Author's Notes (August 20, 2010): This is a "what if" piece. What if Edward hadn't been able to conquer his bloodlust that first day in biology? Moreover, what if his humanity had been stripped so thoroughly that he didn't care if Bella felt fear as he killed her? What if he enjoyed it? This is the dark scenario I dreamed up, accordingly.

Please note that this is "experimental" writing. Any weird spacing, spelling, punctuation and/or repetition is indeed intentional—unless it's not, in which case I apologize. At any rate, expect it to be unconventional.

Playlist: "Kringellek" by Anna Rynefors and Erik Ask-Upmark. (It's on YouTube.)


"A MAD DASH"


It happens so fast that my head is left spinning. I'm in my biology class, and for the briefest of moments, I smell blood. Salt. Rusted metal. My stomach turns and churns. There's acid in the back of my throat, a stale taste of breakfast.

But now there is only green, only wet spruce and pine and moss. My nausea subsides as my confusion mounts. How did I get here?

I'm outside, at the very outer perimeter of Forks High, where civilization drops off into the green and foggy mystery that is the forest.

I turn around in confusion, and there he is. My heart skips a beat before lurching into frightened overdrive.

Edward Cullen is dark and stunning, and his chin and mouth are covered in a brilliant crimson—drying blood. I know without asking. He is a beautiful, horrifying monster; a nightmare of painful, perfect clarity that burns my eyes. Again, I taste breakfast.

I shiver beneath his stare.

I want to scream, but I am silent. I am speechless and immobile. My tongue is thick and dry, as if cotton is wedged in my mouth.

He is a demon or an angel—one or the other or both—but not a boy, never a man. I see how still he is as he regards me with black devil eyes. And then I realize…

He's not breathing.

He's not breathing.

He's not breathing.

And the blood.

There's blood.

On his chin.

He's standing close.

Too close.

Tooclose.

I gasp as if I'm suffocating, as if blood has been in my mouth.

Trapped. I'm trapped.

He flashes Satan's smile. Perfect, white teeth.

Sharp teeth, something tells me.

He says one word, but it is all I need.

"Run."

And he laughs and laughs.

Before I even turn into the forest, I know it is pointless. I should just lie on my belly and snivel and let him have me. I know, somewhere deep down, in some instinctual and primitive place inside, that I am the lesser animal, that he is my predator, my worldly beast god to whom I bow.

At least I won't lead him back to the school.

No one else will die.

Instinct works both ways. It tells me I am weaker, but it also says, "TAKE FLIGHT," and so I fly, fly, FLY on faulty, skinny legs that don't know how to run. My bones are jell-o. My muscles are mush. But I fly, nonetheless, because my nature allows for nothing else. It is written on my very code to do this, to flee when I cannot fight.

I am a clumsy girl, and the forest is my dark, yawning death chamber. Each small hill rises up as a mountain; each slope of the earth is a rocky cliff from which to dip, dive, drop. Every branch is an outstretched arm with thorny fingers that bury into my skin like tiger claws.

I leave a…...t…r…a…i…l…...o…f…...b…l…o…o…d…

I can't hear him behind me.

In fact, I can't hear anything…anywhere.

Only the whispering wind, only the sprinkling of rain far above the thick tree canopy, only my frantic heart. Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub. Lubdublubdublubdub.

The woods are silent.

There are no birds in the sky.

I am completely and utterly alone.

The trees watch me stumble, indifferent as always. They have seen a million murders, a million salvations. They have seen the hunter's bullet lodged between the doe's eyes. They have seen the hare outwit the wolf. They see all. They judge not. There will be no intervention today.

I'm crying, tasting my tears as they roll into my mouth, like ocean waves lapping into the mouth of a cave.

I can't see for my tears, but I run and run and runrunrun. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot…

F

a

l

l

F

a

l

l

F

a

l

l

With a whimper, I pull myself up with the aid of a low-hanging branch that tears into my open cuts with its sap-sticky bark. The sap burns a fire into my blood.

My ankle's twisted. I run anyway. I stumble-run. I fly with a broken wing.

And then the game comes to a stop.

A dead end rises up to meet me, a large half-circle of craggy, moss-covered rock at the base of a mountainside. My mind screams, CLIMB! But I am spent, as I am no athlete, and adrenaline only lasts for so long before one crashes. My muscles twitch and tingle. My lungs burn as I breathe raggedly. My skin itches as blood rushes. My head spins. The world is bleary.

A twig crunches and snaps behind me, and I whirl around, my knees bent defensively.

He's here.

He even let me know it. I'm not stupid. I know that he purposely made a sound.

He grins a lopsided grin, and I notice the blood is gone from his chin.

"Don't you know?" he asks.

"Know what?" I whisper, and my throat burns.

Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub.

He licks his lips with a pale pink tongue…

DANGER.

Adrenaline shoots into my veins like a rush of speed. I see more clearly. My injuries no longer hurt. I feel fast and strong, nearly invincible, but my brain is smart enough to tell me that I'm not.

I do the best I can. I jump—higher—higher than ever before—and claw my fingers into the side of the mossy-covered rock that serves as my fence. I reach and begin to climb.

But there is not enough adrenaline, not enough strength in the world to escape my predator.

His hand latches onto my ankle and yanks—his hand is cold, so cold.

Lubdublubdublubdub.

For a small moment, I find my voice and scream, but the sound dies out easily and dryly. It's not as if anyone can hear me out here, anyway.

He drags me back, pulls me into a sickly embrace that is hard and chill, as if I'm caged in ice-covered steel. My hair is wrapped around his fist, and it becomes a rope to my head—one he tugs on until my head is bent back so far that I have no choice but to see the world from a sideways angle. My neck aches. My bladder gives as I quake. Warm wetness runs down the inside seam of my cold, muddy jeans.

His fingers are bruising my hip as he lays a deceptively sweet kiss onto my neck.

"Don't you know?" he repeats in a strained, almost-angry voice.

I whimper.

He chuckles darkly. "Bella… Lions always catch lambs."