Friday, December 30, 2011

Reckoner, Part IV, i. [Twilight Fan Fiction]


Happy New Year, you guys!

So, I have almost all of this story written but there are a few scenes scattered throughout that need to be finished. One of those comes in the middle of this chapter, and sadly, I have been too sick to write it this week. But I didn't want to not post something, so what you have is the first part of this chapter. What I'm trying to tell you is, I'M SO FUCKING SICK, OH MY GOD. I think I caught a man cold, no lie.

If you haven't been reading this and you still want to, quit here and go start reading here, then go to Part II here. And onto Part III here. As always I'd like to thank the generous donors of Fandom Gives Back for making this story see the light of day.

Hope you are all healthy and in eager anticipation of rockin' New Years Eve plans. I'll be toasting all of you with a fizzy glass of Airborne right before I pass out at around 7:30.

xoxo and Happy 2012.


Reckoner, Part IV, i.

I ran north, all the way up to the town of Caribou without stopping. I didn’t answer the phone, didn’t read any text messages. I didn’t care if they called me a coward, or an asshole or even a brother or son. I only cared that I find some way to get them out of harm’s way. That meant I needed distance, and lots of it. Quickly. Eventually, I’d come back a solitary vampire like Mercy. And then I could kill whomever I damn well pleased for whatever reason suited me.

I booked a room at the Caribou Lodge, ignoring the tired old woman behind the counter when she raised her eyes at my lack of luggage. 

“I’m just here for the hookers,” I said with a smile, slapping a pile of hundred dollar bills down on the counter. She scowled and thought I didn’t notice when she pocketed all of it.

For the first two weeks I stayed alone in a poorly decorated third-rate hotel room. Bad pastel wall paper, uncomfortable, cheap furniture, an outdated television I never watched. A bible I thumbed through now and then. I was still plagued daily by the unfaded vision of the woman of my dreams and by the twisted face of the man I’d killed in her name, whatever it was. I fantasized all the different ways I might kill Allston Kaine, too. Hell. All twelve Kaines. Why not? Really, why the fuck not? They were all murderers when it came down to it, and was I the Reckoner or not?

After another week of incessant stewing in that depressing hole, I desperately needed to hunt, but Caribou was somewhat lacking in rapists, child molesters and murderers. I could have hunted elk or moose or bear but if I was really going so far as to renounce my family, I wanted to indulge my thirst for human blood. I needed a bad guy. 

After days of fruitless stalking in Caribou’s public school, church and three bars, I wandered over to the medical center in Fort Kent where I pretended to be a psychotic tourist. It had been awhile since I’d indulged the sicker side of my sense of humor, but the laughter that ensued when the poor intern tried to find my pulse only added to the authenticity of my ruse. Eventually, after they found that no needle could penetrate my skin and the Thorazine they administered by mouth had absolutely no effect, they called the local police. I thought I might hang out in the jail and see who came in, but before the local law enforcement team arrived, I’d found my next kill.

He was on the young side and I’d never enjoyed killing young men, but beggars couldn’t be choosers and I was feeling sketchy by then. My victim was a skinny, pale alcoholic kid, early twenties. Jimmy Colter was his name. He was an EMT and he had startling, relentless thoughts of a fixed murder-suicide plot with what appeared to be his ex-girlfriend, some girl named Jolene. I followed him home and watched him carefully load his handgun from his bedroom window. He still lived with his parents, there were still superhero posters on the wall, an old lamp with footballs printed on the paper shade. He drank two Budweisers from a can in under ten minutes, and then got into his truck and drove to the girl’s trailer. I dragged him out from behind the wheel before she even came to the door.

Out in the woods he struggled to run away but I held him firmly with his arms behind his back, dragging his legs behind him through the underbrush of the forest floor. There was some survival instinct left in this one, that was obvious and that for some reason pleased me. His eyes were blue, his hair was black and unwashed, probably for days. He shivered, underdressed for the dropping November temperature. When I found a good killing spot, I let him go and he ran, but I caught him easily. After a couple of more chases, he finally stopped trying to get away.

“What… are you?” he asked. “What do you want with me?”

“I know what you’re planning to do to her—what’s her name?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He stammered and nearly pissed in his pants, shifting from foot to foot as he wrung his hands together. 

“Jolene,” I said as he thought her name, and then he began to cry softly. I hated when they did that. “That’s her, right? What did she do to piss you off so bad?”

“She… she slept with my cousin Ted. It all went to shit after that.”

“You were going to shoot her and then kill yourself in her kitchen? You think that’s justified for infidelity? Seriously?”

He didn’t say anything. He didn’t even ask me how I knew. He just cried harder.

“Do you know what I am?” I asked.

“Are you a cop or something?”

“No,” I said. “I’m the Reckoner.”

“The what?”

“I kill rapists and murderers.”

“Shit,” he whispered and began to tremble. Then he wiped more tears from the corner of his eyes and surveyed the woods. He began to scream for help and I just watched him go through all those emotions, the fear, the denial. The fight. He tried to run again and I dragged him back, finally limp with resignation and sobbing into his shirt sleeve.

He didn’t ask me to spare him and that bothered me. They usually beg for another chance, swear to do better. Promise to turn things around, to find Jesus—something, anything they think will convince me to let them go. This kid didn’t do any of that, though. He just lay there crying, didn’t even try to hide it.

“I need a drink,” he said. “Do I get a last request or anything?”

“Are you serious?” 

Then he broke down into sobs. Full-on choking sobs. He thought about Budweiser, of all things. Shitty, canned Budweiser. Then he started thinking about some dog at home, a fat pit-bull with brown splotches, bleeding gums and missing teeth. Something about the whole situation there made me sick.

“Who is the dog?


“The dog.”

“Sally?” he said. “How’d you know about her?”

“Is that your dog?”

“Yeah,” he said. “I don’t want her to go to the pound. They’ll put her down and she don’t deserve that.”

“Oh yeah? Did you think of that when you decided to murder someone and kill yourself today, asshole?”

“No.” He started sobbing again and then I had no thirst at all. None. In fact, the thought of drinking this guy's blood made me feel ill, though I knew it had to be psychological. He wiped his face with his sleeve. His eyes were puffy and red, his thoughts a tangled mess of pain I didn't even want to know.

“Let me ask you a question,” I said, regret filling me like dirty, wet sand. “What if I don’t kill you? What then?”

“You gonna send me to jail?”

“I’m not a cop.” Jesus, this kid was thick. “Just, tell me, if I let you live, what will you do?”
He was quiet, and I perused the clutter of his mind as he pondered this question. The first thing he thought of was shooting himself. I shook my head at him.

“No,” I said. “Not that.”

He looked at me funny, like he was confused. Then he had a thought of himself, obviously a memory from when he was young, maybe 11 or 12. There was another man there—some kind of coach. Soccer, maybe. And then I understood why he suddenly went back to the thought of him shooting himself and I had to ask myself, what the fuck should I do? What on fucking earth do I do?

His eyes went cold as they fixed on some blank spot in the distance, his thoughts very far from the moment. His mind then began to race, frantic fragments of memories. I saw not the intended rape-murder of Jolene or the suicide, but an elderly man he’d saved by administering CPR. A stray cat he’d rescued from the scene of a house fire. A toddler he’d saved from choking. His tears were flowing hot, running down his face, onto his jacket. His guilt, his shame, his rage, his remorse—I couldn’t stomach it. Not figuratively, not literally.

