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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.

[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.

3. Bad Feelings

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"Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around 'til I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved
If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I'd play a song that would never, ever end

How I'd love, love, love
To dance with my father again." - Luther Vandross.

Chapter Three

Bad Feelings

June 9th, 1999.

One moment I was in a white, enclosed room. The next, I opened my eyes to find myself back at home. I was in my bed, trapped beneath the covers as if I had never left.

I blinked, taking in the sudden change of surroundings. When my gaze swept over the familiar wooden floors I knew that I was back at Sam's. The moonlight shone through the gleaming windows, igniting tiny bits of dust that danced in the air. It shot straight through the curtains, chasing away the darkness with a soft silver glow. Everything was perfectly in place; nothing was out of the ordinary.

But nobody was home.

I started to slowly walk down the hall, searching for any signs of Sam or Nicole. I called out, only to be answered with silence. Maybe they were asleep? I padded further down the hallway, pausing in front of a mirror. I stared for a long moment, studying the white gown that covered my body. I looked for a moment, but then quickly averted my gaze as a sudden flash of color caught my eye. I whipped around, but again, there was nobody there.

Shrugging off the tension, I made my way back down the hall, only to bump into something hard. I caught my breath quickly, having lost it with the impact, and stepped backward. It was kind of hard to see through the darkness. I had probably run into one of Sam's bookshelves.

"Sorry," I whispered to the furniture. I knew it couldn't understand me, but the words slipped out. I smiled a little at the stupidity of the comment and started to leave, until a voice stopped me in my tracks.

"It's quite all right."

Just that the bookshelf talked would have been enough to give me a heart attack. But what sent my heart racing was the familiarity of the soft, silky tone. I stopped breathing. Slowly, very slowly, I lifted my head.

The moon shifted, sending a burst of light through the window. I could clearly see the pale figure glaring at me with hungry crimson eyes. I knew those eyes. Those were the eyes of the murderer that had taken my mother and father away from me.

I tried to scream, but I couldn't find my voice. I stood there, frozen, feeling the seconds tick by while I gradually remembered how to move again. As fast as I could, I whipped around and dove back into the hallway, my hands fumbling with the nearest doorknob. Once I got the knob to work, I ripped open the door and threw myself inside the dark room, kicking the door shut behind me.

A minute of eerie silence passed, then another. I lifted my head and opened my eyes, scanning my surroundings. It was hard to see, but I was guessing I was probably in an extra bedroom. My fingers glided along the oddly sticky wall until they found a switch. I snapped it upward, blinking away the spots from the sudden light. My eyes widened as I saw the blood splattered along the wall.

I jumped back, trying to further myself from the blood. In mid-step, my foot caught on something on the floor. I stumbled back into the wall and lifted my head, only to see Sam's and Nicole's lifeless faces inches from my own, their throats torn open and leaking with their last precious droplets of blood.

"Jordan! Wake up!"

I lurched upward into a sitting position, my stomach rolling from the sudden movement. Sweat traced my hairline, and my mouth felt parched. My chest rose and fell with my rapid intake of air. Each breath felt like sandpaper against my throat. I couldn't get all the air in and out fast enough. Sam and Nicole were dead; they were dead.

I didn't notice the woman next to me, sitting on the edge of my bed with a worried expression, until she raised her hand and felt my forehead. She shook her head as I tensed up and recoiled away from her. With a sigh, she clasped her hands together and rested them on her thighs.

"Honey, what were you dreaming about?" the woman croaked. Her voice alone betrayed her age despite the black coloring of her greying hair.

"Dreaming?" The question was soft and low—just barely audible.

"Yes, you were screaming in your sleep again."

"Oh." My shoulders dropped in relief. Sam and Nicole were alive.

"Yes. So, would you please tell me exactly why you were screaming?" The woman's questioning stare probed my own, trying to press an answer out of me. My face was a cold, blank mask, a clear sign of my refusal to answer. I stared steadily back at her, silent. I had used this same mask to hide my emotions, keeping them locked in the chambers of my mind. Over the months, I became a stone—blank and nearly mute.

