Bella’s happily ever after lasted two days. This is Bella’s own account of what happened after Breaking Dawn, her growing understanding of her powers, her battle to remain with the man she loves, finding her place in her new family, and the ever-present threat of the Volturi.
New posting Chapter 55 - Postscript
Cold Gray Light
Please view the new trailer by Jesse Desplat it is brilliant.
Thank you so much Jesse!
This fantastic trailer was made for me by Marisa Wilson
Please view it is spine chillingly good
Thank you so much Marisia!!!
From the moment I walked through the door I could feel his eyes on me. Boring into me, owning me, watching even the minutest move I made.
I thought that I’d lose this intuition when I became a vampire. But in reality it had just got stronger along with everything else.
I thought for a moment about the one big change that my transformation had made, my thirst. Although I was still young, and the thirst for blood should be overwhelming, I had been able to handle it from the first moment I awoke in my new life. No one knew why that was. I could cope with human scents even up close, when I should have wanted to drink them dry. The scent caused me physical pain, an intense burning from my nostrils all down my throat, and feeling my throat squeezing tight with the dryness. But it was bearable. This was unusual for a new born. My kind usual manage this much control after a few years. But even with my self control the thirst was still there, the longing for something to put out the dryness.
My mind churned again. My mind could think of so many things at once. The dryness was always one of my thoughts, sometimes near the surface, then moving back into the background. I could keep all the thoughts in my mind -- juggling two, five, ten thoughts in parallel -- but never mixing them. Like watching ten TV channels at once. Another vampire trait.
Maybe I was just being paranoid. Maybe there was no one looking at me. I still hated attention just as I’d done as a human, I still shied away from it. I was just letting my imagination run away with me again. No one was looking at me. But I could hear his heartbeat six feet to my left, slightly behind where I was standing. He was sitting on a chair next to the loveseat. He was close enough to feel the warmth of his skin in the cool of the morning air. I could smell the strong scent of the skin pouch he wore round his neck. A smell that forced out every lesser smell from that part of the room, like a car headlamp blinding out a flashlight. It was not just the animal fur with its heavy notes that I could smell, but what was inside it. The herbs and berries that it contained, each type giving a new harmony to the smell. Some sharp, some sweet. Some I knew -- citrus, juniper, cinnamon -- some I had no words for.
Maybe he was just looking at Nessie like everyone else in the room. My four month old daughter was reciting a poem for her audience in her beautiful childish voice, complete with dramatic pauses and carefully characterized accents for the speeches. She was a very advanced four month old. She looked more like a small four year old, but she would have been counted as a genius in any preschool. This was because she was half vampire and half human, and of course could never be allowed in preschool. Her brown hair, with a tinge of bronze that came from Edward, fell down her back in beautiful curls. Her eyes were a warm milk chocolate color that had been mine when I was human, and were now excited by the attention she was receiving. Her complexion was pale with a healthy pink glow of excitement. We knew now that her rate of growth and progress would slow and she would be fully mature in another 6 and half years, and then live forever. We’d learned this from Nahuel only two days before. My dark worries of losing Nessie had vanished. We’d thought we would have to watch our daughter grow old and die in fifteen short years, and we would mourn her for ever.
I didn’t look to check if I was right about Nahuel and his staring. I had caught his eye only once that morning, when we came in and gave the usual greeting to our family and their two remaining guests.
I still didn’t understand why these guest were still here. Yes, I was grateful to them, especially him. So grateful it hurt. He had saved us all: my daughter, my husband, my vampire family, my wolf friends, and me. And he put himself and his father and his sisters in danger. How could I not be grateful to him. We all were.
I’d asked Edward twice why they had not left with the other guests after the standoff with the Volturi. The first time was after the celebrations when all the other guests had left and we had taken Nessie back to our cottage to sleep in her own bed. This was the first day that we’d met them, the first day of the stares. Edward had given his answer, saying Nahuel was so glad to know that a family like ours could exist. A family with a half vampire child, the only one Nahuel knew of that was not related to him, and a surviving mother. Nahuel’s mother died in child birth and so did the mothers of his half sisters.
