It has been 17 years since Isabella Swan's death, and young Adora has moved to Forks igniting gossip everywhere she turns. As Adora slowly unravels the clues that lead her down a path riddled with even more questions, she begins to realize that it seems to be more than coincidence, drawing her farther away from the life she knows, and into a world, she does not understand. The closer she gets to the truth, the more her own destiny becomes irrevocably entwined with the girl that haunts the small town. She wonders why everything that's happening revolves around the mysterious Edward Cullen, and why he seems to hold the key to the answers she's spent a lifetime searching for.
I consider this story to be pretty much the unofficial 5th installment of the Twilight Series, it takes place after Breaking Dawn, it is 100% canon, which means that it does NOT deviate from the storyline of the books, although in the first few chapters it doesn't seem like it is anything close to being like the original Twilight series, but trust me, it is.
4. Just My Luck
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I woke with a start, gasping for air, and it burned my throat. Drowning, I had been drowning in my sleep. Freezing water filling my lungs, as my hands clawed against the brutal current that was sucking me under. I continued to gasp, then blink, seeing my surroundings, knowing I was awake and safe in my bed, but behind my eyes, the memory of the dream continued to rage.
I was drowning still, sinking into the abyss of blackness, choking in gulps of icy water, my strength fading by the second, until I could no longer fight to break the barrier of the surface that the force of the raging storm had created. I felt a terrifying numbness begin to bleed from my chest, spreading slowly to my limbs, until all warmth was gone, the last drops of feeling dissolving from my fingertips. The weight of my lids sliding down over my vision was suddenly too heavy to bear, I could not fight it any longer, and I was going to die.
"Don't give up! Fight! You must fight!" A beautiful voice called out, coming from all around me suddenly, pulling me back into consciousness. There were flames in the water, flickering at my fingertips, warmth flooding my entire being. I kicked hard, pushing to the surface. "Don't give up on me!" The voice pleaded desperately, as the fire propelled me swiftly upward, surging toward the sky above the waves, transforming from flames into the reflection of a searing golden eyes. "I can't let you go." There was guilt in the beautiful, musical words, despair in the gaze I loved. The flames that fanned into the depths, slowly altered as the face that framed the burning topaz eyes came into focus, pale skin, the fire around it darkening into bronze hair. I felt icy finger around my arms shoving me upward. "Bella I love you. Bella, I'm sorry." He whispered in sadness, as I broke the surface with a sharp gasp.
That is where I had woken up. I shivered at the cool air against my bare heated arms then let out a quick breath. This was getting ridiculous. First, I was freezing, then burning, then chilled again. Were my dreams giving me hot flashes? The things I had heard about Edward Cullen and Bella Swan were starting to affect my subconscious. Again, ridiculous. I wiped at the beads of sweat that had formed on the clammy skin of my forehead and pushed the covers away, going to seat myself before my computer. I was not likely to sleep anyway, and it seemed to be an appropriate time to start searching for answers. I had finally figured out what I had been seeing in my dreams that I had not been quite able to grasp before, the other color, in the flames. It was hair, reddish brown, coppery hair. It made me wonder if Izzy's story had helped me to put everything into perspective.
Throughout the night, I spent the time feeding my unquenchable thirst for answers, researching all the public information about Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, and the rest of his family. I did not find much, and that irritated me further—it was almost as if they had never existed. No descriptions, or specific names, that could give me a better insight into the mystery that was Edward Cullen, or his siblings. At first, I couldn't find photos of anyone other than Bella's father, Charlie Swan, Chief of the Forks police department. The photos of Chief Swan all depicted him, in his uniform; none had been of him off duty it seemed. The articles attached to the images, were all connected with several cases, that chief swan had headed up. One was from an animal attack at Grisham Mill. I blinked curiously at the screen. I knew this feeling; it resembled déjà vu and yet, it was much more powerful and confusing. I had thought I was getting used to it. I had thought that I was prepared for the shock every time something caused me to react contrary to the way I should have. I was not prepared, and nothing could have prepared me for when I inexplicably stumbled upon an obituary—Bella Swan's obituary.
