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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.


5. Runaway

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4192   Review this Chapter

"What I fear and what I try
The words I say and what I hide
All the pain, I want it to end

But I want it again." - Red.

Chapter Five

Runaway

January 21st, 2002.

If I'd noticed anything in the last few months, it would be that all people are very fragile. They could feel as if they were on top of the world one moment, but at the same time, they could snap in the blink of an eye. In my case, there was no time for snapping. I needed answers. I needed to put everything behind me. That was why I had chosen independence in the first place.

The decision to take off for a while wasn't a decision of any sort. It wasn't even an idea. The horror and struggle of every waking hour hadn't driven me away. I was almost healing by the time I was ten.

Being around Paul and Nicole and Jacob was enough to give me some good memories to hang on to. That is, other than the serious scowls worn on Jacob and Nicole's expressions while Paul and I messed around. They weren't always as fun as Paul and I were. Neither Paul nor I cared if they grew irritated when we lost our seriousness, because we both needed silly distractions to keep our bad feelings away.

Paul understood the need for distractions because he had to deal with his bastard of a father. The man pushed and prodded and pressured Paul's emotions to a breaking point. Paul's temper wasn't one to be questioned; his life was much too stressful already. It was stressful enough that sometimes he would stay over at my house later than any boy should have. On those nights, I could fall asleep with my head on his shoulder and feel at peace.

The peace and happiness didn't last forever, of course. The leaves had fallen, and the days had shortened while the cold crept in. Winter came early that year, and with it came loss. Paul's visits grew shorter and shorter until school, his friends, and providing for himself left him no time to spare with me. Without him to distract me, the memories burned like bubbling acid behind my lids—blood on the wall; glass on the floor; death in the air. And those eyes, cold and hollow, empty of emotion. All of it was there, all the time.

Even after all those years, my life was still haunted by the memories of that night. I couldn't sleep without getting up about a billion times to make sure Sam and Nicole were still alive. Life was pretty much going downhill. I had never considered independently working on my own to fix myself. It didn't have anything to do with my age as much as how I had too much on my mind. It was when a certain package arrived that I realized independence was what I needed.

I got it on a Tuesday. Instead of taking the bus, I'd followed Nicole home from school. We'd talked briefly, but our conversation ended when she suggested that we cut through the woods. I didn't want to go through the woods while darkness was falling, knowing that any creature could be lurking in the shadows.

"Oh, come on! There's nothing out here!" Nicole had turned in a circle, her hands raised for emphasis.

"No." I'd stubbornly glared at her. "I'm not going. You're just taking another shortcut to go prance around with Jacob Black, aren't you?"

She rolled her eyes. "So?"

"I don't like Jacob."

"Why? He's funny and smart and . . . cool! His mom died too, you know. He understands how that works." Her arms crossed stubbornly as she spoke.

Although I felt a little sympathy, I sensed the way the conversation was heading. Not wanting to argue or get all emotional, I'd spun around and continued to march home, leaving her to shake her head and run into the woods without me. She would rather be with Jacob than me, anyway. It didn't bother me—I had long since gotten used to that sort of treatment.

Eventually, I'd stormed back into Sam's house, mumbling nonsense to myself. I threw my fluffy coat against the wall, listening to the soft thud it made on impact. My bag followed shortly after. With the weight off my shoulders, I allowed a relieved breath to pass through my mouth.

I slowly made my way into the kitchen, peeking around the wall. Sam stood in front of the counter, his shoulders bent forward so he didn't hit his head. He was talking to himself while throwing together many different foods to create a sandwich. At least, it looked like a sandwich, although it may have been something else.

"Hello?" My voice was slow, careful. I wasn't sure if Sam wanted to be left alone or if he just hadn't noticed me yet.

Sam jumped, his eyes wide. He whipped around, his arms braced on the counter and his chest risen in surprise while he took a deep breath. I jumped too, stumbling on the slick floor and nearly crashing to the ground. Sam was by my side in an instant, helping me back to my feet. I could feel the tremble in his hands.

"Sorry, honey, I didn't expect you to come home so soon." Sam's tone was overly apologetic. "Nicole said you two were going to Jacob's after school."

"Do I need to translate?" I lifted my head and looked up at Sam, frowning. He was so clueless at times. I sighed and mocked Nicole's voice as closely as I could. "I'm going to tell you that I'm going to Jacob's with my sister so that you let me leave the house, but really, I'll be ditching her. You wouldn't let me go if I didn't say that I would bring my sister because you're trying so hard to get us closer while Paul is busy with 'exams.'"

Sam was silent for a moment. He frowned, and a crease appeared in between his brow.

