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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.


49. In The Eye

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4049   Review this Chapter

[Warning: This chapter contains violence that might not be suitable for all readers.]

"The secret side of me, I never let you see
I keep it caged but I can't control it
So stay away from me, the beast is ugly
I feel the rage and I just can't hold it."
- Skillet.

Chapter Forty Nine

In the Eye

As dawn creeps in, I find myself at First Beach.

Light has yet to touch the world around me. The beach is empty, accompanied only by an early morning bite, as if there's a strange frost in the air that is refusing to settle. Or maybe that's just me—maybe the heat of my body burns so hot that even the humid air feels like an icy, numbing coat.

Good. Numb is good.

My bare feet don't leave a mark in the sand and pebbles beneath them. They move noiselessly over the ground, carrying me toward the shore. The beach is wet and clumpy, the pebbles small and sharp, but I barely feel any of it. I can only feel the shaking in my core, ripping me apart. My hands shake with the helplessness, dying to claw into my flesh and tear the beast inside of me free. But there isn't any chance of that. The monster is carved into my very being, and by now there is no hope of escaping.

I stop at the edge of the water. Curling waves break around my toes, filling the spaces between them and splashing up against the torn strip of fabric secured to my ankle. The scent of the man—the one thing holding me together long enough to get here—has faded. There is nothing to hold on to. There's only everything to strip away.

In one fluid movement, I yank my shirt over my head and surrender it to the breeze, letting a gust of wind carry it away. I drop the rest of my clothes to the sand, leaving only the tie around my ankle. Even now, on the very edge of my sanity, it holds somehow manages to hold some small bit of significance.

Bare but not exposed, I continue forward without even a glance over my shoulder. My gaze sets on the surface of the black water. The water rises around my body, swallowing me further with each stride, until I am up to my hips in what should be a cool relief.

I should feel many things: wariness because I'm an open target; guilt, because I shouldn't have lashed out; pain, because the suffering of the monster is suffering for my own; pity, because I have allowed a man to chase me, to believe that he can really heal this monster like she is only a disease; like he truly believes he can separate the wolf from my body.

Despite this, I feel almost nothing. Almost. Because through all the years, the anger—the monster's fuel—never leaves. And now, here it is, edging close to its breaking point. Enough of holding it in. It has to be let out, even if only temporarily, and it has to be let out now.

With a soft sigh, I tilt my head back. The battering rain drowns out everything else, leaving me in a curtain of wetness. The drops race through my thick hair, sliding along my scalp and tickling the ends. My mind pours out everything it knows and replaces with the fire that thumps through my veins, a thousand beats a second. A low moan catches in my throat at the blaze, but I swallow it back. There's no time to get distracted. I have to focus. Focus on the wolf, keeping her under some level of my control.

My nails dig in my palms, my hands shivering by my hips. I part my lips and breathe in a drop of rain, letting it slide down my throat. The wetness of it clears my lungs, allowing me to taste the scents of the air. The scents of something alive.

Suddenly, my eyes snap open and my head twists back over my shoulder. I growl lowly, my eyes scanning the bank. I have an audience.

A flash of white blurs along the shore. My eyes follow the movement and land on a figure. I turn, leaning forward into a defensive stance. My teeth bare and a growl splits through my teeth.

The flash has come from a girl who is standing on the water's edge. She's strangely familiar: a petite figure, small hands, and night-black wave of hair. She is eerily still as she stares me down, her large, round eyes unmoving. Moments tick by, and then finally, she speaks in a faint voice, but her mouth doesn't move.

"The pretty roses don't go with dead roses, Jordan Uley. Do the dead roses only smother the pretty ones? Or are you something else? You're like a weed, aren't you? You'll kill off the whole garden."

As she speaks, she gives me a cold, glittering smile that sets my fire raging impossibly hotter. Her skin doesn't wrinkle—it stays smooth as marble. This is wrong. Very wrong. I lift my gaze to her eyes and instantly, my muscles freeze. Her irises aren't brown anymore. They're a bright, gleaming red.

