First of all, let me apologize for the literal 3 year hiatus that I took from fanfiction and from Dark Whispers. I have returned only to finish this story though. It's something that I've thought about off and on for the longest time, and I feel compelled to finish it.
Also, reading my author notes in the past embarrasses me. I'm so thankful I've grown out of my ridiculous phase in which I felt the need to use six thousand exclamation points and "lol"s.
As a heads up, there will be three POVs in this chapter.
So thank you to the few who might read the ending to this dark tale.
Please try not to hate me for it.
I had lost track of how long we were on the interstate headed south, towards Mexico. We had just stopped at a gas station because we were low on fuel. The man behind the cash register unsettled me, giving us furtive looks when he thought we weren't looking.
I lost track of time itself, distancing myself in a place within my own mind that held unimaginable horrors. The events of the past week haunted me – Jasper plunging that knife into Father, us fleeing the police, getting caught and placed into a group home that we eventually fled from, meeting Emmett, finding out our Mother was alive, Phil choking in his own vomit, me putting two bullets through my Mother.
It all seemed so surreal. So much death. So much pain. Our lives were an endless barrage of panic, fear, and hurt. I had lost count of how many souls I had watched leave bodies. I had lost count of how many times I had tasted the sharp, metallic taste of terror on my tongue.
I had never expected Jasper and I to find Mother. I had never expected that she was even alive. But she was. And she was a heroin addict. Or had been, rather.
The Mother I had longed for my entire life had been alive and I had never known. I remember spending countless nights, awash in fresh bruises and perhaps a broken bone or two, fanaticizing about a Mother that would see my pain and wrap me in warm blankets, caressing my cheek and soothing my tears away. I had put her up onto a pedestal within my mind, imagining a sinless angel of deliverance. She was the icon I went to in my deepest moments of despair. She was the only unspoiled thing in my existence. And I had lodged a bullet in her brain.
I remembered the look of hunger in her face as she talked of selling me for heroin money. I had never seen such desperation, never seen a more distraught face. Her addiction made her put the drug above her own daughter. After she had knocked Jasper out with ceramic plates, slicing his scalp, she had turned on me, bringing a knife out of the kitchen drawer. There was no question of her intent. Her mind switched from financial profit to murder.
I had no choice, I told myself. I had to kill her. Otherwise she would have killed me. And then Jasper would have been completely and utterly alone. I was no longer the small, quiet girl I had once been. This life of pain had robbed of every shred of innocence, destroying it completely. So there was no question in my mind when I leveled that pistol at Mother's brain.
Jasper and I were on the interstate for what seemed like days. We were quiet, full of dark thoughts. Death surrounded us no matter where we went – it seemed inescapable.
"Are you alright?"
Jasper's voice brought me quickly from my thoughts.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just thinking."
"About the fact that nothing we do works, nothing we do fixes anything." Suddenly, I felt near tears. "How can we continue? We only have so much time left. We've left at least three dead bodies in our wake, Jasper. How much longer do we have? I feel as if our lives have been set on a clock that is counting down. Our time is running out."
His jaw was rigid. "Don't speak like that. We'll be just fine."
"How are we going to be just fine?" My voice breaking with incredulity, I looked at him in disbelief. "Jasper," I said, taking a deep breath. "Death is catching up with us."
"No it's not!" he yelled suddenly, his voice hard with anger.
I shrank back into the seat, suddenly afraid of his reaction. I had seen him angry before, but never at me. His eyes glistened with the emotion, staring hard out the dark windshield. It was midnight and the interstate was as barren as a field left to rot without crops. Darkness enveloped us like a cruel blanket, reminding us of the bleakness of our lives. I could see the frustration behind his eyes. But there was something else. Something I hadn't truly seen within him in a long time. Fear.
His gray eyes slowly turned to me, and softened. "Oh, Bella," he murmured. "Don't be afraid of me. Never be afraid of me. Please." His voice cracked and I saw the fear spill forth. He seemed to crumple in the driver's seat. I heard the audible exhale of breath, life leaving him for a second. "I know we don't have much time left. Not if we stay here. Please don't speak that way though. Don't speak of death as if it's only just around the corner." He slowed the stolen car, a rickety Volkswagen, to a stop on the side of the interstate and turned to me.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
Jasper's eyes were soft, pleading with me in a way I didn't quite understand. He searched my face for what seemed ages, as if trying to impart life-altering knowledge to me without speaking. "Bella," he began softly. His voice was unsure, halting, and I felt suddenly as if what he was going to say was exceedingly important. "Bella, you don't understand how much I care for you." He stopped, his eyes never leaving my face. He seemed to search for the right words next, struggling to grasp his thoughts as if they were smokey tendrils in the air. The intensity of his gaze frightened me. He didn't look away from my eyes. He didn't so much as blink.
