost as many times as I have, yet he never smirks nor rolls his eyes in exasperation as I have. Father has remarked, on several occasions, that Frederick’s attitude is just what the Anglican Church needs these days, and often, I wonder if he should be my father’s successor instead of me.
Now, Frederick’s thin lips are set in a grim line, his brow furrowed in all seriousness as he concentrates on the lessons my father is preaching. Feeling my eyes on his face, he glares disapprovingly at me and surreptitiously gestures toward my father. Stifling a huff of restlessness, I turn my attention on the pastor, who is frowning sternly at the audience as he continues to speak against witchcraft.
It often makes me uncomfortable, hearing him all but condone the murders of suspected witches and wizards. Though I have followed my father during many of his frequent “missions,” not once have I encountered a being I truly believed was in league with the devil. Sometimes in my dreams, I can still hear the lingering cries of self-innocence.
An auburn-haired figure, head bowed in prayer, catches my eye. Sitting across the aisle and two pews before me, right in front of the pastor himself, is Anna Landon, the miller’s only daughter. Most known for her uncommon beauty and stringent care of propriety, I know instead a shy young woman whose nurturing nature and love for flowers have given birth to some of the most beautiful flora anyone has ever seen. Young men see beyond her personality and focus more on the considerable dowry the miller has reserved for his daughter whereas I see the quick flash of a smile hidden beneath her wide-brimmed hat as I share with her a joke.
Father would be more than pleased to arrange an alliance between our families, and the miller would not hesitate to send his daughter to the pastor’s household. However, I have not said a word about my desire to marry Anna – Miss Landon – to anyone, not even my friends. I cannot claim to understand what the other gender subjects herself to, my mother died when I was very young, but I refuse to treat Miss Landon, or anyone else for that matter, as if she was less than human and force her into a situation she did not want. The loss of control of one’s own life, I understood too well.
The chorus of the congregation startles me out of my thoughts. Everyone in the small church stands, and I hurry to my father’s side as many others push to the front as well. When I find him in the flock of eager Anglicans, I realize the miller is already speaking to him.
“Wonderful service, as always, Pastor Cullen.”
“I am glad you enjoyed it, Mr Landon,” Father replied humbly. “And you, Miss Landon. How did you find the service today?”
Anna, who is standing behind her father, dips in a quick curtsy. “I found your sermon on the dangers of witchcraft riveting as always, Pastor Cullen,” she whispers, her head bowed.
Familiar with her inability to lie convincingly, I cannot help feeling slightly disappointed in her approval of Father’s actions against those I believe are innocents or merely misled individuals. However, as Anna turns to leave, all thoughts that besmirched the lady’s image flee from my mind, and I find it hard not to go after her and declare my intentions then and there. I watch helplessly as she accompanies her father to the exit.
I mechanically greet and thank the other congregates, my brain still reprimanding me for not gathering up the courage to say something to her. Mentally, I vow to approach her the next chance I get.
My father and I turn to the last member. “Ah Mr Amherst. Joining us for our next mission Friday evening, I assume?”
As expected, Frederick nods with more enthusiasm than the others. “Nott and I suspect the Halifax sisters of witchcraft and will be investigating it ourselves for the next few days.” As he reports this, Frederick lowers his voice, but I can still hear the hunger for Father’s praise behind the words.
Father beams at Frederick proudly. “The city of London does not deserve a servant like you.” To Frederick and his father, Father says, “Come to my home tonight. Carlisle and I would like to sup with you.”
Frederick’s father smiles and accepts the invitation. As the older Mr Amherst continues to converse with my father, I motion to Frederick to follow me outside. No longer obliged to stay in the church, I have a sudden urge to step into the sunlight.
Once outside, Frederick’s grave features break into his usual cheery grin. “Come, let us go for a walk.” Gladly, I go with him as he sets out for the heart of London.
Swinging his arms care-freely, Frederick sighs loudly. “What I wouldn’t do to leave the city.” Surprised, I ask him why. He snorts. “You try living next to the Thames, smelling human stench night and day. Last summer, when I visited my cousin in Middlesex, and I must admit, the rural air did wonders to my attitude.”
I can not help laughing. “So your plans for the future?” After church on Sundays, thoughts of my own future with Anna Landon slip often in my conversations.
Frederick shrugs. “Start my own congregation somewhere on the outskirts of this rotten city. Have a family.”
Suddenly, a figure moves quickly at the corner of my right eye. Frederick sees it too; he snaps his head right as well. A tall man cloaked in a heavy coat is leaning against the building, his hat covering his face, as he seems to lounge casually in the shadows. Otherwise, the scene looks serene and nothing out of place.
I turn, dismissing the disturbance for a trick of the light, but Frederick continues to stare in the direction of the man, his eyes narrowed in suspicion. I tug on his arm, and he follows me for a few steps before pulling me behind a cart of fruit. As I open my mouth to protest, he puts a finger to his lips and looks back at the man with the coat.
There is a gap between the shadows of the building the man is leaning against and the shadows of the next building. The patch of sunshine in the island of darkness, it seems, is not very large, perhaps spanning the length of one arm. However, as we watch, hidden crudely by a farmer’s cart, the man slowly moves from his position and begins to walk, stopping at that line separating the sun’s rays from the shadows of the building. From the way he curls his hands into fists, he seems to be preparing for something.
And then –
If I had blinked at that moment, I would have missed it, I think, my mouth opened in shock. From the gasp Frederick lets out, I know he had just seen the same spectacle as I had.
In my mind’s eye, I see it all again. The cloaked man darts across the patch with a speed I have never seen. But even more amazing than the velocity he launches himself over the sunlight is the glitter that erupts where his hands should be and where a small bit of his neck is exposed above the collar of the coat. The sunlight seems to glint off the skin as if it is made of the metal of a sword.
I watch the scene replay in my mind, believing that perhaps I am going insane. Frederick recovers from his shock faster than I do; brusquely, he knocks my shoulder, and both of us scramble to keep our sights on the supernatural man as the stranger weaves his way closer and closer to the Thames.
The area becomes less and less populated as the smell becomes worse and worse. With fewer people to mingle with, Frederick and I draw farther and farther back. I have a strange feeling that if this man finds us following him, Frederick and I would never make it back for supper.
But the oddly clad man seems preoccupied with something else. He does not look over his shoulder as he reaches the bank of the murky brown river and jumps out of view. Coming out from the shadows of the last buildings, we hurry to the edge and see a thin ledge of land that ends in with a large sewage tunnel opening. Low, guttural voices waft from the tunnel. However, dizzy from the fumes from the river and sewer, we dare not go further alone. Hazed, Frederick and I practically run back to my father’s modest home to discuss what it was we had seen.
“…a creature who glistened in the sunlight!” Frederick is explaining wildly to my father and his. “Pastor Cullen, what soldier of darkness glistens in the sunlight?”
Father moves to pace around the table, pondering the tale we had told. “I have heard stories. Stories from Catholic friends of beings in the Vatican seen shimmering in the sun, just as you’ve described. Enemies of the Church, they are. Believed to fear, above all else, relics of God.”
Mr Amherst, having a hard time digesting our story, bewilderedly asks, “What? Who are they?”“Vampires.”