I know it's been such a long time coming, and I don't know if anyone is still interested in reading but yeah, here is the next chapter anyway and please let me know if you're still interested in reading this story. I'm not going to bore you with excuses, because there have been so many things that have stopped me from continuing with this but I'm determined to finish haha. This is my third attempt at this chapter, the others or at least different parts of them have been lost due to technical difficulties so if some parts of this chapter don't make a lot of sense that might be why, as I have changed certain things after the first original was lost and I got a bit confused as to what version I was actually going with.
We walked down the long hallway, following Demetri and Caius. As we walked, I noticed the temperature got colder the closer we got to the end of the hallway. I wasn't sure exactly why it got colder, or what it meant, but I didn't like it.
When we reached the next big metal door, Demetri swiped a strange bracelet on his arm over a small screen, and the door opened and he walked straight in with Natasha, and Caius stopped. His eyes were alight with excitement as he looked us over, and clasped his hands together.
"Now I'm hoping you all have enough self control to be in the room during this procedure, otherwise I will be forced to remove you by whatever means necessary."
With that he pushed open the door effortlessly, and we walked into the room. I shivered instantly. The walls were all dull metal, too scratched and dented to have any shine left. Long, dull lights also hung from chains in the roof over rows of long metal benches. Each bench had a basin at the end of it, and a railing with a few towels hanging off it.
Natasha was being chained down by her wrists and ankles as we went in, with a towel propped under her head, and her eyes were flashing wildly around the room.
"What are you doing? What are you doing to me!?" She screeched horribly, slamming her palms down on the bench.
"Helping you deliver your baby," Demetri's voice was cold. He tore off her clothes with the slightest of tugs, leaving her totally naked. Fat tears started rolling down her face, and she sobbed.
"Please don't hurt me, please. I'm sorry. Take the baby and I will leave, I promise! You will never see me again!" Her pleading made me cringe.
Then suddenly, she let out a head shattering scream and huge black blood stain formed under the skin on her stomach, spreading all over as a small hand tore through, following by a foot. Blood trickled down her side, rapidly pooling around her on the bench and beginning to drip over the sides and splash down on the floor. Her eyes rolled back into her head and her whole body began to convulse as the skin on her stomach was torn apart from the inside.
My head started spinning, and then everything faded to black.
I woke up confused, with a bright light shining in my eyes, staring at a dull and ugly looking ceiling. I had no clue how I had ended up on the floor, but Esme was cradling my head on her lap.
"What…happened?" I mumbled. There was loud ringing in my ears, and a dull aching in the back of my head.
"You passed out when the baby was born, sweetheart. You're okay," Esme stroked my hair softly. I looked around, still feeling confused. Natasha was still on one of the benches, where I last remembered her being, but I let out a tiny cry when I saw her body. She was bloodied and bruised, with a big hole in the centre of her stomach, and other small holes randomly around it. She was dead, her hands and ankles were still chained down to the bench. There was blood everywhere, and I looked away.
Rosalie was standing a few metres away, near another bench. There was a small baby on it, it's eyes wide and searching. I noticed it was a boy.
"Why do you do it? What does your wife think of the fact you do it with other women?" Rose asked, frowning. I wasn't sure what she was talking about, but I tuned in as I slowly sat up.
"We need more children, simple. Not all of the males around here contribute, and that is their own personal choice. If they choose not to, though, they aren't thought of as highly as the rest of us. And my wife understands my duty to our leaders" Demetri said, and walked over to where Natasha's body lay blood drenched and cold.
"That's the only reason?" Rosalie asked skeptically, eyes flicking over to the body. I didn't bother following her gaze, for fear I would throw up.
"Well no, we get rewarded in other ways," he said slowly, throwing a sheet over the body. Blood soaked through it from beneath.
"Rewarded how?" I frowned. What could possibly be of any value to them? Money was worthless, they had everything they needed.
"Are you okay sweetie?" Esme asked, concern showing in her voice. I nodded quickly, listening for Demetri's answer.
"We have highly trained doctors and nurses here, some of the world's best. They make it possible to do things you couldn't even imagine," Demetri paused. "Aro and Caius are gracious enough to allow us access to them."
That only confused me even more. Vampires couldn't get sick that we knew of. So why would they need access to doctors?
"Demetri is expecting his second child with his wife very soon," I noticed Caius for the first time, scribbling away on his clipboard again. He sounded bored.
"How is that possible?" Esme gasped. Her wide golden eyes were locked on his face. She stood up, and I quickly jumped up beside her. My head spun a little, but otherwise I was okay.
"It's quite simple, really. If the baby is removed early enough and safely enough, it's only a matter of cleaning the womb of the protective venom and stitching the woman back up again. No venom needed," he laughed.
We exchanged glances. I wondered if it worked every time.
"How old is your firstborn?" Esme asked Demetri.
"Physically, she's about two." He said, stonefaced.
We all turned at the sound of footsteps, then, and Aro came throught the door with my family close behind him.
