Disclaimer: I do not own nor make profit off of Twilight. It belongs to Stephenie Meyer and Summit Entertainment, etc.

A/N: This is an insert-an-OC story that will veer from canon timeline, but the actual canon events will retain great similarities.

This is NOT a dream story! Everything that happens in the world of Twilight throughout this story is real and will never be "just a dream" for the characters.

Preface: Off The Path

Darkness pressed in from all sides, every nook and cranny along the way appearing as if hands and tentacles were stretched out to grab the unsuspecting pedestrian's ankle as they passed by. The buildings on either side of the unpaved path were not exactly infrequent, but sparse enough to give off a feeling of vulnerability that caused me to speed up unconsciously in my trek.

Sometimes it just didn't seem worth it to go the long route back to the dormitory. No matter how many lights lined the paths, there was always a dark corner waiting to scare the daylights out of me, in spite of my resolve to stop jumping at shadows. Quite frankly, the lonely stretch between each section of the campus freaked me out more than I had guessed it might back in early fall. When everything is still in the process of changing colors and daylight still lasts until about nine o'clock in the evening, you don't think so much about late night journeys from work back to your personal little safe haven.

Why hadn't I chosen a more populated college to attend? Sure, the school had great ratings and an interdisciplinary studies degree I was only too happy to sink my teeth into, as well as a work study program that didn't skimp on jobs or hours. The grounds had looked beautiful and serene, green and healthy and vibrant in the middle of September when I had first started taking classes two years prior. In winter, it might have taken on a darker sense of beauty, but what with classes being so close to the dormitory complex for those first four semesters, it wasn't all that big of a deal.

The place was just plain creepy now. In the middle of the Michigan wilderness was not exactly what one would consider prime property for a young college student to be traveling alone, especially from halfway across the campus in the middle of the night with no one but yourself for company. Forget gangs, serial killers, kidnappers, drunks, and what-have-you… I was a bit preoccupied watching for bears, coyotes, wolverines, and the ever-loving deer that leap out at the least expected moment.

Barely a third of the way home, and already my brain wanted to get me pumped with so much fear and adrenaline that I'd probably just spontaneously combust before I actually got back. I began to wish quite fervently that I hadn't switched library shifts with Katie Delaney the day before. Granted, the flighty redhead had neglected to mention that her shift went about two hours longer than normal this once, thanks to a ridiculous appreciation party for the main library staff. Like they didn't get paid enough to compensate for a lack of parties… Nothing came cheap at this place, including the hired help.

Distracting thoughts like that made the walk a bit better, even if it was a pretty rude line of thoughts. I supposed I could have thought about Twilight or something. Something that was not personally insulting to someone else. Nevertheless, I felt as though I had successfully distracted myself from some of the apprehension. Ashamed though I was to admit it, that alone was worth it. At least, it seemed to be worth it.

Until I found myself wandering in the middle of the dense forest.

How that happened, I didn't really want to know. All I wanted was out. The ground was black and the trees weren't much lighter in color. If the moon had even dared to show its face, I would have been highly stunned. Everything was shadowed, mysterious, and outrageously frightening. Every minute sound caught my ears and made me freeze, eyes darting like a small woodland critter at my unfriendly surroundings. No way would I remain stuck in there until daytime. Surely I hadn't gone that far off the path…

The more I tried to find a nearby edge to the trees around me – a way back to the path that I prayed was not as far as it felt like – the darker it seemed to get. My entire body was quivering now, and if I hadn't been shocked mute with fear, whimpering would undoubtedly have followed. Stumbling around in a dark forest was not on my to-do list. Not once did I ever imagine it could be cool to run off into the woods and drain my entire tank of courage by going deeper than I knew how to escape from.

When my panic reached its peak, I literally started sprinting through the trees and heavy undergrowth towards the lightest part of the woods, breathing erratically while my heart pounded out a deafeningly rapid staccato. Somewhere in the back of my chaotic mind, I thanked God that I was wearing jeans, all my warmest outerwear, and my sturdiest pair of flats. As it was November, snow had not yet fallen, but it was absolutely freezing. As I ran, I hysterically congratulated myself on noticing the wetness that suddenly began squelching and splashing under my frantic feet.

That, however, spiked my fear. Why was it suddenly wet? The ground was completely dry while I was on the path earlier and the wooded area around campus didn't have a lick of water until you reached the outlying edge of the property. Something was eerily wrong, but I had no more ideas as to how than I did as to where the exit was.

What pushed me to run faster than my legs could probably move at all under normal circumstances were the sounds that started up to my left. Beyond the dark, foreboding tree trunks, the hardest pawing sound I had ever heard came into being. To add on top of my horror, deep, heavy breathing adjoined the pawing sprint.

At last, my lungs started working again. Every ounce of terror that had plagued me since the evening began came rushing out in a long, shrill scream I had not – until that precise moment of my life – been aware of possessing. To my amazement, the sounds of pawing and breathing disappeared abruptly, as though they'd never been there. The absence did not stop my running in the least, but somehow the feeling of strange freedom encouraged my legs and lungs to keep pumping.

All at once after the sounds had faded, light bombarded my vision from ahead, and I was so relieved I nearly screamed again out of sheer joy. Maybe they were a murderer waiting to take off my head, I wouldn't know, but I would have rather faced a sentient being than a wild animal that was as heavy as the one I heard.

The trees thinned like waves rolling over the sand and from the ridge ahead of me, I saw the figure of a tall man silhouetted against the lights of a car. Thank you, God, for bringing me out of this mess.

A/N: Images for this story: Search 'Mara Sevvie' on photobucket, and go to my account. It will show the folder 'For A Reason'.