It is rare to find a vampire who would want a physical relationship with a human woman, even rarer to find a women who survived such an encounter. Her life could end at any moment if he did not concentrate fully on keeping her alive. And what about the outcome of such an encounter? Mortals are not compatible with half vampire babies, the babies are so much stronger than the women. I had only survived thanks to the care given to me by my vampire family and because Edward changed me into a vampire as soon as the baby was out. The memories of this violent birth were now dimming for me. The vampire venom had mended the terrible damage and left me whole, strong, and beautiful.
According to Edward, Nahuel had spent his long life, over 150 years, thinking he must be evil to the core to have killed his mother. But seeing me set him free from his guilt. He now blamed his father for not caring for his mother as Edward had for me, and for not changing her when Nahuel ripped his way out of her.
The second time I’d asked Edward why Nahuel and his aunt (a full vampire) were still with us, Edward said that they wanted to learn more about our vegetarian lifestyle. This was how we liked to describe our abnormal hunting habits in the Cullen family. Unlike other vampires we only hunted animals, not humans. This gave us distinctive golden eyes which intrigued the normal red-eyed vampires. When I asked this second time, it was not what Edward had said that set me thinking but the way he said it. If I wasn’t his wife and didn’t know him so well I would not have noticed the slight tightening of his straight shoulders under his tan colored jumper, and that he was holding his perfect jaw a eighth of an inch higher than normal. He was lying to me.
Edward lied a lot. He had to. When you can read the minds of everyone in a mile radius then you have to lie to appear normal. You have to learn to ignore the thoughts most of the time. You have to answer only the questions people say out loud and not all the far-reaching ones they think in their heads but don’t dare ask. Edward also felt he must not betray confidences of those around him. It was not as though he could stop hearing thoughts if he wanted to, and not as if people could stop thinking when he was around, so he just didn’t pass these thoughts on. I was a shield which meant that he could not read my mind, not even when I was only human. Now that I was a vampire I had learned to remove my shield if I wanted, but I could only do so for a few moments at a time and even then it was exhausting work.
But why would he lie to me about why Nahuel and Huilen were still here? We had just made it through the worst danger imaginable: the whole of the Volturi forces lined up against us, the judges, jury and executioners of the vampire world. We had survived that, so what now? What was he covering up? Surely we had to have a break from peril sometime.
Maybe bad luck was something that I’d brought with me into this life. Since I met Edward as a human I had always had bad luck. My life before Edward, before my return to Forks to live with my Dad, Charlie, was a quiet life in the big city of Phoenix with my Mom, Renée. The memory of this former life was becoming hazy, almost a pre life to my human life, as if I was now in my third life, not my second. I’d had too much on my mind to sit down and think about it, though that was the only way my family said that I would remember it for the future. As I remembered it now, it was a happy but lonely time of looking after my hair-brained mother and being the adult in the relationship even though I was the child. She didn’t need to be looked after in a physical way but in an emotional one, helping her to organize and control her life. I was the one who made sure we went to the store when we needed groceries and that we went to the bank when the bills needed to be paid. In many ways you could say I was her keeper rather than her daughter. This role was taken by Phil, her husband of nearly three years.
I argued with myself that I had already brought my shield through to my vampire life along with my strange ability for self control. I was sure that I could not have brought anything else. I had left my clumsiness behind, which was a truly good thing. I now moved so fast and was so strong that if I was clumsy lots of things would get broken. Not just inanimate objects, but living things. Even people.
