Breaking news! A graphic murder shocks the sleepy town of Forks, Washing-
- Victim a mid-teenage Caucasian girl, currently -
- Body unrecognizable due to severit -
- Believed to have died from severe blood -
- Her neck -
- Eyes gouged -
- The body was found stripped and partially canniballiz -
- Vampire craze sweeping -
- possibility of a cult?-
- Cullen family, who have been linked to a number of missing pers-
- Appears to have drank her -
- Vicious and gruesome -
- Chief Swan of Forks urges anyone who may have information to call -
- Investigations are underway -
Hugo Smith switched off the television, dialing his daughter's cell phone number for the seventy-fifth time in the last hour. Yes, she'd spent the night at the Cullen house without telling him before (far too many times for his liking), and she ignored his calls almost 99% of the time, but she had to have some idea what was going on, right? And the Cullens seemed to be wrapped up in this mess. He'd never trusted them, and Joan dating their youngest son hadn't improved matters. Especially considering the way she always yelled at him for even asking about Edward. And when she slept over there. It was enough to make you fear for the- no. It couldn't happen to Joan, it wouldn't. She was smarter than that, she would be home soon enough-
Hai! You've reached JOAN. I'm too busy wif my sexah bf Ward, so leaf a god mesage! LUV HARTS!
- So WHY wasn't she picking up her phone? He tapped his foot impatiently. "Joan, it's Dad again. Listen, I don't care what you're doing right now, just call me back and tell me you're all right. Okay?... I love you, Joan." He sighed, hanging up on the landline.
"If you like pina coladas,
And getting caught in the rain,
Hugo fumbled through his pockets for his cell phone. Joan! He pulled it out of the same side pocket he kept his badges (so many jobs, so little time) and practically flung it at his head.
"Oh, thank God you're all right! Why didn't you call, I-"
"Relax, Hugo! I told you I'd be okay, didn't I?" Hugo tensed up again. It was a sad day when getting a call from Brian disappointed him.
"It- sorry. I'm waiting for a call from Joan, I- Have you heard about the-"
"Who hasn't? They found the girl's body at 11 PM last night and the press is already on it like vultures. I had trouble getting out for a few minutes to call you!" Brian replied. "I'm talking to the mayor here, miss... Jeannette, so I'd appreciate you getting that thing away from me!" He told somewhere outside... wherever he ways.
"Getting out- You're at the crime scene?" Hugo asked, still panicking.
"I am the FBI, you know," the blonde replied. "I know it's early, but I thought you might want the news as soon as-"
"Is it Joan?" he asked, cutting Brian off.
"What- You mean you don't know where she is?"
"She didn't come home last night. I've been up all night trying to reach her, but she won't answer her cell phone-"
"You don't think she's -?"
"She can't be. She isn't." A beat. "Is she?"
"There's been enough damage to the body it's hard to tell, but- No, I don't think so. The hair looks too light." Hugo started breathing again. "You didn't call the police the moment you found out?"
"The first couple times she didn't come home, I called the police and she went berserk. Chief Swan... doesn't take kindly to the false alarms, and if I try cracking down on her, she'd just move in with them. I called the Donnellys and they said she and Jenny went out together. The news about- about this didn't start coming until midnight, and I couldn't get to a human, the lines were so full. They aren't showing the body... Is it really that bad?"
Brian was audibly shuddering on the other side of the line. "Whatever you've heard, it's worse. Believe me when I say it's worse."
"Yo, Hahnel! We think we might be able to read that school ID!" someone called on Brian's side.
"In a minute!" To Hugo now, "Be back in a minute. Listen, I know you're worried, but she's gotta be somewhere. And I get the feeling you'll have reporters following you around until this gets cleared up, so at least try to get to work, will you?" "Right- work. Sure. Bri, tell me-"
"Of course I will, Hugo. You'll be the first to know. Love you."
"Love you too." Both men hung up, and Hugo forced himself away from the phone to at least shower. Had he even slept last night? No... probably had some beer, though. He'd brush his teeth, too- there probably would be a press conference, considering this storm. No sooner had he finished this than the cell phone began ringing again. He bolted for it, forgetting the shirt he was trying to button up.
"What is it? Joan?" He asked, breathless.
"You said she was with Jenny Donnelly?" Brian asked, dead serious.
"Ye- That's what Mrs. Donnelly said. Don't tell me..." Hugo couldn't bring himself to finish the sentence.
"Jenny Donnelly's our victim." The phone went silent for a minute. "Hugo?... Hugo?"
"Find my daughter, Brian."
Hugo wasn't conscious of anything until he was behind a podium and everyone from every newspaper in Washington, a preprepared speech in front of him. He glanced at it and pushed it aside.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I know you've all been informed of the murder of a teenage girl some time last night before 11 PM. Some of you may have heard that the victim is Jenny Donnelly, a sixteen-year-old student at Forks High. I'm here to confirm that Miss Donnelly is in fact deceased. My sincerest condolences to her family. She is- was- a close friend of my daughter's. Chief Swan would like me to tell you the police department will not be releasing photographs to the press due to the nature of this crime, as well as to give the Donnelly family the peace, privacy and respect they are due. He would also like to assure you that yes, the details are rather grisly, and would ask you to please respect FCC codes about violence in the mornings, as none of us really need to hear every bloody detail when we wake up in the morning, particularly the Donnellys.
