Chapter One

Witch in the Woods

"It's true, we're all a little insane.
But it's so clear,
Now that I'm unchained.

Fear is only in our minds,
Taking over all the time.
Fear is only in our minds
but it's taking over all the time.

You poor sweet innocent thing.
Dry your eyes and testify.
You know you live to break me.
Don't deny sweet sacrifice"

-Evanescence "Sweet Sacrifice"

The leaves crunch dryly under my thick sole boots. I step as gingerly as I possibly can, creeping along, trying to be as quiet as possible. The air feels thick with humidity, the smell musty and mossy. There is a small breeze, just enough to lift the tail of my hair around my back.

I am sweating underneath my leather jacket, the various knives I have strapped onto me slick against my skin. My hands feel clammy around my gun, clenched between my palms. The moon barely lights a few feet in front of me, but I can see a lighted window from the cabin, and I keep moving towards it.

My boot catches, thrusting me forward, and I step on a branch. It snaps, echoing loudly in the night. An owl answers with hoo, making a shiver tingle down my spine. I swear under my breath, glancing around in the darkness wildly.

Tonight, I am hunting a witch. We were tipped off weeks ago that there were strange activities coming from this area, and I finally located the remote cabin early this morning. I stayed hidden all day, up in a high tree, watching. I never saw much – a flash of shadow in an upstairs window here and there. I could not see the ground level at all. But, as night neared, candles flickered and lights came off and on, confirming life inside.

I am pretty biased against witches in general, thus the creeping. I could have gone to the front door, casually and collecting intel, like my hunting brothers, but I don't bother with this. I shoot the bastards first, ask later. Witches are generally fuckers and need to be wiped out. Stealing magic from the Earth and Gods, playing with things they have no business with. Messing up other lives. The few decent witches I have come across, don't let on to their magic. As soon as an outsider notices and calls us, I assume trouble. Good witches do not flaunt magic around. Bad witches always throw spells this way and that, causing mayhem. Shoot first, ask later. Safer this way.

My name is Bella Swan. Yeah, you have heard of me. My story is not what you think, though. Back when I was freshly saved from the Vamp's thrall, I needed money. And I sold my story to a writer that works with supernatural literature. My brothers have worked with her a couple times, selling some of their ghost stories for extra cash. She made my story "friendly". Turned it into something brilliant and full-scale media worthy. That was fine with me. More paycheck that way, anyway. After scraping together enough for a good lawyer, I was able to collect my deceased husband's money. Now, my hunting family and I are set for life. Story time be damned. I let the writer keep all the profits, but she occasionally sends me a check, despite the fact that I never cash them in. Some areas of my life, I would rather forget.

I am not the sweet, broken bitch you know from the books and movies. Edward never glittered, and I never loved him. We did meet back when I was in Forks, this is true. He did realize quickly that I was a null – completely unaffected by Vampire power. I was just out of high school, and using my fake ID to score at a local bar with some girlfriends. I was fairly tipsy by the time Edward sauntered in. We zoned in on each other immediately. He was gorgeous, that much was true, too. Long story short, he took me home. To my surprise, his "family" was waiting. They held me while they all took turns trying to blast me with their powers. I ended up chained in the basement of their pretty mansion. I do not even know how long I was locked down there. Long enough for my hair to get natty and my skin to smell like a sewer. Finally, they had a demon come in, along with a couple of powerful witches and a grumpy old warlock.

I spent the next eleven years of my life possessed. The witches blasted me with spells, while the demon climbed inside of me. I was somewhere in the back of my mind, watching my life unfold in front of me, vaguely feeling the things my body was doing. The vamps had killed off my family, the witches erased me from existence. I was trapped, helpless, and angry. I knew someday, I would break free and when I did… I would break them all just as badly.

I listened as the Vamps and witches made plans. They wanted my child; someone powerful enough to withstand magic and Vamp power, but pulsing with their own. A warrior. Someone to wipe out humans, to take control.

