A/N: Thanks everyone, 'My Death Will Be My Revenge' & 'Here We Go Again, Not' both passed 20,000 hits xx So let's get on with the newest story xx Alexis
My exact reasons for being here in the dreary and wet town of Forks, Washington are threefold. First because sadly and most regrettably, it's my father Chief Charlie Swan's funeral in another couple of days. Secondly, I have always wanted to see the old Cullen house, the one that Charlie had spoken to me about, many times in the past twenty years. And finally, thirdly because I'm on a hush-hush fact-finding mission for two old and very dear friends. They have never been able to come here themselves even though they dearly wanted too, due to a law that was passed suddenly and unexpectedly the same amount of years ago.
Although back then I knew nothing about it or any other of the strange things that happen here right under the noses of the people living in Forks. I hadn't really expected to be getting all up close and personal with the place until Amanda, my stepmother and Charlie's widow roped me into the cleanup detail. Being Forks one and only estate agent she had the unenvious task of dealing with its sale for the absentee Cullens. The place is a bit of a mess in many parts, no one's been here since they all left two decades ago and the weather has caused some damage, but mainly superficial, except in a couple of the bedrooms.
The ones to the back of the grand ostentatious house had huge plate glass windows; they have taken the brunt of it. Plus the damage from the sun, though not strong here at all it has taken its toll on the stationary contents of the house. The grandiose piano is warped and severely distressed by the said sun. Amanda had thought I might like to catalogue all the books that were left callously behind, since I own a bookstore I presume. So since it's my thing I could hardly refuse her request and I hate books being left to deteriorate for no reason other than lack of care or forethought of their owners.
There's a library of sorts, but also two studies which have many books in them and several others are just on shelves all over the house, under inches of dust. Especially the ones on cars and about music have been left laying around open at pages and in a terrible state after all this time. One study holds only medical books and suchlike texts and the other is all about wars and warfare and actually quite fascinating and also in the best condition. The windows here are tinted and none of the bookcases are in direct contact with the sun. Whoever owned these had cared about them once upon a time.
Whereas the library has everything from fashion design to interior decorating and many paperbacks of the time. Thankfully most of this wasn't in direct line of the windows and has faired better. I remember reading some of those books myself. That was around 2005 or maybe 2006 and I'd have been all of seventeen year's old back then. I almost moved here at that time, but at the last minute decided to become legally emancipated instead. I never moved out of Renee's house, well my house too. I just stayed there myself while she went off with Phil, her new husband. Following his baseball team all over the United States.
The judge was kind and said I was a very mature and grounded young lady, for my age. I say I was anally retentive and far too studious for my age. But it worked out all around, I got on with the business of finishing high school and working a part-time job, I wanted to have a place of my own and the freedom from Renee's crazier exploits. Then I eventually went on to get a degree in business studies and worked my butt off saving so that I could have my own business one day. Everyone assumed I would take English studies as my major but I didn't want to write for a living, no I wanted to own a bookstore.
This was so I could read everyone else's works and make money at the same time. Charlie wanted me to come and live with him when Renee and Phil were killed in a freak accident three years later in 2009. They along with several of his teammates and their wives died in that tragic accident. The team bus was involved in a head-on collision one stormy evening and that as they say was that. But I was twenty and too far into my studies and had no intention of moving Universities at that crucial time and all the nonsense it would entail moving to a new city.
Besides that, I hardly knew my dad, yes he was my dad, but he was a stranger too. I was really happy for him when he married Amanda a year later and I came up for the wedding, but stay here permanently, no way. It never was my favourite place, too wet, too gloomy and too isolated for a girl brought up in Phoenix. Renee and Phil's insurance money secured me a substantial loan for the purchase of a small, but delightful bookstore in Phoenix. Everything went swimmingly for the next five years; I had just become debt-free and then at the ripe old age of twenty-five I Isabella Swan got myself murdered!
Yes, I said murdered, by some half-crazed idiot out of his mind on alcohol and drugs. He came into my store to rob it and ended up killing me to shut me up. I, of course, had to argue with him. What happened next is a little hazy, but two vampires killed him and changed me to save me from my final death, I later learned. The guy kept rambling on about how sorry he was, but I was important and he had to save me. That was how I met Peter and Charlotte Whitlock, two of the nicest, maddest vampires I know and I know a quite a few.
I've heard of the Cullens, of course, who hasn't in our world. They all live in Italy and are advisors to the three Volturi brothers. Many rumours abound about them wanting power for themselves, but it's never been proven and Aro holds them all in high stead. I've never heard what the other two think about them though. But Peter and Char hate them and I mean really, really hate them. It was Carlisle Cullen himself who asked Aro to decree that Washington was a no go zone for vampires from the moment they left. This was just after my eighteenth birthday when I was still human.
