Author's Note: This was our contest piece that we entered in the 'Nightmare Before Christmas' Contest on TwiWrite (dot) net. This piece won the Psycho Bells Award (Best Crazy Fucker) and we want to Thank everyone that voted for this and reviewed!
Disclaimer: We don't own! We merely puppeteer! We also wanted to add in that the idea for this particular story came from an episode we saw on Law and Order.
Much thanks to HammerHips and VegaTenshi for pre-reading and beta'ing this crazy fic and giving us their thoughts and opinions to make this fic the best it could be. We heart you girls long and hard!
I dreaded December. It had recently become my least favorite time of year, full of agonizing memories. I wished I could speed up time so I could zip right through it with minimal pain: like ripping off a band-aid. Tomorrow was December first, the first day of my month long torture-fest.
I sat at the breakfast table with the Seattle Times spread out in front of me. Since last year, my morning ritual became getting up between 4 and 6 o'clock in the morning and going through a pot of coffee and reading the newspaper in its entirety. I had nothing else to do with my time and I paid for the expensive daily news, so I decided to use it to the full extent with the exception of the obituaries.
I was in the Entertainment section when a headline caught my eye.
Celebrated Local Artist Found Murdered In Her Studio
I jumped across the page instead of patiently wading through the other articles. Something about it piqued my curiosity. I continued on.
Alice Brandon, a local artist renowned for her sculptures and 3-D art, was found dead in her studio. According to police, she was apparently bludgeoned to death with one of her own sculptures. She was found, lying on her back in a pool of her own blood. Police are baffled by the ten Magnolia blossoms found surrounding her in a perfect oval. They have no suspects at the time and are currently processing evidence. As soon as her artwork in her studio is released, there will be a memorial held in her honor displaying all the work that she hadn't released for sale as well as her most well known pieces. More information on the event will be publicized when it becomes available.
There was a picture of the woman featured next to the article. She was small with elfin features and short, dark, spiky hair. She looked so familiar but for the life of me, I couldn't place her.
That could be due to the fact that the mentioning of the Magnolias brought about other, more pressing thoughts.
I'd given Him pressed Magnolias last year for our yearly Twelve Days of Christmas. At the time we'd come up with our own yearly tradition we'd put no research into what the Twelve Days of Christmas was all about or when it was supposed to take place or anything. We just created our own fun based off of the song.
I glanced up and through the doorway to the living room at the magnolias—still behind the glass—hanging where He'd wanted. I could still remember the smile on His face and the look in His blue eyes as he told me how they reminded him of his Mama's home back in Texas.
I shivered and tamped down on my emotions before they could overcome me. I still had the rest of the paper to read and didn't need it ruined by my upcoming sob-fest if I didn't stop it now. I turned the page and read the latest movie reviews—making a note to go back and clip the article out—so I could keep tabs on when the memorial would happen so I could go view her art.
I sat in front of the television, unmoving, as a feeling of dread settled in my stomach. The most popular doctor in Forks, Washington was dead. No, not just dead. He was murdered.
"We are devastated. You cannot replace a man like Carlisle." My father, the Chief of Police of that little town said, "There were no witnesses and his death came quickly, so we believe that he didn't feel any pain."
The screen went back to the reporter who was wiping her eyes on her sleeves, "It was confirmed a few minutes ago that his death was caused by a single shot to the head. Next to his head was a token left behind from his murderer: a single shot glass. How this plays into his death, no one knows at this time, but police urge you to come forward if you have any information. Dan, back to you."
I shut off the television and slumped over in my seat. He was gone. Dead. I looked up to the top of the stand that housed most of our – I mean, my DVD's. The big stand had stayed the same all of these years—since we first bought it together. The dark red wood has faded to a light red, and the dust swirling around it was heavy. Not that I cared at this moment. What caught my eye was the line of shot glasses lined up in a straight line at the top.
I giggled like a little girl and took the package that Jasper was holding out to me in earnest. Settling myself down in his lap I shook it slightly but heard nothing.
"You can't cheat!" He admonished me playfully with a quick kiss to the side of my head.
I laughed again, this time ripping off the Christmas tree wrapping paper. In my hands was a long, thin white box. Unfastening the tape that held the top down on the sides, I quickly removed the Styrofoam to see nine shot glasses laid out in front of me. Each with their own unique design on the front. I fingered each shot glass carefully and I'm sure the look on my face was one of reverence.
