The Joke's On You
Disclaimer: I don't own any material contained within this story. All copyrighted content remains the property of the person, people, or organization that holds the copyright. This story is solely for fun.
Warning: This two-shot will contain both torture references AND character death. If either of these things bother you, turn back now.
Chapter 1: The Kidnapping
It was a peaceful evening, for Halloween at least. The children were out trick-or-treating. Various witches, goblins, demons, vampires and fictional characters ran from house to house while adults stood by and kept a careful watch over their young charges.
One particular adult's watch was slightly closer than seemed proper, causing the other adults who saw him to pause and carefully steer their own children away from the twenty-something-year-old escorting the young girl in the fairy-princess costume.
Of course Jacob didn't mind the shunning. Renesmee was enjoying herself, and that was all that mattered. If the rest of the adults saw fit to judge him for what (to him) seemed only natural, what difference did it make? He had his 'Nessie', and that was enough as far as he was concerned. And so the two traveled, practically alone (save for each other), from house to house; however, as they finished with their current street and started towards another, something unexpected happened.
A clown came out from behind one of the houses and ran up to the two. Unlike most of the other people in costume, this clown's didn't seem the least bit scary. His face was up – locked in a broad, happy smile – and painted in bright colors. His clothes matched; and the big red nose and rubber shoes, which let out little squeaks as he walked, combined to project the image of a happy-go-lucky circus clown... rather than the, perhaps more fitting for Halloween, image of Stephen King's "It".
The clown reached up and squeezed his red nose, producing a funny, honking sound; and Renesmee couldn't help but giggle. Jacob, however, didn't look nearly as amused as he just stood there, arms across his chest, and regarded the clown with a tolerate but annoyed expression.
The clown's lips fell into a frown, though one would've had to be looking closely to see this since the painted grin remained plastered across his face. Then, a brief second later, his lips curled upward once more; and his eyes shot open in a kind of "Aha!" expression. The clown reached into his pocket and pulled out a balloon, then he proceeded to blow it up and twist the long prop into the shape of a dog.
Renesmee laughed at the irony as the clown handed this doggy balloon animal to Jacob, but the shape-shifter's left eyebrow only arched into a curious expression. Then, the balloon popped in his hand, releasing a strange, green gas into the air around him. Suddenly, Jacob's lips pulled upward. His mouth opened, and he began to laugh.
At first Renesmee was pleased to see that her temporary guardian wasn't being such a stick in the mud anymore. However, her joy soon turned to concern as Jacobs laughter only grew louder and louder. Finally, the shape-shifter couldn't take it anymore; he doubled over and fell to the ground, deep in the throws of an uncontrollable glee from which there seemed to be no escape.
Renesmee squattered down next to him, a fear filled expression plain on her face as she pleaded with him to stop laughing. Ah, but such a thing proved to be quite impossible; and as the young, half-vampire looked back up at the clown she noticed that his happy, silly image had shifted ever so slightly.
He leaned down, bringing their faces level, and then the young girl noticed something else. The clown's makeup had faded somewhat; and horribly disfiguring scars were now apparent, running from both sides of his lips up and into his cheeks.
"Hey, now, little girl, don't cry" the clown cooed in mock sympathetic tone. Then his eyes sparkled with malicious glee as he grabbed her small hand and continued in a much deeper, ominous sounding voice. "We're going to have lots of fun tonight."
In the northern area of Forks, rested a youth center for underprivileged and/or troubled teens. And every year on Halloween this youth center played host to a costume party. It was a sort of volunteer, charity event where 'at risk' teens could gather and enjoy a safe, lawful Halloween get-together.
Of course, every year that Esme spent in Forks, since the founding of the youth center, she volunteered to bake up all sorts of treats for the Halloween party. Such was not a strange thing since she also volunteered her services for many of their other holiday get-togethers.
It was a mutually beneficial arrangement. It helped take some of the load off of the centers more regular, day to day and weekly, volunteers, freeing them up for other things. And Esme got to have the joy and satisfaction of having her baking skills appreciated by dozens of kids, a welcome pay off since her own 'children' were all vampires and completely incapable of enjoying their 'mother's' cooking talent. Yes, since Bela's turning, there was no one -- save the 'granddaughter', the vampire/human halfbreed – left at home to enjoy the 'super-mom's' cooking; and her volunteer work gave her a sense of fulfillment that she could not get at home.
Of course, this year was a little different. Normally Esme volunteered alone, but this year she'd been able to talk Bella into coming with her. It was to be a fun, little mother and (new) daughter bonding experience.
However, Bella found herself having very little fun. Although Esme was an absolute dear in any other setting, as the two labored in the youth center's large kitchen area, Bella was quickly discovering that her new mother was an over-demanding Nazi when it came to what she considered to be her domain.
