So, how's it going?
I've been back at work one week and I no longer have the plague but I do feel like I've been back at work for a month, if that's any indicator of how danged busy I've been. I know you know what I'm talking about.
This is the rest of the chapter I didn't post last week. I was hoping to have some, you know, time at work to get a bunch more of this so I could hand you a nice meaty chunk, but damn if work didn't make me work this week. What is that bullshit? Do they not realize I'm a public servant?
In any case, I'd sincerely like to thank those of you who have been reading Reckoner and leaving the very supportive comments (I'm looking at you, Lindsay Rae). I really do appreciate the feedback very much, even if I didn't have a chance to comment back this week (ref. above paragraph about being so busy working and oh, also tweeting a lot of pictures of a certain Welsh actor I'm into, but that's another blog post for another day).
Thanks again especially to the wonderful donors of Fandom Gives Back for their generosity in supporting Alex's Lemonade Stand. Without them, I wouldn't be posting this so if you're enjoying it, thank an FGB donor.
It's getting to be a little cumbersome to point you to the individual links if you haven't started reading this yet, so click here and start at the bottom if you'd like to read.
Much love and until next week,
Reckoner, Part IV ii
The Fort Kent Police Department was a small box of a building right near the bridge to Canada. When I brought Jimmy in, the Chief of Police wasn’t happy. Chief Barton bowled with Jimmy’s father, had known little Jimmy Colter since his DARE days in middle school and he worked with him often enough since he’d become an EMT. He’d taught him CPR, for Christ’s sake. So when he saw he was attached to me, he immediately gestured with his head toward a wooden stake with a carving of a bear on it, hanging unceremoniously behind the intake desk. I nearly laughed in his face, but his point was taken. It wasn’t unusual for cops to be aware of our existence, even if they never spoke about our kind. He assumed I was up to something and I couldn’t blame him for that.
He didn’t ask me any questions, he just asked Jimmy what the hell was up and Jimmy, I had to give him credit, spilled everything. The unregistered handgun in his pick up truck, his plan to kill Jolene, he even confessed to a quarter ounce he had stashed in his bedroom. Chief Barton wasn’t expecting that, and he took Jimmy in the back where I suppose he thought I couldn’t hear and asked him up and down if he was okay, if I’d put him up to anything and Jimmy swore he was telling the truth, and why was he asking? What did he know about me? But Chief Barton didn’t say what he was thinking, which was that maybe I was plotting some kind of small town terror.
When Chief Barton came back out front and saw I hadn’t left, I asked what he was going to do with Jimmy. He basically told me to fuck off, but I wasn’t leaving until they got the guy some help. So I waited until he reached the intake unit at the forensic psychiatric place in Augusta and made arrangements to have him admitted later that evening. With that, he asked me, and not nicely, to leave Fort Kent and not come back. I hadn’t gotten all that attached to the place in the 18 or so hours I’d been there and in fact, was planning to head to Montreal anyway. But I didn’t answer the man, I just turned for the front door and said, “You’re welcome, by the way.”
“You’re not normal,” Jimmy called from the doorway of the back office as I was about to leave.
“You’re just figuring that out, Jimmy? After all we’ve been through?” I turned and faced him one more time, wondering if sparing him was really worth the uncomfortable thirst burning at the back of my throat.
“Thank you,” Jimmy said, wiping the grime and the left over tears from beneath his eyes with an overused tissue. “Whatever you are. What did you call yourself? Reckoner or something?”
“Reckoner?” Chief Barton raised his eyebrows, reappraising me, the recognition of my reputation now lodged in his mind. He still didn’t know what to make of me and he was right to be unsure, because I was so thirsty I felt like I might kill the next man who so much as eyed a girl for too long. But before he could decide whether I was all right or not, I was gone.
Disgusted and alarmingly unsure of my killer instincts now, I took to the woods and in very little time sniffed out the trail of a bull moose, exactly what I wasn’t in the mood for. I found it sleeping, of course, in a grove of elm trees. It was just a few years old and big as hell and I had no taste for it at all. But I did kill it and sucked the volume of its blood down until it nearly caved in on itself, all hot and steamy against my cold throat. The drink was completely unsatisfying on every level but the one deep in my brain that said survive, in spite of myself. Survive.
It was after midnight when I got back to the hotel in Caribou, and Mercy was standing outside smoking a cigarette, waiting for me. I was not glad to see her. At all.
“We need to talk,” she said.
“You need to not be here,” I said.
It must have been some kind of whim, some sort of gut reaction that caused Mercy to hit me, because I didn’t hear her think about it and didn’t see it coming at all. She landed a hard punch square on the jaw, her fist cracking, my face aching with the impact. It sounded like a clap of thunder and sent me several steps back, reeling with the surprise of it, nearly toppling over. That really pissed me off. Before I could collect myself and give her the rash of shit she had coming, she hurled herself into me, knocking both of us into the side of a Dodge Caravan in the parking lot and putting a cow-sized dent in the door.