"Do you remember?" He asked, his deep voice in my ear.
"How could I forget?" I replied quietly, "You bought shot after shot from me that day, yet never drank one... you just continued to place your order and then draw me into a deep conversation." I said remembering the day we met.
Jasper chuckled and wrapped his arms around me securely, "And it took nine whole shots before you finally agreed to go out with me on one date." He said lovingly.
"It did." I agreed, "And look where we are now."
I turned my head and in that instance his lips met mine and I was lost in the feeling of him. Nothing else mattered in this world except for him to never remove his lips from mine.
I opened my eyes and wiped away the tears that had fallen down my cheeks. Not wanting to dwell anymore on deaths, murders, or the past, I quickly picked up the phone to call my dad. I zoned out when they announced when Carlisle's funeral would be, and as my last show of respect I thought I should attend. After all, he did everything he could to help me in my time of need.
I choked back the sobs as my dad's gruff, worn out voice came through the receiver.
"Dad, I need a favor."
It'd been a strange few days in Seattle with the recent unusual murders. Today the morning paper brought yet another gruesome misfortune to light. As I read it though, I couldn't be too disgusted over it. This was one of the men who'd taken Him from me.
Local Wolf Pack Gang Member Found In Garbage
Embry Call, a member of the notorious Wolf Pack gang was discovered dead yesterday evening among bags of garbage in a mostly abandoned part of town. The young man was found with his throat slit and propped against a whitewashed wall of an empty building. His murder appears to be linked to the other two recent, unusual murders. Behind the man was an extensive sketch of a woman who was identified as his wife. In his hands were a six pack of charcoal pencils. One of those pencils had been used to create the sketch before being placed in the man's hand; they determined this by the shavings found in his coat pocket, the length of the pencil itself, and the slightly bent shape of the pencil.
I was torn between feeling sorry for the woman—because I could relate to her current situation—and feeling that his death was deserved for the lives he had taken. An eye for an eye. Although I doubt his one death would pay fully for all the pain and havoc he wreaked on the lives he'd intruded upon.
I flipped the page as I took a sip of my coffee. Something was poking me in the back of the head though, despite the fact that I was trying to ignore it. One of His favorite pastimes had been drawing and sketching. He had rows upon rows of sketchbooks, binders and notebooks in His office, full of drawings. He also had mesh cups brimming with the pencils. It brought back a memory of last year, when I'd given him those expensive charcoal pencils...
That was odd... First the Magnolias at the first scene, then the shot glass that was found at Doctor Cullen's house, now charcoal pencils. I shook it off. It had to be coincidence. Right?
The next few days passed in a blur. I ate sometimes, I slept all the time, and I talked to friends and family occasionally. Where the days and nights went, I had no idea. Sometimes I couldn't even remember going to bed; one minute I would be watching some poor sitcom and the next thing I knew, I would be waking up in my bed the next morning. It was...strange to say the least.
But today was a new day and I made a silent vow to at least do something productive today. I couldn't waste away in my depression. He wouldn't want that for me. Instead I put on my blue bathrobe and stepped outside into the chilly air. I walked the few steps down the pathway and picked up the daily newspaper. I wanted to save Carlisle's obituary. I hastily ran into the house where it was warm, sitting down at the kitchen table with my coffee and newspaper in hand. See? I went outside today and I was going to read the newspaper. I was being productive. This counted right?
I was just taking a sip of my coffee when the headline on the first page caused me to spray coffee all over the newspaper and the table.
Death Toll In Seattle Rises As Another Body is Found.
Late last night the body of Paul Meraz was found inside his one bedroom house on the corner of Whitmere and Campbell street. Police are refusing to give out any information about the victim's death, only that he was brutally murdered and decapitated. Police did say that they were searching frantically for the remaining body parts, which leads us to believe that the body was found in pieces.
"We are not revealing anything at this time, only that the body was found and that we are doing everything we can to catch the one responsible for this." Said Detective Craig. "The only thing left behind was a heart shaped box of chocolates that did not have the victim's prints on it. We do not know if this ties into the murder, but we can assure you that we will not brush it off."
