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Breathe for Mercy

No one knows her real name. But everyone calls her Mercy. And she's running from a world of pain and fear, desperately searching for a place to hide from the monsters that haunt her footsteps. But she's found again-this time by Dr. Carlisle Cullen, who takes her under his wing even though he's vampire and she's human, and takes her home to live with the rest of his family, unaware of the wicked web she's caught in. But they don't know who she is, what she's done, what she's capable of. And the voices just won't go away. This is my story. My nightmare. And now I'm putting you through it. *Rated for some graphic violence* What the heck, why is no one reviewing? Is my story that bad?

Her real name is unknown. But everyone calls her Mercy. She's running from a world where there is nothing but pain but she is looking for a new life, a new way. That's when she runs into the Cullen family and they bring her in and take her under their wing, even though she is human. But they don't really know who she is, what she's done. And the voices just won't go away. This is my story. My nightmare.And now I'm putting you through it.

4. When it all Begins

Rating 5/5   Word Count 7622   Review this Chapter

There will be a time when you believe everything is finished.

That will be the beginning.

Aimee rolled over on her bed. "Let's go for a walk. I can't stand being in this house anymore."

"Where?" I asked. Not that it mattered. Not that I cared. It was sunny, warm, and a breeze shook the trees just budding green. I stood before she answered and dragged my shoes from under her bed.

She was still wearing her shoes. "I don't know where. Anywhere but here. It stinks here." She shoved her window open and stuck her head into the screenless space. She sighed.

"Ready?" I said. She pulled her head in but didn't close the window, and we slouched out the door, neither wanting to appear too eager.

We walked for two hours before she found the Dracula teeth from last Halloween in her pocket. She pulled them out and shoved them in her mouth.

I never saw what she had in her hand, so when she grinned at me, I snorted, then rolled my eyes. Aimee didn't crack a smile. Just kept walking. We wound up on the civilized side of the field, which was built up with superstores where they sell everything from nylons to Jell-O, to tires. I followed her through the automatic doors without blinking.

She smiled regularly during the next hour, watching people's reactions to her teeth. Little children either crumpled into tears or shouted with laughter, and their mothers either looked horrified or chuckled. I tried not to think of what would become with the scared kids with the shocked mothers, and I grinned at the women who liked our joke.

One old man popped his teeth our, and Aimee laughed so hard, she dropped hers. He darted for them, but she was faster.

"Sure you don't want to swap?" he asked, holding out his glistening, wet dentures. His lips were sunken, but his eyes danced.

"Thanks anyway," Aimee said and swished her hips while strolling away. His eyes twinkled more as he watched her go then he headed toward Automotive.

"Where next?" I asked.

She shrugged.

"Got any money?" We were passing some snacks on sale, and my stomach growled.

"Only if we sell my teeth."

"Should have thought of that before you let that old guy go," I said, digging through my pockets. Empty. I didn't have any money or keys to get into my house. Neither did Aimee, but that mattered less since someone would probably be at her house. We were wearing watches, so even if our stomachs weren't starting a revolution, we knew it was dinnertime. Time to go home and quit screwing off if we didn't want to be grounded. At least if Aimee didn't. I had another hour before my parents might come home from work.

Outside, we headed around the back of the store, toward a side street that cut through to the entrance to our subdivision. We walked by the stinking trash containers, then delivery entrances, and finally came up between the wall of the store and a row of bushes. A car was roaring up behind us, going fast for the narrow road and showing no sign of slowing up. I watched it approach because I had the teeth finally, and I was planning to flash them.

But Aimee outdid me again.

She spun away from me, and before I had my mouth around the oversized teeth, she was running for the bushes, looking like she planned to hurdle them.

I was faster than her since I ran track, but I felt like I was in a dream, and I held back an instant. She had too big a lead on me, so I didn't catch her before she reached the bushes. Next thing I knew, she was jumping, both feet off the ground, one flying behind her, one dragging behind.

The one dragging behind didn't clear the bushes. She fell in a heap, laughing. I landed on her and yelled, "Don't ever do that again."

But before my words and my Dracula teeth were out of my mouth, a rabbit bolted from the bushes in front of us. It moved slow and fast at the same time. Time does that when you want it to stop-it slows down, or seems to, so that you can see and remember everything afterward and wonder at its significance, if there is any.

