I was flying on a plane for the first time in my life. I was headed for Brinnon, Washington—I was going to attend the boarding school there.
I sighed as I looked out the window. It was hard to imagine that just eight months ago, my life had been completely normal; perfect, in my opinion. I had two loving parents, Renee and Charlie, a nice home, good grades, a few really great friends...it was amazing. I may not have always thought so, but it was.
You never know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone.
It’s not much longer until they kill me...or worse. Because, believe it or not, death isn’t the worth thing out there. They are the worst thing out there. Truthfully, if I didn’t how much it would kill my parents if I died, I’d do it. I’m not suicidal, I used to love living. Used to. I would still love it...if I wasn’t constantly looking over my shoulder. If I didn’t know there was something worth than death coming around the corner at any minute.
The school is co-ed, with about 500 students. It took a while to convince Renee to let me come; Charlie was okay with it, but Renee was worried about me. I understand; I mean, I had only gotten back from the hospital a few weeks previous. But I had to go; I had to get out of there. I can never let them find me with my family. I will protect those I love, no matter what. I love them, more than my own life.
Renee thought I should see a therapist, but I knew that wouldn’t help. It would only get me a first class ticket to the loony bin, and I’d be no safer from them there than here. It’s not like talking to a therapist would help me any, even if they did believe me.
I’ll be forever scarred because of them. And I know they’re going to finish what they started, one day. Why try to get over it when it’s only going to happen again? I’m a lost cause.
Thus, the reason I look over my shoulder every few minutes, why I jump at every little noise, why anything cold sends me into hysterics, why I automatically run in the opposite direction when I see someone ghostly pale...so many little things set me off. I’ll never be the same, I’ll never be okay.
I stumbled out of the cab to be greeted by a large sign, reading “Heritage Collegiate”. That’s my new school. It’s a large, red and orange brick building. There is a large fence enclosing the campus in, tall hedges covering it on both sides. There are three parts to the building; the west wing, the east wing, and the centre wing. Girls’ dormitories are in the west, boys' in the east. The central building is where the office is, as well as the educational areas and anything else to do with student activities. Renee and I had researched their website long enough to know where most parts of the school were. It really isn’t very big, considering the miniscule number of students attending.
I’m not overly fond of the area, but it’s far enough away from my Renee and Charlie to keep them away, and close enough I could go back if I really had to. It’s also one of the best boarding schools in the area. I’m not looking forward to the rain, or the never ending gloom, but at least it will match what I’m feeling inside.
Charlie wasn’t happy about the fact it’s co-ed, but he didn’t make that big of a deal about it. I’m not comfortable with any males around, besides my dad. I can handle a conversation, and with much effort on my part, I can manage to briefly touch them, but that’s it. Just enough to barely shake a hand or bump arms with them. My best friends Shane and Brett tried to give me a hug when I got back, but I couldn’t even manage that much without a panic attack! My best friends! The look on their faces...they were so hurt...and then I left them to come here. I’ve hurt so many people. They miss me, they wanted me to stay. Everyone did, but I pushed them all away. I have to protect them.
I paid the cab driver, and grabbed my two large suitcases. I insisted that I come here alone; I didn’t want my parents’ scent getting anywhere near here. It took a lot of convincing to tell them ‘this is something I need to do on my own’, but they finally backed down. So, here I am, lugging a heavy suitcase in each hand, the rain pouring upon me as the lightning strikes the ground. My hair is matted, my clothes clinging, and mud is splattered everywhere. At least the rain washes away the tears.
I dragged my baggage down a long cobblestone pathway to the main office. The school is relatively small; a lot smaller than the one I went to in Phoenix. The only reason it looks around the same size is because it has dorms and living areas. Joy, now I get to be surrounded by people all night and day. What fun.
The receptionist smiled happily at me, “Welcome darling! You must be Isabella Swan! It’s so great to meet you; everyone has just been waiting for you to arrive!” the redheaded receptionist exclaimed excitedly.
Great. Now I get to stand out as the new girl, when all I want to do is fade in; blend into the background; fall off the side of the earth...
“I’m Ms. Cope, darling. If you ever need anything, just come and talk to me. Here’s your schedule, and can you please get each of your teachers to sign this slip tomorrow on your first day of classes?” she stated, rather than questioned, “The girls' quarters are in the west wing, we’ve had someone here volunteer to show you around.” She beamed at me. Great.
“Here she comes now! Isabella, this is Jessica, Jessica, this is Isabella.” The receptionist introduced us, motioning from the girl to myself. She had long ash brown hair, and cobalt eyes.