“I’m not going to kill you,” I said.

Jimmy stirred and looked up at me, his face contorted, confused, distrustful. He put his head back down between his knees and wretched, dry heaving and then coughing up clear mucus he spat onto the dead leaves between his legs. He wrapped his arms around his head and rocked back and forth like a frightened child trying to soothe himself.

“I need a drink real bad,” he said.

“You need a lot more than that,” I answered. 


That's all for tonight, folks. See you all again here soon.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Don't Want Your Dildo in My Cay

Enjoy another TexasKatherine post in her absence. How long is a maternity leave anyway? And be sure to (a) maybe not be at work, and (b) empty your mouth of any liquids. This bitch is funny.


I don't have much time to troll the interwebs these days, so I rely on others to spit entertaining info into my mouth like a baby bird. Mr TK sent me this link a while back ago. I kind of dismissed it because I didn't believe it was real. It's a blog article about the worst book ever written. It's called (wait for it...) Dildo Cay.

You totally thought I made up that title, didn't you?

It was written in the 40's so it's possible the author didn't notice the island's resemblance to this...

Possible. But not plausible. (P.S. This not so little beauty is available from Good Vibrations. P.P.S You might not want to read this post on your work computer.)

There is an actual place called Dildo Cay. I would consider visiting but I don't think they have a Nordstrom. I'd rather have a staycation and visit my cay. *ahem*

I'm sure you're wondering exactly what this book is about. I've read the following summary from the jacket at least a dozen times and I still can't tell you.
Ainsworths do not marry for love. They choose their women to carry on the line–thoroughbreds who can endure the loneliness and the eternal wind of the Ainsworth island–Dildo Cay. This speck in the Atlantic lies six hundred miles southeast of Great Bahama. Here the Ainsworths have lived for eleven generations–the one white family among two hundred blacks.
Young Adrian Ainsworth has followed the family tradition in selecting his wife, Mary. Then Carol arrives with her father, hired to revive the salt industry on which the livelihood of the Ainsworths and the blacks depends. Carol is a glittering and sophisticated creature caught in a strange situation. Adrian’s deep, growing desire for Carol and the tension between her arrogant father and the blacks mount to an electric climax. Without sentimentality, but with a powerful honesty, the author paints a consuming passion against a romantic and exotic background.

So, I guess this is some kind of apartheid romance between rough-looking people set in a salt mine. I can't believe it wasn't an instant classic. I'm not really up on my seasoning history, but I had no idea the salt industry was so robust after the invention of the ice box. Color me...still not interested.

The fact that this book was published and so many of my friends are stuck in a revolving door of querying agents makes me want to punch someone in their Dildo Cay. The few excerpts of this book I read were so painfully full of stilted dialogue and repetition I can not bear to repost it here. I found the Dick and Jane series more riveting in kindergarten.

 Hmmm. Maybe these books are more similar to Dildo Cay than I first thought.

I would love to know if anyone here has ever read this book. What's the worst book you've ever read?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Here's To Our Tribe (A New Year's Thing a Couple of Days Early)

 Happy holidays, you amazing, loving, crazy, genius women (and a few men). It's the end of the year, the usual time for us to all ruminate fondly (or not so fondly) on another year that has gone under the bridge, been filed under "past" or... Something like that.

All I'm saying is that another year has passed and we are all still here, going strong. I once read somewhere that the average lifespan of a blog is less than one year. With Twitarded, I think it's less about the content and more about the readers that have kept this blog going.

Oooh, we made it into purple!!

See, here's the thing (and bear with me because I'm on cold drugs and am possibly high off my face) I think adolescent/teenage girls have a bit of a curse on them. Sort of like werewolves, but less hairy and way more in-pain-y and emotional. Lost and alone, sort of. Adult women are more like vampires. Vampires are smarter and classier but are also tortured in their ridiculously and eternal good looks by being... well, alone.

 We're just like Edward Cullen, tortured and alone. Or not.

So, in 2009, we were all sort of wandering around lost, a little confused and maybe a wee bit embarrassed about our affection for all things Twilight. We loved the fantasy of them, the suspension of reality. But we were still all alone. Like the vampires (I'm definitely high). You know, like Victoria and James, before they got they together. But we were less murder-y (well, most of us were, I think).

Oh fuck it. I guess what I'm trying to say is this - thank you, all of you, for another wonderful year spent together. Thank you all for being so open-minded and generous with your love and kindness. Thank you SO much for totally digging the same porn as I do.


You ladies have banded together and helped each other out when someone needs it, and that's just amazing. It blows my mind and warms my cold, cynical heart. Your acts of kindness have made me a better person, I promise.

Our last Forks trip (ever) was awesome and I hold so many memories from both those trips close in my heart.

The Twitter conversations I've witnessed between all you people are proof that not only are you ladies intelligent and kind, you're also fucking funny as shit. Nine out of ten times that my boss asks me why I'm laughing so hard, it's because I'm reading something one of you wrote.

So, thanks again for being exactly who you are. All of you. Stay awesome, be safe and have a kick-ass New Year.

Love you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Buh-bye, Breaking Dawn Before the Spawn... See You in February?

I totally remember this scene, don't you? 
Bella was SO radiant when she was preggers...

I've been meaning to see Breaking Dawn again before it left the theaters since the second time I saw it with Myg and Jenny Jerkface in late November or early December (I have the ticket stub around here somewhere because I keep things like that but it would probably take me two hours to find it in the piles of other little things I feel compelled to hold on to). The first viewing I was all giddy and hopped up and it's hard to remember all the details after waiting so long to see it on the big screen. I was so baffled by some parts that I read the book again. That's right: I read Breaking Dawn again! Then at the second viewing, I just wanted to watch it without being all dumbfounded that I was FINALLY watching it and having to make notes to blog about it (my brain is like a sieve and I depend on a precarious system of notes jotted on everything to recall shit and make things happen).

I always knew I was going to see it one more time in the theater (how could I NOT?!), at which point I would REALLY pay attention and take a small notebooks' worth of chicken-scratched memos that I would later spend hours trying to decipher into a comprehensible post about what I liked and didn't like. Because the fandom really needed more of that, I think.

 Yeah I remember that this never happened quite like this. I think. 
There might not have been an ass-slip but I DID hear there was a nip-slip.

...and I totally remember this part too. Oh wait no I don't.
WTF is she eating, a lemon meringue omelette???

Sadly, even with a couple of years to practice behind me, I was unprepared for the fact that some time shortly after November 18th, life spontaneously churns into an out-of-control tailspin of holiday madness that starts to wind down at about the same time that all the Christmas-release and last-minute Oscar contenders hit the theaters and push poor little ol' Robward & Company out of the theaters for good. I kept thinking that I would have plenty of time for one last matinee with JJ and Myg... Then I started threatening to go alone, but never found the time. I vaguely considered taking a reeeeeeeally long lunch and seeing it at the theater near my office, but work has been too busy for me to disappear for several hours, at least if I want to remain gainfully employed. Which I kind of do, most days.

Today, after semi-wrapping up some family Christmas mayhem, I realized time was super-short and ran to  Fandango to see what options were still available. It wasn't pretty - a midnight showing playing on a weeknight at one theater near me, or an earlier show at one of a very small handful of theaters (is two a handful?) within inconvenient driving distance, and in very sketchy locations. I won't name city names, but it's what Papa Snarky once referred to as "The Armpit of New Jersey" - is pretty much the kind of crappy, blighted town people not from around here think of when they think of New Jersey, and I will never go back there ever again, even if Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were putting on a stage production of the entire Twilight Saga. The one time I went there I think I saw a tumbleweed of crack vials and pit bull fur go rolling down the street.

