Chapter Three: The Unsettling Truth,
"Just who are YOU?!" Bella shouted at the man before her, still sitting; grave and intense.
Bella felt uncomfortable and grew more uneasy with his silent unchanged manner as she came undone with fright. She was a strong individual and independent to a fault.
Though she had a measure of confidence, she did not care to find herself in a creepy old house with a stranger and his unknown intent for her.
The longer he stared at her, something of her previous confidence abandoned her as she faced him and the unsettling possibilities.
Confidence in girls was all a charade after a certain point. There was a time to stop the pretending and it was now become clear of that moment.
Reality hit home in her dangerous situation as her courage ebbed in a quick rush from her body that left her feeling drained and afraid.
"If you are not the caretaker then WHO?!" Bella repeated as she started to shake in her raging emotions.
"No, I am not the caretaker. I am one of the owners of the estate. The name is Volturi." He stated casually as if he were just taking of the weather.
His melancholy voice and words ran through her like electricity, giving her a surprising jolt of dread and uncertainty. So much, that Bella felt as if she would faint.
Unimportant things leapt up into her mind and it puzzled her at a moment like this.
In her pocket was only her journal and a pencil and she could feel it is still there, sticking out the top a bit.
She felt too, the extra bit of clothing she had thought of to put on, to ward off the cold just in case there was no sufficient heat.
A hundred different things flashed in her head, foolish random thoughts, without meaning.
She could not stop the images of Charlie and wondered how many fish he had caught, if any. Of her mother, wondering where in the world she was now, as she traveled with her husband.
On and on, the way it does when one is really frightened.
Also, guilty thoughts of what her parents would think if they found out she had gone without telling anyone or worse still, not leaving a note.
"The man who owns this place?' she said aghast.
That is right. Marcus Volturi." He stated simply.
Bella felt her blood run cold to his declaration. She felt deceived in some way and somehow sensed the truth was being held from her deliberately.
"D...did Mr. Arosandro send you to meet me here?" She asked searching for the more answers.
"No." He replied in a voice that touched her heart with its lonely sound.
"What!? Why?!" Bella asked, instinctively backing away.
"I have need of you." He said mysteriously.
"No...I'm leaving!" She shouted walking backwards to get to her things on the bed that held her truck keys, all the while not taking her eyes from him.
Seeing her inching away, Marcus got up swiftly and moved in a blink of an eye. He stood now in the path of the door to block her way out.
She panted now with every breath as her heart rate skyrocketed. She now terrified, went into fight or flight mode and stood ridged looking around for a place to run away.
"I'm alone, Bella. Sad and have long existed with so much pain. Dead yet immortal and soulless inside." He said as if his heart lay on the floor broken.
Bella felt the need for aggressive assertion right then. She came forward and stood before him, digging her nails in her palm and clutching her fist in anger.
She was determined to show him that she was an individual and a modern woman with a free spirit and that she cannot be ordered about.
"I will not be made a prisoner here!" Bella exclaimed boldly.
"Prisoner. You, my dear young woman, you have no idea the meaning of that word." Marcus said sadly gesturing around.
"You mean to say you are a prisoner?" She said gasping at his suggestion. "What in the world are you talking about."
The lonely quiet of the night consumed her voice. Bella realized just how much her life was at stake now.
She was far from any kind of help and she was trapped in this creepy house with strangers.
Bella swallowed hard as her mind raced with options. Her thoughts rushed to her father. He was a police chief but how was she going to let him know she needed him.
How would he even know where to look for her if he came home and found her missing? She felt alone rooted to her spot as the thought came to her suddenly.
Was this the end?
Will my life be extinguished by someone else's hands while I am all alone?
"You said you were dead! What the hell does that mean, you cannot be a ghost. She paused then gasped as she thought of something important. "Oh my God! Are you that man in the painting?"
"I already told you who I am" Marcus reminded her softly with a sigh, looking all the while with the saddest expression she had ever seen.
By this time Bella was beginning to believe he was either a lunatic or killer that lured girls into his home to kill them for his twisted pleasure.
She cursed her own stupidity for not checking to see if this whole thing was legitimate.
"I just exist, my dear. Dead and languishing inside from my eternal sorrow for centuries." Marcus moved as he spoke toward the fireplace again.
Bella watched as he places his hands on the mantle and leaned, bowing his head.
Marcus did it as if he depended on the mantel for support to keep him from collapsing to the floor in his apparent sorrow.
Bella's eyes darted to the exit. Her mind was made up and she was determined to see it though somehow.
She found her interest in the mystery surrounded this place fleeting and bargained silently with the heavens she would never search out the unknown again. If she made it out alive of course.
Ghost and psychic phenomenon be damned, who cares.
She glanced back at Marcus. He was still facing away. If she angered the creature, her life might pay the price.
She knew she must humor him till she could get out that door, and then run for it. She looked around the room for a possible weapon she could use, but there was none that would be of any use.
She worried as she planned her escape, her clumsiness would be a hinderance, like it always was in her life. It caused doubt to creep in her heart. despite of that, she had to at least try.
"I'm so sorry that you are suffering, but Marcus, do you really want to stay here, dwelling on it Can't you just leave it all in the past and forget your troubles?
" She asked as she slowly inched towards the door.
Marcus turned his head, watching Bella as she backed more and more towards the door. As his sad face morphed into a disturbing grin, she could not keep her cool any longer.
She quickened her pace and reached for the door in a rush fueled by panic and desperation. She dashed out and turned, bolting down the pitch-black hallway.
With no light to show the way, it was exceedingly difficult to get her bearings. Lost in her foolish attempt to escape, she turned in the wrong direction, leading farther into the house.
She stumbled over things hidden in the shadows. Bella picked herself up and scrambled to her feet. She felt around as she ran through the darkness.
It was too late to change her mind as she felt freedom was helpless. She sensed, instead of heard the man that was after her. Though no sound could be heard, not even footsteps.
She tried any door she came across in her frantic search. All that she had tried to open were locked.
She dashed down the hall after running out of doors to check and in her haste, tore her shirt as it snagged on something unseen.
She yanked it with all her might and the object fell with a clatter as she broke free. Bella ran into something else and cried out as she banged her ribs on its sharp corners.
It was perhaps a table. Four more objects fell from it, breaking on impact with such a racket that its sound threatened to shatter her frayed nerves along with them.
Finally, the next door was left ajar and luckily, she could lock this one from the inside.
In the instant she entered, she slammed the door and flung her body against the door then turned the lock. Bella was safe but her heart was beating like a rabbit's as she gasped for air.
She put her hand to her heaving chest and slumped, sliding down in exhaustion.
a second later she stopped her breathing altogether for she saw three figures in the room with her they stood between her and the far window, where the moonlight gave just enough light,
creating their visible silhouettes.
Even then Bella was stubbornly still holding on to hope that she would be free, but still was aware that she never been so frightened in all her life.
She just locked herself in with all three of them! She crumpled to the floor in all-consuming terror.