No Longer The Prey
The shitty little motel room seems to be closing in around me. I have only been here for a day, I'm not used to being out in the world anymore. I've been running for a week straight, only stopping to sleep for a few hours every couple of days. I have a sick nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach, a fear I can't escape. No matter how far I run, where I hide, they are always right behind me. Waiting for me to mess up.
Next week will be my twenty-first birthday. This is not supposed to be my life. I don't even really live anymore, I haven't in a long time. I simply exist, every day is a fight to survive. I could have given up a long time ago, I could have just died, I've had plenty of chances. I could have let Victoria have me, but she is now no more than a pile of ash by my hands. I could have attacked one of the government agents when they took me away, when they recruited me. They would have shot me dead without a second thought before they realized what an asset I was to them.
But no, I promised 'him' I would survive, so that is what I have been doing for three years now. The difference is, now I have a purpose.
Jake and his pack had killed Laurent and I was the only one that knew Victoria was still coming for me. The wolves would have gladly protected me had they known, but I didn't want any of them to be hurt or killed because of me.
When Jacob told me about the female vampire that had been near their lands, testing their boundaries, I knew it was her. I decided that this time I didn't want to be the weak little human that couldn't take care of herself. This time, I would fight back, or die trying. So I armed myself with the only thing I could think of that might harm a vampire…. Fire.
I once again made the long trek to 'his' meadow. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for her to find me. Either I would live or die, but waiting would just make it worse. When I arrived at the meadow I retrieved a pocket knife from the side of my boot and made a shallow slice across my left forearm. I let my blood drip around the edge of the forest that I would be facing, I kept the wind at my back so my scent would be forced in the same direction, drawing her to me.
Within minutes, Victoria appeared beneath the shadows of the trees. Her untamed red hair was blowing in the wind and she was barefoot, still wearing the same filthy clothes I had seen her wearing in the baseball clearing. She looked feral, her eyes glowed red as her nostrils flared at the scent of my fresh blood. Somehow she was controlling herself though. Victoria's lips slowly turned up into a sinister smile, but I could see it wasn't without effort.
"Well, Little Bella. How sweet of you to be waiting for me. I hope you don't think that your surrender will make me go any easier on you. If so, you are sorely mistaken." She was fighting her instincts completely. Trying not to move, not to attack, yet.
I was mentally trying to gauge the distance between us. I would probably be able to throw the length but I knew my aim was shit. I only had one chance and I wasn't going to waste it. I had to either move closer to her or somehow make her come towards me. So I took two small steps towards her, then stopped.
"I'm not expecting anything from you, Victoria. I just figured it was time to get this over with."
"I really wanted to make this last longer, but you've made that rather difficult now, haven't you. I wanted to make Edward suffer as I have suffered. I guess I'll just have to make it look worse than it will be. You got lucky. It certainly won't be painless, but it will be much quicker than I had originally planned." she said.
Hearing 'his' name made me flinch. She smiled wider at me and took two stiff steps forward.
"I'm sure you were hoping to have Edward crying over my lifeless body, but that won't happen. He's gone, and he's not coming back. He doesn't love me, he never did. So your revenge is useless. Sorry." The hole in my heart ached from saying his name aloud and from believing my own assessment.
"Do not lie to me, human, you and he are mated. That is forever for our kind. I have seen your bond to each other. Edward will be a broken shell of his former self as soon as he hears of your brutal death." Victoria sneered.
But her words hadn't had the effect on me that she had been hoping for. I smiled, filled with false hope that Edward could have possibly really been in love with me, even if he wasn't anymore.
That's when she launched herself towards me. I had noticed in the past that vampires tended to jump slower than they could run, and I used it to my advantage.
I pulled the water balloon from my pocket and threw it as hard as I could. It smashed against the granite skin of her left cheek bone. The fact that I was retaliating, even in such a futile manner, momentarily threw her off balance. The strong smelling substance dripped from her face onto her chest and saturated her hair and clothing.
