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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.

4. Games Gone Wrong

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4870   Review this Chapter

"Calling for the good old days
Because there were no good old days
These are the good old days." - The Libertines.

Chapter Four

Games Gone Wrong

August 31st, 2001.

It was one of those rare days when the sky seemed to hold back the precipitation long enough for the sun to peek through the wall of grey fluff. Nothing fell from above other than the last of the summer's green leaves, which were whirling around in the wind before they settled back around the rocks that bordered the path of water. With the rain gone, the reservation was kind of . . . beautiful.

Dappled sunlight gleamed against the crystal, slate-blue water. The surface glittered. Concealed by grey boulders and moss-blanketed trees, our boat zoomed down the river. The roar of the motor blocked out the hum of bugs as they worked under the rising sun.

I lay on the front platform. My toes scraped against the rough floor while my stomach rested flat against my cushion. Reaching my arm down toward the waves lapping against the side of the boat, my fingers uncurled into the water. Sheets of it rushed through the spaces between my fingers before they disappeared underneath the boat. The water skimmed my fingertips, nipping at my skin. Water hissed and parted around my loose hand, spitting up on the front of the boat. A grin spread across my face. Just being like this—hands in the water, wind dipping under my hair and running along my scalp, the tiny traces of cold biting at the edge of my nose—brought a smile to my face. It was these moments that kept me happy, like an average ten-year-old girl should be.

Suddenly, a russet hand brushed over my own. I smiled at the gesture. That was, until the hand stretched out to plunge beneath the surface, causing water to splash over my face, drenching me. I spat out a mouthful, ignoring the light chuckle I heard beside me. I rolled over, forcing the body beside me nearly off the edge of the boat and into the rush of water. The body shook with the strain while he struggled to hold on, his shouts lost in the wind.

The boy, barely a teen, made a muffled grunt when he tumbled off the edge, caught in the wind. He slapped his hand against the outside of the boat to avoid tumbling into a bed of icy water. His hair flew wildly in the rush of cool air, his muscles flexing as he dragged his body back into the boat. While he steadied himself, his gaze flickered in my direction. His eyes, the color of melted chocolate, met mine, and I received one of his sloppy grins.

"Hey, that was an accident. No need to get pushy." He chuckled in a good-natured way.

I narrowed my eyes, the corners of my mouth tilting up in a smile. I knew the boy well enough to feel the unsuccessful jab in his tone. "That was an accident, huh? Right! If that was an accident, then this is too!"

Before he could react, I shoved my hands against his shoulders. The boy gasped and his eyes popped. His other hand smacked down on my cushion, giving him balance right before he rolled overboard. He looked as if he was trying to pull off some fancy gymnastic move. The sight sent laughter bubbling from my mouth.

"Hey! You're gonna tip this thing over!"

Both the boy and I looked back. Nicole and another boy, the same age as her, were sitting close together on the last seat. The boy had one hand on the handle of the motor while he wobbled, struggling to regain his balance. I would have commented, but I was a little weirded out by the fact that Nicole's knee was brushing the boy's so closely.

Nicole followed my gaze, and a blush bloomed over the tanned skin of her face. She moved closer to the edge and raised an eyebrow. "If you two keep rocking the boat like that, we're gonna all go flying out, and—"

A boom of laughter from the boy next to me interrupted her. "Rocking the boat? Nice word choice!" He turned to look at me, a smirk etched on his face. One hand rested on my shoulder. "Sorry, but I'm just not into that stuff."

It took me a minute to get the joke, and then I laughed too—softly though, uncomfortable from the hard stares of my sister and the boy next to her. They both shook their heads, diving back deeply into their cheerful conversation.

It had been two years since I'd been in the loony bin. A lot had changed. I had returned home from my "escape" to a very shocked Sam. He had taken me right back, allowing me to clean up from my run home. I still wasn't sure if I really could trust him until I had talked to him.

"Daddy, why did you send me to a loony bin?" I had asked while stirring my spoon around in my soup. I liked the way the hot liquid swirled with the movements of the spoon, and it gave me a good reason to avoid looking at Sam.

"Because I thought it was good for you," he told me. I frowned and didn't comment. Sam shook his head and pulled out the chair across from me, leaning his elbows on the table and ducking his head down to my level. He had stayed like that until I met his gaze.

"You know I want what's best for you and your sister." He rested his warm hand over mine. "For my brother and your father. I might not have done the best job so far, but I'm trying. Sending you to that place was the wrong decision, and it was very . . . rash. I'm sorry."

