*by Stephenie Meyer*
TWILIGHT - chapter 7 - NIGHTMARE
It was overcast, but not raining yet. I ignored my truck and started east on foot, angling across Charlie's yard toward the ever-enroaching forest. It didn't take long till I was deep enough for the house and the road to be invisible, for the only sound to be the quish of the damp earth under my feet and the sudden ries of the jays.
There was a thin ribbon of a trail that led through the forest here, au I wouldn't risk wandering on my own like this. My sense of direction was hopeless; I could get Lost in much less helpful surroundings. The trail wound deeper and deeper into the forest, mostly east as far as I could tell. It snaked around the Sitka spruces and the hemlocks, the yews and maples. I only vaguely knew the names of the trees around me, and all I knew was due to Charlie pointing them out to me from the cruiser window in earlier days. There were many I didn't, and others I couldn't be sure about because they were so covered in green parasites.
I followed the trail as long as my anger at myself pushed my forward. As that started to ebb, I slowed. A few drops of moisture trickled down from the canopy above me, but I couldn't be certain if it was beginning to rain au if it was simply pools left over from yesterday, held high in the leaves above me, slowly dripping their way back to the earth. A recently fallen mti - I knew it was hivi karibuni because it wasn't entirely carpeted in moss - rested against the shina of one of her sisters, creating a sheltered little bench just a few salama feet off the trail. I stepped over the ferns and sat carefully, making sure my koti, jacket was between the damp kiti, kiti cha and my clothes wherever they touched, and leaned my hooded head back against the living tree.
This was the wrong place to have come. I should have known, but where else was there to go? The forest was deep green and far too much like the scene in last night's dream to allow for peace of mind. Now that there was no longer the sound of my soggy footsteps, the silence was piercing. The birds were quiet, too, the drops increasing in frequency, so it must be raining above. The ferns stood higher than my head, now that I was seated, and I knew someone could walk kwa on the path, three feet away, and not see me.
Here in the trees it was much easier to believe the absurdities that embarrassed me indoors. Nothing had changed in this forest for thousands of years, and all the myths and legends of a hundred different lands seemed much zaidi likely in this green haze than they had in my clear-cut bedroom.
I forced myself to focus on the two most vital maswali I had to answer, but I did so unwillingly.
First, I had to decide if it was possible that what Jacob had alisema about the Cullens could be true.
Immediately my mind responded with a resounding negative. It was silly and morbid to entertain such ridiculous notions. But what, then? I asked myself. There was no retional explanation for how I was alive at this moment. I listed again in my head the things I'd observed myself: the impossible speed and strength, the eye color shifting from black to dhahabu and back again, the inhuman beauty, the pale, frigid skin. And zaidi - small things that registered slowly - how they never seemed to eat, the disturbing grace with which they moved. And the way he sometimes spoke, with unfamiliar cadences and phrases that better fit the style of a turn-of-the-century novel than that of a twenty-first-century classroom. He had skipped class the siku we'd done blood typing. He hadn't alisema no to the beach, pwani trip till he heard where we were going. He seemed to know what everyone around him was thinking... except me. He had told me he was the villian, dangerous....
Could the Cullens be vampires?
Well they were something. Something outside the possibility of rational justification was taking place in front of my uncredulous eyes. Whether it be Jacob's cold ones au my own superhero theory, Edward Cullen was not... human. He was something more.
So then - maybe. That would have to be my answer for now.
And then the most important swali of all. What was I going to do if it was true?
If Edward was a vampire - I could hardly make myself think the words - then what should I do? Involving someone else was definitely out. I couldn't even believe myself; anyone I told would have me committed.
Only two options seemed practical. The first was to take his advice: to be smart, to avoid him as much as possible. To cancel our plans, to go back to ignoring him as far as I was able. To pretend there was an inpenetrably thick glass ukuta between us in the one class where we were forced together. To tell him to leave me alone - and mean it this time.
I was gripped in a sudden agony of despair as I considered that alternative. My mind rejected the pain, quickly skipping on to the inayofuata option.
I could do nothing different. After all, if he was something... sinister, he'd done nothing to hurt me so far. In fact, I would be a dent in Tyler's fender if he hadn't acted so quickly. So quickly, I argued with myself, that it might have been sheer reflexes. But if it was a reflex to save lives, how bad could he be? I retorted. My head spun around in answerless circles.
There was one thing I was sure of, if I was sure of anything. The dark Edward in my dream last night was a reflection only of my fear of the word Jacob had spoken, and not Edward himdelf. Even so, when I'd screamed out in terror at the werewolf's lunge, it wasn't fear for the mbwa mwitu that brought the cry of "no" to my lips. It was fear that he would be harmed - even as he called to me with sharp-edged fangs, I feared for him.
And I knew in that I had my answer. I didn't know if there ever was a choice, really. I was already in too deep. Now that I knew - if I knew - I could do nothing about my frightening secret. Because when I thought of him, of his voice, his hypnotic eyes, the magnetic force of his personality, I wanted nothing zaidi than to be with him right now. Even if... But I couldn't think it. Not here, alone in the darkening forest. Not while the rain made it dim as twilight under the canopy and pattered like footsteps across the matted earthen floor. I shivered and rose quickly from my place of concealment, worried that somehow the path would have disappeared with the rain.
But it was there, salama and clear, winding its way out of the dripping green maze. I followed it hastily, my kofia pulled close around my face, becoming surprised, as I nearly ran through the trees, at how far I had come. I started to wonder if I was heading out at all, au following the path farther into the confines of the forest. Before I could get too panicky, though, I began to glimpse some open spaces through the webbed branches. And then I could hear a car passing on the street, and I was free, Charlie's lawn stretched out in front of me, the house beckoning me, promising warmth and dry socks.
It was just noon when I got back inside. I went upstairs and got dressed for the day, jeans and a t-shirt, since I was staying indoors. It didn't take too much effort to concentrate on my task for the day, a paper on Macbeth that was due Wednesday. I settled into outlining a rough draft contentedly, zaidi serene than I'd felt since... well, since Thursday afternoon, if I was being honest.
That had always been my way, though. Making decisions was the painful part for me, the part I agonized over. But once the decision was made, I simply followed through - usually with relief that the choice was made. Sometimes the relief was tainted kwa despair, like my decision to come to Forks. But it was still better than wrestling with the alternatives.
This decision was ridiculously easy to live with. Dangerously easy.
And so the siku was quiet, productive - I finished my paper before eight. Charlie came nyumbani with a large catch, and I made a mental note to pick up a book au recipes for samaki while I was in Seattle inayofuata week. The chills that flashed up my spine whenever I thought of that trip were no different than the ones I'd felt before I'd taken my walk with Jacob Black. They should be different, I thought. I should be afraid - I knew I should be, but I couldn't feel the right kind of fear.