Killing In The Name
How far would you go to protect the ones you love? Lie? Cheat? Steal? Kill? With a knife in hand, five sets of eyes stared in disbelief. A question of ethics and morals weighing heavily on our minds? How had we let it get this far? (AU-AH With very adult themes)
1. Prologue- The Answer to All of My Pain
Rating 0/5 Word Count 4791 Review this Chapter
The Answer to All of My Pain
There are plenty of things I could tell you about my life. And looking back, I don’t really know if there was one thing specifically that would have led me to this. I’ve been a lot of places. And I’ve seen a lot of things. A lot of bad things. I’ve seen death. I’ve seen the bad guys win and the good guys lose. I’ve watched people come together and watched them fall apart. I’ve seen the weak persevere. I’ve seen strong people break, crumble and fall apart. Essentially, I have seen it all.
And sure, I’ve made my mistakes too. I’ve been with guys I shouldn’t have, a lot of guys I shouldn’t have, for pretty much every reason in the book. Sometimes I drink too much. I swear too much. I’ve stolen. Cheated. Lied. I’ve gotten into fights, sometimes just for the hell of it. I’ve experimented with drugs. And I thought that all of those things were almost normal things to do. Well, normal enough for someone like me. I use my past as an excuse too much. I let it hold me back. I let it consume my life. I’m a psychologist’s wet dream, if only I wasn’t so stubborn to see one. Maybe that would have changed things. But I think that I’m way beyond help that this point.
I’m not always a good person. I try my best most days, but sometimes it’s just not possible. But I guess that is normal. But was there really anything out there to lead me to this point? Was I really capable of murder? Were my friends, who stood shoulder to shoulder, with me now? No matter how righteous we thought the cause was? We’ve almost all been witness to death before, myself included. After everything I’ve seen and done in my short life, was there anything that would really explain why I suddenly felt at home in the musty basement with the cool steel blade of a knife just inches away from a man’s neck?
I suppose this story, like any other, should start from the beginning.
I never got to know my mother. When she was pregnant with me, doctors discovered she had cancer. Those same doctors advised her to terminate her pregnancy and seek treatment. Instead of saving her own life, she chose to have me, insisting that the life of her unborn child was worth so much more than her own. I can’t help but think that wherever she is, if she’s looking down on me right now, she regrets that decision.
After I was born, the doctors tried their best. There were surgeries and chemo and radiation. None of that helped. The cancer had spread. Almost six months after I was born, she died. You can argue from both sides but I believe that it was the first act of murder I ever committed. I may not have strangled the life from her myself but I had my part in it, even if I wasn’t aware of it. From my point of conception, I was designated a killing machine.
And as my story continues, my father, the chief of police in a small town, did his best to raise me on his own. From what I can remember, he did a very good job. I was well taken care of and he showed me a lot of love. He did everything right and somehow I still turned out so wrong. Maybe it’s what came next that changed me for the worst. When I was 7-years-old my father was shot and killed.
You’d think that in a small peaceful town, you wouldn’t have to worry about something like that, something as drastic as murder. That even the chief of police would never have to so much as pull his weapon. The worst thing that he would have to face is petty theft, underage drinking, and small occurrences of vandalism. And for the most part, that was true. The shooting was a one-time thing. Mostly a case of wrong place, wrong time. It was a lover’s quarrel. A woman cheating on her boyfriend. And when the boyfriend mysteriously found out, he snapped, walked outside of his house with a loaded gun, found his girlfriend at her job, and threatened to start shooting. That woman was my nanny. I was held hostage, sobbing in my room, praying for someone to come and save me. Charlie of course responded and in his haste to insure my safety, he didn’t follow standard protocol. He didn’t stop, he didn’t think, he just acted, and at the worst possible moment. When he stormed into the house, gun trained on the man’s head, I chose that moment to walk into the room, distracting him just enough to lose his focus. And it got him killed. I got him killed. I was again responsible for someone’s death. But this time it was at least a little more direct.
So at the age of 7, I was an orphan. Allegedly, the courts hate to take children away from everything they know and try their best to place them with family. Only problem was, I had none. My parents had no brothers or sisters. My grandparents had all passed. And I was alone.