It matched Izzy's story, as to how she had died. I scrolled down, squinting at the screen as I read the small print. I was so close to the screen that when the words ended and an image filled the page, I jerked back so hard in surprise that the chair tilted onto its hind rollers. If had not reached out to grab hold of the desk, I would have nearly thrown the chair and myself backwards, toppling to the floor. I froze when I finally righted myself, and stared aghast at the image. There were no similarities, no likeness, the face was exact, all her features, her long flowing hair hanging past her shoulders, her heart shaped face, it was all a mirror image. It wasn't just her face that I was staring at; it was mine.
I touched my fingers to the screen, testing almost to see if it were real. Evidently, everyone in this town had long memories, they had not faded over time, and now I knew why they all saw me as Bella the instant they met me. I'd had it explained, but seeing the proof before me, made me understand their reactions all the more. Memories flashed behind my eyes, the memories of everyone's first sight of me, mixed with flashes of Bella's face, in motion, images of her in my place. There wasn't a difference. Seeing me was the same thing as seeing her.
I swallowed and let out a quick breath, hitting the print button before closing the page, revealing the others that I had opened behind it. I took a brief moment to collect myself, before scanning threw the other windows. Some netted me nothing more than mentions of the Cullen family or Bella, but there had been a few articles, discussing Dr. Carlisle Cullen, Edward's father. They were all about his practice as a physician at the Forks Community Hospital, and his miraculous life saving work there. There were no photos to help me put a face to the name, but I was too excited by my small find to let that take away from it.
My next focal point was Forks High School. I searched through the archived pages of the newspaper, which the school had published, and for the longest time, I found nothing. They were all inconsequential, random articles, fillers for when nothing of real importance was available to write about. However, one story in particular caught my attention, due to the fact that after seeing the standard topics that usually made it to print, this one was the type of news you might see as a main headline for a larger well-known publication. It was about a near fatal accident that had occurred at the high school on January 25th 2005, involving three students; Tyler Crowley, Edward Cullen and Bella Swan.
I saw it in my head—in an instant I was standing in her place and there was a sharp screeching noise from far away—the sound of screaming tires. I blinked across a sprawling parking lot, packed with vehicles and students, my eyes immediately locking on a face in the distance—the only face that mattered. I could see that nearly five car lengths away, his beautiful features were twisted—contorted in the deepest facet of horror—the golden gaze from my dreams burning into me—his gaze.
My vision shifted in a blur of movement, until I saw the source of his alarm. The driver of a blue van had taken a recklessly sharp turn into the school parking lot—which in turn had caused his tires to skid on a patch of pavement, where the ice had become almost invisible under the cover of fresh rain. The tires spun and screamed—finding no traction to stabilize their erratic movements—sending the vehicle veering dangerously from its intended direction. I saw instantly that the van would soon collide violently into the corner of the bed of my truck and realized suddenly what the fear in those golden eyes had to do with me—I was in the way and I was about to be crushed.
I stood there frozen—watching as my death came for me.
I felt the burn of arctic air as it whooshed from my lungs when something hard hit me, knocking me out of the way and onto the cold wet pavement beneath the bumper of a neighboring car instead.
It was like reliving a memory—a memory that was not mine.
I felt my head hit the frozen concrete, just as the sound of the edge of the van catching the back corner of the truck exploded—right where I had been standing an instant before. I was vaguely aware that something solid had me pinned to the ground—and the fact that the danger of the van was still approaching. The impact had merely altered its path of destruction, swinging the van around due to its momentum, until I was once again in line with its fatal trajectory.
An angrily muttered curse reached my ears, as a set of pale hands suddenly appeared, long slender fingers spread wide in front of me, braced for the impact. My heart pounded as my mind registered the ashen skin of Edward Cullen's muscular arms, where they were unexpectedly stretched out protectively before me. In an instant, I heard the harsh sound of moaning metal all around me as the van's frame rocked into his awaiting palms, pinning him between its hulking form and the car that had been parked beside the truck. I watched, almost impossibly as his hands seemed to melt into the blue exterior, forcing it to crumple inward, molding itself around his fingers—as if the metal shell were merely made of tinted aluminum foil.
