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The Book of Shadows

Summary:
Banner by me. It is not your ability that defines you. It is your nature; it is your very self. Who or what you choose to be. And soon enough, you will learn that what's written in print is not always permanent. Sometimes, it's just the dark mass that looms over your head, all the shadows of doubt and lack of reason, which makes the sun hard to see. Includes all canon ships and an original character. Also, I just want to inform everyone that this story has nothing to do with Wicca, despite the whole Book of Shadows thing. Only after I started writing this did I realize such a book had to do with that.


Notes:
This story is written from two points of view; Alice Cullen's and an original character's. Present tense. It includes all the canon ships. If you haven't read Breaking Dawn, don't read this story.


1. Chapter 1

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3454   Review this Chapter

It is not your ability that defines you. It is your nature; it is your very self. Who or what you choose to be. And soon enough, you will learn that what's written in print is not always permanent. Sometimes, it's just the dark mass that looms over your head, all the shadows of doubt and lack of reason, which makes the sun so hard to see.

-----

The house is normal. It's nothing special, nothing to make a big deal about. Light colors painted on the walls, medium-sized windows, and house plants in a corner or two. It kind of hurts to see such ordinariness; deep down somewhere, a part of me wants to redecorate. But not an obvious part. That is not my priority. To an eye more tamed, more... able, there is much, much more to concern itself with. Like mine.

"Alice? Alice! What's happening? What do you see?"

"Calm down, Bella," a smooth sound answers for me.

I am able to hear the voices, but they're far away. I'm not where I was five seconds ago. I'm in the bland house, in the bedroom. My eyes intrude on a blonde-haired beauty, but she's not what I'm looking at. It's the huge, slightly blurry brown book that I'm more absorbed with. And, of course, she does not see me. Technically, I'm not really there.

There is an acceptable reason for me to be suspicious, of course. I'm not like Edward; I wait for the evidence before jumping falsely toward fabricated conclusions. But I know I'm not Carlisle, patient and impossibly logical, either; if there's something more than strange going on, and I see it, I'll probably rely a bit too much on it.

The book is big, probably leather-bound and sturdy. I'm not quite sure, and it bothers me more than it should. I'm too excited. I've been waiting for this to happen, and now it is. But I have never met this girl in my life, so I shouldn't expect to see her clearly; I'm lucky to see her at all. I'm also lucky to see her close the pages of this book, which are yellowed with age. The cover, though, is something that cannot be mistaken: The title, The Book of Shadows, written in scripty, gold lettering, is somehow the focus point of the entire vision.

I notice everything fade away now, like a movie changing scenes slowly. I blink several times in order to be rid of it quicker. When it's gone, and I am sitting on the couch in the living room, several pairs of liquid topaz eyes are staring me down with anxious, worried expressions distorting their faces.

I wrinkle my nose, the stench of werewolf knocking me into discomfort all over again. I thought I was used to Jacob by now. When he rolls his eyes after I make a face at him, I speak. "That was... weird."

Subtly studying their faces, they are all confused. Even Edward, who saw what I saw through my mind, appears as though he is racking his brains.

Jacob sighs, repositioning his hands in Renesmee's. I can tell it takes a great deal of effort to force his eyes away from hers when he turns to me. "Come on, Alice. Just explain already. Was it them or not?"

By "them" I know he means the Volturi. We can't expect them to stay out of this... this... occurrence.

"Not," Edward replies, the determination in his eyes never faltering. What is he thinking, saying that? If it's not them now, it will be later, for sure.

"But that doesn't mean anything," I insert hurriedly. "If this keeps happening, we're all going to be answering to them."

I look over at Bella, who seems just as curious about Edward as I do. Her perfect face is twisted up, but it smoothes out as soon as she's in control. The control is visible in her golden eyes. I know she is letting Edward read her thoughts.

