It had been difficult to say goodbye to them all, so I hadn’t. I had told them I would be back soon. I had seen the doubt in their eyes. Edward hadn’t even turned around.

I had gotten into the hospital easily enough. The souls were too trusting. My long dark hair hid my neck so they couldn’t see that I had no scar like theirs. I was careful to keep my eyes down. I had left at dusk and now it was the blue-dark of evening, so they wouldn’t notice that my eyes did not reflect and refract the sunlight like theirs, because there was no silver soul behind them.

I just had to walk like I had a purpose, like I belonged here, and not act afraid or conspicuous, although my heart was drumming so loudly I thought the few souls in the parking lot might even hear it.

I couldn’t go in the front. The souls there would ask me why I was there because obviously I wasn’t hurt. If they tried to check me, they’d find out what I was.

I walked around the back, not strolling but not going too fast. I desperately wanted to break into a run. The empty messenger bag bumped against my leg.

At the back of the hospital building the staff parking lot was almost empty of cars. The souls preferred to walk everywhere, to keep their host bodies healthy. They could never be farther from human. I had noticed this on my only forage into Forks for food. I had barely gotten away. But I couldn’t think about that now.

The back entrance was not well lit so it was harder to locate, but better that I couldn’t be seen as well. I opened the manual door and crept as fast as I could while remaining mostly silent down the pale corridor beyond. It smelled odd – not normal – a scent I had been subconsciously expecting was missing. The disinfectant smell that I always associated with hospitals was gone. Did the souls not have to bother about bacteria?

I found what I was looking for after a few turns, which I had been careful to map in my head. It would be death to get lost in here.

I raided the storeroom as methodically as I could, only taking what I needed, though it took me a few minutes to realise what it was since the things being stored had changed dramatically since the hospital had been run by humans.

The shelves were full of white bottles, aerosols and canisters, each with bold black labels in a clear font. Names like Clean and No Pain jumped out at me. What were these? Alien remedies? I threw a few of each into the bag even though I did not know what they did or how they were even used.

I found a trashcan, a small metal one, in the back corner of the small rectangular room. Inside the black binliner I found what I needed. Human drugs. I stuffed them all into the bag until I could barely close the zip.

Then I turned to go, and saw the parasite stood there, surprise on his stolen face. A hysterical laugh suddenly escaped my lips, a product of the fear and realisation that I had never thought of Edward as a parasite, but these I did.

I froze for a second as his face changed from confused to concerned to realising what I was and what I was doing. His arms came up and he reached out, stepping forward to grab me.

I rushed him.

The bag hampered me, but I swung it and the alien was struck in the stomach, winded. He stumbled into a shelf with a crash and all the bottles it held fell to the floor, rattling and cracking as they bounced and rolled across the tiled floor.

I fled.

Not fast enough.

I was halfway across the parking lot when strong hands closed on my arm and shoulder, dragging me to a halt. I struggled uselessly as he got a better grip and fumbled in the pocket of his doctor’s coat, the tears sliding down my face as I realised what would happen if I didn’t return. Charlie, Edward, and what had happened to Renee? I had been relying on discovering a parasite database – if she had been taken they would have it on record. Now none of us would know, and Charlie...

The white bottle had a label. It said Sleep.

The cloying spray filled my mouth and my struggles weakened as I slipped into unconsciousness. Charlie, Edward, Jacob...

The End

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