“What Happens in La Push, Stays in La Push”
The night dawned upon the reservation. A full moon hangs in-between the clouds, illuminating the quiet streets. The trees swayed together in the light breeze and softly clashing against window sills. The air thumped silently, as the street lights flickered slightly. The woods were silent and still—abnormally so. Small animals are nowhere to be seen, and not even the songs of crickets were to be heard. The night grew darker, the shadows aching with hunger and captivity.
A predator lurked nearby.
The only people who were awake at these hours were the two janitors, Mr. Cly and Mr. Denton, at La Push Highschool. The hallways only filled with the steady noise of a broom brushing against the tiled floors and the occasional vacuum in the classrooms. Old school music blasting through Denton’s ears, tuned out from his surroundings.
Until a loud clatter echoes throughout the school. Denton snatches his headphones off and his head whips around, trying to search through the dim lighting. The lights flickered vigorously, the buzzing making his heart pound.
“Yo, Denton! You heard that?”
He jumps at Cly’s voice coming from the radio transmitter. “Dammit, Cly, you scared the shit out of me! Yeah, I heard it. Where did it come from?”
“Sounds like it came from the back entrance. I’m heading back there right now. Intruder, maybe?”
Denton shakes his head, resuming back to sweeping. “Why? So they can steal the non-existent MacBooks from the computer lab?” He chuckles to himself, waiting for Cly to join him. But only a chilling silence replied back.
The middle-aged man pulls the radio closer to him with a serious tone edge to his voice. “Cly? You there?” Silence.
Like a crackle of lightning in thunderous clouds, another crash erupted—too much closer this time. Denton lets go of the broom as he starts to back up slowly, his eyes stuck on the darkness gathering at the end of the hallway. Sweat gathers at his temples while his shaky hands lose the grip of the radio.
Suddenly the radio fills the mind numbing silence. Panic shaking in Cly’s voice. “GET OUT OF HERE! NOW—”
Hearing nothing but the blood rushing to his ears, mixing in with his feet pounding into the floors. Sinister growls crept through the school, along with the bloodcurdling scream of his co-worker. He heaved out breaths, seeing the light of the moon peering into the front entrance doors. Nails that sounded like knives scraping against the floor charged behind him. A lion hunting its antelope. He was so close to his escape.
But no one escapes from the beast.
Jacob Black has done many, many stupid things because of his heart.
When Embry Call stressed for weeks about the upcoming biology test during freshman year, fourteen-year-old Jacob decided it was a great idea to release crickets into the school so his best friend could have one more day to study. A year later when fresh-meat Seth Clearwater was getting shoved inside of lockers by upperclassmen, Jacob didn’t hesitate to pour spoiled milk in the bullies’ lockers (the smell never came out). And only a few months ago, his sister, Rachel Black, was suffering from a breakup, and the only thing that would make her laugh is if he sang a Brittany Spears song (loudly off key) in the middle of the cafeteria.
It was simple logic: you should do anything to make the people you love smile for a little bit longer.
Even if it meant cutting your hair.
“Guys… I’m starting to regret this,” Jacob breathes out.
There was no backing out now as the small crowd of guys shoved him down into the leather chair. Their teasing and excited laughter rang in his ears, making his nerves rise. He tried to let his thoughts linger on the way his long strands brushed against the nape of his neck and the end of his shoulders. But the thought of looking horrendous with a haircut was starting to pound like an unshakable headache.
“Sam, please!” Jacob starts to panic as the buzzing sound of a shaver and the snipping of sharp scissors. Sam stands in front of him with his utensils in each hand with a smirk on his face.
“C’mon, Jake, don’t you want to impress Bella Swan tomorrow?” He cooes.
Of course, this entire fuss was about a girl. Admittedly, the opposite sex has been Jacob’s weakness ever since Tyra Wallace kissed him during a sneaky game of spin the bottle in 6th grade. He didn’t know exactly why Bella Swan caught his eye; her skin was paler than anyone on the reservation, she’s the only person that could trip over air, and the brunette never showed much interest in sixteen year old Jacob Black. So what was the point in going to drastic changes?
“It’s gonna be fuckin’ hilarious when she rejects you after you cut her hair,” Paul snorts.
Jacob side-eyes him. “Do me a favor, Paul, and shut the hell up.”