My father’s best friend Billy Black had offered to take me in and I was sent there. His place was a small house on the Quileute Indian reservation. I had been happy there. I had already spent a good amount of time there while Charlie went fishing with his buddies. His son Jacob was two years younger than me and we got along well. I think he partially understood me because when he was younger, he lost his mother. He shared, at least a little, in my pain. I was never mistreated there and enjoyed going to the school on the reservation. But when an agent for The Department of Child and Family Services showed up for a surprise inspection after I had been there for only three weeks, they didn’t approve of the living arrangements. Because of the small space, I had to share a room with Jacob and that was against the state rules. Girls and boys had to have separate living spaces. The thin white sheet separating the room into halves didn’t count. I had offered to claim my room as the living room, sleeping on the couch. Hell, at that point I probably would have slept in the bathtub to maintain some familiarity in my life and be able to stay with people who loved and cared for me the way they did. The agent only shook her head and told me to pack my things. I left that night with only a hasty goodbye.
The Blacks still send me a birthday card every year. And a small gift at Christmas. I still see Jacob a lot. And Billy will even stop in from time to time to visit me. At the time it was nice to have friends on the outside still. Friends that weren’t yet jaded by the harshness of the world. Friends that still were able to see the good out there, even if it was so few and far between. Friends that had hope for a bright future filled with scholarships, college, marriage and children.
From the Blacks I was sent to the local orphanage. Only I shouldn’t say it like that. There is no such thing as an orphanage in the United States. That word is depressing and outdated. Now they’re called Children’s Homes. I guess it’s supposed to sound more inviting. But to anyone familiar with the system it’s the same thing. You can wrap up dog shit in nice shinny wrapping paper but when you look inside, it’s still just dog shit. But it’s supposed to convey a positive image. It’s not a place for orphans, it’s a happy place for happy children to live with other happy children. I wasn’t happy and neither were most of the other people who lived there.
While I was at Mercy’s Children’s Home I felt like an outcast amongst outcasts, living among the children so broken and disillusioned that they weren’t allowed outside to pollute the minds of anyone else. During my stay at Mercy’s, I found someone else who felt the same way; Mary Alice Brandon. But I only knew her as Alice. She was given the chance at life, just like I was, only to have everything taken from her so quickly. She was the same age as me. She was born a crack-baby to an unfit mother and an unknown father. She was taken from her home right after she was born. Over the years she had been bounced back and forth between Mercy’s, foster parents, and with her mother and the boyfriend of the moment, for the short while her mother could stay clean and out of jail. I know that the times she spent with her mother were rough but she never talked about it. She carried those memories all for herself, scarring her mind, forever casting away her innocence. On the outside she projected such a positive image. She was always happy; singing and dancing whimsically. But when the lights where out and she thought that no one was listening, she would silently cry herself to sleep at night, always wondering why her mother chose drugs before her. And when I saw that pain that she tried to keep hidden we instantly bonded and we have been best friends ever since.
For as much as I disliked Mercy’s, it was better than the foster homes they sent me to. Some of them were what you’d like to imagine. Happy couples unable to have children, taking in the strays. Cute suburban couples with an optimistic attitude, wanting to take in the forgotten, and do their part to make the world a better place. But becoming a parent to one of those children wasn’t easy. They wanted cute babies. Cute, happy, and well-adjusted babies. Young children and teens were always everyone’s second choice, taken in out of desperation and pity. The families that took them in were quick to realize that those children were almost always damaged goods, too much trouble for what they were worth. No one wanted a broken and damaged child. No one wanted to have a child, like me, that would wake up in the middle of the night screaming from nightmares that no one could chase away.
Other homes were the things that nightmares were made of. Things I can’t even begin to put into words. But at least those places were few and far between. At least that’s what I was told.
