The Long Road Home, Chapter 1: Crossroads (Alice)

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. This is a work of Twilight fanfiction, the story of Alice and Jasper on their long journeys to find each other and, eventually, the Cullens. Historically accurate, in-canon as much as possible. Thanks for reading.

**Chapter Note: The treatments used on Alice in the institution were carefully researched and real. These things happened to real people in mental hospitals every day during the 1920's. Also, this particular institution, St. Joseph's Hospital (Or State Hospital number 9), is real, located in St. Joseph, MO. It was the closest and most "advanced" mental facility in the time Alice would have been turned, which was in 1920 according to Stephenie Meyer. Alice was 19. I hope you enjoy.

Chapter One: Crossroads (APOV)

Black black black black black.

It had been dark for so long that I had forgotten what light looked like, felt like. The darkness was tangible, like a cool, musty cloak wrapped around me from head to toe; I was swaddled like a baby in sooty blackness, but it wasn't comforting, like a blanket. More like a shroud. Was I buried? Was I dead?

I couldn't remember how long I had been alone in the dark. Forever? A week? A second? Time loses its meaning after a while, when you have nothing to mark the passing of the moments. No shadows flowing across the walls and floor, no ticking clocks' hands showing how the hours and minutes pass; I remembered the idea of shadows, of walls and floors, of clocks, but not what they actually looked like. What does anything look like, feel like? I had become a philosopher in my solitary black existence. It was as if I was caught in an eternal moment that had no beginning and would never end.

A vague, gnawing feeling, something I realized I should recognize, somewhere in my middle section. I knew I theoretically had things called arms, legs, a torso, a head, but in that darkness they didn't exist, they were just meaningless words, I knew I could touch myself, whatever I was, and not know what I was touching. Was it my...stomach? Was I...hungry? I felt my mind emerging slowly from cloudy stupidity into a slightly less hazy reality.

Hunger. Hmmm. What was hunger? I pondered it for a moment, a philosopher again. The lack of food, the desire of the body for nourishment. How long had it been since I had eaten anything? I knew I had eaten before, had tasted food and enjoyed it to varying degrees, but once again, it was an abstract concept. But this strange feeling in what I was beginning to understand as my midsection was unpleasant, and growing even more so with time. That new hunger helped me realize the passing of time, the desire for something to fill my empty insides made me realize the minutes marching by. Why am I hungry? Was that not a basic need of humans, of anything, to eat, to be able to keep the body going? Why had it not been met?

Suddenly, a light.

It was like the first sunrise, breaking over the horizon, after God spoke those all-important words. Let there be light.


Who was God?

But that didn't matter-all that mattered was the light.

A long, vertical slant of light, brighter than a million stars (stars?), growing wider, casting its piercing rays upon me, my eyes screaming painfully in protest, but still seeking more. Light. I hungered for it as much as the body I only vaguely understood and acknowledged desired food. Without understanding what I was doing, I lunged toward the light, I wanted to touch it, I wanted to bathe in it, be consumed by it. I wanted to FEEL. To KNOW. Things that were impossible to do well in the blackness.

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