A/N: This is for you, Kelly. I've been up all night, writing like a bitch. I've been work, work, work, work, workin' on your fic.
And for everyone else, enjoy. :)
Contains: violence and some angst.
Concentrate. Locate. Prepare.
An elk—probably not an adult one—walks through the forest at its own, steady, peaceful pace. It won't know what happened, which is cruel and funny at the same time.
Meters and meters away, Bella Cullen, placed behind a tree, smiles to herself. This is amusing… in a way. She's so used to this game that it's become more than just a custom; it's become a maze. A labyrinth that isn't hard to get out of in itself, but hard to pull yourself out of on your own, and that's the worst kind of labyrinth there is. Bella's seen it, though she's never experienced it, but with her, that's kind of the same thing. That's always been her deal: she's learned everything she knows through others' experiences.
There are people who never get bored of hunting, like Emmett; there are also people who never quite get the hang of hunting, too, like Renesmee, so they never stop trying. Then there are people like Bella: people who get the hang of hunting almost too quickly; people who merely outdo themselves in a short amount of time because, honestly, they are just that good. Jacob once called her a "special snowflake," as if she knows—or cares—what that means. Sure, she's special, but she can't be that special.
Emmett once joked that her record is cleaner than Esme's, she's always had more self-control than Jasper, and that her talent (the supernatural one, of course) is more useful than Edward's and Alice's combined. The only things she has to do are beat Rosalie in a beauty contest and somehow become more compassionate than Carlisle in a freak accident, just so she can be better than every other vampire in the family. (Bella's also stronger than Emmett—or at least, she was—but he didn't want to admit that again.)
It's obvious; anyone can see it: Bella is a super vampire, not just a vampire, and that's really something. It's made Rosalie roll her eyes, and it's made Edward smirk. Carlisle has always remained fair, so he never looked at her differently, though it's obvious she is.
As Bella continues to stalk her prey, she wonders what it's like to make a mistake—a real, honest, big mistake—but she dismisses it quickly; she doesn't make mistakes. At least, not anymore. It would be a shame if she did.
But if something happened, just once…
What is that?
Well, of course, she knows what it is. It's the blood of a human, maybe seven miles away. In all honesty, Bella's had problems with this lately. She's had the perfect opportunities to go after humans, but she hasn't. Maybe her labyrinth of cleanliness is finally coming to an end, only it can't. It really can't end because she's not supposed to mess up.
But, God, the scent is getting away…
It's not just one person; the smell is getting away. Bella focuses more, her attention far away from the elk she originally wanted to feed on, and she hears that it's a group of people, and they're only getting away so quickly because they're in some form of transportation. A car? Maybe a bus? There's only one way to find out, so Bella follows it—whatever it is.
Running not like the wind, but faster than the wind itself, Bella nearly flies through the forest, getting closer and closer to the scent, driving at sixty-five miles-per-hour on the nearest highway.
She stops and focuses again. The scent is now behind her. All she will have to do is wait.
With her throat burning, Bella can almost feel her thirst increasing by the second. She doesn't feel bad, though—she can't feel bad. This isn't a mistake, she assures herself. This is a test. It's just one little test to see if I like it or not.
But who is she kidding? Every vampire likes human blood.
The prey is coming closer, and once Bella sees it about a half-mile away, she realizes she was right. It's a bus.
She just didn't know it would be a yellow bus full of excited children.
Not a mistake at all, she says. Just a test.
Bella jumps—quickly—and lightly lands on top of the school bus. She knows nobody felt a thing; nobody inside turns or even looks surprised.
With little thought, Bella plays the villain for once and smashes her hand down onto the roof of the bus. A deep dent the size of her fist is imprinted into the bus, and it screeches to a halt. The sound of squealing children fills the air, and the voice of adults—one man and one woman—try to make their voices louder than the children's, to give instruction. Before the older man (the bus driver, Bella presumes) can exit the bus to inspect, Bella makes a quick move and peels off the roof of bus, her nails digging into the screeching metal, until the entire roof falls off, leaving the children—not screaming—looking up into the air.
And it's not even just the children who are screaming; everybody is. An expression of horror is upon everybody's face as they scream and scream and scream. It's quite early for a group of children to be going anywhere; they must be—or have been—going on a big trip. At least they're the only people on the road.
Before anyone can even ask Bella who or what she is (then again, what can they say?) she jumps and lands in the middle of the aisle. Mindlessly (as if she really had one, anyway), she begins to grab kids and the two adults by the arms, one by one, and presses her razor sharp teeth to their delicate skin. By the fourth person, the screams have turned into tears once the children know what's going on: she's killing their classmates.