Bloodsucker red.

All thought leaves my brain. Empty of everything, I finally fall to pieces. I melt out of my human skin, sending a blast of salty water rushing toward the sand. I follow it, striding through the waves until my feet hit the sloppy backwash of the ocean. Without thinking, my teeth shoot forward wildly, finding the thin, dense coat of hair covering the girl's scalp.

Blood wells up from her skin as the tips of my teeth shave through her tough flesh. Her limbs kick in a frantic attempt of escape, but I don't budge. My head jerks roughly as my muzzle presses against her forehead, skin warm and wet with a thick crimson liquid. A bone cracks, emitting a cry, but the sound is drowned out by the monster's roar pounding in my eardrums.

Hate crashes through my veins, a strike of lightning to my bloodstream. This thing has something that the monster doesn't—life. The wolf, she has a body, but she has to share a life. And she can't stand to allow life to live in another monster while she has none.

Minutes pass without change. The soundless struggle below me is meaningless as salt tangs my nostrils and the scent of coming death grows heavy in my nostrils. Bones crush under the force of my grinding jaws; chunks of limp flesh slide down my open throat. Even as the body below me goes slack, I stand firm.

It isn't until the stink of death reeks in the air that I finally stop. Two wide, round eyes stare up at me, blotted out by a pool of red death. It isn't over yet—she will suffer until death gradually eases her into its hold.

The monster likes that. Death is too gracious; the freedom that comes with the release is not as effective as the pain of being alive.

My paws press on the sand as I go, leaving light prints on the surface. Lightning cracks in the sky, followed by a booming crash of thunder. I press forward without a pause, disappearing into the night as a white ghost; here, but not truly real, with the blood of another on my skin.

*Meanwhile*

I'll crash at Kim's. Later, boss and company.

In moments, Jared's mind has disappeared, leaving the remaining wolves—heavy-eyed and weary-legged—to stand alone on the steep slope. Jacob is well aware of the exhaustion fogging his brain, but he forces his eyes to stay peeled and his ears alert. The hot breath of the silver she-wolf on his side sends goose bumps rising on his skin, prickling it with unease.

His eyes dart around, searching for escape. They land on the bulk of the black wolf as he leans his weight on to a wide maple, his lids half-closed and his jaws parted in pants. Jacob's ears press flat as he takes a slow step forward, his paws snapping on a branch.

You okay, Sam?

The black wolf's head rolls to the side, scraping against the eyes turn to the side as a rumble vibrates in his chest, a trapped groan stuck in his lungs. I can't do this anymore. I can't do it.

Can't? Jacob shifts his weight to the right, crackling the underbrush. Can't what? You've been acting really weird lately, Sam.

You need sleep, Nicole cuts in. Her attention centers on Jacob again, even as she turns to trot in a wide circle around the two of them. Both of you do.

No. Sam huffs out a breath, pushing off the tree. He wavers on his feet, his head hung toward the ground. His mind flashes with images of the pack, their heads raised to him expectantly. Another flurry of thoughts swims beneath the image, but he shoves them away with another loud thought. Not this. I can't anymore. Too much.

A crushing weight presses at Sam's mind, projecting outward as he tries desperately to release it. Jacob winces as a fraction of it is pushed his way, directed into his head. He shakes his head, the thick fur on his neck swinging with the movement. What the hell are you trying to say? Don't tell me you're going suicidal just because of the—

Why would you think of doing that? Nicole's eyes narrow as she slinks around the corner, her glacial stare shooting daggers at Sam. You have nothing to fret over. You're doing fine.

The black form moves across the ground sluggishly, his mind deep in the depths of thought. Too deep to pay any attention to the minds pressuring him as he pushes farther into the forest. Maybe it'll be a fight. Or maybe I'll just . . . just give it away. I can't do this anymore. Too much.