Dad looked at me before anyone else, and I knew he would have already seen everything through my eyes. Too bad I couldn't remember. Mum looked to me too, her eyes wide with concern. I shook my head the tiniest bit, telling her we would talk later.
"Ohh look at him!" Alice cooed, seeing the child for the first time.
Jasper, who was standing beside her, barely noticed him. His eyes were on the lifeless body, now shrouded by a blanket, on the table. There was no draw to the blood, though. It was cold, and Natasha's heart was no longer beating. There was nothing tempting about that.
Carlisle walked over to the bench, lifting up the blanket to peek underneath.
"Finished your meeting?" Caius called to Aro, who was peering down at the baby that Rose was holding.
"Yes, Edward told us the latest baby had arrived, and I just could not wait I'm afraid. May I?" Aro held out his arms, and Rosalie handed the baby over, wrapped in the bloodied blanket. Aro pulled that off and tossed it to Demetri.
"Find a nurse to dispose of the towels. Demetri, remove the…waste," Aro wrinkled his nose. I realised that by 'waste' he meant Natasha. I thought it was a waste too. Not the same rubbish kind that they meant, but a waste of human life.
Demetri nodded once, and turned to scoop the body up. A hand slipped out from under the sheet, and a tiny, shocked sob escaped my lips. I turned my eyes back to the small child and tried to think of an excuse for why it wasn't a waste.
Aro lifted the baby into the air, moving his head from one side to the other.
"Mm, not bad. Well proportioned. Any genetic flaws you have noticed?" He looked over to Caius.
"It doesn't seem so. We'll need to get him to the lab to study him further, though. I'm interested to see what gifts we might get from him, I think there is potential."
I shivered at the idea of that innocent little person, being studied in a lab. He needed to be cuddled and loved and nurtured. Not studied.
"Will he be adopted out?" Rosalie asked, hope staining her voice.
"It doesn't work that way Rose," Emmett stepped to her said, murmuring quietly.
She stared up at his face, searching.
"What do you mean it doesn't work that way?" She frowned.
"There are different categories of babies. Some are for adopting out, other's are just for studies and tests." Emmett replied quietly, winding his arm around her waste.
"Don't forget our extra special babies, like this delightful child. They are taken in as members as the guard when they are older," Aro smiled.
"And the test babies are what, just left to grow up in labs?" Rose frowned.
"Of course not. They grow up in the small community we have built for them, until they are ready to go out into the world themselves," Aro smiled.
"What is so special about this baby?" I asked, a little confused still.
"Demetri is his father, of course," Caius rolled his eyes.
"Can you please give us a quick summary of your meeting? Why exactly are you doing all this?" Esme asked softly but fiercly.
Aro and Caius exchanged a look, but didn't speak.
Mum came to my side then, and wound her arm around me.
"Dad told me you passed out honey. What happened?" Her face was sympathetic, and she cupped her hand against my cheek. The coolness of it made me relax slightly.
"I really don't know. All I remember…is walking down this long dark hallway. And Caius had this bracelet he swiped, and this electronic door opened...and they put Natasha on a bench…I don't remember anything else," I had to lie to her. There was no way to describe the event without it sounding totally horrifying.
"Maybe we should take you to lie down?" She frowned.
"Oh, not yet. There is still so much more to show you!" Aro clapped his hands together and grinned.
I wasn't sure how I felt about that, and I looked up at mum.
"I don't really know if Nessie is up to it…" she muttered in a tone I knew all too well. It was the voice she used when she was trying to lie. Badly, of course.
"The rest of the tour is much less disturbing, I assure you," Aro smiled at me gently. It made a spark of anger flare up inside of me. The entire thing was pretty disturbing, really. I just hoped none of what had happened in this room would remain in my mind too long. The outcome of the process was on the bench; the blood was everywhere, along with shreds of human flesh.
It made me cringe.
"So what else did you have planned to show us today, Aro?" Carlisle asked in a monotone voice. I watched his face carefully, and although I had never seen a vampire look exhausted before, he certaintly seemed that way now.
So did some of the others, when I really looked at them. I doubted they were physically exhausted, but like me were probably drained emotionally and mentally. There had been so much to take in for just one day. It felt like it had been going on for weeks.
"I would like to show you the small community we have set up for our test children. They all stay in one wing of the castle, but they lead fairly normal lives. Would you all like to follow me?" Aro turned and walked out the way I remembered coming through to this dark room, and we all followed behind him.
"Normal by whose standards?" Emett muttered.
"Guess it's as normal as you can get with the kind of lives we all lead," Jasper rolled his eyes in agreement.
I wondered exactly how old all the other hybrids would be. There had to be at least a few who were close to my age? I wasn't sure I would be able to handle living in a little 'community' of other kids. It was bad enough putting up with the idiots at school, and they were humans. Nowhere near as annoying as the likes of Nahuel, although I was sure not all hyrbids would be like him.
Nahuel. That was someone I hadn't thought of in a while. I wondered what ever happened to him. Hopefully he was back in the Amazon or something along those lines. The world of vampires and hybrids was filling up quickly.
