As always, thank you Ham and Satan.


Chapter 16

Bright red eyes stare at me from the forest floor below my window. I've been sitting here for close to six hours and not once has either of us moved. We've barely even blinked.

I trace its outline in the fog of the glass. Over and over again until my hand cramps. Even from my perch up high I know he's huge. Hairless maybe, and he looks like a dog. I see the cold air as he breathes, and earlier I caught a glimmer of white when he howled. His long teeth remind me of some big, wild cat.

He's been here since the moon started to rise. Sitting in the same spot and watching me. He even brought the shadows. Gnarling wisps of wind, twirling around him and gathering above. I wait for them to attack, to charge toward my window and break in, but they never come. They disappear at his feet and rise seconds later only to put off their own screams as the beast doesn't move.

At first I was sure I was dreaming. I've seen the wolves around here and the mountain lions that like to creep upon their prey. I've witnessed bears scavenging the trash cans on the streets and wild cats as they chase birds in the parks.

Never have I seen anything like him. I heard him first. The pounding of his paws as he made his way closer to the fence. The growls as he stopped and looked straight into my eyes as I made my way to the window.

No one else seemed alarmed when he showed up. Of course, I haven't been out of this room, or seen a single soul, since Carlisle locked me in here and out of the white room. No one has checked on me, no medication has been given. Food was slipped through the metal opening of my door, but I have no idea by who.

No, my only company has been the angry looking creature outside my window and I don't mind him. He's kept my mind off what today is. What it means. Even though I should be terrified of him, I only feel nervous.

There is a tap at my door and the beast slinks back into the shadows as the sun begins to rise in the sky above. I catch a glimpse of his eyes as they look up at my window and I turn away just as a cold chill runs up my spine.

"Isabella?" Alice opens my door and steps inside. She has a brush and clothes in her hands, and a malicious smile painted on her thin lips.

"Don't recognize me?" She tilts her head to the side and the corners of her eyes tighten. "I didn't believe him at first. Not with Masen lurking about. That boy is full of tricks and way too cocky. If only he knew the plans his father has for you, or the price on that pretty little head of yours."

I shift in my seat, but she only moves closer.

"Do you want to see a trick, Isabella?" She leans in, brushing a stray hair behind my face as she looks into my eyes.

In an instant Alice is gone. Skin melts from her cheek, revealing sharp, white teeth and dark, grey gums. Like burning flesh, her face sizzles as more skin drips to the floor, splattering against my bare feet. Her eyes slit as a bright blue glows, and her nose grows long, pointing downward. What's left of her lip curls high up her face as her flesh turns ghost white. Then she laughs. A high pitch screech pierces my ears and burns my eyes.

"Bet you didn't see that coming, did you?" She winks and my eyes go wide. "Better not scare the crazy girl anymore, huh?"

I blink and Alice is back. Her perfect skin, the spiky black hair. I have no doubt she hears my heart beating like a drum in my chest, or smells the fear as it rolls off me.

I had a feeling she was like them, those creatures. Now all I can think is, who else? Is everyone here like her? Have I been played by Emmett, too?

"Lets keep that between us, shall we?" She pats the top of my hair like I'm a dog, and I fight to stay quiet. To control the anger as it tries to burn its way out of my eyes and into my fists.

"I can see why they like you." She walks around me, observing me, pausing to face me. "You can practically smell the virginity all over you. It's a bitter stench, yet sweet. There is something else though, otherwise why would you be wanted by so many?"

She taps the brush to her chin as the sun begins to filter into the room. Her shadow forms long against my wall. Its fingers curl as smaller shadows begin to stretch outward before they devour my entire room.

I try to remain calm. The urge to punch her grows with every minute she's close to me. I shut my eyes and think of Masen. I tell myself to shut up and put my faith in him. That my fear is making me stupid and it's gonna get me killed.

"Did no one clean you up after therapy?" She says therapy with a sick happiness dripping from her voice, but I plaster on a smile and swallow the bile as she moves closer. "We can't have you going to court looking like this. What would the judge think of how we treat you?" She gives a snort, and for once I want to laugh with her.

I'm jerked around. Pushed and pulled. Yanked and washed. She runs her brush through my hair once I have fresh clothes on.

"You really can't talk can you?" She leans over my shoulder, cheek to cheek with me. "Whatever Lucifer doesn't want you to know, it must be important."

She moves back at lightning speed, snatching my head back with her and tears roll down my face from the pain.

I sit in silence, my eyes glued to the forest, to those red eyes hidden in the trees, as she continues to talk. Mostly about herself, sometimes about me. I'm almost positive she enjoys the sound of her own voice. After two hours she still hasn't stopped. Going on and on about the price on my head. How Masen should have listened to her. All the while her shadow seems to dance along my walls, never staying with her body. I catch it staring at me a few times, but I refuse to show it fear. I've seen what shadows do to those that fear them.

"There!" She claps, spinning me away from my window to look at my reflection. "See? There was a pretty girl under that mess."

