A/N: Hey, guys. Here's a Halloween 'Trick or Treat' – it's up to you guys which one you find it to be, lol – that popped into my head. It'll be short and quick. Read the A/N at the end for a little more info.
Most characters belong to S. Meyer. The rest belong to me. The storyline belongs to me. Mistakes belong to me.
In the Mist - Chapter 1
October 31, 1959
There are so many ways our story could've ended differently. Yet, it didn't…
The backhand he gave me left behind a white, intense flash of light. It was joined by a whirring ring in my ears.
"I brought you here to impress my associates. Instead, you disappeared into the bay's mist, in the middle of nowhere, and made me look like an asshole. I-"
His words cut off.
At first, too bewildered by my rattled brain from the force of impact, I confused the flash of light and the ringing in my ears with the reason I was standing out here in the first place – admiring the perfect view.
The San Francisco Yacht Club's pristine windows provided a clear panorama of the harbor, though the bay's nightly fog and mist usually swallowed up the Golden Gate and Marin County at its other end. Dilapidated Angel Island, once an immigrant processing station, then during the Second World War, a detention center for POWs, stood mostly forgotten and practically nonexistent within the murky clouds. Most of all, the treacherous nebula made a valiant, nightly attempt at erasing from the minds of most San Franciscans the fact that the worst of the worst were housed just a hair's breadth from our homes – housed in Alcatraz.
That night, however, while Elvis crooned through the supper club's radios about rocking in jailhouses, my attention wandered beyond Michael and his associates' dull, monotone voices. Through those pristine Yacht Club's windows, the clouds dispersed over Alcatraz. The massive rock formation suddenly became visible, as if materialized out of thin air. Atop the Rock, the pale, white penitentiary glowed through its somberly dark frame, as if heralded by something otherworldly. It was then I noted the lights in the sky, the whirring in the air. It was time I excused myself.
"Please excuse me, gentlemen."
I smiled as demurely as possible at no one in particular. Dabbing my mouth with my napkin, I stood and smoothed down the fitted bodice of my pale blue taffeta dress, all to avoid Michael's murderous glare. Then, wiping away imaginary crumbs from in between my dress panels, I walked away.
I wonder…perhaps had I claimed I was headed to the restroom.
Perhaps had I met his cold, blue-eyed gaze and smiled reassuringly.
Would any of it have made any difference?
Either way, I made my way out of the supper club with my wide skirt rustling in my wake.
Outside, the bay's perpetually cold, evening air nipped at my bared arms. I hugged myself as I gazed out at the sparkling, black Pacific, it's whitewater waves crashing against treacherous rocks. It was a deceitful body of water which had sunk its fair share of boats and ships throughout history. To my left, only the Golden Gate's lights were visible; the rest of the bridge lay inundated by the vaporous gloom. The Rock, however, rose front and center, illuminated by the searchlights of a handful of helicopters and boats; surrounded by insidious cliffs and by a deep, dark abyss.
Desperate and bewildered voices arose in the air. Only a mile and a quarter away, the prisoners' howls carried in the bay's wind; fury so clear that the hairs on my arms stood on end. The guards' responding shouts sent a cold shiver up my spine. Only a mile and a quarter away. I wondered who first thought of the idea of housing the worst of the criminals only a mile and a quarter away?
It was as this thought occurred to me, as my gaze focused past the darkness to the confusion occurring a mile and a quarter away, that Michael set himself in my field of vision. He was tall, his tuxedo perfectly starched, shoes perfectly shined, face perfectly groomed, slicked-back hair in place, all for one cowlick that always fell in between his glacial eyes.
"What the fuck are you doing here?"
I kept my gaze on the whirring helicopters zig-zagging back and forth in the ebony sky, searching, shining their powerful beams.
"Michael, what do you think has happened? Do you think an inmate's escaped?"
"Don't be so fucking stupid, Bella. No one escapes Alcatraz. It's why they send the worst of the scum there."
If that was true, I vaguely wondered why he wasn't there.
"I just spent fifteen minutes walking around and looking for you. My business partners have probably left, and now that fucking deal is going to fall through, and it's all your goddamn fault."
"Didn't you present them the deal?"
"Did I present them…?" he echoed, his tone incredulous. "You were the one who was supposed to- I mean I brought you along to impress with your face at least," he hissed, attempting to save face as if I didn't know he couldn't recite the deal on his own if his life depended on it. "Instead, you've cost me the entire deal. What the fuck are you doing out here?"
The entire time he spoke, I focused on the helicopters. Then, I took in the boats, who shone their searchlights on the murky abyss below, creating concentric white circles that spiraled around and around. Foghorn moans cut through the night. Muffled voices through loudspeakers joined the melee. I hugged myself tighter.
"Something is definitely going on. You know what I think? I think someone's-"
He grabbed the sheer, lace cowl at my dress's neckline and fisted it tightly, jerking me toward him.
Perhaps, had I allowed Michael to lead me away then.
"You don't think, Bella. That's your fucking problem. You don't think, and when you try to think, you just fuck things up. Now, let's go." He tugged hard on my neckline. "You're going to apologize. We're going to go back to the supper club, and you're going to apologize to Mr. Marcus and to Mr. Aro, and then-"
His eyes narrowed into slits.
"What do you mean, no?" he asked through clenched teeth.
"It's a simple word, Michael. So simple even you should be able to understand it. No. I want to stay out here. I want to see what's going on over there. So…no."
Michael released my neckline and took a step back. It wasn't until I saw the bright lights appear even closer than they'd been, until the whirring ring rose by more than a few octaves and consumed my entire world…until I felt the stinging burn on the entire right half of my face that I realized he'd backhanded me.
"I brought you here to impress my associates. Instead, you disappeared into the mist, in the middle of nowhere, and made me look like an asshole. I-"
Perhaps, had I dropped the obstructing hand away from my throbbing face, had I looked up as soon as I heard the sudden wheezing, gurgling sounds emanating from Michael.
Perhaps had I screamed.
Perhaps had I yelled for help.
Perhaps had I tried to help.
Perhaps any or all of these would've changed the outcome.
But…I did none of them.
Instead, I waited.
I waited until his choking sounds lessened because his shallow attempts at breathing decreased as his moments of silence in between increased. With my head lowered, I waited until I saw his legs give, and he fell limply to the damp concrete – not in a heap, the way a man who's just choked on a wishbone would, or the way a man who's just suffered cardiac arrest might. No. He fell with slow, deliberate motions, the way someone who was being held…the way a dead person whose fall was being controlled by someone else, would fall.
Then and only then did I draw in a deep breath and look up.
My eyes met a set of fierce, green eyes framed by the murky mist and by the dead of night. Too dark to see his face, the only other feature I could discern was that he wore a pair of soaking wet, government-issued pajamas, with a jumbled set of letters and numbers imprinted on a pocket patch.
I offered him a languid smile.
A/N: I've got a few things going on. Usually, when I say this, it's mostly good stuff. This time, not so much. But I won't complain (too much). I'll focus on the good, and instead, I'll try to write through my stress here and there.
No update schedule this time, loves. But this is meant to be a really short, Halloween tale, so…it should be quick. ;)
As for Uprising…it'll continue at some point, but I need focus for that one, which I honestly don't have too much of at the moment. Sorry. :)
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