Text Size Large SizeMedium SizeSmall Size    Color Scheme Black SchemeWhite SchemeGrey SchemePaper Scheme        


Finished. Six years after Breaking Dawn, a brutal murder is committed near Forks. When called in the middle of the night, Charlie Swan rushes off to do his civic duty and protect the public. Three hours later, he returns home with a new ward: the only survivor of the double homicide. From the beginning, it is clear that the poor thing needs a new start, a new life- and someone to save her from her old one, especially when ghosts from the past resurface. And, with Nessie determined to overcome her own demons, the two realize that friendship can come from the strangest places.

All of this belongs to Stephenie Meyer. Duh…

1. Chapter 1

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1016   Review this Chapter

Chapter One

Iris looked at the Swan household, numb. It was a warm summer day, but all she felt was cold. That was all she ever felt now a days. Cold and numb. Her mind could not process the tragedy that had happened. It had broken her entirety and she couldn’t bring herself to care. Pathetic.

Charlie Swan looked at his new ward, unsure how to react. Just three hours before, he had gotten a call that changed his life forever. It was a horrible thing, how had the frail girl beside him survived? Young Iris Potter had returned to her home a little after nine o’clock only to find her parent’s bodies brutally murdered. When she screamed for her brother, and he did not come, she looked for him. Sadly the girl had found in his body as well. A double homicide and then a suicide. Charlie shook his head. He had seen it a few times before, but never had there been any surviving family. No one in Forks or the surrounding cities knew how to deal with the child.

Will Witt, a friend from the precinct over, had phoned Charlie a little after ten, asking for reinforcement. Charlie quickly called up a few of the fellows and donning his uniform, drove the battered old cruiser down to Amsterdam--the town where the homicide/suicide occurred. Imagine his surprise to see the silent girl sitting in the open ambulance, a blanket wrapped loosely around her shoulders. A child’s psychiatrist spoke soothingly to her, but got no response. The pastor’s wife clutched a worn Bible to her chest, and through thin lips, whispered apologies and prayers. The girl did not respond to either.

“So what happen?” Charlie asked, pushing his official hat up out of his eyes.

Will shrugged. “Cinnamon Iris Potter came home a little after nine o’clock tonight and found the bodies of her two parents, both renowned members of the community. On further inspection of the house, she found her brother’s body as well. She called the police after that. It’s strange,” Will glanced nervously at the pale girl in the ambulance, “She wasn’t in hysterics when she called. The operator did not believe her at first because there was no fear, no anxiety, nothing except a calm, collected voice reporting three deaths.” He shook his head, “Can’t for the life of me figure this one out, Charlie. From all accounts, the Potters were a great family, loving and so on. This doesn’t add up.”

Charlie slapped his friend’s back in show of affection appropriate for manly men. “Not all of them, do, bud. What can I do to help?”

“I need manpower to help process the crime scene. And,” he gave Charlie an apologetic look that made his toes curls, “I need someone to take Iris in.”

Charlie blanched. “You couldn’t possibly mean me?”

“You’ve got the room. And ever since Bella moved out what--those six years ago, you haven’t had any social interaction except for when you go in to work. This will be good for you both.”

Charlie shook his head fervently no. “I can’t uproot her in the middle of the school year. And I can’t possibly make the commute every day. It’s an hour and a half up here from Forks!”

“Changing schools would be good for her. Everything ‘round here will most likely drudge up painful memories. The best thing for her is to get away for a little while.”

Charlie sighed. “Isn’t there anyone else?”

Will gave Charlie a look that clearly conveyed a negative message. “There is, but I wouldn’t trust her with any of them.”

Charlie let out a disgruntled breath. “Only if I am your last and only and desperate choice,”

“You are already, Charlie. Sorry, but she’s gotta go with you. No family, no nothing anymore. Even all of her stuff,” he gestured to the house, “Is evidence and we can’t release it until the case is solved. But, you already know that. You’ve been in the business a lot longer than I have,” Will had the decency to look sheepish.

Charlie shoved his hands in his pockets. “Has she been released from custody yet?”

Will shook his head. “She answered all of the questions, but she is still in shock. The best thing for her to do is to get some rest.”

Charlie nodded in agreement, “Bella’s old room is still set up. She can sleep there,”

Will smiled in relief. “Thanks, man. This is a huge load off my shoulders.”

“Why?” Charlie asked, instinctively knowing that the younger man was talking about more than responsibilities of the job.

Will grinned. “‘Cause if you didn’t take her, I would’ve had to, and the missis wouldn’t’ve liked that very much, what with two toddlers and a round of infant triplets.”

Charlie blanched in pity for his friend. “You’re right. She would have put you six feet under,”

Shaking his head, Charlie walked over to the ambulance and introduced himself to the girl. Other than her silence, she looked as if she had not seen three gruesomely murdered bodies. She nodded silently when he announced that she would be going to live with him in Forks for the time being. She was unresponsive to the fact that she could take nothing with her. In fact, it was if she did not hear anything he said to her. Shock, Charlie decided.

Charlie showed her to Bella’s room and where the bathroom was. She was welcome to help herself to anything in the house. She quietly whispered thank you and shut the door to Bella’s bedroom. He stood outside it for a moment, making sure that she was not going to attempt to run away. The last thing he needed was to lose the ward and have a massive manhunt for the poor child. Once he was sure that she was not going anywhere, Charlie trotted downstairs for a well deserved beer.