"I'll make sure she's punished for it. I'm sorry that she's treating you like this. I—"

"I don't care that she ditches me, Sam. Really, it's okay. Don't bother. We're sisters, and sisters act like this all the time. It's normal."

"But—"

"No."

I met Sam's gaze, watching his expression turn confused. He was quiet for a few minutes, and then he finally nodded and stood. "All right, all right. But I have something else I need to talk to you about."

I groaned. "Please tell me it's not 'The Talk,' or something." I made air quotes with my fingers.

Sam's eyes bulged wide and he swallowed. Through his russet skin, I could see the red blush of embarrassment creeping onto his face. "No!"

I couldn't help but snort at the expression. I loved it when he acted like this—not so serious. I shrugged and waited for him to continue.

"It's more to show you something. No . . . talking." Sam shook his head, offering one of his hands and letting me hold it with both of mine, just like he did when I was younger. He led me to the porch. I laughed quietly to myself the whole way, still thinking of his blush.

The cold bit at my exposed skin, but I ignored it. Standing close to Sam kept me warm enough. I watched him curiously while he fumbled through his pockets.

After a few moments, Sam settled down on the porch step. He patted his hand on the space next to him. I hopped onto the first stair and sat next to him, my curiosity growing stronger. Did something happen? My thoughts instantly flashed to Paul, and my heart froze.

Sam didn't say anything. Instead, he pulled out a thin silver chain from his pocket. It seemed to keep coming, as if the tiny chain went on forever. But eventually, it stopped, and Sam held the necklace in his curled fist.

"You got me a present?" I asked slowly. Why did I need a present? My birthday had passed a while ago, and I hadn't done anything to deserve such a present. Unless this was his way of making up for my time spent alone.

"No, I wasn't the one to get this." Sam smiled while he studied the necklace. I had the odd feeling of being left out of something.

"Hold out your hands," Sam instructed me, his gaze steady on mine. I did as he asked, cupping my hands together in front of me. He leaned over my hands to block my view while his fingers worked with the little heart on the end of the necklace. When he moved back, the heart had popped open. It was a locket.

"Thanks, Sam." I nodded to him in appreciation, although I was still clueless about what the necklace was for. He didn't answer; he only kept watching me. I turned my gaze back down to check out the necklace, but froze the second my eyes recognized the faces of the pictures shaped into the locket.

My mother and father stared back at me, both of them with wide, warm smiles. On the left side of the locket, my mother laughed while she worked with pots and pans, looking happy as ever. On the right, my father posed for the camera, one of his eyes closed in a wink while he pointed at the camera.

"It's . . . it's. . ." I stuttered through my words, not sure what I was trying to say.

Sam exhaled slowly, placing an arm around my shoulders. I hunched over the necklace, studying it closely. We were silent for a moment.

"I found it at the old house. It was something I thought you might want to have."

I nodded once, my thoughts starting to sort themselves again. "You went back to Alaska?" I paused, realizing that was impossible. He never had left, and there was no way a plane could have taken him there and back in a day. Not to mention Sam wouldn't have the finances to do so, if it were possible.

"Actually, you weren't born in Alaska."

I blinked once, head snapping up to look at Sam. My heart started to sink. "I was adopted?"

"No, no, no." Sam groaned, pulling his arm back around and placing his head in his hands. "Your father, my half-brother, was Quileute too. Your mother wasn't. But you were never in Alaska. You've always lived here, on the reservation."

I continued to stare at Sam, not sure why he seemed so upset. As long as I wasn't adopted, I was okay with him showing me, but I wasn't sure if I could really bear looking at the locket again. I was silent as I waited for him to continue.

"You were always asking to see them. I told you that you couldn't. I thought that you would heal if I cut off all ties to your parents. I wasn't sure if you could see the memories."

My mind processed what he was saying. "That means that I could still go back. I could still go back to find the house again…"

"It might not be there, Jordan, and I don't want you to be crushed—"

"Just tell me where it is!" I blurted.

Sam's eyes widened slightly, but he shook his head and let it go. "It should be just outside the main village, down by the creek."

I didn't wait. I stood and jumped off the porch, racing into the woods. Sam shouted after me, but I couldn't hear the words over the roaring in my ears. I kept going, leaving the locket in the tangles of snow covered grass behind me. I had been filled with hope that I might see my mother or father, or even a trace of them.

I could end it all now.

()()()

I ran and hid. The motions became habit, repetitive. Something inside me led me through the winding trees. I didn't know where to. I had a hope in my heart. Mommy and Daddy could still be out here somewhere. My parents could still be alive.