I looked over at Edward, to keep my eye from straying to Nahuel. His beauty never failed to amaze me. He was stunning. His eyes were a warm amber color. But this morning more like stone than liquid. Something was bugging him. No doubt he was hearing things he didn’t like. His face muscles twitched slightly and his teeth locked together noiselessly. His smile remained, a facade to keep the others away from his upset within. I had no idea what he had heard or who it was that was having these thoughts, but my mind turned to Nahuel again, though I didn’t let my eyes follow. Edward would tell me when it was right and certainly not in the middle of this gathering.
Edward applauded when Nessie came to the end of her poem, pride now on his face. I felt a jolt of joy at his pride. I was proud of her, naturally, and applauded loudly too. But to have him so in awe of her gave me such a feeling of belonging. I had, in the end, been able to give him something so worthwhile. A daughter, our miracle. It made up for the lack of balance in our relationship. He had given me everything: his love, his life, my new life, money, possessions, a home, a car, a family. But the one thing that that he had never imagined, that none of our vampire family had thought possible, came from me. She was a delight to them all, and especially Edward.
It was only as I turned away from Nessie’s performance that I noticed Alice was staring into thin air, her eyes out of focus, completely still. I knew she was seeing something. My sister’s ability to see into the future was enviable. It had made her top of the Volturi’s list for acquisitions. It was this ability that had saved the family and herself many times over. The future she saw was only one of the possible outcomes. If decisions that had been made were changed then what she saw would change.
“Demetri is coming,” she said simply in a clear chiming voice, not altering her stance at all. “Aro has decided. He will follow Carlisle to us.”
Carlisle was at her side in an instant. “But why?” he whispered. “Why now?”.
The image of the the Volturi tracker was instantly in my mind. It was not possible for anyone normal to run from Demetri. He had a gift for finding them. But this gift needed access to someone’s mind, and it was something I could block with my shield. As well as being a tracker, Demetri was a warrior, with centuries of experience working with the Volturi.
“But why, Alice?” he asked again.
Alice had gone back into her trance. This time it took her over a minute to come round. “He comes only to observe,” she said with a little relief in her voice. “Aro will order him to stay with us and just observe. He is to watch Nessie grow for Aro and to find out more about the wolves for Caius. He is to cause us no trouble. He will be ordered to hunt like us. Aro wants to see how this will change his character. He is report back regularly by letter. This order will be made at full council the day after tomorrow. He will arrive three days after that.”
She looked around the stunned room.
“Please look for more,” Carlisle urged her.
“Demetri will bring a note with him from Aro but they know that I can see what it says so you will be forewarned. Aro is staring at it so that I can read it...
My Dearest Friend Carlisle,
I am sending my dear one Demetri to visit you as an emissary. I feel that our last meeting left a rift between us which I want to close. I have asked Demetri to learn about your life style and your beloved granddaughter so that we may better understand each other in future.
I ask you to take Demetri into your hearts and your home, and to this end I will ask him to make himself useful to you and cause you no trouble. Please use him as a son.
Yours in friendship,
Carlisle looked aghast. “Is there more?” he said, shaking his head.
Her face returned to the distant mask, but seconds later disgust was clear on it. She came back to the present again shaking her head. “Uh, that is so gross”.
“I saw part of the inner council meeting that was only the family, no guard. It is so gross.” she said, hardly able to speak for revulsion. “Aro says he wishes to watch a half vampire child develop first hand. He says that he will order Demetri to try to father a child when he has returned from his visit. He laughs and says that he may have learned some restraint from us. The mother is to be the only human they trust, their administrator Gina. They will promise her immortality if she successfully gives birth, but she has no choice. If she says no, she’s lunch. He says it will be a great honor for Demetri to father a child to be brought up and studied in Volterra. Caius is against the idea, the decision will be put off until a later date... I can’t see further than that, I’m not attuned to them, I can’t see so far ahead into their futures, I can’t see if she will become pregnant or if they will kill her, it is many months away, it may change.”
There was stunned silence.
All the joy after the last successful encounter with the Volturi was gone.
