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An Alternate Route

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An Alternate Route

I ran a good fifteen minutes before I finally started to focus, I needed blood if I was to come into contact with Bonnie again. I knew if I breathed her in now she'd be dead before the wolves could stop me and then I'd be dead... and while I had nothing left to live for, I would not do that to Charlie.

My father didn't deserve to lose yet another person in his life, it was bad enough that he'd lost his only child. I stood still, rooted to the ground as I listened for something, anything, scenting the air for anything worthwhile to hunt. The first thing I smelled was fresh burning wood and I knew immediately that it was a distance away, because if it wasn't, I'd smell the human that was burning it. I ignored the smell and turned my attention elsewhere.

At first I didn't sense anything and then I heard the clack-clack sounds of antlers hitting other antlers. I turned and followed the direction of the sound, my feet silent on the forest floor as I raced towards my meal.

As I got closer and could truly start to smell the elk I slowed down, and finally when I got close enough to see them, I stopped breathing and watched as the two stags backed up a little and then rammed each other again – likely fighting to win rights to a hind. I curled my upper lip back viciously, what right did either of them have to find love and happiness?

I snarled loudly as I pushed off of the ground, pouncing at the one closest to me. My teeth sank into his jugular a second later and I started to swallow the blood of it. I was so thirsty I couldn't even tell you the flavor of it, it was just blood and it was starting to cool the raging fire in my throat.

Once it was drained, I turned my attention towards the other stag who had dashed deeper into the forest to try and escape me. I followed, seeking the scent that I was now attuned to. Every fiber of my being wanted the stag's blood, wanted to alleviate the pain a little bit more. I could smell the woodsy scent of the animal, a scent similar to crushed pine needles, which wasn't a pleasant scent, but it was what was available and it did promise to alleviate the agony in my throat a little.

I was almost on the creature, just one more jump, when the world tilted on it's axis and another scent hit me much harder. In my running, I'd gotten too close to the fire and I could now smell it, the much more promising scent of ambrosia, of human blood. I turned towards the scent without conscious thought and started heading towards it.

I wasn't going to be able to resist the blood, not this time, and in truth, part of me didn't want to. I started to plan ahead even as I followed the scent. After I killed the human I'd run home, pack a bag of clothes, grab the cash, and go. The wolves wouldn't follow me after I got far enough away, I was sure of that. I'd never be able to come back, at least not in this pack's lifetime, but that was fine, there wasn't anything left for me here anyways. At the moment, there wasn't any reason convincing enough to make me believe I should fight to stay.

I ran until I found a small clearing, or what would have been a clearing if it weren't for the clutter that the humans had left in it. There was a small tent set up and a fire, a man and a woman, hunters I assumed from their outfits of camo pants and hunting vests, were sitting in front of the fire with metal skewers with marshmallows poked onto the ends in their hands being held out over the fire. The scent of his blood was rich, the smell of vanilla and honey, while hers was sweet, nectarine and lavender, and they promised to cure the burning agony in my throat. I wanted them both.

I slipped even closer to them, just barely in the cover of the trees, every sense working on overdrive, I could hear the thump, thump, thump of their hearts, could smell their blood. I could taste the flavors on my tongue even though I hadn't bitten either yet. I took another step forward.

"Don't do this, Beau."

I spun around, looking everywhere for her, for Edythe. I knew her voice so well, and that had been it, but I didn't see her anywhere. I looked around for her again before I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath and tasting the promise of ten seconds of salvation from the pain in my throat yet again. I knew she wasn't here, if she was here I would smell her, and I would sense another predator encroaching on my kill. And these two were mine, consequences be dammed.

My eyes snapped open again, and I let the venom pool in my mouth, a conversation from my human life being briefly remembered, one from so many months ago, when Archie had told me his theory on how humans became vampires:

"As predators, we have a glut of weapons in our arsenal – much, much more than we need for hunting easy prey like humans. Strength, spreed, acute senses, not to mention those of us like Edythe, Jessamine, and me who have extra senses as well. And then, like a carnivorous flower, we are physically attractive to our prey." He had paused for a moment, I couldn't remember fully as to why, though he might have been trying to impress or intimidate me. "We have one more, fairly superfluous weapon. We're also venomous. The venom doesn't kill – it's merely incapacitating. It works slowly, spreading through the bloodstream, so that, once bitten, our prey is in too much physical pain to escape us. Mostly superfluous, as I said. If we're that close, our prey doesn't escape. Of course, unless we want it too."