So I bid you a fond farewell - for now! - Breaking Dawn: Before the Spawn. Until we meet again - you, me, and all your not-very-enticing-sounding "extras." I'll be there. With sparkles on. And with JJ and Myg in my little clutches, unless they manage to escape again.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day! Um...What Is Boxing Day?

I'm not even sure what Boxing Day is but I like it. Especially when I don't have to work. So is Boxing Day always the day after Christmas? Seriously... I really have no idea and I'm super lazy (and possibly just a teensy bit drunk) and I have no desire to Google that shit right now. What I do know is that it happens in the UK and I probably have no right to even celebrate it!

Really not sure this is what they meant by Boxing Day!

So was everyone's Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah? For those of you who celebrate Christmas, did the fat man deliver the goods or what? I love that pudgy elf -- he makes me so happy! Do you remember when you were a kid and you believed that crazy bearded man actually visited every single kids' house on Christmas eve? And how your parents would wrap the "Santa" gifts in different paper so they would stand out from the regular gifts? Those were the fucking days! I miss the "Santa" gifts now that I'm older and even though I really want to believe that jolly mo-fo is real, I know that he's just a myth. I kinda wish my mom would still designate one of my gifts to be from Santa. I would totally believe!!

This guy must sleep for weeks after his busy night.

My Christmas was pretty amazing! I love spending time with my family and it was my seven-month-old niece's first one and even though she was more interested in eating the wrapping paper than seeing what was actually in the package, it still made the day that much more fun. And I also had two cousins visiting that I hadn't seen in five years, which also made me really happy. At my age, I'm more thankful for these moments than I am for the presents. Which, if you know me, is a very bold statement. I fucking love presents.

My mom still goes all Christmas crazy and buys us all a ton of stuff even though she probably doesn't really have to since there's nothing we really "need-need". I think my favorite gift this year is something I haven't even received yet. I asked for a ClamCase for my iPad. If you're not familiar with this contraption, it turns your iPad into a sort of laptoppy type thingy. The iPad snaps into one half and the other half is a wireless keyboard. Sometimes I get super tired of typing on that touch keyboard so I thought this would be really cool. Of course, the fucking this is sold out so now I have to wait...

This thing better be kick ass or I will kick someone's ass.

What was your favorite gift this year or your favorite moment? Did you get a new Kindle Fire or an iPad or a new smartphone? Or maybe it was something else... or someone? If anyone had Robert Pattinson under their tree, you'd better fess up! And please tell me you've secured him away in your basement and will be selling him to the highest bidder in a private Twitarded auction, natch - lol. I'd like to start the bidding please... (For charity, of course...)

Why the fuck wasn't this under my tree this year?
Maybe Santa knows I've been just a liiiitle bit naughty this year!

PS: You know what is NOT a good chaser for a bottle of wine? Peanut butter chip brownies and a glass of milk. I might vomit soon.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Reckoner, Part III [Twilight Fan Fiction]

Author's Note

Happy Holidays you guys! 

I know that late Friday night right before Christmas is exactly the time everyone wants to dive into Reckoner again, right? I'm sure you have no baking/wrapping/panicking to do right about now. Well, hey, it'll be here whenever you're ready just the same. 

Looks as though Friday night is the new posting schedule for this tale, so if you're reading it week to week you can look for it then. Thanks to those of you who have been reading it--I truly appreciate it. In case you are wondering, the answer is yes, this tale will wrap somewhere in the Osa Bella timeline, though I'm not telling where (mostly because I'm not 100% sure yet).

If you are new here, Reckoner is a pre-quel to Osa Bella in Edward's Point of View. You don't need to have read Osa Bella to understand what's going on here.  If you'd like to read Reckoner but haven't started it yet, please start at the beginning here, then read the second part here. And then come back here. Whew. I'm exhausted just from cutting and pasting those links.

Reckoner is brought to you by the generous donors of the Fandom Gives Back. The first part appeared in the big author's compilation there. It will continue here at Twitarded until it's done, and I'm not 100% sure when that will be, but probably a few more weeks at least. If you donated to FGB, you are welcome to receive a pdf and an ebook version of Reckoner when it's all finished. Just email your receipt to me at mygdala @ gmail. (No need to include any private information though.)

Okay, I'm off to wrap presents until 3am. All the best to you, Twitards. May your holidays be sparkly and filled with dreams of your favorite Edward.



“I love it. Show me the chords.” 

Mercy picked up her guitar from the stand and tuned it as I strummed the chords on the new song again. It was the fourth I’d composed in two weeks and darker than the other three combined. 

“We need to record these,” she said. “We’ll make an album. What do you think?”

“What for?”

“Why not?”

I couldn’t really argue that, as much as I felt like arguing and did argue with her or anyone at every turn these days for any or no reason. I didn’t know how Mercy could even stand to be around me. I’d become so surly since Boston that I couldn’t pass by a mirror without wishing my reflection would disappear like a ghost’s.

“Listen to this, Edward,” Mercy said and began to sing.

Woman of your dreams, so young now...and you—you were younger still. Dreaming all the ways she fell still...Did you tell her about those dreams?
Open up your fantasy and ride your darkest fear... Baby I will get us home…***

“That’s good,” I said. “Really good.”

“You think so?”

“Yeah,” I said. “You’re right—we should book some studio time. Maybe put something out.”

“Really?” Her surprised smile lit her face and I suddenly felt like a royal asshole for how distant and cold I’d been.

“Sure,” I said. “Why don’t you call and set it up for next week?”

“I will,” she said, still smiling.  She went back to strumming her guitar again, humming as she began to compose the rest of the vocal line. 

I considered her carefully as she played. Mercy was beautiful. Petite, but hardly fragile. Long, flowing black hair. Perfectly huge eyes, lashes out to next week. She was without question the most beautiful vampire I knew. Prettier than Rosalie, and even I could admit that was saying something. She was graceful, elegant, talented. The sound of her voice always calmed me, brought me back from many a dark place. Mercy was always there with a supportive ear when I needed her. There was so much I loved about Mercy. Why couldn’t I just fall in love with her?

I knew the answer, though. I couldn’t fall in love with Mercy because I was still in love with someone else. It didn’t matter that the woman I loved was dead—nothing about how I felt about her had changed. I didn’t know if it ever would. If it even could.

But maybe I should try, I thought. Maybe if I gave myself some time I could try to fall in love with Mercy. Maybe if it worked, she would fall in love with me, too. We could get married, lead our lives peacefully. Everybody would be happy about that, right? Esme would be thrilled. Carlisle, relieved. Mercy and I were already close, rarely argued, shared a lot of the same interests. 

Then as though she was the mind reader, Mercy glanced up and saw me staring and cracked another small smile. “Do you like that?” she asked, about the song. “I’m just fooling around here now.”


She stopped playing and gave me an expectant look. I felt like I might say something important, monumental. Significant. 

“Do you have any cigarettes?” I asked.

“No, I need to run to the store,” she said. “There’s money in my wallet.”