Then the speculation started. Alice could see the event but not the motivation behind it. It boiled down to three simple questions: why this? why now? and why Demetri? A dozen answers to each question came from the gathered family. The most likely answer was that they wanted to catch us doing something against the rules as soon as possible, and Demetri can stand up for himself.
The others gave little thought to the planned baby. It was beyond the immediate worry and didn’t affect us personally. But my mind was on Gina and how I could help her. I had only just survived my own pregnancy and I had had good medical care and love from all my family. I felt cold, cold to the heart.
Had I started some new vampire fashion? Would lots of vampire males want to father children? And what of the vampire females, would they want to become stepmothers? I thought of the loss of human life. I thought of Gina.
I found myself a spot on the floor and sat there still, shocked, horrified.
The discussion went on for nearly an hour, until Carlisle looked at the clock and said that he had to go for his shift at the hospital.
He turned to our guests, “Nahuel, Huilen. It may be best if you were not here when Demetri comes to call. I do not wish to ask you to leave but for your own safety I must ask you to think about what you want to do. You know you have our thanks for what you have done for us, and I owe you for the safety of all my family. You are welcome here at any normal time.”
It was Huilen who spoke this time. She spoke simply in her heavy accent. “We will leave before he arrives.”
Carlisle smiled warmly at her. “That is for the best. We can visit you before long, and maybe meet Nahuel’s sisters if that is possible.”
The others continued to speculate after Carlisle had gone, Emmett debating with Jasper the possibility of beating Demetri in a fight. Jasper thought that if there were several of us it may be possible, but it would only bring the rest of the guard down on us, a battle which we would not win this time.
Alice touched me lightly on the arm, tutting at my pants and jumper combination. My favorite sister was never happy with my lack of fashion sense. But she could see the future, and would have known the day before about this particular lapse of mine. I thought to myself that I would suggest to her that she warns me in advance next time, so that I don’t disappoint her again.
“You know, I thought you would have learned a little by now Bella,” she chided quietly. “I will just have to take you back to your cottage and show you how to match up those pants myself. I didn’t spend weeks putting together your wardrobe for you to use it like this.”
That morning I must have really gotten under her skin. How could she care so much about fashion when she’d just given us the news about Demetri? Really. It made no sense.
I looked down at my outfit. It didn’t look that bad to me. I’d made sure that some of the threads in the jumper were exactly the same tone as the pants, but if it made her happy we could be home and back in a very short time. A few minutes out of the house would do me some good.
“Edward,” she chimed. “I’m taking Bella back to your cottage, can you look after Nessie by yourself?” The look on her face one of great effort.
He smiled warmly at her. “By myself? I don’t think that I will ever be allowed to look after Nessie by myself. She has too many fans for that.” He looked quizzically at her while he made his answer, as if they were having another inaudible conversation but failing to understand each other.
It was true. Most of the room were watching Nessie again, just waiting to see what she would do next, fascinated by her. Her Aunt Rose and Grandma Esme sat on the floor with her.
“We’ll see you soon,” Alice chimed again, wincing with effort, like a small child trying to remember a really difficult times table sum.
As soon as she said this I looked around the gathering to smile a normal goodbye. Then I saw him, Nahuel. He was staring at me. Staring at me with total adoration in his eyes as if I were the only thing he could see in the world. The only thing he had ever seen. Like a blind man seeing the sun for the first time.
Oh no... no please no, I screamed inside my head. My face turned from a smile to sheer dread, his calm face turning from adoration to puzzlement at my expression.
Edward stiffened beside me, but said nothing.
Alice tugged my sleeve and we were off through the patio doors at the rear of the house, running back to my cottage hand in hand. I was only too glad to go, and Alice's excuse was perfect.
As soon as we were over the river she said in a very hushed voice, “Shield me, stop him reading my mind.”
New posting Chapter 55 - Postscript
I try to leave a chapter with my readers wanting to read at least the first bit of the new chapter. How else would I get you to read on?