Below the article was a picture of the victim and I instantly felt ill. I knew him. Without another thought I ran to the bathroom and threw up what little I had in my stomach. This was a good thing, I told myself over and over. Paul Meraz was a horrible, horrible man and any death that he received would have been too kind. Just thinking about Paul again made my stomach twist in knots, and I leaned over the toilet once more as my stomach heaved. Yes, his death was a good thing. One less terrible person in this world. My only fear: why were these deaths happening to people that I knew? Where did I fit into all of this? Was I even part of this twisted equation?
Today I'd abandoned the Times in favor of watching the news on TV. I didn't know what I expected to find, but the face of Esme Platt froze me in place and made my blood run cold. Oh no...
Another murder has surfaced in the recent killing spree. Thirty five year old Esme Anne Platt was found by her elderly neighbor. The neighbor had been going over for their usual early morning breakfast when she found the door unlocked. Platt was found in her kitchen with a broken neck. It was obvious that the killer had had some sort of combat training due to the manner that her neck was broken. Four coffee cups were surrounding her in a rectangular formation. None of the cups were disturbed, suggesting they'd been placed there after Platt had been killed. When will this killer be caught and brought to justice? With the holidays drawing nearer, the people of Seattle are praying that it's soon.
I came out of my stupor, returning to the land of the living, when I flipped the TV off and threw the remote. The sound of the remote breaking against the wall gave me a sense of relief, as stupid as that sounded. It was no longer a coincidence. He, or she, was killing people that were related to last year's nightmarish event. Were they after me? If so, it was only a matter of time. I wrapped my arms tightly around myself and paced the floor.
As I caught sight of the recliner in the corner out of my peripheral vision, I could almost imagine Him sitting there with a book, his glasses perched on His nose, coffee cup in hand and His big-assed Maine Coon cat taking up part of His chair and lap. I now almost drank as much coffee as He did.
I looked at the chair fully and remembered the event.
There was a rather loud crash in the living room followed by a deep, manly voice bellowing "LEON!" throughout the house. The cat that the name belonged tocame barreling through the doorway, heading for the bed. "Damn cat, broke my last favorite fucking coffee mug." I heard him grumble as he started cleaning up the mess. I had known that there was only one of that particular set that survived up until then, which made my Day Four gift perfect.
I pulled down the plain white bag from the inside of my closet and slipped into the living room. He was bent over, cleaning up coffee and pieces from the hardwood, grumbling under his breath. I snuck up on him and tapped him on the shoulder. He peeked over his shoulder and raised a brow at me speculatively. I held it out to him, almost shyly and with what he called 'innocent eyes'.
He took it from my fingers, slowly bringing it to himself and glancing in. A grin drifted across his lips as he set the bag down gently and rose. His strong arms wrapped around me and pulled me to him as he kissed along my jaw and neck, whispering how perfect I was for him.
I wondered how long it would be until I was connected to these people. The thought made my heart clench. I could only pray I'd be seen for the innocent I was. That I'd be overlooked as a possible target.
I tried to keep my days as normal as possible, unfortunately no amount of "normality" could keep the nightmares away. Tonight, instead of suffering through my greatest fears, I decided to take some night time cold medicine that should knock me out and throw me into a dreamless sleep. Something that I've actually needed since...well since that one night that changed my life for the worst. As I popped the tiny blue pills into my mouth and swallowed them down with a cup of water, I looked at my reflection in the mirror and cringed at what I saw. Not that it should have surprised me. My brown hair rested over my shoulders and fell to my back dully, with my matching brown eyes staring back at me. My face was unusually pale and no smile graced my face. I watched as a lone tear trickled down my cheek, but did nothing to wipe it away. The trail continued down my cheekbone until it dropped on to the counter, never to be seen again. The only evidence as to its appearance was a slightly darker trail on my cheek that traveled from my eye to my chin.
Finally removing the trail, I walked to my bed and crawled underneath covers, grabbing my cell phone in the process. It was one of those days where I needed to hear his voice more than anything in the world. I pressed the number one on the number pad and waited for the automated voice to put me through to my Jasper.
Closing my eyes I waited for his voice to surround me.
"Hey baby girl, it's me. I just wanted to call and check in with you. Also let you know that I love you and miss you more than words can say. Give me a call when you get this. Remember, you're luckily perfect and I'm perfectly lucky. Love you."
