Chapter One: Changes
I was in agony. The pain had burned through me, leaving a poisonous sensation. My mind had clouded over, except for one thought: death. It would be a welcome reprieve from this unbearable torture. I had curled into a tight, defensive ball, my knees tucked under my chin, my hands locked firmly around my whole body. Looking around, I saw an unfamiliar room, lying in gloom, and when I had woken here to this shocking pain alone I had immediately hunched up against a wall.
The only room in the door opened, and a slight boy of about seventeen glided in, closing the door behind him with only the smallest of clicks. “Hello. My name is Edward Cullen; I am like you.” His voice was soft yet clipped, and smoother than caramel. I nodded wordlessly, unable to find words through the blur of the pain. “You do not speak, yet I know you must be feeling intense, excruciating pain. Why – how do you stay silent?” I still couldn’t speak, so I simply shook my head. The boy stood for a while, but I couldn’t pull my gaze up from the floor to look at him. Eventually he nodded to himself and opened the door to go.
“Don’t go!” I cried, suddenly finding my voice. At this, Edward stopped, halfway out the door, and turned slowly to face me. I finally tugged my eyes up to meet his, and was shocked. I was shocked by the ice white skin, by the molten gold eyes, by the look of concern etched into his perfect, marble features. I was shocked because I knew I would be like him soon. “Please,” I pleaded softly. It was too quiet to be heard by any human, but he nodded, smiling a crooked smile, and sat down next to me.
“How much longer?” I asked, disappointed to hear how shaky my voice was. Edward hadn’t stopped staring at me, and yet he took a while to answer, as though chewing over his thoughts. “Carlisle says you should recover soon; the next few hours, probably. He is a doctor, and my foster father. He will provide a home for you too, should you wish. But he has told me to warn you…that you will be very different after the…change is complete.” I wanted to roll my eyes teasingly, but I couldn’t block out the pain and do that at the same time. Instead I simply waited for him to continue, as I knew he would.
“You will be pale as I am, incredibly strong, freakishly fast…your senses of hearing and smell will heighten…but…you will thirst for blood. It may take years for this carnal hunger to subside, but it will. We – the seven of us who live here – we call ourselves ‘vegetarians’; we do not drink the blood of humans, but rather that of animals. It does not satiate the thirst, but we feel it is the best way.” I nodded, my sights fixed on Edward. I couldn’t move my eyes – even if I wanted to. His cute, lopsided smile had vanished as he spoke, replaced by a concerned frown. “Let Carlisle give you some pain medication, please,” he commanded softly, but I shook my head.
“This pain…I think it shows that…even if I’m not human…I’m still a person. I…don’t want to lose that,” I breathed, feeling very small and insignificant all of a sudden. Edward nodded warily. “I understand what you mean.” He reached out his arm gently, hesitantly, carefully, before finally folding my hands into his. He seemed to understand that I didn’t want to talk anymore, and simply sat with me in silence for a while. The pain didn’t lessen at all, but it also seemed to matter less to me. I found it more important that this wonderful creature was sitting beside me, and I knew that this was what lay ahead for me.