Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, unfortunately...
He sees you when you're sleeping.
He knows when you're awake.
Go out into the woods alone at night.
And your screams; they won't be fake.
There was no moon in the sky on this rare cloudless evening. The bright stars were the only welcoming thing about the dark forest. Once innocent looking trees now looked villainous, dark antagonists casting dangerous shadows on the forest floor as their branches stretched; horrible claws tearing at the night. Bella awoke to the sound of an owl hooting. She rubbed her eyes and stretched, her muscles stiff and sore from lying on the forest floor. Her head felt as if it was splitting and her mouth was dry. Her clothes, damp from her unexpected nap on the ground, clung to her skin and did nothing to shield her from the frigid night air. Her eyes searched her dark surroundings as she tried to remember how she had gotten there. Nothing around her that looked even remotely similar.
"How the Hell did I get here?" She got up, her muscles protesting the action. She patted her jean's pockets, wondering what possessions she still had on her. Her hand was met with a lump and she reached in and pulled out her cell phone. She was hit with a wave of relief, the knowledge that she might be able to find out what happened and get help soothing her slightly. She turned it on to see three missed calls and a text message; all from Alice.
Where are you?
"Where am I indeed?" She questioned herself as she speed-dialed Alice and tried to gather her most recent memories.
"Bella, are you sure this is a good idea?" Alice questioned from my side as she eyed our campsite wearily. "I don't have the best feeling about this."
"It's fine Alice, we're the only ones out here. Besides we have everything we could possibly need, the Jeep's there, we have a first aid kit, food, water, flash light, matches, bar a spontaneous forest fire, we have everything we could need for any situation."
"That's almost as bad as saying, 'what could possibly go wrong?'" Alice rolled her eyes.
"You worry too much," Bella wrapped the shorter girl in a hug, "it'll totally be worth it, this meteor shower only happens once a decade."
"You're right," she conceded as she leaned into the embrace, "I just wish the others were able to come, I'd feel better if it wasn't just us."
"Hey," Bella protested, "I could totally stop anyone if they tried to hurt you."
"Yeah, you'd trip and take the both of you down."
"Then you could run away to safety."
"Well aren't you just my martyr in moderately average clothing?" Alice joked, placing a quick kiss on Bella's lips before feigning to swoon, "Miss Swan, what would I do without a brave, self-sacrificing person such as yourself?"
"Okay, first of all, we decided not to make fun of my clothes, and secondly, I'm not sure what you'd do Alice, mourn in a dark corner perhaps?" Bella was still smiling from the kiss, no matter how chaste it was. Alice was better than any drug.
"No honey, you decided that we wouldn't make fun of your clothes, I never agreed. As for the latter part, I guess it's in my best interest to keep you around then, huh?"
"Definitely," Mirth shown in both of their eyes as they looked at each other, the sun slowly lowering in the sky.
"Alice?" Bella spoke into the phone once the ringing broke out into static. "Alice, where are you?" She was starting to panic, realizing the implications of their situation. They were alone in the woods and they didn't even know where the other was. An icy sinking feeling tore through Bella and her heart clenched.
"d- know…. Run, g- .. -ome… tall…" Bella could only make out a few words between the white noise before the phone disconnected. Alice had told her to run, and that simple word had Bella trembling, something was wrong.
"Alice?!" Bella yelled into the night, hoping that she was at least in hearing range of the girl. Silence answered her call, "Damn it." She didn't know whether to cry or to start running. Going through the contacts on her phone, she quickly found her dad's number. The home phone rang and rang and Bella regretted never bothering with talking Charlie into getting an answering machine.
"Damn, he's at Billy's tonight." She ran a hand through her hair as she continued to go through contacts. All of the Cullens were busy, Esme was out of the state looking for properties to buy, Carlisle was working a double shift at the hospital, Jasper was overseas, and Emmett and Rosalie were away on vacation. And, Jake's mad at me… Bella added glumly to herself.
"Bella, she left you for three months and you just take her back like nothing happened? Did you happen to look in the mirror? You were practically catatonic!" Jake exclaimed, his voice a mix of anger and pleading. "I was there for you the whole time, why won't you give us a chance?"
"Jake, I can't. I love Alice and I've forgiven her. Jake, there's never been an 'us', and aside from just being friends, there never will be."
"Fine, but when she breaks your heart again, don't come running to me this time."
"You know, I really thought you were smarter than this."
Well, Bella mentally sighed, it's worth a shot. She hit number five on her speed dial and waited. Voicemail.
"Jake, I know we had a fight, but please call me back when you get this, it's an emergency."
She hit the end call button and fought back the frustrated tears welling in her eyes. Maybe Billy will answer his phone.
"The number you have dialed is not available at the moment, please try again later."
"You have got to be kidding me."
"Bella!" Alice trudged through the woods with the aid of a flashlight. "Isabella, I swear to god if this is a joke, I will-" A branch snapped and Alice balked, flinging her flashlight to the area it sounded from only to see nothing. "Freakin' kill you," Alice finished, her voice shakier in the end.
She kept walking around, her steps were noisy and her usual grace was missing. She couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching her. Watching her, following her. She was alone in these dark woods, but she wasn't alone. "Bella, this isn't funny!" On one of her passes with the flashlight, something unusual was illuminated. Something black and white that stood out harshly against the dark browns and greens of the forest. She swung the light and caught a glimpse of someone or something; something with a white face and dark clothes. She stumbled backwards and uncharacteristically fell to the ground. The path of her flashlight shook unsteadily before she dropped it. The blood drained from her face as her stomach sank. It was gone, she was alone again, but what did it mean to be alone? Alone in these unforgiving woods that held more than just nature.
What the Hell was that?