By the time she had regained her bearings I had the flare gun aimed directly at her. I pulled the trigger and watched as the gasoline coating her body ignited in a violent blaze. She screeched in agony, trying her damnedest to put out the fire.
I quickly grabbed the squirt bottle from my back pocket which I had also filled with gasoline and doused her body once again. Staying a safe distance away I watched as the flames engulfed her shaking body. I stayed until Victoria's screams had quieted and her blackened form was mostly ash.
A small smile played on my lips as I turned and left the meadow, still listening to the crackling inferno as it consumed the last of her body.
I felt empowered, stronger than ever before. The high of facing and defeating my own demons lasted only a few days. The agency had tracked the ever elusive Victoria to the meadow where they found her remains, along with the evidence of my part in her demise. Then they came for me.
Only one week ago I was in the custody of the agency, as I have been for nearly three years. They are the covert government agency that specializes in the supernatural. They call themselves the 'CIASA', the Central Intelligence Agency of Supernatural Activity.
They recruit the best of the best to train as vampire hunters. Buffy is a whiny little bitch compared to these people. It's not a choice of whether the recruits want to join the agency or not. It's more like the good old fashioned 'join or die' kind of agency.
When they first brought me to the facility I refused to cooperate, I didn't want to kill anyone or to face even more hungry vampires than I already had. But they weren't about to take no for an answer and they soon resorted to kicking the living shit out of me until I was forced to defend myself. I only had the small amount of self-defense that Charlie had taught me to go by but I used what I knew as well as I could. Those particular agents regretted being so rough with me after I had quickly learned better and was able to kick their asses harder than they had ever kicked mine.
The agency trained me well, made me into a machine and unknowingly gave me the knowledge and skills to evade them after my escape.
They took everything from me; my family, my home, even my name. I am no longer Bella, I'm just B.
They trained me in many different types of fighting techniques. Everything from karate to insane UFC shit. They trained my senses as well. They would deprive me of one of my senses for weeks at a time, forcing my other senses to compensate for the missing ones. My eye sight, hearing, speech, and sense of smell have all vastly improved. I can even feel the slightest break in a breeze alerting me that someone, or something is close. Defense is purely instinct to me now. I'm as close to a vampire as human can get.
They want me back and won't stop until they get me, just like Victoria. And like Victoria, when they do find me, I'll take them out.
I am the youngest and best recruit the agency has ever had. I never flinched when they showed me gruesome pictures of people attacked by vampires, or when they told me of vampire nature. I already knew. I am the only recruit that has ever killed a vampire on my own, the only known civilian survivor of an encounter.
I learned quickly and disengaged from my previous life even quicker. I was much more accepting of the situation that most of the others. I can't go back to my life before so what is the point in wishing I could? One blown up truck and one charred beyond recognition donor body ended my life as Isabella Swan.
I have killed vampires and humans alike and no longer hold any aversion to blood and death. I've become accustomed to it. The idiotic people that bring innocent humans to vampires with the hopes of being changed are no better than murderers themselves.
The agency head knows I had previous knowledge of vampire nature, but I have refused to give them any information. If I told them about the Cullens, they would have gone on the agency's hit list. High priority, for their regular interaction with humans. Because of my unwillingness to cooperate they kept me on a short leash, thinking that one day I would crack.
The majority of the hunters consist of meat head ex assassins and military men. I am the only civilian that has ever been recruited, not by my choice, of course. They all follow orders and never question their superiors. I, on the other hand, depend more on my mind to create the desired outcome of a hunt rather than following directions from generals that have never even killed a vampire. I learned from Alice that one wrong decision can turn a simple situation into death. So I depend on my brain more than my brawn. I look at all possible outcomes and anticipate what my opponent may do beforehand.
What I never anticipated was hearing mention of the Cullens at the agency….
I had just returned from another successful hunt with my guards. All recruits below a year with the agency are required to have guards, seasoned hunters, accompany them on hunts in case assistance is needed. I have never failed on a hunt and was past my second year mark, they were merely annoying to have along. The agency head wanted me to be watched while outside the facility since I still refused to tell them what I knew. By the time they thought of dosing me with sodium pentothal, better known as truth serum, my mind and body were able to easily resist the drug.