I'll post again next week after editing - there is another one of my favourite chapter soon so I'd like to get that out for Christmas.
Great chapter! Interesting that Alice can see the intruder, while the others who are actually there can only see a blur. Hopefully Edward will be able to hear him/her! Interesting power... Who could be behind all this and why? Please update as soon as you can.
Thank you for the comment.
Your right it does seem a bit odd a the moment about Alice. I don't think that her visions are ever through someone eles eyes, more as if she is a 'fly on the wall' or 'a fly that flies around a bit' at the time and place of her vision.
I'm sure that many readers will have a theory about who the intruder is but less theories so on why he/she is doing what they are doing.
I'm really going nuts here. I need to find out more. I hope you have another up soon.
you know I'll post soon!!! lol
I'm thinking of going for a regular once a week on a certain day - what do you think? I'm not sure my editor can cope with more than that! He (yes he!) would go mad.
Do you think people would go for a PDF version if I offered it? This is getting long and I’m not sure if folks would prefer to cuddle up with a e book reader to read something of this length – have you ever gone down this route?
You must have a theory as to who it is too me it is sooo obvious. Just give me the first letter of the name. Please remember, I’m sticking to a ‘pure’ fan fic here and making up as little as possible myself.
Doing a specific day to post could be great for some and not others. It would really depend on whether or not you know for sure that you would be able to or you may have some upset readers coming after you, LOL. It shuld be tailored to your schedule. I'm sure (HE) could do once a week, lol.
I have never done PDF so I really wouldn't know, but I'm sure some would rather it be that way. You could have that as an alternative source if you could manage both...?
If I even think about saying who I think it is then it won't be that person so I'm not saying. I have bad luck when I say who I think it is, lol. i will wait, but not sure how much longer I can do that...Hint, hint...lol.
Thanks for your reply.
I'm coming towards the end of what I would call 'part one' of the plot soon enough so maybe I'll suggest that people can contact me for a PDF if they want to for that section to catch up and just keep posting as normal for part 2. That would be less work for me.
I know this is plot is getting long - and will be a lot longer yet, so it may just be that much easier to read as a PDF.
I'll have a think which day would be best ... maybe Thursday to be ready for the weekend. After all I can have it ready to go and just wait until the correct day. Maybe I'll try it for a few weeks without announcing very loud that is what I'm doing.
Ah the plot ... lots of twists and turns and many many more chapters to come, I hope that folks aren't going to get fed up with it, there will some be answers along the way. But answers just lead to more questions don't they.
Carlisle sounded relieved. “Hello Edward. We are all in one piece. There was someone here that we couldn’t see, in the house. It's the same person who was here before - the scent is the same. He is the one causing the nausea, we are sure now. Eleazar is bad again although Alice didn’t see him near Eleazar in particular. The rest of us feel slightly sick, but not too bad out here in the fresh air. It could be he's using a gas to cause the sickness.”
“Where is he now?”
“Alice says that he's run off into the forest. We could follow the scent but if we can’t see him and he's making us sick there really is little point following him. We don’t know what he's capable of. Too much of this gas could be dangerous."
“Alice is looking out for his return," Carlisle continued, "but he hasn't made a decision to come back yet so she can’t see him here. That could be the last we see of him, or smell of him.”
“Do you want me to come out there and try to read his thoughts? It may be safer. I can get a bit of a direction on the thoughts if I concentrate, but it isn’t precise.” Edward was playing with the car keys in his hands. “I can leave Bella and Nessie and be with you in no time. They are in no danger here.”
Carlisle continued ruefully, “I’m not sure about that. I don’t know how much of our conversations our mystery visitor overheard. Just before I phoned you, Carmen and I were having a discussion about the Hotels in Anchorage and I mentioned where you were. It is possible he may of heard us. Alice doesn’t see him with you, but he is going towards a city where he has a hideout, and there aren't many cities in Alaska. I wouldn’t want you to leave Bella and Nessie alone. Edward, there are six of us here. We should be able to cope with one lone vampire and we have Kate and Eleazar's special talents on our side too. Besides which, all this person has done so far is to make people sick. He hasn’t tried to do more than that. Let’s stick to the original plan. Bring Bella and Nessie over here first thing in the morning. The family are all very much looking forward to seeing you, especially Nessie.”