So the rabbit was running in long bounds away from the bushes and toward the road in a diagonal line, and I was sitting on Aimee's back as she watched the rabbit with her head on her arms. And the car? It moved on a straight path, and I could almost read the math problem in my book: If a car is moving at a rate of forty miles per hour and a rabbit is traveling at the speed of five miles per hour, will the two objects collide.

They met as the rabbit hopped under the car. Then, just when I thought the rabbit was going to make it, it caught its head on the car's underbelly and somersaulted until it landed in a heap, a little cloud of dust and fur settling over it.

The car didn't stop.

We didn't move at first. Then, after a minute, I stood up and said, "Maybe we should see if it's all right. We might be able to help it."

"It's not moving is it?" Aimee said. "That means it's dead."

She pushed herself off the ground, stepped on her Dracula teeth, and walked over to the rabbit. She nudged it with her foot. No response. "Lucky thing," she said.

"What's so lucky about being run over?"

"It was so quick, and it looked painless, don't you think?"

"What I think is that we killed it. It never would have run out if we weren't wrestling in the bushes. If you hadn't-" I stopped.

She blinked at me, her face closed. After a moment, she pulled a cigarette from her coat and lit. "If I hadn't what?"

I felt nauseous, dizzy. Like someone broadsided by understanding. "What?" I said.

Aimee looked puzzled.

I continued, "What were you going to do?"

She rolled her eyes and sucked on the cigarette. "Don't be an idiot," she said at last, dribbling smoke. "I would have stopped." She walked away from the rabbit's body, one hand moving methodically between her mouth and the side of her leg, the other hand shoved in a pocket.

I stood a moment by the rabbit, wondering if we should bury it or something, then Aimee yelled, "Come one! Let's eat at your house tonight." I glanced down at the rabbit, which looked a like a stuffed animal twisted by uncaring hands. Then I followed her, trying to figure out whether the bushes tripped her or she let herself be tripped, whether there was room to stop on the other side of the bushes or if she would have ended up in the road.

Aimee kept ahead of me as we walked, and I didn't try to join her.

I didn't want to know the answer then.

I will never know it now.


Sometimes, life seems so hard to reason between what is true and what could lie in pure fiction. And beyond reality is a whole other dimension that tweaks with the truth just enough to keep your mind whirling for answers. And I had found myself in that position, stuck between in some sort of limbo. Never before had information been so evasive. And I was ridiculously frustrated at that fact, of not being able to fully grasp the facts. In truth, it felt as though I was grabbing at the air for answers and only coming up with a handful of nothing.

I didn't rest well that night. I just couldn't sit still. I paced the length of Mercy's bedroom several times before going down the two set of stair cases before I ended going right back up again. I hovered over her still figure beneath the covers, monitoring her pulse, checking her breathing and whether or not the infection-induced fever had gone down. She wasn't aware of me, of course, as I remained the silent companion for her throughout the cold night. When she stirred, I was there, pulling the sheets back up over her frail body. When she whimpered, I soothed her, speaking in hushed tones to her sleeping ears, hoping that whatever nightmare weaving through her dreams would dissipate.

I didn't know what had gotten into me.

But slowly, and to my utmost relief, her fever began to wane and the infection reddening her stitched gashes slowly faded away. I could see the change even when most humans would not be able to. But I knew, that before dawn broke, the wounds would start to bruise around the edges, a very imperceptible difference, but one none the least. And I noticed when checking her pulse, that her seemingly unbearably hot skin seem to fade to the normal human warmth.

I was watching the sun peek above the horizon, stretching its golden rays as it rose up, piercing the sky with its rare radiance and warmth. Like a watercolor painting, pastel colors splashed gaily along the mountain peaks and then faded into the baby blue of a fresh sky.

But in the distance, too far for any human eyes, I could see the workings of a thunderstorm, rumbling like a sleepy bear just rising from long months of hibernation.

"How is she?" it was a quiet voice, barely a whisper. Esme crept up behind me, her scent washing over me as she wrapped an arm about my waist in a hug. I gladly gave one back and glanced down at the sleeping waif.

"Fever broke around four-thirty," I answered in a murmur. "Infection has gone down and she looks better around the eyes, don't you think?"

