Only by Moonlight
Special thanks to my amazing pre-reader, ladylibre, who has offered superb advice as I settle this story in my imagination. She also helped me come up with the title—she’s simply amazing…as are her Twilight stories Serenity’s Prayer and Black Ice. Don’t miss them!! :)
Only by Moonlight is a work of Twilight fan fiction. All Twilight characters are the intellectual property of Stephenie Meyer, and no copyright infringement is intended in the writing of this novel.
He woke with a start, his vision blurry. He blinked hard once, twice, before he could see somewhat clearly, but everything remained fuzzy around the edges.
“Edward?” His mother’s familiar voice was hoarse as she sat on his bed. “Here, drink some broth.”
He felt a spoon at his lips and automatically drank the broth. But swallowing hurt his parched throat and exhausted him. He felt as spent as though he had just run the 440 at full sprint rather than merely drinking a spoonful of broth.
“No more,” he croaked, sinking back into the hot pillows. His mother’s hand should have been cool against his forehead, but it wasn’t. But he barely noticed as she bent away from him, coughing violently into a handkerchief.
Something wasn’t right, he thought wearily, but nothing seemed to make sense any more, and he let his eyes close.
Sleep bore him away for a time…he didn’t know how long. Strange visions due to delirium marred his sleep, preventing him from resting easily. The fever sapped his strength, and his chest ached with heaviness. The mere act of breathing required concerted effort.
A coughing spasm awoke him; he was lying on his side, his mother holding a handkerchief to his lips. He didn’t notice the blood mixed with the sputum he coughed into the white cloth, but he heard his mother’s dismayed moan.
A vague concern forced his eyes open, and for a moment, his vision was perfectly clear. “Mother?” he rasped.
“Yes, dear, I’m here,” she whispered, trying to smile at him but failing. He noticed that she did not look well; her face was deathly pale and haggard except for two bright spots burning in each cheek. Her eyes were glazed with fever, as he was certain his were as well.
“Rest, Mother. You must rest,” he said hoarsely. “Go to bed. I’m fine.”
His mother choked a little, and he saw both the tears and the resolve in her eyes. “I’ve lost your father, but I refuse to lose you, too,” she vowed in a low voice not meant for his ears.
But he had heard her devastating words.
“Father is dead?” he asked, bemused, as tears blurred the view of his mother’s face.
She took a deep breath, but turned away to cough violently into her handkerchief, folding it to hide the resulting blood so that her son couldn’t see how ill she was. She would nurse him through this Spanish Flu, no matter the consequences to her own health. Edward—her loving, compassionate, beautiful Edward—must live, even if she did not.
Her gaze met his, and he read the awful truth in her grief-stricken green eyes.
“Noooo,” he moaned, then coughed again, the spasms wracking his thin body. His tall runner’s form, already too slim due to a growth spurt over the summer, was emaciated from the fever, and his mother grasped him to her heart, wiping blood from his gray lips as each agonized cough brought up more fluid from his wearying lungs.
“You just get better, Edward,” she told him fiercely. “I can bear anything except losing you.”
Nodding weakly, he slipping into a heavy slumber from which he never rose, gasping for precious breath in his final moments.
Neighbors found them a few days later. Edward Masen, Senior, lay dead in the large master bed. His wife’s body, still fully dressed and wearing an apron, lay slumped against the bed in their son’s room, a blood-soaked handkerchief clutched in her hand. In the bed beneath the east window, the beautiful seventeen-year-old boy’s green eyes stared unseeing at the ceiling.