Into the Dark
Eclipse, Alice's Story
Chapter 7: Preparing for the Worst
Author's Note: I want to thank especially my reviewers – L.A.H.H., bmthespian, joayla, bananafox, alicefan32, Louey06, and Shadowmaster2323. I also want to apologize about my inability to post anything quickly… just when I think one aspect of my life is going to settle down, things begin to get way too complicated and crazy in another… so I hope you like this chapter!
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Stephenie Meyer owns all. NO copyright infringement intended. Some of the dialog taken from "Eclipse" Book.
This was going to get a lot worse before it got better.
Emmett and I took the first watch that night outside Charlie and Bella's house. The rain was soft, creating a gentle mist throughout the surrounding forest. We stood, soldiers, silent and pensive as we guarded the Swan residence.
Carlisle and Edward had decided that any watches only needed to last through the darkest hours of the night. Once the day began to break, the dangers were reduced enough that extra protection was not needed. As soon as the soft gray of the approaching dawn began to chase away the gloom of night, Emmett slowly nudged my arm, signaling that he was ready to return home.
Emmett and I trudged back to the Cullen house, our clothes soaked through. Esme greeted us at the front door with large towels. Emmett wrapped Esme into a bear hug, lifting her off her feet and twirling her around. Esme glowed with affection as Emmett set her down and I'm sure that if there had been human blood in her cheeks, she would have blushed.
Emmett fiercely rubbed his rich chocolate curls dry as he wandered into the living room. Hearing a television correspondence drone on, I followed after him. Carlisle, Rosalie and Jasper were gathered in front of the large plasma screen, intently focused on the new anchor that was reporting live from a crime scene in a warehouse off the Port of Seattle.
I perched on the arm of the chair Jasper was sitting in and gently laid my hand on his shoulder. His hand quietly grasped mine as his eyes stayed sharply focused on the horrific scene unfolding before us.
It had appeared that someone had attempted to set fire to an old, abandoned warehouse down on the water. The fire department had arrived on scene in the early hours of the morning, hoping to simply contain the reported fire. They had quickly been able to tame the flames and upon further investigation inside the building, had discovered something truly terrible – almost half a dozen dead bodies.
Some of the bodies were partially burned, but all were broken, beaten and covered in blood.
The Seattle Police had deemed it the work of a serial killer.
Emmett emitted a low growl. "Someone needs to teach these goddamn newborns a thing or two about the world we live in."
Esme frowned at Emmett. "Maybe they don't have a teacher. Alice didn't have anyone when she first turned. Perhaps they just don't know better…"
"This needs to be settled quickly though," Jasper said, a slight vibration of tension giving away his anxiousness from his calm state. "Otherwise it will draw other's attention."
Carlisle pulled his phone from his jeans pocket and quickly dialed Edward's number. We had all seen enough. We knew it wasn't the work of a human.
"Edward," Carlisle said calmly once he had answered the phone. "This situation in Seattle is getting a lot worse than we initially thought. It appears to be the work of vampires – young ones. Perhaps even newborns. The deaths are incredibly sloppy – bodies haphazardly thrown into dumpsters or poorly constructed "accidents" ..."
He paused, listening to Edward speak. We heard Edward explain to Carlisle through the static of the phone that the stranger that had entered Bella's bedroom had taken at least one of her shirts and possibly other objects from her room.
Carlisle's frown deepened as he listened to Edward explain the situation. He sighed and passed his hand over his brow. "At this moment, I cannot give you an explanation as to why this visitor would have taken items from Bella's room. It is something that we will need to look into. Sooner rather than later." Carlisle glanced toward Emmett before continuing. "I believe your brothers are keen on taking a trip up to Seattle to see if they can sort the situation out."
He paused against briefly before bidding Edward a quick farewell. Carlisle carefully placed his phone back in his pocket before slowly turning to me. "Alice, I know that you're already overexerting yourself, but could you see if you can keep any eye on Aro's intensions with Seattle? At this time, that seems to be our only plausible connection to how the possible newborns up in Seattle could affect our situation with the Volturi."
I pursed my lips for a moment, then nodded. "Yes, I'll keep an eye out for any decisions Aro might make about Seattle."
Jasper's hand came to rest on my knees. "Come on," my husband said softly. "Let's go for a run."