To save this message, press nine. To repeat press-
Ignoring the damn automated voice I quickly pressed seven to hear his voice again. Just one more time. That's all I would need to get me through the night. Right? Unfortunately I had never been more wrong.
"Ahhhh!" I screamed as I sat up in bed clutching my chest.
My heart felt like it was going to pound right through my chest, and my head was ready to explode. I looked over at the clock and saw that it was only four in the morning. Not alarmed at my physical state, I took a deep calming breath to try and relax my nerves. Waking up from nightmares was nothing new for me, however this kind of nightmare was. I never dreamed anything so realistic before and it scared the shit out of me. Fumbling to untangle myself from the comforter I climbed out of bed and started a warm shower. When this happened I usually never fell back asleep, just admitting defeat and making the most of my morning. As I threw my clothes in the hamper and stepped under the warm water my body began to relax, my mind beginning to wander. Realizing that I just had a terrible dream and nothing bad had happened to me, I decided adamantly that I would never try and take cold medicine to help me sleep again.
Noticing that my body was shivering and covered in goosebumps, I robotically turned off the water and stepped out, quickly wrapping my body in the towel that was hanging up beside the tub. Going through the motions on auto-pilot, it wasn't until I found myself sitting on the couch in front of the television set, a hot cup of coffee in my hands, did I finally snap out of whatever daze I was in. That nightmare really threw me for a mind fuck. Shaking my head I pointed the remote to the tube and sat back as CNN filled the screen. Just having the television on as background noise relaxed me slightly so that I was finally able to sit back and enjoy the coffee that was sitting in my hands.
"The question is; what is Seattle P.D. going to do with all these murders on their hands?" One of the men sitting around the table asked, thumping his fist down on the wood.
"I think Seattle is doing all they can right now," A woman countered, "With this double murder brought out not even an hour ago, they have a lot of hysteria and mayhem on their hands."
Wait. What the fuck? A double murder?
"Yes, the bodies of Jacob Black and Leah Clearwater were found early this morning in the home of Mr. Black. Investigators, of course, did not release much information, only that the killer once again evaded the officials.-"
Before the bald headed man could continue he was cut off by the blonde haired woman, "Evaded and left another two tokens at the scene of the crime!" She exclaimed. "Two golden rings, that word has it, has some sort of engraving in each of them, and seven long stemmed red roses. But of course the Police Department is trying to keep the details hush-hush until they can get further on in their investigation, but Bob, this is above even law enforcement now. Something needs to be done. This killer is crazy and he is out on the streets, walking amongst us! Who's to say who his next victim is going to be?"
At the end of Barbara's rant I flipped the television off and sat there in stunned silence. Double murder? Jacob Black. Leah Clearwater? Words like golden rings and roses and engravings were swimming around in my head and suddenly I couldn't breathe. This was a mistake. A prank. A fucking once in a life time coincidence. It had to be. The last thing I remembered was the un-touched coffee falling to the floor in a clatter, and my mind going refreshingly numb. Back into my dark place. Back into the nothingness.
The front of the Seattle Times was covered in a large article about yet another murder. Another Pack member that I was not sad to see go. It was always sad to see the loss of life with the possibilities of rehabilitation and such, but my bitterness brushed that off. The man was a rapist and murderer. My sentiments were the same with him as with the others. There was no telling how many lives they'd ruined or broken. How many women had they made terrified of walking down the street alone? How many children had they stole childhoods from by stray shootings or by taking one or both parents from them?
I sipped my coffee as my fingers slid my hair into a side braid while I read:
"The body count keeps rising and rising with no end in sight yet. Police have several suspects they're looking into, but still advise people to stay indoors after dark or travel in groups if venturing out into the city after sunset.
The latest victim in the bizarre string of killings was yet another member of the notorious Wolf Pack. Is our killer trying to bring about their own peace of mind by playing a vigilante and taking out members of one of the most notorious and dangerous gangs in Seattle? Police speculate as much, but also bet it's more personal than that.
Seth Clearwater, the youngest known Pack member was found yesterday afternoon in his apartment by his landlord. The building owner said that the tenant was supposed to be dropping off his keys on his way out. He'd entered the apartment to see if they'd just been left on the counter when he caught sight of Clearwater laying back in a recliner, the only piece of furniture left in the place. He thought he was sleeping, facing the balcony doors. Upon further inspection though, Clearwater was not breathing. That was when he called for help.