At the Cumberland Farms a rumpled, balding middle aged guy had just hidden a porno mag beneath the counter when I walked in. His thoughts were as ugly as the stained teeth he showed when he grunted, “eight dollars,” after I asked him for a pack of American Spirits. He was thinking of girls. Young ones. Very young ones, though I wasn’t sure if he had a specific kid in mind or if this was just a sick fucking fantasy. Then I realized I wasn’t sure I wanted the answer.

“Edward Cullen,” you asshole, I heard from behind me. “You’re back in Portland, I see.”

Allston Kaine was a tall, thin vampire with close-cropped salt and pepper hair and the look of a distinguished older man. He stood in the doorway of the convenience store, flanked by three of his coven, Timothy, Mark and Adam Kaine. 

“Let’s take it outside,” I said, nodding to the door, not at all happy with the fantasy of my beheaded body I found in Allston’s mind. 

The Kaines were the largest coven north of Boston until you got into MontrĂ©al. Allston was its maker. They were your regular variety parasitic vampires, preying on whatever unsuspecting humans they could cull from Portland and the surrounding tourist areas. Allston was a former US naval officer turned vampire by Caribbean pirates in the mid 1800s. He’d known Mercy a hundred years at least and the two of them had their baggage. She had been entertaining an offer of marriage from Allston when I first met her, but she ended up eschewing traditional vampirism in favor of the humanitarian practices of our coven and turned him down. He always blamed me for that, but if I was to blame to keep Mercy from marrying that asshole I was proud of it.

Outside, we stepped into the alley next to the convenience store and they surrounded me while Allston spoke.

“An acquaintance of ours in Boston has gone missing,” he said. “We thought you might have heard something about it while you were there.”

“Why would you think that?” I asked. I had no idea how they knew I’d been in Boston, but I didn’t react.

“You’re familiar with the witch Elle Moreau, right?”

“The Boston witch? Everyone knows who she is.”

“Did you know that she’s dead?” Allston said. 

I hadn’t heard that, but after my encounter with her I’d suspected it wouldn’t be long. My first thought was that Mercy wouldn’t be able to settle whatever score she had with Elle, but then it was obvious that wasn’t a concern of Allston’s.

“So?” I asked.

“Elle had marked one of our… suppliers.”

“What do you mean, suppliers?”

“What do you think I mean, idiot?” Allston hissed. “You think Portland has enough prey to feed a coven as large as mine without the police interfering?”

“You sick fucking bastards,” I seethed. “Too lazy now to properly hunt?”

“Edward, our Boston connection has been missing for weeks. Do you know anything about it?”

I hadn’t known what kind of strength I truly possessed until I stopped myself from killing Allston Kaine right then and there. The face of the man I’d last killed fixed itself in Allston’s mind and then I realized that the unrequited love of my life, the woman I still grieved for, might not have been murdered by the man I killed at all. Maybe she was just supplied by him, procured like livestock for the Kaine coven. Maybe Allston had enjoyed her, drank her, killed her, right under my fucking nose.

And so now I marked Allston Kaine as my next target. Sooner or later he was going to die by my hand, and hopefully sooner. But not here in the street. Somewhere where I could make his torment last a long, gruesomely long time.

My phone rang, and I didn’t have to look to see who it was. I ignored it.

“Are you picking that up?” Allston asked.

“I don’t know anything about your human trafficking connection,” I said. “Who was he bringing you, anyway?” 

I searched Allston’s mind for glimpses of the last humans he’d fed the coven. I searched the minds of Timothy, Adam, and Mark and saw flashes of hunger, lust, and several pretty, horrified faces. All young looking women, but none that I recognized.

“What do you care?” Allston asked, studying the disgusted expression on my face. “My, you look thirsty just thinking about it. Maybe we should have you by for dinner.”

“I don’t fucking think so.”

“Well anyway, the does were for sustenance, Edward,” Allston said with a laugh. “You don’t name dinner. That’s sick.”

“Jesus Christ…”

“Someone we know saw you talking to Elle Moreau in Boston the night she died,” Timothy said. “The night we lost contact with our supplier.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I said. 

“So you’re saying you don’t know what happened to him?” Allston said.

“That’s what I’m saying.”

“We’ll be looking into it,” Allston said. “But mind that you watch yourself up here. Without a supply of prey shipped up from Boston, we will be carefully hunting around Portland, and I don’t want any interference.”

“I don’t hunt humans, you know that,” I said.

“Yes, yes, I know all you Cullens call yourselves humanitarians.” Allston scowled and shook his head in disgust. “But let’s just be clear about something. If by chance you do decide to interfere, we will take out every Cullen.” Then he leaned in close and exhaled a ghastly cold blast of his breath in my face. “Am I understood?”

“Fuck you,” I said. You are a dead man.

Don’t try my patience, Reckoner.

I didn’t blink. I didn’t say a word. I just stared blankly at him, looking bored, doing my damned best to cover the rage and the disquiet I felt that he’d been tipped off to my identity. Damn that Elle Moreau, straight to hell where she belonged.

My phone rang again, and this time it wasn’t Alice, but Carlisle. I answered but before I could say a word he said, “Don’t even think about it.”


Carlisle met me deep in the woods near Sebago Lake, near our local hunting rendezvous. It was dark and drizzling where I waited, and quiet save the soft pattering of light rain on fallen leaves. He appeared at around one a.m. with Alice and no one else, as I’d requested. She looked out of place, nervous and fidgeting in her black rain slicker with penguins on it and shiny, white rain boots. Carlisle was in a trench and a fedora, perturbed and torn. He opened a large golf umbrella over the three of us and we huddled under it talking quietly, despite the fact that no one else was there.

“You don’t know, for a fact, that Allston is the one who killed her, do you?” Carlisle said. “Did you see her in his mind? In any of theirs?”

“No,” I said. “But…”

“Then we’ve got no basis for retaliation.”

“They’re engaged in human trafficking,” I said. “How can I do nothing? It goes against everything I…”

“This isn’t Boston—you’re not the Reckoner up here,” Carlisle said, cutting me off with a stern look and a commanding tone.

“How can you look me in the eye and say that?”

“This family is my priority,” Carlisle said. “Imagine what would happen to us if we decided to go after every vampire who killed humans. We’d all be dead, Edward. We do a lot more good in this world by being a peaceful example to others than by delivering some rogue justice. I thought you understood that.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“If you kill Allston it will be war,” Alice said. Her eyes were wide and hollow, her face forlorn with whatever horror she saw but didn’t share, but I saw it. In a flash of Alice’s mind, Mercy was torn and burning on a great fire. Carlisle was decapitated, his head cradled in Timothy Kaine’s arms. Esme was laying still on the ground. I reached out to comfort Alice but she moved out of my grasp, wrapped her arms around herself and glared at me as rain began to pour down on her. “We won’t win.”

“What is happening?” Carlisle demanded. “What do you see?”

“We can’t do this,” Alice said. “Edward, you can’t do it.”

“Allston knows,” I said. “He knows I’m the Reckoner. He will hold this over us—do you have any idea how many enemies I have down in Boston?”

“We’ll make an agreement with the Kaines,” Carlisle said. “I’ll speak to him about it.”

“You can’t trust him!” I yelled. “Alice, can you see that working out in any way?”

“All I can see is your vengeance,” she said, uncharacteristically adamant, frustrated. “You’ve got to stop thinking about revenge.”

She was out of her mind if she thought I wasn’t killing Allston Kaine after what he’d told me. Somehow, somewhere, he was going to die by my hand if it was the last thing I did.