"I'm trying to figure it out," Edward answers her, boosting my ego. Of course, he answers her when she opens her thoughts to him. But he hears mine all the time, and he doesn't always-

"Alice," Edward catches me, shaking his head with disapproval. "It's not like that. I was just trying to remember something. It's from a while ago, but I haven't forgotten."

Everyone stares at him, Jacob and Bella especially tense. Renesmee, too, of course, but she's convinced that she's endangering all of us... I smile. Bella is so her mom.

Jacob is the first to crack. "Well?" he snaps impatiently. "What didn't you forget?"

Edward looks up, the fuel behind the fire fading since he recognized the title. Bella's hand tightens on his forearm, and his lips twitch. Only I know what he's going to say. "The Book of Shadows."

_____

It is happening. Again. Ugh. Why? Every time I move somewhere, this happens. Like I'd ever even be interested in any of them, anyway. Not that I think I'm better than them... or even that I'm too good for them... but they're human. I could never, ever, EVER fall in love with a human. And, quite honestly, they are young humans. Students, no less. It would be considered illegal to be involved with one of them at my age, though I became what I am at twenty-two years old.

I'm inside the administration building by now, eager to break away from the stares, done by the scurrying pace of a human. I walk towards the desk fluidly, and the grayness of the walls, perhaps once light blue or green, makes me feel like I'm walking through a cemetery on a rainy day... And I hate when I feel like that. When I feel like I'm walking to my own funeral. But I have to think this way; if I were to hurt any of these children, I would very well cease to exist... because I wouldn't allow myself to.

Of course she's looking at me with wide eyes. Why wouldn't she? My very being is designed to attract them, humans, and repulse them at the same time. Their instincts tell them to fear me, to shy away, but at the same time they are curious. Am I real, she wonders? But I'm used to it. This is not the first school I've arrived at to teach. I've moved countless times. I have to. I don't age physically, and I do not look as old as I am.

As I approach the administration desk, my arms folding on top of the counter, an old woman with faded brown hair, glasses, and fine wrinkles in her face and hands seems timid when she speaks. "H-How can I help you, Miss?"

I realize this is uncomfortable for her. I can hear her heart beating faster than before I walked into the building. So I just flash her one kind smile, wide and toothy. "Yes, hello. I'm Violet Clare, and I'm the new English teacher here at Forks High School. Very unfortunate about Mr. Rowley. I only hope to do his job justice." My voice is high, like a soprano, how it always is. And no, there was nothing hidden in that second-to-last statement. Mr. Rowley, the old English teacher here, passed away due to natural causes.

Her eyes slowly narrow back to their usual size. It's not every day she meets someone unusual such as me, and I am patient with her. Although, now that she knows my business here, she is eager to communicate, but her heart rate only slows slightly. "Oh, welcome! Yes, it is too bad about Mr. Rowley; he was such a wonderful asset to the community... But I'm sure you'll do just fine. We've been anticipating your arrival. It's nice to finally meet you. I'm Jan, Jan Mosley."

I keep my face composed when she extends her hand over the countertop. How must I look to her now? So rude, so disgusting by not accepting her handshake? Who was I to be so bold? I don't have winter as excuse for cold hands... It's September... My eyes drift away, shifting slowly down to my own impossibly pale, marble hands. I take them off of the counter and place them by my sides.

"The feeling is mutual," I assure her, smiling quite convincingly. I've had years to practice. "I apologize, but if there is any paperwork for me to fill out or something similar, may I request it now? I really would love to get settled into my building before the first bell rings."

It seems she's forgotten all about my rude behavior. Just as I'd predicted she would. Usually, I get my way just by smiling at people, but I only use it to stop them from discovering evidence about what I am. If that makes sense. "Oh, certainly. You'll just need to sign a few things and turn them in at the end of the day in addition to everything else you've already taken care of. It's customary," Jan explains, though I already know this, having been through it more times than able to count.

