Ok, so I've been obsessed with these two books lately and figured, what the hell, let's combine them and see what I can come up with. So of course, the obvious-much as I'd like to, I can't lay claim to any of these characters in any way, shape or form unless I end up adding one or two that you haven't read about in the books. Enjoy!
A sickly warm breeze blew Gaia Moores long, blonde hair behind her. Why on earth she had decided to find a place in Forks, Washington she simply couldn't remember. This was the wettest, grayest and gloomiest place she could have found herself.
'But.' She told herself, 'I needed a vacation from my assignments. Especially that last case…' She carefully stored away the line of violently murdered people piling up in her mind. 'No point in lingering on that.' She scolded herself. 'I'm on break. I'll deal with those when I get back to work and can talk to Dr. Lehman again.' She shifted her black bag and started walking down the drive to her car. It was an FBI-provided car and though Gaia never paid much attention to cars, she admitted that she liked having her own transportation.
The streets were fairly empty-as was to be expected in a small town in the early morning. She parked the little black Saturn along the sidewalk and climbed out. The hot, sticky air clung to her lungs like putty and she started to walk down the street, glancing around curiously. 'This place is very quiet.' Gaia yawned. 'Just what I need.' At that moment, the bag strap broke.
'Perfect.' she thought grimly as she set the bag on the damp sidewalk and started fumbling to fix it. She straightened just in time for a large, somewhat fat man to bump into her. He wore a police uniform and Gaia's eyes skipped to his gun. She wondered idly if he'd ever needed to use it. 'Probably not. After all, this is a very tame little town.'
"Excuse me miss." He said as he stopped and stepped back. She hadn't missed that he'd called her miss instead of ma'am. 'Do I really look that young?' She wondered. 'Granted, I'm only 21, but most people say I look positively ancient.' His eyes flicked over her face in a quick, professional manner.
"You're new here." He stated. It wasn't a question.
"Yes." She stated simply, and then rationalized that it wouldn't be the worst idea to be on at least friendly terms with the local law enforcement in case something happened to come up-an occurrence Gaia wished against with all the fibers of her being.
"My name is Gaia Moore. I'm going to be spending a bit of time in Forks." She said pleasantly as she extended her hand. He shook hers. 'Strong grip.' She noted. 'He likes to be in charge. And he's got the calluses of a fisherman. Not much else to do around here I'll bet.'
"I'm Chief Swan. Welcome to our little town." Gaia looked him over once more before nodding politely.
"So did you come up to visit relatives?" He asked candidly. She paused. 'Stupid Gaia. You should have your story at least somewhat in place.' She mentally kicked herself.
"Not exactly." She responded casually. "I'm here for a little relaxation." He looked at her cockeyed.
"Here in Forks?" He laughed. "Well, of course you're welcome to, but this isn't most peoples' ideal vacationing spot." Gaia thought hard and fast. She'd spotted a fairly large sporting goods store on her way into town and smiled what she hoped was a disarming smile.
"I like to hike and I read in a pamphlet somewhere that this is a wonderful place to do it." The chief grinned.
"Well, you're not wrong there." There was a slight pause. "Are you doing anything now? I could give you the grand tour." Gaia shook her head politely.
"I'm getting an idea of where everything is, but I was wondering, could you tell me what the local restaurants are-especially any fast food joints?"
After all her analyzing, speculating, tracking and ass-kicking, her affinity for food was a high priority. Chief Swan rattled off a few names and their locations-some names she recognized, some she didn't. She wasn't shocked to learn that the Starbucks or the Krispy Kreme corporations hadn't dug into this place yet. It saddened her a fraction, but she smiled anyway. She could go to New York sometime to visit her old haunts, but it wasn't all that pressing.
"And could you tell me where the library is?" She asked when she sensed he was done talking.
"Oh sure. It's just at the end of this block. He pointed in the general direction. She thanked him, then wandered toward it-eager to see what the selection was.
She was disappointed. The library was stocked extremely sparsely and it was all material she had either read before or-in the case of the romance novels and such-wasn't the least bit interested. She meandered around town for a little bit longer-grabbing a surprisingly good doughnut and cup of coffee from a café and found a bench to sit down on. She still wasn't nearly as good as her partner Kim Lau was at analyzing people, but she was finding it much more interesting by the day. As she sat there munching on her doughnut, the town seemed to wake up. People wandered down the street. It was a Saturday, so a number of trucks with fishing poles sticking out the back could be seen zooming past. A few teens wandered out and the shops picked up business. There was remarkably little difference in the way people here moved and acted toward each other-like they'd all had the exact same parents, or upbringing or something.
'Of course, they probably all did.' Gaia deliberated. 'This is likely one of those places where the family physician has treated everyone from the oldest to the youngest of all the other families in the area.' Gaia sipped her coffee and took another bite of the doughnut. A teenage boy walked relatively close to her bench. His face was round and somehow reminded her a little of a cherub. He spotted her sitting there and paused.
'Oh jeez.' She thought, fighting from rolling her eyes. 'I don't need to talk to anyone though.' Too late. The boy came up to the bench, looking at her with a smile and obviously trying to hide his curiosity.
