COPYRIGHT ALERT: The Twilight characters are not mine, they are Stephenie Meyer's. The other characters, however, ARE mine, and so is the story idea. Please do not steal it. Thanks. :)
What else could possibly go wrong?? Anira’s life has been a complete disaster this past week, and obviously it’s not going to give her a break any time soon. The local power plant almost had a meltdown, a bunch of stupid teenagers burnt down half of the forest she lives in, the government found out that she was living in an abandoned shed and threatened to move her into an orphanage, and worst of all, HER BOYFRIEND DUMPED HER. When she wakes up on the first school day after winter break with that same sinking feeling in her stomach, she knows something else will go wrong, but never in her wildest dreams did she imagine it would lead her on a path like this. A story of self-discovery, this anything-but-average teenager is forced to confront a past she never knew existed, survive an encounter with deadly yet somehow civilized vampires, and juggle a secret that no one can ever know, right in the middle of the worst week of her life.
Palo, Iowa wasn’t supposed to be this unpredictable.
Chapter 1: Get me out of this mess
I opened my eyes groggily and groaned. My stomach was twisting and turning again, like it had almost every other day this past week. And almost every other day this past week, something had gone wrong. The first day had been the absolute worst though, in my opinion.
Hey, Anira, I need to talk to you, Nick, my boyfriend, had said. It was the last day of school before winter break, and we had just climbed off the bus to go home. I had looked at him and smiled, trying to ignore that gut-wrenching feeling I always got when something bad was going to happen. I… Uh, I think we should just be friends. We just aren’t very good together, you know? I hope you understand. It’s nothing personal. We can still be friends though, right? I had agreed with a little too much enthusiasm.
The next day, after I had cried myself to sleep, I’d barely noticed that same feeling when I woke up- I thought it was a side effect from all the sobs- until late in the night when I caught a whiff of smoke and realized that my forest was burning. Apparently a group of teenagers had thought this was a good place for a bonfire to celebrate the week-long vacation. Why they had wanted to be outside in December was beyond me, but there they were, burning down the only thing that hid my house from view.
Then, of course, after the trees had been drastically thinned, the inevitable happened: I got a notice on my door saying that my house was on government property and I needed to go to court to get a real home under penalty of the law. Of course, as soon as I showed up and they realized I was only fifteen, they threatened to send me to an orphanage or foster home until I was legally old enough to live alone. I had two weeks to pick a foster home of my choice before they forced me into some rotten place with the other homeless kids.
If that wasn’t enough to take in with all I had already been going through, the local power plant was in danger of having a meltdown, and I had to work there for days trying to calm everyone down and take control of the situation. By the time all the chaos was over, I had only three days left of my break to relax.
And of course relaxation was an impossibility with my home being threatened and my heart completely shattered in my chest.
Now it was the first day of the new semester, and I could tell that something else was going to go wrong. But what else could possibly go wrong?! After everything I’d been through in the past week, what else could go wrong?!
I sat up grudgingly and stretched my aching muscles. I wasn’t used to sleeping so often. Usually I only had to sleep two or three times a week, but I was so upset during the break that I had actually slept every night. It wasn’t natural.
After going to my closet and grabbing a dull green blouse and khakis, I went into the kitchen to get some breakfast. It wasn’t a very big room, with only the bare necessities to keep it running: a refrigerator, a sink, a stove, and a little wooden table with one chair on either side. The refrigerator was actually pretty unnecessary at this time of year. Since my house had no heater or air conditioner, the food just adapted to whatever temperature it was outside, and since it had just snowed… Well, my food would be plenty cool without manmade appliances.
I knew perfectly well that not having a heater was strange and unthinkable to any of the humans around me. It was part of the reason why I had never invited anyone to my house. But to be perfectly honest, I liked my house without all those silly indulgences. I could really taste the fresh air when the musty air of a machine wasn’t in the way, and besides, the thing would be unnecessary anyway. I couldn’t feel temperatures. Well, I could feel when the weather changed, and I could tell when it was hot or cold, but I was never actually affected by temperature. My skin was just the same 85˚ all the time.
I grabbed an apple from the fridge and went into the bathroom as I ate, my feet dragging a little as I walked. The bathroom was a little smaller than the kitchen, with a bath tub, a toilet, a sink, and a mirror. I lived in an extremely small house.