I see vacant eyes, one blue one dark brown, reflecting back at me in the mirror. They seem so cold, so harsh as they look at me. Long dark hair that's always been tucked behind my ears, now flows over my shoulders, shining from the sun and tinged with streaks of gold. I don't look exactly like death warmed over anymore. There is color to my face, and a tint of red to my cheeks. The circles under my eyes aren't as bad, but just seeing them makes me tired.

I look different though, and I think Alice sees it too.

"How neither of them noticed is beyond me," she laughs and tilts my chin to look at her. "There is definitely a change here. Your skin, the eyes, even your heartbeat is different."

I narrow my eyes just slightly, willing her to continue, to tell me why. Just as she opens her mouth to speak, my door opens. She recoils from me as if she's been burned by my proximity.

"And how is our patient?" The hairs on the back of my neck stand tall as he steps inside my room. The air changes almost instantly and the shadows slink back into Alice.

Maybe they sense him, too. That dark power that seems to drift off him in waves.

"Carlisle we need to talk," Alice says, moving in front of me.

"I'm sure we do." His smile is just as cruel as I remember. He stands so confident as he looks me over. Hands behind his back, hair perfectly tamed. He makes no move to hide his tattoos today. They peek out of his button down, his sleeves rolled to his elbows revealing arms littered in black. If he wasn't the devil himself, I'd call him handsome.

"She's changing, Carlisle. Much sooner than you said she would." Alice wrings her hands and looks around nervously as Carlisle shuts the door behind him.

"That is really none of your concern." His eyebrow arches as his eyes scan me. Alice put me in a dress, nothing fancy. White cotton that stops above my knee and I feel his eyes burning against my bare legs. "Is that really appropriate for court, Alice?"

"She's wearing it for you," she laughs. "I know how much you like purity."

"I've always enjoyed your sense of humor. She is stunning isn't she?"

I choke back bile and turn away from them as Carlisle undresses me with his eyes.

"Almost perfect, which is why we need to talk." She moves away from me and sits on my small bed. "Did you know she'd change?"

"I had a feeling. She doesn't belong here and with Masen so close to her, it was bound to happen. The boy can't help himself when it comes to Isabella. I can't blame him. The fantasies that run through my head when I'm around her surprise even me. She's one of a kind."

In the reflection of the glass I see him lick his lips and my stomach tightens as he stares into my mismatched eyes. I may hate him, but I still can't help the way my body reacts. Now I'm sure he's the reason for that. For my every thought and desire when it comes to him.

It disgusts me, but only cements my trust for Masen. It's like a splash of cold water and a smack to the face as I realize this.

I'm an idiot.

"If only he would have left you alone. You'd be safe right now. Far away from me, from the fate that awaits you. It's sad really." He moves closer, his hard chest against my back, his fingers running over my shoulder, down my arm. "He was foolish with you, thinking I wouldn't know when he bound you together? I may have taught him everything he knows, but I didn't teach him everything I know. He was foolish indeed, letting a pretty girl cloud his mind."

"Like father, like son."

"Alice," he snaps so harshly the window vibrates and his eyes flash bright red.

"She doesn't even know what we're talking about." I can practically hear her rolling her eyes as she laughs. "You said so yourself."

"And you are just as foolish as he. Do you think he wouldn't be far from here? Even now? He lets us both be here because he wants it. We wouldn't be otherwise. Never underestimate my son, Alice. He's much deadlier than you've ever given him credit for." Carlisle looks back at me with a wink.

"The proof that he's weak sits right in front of us." She motions toward me and her eyes glow with a faint blue hue.

"She may be a weakness, but she's also a strength. The boy had nothing before this. Love makes you weak, yes, but it also makes you incredibly lethal. Make no mistake, Isabella is just as dangerous as he." He brushes the hair from my face and leans in close. "I know you're in there, caged inside your mind like a wounded animal. I warned you once before not to play a game you don't know the rules to. It got you killed once, it'll kill you again."

He moves away from me quickly and my hands ball into fists as the feel of his fingers linger on my skin. They burn my flesh and grip at my nerves. I think about his words as I try to shake the feeling of his skin on mine.

Even though he was talking to me, in my ear, I wasn't the one he spoke directly to. He was right, someone is caged inside of me. I feel her, the power that surges through me, the whispers inside and the memories that have surfaced. None of them are mine, but I can't set her free. I don't even know how.

"Masen won't leave her alone much longer. He's much too possessive. Be watchful, Alice but make no mistake, if you provoke him, he will kill you," Carlisle warns and Alice's smile turns sinister.

"I know what I'm up against."

Carlisle runs his hand along Alice's face and in an instant his fingers grip her hair, jerking her in my direction. I smile to myself when she screams in pain, but my eyes shoot wide as bright red eyes bore into mine.

"I've waited for this for much too long to have things ruined by an underling. Should Isabella be harmed, even a hair on her head be missing, I will not hesitate in slitting your throat and letting my pets feed from your body. Are we understood?"

Alice nods as tears fall from her eyes, but I see the hate in them. The promise of revenge and torture. It's gone in a blink and Carlisle lets her free, turning to me as his red eyes fade to the cool green from before.

