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Shooting Star

Summary:
Written before the publication of Breaking Dawn...MY ENDING TO THE TWILIGHT SAGA ----- "Edward, what's going on?" He didn't respond. His golden eyes were far away, like he wasn't seeing me. But then something flashed across his face. An expression of anger... "Matt...ew..." Edward managed to get out through clenched teeth, as if he were fighting something internally. "Or maybe he just takes control of your body. That might be it." Jacob had guessed. "Edward!" I reached out a hand to touch his cold skin, but I stopped--my hand hovering in the air between us. The cold distant look had consumed his face. He then spoke in a voice that had pain and fear shooting through me. "Goodbye, Bella," he hissed as he advanced towards me. Shooting Star Banner


Notes:


23. Chapter 22 - Hell

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 2877   Review this Chapter

CHAPTER 22: Hell

I was fairly sure I was dead.

And I was pretty sure I was in Hell.

Maybe loving a vampire was a sin in itself.

It was just like my abandonment nightmares during the worst five months of my life. I was stumbling through the dripping green maze that was the forest. Only this time, I could somewhat see Edward. He was zipping through the forest at a speed that blurred his form. I was running behind him, vainly trying to catch him. Only I was still human, tripping over every branch and stump as I hurried after him. At least I could see him this time.

This wasn’t so bad, I thought to myself and kept running.

“Edward!” I called. “Edward, wait for me!” But the shadow didn’t turn, didn’t even slow his pace as he weaved through the trees. I tripped on a jutting root and was sent sprawling to the forest floor. My hands caught more roots and I sucked in a breath as the rough edges scraped across my palms. I scrambled to right myself.

I was going to lose him.

I finally jumped to my feet and start sprinting through the forest again. I could still see him, and I almost cried with relief. The blurred shadow was further away, but still visible. I ran and ran until my legs burned with the exertion but I still ran, refusing to lose him because of my human frailties.

And then, abruptly, he disappeared.

I sped up, trying to see him again, but he was gone now. I could not see him. The blurred shadow had vanished into the green haze that was everywhere. I stubbornly kept running, rasping out his name. But then I realized he was gone—truly gone. There was nothing to find. And just as before, I started screaming.

Only this time, I didn’t wake up.

The hole in my heart that had completely disappeared when Edward had come back last spring, ripped open. I’d forgotten such pain. I collapsed to my knees, wrapping my arms around my chest to keep the hole from ripping me in half. How had I lived like this—day in and day out? The edges burned sickeningly and I sobbed. Wave after wave of unendurable pain slashed through the hole in my chest like a sword layered with alcohol. The pain burned unimaginably intense and I screamed with it.

Tears leaked down my cheeks, as I squeezed my arms tighter around myself. I could feel the hole ripping itself wider— trying to consume all of me. If this was Hell, I thought ruefully though my pain, I had it relatively easy.

If this was Hell, I’d already lived through it.

But then the scene abruptly changed, and the burning hole in my chest disappeared completely.

Of course it wouldn’t be that easy, I thought.

There was no light—no light at all. I was encased in pitch black. It was so dark, that I felt suffocated by it. I tried to speak, but I couldn’t pull enough air into my lungs to form words—I could barely breathe.

I floated under the darkness, seeing nothing, hearing nothing. All I felt was a dull emptiness. Was this supposed to be worse than the searing pain in the forest? Was this supposed to torture me? I just smiled and closed my eyes.

But that’s when I realized why this was Hell.

I couldn’t remember the exact shape of Edward’s jaw, the beautiful color of his eyes, the musical intonation of his voice. I couldn’t call back anything but blurry flashes of pale skin.

And then I wasn’t floating anymore—I was falling, falling through the darkness. The weightless feeling in my stomach reminded me of the time I’d jumped off the cliff in La Push.

When I was alive, I added to myself.

But now I was dead, I was alone, and I was falling. And I couldn’t even remember him. This was worse than the searing pain in the forest. At least there I could think of Edward in perfect detail, even though it hurt.

Here there was nothing.

No sight, no sound—just the dull horror and emptiness of not remembering him.
I used the small amount of air I had in my lungs and screamed as I fell. This was a scream of horror, of hopelessness, as opposed to the pain I had endured earlier. I wished I were back on the forest floor, clutching my chest to keep it whole as I shrieked in pain.

The emptiness consumed me, and there was nothing but darkness.

Emptiness as I fell. This was worse than anything I had ever experienced— worse than any pain I’d ever had. Because, as I fell forever, I couldn’t even think of him. I couldn’t even see his perfect face behind his eyelids.

This was the definition of my Hell.

There was no better way to torture me than this.

I fell, and time was meaningless. Soon, I forgot the color of his eyes, and the shade of his skin, and the cadences in which he spoke. But I whispered his name over and over. Even if I forgot everything else—even my own name—I refused to let Hell tear that away from me.

“Edward, Edward, Edward,” I chanted in a whisper as I whooshed downwards. “Edward, Edward, I love Edward.”

