A/N: Apparently being sick means I decide to write in the middle of the night. So, as a teaser for what is to come, here is the prologue to Thought Like Flames. Please read and review. The more reviews I get, the more antsy I get to give you guys more.
Carnage everywhere I look. Limbs… Arms, Legs, Heads… Everywhere. We were unprepared. No, I was unprepared. I was their leader, I was their hope. And I failed them all. The smoke clouds my vision and I fight through the billows, praying to find her. Praying to whom? I have no idea. There's nothing out there. Just us monsters. I look to the right and see Esme bent over Carlisle, trying to bring him back. He's not gone though, not as long as his body is intact. I tear my sights away from her and see Emmett lighting a pile of newborns on fire. His eyes meet mine just as the flames climb and dance in front of his face in a menacing sort of way. He knows I have failed them.
I keep moving, stepping over body parts. Bella's screams cut through me and I spin around, ready for an attack. But there is no attack. No more newborns are coming for us. Bella has thrown herself onto what is left of Edward's body, clinging to him and begging him to wake up. Of course, his head is nowhere near the body, but it's him nonetheless. Again, I tear my eyes from her and keep moving. There, just ahead I see her. Her short black hair is matted with mud. She hardly looks like my Alice. Just as I am about to reach her, I realize that her head has been pulled from her neck, leaving just an inch between the two. But a fatal inch, still. A cry of fury and anguish escapes my throat and I throw myself down on her body. Rosalie's blonde hair falls before my eyes as she grabs me around the waist, pulling me back. "No, Jasper! Please, it's too late…"
My arm reaches out and I shove her away from me with a growl that I haven't heard from myself in decades. She stumbles back and Emmett catches her around the waist. His eyes are dark and I feel the rage and agony radiating from him. He has lost a brother and a sister. Because I failed them. I whip my head back around and look down into Alice's vacant eyes. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Oh, Alice…" I feel a familiar darkness rising within me. One I had not allowed to live since I met Alice. A darkness I can only describe as evil. Alice saved my life the day she took my hand and introduced me to a world I had never known. And here she lies, her light forever gone.
Pain overwhelms me and I throw my head back as a scream tears through my entire being. It echoes through the trees causing birds to lift into the air and fly away in search of refuge. Emmett's hand is on my shoulder and I throw it off, rising to my feet. Beyond him I see Bella watching me, her head resting on Edward's chest as tears stream down her face. Her emotions reach me and I am forced to take a step back from the intensity of her suffering. "Jasper," Emmett's voice brings me back to him and I find I can't even look at him. Instead I look down at Alice one last time. Around her neck hangs a solid gold necklace I bought her on our most recent anniversary. At the end hangs a locket containing a picture of us together. Naturally she had worn it every day since, saying she wanted to keep our love close to her heart.
I bent down and pulled the necklace from her severed neck, clasping it around mine. I tuck it into my shirt and with my back turned to the remains of the family I destroyed, I mutter a quiet, "I'm sorry." With that, I leap from my spot and within seconds I am miles from the house. I do not plan to stop tonight, I plan only to run until I am in New York. I am no longer Jasper Hale of the Olympic Coven. I am Jasper Whitlock and I am a monster.
Edward's cold, hard body does not give in to my commands to move, to draw breath. I can't say I expect it to, really, but asking the same of a severed head that has been cast aside like garbage just doesn't seem logical. But then, I know this is a dream, so logic doesn't really matter here. In this nightmare that I can't wake up from, I just found my family slaughtered by an army of newborn vampires. Alice had seen them coming and we had asked the Denali Coven to come to our aid, but they were too far away. They didn't make it in time. With Jasper and Edward creating a plan of battle, we decided to stand and fight. And by we, I mean they. Edward had sent me to the reservation where I'd be safe among the werewolves. It had only been when I was crossing into their territory that I realized they could help us.
Werewolves track and hunt down vampires. Bloodsuckers, as they call them. Jacob and I hadn't spoken in quite some time, not since shortly after Edward came back, but I still considered him my friend. I should have thought to ask him to help sooner. When the realization did hit me, I ran to Jacob and explained what was happening with desperation and more urgency than I'd ever felt before. Between the time it took me to get to the reservation and the time it took to tell Jacob, the battle had already begun. By the time Jacob and the pack had arrived, it had been too late. I wasn't too far behind, opting to get there by motorcycle for additional speed. But when I had finally gotten to the baseball field, the field where Victoria had first come across us, I realized everything had gone wrong.
The wolves stood at the edge of the trees, hanging their heads in respectful mourning. Jacob looked up at me as I threw the bike aside and ran onto the field. His heavy eyes closed slowly and he hung his head again. One by one, the pack turned and ran back into the cover of the trees, returning to their territory. Jacob looked at me one last time and then his eyes flickered to an area just ahead of him. I was vaguely aware of his form turning and running off through the trees, but my eyes had already fallen on the spot he had glanced at. Among the various arms, legs, and even heads, I saw a dark clothed figure lying on the ground. I recognized the Cullen Crest that adorned Edward's wrist and felt the world spin away from me.
Suddenly I was kneeling over his body, clutching his hand against my chest. Only, I couldn't whisper in his ear and ask him to come back to me. I couldn't kiss his lips in an attempt to breathe life back into him. His head had been ruthlessly torn from his body, leaving only his solid, very cold torso. Thick, choking sobs overwhelmed my being and I threw myself on top of him, holding onto what was left of the only man I had ever truly loved. Eventually my sobs weren't enough. The pain building inside of me clawed its way through me as scream after scream erupted from my throat. I pounded on Edward's chest, hurting my wrist in the process. I welcomed the pain. It accompanied my emotional misery nicely. Still, I pounded on him, begging him to come back.
Eventually, the world spun away once more and my screams died off, leaving only the tears to run their course. I laid my head on his chest, tracing circles on his shoulder as I so often had. I felt my mind begin to crack and knew there was no coming back from this mental lapse. Just as my eyes fluttered closed, willing my mind to fall into darkness, a terrible scream ripped through my awareness. My eyes snapped open and I looked up to see Jasper clinging to a body… To Alice's body. Alice. Another sickening pang of sorrow shoots through me and I realize that Alice is gone forever, just like Edward. Jasper turns and his eyes land on mine. I see in his eyes a look I have never seen before. One that chills me far worse than Edward's cold body. Such torment, such agony, such grief… All overshadowed by guilt and regret. He tears his eyes from mine and I watch as he rises to his feet.
Moments later, he is gone. Just gone. I am vaguely aware of Emmett and Rosalie clinging to each other in the middle of the smoke filled battlefield, but I do not want to see them. I do not want to see love. Slowly, wiping tears away from my eyes, I stand up and take a step back from Edward. With one final rational thought, I reach down and take his hand as I pull the Cullen Crest from his wrist. I secure it around my own wrist and look back at Esme, who is bent over Carlisle. Carlisle, too? Only…. Esme isn't screaming or showing any signs of woe for her mate. So, perhaps not Carlisle. Perhaps, there is some bit of hope. The Olympic Coven is not entirely destroyed.
I stumble back, taking one last look around the field as I pull my motorcycle up. I straddle it with one fluid motion and turn it on, causing it to roar to life. All at once, three pairs of eyes are on me as I peel out, back onto the road. Within minutes I am flying down the highway, traveling south. I will go as far as my bike takes me and then I will walk. I will not eat, I will not sleep. I will only keep moving. Eventually I will get to Phoenix, the only other place I ever felt at home, and I will finish the job Victoria set out to do. I will be with Edward, one way or another. I will have my forever with him.