Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. Stephenie Meyer does.
I sat bolt upright in my bed, a scream tearing out of my throat. The duct tape over my mouth muffled it, though. I laid back on my covers, shuddering. Carefully, so I wouldn't hurt myself, I pulled the duct tape off my mouth, and then just lay there, gasping, letting myself recover. It had been a bad Dream that night. But I wasn't able to recuperate for long. Someone knocked timidly on my door and my mother's voice called quietly, "Bella? Can I come in?"
I sighed. I didn't like my mother to see me right after a Dream, when I was shaken and disheveled and haggard-looking. But if I didn't let her in, she would just worry more. "Yeah," I answered. My voice was scream-worn to a rasp.
My mom Renee darted quickly in, and just as quickly shut the door behind her. Her blue eyes were pained, like they often were when she looked at me these days. She sat cautiously on the edge of my bed, not quite looking me in the eye. "Bad Dream tonight?" she asked, but I could tell she didn't really want to know.
I sighed again and ran my hand down my ashen face. Yes, it had been bad. But, as I softly pointed out to my mother, "I've had worse."
Renee's face was grim. "Yes, I guess you have." Then she took a deep breath, as if she was steeling herself, and I realized she had something else she wanted to talk to me about. Something big. "Bella," she began reluctantly, "Phil's getting suspicious." Ah, so that was it. Renee's biggest fear was that her new husband, Phil, would notice that there was something different about me and run away from her screaming. Never mind that I'd told her several times that if he loved her, he would get over what was wrong with me and stay with her anyway. She continued, "You know how lightly he sleeps. He hears you when you..... you know. Move around at night."
Move around at night, I thought wryly. That's one to say it, I suppose. Out loud, I said, "I know, and I'm sorry. I've been trying to be quiet, but.... you know I can't control what happens when I Dream."
Renee sighed and stroked my tangled hair. "I know, sweetheart. Which is why....." She trailed off and wouldn't look at me.
I started to get uneasy. "Which is why what?" I asked. It was bad. I could tell by looking at my mom's face.
Renee looked at me pleadingly. "Honey, please, please, don't take this the wrong way, but..... I think you should go stay with Charlie in Forks. Just for a little while. Until Phil forgets about all of this. Just until it gets better." The pleading in her eyes reached its peak. "You know how Charlie is. He sleeps so deeply, a bomb could go off and he wouldn't know it. He won't notice a thing."
I was cold inside. "You're asking me to leave?" This was my mother – she had always made sure I'd known how much she loved me. I didn't understand.
Renee took my hands fiercely. "I just think it would be safer if you went to live with Charlie for a little while, until Phil forgets about the Dreaming. He always has been the out-of-sight, out-of-mind type of person. Please, Bella. Just until it gets better."
I looked into my mother's eyes, and felt even colder. She wanted me to go. And, despite what she said, I would not be able to come back. Because, unlike Renee thought, it would never, ever get better. But she wanted me to go – I couldn't just say no. I nodded numbly.
Renee's relief was tangible. It almost made me sick. "I'll call him today, okay."
I nodded again, on autopilot. I was numb. But I had a feeling I wouldn't stay that way for long – I needed to get my mom out of my room before I started to feel again, or she would be so upset. "I need to take a shower now," I whispered. "or I'll be late for school."
Renee kissed my forehead and left me alone, which was good, because I could feel the tears coming. I went to my bathroom and turned the shower on to cover the sound, then I stood in my shower, let the hot water pelt me, and cried. Maybe, some part of me hidden deep in my subconscious had known this was coming – because while I was hurt, I wasn't exactly surprised. Renee was eccentric and scatterbrained, but she was a little closed-minded about supernatural things. She didn't understand them, and a part of her was always wondering if I really had a "gift", or if I was just crazy. She was, by nature, a very soft person who needed to be taken care of, and my Dreams were too harsh for her to handle.
I should probably explain. Ever since I can remember, I've had Dreams. With a capital D, because these Dreams are not normal. You see, the past doesn't always rest. Sometimes, untold stories – usually horrible ones – wander, loaded down with the terrible reality of what happened. At least, they wander until they find me. When they do, they latch on to me, and they don't let go until I see what they have seen, relive what happened to them. That is when I Dream. And, since the only times the past doesn't fade is when something terrible happens, the only Dreams I've ever had have been of the most heinous crimes, the worst events. So I've had a wide variety of awful things done to me – because when I Dream, I become the person the Dream is about. I see through their eyes, hear through their ears, think what they thought, and, worst of all, feel what they felt, both emotionally and physically. I don't exist in my Dreams – I am someone else entirely. I have died several different deaths in the Roman Coliseum – eaten by lions, dogs, bears and other wild animals; burned alive as a torch for the games at night; et cetera. In my Dreams, I have probably fought and died in every war. I've been tortured in several different methods, for several different reasons. I've been murdered, raped, robbed, beaten, dismembered, impaled, drowned, and every other disgusting thing you can imagine. So I've become an expert at experiencing pain.