“Hey, Isabella! It’s great you meet you!” she exclaimed eagerly. I fought the urge to roll my eyes. This girl was so fake she may as well of had it written across her forehead. She wasn’t happy to meet me; she was happy to be the first one with the new girl. You could tell by how proudly she held herself, as if this was some great accomplishment that demanded praise. The way she was fixing her hair and reapplying her lip gloss, as if she was expecting to be the centre of attention for her great deed.
“It’s Bella, and it’s great to meet you too.” I told her, lying through my teeth. I just want to be alone, and it’s not great to meet her.
“So, let me show you around!” she smiled, latching her arm through mine and pulling me along. I reminded her about my suitcases, and she huffed, annoyed, waiting for me to carry them. Of course she didn’t bother to offer a hand.
She pointed out all of the classrooms, the cafeteria, the gym, the library, study hall, games room, and swimming pool, before she finally agreed to show me the dorm. I had been growing irritated—I already knew what everything looks like; that’s what their websites for. I just wanted to get to my own room, and block the world out. To cry like there’s no tomorrow, and scream into my pillow until my lungs are ready to bleed...
I was happy I had my room all to myself—that was something I made sure of before I chose this school. I, in no possible way, would ever share a room with someone. Maybe before...but, not now. Not once that happened. Now, I’d rather just be alone.
My personal living quarters are up four flights of stairs. I’m on the top floor of the institution, and this floor is a lot quieter than the others. I am very grateful. The bottom floor has the most girls—one hundred and fifty—but those rooms are shared with four people. The next floor up has one hundred girls, and there’s a mixture between four-girl rooms and two-girl rooms. The third floor has eighty girls, and a mixture of double and single rooms. Finally, the top floor has ten girls, all single rooms. It’s the smallest part of the building because it’s basically where the attic would be, and the roof prevents there from being a large amount of rooms. I love the floor though; the view is amazing, and there are so few people that it’s nicely secluded. I’m very happy for that—the less people, the better.
I have already met a few people today, and that’s more than enough. Jessica showed me off to everyone we met, and it drove me crazy. She acted as though she bought me from a store—“Meet Bella, she’s new here. She moved from Phoenix. –Oh, I know she dresses a little ratty, but I’ll be able to fix her up. Well, Bella and I are off now...” I barely got a word in, unless Jessica wanted me to speak. Not that I wanted to talk to anyone.
She walked me to my door, and waited expectantly for me to let her in. I asked pleadingly if I could have some alone time to unpack, and she left reluctantly, after first forcing me to give her my email.
As soon as she left, I fell on my bed and let out a good cry. I didn’t want to be here. Not now, not ever. But it was my only option.
I had unpacked all of my belongings and placed them throughout my room. The clothes I packed looked scanty in my closet, but I could care less. I had bigger problems to worry about. The wall behind my bed was plastered in pictures of home, looking like one big scrapbook page. I spent hours decorating it, and I loved it. I had made my bed in the new sheets mom bought me, arranged my books on my bookshelf, got together all my school supplies, and did anything else I could think of to do. Finally, I got out the computer my parents had bought me before I left—a lime green dell inspiron—and hooked it up. It booted up quickly, and I soon found myself adding Jessica to msn. I know she’d rag on me for hours if I didn’t.
I soon wished I hadn’t done that. It seemed that instantly after I added her to my list, half the kids in the school were sending me requests to add them as well. Great. With a school this small, of course the new kid coming would be the biggest thing to talk about. Why had I chosen such a small school?!
I shut down messenger, telling Jessica I wanted to sleep, and ignoring all the people waiting for me to accept them to my msn list. I could care less if they want to talk to me.
I emailed Renee and Charlie, then grabbed my toiletries and headed to the bathroom down the hall to get ready for bed.
Tomorrow was going to be a long day.
My alarm started bleeping at 6:00, but I was already awake. It’s hard to sleep when nightmares are plaguing your dreams. I french braided my long chestnut brown hair, made my bed, and replied to the email Renee sent me last night, before heading to the bathroom. It was 5:30; the bathroom was sure to be empty—just the way I liked it.
It had five stalls in it and five showers, as well as five sinks, and a long mirror that went over the width of the wall above the countertops. I suppose they thought girls could take turns using the bathroom, but I’m sure it gets busy around the time to get ready for class. So perhaps my nightmares aren’t as bad as I thought, if they can keep me away from the crowds of people.
I had showered in the dingy shower stall last night, and I wasn’t looking forward to doing it again tonight—the only temperature they seem to have is cold. Although, maybe someone used all the hot water up before I got in. I can hope that, at least.