After a few minutes, the woman sighed. It was a heavy sigh—one that came only with age. "Well, sweetheart, the longer you refuse to speak with me, the longer you'll be in here." The woman stood, walking toward the door, her shoes clicking on the thin carpet. When she reached the door, she gave me a sideways glance as if giving me another chance to answer her. I continued to stare at her until she shut the door.

"Sweetheart! Cheer up! Sweetheart! Get a grip or we'll keep you here longer! Sweetheart, sweetheart! Sweetheart!" My voice, in the tone of a sickly sweet rant, was the only sound in the empty room. I had hated this place since the moment I stepped foot in it. I hated the people. I hated the woman. I even hated myself for ending up in a place like this.

It was hard for me to grasp why Sam had sent me away in the first place. I was turning eight the day he brought me to the prison called Miss Anna's, but the candles were extinguished without me. Sam had tried to coax a smile, a word, anything out of me, but I had sat in my tree, staring at nothing. My tree was comforting to me. It was a huge oak with wide branches. I liked to think that they were the tree's arms; arms that embraced me, hiding me from the world. It was the same tree that had been my winter shelter for years and years.

Once, I had tried to explain the tree to Sam, but he didn't understand. He told me that I must have felt bad to stay out all the time. The "bad feelings"—feelings that were full of utter rage—were bottled inside of me. Not a single person or word would coax them out. Nobody understood me. Not even Sam.

Unable to take it any longer, he had loaded me up in the car, drove into the middle of nowhere, and parked in that muddy driveway out front, leaned back, and watched me in the mirror. I had kept my gaze on the window, acting as if he didn't exist. My legs swung above the mess of heavy coats and scattered tools while I counted my breaths. Warm breath fogged the window, blocking out the green of the surrounding forest. I kept my gaze steady, refusing to look at anything. I didn't know what would be worse—seeing Sam's face or the punishment he was sentencing me to.

After a million years of silence, Sam had spoken, explaining everything in that deep, slow way of his.

"This is what they call a boarding house," he'd begun. "Most of the people who live here are much older than you are and don't have families. The boarding house offers shelter and support with many other people on the reservation. If someone needs help with money, their families, their relationships. . . Ms. Anna helps them all for a low fee.

"At the same time, the boarding home also accepts children, though only children who also are having trouble with other people and their families. The woman here—Ms. Anna—does weekend work with me. I've spoken to her and made arrangements for you to stay here for a little while. Ms. Anna also lives here, so she'll be there for you all the time. She is kind and will feed you, but you do have to cooperate or she might become frustrated with you."

Sam paused, licking his lips. He shook his head, lowering his gaze. "She's a really nice lady. I've already paid for your stay in advance, so I need you to please, just . . . just try to be good. For me."

Silence had fallen. Sam's gaze returned to the mirror, his dark eyes steady, giving me a final chance. After a few minutes of nothing, Sam raked a hand through his hair before stepping out of the truck. Seconds later, my door had creaked open. Sam stepped aside, revealing the sight of the big brown house.

"Come on," he'd muttered, and I had no other choice but to hop out of the car and drag my feet toward the porch.

I had been in this loony bin for a while. I counted days away by ripping little pieces of my thick mattress and tossing them in the corner. My eyes flickered to the heaped pile of misshapen chunks in the corner of my small room. Or closet; it might as well have been a closet.

While there, I hadn't learned much except how to walk silently along the floors, undetected. That "trick" as Ms. Anna had called it, got me locked in my room all afternoon. I had also learned that if you didn't look at anybody and kept to yourself, you would be left alone. Except when it was time for 'recess.'

There were many different rules in the loony bin. Many applied to the other guests, though there were some made special for the children brought here. I couldn't remember all of them, though I did remember the main rules: never go outside without permission, leave George—Ms. Anna's mean, yet highly trained dog—alone at all times, leave other residents alone, stay in the bedroom from eight-thirty PM to seven AM, and most of all, have fun at recess.

Recess wasn't fun at all. When it came time for recess, Ms. Anna would gather all of us together and herd us out onto the porch. There, she would sit us down and talk about what great joys friends were before she hurried back inside.