Esme smiled and nodded, her fingers brushing back wisps of inky black curls back from her forehead. Mercy shivered in her sleep at Esme's touch, causing Esme to quickly withdraw her hand. She held her fingers to her chest for a moment, her eyes lost as she stared at the little human.

"What are you thinking?" I asked softly, running a finger down the length of her back.

"I'm not," Esme spoke with a sigh.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean: I don't know what to think about this."

I dropped my hand and sighed, my face drooping into a frown. "When she wakes up," I said, whispering into Esme's ear, "will you help clean her up?"

My wife smiled in her motherly way and nodded her agreement then turned, her limbs graceful as she left the room, shutting the door quietly behind her.

The girl suddenly moaned in weak, pitiful way. I turned back to her. She was stirring, her face screwed up as she pulled her hands out from under the sheet, opening her eyes to look around.

"How're you feeling?" I asked softly, not expecting her to answer. She didn't even look at me. Her fingers clutch at the bedspread and she begins to sit up, her face displaying her fear. I didn't speak as I watched her with a breaking heart while she examined the jagged gashes etching erratic patterns into her fragile skin.

"Where am I?" she spoke in such a soft voice that even I almost had trouble hearing it. Her words were innocent and scared and she glanced up at me with her large eyes than quickly dropped them again. It was not unlike seeing the flash of a falling star.

"I'm sorry for all the confusion," I apologized, furrowing my eyebrows. "How about getting cleaned up first then getting something to eat. I think it would do you a world of good."

"Eat?" she echoed as though she wasn't sure what the word meant. I could almost see her emotions changing rapidly as she tried to decide whether to trust me or not.

I offered her my hand. Slowly, hesitantly she placed her small hand in mine and I felt the warmth of her skin and the fevered pulse of her blood beneath it and the trembling of her muscles tensing up her arms. I was scaring her.

I used my free hand to lift her from the bed and place her on the floor. As she stood, I could see that she was weak. Her knees knocked-together as she looked around, looking too much like a lost and frightened lamb.

The going was slow as I lead her to the nearest bathroom and her knees buckled several times before I gave her the relief of sitting on the closed toilet while I pulled out a bottle of hydrogen peroxide from the cabinet.

Esme was flitting up the staircase, towards the bathroom. Mercy jumped when she suddenly appeared in the doorway, a brilliant smile lighting up her entire face.

"Well, you're looking a lot better," she crouched down and laid a hand on Mercy's knee. "And I bet you'd feel better after getting some of this dirt and grim off of you."

I smiled to myself, stacking a couple packages of gauze pads next to the unopened bottle in a neat pile upon the marble sink. "Call me when you're done," I spoke to Esme only. "I'm going to find her some clothes to wear for the time being."

I shut the door quietly behind me, hearing the soft click of the latch and the sudden noise of bathwater running.

"None of my clothes will fit her," Alice cried, flinging her clothes left and right, clearly distraught, her face crinkled in concentration. "She's so much smaller than me! Why did I never buy any pajamas?"

I watched her lament silently off to the side. I could hear the sounds of a shower above my head and the soothing voice of Esme speaking.

"I'll go to Seattle real fast, they're bound to have something there," she announced, grabbing the car keys of her yellow Porsche. Without waiting for me to speak, she raced down the stair case and out the door. In a matter of mere seconds, she had started the car and was speeding down the driveway and away to the north.

Sighing, I moved towards Bella and Edward's room, checking my wrist watch. Bella was sitting silently in the middle of the floor, surrounded by three different books. Edward was fiddling with his stereo as the lulling strains of Moonlight Sonata floated from the speakers and embraced the room with its melodious fingers.

"Bella, do you happen to have any pajamas Mercy could borrow?" I asked, walking over the threshold and into the gold tinted room.

Bella looked up at me, thought for a second than stood fluidly, moving towards her closet while her hair flowed out behind her. Rummaging through her closet for only a third of second she turned and tossed a pair of slate blue pants towards me and I caught them, feeling the warmth of the cotton in my hands, staring at the familiarity of the hospital pajamas.

I looked at her, "You didn't steal these, did you?"

Bella threw her head back and laughed and the sound was tiny, silver bells tickled by a warm, spring breeze. "Of course not! We had an excess amount of these the last shipment and they handed some out to the employees. Didn't you get any?"

I shook my head, "I guess not. What about the shirt?"