When it was barely a foot from my face, the van shuddered, and skidded a few more inches before it finally paused, and tilted slightly away, teetering precariously on the two tires on the opposite side of us—the closest however, hovered inches above my legs. A scream lodged in my throat for an instant when the hands that kept the van's back tire from crushing my thighs disappeared. He shifted—twisting in a blur so that one hand reappeared suddenly, gripping beneath the edge of the van's frame—catching it before it could crush me, as his free arm reached out to gather me tightly against him, dragging me, along with my lifeless limbs, from beneath the van to safety. I could no longer see his hands, making me cringe when the sharp creak of the van's metal frame pierced the air, followed by a thundering crash as it finally settled onto the asphalt—no doubt right where my legs had just been. I heard a jagged tinkling of broken glass littering the pavement surrounding us and then finally, silence.
It didn't last long—distant screams of panic and concern filled the air but I tuned them out. I was distinctly aware of only one thing at that very moment—Edward Cullen. I was still curled against him, wrapped in his strong arms, and I could feel his cool breath against my cheek making me shiver slightly.
"Bella?" His lips brushed the edge of my ear—his voice was full of panic as he whispered frantically so that he was sure I heard him. "Are you all right?"
I tilted my head slightly until I could meet his eyes. The amber depths attested to the tremors of concern I had thought I had heard coursing through his words—they were wide, and filled with desperation. He almost looked like he was in pain.
"I'm fine." I assured him breathlessly—almost choking—finding it difficult to remember how my vocal chords were supposed to work. As soon as I said the words, his golden gaze softened—melting into liquid fire and relief flooded his pained expression—and was it possible? Had he seemed…mysteriously…comforted? More pleased than he should have been to find that I was unharmed?
The surface of the memory rippled then seemed to evaporate before it finally vanished completely. I stared blankly ahead, unable to regain control of my limbs as the last trace of remaining fear faded.
I felt the shock of this new revelation vibrating throughout my body—Edward Cullen had saved Bella's life.
Was that how it had all been? Had their story—the one that had ended in tragedy—nearly begun the same way?
And what did it have to do with me?
I was finally able to release the breath that I had been holding. The memory had seemed…as just that—a memory—not a figment of my overly exaggerated imagination. It had felt real, as if I had lived those terrifying and wondrously mysterious moments. I furrowed my brows as frustration billowed up through me. I had wanted answers, but the strangely exciting phenomenon had only served to leave me with more questions than ever before.
Izzy's face was bright and excited when I opened the front door the next morning to find her patiently waiting for me.
"Did we…have plans today?" I asked awkwardly.
"Nope, just thought I'd see if you wanted to hang out—maybe show you around a little and introduce you to some of my friends." I took a step outside and closed the door.
"I don't know if there's anything left to show." I gave her an apologetic smile. "My mom practically gave me the grand tour the other day—she was like an overeager tourist," That made her laugh. "But I'm all for meeting new people." I paused suddenly. "They aren't going to look at me funny are they?" I asked apprehensively.
"Oh, no. No funny looks—Girl Scouts Honor." She held up three fingers making me scrutinize her carefully,
"Your mom was Girl Scout gung-ho too I take it?" I noted.
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, but I'm sure your mom wasn't your brownie scout leader." I tried not to laugh and she saw my face. "Oh God! You too? Ugh, what is it with that? Do they like embarrassing us?"
I grinned. "It's part of some abnormal maternal instinct I think. They make us wear little vests with bazillions of random patches. I think it's a less drastic version of the whole pageant-mom-syndrome-thing." I sighed and she laughed.
"Okay, change subject," She ordered, still amused. "It's dredging unwanted memories of a scarred childhood." I pressed my lips together to keep from laughing. "Get what you need and we'll get out of dodge." I heard her smothering giggles as I disappeared inside.
The ride wasn't long but Izzy dove fast though, so it was hard to tell. When she finally parked the car we were in front of a blue, two story house with a grey roof, and a covered wooden porch. The yard was unfenced and bare —other than two tiny shrubs by the front steps—allowing me to see all the way back to where the forest line began.
"That was quick." I commented, mimicking her as she opened her door and stepped outside.
"That's the beauty of living in a small town," She smiled, "It never takes long to get anywhere." I nodded in agreement as we both shut our doors and headed up the driveway. I heard distant yelling on the other side of the house—loud shouts and thuds echoing. It grew louder as I followed Izzy around the side of the house past the two car garage, noticing when she sighed heavily. "They're probably playing basketball." She muttered drolly and I recognized the sound of a basketball hitting the pavement.
"Who?" She didn't answer me as we rounded the corner, revealing three boys, two of them with their backs to us as they jumped erratically around the one dribbling the ball—his black hair was sweaty and matted to his forehead, a look of stern concentration on his features.
