Mackenzie, a not-so-ordinary girl, is uprooted from the only home she has ever known and forced to move to the small town of Forks, Washington. Miserable at first, she eventually sees that the town is much more interesting than she'd expected when she befriends a peculiar boy named Jacob Black. She soon finds they have much more in common that initially thought and within hardly a few months, her once-normal life becomes a complicated mess fraught with confusing emotions, mythical creatures and a great danger that threatens everything she holds dear.
4. Chapter 4
Rating 0/5 Word Count 2603 Review this Chapter
Sunday morning, I woke up completely exhausted. After leaving the horrific scene in the bush, I didn’t stop running. When the backyard of my house came into view, I changed back to my human form in mid-step, grabbing my icy pajamas from the branch hardly without a pause, pulled them on quickly and continued running, keeping up the momentum so I could scale the wall and climb back into my bedroom.
Once I was back inside, I collapsed onto my bed. The clock read 5:19am. I laid awake for another hour, my mind racing with questions. What on earth had I just witnessed? What was that man? I was certain he could not have been human. And why had the wolves killed him? I’d read somewhere that wolves did not usually attack people since they do not view them as prey, but these enormous wolves had chased him down and torn him apart with purpose. I cringed as the sight of the man being decapitated entered my mind.
These thoughts continued until I had a mild headache and eventually fell into a fitful sleep, dreaming of battles between pale, red-eyed creatures and vicious, overgrown wolves.
I awoke around noon and went through my usual routine of showering, dressing and eating, though still distraught over the previous night’s events. I needed to tell someone what I had seen, but whom? Not my sister and not my mother. My sister couldn’t possibly be of any help and as for my mother, the last thing I wanted or needed was a lecture about running around late at night. I would only succeed in scaring both of them. That left one person.
“Wes?” I called from my room as my brother walked past the door.
He paused and turned to look at me. “What?”
I beckoned for him to sit down with me on the bed, but he merely leaned against the door frame, eyeing me suspiciously.
“What?” He repeated.
“I need to talk to you about something.”
His eyebrows raised in an almost comical manner. This was most certainly not like me. I never spoke to him if I could help it and here I was inviting him into my room – the one place I usually went to escape him – asking to have a serious conversation. After a moment of simply staring at me, trying to decide whether this was some sort of trick, he finally stepped into my room and sat down beside me.
“I saw something really strange in the forest last night,” I said, cutting to the chase.
I told him exactly what I had seen, making sure not to leave out a single detail, watching as his expression changed from indifference to confusion and then to shock. When I finished my retelling, I waited for him to say something.
“Jesus…” He finally muttered.
“I need to know what the hell it was, Wesley,” I said in an almost strained voice. “Do you have any idea?”
“I have one idea…” He answered. “Grandma once told me about people like the one you saw last night. She described them as having ghostly pale skin that was hard as stone and eyes the color of the blood they drank… Vampires.”
I blanched. “You think the thing I saw last night was a vampire?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I mean, it fits her description, but I always thought it was just a story…”
“What about the wolves?”
“Yeah, I don't know about that. She never said anything about wolves. And, if this thing was a vampire, it makes no sense that these things could’ve killed it. Grandma told me they were pretty much indestructible.”
"Well, apparently they're not," I muttered.
We both sat in silence for a good five minutes, before Wesley spoke again.
“You should tell mom,” He said.
“Guaranteed she’ll have more answers than I do.”
However, I didn’t take Wesley’s advice. I mentioned nothing to her. Deep down I knew I should’ve, but something was keeping me from doing so. A gut feeling, I suppose. It felt safer to keep her in the dark for now. Despite the bizarre weekend I’d had, the next week at school was fairly normal. Wake up, shower, go to school, come home, do homework, go to sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The one thing that wasn’t normal, though, was Jacob’s attitude towards me. He didn’t talk to me at all, nor did he invite me to eat lunch with him or play basketball. Whenever I greeted him, he would just nod and continue with what he was doing, a strange look of deliberation on his face. To my slight relief, Quil and Embry still spoke to me, often sending me half-smiles as if trying to apologize for Jacob’s sudden strange behaviour.
