Chapter One


It was a nightmare, one I couldn't break free of however hard I tried. The blood was everywhere, the metallic scent of it almost overwhelming and making me heave. The floor was slick with it and I slid, crashing to the tiles leaving a bloody skid mark where I went. I lifted my hands to see they too were now bloody and tried desperately to wipe it off on my sweater. Where had it all come from? I checked my hands once more, no cuts and I felt no pain except for my bruised backside as I'd landed heavily on it.

The kitchen was empty but a trail of wet blood glistened leading to the door into the hall. I took a deep breath trying to steady my heart which was trying to hammer its way through my ribs. With a still bloody hand I turned the handle and slowly opened the door, or tried to, something was stopping it from opening wide.

I wriggled through and gasped in horror to see Charlie lying senseless on the hall floor, blood seeping from a terrible wound in his neck. I flung myself down beside him and felt for a pulse, So relieved to find one that I began to cry, my tears falling to mingle with his blood. Looking around I spied his scarf dangling over the banister and grabbing it tied it too tightly around the wound packed with strips torn from my shirt. I couldn't leave him like this, he could hardly breathe but I had to get help.

I ran back into the kitchen and grabbed the phone dialing 911 and almost screaming at the dispatcher to send an ambulance. It took her a few vital seconds to calm me enough to give her a coherent address but I couldn't stay on the line, Charlie needed me. Running back into the hall I loosened the scarf slightly, relieved that the flow of blood had slowed but terrified it might mean he was dying.

The ambulance seemed to take forever to arrive but finally I heard sirens and first Andy, Charlie's deputy and another officer, and then the paramedics arrived and after a quick look at Charlie they scooped him up and took him off in the ambulance. I was reluctant to go with him for one reason only. What other than a vampire could have caused such a wound? I had to see what Andy found out first so I put on a show of stumbling to the bathroom promising to follow the ambulance to the hospital shortly.

I found I could hear Andy and the other officer talking as I opened the door and listened carefully.

"It's a real mess in here Andy looks like Bella fell in the blood when she found him. What the hell could have done that to the Chief?"

"I don't know. I guess we'll have to wait for the doctor's report."

"The paramedics said it looked like an animal attack but in his own house? How crazy is that?"

"Seal off the area. I'll send the crime technicians to sort out what happened then take Bella to the hospital."

An animal attack? I doubted that, no, this was a vampire but who? If only the Cullens were still here, at least they might be able to help me find out but then they had gone, they didn't care and I was left with Charlie almost murdered by one of their own. I was grateful for the ride to the hospital, especially as it gave me a chance to organize my thoughts before making a statement. Andy didn't press me, he was going to do this by the book, and was content to let me sit quietly after asking if I was OK.

It seemed hours before I was allowed in to see Charlie who was barely conscious and hooked up to monitors and a drip replenishing all the blood he had lost. It occurred to me then that this couldn't be a vampire or Charlie would be transforming. I couldn't see a vampire feeding on him and then sucking the venom out as Edward had for me, or in spite of my wishes I should say. Could it really be an animal? The only animal I could think of that might come into a house seemed improbable, to say the least, the Quileutes were Charlies closest friends.

Oh, Edwards parting shot had been to tell me what my "precious Jake" really was. He didn't want me but he didn't want Jake to have me either. I hadn't believed him but I'd had to ask Jake none the less and found to my horror it was all true. By coming to live in Forks with my dad I had walked right into a Gothic horror story. Vampires had done me no favors and I wasn't taking any chances with werewolves either so I cut Jake and the rest of the Quileutes off although I promised to keep their secret, I didn't think they were any danger to Charlie. Had I been wrong?

I stayed at Charlie's side until Andy insisted he needed a statement. Reluctantly I went with him to a visitor's room the doctor had made available for him. Once sitting down I told him as calmly as I could what I had seen which wasn't anything really. The attack was over before I got home from the store. I wish now I had driven there, I'd have been home sooner but it was a nice evening, no rain and the sun was shining so I decided to walk. It was only a few blocks and I could do with the fresh air after being cooped up in school all day.

"The doctor is puzzled by the wound. He says it looks like human teeth caused it but I can't imagine anyone doing that, they'd have to be crazy."

My breath caught in my throat, human teeth? Was I wrong then? What the hell was going on?

"There are some real sickos in this world Bella, I'm going to check the local mental institutions and surrounding police departments. Do you want a ride home? Or….I guess going home is out of the question until the crime technicians are finished. Is there somewhere I can take you? A friend's?"

I shook my head,

"If I can just collect some of my stuff I'll get a motel room. I can't cope with talking about it right now."

"I'm not sure you should be alone Bella, we don't know what's going on but if you insist I'll leave a patrol car outside your room to watch out for you."

Going back into the house after reassuring myself that Charlie was going to be OK and promising to visit the next day was the hardest thing I had ever done. I felt sick to my stomach and grabbed the first things I saw before bolting from the house. Andy took me to the motel on the edge of town and explained the situation so the manager gave me the best and most private room while the patrol car glided up and parked where the officer could see my door.

Once inside I dumped my clothes, stiff with dried blood into the evidence bag which I left outside my door as arranged with Andy. I showered, rubbing my hands until they were sore in an effort to make sure all traces of Charlie's blood was gone, then put on clean sweats and checked to see the bag had been collected. The officer in the car put a hand up in greeting and I returned it relieved the bag was gone.

Laying on the bed I thought about what I knew, something had attacked my dad between my going to the store and my return but he didn't get home until about ten minutes before I did so the window of opportunity was small. The attacker was certainly fearless and strong if he managed to overcome Charlie who had managed to tell Andy that he didn't see who attacked him, just heard the door open and then everything went black.

"I was reaching for a cloth, I just cut my hand on the damn knife I was using to pry a lid off. I know, stupid move, then bam."

Something woke me in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and I ran to the bathroom vomiting up everything in my stomach until my chest ached. I couldn't remember my dream but it had been so vivid at the time. Deciding I wouldn't get back to sleep any time soon I sat in the chair and turned on the T.V not even noticing which program was on. Then it happened, like a movie in fast-forward and I knew beyond a doubt what had happened and what I must do.