“You need to take the family back to Forks,” I insisted. “It isn’t safe here in Maine anymore. Take Mercy, too.”

“If it’s too much temptation for you here, then we can discuss going back to Forks,” Carlisle said. “We need to discuss this with everyone else.”

“There’s nothing to discuss, Carlisle. You’ll be safer there, you know that.”

“If we go, you’re coming with us,” he said.

“You know I can’t do that.”

“What do you mean you can’t do it?” Carlisle said. “Do you think that you’ll stay behind, start a war with the Kaines and there won’t be repercussions for the rest of us, regardless of where we go?”

“Edward,” Alice whispered. “I know what you’re thinking. Please, please don’t.”

But the way I saw it, I had no choice. My feelings about my lost beloved aside, my disgust with the Kaine human trafficking issue aside, Allston had my number. One phone call to the wrong witch in Salem or the wrong vampire in Boston and everyone in my family would be a target, a retribution kill for those murderers I’d slain as the Reckoner. Now I only saw one way to keep my family safe. One choice that wouldn’t end with me dragging the rest of them into a war they had no place fighting.

“I renounce the Cullens,” I said.

Alice dropped her eyes to the sodden forest floor and refused to look at me again.

“You what?” Carlisle said, his eyes nearly glowing red with rage at the heartless words I spoke. “What did you just say to me?”

“I renounce you, Carlisle. I renounce the Cullens.”
***These lyrics are from the song "Fantasy" by Family Band. You guys know I love Family Band and always think of Mercy as having this kind of voice and writing this kind of music. 

Until next time...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

He Sees You When You're Sleeping...

If you're all as busy as I am this week, you probably don't have a heck of a lot of time to spare so I won't keep you too long. I'm not sure what's going on lately but it's like all the busy-bee stars are aligned and I can't seem to keep my head on straight. I thought work was supposed to slow down this time of year. Fuck no!

Work + Christmas + Going on Vacation = Spinning LKW

Good news is my shopping is done. Bad news is I still have to wrap it all. Good news is I still found a little time to rustle up some funny Christmas-y videos to entertain you. I thought I'd make things good and simple tonight and I Googled "Robert Pattinson Christmas" and nearly pissed my pants when I watched this JibJab video.

If you've never played around with those hilarious JibJab videos, you have no idea what you're missing. My cousin Double_Dippin was even on a JibJab tear a couple weeks ago and did this one for the Twitarded crew.

Don't we make the cutest fucking elves ever?? And our guest elf... well, he never made it back from that cabin. You wonder why he's been MIA lately. *whistles innocently*

I truly hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

Merry Christmas from the Latchkey house!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tips For The Holiday Traveler That Will Possibly Keep Daily Commuters From Murdering You With Your Own Luggage

Let me just preface this by saying that if you're driving somewhere for the holidays... have fun with that. If you pass me on the highway, you'll know it's me because I'll have a terrified expression on my face and hanging on to the oh-shit handle like my life depends on it. Which it probably does, because New Jersey drivers are fucking assholes. And ML likes to make me cry when he drives me places.

 Pretty much my reaction when I'm a passenger in a car...

These delightful and hopefully helpful tips are for all of you who will be relying on trains, buses, planes, go-carts, what-have-you for traveling. As someone who considers herself a bit of an expert in the Ways of Commuting, I thought I would give you annual commuters a few pieces of advice.

Trains stations, bus depots and airports are like hornets nests. Everyday commuters are generally an even-keeled bunch but don't be fooled, it's like a fucking pressure cooker waiting to explode. Everyone kind of mills around peacefully until something or someone comes along and starts thwacking it with a stick. Then shit gets real. Ever seen a woman in a three piece suit wearing five-inch Manolos threaten to stab an elderly gentleman in the eye? I have.

Ouch. Trust me, you don't want that close of a look...

Here are a few things you can do to avoid getting a stiletto lodged in your eyeball:

1) Don't sit on the goddamn stairs. Those stairs lead to somewhere and you will be blocking people's way. And not just a couple of people either. If a train is called and you're sitting between the platform and a mob of about fifteen-hundred people, you will be in big trouble. It's like the Running of Bulls but with briefcases. Stand up and wait like the rest of us.

Tick tock, tick tock... 

2) If you're traveling with your family, don't form a chain. This isn't a game of Red Rover, Red Rover and you are not the Van Trapps, all holding hands and singing around your luggage. It will be your family against a mob of people who are not only eager to get the fuck home, but they are really good at navigating. You are not the Berlin Wall of traveling. Huddle, like a football team. Pads and helmet might not be a bad idea, either.

3) If someone should jostle you or your luggage, don't glare and mutter. It's crowded and most likely they didn't do it on purpose. If they did, definitely don't glare and mutter. Actually, just get as far away from them as possible. Nothing brings out a hatred for humanity more than traveling around the holidays and anyone who is using the train station or bus depot as their own personal mosh pit is gearing up to chew someone's eyes out and chase it down with their bone marrow.

 Unless he's got a wicked case of gas, this guy looks pissed. Either way, stay away.

4) That shabbily dressed guy/lady who only needs $2.75 to get to their destination and would be eternally grateful if you could give them some money? Yeah, those people are full of shit. I've seen the same two people pull this nearly every day on my way home from work, which means they've been trying to get $2.75 for five years. Either they're lying or they're the worst panhandlers in the history of panhandling. I'm all for giving to those less fortunate, but donate to a homeless shelter or food pantry.

5) Bring something you can stick into your ears that will drown out the noise around you. I can't stress this enough. Even the most zen person is going to want to drive a sharp object into their ears after listening to someone complain about the holidays and Uncle Joe's bad breath for two hours on a crowded train.

6) Don't be the shitnugget who complains about Uncle Joe's halitosis for two hours.

7) This one is the most important one of all - BE SAFE. We want all of you back home in one piece.

 Do we really need an excuse to post a picture of this guy? I didn't think so.

Happy holidays!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm Turning into a Vampire

Don't worry -- we're NOT making TK work during her maternity leave. Although if it was up to me, she'd be chained to her computer with one hand on the keyboard while the other attended to her brand new mini. New mothers can change diapers one-handed, right? Anyway, she was nice (and organized, shocker) enough to leave us with a few TK MIA posts to use in her absence. I thought this one was appropriate given her current status!!


I'm sure it's completely normal to spend a good portion of your day contemplating how similar you are to a vampire. I've spent more and more time doing that over the past few years since I read Twilight. (Has it really been that long?) Something occurred to me the other day — maybe vampirism is just a symptom of old age.

This is so close to what I look like in the morning it's creepy.

Maybe vampires aren't blood-thirsty half-demons. Maybe they are just regular people getting kicked in the teeth by the ravages of time. Let's examine the facts.

Vampires don't sleep. Neither do I. I think I last slept when Carter was in office. I survive on cat naps (and sometimes naps with actual cats). 

Edward can't digest pizza. Neither can I. Ever since I turned thirty (you know, last year cough, cough, cough) my body will not accept pizza or hot dogs or any other kind of yummy junk food. I'm not sure I could survive an eternity of this.

Damn you, irritable bowel syndrome. Damn you to Hell.

A vampire's skin is hard. So is mine. It's scaly too. It's like my vampire power is the ability to lose all moisture in my skin. I have a full-time job exfoliating and slathering lotion on my person.

