The sky was the most precise shade of black. I let the night engulf me, wrap me in it’s warm embrace. The stars had never seemed so real to me. I thought that, just maybe, I could reach up and steal one, hold it in my hands forevermore. It would be a constant light, a reminder to me that there was always a way to break through the darkness.
The nurses had been hesitant to bring me out. I’d heard them arguing with Dr. Cullen through the paper thin doors for a good ten minutes before two of them came in to get me. They had been hesitant but after much pleading on my part, the had informed me that Dr. Cullen wanted to run some physical tests on me. Nothing major, they assured me. Nothing too strenuous.
I was practically giddy. I hadn’t been outside in what seemed like a lifetime. Now with the stars bending down to kiss me and the slight breeze caressing me lovingly, I felt closer to freedom than I could ever recall.
The field behind the hospital was not particularly large, but it was large enough. Dr. Cullen was waiting on the far side. We reached him in a few short minutes, and in that superior way of his, he sent the orderlies away with nothing but a glance. Then we were alone. I was desperately trying to look anywhere but him while still attempting to hold my ground.
“Jasper,” he greeted at last. “Welcome back to the world”
I smiled, though it was strained. “It’s nice,” I admitted. “I wish I didn’t have to go back.”
“Someday,” he murmured. A moment of silence passed between us, and then he was shaking his head. “But, for now, you must prove yourself. Freedom seldom comes easy.”
“What do I have to do?” The ultimate question. He knew he had me at his beck and call now that I’d been promised my release.
“I would like you to meet one of my companions,” He replied almost instantly. “He is highly trained in his particular field. He can help you, Jasper.”
Immediately I went on the defensive. My golden eyes narrowed and I took a step back. Dr. Cullen was unmoving, his expression blank as ever. “What do you mean, help me?” I demanded. “I don’t even know how I wound up in here.”
“Jasper,” Dr. Cullen tried. His calm voice was the most unnerving of all. “Please. I urge you to remain calm.”
Not that they were giving me a choice. A moment later I was being seized from behind, and the last of the stars were twinkling out.
Pain is inevitable. Everyone, at one point or another, will suffer some tremendous pain. Some are just better at handling it. Or hiding it. Or making it go away, in one way or another.
Pain was the first thing to return to my body. And when it did, it hit me hard. It sent violent tremors through my body, causing me to choke and cough and scream out for death. I tried to move, but my arms had been tightly bound in a straight-jacket, and my legs had been knotted together at the ankles.
I was quite certain I was going to die. Right here, right now. This would be the end of me. And no one would ever know. I didn’t try to make sense of the situation, for it would do nothing to change it. No, I could see no visible way out.
And then I heard it. Soft at first, but certainly there. My eyes opened and widened as I took in the room around me. It was entirely empty, except for the table I was tied to.
“Jasper.” My name broke through the silence, ever so sweet. And then my eyes fell upon her. My angel. My savior.
She was kneeling down beside the table, still wearing the white dress, her long black hair in unintentional disarray. Her eyes were wide and fixed only on me.
“How are you-”
“Shh,” she cut me off, pressing a single, slender finger against my lips. A shiver ran up my spine at her mere touch. “I will explain everything as soon as I can. I’m going to help you. But for now…” She paused. Listening closely, I could hear the sound of approaching footsteps. “You have to pretend to be unconscious,” she told me. “I’ll be back for you.”
She was up and moving towards what appeared to be a blank wall, her movements too fast to see. A frown creased my brow; I strained my neck to watch her.
“Wait,” I whispered roughly. “Cant you at least give me a name?”
“Alice,” was her answer. “My name is Alice. Goodbye, Jasper Hale.” My expression turned to astonishment as she pushed a little on the wall and it gave way. She disappeared into what seemed to be a tunnel. The wall fell back into place just as the main door opened.
A man stepped in, his reddish-brown hair all in tangles. His eyes fell upon me. My own expression was pure fury.
He dared to crack a smile. “Jasper Hale,” he said slowly, deliberately. “Welcome.”
“Who the hell are you?” I growled.
The smile did not waver. “That,” he said, “is a very long story. But I suppose, you can call me Edward. Edward Cullen.”