It was really another round of denial. Though I didn't know it at the time, this was just another way to cope with the thorn of loss that was still buried in my side. To run and search with a senseless hope for a lost cause. It was the only chance I had to feel better. Naturally, that was what I hoped to do.

The series of trails running through the rez were my guide. I would find one and march out a few hundred paces, trying to follow it straight without getting caught. I would only start when the sun went down. Keeping myself moving fought off the cold of the night and made the dark feel less suffocating. The forest was never-ending and I spent many nights with a growling stomach, chapped lips, and freezing toes. I learned as I went, marching on and on while nature taught me her tricks.

Eventually, the trails gave way to a village of houses. To make sure I wouldn't get caught, I waited in the forest for a few days to figure out how much attention these people paid to visitors. I did sneak through the unguarded gates a few times before I began my search, but only to snatch a spare water bottle or scrap of food thrown to waste. After finding the village people to be the kind to ignore everything except what they were doing, I started exploring the outside of the village to search for any signs of abandoned life. I wandered through the ground-down dirt road and headed through the forest, all the way down to the creek. There was nothing there, nothing but a single block of wood. Denial overcame me, and I headed right back into the main village to come out the next day. The shelters there weren't anything like the house I'd remembered—they were leaky, dirty, and made up of one room. It was impossible for any of these to have the one I'd begun my life in.

I had stayed in the main village for a few more sunrises and sunsets despite the failure, mostly to keep my stomach from growling at me too much. Independence wasn't as simple as I'd thought it would be, and my hope shrunk as quickly as my stomach.

I brought my trembling hands, heavy like ice cubes and just as cold even beneath the mittens, up to my mouth and nose. My lips parted slightly as I breathed out shaky breaths onto my hands while exhaling on them. The trick was supposed to warm my hands up, but so far, it wasn't working. It wasn't like I could sneak into one of the many houses to warm up; they were so small, I probably wouldn't fit with the family. So, I suffered in silence.

Really, this place wasn't all that bad. The village was beautiful, but deadly. Snow piled in random puffs of white, covering the ground while killing the soft grass below with its heavy layers. Ice spiked off any surface it could, choking out all other foliage. The chill ruled the winter landscape, stripping away at the village until it was bare, the poverty revealed.

The cold made me realize that I must not have been born in Alaska. I could never put up with the cold like this forever. I shuddered just at the thought of being trapped in a land of ice for my whole life.

I started to come out of my own little thought bubble when I felt eyes on me. My shivering had caught some kid's attention. He stood across the street, staring at me, not even bothering to hide it. The kid turned and tugged on his mother's long coat, his mouth moving when he told her something that I couldn't hear.

My stomach flipped with nerves. I pulled the coat I'd stolen from somebody's porch over my neck, hiding under my dark hair. Getting caught was the last thing I wanted. I swallowed hard, looking for something to make myself look busy. A gust of wind shot through the air, causing a paper to flutter across the ground. I was quick to snatch up the rolling newspaper before it got out of reach. I glanced over at the staring mother and son, and then readjusted the coat. My eyes were instantly attracted, probably by the bold headline.

I wasn't surprised. There'd been many other newspapers I'd snatched up and many had featured a paragraph with my name. Sam had made a mistake to report me missing a few days after my departure—the cops were bored and went way overboard. They questioned my elementary teacher. She said I was quiet, keeping to myself, and although I didn't get the highest quiz scores, I could take care of myself. One of the few classmates that I remembered, a boy named Elijah Clearwater, told a reporter how his friends would pick on me for being short. I'd frowned at that. Elijah picked on me too—he always wanted to know why my stupid eyes wouldn't stop trying to be blue and just be brown.

Maybe it was a different kid, though. I didn't know many people at all because I really did keep to myself. The writers listed signs of children who developed mental problems, stating that I showed many of the signs. There was nothing about the Cold Ones, though, or about Mommy and Daddy. The best information they had about me was some short answers from Sam, Nicole, and Jacob's family along with a crappy drawing that looked nothing like me.

Still, I braced myself. I took a deep breath and let it go before I looked down at the dulled words and began to read.

It has been announced in late November of this year that Jordan Uley, age ten, is missing. The report was filed earlier in the month, but investigations came to dead ends, and it is now believed that the girl may be on the loose with plans of her own. She carries a record of admission to a nearby mental hospital, which does not improve the outlook of her case.

Due to the scarcity of evidence, it is believed that foul play may be involved with the reason of her disappearance. Miss Uley's guardian and close friends have denied us any further information even with authorities pressuring them, bringing up the possibility of bad intentions.

