The burning’s finally gone. Carlisle sits by my side and explains everything again, this time more fully, informing me of the rules of our species and those of their house.

I listen attentively, instinctively aware of the importance of his every word.

When he’s done, he insists we go hunting.

I flinch at the thought. He smiles apologetically.

Running, after everything I’ve been through, is somehow very freeing and I laugh – albeit slightly hysterically.

Esme’s at my side at once with reassurances.

The first deer is equal parts disgusting and heavenly as the blood drains into my parched throat.