A vampire's skin is cold. I could make a vampire look warm-blooded. I have no circulation (possibly due to my lack of heart). I'm always cold. My fingers are like frozen hot dogs, which is why I don't eat my fingers.

Vampires are impossibly fast and strong. I think I've become faster and stronger in my old age. My time on this earth is waning and I can't afford to waste any of it. Have you ever seen a child in front of me in the movie theater ticket line? No. Why? I'm faster than they are. Do you see any youngin's at the shoe store balancing eight boxes of boots and pumps with one arm? No. Why? I'm stronger than they are.

 It's like this, but with shoes.

A vampire has pale white skin. Really? I am the fairest of them all and it has nothing to do with my average looks.

Vampires sparkle in the sun. I'm really not sure here. I don't go outside much, but I've been told I have a dazzling personality. Ahem.

 It's like looking into the sun. I'm talking about me, of course.

Vampires have supersonic hearing. I totally have this. I can hear a Skittles wrapper being opened two miles away. 

How about you? Do you find yourself turning more and more undead on each birthday? How long until I look like Alice should have looked in the movies? Can I skip ahead to that part?

Monday, December 19, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is...Another Year of Robert Pattinson

It's that time of year again - I have been in denial since some time around mid-October when the Christmas decorations and merchandise started appearing in stores. I remember having a minor meltdown in the middle of Macy's, actually - right by the tarted-up too-early holiday Godiva display. But here we are, less than a week away from Christmas, and I still haven't told Santa what I really want for Christmas. Granted, I haven't had Santa's ear much of late, and when he did make a brief appearance at the holiday party I attended this past weekend, I decided it would be in poor form to perch on his lap. Frankly, Party Santa seemed a little randy, and this was not a party for kids, soooo... I guess I'm also apprehensive about whether I would end of on the "Naughty" or "Nice" list. Actually, I don't want to know.

Realistically, I think I was on both lists this year.

Regardless, I know what I want for Christmas, and it's not an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. Or a Red Rocket of any sort. I want a 2012 Robert Pattinson Calendar. Box it up with a few lumps of coal if you must, Santa - I understand! - but I want that calendar

I currently have a 2010 Robert Pattinson calendar in heavy outdated rotation. At some point in early 2011, I realized that I didn't have an acceptable replacement, so I sat down one night with a glass of wine and bottle of Wite-Out (or maybe it was a bottle of wine and a glass of Wite-Out - who can recall now?). I was patting myself on the back pretty vigorously for my resourcefulness when I realized I didn't give a damn about whether the days of the month were correct or not. Let's face it: this calendar isn't about being informative, unless the information I am seeking is "Robert Pattinson is HAWT!" It hangs on the wall with some other choice Twilighty ephemera in what could only be categorized as The World's Tiniest Walk-In Closet. Other than those rare moments when I've just completed a very rigorous cleaning and shoe-putting-away, I can barely get to it, so I probably shouldn't be relying on it for necessary information like "what day is it?" 

Once I resigned myself to the fact that is was really just an excuse to have a nice RPatts photo hanging in my closet, things were just grand. It's in a spot that cannot be seen unless you are really trying or standing outside my bedroom looking in the window (and if that's the case, we should probably talk, Stalkie McStalkerson). Most of the dates are whited out and not filled  back in, so I can switch the pages with impunity whenever I need a little change of scenery or when the lipstick smoochies get to be a little much. I kid - there is usually too much debris on my closet floor for me to make actual lip-to-glossy-paper contact possible, so I usually improvise, transferring a smack on the ol' kisser by way of my fingertips to the general area of his face. Maybe what I should really be asking for in 2012 is a cleaning service...or a shrink.

The Breaking Dawn 2012 calendar gave me the willies (like most of the Summit-approved merch - blech), but when I went looking for a Robert Pattinson calendar, I found only a couple of seriously unofficial-looking possibilities:

 Bonus fridge magnet? Do I have something metal in my closet to stick it to? Hmmm...

This is my fave - the pics are oldies but goodies!
It's possible I might make sure the closet is clean enough for me to get close to this daily...

Decent, but... I'm a little underwhelmed with the selection, especially given that the prices tend to be in the thirty-bucks-and-up range. Or they are now when it's five days before Christmas and everyone is getting desperate... While you can't really place a price on bootlegged photos of The Precious, for that kind of money, how about a Rob-A-Day 365 Day calendar - plus an extra bonus leap-year shot! Make that one extra-sparkly, please...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Reckoner, Part II [Twilight Fan Fiction]

Hiya hookers. Welcome to Reckoner, Part II. 

For those who don't know it, Reckoner is the Edward Point of View of Osa Bella. It starts about a year before the Cullens return to Forks. If you haven't read Osa Bella, Reckoner will still make sense to you. But if you haven't read the first part of Reckoner, please go read that here before reading this. 

For those of you who can't deal with lemons that put Edward with someone besides Bella, well, this isn't the story for you. As you can guess, there *is* a lemon ahead, so if you're under 18 and not supposed to be here in the first place, now's the time to turn back. But do return once your parents can't sue me.

Reckoner is brought to you by the very generous members of the Twilight fandom who supported Alex's Lemonade Stand during the last round of Fandom Gives Back. The first part of this story appeared in the FGB authors compilation. The rest will appear here and the full story will be sent out to all the FGB donors as an ebook and as a pdf. If you'd like that, just email me the receipt for your ALS donation at mygdala @ gmail and I'll put you on the list.

Thanks again to Snarkier Than You and Hollelujah (author of the amazing Substance Clad in Shadows) for beta help. And as always, thank you so much for reading. Your comments always make my day. I missed this and I really missed you. It's good to be back. 


Reckoner, Part II

Two weeks later I was alone in Mercy’s loft, the entire floor of a renovated brick building, five floors up from a set of retail units. Her place was an eclectic mixture of gothic artwork, heavy tapestries in lush blue, black, and purple velvets and modern furniture but somehow it all worked and it all spoke of her unique collection of tastes and mannerisms. 

Mercy Brown was a dark and beautiful and peculiar vampire who had insight into people’s bodies, just like I had it into their minds. She was descended from the late 19th century and loved high heels, long skirts and young women as much as she loved anything. I’d first seen her in a bar singing in the early 1970’s and I was immediately drawn in by her velvet voice and the sincerity of her songs. She still performed locally on the weekends and I rarely missed a performance when I was in town.

Mercy was known not just as the sultry singer-songwriter, but as the Last American Vampire by any humans who followed these things. Poor Mercy had had her heart publicly torn out of her body by her father and burned while she was undergoing transformation. The entire town was implicated in her desecration. It was after this horrific and widely told event that most Americans began to give up their beliefs in vampires and witches and the like, and all the better for those of us who had to live with that reality.

Because she had no physical heart, Mercy had the stubborn belief that she was incapable of falling in love. So at the beginning of the last century, she struck a deal with the Boston witch to be cured of this affliction, but it hadn’t worked as far as anyone knew. I never really believed she couldn’t fall in love if she’d just make a little effort, not that I’d wanted her to make that effort on my behalf—I had enough problems dealing with my own love curse. Our mutual inability to choose a mate had somehow led to a convenient and regular bed sharing arrangement, and despite the lack of any true romantic connection—or maybe because of it—I’d come to consider her my closest friend.