"Connor!" She called and the one with the ball looked up. His green eyes found us and he suddenly stopped short, allowing a taller, lankier boy with brown hair to steal it.
"Hey!" Connor called angrily, as he watched him spin and shoot it into the basket. "I was distracted."
"You didn't call time out." He laughed teasingly before tossing the ball back to Connor.
"Sorry." Izzy grinned at Connor empathetically.
"It's cool." He shrugged before sending the taller boy a dirty look. "Dan's just a jerk, it's his nature." He threw the ball back to Dan forcefully making him grimace.
I'd been so caught up in Dan and Connor's horse play that I'd almost forgotten about the other boy until I heard his voice making me look in his direction "Hey Adora," I recognized Kevin from the other day at the grocery store. "You know Izzy?"
Dan finally seemed to notice us, as he and Connor both followed Kevin towards us.
"You know my mom likes to be Forks's own personal welcoming committee." Izzy said dubiously.
"Yeah, she does." Kevin grinned before he suddenly winced sharply—sending Dan an irritated look. I noticed the elbow that was prodding his ribs. "Cut it out." He hissed slapping his arm away.
"Who's she?" Dan pressed as if I weren't even there, making me raise a brow.
"You can introduce yourself you know? I'll show you." I teased. "Hi," I waved, my voice filled with mocking humor, "My name is Adora, my mom is the new Hospital Admin and—"
Connor suddenly interjected. "You just moved to Forks and you're living in Chief Swan's old house."
I blinked at him. That was getting really annoying.
He laughed when he saw me send Izzy a telling look. "Small town," He explained with a shrug. "Dan knows who you are—he's just being a pain." He smiled apologetically.
"Let me guess, it's just your nature?" I smiled, slightly amused—my eyes flickering to Dan's face.
"Pretty much." He grinned reaching out to shake my hand. "Everybody knows everything about everyone here. I've never seen you at school before, so that pretty much narrows down the possibilities." He smirked.
"That's not true—I could just be a visiting relative." I challenged.
"Kevin already told us what you look like, you were all figured out before we ever met you." Connor laughed settling one arm lazily across Izzy's shoulders before also shaking my hand. "I'm Connor."
"Yeah," I grinned. "I pretty much figured that out when Izzy yelled 'Connor!', and then you were the one who froze like a deer in headlights." He suddenly looked embarrassed, making the others laugh. The laughter slowly died down and left an awkward silence floating between us, as I noticed Dan and Kevin watching me curiously. "What?" I asked with an uneasy smile.
"You don't look like a ghost." Kevin grinned.
So much for Izzy's promise.
I groaned, rolling my eyes. "Izzy."
She sighed, shrugging away Connors arm. "Hey, hey!" She waved her arms, getting their attention. "There will be no picking Adora apart. I promised her no one would bring it up." She explained. Understanding dawned on Kevin's face.
"Oh, hey," He began apologetically. "I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable." He watched me carefully, as I felt the tense lines of my face soften.
"It's okay." I sighed softly, pushing a loose strand of hair out of my eyes. "I just don't like people looking at me like I'm a freak."
Kevin's mouth opened and closed quickly as his eyes widened, looking slightly appalled. "I don't think you're—" I cut off his apology.
"Kevin, I said its fine." I laughed, raising a hand to stop him. "Let's just pretend that I'm the new girl in town and that there is nothing weird about me whatsoever." I offered and he smiled slightly.
"I can do that." He grinned.
"Uh," Dan raised a hand suddenly, as one eyebrow rose curiously. "Am I supposed to know what you're talking about?"
I just stared blankly at him. I didn't want to have to explain it. Izzy and Kevin traded a knowing look, just before Connor's voice broke the silence.
"Oh!" Our eyes flew to his face, watching as he brought a hand up to smack his forehead lightly. "Ghost!" He said it as if that one word explained everything. "She, is the one who freaked your dad out?" He asked Kevin, laughing.
I grimaced. Here it comes, I thought in exasperation.
Dan opened his mouth to make a comment, realization lighting his face as well, but Izzy stopped them.