Getting my body pregnant proved difficult. After several years of fucking each other, with the witches constantly casting spells and brewing up potions, the demon and Edward got my body pregnant. I think it was painful, from what I saw. I am still glad I could not feel it. The birth, especially. My body screamed for three days, bleeding and crying. And out came a female child. The child grow from infancy to adult within a year. I watched them train her. The Vamps took over teaching her to be swift, light, and strong. The warlock taught her to curse from within her mind; no need to speak. The witches showed her potions and object spells. The demon possessing me fed her my blood, fused with demon. This added power she did not even need. She quickly progressed, far beyond the powers of any of us. Completely unaffected when the others shot power at her, she blasted it back at them tenfold. She was unstoppable. Her hair was long and brown, like mine. She had my blue eyes, my smile. But I only saw that smile once, when she broke Edward down with a snap of her fingers. He writhed in pain, begging and screaming. She laughed. She was a killer. They named her Renesmee.

Then one day, during an outdoor training session, the mansion was ambushed. Three hunters came out of the woods, guns blazing, ready to kill. Renesmee sneered at them, and walked off into the woods, paying them no mind. Paying her family no mind. They killed off the vamps, and the witches. They all fought hard, and one hunter left the battle with a broken leg, one with several broken ribs and a nasty hex that kept making his nose bleed. The third healed himself straightaway, but too tired to heal the others. The demon did not even stick around to be eliminated. It left my body and flew off into the sky. Coward. They released me fully from my possession, helping me to climb back into my body, and for the first time, I could feel. I admit, I cried like a fucking baby for hours. I cried harder when they told me my spawn had escaped into the mountains. I vowed to join them, and asked them to train me. They did. I hunted with them for three years, and now am on my own, still communicating jobs back and forth with the boys. Occasionally Castiel would pop up and make me piss my pants. Asshole. He never called ahead.

Cas was an angel, with a long history with his two brothers. Not blood related, of course. But brothers anyway. Sam and Dean really were brothers, and the closest family I had. Sam was tall and broad, with beautiful shaggy hair and a quirky smile. He spent most of his time reading and writing (secretly) fanfiction. Dean was lean and all bad boy, using his goods looks every chance he had. I still don't know what he enjoys more. Sex, pie, or hunting.

The boys had set up home in an old bunker by the time I came into their lives. They gave me a room and we took care of each other. I cooked, they gave me pretty guns. It worked out pretty well for all of us. I was full of rage and hate; they helped me direct it somewhere useful. I still popped in here and there, catching up, restocking on weapons and reworking hex bags when needed. I was content hunting and carrying on the family business for now. Someday, though, I would hunt down my illegitimate daughter. And slay her.

I felt a sudden increase in wind, and with it, a shiver. The temperature suddenly dropped ten degrees, all humidity fled the air. I could see my breath in front of me. What just happened? Are we dealing with a ghost? Maybe my tips were wrong – this place could be haunted. I swore again under my breath. Lauren was usually reliable with information. I hadn't prepped for spirit hunting; all I had were witch killing bullets and my blades. I vaguely wondered how the boys' hunt was going. I wouldn't mind Cas stopping by right about now. My back felt stiff from sitting against the tree for so long, and my eyes felt heavy, my only save the adrenaline rushing around inside of me.

I kept moving, despite myself. The moon suddenly broke from behind clouds, and I was awarded more visibility. I was nearing the edge of the clearing around the house. The place was actually quite beautiful. I was not able to see the ground area so well from my tree earlier in the day. This was somewhere I would choose to live, myself. Less cabin and more fairytale home. Made of part log, part brick, the two story was covered with vines. A curling cement stone-way led up to the front door, the landscape around the base bursting with lavender. There were a couple of beehives in the back, near a small pond. A garden was off to the side, well cared for. Definitely not looking like a haunting, now.

Oddly enough, I could not see any visible trails from the house into the woods. How did someone come and go for supplies? I flick my eyes back and forth, taking note of everything I could in the low light. The urge to turn away hit me forcefully. I recognized this. Earth magic, and powerful. A bonus side effect from my daughter – I was able to feel the magic, while still remaining a partial null. She had also left some magic residue in me; I was a low-key witch, myself. I could work magic, and stay unaffected by others'. This was useful when hunting, indeed. I never worked on increasing my abilities, out of resentment, though the boys all agreed I could be rather powerful if I wanted to be.