I remember Charlie telling me on the phone that they'd left. I later found out they said it was because of the Quileute wolves, that vampires caused them to phase and it was cruel to the youth of the tribe and he regretted they had ever caused it themselves. Who knew boring old Forks was a hotbed for all things supernatural. So that was how nobody, well nobody of our kind was allowed there anymore. I, of course, didn't know any of this until I was a vampire myself. How come I'm here you ask, well Charlie and Amanda thought I was human. So does everyone else in Forks, I'm a vampire with a gift you see.
I can do two things, shield myself from all and any attacks and change the way people and vampires see me. It's the same gift but applied differently, a defence mechanism of sorts. So the good people of Forks see a thirty-seven-year-old woman when they look at me, not a twenty-five-year-old vampire. Because of my shield, the Volturi aren't aware I exist and I'm keeping it that way for as long as I can. I have no scent because of my shield and it even fakes a heartbeat for me, quite amazing really. While I'm here I'm looking for clues to the whereabouts of Peter's brother and sire Jasper Whitlock.
He was once a Cullen and even a Hale on occasion, but when they reached Volterra he was not with them and hasn't been seen since they were all in Forks. Peter said his last call was strange and he just knew something was really wrong. Peter and Char were in China at the time and by the time they got back, Washington was locked up tight as a drum and Jasper was missing. The Cullens all said he left them, of his own accord and well if he hadn't gotten in touch, they should take that as he isn't interested in them anymore. Peter say's that's utter bullshit!
So far I've never been alone in the Cullens old house and therefore can't drop my shield as I normally would. I would rather be safe than sorry, just in case, there are any hidden cameras etc. But after an extensive sweep, it is clean, in fact, it's too clean like they never expect anyone to ever be here who wasn't human. There is always someone coming and going, doing God only knows what. I've packed up most of the books and will be buying them from the estate. Some are very rare and have just been abandoned; it's criminal to my mind. I hate how some vampires flaunt their wealth like that.
Peter and Char don't and in the twelve years of owning a bookstore and what with the insurance money I'm well enough off but don't throw perfectly good things away, especially not books. I find myself drawn more and more back to what was obviously Jasper's study. His clothes and things are still here, it's as if he just stepped out and never returned. Even his cell is here, dead of course but just lying on the floor. Peter asked me to retrieve a couple of his personal items that had nothing to do with the Cullens and I had managed to take them out without being seen.
Amanda was all in a dither this morning when she got word that anything that had belonged to a Mr J. Whitlock, Hale or Cullen was to be disposed of or destroyed. I needn't have been so covert after all, why were they getting rid of his things? I said I'd deal with it for her and now I'm sending it all to Peter. It just makes his disappearance seem more circumspect. But then the Cullens think they are just dealing with stupid humans and have no idea I'm involved. I know something is not right; I need to be here alone and drop my shield because it stops me from getting a proper read on things like it mutes everything slightly.
It's a minor drawback compared to the fact it keeps me alive. Nobody has ever snuck up on me since my change and I can be anyone I want them to see before they know I'm there. As I said very handy in a tight situation and I saved the three of us on a couple of occasions. Sometimes for no apparent reason trouble seeks the Whitlocks out and we are all beginning to think it's engineered. As I said nobody knows I exist so I'm able to work freely and usually come in behind the troublemakers. Peter is convinced its Alice trying to get rid of the only people who ever cared about Jasper.
Tomorrow is the funeral, but I'll be back the following day and maybe that night too. Something strange happened in that house, but what? Charlie's send-off turned out to be really moving and the turn out was huge. Amanda and I were swamped by well-wishers and loaded down with food. I met several people who'd known me as a child on my occasional visits. One creepy overweight balding guy kept hitting on me and I tried not to laugh if he only knew what I was. He kept going on about how I was single and he was single and we both were business owners.
I think he said his name was Mike something or other. Eeew! Even human I wasn't that desperate, I've had my share of flings, vampire and human. But nobody clicked if you know what I mean and I'm happy as I am. There were a couple of Quileute there, but my shield kept them from seeing the real me or me affecting them. Because that would have set the cat amongst the pigeons for sure. I wanted to get back to the Cullen house, I felt almost drawn there, but Amanda was weepy and wanted me close by after the funeral and I couldn't say no.