I washed my face and brushed my teeth, then went back to my room. It wasn’t even six yet. I opened up my closest and put on a pair of black dress pants, and then a white blouse and green vest, with the school emblem on it. I would say that a uniform school makes getting dressed in the morning quicker, but I hadn’t really bothered to spend time picking out clothes before, anyways.
The school colors are black, green, gold and white. Truthfully, the clothes look really nice. Renee ordered them for me off their website before I came, and she was quite proud to see me looking so ‘put together’—even if that did mean I was going to have to leave her.
I sighed at my image in the mirror; I was so horribly plain and boring. I was extremely, sickly thin, I had little color, and my eyes had dark circle beneath them. On the flip side, the less appealing I look, the less attention I’ll get. I’ll take looking horrible any day.
It was still just ten after six. I went back to my computer, and decided to look at the news.
‘No new leads on those who kidnapped the 17-year-old Phoenix junior. Police are losing hope.’ One title read. This article was in the Phoenix paper, but I didn’t bother to open it. They all say the same thing. There are no finger prints, no DNA, no matches to the description I gave them, nothing. They’ve been looking for them ever since I was found a month ago, but they’re just as clueless now as they were then.
They’re not going to find them. These people...James, Laurent...they’re not like us. They’re stronger than anything I’ve ever seen before; they could pick up a loaded bus filled with people in one hand... (and then kill them all in a matter of minutes), they are so incredibly fast that they could fly past race cars in what they would call a ‘light jog’, they don’t need to sleep, they don’t get tired, they feed off people...and worst of all, they’re indestructible. Nothing can hurt them. As if any police officer could stop them.
If they want me back, which I have no doubt in my mind they do, then they'll get me back. They won't be so kind as to just let me alone, let me be free. They'll find me, they'll take me back to them. It would take little to no effort. Which is why, instead of worrying, I should be trying to enjoy my day, as I don’t have many left.
If they come back...well, I won’t be alive for them to torture me anymore. I’ll find a way to kill myself, and I’ll be free. It’s always good to have a backup plan.
It was nearing 6:30, so I turned off the computer and grabbed my book bag, hoping to get some breakfast before anyone else made it down. It’s served at 7:00, but I know they have fruit out all throughout the day. I’ll grab an apple and then rest outside for awhile until class starts.
Like I expected, the cafeteria was empty, and there was a large bowl of fruit sitting by one of the cafeteria doors. I took an apple, and then left through the corridors out past the main office into the refreshing early morning air.
I took a deep breath, and reminded myself to be positive today. ‘It’s not like anyone’s going to bite me’, I told myself, trying to find comfort in starting out as the new girl in this school—unfortunately, the words I chose to reassure myself only sent me back into bitter flashbacks.
“Bite her!” James yelled at me. I stared at the poor lady on the floor, not a day older than thirty five. James was holding her down, and wanted to see if I was able to pierce the skin. If I were able to drink her blood. They had just fed, and they were completely satiated.
Laurent shoved me towards the trembling lady, and I, too, trembled with her. Laurent grabbed my head and forced my face into her wrist. I wouldn’t bite her though, I couldn’t. I couldn’t take a human life like that! I couldn’t kill her! I would never do that!
I vehemently refused, but then James twisted my leg back in rage. I was writhing in pain, and tears were falling down my cheeks. I felt his hands bruising my skin, my leg breaking...
And I did it. I bit her...but I couldn’t break the skin. “Bite harder!” Laurent yelled, but I couldn’t. I had no more strength. The pain in my leg was killing me, and I knew there had to be a bone fractured there, but James wouldn’t loosen his hold. I bit harder, and harder, but it left nothing.
“STOP! STOP! Please!!” The lady called, so desperately. I cried with her, as I tormented her. I was a monster. I should just let them torment me! Maybe they would finally kill me, and I could be free from pain and all their torment!
Laurent, aggravated that it was taking so long, gave up, saying my teeth weren’t sharp enough to break the skin. He leaned forwards and sank his razor sharp teeth into the lady’s skin. “Now, drink!” he demanded me, licking his lips of the blood he thought tasted good.
I cried and cried, stubbornly refusing, but as I felt another crack in my leg from James, I did it. I leaned forwards, straddled the bite mark with my mouth, and drank.
The venom in the blood numbed my mouth, and I was no longer able to taste the salt and copper liquid. I tried to force my mind into other thoughts, blocking what I was doing from my mind. I could feel the liquid dripping into my mouth, I could feel myself sucking it down, but I didn’t want to. It was too painful.