Jacob freezes as realization sinks in. He shakes his head again, this time furiously, his teeth bared at Sam. You're going to give up on the pack? Let us all tear at each other just for . . . for leadership? What's going on, Sam? Why would . . . why?

By now, the black wolf has disappeared into the brush, leaving the two other wolves staring after him, frazzled. The space inside his skull is a battlefield cracked in two, suffering under the strain of his stress. Sam struggles, but the pressure doesn't lighten. All of it, all that's happening at once, is too much. He doesn't know what to do, so he grabs the first solution that presents itself: hand down his crown.

His mind is exiting quickly as the wolf falls away from him. He releases one final thought before his mind silences. Would either of you mind running a patrol?

There isn't any patience for response. A heartbeat later, the third mind is gone, leaving the two of them with no choice. Jacob gives a rough growl, cursing Sam mentally before he swings around and lunges for the brush, heading out for the first place that comes to mind.

Footfalls sound behind him, echoing his own. Jacob wants to be alone to clear his head and make sense of all the strange events of the night, but his pursuer has no intention of granting him privacy. Her silver fur flashes in the dim light between the trees, like a fish in a stream.

He wasn't asking. It was an order.

The know-it-all edge to Nicole's thought nags at Jacob, but his frustration overrides it. He bobs his head, his legs stretching out before him as he rushes through the forest. There aren't any scents of leech—there rarely ever is anymore. A patrol is nothing more than an excuse to stretch their ready muscles and plow through the thickets. It seems more like acting as a tractor than a killing machine anymore, to Jacob.

And to make it ever more enjoyable, he's been partnered with Nicole. There isn't any friendship between them now. There hasn't been, since Bella came parading back into the picture. It almost seems like a bad thing to Jacob, but he doesn't see the harm in it. Nicole has grown to resent him—his time with Bella has pulled him away. His love for her has blossomed into something more than he and Nicole ever shared.

A strip of dull light is visible over the sky, peeking out over the height of a tree that has fallen to lean on the shoulder of another. Jacob coils back as he nears the log before throwing himself into the air, his body sailing clean over the tree as he lands in a patch of cleared dirt. In that same moment, Nicole sprints in from the opposite side, her body grazing against his as she rockets past. Jacob shudders once again at the closeness, his heart pumping adrenaline. Nicole gives a quiet, barking laugh, her mind filling with teases for his distracted mind. With a growl, Jacob shoots off after her, his thoughts displaying only the paint of the forest.

As the two of them charge through the brush once more, the wind changes. The direction turns to blow straight into Jacob's face, and with it comes a variety of new scents. Some sweet, some tangy, some fresh. His muzzle points up to suck them in, sifting through them for anything suspicious. Finding no stink of leech, he almost dismisses the smell without a second thought, but he stops short as Nicole gives a sharp bark of alarm.

Jacob is bathed in a sea of cold. He pushes into Nicole's thoughts, dipping into her thoughts, and freezes. Through her nostrils, he can taste the defined tang that he has passed over. The tang of blood, prominent in the air and fresh enough that it's even stronger than the simple scent of rain.

Jacob—

Stay back, Jacob snaps. He surges forward, racing past Nicole and toward the tree line. Suddenly, he's in human form without any conscious decision to phase, stumbling into his cutoffs as he breaks into the trees. His strides slow as his eyes sweep the beach. His stomach drops.

Jacob freezes, one bare foot pushing deep into the sand as his movement stops. His eyes lock on the sight before him, burning as he forgets how to blink. Nicole jogs up behind him, abruptly stopping inches behind him. She gasps loudly as she too sets her eyes on the source of the blood.

