I remembered, I remembered everything.
I’d been swimming for weeks, months maybe, when I’d come across the shore. I’d come across many shores on my journey of course but this one was different, this one was right. It had been the trees I’d noticed first, through my daze and the rain, noticed the thickness of the forest, I could hide in those trees I had thought, far enough away from everything that I might be ok for a while. I’d climbed out of the water and up the rocks still in my trance like state, still letting every emotion I’d been feeling for so long cut into me with the same sharpness they’d had when I’d first felt them. I’d wandered into the trees, immediately holding my breath, there would be animals in here, I couldn’t risk smelling them, I would not do that again. With that thought I felt the fire still burning in my throat, always burning, and I scowled, disgusted and mortified at myself again, feeling with that a new wave of the memories wash crushingly over me.
So long ago it seemed now, now time seemed to have lost it’s meaning, I had been back there, home. I remembered, I’d been out with my friends, giddily celebrating my 21st birthday. The clubs were shutting and we were all on our way home. I’d just waved all the girls off in a taxi, a typical black London cab and was heading back on foot to my house that I still shared with my parents. Most people would have been nervous, a young girl taking the back alleys in the dark through the middle of the city, but not me. I’d always been a bit like that, the ‘oh it’ll never happen to me’ type and with the alcohol on top of that I was pretty confident walking along, laughing to myself at some of the antics the girls had gotten up to tonight. It was only when I turned the last corner, nearest home that I faltered. The darkness prevented me from seeing too far down the ally but I knew the sounds I could hear meant something was wrong. I could hear whimpering and very low moans, the sound of someone in pain.
I started down the ally as slowly and quietly as I could, following the sounds. They seemed to be coming from near the only thing the ally contained, a big industrial sized rubbish dumpster, a handy landmark for me in the dark as it was against the wall of the ally opposite the back gate to my house.
I edged my way toward the dumpster a little scared at what I might see. There was nothing to see from this view meaning whoever was making the noise was around the other side of the dumpster. I leant with my back against the dumpster and took a deep breath, ‘Its probably just a drunk that’s fallen over’ I thought to myself and on that notion I stepped round the side. The sight that met my eyes made my jaw drop and froze me rigid to the spot.
My eyes travelled over a man, sprawled limply on the floor, not such a sight for shock but for the fact that that man was not alone. Crouched at the top of the mans body, was a woman. With one hand she held the mans torso off the floor, the other was curled in his hair wrenching his head back, horrifyingly her jaws were clamped around his throat and her bright red eyes were staring straight at me.
After a second that could have contained an eternity the man’s whimpering stopped. The woman unclamped her jaws and hands and let the man’s body drop, crunching to the floor. Her eyes never leaving mine she slowly stood up, an amused one sided smile creeping across her face, ‘Hello Aurora, I wondered when you would be coming home, sorry about the mess, I got hungry.’ Her voice was sweet and musical and utterly deadly. I stood there motionless, had I breathed at all? Every nerve in my body screamed run but I was rooted to the spot, I was entranced by her. Even in the dark I could tell she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen; tall, long black hair, a flawless figure, ice white skin that stood out starkly against her dark red dress and a face I couldn’t help but marvel at even as with the back of her wrist she wiped the blood off of her mouth.
‘Who are you?’, ‘What do you want?’, ‘How do you know my name?’ I wanted to scream but my body refused to work, even when she started to walk towards me. ‘Forgive me, I’m Rebecca Morgan’ she said, stopping in front of me and extending her hand ‘I know your brother’. I couldn’t help but notice how her eyes hardened and the smile slid from her face when she mentioned my brother. With this I found my voice, albeit very reluctant to come out of my mouth, which was trying to remember how to form words. ‘My brothers been missing for years now’ I managed to croak. ‘Oh I know’ she said casually, dropping her outstretched and unshaken hand, the one sided smile returning to her face, ‘ In fact it’s in conjunction with that why I’m here, you see, its to do with me why your brother went away’. ‘What?, Do you know where he …’ I began when Rebecca held up her hand, with a sudden furious look across her face. ‘He is away from me even though I gave him everything he could ever want!’ she spat bitterly. I flinched, fear doubling inside me. Rebecca rearranged her features, the amused smile returning to her lips but not her eyes, which seemed to bore into my soul. ‘But, I am here to change that. When he hears of this he will have no choice but to seek me’.
