**All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended.**
I was wrenched from the darkness by the dump truck hitting me again, only this time from the side. My entire side caved in. Blood sputtered from my lips and blocked my airway. I was suffocating. Pain, and now suffocation. Where was death? People fight so hard to ward it off, but when you wish for it, it never seems to come.
I was vaguely aware that Victoria was no longer in my field of vision, and I was moving. Green, wet, dirt, cough, choke, blood, agony. Stone… arms?
And… burning? My thigh, my thigh was on fire. It was burning, surely, I was on fire. Napalm, melting, white-hot, charred, my thigh seared. Somehow, it overshadowed the pain from my broken body. Something was burning me. Again... Just like with James, but this time, in my thigh.
Victoria had bitten me, and I had lived. I was in stone arms, a vampire's arms, running. Whoever was carrying me was not sucking the venom out like before. I knew what this meant; I was changing. And it was too late to turn back and embrace the sweet death that Victoria had tried to bring me. My bones crushing under her fingers were nothing. The blows to my face, a feather pillow. The screaming came involuntarily. I needed to scream. Screaming was how I was begging for them to kill me.
All I wanted was to die. To never have been born. The whole of my existence did not outweigh this pain. Wasn't worth living through it for one more heartbeat.
Let me die, let me die, let me die.
And, for a never-ending expanse, that was all there was. Just the fiery torture, and my shrieks, pleading for death to come. Nothing else, not even time. So that made it infinite, with no beginning and no end. One infinite moment of pain.
The crash of a slamming door. Soft sheets underneath me. A pixie-like voice screaming.
"Carlisle! I have her, and she's been bitten! There's so much blood, I don't know if she's burning or dying! I don't know what to do, I can't stop her screaming! Yes, her heart is pounding out of her chest! My God Carlisle, her legs! They're completely crushed! Call me the second you land!"
Somehow, through the blood filling my throat, and my choked screams I managed to bellow "BURNING!"
"Oh! Oh God, Bella, I am so sorry, I know it hurts. I'm here, I'm here I'm not going anywhere I promise. Carlisle is coming as fast as the plane will carry him. GOD DAMN YOU EDWARD!"
My heart still cringed to hear his name, even in my pit of agony. I felt Alice, sweet Alice, laying cold cloths on my skin, to no avail. They did nothing to stop the burning. Her voice and presence alone were keeping me sane.
Eventually, my screams gave way and melted into rhythmic moans. Whatever it was inside me that was bleeding had stopped, and I no longer choked with throatfuls of blood. Suddenly, the crunching of the dried blood in my hair seemed more audible. I could hear birds in the trees outside. I could hear a river… Was… was I at the Cullens'?
Yes, somehow, Alice got to me inside of the wet, stone torture chamber. I was at the Cullens' empty house, my moans and her voice echoed off the empty walls, and Alice was here with me. Was Victoria dead? Where were the other Cullens? Where was… Edward? Where was that horrible camcorder?
She whispered sweet words of comfort to me, that did little to comfort, but nonetheless, I clung to Alice's voice. It was the only thing that was bearable. I felt her dress me, and wash me, all the while my dry throat wracked with painful moans. I felt her pull a brush through my snarled hair.
"She's stopped bleeding now, it's safe. I've burned her clothes. I love you. Carlisle is on his way." The click of a flip phone folding.
She must be speaking to Jasper. Jasper, and Alice, and Carlisle. They were all still real.
I became aware of time. After 24,335 seconds, I heard Carlisle's smooth voice. Some idiotically hopeful part of me wished that somehow his presence would bring relief from this torment, some kind of pain medicine, a hammer to knock me out, chloroform, anything. But I knew there was no relief. Relief would only come once I opened my eyes into immortality. And though I had craved immortality, it was Victoria's bite that was turning me, and I would forever know the reek of her hate was in my veins. It was never supposed to be Victoria. It should have been… him. It always should have been him.
I felt Carlisle's cool fingers taking my vitals. I felt a blood pressure cuff.
"Bella, your change is happening rapidly, and you're doing wonderfully."
"She's getting clearer by the minute. She's going to be stunning." Alice sounded fair more cheerful than the situation warranted.
"She's still terrified; I can feel it in waves. Are you sure she can hear us?" Jasper's voice whispered from somewhere on the other side of the room. "Does she know what's happening?"
How could I not know? I had felt the kiss of this fire before.
"Carlisle, we have to call Edward," Alice interrupted. "He'd want to be here."
My heart pounded even harder.
"Hear that?" Carlisle noted the change in my heart's rhythm. "Yes, she can hear us."
Though I knew my love was painfully unrequited, just the sound of his voice, real and pure, I needed it. I needed to remember why I was involved in this world of agony. I needed to remember why the fires of hell were licking every inch of my broken body. Would he come? Why? I could hear every dial tone as the numbers were pressed. I heard a ring through the receiver as though it were right next to my ear. And then I heard his beautiful voice come through the phone in Alice's hand.
"Edward, you need to get to Forks, NOW. Victoria got to Bella. No, she's changing, can't you hear her moans?"
I was still moaning? Oh, that's right. It came as involuntarily as breathing. I had to stop; I didn't want him to hear me. I clenched my jaw together and sucked gulps of air through my teeth, noticing they were no longer loose. I couldn't let him hear me. I couldn't let him act out of guilt.
"Bella… he's coming to you. He'll here before dawn breaks."
Adding layers to my exquisite pain, the hole in my chest once again gaped. My moans began again, and a different kind of tears now crashed around me.