A pile of flesh lay in a motionless heap, swaying ever so slightly against the stretching tide. Squinting, Jacob can tell that it's an animal of some sort, mangled beyond recognition. Raw guts are scattered over the sand in a small pool of flowing, sticky blood. Its limbs are sprawled awkwardly, and it lay flat on its side. The skin on the animal's body is stripped down to white bone, its muscle torn and cut. The animal is shredded and torn, yet somehow, atrociously and disgustingly in one piece. Jacob's eyes trail over it in disbelief, landing on a shape that might pass for a head.

Brownish fur, rounded nose, long legs. Much too big for a dog. Too small to be a bear. No antlers.

Jacob's stomach flips and his hands shake. It's a small doe, barely big enough to pass for an adult. His eyes fix on the head of the animal, knowing that no predator could have possibly wasted such a prized catch. He swallows hard, and then stops, his saliva stuck halfway down his throat, caught by a movement—a blink of an eye. Of the doe's eye, looking right at him.

She's still alive.

Taking a slow step forward, Jacob assesses her expression. Blood trickles out of her nose, a reaction to the physical trauma. Her liquid black eye rolls in the direction of Jacob as he approach, piercing into his soul, but no sound comes out. The doe's silence masks her terror, and somehow, that makes everything ten times as horrifying.

Nicole's eyes are burning into the back of his neck, heavy like a weight of iron dropped right on the peak of his spine. Swallowing back the bile in his throat, Jacob pulls his brows together and takes a reversing stride, backing up until he's a good ten yards away. He crouches, his eyes not leaving the filthy body as his fingers slide across the surface of sand.

His hand touches the edge of a stick that has been spat out by the rolling waves and stuck deep into the ground. He closes his fingers around it, feeling his shakes tremble the branch. He drags the stick out, inch by inch, before he steps forward, approaching the deer once more.

His hot skin brushes against Nicole's. Her eyes drop from the side of his face, taking in the sharp end of the branch. She raises a hand, placing it over her mouth. Jacob feels her silent disgust, but he doesn't react to it as he closes the distance between himself and the doe.

Standing over the deer, Jacob quivers. Not a fearful sort of shaking, but one of sympathy for the hurt of taking life an innocent creature's life. The doe's eye watches him, tolerant and patient, until finally, Jacob sucks a breath through his teeth and brings the sharp point straight through a pace in the deer's exposed ribs.

Once.

Twice.

The doe gives a small, weak kick, her bottom jaw trembling with the memory of a cry, but there isn't any air in her punctured lungs. She blinks once more before going limp in the sand.

Dead.

An eon of silence follows the action, hanging over the world around them in a thick tension. Blood drips off the end of the stick, dripping on the doe's body. Jacob gulps hard, trying to ride the acidic taste in his mouth, but his throat is dry. His stomach heaves, three dry lurches, as he chokes on his breath. Behind him, Nicole's quick breathing stutters, ending the quiet.

Eventually, Jacob's fingers open, dropping the stick to the sand. He swallows again before speaking, his eyes averted from the limp body beneath him. "We. . . We should probably. . ."

With a slow nod, Nicole drops down, her hands scooping into the soft earth, dropping a small mound of dirt on the ground beside her. She repeats the motions, her movements slowed with shock. Jacob's feet stay planted for a long moment, frozen, before he gradually lowers himself on to his knees, turns, and begins to dig out handful after handful of sand.

The two of them make steady progress. Dawn eventually rises, bathing the world around them in a gentle grey. Jacob is still wired, every muscle stiff and aching, as he smooths his hand over the packed surface of the grave. His fingers curl in at the tips ever so slightly, leaving light tracks behind them.

"Who was it?"

Jacob doesn't answer. Instead, his eyes travel over the ground, moving toward the tumble of brush gathered near the tree line. He's already seen it, while he dug away at the wet earth.

A single white piece of fur, trapped in the branches and shivering in the wind.

Nicole turns her head to glance over her shoulder. Jacob's eyes dart back to the ground, suddenly very interested in the three parallel lines dragged over the sand. Moments drag by before Nicole speaks again, this time with a shake in her voice.