She hands me a manila folder, the edges of multiple white papers hanging out. The stock kind, sturdy and durable. I smirk at our similarities, the paper's and mine. "Thank you, Ms. Mosley. I'll be sure to do just that." The only way I can possible have a chance at speaking the way a modern twenty-two-year-old does is by forming an enthusiastic manner each time. To try to sound young and new and excited. I'm glad I don't have to worry about that while I teach, though, since the students expect me to speak with an educated tone.

Jan nods once, her eyes following the folder that I scrape off of the fake wooden countertop with my fingernails. I'm turning away for the door, but as I do, I expect she is suspicious of me, though I don't believe I'm extremely at fault. With a sigh so low that only I can hear, I turn back to her and raise my eyebrows before the words escape from me. "Building six, was it?" Nope. But I have to be believable.

"Oh, no, dear. English is building three. Would you like me to assist you?" Her offer seems genuine enough, but it's drizzling outside, and I don't want her to get sick showing me a building I already know the location of.

"No, thank you. I think I've got this, really." I add the "really" in because she starts to stand from one of three desks. "If I have any questions, I'll make sure to contact you." Even though I've done this before. How many times can I stress this? It doesn't hurt to make people feel needed, though. Plus, who knows? I might need to ask about a student or criteria or the like. To "get the dirt," so to speak.

As to not get the papers drenched, I tuck them into the pocket of my black leather messenger bag, which stiffly hangs off of my shoulder. It has a silver laptop, several folders, and hundred dollar pens inside, but for all it affects me, it could be weightless. I pull open the glass door to the right, examining the dark, cloudy sky. A drop of rain falls just below my left eye, but the water doesn't faze me. I'm as comfortable in my black, multi-buttoned, largely buckled turtleneck trench coat as I would be on a dry, blue-skied day. Like yesterday, when I went hunting. I'm usually comfortable around humans, but sometimes the dryness of my throat will surprise me. Any precautions I need to take will be taken. Looking like the living dead is completely frightening to humans; if I want to be a teacher, I have to know that I must hunt at least once per week. Anything less and the pale, lavender circles around my eyes turn deep purple, and my golden eyes are suddenly two lumps of burning coal.

Students are arriving now as I walk at a human pace toward building three. I try not to reveal my face to the ones driving. Conceited as it may sound, I have been the cause of many accidents just by being seen, and it is quite embarrassing. Especially since looks don't mean to me what they mean to humans. The way I see it is, well, a person (or a vampire) can be the most beautiful, breath-stealing thing that you have ever seen, but that's just their natural self. They did not work hard to achieve it, and most of the time -- with vampires especially -- their insides are not as alluring. I try not to dwell that way about myself, though, even if I am a monster.

The walkway is broad, I notice as I stare at the pavement that my feet are gliding across. I dodge puddles with ease, not even having to think about it, even when my eyes aren't averting downward. From a distance, I can hear clear voices; many conversations are going at once. This is normal. It is rare that I find a place to go that has extreme and utter silence. Just another downside of exceptionally acute hearing. By now, I hardly notice. I've become quite the expert at tuning things not meant for me to hear out. But sometimes, I slip up and listen. I'm only human... Well, not in actuality, but the message behind the statement should be understood.

And here I stand, a large black "3" facing me. I mentally snap a photo in my mind of the place. Not that large, not excruciatingly small. Room to breathe, just in case. It's rare that I smell something so perilously delicious, for the one that smells good, anyway. And painful for me to endure... My throat hates fire. But as I said before, I've had years, centuries, to control that desire... my thirst.

I take a steady breath of air, which would probably be more satisfying if I needed it to survive. But, in any case, it helps relieve tension in my brain. I effortlessly push the door open with one ghostly hand. There was a reason I moved to Forks, and it wasn't for the scenery. I have high hopes of blending in as easily as possible, even if that just meant skin tone.