This night, she’d decided to head out without me for the evening to listen to some experimental jazz ensemble with a coronet and a Korg synth. I told her I wanted to stay in to read, but the real reason I stayed behind was because I was still nursing a bitter hangover from the first human blood binge I’d had in fifty years. I wasn’t ready to explain that, and might not ever be, though she of all people would have understood my run-in with the Boston witch. 

“Witches are untrustworthy,” she’d warned me many years ago. “Don’t deal with them if you can avoid it.” 

But you couldn’t take a piss in New England without hitting a damned witch. Like shape shifters in the Pacific Northwest or ghosts in the south, witches were everywhere in the Northeast. And they were brutal. 

I put my book down and picked up Mercy’s Martin and started to pick out the notes on a B minor 7th. Gently I strummed, the steel strings thrumming a simple, soothing tune that echoed in the empty loft. I’ll have to remember this one, I thought. Maybe Mercy will use it in something. I scribbled a few notes down so I’d remember what I’d written and then felt a jarring regret as I recalled the conversation we’d had just before she went out that night.

“You’re brooding too much ever since Boston,” she’d accused. “Even more than usual for you. Are you stuck on finding that destiny girl again?”

“No,” I said.

“You’ve got to get over her.” 

“Never speak of her to me again,” I said. “I’m serious.”

Mercy looked me over with concern and then came and dropped herself next to me on her bed. “There are people out there who can cure you of certain kinds of thoughts, you know.”

“I don’t need to be cured of anything,” I said. 

“So what, you’re just going to spend eternity looking for some imaginary woman that you think you’re in love with? Alice’s visions don’t always come true, you know. After fifty two years, I’d think…”

“I’m not looking anymore,” I said.

“You’re not?” she asked. “Really?”

“Really,” I said. 

But I still couldn’t bring myself to tell her why.


I was so distracted I didn’t hear Mercy come home until she was just outside the apartment—and she wasn’t alone. I looked up and saw it was already 2 am.

I have a surprise for you, she thought to me, almost giddy from the other side of the door. A very, very adorable one. If this won’t cheer you up, I don’t know what will.

And then I heard the other voice—the voice of a very young college girl thinking, Oh my God! Am I really going to get to sleep with Mercy Brown? That’s so hot!

But there was no way.

Mercy burst through the door, all smiles and said, “There he is! He’s an absolute dream, right?”

“Hi!” A young woman with long white-blonde hair and a very short skirt, high black boots and a wool sweater beamed at me from the doorway. “You’re Edward, right? Mercy told me all about you.”


“I’m Jules,” she said, smiling as she shrugged out of her long hooded parka.

“No you’re not,” I said shaking my head. I looked her over and asked, “How old are you?”

“Come now, Edward,” Mercy gave me a playful but admonishing glance. “Be nice.”

“Well, that’s my name tonight,” the girl said as she sauntered over to me and dropped herself on the bed. “Do you all have any whiskey?”

“She’s too young,” I said.

What kind of a wretch do you think I am? Mercy’s smile betrayed the humor she felt. She’s been eyeing me all night, and she’s of legal age. I checked. 

“Barely,” I scowled as I felt the toe of the girl’s boot brush intentionally along my ankle. I’d refrained from breathing at all since she came into the apartment, but when she did that I accidentally inhaled and caught the scent of her, and that just wasn’t going to do.

“I’m 25,” the girl lied. Oh my God he’s hot. Mercy wasn’t kidding.

She smiled broadly, her lips tight together and her eyes crinkled as she suppressed a giggle and took my hand. I pulled her to her feet and she put her arms around my neck.

“Do you want to dance?” she asked.

“She’s a doll, right?” Mercy said. It’s been way too long since we had company and I know you need to blow off some steam. Let’s just have some fun.

“No,” I said, shaking my head.

“Thanks a lot,” the girl pouted. 

“That’s not what I meant.” I frowned at Mercy who was smiling wickedly at me as I took the girl’s hands and disengaged them. 

Mercy walked up behind the girl and put her arms around her waist, her long black hair falling in waves down her back, wisps of it falling into her face. The girl sucked in her breath as she felt Mercy’s cold lips press to the flushed skin of her neck. Mercy dragged her hands up under the hemline of the girl’s sweater and winked at me as she saw the lust begin to pool inside of me.

Do you want to just watch, then? Mercy asked me. “Why don’t you go pour Jules a drink?” 

“Is your car here, sweetheart?” I asked, moving quickly to the window and looking down to the street where I saw a blue Prius.

“Why?” She looked disappointed as I came back and untangled her from Mercy and picked her coat up off the floor. “Is it something I did?”

“No, no,” I said, feeling a little guilty and a lot pissed off at Mercy for bringing this doe home. “It’s something she did,” I said, and tipped my head to Mercy, who was giving me the eye. “You’re very lovely and it was a pleasure making your acquaintance.”

You have no right to spoil my fun, Mercy countered in my head. Why don’t you just leave so I can at least play? But then she looked me up and down again and plainly saw the reason I wasn’t leaving. Then she smirked.

“Well, look, wait a minute,” the girl protested. “I’m just a big fan and I…”

“So we’ll see you at her show Saturday, yes?” I opened the door for her, smiled and said, “Drive safely, now.”

What a dick, the girl thought as she walked out into the hall. Too bad the hot ones always turn out to be such assholes.

I turned away from the door, closed and bolted it shut and leaned my back against it. I crossed my arms and gave Mercy the most menacing glare I could muster. The laughter in her eyes only pissed me off more.

“You used to be so much fun,” she said wistfully. “I miss the old you.”

“Shut up and take your dress off.”

“Not until you tell me why you were so afraid of Bambi,” she said, crossing her arms defiantly. 

“Because if I were to fuck her the way I’m about to fuck you, I’d break her in half,” I said. 

Oh, my… Mercy’s amused smile relaxed me some. You are in a foul mood. 

“You’ve lost your human touch, then have you?” she said, undoing the zipper on the side of her shift and then pulled the green garment up over her head, almost business-like. She was wearing a black satin bra and a black lace tanga and I studied the curve of her ass in it. Her fine fishnets came halfway up her thighs, poking out of her boots. “What happened, did you break a sorority girl at BU?” she teased as she started to unzip one of her boots.

“Leave the boots on,” I said.

“I missed you, you know,” she said standing back up and putting her hands on her hips. She took off her bra and dropped it to the floor and took a step back. “I’ve been so bored.”

“I know,” I said. “Now turn around.”

“Come on,” she said. “Let me look at you. Please?”

“Turn around.”

She smiled again and took one last look at the painful hard-on I was about to relieve myself of before she turned away. I bent her over at the waist and her hands hit the floor as she steadied herself and then laughed as she heard me whip my belt off.

Oh, am I getting spanked tonight? she asked playfully.

“I think you’d enjoy it too much.” 

She laughed again but then stopped and let out a small moan as I ripped her panties off. 

“So, Mercy, how many girls did you bring home while I was out of town?” I asked, driving my fingers into her, but she was panting so hard she could hardly speak.

“A few,” she gasped.

“And how many college boys?”

What do you care? The sound of her thought was teasing, coy and she was breathing too heavily to physically answer me now.

“I need to know how many times to whip you.”

“More than I can count,” she drawled out just before moaning loudly and coming all over my hand.

I pulled her back up and backed her against the heavy steel door and compelled myself to feel, to think something other than, why her? Why why why her? But it wasn’t Mercy I was thinking of.