I was in the training room on the lower level of the underground facility when I overheard a conversation in the hall. One of the generals and the agency's strategist were discussing a new target.
"These vamps aren't like any we've encountered before. They lead human lives and own property in the U.S. and in other countries. There are seven of them and one of them works as a doctor!" The strategist spoke in a panicked whisper.
My mind was reeling, I knew it was them. I tried to think of them as little as possible but they were always at the back of my mind. My hard strikes against the heavy punching back before me never faltered though. If the slight noise they were able to hear from the training room had stopped they may have realized that I could hear them as well. This was the precise reason that targets and missions were only permitted to be discussed in the soundproof planning room.
"How did you come about this information?" The general asked in the same low whisper.
That was exactly what I was wondering. Did one of them slip up?
"A crooked lawyer in Chicago named Jenks. It took a little… convincing, but he gave us everything we needed. He has been falsifying documents for them for decades, and his predecessor was doing the same for decades before him. We have copies of birth and death certificates, passports, licenses, alias', everything. We even have a current address. It's fairly recent so it's safe to say that they will be staying put for awhile." I heard papers being shuffled around. Most likely, the general was looking over the file.
"Good, we have some time then. I want this file locked up for now. We have more pressing missions currently and with a coven this size we'll need a good plan of attack. When the time comes, I want B to head the mission." The general spoke with confidence but I could hear the fear in his voice.
The agency had never gone up against more than three vampires at one time. The general was nothing but a scared little boy playing army man, he didn't know real fear.
"Yes, sir. I'll take it to the vault now."
"Good, dismissed." Their footsteps headed in opposite directions. I waited until I head the general round a corner far down the hall before I exited the training room. I knew if I didn't get that file before it was locked away in the vault I never would.
I was giving up the only life I had left, committing treason. I was putting myself at the top of their hit list. I am intelligent and deadly, I also knew way too much to be allowed to live outside the confines of the facility. The Cullens were worth the sacrifice. I never even second guess what I had to do.
I ran silently through the pale blue corridors, my bare feet merely brushing the cold tile beneath me. I followed his scent through the winding halls, never once doubting my instincts. It wasn't hard, his cologne was overpowering and made it impossible to lose track of him. I was now the hunter, and he was my prey. I avoided the shifting cameras easily, the men watching the monitors never saw me.
The strategist used his key card to enter a darkened office and I slipped in behind him just as the heavy door was closing.
He never even heard me as I smoothly placed my arm around his neck in the dark, placing him in a choke hold. He gagged, trying to catch his breath but still clutching the file tightly. I leaned in close to his ear and spoke softly but with conviction.
"Do not scream, or I will snap your neck like a twig." I loosened my grip on his throat so he was able to breathe. He gasped for air before he recognition dawned on him.
"B! What are you doing?" his breathing was still labored as he spoke.
I had known this man for over two years, I had met him directly after my training ended. I could tell from the very first day that he had a rather severe case of asthma. The sounds his lungs made as he inhaled and exhaled were a dead give away. However, I didn't know his name. There are no names in the agency, only letters, titles and jobs. He was called 'Strategist' because of his assigned job in the agency.
"Give me the file, Strategist."
"What do you want with it, B? General doesn't want it released. This is not your mission yet, it's too soon."
He thought I had turned into one of those moronic meat heads eager for a mission they couldn't handle. He was screwing with my limited window of escape time and I was getting irritated.
"I won't ask twice." I tightened my forearm over his windpipe slightly for emphasis.
He passed the thick manila envelope over his shoulder and I snatched it away with my free hand.
"Are there any copies of this file? Who else knows about it?"
"There… There's a recording of the interrogation in the vault at our facility in Atlanta. No one but the interrogators and the general know."
"Good." With that I released my arm from around his throat and slammed the side of my open hand into the back of his neck, effectively knocking him unconscious for a good half hour.