I had nodded, forcing my frown away. My gaze dropped back to his hand, which was still resting on mine. The heat of his skin had been alarming; feverishly hot.

"Are you sick?"

Sam chuckled and shook his head, taking his hand off of mine while he stood. "I'm fine, honey."

Things had started to become good again after that. The year I was nine had been a little rough. But now I was ten, and things seemed smoother.

Coming home again and knowing Sam was there for me really did make a difference. But the real changing started with just an average cloudy day on the reservation. While out on a walk, we met someone who would change all of our lives.

He was just a lanky boy then, in the middle of his "awkward stage." He stuck close to his father, who rolled down the sidewalk in a wheelchair. I could remember tugging on Sam's hand and pointing curiously at the man while he rolled around. Sam simply shook his head, gently chastising my rude gesture. His words only made me grow more curious. I stared for a moment, realizing that the other man had probably noticed. The next thing I knew, the man was rolling toward us, calling Sam by name. His eyes were warm and circled with age, showing no anger whatsoever. I decided that he was okay, for an ancient.

After a few minutes of talking, I found out that the boy's dad knew Sam, as well as Nicole and me, addressing us as the Uley sisters. With him was his son, whom he'd introduced to Nicole and me. The boy was Jacob Black. Jacob and Nicole started talking instantly, and it seemed like they had never stopped since.

I still didn't talk much. Sam urged me out of the house, and I found myself following Jacob and Nicole around. They were both a year older than me, so I really didn't have any reason to hang around them. They always shut me out and ignored me. After following them around for a week, I gave up on trying to find company with them and spent most of my time out in La Push on First Beach. I kept my distance from Jacob and Nicole while I wasted time away. Things seemed to be going downhill until one night, out of nowhere, a kid ran right into me.

I fell on my butt in the soaking wet sand. The kid helped me up, and he apologized with a light joke about my height, claiming that he "hadn't seen me all the way down there" because I was small. I later learned the boy's name was Paul Lahote, and he was a pure Quileute living on the reservation. Even though he was nearly two years older than me, I got along much better with him than I did with Jacob, or even Nicole. I allowed myself to trust him and savor his company. Sam and Nicole were too busy for me, anyway.

Around that time, Sam was with a lady. Her name was Leah, a daughter of the Clearwater family, who also lived on the reservation. She seemed nice and pretty, but I didn't really like her all that much, for my own reasons. Then again, I had never spoken to her, so I wasn't really sure what to think of her. It was hard for me to talk to anyone, no matter how nice they were to me. With Nicole always out with her new best friend, there was nobody for me to talk to. My anger still roared inside of me, poisoning my mind. That was, until Paul. Paul was there for me, there to listen to my stories, there to take a walk on the beach and take my mind off things. I couldn't thank him for that, but the best I could do was at least be myself and not a blank mute.

"Okay, okay!" Paul's voice boomed. I glanced over at him, grinning at the tears of laughter in his eyes. "I'm done, I swear! C'mon Jordan!" He watched me with a smirk. "That was funny, right?"

"Oh, yeah." I shook my head, struggling to hold back my laughter when it tickled my throat. "Okay, Paul, just please don't fall in. I don't think anybody would wanna help you out, but you should be able to figure out how to come back in, anyway. Maybe."

Paul's eyes narrowed. "You callin' me dumb?"

For some reason, I nodded, and my smile spread wider. "Yes!"

"That's it!" Paul bellowed, launching himself at me.

I faked a terrified gasp and ducked. Just then, the boat rammed up against a wave. The front slid into the air and the side made a horrible screech while rock scraped the material. Paul, still in mid-lunge, tumbled headfirst off the front of the boat. This time, he couldn't catch himself. I could clearly hear the crash as he hit the water.

Then I was the one laughing until tears poured from my eyes.

Jacob and Nicole both hopped off the edge of the boat, trudging through knee-deep water. "Paul!" they shouted in unison. Their worried tones could barely be heard over the sound of my laughter.

A moment later, Paul shot up by the side of the boat. Aquatic plants hung down from his hair and shoulders. His light blue shirt was tainted a dark grey color, heavy with water. His eyes were as wide as baseballs, and his mouth hung open in shock.

"Woah!" Nicole screeched. She lifted her hands, protecting her face when Paul shook out his hair.

"Ew, keep that muck to yourself!" I grinned, hopping out of the boat. The water shocked me with a zap of cold. I shivered, but shook it off and hurried toward the shore, following after Jacob and Nicole.

"Oh no you don't!"

I glanced over my shoulder, only to see Paul charging toward me. His arm stretched out before him, his expression determined and covered with a mat of dripping hair.