"You are the only person I have ever cared for, Bella." His voice was low, dark. "I have never had the ability to care for people easily. I can't seem to fully connect with others. Even when I was completely surrounded by hordes of people, even people I know, I have always felt alone, different. I didn't like people, but I associated with them to make use of them. I never talked to someone unless there was a purpose behind it. I never made friends. Of course they thought that we were friends, but in my heart I knew the truth. I knew that if they were to contract malaria and die, I wouldn't care. I knew that if I was to suddenly discover that any one of them had been brutally murdered, then I would simply go about my day. However, there has always been an exception to that rule."
He looked at me.
I knew he was trying to tell me something important but for some reason I simply couldn't comprehend his words. Perhaps it was the fact that so much had happened in the past day – discovering Mother…killing Mother.
Seeing my struggle, he continued.
"Bella, you are that exception. Do you not see the difference in how I act with others and how I act with you? Do you not see that the only person that I care about is you? I would give my life for you if it meant that you would live. You are the one constant in my life, the one source of beauty. You, who are so kind, so strong, so beautiful. I cannot imagine a life without you because there is none. There is no life without the one who shares my soul. You are my soul."
The longer he spoke, the more urgent his voice became. He suddenly took my head in his hands, cupping my jaw with the tenderest of hands. I realized how ridiculous it was for me to be afraid of him earlier. There was nothing to fear when Jasper and I were together. Nothing, not even death, could tear us apart.
Jasper leaned towards me, touching his forehead to mine so that our noses brushed together. We stayed like that, his eyes looking deeply into mine. "I want you to realize that you are my life," he continued. "You, who have seen the darkest of my past. You, who have been with me these past seventeen years. You, who have cared for my cuts, wiped away my blood, mended my humanity when I thought it was forever gone."
Suddenly, there was a sound outside. A twig breaking.
Something wasn't right.
Jasper heard it too, bringing his forehead away from mine to look out into the darkness. The headlights were off so we didn't have even so much as a light to see by. I heard the sound again, this time closer. It was to my right. I looked, but the darkness would have masked the most brutal of beasts. The beast could have gnawed human children between its massive teeth and neither Jasper nor I would have known.
And then the light blinded us.
All at once, the world erupted in a sea of lights. Red and blue suddenly flashed everywhere. Headlights screamed into our faces, bursting into my consciousness. Where did they come from? What was going on?
I screamed in surprise the moment the lights blinded us, clutching instinctively to Jasper. He immediately snaked his arm around my waist, pulling me deeper into the protection of his arms. I couldn't see anything at all. The lights had blinded me, causing bright fireworks to ignite behind my eyelids, appearing wherever I looked.
"Come out with your hands up," called a calm and authoritative voice through a mega-phone.
I gasped in realization.
They had found us.
Deep sobs burst from my chest. "Jasper, what are we going to do?!" I cried, clutching to the only source of security I knew.
His voice was weak, frantic. "I don't know."
"I repeat, step out of the vehicle with your hands high above your head." The mechanical voice was back, but this time more instinctive.
As my vision returned, I saw the dozens of police officers surrounding our car. There were at least thirty in a complete circle around us, black pistols aimed surely at our brains. Jasper looked frantically around us, pulling me closer, his arms like a vice grip around my body. His eyes were crazed with panic and fear.
"Bella, listen to me," he said, looking down at me. "I want you to pull out your pistol from your bag."
"What? Why?!" I gasped in surprise. Horror surged through me. I had a horrible feeling about what was to come. Terror raced through my veins.
"Do you trust me?"
"I do, but – "
"Then trust me. Perhaps if we don't give in immediately, they will be more willing to keep us together."
His voice was sure and steady. I had no idea what he was planning and I didn't know what it involved. I only knew that my stomach was heavy with dread as I obeyed his orders. Pulling the pistol carefully from the bag in my lap, I tried to hide it beneath my sweatshirt. I watched as Jasper pulled his revolver from his own bag, keeping his eyes on the officers outside. The steel in his eyes frightened me.
