Chapter 24

The Fight for Freedom

A/N: Thanks for everyone's patience. My injuries are healed but I'm still having health issues so it's going slow. I want to thank you all for your patience and understanding in my slow updates.

"Dad, I'm sorry." I cry out with my face in my hands.

"You have nothing to be sorry for, Bella," Charlie says as he kneels beside me and wraps his arms around me. I take my hands away from my face and look into his eyes.

"I should have found a way to save him. I should not have listened to my vision."

"Craig was evil, Bells. If you had a vision to place the amulet around your neck that means you needed to listen to it. The amulet protected you and saved both you and I. There's one thing I have learned from being psychic and that is to always trust your abilities." Charlie studies my face for a moment with a look of sympathy in his eyes. "Look, Craig's mom. I cared for her, but there was always something about her that put me off. As I began to get to know her I saw sides of her that were dark. Many dragons turn evil because they cannot handle that much raw power. It's too much temptation for them. She may have told Craig that she left me because she was worried I would kill them, but the day she left I found out a family in town was murdered. When I went to the scene it was a classic dragon killing. When I came home after that and found her gone I had my suspicions it was her. She was evil.

Craig was evil like his mother. There is nothing you or I could have done to change him. His mind was set. I nod my head and realize there was no way we could have saved Craig. He was a danger to us all and there is still an even greater danger coming after us soon.

"Come on. We have more work to do." Charlie grabs me by my elbows and helps me stand. I wipe the tears from my eyes and look toward the woods in the direction of Charlie's bow and arrows and begin walking with Charlie walking by my side.

"We need to contact Jacob since he's the only one awake," I say.

"We need to go back to my house first, Bella. I have more potion there so we can free the others when we find them." Charlie stops walking abruptly and looks at me.

"What is it?"

"Craig said the magick that is keeping them all in a trance can be removed when the true owner of the amulet takes possession of it and orders it to remove all magick previously created." Charlie lifts his eyebrows as a slight smile crosses over his lips. His head lowers as he looks at the amulet hanging around my neck. "By the way it protected you, I would say that you are the true owner," Charlie says in a soft, but definite tone.

"But I don't know what to do!" I whisper back.

"Close your eyes, Bells." I do as Charlie instructs. "Take a deep breath and try to picture Edward. Now, call to the amulet to release him. Do you notice anything?" I do as Charlie says but feel and see nothing. I shake my head no and sigh.

"All I can think about is Patty. I don't think I can concentrate on anything until I know she's safe. Can we go to my place and check on her? Maybe Jacob will be there waiting for us."

"That's a good idea. Maybe he is there or will know to go there to look for us. Let's get the bow and arrows and head to your house."

We trek through the woods and find Charlie's bow and arrows and then Charlie shows me the way toward his car.

I'm so worried about Patty that the walk up the long path to my front door seems like it's taking forever. I unlock the door and Charlie and I walk inside. No sign of Patty downstairs.

"I'm going upstairs to check Patty's bedroom," I yell as I race up the stairs. I find Patty sleeping peacefully in her bed. The rise and fall of her chest tell me she's breathing. With a sigh of relief, I trot back downstairs to Charlie.

"She's sleeping."

"Good. That's one worry gone. Now we have to figure out what to do next. I need to go home to get more potion to wake everyone from their trance. Now that you've checked on Patty I would like you to come with me and then we can look for Jacob." Charlie turns and begins to walk toward the door. He stops when he notices I'm not following him and turns around to look at me.

"I should stay here and wait for Jacob to show. That way I can keep an eye on Patty. I want to wake her and make sure she's okay before leaving her again." Charlie takes a few long strides toward me, worry in his eyes.

"Bells, It could be dangerous if that dragon comes."

