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Monster

Summary:
I'm nothing but a monster burning in a hell that only exists in my head. There's no hope left until one harmless glance chances logic and binds two eternal enemies together in a twist of fate. Can the escape from this hell be found in an infuriating dimpled grin? Or is this another dark, dirty trick of my own mind? A forbidden passion, heat, and intense anger—this is no fairytale.


Notes:
[Disclaimer: Monster is an originally plotted fic. The ideas within this fic are not to be copied in any way, shape, or form—I have not given my consent to any manner of copying. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the intellectual property of their respective owners. All canon concepts and characters are the property of the Twilight Saga's author, Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. Similarities are for the sole use of fan fiction, and no profit has been or will be benefited from the posting of this fic.] Emerging Swan Award 2012, nominated into Fandom Choice Awards.


11. Move Along

Rating 0/5   Word Count 3170   Review this Chapter

"'Cause when a heart breaks, no it don't breakeven, even, no." - The Script.

Chapter Eleven

Move Along

May 28th, 2004.

One, two; one, two; one, two. My feet rolled along with the pedals of my bike. Thin branches swooped like birds, and leaves whooshed over me as if they were the soft feathers of extended wings. They were the least of my struggles, though. My throat felt like sandpaper and my thighs burned from the bumps of the rough ground that rocked my bike. Exhaustion was heavy on my shoulders, but I used the position of leaning over the handlebars to keep my speed up. Leaves crushed under the thick tires as I pressed onward.

I didn't really know where I was,—everything was green, wet, and completely foreign. I didn't recognize the thin, wispy trees that were spaced too far apart, the dead patches of grass, or the mist hanging over the moist ground. This was the kind of place that belonged in a scary movie. It was the creepy, empty woodland into which the main character ventured, only to get devoured by a bloodthirsty mutant. I was in that exact situation, except the cold of the night was the only monster in this sea of shadows. It approached me at sunset, circling me. A while later, the deadly cold was jabbing at me, running its icy claws across my scalp and lingering on the back of my neck. The sun had sunk, and so did the cold's bite until it was piercing into my bones.

My mind was numb. Everything seemed to be closing in around me. What used to be the forest in front of me looked more like a blurred tunnel. My thoughts trudged through my spinning head, the glass embedded in my palm the only evidence of what had caused this.

Stupid, stupid, stupid! I was stupid. It was stupid to believe that just because we'd been dating for a long time and I'd had a crush on him that love would suddenly pop up and mean something. I was stupid to believe him. But at the same time, he was stupid to believe he'd get away with this.

Running away would be the pathetic thing to do. What I needed was revenge. A gnawing, insatiable burn swelled inside of me every time I thought of Eli. He had not only broken me and opened a hidden side of me. He had started a game and assumed he had won.

What he didn't know was this wasn't over just yet. I was coming for him.

After I'd stolen his bike, the sirens of the police sounded. I ignored them, forcing myself to keep going even as the concussion threatened to bring me down. I'd made it home and snatched a couple of the "forbidden bottles" Sam hid on top of the cupboards, along with an old bike out of the garage in the middle of the night, and set out. I hadn't looked back since.

Maybe I was just being dramatic. But I was a 13-year-old girl as of a few weeks ago, so that kind of thing was normal . . . right? The thought caught me off guard. I'd been asking myself that same question almost nonstop since I hit the trails, but still hadn't come to a conclusion. My thoughts were so scattered, just answering my own questions seemed to be nearly impossible.

Instead of trying to fight the fading effects of the alcohol, I slowed and hopped off the bike.

The search for Eli wasn't easy. I'd waited in the ditch by his house, but he never showed up that night. Even three days after the incident, he wasn't there. I'd come to the conclusion that he was running like a foolish coward. Once again, I turned my back and disappeared into the forest.

If the fact that I had nothing to work with made this hard enough, the conditions made finding him seem impossible. Rain constantly dribbled down from the sky, each droplet splashing down like a bullet. Ice somehow still managed to cover the tree branches and the final black leaves clung desperately to their ends, another reminder of the death brought by the cold. Hunger was the strongest ally of the chill. This same threat attacked me, twisting my stomach, trying to weaken me. I was a falling victim who would probably trip right into death's open arms in just another day. If I was normal, I probably would be dead by now.

I had two choices. Choice A: Suck it up and go find some food. Or, choice B: Sit around, pathetically starving, with nobody but myself to blame as I tried to figure out my next move. I really wasn't too psyched about dying due to my own stubbornness, so I went with choice A.

With a puff of air that bit the insides of my cheeks and throat, I leaned down and ripped a knife from the thin cord wrapped around my ankle. I'd picked up this technique from Paul and Sam—it was an easy way to keep your pockets free while always having self-defense an arm's reach away.

The knife clenched tightly in my palm, I drew in a sharp breath and started to jog into the woods. I slashed at a tree with my knife every few feet, the blade hissing as it sliced straight through the dying bark. This idea seemed pretty smart to me, as it was a simple solution to being able to return to my bike and not get any more lost then I already was.