I was angry. Sick and angry. Then I turned that anger on Mercy for being so beautiful, talented, smart, fun and sexy as hell and not finding someone else, someone worthy to spend eternity with. She knew better than to waste her time with me. But then it didn’t matter. Mercy was there, and I was either going to fuck or kill something and I’d had enough killing lately.

She cried out as I entered her, her thighs gripping my waist as I held her up against the door, certain we’d break it, but I didn’t care. After she came again and I still felt nothing, I dropped her to her hands and knees and took her from behind. She came again and for me, still nothing. Nothing at all. No release, no pleasure. I felt like I was washing a car instead of fucking a beautiful woman.

What is wrong with you? She thought at me. You’re not even close.

“Please, please shut the fuck up.” Maybe I really should spank her, I thought. That might help. Maybe I should get her to blow me. Maybe she’ll give me her ass tonight. I rolled her onto her back and drove into her again, but she put her arms out and grabbed my hips, stopping me mid-thrust.

“What happened to you down there?” she asked, her face full of concern. “Boston. Spill it.”


The day was still and the 1500 pound bull moose was peaceful as it stood on the deserted shore of the lake. Too peaceful.

“Are you taking that one?” Emmett asked quietly over my right shoulder.

“Yeah,” I said. “Why, did you want it?”

“No, I’m good,” he said. “You go ahead.”

I hesitated. Found myself wondering how old it was, how many calves it had sired, how many cows it had mounted. I wondered what maple shoots tasted like. It lowered it’s muzzle to the water and began to drink. I was within striking distance when it finally noticed me, locking eyes with mine briefly and then I saw a flicker of knowledge behind them. 

So the end is here, it seemed to say. How softly it sneaks up on us, eh?

I wanted it to fight me. At least a little bit. I wanted it to kick and struggle and threaten me, but it didn’t even try to run. I pulled its antlers to the ground and held it still. The massive, muscular frame of the beast went rigid and then limp with resignation as its hot, thick blood fevered down my ungrateful throat. 

When it was dead, I rose from the shore and looked across the lake to where I heard the quiet rustling and cracking of twigs being stepped on. In among the thick of trees I thought I saw something moving quickly away, but it disappeared so fast I couldn’t make out what it was.

“That was weird,” Jasper said when I went back to the thicket where he and Emmett waited. “Do you think it was sick or something?”

“Did you see what it was?”

“What what was?” Jasper said, and then he and Emmett exchanged troubled looks. 

“There was something across the lake,” I said. “Watching me make the kill.”

“We didn’t pick up anything,” Emmett said. “We would have seen something like that. Or smelled it.”

“I was talking about the moose,” Jasper said. “It didn’t even try to run from you. You don’t think it wasn’t a shape-shifter, was it?”

“A moose shape shifter?” I said. “I think I would have picked that up.”

“Maybe it just knew there was no point in running,” Emmett said. “Ever since you’ve come home you do have a pretty evil vibe.”

“Emmett, don’t be an ass,” Jasper said, smacking him on the arm.

“I meant evil in a badass kind of way,” he said. “It was supposed to be a compliment. Sorry.”

“That’s all right.” I surveyed the shore again for any glimpse of the phantom as we started the hike back towards Emmett’s Land Rover, but saw no trace of it. “I will admit that kill was damned disappointing.”

“I never did like the taste of moose,” Jasper said. “And any big game is going to taste flat after…”

“Jesus, don’t even say it,” I said. “I don’t need any more temptation.”

Yeah, neither do I, Jasper thought.


The Cullen House was an old retired Inn on 350 acres on the western edge of Gray, Maine. Carlisle bought the old Victorian in 1972 because Esme fell in love with the gothic feel of it, the many stately gardens and the rich history of the place, once a regular destination for the lesser politicians of New England. She swore one day she would meet the ghosts who’d lived there, but I’m pretty sure they all cleared out when the vampires moved in. 

“Alice is still pretty upset,” Jasper warned me when we pulled into the driveway.

“Do you think I should go back to Mercy’s place?” I said. 

“No, no,” Jasper said. “She’s been dying to see you, she’s just… well, you know how she can get.”

I knew better than anybody, probably even Jasper. It wasn’t easy being clairvoyant, and she hadn’t asked to be anymore than I had asked to be a mind reader. Alice’s excitability was one of the main reasons I hadn’t come home to see the family yet. I needed time to feel some approximation of normal again before facing them all. My hunt with Emmett and Jasper that afternoon was the first I’d seen of anyone other than Carlisle and Mercy since Boston.

I braced myself and opened the door and Alice was right behind it, of course, expecting me. Carlisle, Esme and Rosalie stood right behind her. 

Oh Edward…

Now vampires, as a rule, do not cry. Are not actually able to cry. We are stoic creatures by nature, and while our emotions run hot, our bodies are made for strength and durability and are not inclined to show vulnerability of any kind. So when Alice broke down into heaving, dry sobs at the sight of me, I honestly didn’t know what to do. 

“I… I don’t know how this could have happened… ” She threw her arms around me and wailed into my shirt collar. She didn’t even give me a chance to take my coat off. “Oh Edward, I’m so sorry. This is all my fault.”

“No, Alice… “ I said, unable to speak clearly because I felt like I’d swallowed a burning coal. “It isn’t your fault at all. Come on, now.”

“Why couldn’t I see her?” she asked, her tragic eyes straining up at me. “How could she be… murdered?” I stiffened and she wailed again, burrowing her face into my chest. “There’s no point to having the sight if you can’t use it to protect the ones you love!”

What could I even say? That I agreed? I stood there, wordless, helpless all over again. I gave Jasper a look that said Do something here, please? And he said back I’m trying. She’d be much worse, trust me.

“Edward, she was your mate,” Alice cried.

“She was never my mate,” I said, feeling more hollow than I possibly ever had as I heard myself say the words. “It was… it just didn’t work out.”

“How can you be so calm?” she asked.

Calm? She thought I was calm? All I wanted was to go out in the world and set buildings on fire, sledgehammer expensive cars, deface priceless works of art. All that and worse, but I wasn’t allowing myself to entertain any more fantasies of breaking the coven charter.

“He’s not calm,” Jasper said quietly. “He’s numb.”

That was it. And for the time being, I was really okay with that because the alternative was a choice between either murderous rage or self-annihilating despair. 

You need time, son, Carlisle thought. This is a lot to deal with. It’ll take awhile.

I had a sudden desperate urge to run, but I was surrounded. The compassionate, sympathetic looks on all their faces felt so wrong to me. Could they be looking at me this way? They pitied me? Did they not understand what I had done? What I was capable of doing?

“I killed him, you all know that, right?” I said, looking at Carlisle, confused. “You told them that part, didn’t you?”

“I did,” Carlisle said, but he couldn’t have told them everything, because none of them gave me that typical disappointed, “Edward, you’re better than that” attitude I normally got about decree killing. Even Rosalie reserved criticism and she never did that.

“I tortured him,” I said. “It was…”

“Understandable,” Carlisle said and nodded reassuringly.

“Any one of us would have done the same,” Emmett said.

Esme pulled me into a full embrace, cradling my head as I rested it against her shoulder. It reminded me of the way my mother had held me when I was a boy and how we had cried together after the sudden death of my father, but this time I didn’t cry, I just stared at the Persian rug and noticed how it puckered a tiny bit near the foot of the grand piano.

We love you, Edward, she said. And we are here.