Do not own. Just enjoy zombies and sparklepires.
I should have known that Forks would be the setting for the beginning of the end. Fucking humans. I personally thought Mike Newton triggered it with his general annoyingness, but it turns out I was wrong.
Forks is pretty much gone, at least the "city" itself. The woods are teeming with infected, both human and animal. The contamination stayed local for a few days, but spread up into Canada and into the Midwest. It was only a matter of time before it would cross the oceans and spreads indefinitely.
I had never been big on humans, even when I was one, but I always thought Chief Swan was a pretty good guy. I'd never have guessed this was his fault, but that's what the FBI says. Bella' came to stay with us, of course. Edward insisted we protect her, but I stayed out of the house a lot.
Emmett liked her. It was infuriating, seeing my husband respond so well to her human idiocy, but I shouldn't have been surprised. He thought Friday the 13th was funny. My beloved was a strange, strange vampire. So not only was our house the headquarters of the Bella Swan Fan Club, my un-life-mate was a card carrying member.
One Month Earlier
"Cool, a chili cook off!" Emmett's voice was annoyingly enthusiastic as he eyed the bright yellow poster near the town library.
"Why the hell are you so excited?" I hissed at him. "We don't even eat chili!"
"Yeah, but look at the prizes! A trip to Seattle for two, dinner at the diner for a month… It'd be fun Rose, come on!"
I rolled my eyes, checking my reflection in the window. "Emmett, the last time we cooked, you waved the knife like a psycho and I broke a bowl because of stupid Bella. Again – what would you do with free dinner at the diner for a month?"
He scowled, his anger looking funny on his adorable face. "Rosalie, I'm pretty sure you just don't want me to have any fun, ever." He crossed his bulky arms over his blue sweater, looking sullen. I unconsciously licked my lips.
"I'm pretty sure I like some of your fun, Emmett Cullen…" my mind started to wander and I took his hand, leading him back to my red convertible.
Ugh, the kitchen smelled disgusting. Emmett and I had our fun, and then he took the chili challenge to heart. The whole town had gone chili crazy. Esme jumped into the fray, raiding her herb garden to help Emmett find the perfect flavor.
Bella leaned in, sniffing the pot on the stove before pulling back, looking alarmed. "No. Mint Chocolate Chili is definitely not the winning combination, Emmett. I'm not even tasting that one."
My husband looked rueful, standing in a pink frilly apron with a poufy sous-chef-style hat. He quickly dumped the contents of the pot in the trash, rinsing it out and preparing for another mix.
"I still don't see why you can't help him, Bella." I rolled my eyes, knowing I sounded bitchy, but not particularly caring. Perched on the countertop, I idly threw an uncut onion back and forth between my hands.
Bella sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger. Yep, she'd definitely been around my dear brother far too long. "I told you, Rose – Billy and my Dad are competing as well, and I swore I wouldn't show favorites or help anyone. If I wanted to win, I'd just make my own and kick everyone's ass."
I'd have been annoyed, but it was still weird to see Bella have confidence about anything, so I let her arrogance slide. Besides, from what I remembered, her human food smelled pretty good.
I hopped down from the counter, still rolling my eyes, and wandered up the stairs. Maybe Alice and I could go shopping while Emmett was busy pretending to be the Swedish Chef. Hey, in some ways it was an improvement over his Animal impression.
Two weeks later – Cook Off Day – Z-Day 0
I don't care what Rosie said, this was fun, and it made us look normal, participating in a town event.
I totally cheated. I cut up onions, peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms, browned some ground turkey and threw it all together with some Mexene. Topping it with cheddar cheese and sour cream, I presented it to the judges with a slice of cornbread. Ignorance really is bliss.
They loved it! I got second place, a gift bag and some free dinners for me and Rosie! I asked if I could give them to Bella and her Dad, since they ate there once a week, and the judges said yes. Rose looked relieved – she hated pretending to eat at school, much less in the general public.
Charlie's chili didn't go over as well. One judge, Angela Weber's mother, took a few bites before she ran to the trash and dumped out the rest. Billy Black's was okay, but Jessica Stanley surprised us all by taking top prize with a sweet chocolate chili that the judges loved. I knew I was on to something with chocolate, but I had to admit – hers was much better than mine. Maybe the mint was a bad idea.
Esme took a gazillion pictures of everyone around town and me with my red ribbon and gift certificates. Most of Forks was there, munching on snacks and enjoying the weather – Alice had tipped the organizers off on which dates would probably be sunny. We thought it was hilarious but the panel took her "hunches" seriously.
Bella and Edward were currently intertwined on a bright red blanket, looking disgustingly in love as always. I was beginning to understand how Edward felt being the odd man out all those years. If I didn't have Rosie, I'd kick Bella and Edward's asses for always looking so cozy. As it was, with all our houses breaking, Edward loved to remind me that I had no place to talk. Stupid smug siblings.
The afternoon went by pretty quickly. Once it got dark out, they were showing a scary movie on the side of the library – an impromptu, but fun, movie screen. This year they'd chosen Steven King's The Shining.
Jack Nicholson was scary enough, even before you made him super huge. Rosalie rolled her eyes every time a girl shrieked and snuggled into her boyfriend, hiding her face, but she did squeeze me extra tight when Jack was wandering around the hedge maze.
It was a very pleasant, human-feeling evening, marred only by a disruption toward the end of the movie. Mrs. Weber ran to the trash and was violently ill. Alice looked concerned, but the rest of us took the chance to rib Charlie, telling him it was probably from his chili.
I glanced around the cafeteria, slightly concerned by the lack of the student body, but mostly concerned by my body. It was a good body. The school was half empty, students and teachers alike out with a mysterious flu.