Police found Clearwater's belt around his arm and multiple fresh injection sites. In the chair, stuffed down beside his body they found a blackened spoon, a lighter and hypodermic needles among other items involved in intravenous heroin use.
Police would have ruled his death as a suicide except for the stack of eight binders of sketches beside the chair. None of them are signed and all of them seem to be recently sealed in plastic pages. Police are dusting each and every one for prints..."
I could read no more. The room was spinning and I was trying to get myself turned so I could tuck my head between my knees. I was seeing spots by the time I did, although I slowly managed to calm myself after that. I had to be close on the list. Had to be.
I'd given Him eight brand new binders last year to fill with drawings. He'd barely filled one by the time He was stolen from me. He'd grinned and talked about what he would fill each of them with. He'd planned to fill each binder with a different thing. Landscapes, fictional creatures, Leon, Me...
He had at least five binders dedicated to pictures and sketches of me alone...
I jumped and clamped my hand down over my mouth when a brisk knock came at the door. I got up and looked through the peephole, my heartbeat thundering in my ears at the sight of two officers on the other side.
I quickly unlatched and unlocked the door and opened it wide.
"Isabella Swan?" The dark haired man questioned kindly.
I nodded, my heart in my throat.
"We'd like to ask you some questions, would that be alright?"
I nodded quickly, "Please, do come in." motioning them in.
"Don't be a stranger, Bells." My dad said gruffly, pulling me in for a one-armed hug.
I hugged him back with as much energy as I could muster, which wasn't much, mumbling something about trying harder to make the four hour drive to Forks to see him more often. It seemed like anywhere I went I was bombarded with memories. They were worse in Seattle, but at least in Seattle I could go home and mourn on my own instead of breaking down in front of strangers.
"And be careful out there in that big city," My dad said pulling away but looking down on me sternly, "I'm sure that you've heard of the psycho killer on the loose?"
"Yeah," I mumbled, just wanting to get back to our-my apartment, "What was he up to like, five murders now?" I asked, not really caring.
"Seven," My dad muttered, running his hand over his face, "They found another body today. It was pretty horrific."
"What happened?" I asked. "Do they know who it was?"
"Details on the victim weren't released yet, it was a male about your age though. Apparently he was found in an alley with a missing body part." My dad said uncomfortably.
"Eh, let's just say that it's a very important part for a man." Charlie said, rubbing the back of his neck.
Realizing what he was trying to say, I just nodded my head, slightly disturbed by what I was hearing. All these deaths were brutal and terrifying. Grabbing the newspaper from my dad, I quickly read through the article, bile threatening to rise up in my throat. They didn't go into detail.
All that was left behind was another token from the killer: a single Christmas ornament with a snowman on the front. Police still have no leads and encourage everyone to not go out after dark until the person responsible is caught.
I stopped reading at that point and handed the paper back to my father. I really didn't want to read about any more deaths. Too many people were dying, and yet, something wasn't adding up. Reading all of this left me with more questions and with an even worse feeling in the pit of my stomach. With a last wave to my dad, I got in the car and made the long car ride back to my place. My mind was simply too far gone to even think anymore. I wanted nothing more than to just curl up in a ball in my bed and sleep and maybe for once, forget. .
The photo of a strikingly gorgeous man stared back at me from the computer screen. I tilted my head some, thinking about the bright color. They reminded me of my copper cookware hanging in my kitchen that I never used anymore. I took my eyes off of his deep green ones to scroll down. He was victim number ten in the madman's spree of murders.
"Police found the mutilated body of Edward Masen in his home when neighbors called in a disturbance of what sounded like an explosion. The neighbors had wanted to check themselves but feared their own safety and did the right thing by calling police and preserving the crime scene by keeping others out of it.
Detective Vladimir Petran questioned neighbors about the victim and what they'd heard as the crime lab and coroner processed the scene and took away the body. Police have stated that the cause of death was due to some sort of explosive device. According to experts, it was a small shrapnel bomb, just powerful enough to kill the individual opening the box.
The bomb squad opened the other box to find two airplane ticket vouchers and destination packets."
My heart dropped in my chest as I was bombarded by thoughts and images of our vacation in Cancun. Grasping my hair, I shook off those images. Maybe I needed to escape; get away for a little while. Charlie was pestering me to go see my mother and try to make amends, but I didn't see it happening. I turned the computer off and headed to the kitchen.