With those last words a fire lit behind her eyes and with all the grace and power of a lioness, though with easily twice the speed she leapt at me, catching me around the shoulders, pinning my arms to my sides with hands strong enough to crush a car. As I flew backwards towards the floor I tried to scream, as I opened my mouth her jaws cut off all my ability to make sound, sinking with ease into my throat.
I expected her to stay there, expected her to drain me dry and leave me dead in the ally, the same as she had with that poor man, but, as quickly as she’d sunk her teeth into me she pulled them away. One bite.
Still holding me inches from the ground she pulled her head back and looked at my terrified face. Her face was manic, a ferocious fire in her eyes and a grin that could only be described as triumphant spread wide across her beautiful and terrible face. Everything from the leap until now had taken less than half a second, and then it began. Just a prickle from the wound at my neck and then searing inward, a vicious, scorching, tearing burn.
My face and body contorted, but I couldn’t scream, even though every inch of my body was crying out in pain. On seeing this Rebecca began to laugh, a merciless, evil laugh, then in a move that took her no effort at all she grabbed the collar of my coat and flung me over her head to land flat on my back in the dumpster.
God knows how long I was burning. To me it felt like years, years of fire and stabbing and clawing and tearing and pulling and breaking, years of wishing I were dead, wishing I’d never been born, never even been thought of, anything, anything at all to escape this pain. Never, ending, years.
Now I know that the burning rarely lasts more than three days, although Carlisle explained that Bella only burned for two and a half, but her body had contained much more venom and she’d been much more prepared for what was coming, that I had been turned the much more old fashioned way.
Even through the blinding, all consuming pain of the burning I could never forget Rebecca’s face, that gloating, manic smile.
She was there with me the whole time I burned, hiding me in the rarely used dumpster, pinning down my writhing, flailing body so I would make no noise, even pinning her hand over my mouth to stop my screams when the venom finally repaired my shredded voice box.
I remember when the pain started to ebb, remember sinking in and out of consciousness, remember how I no longer felt Rebecca pinning me down but working over me in some fashion, remember how her face was the first thing I saw when I finally awoke.
It was Rebecca’s face that caught me off guard. It was no longer that manic demon of my nightmares but a stare, a waiting, slightly intrigued stare. Seeing that look reminded me just how terrified I was of her, she had put me through all that torture, what more would she do to me, what more would she want of me. It was then with more terror I realised things were different. Everything hit me at once. I could smell everything, every individual scent in the dumpster, even outside. I could smell the tree’s, the air, car exhausts, so many scents I wasn’t sure if I would be able to pick them all out. I could see everything, the lid of the dumpster was closed and everything in side should surely be in pitch blackness, looking harder I could see that we were in pitch blackness but that I could still see everything, every minute detail. I began to listen, I could hear everything. I could hear TV’s in the nearby house’s, I could hear people creaking floorboards as they walked around their homes, someone whispering in the next ally, heartbeats.
With that I sat bolt upright. Part of my brain took in that the movement was fast, too fast, but that was no matter compared to the searing burn of thirst I now felt in my throat. Rebecca giggled, it was then that I remembered that she was there, I’d been so wrapped up in discovering my new senses I’d almost forgotten about her.
I cowered away from her into the corner of the dumpster. The amused smile had reappeared on her face. Looking at her from here part of my brain registered that she was wearing my clothes.
‘Hungry?’ Rebecca said raising her eyebrows at me. I stared at her, only just hearing her through the sounds of heartbeats drumming in my ears. ‘ Come’ she said and taking my wrist she leapt, pulling me up, both of us bursting out the dumpster to land effortlessly in the ally outside.
Had I known then what I was, had I known what was about to happen, had I known then that I was stronger than her I would have snatched my arm away and holding my breath ran for the hills. But, I did not, so, just as Rebecca had planned, all hell broke loose.