My other friends Nikki, Jacqueline and Patricia all noticed his change in behavior as well and the effect it was having on me.
“What is his problem?” Jacqueline asked one day at lunch. She sent him a look of disgust as he stared over at us with glaring eyes, me in particular.
“I don’t know,” I answered honestly, picking at the salad in front of me, feeling suddenly less hungry.
“He’s just being a jerk. Don’t let it get to you,” Patricia muttered, trying to comfort me. It didn’t work.
“Yeah…” I mumbled in response.
Friday morning I dragged myself off to gym class, changed my clothes and began doing some warm ups, alone, when suddenly, I felt a large, warm hand on my shoulder. Turning around, I saw Jacob staring me down. I opened my mouth to say something, but he cut me off.
“I need to talk to you.”
I merely nodded. “Okay. So, talk.”
He rolled his eyes. “Not here. Meet me at my car after school.”
I nearly growled but masterfully turned it into a frustrated grumble that I’d heard many girls make when they were upset. I was getting sick and tired of this confusing game we seemed to be playing.
“What the hell is this?” I asked heatedly. “You ignore me all week except for when you’re shooting me death glares and now you want to-”
He cut me off again, looking exasperated. “Just meet me, okay?”
I set my jaw tightly and glared up at him with my arms crossed, knowing that I must’ve looked like a spoiled child from where he stood but not caring in the slightest. He stared back, waiting for me to answer.
“Fine,” I muttered.
The end of the day came quickly and I didn’t see Jacob in Spanish class. I figured he’d left school early and wasn’t expecting to see the Rabbit in the parking lot when I exited the front doors. But there it was and there he was, sitting on the hood of the car, staring at the ground. As I walked over to him, slinging my backpack over my shoulder, I briefly wondered why the small car didn’t collapse under his weight. He looked up when I reached him, acknowledging me with a brief nod.
I noticed a small twig stuck in his hair and reached out, pulling it free from his thick, black locks. I looked at it questioningly, before remembering that I was supposed to be angry with him and quickly tossed it aside, clearing my throat.
“Didn’t see you in Spanish,” I began, keeping my voice casual.
“I went for a run,” He told me. “Helps clear my head.”
The uninterested face I’d been trying to keep faltered. “You run?” I asked.
He nodded, getting to his feet. “I think you do too.”
I cocked my head to the side and blinked, confused. “No, not really. I used to be in track and field but not anymore.” Not since my running speed increased to the point where I could sprint up to 40 mph in my human form. Racing in front of a large crowd would not be a smart idea if I wanted to continue to appear human. Of course, I didn’t tell him this.
“That’s not what I mean,” He replied, walking to open the driver. “Get in. I’ll give you a ride home.”
I frowned and hesitated a moment, before making my way to the other side of the car and climbed in. He started the loud engine and pulled out of the parking lot. Once we were on the road, I turned to him and asked, “What did you mean then?”
He was silent for about a minute, staring intently at the road, apparently trying to decide what to say next.
“Mackenzie…” He began slowly. “You’re... You aren’t really, like, your average teenage girl are you?”
Once again, I frowned in confusion and I was beginning to think I’d have permanent lines in my face if I didn’t stop soon. “Huh?” was all I could say.
Silence again and I was becoming more and more anxious.
“I saw you in the woods the other night,” He finally spoke, his voice calm.
My face fell expressionless. What did that mean? Did he see me phase? Is that why he’d been avoiding me? My heart beat picked up and I opened and closed my mouth, trying to find something to say and failing miserably.
“I’ve been trying to figure out what you were for weeks now. From the first time I saw you. We have quite a few similarities, in case you haven’t noticed,” He turned to look at me for the first time since we got into the car.
“I… I don’t understand what you’re saying,” I managed to get out. I could feel my hands shaking and quickly clasped them together in my lap, staring down at them intently, willing them to just stop.
“I think I’ve finally got it, though,” He continued, ignoring me. “But I didn’t realize our kind existed beyond the tribe.”
At that, I stopped breathing. “Our kind”? Was he… the same thing I was? That couldn’t be possible, though… Could it? I worked up the courage to look at him. Where I was nervous and shaking, he was calm and collected as if we were merely discussing the weather.
