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Newly turned vampire Bree Tanner lives in terror — and must find her way out of untold danger — in this pulse-pounding novella, a companion to Eclipse.
Bree Tanner, a self-described “vampire nerd” first introduced in Eclipse, lives in terror in a coven of newborn vampires. She is a member of Victoria’s vampire army, and as that army closes in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, she finds her first friend and discovers a truth about daylight.
While fans may know how it ends, they don’t yet have the full story: Bree’s tale of danger, mystery, and romance is one for the books.
“People do not want to just read Meyer’s books; they want to climb inside them and live there.” — Time
“A literary phenomenon.” — The New York Times
Table of Contents
A Sneak Peek of Life and Death
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No two writers go about things in exactly the same way. We all are inspired and motivated in different ways; we have our own reasons why some characters stay with us while others disappear into a backlog of neglected files. Personally, I've never figured out why some of my characters take on strong lives of their own, but I'm always happy when they do. Those characters are the most effortless to write, and so their stories are usually the ones that get finished.
Bree is one of those characters, and she's the chief reason why this story is now in your hands, rather than lost in the maze of forgotten folders inside my computer. (The two other reasons are named Diego and Fred.) I started thinking about Bree while I was editing Eclipse. Editing, not writing—when I was writing the first draft of Eclipse, I had first-person-perspective blinders on; anything that Bella couldn't see or hear or feel or taste or touch was irrelevant. That story was her experience only.
The next step in the editing process was to step away from Bella and see how the story flowed. My editor, Rebecca Davis, was a huge part of that process, and she had a lot of questions for me about the things Bella didn't know and how we could make the right parts of that story clearer. Because Bree is the only newborn Bella sees, Bree's was the perspective that I first gravitated toward as I considered what was going on behind the scenes. I started thinking about living in the basement with the newborns and hunting traditional vampire-style. I imagined the world as Bree understood it. And it was easy to do that. From the start Bree was very clear as a character, and some of her friends also sprang to life effortlessly. This is the way it usually works for me: I try to write a short synopsis of what is happening in some other part of the story, and I end up jotting down dialogue. In this case, instead of a synopsis, I found myself writing a day in Bree's life.
Writing Bree was the first time I'd stepped into the shoes of a narrator who was a "real" vampire—a hunter, a monster. I got to look through her red eyes at us humans; suddenly we were pathetic and weak, easy prey, of no importance whatsoever except as a tasty snack. I felt what it was like to be alone while surrounded by enemies, always on guard, never sure of anything except that her life was always in danger. I got to submerge myself in a totally different breed of vampires: newborns. The newborn life was something I hadn't ever gotten to explore—even when Bella finally became a vampire. Bella was never a newborn like Bree was a newborn. It was exciting and dark and, ultimately, tragic. The closer I got to the inevitable end, the more I wished I'd concluded Eclipse just slightly differently.
I wonder how you will feel about Bree. She's such a small, seemingly trivial character in Eclipse. She lives for only five minutes of Bella's perspective. And yet her story is so important to an understanding of the novel. When you read the Eclipse scene in which Bella stares at Bree, assessing her as a possible future, did you ever think about what has brought Bree to that point in time? As Bree glares back, did you wonder what Bella and the Cullens look like to her? Probably not. But even if you did, I'll bet you never guessed her secrets.
I hope you end up caring about Bree as much as I do, though that's kind of a cruel wish. You know this: it doesn't end well for her. But at least you will know the whole story. And that no perspective is ever really trivial.
THE NEWSPAPER HEADLINE GLARED AT ME FROM a little metal vending machine: SEATTLE UNDER SIEGE—DEATH TOLL RISES AGAIN. I hadn't seen this one yet. Some paperboy must have just restocked the machine. Lucky for him, he was nowhere around now.
Great. Riley was going to blow a gasket. I would make sure I wasn't within reach when he saw this paper. Let him rip somebody else's arm off.
I stood in the shadow behind the corner of a shabby three-story building, trying to be inconspicuous while I waited for someone to make a decision. Not wanting to meet anyone's eyes, I stared at the wall beside me instead. The ground floor of the building housed a record shop that had long since closed; the windows, lost to weather or street violence, were filled in with plywood. Over the top were apartments—empty, I guessed, since the normal sounds of sleeping humans were absent. I wasn't surprised—the place looked like it would collapse in a stiff wind. The buildings on the other side of the dark, narrow street were just as wrecked.
The normal scene for a night out on the town.