Poor Bella had spent most of the night so far running around like a chicken with her head chopped off, trying to stay out of Esme's way as she did her best to follow the orders her mother constantly barked out. No, poor Bella wasn't having very much fun – no, not at all. In fact, she wished that she'd taken Renesmee trick-or-treating herself, rather than entrusting the job to Jacob. Little did the girl know that her night was about to get far, far worse.
At that moment a ragged and bloodied figure burst into the kitchen area. He was panting and looked rather like he'd just tried to make love to a Mack-truck. Given the man's impressive physical strength, Bella automatically assumed that he'd either just been in a fight with several dozen men... or had run a foul some supernatural force – most likely an 'evil' vampire.
"Jacob, wh-what's happened to you?!" Bella exclaimed and soon found that, although bloodied, beaten and exhausted, the shape-shifter's sense of humor seemed completely intact. In fact, he appeared jollier than she'd ever known him to be in the past.
"B-Bella," Jacob started, struggling to stifle his laughter. "We... We need to," he continued before a short fit of chuckling interrupted him. Jacob's face then morphed into a strange expression that looked half-way between a smile and a scowl. He inhaled sharply and then spit the next words out as quickly as he could, hoping that he'd be able to finish before the laughter over took him once more.
"Bella, he took her; he took Nessie!" the shape-shifter just barely managed to choke out before he was seized by another bout of laughter.
"Jacob?" Esme gasped, finally pausing her frantic kitchen work. "That's not funny. You shouldn't joke about something like that," she continued sternly.
Jacob's face twisted once more, and he grabbed Bella firmly by her shoulders. Doing his best to remain steady, he locked eyes with her and forcefully stated. "I'm not joking." Then his lower lip trembled and he erupted into another chorus of laughter.
But the look in his eyes, coupled with his disheveled appearance and the fact that Renesmee was not with him, was enough to convince Bella that, whatever insanity had gripped the shape-shifter, he was being truthful about her daughter. The girl's arms shot out and she violently shook the laughing wolf-boy, trying to snap him back to the real world long enough to find out exactly what was going on.
"What do you mean? Who took her?! When?! Why?!"
"It... it was that clown."
"The one who... who did this to me. He poisoned me. S-some kind of gas. And... and, while I was down, he danced around me," – Jacob began but found himself unable to hold in the still lingering effects of the strange gas. He laughed and chuckled and grinned the whole rest of the way through his exposition. -- "kicking me and singing 'Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?'. Then, after beating me up, he... he told me to tell you that, if you wanted him to let your daughter go, you had to meet him at the old, abandoned warehouse on the edge of town. And that if you didn't show up... or he saw anyone else, he'd kill Nessie!"
The two women listened with horrified looks on their faces. Then – when Jacob was done recapping the events of Renesmee's capture and finally let himself drop to the floor, grab his gut and slip into a long fit of laughter, chuckling and giggling – Esme turned to Bella and said, "You've gotta tell Edward."
"NO!" Jacob shouted through his forced glee. "You can't; he'll kill her."
There were tears in the young man's eyes, and Bella wasn't sure if they were from his roaring laughter or caused by the thought of losing the one he'd imprinted on. Perhaps it was a little of both. Either way, Bella knew that the man's concern was genuine. He truly believed Renesmee would die unless she went to the warehouse and went alone.
And so, Bella's powers of reasoning retaining their usual strength, she decided that her only option was to trust the clown, she'd never even met, to honor his word and release her daughter if she turned herself over. "He's right. I'll go... alone."
"Please, Esme, trust me. I have to do what's best for my daughter."
"And I have to do what's best for mine," Esme retorted.
And, for the first time that night, Bella did feel some bonding with her knew mother. She half-smiled, but the current situation quickly drove the expression from her face. "Thank you, Esme. But I can take care of myself. I'm... one of you now, remember? And... and we can't take a chance on that psycho hurting Renesmee. If he did that to Jacob," – with a wave of her hand, Bella indicated the hysterical shape-shifter –"he's capable of anything. And I need to do everything I can to keep him from hurting Renesmee." Any more than he already has, the girl added within the safety of her own, private mind. "Please, just take Jacob to Carlisle and see what your husband can do for him."
There was a pause as Esme bit her lip. She didn't like the situation, didn't like it one bit. And she thought Bella rather fool hardy for being willing to face this apparently mad clown on her own. But, finally she nodded her head in acceptance. It was her daughter's life after all, and she knew that Bella would never forgive her if Renesmee ended up dying as a result of her insistence on involving Edward.
(Next chapter should be up either this weekend... or sometime next Wednesday. Happy Halloween, and God bless.