I looked at my reflection in the mirror without interest. Just a little over a week ago my eyes had been bright and shining with life. Now they were just a dull forest green, similar to my shirt color, with no emotions and no light. There were shadows under my eyelids that hadn’t been there before. I may have been sleeping more than usual, but that certainly didn’t mean I’d been sleeping well.
My hair was an unkempt mess, knotted and tangled from the many days of neglect. I grabbed my brush from the sink now, not wanting to look like a zombie when I got on the bus to meet Nick. I couldn’t let him know how much his decision had affected me. I had to suck it up and act like nothing had changed, as if it didn’t matter in the slightest that he had broken my heart. It wasn’t really his fault, I guess. He wasn’t trying to be mean or anything. He just didn’t think we were right for each other.
I sighed when I was finally done and watched the gossamer strands flow all the way down my legs, halting just below my knees. The name Rapunzel fluttered through my mind as I glanced back in the mirror. I was a strange sight to see, with flawless pale skin and pale hair that ran all the way down to my calves. Maybe that was why Nick had dumped me…
I shook the thought out of my head and checked my watch. 7:30. I still had 30 minutes before I had to be at the bus stop, and I was already set to leave. What was I supposed to do for 30 whole minutes?
My eyes brightened just slightly as an idea came into my head. I ran back into the kitchen to look out the windows at the surrounding forest- at least what was left of it. Was it safe? Would anybody really be out and about this early in the morning? Ordinarily I wouldn’t be too worried about getting caught, but after those stupid teenagers had burned down the woods, I couldn’t be too careful. The coast seemed clear, and that uncomfortable feeling in my stomach had subsided, for now, so maybe I could get some exercise in before I left.
Before I could change my mind, I reached behind me to reveal the crease in my shirt where I had installed the zipper. Very carefully, I pulled the zipper down until the hole was completely open and exhaled in relief as my wings slipped through the flap. I had been too preoccupied over my vacation to stretch out my wings, but now nobody was around, I could sense that it was safe, and I had 30 minutes of free time to kill. What better way to spend that time than to fly as fast as I could and just tune out the world for a few precious moments?
I fluttered my wings experimentally, smiling as my feet lifted off the ground. It felt so good to finally use them again! I shot out the back door after a short warm-up and let the world blur around me.
I thought about my past while I flew, all the memories I had before this week that didn’t make me want to hide in bed all day. Before I had lived on Earth, I had grown up in a small planet called Avalon. I lived there for eight years, but then one day our Fairy Council had come to my house and asked my parents if they could send me to Earth. They sent different fairies to Earth every year to help the humans with their natural disasters and magical infestations, but only the ones with the best talents could go. I was honored to be a part of their program and left immediately. I had always admired the fairies that came to this planet, and I had hoped they would pick me, but I had also thought that my talent wasn’t good enough. While some fairies could bend the elements or turn invisible, my only unique quality was my sense of danger. I knew when something bad would happen. I didn’t know what it would be, but I always knew, and it had saved my people’s lives many times. So they sent me here, to this tiny town of Palo, Iowa, where I could live safely undetected and help those in need.
Well, that plan was in the process of being uprooted and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The officials had trusted me to keep our secret, and though nobody knew what I really was, the fact that they had found my house was enough to put us all in grave danger. Nobody could know we existed, humans and other mythical creatures alike. We could not be discovered. It was the law.
I slowed to a more human speed and dropped down to the ground when I heard a rustle in the bushes. A deer jumped out of nowhere and scampered across the path to disappear into the trees once again. That same uneasy feeling came back as I watched the creature, and I backed away on foot. Whatever that creature was running from had to be the danger I was to face today. I wasn’t going to let it find me here, completely vulnerable and with no witnesses.
I opened my wings and fled back to the house.
Chapter 7: Preparations
I snuck around the bus cautiously, careful to stay out of sight of the vampires. They were all standing together now, their heads bent together and their voices buzzing intensely. My hiding place was too far away for me to hear what they were saying, but they all seemed pretty concerned.
The bus rumbled to life and began moving forward, forcing me to find another place to spy on the new kids. I ran back towards the school in a rush, trying to look as if I had forgotten something there, and jumped into the brush when I was sure nobody was looking. I crept back towards the group quietly, not disturbing a single leaf on the ground.