Emmett immediately looked over to us. "Mind if I come? I'd love to stretch my legs and grab a bite after a long night of standing guard…"
Jasper chuckled and nodded. "Sure, the more, the merrier." He smoothly rose from his chair and disappeared into the mudroom off the kitchen to retrieve our boots.
Emmett and I meet Jasper on the front porch. We pulled on our thick hiking boots and tightened the laces. Then, without warning, Jasper and Emmett sprinted off, racing into the dense forest.
The soft click of heels caused me to look up. Rosalie stood over me for a moment, looking hesitant before asking, "Are you okay?"
I nodded. "Sure. What's one more thing for the psychic to add to her list?"
Rosalie's soft hand rubbed my shoulder gently. "You can tell them no. That it's too much for you to keep an eye on. It's unreasonable to place all of this on you."
I slowly shook my head, standing to my feet. "No," I answered. "I can't say no…" Not now, not with all that could go wrong...
I jumped off the porch and followed the boys' scent through the trees.
I was slower than Emmett and Jasper, but I was finally able to catch up to them about thirty miles north, near Crescent Lake. Emmett was stalking a cougar that was napping in the branches of a large Douglas Fir Tree while Jasper watched from his perch half a mile away.
I easily scaled the tree Jasper was reclining on and settled in below him.
He glanced down at me. "Emmett thinks he can nab the cat without it noticing. I told him that he's fast, but not that fast, and definitely not quiet enough."
I laughed softly, gazing in amusement at my brother down on the wet ground as he slunk his way closer to the base of the tree his prey was resting in.
Jasper's hand brushed my temple as he pushed some hair from my forehead. He stared at me for a few moments. "It will all be okay, Alice," he said gently. "If it's too much, we could always go away for a while."
He means to say that we can go off just the two of us for a while… maybe back East again. I know he misses Peter.
I slowly shook my head. "No, we need to stand together as one. As a family."
Jasper fell silent, watching Emmett try to move carefully below us toward his prey.
"Maybe later," I concede, glancing up at my husband. "After graduation."
I pondered for a moment, considering everything that graduating from Forks High School would bring. It would be the first time that Bella graduated from high school. It deserved some sort of recognition for such a memorable, human accomplishment. Maybe just a small party with family and friends…
We stayed out until the sun was beginning to set, casting orange colors into the sky before deciding it was time to head back home.
As we ran back to the Cullen house, we stayed close to the road, weaving along with the curve of the pavement. We stayed far enough in the tree line that the cars driving in the dimming light would be unable to see us. As we came to the crest of a hill, Jasper stopped suddenly.
Emmett and I skidded to a stop several yards away. We turned back toward Jasper when suddenly, I felt my body go slack and Emmett's large arms surround me before I hit the ground.
Jasper strategically evaluated the road, gazing far in the distance from his high vantage point. Within minutes, he dropped down to the side of the road and stuck out his thumb. Seconds later, headlights shone brightly as a car rounded the corner.
Jasper stepped half way into the road, his arms extended.
Brakes squealed against the wet pavement as the car finally came to a stop, mere feet from Jasper's feet. A string of curses could be heard from inside the car.
Jasper stood calmly in the road until the driver appeared from the car.
A young blonde girl irritably hopped out of the car, red-faced in anger. Her scream of fury caught in her throat as she finally was able to clearly see the hitchhiker that had almost caused her to wreck her car. Her brown eyes widen in surprise and her thin, glossed lips hung agape.
The passenger door opened and a beautiful Hispanic girl emerged from the car. She smiled at Jasper. "Need a ride?"
"Amanda!" the blonde girl hissed, turning panicked eyes toward her friend, "he's a stranger!"
The dark hair girl shrugged, the sweet smile still on her lips. "That's how you make new friends, right, Kelli?"
Jasper stared at the Hispanic girl, his dark eyes slightly glazed. He stepped toward the girl, his eyes intently trained on her face. "You don't know how good of a friend I can be…"
Amanda smiled, her lusty dark eyes drifting down his body. "We're heading up to Port Angeles to a friend's party. Come with us. It'll be a good time."
Jasper's hand was on her hip. He dipped his head down toward hers, breathing in deeply. "You remind me of someone I once knew…"
She smirked at him as she ran her olive-skinned hands up his arms. "Well, come with us and I'll help you forget all about her."