"Craig said it was several days travel to get to the dragon so we have time before he gets here." I place my hand gently on Charlie's arm. "I'm not helpless. I've found out through all this that I'm fairly good at getting myself out of trouble, I'm a good problem solver, and the amulet will protect me. I want to stay here and try to use the amulet to free everyone from their trance but you need to get more potion in case I'm unable to do it. We don't know where Jacob is or if he is going to show up so I also have to try to locate everyone so we can find them and free them from their trance before the dragon gets here. For the sake of time, we need to separate just for a bit. Get the potion and come back, but hurry." Charlie smiles as pride washes across his face.

"You're not my little girl anymore, Bella. I'm proud of you." He leans in and gives my forehead a quick kiss, then turns and walks out the door. "I will be back soon."

I race upstairs once again to check on Patty. This time I lean down and grab her by the arm and shake her a bit. "Patty. Patty." I shake her a little harder. She begins to stir. "Patty!" Her eyelids open and Patty stares up at me blinking, attempting to focus.

"Bella? What's going on?" Patty sits up in bed and looks around. She looks groggy but fine.

"How do you feel, Patty?"

"Not so good. I've got a headache and feel like I'm coming down with something. I'm a little dizzy and fatigued."

"Maybe you should stay in bed then. Do you want me to get you some orange juice or something to eat.?"

"No. I'm going to keep sleeping for a while." Patty lies back down, closes her eyes and drifts back into sleep.

I trot downstairs and sit on the couch. I close my eyes and try to picture Edward again but the vision is fuzzy and the details absent. No cloud appears either. I try to picture Alice. Still no luck. If we can't get ahold of Jacob, we won't be able to find Edward and the others to free them. I have to get the amulet to free them or use my abilities to show me where they are so we can free them with the potion, and we still have to make a plan to prepare for the dragon coming.

All this pressure and mind chatter is only making me more frustrated which is interfering with my concentration. I'm going to go for a quick jog. That always helps me relax my mind. I head out the door and down the long steps to the sidewalk.

As I'm jogging down the sidewalk I'm trying to clear my mind. I look up at the beautiful full moon and stars shining bright in the sky and take in a deep breath of fresh air. My muscles are beginning to relax and my tensions ease. I let my eyes wander over my neighbor's houses and yards. I watch the tall trees sway in the breeze. I can smell the rain that will come soon. I jog only about 5 blocks down and then turn back toward home. My jog slowed down to a walk, my senses begin to perk. I feel the moist air caressing my skin and smell the cool freshness that a rainstorm will bring. I think of Edward and focus on the details of his face. His sharp, well-chiseled chin and soft wavy hair. His beautiful, lush lips. That gorgeous red ember glow that fills his skin during his times of transformation, and those beautiful eyes with a sparkle of a flame I catch once in a while. I'm picturing him clearly in my mind. I try to picture the amulet sending out it's purple light to Edward releasing him of his bonds. I envision everyone being broken from their trances as the purple amulet light glides over their bodies. I peek down at my amulet hoping to see purple light emanating from it but there is nothing.

I stop walking and close my eyes to concentrate on my vision. I can see the purple light floating in the air, spreading across everyone. I say in my head "Free them. Free them all." I feel a tingling numbness spread over my body for a few seconds but then it's gone. My vision fades. I try to reach out again and envision Edward but there is nothing but blackness. An uneasy feeling grows in my gut as goosebumps rise across my arms. I open my eyes and find I've walked off the sidewalk.

I'm standing in the middle of the street. Fear begins to run down my spine. Panic rises in my chest. I look in every direction, not sure what I'm sensing. Then I spot him. Two city blocks down, standing in the middle of the street, facing my direction. I cannot see his eyes, but I can feel him staring straight through me. A motionless, black silhouette. Tall, muscular, and daunting. His silhouette suggests a uniform and a hat with a straight rim. Oh my God, it's my dream happening! The dream wasn't about Edward like I thought all this time. It was about him!

I'm frozen. Unable to move or breathe. I don't know for how long. My heart thumps loudly inside my chest. My eyes are locked upon him, unable to look away. I scream inside my head. "Run! He's going to get you! Run!" But my body doesn't respond.