Jared waves away the tension, leaning over the chair with encouragement flooding in his tone. “Don’t overthink it. You’re going to look great…”
“Thank you, Jared.”
“….unless Sam makes you bald.”
Sam shushes him, turning the chair around. Sam’s living room floor groaned in reaction. “Don’t worry, Lil’ Black. Big Daddy Sam gotchu.”
Quil snorts in the back, a questionable magazine in his hands. “And who the hell calls you that !”
“Yo’ mama last night,” Sam deadpans. The garage erupts in laughter, Embry hollering th louder which earned a hard smack from Quil.
The warm feeling spreading through Jacob’s chest almost made him forget about the sudden tugging at his hair. He tensed as he heard the first snip. The fallen loc of hair felt like weights hitting the dusty floor. A new breeze hits his bare shoulders and the nape of his neck. It felt as if an eraser danced on the story of his life, wiping away his identity and making room for a new chapter. When he was finally handed a mirror, a smile slowly spread across his face as he started to anticipate a new path.
Leah Clearwater wasn’t the type of person to dive in heart first, but insisted on using logistics and her head. That’s why she wasn’t known to trip over her own two feet to get a boy’s attention or to become desperate on making friends in the highschool cafeteria. If she wanted something, then she would go get it—without making a fool out of herself whilst leading with her feelings. However, tonight was different. Her hands were sweaty and the swarm of butterflies in her stomach wouldn’t fade. The lacy black underwear stared back at her with a sharpness. It still smelled like the store in Port Ángeles.
“Leah, calm down. The world won’t implode if you were lingerie,” Rachel teases.
“It might !” Leah throws her hands in the air dramatically. Her feet continue to pace the floors of the bedroom, the carpet starting to make a trail. “This plan is ridiculous! I don’t know why I let you talk me into this.”
“You let me talk you into this because you know you needed my help,” Rachel states matter-of-factly. “And it’s not even that big of a deal. I know some people on our cheer team are known to do worse to get someone’s attention.”
“ This isn’t worse?!” Leah shrieks, finally plopping down on the bottom bed of the bunk bed. She tries to ignore the thin fabric of the Lacey panties brushing against her thigh.
Rachel sighs and grabs the panties, pushing it close to Leah’s face. “All you have to do is place these nice little panties into his locker before school starts. And Sam Uley will never be able to keep his hands off of you.”
The thought was intriguing, of course, but also downright stupid. But that didn’t stop the smile creeping on Leah’s lips. She’s been thinking of ways to ask her boyfriend to have sex for the first time without sounding stupid or boring.
Before Leah could say anything, a groan rumbled from above. Rebecca Black peeks from her bed, looking down at the two startled girls. Her dyed brown hair falling over her groggy expression, hiding the drool on the side of her face.
“If you’re gonna fuck him, please get it over with. I need my beauty sleep.”
Leah threw a pillow at her face, flipping her off at the same time. “Go back to hibernating, you witch.”
Becca stuck out her tongue, turning over with the extra pillow as she mumbles. “I don’t know why you’re taking advice from the other virgin that no doubt took this idea from an article made by bored, wine sippin’ housewives.”
Leah narrows her eyes to Rachel, who wore a guilty expression. “Did you get this from google?”
The morning sun barely peaked. Birds began their songs and slowly the reservation awakened. Jacob enters the kitchen, unable to stop his fingers running through his newly cut hair. His hair was parted in the front and mid-length with straight hair on both sides. It was combined with a fade on the sides and the back. He looked like he walked out of 90’s teen heartthrob magazine, but he couldn’t bring himself to hate it.
“Oh for fuck’s sake, what happened to you?”
He jumped out his skin, placing his hand on his chest. “ Jesus Christ, Leah ! The hell are you doing creeping around like that?” Although, he should’ve taken notice of the disarray of blankets across the couch and the television on mute. There was no surprise to the fact Leah has claimed their couch for the past few years, especially after a night of shenanigans with the twins.
Her eyebrows shot up, her arms crossed over her black tank top. “And what the hell are you doing here without ten more inches of hair?”
Jacob simply shrugged, passing her to get to the kitchen. “Just wanted a different look, s’all.”
“You’re a terrible liar, Jacob Black.”
He paused, opening the fridge. His eyes squint in suspicion, a teasing smile playing on his lips. “So, how was your trip to Victoria Secret today?”