Clouds drifted lazily over the rising moon, swallowing every beam of light from the sky. I clenched my chattering teeth and continued through the forest, using very careful footwork and holding the knife in my numb hand, as it was my only protection from the wilderness as it started closing in.

It was going to be another very long night.

()()()

The moon had leaped high in the sky by the time I broke through the final stretch of woodland. The absence of trees left me feeling exposed and vulnerable. I paused, my heart racing as I turned in a slow circle, trying to make out my surroundings. The ground scraped my feet, rough and careless.

Sensing no danger, I bent down and slid the dulled blade back into its usual place on my ankle. That was a mistake. Just that fraction of a second could've ended my life.

White, brilliant light flooded my eyes. An awful screech blasted through my ears. I stood there, not moving like a moron for a heartbeat more. Then instinct kicked in. My body jerked back, tumbling down a ditch. Thorns nipped at me, and hideous branches ripped at my face and shoulders. I manage to stop after a few minutes, standing up and trying to ignore the trickling blood that clouded my vision. Coughs rattled and pounded in my chest when I dived under a thick bush for cover.

I waited, straining to hear any sign of movement. There was only silence. I choked on my own breath, recoiling into my lousy cover. Two ghostly streams of light swirled around somewhere in the distance, and then faded off into the fog as the car drove away.

Fire was ablaze in my chest. Hot, burning stakes stabbed my lungs. I hesitated a moment longer, and then let out a puff of white breath. I must have been holding a lot in, because the mist of my breath kissed my numb nose before it sunk to the ground.

With the scents of the forest waking my mind up again, the hunger clamped its jaws down on my stomach, reminding me to get back on the move. I dragged myself out from the bush and onto my elbows. I jumped up once I was free and did a quick three-sixty to check for danger. I found nothing but the cloud of smoke hanging high in the air and glimpses of rooftops.

A town.

I jogged a few paces forward, and then skidded to a stop when I realized I was on pavement. A sidewalk. My shoulders hunched, trying to hide myself, but I realized that wasn't necessary. I straightened up again, taking in my surroundings.

Many things were recognizable. Frost spiked on brick buildings, cracked sidewalks, and wood houses that slumped toward the dull grey street as if they were exhausted. If the condition of this town didn't give it away, the sting of pollution in the air would have.

This was the poorest community on our reservation. It was worn out from centuries of struggle, and on top of that, the town appeared trampled and lame from the failed attempts to heal it. I could recall some tales in school of the people in these towns joining gangs for power, snatching whatever they could through open windows, stealing from the lucky families who could afford a bite or two to eat, and digging through overflowing dumpsters. For a moment, I remembered Z and his gang, as well as the others. More of them would be around here, too, meaning that they had to be getting food from somewhere.

Perfect.

I wasn't going to miss an easy opportunity to snag a half-eaten sandwich or forgotten lunch. The hunger was trying to draw me home again which wasn't an option. So there really wasn't any other choice. Like they say, eat or be eaten.

Sunlight stabbed through the treetops, tiny tastes of dawn. Only a few minutes left until it'd be easy to spot the strange girl racing across the street. In that case, there was no time to waste.

I gulped in a blazing wave of smoky air and bolted for the nearest alley in a mad twenty-yard dash. Long strides helped me to move like a deer. Swiftly and gracefully, I continued my rush until I was enveloped in darkness.

Once my eyes adjusted, the dim light brought figures and shapes to life. So the alley wasn't really that dark. Scanning the area around me, I noticed this place really was, well, trashy. Limp wooden doors barely clung to moss-covered walls, and trash overflowed from the dumpsters littering the floor—wait, trash?

There was the food I'd been coming for, piled high like a mountain. Any normal person would've wrinkled their nose and sprinted right back out of the alley. I wasn't normal, though, and in my starved mind I could hear angels singing at the thought of food.

When I started for the dumpster, a meaty hand, if you could call it that, clamped down on my shoulder. The nails were chipped and broken, but the ends were pointed like claws. Dirt crusted the skin while a thick layer of curling hair blended it all together. I gagged, trying to ignore the awful stench.

Silently, another hand caught my left shoulder. Jaw clenching, I risked a glance at the more feminine hand on my opposite shoulder. Just then, a hot set of what felt like paws but were probably just dirtier, hairy hands snagged my arms. I gave no reaction, waiting to see what would happen.

Sour breath wrapped around my mouth and nose, triggering another gag. With a cackle, a rough voice broke the silence. "Oooh, another runaway, eh? Is that what we got here?" Curious fingers slid under my hair and ran along the back of my scalp. Goosebumps shot up on my arms. "Mommy or Daddy got sick of a little brat?"

Somewhere behind me, a high-pitched voice started to snort and gurgle…or was that a man laughing? The sound drowned out my snap of a response. I was getting a faint idea that this was some sort of low-life gang. I really wanted to get some justice here, but then there was a voice that froze me cold.

"Chill out, man. I got this."