Edward immediately gave way, as he always did to Carlisle. “Well, maybe we need to think about how he is making you all nauseous. If we can come up with a countermeasure then no one will have any problems with this stranger.”
“Eleazar is having a lot of difficulty talking about it. Each time he thinks about the stranger he starts to feel ill. In fact he has gone back into the house and put the television on loud to drown out our conversation. I wish he could tell us more about the stranger's talents, but he just cannot. Maybe he needs a bit of time to get over it. I know the vampire can make himself almost invisible, and can make us sick, but is there more?”
Edward raised an eyebrow, “Almost invisible?”
“Well, we can’t see a person, just a shimmering, like a sight disturbance that humans sometimes get. You don’t notice it unless you are looking for it or directly at it.”
Then the speculating started in earnest. I went to phone Alice again.
"Hi there, are you OK?”
“Uhmm, as long as I don’t look at how sick the others are, I’m fine. He hasn't made any decisions other than to go back to his hideout. They are not in imminent danger but I think I ought to go and concentrate on him to make sure I give Carlisle as much notice as I can. So bye for now, kiss Nessie for me.”
Edward was pacing up and down the room. “I should go out there right now.”
“No, Carlisle said to wait. There is no immediate danger,” I retorted.
“Yes , I know, I know. I just want to do something,” the exasperation in his voice echoing in the lines on his forehead.
“But you are doing something, you're staying here keeping us safe. We need to make sure that Nessie doesn’t come into contact with the gas or whatever it is. If it can make vampires sick just think what it could do to her." I shuddered as I said it, and saw Edward’s face bleach.
Edward came to his senses. “Alice will call us if he decides to come looking for us, and we’ll move.”
He fell silent and still, concentrating on the thoughts of the people all around us.
After a few minutes I put the television on to release some of the tension. It was the local news, about a missing journalist who was doing a piece on the homeless in winter but never came back in from the cold. He had only been missing 36 hours. I thought that it wasn’t so newsworthy. If anyone else went missing for 36 hours no one would bat an eyelid. It was only because he was a journalist, one of their own. More than likely he would turn up again unharmed. Maybe he was too convincing in his disguise as a homeless drunk and he was in some police cell somewhere. It is good to have powerful friends, though. I remembered the time Charlie had put up pictures of Jacob in Forks when he had gone walk about, or should I say run about in his case. Even the local paper would only put the story on page six.
By the morning, Carlisle had rung again and said that they all felt fine now. He seemed quite interested in Edward’s gas theory as he couldn't think of any medical explanation.
Edward took Nessie down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast while I stayed in the room to pack and check for any evidence that we were anything but a normal family. As I stood up quickly after retrieving Nessie's socks from under the bed I felt a sharp pain and an urge that I’d not felt in months. My bathroom moment, that Alice had so humiliatingly foreseen, had arrived. The pain was short lived and not too uncomfortable, more unnerving really. I made two mental notes. The first was to ask Carlisle about newborn anatomy. Obviously the ability to eat a little food was due to my newness and would pass with time. Second, if I did take to eating now and then, to change the bathroom to metal rather than ceramic fixtures, as they would have more chance against the movements of a vampire.
As soon as they were back from breakfast we were on our way to Denali. I’d already called Alice who said that there was still no change in the stranger's behavior, and he had made no decisions.
We neared Tania’s and stopped at a high point in the road to call Carlisle again, just in case, and to let Nessie out of the car to look at the view.
He spoke to Edward, “We are all fine again, even Eleazar ...”
My phone rang again. It was Alice. “Hi Alice ..."