So I was bounced from home to home, never finding a perfect fit. Some tried more than others. Some did their best to care. Some only cared for the small paycheck that caring for me brought. Some saw the damage right away and tried, in vain, to correct it. Others ignored it until they couldn’t anymore and sent me away. When I first started getting placed in foster homes, I tried. I put on my happy face and tried to make it work. But I always failed. I wasn’t happy. Eventually the happiness would fade and slowly people would start to notice. And once they noticed I gave up. I stopped pretending. I stopped caring. I floated through life, taking the easiest path ahead of me. Maybe that’s where I went wrong. The world stopped caring about me. And I stopped caring about the world. But the end was always the same, I would be sent back to Mercy’s and Alice would be waiting for me.
After a stay with a very nice family, I was sent back to Mercy’s at age 10. Alice had another friend, Emmett McCarty. When he was 10, his parents surprised him during spring break by taking him on a camping trip. In the middle of the night, a bear found its way into their camping grounds and mauled his parents to death. Though he was only feet away in the same tent, he miraculously escaped without a scratch on him. All he was left with were the deep emotional scars of watching his parents die before his eyes. He spent the entire night scared and alone, huddled deep in the folds of the red tent, trembling in fright and waiting for someone to find him and take him away. He spent just over a year with a grandmother before she had a heart attack and then he was sent to Mercy’s.
Slowly Emmett had developed into my first crush. We even tried a kiss before we realized that we would never be anything more than just friends. I always found him attractive, more for his personality than anything else. His deep brown eyes, wide smile, dimples, and short dark curls against his pale flesh didn’t hurt at all though. He was always tall and as he grew, he became intimidating to the outsiders, with his short temper and big muscles. But as we grew, the bonds developing between the three of us were that of siblings. Emmett, though only a year older than us, became our big brother. He was our protector and vowed to always be. I think it had a lot to do with him being there when his parents were killed and not being able to help them. He carried the guilt of their deaths on his back. He was there and even if he was just a child, he thought he should have fought, stood his ground, maybe saved their lives. And now he took every opportunity to fight someone. Every opponent to him was the bear that ruined his life. He always needed to prove that he could beat any adversary. Always standing up for someone or something. Always trying to redeem himself. Even if he didn’t really have anything to redeem himself from. But he always carried the blame, even now into adulthood.
Emmett was the hardest to place into foster homes. He spent too much time being angry and fighting. Always arguing with anyone about anything, usually using his fists. He always challenged authority and refused to respect it. It was almost as if he would rather spend his childhood inside the drab gray walls of Mercy’s, wallowing in his self pity instead of being on the outside, trying to adjust to a normal and happy lifestyle. He would reject them and their lifestyles before they could abandon him, leaving him again just a scared and lonely kid. He often became so difficult for his foster families that they openly gave up on him, claiming him to be a lost cause. And even if he never showed any emotion, I knew that hurt him. No one wants to be hopeless.
The following year, we met Jasper Whitlock. His parents were killed in a car crash on their way to pick him up from a Boy Scout camping trip. Coincidentally, at the very same campgrounds were Emmett’s parents were killed. He had a larger than life personality and unbelievable charisma with a touch of rebellious nature. All the girls at Mercy’s loved him, Alice included. But he ignored it. And even if he had a huge personality to the outside world we, his closest friends, could tell that wasn’t the real Jasper. He had always been the quietest of us. He kept most of his thoughts to himself. He always said the right things and did the right things when he needed to. But inside of him was a tortured soul, just like the rest of us. He found foster homes easily but his rebellious personality always led him back to us.
When I was 14, I met the stunningly beautiful and perfect 15-year-old Rosalie Hale. She fell into our group and immediately hated everyone and everything she saw. That is, until she saw Emmett. She immediately decided to love him. And she accepted Alice as her best friend. She mostly ignored Jasper, and decided she didn’t really care for me at all. Her beauty made her popular. And her popularity made her rebellious. Before Mercy’s, she sneaked out of her house in the middle of the night to go to a party and when she stumbled home in the morning, she found the house burnt down to the ground. It was reported that her father, noticing her absence in the middle of the night, was waiting for her return. He fell asleep with a smoldering cigarette in his hand. Her family and everything she owned went up in smoke, never to be seen again. The fact that she survived should have made her happy, but instead she was bitter and angry feeling like it was her fault. If only she had chosen to stay home that night maybe it would have just been another uneventful night. She used her beauty as a shield, something to hide behind. Maybe if all everyone saw was how beautiful she was on the outside, they couldn’t see how broken she was on the inside. Despite her striking beauty she never found a foster family. Her beauty was just as intimidating as her attitude, scaring everyone away.
