A Stolen Life
In the process of returning to Forks, Washington, Edward came across a car whose passenger held a familiar, silent mind. Curious by the phenomenon, he followed them and witnessed a horrific accident. Edward soon finds himself immersed in the blood that he'd so desperately tried to shield himself from four years earlier. Overwhelmed by his vampire nature, he allowed the beast within free rein and savored the alluring liquid. Consumed by the shame of drinking her blood, Edward brought the girl home to his father and hoped that Carlisle would be able to save her life, knowing deep in his heart that she was beyond modern medicine. After much deliberation, Edward accepted the inevitable and changed her himself, nearly killing her in the process. With the treaty in shambles and forgiveness hanging in the balance, could Edward forgive himself for imposing such a fate upon a dying girl? Could Bella ever love a vampire who stole everything from her?
5. Chapter 5-The Rubberband Effect
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“When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space I fill, and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of space of which I am ignorant, and which knows me not, I am frightened, and am astonished at being here rather than there, why now rather than then?”
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Chapter 5-The Rubber Band Effect
Esme and I sat motionless for several minutes whilst I regained control of my emotions. My breakdown was uncharacteristic but also cathartic, in a way. It was not often that I allowed myself the luxury of failure, even though it happened on occasion. It was both foolish and irresponsible of me to have not been more attentive with this particular situation. Yet, I often made such mistakes in regards to Edward.
After my atrocious meltdown, I was almost embarrassed to raise my head and gaze into my beautiful wife’s eyes. She would think less of me, think me weak. Regardless of my fear of rejection, I had much more pressing issues to attend to.
Everything about this situation was abnormal. Edward, who had so fervently opposed gifting a human with immortality, chose to do so himself, and that in of itself astounded me. He had been so young when I brought him into this life that often he struggled with the art of restraint. Yet, out of love, I allowed him to proceed and the results were disastrous. Whatever the catalyst, the damage was done. Yet, in a way, the ramifications would be everlasting, for the girl and for my son.
Edward had the propensity to over-think every miniscule decision, dissecting and analyzing ever aspect. He would likely wallow in his misery for ages, succumbing to bouts of melancholia. For his sake, I fervently hoped the girl would forgive him in time.
Once my momentary lapse of control had been quelled, I lifted my head and gazed into my wife’s ocher eyes, which held nothing but acceptance and adoration. She placed a hand on my face and smiled.
“Are you well, darling?”
“Esme, I apologize for my actions. I acted as though I were a child—definitely not dignified. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?” I implored.
“I will always forgive you, Carlisle, when you have wronged me. However, it is not me to whom you should apologize. Edward is beside himself with grief. He will not listen to anyone else. Please go to him, my love. Forgive him and forgive yourself, as well, for in three days time, everyone will have more pressing issues to attend to,” she said softly and resolutely.
“As always, my angel, you astound me. Your wisdom knows no bounds.” I kissed my wife on the cheek and ghosted out of the room in search of my son.
The darkness engulfed me. The weight of the horrible void bore down heavily on my chest, inhibiting my movements and making it difficult to breath. Death was near. I could feel its fiery fingers pulling me from both sides. A war was raging within my body, repeatedly dragging me over the precipice and yanking me back. My breath was stolen from my lips only to be replaced with pain. The sensations were overwhelming, strong, and relentless, nearly soliciting my defeat.
However, I could not leave this world. I refused. My family, my child, depended upon me. Realistically, I was uncertain how long I could repress its advances. Soon, death would come for me, collect me, and I would be powerless to stop it. Either angel or demon would take me by the hand and we would jump off the cliff together, twisting in an eternal dance.
Occasionally, the silence was broken by voices. The voices were soft like velvet, calm, warm, and inviting. I wanted nothing more than to follow them, wrap myself up within them, and use them to ward away the shadows. Yet I dared not move for fear of more of the unknown.
Soon, the silence was shattered by loud crashes and boisterous voices. Death had come for me, and I braced myself as the grim reaper’s scythe slipped into my wrist with little resistance. Agony—pain of unspeakable intensity exploded into my flesh, igniting my body with acid. The dark sky beneath my lids smoldered and shattered into millions of tiny shards, exploding into the void above my motionless body in a whirlwind. I watched the pieces ghost across my vision, landing on various points of my body and setting me ablaze.