"Now, Isabella, I can not go with you to court. Alice is your court ordered therapist and it is her job to see you there and present your case, along with your lawyer. While my findings will be brought to attention, Alice knows just as much of your case. The judge has been informed of your new… diagnosis, and you have nothing to fear, but if you become afraid, let Alice know in anyway that you can and she will help you. For now, there are things I must attend to."

Like the fear of your son, I think with a smile. He may not think it shows, but every time Masen is mentioned I see it. That slight edge in his eyes, how his muscles tense and his lips thin. He's angry, but he also fears him.


"Remember my warnings, Alice."

The outside air is chilly, cutting me to the bone as we walk through the double doors of the Asylum. Alice has me by the arm, clutching me close and digging her fingers into my skin.

She hasn't said a single word since Carlisle left us alone. She barely even spares me a passing glance. The air around her is changing though. It crackles to life the closer she comes.

"Bella?" I stop cold just as we reach the car that idles on the driveway beneath the steps.

"I warned you she doesn't remember, Emmett," Alice snaps and I grit my teeth.

"Be careful, okay?" I turn my head, catching him out of the corner of my eye and I want to run to him. To throw my arms around him and tell him to hide, but I know if I do he'll be killed.

By Masen or Carlisle, I'm not sure, but I do know he'll die if I move an inch.

"Come on, Isabella, we're going to be late." Alice shoots Emmett a nasty glare as she shoves me into the back of the car and slams the door. He gives me a sad wave, but I turn away before he can see me cry.

Alice doesn't bother driving safe. She pulls away, tires squealing on the pavement and jerking the wheel as we make our way out of the gates.

I watch the forest as she drives down the narrow paths that lead away from here. I don't bother looking at Alice, I know what I'll see. The demon inside of her coming to life, just like the first time I was with her. I don't need to see it to know she's a horrible person. To know what she's capable of.

"Do you know how much you're worth?"

My eyes stay steady on the trees, ignoring her. I watch for any sign of the red eyes from before, but I see only greens and browns as they blur beside us.

"Carlisle should have been careful in who he trusted you with." She laughs and the blurring becomes worse as she pushes harder on the gas.

I tighten the strap on my seatbelt, an uneasy feeling washing over me as she begins to sing in the front seat.

"At first it was only whispers that I heard. I'm not considered important in my world, which is really a shame, also a blessing. They have no idea what I'm capable of."

I glance at her and regret it instantly. She isn't even paying attention to the road, her black eyes slitting like a cat's as they watch me in the mirror.

"Do you know what the whispers said, Isabella?"

I chew on the inside of my cheek to keep from asking what, to stop myself from screaming at her. The urge to wrap my hands around her throat and squeeze as she's driving is almost too much to bare.

"You can stop playing stupid. Your eyes give you away." She giggles and I turn away once again.

This time it's a distant thudding that grabs my attention. Far away, but loud as it moves closer and closer. I take another peek at Alice, if she hears it she isn't acting like it as she continues to stare at me.

"One blue, one dark brown. I've seen it before and I was right. You are her."

Dread makes my blood run cold as I shift in my seat. Something dark catches my attention along the forest floor as we drive faster and faster down the road. The thudding almost drowns out Alice's voice now.

"He's close." Her eyes snap back to the road as my head whips around searching for the he she's talking about.

Alice flips her phone open and begins talking too fast for me to catch anything. She taps the broken wheel in her hand, glancing back at me and then road.

And then I see it. Glowing red eyes as the beast's head turns slowly to meet my eyes.

"I'm two minutes from the bridge. Be there." She snaps the phone closed and tosses it out the window as I begin to to breath harder.

The thudding is harder now, closer than it was and my fingers tighten on the worn leather seats. It pounds against the forest floor, zipping through the trees as a growl begins to echo around us.

"Shit!" Alice spits and I watch as the bridge comes into view. "Thank god they don't need your body in tact."

I blink and turn to her just as she jerks the car toward the railing. I taste blood in my mouth, the bitter copper coating my tongue as I bite my cheek and try to scream. My mouth opens but no sound can be heard.

The car jerks as she pushes harder on the gas and I gasp.

Its skin is the first thing I see. Charred black and stained red. Veins poke out, casting designs along its leathery looking flesh. One of its ears is torn at the tip and long jagged teeth hang over its open mouth. A snarl rips through the air as the huge monster leaps forward just before we connect with the rail.

Alice screams as its body collides with us, smashing in the side of the car. My head smacks the window, shattering it into a million pieces. My hair flies up as we begin to fall off the cliff below the bridge. I hear the snapping of teeth and Alice's shrieks as she tries to climb into the back seat with me.

It doesn't let her get far. His jagged teeth take purchase of her leg, tearing off chunks of flesh and licking at the blood spraying inside the car. Alice screams, her face distorting as it swipes at her, its claws catching on her hip. I stare wide eyed as its growls vibrate through me and Alice tries to grab for my, begging me to help her.

I see its claws digging into the door, its nails piercing the steel of the car, and then my door is jerked open. My seat belt rips with force and hands grab for me, pulling me out just as the beast rips Alice's body out and the car smashes into the rocks below.

Inky black wings slowly surround me as the beast flings Alice high into the air and the car explodes.

I see nothing but the flames as they chase us before everything goes black.

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