It might be superfluous, as Archie had said, but he was right about one thing, my prey weren't going to escape. I crouched down, preparing to pounce on the unsuspecting people, planing to bite both so one wouldn't try to escape while I drained the other...

"Remember the letter, Beau." It was Edythe's voice again. I straightened immediately as if someone had shocked me with lightning. "Not this close to Forks."

I finally got it, I was hearing things. I was hearing her in my head and not in real life. I hadn't known that vampires could go mad, but it was the only logical explanation. The letter that had been left behind had made it clear to me that Edythe didn't care about me one iota.

I had no reason to believe she actually cared if I fed on a human. How many times had she even suggested that I try it? Too many times to count. Even if this voice in my head was some form of wish fulfillment on my part, I knew she didn't really care, therefore I had still lost it.

I focused back on my prey, intent to ignore this new development, it was tomorrow's problem. Today's only problem was going to be running away from giant wolves... after I killed my first two humans that was.

"And why do they to deserve to die for your thirst?"

Her voice again, velvet soft, and more annoying than she'd ever been before. As I watched the people in front of me, the woman leaned over and kissed the man. My lip raised in a snarl. "Because they're in love," I muttered under my breath, far too quiet for the humans to hear.

I crouched again. After all, what did her letter matter to me? She'd left me, they all had. What did my promises to myself matter? What did my vows to the wolves matter? What did my decision to be good matter? I was done trying to remember the human in me.

"You are stronger than this side of you. Turn around and leave."

"No. One day one of these two will emotionally crush the other. I'm doing them both a favor and saving them from that pain." My voice wasn't as quiet this time.

The man spun around to check what he heard.

"Beau, don't." Her voice in my head again, a note of begging in it.

"Leave me alone, Edythe," I growled not wanting to feel the guilt, pain, love, betrayal, and more anymore. In my mind I felt a force I was unfamiliar with, it had a strange pull like a rubber band. I stretched it in my head, imagining it shoving away what I didn't want to think about any longer.

Then I dived at the couple in front of me. Even though the man was facing me, I went toward the blond haired woman first, my hand pushing her head to side as I bit her, ripping my mouth away before I even tasted the blood. I shoved her down.

I turned toward the man. In the three seconds he'd had from the time I leaped, he'd managed to spin enough to thrust his poker with the smoldering marshmallow on the end at me, the adrenaline running through his blood and making his heart beat faster, had him moving faster than a human normally was. The smoldering marshmallow touched my arm, blackening my skin where it hit. I hissed, knocking the poker out of the man's hand. Then I sprung on him, biting into his throat.

The first sip of his blood was pure ambrosia. I suspected it was better than sex, not that I'd ever had sex. I kept swallowing as he fought, trying to scrape his nails against me, trying to shove me away, trying to do some form of damage. It didn't do him any good, and about forty seconds later his hands fell away as he passed out from the blood loss. Another thirty seconds later and he was completely drained of blood.

I turned on the woman who was screaming loudly, her shrieks alternating from "bloody murder" to "help me."

"There's no help for you now," I muttered, even though I was quite sure she wouldn't hear me.

I picked her up, biting into her neck again and draining her dry in a matter of a minute. I dropped her to the ground next to the man, then started to walk away but frowned, looking at them. In the back of my mind, I remembered someone, a woman I was relatively sure I'd once loved, telling me that the only rule my kind had was to protect the secret.

I looked around, glancing at the fire in the center of the clearing then walked over to a tree, going around it and using the strength from the meal I'd just had to shove it over. It landed with a loud boom on top of the two bodies, it's branches resting next to the fire. The force of air from the falling tree causing sparks from the fire to leap away, landing on the tent.

I was relatively sure that would take care of anyone finding evidence of what I'd done. I left.

