Chapter Author: Scarlett
Escape from New Forks
Edward ran to the north side of New Forks, taking full advantage of his supernatural speed. The aggression and stresses of the current situation were mounting up in his mind and suffocating him from the inside out. He needed a release; he couldn't kill as his instincts would tell him, so he ran. He had left Bella following him at human pace, her erratic behaviour and selfish attitude bothered him to end, but not as much as his guilt for putting her in this situation in the first place. It was his fault and because of that he was losing her.
As he reached the wall, he leaned back and let his head fall against the cold hard brick; he closed his eyes and took a deep breath that he didn't need.
That's all he felt, that's all anyone felt. The Cullens were falling apart and it wouldn't be long before someone caved under the pressure. The war had taken its toll on the entire population of New Forks, even after the wall was built to protect its citizens; they still, somehow managed to find a way in. It wasn't long before patrols were put in place and contact with the outside world ended... completely. Television was the first thing to go, then telephone lines along with the last of the old analogue internet. Radios continued on for a short period but it wasn't long at all before those were gone too. New Forks stayed secluded in its own little compound alone for decades, in-fighting and panic from the civilians was common, especially during long periods of relative calm. There was always one, every few years that had had enough, convinced the war was over and jumped the wall... they never returned. There was no relative calm now, the attacks were becoming more and more frequent, more and more managed to infiltrate New Forks barriers and more and more civilians were lost. In a bid to evaluate the situation outside, Rosalie and Emmett had volunteered to travel on foot to the neighbouring cities. This was much to the disapproval of Esme who would have preferred Jasper to go given his Military experience, but Alice would have none of it. They had been gone for 8 months now and everyone feared the worst.
Edward let his mind wander back to a century ago when he and Bella were happy, letting the frustrations and stress of the war go for just a minute he remembered her at Forks High, the new girl. He smirked at the thought of how trivial those years were in comparison to now. They had been so in love then, and in the years that followed at college while Bella adjusted to being a newborn. After their second year, they had both dropped out due to Bella's persistence at trying to kill one of her fellow night class students. When they returned to Forks with the news, Emmett and Jasper ripped into Bella about it for months. She took it well and to their surprise developed a quick wit, hitting them back where it hurt.
He thought of Emmett and Rosalie, they had been such prominent figures through all this. Emmett would joke around with Jasper on their military attack once the end came, once the wall and New Forks were finally taken over by them; while Rosalie would snort and knock them down. It made for humorous viewing and somewhat held their spirits up. With them gone the mood was constantly solemn. He hoped they were well; at least they were together, which is more than could be said for him and Bella. A sad smile drew on Edward's face, those good times were gone and who knew with the state the world was in if they would ever come back, if anything happened to them in their current situation he would never get those moments back. Those moments when it was just him and just her; together. And right there, for the first time in a long time he let himself miss her.
Bella made her way through the thick forest towards the north wall. She was three quarters of the way there and it had taken her two of the most frustrating hours of her elongated life but she would be damned if she gave into Edward and use her vampire speed.
He can goddamn wait, it's not like we're dying anytime soon. He was the one who sped out of the house like his arse was on fucking fire. Fuck him and his patrol, fuck the wall, fuck this war, and fuck being a vampire! Bella's thoughts rambled on until she reached the clearing, about a mile before the wall. She stopped and took in the scene.
It was bleak, shallow graves lay scattered throughout, wooden stakes marked who lay beneath each one. There were so many that they had had to dig a giant sandpit for those they did not have room for, for the ones who had been infected, for the ones who had to be burned. It smelled of death and decay as smoke still bellowed from the depths of the pit- Edward and Carlisle had been here earlier. Bella took her time and weaved through each of the graves, pulling her jacket sleeve over her hand and then to her nose, masking the stench. She noted who each of the graves belonged to, remembering what had happened to them, some of them decades ago some more recently. Not all had been lost due to the war; the lucky ones were the ones who died of old age. The majority was due to health complications, lack of supplies and hospital equipment ensured that. It was her idea to use the wooden stakes, a little vampire humour in the midst of so many tragic loses. It wasn't that she was being inconsiderate of the dead, it just at the time made it easier for her and Edward to give up something so precious to them. What was once her and Edward's meadow was now the site where they buried their dead.
Bella reached the far end of the grave site; she turned, her eyes scanning the entire meadow.
Very fucking fitting.
Bella turned again and headed back into forest to begin on the last mile to the north wall at human pace. She reached the final clearing in 20 minutes. He was there, leaning against the wall eyes closed. She was surprised not to see Esme, they had discussed before leaving the mansion that she would meet her and Edward there after hunting.
