My whole life was spent within the confines of a gilded cage: beautiful and spacious, but constricting all the same.
The bars were created from the love of my family, and the padlock was born from their paranoia.
Don’t misunderstand, I love my family dearly and so I cannot deny that everything they had done had been done with good intentions. Yet, wasn’t the road to hell paved with good intentions? So maybe this assertion means nothing at all…
There is one thing about Esme that you must know: the only human memories she retained were of the loss of her child. Memories like that can mess a woman up, and even in a ‘perfect’ being like a vampire, these echoes of emotions still leave their scars.
In Esme, these scars formed her overprotective nature; a nature that reaches psychotic levels around me.
I am certain that everytime she would look at me, echoes of her dead child would overlap my image. She surely looks at me and sees both of her children — past and present.
This constant reminder was the reason that instead of relaxing as I grew older, she became more and more overbearing.
Ultraviolet rays from the sun could lead to skin cancer, to mutations and, god forbid, a sunburn. It’s too dangerous, Harry James. Stay inside with Mommy.
It’s all muddy out, Harry James. Think of all the germs just waiting to get inside of you! No, it’s much safer with Mommy.
Harry James, Emmett doesn’t know his own strength — he’s not used to playing with little human children, like you. Why don’t you help Mommy with this scarf instead?
Harry James! Don’t scare Mommy like that! Come sit between your father and I. I know you like Jasper, honey, but he’s just not used to being a vegetarian. What if his control slips and he attacks you? Please promise me, Harry James, stay away from Jasper for the time being.
Harry James, I know you want to come, but it’s a thunderstorm. You’ll get sick from sitting out in the rain all night! Why don’t you get changed into your pj’s, hm? The babysitter will be by in a minute. Promise Mommy you’ll be good?
Harry James, put that knife down! Just leave all the cutting to Mommy, alright? We wouldn’t want you to lose a finger now, do we.
Emmett! Put Harry James down this instant! What’s wrong with you? He’s just a child — he’s human. You could have hurt him! Come to Mommy, honey. We’ll reread that book you like so much.
Harry James, do you really want to go to school? Do you really want to leave Mommy home, all by herself? You could get sick. You could get hurt. No, it’s much better, staying home with Mommy.
At age ten, I still hadn’t stepped a foot outside the house without Esme close behind me — even then, it didn’t count since Esme always carried me around when we left the house, afraid I’ll fall down and hurt myself.
Then I turned eleven and I was saved.
I got my letter from Salem.
July 31st. It should have been a day like all other days, but it wasn’t.
Esme wouldn’t have allowed it to be.
When I had walked down the stairs, still wearing what I wore to sleep, I was met with the sight of ribbons and banners and balloons and my family waiting for me in the kitchen, a cake in Esme’s hands.
“Happy Birthday!” They sang in greeting.
God, it was too early for this, but they had cared enough to do this for me and so I really shouldn’t act ungrateful.
“Thank you.” I graced them with a smile as Esme herded me to my chair and placed my ‘birthday breakfast’ on the table: scrambled eggs, belgian waffles topped with whipped cream and strawberries, a tall glass of orange juice, and Esme’s chocolate mousse. Who could stay grouchy when faced with all of this? Certainly not me.
Esme had just opened her mouth, probably to ask what I wanted for my ‘special day’, when an owl — an honest to god owl — soared in through the kitchen window and dropped a letter on my lap before making itself comfortable on my shoulder.
Silence reigned supreme in the kitchen, my family stunned at the odd occurrence. I was the first to gather my wits, and I quickly tore open the letter.
Dear Harry James P. Cullen,
The Salem Institute for Magic would like to extend their congratulations and well wishes. We look forward to your presence in the upcoming school year.
A representative from the institute will be stopping by at noon to answer any and all questions. He will also present to you a complete list of supplies for all seven years at this institute.
We would like you to know that there is no pressure in accepting this invitation.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Headmistress of The Salem Institue for Magic
At noon precisely, someone knocked on the front door.
Emmett was the one to answer, beating both Edward and Japser to the door.
I was sitting between Carlisle and Esme, my mother’s arm wrapped firmly around my waist, crushing my body against her own.
This meeting should go well.
“Harry James Cullen?” I looked up, my eyes met with another pair of jewel tone iris’; his eyes were the exact shade of amethyst — his eyes were purple.
“Y-yes.” This man was beautiful. Even at that young an age, the beauty of a man was still capable of striking me speechless.
His ears ended with a slight point, his golden hair fell to his hips, and his face was sculpted to perfection and spoke of careful breeding. He could have easily been an elf from those Tolkien books.
I was in love.
I had probably, temporarily, broken my mother’s heart in the process but it was a necessary casuality.
I was going to Salem.
Salem was on the other side of the country.
Salem was a boarding school that did not allow commutes.
I would only be home during breaks, and of course the summer.
It sounded like heaven to someone locked up for as long as I was. I’m sure my family will understand.