"They didn't hand out any of those for some reason or another. I don't even believe I have a shirt suitable for her." Bella shook her head, sighing. "Alice and her view on clothes..." her voice trailed off.

I smiled and thanked her, darting out of the room and into the hall, moving swiftly to my bedroom. I knew Esme wouldn't have any clothes for the girl and I wouldn't bother Rosalie even if she did.

I shut the door to my bedroom and opened the drawer to my dresser, pulling out a pale blue shirt.


I shivered, standing naked in the middle of the bathroom, water dripping from my hair and face and running in rivulets down my back and legs. The woman named Esme, with soft-looking, caramel colored hair and a sweet round face, turned only for a brief second before turning back and wrapped a thick, forest-green towel around my body, pinning my arms to my sides, making me feel like a burrito.

I still felt as though I were in shock, as though I wasn't fully grasping the situation I was in. Here I was, surrounded by a houseful of strangers-not at a hospital where I was just last night. The doctor and who I believed to be his wife were extremely nice, which I wasn't used to at all. Maybe it was a cruel trick just to get me to trust them. Then they would turn on me and unleash whatever was in store.

"Are you warm enough?" Esme asked with a warm smile as she massaged another dry towel through my wild ringlets, squeezing the excess water from them.

I nodded, finding that my thin shoulders relaxed as she worked on my hair, gently undoing the tangles. She didn't even comment on the bruises or the gashes on my back. She was very careful though as she worked her way around the wounds. I shivered when her skin touched mine. Her hands were so cold yet she didn't seem bothered since she was wearing a tee-shirt and jeans. Maybe it was just me.

"I'll be right back," she told me, patting me on the head and leaving the bathroom, closing the door behind her. So I stand there, shivering slightly, staring at the image in the mirror beside me.

The girl in the mirror. She's me, yes. But I can't be objective here. Aimee saw the good, envied my complexion, or wished for my hair. But all I saw was a girl, boney and gaunt with too big of eyes shadowed by too many sleepless nights and too pale skin. I see a girl with bruised and torn skin and too many scars to count.

"Aimee," I ask, "is that me? Is that the girl who you said was beautiful? That girl in the mirror?"

I wait, but there is no answer. There is never an answer. I pick up on of the many perfume bottles on the sink, sitting on an ornate tray. Why they had so many I didn't know. I finger the closest bottle. I feel my hand squeezing, squeezing, tighter and tighter until the cover pops off and perfume trickles over my hand.

It smells so much like the perfume my mother used to wear. I stare at the glistening liquid, think of how she had tried to pry Aimee out of me and then sent me to Hell, and I squeeze tighter, but the glass doesn't break.

So I throw a fit.

I throw the perfume bottles at the walls, the windows, and the door. Then, when the mix of musk and jasmine and lily of the valley and rose and lavender has reached a crescendo of skunk stench, I start on the trays. They fly like Frisbees across the overly large bathroom, blanch against the wall, then shatter into fragments of light that shoot back at me in slow motion. The sound of breakage, of silver handles thumping into the walls, of glass splitting along stress lines and hitting the towels with soft sighs, sends me spinning beyond hope, beyond fear.

"Mercy!" I hear Carlisle voice and I feel the strength of his arms grabbing me by the shoulders. But I don't care. I watch the thick liquid ooze down the pale walls, sparkling like jewels in the white light. I am tired of hurting. I want someone else to hurt. I want them to know what it felt like as I watched my world come apart, saw the thing I loved the most lying lifeless on the bed. To watch the letting go of urine, which stained her clothes, then the bedspread, then soaked through my own clothes to touch my skin. The feeling that the smell of crap is right for how I felt at that moment, and that I should be sitting in piss. What else should I expect?

But I hadn't expected any of it.

Tonight, heaving and sobbing in stranger's bathroom with a man I hardly knew standing over me clutching me to him even though I was only in a towel, I didn't know how I had gone on and why I continued to live.

"She didn't mean it Rose," he was saying to someone over my head. Esme comes on my other side and smoothes back my hair which was plastered to my forehead and chin. "I'll buy you more-she doesn't know..."

The tears are hot and sticky running down my face; my breathing comes too hard and too fast. I'm shaking so hard that I feel as though that I might go into convulsions. Carlisle held me tightly, preventing me from totally losing it completely. Esme began to gently tug on my arm, trying to break me free.