Thinking of Nahuel, though, made me think of Jacob. Where was he? What was he doing? Staying away from Leah, hopefully. I thought I had left enough of an impression on Jake with my farewell to make him seriously consider leaving the situation with her alone. And I hoped she had the decency to keep her claws out of him (literally) while I was gone. Although I knew the latter was almost impossible. Crazy bitch that she was, who knew what she'd do next.
Mum reached out and grasped my hand, giving it a gentle squeeze.
"I'm fine mum, honestly," I assured her. She looked at me for a moment, seeming unsure, and nodded.
Aro lead us back out through the spa, and the women looked towards our group in awe.
I looked behind me, and saw that Rose was holding the child. I smiled when I looked at her face; it was absolutely glowing. I looked at the baby more closely then. It had very wide, brilliant green eyes, and fine dark blonde hair. Rose had him in a clean blanket, but his arms weren't wrapped up, and I saw a black band around his little wrist, with a glowing red rectangle on the bottom.
All the women in the room had their eyes locked on the child in amazement, although some of them looked a little concerned. Where was Natasha? Why wasn't she with her baby?
"We have welcomed a bouncing baby boy to our program here, ladies. He is very healthy, as is Natasha. She is recovering as we speak. She has, however, decided that she would not like to go through with the transformation and has therefore lost the opportunity to keep her child. She will be returning back to her old home once she is well, and it is unlikely you will see her again I am afraid."
I had to restrain my jaw from dropping open. What was he talking about? Natasha was dead! They could obviously have saved her either through transformation or medical means, but they hadn't done either. They had intended for her to die.
A hushed murmur buzzed around the room.
Everyone was clearly thrilled with the new baby, and not one of their faces looked unsure or questioning of what Aro had said. The young girl, Alisa, was scanning the room, her wide eyes glazed the way Alice's sometimes looked when she had a vision.
"Do you know what she does?" I whispered, nodding towards the child.
"Aro didn't say. She's very unique, isn't she?" Mum murmured.
I stared at her for a moment, unsure. She was so strange looking. It was judgemental of me, but the way she looked just made me suspicious. There was something too innocent about it. Her perfectly uncreased, delicate pink, lacey dress was free from the tinest spot or stain, and her little ballet shoes and stockings matched perfectly, with a silk bow in her hair to top it off.
"I don't like her." I replied quietly, frowning. I wanted to know why her eyes had that look in them, what she was seeing or learning when she scanned over the people in the room.
"You don't even know her?" Mum frowned slightly, still watching Alisa.
"That's why I don't like her, or trust her," my nose wrinkled, and I turned to talk to dad.
"Do you have any idea what she does?" I whispered.
"Just…wait…" his eyes were locked on her curiously, working out her mind.
I sighed in frustration. I didn't like not knowing things, so I tuned in to Caius and Aro's whispered conversation. They were talking in Italian, which made it slightly harder to pick up on what they were saying. The word'verità' came up a number of times, and happened to be one of the words I did not recognise.
"What does verità mean, Carlisle?" I whispered to him, knowing he would be the most likely to know. He turned to me, startled, obviously pulled from his train of thought.
"It means truth, why?" He asked, glancing towards Aro and Caius. His eyes flickered back to me, and I nodded my head slightly. He seemed to tune into their conversation then also, while others around the room buzzed.
I listened in to some of the conversations, but none seemed very interesting. I heard Josie, the young Italian carrying twins, complaining lightly to one of the nurses about the children moving around a lot.
She seemed so laid back and care free, it seemed like she had been there her whole life. I watched her for ten more minutes, while everyone in the big room mingled and relaxed in the water and cooed over the new baby. I noticed Rose barely let him out of her arms though, and it made me smile.
After a while longer, Aro and Caius came back to us so we could continue with the tour. They led us out of the spa room, and through a series of hallways that required a swipe of an armband to pass through.
"What are the bands for?" Carlisle chatted to Aro as we walked along.
"Ah they are a new development, my friend. I'm afraid we needed to upgrade our security with all our new inhabitants wandering around."
"Why do they have different coloured glowing strips?"
"Different colours allowed different security access. Caius, Marcus and I, along with our wives and main guards such as Demetri and Felix have white strips, allowing us in all areas. Green strips are one level below, which is what Jane and Alec have, then blue for our lowest level of guards which is what Alisa is at the moment. Red strips are found on hybrid babies and young children, such as this boy here, and then yellow for the older hybrids who are allowed to wander more freely. We also have totally black bands for human visitors and…prisoners. Black band prevent the wearer from passing through any doorway, so they must be accompanied by someone else to go anywhere."
It took me a moment to process all that.
"It sounds very complicated," Esme frowned.
"Explained like that, yes," Aro laughed, "but in reality it is quite simple."
The next doorway that we came to, Aro did a demonstration.
"See how the screen here is yellow? It means that someone must have a mininum of a yellow band to be granted access." He swiped the baby's band over the screen, and it flashed red for a few moments and then went back to yellow.
Aro then swiped his band over the screen and the door opened.
He smiled at us then, and spread his arms.
"Time to meet the other hybrids."