The crisp winter night was eerily quiet and still around me as I ran with negligent ease through the darkened forest. The only sound a light crunch from my feet on the frost covered ground. The calmness I exuded belied the restless energy which filled me up as I ran, ran away from the demons plaguing my dreams, ran way from the pain which filled me up every second of my nights and days.
The creatures I'd expected to see, feel and hear were nowhere in sight, understanding that I was a threat to them and every other living thing on the planet. I could sense them, make out the pounding of their hearts, the pulsing of their blood in their veins and I swallowed back the venom in my mouth feeling it's burn against my throat. It had been too long since my last hunt and my hunger was excessive and intense. I didn't like to hunt anymore; it made me remember things I was trying my best to forget.
The forest teemed with life around me despite their best efforts to remain hidden but I wanted something more, something I wasn't able to name. I glanced up at the crystal clear sky and in a second stopped running, gazing with wonder above me. My heart pounded heavily and painfully inside me. The stars sparkled like a million diamonds woven onto a velvet sky and the moon hung full and heavy in the night, smiling down on me mockingly as if it knew my pain and the cause.
It was a full moon, a wolves moon. Wolves Moon. My heart clenched as I remembered the last time I'd heard those words. He'd said them to me. He'd had told me the story last year, before he'd left me, before he disappeared from my life. Before he left me here alone, before he went back on all the promises he had ever made me.
Just the thought of him ripped back open the huge hole in my soul that I had fought so hard to ignore and left me sore and aching and gasping for breath. He had been my best friend, my other half, my big brother, my protector. I couldn't even allow myself to think his name, the pain was too great. And he was gone, gone from me. I would never be whole again.
I shivered not from the bite in the air but from the pain now seeping through me as I attempted to call my focus back on the real reason why I was here. Closing my eyes against the pain and the memories, I breathed deeply, reaching out into the night with my senses, searching for that elusive scent, which would call to me, to set the venom flowing again.
I shifted into a hunting crouch, feeling the earth beneath my feet, it's pulse, it's life force, the blood flowing real and vital through me as I headed towards the small creek I could hear rippling in the distance. The wind whipped past me, bringing with it the scent I had searched for, a deer, a large buck, mine for the taking. The closer I got and the louder its thumping heart became, the more the thirst burnt my throat. The acidic burn a welcome distraction from my emotional pain.
Slinking closer to the ground I approached the buck on silent feet, holding my breath, feeling my lips peel back involuntarily over my razor sharp teeth. My own heart seemed to race in time with the bucks as I grew closer and closer still. I felt my muscles bunch and coil as I held myself still for one second before I leapt, catching him around the powerful muscles of his neck.
In seconds it was over, my teeth tearing through his skin as though it were chicken and my mouth was filled with something warm and vital but not nearly as fulfilling as I wanted it to be. With each pulse of it's dying heart I took into me energy, a revitalization that had been too long missing from my life. I drank my fill greedily until there was nothing left but a rapidly cooling body on the floor.
Getting gracefully to my feet, I glanced around me; my thirst still not quenched. The burning subsided only slightly. I paused mid step, going immediately still. Something wasn't right. There was a change coming. I felt as though I were being watched. The hunter was now becoming the hunted. I sniffed at the air, ignoring the animal smells, taking in the scent of the creek, the forest in the breeze and something else something I wasn't familiar with. It made me uneasy and I heard myself growl involuntarily, my eyes scanning the forest around me, trying to seek out the threat. I saw nothing. But I knew it was there.
A chill raced along my spine when I heard it, a long and low keening cry. A lone wolf, a rogue. Goosebumps broke out across my skin as the wolf howled, his cry one of pain and misery and loneliness, as though he too was searching for something. The night was suddenly filled with a cacophony of cries, all in harmony, the fluting sounds of the wolves call haunting me as it had so often in my dreams.
I listened wondering and then recognizing the calls of my wolf family, I heard Seth and Quill and Embry, I heard the pain. I knew they mourned his loss too. They missed his presence. I held myself still for minutes, unaware, uncaring of the tears that dripped from my eyes, as I absorbed their pain and made it my own. They had lost their alpha, their leader, their friend. Gradually their cries faded away until all that was left was the rogue wolf, still calling out, still lost.
When at last I heard nothing more than the faint rustle of the wind and the rapid beating of the hearts of those hidden creatures, I allowed myself to move. I couldn't shake off the eerie feeling that stayed with me in the minutes after the wolves fell silent. Suddenly the forest had eyes, and I found myself looking over my shoulder, scanning the darkness around me. The forest had always been an escape for me, a place of calm but suddenly it felt aggressive, almost dangerous.
My human side fought with my vampire side and won out. Ren, I said to myself, you're imagining things. I allowed a small smile at my over active teenage imagination. I may be well above average intelligence and have maturity beyond my years for a normal human but in some ways I was still very much a teenager. The fact I was chronologically a seven year old made this all the more exceptional but I still had some of the same fears and pleasures and mood swings and paranoia's of a teenager.