"Just let her get dressed, Carlisle," Esme said, pulling me from his suddenly protective arms. I could see his limbs were tensed as though he was going to spring up or something. I could feel his eyes on me-I didn't know whether he was angry at me, which he certainly had a right to be. "We need some privacy please."

There was no response to Esme's coaxing.

That was when I raised my head.

There was a woman, more beautiful than I had ever seen, though that was putting it mildly. With blond hair and a face of perfection, she glowered at me, her dark eyes seething. She stood just outside the doorway, beyond Carlisle's form. I felt as though I would melt under her gaze.

I quickly look away, hearing the door close.

"Here sweetie, hold the shirt,"

I nearly gag from the overwhelming stench filling the room. I take the pale blue shirt in shaky hands and buried my face in it, still sobbing as Esme the towel free. I immediately note its sweet scent, not like any cologne or perfume I smelled before. It calms my whip-lash emotions and the sobbing calms, leaving me only breathless and with a pounding headache. With my face still in the shirt, Esme helped me into the cotton pants, bringing warmth to my shivering legs. The adrenaline rush had left me dizzy. I just wanted to sit down and put my head between my knees and let the blood flow back into my head.

"Are you alright?" she asked me in a soft voice. There was no anger.

I lifted my face from the soft shirt but didn't raise my eyes to meet her motherly ones. There was a front pocket with red lettering stitched into it on the front of the shirt. Looking closer I could see it read Emergency Medical Service with the familiar emblem of the snake coiled around the stick. Beneath that read in tiny lettering: Dr. Carlisle Cullen. So this was the doctor's shirt?

"Let me have the shirt now," Esme told me, pulling the shirt from my fingers and gently pulling my stitched arms through the short sleeves. It was way too big and hung from my thin shoulders. But it was comfortable and I guess that what was all that mattered.

"I'm...s-sorry," I whisper in a hitched voice, my throat sore. My tears continued to sprint down my cheeks but I was no longer sobbing and I could feel the throb of my heart slow to a more normal pace. "I r-really didn't m-mean..." I couldn't finish. I suddenly felt her cool fingers brushing away some of the tears from my face.

"I understand," Esme almost cooed at me as she gestured for me to sit on the toilet so that she could pull on some thick wool socks.

"I'm sorry," I whispered again, breathing only through my mouth for fear the overwhelming stench would see me whirling into unconsciousness. Esme didn't seem bothered by it but maybe she was a really good actor.

She offered me her hand and I stared at the well-manicured nails and flawless skin. I wondered why I was here, why they were doing all this for me when they didn't even know me. Perhaps my luck had returned.

I took it timidly, shivering when my hand touched her cold one.

"Lets go find Carlisle."


"Control was essential here, Rosalie," I pulled the curtains back over the window, almost ripping them from the tract. My hands were shaking. "Do you realize what you almost did?" In my mind I ran over the scene again, wondering what Rosalie might have done if I hadn't gotten there first and I shuddered.

"Do you realize how many years it took to accumulate those," Rosalie shot right back at me in a voice full of icy splinters. "Do you know how expensive those perfumes were Carlisle?"

I felt the hackles rise on the back of my neck. "It was my money, Rose." My words escaped between my clenched teeth in a hiss and I could almost feel my calm exterior ripple.

There was a thick silence. I couldn't remember the last time I had spoken in such a tone and I was pretty sure I had just shocked everyone.

"It's not like you ever really wore the stuff, Rose," Emmett spoke through the sudden tension, throwing an arm about her shoulder. Rosalie had her arms crossed, ignoring Emmett, and continuing to glare at me.

"That is not the point, Emmett," she snapped back. "I don't understand the infatuation you have with this girl but it has to stop." Emmett withdrew, looking surprised at her words.

I could feel the anger flare within me again, a deep animosity rapidly shooting up. I closed my eyes for a brief second than opened them, forcing back the flood and remaining calm. "I resent the fact that you call it an infatuation, Rosalie, when that is not the case at all."

"Or any where near it," Edward added from behind me. He and Bella had come down the staircase at the commotion.