The other children talked to each other. One was a boy, younger than me by at least a few years, and the other a girl who was about the same age as him. We shared similar features with our dark skin and hair, though the other kids were much more talkative than I was. While they chatted, I sat in silence, only listening. They didn't talk about much—the girl whined about how lazy her mommy and daddy were for spending all their time searching for work instead of actually working while the boy repetitively recited his tale about the time he'd seen George swallow another boy who had been sneaking out past eight-thirty in one big bite. I didn't know if that was true or not.

Most of the people in the loony bin were really strange. I would say everyone was, but I wasn't. I didn't belong in any loony bin. I was just a quiet little girl who ate her meals without sparing a crumb and went through the day without a word. Nobody would ever understand that though, because I didn't want to talk to Ms. Anna. She made me angry. Ms. Anna prodded and poked at my secrets, begging me with her high-pitched nagging tone when I refused to respond. Every night, Ms. Anna tried—and failed—to get me to speak. She asked all sorts of questions, wanting me to at least say one little thing about Mommy or Daddy.

I couldn't.

This was doing nothing for me except driving me crazy. I didn't want to live in a loony bin, but in the past month, I had gotten no closer to getting out than the second I had walked through the door, despite my many attempts. Eventually, everything had gotten to be too much, and I had decided that I was going to get myself out of there one way or another.

On this night, I found my chance.

Ms. Anna had retreated to the basement earlier than usual, complaining of a headache. I counted her steps all the way to twelve, listening for the muffled shut of her door. Hope sparked my chest the moment the sound reached my ears. Tonight, I didn't squirm when I was ushered off to my room.

Twelve steps wasn't enough to lock the upstairs exits.

And those twelve steps had given me the chance I needed.

The second I was completely certain no one else was awake, I pushed my door open and slid into the hall. Breathing quickly but lightly, I pressed my skinny back against the wall and slid down the hall toward my only escape. My breathing paused for a moment as I rounded the corner and peeked around the edge.

The hallway was vacant and dark with the exception of the lone window that filtered in a soft glow of light. My eyes squinted against the silvery shine of the moon. After my eyes had adjusted, I took a few more steps forward. With narrowed eyes, I focused on the only thing that would get me out: the tiny black latch. It was turned to the left, strong and still as it held the windows shut. All it would take was a push. It was too easy.

I shook the thoughts from my mind, forcing myself to focus. My trembling fingers opened, reaching toward the shiny latch. I took a shaky breath, my eyes darting around the blank, white hall in search of danger. I couldn't find any, but I was dizzy. Were the walls always leaning down like they might crush me? Did the white lights always spin? Was there barely any air to breathe last time I walked down here?

I took another deep breath, wiping my clammy hands on my scrappy outfit. I rubbed a tense arm over my forehead, picking up the beads of determined sweat.

In the minute I had wasted, I couldn't take the pressure on my shoulders anymore. Bravery pooled heavily inside of me, willing my hands to grasp the latch. It was scalding hot, the surface boiling my palms. I bit my tongue, fighting the prickles of the shout that crawled up my throat. I forced my arms to bend back and shove hard against the latch with all my might.

I almost expected it to be like the movies where the window wouldn't open. I was the determined failure who would get busted and sent back for another try. I was surely going to be stuck. But I was wrong. I wasn't in the movies.

The windows creaked before swinging open.

There was probably a half a second of time for me to draw in the freedom. Fresh, clean air filled my lungs and choked out the stale scent of the hospital. Familiar dark green treetops spread as far as I could see, sprinkled with drops of sweet morning rain. The sun just peeked out from the clouds, bringing out a beautiful blaze in the landscape. There was no sense of the confined, pale prison in which I had spent weeks. I was free.

Only a moment passed, even though it felt like an eternity while I took it in. A heartbeat after I returned to reality, I heard it—the deep, growling rumble coming from down the hall. My head snapped up, my gaze instantly landing on the crouched dog in the corner of the hallway. It snarled when I looked at it, saliva dripping from the tips of its teeth.