“What the hell are you doing?” I said, grabbing her around the waist and pulling her arms across her body in restraint.
“You have no idea, do you?” she yelled, nearly wrenching herself out of my grasp, but I held onto her even as she struggled against me. “You’ve no idea what you’ve put us all through. Did you ever stop to think through the consequences of your actions?”
She stopped struggling but I kept my hold on her anyway, ignoring the shadow of the tired old woman who slipped out of the hotel to see what had caused the clamor. She saw us leaning against the dented minivan and just went back inside.
Mercy stayed quiet and still as I gripped her to me, rummaging through the tragic, desperate image she shared of Alice cowering in a corner of the basement at the Cullen house in Gray, her eyes wide open and vacant, her arms over her head, unresponsive even to Jasper as he begged her to come back to him. This was a far greater shock than the blow of Mercy’s fist.
“Tell me who did this to her,” I said quietly, practically whispering in her ear. “I will kill whoever it is. Just give me a name.”
“Edward Anthony Masen Cullen,” she said.
The drive back to Gray was much longer in Mercy’s old Crown Victoria sticking to roads and speed limits than it would have been had we just run back, but she wanted to talk at me for several hours before we arrived. She wouldn’t let me drive, either, which made me crazy but then she was in a mood to punish me and there was little I could do but endure her diatribe and her abysmal driving. I couldn’t say I didn’t deserve worse.
Our conversation was silent and it was just as well. Mercy was in no mood for listening to anything I had to say, and I had nothing to say, really. All she did was rail at me in her mind for renouncing the Cullens and fantasizing about Allston Kaine’s murder for three straight weeks. She didn’t care that I wanted Allston dead, though. The real problem with my plot for vengeance had been Alice. I’d been too much of an asshole to realize that she’d be worried and so projecting my future the entire time I was away, trying to figure out how to prevent me from getting myself killed by the Kaines. Apparently everything she’d seen—every end of mine—had caused her so much anxiety she just fell apart. Mercy couldn’t even be sure what Alice had seen because after a week of constant bombardment with the various ways she’d seen me die in all the assorted futures she saw, she stopped talking. Carlisle, Jasper, even Esme had all tried to reach me by phone, but I’d gotten rid of my phone on the way to Caribou so I wouldn’t be tempted to answer it. I thought I was doing them a favor by cutting them out of my life. What an ass I’d been.
I didn’t really know if going back would fix anything at this point. But I knew I was the only one who could figure out what was happening in Alice’s head. That would be a start, anyway.
“You’re going to have to let go of this plot to kill Allston, Edward,” Mercy said.
“I know that,” I said. “But he knows who I am—what I am. He’s going to hold it over me for as long as we’re in Portland.”
“Why don’t you let me talk to him?” she said.
“You’re not to go near him.”
“Edward, you are not my father and you do not tell me who I can and can’t go near. I’ve known Allston for more than 100 years. I’ll talk to him.”
“You can’t trust him,” I said. “We’ll have to think of something else.”
“Does he know you want to kill him?” Mercy said.
“I don’t know,” I said. “Probably not.”
“Then you’re making more out of it than you need to,” she said. “You don’t know, do you, that he killed your destiny girl?”
“Do not call her that,” I said. “And I told you I don’t want to discuss it.”
“You can make peace with the Kaines, and you can still consider her death avenged,” she said. “Whatever happened, you killed the man directly responsible for her death. That supply man in Boston found her and led her to her slaughter. You killed him, so her death is avenged, technically speaking.”
“Mercy,” I snapped. “Stop it or I’m getting out of the car.”
She caught herself then and finally recovered her manners. “Of course,” she said. “I’m so sorry, Edward. What was I thinking?”
She wasn’t really thinking, though. Her mouth was just moving. If she wanted me to let go of my thirst for vengeance then talking about the murder of the love of my life wasn’t going to help matters. But if my ruminating on Allston’s murder had anything to do with Alice’s catatonia, then I had to stop. My love’s life was over. She was gone. Alice was here. I could protect her and I would, even though protecting her meant getting a handle on my own dark thoughts and I really had very little idea how I was going to manage that. But I’d have to find a way.
I stretched back in the front seat and noticed the torn leather on the head rest, the worn mats on the floor and frowned.
“When are you going to let me buy you a proper car?” I said, changing the subject. “This one handles like a sinking ship.”
“Never,” she said. “I hate cars. I’d rather have a horse.”
Then she stopped thinking at me and she stopped talking at me and started singing a low, soft folk song from her childhood. The sound was sweet and kind, frustratingly soothing as the words flowed into the ragged core of my regret.
Stay cool, Twitards. And thanks for reading.