She was in the mood to reminisce and I enjoyed hearing the stories about my dad. He would have been a great dad if he and Renee had stayed the course. But if wishes were horses and all that malarkey. Life is what you make it and well, sure I missed out on a father figure but I had my crazy mother and she made up for it in her own way. So it wasn't until the next morning I told Amanda I'd go over and make a last sweep of the house for anything book related. I also said I'd check all the repairs had been done for her and that everything was out of the house ready for viewings.
The Cullens were paying for all of this and the amount seemed well over the odds, they really want rid of the house that's for sure. Peter had been totally gobsmacked about Jasper's things and he was ready to confront them about it. Luckily Char had stopped him, as they should never have known. It was human dealing with it and that should not have been enough to trigger his gift. After all, that's why he can't find Jasper as he's not actually in physical, no more like mortal danger! At last, I'm here alone, everyone else is done and there are only a couple of things in the garage for uplift.
I was only in there once seeing to the packing up of Jasper's Ducati onto the back of his pick-up which I'm driving back to Arizona myself. I was of course disgusted by the number of expensive cars left behind and just forgotten about. Most started right away once the batteries were all charged, so in excellent condition and that would fit in with all the car manuals in the house. It was just the throwaway attitude that I hated and I'll never understand it, ever. I did notice only Jasper's personal stuff was well worn like his boots etc, everyone else's was brand new and would have been pristine back then.
Oh, that's odd! The dimensions in here are off somehow, I step outside and gauge the size. I return once more and yes it's minimal and probably unnoticeable to the human eye. Hell, I never noticed with all the cars in here the last time. I finally drop my shield and using my unhindered vampire senses see the wall for what it is, false. Its brick and well constructed would fool any human since it only takes two feet off the garage and it's already a large open space. So what could be gained by downsizing by two feet, just enough room for someone's shoulders to pass impeded?
I tentatively felt all over the wall, but it was solid and immovable so this was not the entrance to whatever that space was for. So where was it? The configuration of the garage was side on to the main house and near the garage entrance was a door which led into the corner of the lounge. Back here the entrance would be in the kitchen, the far right corner to be exact. I quickly rush back into the house, almost missing the tremulous feeling of worry, in my own excitement. Was that real or a deep-seated human reaction to what I might find. It slows me but doesn't stop me at all.
I feel this is important and I might never get this chance again, I have to solve it now or it will be a mystery forever. There was an ordinary storage cupboard in that corner and it was obviously for cleaning products and the like. In fact, there was an overwhelming smell of bleach as if the walls and floor were soaked in it, at some point in time. Maybe a gallon was spilt or burst? But no it was all the way up the walls. So the plaster was made with the bleach incorporated, now that is strange. What were the Cullens trying to cover up; human remains hidden around here, maybe?
Were they not as faithfully to their diet as we all have been led to believe. The back of the cupboard sounded very slightly different, again a human would never be able to tell. This whole thing is beginning to stink to high heavens and I don't mean the bleach, but the goody, goody Cullens projected image. I slowly tap all over and find two slightly reinforced parts so I push firmly and low and behold the wall moves back and then swings up to give way to a secret entrance but to where? Again it was designed to move under vampire pressure and not human, so it would never be discovered.
Well, not unless someone wanted to knock through into the garage. I fish out my cell and start filming what I've uncovered; I think it might be very important one day. The air is stale in the thin passageway which was once part of the garage, it hasn't been open I'm guessing in the last twenty years. I feel the slight sense of worry once again and I know it's not my emotion, dear god someone is in here somewhere. I inch forward watching for any booby-traps, but it's all clear. Wow, they were that sure of this place never being found. I am beginning to suspect who might be found at the end of my journey and I'm worried now.
What kind of state would someone be in after being starved for twenty years? No wonder the Cullens didn't want vampires here or wolves phasing either, this would have been discovered years ago otherwise. About fifteen feet along the passage was a metal trap door in the floor. It wasn't vampire proof or anything and that confused me. Surely whoever was down there, because it had to be down, could escape through a normal metal hatch. I snapped the padlocks off and gently lifted it up, the stale air rushed out as fresh air rushed in from behind me.
It was slightly damp, but not sodden if you know what I mean. Therefore the bunker, cellar, dungeon, whatever you want to call it, it was must be lined. Well, they certainly went to a lot of trouble to hide this from the vampire world. When the air settled I shone my cell's flashlight down the hole and saw the floor, ten feet below. It was a small chamber with a metal door on one side, so I dropped down and now I felt a concentrated amount of worry, not fear but worry. Jesus if it was me down here I'd be terrified and afraid, but this person was mildly worried.