She picked the flashlight back up and took off into the darkness, in the opposite direction of that thing. I swear, if this is a prank, someone's getting curb stomped later…
"Okay Bella, answer the phone." She impatiently dialed and listened, dialed and listened, dialed and listened. "Damn it!" She gave up and sent a text, hoping that if Bella was in the same situation as her, she was just still unconscious not…. No, nothing like that would happen to Bella. She's probably fine. There's no way she'd be de-, just no way.
Alice looked around, trying to get a fix on her location. She was well practiced in camping, but her and her family had never stayed at this particular site. It was actually a rather unpopular one, but she and Bella had decided that it would be the best one to watch the shower. The only thing familiar was the types of trees and plant life, but aside from that, nothing was reminiscent of the campsite. She was lost.
"I knew this was a bad idea," she sighed. She looked at her phone, clicking on the GPS app to see if that could help her. Her phone was grasped in one hand while her flashlight was held in a death grip in the other. A prayer ran through her mind that she had enough signal for her phone to be useful.
Just as the page loaded, a high pitched static noise disrupted the silence that had been hanging like a shroud over the forest. Alice started, nearly jumping out of her skin; fear encased her as she looked to her phone, the source of the noise. It wouldn't stop; the insistent static was louder and worse than the snow on TV's. She tried to disengage her phone, only to look up and see someone illuminated by her flashlight just a few meters away from her. Alice jerked, surprised, and let out a scream. She only caught a glimpse of the man or thing, but that was enough to tell her she needed to leave, now. He didn't even have a face; it was just blank, like someone had forgotten to draw in the detail. A suit fit to his lanky, tall frame. Alice turned on her heal and took off in the opposite direction. Her heart thudded loudly as adrenaline pumped through her system. She couldn't stop shaking. How the Hell did he do that? I was going in the opposite direction of where I saw him last. Her breaths were loud and quick in the silence of the night. She couldn't hear anything aside from herself; the animals just as frightened as her.
Her phone rang; Alice could have cried with relief. Never had she been so relieved to hear the chorus of Moment for Life.
"Bella?" Alice spoke into the phone. The static noise had stopped earlier, but now it was back. Not as loud, but she could barely make out what Bella was saying, but she was pretty sure Bella asked her where she was.
"I don't know. You need to run. Go home, get help. There's some tall thing chasing after me." She spoke hastily into the phone while trying to keep her breathing under control; running while on the phone wasn't proving to be easy. Alice's plea was met with silence. The phone had disconnected at some point and Alice had to suppress the urge to throw the useless object.
She slowed to a walk when she thought she had covered enough distance. Her heart didn't calm even after she caught her breath. What could that possibly be? How am I going to get out of here… Where's Bella?.. She leaned against a tree for a moment, perspiration dripping down her face. The bark of the tree was rough against her back, but she didn't care. The slight irritating pain helped her clear her head. I don't know where I am. There's someone after me.. Now what am I going to do about it? Something about the thing chasing her was familiar. Memories of a bonfire at La Push surfaced in her mind.
"The Quileute people have always had spirit protectors since the early beginnings of the tribe's existence. The spirit protectors are animal spirits that protect us from many forms of evil. When the tribe was first made, a malevolent being attacked it, luring children away to his embrace. While the children told their parents of this being, none of the adults could see him. At least, they couldn't at the beginning. Once there were no more children vulnerable enough to lure, he started taking young adults too. His targets complained of paranoia and insomnia and some even showed signs of possession. The tribe panicked, and made an alliance with the nature spirits. The elders of the tribe and the spirit protectors worked together to bind the Tall One to sacred ground so that he could not escape and harm the villagers. The spirit animals protect us now, but the Tall One still exists, waiting for a way to be freed."
Bella sat entranced in the story. Alice was leaning against her with her head on Bella's shoulder and Jake sat on the opposite side. Jake must have seen something in her face, because he gave her a grin and a playful shove.
"Don't take it so seriously Bella, it's just tribal legends."
"Yeah, yeah," Bella rolled her eyes, "Like I'm scared anyway."
"You should be," A voice growled in her ear and Bella jumped with a small scream.
"Nice job Embry," Jake grinned as he high-fived his partner in crime and shared snickers at Bella's expense. Alice tried to smother her laughter, but she couldn't stop the giggles that shook her body.
"Oh, I'll give you a reason to laugh," Bella grinned as she tackled Alice to the sand.
"No- haha! Stop!" Alice tried to get Bella's fingers away from her sides.
"What do you say?"
"I'm- ha!- sorry."
"Forrrr?" Bella drawled.
"For being exponentially awesomer than you!" She giggled as she managed to get free.
"Yeah, yeah," Bella just shook her head.
"Jake, I swear to god, I'm going to die out here and you're gonna finally check your voicemail when people realize I'm missing and you're gonna feel like an ass. Call me back!" Bella was practically growling into her phone at this time. She had gone through her contacts and she had begun to deeply regret not being the type of person to use her phone a lot. Even when she made plans she typically just used Facebook. She laughed at this thought, If only I had enough signal to post a status. "Lost in the middle of the woods. Someone help me." –With Alice Cullen.
And we're not even together right now… How did we get separated in the first place?
Trying to remember was like trying to fight through a dense fog in her mind. Everything she tried to remember seemed hazy and she couldn't get a fix on it. She would just have to find Alice, maybe she remembered what lead to this.
Leaves crunched under her hiking boots and Bella was happy her dad advised her to wear proper camping footwear. It would definitely be useful; it was going to be a long night.
A/N: This idea attacked me yesterday when I went on a bit of a Slenderman kick. Anywho, Happy Holidays, thanks for reading. Any constructive criticism will be appreciated. This is my first attempt at tackling this genre so please have a bit of mercy on my remnants of a soul.