"Here's the run down," She offered looking at me apologetically, "Yes, she's new to Forks, and yes, she lives in Chief Swan's old house." Dan and Connor waited eagerly. "My mom and Kevin's dad freaked out when they first met her, because she looks a lot like Chief Swan's daughter Bella, the one who died, the one they went to school with." She explained. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying not to imagine what their faces held. I'm sure Kevin already knew all of this, and I almost wished that he didn't. "It's all just a coincidence though, her last name is Swan, but she's not related to Chief Swan and she's never met either him or his daughter." She sighed and I waited. "Does that explain everything to you?" There was silence.
I forced myself to open my eyes, and when I looked at them, I was unprepared for their expressions. Dan looked amused, Connor looked apologetic, but Kevin's face was blank.
"That's a really shitty way to begin the school year, you know?" Dan laughed and I glared playfully at him, surprising myself.
"You think?" I asked sarcastically.
"Kevin?" Izzy's voice made me look at him. He looked confused.
"My dad met you?" He asked reaching up to rub his forehead. I felt shock slide over my face.
"The other day when I came in to get groceries, you were at the register." I reminded him.
"You told me about it." Dan added. Kevin's face showed no sign that he remembered.
"Huh, I must have been out of it." He pursed his lips in concentration. "I don't remember."
"You recognized her when she got here." Connor reminded him. I felt my heart suddenly begin to pound in my chest, regretting my earlier thoughts. Kevin's face took on a pained expression, before a flood of awareness clicked on a light behind his eyes.
"Oh, yeah!" He laughed suddenly shaking his head. "Sorry, my mind just kind of blanked out for a second." I eyed him suspiciously, as something over his shoulder caught my eyes. In the distance, at the edge of the forest, hidden in the shadow of the branches, a figure stood staring out at us. I couldn't make out a face, only a flicker of hair billowing in the breeze.
I began to take a step forward when hands suddenly waved in front of my face, blocking my view. "Adora?" Izzy's fingers snapped in front of me. "Hey, are you all right?" I tried to lean around them, but when I did, the figure was gone. I blinked.
"I thought I saw something," I whispered, "at the tree line." They all turned in the direction I was looking.
"It was probably a deer." Connor shrugged. "There are lots of them around here."
I nodded absentmindedly. "Probably," My gaze lingering for a few seconds, before I pulled my eyes away. "A deer, yeah." I swallowed.
"You guys want to play a few games?" I shook off the unsettling feeling and turned to see Dan backing onto the patch of concrete, dribbling the ball methodically.
"I'm not very coordinated," I grimaced, "Athletically, at least." I apologized.
"We could fix that." Dan grinned shooting it into the basket.
"We're not staying." Izzy explained. "I think I'm going to take her to LaPush, I just came by to see if you all wanted to join."
"The beach?" Connor looked up excitedly. "Yeah, let me grab my swim trunks." He offered heading towards the back porch.
"It's going to be almost 70 all week, why not enjoy it?" Izzy grinned.
I felt my eyes widen. "I don't have a bathing suit."
"I'm not going to swim." Izzy explained. "We'll just throw a Frisbee around or something." Connor's face fell visibly before he disappeared inside.
"Are you two coming?" I turned to watch Kevin trying to dribble the ball around Dan. They both stopped to look at me.
"Why not?" Kevin smiled jumping to shoot the ball over Dan, banking it against the backboard before it went in.
Dan retrieved the ball, walking to set it by the porch steps. "We'll meet you all there." He acknowledged before he followed Connor's footsteps, opening the screen door to go inside.
"See you in a few." Izzy called, heading back around the house to her car.
I turned to follow her but paused, studying Kevin where was leaning against the goal post staring at his fingers—he was frowning, deep in thought. The memory of how I'd secretly hoped that he would forget ever meeting me, before it actually happened, was fresh in my mind, and filled me with a very unsettling feeling. Wishful thinking on my part had always served to be pointless, and for the first time, the phrase 'be careful what you wish for', made a whole hell of a lot of sense. It had scared me, wishing for something then having it happen. That kind of power was dangerous—and hopefully, it had only been a coincidence.
By the time my sneakers were sinking into the softened dirt and sand of First Beach, I'd let go of what had happened earlier. I was over thinking things, as usual. The sun was warm—it actually felt nice mixed with the cool breeze blowing gently, bringing with it the scent of the sea—salty, along with the musty smells of moss and pine trees.
