I stand here amongst the ashes and ruins of New York City. Here I chance upon a recognizable landmark -- an overpass sign announcing the exit for George Washington bridge, a ferry in the middle of what was Washington Square, the rubble of Carnegie Hall; there the odd memento of a person’s existence -- an alligator-skin boot with human foot, a Hummer stretch-limo crunched like an accordian, a woman’s silhouette scorched like graffiti in a wall.
All around me is panic and despair. For the first time, I do not know what to say to offer comfort to the survivors for I am as lost as they. My own mate is missing, vanished from my side in our search for our human children, and the strange, chemical smells around me make it impossible for me to detect his scent.
If he is even alive.
I fall in with them on their march down the cracked slabs of the New Jersey turnpike. Women, children, men -- all cry, desperate for someone to reassure them. I want to say that this, too, shall pass; that the history of man is filled with many such episodes and each time we emerged stronger, better. I want to tell them that all is not lost, never to give up hope for God is with us and we shall overcome this newest obstacle as we overcame all others. I want to call upon them to unite, for together we stand.
But I cannot say ‘we’ for I am not one of them.
My name is Carlisle Cullen. I am a vampire who has just survived a nuclear attack. And this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story.