“Carlisle’s here,” I heard the mind-reader say. “Rose, Emmett, you stay and look out for anyone suspicious. I think I hear somebody eavesdropping on us, and chances are it’s the one I heard earlier.” What a strange thing to say; if he knew I was eavesdropping, why would he tell them to stay here? Unless it was some sort of trap. Or maybe they were just trying to scare me away? Well, whatever the case, I wasn’t safe here.
I peered out at the group just in time to see Edward smile.
“Whoever it is, she’s incredibly smart.” How did he know I was a girl? I could be a guy too. He hadn’t seen me yet, as far as he knew.
I turned to look at the blonde, whose nostrils were flaring as she tried to catch my scent, her body rigid as she listened for clues. I smiled wryly. Good luck with that.
“She’s in the bushes somewhere,” Edward whispered. “Do with that what you will.” I realized he would have seen what I saw in my head and cursed silently. I couldn’t pay attention to anything I was looking at with him around.
I hurried through the greenery quickly, not making a sound, and stopped just next to the street, making sure I was still hidden. Then, I let my instincts guide me. I didn’t think about where I was, or what I was doing. I didn’t even think about what I saw in front of me. My mind was completely blank, a GPS intent on following that sleek black car.
The engine revved. I opened my wings. And we both shot forward.
I flew up as high as I dared, so high that I would look like nothing more than a bird even to the vampire’s superior eyesight, while at the same time still able to keep track of their vehicle. I followed them for a long time, watching them twist and turn down the road three times as fast as the speed limit allowed. We finally reached their lair after ten minutes.
The whole house was painted white, and from what I could tell, one of the walls was entirely made of glass. I couldn’t see inside, but I didn’t need to; I had all the information I needed. I had followed them home, I would remember the way, I knew what their house looked like. Now all I had to do was wait until nightfall.
I fled towards my house before the vampires could notice anything and started to think of a plan. So, now I knew where they lived. What next? When would it be safe to leave without being seen? When would it be pertinent? I couldn’t trust the vampires alone, but I had to go home and prepare if I was going to get any answers. I’d just have to be quick about it and hope nobody had been hurt in my absence.
I flew into my bedroom and flung open my closet door. Hanging in the far back corner was a black shirt, black pants, and a dark indigo shoulder bag. I only used this set of clothes for ‘special occasions,’ and this definitely fit in that category. The term ninja fluttered through my mind and I smiled grimly. Yes, I would look like a ninja, but I would need to act like one too. I could not be seen, or heard, or noticed in any way.
After I changed, I glided over to my dresser and dug through my bottom drawer. I picked out a pocket knife, a special-effects can that produced fog when opened, and a small bottle of perfume that the Council had been nice enough to give to me in case of emergencies. The perfume was synthetic blood, created to help mask our identity. It was the most important precaution to keeping the secret hidden. The can of fog was simply to help me get away in case my position was compromised, and the knife… well, it helped me feel protected, even if it wouldn’t actually help.
I put the supplies in my bag and glanced out the window to see if it was dark enough to leave yet. I still had at least an hour before it was safe.
“Pixie Dust,” I muttured. “They’d better not be hungry today.” I stood up stiffly and went out into the kitchen, grabbing my math homework on the way. Well, while I was waiting, I might as well do something productive to keep from failing out of school. It wouldn’t take long to finish, with my memory, but it was better than nothing.
The math problems took about fifteen minutes of my time, and since that was my only homework for the day, I had 45 minutes of free time left. I went over to my refrigerator and pulled a peach out, biting into the soft flesh absently. It was unnecessary; I really only had to eat once a day, not three times like the humans, and I already ate breakfast and lunch, but there was really nothing else I could do. At the very least it would help me keep my strength when I finally encountered the vampires again.
I ate slowly, careful to get every morsel from the pit, and glanced at the clock again when I couldn’t find another piece of fruit on it. 30 minutes left.
I groaned and leaned back against my chair. Why couldn’t the sun go down faster?? Even with all the clouds, it was still too light out! I had to stay here.
Just then, my doorbell rang, making me nearly jump out of my skin. Who in their right mind would be visiting me right now? It was just before dark, after all, and I didn’t really have any friends anyway.
