"I'm the world's best predator, aren't I? Everything about me invites you in – my voice, my face, even my smell. As if I need any of that!" Unexpectedly, he was on his feet, bounding away, instantly out of sight, only to appear beneath the same tree as before, having circled the meadow in half a second.
"As if you could outrun me," he laughed bitterly.
He reached up with one hand and, with a deafening crack, effortlessly ripped a two-foot-thick branch from the trunk of the spruce. He balanced it in that hand for a moment, and then threw it with blinding speed, shattering it against another huge tree, which shook and trembled at the blow.
And he was in front of me again, standing two feet away, still as a stone.
"As if you could fight me off," he said gently.
I sat without moving, more frightened of him than I had ever been. I'd never seen him so completely freed of that carefully cultivated façade. He'd never been less human… or more beautiful. Face ashen, eyes wide, I sat like a bird locked in the eyes of a snake.
His lovely eyes seem to glow with rash excitement. Then, as the seconds passed, they dimmed. His expression slowly folded into a mask of ancient sadness.
"Don't be afraid," he murmured, his velvet voice unintentionally seductive. "I promise… " He hesitated. "I swear not to hurt you."
"Ah, young love," an unfamiliar voice murmured from behind me. "How nauseating."
I turned around – there, in the meadow, was a woman with long, dark hair and heavily-lidded eyes. She was holding a stick of some sort and caressing it absentmindedly, while her eyes scrutinized us.
I felt Edward tense. He stepped in front of me. "Run," he murmured, his voice so soft only I could hear him.
"There's no need to be quite so rude," she woman said. "I just want to play." She approached us slowly, a hyena's smile on her full lips.
He growled – a low, menacing sound. It was the scariest sound I'd ever heard. "We don't want to play your kind of games."
"Are you always like this to people you've just met?" she asked. "That's not very nice, is it? I think it's time someone taught you some manners." Her laugh was high and terrifying – the laugh of a madwoman. She pointed the stick at Edward and said, with obvious glee, "Crucio."
I didn't understand what she was trying to do. Then I saw Edward lying on the green forest ground, his face contorted like he was in pain. After about five seconds, he let out an ear-piercing wail of pain.
The woman's eyes lit up.
She enjoys this, I realized in horror.
Immediately, I could feel nothing but worry for Edward. What was she doing to him? Why didn't she stop? What hurt? How could I help him?
I looked around for something to throw at the woman, but all I could see were flowers, trees, and Edward's beautiful, sparkling skin. Well, then I just had to make do with myself, I decided.
With a war-cry I'd never thought I had, I threw myself at the woman, pushing her out of the way. My action had the desired effect: she was caught off guard and fell to the ground. Edwards screaming stopped.
Still lying on the ground, the woman looked at me in shock.
"How – how dare you touch me!" she shrieked. She got up so swiftly it was hard to follow. "How dare you, a filthy Muggle, touch me?" She spat the word 'Muggle', though I had no idea what it meant. I knew it wasn't something nice, though.
'Stay away from her,' Edward gasped. 'Don't you - '
She pointed the stick at him again, and he was silent. His mouth still moved, but it didn't make a sound. She didn't even look at him – her eyes, filled with contempt, were still fixed on my face.
'You are going to pay for this,' she told me. She did a step towards me, and I automatically stepped backwards – stumbling over my own feet and landing on my ass with a soft thud. Shit.
She pointed the stick at me.
It felt like my insides were burning. Like someone was stabbing a knife in every single bone of my body, no, not just knives - heated knives, oh, it hurt, it hurt so bad. I prayed for it to stop, to lessen, for someone to kill me already so it would be over. I think I screamed for that, too – I wasn't sure. I just screamed my lungs out, hoping it would somehow ease the pain.
And then it stopped. Just like that.
Gasping, I looked around, trying to understand what had happened. Edward was circling the woman, making snarling sounds. Even when he was this terrifying, I could still appreciate his beauty: the way the sun reflected off his skin like glitters, his perfect build, his muscled chest.
The woman didn't seem to agree, though.
"You know what?" she said, after a couple of seconds. She cocked her head, contemplating. "I'm bored. Avada Kedavra." She pointed the want at Edward – and he fell down, like a puppet whose strings were cut.
And he didn't get up.
"Edward?" I whispered, moving closer to him. I knew it was just a trick – so he could attack her later on. But then why did he lie so still, why was he so pale, so statue-like? I put my hand on his shoulder, shook him. It was then that I realized I shouldn't be able to shake him. And that he wasn't as hard as stone anymore – he felt just like me, except colder.
The woman laughed again.
I turned around to face her. "What have you done to him?" I demanded, anger colouring my voice.
"I've killed him. Isn't that obvious?" she asked.
The words hit me like stones. She'd killed him? No. That wasn't possibly – he was Edward. He was the most invincible creature I'd ever met. He was a vampire. He was already dead, goddammit! He couldn't just –
Just like that –
"You're lying," I breathed.
"No, he's really quite dead, look," she said, as if she was talking about the weather. She moved over to us – I flinched back from her instinctively – and gave Edward a kick in his groin. He didn't react.
Then again, he used to be indestructible – maybe he just hadn't felt it. He was just keeping up the façade. That had to be it.
"See?" she said, smugly. "Your weird, sparkly boyfriend is dead. Or, even if he weren't, I think he's infertile now, so you shouldn't waste your time with him anymore, anyway." She shrugged. "Oh, well. Avada Kedavra."
A jet of green light.