Hi! It's been awhile, but I'm back with a new story. It's a BPOV and EPOV, E/B romance (HEA), all human, crime drama. As usual, prepare for twists, turns, as well as suspense and mystery. It's just not fun any other way. ;)
Warnings: This story will include descriptions of violence.
I own nothing that has to do with the wonderful creation that is twilight. All rights belong to Stephanie Meyer. I am not associated with the franchise and no copyright infringement is intended. The original aspects of this story belong to me.
Thank you to LostIn PA for agreeing to be my beta. I'm so thankful that she agreed to go on another crazy journey with me. She is the best!
This is simply a taste of the mystery to come.
Edward Cullen believed that his new assignment was a waste of time until he meets a woman who intrigues him like no other. Bella Swan's talents hold no bounds, yet she heading towards an impossible battle. Thrust into a world where friends and enemies are difficult to discern, they must work together to solve this case before the pattern shifts and everything is lost.
"Sometimes the hardest person to walk away from is the person you've always assumed you were."
My oldest memories are like fractured shards of glass, blurry and distorted. People tell me that it is because of the accident, the specifics of which are lost to me. No matter how hard I pull on the recesses of my mind, they have remained frustratingly out of reach.
"What do you see?"
The susurrus words break through my consciousness as coiled images whirl around me. The warped colors make it impossible to distinguish anything tangible. My stomach revolts, searing me from the inside as it fights against itself. I don't know if I can do this. To the right, a shadowy figure emerges. My breath falters, panic closing off my air.
"Deep breaths. Remember, you are only an observer. Nothing can hurt you here."
I force myself to suck in a mouthful of sour air, slowly pushing it back out through my nose. One, two, three, four, five. Panic transforms into cold detachment. Watch and report. That is my only job here today.
"What do you see?"
The background swirls again, becoming clearer. "I see a room."
The bleakness stands out in the harsh neon light. A metal table and two chairs sit in the middle of the emptiness. A mirror covers the left wall; it is most likely a two-way. The clinical environment evokes discomfort and apprehension. This is a room created to break people.
"Is anyone in the room with you?"
The figure on my right moves again. "Yes. A man."
"Do you recognize the man?"
His face is dark, nothing but a black hole. "No," I grouse. "I can't see his face." The swirling darkness makes me wonder if he is even human.
"Is anyone else in the room?"
A child appears at the table. "Yes, a girl." Given her small frame, she can't be older than eight or nine.
"Do you recognize the girl?"
She seems familiar, yet her features are unclear. The strange distortion unnerves me as much as the swirling blackness of the man. "I don't know. It's hard to tell."
The panic starts to win again. A warm sensation on my hand impedes it; a new voice whispers into my ear, "I've got you. I'm not going to let anything happen."
"What is the man doing with the girl?" The first voice asks bringing my attention back to the mission.
The man places several things on the table. "They are playing a game."
"What kind of game?"
I recognize the objects as the pieces of a three-dimensional puzzle. The man continues to spread them out before placing a device on the table. It has a timer. I watch with detached curiosity as he sets the alarm, engaging what I know to be a bomb.
"Today I have a difficult challenge for you." His words are strangely familiar.
"I'm ready," the girl responds enthusiastically.
"This is a puzzle, similar to the ones you have done before." She nods her head. He points to the device. "This is a ticker. Do you remember what that is?"
"An explosive device that is triggered by a timer," she rattles off immediately.
"Very good. It's similar to the ones you have disarmed before." The girl nods her head again, seemly unfazed by this information. I, however, am fighting to remain just an observer, my skin tingling with unease. The man raises his finger to waggle it at her. "But, this is not like before. This bomb," he reaches forward to caress the timer, "is not pretend."
The little girl's head snaps up. "I don't understand."
"You need to disarm this before it kills you, me, and all of your other friends in this building."
"I'm not ready!" she screeches. "What if I mess up? I don't want anyone to die."
"Then you better put into practice what you have learned. And you better do it now." He presses the button slowly. The red numbers immediately start counting down the time until detonation.
The girl crumbles, tears pouring from her distorted face. I want to protect her. I want to save her. Her hands shake as she tries to put the puzzle together, the pieces falling as soon as she puts them up. The numbers are merciless, mocking her with its ticks. I hate the man for doing this to her, and I hate her for allowing it.
The man slams his hand onto the table. "You know what you need to do! Focus!" The girl looks into the blackness; her terror-filled eyes vivid on her otherwise unrecognizable face. "Focus!"
Like throwing a switch, her eyes lose all emotion, her tears abruptly ending. Concentrating on the table with a stern determination, she stares the pieces down. Taking a deep breath, she uses her now steady hands to assemble them quickly. Once complete, she moves over to the device, and with the efficiency of a veteran bomb-squad officer, disables it. The timer clicks to a stop with just five seconds to spare.
"See, you can do it when it matters," the man proclaims. "You don't get chances in the field. You do what you need to do to survive. There is no other option."
"No other option," the girl mimics robotically.
"Exactly." He pets her hair before patting her shoulder and stepping back. "Okay, you're free to go back to your room."
Shaking her head, the girl breaks free of her emotionless yoke. Her now bright and hopeful eyes search the man's face. "Are you proud of me?"
"Always," he whispers sincerely. "You're very special to me." He unexpectedly turns, seemingly staring right at me. "You'll always be special to me."
The man's face swiftly morphs from blackness into one that is chillingly familiar. I feel a surge of adrenaline as blood pounds at my temples. The unimaginable sight alters reality, stripping away all of my safety nets as the unbearable truth of my existence crashes in around me. A horrifying scream fills the room as the scenery swirls once again, pulling me into a void of shifting colors and patterns.
I am truly alone.
Next up, the adventure begins. But until then, here is a teaser of chapter one. See you next week!
The buzzing of my phone disrupts the exasperated thoughts. Hoping that circumstances have changed and HQ is calling to cancel the mission, I reach across and hit the speaker button. "Cullen."
"You'll never guess what happened," Jasper's muted voice comments as if we are already in the middle of a conversation.
"The case broke?" Just my luck, I'm on a shit assignment, and he gets the break.
"In a manner of speaking, these jerks actually switched from pizza to Chinese. Can you believe it? I almost called the papers."
I can't help but laugh at his sarcasm. "Wow. I'd get ready. Shit is going down for sure."
"Fuck you! I can't believe that you abandoned me."
"If it's any consolation, I'm regretting it."
"The assignment not as choice as you thought?"
"No." There is nothing more to say, not that I can say anything anyway. "Shit," I growl as the jeep hits a jarring hole.
"I'm good, but I'd better go. I'm close to the target."
"Okay. Head down, and call me when you can."
Jasper is the closest thing to family that I have, being partners in the CIA for seven years will do that to you. Looking around, I'm lamenting not having him here to watch my back. This assignment has my Spidey sense is in full-blown alarm mode, and the lack of information isn't helping.