Over and over I repeated his name until it didn’t sound like a word or a name anymore. It was just a sound that escaped my mouth. But I refused to stop—refused to forget.

“Edward, Edward, Edward. I love you, Edward.”

More time passed, but I was unaware.

But then suddenly, there was something in the darkness in which I fell. Sounds, to be more exact. No light, no feeling but only sounds.

First was a steady ticking, like a heartbeat. It was faint, but I clung to the sound—anything to pull me out of the nothingness.

And then a growl started, echoing in the darkness. More growling and a familiar ripping noise. I brought me back to when I had drifted under the dark waters in Phoenix...the sound of granite being ripped apart.

And then the voices started.

“Carlisle!” The growling continued, and then the sound of boulders colliding...like baseball, I remembered vaguely. I was confused. Why did the growling not stop?

“Edward, stop this! Edward, STOP!” A high voice shouted. Alice? Why was Alice in Hell too? The growling continued, and more crashes that echoed so loudly in the darkness that it hurt my ears. Fighting. My mind matched the sound with the word.

I was relieved. Through all the confusion and contradicting sounds, I could remember his face, and his voice.

"Get Matthew!" Alice's high voice instructed someone. The ripping noise grew in volume, and I tried screamed because it hurt, but had no air in my lungs. But then, abruptly, the sound cut off, and I heard the sound of heavy breathing.

“Edward?” Silence extended for a long time before finally I heard another voice. The voice of a familiar angel calling my name.

Could this really be Hell, I wondered, if I could hear the voice of an angel?

“Bella! No, please, Bella, please. No, no!”

And suddenly. I could feel. Cold, soothing hands were touching my eyelids, my cheeks, my lips. I sighed and leaned into the touch. Maybe I wasn’t in Hell after all. But that made no sense.

“Oh, God, Bella, no. I’m so sorry, no, no.”

Its okay, I wanted tell him, but I could not find my body. I was dead, after all.

There were sounds of conflict in the distance, but I didn’t care. I could hear the angel’s voice.

“Carlisle, what should I do?” The angel’s voice was anguished. Carlisle? Why was he here too? He of all people did not belong in Hell.

But as the angel spoke, the faint ticking that had under lied all of the other sounds, drifted out of existence.

“NO!” The angel cried.

“What’s wrong?” A low voice asked.

“She stopped breathing…” the angel’s voice was only a whisper. A sharp inhale sounded from far away, and I was pulled away from the sounds—away from the angel’s voice, back into the darkness.

“No!” I called, but no sound escaped my lips. But I heard, as if from underwater, the voices still talking. I almost cried in relief when I found I could still hear the angel’s voice, and all of the others.

“Edward, you’ll have to change her.” The angel did not respond, only a low growl rose. “It’s the only way. She’s lost too much blood. There’s no way she can survive this.”

“No! I won’t do that to her,” the angel shouted, his voice angry, yet still musical.

“If you don’t she’s gone. She’s already technically dead; you only have a few moments before it will be too late even to turn her.”

“It’s what she wanted, Edward,” the high voice I thought was Alice said softly.

“But—“

“It’s your decision, Edward. You were already going to give her immortality.”

“It’s different now,” the musical voice protested loudly.

“How so?” Alice’s voice asked.

“We don’t have time to be arguing. Edward, it’s now or never.” Silence.

“I love you,” he whispered, and, slowly, I felt cool lips at my throat.

...It was just something about…his lips would be the last good thing I would feel… I remembered thinking

And then, the fire I had felt once before in my hand began to burn in my neck. I screamed and writhed against it. The fire spread faster and faster through my veins. But the cold lips did not leave my skin, and I was grateful. The fire spread through my body, and I kept screaming. More and more fire kept adding and spreading. So these were the fires of Hell that everyone kept talking about.

No wonder everyone was so afraid of them—they hurt so much.

The fire kept spreading until it had my entire body encased in the fiery torture. But then the cool lips left my neck.

I screamed.

“Bella, Bella,” the angel’s voice calmed me. The fire continued, but so did the voice.

So maybe this was Hell after all.

But it couldn’t be, if he was here with me.

“I’m here. Shh, it’s okay. Can you hear me, Bella? I love you.”

The fire did not cease, and time became meaningless. There was only the fire and his voice. The darkness still wrapped around me, and I could not see his face. But I could hear him.

As the hours, and maybe days dragged on, I clung to his voice—my only connection to my sanity.

Soon enough, I stopped screaming—it did nothing to ease the pain. For the longest time, there was nothing but fire and the angel’s voice. But then, after a while, I could hear the voices again. Not only his, but the others.

“So it’s really been done, hasn’t it?” Was that Jasper?

“Yes,” the angel replied in an emotionless tone.

“She’s going to be one of us now?” That was Alice, I was certain.

“It’s been three days, Carlisle,” the angel said, his voice strained and anxious.