As the excruciating fire ran rapid, consuming my flesh and bones and liquefying my veins, it reached my skull and set it alight. As the flames crackled and popped in my brain, fiery fingers reached down and clawed at my vertebrae, awakening every muscle in my body and gifting me my voice. I screamed at the top of my lungs, repeatedly begging God to end my agony. However, the torment raged on. No one cared to end my pain. Instead, death threw me onto my eternal pyre.
Rolling over onto my knees and tucking them close to my chest, I grasped my head and dug my fingernails into my scalp. My brain, like the darkness, detonated and showered a cloud of hot ash around my consciousness, blanketing me with hot coals. The flames roared loudly inside my head, and I placed my hands over my ears and screamed for the racket to cease.
Just when I believed Hell could become no hotter, the fire grasped my heart in its razor sharp claws and tightened his fingers, stifling the blood flow. My heart hammered in my chest, beating more rapidly than humanly possible. It purred like the engine of a sports car, beat like the wings of a hummingbird, and roared like a jet engine upon take off. With every thump, my chest burned hotter, drawing the fire from my extremities to stoke the flames— blistering and never-ending.
My heart was at full capacity. I could take no more torture, and I silently prayed the end was near. I wanted nothing more than for this madness to end and the pain to subside. There was no measure of time in this purgatory. The days, hours, or minutes seemed to drag on into eternity. I only hoped for an answer to my prayer.
As my limbs became my own and the fire dipped into my core, my rigid body waned and I tumbled into a heap of mush, relaxing when the fire began dwindling away like melted ice. I listened intently to the intermittent thuds of my heart and was delighted when the organ slowed and came to an abrupt stop. I sighed loudly, thankful for whatever deity answered my prayers. I lay in darkness expecting the angels or devils to collect my soul. But no one came. No bright light. Nothing.
I reluctantly opened my eyes. Everything was so crisp and clear, and like a sponge, I soaked in every inch of the room. My eyes halted mid shift, captivated by the particles of dust in the air. They danced lightly across the room, pirouetting across the large expanse like ballerinas on a stage. I watched them for a moment, enraptured by the novelty of the sight. I blinked my eyes in rapid succession and found myself startled by the stark contrast from light to dark.
Turning my heard upward, I marveled at the opulence of my surroundings. The ceiling was tall and gave the small room a much larger feel. A strip of border wrapped around the room in a delicate flower pattern, further extenuating the height. To my right, deep crimson curtains hung grandly over a large window, pooling on the carpet like a decedent dessert. To my left, a large, mahogany desk sat regally in the corner, bordered by dozens of bookcases and mountains of books that smelled of old parchment and decades of dust.
As I studied the room, I was ripped from my silent contemplation by sweet, melodious music emanating from just beyond the window. I could easily hear the birds chirping and a light breeze as it rustled through the trees. Further still, I could sense small animals scurrying in the soil. These sounds bordered on idiosyncrasy. I shouldn’t be able to hear so clearly.
Suddenly, I found myself curious, and the splendors that lay outside the window called to me. Sitting up, I realized my body felt strangely light and responded before I consciously willed my limbs to move. Before I believed it possible, I found myself at the window, gazing out upon a magnificent courtyard.
As I watched the gentle sway of the grass and the whirlwind of pink and white flowers, I unconsciously touched my throat. It felt raw and slightly parched. I swallowed the small amount of saliva in my mouth and winced as the acrid liquid smoldered down my throat.
Before I could contemplate how to remedy the situation, my body tensed, picking up tiny nuances of soft sound as they wafted into the room. The hum was almost undetectable, even with my enhanced senses. The rattle of a handle and the soft footsteps from below ignited a new feeling in my strange body. Suddenly, I felt trapped in the tiny room, unable to strategize an escape. There was a window, yet I was three stories up. My body would break into a thousand pieces at impact. No, that would not work. Something else, perhaps. Damn it! I can’t wrap my head around anything. There must be another way!