His body crumpled to the floor and I leaned down to retrieve the key card that was clipped to his shirt. He had access to the outside and his key card was my ticket out.
To buy myself more time before he would sound the alarm I pulled the drawstring out of my workout pants and hog-tied him before stuffing his ugly green tie in his mouth. Someone would come looking for him when he didn't show up for debriefing in an hour. There was no need for them to find him any sooner than that, I needed ever spare minute to get out of the facility.
It was odd that after only three years as a hunter I was uncomfortable leaving him alive. He was a nice enough guy, but my first instinct now was to never leave my prey alive.
I suddenly began thinking of how different I was from the scared, frail little girl who needed everyone else to defend her because she was too weak to manage it herself. I wasn't weak or scared anymore, I wasn't Bella anymore, I was better.
I waited at the door to make avoid the cameras and anyone else that may have been passing by. I quickly ascended the emergency staircase where there was a disabled camera, to the housing level. I was one of the few recruits that didn't live in a shared room. I was more antisocial than I had ever been as Bella, I never spoke unless I was acknowledging a given order and I had developed quite a bad temper. I had sent three of my previous roommates to the infirmary and my superiors were sick of dealing with it so they separated me from the others. Also, because every time they had to place me in solitary confinement they were lacking my skills in the field.
I entered the small gray room which closely resembled a jail cell and grabbed my black shoulder bag out of my locker. I placed the file in the bag along with a couple of tank tops, pants and a pair of running shoes. I changed into a black wife beater and my dark green stretch pants before lacing up my most functional combat boots. They were light enough to run fast in, solid enough to do damage if I had to kick and quiet enough to take me through the corridors unnoticed. I slipped my large hunting knife, sheathed in its leather case, into the outside of my right boot. As I reached for the door handle I stopped and grabbed a light jacket from the hook on the back of the door.
During the mission I had just returned from I had noticed snow beginning to fall. It had only taken a few hours to get back to base so I figured it would probably be cold outside. I didn't know what state I was in or even what date it was. I could only judge time by what year and season the generals told us it was. We were weapons, taken out when needed and stored when not. I was never allowed outside unless I was on a mission, there aren't even any windows in the facility. It is completely out of view of civilians, hidden underground somewhere in the U.S.
I glanced back at the room that had been my home for nearly three years. There was nothing of me left in it. The only items in the room were a small bed, a locker and a desk and chair. No pictures, no books, no music. Nothing that even showed that anyone had been here accept a few articles of assigned clothing that I couldn't fit in my bag. It was shit, but it was home, and I could never come back.
The only reason they are able to track me as well as they have been is because of the god damned electronic tracer that is embedded in between my lower ribs, hence the reason for the motel room. I need to get it out before I go any further. If they can't track me as quickly it will be a lot easier to out run them.
Before I got the room I broke into a local doctors office for supplies. I grabbed a scalpel, a set of medical tweezers, some suture thread, a hook needle and some gauze and tape. I need to dispose of it as quickly as possible. The agency's trackers are probably only a day behind me and the credit card I used to pay for the room will be reported stolen soon. After I place my call to the Cullens the agency will know where I am, tracer or not.
I pull all my supplies out of my bag and line it up on the dresser in front of the mirror before I walk into the bathroom. My skin is still coated with sweat and dirt so I have to clean myself beforehand to avoid infection.
As I enter the small bathroom I note the yellowed walls and the faint scent of mold in the air. I turn on the shower as hot as it will go and step out of my dirty clothes. As steam slowly fills the room I stare at my naked reflection in the cracked mirror above the grimy sink.
There are dark circles under my eyes and small scratches on my cheeks and shoulders from the wayward branches slapping my body as I ran through the forests.
My skin is pale, nearly translucent from the lack of sun over the last few years. I look more like a vampire than a human being anymore.
My dark locks are longer now, nearly reaching the small of my back.
The small scars from cuts and burns that cover my skin were once something for me to be proud of. To show how tough I am, to show how I have survived the pain. Now, they just make me feel ugly.