It was dark outside, evening. I remember Rebecca leading me forward, towards something I vaguely recognised, a gate, up a path, to a door. Even though I could see so clearly my memories of these things were dull, like the cloudy memories of a dream you can’t quite recall. I watched as Rebecca opened the door, I followed her as she lead me inside, into the little kitchen, it was then I heard my mother. ‘Aurora? Ror is that you?’ I heard clearly as a bell my mother got up in the other room, hurriedly heading for the kitchen. ‘Rora where’ve you been? We’ve been worried sick!’. With those last words she entered the little room, stopping dead just inside the door.
I’ll never forget the way my mother looked then, the shock on her face as she stared at the two women standing there, the way her jaw dropped, the way her heart quickened, Rebecca’s laugh as she let go of my wrist.
Everything that happened after the sound of my mother’s heart was a blur, a frenzied, terrible blur. Sometimes I wish that’s how it had stayed, that I’d never come to realise what I’d done.
I was only aware that things had stopped moving so fast when I noticed the full feeling in my body, like the feeling you get when you’ve drunk too much water. I remember the feeling of seeming to let my eyes come back into focus. I looked around. I was in a living room, but it wasn’t one I knew. It was when I went to stand up that I realised there was something in my hands, something that should have been heavy and awkward. I looked down and immediately recoiled. My reaction sent me flying backwards, slamming against the wall. There were two bodies on the floor.
I stared at the bodies horrified. What had happened to them? Why was I here? I frantically started looking around me for answers. It was dark behind the drawn curtains, the lamps were on, so was the T.V., everything was as you’d expect a quiet evening to be but for the bodies on the floor. It was then as my eyes moved up over the fireplace that I saw the mirror.
I flinched, a jolt of shock leaping through my body, pinning me closer to the wall. Staring across the room at me, her face wearing a mask of utter horror was a woman, her eyes were red and there was blood running down her face.
I was frozen again, terrified, I’d seen this before.
I stood there for an age, rooted to the spot with fear, knowing that any moment now she would leap for me and sink her teeth into my throat, how many times would I have to endure this?
I clamped my eyes shut, waiting for something that never came.
Minutes passed, ‘Why was she not coming for me?’.
Slowly, very slowly, I opened my eyes and squinted across the room. Even squinting I could still see everything in remarkable detail. I deliberately did not look at the floor. I looked ahead, the woman was still there, she was squinting too, this startled me and yet I was intrigued. I opened my eyes fully, looking carefully now. The woman was pinned against the wall as I was, a dark red dress clinging to her long perfect frame, standing out in sharp contrast to her snow white skin. Her long, icy blonde hair was exactly the same shade as mine.
Then I knew.
I screamed. A gut wrenching scream that I’m sure would have been heard for miles.
I doubled up realising what I’d done, I’d done this, I’d killed these people, I’d, eaten these people.
Panic, disgust and horror raged through my body, I had to get away, what had I become?!
I flew out of the house, faster than anybody ought to be able to move, out into the street. People were looking out of their windows, peering out of the curtain’s, obviously they’d heard the scream.
I wheeled round and looked at the house I’d just left, the front door was hanging off its hinges where I’d burst out of it, it was then something caught my eye.
Looking to my left down the row of terraced houses that made up the street three other houses had doors hanging off their hinges just the same, dear god no! What had I done?!
Revolted I started to back away, unable to tear my eyes away from the houses, one was familiar, a memory swirled in my mind, hadn’t I gone home?
‘No!’ I yelled into the night and I pelted towards my house.
I only needed one step into the hall to see what I’d done.
There at the other end of the hall, in the entrance to the kitchen was the body of my mother, splayed on the floor, a brutal crescent shaped wound on her neck. I cowered against the doorframe, throwing my glance through the open door to the right, where the body of my father lay crumpled on the living room floor, bearing the same wound as my mother.
‘No!’ I yelled again. People were coming out of their houses now, wondering what on earth was going on. I could smell them, I could smell their blood.
No!, No more! No one else would die tonight. Taking one last look at my parents I held my breath, blocking everything I could smell, and ran.
I ran full pelt, faster than a bullet, in no particular direction at all, just away, away from that place, away from people, away from what I’d done.