I was starting to feel a little creeped out as if something was amiss here. That's when I saw three small crates against one wall and well, I didn't say I wasn't nosey. I opened the first, a box labelled Rose and it held? Jesus Fucking Christ, her ears. No wonder she always wears her hair down in the newly instigated Volturi broadcasts, of them I've seen anyway. I was afraid to look in the other two, but my curiosity now got the better of me. Holy shit! The box marked Emmett held all five fingers off the same hand, the one he always wore a glove on, so now we know why.
The final one was labelled Esme and I was scared to see what they'd take from her. On the outside, she looked perfectly fine, but now that I think of it those three, their smiles seemed forced and false. They don't ever show in their eyes like the other three. Oh, this is going to be more symbolic I think. Fuck yes, but traumatic for her I bet, it's her heart. I'm taking them with me too, shit twenty years of punishment, for what? Did they try to defend Jasper and this was their reward. I bet they tell them all the time they'll be returned one day. I doubt they even know about the sale of the house here in Forks.
The metal door in front of me was vampire proof, but the key was hanging right beside it and just in case it was a trap I used my shield to lift it and fit it into the lock, I was thinking werewolf venom or something like that but again nothing, cocky bastards. They really thought no one would ever find this place. I know one of them see's the future, but I'm a shield and that's a mental gift, so null and void around me. Did they think that nobody could work around their shit, I'm an unknown and outside their sphere of influence, Christ they're not so much cocky as downright arrogant.
It was the slight feeling of impatience that pushed me on through the door and into the dungeon or cell proper. In front of me was a wall of bars and dead centre was the door. I wasn't really bothered with there being no light because vampires don't need it, but it was inky black in here. Enhanced by the black stone on the wall and floors, designed to deprive a vampire of variance in light sensitivity. The bars were also vampire proof and you got the sense that they never wanted this person to get free because if he did it would surely mean their demise.
Once again the key was nearby as if to taunt the prisoner, their little tricks were meant to play on the psyche of the man held captive here. It was beyond freezing down here but of course, that didn't affect vampires in the slightest. There were chests either side of the door I'd come through and the seemed to be full of flasks. I stepped up to one and lifted the lid, pulling out a flask and carefully sniffing it, goddamn it this was just torture. They were full of blood and vacuum sealed it was still drinkable but only just and in a desperate situation.
Which this truly was, that's when I heard a faint rattle of a chain, as if a head was turned towards me disturbing it slightly. I felt eyes watching me as I moved towards the barred wall.
"You took your time! My hallucinations don't usually keep me waitin', damned inconsiderate of you if you ask me!" the voice in the darkness said,
It was weak from lack of use, low and tired sounding, but with a distinct southern twang to it,
"Jasper Whitlock, are you Jasper Whitlock? Peter sent me to find out what happened to you. I'm Bella Swan" I whispered back to him,
Not out of fear, but to save his ears from being bombarded by sound after so long, he laughed humourlessly.
"That's a new one, Peter usually comes himself or with Charlotte. They can never get me free though, do you think you can do any better?" he inquired softly, but with no sense, he was thinking of me being real.
"Oh you can bet your worn cowboy boots, I will" I replied opening the door in the barred wall,
He tilted his head and looked at me, I'm guessing his hallucinations never got this far inside. Glancing around I saw he was chained by his neck and arms but his legs were free. It was a no-win situation, he couldn't break the chains without breaking himself and a vampire with no venom was next to useless. Plus the evil shits had the key to his shackles dangling not ten feet away. When he moved it went further away as it was attached to his chains and it was just another psychological taunt. I really was beginning to hate three of the Cullens, the other's were also their prisoners, but only they were just walking free.
"Jasper, I..., do you know what's in those crates?" I asked changing my question midway,
"Oh yeah, it's blood! Evil little bitch laughed when she told me, found it really funny" he said still in the toneless voice, convinced he was only talking to himself,
"I'm going to feed you, it won't be great, but I can't let you loose until you've fed okay? So are you ready?" I said and he smiled and nodded as if this was all quite normal.
I brought over three flasks and cracked open the first, the smell of blood filled the air and Jasper's eyes turn blacker than they already were. Slowly edging closer to him I straddled his lap, using my shield I pinned his arms down and told him to open wide. He was shaking violently; his mind I could see was warring with itself as he closed his eyes, refusing to believe that this was real, not wanting to be disappointed yet again. Lifting the flask I tipped it into his mouth and his eyes flew open and he saw me, really saw me as he swallowed down the first blood he'd tasted in twenty years, not that he knew how long he'd been there.
It should have tasted rancid, but to him, it was probably more like ambrosia, the nectar of the gods.