A/N:

WARNING: This story will deal with mature and adult themes. Please, exercise caution before proceeding.

Before anything else, I must thank my wonderful, exceptional betas – EchoesOfTwilight and KristenLynn. Without them, I am nothing.

The girls of the LoD – Thank you for being my inspiration, my guides and the greatest group of people, not just women, I've ever known.

Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. Never have. Never will.


When the Words Scream - Prologue

"For She is the End"


"I said, shut up, Alice!" I shouted. My hands covered my ears and my eyes squeezed shut. Not that it would matter, for her voice would always sound, scream, and perforate my senses. The shrill sing-song of her tone bled into my skull, allowing no room for argument. She was here, plain as day. Her short stature was the harshest of illusions for, despite her size, she commanded my presence – owned every fiber of my being. My whole world resided within her grasp, making me an unwilling slave to her demonic, idealistic nature. Never again would I know the joys of being free.

"See, Bella? It's easy," she spoke, taking the white linen bed sheet in her hands and expertly tying it into a makeshift noose. "No one would blame you. You are nothing." There wasn't a single clue left that would expose the imaginary basis of her nature; her clothes ruffled and shifted with movement, her voice echoed off the walls of hell. The doctors stated she was a figment, a confirmation of my broken mind, a shattered portion of my existence. They spoke of my subconscious as if it were its own entity, separate, and defining itself through the girl standing in front of me.

"Leave me alone, Alice. I know you're not real," I said, my tone shaky and unsure. Logically, I believed she wasn't in the room with me, but my senses did nothing to dispel the awful, apparent reality. Staring in horror, I watched as she lifted the cot onto its side so it stood tall, just above my head. Her maniacal smile mocked me as she fastened the bed sheet to the metal frame; it hung at eye level between us. Knees shaking and legs quivering, my eyes burned from unshed tears as I took in the scene before me. I sat on the floor, hugging my legs to my chest, hoping she would disappear, fade into the deep recesses of my mind. Praying for her to become frustrated with my non-compliance, I rested my forehead on my bent, uncovered knee and silently screamed for her to leave. It would not matter if I shouted aloud or only in my mind – there was no escaping her.

I could only sit, frozen as I listened to her light footfalls while she paced at my feet. I needed something, anything, to make her dematerialize. However, there was no box in my mind where one could banish all things ugly and painful. Instead my head had created a figure with unspoken and unprecedented knowledge; a mirage, perfectly, with unparalleled experience in the art of breaking me down.

Alice was the manifestation of your worst parts. She was the hole in your heart when love is lost. She was the itching in your throat when you cry over a dying parent. She was the last gasp of air you take as your heart stops beating.

Like an ominous cloud, she bent at the waist and hung over me, her lips pressed to my ear. "Do it, Bella. You are no more than a nuisance to those around you, a waste of space. A hospital bill. An expense. You are the person people long to forget. They beg for you to disappear."

I could feel the light brush of her lips against my skin, the passing of air and hot breath in my ear. Her hands grasped mine as I looked up into her cold, lifeless stare. The steel, metallic irises of her eyes held nothing but conviction. Truth.

I was losing the battle with logic, quickly forgetting that she was no more than an imbalance of chemicals in my deeply disturbed brain. Acceptance and understanding washed over me like the first touch of water droplets in a warm shower. She smiled, her white teeth glinting in the dim light coming through the bar-covered windows. The street lamps outside did not act like a beacon of light guiding me to a brighter future, for they burned like fire, warning me of unsafe passage beyond their realms.

She slowly pulled me to my feet; I stared at my bare toes as my body moved without my permission. Alice maneuvered me next to the cold metal bed frame, the linen-fashioned noose illuminated by her presence. I watched as she fingered the material, causing it to sway back and forth like a bell in a church tower. I all but heard the warning chimes sound in time with the noose's motions. Just as bells inform the townspeople of time of day, the soft whisper of fabric rustling in the non-existent breeze echoed like a clock; slowly but surely sounding my last moments.

"Please, Alice, no. I can't. I don't want this," I begged as she placed the fabric over my head and tightened the material around my neck, pulling it so my feet barely grazed the floor. Tears flowed freely down my cheeks and I tried to swallow, but found the action nearly impossible. "Please."

"Stop it. You know this is for the best."

Alice ran her hand across my cheek, tracing the hard lines of bone with her cold fingers. She smiled again and nudged her shoe-covered feet next to mine.

"No, Alice."

She laughed loudly. It reverberated through my soul, chilling and unyielding in its victorious sound. Placing a hand on each of my shoulders, she brought her forehead to mine and whispered, "Don't worry, Bella. You're doing the right thing now. All of your mistakes and failures will mean nothing when it's over."

Just then, I felt her kick my feet out from under me and push down hard on my shoulders. The linen buried itself in the soft flesh of my neck, cutting off my ability to breathe. Pressure built around my eyes; it felt like someone's hands were in my skull, trying to force them out of the sockets. My face was hot, burning as the blood stopped flowing. Alice's hands were no longer on my shoulders, for she was sitting on the floor, pulling me toward her by one of my wrists. Her grip was too strong for me to free my imprisoned hand, but I brought the other up and clawed at the sheet around my neck. She held my feet in her lap with her free arm, effectively keeping me from reaching the ground. I had no leverage, no ground to stand on, much like I lacked the will to resist her simple words.

"Alice," I managed to call out, using the last bit of oxygen in my lungs. There were spots in my vision and darkness encroached around the edges. My chest and throat stung from the lack of air. My hand clawed and scratched at my face, my fingernails digging into my skin. I imagined this was what it felt like to be buried alive, slowly running out of air and completely aware. Blood was dripping down the side of my face and falling onto the floor beside me, my life's essence slipping away in more ways than one. My body jerked and twisted as I fought to get free. Reaching above my head, I latched my hand onto the metal bed frame, attempting to hold my own weight, but my lack of air left me weak. Unable to hold myself, my hand slipped and the noose pulled tighter. Darkness moved in more fully on the edges of my vision, tunneling my point of view so that it focused solely on Alice's calm face. I clamped my eyes shut, praying for the immense pressure in my skull to alleviate, to forgive.

Despite my dulled senses, I heard the sound of a doorknob turning, the noise obvious, metal cracking and popping with movement. With the realization, Alice yanked impossibly harder at my feet and wrist while I fought to hold on. I opened my eyes and looked down, seeing her furious, cold, and vengeful stare gazing directly at me. The door still wasn't open and I was out of time. I felt nothing but emptiness. I saw nothing but Alice. I heard nothing but the quiet murmur of a voice, directly outside. My muscles went limp and my eyes slid shut, losing the battle between awake and death.

"Fifteen minute checks," a voice called out from beyond the short distance from the doorway, though in my mind, it could have been miles. Opening my eyes for the last time, I glanced at the floor and Alice was gone. In her place was the small circle of light from a flashlight in the hand of the person in the hallway. They were too late and my eyes closed once more. The world was nothing but black, cold and unfeeling. Dull and lifeless. I smiled despite everything, knowing that with my ending, came the end of Alice. It was over.

"Shit! I need help! NOW! Room 207! Someone, help!"

-- ~ --


A/N: Okay, I can only imagine what you're thinking right now. And since I can only imagine, I'd love for you to tell me.

To everyone who has been involved with this process, the LoD girls, the WC's and the fandom in general – thank you. I love you.

**Necessary shout-out to Em – Thank you for showing me "her" in a new light. Without you, this wouldn't have been possible. I love you more than you can ever know. There are no words.

Again, I'd love to know what you thought.