My breasts are larger now and my figure is more womanly. My body isn't as soft as it once was, I am more toned now, stronger.
My eyes are still that deep chocolate brown that they have always been, except now, they are vacant. Emotionless and cold. I no longer have a soul, it disappeared the night of my first kill.
As I continue to stare at myself in the mirror the steam from the shower begins to distort my reflection. It isn't me anymore. It's the ghost of Bella Swan, a girl who has been dead for years. I buried her deep within me, but ever since I realized the Cullens were in trouble she has been trying to claw her way out. Tears that I haven't cried in three long years threaten to fall from my eyes. If she comes back I'm as good as dead. She isn't strong enough to bear the burdens that I do. She has to stay buried, whether she likes it or not.
I slowly remove the chain from around my neck, my dog tags. The simple code printed on the metal is my only personal identifier. There is really no reason for them. To the rest of the world I and all other hunters, are already dead. There is no one to send them to, they are simply hung on what is commonly known as 'The Sacrifice Wall', to show the others when one of us has died on a hunt. It's kind of depressing when you think about it, but that's how it is.
Mine shows the code: [ B.1.164 ]
My letter identifier, my rank among the hunters and my number of kills (not including humans). It is the one thing from the agency I refuse to part with.
I place the cold metal chain on the back of the toilet and step under the warm spray of the shower. I scrub my skin with the small bar of soap and wash my hair. I dry every inch of myself and walk over to the dresser where my tools are waiting, preparing for the torture I will surely be inflicting on my own body.
It's going to be painful, but it has to be done. Don't be a pussy, just get it over with!
I drop the towel to the floor and pick up my leather belt that had been laid over the arm of a nearby chair, placing it between my teeth and biting down. I lift my left arm slightly and press the tip of the cold scalpel directly over the long healed scar on my side.
As I push the sharp blade deep within my skin I can see the dark red blood seep from the wound and run thickly down my side and over my hip. I scream into the leather and bite down harder, fighting my natural instincts to stop slicing through my own flesh.
FUCK, FUCK, FUCKITY FUCK! MOTHER FUCKING, COCK SUCKING WHORE! THAT FUCKING HURTS!
The pain is like fire searing me from the inside out. I keep pushing the blade further into my side until I feel it tap the small metallic object in my body.
I remove the scalpel slowly, replacing it with two of the fingers of my left hand to hold the wound open. I toss the bloody instrument of torture to the floor and grab the long tweezers with shaking hands. I cautiously move the tweezers into the incision as my entire body begins to tremble. I growl into the leather belt because of the now throbbing, burning agony I am feeling throughout my entire body. I am breathing heavily through my nose as the tweezers finally grip the bastard object within me.
When it is finally out of me I drop it onto the dresser top with a resounding 'clunk'. Clasping my hand over the wound I watch the blood drip from between my fingers.
Just a little longer. Just a little longer, B. You haven't cried in three years, don't start now. You can handle this.
The little pep talk I'm giving myself definitely isn't helping. Tremors are running through my whole body now as I pick up the hook needle. The hook has already been threaded and is ready to go. I remove my hand and wipe away some of the blood so I can see what I am doing better. I take a deep breath and bite down on the leather even harder than before, squeezing the edges of the incision together with my slippery fingers.
I line the needle up and insert it through my skin, creating new wounds over and over again as I sew together the hole in my side.
Finally, the stitching is done and the wound is closed. I throw the bloody hook down onto the dresser, watching it bounce onto the floor and glaring at it with a hatred I didn't know I possessed.
I look at my naked body in the mirror, coated in red from my ribs all the way down to my foot. The towel beneath me is completely drenched with my blood and the dark carpet is even darker where my blood has soaked into it.
I pick up the small square tracker and really look at the one thing that has kept the agency so close behind me. Not anymore.
I walk into the bathroom and lift the dirty toilet lid before dropping the tracker into the water. The water turns orange as it rinses away my blood.
"Have fun searching for me in the sewers, mother fuckers." I say as the tracker is swirled away with a resounding flush.