I stand here praying he will not come close. If I stay frozen, maybe he will walk away. I listen to my heart beat silently in the night and realize all the insects have grown quiet. The entire street is silent.

Suddenly, he bolts into a fast gallop towards me. It isn't a walk. It isn't a run. It's much faster. The shock of his unnaturally fast movement causes me to take a good minute to convince my body to unfreeze and run. When I finally do move, I run faster than I ever have in my life.

I hit the first of a long set of steps up the front walk to my house, in just seconds. Too afraid to look back, I keep running. I finally make it to the top step. My heart is pounding loud and fast. I have my right foot on the porch, my left foot still on the top step. As I pick up my left foot, I feel a strong hand grasp my ankle, locking tight around it. I look back. The man has hold of me. I cannot see the details of his face, they are lost in a dark shadow. My amulet lights up and a purple beam shoots out and settles itself around the man. He closes his eyes and his body lights up with a burning, red ember glow just like Edward's body. A red light emanates from his body and acts as a shield pushing the purple light from my amulet away. He's protected from it.

He begins to slowly pull me down the steps by my ankle, one step at a time. I grasp onto the porch railing, my fingers locking tightly around the spindle. A couple more tugs on my ankle and my hands are ripped free. Now I am being picked up and placed over his shoulder. I feel warmth between our two bodies, as mine presses up against his. His body feels unnaturally hot. How did he get here so quick? He must have been traveling here this entire time. Not waiting for Craig to bring me to him. Why did I tell Charlie to go without me?

"Let me go!" I scream while pounding my fists against his back. He doesn't break his stride. As he walks past a tree I grab onto a large branch and hang on tight. He looks back at me, a hint of amusement on his face. He sets me down and gives the branch one quick karate chop with his hand and it splits off from the tree. I'm left standing on the ground holding a large branch in my arms.

"It's no use fighting. It won't do you any good," he says.

"I'm not going with you!" I swing the branch at him. He grabs it in one hand and crushes it to powder which falls between his fingers to the ground. I begin to run back toward my house.

"Why must you insist on wasting my time!" he growls from behind me. I keep running as fast as I can. I start running up the steps to my front door and he lands from the sky directly in front of my door blocking my path. I abruptly stop leaving a 3-foot gap between us. "Bella, stop this silliness. You can't outrun me."

"I can try," I say, determined to fight him to the end. I won't give up. I look from left to right searching for somewhere to run to or something to fight with. I jump off of the path and onto the grassy hill and begin running back down toward the sidewalk. I'm halfway down when I trip over my own feet and tumble to the ground rolling downhill. I land face down on the sidewalk covered in grass and dirt. I'm sure I look worse than I feel.

"Bella, are you okay?" I hear Mrs. Fallin yell from across the street. She is a sweet older widow who lives by herself. I look up at her and quickly turn my head looking for Medoff. He is standing next to me. He bends down and grabs my arms and lifts me to my feet. I stare at Mrs. Fallin wondering what to do.

"You don't want to say something that will get her killed, now do you? Medoff whispers in my ear. I shake my head no.

"I'm fine Mrs. Fallin." I wrestle one arm free from Medoff and wave to reassure her. She grabs her cat which is sitting on her porch and goes inside. I take a deep breath, rethinking my strategy. Medoff looks around.

"Let's go around back, shall we? We don't need any of your neighbors seeing us take off in flight, now do we?" He pulls me toward the back of the house.

"I won't stay with you. I will never love you. I won't give you any of my power. You're wasting your time with me!"

"You will stay with me and you will do everything I say because if you don't I will kill Charlie and Patty. That is your roommate's name, correct?" I look up at him with hate on my face as he continues to pull me around the back of the house.

"Then I will kill you! I will find a way." Medoff laughs loudly and menacingly.

"I would like to see you try! I think that would be entertaining."

"You think I'm not dangerous but you don't know what I can do."