Closing my eyes, I allow the magic to wash over me, taking it in and wrapping it around myself. I opened my eyes and willed the magic to show itself to me. Someone had this place heavily warded. Not the same kind of warding I have always seen before, drawn onto the walls with blood and magic, spelled into place with glyphs. This was a different magic. It twinkled and glittered on the house, green and purple and amazing. I could feel the master's aura in the magic. Hard and steely, but the taste of honey and whiskey filled my mouth; the smell of mint and lavender assaulted my nose. Something that appeared unapproachable: a wall of solitary, but was broken. I let my mouth fall open, my heart stuttering. It was gorgeous, and gentle. But I felt an edge of danger. The magic was laced with warning. Enter at your own risk, and die.

I close my eyes briefly again, focusing on the source of the warding. I felt the tug and throb – whoever wove this spell-work was definitely still inside. I could not dampen my curiosity even if I wanted to. Whoever worked this, was fascinating and their aura was pulling me in, inviting me to come play with the fire.

I look back up at the house, and felt my body move, even though it was like moving through freezing water. My feet were heavy, but carried me closer. The aura became more intense, suddenly. The magic sparkling around the building turned red and ashy. I couldn't hear anything around me now – only the pounding in my ears from my own blood pumping fiercely. Whoever was inside was angry. Perhaps sensing my invasion? Or coincidence?

I was now wide awake, alert. A flash of panic tugged at me, urging me to turn back and leave. But I couldn't. In fact, I could not move at all. I was frozen. Tugging at myself, I tried lifting my legs. I was really stuck! What the hell? I looked down, trying not to let my fear overtake me.

The magic that was just surrounding the house was crawling up my leg, holding me hostage. This can't be happening. Magic does not work like this. Magic does not touch me and hold me, like this.

My mouth felt dry, my throat closing, my breath becoming fast and erratic. I felt another change in the aura. A strike of surprise. I looked up slowly, sensing eyes on me.

Standing outside the front door, on the beautiful entryway, was a shadow of a man. He appeared to be dressed in long, black robes; they swayed at his feet. He held his hands together in front of him, almost appearing bored. I could see the breeze lift up shaggy hair off his shoulders and sweep it around his face. Leisurely, he lifted a hand and flicked what looked like a stick into the air. The magic that was creeping up my body, currently lacing itself around my torso, vanished.

I fell forward suddenly, barely catching myself with my hands on the mossy ground, my pistol scattering along into the darkness. Damp leaves clung to my palms, and the earthy smell engulfed me. Taking a few deep breaths, I tried steading myself as I stood back up, slowly reaching behind me, feeling for a pocket on my utility belt, glancing around for my gun.

The man did not move, but stayed rather still, as if daring me to challenge him first. Though his face was completely enshrouded in shadow, I could feel his penetrating gaze on me. Breathe in, breathe out, relax. I pulled myself in, and focused on my reflex training. As fast as I could, I grabbed a spell ball from the pocket, let it roll from my sticky fingertips and launched it across the yard. It hit the target before he could act, dazzling the air around him in a yellow smoke. He didn't even flinch.

I spun on my heels and prepared to haul ass out of there. I knew I was out of my league, facing power like this. And now my damn gun was laying in the grass somewhere, soaking up the nighttime dew. All my alarm bells were blaring in my head. I needed to come back with help. I made a mad dash away, already reaching for my phone. I did not make it very far, at all.

"Alarte Ascendare!" a deep, resonating voice floated by me, right as I was lifted from my midsection straight into the air. Pulled skyward, I hung midair 10 feet high, and was suspended, floating, for several seconds. My hair fanned out around me, licking my face and neck. I lost my breath, and felt my stomach lurch, right before I smacked back into the ground. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

I had landed on my arms, my elbows taking the brunt of the hit, the rest of my body following painfully. Fuck, that hurt. I was scrambling up, trying to ignore the shooting pain in my knees, when I heard, "Petrificus Totalus!" And my entire body seized onto itself, my arms pinned at my side, my legs forced straight. I was front-down in the mud, my face thankfully turned to the side, allowing me to breathe.

Fuck, fuck, fuck. I was shit out of luck here. Done for. A fucking goner. Just like that. I had the fleeting thoughts in my mind of what the boys would say if they saw me now. All their scolding words bounced and floated in my brain, hazily.

I vaguely remember feeling hands on my upper arms, and the sensation of floating again, before I sank into a black, black unconscious.