I tried to shut out everything, tried not to listen to what I heard, tried desperately to keep holding my breath, determined not to smell blood ever again. It was in doing this that I realised I didn’t need to breathe. I was not gasping for air as I ran, my muscles were not burning with the effort and I was moving faster than anyone one had a right to move. I doubt anyone I passed even saw me, my feet didn’t even make a sound as I moved, they wouldn’t even have heard me.
Only when I felt the ground move under my feet did I wonder where I was. The ground was solid but yet it rocked a little under my steps. This caught me off guard, enough to make me stop.
To anyone watching it would have looked like I appeared out of nowhere, stood there on the pavement in the middle of Tower Bridge.
I stood for a full second staring at the floor, comprehending where I was, then, I heard them. People, walking towards me, just crossing the bridge, I could hear their hearts.
The burn flared up in my throat, not as strong as before but still there. My parent’s faces swam up in front of my vision, still, lifeless. With that I reaffirmed my decision. I was not going to kill again. I would not take any more life.
On that thought I looked up, and threw myself over the rail.
The water seemed to come at me so slowly, I could see every ripple on its black surface. I even had enough time to work out exactly how to twist and angle my body so that I would enter the water perfectly, without even making a splash.
I dove in, right to the bottom and stayed there for a second marvelling at everything around me, it was like its own little world down here, but I couldn’t stay, I was still too close.
Tasting the water around me I noticed the faint trace of salt in the current heading in my direction, something in my brain told me that was the way I needed to go.
I began to swim, staying close to the bottom, remembering that I no longer needed to breathe. How long had I been holding my breath for now? A sharp pain stabbed where my heart no longer seemed to be. How could I think about that when my parents would never breathe again.
Anguish taking me again I put all my strength into swimming. It was ridiculously easy to propel myself through the water, it was not so easy to block out all I was feeling, there seemed to be too much space in my head for it to fill.
Everything that happened tonight, even the things that before had been a blur threw themselves in front of my eyes with sharp focus, each memory a stabbing, searing pain in my soul.
Above everything I’d endured up to this point this was the worst kind of pain, the kind of pain that surely now would end my life, for how could anyone live with this kind of crushing guilt.
Days and days passed. Too wrapped up in my thoughts and my pain I didn’t even notice them, didn’t even notice when I left the river and headed out into the ocean, didn’t notice the weather or the waves, the scenes around me, even the direction I was headed.
The only thing strong enough to distract me from the burning in my heart was the burning in my throat.
Always the burning seared and always I tried to push it away, unable to rid myself of my parents faces.
Thinking solely of my parents was becoming harder and harder to do, whilst my thoughts of them and the horror of what I’d done never left me it was like they were slowly starting to shift to a different part of my mind. My brain, like my body, seemed intent, no matter how much my will was set against it, on bringing this burning thirst to the forefront of my thinking.
I continued to swim on for days, the battle for priority still raging in my head. Some of the time I was as I had been, so wrapped up in my guilt and despair I could do nothing but swim and bow my soul to the pain, but other times, things seemed clearer.
In these times I was very aware of just how aware my body was – the way I found myself analysing everything, able to pick out the smallest movements around me, knowing exactly what had caused them. Being able to pick out sounds – rain on the surface of the water miles above me, sea plants swaying miles below me, all the different creatures going about their lives.
It was whenever I would begin to marvel at all these things and the fact that I was here and I could see them that the pain would return, until one day.
It was one more day that I was swimming along in my pained trance that I heard the sounds. Whistles and echo’s, it was like music that seemed to vibrate through the water. The sounds bewildered me.
Instantly I was sucked out of my daze, stopping dead in mid stroke. The feeling of stopping caught all my attention for a moment. I had been so used to moving, to feeling the water rushing past me that it was a bit of a shock to suddenly have it not be there. I froze for a moment, hovering in the water, trying to remember what it was that had stopped me when I heard it again.
My head snapped up looking towards the sound. I knew I’d heard these sounds somewhere before, but not from life and not this close. I began sifting through my mind, into the part that contained my dimmer memories. When I found the sounds in my head they had a fuzzy almost metallic taint to them, like a recording, then a man’s voice spoke – a nature programme, that’s where I’d heard these sounds – these sounds were being made by whales.