And the last member of our group was Edward Masen. He spent most of his childhood with a foster family. He didn’t like to talk about it though. He was very private. And when he first arrived at Mercy’s, I was placed in a foster home not getting a chance to meet him until after he had already befriended everyone else. The rest of the group had taken him in, somehow knowing that he needed us. And I suppose we needed him too.
For the most part Edward was relatively quiet and very intelligent. I was told that he was abandoned at a church as a newborn. But he never talked much about himself. He tried to keep his life private. Anything I knew about his past was mostly speculation or gossip. He found foster families easily. He played the game well. He followed their rules to stay on the outside. He did a very good job; he spent very little time at Mercy’s. I guess you could say that Edward was our prodigy. Mathematically speaking, one of us would have to end up leading a normal life. Or as close to normal as you can get. And Edward was that one. Or at least we thought he was going to be before he disappeared. But I’ll save that story for a little later.
What I remember most about Edward was just how beautiful he was. Every feature of his was perfect, as if he were sculpted out of marble by God himself. Soft green eyes. Bronze hair that always looked sexy and windblown. Pale skin and sharp features. I can’t even really put his beauty into words. He was breath taking. I felt a connection to him almost immediately. But it seemed he didn’t feel the same way towards me. He was so different when he was around me. Like he closed himself off and went on auto pilot.
Like Alice and I at the time, he was 16. And like most of us, he had seen things that made him wise beyond his 16 years. Age 16, what most people consider a perfect age, you walk the fine line between childhood and adulthood. You’re still young and carefree and you get to be irresponsible like a child. But you have acquired enough knowledge and just enough freedom to be considered an adult. We were young and irresponsible but we weren’t carefree. We were probably closer to adulthood than the average teen, we had seen and done much more than even most adults, but we didn’t have the freedom. We weren’t mature. We weren’t even close. We made more mistakes than we should have. We pushed the envelope. We even used to sneak out of Mercy’s late at night.
When we escaped the gray walls of Mercy’s, Emmett and Rose would find a skeevy place to have sex. Edward liked to disappear, never telling us what he was up to. I always assumed it was something I didn’t want to know but I followed him once only to find him walk into a church. I assumed that was where he had been abandoned and he was facing some of his past so I left him alone to slay his demons. If he needed help he knew where to find us. Jasper mostly wanted to be left alone but Alice would never let that happen. So Jasper, Alice, and I always walked through the city streets trying to find ways to amuse ourselves. Sometimes it was vandalism. Sometimes we got into fights. Sometimes we got stoned or drunk. Sometimes we bothered the prostitutes quietly stalking in the parks after hours. And sometimes we looked for people to take to skeevy places and have sex with, because we were young and stupid, and we reveled in that fact. We liked to be young and stupid, we liked the way it felt because most days that’s not how we felt. We didn’t feel young or stupid. We felt old and damaged and mostly we acted like that too. So when we got the chance to be free we took full advantage of it. And then sometimes we would just sit in a park and talk. I liked those nights the best. And usually by the end of the night we’d all meet up in the park and get high, with the exception of Alice. She always stayed clean. I think that after seeing what drugs did to her mother she didn’t want to become that same person. She would sit three feet back and watch us with sad and disapproving eyes while still joining in our playful banter. We often talked about what it would like to never go back. To just run away and figure everything else out later. Before the sun would rise, we always found ourselves safely tucked back into our beds.
We were all so alike yet so different. We had all lost so much. We were all broken. And we all wanted someone to come and put us back together. But in the end we learned it was only us, there was no one there to put us back together. We’d just have to pick up the pieces ourselves and go on with our lives alone. But we quickly learned that we didn’t need to be put back together, because together, we became glue. As long as we were all together the glue holding the pieces of our damaged lives in place would stay.