I didn't want to speak up and draw attention, but I wished somebody would decide something. I was really thirsty, and I didn't care much whether we went right or left or over the roof. I just wanted to find some unlucky people who wouldn't even have enough time to think wrong place, wrong time.
Unfortunately tonight Riley'd sent me out with two of the most useless vampires in existence. Riley never seemed to care who he sent out in hunting groups. Or particularly bugged when sending out the wrong people together meant fewer people coming home. Tonight I was stuck with Kevin and some blond kid whose name I didn't know. They both belonged to Raoul's gang, so it went without saying that they were stupid. And dangerous. But right now, mostly stupid.
Instead of picking a direction for our hunt, suddenly they were in the middle of an argument over whose favorite superhero would be a better hunter. The nameless blond was demonstrating his case for Spider-Man now, skittering up the brick wall of the alley while humming the cartoon theme song. I sighed in frustration. Were we ever going to hunt?
A little flicker of movement to my left caught my eye. It was the other one Riley had sent out in this hunting group, Diego. I didn't know much about him, just that he was older than most of the others. Riley's right-hand man was the word. That didn't make me like him any more than the other morons.
Diego was looking at me. He must have heard the sigh. I looked away.
Keep your head down and your mouth shut—that was the way to stay alive in Riley's crowd.
"Spider-Man is such a whiny loser," Kevin called up to the blond kid. "I'll show you how a real super-hero hunts." He grinned wide. His teeth flashed in the glare of a streetlight.
Kevin jumped into the middle of the street just as the lights from a car swung around to illuminate the cracked pavement with a blue-white gleam. He flexed his arms back, then pulled them slowly together like a pro wrestler showing off. The car came on, probably expecting him to get the hell out of the way like a normal person would. Like he should.
"Hulk mad!" Kevin bellowed. "Hulk… SMASH!"
He leaped forward to meet the car before it could brake, grabbed its front bumper, and flipped it over his head so that it struck the pavement upside down with a squeal of bending metal and shattering glass. Inside, a woman started screaming.
"Oh man," Diego said, shaking his head. He was pretty, with dark, dense, curly hair, big, wide eyes, and really full lips, but then, who wasn't pretty? Even Kevin and the rest of Raoul's morons were pretty. "Kevin, we're supposed to be laying low. Riley said—"
"Riley said!" Kevin mimicked in a harsh soprano. "Get a spine, Diego. Riley's not here."
Kevin sprang over the upside-down Honda and punched out the driver's side window, which had somehow stayed intact up to that point. He fished through the shattered glass and the deflating air bag for the driver.
I turned my back and held my breath, trying my hardest to hold on to the ability to think.
I couldn't watch Kevin feed. I was too thirsty for that, and I really didn't want to pick a fight with him. I so did not need to be on Raoul's hit list.
The blond kid didn't have the same issues. He pushed off from the bricks overhead and landed lightly behind me. I heard him and Kevin snarling at each other, and then a wet tearing sound as the woman's screams cut off. Probably them ripping her in half.
I tried not to think about it. But I could feel the heat and hear the dripping behind me, and it made my throat burn so bad even though I wasn't breathing.
"I'm outta here," I heard Diego mutter.
He ducked into a crevice between the dark buildings, and I followed right on his heels. If I didn't get away from here fast, I'd be squabbling with Raoul's goons over a body that couldn't have had much blood left in it by now anyway. And then maybe I'd be the one who didn't come home.
Ugh, but my throat burned! I clamped my teeth together to keep from screaming in pain.
Diego darted through a trash-filled side alley, and then—when he hit the dead end—up the wall. I dug my fingers into the crevices between the bricks and hauled myself up after him.
On the rooftop, Diego took off, leaping lightly across the other roofs toward the lights shimmering off the sound. I stayed close. I was younger than he was, and therefore stronger—it was a good thing we younger ones were strongest, or we wouldn't have lived through our first week in Riley's house. I could have passed him easy, but I wanted to see where he was going, and I didn't want to have him behind me.
Diego didn't stop for miles; we were almost to the industrial docks. I could hear him muttering under his breath.
"Idiots! Like Riley wouldn't give us instructions for a good reason. Self-preservation, for example. Is an ounce of common sense so much to ask for?"
"Hey," I called. "Are we going to hunt anytime soon? My throat's on fire here."
Diego landed on the edge of a wide factory roof and spun around. I jumped back a few yards, on my guard, but he didn't make an aggressive move toward me.
"Yeah," he said. "I just wanted some distance between me and the lunatics."
He smiled, all friendly, and I stared at him.