I tensed up when my mind processed what was happening—I was about to get caught by this vicious, child-eating dog, just like others before me had. The punishment would be unimaginable and I would never find this chance again. The angry voices yelling at me in my mind almost convinced me to turn and bolt back into my room, but my starvation for freedom had quickly returned. The hunger to escape overrode my other thoughts.

Without thinking, I leaned far over the edge, into the late-night air. Time ticked by slowly. My gaze dropped down the twenty-foot fall. I knew I had to jump; there was no other choice. My mind wasn't quick enough to consider what could happen. George thundered down the hallway, his teeth gnashing as he closed in on his prey: me. One last deep breath whistled into my chest.

I jumped.

I fell straight down, saw the world spin, and felt my stomach drop. The rush blocked out my fury. The next thing I knew, the sensation ended and I was on solid ground, feet planted on a squishy carpet of grass. Pain split through my knees, but it wasn't so bad; it was easy enough to ignore.

Realization hit me then. I was free. I grinned, standing up, feeling the spikes of grass brushing my ankles. I turned to stick my tongue out at the dog above. "B—"

I choked on the air of my words, cutting off. Above me, the large dog thrashed and yowled on the ledge. With each mad jerk, the window rose a little higher, inch by inch. The black windows became bursts of yellow as the house lit up, coming to life again.

Yet again, my heart thundered and sweat popped up onto my skin.

I threw myself into the forest. The wind pushed against my neck, urging me forward. I sprinted as fast as my legs would carry me, only forcing myself faster when I heard a thump of impact as a heavy body met the ground behind me, followed by a sharp bark. It wasn't just a normal bark; it was deep and mean. Mean enough to chase me and drag me back to the loony bin.

I raced through the forest, daring to glance over my shoulder just for a moment. George was big, standing even with my shoulder. He pointed his ears and nose to the sky while he let out an infuriated storm of barks. He was somewhat cute, until his ears pressed flat against his head. He snapped his head in my direction and gave a growl, his lips pulling back to reveal his teeth.

Thorns bit me as I pushed through the brush while branches scratched at my bare skin. I gritted my teeth together and panted through the spaces, not risking any extra noise. I couldn't help it—it was the only way I could avoid shouting out.

I quickly found George wasn't only loud and mean—he was fast too. He could push through the thorns quicker than I could. Pure determination drove me to tumble through the ever thickening brush, my skin breaking. My jaw started to ache as the branches came faster and faster, until finally, I landed on a bed of pines. I thought about scrambling under them until I saw a perfectly round hole in the ground.

I didn't think. I had wiggled right into the hole, closing my eyes against the dirt that rained over me. My hands clawed at the ground, making more room so I could get in faster. Thankfully, my thin body slid through smoothly.

Seconds later, I plunged down into a bed, soft and squishy. The barks outside grew louder with aggravation. I saw paws—big, heavy paws—stomping towards the den. A muzzle, crusted with dirt and drool, led the dog closer and closer. Soon, he would be in the den, those sharp teeth catching my arm and pulling me out. . .

Suddenly, a tawny blur shot out of the opening. The squishy feeling was gone, and I was left on a cold seat of dirt. I blinked as the dog barked, chasing after the small animal that had exploded out in front of him.

After a moment of fading howls, I was safe. No. I wasn't safe, not yet. I was out of danger from that mean dog, but if I didn't hurry, someone from the loony bin was bound to catch up. But I was free, and that was good enough for me.

"Yes!" I smiled a smile so wide, my cheeks hurt. I might have been young, but even at a young age I had enough fire in me to have escaped. Nobody could tell me I was stupid for attempting an escape, because now I had done it. I had escaped from the loony bin.

Feeling as if I could now take on the world, I strutted around until I came across a trail. I followed the dirt path with my head bowed, hiding my grinning face. I marched down the pavement, my proud walking eventually turning into a light skip while I made my way home, leaving my own "bad feelings" behind me . . . for now.

In the distance, a hulking black figure ran parallel to me, his eyes following my every movement. Despite his size and closeness, I never noticed him.