Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 133)
It felt like a war inside me—my racing heart blitzing against the raging fire. They were both losing.
The fire constricted tighter, concentrating into one fist-sized ball of pain with a final, unbearable surge. The surge was answered by a deep, hollow-sounding thud. My heart stuttered twice, then thudded quietly again one more time.
There was no sound. No breathing. Not even mine.
For a second, all I could process was the absence of pain. The dull, dry afterburn in my throat was easy to ignore, because every other part of me felt amazing. The release was an incredible high.
I stared up at Edythe in wonder. I felt like I’d taken off a blindfold I’d been wearing all my life. What a view.
“Beau?” she asked. Now that I could really concentrate on it, the beauty of her voice was unreal.
“It’s disorienting, I know. You get used to it.”
Could you get used to hearing a voice like this? Seeing a face like that?
“Edythe,” I said, and the sound of my own voice jolted me. Was that me? It didn’t sound like me. It didn’t sound… human.
Unnerved, I reached out to touch her cheek. In the same instant that the desire to touch her entered my mind, my hand was cradling the side of her face. There was no in-between—no process of lifting my hand, watching it move to its destination. It was just there.
She leaned into my touch, put her hand over mine, and held it against her face. It was strange because it was familiar—I’d always loved it when she’d done that, to see that she so obviously liked it when I touched her that way, that it meant something to her. But it was also nothing the same. Her face wasn’t cold anymore. Her hand felt right against mine. There was no difference between us now.
I stared into her eyes, then looked closer at the picture reflected in them.
“Ahh…” A little gasp escaped my throat by accident, and I felt my body lock down in surprise. It was weird—it felt like the natural thing to do, to be a statue because I was shocked.
“What is it, Beau?” She leaned closer, concerned, but that just brought the reflection closer.
“The eyes?” I breathed.
She sighed, and wrinkled her nose. “It goes away,” she promised. “I terrified myself every time I looked in a mirror for six months.”
“Six months,” I murmured. “And then they’ll be gold like yours?”
She looked away, over the back of the couch, to someone standing there behind us where I couldn’t see. I wanted to sit up and look around, but I was a little afraid to move. My body felt so strange.
“That depends on your diet, Beau,” Carine said calmly. “If you hunt like we do, your eyes will eventually turn this color. If not, your eyes will look like Lauren’s did.”
I decided to try sitting up.
And like before, thinking was doing. Without any movement, I was upright. Edythe kept my hand in hers as it left her face.
Behind the sofa, they were all there, watching. I’d been one hundred percent with my guesses—Carine closest, then Eleanor, Archie, and Earnest. Jessamine in the doorway to another room with Royal watching over her shoulder.
I looked at their faces, shocked again. If my brain hadn’t been so much… roomier than before, I would have forgotten what I was about to say. As it was, I recovered pretty fast.
“No, I want to do it your way,” I said to Carine. “That’s the right thing to do.”
Carine smiled. It would have knocked the breath out of me if I’d had to breathe.
“If only it were so easy. But that’s a noble choice. We’ll help you all we can.”
Edythe touched my arm. “We should hunt now, Beau. It will make your throat hurt less.”
When she mentioned my throat, the dry burn there was suddenly at the forefront of my mind. I swallowed. But…
“Hunt?” my new voice asked. “I, uh, well, I’ve never been hunting before. Not even like normal hunting with rifles, so I don’t really think I could… I mean, I have no idea how.…”
Eleanor chuckled under her breath.
Edythe smiled. “I’ll show you. It’s very easy, very natural. Didn’t you want to see me hunt?”
“Just us?” I checked.
She looked confused for a fraction of a second, and then her face was smooth. “Of course. Whatever you want. Come with me, Beau.”
And she was on her feet, still holding my hand. Then I was on my feet, too, and it was so simple to move, I wondered why I’d been afraid to try. Anything I wanted this body to do, it did.
She darted to the back wall of the big room—the glass wall that was a mirror now because it was night outside. I saw the two pale figures flashing by and I stopped. The strange thing was that when I stopped, it was so sudden that Edythe kept going, still holding my hand, and though she was still pulling, I didn’t move. My grip on her hand pulled her back. Like it was nothing.
But I was only noticing that with part of my brain. Mostly I was looking at my reflection.
I’d seen my face warped around the convex shape of her eyes, just the center, lacking the edges. I’d only really seen my eyes—brilliant, almost glowing red—and that had been enough to pull my focus. Now I saw my whole face—my neck, my arms.
If someone had cut an outline of my human self, this version would still fit into that space. But though I took up the same volume, all the angles were different. Harder, more pronounced. Like someone had made an ice sculpture of me and left the edges sharp.
My eyes—it was hard to look around the color, but the shape of them, too, seemed different. So vaguely, like I was remembering something I’d seen only through muddy water—I remembered how my eyes used to look. Undecided. Like I was never sure who I was. Then, after Edythe—still so hard to see in my memory, uncomfortable to try—they were suddenly more resolved.