BOOK THREE: BELLA
Personal affection is a luxury you can have only after all your enemies are eliminated. Until then, everyone you love is a hostage, sapping your courage and corrupting your judgment.
Orson Scott Card
No longer just a nightmare, the line of black advanced on us through the icy mist stirred up by their feet.
We’re going to die, I thought in panic. I was desperate for the precious one I guarded, but even to think of that was a lapse in attention I could not afford.
They ghosted closer, their dark robes billowing slightly with the movement. I saw their hands curl into bone-colored claws. They drifted apart, angling to come at us from all sides. We were outnumbered. It was over.
And then, like a burst of light from a flash, the whole scene was different. Yet nothing changed – the Volturi still stalked toward us, poised to kill. All that really changed was how the picture looked to me. Suddenly, I was hungry for it. I wanted them to charge. The panic changed to bloodlust as I crouched forward, a smile on my face, and a growl ripped through my bared teeth.
The pain was bewildering.
Exactly that – I was bewildered. I couldn’t understand, couldn’t make sense of what was happening.
My body tried to reject the pain, and I was sucked again and again into a blackness that cut out whole seconds or maybe even minutes of the agony, making it that much harder to keep up with reality.
I tried to separate them.
Non-reality was black, and it didn’t hurt so much.
Reality was red, and it felt like I was being sawed in half, hit by a bus, punched by a prize fighter, trampled by bulls, and submerged in acid, all at the same time.
Reality was feeling my body twist and flip when I couldn’t possibly move because of the pain.
Reality was knowing there was something so much more important than
all this torture, and not being able to remember what it was.
Reality had come on so fast.
One moment, everything was as it should have been. Surrounded by people I loved. Smiles. Somehow, unlikely as it was, it seemed like I was about to get everything I’d been fighting for.
And then one tiny, inconsequential thing had gone wrong.
I’d watched as my cup tilted, dark blood spilling out and staining the perfect white, and I’d lurched toward the accident reflexively. I’d seen the other, faster hands, but my body had continued to reach, to stretch. . . .
Inside me, something had yanked the opposite direction.
Ripping. Breaking. Agony.
The darkness had taken over, and then washed away to a wave of torture. I couldn’t breathe – I had drowned once before, and this was different; it was too hot in my throat.
Pieces of me shattering, snapping, slicing apart. . . .
Voices, this time, shouting, as the pain came back.
“The placenta must have detached!”
Something sharper than knives ripped through me – the words, making sense in spite of the other tortures. Detached placenta – I knew what that meant. It meant that my baby was dying inside me.
“Get him out!” I screamed to Edward. Why hadn’t he done it yet? “He can’t breathe! Do it now!”
“The morphine – “
He wanted to wait, to give me painkillers, while our baby was dying?!
“No! Now – ,” I choked, unable to finish.
Black spots covered the light in the room as a cold point of new pain stabbed icily into my stomach.