Chapter 9, The End
It turned out there was no problem with the autopsy. The medical examiner was away and gladly gave his permission to Dr. Cullen. Carlisle's findings contained no surprises. The cause of death was a bullet to the brain, shot at close range. She was dead before she was thrown in the water.
As plans were being made for Leah's funeral, Emmalie was making her contribution to the investigation in her area of expertise, the computer. She was convinced that Brad was human, and this certainly seemed to be more of his dirty work. He had not been back to school, of course, but there were some pictures of him that had been shown to the searchers. Emmalie could not imagine what would possess anyone to murder Leah in cold blood; it made no sense at all.
On Monday, after school, Emmalie called Will to check in. Their world was such a sad place right now, and they each needed a friend. Emmalie told Will she had some more research to do on the computer, and she had a lead on an herb that could be found in one specific area of the forest. According to Quileute legend, it provided temporary invisibility to anyone who could manage to ingest the vile-tasting stuff. Carlisle thought it sounded dubious, but right now it was all anyone had to work with. None of them would reject anything, no matter how far-fetched, at this point.
Meanwhile, Carlisle was meeting with Rachel Black's husband, Paul, at his Forks architectural office. Paul was arguably the most volatile of the Quileute shapeshifters, but he had great respect for Carlisle. Together, they were making tentative plans to construct a medical clinic on the reservation. Dr. Cullen would donate his time to treat the pack members, and he hoped that some day his granddaughter would join him there. Carlisle had been tossing the idea around for years now, but the time had come to act. And now he had a name for the clinic: The Leah Clearwater Memorial Clinic.
Emmalie was zeroing in on her research. She had found a picture of the elusive herb, a tiny purple mushroom, and she printed out a copy to be distributed to the members of the search party. If this was the way Brad was becoming invisible, he would have to replenish his supply. The stuff had a short shelf life, and there was quite a complicated process to render it effective. By the end of the day, all the searchers had a copy of the picture. It would have taken human researchers months to find it in the forest, but these hunters were superhuman as well as determined.
It didn't take long. By Tuesday morning, Quil had found the herb, growing at the base of a large redwood tree. They concentrated their search to make sure there were no other patches in the vicinity and were soon convinced that this was the only source. The searchers, in shifts, settled in to wait.
Carlisle and Edward were on guard when Brad appeared, seemingly out of thin air. He was disoriented and took a moment to register the two vampires standing guard beneath the tree. I was obvious, even in the gloom, that they were other than human, with teeth bared and murder in their yellow eyes.
Carlisle held up a hand. "Edward, call Embry. This is his fight, not ours." Embry appeared on the run, in human form. He asked "Why?" Brad was terrified at this point, and he didn't even bother to deny it. He said that Leah had happened by and had seen him harvesting the mushrooms. Embry was infuriated. "That's it? You murdered an innocent, beautiful human being for those stupid herbs?"
Embry noticed that Brad kept glancing uneasily at the vampires. "Are you worrying about my friends? You might have already guessed that they're genuine, blood-sucking vampires. Well, the good news is that they're not going to hurt you. I'm the bad news. I'll give you more than you gave Leah – a running start. So RUN!" With that, he leapt, phasing into wolf form in midair, as the Cullens turned and walked away.
The funeral was a solemn affair, performed at dusk around a sacred fire, as most of the Quileute rituals were. Charlie, who had grown close to Sue in the years since her husband died, stood at her side along with Bella and Emmalie. None of the shape shifting tribe members seemed to be at the grave site. A slight movement prompted Bella to turn and look over her shoulder, to the top of the rise. The sight that greeted had never been seen before and would become part of the new legend.
Shoulder to shoulder, silhouetted in an unbroken line against the full moon, stood Carlisle, Embry, Emmett, Jacob, Alice, Paul, Jasper, Seth, Edward, Quil, Esme, Jared, Rosalie, and Sam, all united for that moment to bid Leah a peaceful journey, as an unearthly howl pierced the night.