"The girl needed me and I responded. I am a doctor, it is what I do." I couldn't help the sarcasm from showing at the end and Rosalie stiffened because of it. Calm Carlisle. I mentally coached myself. Edward smirked. "I already told you that I would pay for another set. There has to be a logical explanation for this." As I spoke, I could hear Esme and Mercy going out of the bathroom and heading back towards the spare bedroom.

"Leave it to you, Carlisle, to bring in some human misfit. Some outcast."

I tensed but didn't speak.

"Lay off Rosalie," Edward snarled. "Stop trying to make everything into a fight just for your sake."

Rosalie hissed. "First you, Edward, now Carlisle. Tell me, are you planning to change this one as well? Or maybe you're going to put her through Hell to finally decide to do it since the Voltera were threatening her."

Bella tensed and she shifted into somewhat a crouch. "That's crossing the line, Rose." She spat.

"What are you going to do about it, Bella?" her voice offered a challenge.

Edward growled-probably her thoughts and moved between her and Bella.

"Stop this!" I demanded, stepping between him and Rosalie. "This is neither the time nor the place. We don't need to be fighting like this, especially with all that's going on."

Rosalie spun around, her hair swirling about her. She broke into a full sprint and jumped from the nearest window in my office, landing with a light thump and speeding off towards the forest. Emmett followed her, glancing only once behind him, looking somewhat apologetic.


"Wow," Bella breathed, brushing back the hair from her face and looking at Edward who still looked upset. "Why do think Mercy did that? Broke all those perfume bottles I mean?"

I didn't answer. I continued to stare hard at where Rosalie had once stood, trying to reign in the fiery emotions, threatening to boil over. I clenched my fists, tasting the rush of venom in the back of my throat. I couldn't remember the last time I had come so close to losing my temper. I relaxed my fists and pinched the bridge of my nose, squeezing my eyes shut and I froze in that position, stress turning me into a marble statue.

"Carlisle?" Edward said. "Are you alright?" he sounded concerned. I felt as though our roles had suddenly switched. "Carlisle?"

I looked at him then Bella. Calmly, almost serenely, as I stood in the threshold, I spoke: "I'm perfectly fine." I even offered them a smile, hoping to ease their concerns. Bella relaxed slightly, but still looked troubled. Edward wasn't fooled-he was reading me like a billboard. "I'm fine, really."

Then I turned, slamming the door behind me.

I ran up the staircase so fast that my movements almost didn't exist. I could hear them upstairs-Esme and Mercy; they were waiting for me. I slowed as I neared the bathroom, wanting to get my emotions in check before I faced Esme, knowing that she, like Edward, would read my face all too well even though she couldn't read my mind. I retrieved the peroxide from the marble counter along with the sterile gauze pads and flitted to the spare bedroom, taking in several deep breaths before entering.

Mercy was curled up in the middle of the bed with Esme sitting next to her, frowning. I knew she had heard the conversation down stairs. She stood at my entrance and looked as though it was hard for her to walk at a human pace the few feet we were apart.

"What happened down there?" she said so quietly that the girl wouldn't have been able to hear.

"Later, Esme." I turned to the girl who was pulling herself into a sitting position. Her eyes were wary. "I got some medicine for your back." I said with a smile. "I want to make sure there is no infection in them and if there is, I want to kill it as soon as possible so that it won't get any more serious."

The girl didn't move. She lowered her head, her body straight like a wire as I moved towards her, placing a careful hand on her shoulder before cautiously raising the back of her shirt to see the full extent of the wounds. Esme joined me, a hand over her mouth.

My medical training made me fully examine the wounds in less than two seconds. I could see which laceration was infected, which that had just begun to heal, which was one was freshly laid and which was had already been healed for quite some time. But the other part of my brain reeled in horror at such a pitiful shock. All my years of experience, all the things I have seen in my six hundred plus years, could not have prepared me for this. My heart broke as I looked at her spine jutting from the middle of her back; I felt the ribs beneath my hands and I knew that even human eyes could have counted them through her skin. Her shoulder blades stuck out sickeningly. I wondered when the last time she had eaten a decent meal-or any meal at all.

"This will sting," I whispered and my voice broke though I had tried to will it not to. She flinched as I pressed a soaked gauze to one of the gashes. "I'm sorry."

I did this for another ten minutes, watching each piece of split skin bubble when the cleaning liquid made contact, before I pulled the shirt back down over her back. I glanced at Esme and she took her queue and turned, moving slowly out of the room. I drew in a deep, unneeded breath. "How did you get those?" I asked.