"Step out of the vehicle!" the mega-phone voice insisted, more vehemently this time. "Step out of the vehicle or we will be forced to open fire." I heard one officer speaking to another man who I thought could have been a detective.
"They have killed three people thus far. If they even so much as look as if they will turn violent, I want my officers to open fire. Without that tip from the gas station on the license plate number of the stolen Volkswagon, we would never have caught up with them. I wouldn't be surprised if these two were to murder again."
My heart screamed that we weren't murderers. At least not cold blooded ones. We had only done what we did in order to survive. Couldn't they see that? Despair filled my body quickly, engulfing me in a tidal wave of hopelessness. They didn't understand because they didn't want to understand. They were looking to find two cold-blooded murderers and that was what they found. All of mine and Jasper's pain would be for naught. All of our anguish and turmoil, our struggle to survive – it would all amount to nothing.
A fair world did not exist. Good people died. Bad people flourished. Famines struck. Earthquakes decimated millions. It was the way of life and there was nothing that could stop it. Jasper and I were destined to suffer because people couldn't understand. They couldn't see the bond between us. They couldn't see the hopelessness of our lives.
If they could only have seen the anger in Father's eyes, the way he tried to force Jasper to drink bleach the night we killed him. If they could have only seen the desperate hunger in my own Mother's eyes as she struggled to plunge a knife into her own daughter, angry at the fact that her daughter would not submit to being sold into sex slavery for profit. I sobbed uncontrollably, awash in the bleakness of our situation.
The world was dark.
It was cruel.
And it was going to kill us.
If only I could get them to understand. If I could tell them everything, they would know just how unfair all of this was. If I could tell them, then they could finally see why we were forced to do such terrible things. My mind was half crazed with the thought. I had to save Jasper and myself, and telling the police officers outside the car was the only thing I could think of.
In desperation, I rushed to exit the car. My hands grasped for the door handle, slick with sweat. The door refused to budge. I slammed into it with my entire body, too quick for Jasper to rush to pull me back. I felt his fingers frantically try to grasp my shirt to pull me back to safety. The police officers shouted in fear, aiming their weapons.
But I didn't see it.
I didn't see the decision they made. I didn't see what flashed in their eyes when I fell out of the car, still grasping the pistol.
Jasper's scream of horror was the last thing I heard before the gunshots.
I was so desperate to save our lives. I was frightened of a life without Jasper, a life without the only person who could ever truly understand the pain I felt. I was afraid to live in a world in which he did not exist. If we were caught, we would be separated. We would be imprisoned. I could not let that happen. And so I did the only thing I could think of to save our lives.
How foolish I was.
But I was desperate with love.
Sound erupted around me. My eardrums burst from the sheer magnitude of it and in the split second before the bullets pierced my skin, I felt a hot liquid seep from my ears. And then I felt it. The pain was unbearable. The first shot vaulted through my lower forearm, shredding muscle and breaking bone, splintering it beyond all repair. The second hit my upper thigh, searing hotly through my delicate flesh.
I screamed as unimaginable pain exploded inside me.
It was impossible to know how many bullets seared my flesh, how many mangled my body. It happened so fast. I had been struggling to get out of the car to tell them the truth, to make them understand so that they wouldn't send us to prison, so that they wouldn't separate me from my best friend. But then I was falling with the pistol in my arm. I had crashed to the ground and suddenly the police opened fire.
There must have been at least thirty.
I was floating.
The pain was dulling, becoming less intense. I no longer felt my broken bones, my torn muscles, my mangled flesh. I no longer tasted the acrid smell of gunpowder. I no longer felt paralyzed from fear. I was floating. I felt nothing.
"CEASE FIRE, FOR CHRIST'S SAKES!"
I don't know how I was still alive in the moments that Jasper launched himself out of the car, almost falling out on top of me.
My eyes struggled to stay open, to see his beautiful face one last time.
Tears coursed down his face and he choked back a sob as he looked at me. His hands fluttering over my body uselessly. Suddenly he grasped me tightly, pulling me onto his lap and into his arms. I gasped in unimaginable pain unlike anything I had ever experienced. The movement caused the bullets to shift inside my body, the hot steel cooling inside my flesh. I felt so cold. And wetness spilled over me. Such wetness.
"Oh my god, there's so much blood," he choked. "Bella, Bella, PLEASE, don't leave me!"
I wanted to tell him I was sorry. Sorry for doing the one thing I had hoped to prevent. I couldn't bear such anguish on Jasper's face. He deserved nothing but happiness.