After making dinner and settling in front of the TV, I watched as a breaking news report appeared on the screen.
"Leads have led to the arrest of Emmett McCarty. The man was discovered to have had connections and run-ins with both the gang and the other victims. More details tonight at nine."
I almost threw my plate of spaghetti and meatballs in thankfulness. If he was in custody, then I was safe. I felt a weight lift, and I picked up the phone to call my mother as soon as I finished my dinner.
"Hello, Mom? I thought I might come visit for the holidays? See if we can't fix some things between us?" I curled the cord around my fingers as I talked.
"I'd love that, Bella! Maybe I'll finally be able to sell you on moving to Florida." I could hear her grinning into the phone and I rolled my eyes. I doubted it.
"They thought they had the right guy. So imagine their surprise when another body turned up early this morning."
"Yes! Police were forced to let the man they were holding go."
"How do they know it was the same killer from all the last murders and not just some copycat?"
"I don't know. Albert wouldn't tell me, just that they were sure it was the same guy. He said the body wasn't as bad as what the others had been, but the man had been stabbed multiple times and left to bleed out."
"Yes, and Albert said another token was left. This time the killer left eleven chocolate, Hershey kisses."
I couldn't listen any longer. This was wrong. It was all wrong. I ran from the spot where I had been eavesdropping on the two older women who were discussing this last found body in the parenting isle. Abandoning my cart and brushing past them quickly, I made my way outside where it was drizzling.
It was wrong. All wrong. Eleven Hershey kisses? It was impossible. Suddenly, it felt like all the air was removed from the world and I was left gasping for breath. The ground began to shake, and the sky was spinning.
"And what does eleven signify?" I asked coyly.
"The number of days it took me to realize that I would marry you someday." Jasper said, lightly ghosting his lips over mine.
I breathed in his breath, instantly tasting the mintyness of him on my tongue.
"Eleven days huh?" I teased.
"Eleven days, my Bella." He confirmed as he picked me up by my bottom, my legs instantly wrapping themselves around his waist.
I giggled as he ran to our bedroom, throwing me on the bed, only to follow quickly, discarding his shirt as he went.
"Make love to me, Jasper," I begged as my hands went above my head.
Forgetting about the eleven items in my hands, I laughed again as Jasper attacked, removing my clothes from my overheated body. The last sound heard was the chocolate kisses he gave me, plunking softly to the floor.
I got up from the bed with a start. I hadn't remembered lying back down to take a nap before my flight, but I supposed that the fight with Renee had taken a lot out of me.
I'd been here all of part of one day and night before things went to hell in a hand basket. My mother would never change. Always reminding me of the fact that she thought Jasper had always been a bad idea, and it'd been a mistake getting married so young. She kept talking and talking about how I'd find a much better man to pass the time with here in Florida until I was the "appropriate" age to settle down.
When she'd said that what happened last year was really a blessing in disguise, how that I'd gotten off easily not having to find out what a burden it was to become a mother so young with such an open future ahead of me, I'd snapped. I'd yelled and screamed and told her what a heartless bitch she was. How if she valued me or my love at all, she'd have been supportive instead of pushing me further and further away from her.
I informed her that I never wanted to see or speak to her again and stormed out of the house. I took my rental and went to the airport, getting a room to wait for the last minute flight I'd booked for the next morning. Christmas Morning. I had gotten the last seat and that was only because someone had called in to cancel it.
I got up and checked the time, finding that I had just enough to get there and get checked in. I'd gotten here late last night, and I hadn't expected to do much more than relax in a warm bubble bath and watch a movie before leaving.
The flight back to Seattle was disorienting as always, chasing the sun across the sky and spanning the time zones, traveling backwards in time in a sense. As I got through my terminal, though, I was immediately greeted by police officers and detective Vladimir Petran, who pulled my hands behind my back and cuffed them securely before dragging me outside to the police cruiser. I stumbled along numbly as they Mirandized me and informed me that I was being arrested for the murder of Renee Dwyer.
The murder of Renee Dwyer… my mother! My mother was dead! I was being accused of it!
When they presented all the evidence: fingerprints, handprints, hair, fiber and the most damning evidence of all—the pregnancy tests and the blood test I'd received at the doctor's office last year—I knew I was fucked, despite the fact that I knew it wasn't me that was responsible.