This Diego guy wasn't like the others. He was kind of… calm, I guess was the word. Normal. Not normal now, but normal before. His eyes were a darker red than mine. He must have been around for a while, like I'd heard.
From the street below came the sounds of nighttime in a slummier part of Seattle. A few cars, music with heavy bass, a couple of people walking with nervous, fast steps, some drunk bum singing off-key in the distance.
"You're Bree, right?" Diego asked. "One of the newbies."
I didn't like that. Newbie. Whatever. "Yeah, I'm Bree. But I didn't come in with the last group. I'm almost three months old."
"Pretty slick for a three-monther," he said. "Not many would have been able to leave the scene of the accident like that." He said it like a compliment, like he was really impressed.
"Didn't want to mix it up with Raoul's freaks."
He nodded. "Amen, sister. Their kind ain't nothing but bad news."
Weird. Diego was weird. How he sounded like a person having a regular old conversation. No hostility, no suspicion. Like he wasn't thinking about how easy or hard it might be to kill me right now. He was just talking to me.
"How long have you been with Riley?" I asked curiously.
"Going on eleven months now."
"Wow! That's older than Raoul."
Diego rolled his eyes and spit venom over the edge of the building. "Yeah, I remember when Riley brought that trash in. Things just kept getting worse after that."
I was quiet for a moment, wondering if he thought everyone younger than himself was trash. Not that I cared. I didn't care what anybody thought anymore. Didn't have to. Like Riley said, I was a god now. Stronger, faster, better. Nobody else counted.
Then Diego whistled low under his breath.
"There we go. Just takes a little brains and patience." He pointed down and across the street.
Half-hidden around the edge of a purple-black alley, a man was cussing at a woman and slapping her while another woman watched silently. From their clothes, I guessed that it was a pimp and two of his employees.
This was what Riley had told us to do. Hunt the dregs. Take the humans that no one was going to miss, the ones who weren't headed home to a waiting family, the ones who wouldn't be reported missing.
It was the same way he chose us. Meals and gods, both coming from the dregs.
Unlike some of the others, I still did what Riley told me to do. Not because I liked him. That feeling was long gone. It was because what he told us sounded right. How did it make sense to call attention to the fact that a bunch of new vampires were claiming Seattle as their hunting ground? How was that going to help us?
I didn't even believe in vampires before I was one. So if the rest of the world didn't believe in vampires, then the rest of the vampires must be hunting smart, the way Riley said to do it. They probably had a good reason.
And like Diego'd said, hunting smart just took a little brains and patience.
Of course, we all slipped up a lot, and Riley would read the papers and groan and yell at us and break stuff—like Raoul's favorite video-game system. Then Raoul would get mad and take somebody else apart and burn him up. Then Riley would be pissed off and he'd do another search to confiscate all the lighters and matches. A few rounds of this, and then Riley would bring home another handful of vampirized dregs kids to replace the ones he'd lost. It was an endless cycle.
Diego inhaled through his nose—a big, long pull—and I watched his body change. He crouched on the roof, one hand gripping the edge. All that strange friendliness disappeared, and he was a hunter.
That was something I recognized, something I was comfortable with because I understood it.
I turned off my brain. It was time to hunt. I took a deep breath, drawing in the scent of the blood inside the humans below. They weren't the only humans around, but they were the closest. Who you were going to hunt was the kind of decision you had to make before you scented your prey. It was too late now to choose anything.
Diego dropped from the roof edge, out of sight. The sound of his landing was too low to catch the attention of the crying prostitute, the zoned-out prostitute, or the angry pimp.
A low growl ripped from between my teeth. Mine. The blood was mine. The fire in my throat flared and I couldn't think of anything else.
I flipped myself off the roof, spinning across the street so that I landed right next to the crying blonde. I could feel Diego close behind me, so I growled a warning at him while I caught the surprised girl by the hair. I yanked her to the alley wall, putting my back against it. Defensive, just in case.
Then I forgot all about Diego, because I could feel the heat under her skin, hear the sound of her pulse thudding close to the surface.
She opened her mouth to scream, but my teeth crushed her windpipe before a sound could come out. There was just the gurgle of air and blood in her lungs, and the low moans I could not control.
The blood was warm and sweet. It quenched the fire in my throat, calmed the nagging, itching emptiness in my stomach. I sucked and gulped, only vaguely aware of anything else.
I heard the same noise from Diego—he had the man. The other woman was unconscious on the ground. Neither had made any noise. Diego was good.
The problem with humans was that they just never had enough blood in them. It seemed like only seconds later the girl ran dry. I rattled her limp body in frustration. Already my throat was beginning to burn again.