“Anira?” a muffled voice called from the door. “Are you in there?” It was Vincent.
“Uh, yeah! One second!” I called back, still completely shocked. How had he figured out where I lived? I’d never invited anyone over here before. The most he knew was that I ‘lived near the forest.’ Weren’t there other houses near here as well?
I opened the door and smiled weakly at my friend, still puzzling over how, and why, he was here. Obviously he noticed my confusion.
“Um, Chris mentioned he’s seen you going into the forest after the bus drops you off,” he stuttered, “so I followed the trail you’ve worn through. I hope that isn’t creepy.” He paused, lost in his thoughts. “It’s so strange, the trail disappeared about halfway through…”
“Was there a reason you wanted to visit?” I asked quickly, not wanting him to think about it too much. It was unlikely he would jump to the conclusion that I could fly, but it made me nervous that he had noticed something so small.
“Oh, right, I was just wondering if, uh, you wanted me to help you plant those seeds I gave you earlier? There are a lot in the bag, so I just thought… maybe…” He trailed off and made a face, as if he were mad.
“I’d love it,” I said, forcing a smile. Why was he wearing that strange expression? “Come on, I’ll get the seeds and we can go outside right now.” I ran into my bedroom and searched through my bag for the little brown sack. When I came back out, Vincent was standing in my make-shift kitchen.
“So, this is your house?” He shivered. “Aye, it’s just as cold in here as it is out there!” He eyed my outfit suspiciously, and I realized I wasn’t wearing a coat like a sane person would be. “Aren’t you cold?”
“Uh, I was cold, but I was wearing my coat for so long that I got hot. But you’re right, it is getting cold again. I’ll go put it back on,” I said hurriedly, feeling a little scrambled. I hadn’t expected any visitors, ever, so Vincent had caught me entirely off-guard.
After I got my coat, we went out into the sharp winter air and started planting the seeds. I knew it was probably futile to do this now, just after Christmas break, but I wasn’t going to disappoint Vincent after he went through all this trouble just to find my house. We made sure to spread them far apart, in places were we thought it would be good for a tree to grow. Pretty soon the bag was completely empty and we were walking back to my little cottage.
“Um, Vincent, there’s something I need to tell you… about where I live…” I tried to find a way to explain it without making it sound too terrible, but there wasn’t a single description that would make my eviction notice sound good. I remained silent for quite a few minutes.
“Go on,” he encouraged, watching me serenely. I opened my mouth, and sighed.
“Just don’t tell anyone about it, okay?” I asked, looking down. “I’m already the crazy girl with the pale skin and the long hair. Nobody needs to know I live in the forest too.” He laughed.
“Your secret is safe with me.” I glanced at him quickly, terrified that there might be a double meaning to his words, but he was only talking about my house. He was still entirely oblivious when it came to my humanity, or lack of it.
“Thanks for helping me, Vincent,” I whispered, giving him a hug. “It means a lot.” He hugged me back for a moment, and when I pulled away, he was smiling.
“It was nothing,” he said giddily. “Um, I have to go. My parents will be making supper soon.” I smiled back slightly and watched him turn and go in wonder. My heart jerked forward once in my chest before resuming its usual rhythm.
“Bye,” I murmured. Then I went back inside, a little dazed, and looked up at the clock. We had spent 45 minutes outside. It was time to leave.
I blinked once, getting my bearings, and shrugged the heavy coat from off my shoulders. I couldn’t have extra weight holding me down on a night like this.
After glancing in my shoulder bag one last time to make sure my things were there, I pulled back the flap in my shirt, opened my wings, and shot into the air.
Chapter 8: Eavesdropping
I finally reached the Cullen house about fifteen minutes later. I didn’t want to fly as fast in the dark, so naturally it took a little longer than the first time I came here, but I wasn’t happy about it. I landed at the edge of a large creek and snuck up to the nearest window. Inside I could make out the voices of several worried vampires.
“What should we do?” I heard one of them ask quietly. “Nobody has ever discovered us this quickly before, and certainly none of you appear to have done anything wrong. How could they have found out?”