His sobs racked his body. "Bella…please."
I couldn't speak. My voice was gone. Floating.
Floating off somewhere I couldn't catch it.
It was smoke and I was lead and I was going.
Then there was light.
Such beautiful light. Such beautiful life. But not mortal life.
This life was from the heavens.
But it was there.
I couldn't speak.
I wanted to tell…
Tell Jasper goodbye. But my voice was floating into light. It was gone. Just as I was going.
His jaw felt so prickly within my cupped palm. His beard was starting to grow. Such soft skin. His eyes. Such tenderness.
A despair so black it could not be named filled my body as I held my dead angel in my arms. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to take that pistol and shoot every single police officer, lodging twenty bullets in each brain. I wanted to rip out my own organs in anger. In desperation. In pain
I remembered the way Bella's face had suddenly lit with light while we were in the car. It was as if a realization came over her and she had to act. I had always loved that look. That look of pure light, pure innocence. She was so beautiful. Even in that moment, even when we had dozens of firearms aimed at our brains, even when everything I knew was about to be swept away. She was so beautiful I wanted to cry.
And then she lurched for the door handle, putting all her weight into it. And she fell out. Her body crumpled onto the dirt like a ragdoll.
I don't remember screaming her name.
All I remember was the fear that racked my body, driving me to insanity. Her body looked so delicate, so fragile in that split second before the gunshots as she lay on the ground. I struggled to escape the confines of the small car, launching myself towards Bella. But I was too late.
Bullets poured out of their steel barrels. I heard the sickening thuds as they entered her flesh, the muscles searing, tearing, breaking.
Her scream would be something that haunted me to the end of my days.
There are no words.
No words for the horror. The pain. And the terror. My angel, wracked with bullets lay bleeding on the ground. As I struggled to her, I saw the blood beginning to pool around her, dark and vital. Sobs escaped from my mouth as I cradled her in my arms. Her face was already wet with the blood. The beautiful angel I had so sought to cherish and protect was lying in my arms. Anguish. Despair.
There are no words.
I screamed, my voice hoarse. Clutching her desperately, I pressed my face into the hair that had once held so much life, choking on the sounds leaving my throat.
"Bella, Bella, PLEASE, don't leave me!" I choked, sobs clogging my throat, searing my tongue, staining my mouth.
She was my life, my soul.
I couldn't let her go. I couldn't let her die.
"Bella….please." I struggled for breath. It was so hard to breathe. My lungs weren't working. They had stopped when Bella's stopped. I couldn't breathe. "Please don't leave me….Don't leave me in this darkness, this void. Do not leave me in this abyss where I cannot find you! I cannot live with my soul! Please come back to me. Please, Bella. Please. Please. Please."
My words were distorted by my sobs, great wracking sobs that shook my entire body. Oh God. I could not live without her. My soul was gone, shredded by hot lead, destroyed.
I felt a cold hand cup my cheek.
I started, pulled back from the darkness of my despair. My eyes opened and I saw Bella, eyes almost closed, face pale as death, her hand cupping my cheek tenderly. A small but powerful spark of hope exploded through my consciousness.
"Bella! Bella, are you okay?! Speak to me!" I cried frantically, brushing the hair from her eyes.
But she was gone just as quickly as she had came. Her hand dropped from my face, falling leadenly to the hard-packed ground. Her body shifted so that it almost fell out of my arms. I desperately struggled to keep my grip on the one person in my life that I loved. Filled with an emotion too dark for words, too hopeless for any human language, I rocked back and forth, cooing the only song I knew. It was a melody I remembered as a child. Bella and I had made it up when we were just children.
I clutched her lifeless body to me, willing life to come back into her.
There was still hope.
People sometimes came back to life after dying, their heart suddenly restarting. It had happened multiple times. It wasn't so uncommon.
Everything went black around me. I saw nothing but Bella's dead body in my arms, nothing but the unnaturally paleness of her skin. She was beautiful even in death. Nothing, not even lifelessness could rob her of her splendor.
"My angel." My voice was just a whisper. "My sweet, sweet angel. Look at how lovely you look in the moonlight." My fingertips traced the outline of her eyelids, the delicate nose, the full fragile lips. Tears poured from my face and I watched the salt water drip onto Bella's cheek.
I wanted to die, to escape this void of darkness from which there would be no return.
How does one survive the death of one's own heart, one's own life? How does one live without one's soul? It is impossible. Such an existence would be empty, dark.