Of course, I did once hear rumors of a coven here, but that was decades ago. They have to be gone by now, moved on. I used to live with a coven in France, where I was born, after moving from England. Which is where I went after living in Maine. My point being: I travel a lot. I have to. I've been alive for a remarkably long while, and one place can get boring if you stay there for too long. And so can the hunting capacity. But my other point is... I don't really have a French accent. I spend most of my time in England, actually. I've had a better chance at picking up a British accent than a French one.

While thinking about that coven, rumored to reside here, I am hanging up my trench coat on a coat rack next to my desk. It's not much, really... I've taught at more prestigious schools than this, obviously, and ones with larger funds. My new desk is metal, the tan shade of a standard folding chair. Its paint is chipping near the bottom and around the corners and edges. I could probably sneak my own desk in here, but I kind of like the low budget one... It has personality.

At least the walls aren't gray with a fading paint job like the main office. Instead, they are a dense forest green, or perhaps jade. It is warm and welcoming, the same impression that I hope to leave on my new students. I'm not nervous, though. Usually, I don't get attached to them. It's hard to explain, but...

A piercingly loud and monotonous tone rings over the speakers for three entire seconds, interrupting me from my train of thought. That must be the warning bell. Though, it doesn't have a tinkle or a ding quality to it. It sounds more like a broken alarm clock that you think won't ever stop alarming you. Or at least, as someone with hyper sensitive hearing, it does to me. I really don't like bells. Guess I chose the wrong profession, then. But no... I like children. I enjoy teaching more than I hate three second rings every hour.

I decide to try to seem less like a statue and more like a human being. Standing in front of my desk, unmoving, probably won't win their hearts or appear normal... So, even though I am just as indifferent to comfort while standing, I sit behind my desk. The chair is hard, but I am more so.

My bag now rests on the desktop, which has a black name tag with white lettering: MISS CLARE. Nothing I haven't seen before. All the same, I have yet to see it in this particular room in this particular school. Therefore, it is strangely exciting.

I hear footsteps outside, and two boys are laughing at a joke that one of them told. Or so I assume. I estimate their arrival within the next minute, but only if they come straight inside, that is. I can also tell they are not alone. First hour English with Miss Clare. How lucky are they? I muse to myself.

Though I am nervous, I lie and inform myself otherwise. I straighten my casual cotton black dress, its blatant ordinariness an attempt to dull myself down. It covers all of my skin except for my legs, which I covered earlier with black pantyhose. I tell myself that I will dress less melancholy, yet equally as unordinary, when they warm up to me. If they warm up to me.

I flip tendrils of long, loosely curled beach blonde hair onto my shoulders to proportion it better. It frames my face, but I can't even feel it. If tree branches feel like the caress of a feather, hair is even less vexatious. Some would even say it's like it isn't even there. No tickling, no prickling. Of course, vampires are not ticklish.

The two boys I heard forty-five seconds ago open the glass door with smiles that reach their eyes. As long as it isn't a blonde joke...

Quickly, but still upholding grace, I cover my face behind the manila folder. Instead of pretending to read what I would later sign, I actually do skim through it. More people are making their way indoors, and their scents mixed with the rain create an ignorable ache, an imaginary, fiery explosion in the back of my throat. Maybe I'm being too wordy. It really isn't that bad. I am confident in my ability to resist. I no longer live on human blood, anyway. Haven't for centuries... I've actually convinced myself that it's repulsive and absurd. But that's just how my mind feels. My body has other, controlled, sentiments.

By now, the room is almost full with students. And full of whispers. Am I one of those strict teachers that every student fears, only expecting to exist in their nightmares? Or am I the fun-loving young teacher that everyone wishes they could be scheduled with? They really believe I cannot hear them, which would not be that crazy, if... you know by now. But I like to lie somewhere in between these two extremes.

I catch each scent that floats around the room, whether the person is sighing, taking their jacket off and hanging it up, or flicking their hair back... I'm used to controlling my sense of smell. So, when I hear the door open and in walks, or maybe dances, two girls that I can't smell the blood of, I freeze.