He swung an arm at me. I guessed he was planning to catch me by my neck and drag me down. Instead, I bent my knees and hopped back up onto the rocky shore. I beamed in victory, sticking my tongue out when Paul scrambled to balance himself. Paul huffed and took a big leap on to the rocks. I tried to back up again, but my foot jammed in a rock and I tripped, falling on my back right on the layers of rock.

"Real smooth!" Paul was suddenly hovering over me, blocking my view. His eyes twinkled with amusement, and his teeth were pure white against his dark skin while he grinned.

I huffed. "Yeah, I'm working on that."

With another chuckle, Paul offered a hand. I took it, hauling myself up without much effort, and then quickly released his hand. I couldn't help but check his face for any signs of emotion, but I found nothing other than amusement.

"You guys better come! Jacob's already choked down half of the sandwiches!" Nicole's voice bounced off the rocks, sounding louder than it should. She raised a hand and gestured Paul and me over to where she and Jacob were sitting. They had found a suitable rock, one that was nearly flat across the top, and spread a blanket across it, smiling at each other and laughing over something Nicole just said.

When we neared, the sight of the picnic grew clearer. The spread of fluffy sandwiches and Cokes caused Paul to drool. He zoomed over to the rock and plopped down, snatching up a sandwich and stuffing it in his mouth. I stifled a laugh while I picked my way over the rocks. I wasn't hungry, anyway, and I felt a strong need to soak in my surroundings.

After a little while, I finally reached where the three of them had settled down.

"I saved you a sandwich!" Paul announced in a boom. The sound echoed around the empty clearing, and crumbs spewed from his mouth.

"Sorry that there isn't much left, Jord. There would be more," he continued while I settled next to him, "but Jake decided to keep them all for himself." His gaze flickered between Jacob and Nicole for a moment until he leaned into my ear, whispering so both of them could still hear. "Probably trying to show off to his missy over there."

I almost choked on a lump of bread. Nicole covered her mouth to keep the food from flying everywhere while she scoffed. Jacob was silent. His jaw worked while he chewed, his frosty glare filled with enough coldness that he didn't need to speak his thoughts to make Paul grin and raise his hands in defeat.

Tired from the early morning and struggle over the maze of rocks, I laughed and kept all comments to myself. My stomach roared again, ordering me to hurry up with my sandwich already. I was quick to fill my mouth.

We were all quiet for a few moments, our eyes still on Jacob. He took advantage of the attention and swooped up his Coke, bringing it to his lips and chugging it down. He was sure to make a noisy sigh of satisfaction when he finished.

"Gross!" Nicole shoved Jacob's shoulder lightly, playfully scolding him. He bumped into Paul, who crashed into me. The weight of his body was enough to make me nearly splat right onto a rock. One of Paul's arms caught me and pulled me back up next to him. I could feel his arm brush mine when he patted my knee.

"Sorry about that." His apology was sincere, but it was muffled by his food. "There's not much room since Jacob's taking up the space and pigging out like a fat ass."

"Hey!" Jacob growled. He hopped up, swinging an arm at Paul.

Paul ducked and jumped behind Jacob, bringing his closed fists to his face while he hopped around on the rocks like a boxer. "That's all you got, Black? You fight like a ballerina! Guess that means you wanna dance!"

Jacob grunted and threw his fist toward Paul's face again. I was sure the punch would knock the cocky smirk right off Paul's face, but once again he dodged it, appearing behind Jacob. I grinned as Paul's russet arm locked around Jacob's neck and his fist scrubbed against Jacob's hair. After Jacob knocked him down, the whole thing started all over again.

I smiled and watched, munching on my sandwich. If I knew how to fight, I would be right in between them, fighting on Paul's side. But fighting wasn't really "lady-like," as Sam put it. He wouldn't bother to at least try to teach me. I would have to learn on my own someday.

Shaking my head, I looked up at Paul and Jacob, who were still engaged in their fight. That was when I realized Nicole was completely silent. I turned my head to look at her.

She was sitting perfectly straight on the boulder, her shoulders bunched up and stiff. Her hands were frozen, still reaching for the sandwich. Nicole wasn't moving or speaking. I wasn't even sure she was breathing.

Alarm flared inside me, bright, hot, and wild. I jumped up next to her and stared into the forest. At first, I was confused. There was nothing out there but the swaying trees and a whole bunch of green. My eyes scanned the forest again. Once, twice . . . and then I saw it.

Two blotches of crimson stuck out in the green of the forest. They were eyes, no doubt. Cold and hollow, empty of emotion. I knew those eyes.