Emptiness settled over me.
I realized something then, kneeling in the moonlight of that dark winter night. I realized something I had not thought of before. Something so obvious I should have seen it earlier.
Soulmate. The word seemed so trivial.
There are no words for someone who is so a part of yourself that losing them is to experience death. There are no words for a bond so strong. No words for the bond I had shared with Bella. What we had wasn't sinful. Even if we had been brother and sister, it would not have been sinful as others claimed. I had loved her with every fiber in my being, every ounce of blood within my veins, every bedraggled breath that escaped my lungs. I had said earlier that I would have given my life for her, but that was not even half of it. I would have readily accepted eternal damnation to have kept her alive. If it would bring her back, I would make a deal with Satan. But such things did not exist. And there was no reprieve from this agony.
An agony that consumed me like a rodent in the belly of a massive beast.
A bond so strong it could never be sinful.
I felt nothing but emptiness. I still had my revolver clutched in my hand. Somehow it was still there.
And I suppose it was fate that made it so.
There was nothing for me now. Nothing now that my angel was gone. Forever gone.
I knew what I had to do. I knew what I wanted to do. There was nothing else.
The revolver glinted in the moonlight. I am sure the police didn't see it, or they would have arrested me at that moment. I was thankful they had allowed me to have one final moment with Bella in my arms. One final moment to carry with me into oblivion.
My voice was no more than a whisper as I raised the revolver to my mouth, inserted it, and pulled the trigger.
"Today the fugitives Jasper and Bella Whitlock were apprehended by police. However, the encounter ended in disaster. Bella Whitlock died from more than thirty-three bullet wounds after attempting to shoot police officers, and her brother, Jasper Whitlock, is reported to have committed suicide right afterwards. Mr. McCarty, what are your thoughts on this considering you had firsthand experience with the fugitives?"
Emmett McCarty paused. "I believe that I have never seen such a gross miscarriage of justice."
He took a deep breath. "Here are two minors, struggling to escape from an abusive father and managing to run into nothing but trouble on the way. I could tell simply being in their presence for no more than a few hours that they shared a special bond. A bond that transcended mere infatuation, or even love. I have never seen, nor do I ever expect to in the future, two people more suited to one another, more wholly each other than anyone else. And for the police to open fire on a young girl when she was simply trying to get out of the vehicle as they had instructed…How can this possibly be borne by the American people."
"But, Mr McCarty, she intended to open fire on police officers!"
"And how do you know this? ? Because she simply had the gun in her hand, did not even level it at the officers? Two lives were lost yesterday because of the police department's eagerness to deal out death."
The anchor, uncertain of this turn of events, quickly changed the subject and turned towards the camera to sign off. "And that's all we have for today! See you tomorrow at 6 o' clock."
The cameras turned off and the anchor quickly got up, leaving the set. Emmett McCarty, deep in his own thoughts, exited the set.
Had it really happened? Were the two children he had encountered really dead?
Emmett McCarty entered the taxi with leaden feet. Their plight was one that deeply moved him. He remembered his own father, abusive and intolerant. He remembered the desperation he had felt for most of his childhood, struggling to survive in a life that sought to extinguish his humanity. He remembered the beatings. He remembered the hopelessness. He remembered the confusion he felt, loving his father yet hating him.
How could people not understand the sheer desperation of those two children? How could they harden their hearts to two children who had so desperately needed their love? The world was full of pain, so full of agony, and it was perpetuated by events such as this.
He remembered the anchor's hard voice as she condemned the two children, calling them fugitives on national television.
At home in his empty house, he felt more alone than he ever had. Rosalie had left messages on his answering machine but he decided he would call her back later. The moon was bright tonight, shining lovingly down on Earth's inhabitants. Emmett McCarty strode to the back porch, looking up at such a moon, pregnant with possibilities.
Possibilities that would never exist for two lonely, frightened children from Pennsylvania.
I imagine there are a few of you that are angry at the ending of this story. However, it's how I've always wanted to end this story. The darkest stories do not always have happy endings. The darkest stories are sometimes ones that tear you apart from the inside.
Life is not easy. Nor is it fair.
Also, Dark Whispers is currently in a poll for "Top 10 Favorite Fics"! So, if you enjoyed this story, I would so greatly appreciate it if you'd vote for Dark Whispers. You can reach the poll through a link on my profile! Thank you for everyone's support and encouragement. This story is close to my heart, and I hope everyone else loved it just as much.