"Amanda – what are you doing?" Kelli choked in a hushed whisper.
But Amanda didn't hear a word. She stepped closer to Jasper, pressing her body to his as she slowly pulled him toward the car. Amanda slid into the car, her hands tightly on Jasper's jacket. Jasper leaned over her, his lips tracing down her check, down her chin, to the peak of her throat. And before she could utter a noise, Jasper sunk his teeth into her neck.
A half gurgled cry was all that escaped Amanda's lips before Jasper completely crushed her esophagus. A scream of horror echoed into the night as Kelli stumbled away from the car. She stopped short as a huge figure dropped to the ground in front of her. As Emmett stood, Kelli cowered in fear, tears streaming down her face.
"Please… please don't…" she begged, inching away.
But her pleas for mercy fell on empty ears as the blood that flooded from Amanda's body clouded Emmett's mind. His large hand encircled her slender neck as Emmett descended upon her and jerked Kelli up to her feet.
"Please…" Kelli whispered, her hands shaking as she tried in vain to pry Emmett's fingers from her neck.
With a quick twist of his hands, Emmett snapped Kelli's neck. Her lifeless body hung limp in his arms as he sunk to the group and drank his fill from her.
I felt my shoulders shake violently. I squeezed my eyes shut, praying that the images before me would stop. I couldn't stop shaking, even though I was hanging onto something for dear life.
I allowed myself to open my eyes, bracing myself for a horrific scene.
Emmett peaked down at me, concern covering his face. "Alice, what did you see? Did something happen to Bella? Is it Rosalie? Esme?"
I shook my head, a sickening knot forming in my stomach. "No, but we need to get Jasper out of here."
"J!" Emmett bellowed, pulling me up with him. "Come on! Let's get home!"
Jasper immediately jogged over, apprehension etched in his features. "Alice, what's wrong? What did you see?"
I shook my head, wiping at my burning eyes. I stumbled forwarded before breaking into a sprint. We had to get away from that place. We had to get Jasper as far away from that deserted roadside.
I could hear the boys behind me, quickly gaining ground on me. I kept up my speed until I was certain that we were far enough away from the road and close enough to home.
I slowed down at the end of the Cullen property and finally came to a stop just before the edge of the yard.
Emmett slowly passed by me, throwing me a sympathetic glance before jogging up to the porch where his wife stood waiting for him.
Jasper stopped behind me, placing a tentative hand on my lower back. After a brief moment of silence, Jasper slower his forehead to my shoulder. "Alice," he said softly. "What did you see?"
I swallowed thickly, before shaking my head.
"I could feel your… fear… what happened?"
I sighed. "I saw you lose control and take a life."
Jasper stared ahead in silence. He swallowed thickly before murmuring, "I'm sorry, Alice."
I turned and threw my arms around him, holding him close. His strong, slender arms slowly encircled me, crushing me to his body. "You don't have anything to apologize for, Jazz. You didn't do anything wrong."
"But I was going to," he muttered bitterly into my hair.
I pulled away and gently took his face between my hands. "Jasper, look at me."
Jasper's dark amber eyes slowly raised to meet mine.
"No one is perfect, Jasper. No one. And the fact that you're not perfect doesn't make me love you less – it makes me love you all the more. Because I'm not perfect and you accept me despite my flaws."
I faintly heard Jasper scoff into my hair. "You're perfect to me, Alice. You are. You saved me from a very dark place – and you keep saving me… each and every day."
I lightly run my fingers over the scars on Jasper's jaw. "We saved each other, Jazz. And we always will. I promise."
He caught my fingers and pressed them to his lips.
Jasper and I returned to the house to find Edward home as well. I smiled at my brother and tugged him away for a moment.
"So, I'm sure you already know, but I was thinking that we should throw a graduation party."
Edward chuckled. "I really don't think Bella will like that, Alice…"
I shrugged. "Sure she will. This will be a once in a lifetime experience for her, Edward… I mean, the first time of graduating from high school. It deserves to be recognized – and what better than party?" I smiled my most dazzling smile. It will also be a good distraction for her while we try to figure out what to do with the situation in Seattle… I tell him mentally.
My brother stared hard at me for a moment before finally nodding his approval. "Okay, but you have to tell her."