Dan's voice broke me from my thoughts. I turned in the direction his voice had come from, just in time to flinch, clenching my fist as a reflex to brace myself, screwing my eyes shut as a Frisbee caught me square in the forehead. The force rocked me backwards a few inches, and an instant later I felt the sting. I let one eye pop open, as my fingers raised to press the point of impact, and winced. I was going to have a bruise.
"Owwww." I drew the word out with a laugh. As Kevin and Dan jogged over to where I stood.
"Are you all right?" Kevin asked worry tainting his voice.
"I tried to warn you." Dan grinned playfully.
"Other than a few damaged brain cells, I think I'm good." I continued to rub the spot methodically, hoping the ache would ease.
"Sorry." Dan said with an apologetic smile.
"S'okay." I shrugged, pitching myself forward to pluck the Frisbee from the sand where it had imbedded itself, but a sudden dizziness made me lose my balance, my hands sinking into the moist dirt as I caught myself.
"I must have hit you hard." Dan chuckled offering me his hand. I smiled ruefully as he helped me stand.
"100 bucks says you couldn't that again." Kevin ribbed Dan. "The wind caught it, and it just went straight for you." His eyes turned to me where I was brushing the dirt and sand from my jeans.
"I would take that bet," I eyed him. "My luck has been unusually bad lately, but I don't really want to be hit in the head again." They both laughed. "Go long." I grinned mischievously, and they took off running. I waited until they were a good distance from me before pulling the Frisbee in then letting it fly with a flick of my wrist. They turned jogging backwards, watching as it soared over their heads, higher and higher. It was still rising, turning slightly towards the tree line, there was no way they would catch it—it was well past where they were. A gust of wind kicked up suddenly, sucking the Frisbee nearly above the treetops, before it arced sharply and disappeared deep into the forest.
"Damn." I muttered sourly. Kevin and Dan stood, with their mouths open, still staring where it had disappeared. "Sorry guys!" I called. I noticed Izzy and Connor out of the corner of my eyes—their eyes were also trained on the spot where the Frisbee had last been seen.
"That was a hell of a throw." Connor called to me. "It must have gone at least 200 feet in the air." The others looked back at me, their faces full of surprise.
"I told you my luck sucked." I reminded them. "I'll get it!" I called to them.
"No, we're closer." Kevin offered.
"I'm the one who threw it, I'll get it." I said with a stern voice before turning make my way up the soft slopes of dirt and sand, climbing over several pale tree trunks that had been beached, before I reached the trees at the edge of the forest. I pushed away limbs that hung low, their thick branches snagging my hair every now and then. I squinted up through the overhang of branches that stretched out, covering the forest floor in shadows, watching as the sky became less and less visible the father I walked.
I scanned the ground, searching for the Frisbee. It was bright yellow, it shouldn't have been very hard to find. I wound my way around large cedars and pines, checking the branches above me every now and then—in case it had gotten stuck.
The wind kicked up suddenly, causing me to shiver without the heat of the sun to warm the breeze, and a sudden tingling in my senses froze me in place.
Then I heard it.
The snap of several twigs. The rustle of leaves. I whirled trying to pinpoint the trajectory of the sound, but my pulse was thumping wildly in my ears, as sudden fear caused electricity to race down my spine.
I jumped, my eyes flickering around me as I tried to remain calm. Entwining branches and untamed shrubbery shadowed the forest around me, rendering my vision limited to a ten foot radius.
There was a thud that shook the ground, then a strange noise. I shifted slowly, turning my eyes, and through the limbs encasing me, I saw the dark glint of black eyes before the low rumble of a growl rooted me to the spot. There was nowhere for me to run, I realized as I allowed myself a few precious moments to scan my surroundings, I was unequivocally lost, with no familiar markings to guide me to safety. The shadows shifted as the great hulking thing took shape, all sleek black fur and sinewy muscle, talon like claws digging into the earth beneath it. It huffed out a great breath, a deep snarl of irritation, as it pushed its way through the wall of greenery and sticks, drawing ever nearer to where I was frozen in place. My heart was the loudest thing to me, pounding recklessly like beacon. In a sudden inane thought, born out of mental hysterics, I imagined that to the monster before me, it must have rang out like a dinner bell.