She looked at me with those blue eyes and I knew she wouldn't answer and I wished I could somehow read the story behind her eyes, hidden in the deep recesses of her mind.

"Was it an accident?" I asked, already knowing the answer.

Still I received no response. Not that I really expected one. She didn't trust me which was understandable since she didn't know me. Without thinking, I lay my hand on her knee. She flinches again and looks down, a splash of pink filling her cheeks. Her disarray of curls gave her an almost child-like appearance. I wondered about her age but say nothing.

Then I notice her hand, slowly, timidly, inch its way towards mine. She touches it with the tip of one finger leaving a hot spot on the back of my hand.

"Your hand is so cold," she whispers to me, not even raising her eyes.

I freeze, my mind going blank briefly before I blinked. I removed my hand. "I never seem to be able to warm them up." I smile, trying to make a joke out of it but Mercy didn't seem to find any humor in it. She withdrew her hand and let it fall limp in her lap. I stared at her and the tip of one of the gashes caught my eye as it peeked out from above the collar of her borrowed shirt.

My voice came out ragged: "Mercy...did someone..." I paused, trying to understand my logic. "Did someone do this to you?"

No answer. But I heard her pulse spike and the already rapid beating of her heart picked up some more.

I see the light dance over her curls and the tears dewing up in her eyes. She struggles to hold them back but seems unable to succeed. Her small, boney hands cover her face but the tears still ooze between her fingers and down her wrists.

"I'm sorry." I whisper once again, knowing I had probably opened up several wounds that she had been trying to close up her self. "I didn't mean anything by it. I was only trying to help."

She drags her fingers down her face several inches and peers over the tips at me. Her face was flushed. "It's not you," her voice comes out strangled and I could hear a hint of an accent in it. "It's not you at all."

I say nothing.

She drops her hands then and there is nothing to catch her tears. They fall unhindered into her lap, creating dark spots on her cotton pants turning what once was blue, an almost black.


Her head shoots up and the tears made her eyes look even larger than usual. "I'm sorry about the perfume," she speaks in a rush. "I'm really sorry-I'll pay you back...I don't know why...I mean...I really didn't mean..."

Her sobbing chokes back whatever she's trying to say.

"I don't expect you to...."

She shakes her head, stopping my sentence. She's desperate now. "I promise I won't do anything like that again...just don't send me back."

I stare at her, my eyes crinkling up. "What do you mean?" I asked in a pained voice. I crouch down so that I am eye level with her. I grip her by the shoulders.

"Let me stay, Carlisle, let me live here. I don't want to go back there. I want to stay here." Mercy begs me in a pitiful voice. She is shaking from my touch but I don't do anything about it. My voice becomes urgent as I speak.

"Back where? Where don't you want to go back?"

Mercy shakes her head, her lip trembling and she begins to blubber but I don't understand what she is saying for she is crying too hard.

"Mercy? Tell me. Tell where you don't want to go back." My voice was imploring. It was imperative that she answered!

But she didn't. Instead, she slumped forward, dropping her head on my shoulder and I feel her hot tears begin to soak through my shirt and she clings to me like a drowning child would its rescuer.

But I couldn't bring myself to pull her out just yet.

"Carlisle, I found something."

I was by Jasper's side in an instant, Esme and Alice along with me.

"That's definitely her," Alice spoke, jabbing her finger at the computer screen. "What is this?"

"It's was from an Ohio newspaper dated back a little over a year ago. It's the only thing I've found so far."

I stared at the picture of the same girl who now upstairs. She certainly looked healthier, but, if nothing at all, extremely distraught. The picture took place in front of a good-sized house. Dawn was breaking and the sky was a splash of pastel colors. She was being held back by two police officers while a body bag was being transported in front of her. She seemed to be trying to grab whoever was in the bag but was unable to do so.

"Does it say her name?" Esme asked.

Jasper shook his head as his eyes scanned the column. "Names are not permitted to be printed of someone under eighteen years of age. They do say that she is fifteen here."


Jasper shifted, his eyes narrowing.

"Murder?" Alice gasped, placing her hand flat on the desk as she continued to read.

"But it says that later she was acquitted for the charge of man-slaughter but not of breaking and entering. The medical professionals on the trial have stated that she is mentally unstable and requested that she be sent to a mental institute for protection and for further observation."