I think it was our differences that made it work. We all played a part. And mostly it was the best of each of us that kept us out of trouble every time we got caught up in something we should have gotten in trouble for. Alice was an eternal optimist. Jasper was introverted but still managed a great presence. Emmett was a meathead with a temper. Rosalie was beautiful and stubborn and always the center of attention. And Edward was always… Edward. He was perfect. He was great at every single thing he did. And I guess his story is so hard to tell because I don’t think I really know it.
He was there and he would laugh and goof off with us. But he never really opened up to us. He kept his walls up and heavily guarded. I don’t know why. He should have known to trust us. We trusted him with all of our deepest and darkest secrets. But that was just Edward. He seemed to want to keep everything bottled up. He wanted to keep his misery to himself. He never wanted to let it out. He was always suffering on the inside and no one knew why.
Sometimes he was different, more normal. I could see it from a distance. He would start to let the walls down when I wasn’t around. But as soon as I came too close he would clam up again. It was frustrating and annoying. He had no reason not to trust me. And when I finally built up the courage to confront him on why he avoided me so much, he didn’t respond with words. He grabbed me forcefully and pulled me close to him allowing his lips to crash into mine. It wasn’t my first kiss. Not by a long shot. But it was the best kiss I had ever had. Our lips moved together perfectly, our tongues danced to the music that was our heavy breathing. But just as soon as it had begun, it ended. He pulled away, whispering a quick and quiet apology before excusing himself. The next day he was sent to a new foster home. And I never saw him again.
When he turned 17, Emmett was emancipated and left us. Rosalie followed shortly after. Jasper joined the Army on his eighteenth birthday and was almost immediately deployed to Iraq. Edward had disappeared from the system before any of us got to say goodbye. And lastly, Alice and I left together. Our good grades had gotten us a scholarship for orphaned children at State College. Only problem was that we got so caught up in trying to live and experience a normal life that school now seemed unimportant and we dropped out before we could fail out.
Life on the outside was hard. We had a new found freedom that we never even dreamed of before. We struggled to adjust to life in the outside world because we didn’t really know what it was supposed to be like. We grew up knowing only pain. After a semester of school Alice and I got full time jobs and an apartment together, leaving school uncompleted, just another distant memory in our long hard lives.
We all worked our hardest to better our lives. And we all kept in touch with one another, staying best friends. We all lived within a five-block radius. With the exception of Edward, who was still MIA. We assumed, like most children of the slightly flawed foster system, he was released to the streets to a hard life; stealing to survive, drugs to make you forget, violence to keep you out of trouble, all eventually leading to a sad death as a John Doe. Emmett and Rosalie moved in together, becoming engaged, and they seemed happy. When Jasper returned from his tour in Iraq, mentally broken down, Alice helped to nurse him back to health. He moved in with us immediately, since he had no where else to go. He had lost his charisma in the war. And he still struggles with nightmares and depression, never talking about all the horrible things he’s seen, not even to Alice who has become not only his girlfriend but his lifeline.
Over the years of our adolescence we all made a lot of mistakes. Most of them small. Emmett’s short temper and fighting. Rosalie’s constant bitching and demeaning attitude. Alice’s unwavering trust that always seemed to get her into trouble. Jasper’s inability to let go and open up. My stubbornness. But as we grew, so did our problems. Some of it got us into a lot of trouble. Drugs. Sex. Violence. Money.
And that’s where my story starts to catch up with me. At 23 years old, I am still unsure about who I am and what I want out of life. Same as my friends, or I should say family. That’s really what they’ve become. In the absence of blood family we’ve bonded together to become a very dysfunctional family. We do holidays and things together. We yell at each other. We fight. But in the end we always get over it because that’s how a family works. We love each other unconditionally. Even when we don’t get along, which is always the case with Rose and I.
At the end of the day it’s the five (or six including Edward, wherever he may be) of us struggling to overcome our histories. It’s not an easy battle. It never is. But we’re getting there. At least we were.
Things in life were as smooth as you could expect them to be for someone like me. But with a simple phone call everything had changed. One simple phone call changed the course of my life. That one phone call had me where I was right now. With blood on my hands.