My stomach dropped as if someone had punched iron fists straight into it. I stood, completely frozen. Words buzzed through my mind, but they wouldn't push past the sawdust taste on my tongue. I opened my mouth, taking a minute of crushing silence until the only word I could think of choked out.

"Paul," I rasped, trying to find my voice.

From the corner of my eye, I watched him spin around to face me, raising one hand to stop Jacob, who smacked into his palm with an irritated grunt. Paul's chest continued to rise and fall to the beat of his breathing. His eyes were still bright, but the grin on his face faded quickly.

Noticing Nicole and my stances, Paul and Jacob exchanged a glance before they took one giant leap over to us. Two warm hands clasped my shoulders and tried to shake me back into reality.

"What's up with you?" Paul demanded. I didn't hear him. His voice was lost in a wave of thoughts. My body and mind were stuck somewhere back seven years ago, and I was unresponsive.

"Jake," Nicole murmured what seemed like an eternity later, although only a few moments had passed. "We need to run, now."

There was a small movement. Jacob raised his head. His eyes skimmed across the forest, his jaw visibly tight. Paul did the same, his breath clouding around my ear.

We didn't have time to hesitate.

Like rockets on a race to the moon, we were off. My feet were slippery on the rocks; I was falling behind quickly. My heart was racing just as fast as the images scrolling before my mind. Blood splattering windows; limp bodies on the ground. I shuddered when I pictured those crimson eyes, glaring at me, empty and cold. . .

"Watch out!"

I snapped my head up, trying to see through the thin cloud of my breath. Jacob pointed to the trees and then ducked down, pulling his rumpled, dirty sweatshirt up to protect Nicole from the shower of debris raining down on them. Paul was right on their heels, shoving them back up and urging them along. With heart-stopping panic, I realized I was too far behind.

"Paul!" I called out. There was no answer.

A flash of white zipped by me. My already dangerously high heartbeat set into a new racing beat. Was it really a monster? Breath clogged in my throat when the flash circled me like a churning tornado. My thoughts were jumbled, unable to tell me what to do. Blinking was the only reaction there was time for. The next thing I knew, the flash forced me down into the rock with incredible strength. Pain exploded in my back and rushed through my body.

Black dots swam around my vision. I sucked in another breath and gathered my voice. "PA—!"

Two arms locked under my own, cutting off my voice. I thrashed and kicked, waving my arms like crazy. There was no way I was going to die here, at least not without a fight.

"Chill out, I'm not gonna hurt you. You know that," the hushed voice of my attacker murmured. Through the breathless huffs, I recognized the tone of Paul's voice.

Instantly, my body fell limp. I relaxed into the familiar, warm grip pulling me along. He was here. Paul was here, okay, and alive. Everything was going to be fine.


"Come on," Paul pleaded in a strained voice. His words dragged through my mind, processing slowly through the thick wall of terror. I was far below the point of being able to change words into actions.

"We have to run now, Jordan! That thing is coming again!"

Those words were enough to snap me right back into action. Air swarmed into my lungs when I gulped it down. The wall of terror I had built in my mind to protect me from going crazy crumbled when the waves of adrenaline blasted through. My body shot up, and one hand reached back to brush Paul's while he shifted his weight back away from me, no longer needing to support my body.

Right then, the flash blurred by us. A branch snapped somewhere behind me. Paul pivoted to press his back against mine. "I've got your back," he whispered.

The white flash zoomed in front of me again. The breeze from the speed tossed my hair around. Heat spread throughout my body, gathering at my palms in a thin sweat. Guessing the heat was signaling another sudden reaction, I tried my best to ignore it and focus on Paul's presence. We couldn't run, not against this. All we could do was stand together and hope for the best.

Paul's hand suddenly wrapped around my own. He squeezed it tightly—a wordless reassurance. The heat ebbed away.

Both of us were locked in terrified silence. I counted the seconds away in my head, working my mind to keep the heat from rising enough to drag me into a meltdown. Breathe and count.






Out of nowhere, the flash struck again, knocking me down. My spinning vision barely made out Paul being thrown into a tree with a hard smack at least ten feet away. He was shouting words I had never even heard before, dizzily pushing himself back up, only to fall again.

"No! Kill it!" I shrieked. I jumped back to my feet and ignored the bombs of pain inside of me. "You have to get it!"

The replying hiss froze my blood. A chill shot through my bones and muscles, turning me to ice. My eyes stared up into the sun. My body shook while the heat baked over my face. Leaves crunched as the monster moved towards me. I closed my eyes, holding my breath.