They'd set me up with their psychiatrists. It was as if none of them heard me when I declared my innocence and denied these wild things they declared that they'd found in my home. They presented me with a scrapbook that was Jasper's and was kept in his office. I'd never picked it up and never looked in it. They flipped through the pages for me to see.
In it contained each of the articles, bills, pictures—everything—that pertained to the story that unfolded last December on Christmas Eve.
It was as if I shut them all out and went back in time to watch the scene play out.
Earlier that evening, we had gotten ready to head to Esme's Christmas Eve party. We stopped by the newly assembled nursery, and he'd brushed his hands across my slowly swelling bump before leading me to the car.
We'd gotten a bit lost and had to take a detour that led through the rougher part of town. Our car stuck out amongst the rest because it was newer, better. I watched in horror as a gangly woman shot out in front of our car and braced myself as Jasper slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting her, merely bumping her. She went down with gusto though, and as we jumped out to check on her, we were attacked by the rest of the gang and drug off after being gagged and blindfolded. Before the hood came down, I'd seen a small waif of a girl with elven features and spiky hair being pulled away slowly to avoid detection by a tall, copper haired man. Both of their eyes were wide and terrified. We'd been tortured for hours and I'd been raped repeatedly by most of the gang with the exception of the one I'd come to know as Seth. The pain set through my body, and I knew I was losing him. I was losing my son. I watched as they shot Jasper in the chest and threw him to the floor. They'd taken one last look at me before pistol whipping me, and I succumbed to the darkness.
Days later, I had awoken to bright lights and a white room. I was told that I lost my baby and almost my life. I slowly healed and watched my husband fight for his life in the bed beside me. He had been doing so well under the care of Dr. Carlisle Cullen. The night Dr. Cullen switched him to another doctor so he could return to Forks, he suffered a seizure from some medication the new doctor had given him and had choked to death on his own tongue before they could save him.
As I came back out into the real world again, I found myself sitting on a bed in—what I assumed was—an institution. The walls were white and padded and the bed had wrist and ankle restraints. I didn't want to lay down here to sleep. I wanted to go home to the bed I had shared with my husband. My body though, didn't have the energy to fight. I was so exhausted, mentally and physically, that it was all I could do to crawl underneath the covers and pass out. As soon as my head hit the pillow though my mind was assaulted with the truth.
A lone figure walked up the rickety steps to the house that was deadly silent. Deadly being the operative word. A pale hand reached out for the door knob, turning it quietly. The figure smiled to themselves as the door swung open.
"So trusting," the figure chuckled to themselves. "So willing to invite death into their home."
Noiselessly, the figure moved quietly throughout the house, not even letting out a breath of a whisper. Hearing a squeaking noise coming from up the stairs, the figure smiled. What a perfect way for this to end. Quickly, the figure crept up the stairs until they came to the last room on the right hand side where the squeaking and moaning was getting louder. Without hesitation, the bedroom door was thrust open, with a loud bang against the wall, startling the couple that was entwined on the bed.
"Well, well, well." The figure mocked with their voice scratchy, "This is a surprise."
Watching the man jump up from the bed, throwing swear words around that would make a sailor blush, the figure pulled out a piece quickly and shot the man in the head before he could utter another sound. The silencer on the handgun might have muffled the bang, but it did nothing to muffle the scream of the woman that was left behind.
"I should leave you alive," The figure said nonchalantly, keeping the piece aimed at the woman's head, "But why? I believe that there is a circle in hell that has your name on it."
And without another thought, the trigger was pulled and the woman immediately slumped against the headboard. Looking around the room once more and seeing that both bodies were bleeding heavily - one on the bed, staining the sheets a permanent red and the other stained the hard wood floors - the figure pulled something out of their pocket before setting it softly by the man's head. Careful not to get blood on the tokens and avoiding looking at the brain matter splattered on the walls, the figure walked over to the dead woman and threw down the long stemmed roses so that they scattered across the body. The blood making no difference onto the bright red petals. Then, the figure left the room with a smile on their face and a bounce in their step. Coming back into the hallway, the figure stepped back in front of the mirror, this time taking a good look. The red lips stood out greatly in contrast to the pale skin, but the eyes were the same. The brown eyes that used to hold so much life were no longer alive. They had seen too many evils, witnessed too much sin to ever return to the life they once had. The dark, mahogany hair fell lifeless around her shoulders, dead. Dull. Just like the rest of her.
