Chapter one: Gone

My eyes stung as I finally let them close, too dry to stay open. My body sunk deeper into the inviting ground. The pain was due to the fact that there were no more tears in me. There was no more fight in me. The words, the emotionless flat words he uttered to me ran through my head. He didn't want me. Those words touched every fiber of my being and drain the life right out of me.

My legs no longer functioned as they curled into my chest, molding with the damp, dirty leaves that nestled around me. The cold rain was welcomed. It was the only soothing comfort I had left. As each drop grazed my skin, its heavy touch reminded me of his ever feathery fingertips on my body. He did not want me – the words flashed across my aching eye lids, reverberating in my mind. They repeated themselves over and over agin until they blended into one word. One final word in his musical, vibrant tone.

When my body ached for more air, I reluctantly complied. The dizzying effects were somewhat soothing. It was good to know that I would have some form of release from this turbulent painful reality. I needed something else. I needed something more, but my feet could no longer carry me through the darkening forest.

My futile quest to find him was failed before it began. His lightening speed would never let my weak, ungraceful feet find him. After all this was a decision only he could make. The decision in no way could be affected by me, because I would always need him. My weak human heart would always beat for him. My muddy memories would always be best when they thought of him. My mind would always recall his beautiful voice in perfect harmony and pitch, because I was his -- wanted or not – I was his.

I cringed when the concentrated stream of light hit my eyes. The shaky stream darted around the dark forest. My eyes were open now, but my body was still frozen. I could not respond when I heard the frantic, urgent screams of my name. I was sure I did not want to. None of the harsh, booming voices were the right tone. The voices calling my name did not belong to the right person. I did not belong to them. Not anymore. I belonged to only one. I could only answer for him. His lips should be the only to utter my name.

I lost time. I didn't know how much, because the sky was still dark but the forest was quiet now. I wasn't sure how long I laid here. Time only existed with him. The seconds felt like forever. Time crawled, not sure of when I would see him. I wondered where he was. With his speed he could be clear past the country, maybe even half past the globe. My body shuddered at this thought. The more space there was between us, the more the expanding of my lungs hurt. I wished there was a way to stop them. It shocked me I was still able to breathe without him – not knowing his good bye was cemented in his blatant departure.

My body shifted toward the unnatural breeze that rushed past me. It could only be caused by one reaction. That was a breeze I felt only in his presence. My eyes darted around the dark forest, trying to find the direction it came from. Maybe ... maybe. I couldn't bring myself to complete the thought. I tried to focus, steady my gaze. I couldn't quite see clearly without the light and the pulsing pain in my eyes did do much to help the matter.

"Edward?" the name seemed strange now leaving my lips with the accompanying ache in my heart. I felt a tight grip on my arm. Tighter than it should be. Then the hand picked me up, but my feet didn't reach the ground. I hovered as my eyes still couldn't make out the image in front of me. I wasn't sure what to fault: my sluggish brain or pain ridden eyes.

Then I saw the fire. The fire red hair. But that didn't scare me, once my brain put it together. My captor wasn't the one I hoped but Victoria. It seemed only right for fate to play this trick.

"Not Edward," the words wrapped around her slithery tongue.

That affected me. The name she snaked around her tongue ripped at my heart and washed another round of pain to every inch of my body. The name that caused me so much hope, joy and pleasure before now wrenched despair and destruction throughout my body.

"He would leave you ... alone?" Her head twisted around, searching for him. I wanted to tell her not to waste her time but I couldn't even muster enough energy for that. "His presence is long gone." She said, sniffing the air once more. I wasn't sure if she was asking me or confirming her suspicions.

I let my eyes close again when the dull ache became too much. I did not want to concentrate on her form anymore. It wasn't the one I wanted to see. I didn't yelp or scream when her grip became tighter – not even when the other cold hand curl around my neck.

"Surely you have a scream for me." It wasn't a request. She brought my face lower to met with hers. "Open those pretty eyes." She squeezed my throat tighter when I didn't comply. I welcomed the dizzying blackness and disregarded her words. I didn't bother to make them out as I slipped into the inviting murky waters. I wanted them to swallow me whole.

I spit out the gush of water that hit my skin and face with cold daggers. My hands tugged at the wet clothes where they clung to me. That was not a welcomed sensation. It reminded me of his cool touch, one I was yearning for. My body was weak, not from the pain but sleep. My atrophied limbs felt like they had not moved in days and there was a building ache in my stiff neck. The discomfort was nothing compared to the emptiness inside me.

"You had me worried, Bella."

That's when I noticed my eyes didn't sting as they focused on the graceful, taunt figure towering over me. She had a bucket in her hand, still dripping with water. I stifled a shiver. From the cold or the sight of her I wasn't sure. Words still couldn't find me so I narrowed my eyes. It was futile. I was no match for her because no longer did I have my protector.

"I guess we're not gonna have girl talk."

The pout that graced her face was disarming. I would've insisted we did if she weren't a sociopath. In an instant she was sitting next to me, stroking the damp hair out of my face. That's when I felt the restraints in my failed attempted to distance our bodies. She had tied my arms and feet together. As if I could out run her, I thought with a dark chuckle.

"I know he left," the tone of her voice was one of pure concern, for who I wasn't sure. "And I know the despair you feel, because I feel it to. But you see, his was a choice, mine was not. He walked away from you, Bella."

In her blood red eyes I saw that for this one moment we were united in the pain we shared. We were simply broken hearted girls.

"James did not – would not leave me." And the truth in her words would have caused tears to gush forth if I had not used them all already. "I will find him, Bella. And when I do, you will watch me destroy him. I will destroy that last bit of hope you have."

The sincerity in her eyes overwhelmed me. This was not a threat, it was not meant to scare me but prepare me. She wanted me to writhe in this information. She would take pleasure in knowing the dread I felt, the helplessness I would feel – much like she felt when news of James' death reached her. She wanted me to know that no amount of planning would deter his inevitable fate and for that I cursed her.

"No!" The word burned my raw vocal cords as the scream escaped. "Take me instead." This was the last thing I would give him. I would give him the future without me, he so desperately wanted..

Her slow smile did not reassure me. Her mind was set. "I have other plans for you my dear."

The gleam in her eye made my stomach turn and I wriggled trying to create any kind of space between myself from her teeth. That's when I noticed the bed I laid in. It was quite plush for a torture chamber – but I wasn't in the dark. I was in a room that seemed to belong to someone. I was in a beautifully decorated room with fresh flowers, burning candles and open shutters that let some filtered moonlight into the room. This was not a setting for my murder. This was something else... something I couldn't wrap my mind around.

Her hand clamped my arm, bringing me impossibly closer to her. Her next words terrified me. "I have a present for you, Bella."

The way my name slid sickeningly sweet out of her mouth unnerved me. She leaned in, closing any space between us as she placed her cold lips onto the nape of my neck. My instincts surprised me. I did not back away. I did not fight. I leaned into her embrace as her other hand slid down and rested on the small of my back. When her welcomed teeth sank into me – breaking my skin – I finally understood my reaction. I pursed my lips effectively stifling the name I longed to utter. I closed my eyes and I imagined the razor sharp teeth connecting us were his. I imagined that his venom was the one poisoning my system so that in this last loving act, he was binding me to him. A moan escaped my lips at the thought as I succumbed to the cleansing fire that now spread in my veins.