A sudden snarl interrupted the moment. It wasn't the same tone as the sharp hiss of the vampire. It was more like a low, deep rumble. I cracked open an eye, curiosity taking over.

A huge black form towered over the white blur. Time sped up again, and the heroic thing gave another growl before disappearing again. The monster from my nightmare was gone with it.

I blinked. Somehow, that black blur tugged on my memories. I searched through my shifting thoughts, but my mind was too worn out to connect the dots. After I let out an exhausted sigh, the forest went silent.

"What was that?" Paul yelled as he trudged towards me.

I leaned forward, the clarity of his voice surprising me. In that second, all my thoughts picked up and my heart set back into its usual rhythm while the shock subsided. Not having words, I angled by body toward him, confusion heavy in my head. "I'm not sure."

"Whatever it was, it was pretty damn awesome!" Paul grinned and nodded in agreement with me. "But you look kinda . . . shaky?"

"You're alive!"

Paul and I nearly jumped out of our skin, both of us whirling to face Jacob and Nicole when they sped toward us. I had forgotten about both of them in the rush of things. With a quick glance, I noticed both of them had mud streaked on their faces and clothes, but they were otherwise fine. Jacob clenched a phone in his right hand.

Nicole opened her mouth as if to question us, but she didn't get the chance. Paul stepped forward and shoved his hands against Jacob's chest, knocking him to the ground with a thud. I almost told him it wasn't time to mess around, but his firmly set jaw and slanted eyes told me not to bother.

"What the hell, man? You just left us like that outta nowhere?" His voice was raised and shaking.

Jacob blinked away the shock before he jumped up, fists raised. He planted a nice punch right on Paul's nose. "We went for help!"

Inhaling deeply, Paul gathered himself together and repeatedly slammed his fists into Jacob's gut, his teeth showing slightly in anger. Jacob's face twisted with pain, and his knees dropped. Sweat and dirt flew out of his hair.

"But forgot us? We could have died out there!"

Paul's voice echoed, the veins in his throat clearly visible. Not wanting to have them pound each other flat, I shoved myself in between them and put a hand in front of Paul, warning him to keep back. He made a small huff of annoyance, but he didn't move.

Sweating and breathing hard, Jacob threw up a hand at Paul. "What was that for?"

I raised an eyebrow at his challenging tone, but Jacob made no attempt to move and start a fight all over again. From the corner of my eye, I watched Paul rock back on his heels and pause as if trying to find the answer himself. Apparently he was just as freaked as we all were.

Silently, Nicole took Jacob's arm and helped him up. We all stared at each other in silence until the coughing of a motor sounded in the distance. A moment later, Sam's truck bumped its way through the trees on a crowded path and stopped in front of us. The doors swung open and a man hopped out, wobbling over to us while he made his way over the bumpy terrain.

I recognized him as Harry Clearwater, one of the elders. He laid a hand on Jacob's shoulder and looked at all of us with a concerned expression. "Are there any serious injuries?"

Jacob shook his head, his eyes set on Paul. Harry followed his gaze and waited for Paul to confirm. He nodded. "What are you doing here? I don't think you'd be randomly driving around here."

"Jacob called Billy and said he needed help." Harry gestured an aged hand back to the truck. Squinting to see past the tinted windows, I noticed Jacob's dad, Billy Black, seated in the front seat. He was studying us all with a concerned expression.

Nobody moved or said anything. Harry cleared his throat awkwardly. "Well. . . Sue made lunch, and I'm sure you kids are hungry. Do you want to come back for a bite?"

"I'm up for some grub," Paul announced with a grin. All eyes set on him, as if wondering if his mood swing was a good or bad thing. He shrugged and started for the truck.

I glanced around and copied him. Jacob and Nicole followed behind us with Harry trailing behind. The hunger inside me made itself known by a grumble, and I caught Paul glancing at me with a smile. I shoved him, causing him to stumble before he caught his hand on the door. Nicole gave a laugh, but it faded quickly into silence.

We all jumped in the car and drove off with the boat still parked on the bank, forgotten. Hungry and confused as I was, I still couldn't stop thinking of the crimson eyes, cold and hollow, empty of emotion. I could only hope it was all in my head, and that the creature didn't follow me here to haunt me all over again. I knew I had to do something about this, but I was just a girl, and while I was just a girl, that would be impossible. My gaze turned to Paul, Jacob, and Nicole, huddled in the seat, all staring at me. Their expressions seemed to match my thoughts.

It was then when I realized that the easy, simple times in life would never last.