I threw the spent body to the ground and crouched against the wall, wondering if I could grab the unconscious girl and make off with her before Diego could catch up to me.
Diego was already finished with the man. He looked at me with an expression that I could only describe as… sympathetic. But I could have been dead wrong. I couldn't remember anyone ever giving me sympathy before, so I wasn't positive what it looked like.
"Go for it," he told me, nodding to the limp girl on the ground.
"Are you kidding me?"
"Naw, I'm good for now. We've got time to hunt some more tonight."
Watching him carefully for some sign of a trick, I darted forward and snagged the girl. Diego made no move to stop me. He turned away slightly and looked up at the black sky.
I sank my teeth into her neck, keeping my eyes on him. This one was even better than the last. Her blood was entirely clean. The blonde girl's blood had the bitter aftertaste that came with drugs—I was so used to that, I'd barely noticed. It was rare for me to get really clean blood, because I followed the dregs rule. Diego seemed to follow the rules, too. He must have smelled what he was giving up.
Why had he done it?
When the second body was empty, my throat felt better. There was a lot of blood in my system. I probably wouldn't really burn for a few days.
Diego was still waiting, whistling quietly through his teeth. When I let the body fall to the ground with a thud, he turned back to me and smiled.
"Um, thanks," I said.
He nodded. "You looked like you needed it more than me. I remember how hard it is in the beginning."
"Does it get easier?"
He shrugged. "In some ways."
We looked at each other for a second.
"Why don't we dump these bodies in the sound?" he suggested.
I bent down, grabbed the dead blonde, and slung her limp body over my shoulder. I was about to get the other one, but Diego was there before me, the pimp already on his back.
"I got it," he said.
I followed him up the alley wall, and then we swung across the girders under the freeway. The lights from the cars below didn't touch us. I thought how stupid people were, how oblivious, and I was glad I wasn't one of the clueless.
Hidden in the darkness, we made our way to an empty dock, closed for the night. Diego didn't hesitate at the end of the concrete, he just jumped right over the edge with his bulky burden and disappeared into the water. I slid in after him.
He swam as sleek and quick as a shark, shooting deeper and farther out into the black sound. He stopped suddenly when he found what he was looking for—a huge, slime-covered boulder on the ocean floor, sea stars and garbage clinging to its sides. We had to be more than a hundred feet deep—to a human, it would have seemed pitch-black here. Diego let go of his bodies. They swayed slowly in the current beside him while he shoved his hand into the mucky sand at the base of the rock. After a second he found a hold and ripped the boulder up from its resting spot. The weight of it drove him waist-deep into the dark seafloor.
He looked up and nodded to me.
I swam down to him, hooking his bodies with one hand on my way. I shoved the blonde into the black hole under the rock, then pushed the second girl and the pimp in after her. I kicked them lightly to make sure they were in, and then got out of the way. Diego let the boulder fall. It wobbled a little, adjusting to the newly uneven foundation. He kicked his way out of the muck, swam to the top of the boulder, and then pushed it down, grinding the obstructions flat underneath.
He swam back a few yards to view his work.
Perfect, I mouthed. These three bodies would never resurface. Riley would never hear a story about them on the news.
He grinned and held up his hand.
It took me a minute to understand that he was looking for a high five. Hesitantly, I swam forward, tapped my palm to his, then kicked away, putting some distance between us.
Diego got a weird expression on his face, and then he shot to the surface like a bullet.
I darted up after him, confused. When I broke through to the air, he was almost choking on his laughter.
He couldn't answer me for a minute. Finally he blurted out, "Worst high five ever."
I sniffed, irritated. "Couldn't be sure you weren't just going to rip my arm off or something."
Diego snorted. "I wouldn't do that."
"Anyone else would," I countered.
"True, that," he agreed, suddenly not as amused. "You up for a little more hunting?"
"Do you have to ask?"
Praise for The Twilight Saga:
"Meyer has, like one of her vampires, turned into something rare and more than merely human.... People do not want to just read Meyer's books; they want to climb inside them and live there." -Time
"Piles on the suspense and romance." -USA Today
"A literary phenomenon." -The New York Times
"[Stephenie Meyer is] the world's most popular vampire novelist since Anne Rice." -Entertainment Weekly
- On Sale
- Feb 1, 2022
- Page Count
- 224 pages
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephenie Meyer is the author of the The Chemist, the #1 bestselling Twilight Saga and The Host. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English literature, and she lives with her husband and three sons in Arizona.