“What does that mean, 'our kind'?” I asked, my voice trembling against my will.
I realized the car had stopped and that we were parked in my drive-way. Jacob turned to face me, his right arm slung over the seat. We were very close and I could smell the strange scent that radiated off his unnaturally hot skin.
“I think you know what I mean.”
His dark brown eyes bore into my hazel ones and the intensity of the look we shared scent a chill down my spine. A part of my mind automatically jumped to one conclusion, but another part forced me to ask if that really was what he was hinting at. What if that wasn’t what he meant and I just blurted out something that would jeopardize my entire family? I needed him to say it before I could say anything.
He continued to stare at me, rubbing his chin thoughtfully with his forefinger and I could hear the faint scrape of skin against barely visible stubble. I waited for him to say something else and decided if he didn’t speak within the next ten seconds I was going to jump out of the vehicle and book it to the front door.
“Do you think you could meet me in the woods tonight? Around midnight?” He eventually asked.
My eyebrows pulled together and I nodded, without even thinking.
“Okay. There’s a clearing not too far from your house. I think you’ve been there before.”
My mind instantly flashed back to the horrific scene between the two enormous wolves and the “vampire” I’d caught less than a week before. I merely nodded, once again finding myself unable to speak. The next thing I knew, I was climbing out of the small car and wandering up the front steps of my house. Opening the door, I turned to see Jacob peeling out of the drive-way and then stepped inside.
I spent the entire afternoon mulling over my conversation with Jacob. Nikki had called and invited me to go shopping and then stay the night at her place but I politely declined, claiming my mother needed me to do some chores around the house. This wasn’t entirely untrue, I noted. I cleaned all three bathrooms, made some spaghetti for dinner and tried to do some homework in an attempt to focus my mind on something else, but it was useless. Jacob and his cryptic ways would not leave my mind.
Both my brother and sister noticed my absent behavior. Wesley said a few teasing things to me and Hannah showed me something she’d written for school, but neither could hold my full attention. After we ate supper and I finished washing the dishes I lazily climbed up the stairs to my room and sat down in front of the computer in the corner.
I replied to an email from Amber, who didn’t help with her many questions about these new friends of mine, mainly the guys. “Finally, you’re noticing boys!” She had typed jokingly. “My little girl is growing up!” Despite the thoughts racing through my head, I had to smile at this.
Amber had been boy-crazy since she was twelve-years-old and always wondered why I rarely showed any interest. It was just that, though. No one had ever caught my interest. Now, there was a boy in my life who I found to be more than interesting. He was downright baffling.
I replied to a few more emails and then at ten o’clock, I turned off the computer. Having nothing better to do, I crawled into my bed and simply lay there. My mother came home from work around ten-thirty and poked her head in to say goodnight and I heard Wesley leave with a few of his friends and then the house was silent. I dozed off for a little, caught in that place between wakefulness and slumber, and when I awoke again it was twenty to midnight.
As I climbed out of bed and made my way to the window, I felt a strange mixture of excitement, unease and fear coursing through my veins. I closed my eyes, trying to control my breathing as I focused in on the sounds of the house. When I was sure it was safe, I opened the window and jumped out.
I cursed quietly when I realized I’d forgotten to put shoes on. The snowy ground wasn’t particularly cold, but surely Jacob would find it odd for me to be wandering barefoot. Or would he?
Shrugging off this thought, I jogged in the direction of the forest and when I could no longer see my house, broke into a full run. It would have been faster if I had phased, but I couldn’t so I raced forward on two legs, tucking under branches and leaping over fallen trees. Knowing where I was going this time, I made it to the clearing in what I figured to be about ten or fifteen minutes. I stopped running when I reached the bushes I had been hiding behind the last time I was there. I was just about to step out of the shadows of the trees when a thought hit me.
Images of the vampire and large wolves entered my mind. The last thing I wanted to do was run into one of them. I did not want to have the blood sucked out of me, nor did I want to be dismembered. Panic crept up my spine, making the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I suddenly wanted to phase, my clothing be damned, and run as far away from this place as possible. I probably would have had I not heard the deep, familiar voice break the frightening silence.