"I would also like to inform you that my own daughter, Joan Louisa Smith, has gone missing and has been since yesterday after school. While the 24 hours needed to file a missing persons report have not passed, she was last seen in the company of Miss Donnelly and has not been into school. Circumstances being as they are, we want to find her as soon as possible. Any questions?"
Brian was currently on his fifth cup of coffee since lunch, trying desperately to stay alert. Joan may have- may be a whiny, unlikable diva most of the time, but she was Hugo's daughter and he'd promised to find her. Besides, he thought, no one deserves to die like that. (the face had practically been torn off, and her eyes, where were her eyes) He'd gone to see Hugo for lunch, though neither man had much of an appetite down to bone on that side, like someone had bitten her neck, and. Hugo brought up the Cullens, and Brian broke down and gave up all the information he knew. That he was a member of the Unit, dedicated to hunting down vampires, and that the Cullens were a known coven. That there was too much blood a trail of it those idiots had mucked up, too much mess left behind for a vampire, though it wasn't entirely impossible her torso sliced open like Jack the Ripper had been reborn in Forks and wasn't the doctor apparently from England? That considering Jenny's body hadn't been anything resembling hidden, it was as likely as not Joan was still alive or at least they weren't done with her. For now, he was under orders to keep Hugo from losing it and not go vigilante, got that Hahnel, and neither of them had eaten all day. Some attempt couldn't a breast torn off and the slash down to her... never mind. He'd go hungry.
"Lynne's on the Cullens' trail," Hugo managed after a particularly long and awkward silence.
"Detective Epieu? I like her," Brian agreed, poking at a piece of lettuce with a plastic spork. "Dedicated. First thing I heard her say when I got there was to find out who it was so their family would know. She have a kid?"
"Daughter. Their age." Silence again.
"It's not your fault, Hugo."
"It's not? I let my daughter stay overnight at her boyfriend's house because I was too afraid she'd leave if I said no. I didn't call the police when she didn't come home, and she and Jenny could already have been taken by then. I didn't stop her, Bri. And now a girl's dead."
"If it hadn't been them-"
"You don't know that. But when we find Joan, I'm going to fix things."
"Yeah? I'll help, then." Brian gave up on the salad he was eating as his phone started ringing. "Speaking of which, this might be help on the way. Brian Hahnel," he said, picking up the phone.
"Agent Hahnel? This is Detective Epieu. Listen, get to the high school ASAP. The youngest Cullen boy's out and two of the others want to talk..."
"Do I really have to tell you why it's suicidal to be coming along?" The blonde woman asked Hugo as she drove up to the Cullen house.
"I'm not a member of the police, have no training, and will probably be an easy target if it comes to violence?" Hugo asked his friend.
"That, AND the chief's been telling us to keep you as uninvolved as possible." Brian added from shotgun. "If you survive this, he'll kill all three of us."
"So long as Joan's safe, I don't care," Hugo replied. "She's all that matters now. What'd the kids say?"
"Rosalie was going on about how Edward and Joan thought they were twu wuv soul mates. Then all of a sudden, Joan started acting... weird," Brian said. "You know the rest. Wardo broke up with her a few days ago, Joan starts angsting and then she and Jenny got into a random fight at... step on it." Lynne nodded, taking off as fast as safety would allow on the bumpy, unused road leading up to the Cullen house, slamming hard on the breaks once they reached the driveway.
"You're the detectives, yes?" Carlisle Cullen asked as they got out. "Edward is waiting in his room. Please, help him." He held the door open for the three, then headed back downstairs to his clinic. The Unit agent, detective, and mayor headed upstairs for the door marked "Edward".
Edward's room was very bare- no shelves, no desks, no chairs, no lamps, no drawers, just a large, tacky gold bed in the center of the room and a nightstand with a book next to it. Brian reached for the gun on his holster.
"Mayor Smith. Thank you for coming-"
"Where's my daughter?" Hugo snarled at him.
"I haven't seen her all day, thank God," Edward sighed with relief. "She thought I was cheating on her with Jenny Donnelly, can you believe that?"
"Mr. Cullen, where were you last night between two and eleven PM?" Lynne asked, all business.
"Homework. What else would I do?" the teen laughed.
"Well, considering the trail of bodies, and vampirism? Kidnapping two girls and murdering an innocent, perhaps?" Brian suggested, aiming his gun at Edward. Edward laughed again, getting a bit more serious.