“Get out of there. He is coming. He was wandering in the forest and has just seen you on that ridge. He is running towards you.”
Edward froze. “I can hear someone,” he hissed, almost silently. “He thinks we are a threat that he needs to check out. Let’s get Nessie out of here.”
We had no way of turning the car. The snow was piled three feet high along each side of the narrow track. We had no time.
We were out of the car in a flash and ran back along the track the way we had come. Even with Nessie on his back Edward was still faster than me.
Please comment on the chapter when you've read it. It means a great deal to me to know that you are reading my story.
Intriguing! I wonder what is happening here? Please update soon so we can find out!
many thanks for you comment.
Yes indeed, I'm trying to create some suspense as to who and why this stranger is here and what can be done about them.
How can the threat that they pose be contained?
“He’s going to cut us off by taking the direct route to the road,” Edward growled.
“You go off the track with Nessie, and I’ll try to slow him down. We can’t risk her getting gassed. If it can do that to Carlisle it will kill her. Get right away from here and then phone the others to come and help me. If it’s only one person we should be able to out-maneuver him somehow, gas or no gas, invisible or not.” The panic in my voice was evident but this seemed like the best plan. “I can’t run as fast as you, I’d be really slow if I was carrying Nessie. If he got round you and followed me he could soon catch up with us. You are so much faster, you can keep her out of danger better than I can. Go, please go!”
His face answered. He didn’t want to go. He was about to argue the point but I countered before he began. “It's your duty as a father.”
Edward didn’t argue. He veered off to the West and left me running down the track. I was on hyper alert listening for any sounds of someone running. Maybe I could floor him before he could gas me. What sort of gas was it that hurts vampires? I heard the footsteps coming towards me, muted by the snow but unmistakable to my ears. He could run fast, faster than me, but not as fast as Edward. That was good. Edward and Nessie had a head start. If things went badly for me they would get away. Nessie would never get near the gas.
He cut round at an angle to close my escape. I stopped breathing, hoping it would extend my fight time if there was gas about. As the footsteps grow closer I turned to look at my attacker. He was handsome, no doubt about that, blond hair, maybe early twenties when he was changed. His eyes were red, not the dark crimson of an old vampire but not the vivid red of a young one either. Not old or brand new, maybe around the year mark I thought. That was good, I would be stronger than him and he may not be that experienced at fighting. He pulled up short when he saw me looking directly into his eyes. A growl came all the way from deep within my chest erupting out of my throat and mouth. I quickly stifled it. I couldn’t afford to waste my good air that way. He growled back but soon quietened, standing poised to defend himself. He didn’t crouch to attack as I’d expected. He must have been used to taking people by surprise. He was not used to a fair fight. I’d show him.
He stared at me, concentrating really hard for five seconds or more. This must be a psychological prelude to the fight I thought, but the expression in his eyes turned from quizzical to exasperated to fear. I waited, crouched into an attack stance like I’d been taught by Emmett in my training. Then he turned and ran back the way he came. I was after him in an instant, traveling faster than I’d ever done before, the snow flying up in powdery clouds where my powerful feet hit the ground.
I had to defeat this vampire. My child's life depended on it.
He was faster than me - I’d been right about that. He was getting away. I saw my chance in a clearing in the forest. I sprang at his back and he was on the floor in a second and we were wrestling on the cold snow. His foot connected with my knee sending blistering pain along my leg. I went for his face, but he was defending it well. I went for his hands, making sure he could not use them on the gas canister that he must be hiding. I knew as soon as he gassed me I would lose. Would I lose my life? Would the others come to help before he could burn me? I caught one of his hands and crushed it, there was a keen sound as some part of it broke off. He shrieked in pain. One down I thought. But he was up on his feet again. I could see his mangled hand loose at his side. He managed a roundhouse kick to my stomach, launching me through the air. I landed hard against a tree, the air whooshing from me. But this guy was not Emmett. It was not so hard as the training I’d done with my big bear of a brother. I took a breath. The air was fine - I could only smell our two scents over the normal outdoor smell. Another wild growl ripped from me.
