Here we are at the last chapter! Just over three months it's taken - a lot longer than I expected, but oh well.
This is a chapter that I've had in my head since the beginning, but it took a while to write (silly considering how short it is). Anyway, I hope you like it. I'm working on lots of other things, but none that are ready to be posted anytime before Easter probably :)
Just want to say thank you to everyone who's reviewed, favourited and followed this story :D your support means an awful lot.
There is a strange buzzing in his ears, and in the moment before his eyes open his mind is curiously blank. He expects to see a ceiling as the material he's lying on infers a bed; instead he's greeted with worried yet hopeful red eyes set in a pale heart shaped face.
"He's awake." He hears, though the woman's lips don't move. He blinks trying to clear his head, and sits up so suddenly he expects to feel dizzy.
"Where am I?" he asks. There are hazy memories encroaching on his mind, though they vanish as he attempts to grasp them.
"In my hotel. Do you know who I am?" Her lips are plump and pink, and he's mesmerised for a moment before he hears her voice again. "Don't hate me, please, don't hate me."
Yet again her lips are still, caught between pointed fangs. With a strange feeling in his chest, he runs his tongue along his own teeth, jumping when he reaches a set of fangs of his own.
"You're Bella, Isabella Swan. You invited us here..." his voice trails off. Who is 'us'? He remembers arriving with someone, remembers rain, but can't see the face behind the blond hair.
"Do you know who you are?"
He frowns, of course he does. But then he has to think hard before the words trip off his tongue. "Edward...Cullen. You...you killed everyone."
"I did." She doesn't look remorseful, and Edward wonders why that doesn't bother him. He remembers outrage, fear and anguish. Yet none of those permeate his self, now. Flickering's of the last few days play out in his mind's eye. He sees people dead, red and grey in run down rooms. And he remembers feeling frightened, believing he was going to be next. He remembers feeling angry, that these people had been killed for nothing but sport. Yet he can't conjure up those feelings now.
"Why?" he asks, though even as he does the conversation comes back to him. People are weak, humanity is broken, and she is simply culling those too arrogant to walk the earth.
"You know all this, why aren't you running? Why is my head still connecting to my shoulders? What should I do?"
Edward eyes flick between hers. He can hear her voice, inside his head, as though she were speaking. But her lips don't move. With a sudden clarity he realises he can hear her thoughts, which are these snippets of phrases coming from her head into his. She has no idea, and Edward says nothing.
For a few moments they are silent, and Edward focuses on the stream of thoughts running through Bella's mind. "Why did I send Isabel away? She could have helped, would have known what to do. She hasn't been back since he went down. Is she gone - coming back? Hope not. Don't want her. Got Edward now, all I need." Her thoughts are disjointed, and he struggles to keep up at times. The voice in her thoughts is not unlike the one she uses aloud, but there are subtle differences. She sounds younger, in her mind, more naive and less cruel. Edward thinks she sounds lost.
"You must be hungry," she says out loud, a soft smile pulling at her lips. Edward nods. His body feels tired, though alive.
Together they leave the room and head down into the lower floors of the hotel. There are no bodies littering the rooms anymore, and the smell of death has been replaced by one of lemon bleach. Edward's unsure how long he's been out, though from the steadily lightening sky outside, he imagines it's long enough for the sun to have risen and set again.
"What will I eat?" he asks, though the answer is obvious, really.
"For now, you'll eat blood. But that won't be for long, only until your body is full. Then all you'll need is souls to keep you alive."
He doesn't ask what she means, frankly, he doesn't want to know. His body feel strangely light, and he realises that what he's feeling is immense strength. He is very aware that, if he were to choose, he could decimate the building they are walking through. Yet this doesn't frighten him, it seems fear is just another emotion he can no longer feel in this new form.
Once outside, Bella starts walking quicker towards the trees. Along the way she grasps Edward's hand, he doesn't stop her. He finds he is glad of her, for the confusion is ever present, and even if she seems a little highly strung, she's all he's got. So he allows her to take comfort from him, and he returns the smile she sends him. He almost means it.
"Where are we going?" he asks.
"There's a farm a few miles down the way, you'll find an old human couple there for you to eat."
Edward nods. He doesn't relish the idea of eating humans, when he himself was so recently one of them, but the thought of blood is too enticing an idea for him to think on it long.
As they pass under the tree cover, just before they set off running at a pace that should be impossible for any creature on land, Edward hears one last thought from his companion. The voice is somewhat older, deeper, and full of such a vengeful anger he must restrain himself from startling.
"Enjoy it while it lasts, I'll take over soon. You'll never see Edward again."
But Bella just smiles at him, as though she doesn't hear the other voice inside her own head. And suddenly the fear he thought vanished is back, because that voice is quiet, but angry, and Edward has a feeling she is prepared to play a very long game to get what she wants.
For now, he attempts to put it from his thoughts, and runs through the trees with Bella, all the while thinking of any way he can leave her and make his own way in this strange new world he's awakened in.
Let me know what you think :)
Also, I've started a book club - everymonthbookclub . blogspot . com (remove the spaces), check it out if you fancy :D