The noise of footsteps echoed throughout the house, and I closed my eyes, pinpointing each individual sound as it was pursuing me. I could feel the malevolence wafting through the floorboards. I scrambled to the corner and crouched, my hands instinctually curling at my side, waiting for an attack. I unconsciously growled deep in my throat and startled myself. Did that sound come from me? Surely not.
I could distinctly feel six bodies stalking me like angry predators, their minds heavy. Although, I couldn’t understand how I knew such things. As each person drew closer, I felt something profoundly different about each mental signature. Four figures were void of power, while the remaining three radiated both heat and energy. My body gleaned their influence like a magnet and it swirled around in my brain. The closer they came, the more power I gathered. It became an almost excruciating and foreign entity inside my mind. I needed it to stop.
I immediately closed my eyes and flattened myself into the corner, holding my hands securely about my head, hoping to hide from the minds that were violating me. As the energy increased, so did the pain and it exploded into every cell in my body. I arched my back and wailed loudly.
Six lovely creatures entered the room, and I gasped, unsure how I could handle any more of their torture. Three of the lovely creatures were blanketed by a pinkish-blue aura—the neon colors ebbed and flowed around them like mist— a deadly combination of fire and ice.
Sharp tiny nails jabbed into my brain, poking and prodding at me their painful assaults. “My head! Why are you torturing me? Do you have no compassion? Stay where you are!”
I opened my eyes. My head was still on fire, aching like the fire in my throat. The six entities kept their distance and quietly stood just inside the doorway with curious looks etched across their perfect features. Even engulfed by pain, I could appreciate their splendor. All of the six were ethereally lovely, with pale ivory skin and caramel eyes—save one. His eerie crimson eyes, brimmed with dark circles, caused the hairs on my arms to stand up and my body to become rigid. A devil in a room of angels.
I curled myself in a tighter ball, closed my eyes, and shook with terror, quelling the fight or flight response that was goading me to respond. I could feel one of the minds as he drew closer, his energy radiated through me. I screamed with pain, clamping my hands over my ears.
“I can help you,” one of the males said imploringly. “Can you feel my influence? I can issue calm around you. So you can focus.”
“Don’t come any closer, you’re hurting me,” I wailed. However, he didn’t heed my warning.
I opened my eyes and stared at the beautiful boy as he slowly stalked towards me, leonine and slender, crushing my mind with his own mental energy. He was covered in scars and I trembled at his advance. He was dangerous. My body instinctually stiffened, preparing for an attack. Once again, my instincts urged me to run, to escape my entrapment, but the pain anchored me to the spot. I growled deeply and hissed warnings but during my confusion, he tackled and straddled me, pinning my arms at my side and tucking them under his knees. Then he placed his hands securely on both sides of my face and sent a wave of energy into my skull. His influence seeped into my skin like molten lava, and I struggled to free myself of his assault.
“She’s fighting me. I can’t penetrate her mind. The backlash is almost painful in its intensity,” my attacker yelled over his shoulder, still pressing his hands against my face.
Finally, my struggle paid off and I was able to wrench my arms and face free of his grasp. Once my limbs were unobstructed, I reached up, seized him securely about the face, and sunk my teeth into his throat, halting his advance mere millimeters from my own. With his face securely within my hands and his own digging into my shoulders, we tumbled across the room. Once again, he gained the upper hand and pinned me on my back, straddling my tiny frame, as we lay perpendicular to the window. Yet, even in our precarious position, neither one of us relinquished our hold.
We continued to struggle with fervor. I would not relinquish my body to this fiend. I would fight him for all eternity, but I would never yield. Our combined anger became a stifling presence in the room. His mental signature continued to flow freely into my mind, threatening to overwhelm me with agony. Just when I thought I could fight him no longer, the energy began to transform within my palms, growing in intensity and thrumming like a heart—becoming a life unto itself. The pulsing entity was incredibly painful, an almost burning sensation that radiated from my skin. I found myself unable to control the power as it throbbed within my limbs, and before I was conscious of the action, I released my agony like a rubber band, propelling the boy’s body through the glass window and showering my body with glass.