“From what it sounds like to me, this girl already knew about our existence,” the mind reader replied. I cringed, hoping he was too involved with his own conversation to notice I was there. “There wasn’t a doubt in her head that she might have been wrong. And the way she followed us around after school, the way she thought through every action, seems like maybe she’s had experience with our kind. She analyzed everything we said, and she noticed things that nobody else would notice.” I slowly lifted my head and risked a glance through the window. They were all sitting together in a large white living room, every one of them frozen in stress. I noticed that Renesmee wasn’t present, and there were two other vampires in the room with the others. Naturally they also had golden eyes.
“She masked her scent,” the blonde one muttered. “I don’t know how she did it, but I couldn’t smell anything out of the ordinary when she was eavesdropping.”
“Yes, she seemed to have thought of that too,” Edward murmured, stroking his chin thoughtfully. “She seemed to know that you wouldn’t be able to smell her. That’s probably why she was brave enough to hide in the bushes. But she was still cautious; she knows about our sharpened senses, and our blinding speed, and our hidden strength…” He paused, looking as if there were something else he had to say, but really didn’t want to say it. “And she knows I can read minds.” That got a big response.
“What?” The new lady- a vampire with short curly brown hair- said, looking at the boy in alarm. “That’s not possible! Even if she does know about vampires, how could she have discovered that so quickly?”
“Fascinating,” the man next to her said, his eyes bright with curiosity and concern at the same time. “I wonder if she is some form of vampire herself? Maybe she has a talent similar to Eleazer’s?”
“This is no vampire,” Alice growled from the edge of the couch, her forefingers at her temples. “This is something else entirely.”
“We’ll have to move away!” the brunette woman groaned. “I hate to make everyone leave again, but I will not lose any of my family.”
“I wish we could investigate this further,” the blonde man sighed, “but under the circumstances, I agree. We will have to leave town.”
“Wait,” Bella said, holding up her hand. “Shouldn’t we talk to Jacob and Renesmee about this? They deserve to have a say in this too.”
“Bella’s right,” the brunette said. “Let’s wait until Nessie and Jacob come back from their hunt to make the final decision.” At the sound of these words I felt my stomach churn in utter terror; So Renesmee and some other blood-sucker named Jacob were hunting. I shouldn’t have waited so long to come. Now some innocent human was going to die, and there was nothing I could do about it.
I felt nauseous.
“I don’t like it,” Emmett muttered, smacking his fist into his palm. “We shouldn’t run away. Let’s find the girl and take her down!” I grimaced; the last thing I wanted to do was fight with them.
“That would just make a scene,” the boy- who I believed was named Jasper- reasoned. “We can’t just fight with someone in the middle of school property. That would give us away. And what are the chances that we’ll get her alone if she knows what we are?”
“Hold on, hold on, hold on,” Rosalie said, motioning for everyone to lower their voices. “Stop talking for a second.” The room was silent. “Do you hear that?” I saw them all look around in surprise, and I glanced around as well, wondering what she could possibly be talking about. The only thing I heard was the even thumping of my heart.
“Is that… is that a heartbeat?” The blonde man asked in shock. I glanced at the mind reader and saw that he had gone rigid. He was staring straight ahead, not even bothering to look for the window where I was watching. He knew I couldn’t flee, not without the answers I was seeking. I knew I was trapped, unable to run for fear of putting human lives in danger. No, I had to stay here and take the consequence.
I sighed and crept away from the window, not wanting them to see me just yet. After I was out of sight, I straightened up and stretched my back. Then I took a deep breath, sucked in my fear, and did what was probably the craziest thing I would ever do: I walked up to the front door, and knocked.
The house was absolutely silent, not a noise, not a breath. I didn’t know how long I stood there, but eventually, I heard the sound of feet against wood as someone came to answer the door. It swung open slowly and I looked wearily up into the face of the unfamiliar male.
“Hello,” he said, his expression still blank with shock. I smiled nervously up at him.
“Hello,” I replied. “I heard you were new in town and I thought I would stop by and say welcome.” At 11:00 at night… Yeah, they probably knew it was me, but I might as well play my part. The least I could do was act polite after getting caught eavesdropping… Twice.
“Thank you,” he said, starting to get over his trance. “Won’t you come in?” I nodded and stepped inside, feeling slightly suicidal. Well, this was the only way for me to get my answers. If I got killed in the process, at least I would go down doing my job instead of sulking about a lost love.And I thought my life couldn’t get any worse.