As of now, nothing is known of her whereabouts. But, if there really is a mentally disturbed young girl running about, you might want to lock your doors at night!

I had to squint to read the tiny print at the bottom of the article, but I could barely make out the words "privacy is ignored so that the general public may take further precautions while this situations causes them to be at risk," or something like that. I couldn't help but roll my eyes. So the press on the reservation thought that I was a wacko murderer? Guess their paper's sales had really been slacking lately.

My lips were turning into a soft smile in response to my thoughts as I raised my gaze. I froze right then as I realized that somebody was staring at me, the smile twisting down into a frown. Had yet another family stopped to stare at me? My gaze flickered around, finding the streets empty, with the exception of my new audience. It seemed like I had drawn in more attention. The pair of watchful eyes belonged to a teen boy who was bundled up with loose, dark-wash jeans, and a coat. Even though he was huddled up pretty well, I could still see the distinct shape of Paul's face peeking out from over the brim of his coat. I looked closer, only to see that he his gaze went right past me. I didn't know how long he'd been there, but I could see that he was shaking, and his left eye was swollen, rimmed by an ugly purple ring.

Paul stood on the sidewalk outside of a house that seemed to be broken, leaning down toward the ground. He shivered and shook harder. Looking even closer, I could see that his lip was split, too. He'd been in a fight, but with whom?

I couldn't make much sense of it. When I would pass Paul in the hallways in school, he'd always been circled by a bunch of friends his age. He didn't have any trouble fitting in at all, and he seemed to be the center of attention. Sure, he didn't get along with everybody, but he was overall a nice guy. I couldn't see him hurting somebody.

Paul's gaze was frozen while he pulled his arms, covered with a coat so thin I could see the outline of his biceps, closer around his body. He continued to stare until the door he was waiting by swung open. Jumping back, Paul quickly tried to make it look as if he hadn't been watching me, or whatever he had fixed his gaze on. He stumbled in the process before a round man with a gleaming badge on his chest stepped out.

The man chuckled when Paul scrambled over the ice. Paul huffed once, quick to catch his balance. Even with the man towering over him, he still stood with his chin up and chest out, as if he'd seen a lot more of a challenge. I admired him for his tough and fearless appearance, but I still knew that looking so confident was the wrong thing to do.

"C'mon now, son," the man, whom I'd thought to be a village official, muttered. "We still got some business to attend to."

With that, he grabbed Paul by the neck and shoved him through the door, way too roughly. I could only see Paul's dark eyes dart in my direction before he stumbled out of view. The man followed, slamming the door behind him. I flinched at the loud crash it made.

This still didn't make any sense. Paul looking like he'd been in a serious fight? Officials at Paul's house? What was happening? Why would the police be at Paul's house? Was it my fault?

Suddenly, it all made sense—the black eye, the officials, my disappearance. I remembered a line from the newspaper:

"Miss Uley's guardian and close friends have denied us any further information even with authorities pressuring them. . ."

The whole reservation must be taking this whole thing pretty seriously, if they would beat a thirteen—nearly fourteen—year old boy to try to force answers out of him. My stomach rolled, bile rising in my throat while I pictured the official striking Paul in the face when he refused to give information that he didn't even have.

I had to do something. I knew running was a bad idea, but for now, it was the only thing to do. I might not be the brightest girl, but I knew that losing myself and ending up in the loony bin again was not an option. I had to do something to help myself the only person who completely understood me.

Sam, Nicole, and Paul would understand. Paul would fight back against them, knowing I needed time. I would fight too. I would fight until someday, I would be able to taken on a Cold Man. I needed a way to get revenge, and the only thing I could do was fight.

My first step was learning exactly how to do that.

Confidence rising, I stood. My gaze swept the roads, studying each house down the dusty row. Darkness was settling, and the streets were vacant. People were shutting their houses down for the night. It was a perfect time to move.

Getting out of here seemed to be a good idea. But first, I needed to do something. I fumbled around until I found the newspaper and I crumpled it in my hands. I then ripped off a strip and knelt, using my sharp fingernail to scratch a little 'J' in the paper. Maybe the officials would get the hint and they would come after me.

Let them come! I thought to myself.

I needed to move. Just in case I had an unwanted audience, I glanced around one more time. When I was sure that there was no sign of movement or life in the winter-swept streets, I leapt up the four-step porch and stuffed the paper under the door. In another moment, I threw myself off the porch. My skinny legs set off at a steady jog the instant my feet touched the ground, following the snow-dusted path the best I could with stinging eyes. I wanted to find the house again, to have a chance to say my goodbyes. After that, I would learn to fight, and once I grew skilled and strong, I would fight.