"Medical professionals, indeed." I murmured to myself.

Esme looked at me with her sharp eyes. "You think they're wrong."

I pressed my lips together in a firm line before answering. "I've seen many various cases come through the emergency room. That little girl up there is far from insane. She acts out of pure terror. It seems as though she hasn't had any positive, human interaction for the past year." I winced and straightened up from the computer screen, pinching the bridge of my nose as I thought. "What I witnessed up in that room and the wounds that I've had to mend, makes me procure that she's endured too much for someone so young. I almost do not want to know all that she's been through. What happened upstairs was more than a tantrum but what I see as a desperate cry for help. If I hadn't pulled her back, she definitely would have jumped from the window."

Alice tapped the screen and spoke urgently: "Look up the name of the institution."

Jasper clicked the minimize button and googled the name A Heart for the Hope Mental Hospital. He clicked the first result and read. "I need a password. It's blocking me from getting in."

"Do you think you can hack your way in?"

"Most definitely. But I'll need about ten minutes or so to decode it all."

"So, what was the reason for you two bringing her here instead of keeping her at the hospital, if I may ask?" Edward had come up behind us and looked at the computer screen. His hair was windblown and damp and his clothes turned dark from the rain. He seemed a lot calmer than before when he had been upstairs with us.

I looked at Alice, not really knowing the answer myself.

"It was a feeling." Alice said, staring her brother in the eye as if daring him to retort.

And retort he did. "A feeling? How about a vision? What happened to those?"
"The visions were disturbing as well but extremely hard to decipher. Edward, you just got to trust me. Please just trust me."

Edward sighed but continued to frown. "Did she at least tell you her name?"

"Mercy," I answered.

"Seems appropriate."

Both Esme and Alice shot him a glare but before anyone could say anything Jasper interrupted.

"I got it!" he announced and everyone leaned forward in anticipation.

"It's medical data," I observed, "Used only by the doctors of the hospital...do you think you can look up her name or picture?"

Jasper complied and began the search and my eyes studied to information as it scrolled past. I began to get a sinking feeling in my stomach and I could see it on everyone else's faces as well, the look of dread, but Edward was the first one to say it.

"That's not a mental health hospital," he growled, his eyes turning dark with anger and his fist started to clench and unclench.

Alice looked sallow. "No, it's not. It only puts up the front of being a mental health hospital."

"It's an experimentation lab." I finished, taking in a deep breath. "But what are they experimenting?"

"Not anything good." Alice spat, her hands clenching her hair as though she struggled for control.

I ignored her and leaned closer to the computer. "Click on the News Reports link."

A series of dates popped up and information under them.

I saw then what I was looking for. It read: An essential patient has been missing since the day before yesterday. As of procedure, please wipe out any copy of information that you have of experiment 3892.Patient is under category 589 and blood analysis will continue until further notice. Blood was tested positive of the substance as were three others. They are still under lockdown and extreme security measures have been taken. Please continue your daily schedule.

"Look for the category it listed. Find out what it is."

Jasper complied once more, giving no sound except the clicking of the keys as he typed.

Alice read aloud for everyone to hear though it was deemed unnecessary. "Category 589 is the blood of patients who have been tested positive for the substance 222..."

"What's with all the numbers?" Esme crinkled her face. "Sounds like some sort of FBI agency riddled with math equations." I laid a hand on her shoulder and Alice continued:

"...and has shown physical signs of 222 when put under extreme stress at the early stages but as it progresses, will be displayed under little or no stimulus."

I looked at Alice. She looked at me then glanced at Edward. "There's your answer, Edward. The girl is used for experimentations. Need anything else?"

Edward didn't answer.

I turned away from the computer screen, feeling nauseous. I put my face into my hands and slump against the wall, sliding all the way to the floor. Sick. Sick. Sick. Sick.

"Carlisle? Are you alright?" Edward asked for the second time that day.

"Carlisle?" Esme whispers, touching my arm. "Are you alright?"

I could only moan one word.


It feels like I have lost this fight

They think that I am staying down

But I'm not giving up tonight

Tonight the wall is coming down

I am stronger than my fears

This is the mountain that I climb

Got one hundred steps to go

Tonight I'll make it ninety-nine