The wind shifted, parting the branches of the trees, just enough so that light filtered through revealing the enormous size of the bear in full finally. My eyes widened. I realized, in lack of any sign of hope, my death was only five feet, and minutes, perhaps seconds away. It groaned, pawing at the ground, snapping another twig in the process and my fingers twitched slightly.
At the sight of my movement, it stopped, watching me with its black eyes.
I waited, trembling slightly.
The bear coiled it's body, and pushed with its massive front paws, lifting its form, seeming to fall upwards, until it towered over me.
It huffed, flaring its wet black nostrils
Then it happened all at once.
A sudden voice, full of urgency, resounding from nowhere and everywhere at once shouted, "RUN!" as the bears massive jaws opened, revealing its rows of elongated teeth and it roared furiously.
I turned on my heels, and ran blindly away from the raging thing at my back, yet where I would run to, I didn't know. I had barely put any distance between us before the loud thud sounding the bears pursuit reached my ears. I wanted to scream, I wanted to call for help, but I couldn't find the strength to sacrifice the air in my lungs, the precious air that propelled me forward. I could feel the prickling of my spine, raising the hair on the back of the neck, knowing that the bear was closing the distance fast. I felt a sob caught in my throat, as the thud of massive paws grew steadily louder behind me. My legs protested, my lungs burned, as I gulped the air desperately.
I wasn't going to make it.
I could almost feel the hot moist breath of my pursuer on my neck. My eyes welled in fear, I squeezed them shut, pushing harder as a tear slipped free.
My lids popped open when something caught my ankle, catapulting the top half of my body forward, sending me skidding into the moist dirt of the forest floor. Slightly disoriented, I scrambled to get up, but something held me in place. I twisted my body, my eyes flashing to where my left foot was snared in the entwining roots of a large Sitka Spruce, before rising slowly.
With its prey trapped, the bear stalked forward purposefully, a snarl of triumph splitting its muzzle, until it was upon me, raising one razor clawed paw in preparation.
With wide eyes, I waited for it to take my life.
Something changed on the bears face, it's head lifting slightly, it's black ears flickered as if it heard something that I could not. There was a long pregnant pause, as it sniffed, testing the air.
Then before I could blink, something moved so fast, at blinding speed. It tackled the bear from the side, colliding into it, with a loud crack of bones, that shook the very ground beneath me, and all that I had glimpsed was a flash of something pale as it rolled them both deep into the awaiting arms of the darker parts of the forest. A scuffle could be heard out of my range of vision, the screams of the bear were matched only by the loud higher pitched growls, emanating from whatever had attacked it, and spared my life for a few brief moments. A sharp tearing sound had the adrenaline pumping back into my veins, reminding me that I should have been trying to escape. I attempted to jerk my leg free to no avail, as the war continued close by, desperation and urgency marred any attempt at formulating a logical thought.
A howl of extreme agony split the air, followed by a wave of thunderous crashes, as my heart beat the staccato rhythm of war drums.
I screamed when another set of hands appeared on either side of mine, darker in their complexion. My terrified gaze rose up to meet a set of warm brown eyes.
"It's okay." He murmured, his head turning briefly to where the bear had disappeared, when a set of sharp cracks, like the sound of trees being snapped in half was heard. His young face was so sincere when he turned to me again. "It'll be okay. Let's get you out of here." Reaching into his back pocket, with the flick of his wrist, a small blade appeared before he began cutting at the roots that held me in place. "Can you walk?" He asked as I felt the pressure against my ankle loosen.
"I—I don't know." I breathed. "I think so."
He reached for my wrists and stood, jerking me upwards with him.
"We have to go now." He commanded, as one hand hooked beneath the back of my knee, finally pulling my leg free. I nodded feebly, suddenly jerked forward as he began to run, towing my weight at his side, as I stumbled to keep up. I didn't think about it, as I attempted to find my footing, I just ran, mindlessly, propelled by fear, not allowing a sense of relief to rise prematurely. It wasn't until the sound of the struggle was lost in the distance and the varying degrees of distance between the trees lengthened so that the sun once again touched the ground, spreading out like a map to where the tree line ended that I half-collapsed against the boy dragging me towards safety. He shifted my weight, pulling me up tight against him, before one arm hooked beneath my limp limbs, lifting me up against his chest. I could smell the salt air as we neared the beach, and my lids suddenly heavy, too heavy to fight, as all consciousness slipped from my grasp.
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