I crouched and sprang again, trying to speed up my movements to confuse him. He tried to keep me back but I had him. He was no warrior, and the small amount of training I’d had gave me another edge on top of my strength. I blocked his lunge and suddenly his face was exposed. Charlie’s words echoed in my head from when I broken my hand hitting Jacob, “You didn’t keep your thumb inside your fist, did you?” I made sure my thumb was out and this time, my right hook was more effective than the one I used on Jacob as a human. I launched my opponent off his feet. He went spiraling through the air, snapping a medium sized spruce tree with his shoulder and finishing his flight by smashing his head into a large boulder. He was face down in the deep snow gathered at it’s base. I heard him groaning as I ran after to make sure that he didn’t recover. Within a moment I had my knees on his back, his arms pulled out behind him. He was helpless. I’d won.
My euphoria was amazing. My first true vampire fight and I’d won. The pain in my leg and stomach seemed a small price to pay for this amazing feeling. The first time in my life or lives I’d been able to defend myself and come out the victor.
After a couple of seconds panting I thought to check his pockets for gas canisters. Nothing. He was still groaning and docile but I was waiting for this to end, for this to be a trick.
I suddenly realized that we couldn’t stay like this for ever. I was the victor, I got to decide what happened next, he wasn’t going to dictate that. I’d never been in this position before, needing to decide anybody's fate. It was a strange responsibility. I thought for a moment. I could pull his arms off. It would be easy enough in this position, and after that he’d not be in any state to defend himself as I took the rest of him apart. But I rejected that - I didn’t want to kill him. He’d done me no harm before the fight and had only caused temporary inconvenience to my extended family. A death sentence seemed a bit of an overreaction.
I opted for the easiest and least scary option.
“Help! Someone help me! I’ve got him!” I screamed.
Tania arrived nearly instantaneously but fell to her knees retching and clasping her stomach. Carlisle was hard on her heels but was sick as soon as he reached the clearing.
“Carlisle, what’s wrong, is there another one?” I yelled.
“Bella?” he gasped between retches, “Where are you? I can’t see you," vomiting again.
Then it struck me. I wasn't sick, I could see this vampire. I wasn’t affected the same way as the others. I was shielded ... he was playing a mind trick.
I pushed my shield away from my body and over Tania and Carlisle, feeling their life force protected under it.
Carlisle called but stayed where he was. ”I can see you both now. Was it him doing that? Ooh, I still feel bit sick though,” and he promptly retched again, blood coming out of his mouth.
I heard another set of footstep running up to us and I aimed my shield out into the forest to meet the newcomer. It was Kate, as I had thought. She took in the scene, with me pinning down an unknown vampire, and her sister clearly the worse for wear but now just sitting in the snow. Fury spasmed through her. She had worked out the situation and knew that this vampire was the cause of it. She was immediately on the snow next to me, beside my captive, shocking him. Her talent for debilitating an opponent was most prevalent in her palms and she had one on the back of his neck.
“You *******!” she shouted, “you thought you’d have fun making us all sick did you, you thought you’d hide and get away with it.”
I saw his body jerk and twist, his muffled screams coming from the snow.
A few more shocks and he was still. But Kate carried on, her frustration and grief sending her almost demented.
“Enough Kate,” I said quietly.
“It's never enough,” Kate snarled, continuing her attack.
I pulled back my shield from her and she fell away from him retching. The blood in her must have been older - it was black as it came out.
The others were there and I shielded each one as they came into view. First Garrett, then Carmen, and finally Eleazar.
“Hold her and I’ll shield her again,” I screamed at Garrett. I pushed the shield back over her and she rose out of the snow. Garrett grabbed her before she could start on my captive again. She didn’t try to shock Garrett this time and gave in with a furious stare.
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