Chapter 31: The Cliff
I pulled up to a small drive where the pavement ended. I knew that just fifty feet away there was a cliff.
My heart was thundering in my chest.
I pulled out my phone, wondering if I should call Charlie or text him. I decided to call.
After a few rings, the call went to voicemail.
"Hi, dad," I said. My voice was shaking with adrenaline. "I left home to find Edward. I think I know where he is. If you take the 101 North and then the 110, you'll come to a path where the pavement ends, you'll find mom's car. I'm so sorry I didn't tell you at home. I'm sorry I snuck out. I just knew you wouldn't let me go. Come find me and help me get Edward." My voice broke so I paused and took a breath, steadying myself as tears began to fall from my eyes. "I'll see you soon. I love you and I'm sorry. So sorry." I hung up.
I wiped my face with the back of my hand and shoved my phone into my pocket before climbing out of the car.
It was ice cold outside.
I shivered violently as I began to walk. I was listening intently to my surroundings, waiting for a sign of life. I kept looking into the woods, paranoid that Jacob would be there and that he would see me before I saw him.
The walk felt like hours until I was finally approaching the tree's edge where the cliff was. I held my breath as I moved towards the edge. It was empty. I took a staggering breath, my eyes darting around. No car, no motorcycle. I moved to the edge of the cliff and peeked down at the rocky shore below. Nothing.
I turned around, searching the black forest.
In my dream, Jacob was in a clearing. My heart sped up as I felt a sudden pull from the forest. My gut told me I was on the right path. That Edward was in there somewhere.
I set off into the woods. I kept close to the tree's edge and listened to the bubbling sounds of a nearby stream. My heart was thundering in my chest and I flinched every time the leaves below my feet made too loud of a crunch.
After a few minutes, I began to panic. I was in complete darkness with no flashlight, no weapons; only a phone and my lingering sanity. But I had to keep going. I had to find Edward, and for some reason, I knew that he was in there somewhere.
I tripped many times in my haste, over rocks, shrubs and fallen trees. My hands were like ice as I clung to nearby branches or ferns as I braced myself over the treacherous undergrowth.
I was nearing a small archway when I suddenly heard heavy feet moving a little ways ahead. I froze. Terror filled me as I listened to the feet scuffle around, and then I heard a low muttering as something was being shifted. My heart sped up on overdrive and I swallowed down he panic that tried to burst through me. I couldn't tell who was making the noises; I was too far away.
And then my phone buzzed from low in my pocket.
With a start, I dug my hand into my pocket, clicking one of the buttons on the phone to silence it. I listened intently as the feet kept moving, unaware of my presence. I turned away from the sounds ahead of me and opened the phone beneath my sweater. Ducking my head, I read the screen. Charlie had called me.
The phone suddenly buzzed again and I ignored the call. Taking a steady breath I sent a text to Charlie.
Come get me. I think I found them. I left you a voicemail. I can't answer the phone. I think Jacob is near. Hurry.
I clicked send and then quickly turned the phone to silent as I waited.
Charlie's message lit up the screen.
Stay where you are and don't even think about getting involved. I'm on my way. Please stay away. Stay hidden.
I took another deep breath before turning back towards the sounds of feet. I was shaking all over, as I inched closer. I was desperate to see where the sounds were coming from and who was making them. I took another step, my eyes searching urgently through the darkness. I could see light up ahead. Moonlight, not false light.
I took another step and then I heard an unmistakable moan of pain, low and weak. It was Edward.
My heart nearly jumped out of my chest as tears swelled in my eyes. I clamped a hand hard over my mouth, forcing down my scream. I shook violently as I clenched my eyes shut. I felt an insufferable amount of pain shoot through me as I listened to him moan again. Like knives forcing their way into my body, into my heart.
Keep it together! I urged at myself. I swallowed down the sobs in my throat. And tried to take a breath.
I heard the heavy feet shift again and so I stood, silent and listening. And then Edward moaned louder, again the pain in his voice was like lighting my body on fire. It hurt everywhere. I was so close to him, yet I couldn't approach. I was frozen on the spot, terrified. I shoved my fist into my mouth and bit down, hard. The pain snapped me out of my frozen state and I looked up. I had to do something. I couldn't just sit there.
I searched the ground around where I stood. I needed a weapon, something to protect me and to protect Edward. I saw a large rock and picked it up. It had a sharp edge and I knew that I could do some damage with it.
I took another step towards the small archway of trees. And then another. I could see clearer now, shapes moving around beneath the moonlight. I blinked the wetness from my eyes as I inched closer.
And then I saw him. Jacob Black.
He was hunched over, his black hair shining in the moonlight. He was wearing all black, his skin covered from the neck down. He was even wearing gloves. I swallowed down my paranoia as I inched behind a tree. Peeking out, I gazed at Jacob's back. He was leaning over something. I could see his back flex as he worked, but I couldn't see what he was working on. I took a step out from behind the tree, trying to get a better look.
I saw Edward.
I released a staggered breath from the sight of him.
He was lying on his side, his face pressed against the damp earth and his eyes were closed. I could see blood matted in his hair on one side of his head. His mouth was covered with duck tape and I could see that his feet were bound too.
Jacob was hunched over him, working on the restrains on Edward's arms. From where I stood, Edward seemed to be okay. He wasn't dead and I didn't see any serious injuries on his body.