There is one cool thing about the Dreams. Like I said, when I Dream, I become the person I'm Dreaming about – memories, likes, dislikes, talents, everything. So I can speak almost every language, and excel at any craft – blacksmithing, tailoring, carving, the works. You name it, I've known how to do it in one Dream or another, and I can remember how to do it in reality.
But that's the only good part. I've seen some terrible things, both from the past and modern times. I won't tell you everything – you don't need to have my nightmares. I know some things that could get me killed if I was crazy enough to tell anyone about them – which, luckily, I'm not. But no one would believe me anyway. If I survived telling anyone, I'd be locked in a padded cell.
But if I told the world the most important thing I've Dreamed about, I wouldn't survive. Because so many of the Dreams I've had were about the people who died if one of the most horrific manner possible. They were killed by vampires. At least half of my Dreams have been about the ones the deceptively beautiful, pale-skinned people lure or kidnap away from civilization and drink their blood. A Dreams few have even been about the vampires' lives, and, because I know everything that they knew, I was aware that the vampire world is guarded by a powerful family whose only purpose is to keep themselves from being exposed. If I told anyone, they would come after me, and kill me, just like they killed everyone else who stumbled across the truth.
My grandmother had been the only one I could talk to about the Dreams – and that was just because she'd had them too. I first realized that I wasn't the only one who had the Dreams when my mom and I had gone to California to visit her for Christmas when I was eight. The first night I was there, I'd had a Dream that I was in Napoleon's army, and we were freezing to death in Russia. When I'd woken up, crying and cold, Gran had been sitting by my bedside, holding a mug of hot tea in her hands. She'd looked at me sadly. "I thought so," she murmured, and handed the tea to me. It felt wonderful on my sore throat, and helped me warm up. My Gran had talked while I'd gulped the tea down. "I was almost sure, when Renee called me about the nightmares you were having, that you might have inherited the Dreams." She'd sighed. "I guess now I know for sure."
I'd finished the tea by then. I looked up at Gran with eight year old seriousness. "You know what's wrong with me?" I'd asked. Renee had asked so many doctors that question, always demanding to know what was wrong with her daughter. The doctors had diagnosed me with disorder after disorder, and given me several different medications, but nothing worked. I still Dreamed.
Gran's already wrinkled brow had wrinkled even more when she'd frowned. "Wrong with you?" she'd repeated. "There is nothing wrong with you, Bella. Is that what Renee told you?" She'd looked so intimidating – I hadn't answered, not wanting to get my mom in trouble. But when Gran read my expression, she'd smiled. "Don't worry – I'm not angry," she'd reassured me. Then she'd explained what it was I Dreamed about – the horrible stories of the past.
"If all the Dreams are true things," I'd asked, "why don't I Dream good Dreams?"
Gran had sighed and stretched. "I think it's because the good things aren't a burden – they don't need to be shared." She'd stood up, and looked down at me. She patted my cheek with her withered old hand. "Wait a minute," she'd told me. "I want to give you something." I'd waited eagerly, wondering what present my Gran had for me, but was surprised when Gran returned and plopped a box full of books on the end of the bed. I'd taken a closer look. They weren't books, I'd realized. They were journals and diaries, and some of them looked very, very old. "These," Gran had told me, "are the diaries of women in our family who have had Dreams, and what they learned about themselves and the Dreams. These will answer a lot of your questions. Read them, and start a journal of your own. But," she'd added, "don't show them to your mother. She doesn't need to know the things in these books unless she has Dreams – which I know she doesn't."
"Why?" I'd asked.
Gran had settled into a more comfortable position in her chair, getting ready for a long talk. "I have a theory. I've noticed that the Dreams always skip the women who aren't strong enough to bear them. My mother Dreamed, but her mother – my grandmother – didn't. She couldn't have lived with the things she would have seen. But keep in mind, everything I tell you is guesswork – we aren't exactly given an instruction manual, so everything I've learned has been from what I have experienced, or from the experiences of the earlier Dreamers."
I'd noticed that Gran had mentioned women who had dreamed, but no men. "Can boys have the Dreams?"
Gran had laughed. "As far as I know, it hasn't happened, but who knows?"
We'd sat up most of the night talking, and when I'd gone home to Phoenix, I'd read the journals – which dated back to the seventeen hundreds – for myself. I'd learned several things – like that no drug or medicine could keep you from Dreaming – and had made a few observations that no one before me had written about, and wrote them in my journal.
One of the things I'd noticed was this – every woman who had Dreamed, had also had what I called a Someone. The Someone was a person they could talk to, who eased the burden of the Dreams, made life easier. The Someone could be anyone – a friend, a family member, or a love.
I'd had no idea that the move to Forks I was dreading so much would put me directly in the path of my Someone.