I turned swiftly on my heels and ran back through the forest the way I had come, running for the hell of it, not, I told myself, because I felt as though I were being watched and followed. Casting out amongst the forest I suddenly became aware of a powerfully beating heart and the urgent padding of feet, of paws, running, picking up speed, heading for me.
I felt a momentary flicker of alarm; most creatures avoided me, not followed after me. Hitching my breathing I sniffed tasting the creatures scent on my tongue as my legs picked up speed, the trees flying by me in a blur of purple shadows. My heart wanted to stop beating as some of the scent reached inside me, past my carefully constructed barriers.
It was so achingly familiar yet so different that it confused me. It smelled like wolf, like a shifter but more so, more powerful but with no trace of human left. Tears burned my lids as I ran, reminded of the person closest to me, the person who had been missing from my life for so long. It smelt so much like him but I knew it couldn't be. I would have recognized his scent anywhere and in any incarnation, wolf or man. If it was him, I would have had no doubts. I would know right away because he was mine. I would know him the way I would know myself.
Glancing over my shoulder as I ran I scanned the horizon seeing nothing but shadows. My ears picked up the rustle of the undergrowth as whatever it was ran parallel to me, hidden in the bushes of the forest. It's speed terrifying because it could keep pace with me. Any normal creature would have fled or given up the chase by now.
Scared now I sent out a mental S.O.S to my dad, praying that mom didn't have her shield up. Dad had never been comfortable with me hunting alone and it was only because mom and Aunt Alice had insisted I would be safe, and would stay close to the house that he had allowed me. Uncle Jasper had almost forced me from the house, sensing as he had for the last 365 days, the pain I was in, and the almost physical ache inside a welcome change from the emotional devastation I felt. Today of all days it was more intense, much more crushing. But Jasper loved me. He would do anything to keep me happy. The only problem was he knew and everyone in my extended yet close-knit family knew, I was far from happy.
Lost in my thoughts I was shocked when a low warning growl hissed behind me and I froze in a heartbeat, terrified to turn around. Not terrified to face the wolf I knew would be waiting there but terrified it wouldn't be the one wolf I was desperate to see. I sniffed the air around me delicately tasting that same scent which had left me confused earlier. Was it him?
My heart thudding rapidly in my chest, I span slowly on the spot, feeling tremors shake my body as I came face to face, or should I say face to flank with an enormous angry looking yet still so handsome russet wolf.
He was crouched low, but still huge, his ears flat against his head, his nose crinkled to bare long vicious fangs as another snarl rippled from his giant body. His fur was long and shaggy but such a familiar russet color that the tears leaked from my eyes. I devoured him with my eyes, shocked to see how unkempt he looked. Snarling and growling the entire time the wolf slunk closer to me, stalking me, his teeth bared, fangs flashing in the moonlight. There was no trace of the human in him, he was all animal.
Trembling I stood very still, searching for any recognition or intelligence in the familiar dark brown eyes. There was none. I stretched out my shaking hand to him, knowing he wouldn't hurt me, keeping my eyes locked on his as I spoke softly, calmly.
"Hello" I heard the weakness in my voice. His snout twitched as he breathed in my scent and yet another fierce growl erupted from his massive body.
He whined and snarled as he crept closer to me, his head tilted to one side, almost studying me, judging my reactions. I trembled as he came to a stop before me, still snarling and growling, all the fur on his body standing on end. Aggression rolled off him in waves, hostility in the air around us, I was after all his natural enemy.
I knew that every instinct in his body was telling him to kill me, to rip me to shreds, to sink his teeth into me, to close his massive jaws over my throat and bite. But he held off, he was snarling and growling but held off all the same. His eyes never left mine, watching, waiting. I should have been terrified but I couldn't be, not of this, not of him. I felt nothing but an all-encompassing joy.
"Welcome home Jake" I said tremulously, keeping eye contact with the animal he had become but wiping away an errant tear. We stared at each other for long seconds though his aggression did not abate, it did not escalate either and I was lost in him, in his magnificence.
"Renesmee…move away from him…slowly" I heard a voice murmur behind me and I turned for a second. My parents had arrived and I could see that Rosalie and Emmett had stepped into the clearing, all crouching low in defensive positions. It was the natural order of things.
As I turned back to look at the animal before me it all happened so quickly that I would struggle to remember but in the space of a second I was gone. I turned my attention away from Jake to beam at them but as Dad and Emmett rushed to my side I heard a terrible snarl and felt myself falling. I watched as there was a flash of fangs, glinting silvery white in the pale light of the full moon and I felt the sharp snap against my throat. There was screaming muddled with low guttural growls and angry hisses. Then everything went black.