In the instant I realised what was making the music around me my body changed, I was suddenly in a hovering crouch and my senses, if possible, seemed to intensify.
I could tell the whales were ahead of me, swimming to the left and by the movement I could feel in the water that there were five of them.
I started to swim again, much slower than I had been, heading towards the whales.
Intrigue filled all my thoughts now as I listened to the beautiful music made by the animals I approached, intrigue, until I heard something else, a dreadful sound I hadn’t even thought about – heartbeats.
That sound was all it took to decide the winner of the battle that had been raging in my head for so many days.
Whilst part of my brain cowered in panic and pain the part controlled by my thirst sprang into action – I was a predator.
My body instantly became silent, I seemed to make no sound as I swam, in fact I somehow didn’t seem to be making much movement to the water around me either.
Still I swam towards the whales, the smaller part of my brain screeching out in protest, begging my body not to do what I knew it would. Then there they were.
The whales were above me now. One, two, three, four adults, twisting and playing through the water, and next to the whale in the middle, one baby.
With speed that seemed to come from nowhere I pelted upwards towards the huge creatures. The whales sensing my sudden presence stopped singing. I could feel their panic flood instantly through their bodies as they began to try and escape. Two swam off to the left, one to the right, but that didn’t matter, my eyes were locked on only one smaller target and I knew I could catch it easily.
I felt like I had been split in two. From one part of myself I sat and watched in disgust, horror and fear, wishing desperately that everything I was seeing wasn’t happening, pleading with myself to stop. The other part of my consciousness was much more active, much more in the present and it wanted nothing more than to do what it was doing.
The taste was wrong and part of me knew that had I not been so thirsty it might even have repulsed me a little, but the warmth and the flow of the blood was good in my mouth and in my veins and it wasn’t long before the burn in my throat began to dim and I felt my body fill up with almost a sloshy feeling.
When I had had my fill my body relaxed, I unclenched my jaw and I loosened my fingers on the body in my arms. I could only just hold onto it, it was so much bigger than me. The only thing since I had become different that I had found physically difficult.
Carefully I let go of the whale calf entirely. It started to sink. I watched as the calf slipped gracefully deeper into the ocean, I stared at its beautiful face, oddly peaceful now after all the thrashing it had done before, the poor creature unable in the end to shake me off.
After a minute of watching something caught my hearing, something that struck me to the core.
It was the sound of the mother whale calling to her baby, a baby that now, would never be able to answer her back. The mother whale had never gone far, even though she like the others had tried to escape, she had never strayed too far from her baby, even though for all she knew I could have attacked her next.
The part of my brain that had been cowering away begging me to stop what I’d been doing crawled to the front of my thinking, closing my eyes and pressing the face of that precious baby whale and the mourning calls of his anguished mother right into my heart. Pain and guilt flooded through me once more.
Was this really what I was now? This dreadful creature that stole away life with such selfish brutality? That tore families apart and left nothing but pain and terror in her tracks?
What on earth was I?
Even as the question entered my head I realised that I already knew the answer, although actually thinking the word was going to be an effort in itself.
I had to get out of here, I couldn’t stay here after what I had done to these creatures, I had no right to linger in this place.
I knew I would be able to hear that poor mothers cries for miles, I couldn’t bear to hear that sound any longer, knowing that it was because of me that she was in such pain.
Before I’d even realised, I was moving, swimming again, not forwards but upwards, like I had done minutes before.
I opened my eyes and looked up. Dim light was beginning to brighten my surroundings and knew that I was headed for the surface.
When I broke, my speed shot me straight out of the water, like a dolphin leaping in the wave’s, only I was a hundred times more graceful.
Once I’d landed gently back in the water I tried to settle myself, I needed to think. I knew I had to get away from here, that was obvious, but where on earth could I go? I couldn’t keep fleeing away forever and something like this was bound to happen again, it was only a matter of time. I couldn’t go on living in this torture. I shouldn’t go on, not after what I had done.