"So. You know I'm a vampire, huh? So you just go waltzing into my lair and accusing me of killing a girl? Really intelligent." He grimaced, showing off a pair of white, sharp fangs. "Maybe I should teach you a lesson..." Brian fired a shot off at Edward's chest, trying to shield the brunette. "Now, there's a laugh! I could-"
"Oh, Ward!" Edward seemed to turn whiter upon hearing the voice from outside his window. They peeked out cautiously. Joan was climbing up the ivy draping up to his room. It was the clothes that disturbed them, though. Joan was dressed in a very revealing, formerly-white wedding gown, with blood spatters on the torso. Her long, reddish brown hair was matted and muddy, with a bent tiara perched on top clipped to a bloodstained veil. She wore elbow-length white gloves, the right one so drenched in blood it was still refusing to dry, and a dark grey knife was clenched in her hand. "Aren't I sexah, Ward? I delt with dat slut Jenni and becam a campire. So now we can be togetha 4eva." She grinned, revealing sharp, stained teeth. "Don't u just LUV blod, Ward?" Edward backed awayfrom the window as Lynne and Hugo stared on in horror. Brian grabbed his gun, panicking. She had a knife and clearly had some idea how to use it, if what she said was correct. But she was still Joan, and-
"Now al I need 2 do is kull Brian for makin mi Dad gay." She grinned, hoisting herself up onto the windowsill. "And there he is. Ur so sweat, Ward."
"Joan, I'm not in love with you anymore!" Edward shouted, trying to run for the door. Brian blocked him off.
"Of corse u ar, silly! Dats y weer getting maryed once I get rid of Brian." She continued obliviously. "Jenni sed she wuznt in luv wif u, but why els woud u brake up with mi? Is it becuz im 2 sexah for you?" The smile cracked. "Or is it becus Brian chanjd u 2?" She began advancing towards Brian.
"Joan! Joan, stop it. Put the knife down," Hugo said, inching towards Brian with her.
"But i don want u or ward 2 hav ne more distrakshuns." That demented grin again as she turned on Hugo, raising the knife. "Just me. n u. N Ward. Foureva." Brian ran at her, trying to make a grab for the knife she was about to plunge into Hugo. It flew into the air and clattered to the floor near them. "OMG U QUEERMO SINNAR WAT DID YOU DO THAT 4?" Joan asked as Brian pinned her to the floor. He grinned.
"Because I'm the FBI and I can." He replied, hitting Joan in the head against the floor. Instead of scrambling her already clearly-loose brain, however, she got another grab at the knife. Brian wrestled it out of her hands, but she threw it before he took her out again at Hugo. The knife lodged itself deep in his shoulder.
"Hug- OOF!" As Brian looked over at his boyfriend, Joan took the chance to turn the tables on the petite agent. She wrapped her fingers around his neck, grinning with those stained teeth. He gasped for breath, trying to pull her off.
"Vampirs drink blud lol. Mabye ward wil luv me once I drin-" Her sentence was cut short by the bang of a bullet. Brian looked up at Lynne, who had a gun in her hands, and Hugo, who was trying to stop his own bleeding. Joan gurgled. He pried her off of his neck and turned to Edward, who'd been doing nothing much for a while.
"Your father's downstairs. Get him up here now and save these two and I might let you and your damned coven live," he growled. Edward ran downstairs.
"The DA say they'll try the insanity plea. If we testify, it might stick," Lynne stated in the the Forks General Hospital a week later. Brian had come out of this mess relatively unscathed, at least for him, but the Smiths weren't so lucky. Hugo's wound required stitches and antibiotic ointment- whatever Joan had been doing in the twenty-three hours between vanishing and capture, her knife was dirty and they didn't want to risk infection. Joan herself was lucky to survive getting shot in the back by a detective- if Carlisle hadn't been on hand, she probably wouldn't have. As it was, it had hit her close enough to the spine the doctors weren't certain if there was permanent damage yet. The day spent outside in the wet, March weather in a forest had weakened her enough as is. Her psyche, meanwhile, was shattered, and she spent her conscious time babbling about Ward- who had left, like the rest of his family, as soon as they possibly could. Brian burned their house down the next morning as a sign.
"She didn't know the difference between right and wrong because she thought she was a vampire?" Brian asked, stepping over some clumsily placed resolution.
"She certainly didn't seem to know what she was doing, did she?" Lynne snapped. "It's the best they can get. If she's convicted, she'll be lucky not to get death." The three glanced over at Joan. "Do you think you can testify, Hugo?"
"She's my daughter, Lynne. And you heard what that agent from the Unit said. We'd have to say the Cullens weren't vampires. It may work to make her sound crazier, saying she wasn't, but..." he trailed off. Seeing a vampire perform surgery was something they could all stand to never do again.
"You can't lie to make her sound insane. Understood. It'd seriously call the rest of our testimony into doubt if it got out, besides." Lynne sighed. "Brian?"
"I think I can manage it," he said, nodding.
Hugo stood up, trying to stretch his wounded arm. He looked over at Joan.
"She's not a vampire," Brian said, as he stared at her. "Whatever caused her to go nuts like that... she's still human. Supposedly."
"I know. But... she's not my daughter anymore, is she?" Hugo asked. Brian shook his head.
"She's snapped, Hugo. Maybe for good. You can't fix this." He sighed. "C'mon. Maybe we can get some cookies from the vending machine."