Once I got back to the house I'd been staying at, I went to my room, finding a backpack in my closet as well as sunglasses. I put the sunglasses on, throwing sets of clothes in the bag before going after the money I remembered the letter telling me about. I remembered that the letter had caused me a lot of pain, but I couldn't remember why.

It didn't take all that long to find both caches of cash as well as a box that had been left to me with a bunch of documents. I took all of it and the laptop that I found as well before I headed back to the living room.

I looked at the presents that I remembered had been for me, but I once again couldn't remember why. I mean I knew it had been for my birthday, but I couldn't remember what the big deal had been. I had been one of eight soulless creatures here, and I remembered that we hadn't bothered with the pointless charade with any of the others so I wasn't sure why I had been so special. I just didn't remember. I honestly didn't care to.

I saw the letter under the table and bent down, picking it up. I stuffed it in my pack with everything else. Then I left, racing away from Forks as fast as I could, leaving my past behind the way some part of me knew I should have a long time ago.

Weeks turned to months as I traveled the country, stopping in one town or another every couple of weeks and killing, always killing a couple, never an individual.

In spite of there being no proof of it being a vampire doing the murders, I'd still started to get a name for myself. It had started with a few papers claiming there was a 'Serial Fire Killer' but tonight as I stood in front of a window front store that sold televisions in New Orleans, an article blazed on the news. It appeared they had come up with a new name for me, the new name flashing at the bottom of the tv in big bold letters:

COUPLE FLAMER strikes again

I couldn't help it, I snorted. The name was ridiculous.

I continued on my way, walking through the street with my head down. The one the news was referring to hadn't even been my handiwork. I hadn't killed in two and a half weeks. It was actually why I was in New Orleans. I was looking for my next pair.

I didn't normally kill in cities, but choosing a city kept there from being a pattern that anyone could follow. Aside from always choosing couples, I made sure there was no obvious similarities. I was far smarter than any human serial killers.

I rounded a corner and found two people making out against a wall. I walked past them as if I was nobody, rounding the next corner and then stopping.

It took ten minutes but they finally stopped their gag worthy make out session and started walking off. I followed.

I had my own little set of rules about killing, aside from it always being a pair, I also always made sure they didn't have kids and that they were the only two people wherever I did kill them. No witnesses. No extra collateral damage.

When they entered a small house, I waited on the outside until I could hear their breathing even out, telling me they were both asleep.

I waited another hour just to be sure before I broke into the house. I checked all the rooms, making sure no one else lived there before I entered the couple's bedroom.

Fifteen minutes later I left the house as it started to go up in flames.

I didn't deliberately keep track, but I knew it had been over a year since I'd left Forks behind. Some small part of me vaguely knew that I'd fallen a long ways, the problem was that I didn't care. I didn't even remember how to.

I entered a small store in the town I was currently passing through. The town was Ithaca. I needed to get some new sets of clothes, which was the only reason for the stop. My sunglasses firmly covering my eyes as I went over to the aisles with the clothes for men.

As I started to look through the shirts, someone breathed my name.

"Beau."

I looked up, my eyes widening slightly behind my glasses as I saw Edythe Cullen. I remembered that I'd once loved her, but I couldn't really remember the emotion behind it, couldn't remember why.

"Archie told me you'd be here today, but I was sure it was wishful thinking on his part. After all, what were the odds of you coming to this town? Besides, there's been so many false stops."

"What are you talking about, Edythe?" I asked politely.

"I've been searching for you for months, Beau. I've gotten close many times, but I'm always just a little late. Your always gone by the time I get there."

"Why were you looking for me?" I didn't understand what she was going on about.

"Beau, you have to know, when we left, if Archie had known that you'd lose it like this... then we would have stayed. We thought we were saving you. We didn't know this was going to happen." Her voice was soft, laced with concern that I now knew was false.

"You did save me though. You did me a favor."

"Do you even realize how many people you've killed, Beau?" She sounded almost mystified by my words to her.

"Yes, I have the same photographic memory that any vampire does."

"And yet you're saying we did you a favor, that doesn't make sense. You aren't cruel like this, Beau."