It usually takes a lot to break through Leah’s mask of hardiness and structure, but it seems as though only the Black family could find loopholes. And that’s why her jaw was dropped and her eyes bugged out.
“It—it was fine, I guess,” she stammered.
Jacob hummed, pulling out cold pizza wrapped in tin foil. “Have something special planned?”
Leah gathered herself up and sneered, “Maybe you’ll find out when your balls finally drop.”
“For Sam Uley, perhaps?” He continued with a teasing smile playing on his lips. She bumped him harshly out of the way in response whilst grabbing a carton of orange juice.
Leah gestured to his cropped hair with the cartoon, mirroring his goofy smile. “For Bella Swan, perhaps?”
Jacob’s smile drops, earning a humorous laugh in return.
It was a dynamic that both teenagers have grown accustomed to, too. Ever since six-year-old Leah kicked five-year-old Jacob off the swings, and him putting a live worm in her hair in retaliation. Insults would be exchanged, something being thrown, and an occasional chokehold. Outsiders looking in would claim the two hated each other’s guts and can never get along. However, they had a silent agreement that they considered each other family (but they wouldn’t dare say it outloud).
As Jacob plans breakfast, he freezes and curses under his breath. “Shit! We don’t have any eggs.”
Leah was already preparing cereal, shaking the contents inside the box. “Then fix something else.”
“No, no… Rachel eats egg sandwiches for lunch, Dad needs to keep up his protein, and Becca is getting into that thing where you drink the fucking egg—I don’t know but I need to go to the market to get a few dozens.” His words ran into each other as a jacket was already hung over his raggedy t-shirt.
Leah watches him scramble into his room. Him falling trying to put on a pair of jeans, and accidentally putting tennis shoes on the wrong feet. It was a weird sight to see Jacob Black so frantic and worrisome. And Leah quickly realizes that only his family had the power to do so.
Sarah Black was the glue that held this family together. So when she died in a tragic car accident four-years-ago, the youngest instinctively took her place. No one asked him to, it was simply who Jacob was. Protective, caring. He didn’t care about missing after school activities so to take care of his disabled father or to help his sisters. Although it was honorable, it made Leah frown at everyone who allowed a twelve-year-old kid to take care of a household. And that’s when she started to make camp on their couch every weekend.
Leah sighed, putting away her cereal. “Jacob, the market is ten minutes away. Twenty if you’re walking. And you don’t have a license.”
“I’ve driven before.”
“Congratulations, you didn’t get arrested— yet. C’mon I’ll drive.” Leah held out her hand for the keys to Billy’s truck. Jacob looked at her suspiciously, twirling the keys with his fingers. He wondered what the ulterior motive was. He remembers all the time Leah has tricked him with kindness and it usually ended up in sticky situations. But the soft look in her eyes and the small twitch in the corner of her lips, attempting a small smile, told him otherwise.
They were soon stuck in the truck together, with three dozens of eggs and an extra loaf of bread. Leah chewed on a KitKat as she drove back to the Black residence. The streets were empty around this hour and only nature was awake with them.
Jacob raises a brow towards her. “Y’know it’s bad to eat chocolate in the morning. Especially if you haven’t eaten anything. Causes stomach aches.”
“Thank you for enlightening me on my digestive system, Dr. Dickhead.”
He says nothing but smiles. Leah glances at him, and a smile surfaces on her lips as well.
“You don’t need to cut your hair to impress her.”
Jacob couldn’t suppress the groan as he sank in the passenger seat. “Do we have to talk about this?”
She ignores him. “Why did you do it?”
“I—I don’t know… I just thought that if… I changed a little bit then she wouldn’t just see me as the little kid from Rez.” He admits, sheepishly. A hint of pink flashes underneath his russet brown cheeks.
Leah shifts uncomfortably at his sudden vulnerable state. She balls up the empty KitKat wrapper, burying it in her back pocket. Clearing her throat, she tried to think of something comforting.
“Well.. uhh… you know…” Leah mumbles. She found herself tempted to tuck and roll out of the car. “If she doesn’t like you for you, then… screw Bella!” Nailed it.
Jacob scrunched his brows together, seeing accomplishment in Leah’s face as if she showed Mommy and Daddy her stellar report card. He burst into laughter, his shoulders shaking and tears gathering in the corner of his eyes.