"Where did you go, Bella?" The figure whispered to herself in the mirror.
Sighing sadly she turned away from the mirror. Bella was gone. Never to be the same again.
I clamored out of the bed upon waking only for my knees to buckle under me, and I crumpled to the floor in a heap. It was me! It was me! All me. Always me! This entire time! Sobs wracked my body but my mind gave me no time to recover before I was thrust into another memory. Another terror.
I remembered looking into the eyes of Esme as I reached around her head after pinning her to the floor to grasp her chin in order to give a swift death. Her eyes widened as far as they could before my arms pulled quickly, resulting in the snapping of her neck and the fading of her life.
I remembered clearly as I went to visit Dr. Cullen in Forks after I'd buried Jasper and how easily he let me in. He'd poured me a drink, and we'd had a long discussion about what had happened. I forgave him. As we stood up - me to leave and him to walk me to the door - I pulled a pistol from my handbag and shot him once, making sure he was dead before removing every trace of myself and leaving. I'd kept my hair up in a bun, and then covered that with a freshly laundered scarf.
I remembered putting that scrap book together and reveling in each new addition.
The night Alice died...I remember coming home and disposing of the gloves that had been tainted with her blood. The way her skull instantly caved in where the heavy object made its connection. The way I laughed as her blood splattered across the walls and floor.
My hands clenched in want as I saw Embry's murder flash behind my eyelids. I remember the feel of the knife in my hands and the way his throat gave in easily to the blade. The blood immediately gushing out of his body. He died quickly though. Didn't even have time to register the pain...I think.
Now that the flood gates were opened there was no stopping the onslaught of visions that compromised my mind. Paul's head disconnecting with his body, landing loudly on the floor with a sickening crunch, forcing Seth into the recliner chair and pumping injections of heroin and other mixed drugs into his system one after the other, watching as his body convulsed in overdoses, foam forming at the side of his mouth.
"Stop!" I screamed, grabbing my hair painfully in my hands, "I can't take it! Stop!"
I remember being disgusted as another member of the Wolf Pack gang, Sam Uley, was killed by hands. His smaller than life cock tearing from his body, his agonized screams like music to my ears.
And Edward...the not so innocent bystander who did nothing to help me. Or my Jasper. My hands worked professionally as I handled the explosive device, packing it just right so that it would explode and kill him on contact. And then the man that I came to find out was named Quil. My knuckle was still bruised from where I had clutched the knife so hard while digging the sharp end of the blade into his flesh. After more stab wounds than I cared to count, I left him there on the hard wood floor, laying in his own blood, his eyes open, but not seeing. It was only a matter of time until he was gone.
But the biggest shock was Renee. I had just seen her, but a part of me was glad that I had somehow gotten my revenge. She never believed in my marriage and was always ready to show it. It was probably the only murder where inside, I felt the slightest twinge of regret and sorrow, but in the end nothing changed. She was gone. He was gone. And I was here. Left behind.
I didn't want to believe it was me. It couldn't be. It was another woman who did it. Another woman who possessed me to carry out her will and avenge my husband. Weak, weepy Bella could never do something like that, so she created another to do it. Another woman who was stronger, deadly, and remembered everything the Marine husband she'd married taught her to do to defend herself and keep herself safe. He'd taught her both offense and defense and how to efficiently use both. That was his specialty after all, teaching other Marines how to become fighting machines. He probably didn't expect her knowledge to be used that way though. Neither did she, but she found herself glad that she did. So did the other woman...
I sat on the too white tiles of the floor with my arms wrapped around my knees, tears running down my face. Silently I reached over and grabbed my cell phone. The only possession of mine that they let me keep with me at all times. Pressing one I waited for his voice. The only thing that could calm me, and make this right.
"Hey baby girl, it's me. I just wanted to call and check in with you. Also let you know that I love you and miss you more than words can say. Give me a call when you get this. Remember, you're luckily perfect and I'm perfectly lucky. Love you."
To save this message, press nine. To repeat press-
I sighed in relief and pressed seven, waiting for his voice to wash over me once again. After all, that was all that I had left of my husband.