My mouth soon became too numb for me to even drink it down, and James slammed Laurent into the wall, saying, “Why the hell didn’t you use a knife?! You know our venom numbs humans!” he hissed.
“Sorry! I forgot!” Laurent cried.
“You forgot?! You’re a vampire! How could you forget?!” James scowled incredulously.
“I may be able to think about a lot of things at a time, but that doesn’t mean I’m able to thoroughly think through every option and thought in a snap second!” Laurent hissed, and slammed James into the wall.
“Fine. Listen, man, are you still thirsty? Because she’s not going to be good for much longer.” James asked, gesturing towards the lady, still screaming in pain, “It’s burning! It’s burning!”
“No, I’m full. Let’s just kill her and go.” Laurent said, shrugging.
James and Laurent went towards the lady, crushing her bones and watching the blood bleed all over the floor. In mere seconds, her body was a crumpled heap on the floor.
“Man, it seems like such a waste to leave perfectly good blood like that...” Laurent trailed off.
“Yeah, but there’s not much you can do when you’re too full to stomach anything more.” James replied, turning to point a wicked smile at me.
“Come on hon, now that you’re fed, let’s take you home. Laurent and I are feeling a little jacked up tonight...”
I shivered at the memory. ‘It’s in the past, it’s in the past...you’re safe here. They’re not around. You’re safe, Bella, you’re safe...’ I chanted to myself over and over again.
I had been too lost in my thoughts to realize that time had passed, and it was already a quarter to eight. I got up from the old, battered bench and walked back to the central building. I had English with Mr. Mason first.
I made it to class in time, as I tried to avoid the stares of the other students. I asked Mr. Mason to sign my slip, and he did, and then gestured for me to take a spot at a desk in the back row.
The students watched me unabashed from their seats, craning their necks to get a good look at me, even though I was in the back row. I sighed, and avoided their gazes. There was still five minutes until class actually started—I have to remember to come later next time.
I rolled my eyes as I saw the girls pile in; their black pants were tight, form fitting yoga pants or black skinny jeans—against dress code, but it seems no one pays any attention. A fair number of the girls were wearing their black and green kilts—rolled up so high that you could see their underwear if they bent over just a little bit. I guess they can’t get busted for wearing their kilts so short when everyone else is doing it. I have a kilt in my closet in my dorm, but I refuse to wear it. I told that to Renee when she insisted on ordering it for me, but she didn’t listen. ‘Nonsense, every girl will have a skirt...er...kilt to wear.’ She told me. She was right, but that doesn’t mean I was going to be one of those girls wearing one.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the bell rang. I looked around the room, cringing as I noticed how pale most of the students were. On one hand, it was good, because I could blend in. One another, it wasn’t good, because it looked too much like them. At least it seemed to be the only trait they shared with them.
Mr. Mason began to teach, and he droned on and on. Most of the books they had done in this class I had already read, so that was good. At least this will be one class I won’t have a huge amount of work to catch up on.
Ironically, we were reading Wuthering Heights in class today. I smiled a huge smile, the first genuine smile I actually had in this school. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.
I pulled out the copy I happened to have on hand with me—tattered and torn, with pages falling out—and went to the page they were on. I had read it so many times I practically had it memorized, so it was easy to know what was going on.
We were told to do a one page write up on the current chapter, due tomorrow. We were to discuss our feelings on Catherine, Edgar, and Heathcliff, and then compare it to the novel they studied earlier in the year—Romeo and Juliet. I smiled happily, glad I could do work on something I loved.
As class ended, a boy who looked to be around 6’3” came up to me. He had greasy black hair, brown eyes, a poor complexion, and skin problems. His uniform hung off his lanky figure, and I could tell he hadn’t bothered to brush his teeth this morning.
“Hey, I’m Eric Yorkie, you must be Isabella Swan!” he exclaimed, holding his hand out eagerly. I took it, giving it a quick shake, and then dropping it like the sixth plague. It wasn’t because I was scared this time, but for normal reasons—this time being his lacking personal hygiene.
He wasn’t scary looking, not like Shane and Brett back home—they were tall and muscular, footballers. We had been friends since grade school, and knew everything about each other. Yet, their obvious physical power frightened me. Maybe I’ll be safe with gangling boys such as this.
“It’s Bella.” I corrected him with a vague smile. He returned it powerfully, and of course, all the students in hearing range turned around to stare at me.
“Where’s your next class?” He asked me; he seemed like the over helpful, chess club type.
“Government with Jefferson.” I told him, after first checking my schedule. My voice came out hesitant and awkward, though, as I realized all eyes were on me. I immediately looked back down away from everyone, slouching forward in my chair.