“Don’t mention it,” she breathes out. Jacob almost mentions Sam when they start to pass the high school, but catching a glimpse of the front entrance doors, he yells out. Leah slammed on the breaks in surprise, expecting to see a deer running out in the streets. She looked at Jacob with wild eyes, ready to backhand him for scaring her. But the confusion written on his features made her pause.
“What? What is it?”
Jacob nodded towards the school. The doors were nearly off its hinges, and broken glass was splattered across the concrete.
“Holy shit!” Leah made a sharp turn into the empty parking lot, and hopped out of the car with Jacob on her tails. He grabbed her arm, spinning her towards him.
“Are you out of your mind? What if someone broke in? You can’t—”
Leah leaned her body away from his grip, her voice an octave higher. “What if someone is in there that needs help?”
“Well, Sherlock Holmes, even so, it won’t be any good if we charge in there like the police and we end up getting shot, too !”
She snatches her arm away, and charges to the building. Dramatically, Jacob throws his arms in the air and mumbles something about ‘this is how people die in scary movies’, but follows her; he always ends up following her.
With each step towards the entrance door, they felt an eerie chill creep on the back of their necks. Broken glass crunching underneath the soles of their shoes warns them to keep out, that the danger they seek isn’t worth it. But they trudge on. They only freeze when the smell of iron hits their noses. Their chest tightens as the hesitation seeps in.
Leah’s voice is shaky as she speaks in a small voice. “It smells like…”
Jacob swallows harshly. “Blood.”
Fear quickens their hearts, when they take a step inside. The sight of a body laid across the floor, making them gasp. The lights were off, and the small bits of morning light glazed over the janitor uniform.
“Oh my god, sir! Are you okay?” Leah picks up her pace as Jacob takes out his phone, prepared to call nine-one-one.
“Hold on, I’m gonna call Char….” He trails off, following the trail of blood. The dark red color mixed with the navy blue uniform, and into the open wound. His guts were exposed, intestines falling from the sides. Bite marks on his skin and long claw marks scattered on his body.
“Oh my god…” Jacob choked out, his phone slipping out of his hands and falling into the pool of blood. Leah caught his gaze and smacked a hand over her mouth. Bile rising in her throat.
It didn’t seem right.
How dare the sun shine beautifully through the evergreen trees, and the birds chirp happily in their nest. The way a warm breeze licked their skin was a mockery to the way they couldn’t get rid of the chills down their spine. The police sirens and flashing lights didn’t mix with the sunny, cheerful morning. It was disgusting and offensive.
Jacob didn’t know what to feel. Angry? Repulsed? Sad? Maybe he felt everything. Flashes of the bloodied and… eaten man raced through his mind like a terrible movie. He wishes he had never seen it. He wishes he threw Leah back into the car. He wishes for everything.
He looks down at his phone, covered in another man's blood. He quickly pushes back the bile in his throat.
Leah shakes slightly next to him as they both lean against the truck. She tries not to think about the blood underneath their shoes. And she tries to not think about the blank look in the man’s eyes.
Death never seemed as real as it did today. Growing up, she heard stories of the dead joining the ancestors with a peaceful rest. She figured she would die from old age, or maybe from honor. But now she know she can end up like Mr. Denton. A cold, ruthless, and vile death.
The two haven’t said a word since calling the police. Both bathing in the silence and sobs. There weren’t the rights that can make this painful memory go away, and the most fearful realization was living with it.
Charlie Swan approached them with his hand resting on his gun holster. As if he was on alert for any more surprises. He tried to mask his fear, but there was no masking a situation like this.
“You two… are you okay?”
They didn’t answer. But the terror in their eyes, and the trembling of their lips told him everything. He was quickly reminded that these were the same children that he babysat when Billy and Sarah Black or Harry and Sue Clearwater used to go on date night. It broke his heart knowing they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Listen, nothing is going to happen to you,” Charlie reassured with his parental voice instead of the Chief of Police. “You both are going to go home, get some rest. No school today, okay?”
They both nodded blankly in response.
“But do not , I repeat do not, mention this to anyone. Not even your parents. Do I make myself clear?” His voice is authoritative, pulling them out of their catatonic state.
When Leah couldn’t speak, Jacob whispered, “Yes, sir…”
Charlie nods, looking back at the yellow tape and the flashing of blue and red lights. “What happens here, stays here.”