"To the contrary, Bella. I think you are very dangerous. You will become quite a powerful psychic. That's why I chose you. But do not make the mistake of thinking you can disobey me. When we are wed, our powers and our lives will be tied together. You will not be able to kill me without killing yourself. There is no way out of this so you may as well get used to it now."

Medoff removes his shirt and tosses it to the ground. He grabs my other arm and I feel my feet lift off the ground as we soar high into the air.

I look down at my home and try to not feel hopeless. I know I can find a way out of this. After about 20 minutes of flying, Medoff lets out a growl and dives down lower in the sky as he searches the ground. I stare into the forest below us for a minute and then I spot a blur moving as fast as we are but on the ground. I squint my eyes to focus and see the blur is Jacob. He found us!

"Jacob!" I scream at the top of my lungs.

"Oh is that who that is? The newborn? Medoff growls. "Well we can take care of him now," he says as he dives quickly. He places me on the ground. "Don't worry my dear, this shouldn't take long at all," He says as he looks around. "Now, where is that newborn?"

I feel a blast of air pass by me and notice Medoff is no longer by my side. I hear a loud crack to my right and turn around. Jacob has run Medoff into a large, thick oak tree, embedding him halfway into the truck and then disappeared into the woods. Medoff's face turns hardened.

"Nice hit, newborn. But now it's my turn. Come out and face me!" he screams. He stands very still listening for Jacob, who is silent. I see a flash coming from the left toward Medoff. As Jacob nears Medoff, he goes into a slide and quickly glides past Medoff, jamming a broken branch into Medoff's right calf through his jeans. Before disappearing again into the forest. Medoff lets out a deep growl that turns into a roar of pain. He leans down and rips the branch from his calf, blood spills out onto the ground. He rips a piece of fabric from the bottom of his jeans and ties it around his calf as a tourniquet.

Medoff listens and looks for Jacob once more. His head quickly snaps to the left. He must have heard something. He rushes off. I wait in silence listening for any sounds, hoping he hasn't found Jacob. The forest is still. Suddenly Jacob comes flying through the air and falls against a large maple tree, which gets knocked over and falls to the ground. Before Jacob can run away, Medoff flys to him and picks him up by the neck, holding him in the air as Jacob screams trying to get away.

I start to race toward Medoff and Jacob unsure of what I'm going to do. I just know I have to save Jacob. On the way there I grab a large pointed stick from the ground and keep my hand wrapped tightly around it.

"How crispy do you like your newborns, Bella? I think I will make this one extra crispy"

I reach Medoff and ram the stick into his wound, through his tourniquet. He screams in agony and drops Jacob to the ground. Jacob grabs me, throws me over his shoulder, and runs through the forest. I try to mind-call to Edward. I'm not seeing a cloud form or picturing him clearly so I have no idea if it is getting to him. I still don't know if he is still in a trance or not, but I try to show him where we are in case he's out of his trance.

We come upon a large, old mansion that looks like it's been abandoned for centuries. Jacob stops and places me on my feet.

"I'm not sure if we should try to hide or keep running. I know I can't win fighting him," Jacob says.

"Let's hide. I can try to communicate with Edward again or try to order the amulet to release everyone." Jacob grabs me in his arms and races to the front door of the abandoned mansion. He places me on my feet and I open the door slowly and peek inside.

"It's abandoned," I say as I walk inside with Jacob following me. "Let's look for an attic to hide in. Everyone always checks the basement." We tiptoe up the stairs in silence. When we hit the second floor we start walking down the long corridor. The wallpaper in the hallway is an old yellow flower design that is peeling off of the walls. The smell of dust and mold fills my nostrils. The windows are so heavily coated with dust and dirt that the sun does not shine through. As we get halfway down the hallway we hear a door open behind us and quickly turn around to see a man and a woman grinning evilly as they start coming toward us.

"Looks like Medoff's little birds came right to us," says the man. We hear a door behind us creak open. Two more people walk out into the hallway. They have us surrounded.