"Why?" Nicole's gaze falls on the top of Jacob's bent head. "What . . . happened to her?"

She's lost her mind. Jacob opens his mouth, the words ready on his tongue, but then abruptly shuts it. He shakes his head once, his hands fisting by his sides.

Nicole picks up on his hesitation, filling his pause with more external thoughts. "I can't believe. . . Well, I knew she would be, but . . . I can't. . ."

Senseless guilt tugs at Jacob's heartstrings, but he pushes the feeling away with a thoughtless reply, speaking without looking up. "She'll come around"

"You really think so?" Nicole fires back. "She's nuts, Jacob. Nuts! All this blood and killing, and the wild temper, and she used to be so . . . sosmall, and now. . . She even imprinted on a leech. A leech! What kind of sane person ever gets involved with—much less imprinted on—a freaking leech?!"

The venom in Nicole's tone stings Jacob like a shot injected into his chest. His mind flickers to the fair-skinned, brown-eyed girl he's always known—the girl he's always loved. Will he still be sane after she is a leech? Her softness replaced by a marble hardness that can only be melted away from her? She'll be too lethal, too perfect, with eyes burning red. A lump grows in Jacob's throat as he pictures himself still there, still chasing her, even after she willingly squashes all of his efforts under her foot and ends everything.

The lump isn't there because of the worry, though. The lump settling in this throat is a reactant to the emotion burned into him. Love.

He has to be asleep. Jacob is overwhelmingly certain that he's trapped in a nightmare, falling and falling and falling, just waiting to hit the ground. It's been years, and he still has yet to hit the ground, but the terror of the ending result is still there.

Jacob's deep-set eyes flicker upward as he looks around, trying to banish the thoughts of despair from his mind. Nicole has gone still. Her hands are resting in place, her eyes downcast on the sand buried deep in her nails.

"The tribe comes first," she continues, her voice a gentle whisper on the warm breeze. "If she makes things harder on us, as a threat. We'll have to. . . She'll be just like a. . ."

Nicole trails off, struggling for words. Jacob flinches, raking a hand through his cropped hair. "We can make it work."

He grimaces, hearing the doubt in his own voice. An anchor has planted itself in his chest, weighing him down with guilt. The wind rustles the forest, shaking the silence creeping between them once more. As Nicole starts to speak again, Jacob lowers his eyes, picking out the darker grains of sand strewn across the ground below.

"I just want my sister back. I know I'm harsh, but I'm just trying to help. Sam's always so nice, and look what happened. And now, I can't be nice, I can't be mean, I can't . . . I-I don't know anymore, Jacob. I just don't know what to do."

Jacob, startled by the sudden confession, becomes motionless. His eyes catch a small glittering movement: hot tears dribbling on to the sand. Suddenly, he just can't help himself.

One trembling russet hand stretches over the ocean of distance between them and breaks it as Jacob's fingers wrap over Nicole's securely. It's an innocent gesture—just a comfort. But in that very same moment, Nicole glances up, and Jacob intercepts the look.

In that instant, everything changes.

Icy irises shimmer behind the tears brimming out of Nicole's eyes. Jacob stares, feeling himself sinking slowly but surely, disappearing in the warm depths. His breath catches, his arm stiffening and his muscles locking as his life leaves him for a split second. The world tilts, his soul bonding and twisting with another.

When it's over, nothing quiets. The world around him is bright, alive, and burning with a new reality. Jacob's knees quiver as he stares, unable to look away from her. He isn't looking at Nicole Uley—his best friend. He's looking at his world, and the world is reflecting an identical look.

This can't be real. He swore he wouldn't let this happen to him. Not since that girl . . . not since her, that one . . . girl.

Through the haze in his mind, Jacob ticks the passing seconds away.

Seven . . . eight. . . nine . . . ten.

When Nicole doesn't look away, Jacob is sure he isn't dreaming anymore.