"I'm a predator, Edythe, the same as you and your family. I've just chosen to embrace it."

"Don't you remember that you didn't want to be a monster?" she asked quietly, stepping closer to me.

"I was fooling myself, believing the emotions I'd had as a human were still there. It took awhile after you left, but I finally figured out that it was all fake. It only leaves me with one question though. Why did you pretend with me, when I was human, was it some sort of long hunt for you?"

She didn't respond to me right away, her eyes looked shocked.

"I don't see the appeal myself, but to each their own, I suppose," I continued when she still didn't say anything. "It's alright though. I forgive you."

"I never lied to you about my emotions towards you. At least not until I wrote that letter," she finally said, nodding her head towards my backpack.

So she knew I carried it with me. Her scent had long ago dissipated off the piece of paper, so Archie must have seen me with it in one of his visions.

Her words caused a flash of agony, a small tremor of pain lit up in my mind as the rubber band that I had stretched tight tried to spring away. I shoved at it in my mind. I wasn't going to be fooled by her again. I knew better now. Emotions were fake to our kind.

"No." I said the word quietly, but I could still hear the adamance in my voice. "The only time you told the truth was when you wrote that letter to me. I know that now. And though I don't understand why you kept up your charade with me for so long, it's okay."

"Beau, I don't know what's going on in your head that makes you believe that, but I still very much love you."

I let go of the shirt I hadn't even realized I was holding as I skittered several feet backwards. I shook my head. "No, you don't."

I did not, could not, believe what she was telling me. I knew better.

"Beau..." She took a few steps toward me, stretching her hand out in my direction.

"Don't touch me." I took another step backwards. "If you try it, I'll make a scene and leave you to clean up the collateral damage." I was referring to the humans, of course. There were three of them in the store at the moment, including the cashier.

She dropped her hand, her face momentarily uncertain, before the resolve in her eyes steeled and she pressed forward. "Beau, I can help you."

She reached out her hand towards me, and for half of a moment, I almost let her touch me, almost let her break the wall that I'd built around myself, but I instinctively knew that if I did, I'd fall for her lies again. And I wouldn't survive it when she got tired of her play thing this time around.

I jerked away from her. "I warned you," I hissed.

I grabbed onto the rack beside me, picking it up and throwing it deep into the store before spinning and racing toward the door, dashing outside.

My eyes landed on Archie and Jessamine, standing just a few feet from the door.

"Whichever of you mentally suggested she touch me just made a huge mistake," I advised as I headed away from them.

Jessamine started to dart forward to try and catch me, but I took off at full speed, knowing they wouldn't dare risk the exposure by trying to follow me as there were people out and about in this town.

After that, I headed to Europe, and months turned into years as I traveled. Occasionally, I caught Edythe's scent as I entered a town, though I never ran into the scents of any of the others. I always turned and went the other way.

Thus my life continued until after I had a run-in with three of the Volturi guard, who tried to order me to return to Volterra with them, and then tried to kill me when I refused. It turned out that they're powers were unable to touch me, but they still outmatched me in pure skill and I was sure I was going to die until Edythe showed up, fighting for me even after all that time.

She paid the ultimate price for it too while I managed to just barely get away with my life.

Something inside me broke then and emotions poured out, pain, guilt, loss... It almost incapacitated me permanently until two specific emotions, rage and hatred, took a forefront. I swore to myself that I would find a way to destroy the Volturi for what they did.

Three months later, I found that way.

I met two ancient vampires in Romania and told them of what I was able to do with my mind. I promised them that if they helped me, then I would help them in turn.

They're names were Stefania and Vasilisa.

After the initial plans were spoke of, we hammered out our agreement.

"You will be the perfect tool for us to kill the Volturi. We will gather our friends, those who would like to see a return to the old ways with us and we will storm the castle," Vasilisa said.

"Yes, and in turn for my helping you with the destruction of your oldest enemies in the world you will help me by killing me so I can join my love." It would fulfill my two goals, to get revenge and to die.

Stefania reached out and grabbed my left forearm, making an indication with her head that I should grab her forearm in turn, which I did.

"The deal is struck."