"Hi." He said. "I'm Mike Newton. You look a bit lost." Gaia barely kept the smirk off her face.
"Indeed I am not, but thank you for coming over and trying to help." She responded coolly as she finished the last bite of her doughnut, slugged down the boiling coffee and stood up. She was a bit taller than him and knew that some people found her hard, muscular frame intimidating. Apparently, this boy wasn't an exception.
"Ah." He said quickly. "Well, if you need anything, I'll be working at the Newton sports store at the edge of town." Gaia smiled; glad he was taking the hint.
"Thank you Mike." She replied smoothly. "I'll be sure to do that." She walked off, wondering what to do next.
'I suppose I could always go check out some camping, hiking or fishing gear.' She thought, and then smiled wryly. 'Gaia Moore. Fishing. Oh, that'd be a sight. But maybe…' She seemed to remember something about an Indian reservation nearby. 'They probably have some hiking trails over there. If I didn't need to get any gear…' She hedged for a moment, then shrugged, went to her car and drove off to find the sports gear store. She mentally calculated the things she would need. It was a short list; a bottle of water, a hatchet, two small tarps, matches and some good boots. Wilderness survival had been part of her course training in the FBI and she was glad of it. It meant a lot less frivolous spending on things like this. 'Of course, I could buy more.' She thought happily as she picked up her bags from the counter and headed out. 'But why spoil the adventure?' Her outfit wasn't the most suited for a long hike-jeans and a sweatshirt-but given the icy nights she'd spent on the street in New York and the sleepless nights she'd spent in FBI training, she figured she'd manage.
She was right of course. After a bit of driving trying to find the reservation and a full days walk, she found herself dragging a bit near sundown.
'Better get camp under way.' She thought tiredly. She took the hatchet and cut into the undergrowth-trying to find some relatively dry wood she could use for a fire. It took her longer than she'd expected, but she managed to find some. Before long, she had a healthy flame going. She spread out her black tarps-one on the ground and one above her-the epitome of a makeshift tent. The area around her was so damp, she didn't think much of leaving the fire to find some dinner.
Dark was closing in and she quickly pulled up a few plants whose roots she knew to be edible. A very slight movement sounded next to her. She froze-not in fear, but in anticipation. Her senses were on keen alert for another human or predator. Slowly…ever so slowly, she turned her head to see what it was. The light was dim, but she could make out the figure of a hare. She waited in her crouch-silent as a shadow. The rabbit moved toward her. Apparently it hadn't seen her and Gaia was downwind. She realized-to her sheer luck-she was crouched in a patch of clover. The hare moved closer…closer…closer…Finally, it was just within arms reach. With agonizing slowness, Gaia moved the arm that was behind the hare, inching it toward the animal by the centimeter. Her hand was just above the hare's neck before she made her move. With her lightning-quick reflexes, she grabbed it by the neck and lifted it off the ground. The animal writhed-terror evident in its face. Gaia braced her nerves as she reached up with her free hand. The rabbit screamed just before its neck snapped and it went limp. Gaia murmured an apology to it, but shrugged it off. It wasn't pleasant, but she'd never be able to get anywhere if she didn't have sufficient food tonight and a fat rabbit was exactly what her body would need.
She took it back to the camp, threw some more wood on the flames, and skinned and roasted the rabbit on a makeshift spit. Even with her rudimentary skills, it tasted wonderful to her. The moon was high and full by the time the rain started to fall. It doused her little fire and Gaia kicked dirt over it before crawling under the tarps-more relaxed and content than she'd been in a long time…
She jerked awake. Her dreams had been filled with the images of people she hadn't been able to keep alive, but no matter how often they came, she was accustomed to rationalizing her way out of them-even in sleep. What awoke her was the sound ringing in her ears. It was a deep snarl being wrenched from the depths of the chest of a creature she couldn't name. The snarl continued on for what seemed to be an eternity and she realized that the creature-whatever it was-was circling her tent. After a while, she realized that there was more than one. The sounds were all deep, all primal. A howl a little farther off made her perk up her head. What were these creatures? No animal she'd known had sounded that menacing. The tread of the paws was heavy-almost bear like and her mind raced. 'What sounded like a wolf or dog, but was big as a bear?' She wondered.
Fear had never been with her, so it couldn't impact or desert her, but an overwhelming curiosity had descended. She wanted to know what it was that could cause such a sound. Caution warned her to proceed carefully. She began shifting slowly, careful that the crackle of the plastic tarp didn't betray her presence. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but caution and intuition had managed to keep Gaia alive for some time and she wasn't about to ignore them now. The growling shifted to angry snapping of jaws. Gaia's head pounded as she shifted herself around. Her gut was tight and the adrenaline started flowing in her veins. There wasn't much that would surprise her in her line of work, but every instinct in her was screaming that something was very wrong and that she needed to be ready for anything. She managed to peek her head out of the front of the tarp and froze, stunned beyond all movement or speech at what lay in front of her.
Sorry, gonna end there 'cause it's 1 am and I'm wiped. I'll have the next installation up soon. Promise.