I sit in the tub and allow the water to wash away the red that has stained my skin. The water will cleanse my skin, but my red stained hands will never be clean. I will forever see the blood of my victims there.
After my second shower of the day I once again dry myself off, bandage my self-inflicted wound and get dressed.
You can't put it off any longer, B. They are in danger and they need to be warned as soon as possible. There may not be much time left.
I take a deep breath to calm myself before sitting down at the small wooden table in the corner and pulling the file out of my bag. I've had this thick manila envelope in my possession for a week now and I have yet to open it.
I pull out all the documents and lay them on the table before me.
Their current address and phone numbers are listed on the first page. They had gone to Alaska. I remember that they said they had cousins in Alaska. As I take the paper in my hand and reach for the phone on the side table something catches my eye. Beneath the top page are copies of drivers licenses for several states. Carlisle's image is smiling at me and I smile back. My first real smile in a long time.
The faces of the people I once called family are right in front of me. Esme, with her motherly eyes. Alice and Emmett with wide smiles. Jasper, looking pensive, and Rosalie, looking ever as the ice queen. Then there's, Edward… My beautiful, Edward. There is no smile on his face, brooding as always. But as always, it can't hide the beauty from my eyes.
Whether he wants to be or not, he will always be mine, in a way. I have never forgotten him in all these years. His face was there every time I closed my eyes. The memory of his smile is what got me through many days. Yes, over the years I had stopped shying away from the thoughts of him that used to make me crumble. Instead, in my isolation, they made me stronger. A piece of my heart is still missing, and what is left aches for him. That will never change, but I have learned to live with it. I have to tear my eyes from his face as my eyes begin to sting with unshed tears.
I haven't cried in three god damned years, and I've nearly broken down twice today! What the hell is wrong with me!
I don't want to waste tears on myself, or even on, Edward. If I were to ever cry it should be for all the humans and vampires I have murdered over the years. I, of all people, should know that not all vampires are evil. Just like humans, they can be bad or good. They have to kill humans to survive, just like humans kill animals to survive. How would we like it of cows decided humans were evil and started offing us?
Hell, I had even heard one of the hunters screwing with another about him being a vegetarian.
"I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to eat fucking carrots." He had said.
Then, of course there was silence as it dawned on them that they ARE NOT at the top of the food chain. Vampires are.
I can understand now why other vampires are surprised when they hear of the Cullens 'vegetarian' lifestyle. After all, I would take a juicy steak over a salad any day of the week.
I quickly cover Edward's image with the other papers and grab the phone. I don't need to ask about him, I don't even want to think about him until I can't avoid it anymore. Now is not the time. I can't afford distractions right now, and he would definitely be a distraction.
As I dial the number I take my time pressing each individual button.
It rings once… Twice…
"Hello?" It's Carlisle, and I can't speak, I'm frozen in place.
What the hell can I say to him!
'Oh, Hi, Carlisle. It's Bella. You know, the one that is supposed to be dead and buried in Forks? Well, there's a secret government agency coming after your family and they know how to kill vampires. So, how's it been?"
Yeah, I don't think so. Aw, screw it!
"Run." There, that's direct enough.
"Bella! Bella, is that you! Oh, dear god, they said you were dead!" I can hear the rest of the family scuffling in the background, saying my name questioningly.
"Carlisle, there's no time! You have to get your family out of there or you'll all be killed! Don't use your credit cards, don't go to any property you own, leave your cell phones; anything traceable. Go stay with friends, I'll send Alice a message of where to meet me, tell her to be watching." Alice's talent is going to be my only way to contact them after this. I just have to hope she will be watching me.
"Bella, I don't understand what's going on. Are you in trouble?" He sounds worried about me, he shouldn't be.
"No, Carlisle, I'm fine. You are the ones in trouble. Trust me, you need to run. They're tracing the call, leave, NOW!"
I slam the receiver back onto the cradle, accidentally cracking it in the process. I stuff the documents back into the folder and jump up from my seat, clutching my wound as pain shoots through my side. It's time for me to go.