Disclaimer - All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyers
Endless thanks and love to my favorite girls,
my boo Carrie ZM for betaing, and
Planetblue and Robsmyyummy Cabanaboy for prereading,
You three are the best!
"He's got her."
Slumping into his seat at the table, Mike straightens his shirt and stares at the floor.
"Look at me," Charlie orders. "Where's he taking her?"
Mike's eyes snap to the chief's, looking pained. "I swear, Charlie. I have no idea."
"The place that only she knows," Leah says from the doorway before darting in front of me with the quad notebook open. "Mike, where is the place that only she knows?"
I step closer to see the drawing she's showing him on the back of Bella's page. It's a sketch of a large bent branch beneath what looks like some hemlock trees.
Mike squints at the sketch, then looks up at each of us. "That looks like my mom's favorite spot. It's where she said she saw the Red-throated hummingbird."
"Where is it?" Charlie and I shout in near unison.
"At the end of Hoh Valley Road. About a couple hundred feet from the Spruce Nature Trail."
I glance at the chief. "We don't have cameras there."
Sliding his hat on his head, Charlie turns. "Who do you think installed the cameras for me?"
"Fuck," I mutter, rushing out behind him.
"Sam, stay with Mike," Charlie orders as he leaves. "Make sure he doesn't call anyone and don't let him out of your sight. Understand?"
"Got it, Chief."
Leah jogs up behind us, already radioing for back-up. "Dispatch, this is Deputy Clearwater." A crackling voice sounds from the radio telling her to go ahead. "Dispatch, we have a 10-31 at the end of Hoh Valley Road. Requesting assistance in the apprehension of suspe—"
"Silent run," Charlie cuts in, opening the driver side door and climbing in.
Leah nods and continues, "suspect – Chief Swan requests a silent run, no lights, no sirens. Suspect's name is Tyler Newton."
I slip into the back seat while Leah gets in front, still rattling off the situation and requesting that dispatch call in all surrounding county law enforcement for assistance. We barely get the door shut before Charlie peels out.
The engine growls as he floors it, speeding through the streetlight-lined streets to the looming darkened forest. My mind spins, wavering between fearing the worst and praying that she's not with him. Sucking in a shaky breath, I glance down at my hands gripping the tops of my thighs.
"She's gonna be fine," Charlie says in an even tone. He stares at the road, sitting straight as a board. His worried expression betrays his confident words. "She's strong and she's smart." His voice breaks. "And she'll figure out a way. I know my girl."
"Here," Leah says, slipping a flashlight between the seats. "Do you have your gun?"
"Shit," I hiss, clutching my hair tightly.
Turning in her seat, she stares at me seriously. "You packed i—"
"It's fine," Charlie interrupts, "we'll apprehend."
I nod, squeezing the heavy flashlight in my grasp and cursing the TSA for their operational need rule for law enforcement to carry their firearms on a plane. We turn onto Hoh Valley Road and speed down the street, zipping past the dead-end sign. The tires screech as he pulls off the pavement into the gravel at the side of the road. I bound out of the car like I'm spring-loaded, taking off into the trees along the trail and hearing the chief and Leah's steps behind me.
"Bella," the chief booms as the twigs and brush crack beneath our feet. "Bella!"
"Look for the lights," I yell, aiming my flashlight at the branches in all directions.
The chief falls behind, but Leah keeps right up. "There," she shouts, "three o'clock!"
I glance to my right, seeing a faint light coming through the trees.
"LOOK AT ME!" I hear a voice roar from that direction sounding strained and angry.
The rough gasp that follows sets my entire body on edge. My heart hammers in my chest as I pick up the pace, bounding over fallen trees and moss-covered rocks. The lights grow slightly brighter as I approach. Beneath the curved branch, he's looming over her bound, nearly naked body. His eyes are crazed, mouth and nose bloodied, and his hands are wrapped tightly around her neck. Gritting his teeth, he exerts every ounce of energy into taking her life.
But she fights.
She defies him, struggling against her restraints and trying to get to her feet. Her eyes are wide, expression terrified. But still she fights.
He never sees me coming.
Wrapping my arms around his waist, I tackle him and my flashlight clatters to the ground. We fall with a thud onto a tarp laid out at the base of a tree. His head slams back against an exposed limb and he winces and groans before opening his eyes. A sinister bloodied grin spreads across his face and he chuckles. "You're too late."
I lift him up and smash him back down again which only makes him laugh harder. Incensed, I pull him up to his feet which proves to be a mistake when he barrels into me, knocking me back to the ground. We wrestle a bit, both trying to restrain the other when Charlie comes huffing from the darkness.
Tyler's pinned beneath me, blindly reaching for something on the tarp when the chief orders him to freeze. I pull back, knowing that Charlie's got me covered when I hear a rip and feel a blinding pain in my thigh. Grounding the jagged blade into my flesh, he pulls it out roughly before pushing me back. Unable to steady myself, I wobble, trying not to let him up, but he's too fast and too strong. This time I see the knife coming and am helpless to stop it from jabbing into my chest. The pain is searing as he pushes it in further, twisting it as it goes.
"I said freeze, goddamn it!" Charlie booms, his barely contained rage evident with each word.
Withdrawing the blade, Tyler spins me roughly, securing my neck in the crook of his arm and holding his knife to my chest. My injured leg throbs and the gash on my sternum burns as blood soaks every inch of my shirt.
"Take the shot," I grunt as Tyler shields his body with mine from Charlie's glock.
Side-stepping with his arms extended and his firearm at eye-level, the chief looks for an angle in the dimly lit space.
"Take it," I grit out, remaining still.
Tightening his hold on my neck, Tyler presses the tip of the blade on the center of my chest. "You're both too late," he taunts with a laugh before his entire body goes stiff and the unmistakable crackle of a taser sounds behind us.
"Got him," I hear Leah say before I drop to the ground.
Tyler screams and curses as he falls to his knees beside me, body spasming from the probes along his back. As much as I want to look back to watch him writhe before being cuffed and dragged into custody, the urge to get to Bella proves stronger. She's lying a few feet in front of me with her eyes closed, face bruised and battered. Inching toward her, I place my head against her heart where I hear it softly thrumming and feel the rise and fall of her chest.
I smile despite the dizziness and searing pain coursing from my wounds. The wind rustles through the branches, and the lights of the bird swings spin above us. Her name falls from my lips as my eyelids lower and I surrender to the darkness.
A/N: Pals, my Google history is a hot ass mess. I watched about six taser videos, researched gun stances, read TSA rules and regulations for firearms for law enforcement on planes, and googled painful places to be stabbed. If there's no update next week it's because I was taken into custody by Homeland Security ;)
This week's chapter was a bit dark, so let's offset it with some funny. Sound off, fandom – what's the most questionable/funniest/strangest thing you've ever searched on Google?
Thanks so much to everyone who has read, reviewed, followed, fave'd, rec'd or lurked this fic. See you Thursday!