That was it. That is what I needed to do. I had to rid the earth of myself, that way I could never hurt anyone or anything ever again.
As I felt the resolution of my decision to end my life set firmly into my head I was faced with another problem. How on earth was I to do it?
It was clear that any kind of suffocation wasn’t going to work as I seemed to be able to go on indefinitely without the need to breathe.
Starvation wasn’t going to work either as I already seemed to be able to go for so long without the need to … feed I suppose was the best word here although my face contorted at the thought of it. Not to mention that when I did go without … feeding, for too long my body seemed to take it upon itself to shut out any reasoning and go after food anyway.
I was going to have to be more imaginative.
I bobbed there, treading water for a whole minute, trying desperately not to have to think of the word I knew I must.
If I was a … vampire now, then I was going to have to do this in a vampire way.
The word was awful to think, and slightly ridiculous. Everyone knew that things like vampires were just made up stories to scare children and a way for costume companies to make money over Halloween. But, what other explanation did I have? I was ghostly pale, deadly fast, incredibly strong, I didn’t need to do normal things like breathe or blink, I didn’t even need to use the toilet – or at least I hadn’t felt the urge to at all since I had become this way. And who could ignore the obvious – I hunted living things the way wild animals did and once I’d caught my prey I drank its blood. Yes, the word vampire fit me perfectly.
Now how did you kill a vampire?
I tried to think of all the horror movies id ever watched, the memories were dim but I could recall some things.
Being stabbed in the heart by a wooden stake, cutting off the head and stuffing garlic in the vampires mouth, setting fire to them. On that thought something else occurred to me. Vampires weren’t supposed to be able to go out in the daylight, yet here I was, bobbing in the sea during the day. Why weren’t they supposed to be able to go outside? I wracked my thoughts.
Light! That was it – sunlight, it was supposed to burn them into a cinder. Maybe I would be able to do this sooner and easier than I thought.
The sky here was cloudy and overcast, I would need to find somewhere bright and sunny. I began to swim again.
For the first time since I’d began my flight from home I was thinking with utter clarity – I had a purpose – a purpose that would be for the betterment of everybody not one that would leave growing amounts of terror and loss behind me.
Suddenly a face flashed across my thoughts, it shocked me that much that I came to a dead stop, freezing statue like in the water, if I had still had a heartbeat it probably would have stopped then too.
The face was Rebecca’s – complete with that wild, triumphant smile.
Horror filled me at the image in my mind, then something else – anger. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought about her until now. I suddenly felt furious with myself that I’d been able to forget about her. She who had made me what I am, she who had been responsible for turning me into a monster.
Hatred overwhelmingly consumed me and something like bile seemed to well up in my mouth.
She had planned this whole thing, she had known exactly what she was doing by making me this way. She had known exactly what she was doing leading me into my parents house. She knew what I was and what I would do, all this to get at my brother.
Until that thought I’d forgotten I’d had a brother at all. I seemed so easily distracted.
What had she done to him? More to the point what had he done to her to make her go as far as she had?
Wait. She’d done this to get him to find her – that’s what she’d said, that meant that he was definitely still alive, after these five years of being missing, presumed dead.
A quieter, deeply saddening thought entered my head. Was he dead? For instance – was he dead? Dead in the same way that I was now. Was that why he’d never come home? Never been able to contact us, knowing my mother would have wanted him back with us. Had Rebecca turned him into a vampire too?
‘Away from me even though I gave him everything he could ever want’, that’s what Rebecca had said.
Remembering that sentence made me fairly certain that there was no way that my brother could not be a vampire. I was also certain that if he was away from Rebecca, who was obviously very comfortable with what she was, that he was not so comfortable with it. Maybe he was doing exactly the same thing I was doing – trying to find a way to end it.
Part of me wondered what devastation Jack might have caused at the will of Rebecca and a part of me, a very large part of me yearned to try and find him.
But I knew what was right, and if I tried to find Jack then there would most likely be a lot more instances for me to spend my existence – for that’s what it was now, regretting. No. I had to end this, and soon. If I did see my brother again, it would be in the next life.
If a next life for vampires existed at all.