A low moan of pain escaped Edward's chest as Jacob tugged on something. I shuddered, horrified by the vision before me.
And then Jacob stood up. He shifted away from Edward and walked towards the edge of the clearing. Something was resting on the ground by a nearby tree. I took the opportunity to glance at Edward. My eyes shifted over his body, searching for anything life threatening.
Jacob moved again, slowly striding towards Edward. I saw something gleam in his hand. I took another step out from behind the tree, and then I saw it. A large silver knife glittering in the moonlight.
He's gonna kill him.
I was moving, my body slinking through the trees before my mind was able to make a decision. I moved swiftly beneath the archway of ferns and I was at Jacob's back in seconds. I raised the rock in both of my hands and then swung it down. The crack it created on the back of Jacob's head was deafening. He yelled and fell forward, the knife falling from his grip. I snatched it up from the ground before turning towards Edward.
I worked on his feet first, cutting the tape away from his ankles. And then I cut the binds from his arms. Edward moaned a painful sob as I tried to pull the tape from him. His left arm was at a weird angle. I could tell it was broken.
"Edward," I gasped, shaking his shoulders.
I looked over my shoulder, Jacob was on the ground and I saw blood begin to bubble through his hair from the gash on his head.
"Edward," I said more firmly as I slid my hand down his face.
His eyes fluttered open before landing on me. He glanced around for a moment, taking in the scene. And then his eyes went wide.
I yanked the tape away from his mouth before snatching up the knife and turning towards Jacob.
"Bella!" Edward hissed. "Bella, you need to leave. Are you insane?" Edward's voice was thick with pain.
"Get up," I hissed. "I'm not leaving you."
I watched Jacob's form shift. He was coming to, and the more he began to move, the more nervous I became.
My hands were shaking violently as I gripped the knife, pointing it at Jacob's shifting form.
"Edward, please," I whimpered softly.
I felt his hand reach for my ankle and then my hip as he slowly got to his feet.
"We need to move," he gasped in my ear.
He was right. We did need to move. I didn't know what Jacob would do when he woke up.
I took Edward's hand and allowed him to pull me into the line the trees where we began to run.
"I parked by the cliffs edge, where the road ends!" I gasped.
"Do you have a cell phone?" Edward asked as he limped beside me.
"I've already called Charlie. He's coming."
My heart was erratic, beating hard in my chest. I was frantic as I pulled Edward along, searching the pitch-blackness surrounding us for the way out. But as we continued to move further away from the clearing, I began losing my sense of direction.
"Oh, God," I gasped as I glanced around.
But as we continued to move, I heard the unmistakable scream of Jacob Black. He called my name. He sounded deranged, like a maniac, his anger full of insanity.
I shrieked and tripped over a protruding root on the ground, bringing Edward down with me. I was so terrified, my legs instantly went numb.
"Up!" Edward gasped. "Get up, Bella."
"I can't," I cried. I was scared for my life, rendered paralyzed from the knowledge that I probably going to die.
I slipped again when I tried to get to my feet, but through Edward's pain and injuries, he forced me up and took off at a sprint. I stumbled repeatedly behind him, my legs frozen and cold from the unrelenting fear that continued to engulf me.
"Which way is out?" I cried when Edward paused to glance around in the darkness.
"Shhh…" he hushed as he reached for me.
I felt his hand move up towards my face, where his fingertips brushed roughly over my face and neck, doing what he could to calm me with his good hand.
There was another cry of anger from deep in the woods and the sound of it shook me once again.
"He's gonna find us," I whimpered before placing a hand over my mouth.
I felt the veins in my neck strain to keep my screams and hysterics at bay.
"We need to stay hidden," Edward whispered to me.
He pulled me over towards a tree and then ducked, pinning me in between his warm body and the tree's base.
"I need you to breathe, Bella," Edward whispered against my cheek. "I need you to stay calm. Please."
His hand brushed repeatedly over my face and hair as he tried to sooth me.
I closed my eyes and willed my heart to slow as I continued my cool brisk breaths. As my heart rate began to slow, the sounds around me began to heighten. I could hear Edward breathing above me, shallow and ragged, and I could even hear the dull thump of his heart against mine.
I pressed my face against his chest. God, I loved that sound.
I felt one of his arms wrap around my head, pulling me closer as buried his nose in my hair. I listened to his strained breaths. He was in pain. I could tell.
I was about to reach for his injured arm when I heard the unmistakable pop of a broken twig nearby. Jacob was close.
My breathing stopped, and so did Edward's. We held are breaths as we listened to the deadly silence. Everything was horribly quiet. Everything except for the bubbling of the distant stream. My only companion and the only thing that kept me from running for my life was Edward's body against me, shielding me against the tree.
We stayed quiet for several moments, listening. And then there it was, another pop from another broken twig.
I clamped my eyes shut, my blood instantly running cold. I choked back a staggered whimper. I could feel him moving just beside us, searching. His heavy feet made presence as he stepped by us, very slowly and hesitantly. And all I could do was pray. Pray that he wouldn't move those three feet to his left. Pray that he'd continue forward.
The knife I had was still in my hand, breaking my skin as I gripped it tightly against Edward's back. And I knew, without a doubt that I will use it if I hade to. I would defend the man I loved with all of the courage and strength that was in me.
As if Edward could read my mind, he leaned in and brushed his nose back and forth against my eye; shaking his head.
No, I knew he would say. Not for me.
Till next time. xoxo