Bella's thoughts turn into those of a murderer's as she realizes that human blood is fantastic. If it wasn't preached by her family as the "wrong thing to do," she would have used this method from the beginning. In fact, she can barely even remember what animal blood tastes like; this is too great.
After about six kids, Bella is full. This wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that there are twenty-four other kids on this bus, crying. Some of them stare at her, and some of them just close their eyes and duck their head. As of now, Bella doesn't have a plan for what to do with them. She never had a plan in the first place. This is all very messy… and unorganized. Gross, too. She keeps going, though.
With the sobs of the children replacing the thoughts in her head, Bella goes to another child. She lifts the child, looking up at her menacingly as she chokes and gasps for air under Bella's grip, but then her heart almost shatters into a trillion pieces.
The little girl is pale-skinned with long, bronze curls and big, brown eyes. Her cheeks are—or would be, if Bella weren't choking her right now—rosy and pink. A look of fear is in her eyes, and Bella can imagine the child lifting her small hand to Bella's face, just to telepathically tell her to stop what she's doing. The child can't look up to a monster for the rest of her life.
But this child isn't Renesmee—Renesmee looks much older now.
Bella is still full, though. If anything, she's fuller than she was before she made this sudden parallel. Her heart is no longer on the verge of breaking; she just needs to clean up this mess. So instead of drinking the girl's blood, she brings her other hand to the small neck and snaps it. She'll be fine now.
Bella goes through the rest of the school bus and snaps the necks of twenty-three other children. They try to run and hide from her, and even occasionally bite her, but that does nothing. The screams decrescendo until everything is silent and she is eventually surrounded by thirty-two dead bodies. Two adults, thirty kids. She's also surrounded by many different copies and versions of the Bible. The kids were going to a church, or maybe even a church camp, and now there are blood stains all over their main objects. Bella doesn't know how to feel about that, so she doesn't.
Just a test.
From others' experiences, Bella knows how to fake an accident. If this ever happens again in the future—which it shouldn't—she can finally say she learned something from her own experience, as opposed to something that Emmett did thirty years ago or so. If anything, faking accidents are fun. It's like being a crime investigator, only the opposite. She guesses that would be called a criminal, but that's not that gratifying of a word.
Soon enough, there is a perfect scene of a school bus flipped upside down, gas leaking onto the pavement. Bella doesn't know how the torn roof is going to be explained, but then again, that's not her problem anymore. This was just a test, and that's all it is going to be for her.
Bella watches the masterpiece she created, and she can't help but wonder if something is missing. She's never seen a bus crash before—is something else supposed to happen?
There are rustling sounds from the woods behind her, and Bella turns around to see her daughter, Renesmee, timidly stepping from the cover of the trees and to the empty road, where Bella stands next to a flipped school bus. Renesmee is much older than the child Bella held on the bus—Renesmee looks sixteen or seventeen years old. It eases Bella's heart a bit… but only just a bit.
"What is this?" Renesmee asks quietly, her brown eyes scanning the scene.
Bella doesn't reply. The shame is finally taking over, and taking over quickly.
Her daughter comes closer to her in a matter of seconds, standing right in front of her, and looks at her in the eyes. Her hands are balled up into fists. "Mom, they're red," she observes. "Your eyes are red."
Bella definitely looks like a villain now, and this is when her pride manages to come crashing through. She's been a hero and a villain; not everybody can say that, but she can. She's always been the exception.
"I'm sorry," Bella tells Renesmee, and she truly is. She's sorry that she's not nearly as perfect now as she's been for the past few years; she's sorry that her own daughter found her, rather than anybody else; and she's sorry that she messed up. It was never her job to mess up. Jasper and Emmett and Edward and everyone else can mess up plenty of times, but not her. That's not what she signed up for, especially since she ruined every little thing she did as a human.
Renesmee's fists loosen, and her right palm reveals a small, silver lighter. "I watched," she admits.
Bella sighs. "Of course you did. And you decided to cover for me?"
Her daughter nods. "Yes."
Bella takes the lighter and nods in return. "This didn't happen."
Renesmee's eyes are fixed on her mother's fingers, lighting the lighter. "This didn't happen?"
The lighter is thrown directly to the little puddle of leaked gas on the street. It catches fire, as well as the school bus in only a matter of time.
Watching it burn, Bella doesn't move a muscle. "None of this happened at all," she confirms.