Bella looked like she was getting fat. Charlie had made good use of Emmett's prize, which was fine by me. I didn't have to listen to half the school fawn over her ass and I didn't have to pretend to eat that disgusting shrimp salad Emmett always insisted I order. I never liked shellfish, but he was adamant that it was what "young ladies of the time" ate. Whatever, Pooh Bear.
School was so boring. It was even worse with substitute teachers. I respected what they're trying to do and all, but no one learned anything from someone who was only around for a couple of days. It took the whole period for them to figure out what we were studying, and then class is over.
Eternity became a bit tedious when you were stuck pretending to be a dummy in a school full of sniffling idiots.
We skipped school, attending Mrs. Weber's funeral. It was very sad – she'd never recovered after feeling ill at the cook off and died in her sleep. The coroner was stumped – she had massive internal injuries and had basically bled to death before anyone knew anything was wrong.
I didn't know Angela well, but Bella did, and had asked me to attend the funeral and send some calm vibes. I didn't want to make anyone too peaceful – it was, after all, a funeral, but I figured if I could help someone cope on a difficult day, I'd be remiss not to use my talents.
Alice was troubled that she didn't see it coming. Emmett teased her by saying it was possible that Mrs. Weber's organs had decided to explode at the last minute. After an elbow to the nose, he stopped teasing my Pixie.
Bella was overwhelmed trying to console the inconsolable Angela. I couldn't imagine what it was like to lose a family member so suddenly, other than second hand, of course. It made me very grateful that my family was fairly indestructible. Watching Bella trip over her feet was worrisome enough.
The service was subdued and elegant. Angela held herself together remarkably well with my efforts, even smiling and telling stories about her mother over casserole someone brought. Honestly, what was it about bad food making hard events even worse? I just didn't get humans.
Bella and Edward had been fighting a lot lately. Ever since the James incident, she'd throw fit after fit demanding that he change her immediately. I had to admit, being Bella Swan was a very dangerous thing, but so far Edward was sticking to his guns, refusing to "damn" her to eternity with us. Granted, I wouldn't want to spend forever around Rosalie either if I were Bella, but that wasn't my choice.
Carlisle had been at the hospital for days, and Esme was worried about it. This flu epidemic had gotten out of control, with overflow from the hospital being taken to Port Angeles. Carlisle called to check in, sounding grim, but was worried that more people would die before it got better.
Later that night
We were all gathered at the hospital in Carlisle's office. Emmett and I had gone on a hunting trip after the funeral and we both noticed something weird. We'd stayed local, hunting elk and deer near Forks. My first kill tasted a bit bitter, but the environment could change all sorts of systems in the body, so I assumed nothing. The second kill tasted worse, and the blood felt clotted, congealed.
Short of the occasional heart attack victim, blood flowed well in most animals. I began to watch the animals around us, noting the odd behaviors of a few. Sure enough, when I pounced, those animals had sticky, slow-moving blood.
Emmett dropped a deer mid-drain, internally mumbling that it tasted "icky." I ran over to him and we quickly departed, heading straight to the hospital as I called Alice.
Carlisle hurried in, closing the door behind him. He looked exhausted. He hadn't hunted in a week, and the circles under his eyes looked fitting in the face of the current medical disaster. He'd abandoned all pretenses, working 3 days straight with no breaks. The humans were curious how he did it, but they chalked it up to him being "simply amazing."
I filled the family in quickly, Emmett nodding behind me, muttering "icky" again. Rosalie half-smiled at her husband's childish nature, but Jasper looked nervous, and accidentally sent waves of anxiety to the rest of us.
"Jasper." Carlisle sounded semi-amused, smiling as Jasper looked apologetic and the cloud of panic vanished. "Thanks, son. Look, I have never seen anything like this before. What you're describing sounds like a blood-borne pathogen. Several of the patients here are showing similar symptoms. Something is effecting both populations at once."
The pager he wore on his belt beeped, and he rushed from the room without another word. I narrowed my eyes, listening to the thoughts around us. A young woman from the Quileute reservation had passed away. I frowned, noting my family's gaze.
"Amy Benshing just died. She'd only been sick since this morning."
None of us really knew Amy Benshing, because she went to school on the reservation, but she seemed nice enough. That is, until she died. She passed away with internal bleeding, just like Angela's mother. Carlisle called the time of death, covered her face and went to talk to the family.
Ten minutes later, she came running out of her room, bit a nurse and ran out the door. And people think I'm a bitch.
Carlisle and Edward ran after her at mostly human speed, trying hard not to arouse suspicion. Esme comforted the family, with Jasper standing behind her, trying to soothe everyone's confusion.
It wasn't working.
A few minutes later, Carlisle and Edward wrestled Amy back into the hospital. Carlisle left Edward and Emmett guarding the girl. She looked awful. Gummy eyes, large bleeding welts on her skin. She didn't speak, only making strange grunting noises. She didn't seem to recognize her family.
Carlisle quarantined Rebecca, the nurse that had been bitten. He noted that her blood flow was already slowing, a high fever breaking out. She wasn't vomiting like the others, but her eyes were getting cloudy and she said her heart felt like it was beating out of her chest.
Rebecca was one of our favorite nurses. Edward liked her because her thoughts toward Carlisle were always professional and pure, unlike most of the dirty minded women at the hospital. She and Esme shared a love of gardening and decorating and Alice loved shopping with her.
None of us were stupid, and neither was she. She asked Carlisle to restrain her and keep the other nurses out of the room. "Whatever's happening, Carlisle… it's like in the movies. Don't let me hurt anyone else."
Carlisle sighed and nodded, taking samples from her blood to test and examine. He went to the lab, only disappearing for a moment before returning in a frenzy. "Edward. Call Charlie. We're going to need to evacuate everyone here who hasn't been exposed. I don't know what this is, but it's changing quickly."