"Hey!" Bella yelled as she approached Edward.
"You made it then?" Edward retorted not moving from his relaxed position.
"Yeah, what's your problem? You know Edward I'm starting to get really sick of all this, if you have something to say then spit it out and let's get this conversation over with!"
Edwards face changed from serene to scowl in a mere second as Alice's vision once again was brought to the forefront of his mind, his fists clenched hard. "Not now Bella, we have work to do. Did you not hear what I said back at the house? Do you actually want more people to die tonight?" He walked off.
Bella quickened her pace and followed Edward to the large working area; she was far to deflated for any kind of argument tonight. Alice's vision was still playing on her mind and what it could mean. She was also starving, which meant she would have to sneak out later tonight and feed. She watched Edward rummage through the loose bricks on the ground.
The town had taken to knocking down abandoned buildings, mainly offices or work spaces to maintain they're boundary wall. It was painstaking work, but everyone chipped in and surprisingly enough gave everyone in the town a little moral boast. With no work force to speak of at all, people needed a distraction. During the day the townsfolk would work demolishing small buildings with whatever machinery was left and functional, moving the debris to the four corners of the boundary wall. The Cullens would pitch in during the night much to Bella's frustration, keeping out of sight, but it had to be done or they would all be dust.
"Alice and Jasper are scouting the South wall, you left before they had a chance to tell you." Bella tried to defuse the unbearable atmosphere.
"I see, well hopefully this shouldn't take us too long, I trust you will be using your vamp strength for this task?" Edward probed, knowing she didn't want a fight but not helping himself.
"Esme and Carlisle are out hunting and one of them will be joining each of us later, I think Esme is coming to us and Carlisle will be helping Alice and Jasper." Bella ignored him and continued on her pleat of a peaceful night. "Hmm I thought Esme would have been here by now, maybe they had to go further east for food or something..." Bella muttered on to herself. Edward nodded as began to create some sort of cement for the wall.
They worked together in silence for the next few hours. The forest was still with only a slow breeze passing through; the bustling of leaves and the faint sound of small forest creatures settling down eased the eeriness of the night. They had maintained the vast majority of the wall and reinforced it with bits of steel, chopping down as much as they could from the top of the wall any large trees on either side.
"Almost done." Edward pointed out quite proudly.
"Uhm Edward, where is Esme? It's been hours; shouldn't she be here by now? Can you hear her nearby?" Bella's guilt from speaking out of turn to Esme was beginning to get at her, she wanted to apologise.
"Bella, she's probably busy... with eh Carlisle... ya know?" Edward gave her that stupid side smirk that used to make go weak at the knees and for a split second she smiled with familiarity. It faded quickly as her resentment towards Esme and Carlisle's happy marriage sunk in; they were off having sex while she was stuck in a dead meadow marriage; moonlighting as a construction worker.
"Oh yeah sex, I forgot about that. What's that like again?" Bella retorted bluntly.
Edward jumped down from the top of the wall about to approached Bella when they both froze.
A loud haunting howl could be heard throughout New Forks.
Both Bella and Edward stared at each other, shocked. Before they had a chance to do or say anything, Alice came running through the opening at the speed of light.
"YOU MUST COME! NOW! BOTH OF YOU! Something has happened; I don't know... how this could... I couldn't see!" Alice screeched at them both visibly shaken.
"Alice what the hell is going on, did you hear the howl there? WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED?" Edward broke his stare from Bella and searched Alice's mind for answers, but it was all a blur, she was in shock.
"You must come now! It's Esme, Jasper is with her but... but Carlisle... Carlisle is missing. Oh god Edward, I didn't see this coming; it's all my fault... I only caught the last of my vision but it was too late... We were too late!" Alice cried non tears and was shaking, barely understandable.
Bella looked to Alice and then Edward for answers, but neither of them had anything comprehendible to give her.
"Alice it's ok, let's go to Esme and Jasper. Jasper can explain to us what happened; you just take us to them ok?" Bella tried her best to sooth an emotional Alice.
"Ok, ok... I'm ok... Oh God... ok... follow me." Alice tried to calm herself and made her way into the forest as Edward and Bella gave each other a nod and followed.
They ran at full speed until they reached east. They were met by Jasper who was clearly finding it hard to deal with his own emotions let alone Alice's as well.
"Jazz what's going on?" Bella pleaded.
Jasper lifted his head to face Edward.
"Jasper? Where is Esme? Alice said she was here... But, I can't hear her."
And Edward knew.