“She had so much damage before. And the private plane ride back to Forks certain did nothing to help. It will take longer for the venom to heal her.” I felt a cold hand on my lips, my cheek. In the depths of the burning fire, the icy touch of his cold skin felt heavenly.

“How much longer do you think this will take?”

“I can’t say,” Carlisle replied. In the distance I heard something that sounded like a door being opened.

“How is she doing?” Esme?

“As you probably heard, she’s stopped screaming,” Jasper explained. I felt another cold hand on my forehead.

“Poor dear. She’s been through so much.” There were no voices for a time, and I felt myself slipping back into the darkness.

Someone talk, I wanted to scream at them, but the fire would not let me move.

“Bella,” the angel murmured, an icy finger brushing the length of my arm. Thank God. And slowly, I began to feel the fire fading from my fingertips. I wiggled them, trying to see if I could move them on my own. I could.

But the fire kept burning.

I was still convinced I was in Hell. Weren’t all the stories about burning for eternity? I could take this, if the angel was allowed to stay in Hell with me.

“I think she’s improving,” Carlisle’s voice informed us.

“Really?” The angel’s voice was anxious.

“She’s moving on her own. Look at her hands.”

“How long do you think this will take now?” That was Esme.

“Not that long, considering Edward bit her on the neck. I would say a couple more hours and she’ll wake up.”

That gave me hope, although I wasn’t sure what I would be waking up to. I was dead, wasn’t I? Edward had killed me, and I was in Hell. But somehow, Edward was here with me, guiding my through the fiery torture. Was there an end to Hell as there was to life?

More time passed, and there was more fire.

“Bella…Bella,” Edward kept murmuring in my ear. The pain was fading from my hands and feet, and I started twisting those around.

“Look, she’s moving more.” Alice’s voice was excited.

“That’s good. It means it’s almost over.” Silence.

“How do you feel about this, Edward?” Esme’s soft voice asked. He hesitated for a moment before answering.

“I am…relieved, for one. I’m glad that I will never have to lose her. I am glad that now I am never going to hurt her again. But I didn’t want her to lose her soul. I didn’t want her to become a monster like me.”

I tried to speak, and was surprised to find I was successful.

“Edward…” It came out sounding like a garbled cough.

“Bella!” Cold fingers were on my face, my neck. “Bella, Bella, I love you.”

“Edward,” I tried again, and it came out a little more clearly. The pain was dulling—slowly receding from my torso—completely gone from my extremities.

“Bella, is the fire gone?” Carlisle’s voice asked.

“Not all,” I managed. “Why is the fire going away?”

“What?”

“I’m in Hell, aren’t I?” I clarified, “I’m dead. There’s not supposed to be an end.”

“You’re not dead, Bella,” Edward explained.

“Yes, I am. I was in Hell.” It took so much effort to speak, but I wanted answers, now that the fire was almost gone. “And the fire…”

“You’re being changed, Bella,” his musical voice was at my ear, his icy lips felt so good. “You’re going to be immortal.”

I fell silent at those words. Suddenly, everything made sense—all the voices and the sounds. Edward had bitten me under Matthew's control, but somehow Alice had gotten the rest of the family smuggled into the Volturi's place. They'd disabled Matthew, and somehow gotten me home.

And now I was becoming a vampire. I was going to be immortal—free to stay at Edward’s side for eternity.
Even as the small pain that was left burning in my neck, I silently rejoiced.

More time went by, and I felt the fire draining out of me, replaced by calm, silent strength.

Suddenly, I sat up, my eyes flying open. I scanned the room.

My vision was so much clearer than before. I could see everything with microscopic detail. I was lying on Edward’s bed at the Cullen’s house, Edward kneeling beside it. All of their faces were so clear and beautiful—Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Jasper, against the wall Emmett and Rosalie, Tessa, Erin, and…I gazed at the last face.

“I’m…a vampire?”

“Yes. Bella.”

“Oh.”

His golden eyes were agonized.

“About what I did in Italy. I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to do any of those things to you, but Matthew was…and then I could see everything, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I was trapped in my own body, doing all those horrible things to you, and I couldn't stop it...I feel sick, even as I see you here, safe and with me, I feel so completely disgusted with myself because it’s my fault everything happened. I was the one who hurt you so badly, and I couldn’t stop it, and…” I put a finger to his lips. Not to my surprise, my hand was long and white and elegant.

“Forgiven. Let’s talk about other stuff.”

And then it hit me like a freight train.

The thirst.

An undeniable ache to slice and drink. I could almost feel the hot liquid flowing down my throat. I shuddered.

“What was that?” I asked, voice shaky. “The…thirst.”

“We’ll have to take you hunting,” Edward said, his face still anxious.

“Calm down,” I ordered him. “I told you not to blame yourself, remember?”

I leaped down from the bed, and the speed was exhilarating. I was graceful…for once in my life, I did not trip on anything. I smiled to myself.

“This is incredible!” I said in wonder. I twirled around.

“Well, Bella,” Edward said, taking me into his arms. His golden eyes sparkled. “Welcome to immortality.”