“My class is just two classes away from yours; I can show you the way,” he stated, half as a question, half as an instruction.
“Sure, thanks.” I told him, smiling tentatively.
We walked down the hallway together, and he asked me various questions about Phoenix, my family, and my old school.
As we walked, I swear the people behind us were walking just close enough to ease drop, but I shook off the thought, afraid I was becoming paranoid. Bella, you’re safe here. They haven’t found you—yet. Just relax. I coaxed myself.
Eric walked me to the door, and I fought the urge to roll my eyes; the door was clearly marked, I didn’t need assistance. “Thanks, Eric.” I told him half-heartedly.
“It was my pleasure, Bella. Well, I should get to class, maybe we’ll have another subject together!” He stated excitedly.
“Maybe,” I told him, ambiguously, as I walked through the classroom door.
Mr. Jefferson signed my slip, and I went to take a seat near the back. There was a boy sitting there, and he gestured for me to sit next to him in the empty seat. I recognized his pale blue eyes, blond hair and baby face from my English class— he was one of the kids staring at me. He’s altogether not too bad looking, but I’m not interested in guys. Not anymore.
He talked to me endlessly about school, sports, family—everything and anything. It was the most boring conversation I’ve ever had with someone—not including Jessica—and extremely one-sided. At least it only required a little attention to keep him happy.
It seemed like an eternity before class finally ended, and I planned on bolting out of the class before Mike could offer to walk me to my next class. I wasn’t quick enough, however, and I reluctantly let him lead me. At least he was more hygienic than the last guy.
I walked into Trigonometry, and lucky me, Jessica was there watching me excitedly.
“Bella! Isn’t this great?! We have the same class!” She giggled, smiling hugely at me.
“Uh, yeah, it is.” I lied.
“So, how was your first night here? It’s too bad you have to be on the top floor—it’s so quiet up there; nothing exciting ever happens. What did you think of the showers? They suck, right? Did you like the food? And how come I didn’t see you at breakfast? Oh! And who else have you met today? How were your first two classes like...” she droned on and on endlessly, not giving me enough time to answer a question before she asked a new one. Somehow, I don’t think she wanted an answer—she just wanted to hear her own voice,
“Class, quiet! I want you to meet our new student. Miss Swan, please, come up here and introduce yourself to the class.” Mr. Varner declared, pointing his eyes at me. The class followed, and I blushed beet red. If it wasn’t enough that I hated him for the subject he taught, but he was the only teacher that actually made me introduce myself to the class.
I walked to the front of the classroom, “Hi, I’m Bella. I’m from Phoenix.” I told them quickly, stammering and blushing the whole way, before practically running back to my seat...not before first tripping over one of the girl’s bags. She began to giggle quietly, but I silenced her with a glare.
I dropped back into my seat, and pulled my now wavy hair out of the braids—covering my face.
The class dragged on and on, and soon enough I was in Spanish—also with Jessica.
It was nearing twelve o’clock, and, luckily, lunch time. I let Jessica walk me to the cafeteria line—where food is free of charge, due to this being a boarding school—and then I left. I told her I had a head ache and was going to go outside and try to let the fresh air clear my mind.
So, that’s what I did. I didn’t have a headache, though; I just can only stand being around people for so long. I began chewing my sandwich as I pulled out a piece of loose leaf, and then put it on my binder to write on. I decided to start my English paper, as I had math work I would have to be spending a while on after school.
I put in my iPod and tuned out the world, letting Debussy carry me away as I wrote about my two favourite classical books of all time. This beats lunch with a cafeteria full of rowdy, pushy, gossiping, sweaty teenagers any day.
I checked my watch, and realized I only had three minutes until class started. I jumped off the bench and ran into the school, heading to Biology. I made it just in time. Mr. Banner pointed out the only empty seat left for me, near the back of the room at a lab table. I looked down at my English binder, trying to put the paper away as I walked to my seat; I hadn’t had time to put it away earlier.
I got to my seat, and placed my bag next to the stool. Then I froze. The boy next to me was pale, but not an ordinary pale. This was different, an ashen, pallid, colourless white...a pale I had only seen once before. His features were inhumanly beautiful, and I could sense his beautiful scent from where I was standing. He whipped his head around to look at me, and I saw his eyes turn a pitch black color as he glared at me. I knew that color. I knew what it meant. I knew what he was.
My binder fell from my hands, smashing the flask on the table into a million tiny, fragile pieces. The last thing I saw was a blur of color as I fell to the floor—then blackness.