Faint, nervous laughter filled the alley. I allowed my stiff body to relax slightly while the meaty, furry hand slid off my shoulders. I could almost feel the pressure of the high tension melt away as the gang of men retreated. They were all moving away on one simple little command, from a simple little voice. The denial tried to push back the thoughts. He was too perfect to have resided into groups of trashy people like this…wasn't he?

There was only one way to be sure. My lips parted, chapped with the cold. His name was a bitter whisper, sharper than the breeze slipping through the alley. "Eli?"

A soft chuckle sounded around me, playing with my ears. "Yeah. Since when did you get a working brain?"

"Probably around the same time you decided chilling with scum was cool," I snapped. My voice was frosty, but it wasn't an accident.

"I've been in worse company," he retorted smoothly. The words were pointed at me, meant to sting. They almost did, beneath the rage that swelled inside of me.

I could feel the probing of that green gaze on the side of my face as Eli circled me: predator versus prey. In this case, he was the lion and I was the spooked zebra. "Yeah, the poor girl probably did a ton of work to get you on her side. What'd she do to convince you? Give you all her panties so she could have something else up her—"

I stopped speaking abruptly as I realized Eli's face had turned purple from rage.

"I can't believe I had the stomach to pretend I even liked you! Nobody should, nobody ever will. You're too much of a mess. A blind man could see it. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

Eli didn't give me enough time to reply. His fist hammered me right between the eyes, snapping my head back. His other fist connected into my stomach. He thrust his hand up into my ribs, crushing the breath out of me. The world around me spun, my eyes rolling back in my head a little when I sucked in air. With his movement, every hit, I could almost feel the triumph in having power over me pulsing off his skin. Just the sense of that sent the rage bottled inside me swelling until it popped, right there.

Before I even thought about what I was doing, my body ducked under his arm. A kick to the knees, a punch to the bump of his spine connected his neck. He shouted furiously but did not go down yet. Instead, he pushed himself into me, yanking the knife from my pocket. He slashed his hand through the air as I twisted away, pointing the tip of the deadly blade straight at my throat.

A cruel smile spread over his lips. His chest rose and fell, his black bangs shadowing his expression. He then rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, raising the knife as he preparing to strike again, revealing popping veins as he fumed. "You really do deserve to die, Jordan Uley."

And they said I was the crazy one?

There was nothing I'd done wrong to deserve to die. But I didn't bother to think on that. My mind was set on the fact that Eli was mental, his actions those out of an insane temper, and that I was not going to allow this boy to control my life and riddle me with fear. He was pushing me to my limit, and I could slowly feel the fight, the need to survive, take over.

One of my hands lashed forward, knocking the knife out of Eli's grip. The other grabbed his head and yanked it down to my rising knee, connecting with a snap. My ears were roaring too loudly for me to hear his reaction. I slipped an arm around his neck and turned him clean over in a fluid flip, pressing him hard against the cool pavement of the alley.

My fists, curled and tight, crashed into his jaw over and over again. He kicked at me, but I grabbed his foot and twisted his ankle until I heard a pop. He thrashed his arms and tried to wiggle away. I shoved him hard into the wall.

There were a few times where he got lucky and gave me a good kick or punch, but there was nothing on it. I could almost feel his body weakening. Everything I delivered was a counter attack in my mind. Payback. I couldn't think straight, but my fists kept moving to keep him off me. I wasn't going to let him continue to capture me in fear. He'd broken me, cracked the final scar in my heart. I was going to break him.

Eli braced his hands on the wall and shoved backward, sharply inhaling at the small movement. I stumbled back, dropping into a crouch while Eli twisted around to stand with his back to the wall and slid to the ground. He stared at me, his trembling, dirty hands raised up to cover his face. In the spaces of his fingers, I could see his eyes. My gaze probed into his. In the depths of the deepest shade of brown, I found only pure hatred. I returned the stare, but said nothing and made sure my face gave away no emotion.

"You're so screwed up," he wheezed after a few minutes, breaking the tense silence.

"So I've heard. But hey, no worries! The feeling's mutual."

I didn't want to hear his voice again. I swung my foot forward, letting it collide into his jaw. His head snapped back with an awful crack, eyes closing, blood spurting from his mouth. Eli's body thumped to the ground. He coughed once and then went still.

Strangely, there was little guilt inside me. Just fire, tongues of anger. I balled my hands together and stared at them for a moment before swiftly slipping out of the alley and down the street. I walked quickly under the moonlight and swaying branches, trying to hide like a shadow in the night.

Even though my body felt much lighter from the relief brought by my malicious revenge, I was unsure about exactly what I was, or who I was. The shy, muted, struggling girl was gone. I was a fighter and a survivor. Maybe I was starting to go crazy, too. But that was okay—I liked this Jordan Uley much better.

Just then, a howl rose from the forest. It sounded nothing like the normal lonely cries of a wild animal, but more like a powerful song. A feather of heat brushed down my spine. I couldn't name the emotion brought by the sound. It almost felt like a warning.

Even though they felt like bricks, I forced my feet to move faster and melted back into the woods, becoming nothing more than a shadow once again. Or, at least, temporarily. It was time to allow my hell of a life to move along once again.