Chapter 3

Chapter 3

A Chapter by thegirlthatwrites

BANG!

There is little that can wake a teenager from their sleep as suddenly as the sound as their front door slamming open. It came in a dream at first, the sound resonating straight through the subconscious in some strange form before I suddenly sat upright in my bed. My feet hit the cold hardwood floor, padding quickly across with no care to be too quiet. After a noise like that, trying not to be disruptive was hardly a great concern. I was just opening my mouth to scream when I heard a sound that was nearly entirely foreign to me: a growl.

A few years ago, a puppy had wandered into our front yard, and it was the first time I had ever seen anything that was not some raccoon or other little mammal. It had been friendly, bouncing around, especially when Felix came out to play with it. When Gloria had tried to shoo it away, though, it had given out a low rumbling sound that seemed almost endearing coming from the little creature. This sound was ten times louder, with a rougher, angrier edge. This was no little puppy that had crashed into our lives at...what time was it?

Turning my head to try to make out the face of the large clock on the other side of my room, I was caught off-guard slightly by the sky outside. There was no silver light showing through the bay window, not even a crescent. It was a new moon, and all that could be seen was a very faint sliver of the moon that cast no light down on our state or any other part of the night.

"Regan!" Felix's familiar voice called.

No, no, no, Felix, I thought, as if the message could be silently sent to him. I rushed to my door, pulling it open slightly to glance out and see Felix's silhouette rushing toward me from the other end of the hallway. I stepped up, holding my hands up to try to silence him as some jumbled words came out of his mouth. He sounded as though he had marbles in his mouth, and just as shockingly, he actually went quiet when I urged him to. It was as uncharacteristic as if he were to tell me to scream and I obeyed that command.

The sound of growling intensified, but the sound was so unfamiliar to me that I was unable to tell just how many creatures were making the sound, or how close they were. Felix ran toward the top of the stairs to peer into the darkness below, and I was right on his heels, mostly tugging on his shirt to try to pull him back. I realized I had been wrong in my assumption that the door had been blasted open, as it had instead just been broken. The growling became mingled with snarls on the other side of the broken door, through which a mass of fur could be just barely distinguished. Through one of the broken pieces, a limb extended, with sharp claws able to be seen just as they closed around the knob of the door on the inside.

"Lupos!" I exclaimed in a breath.

I had heard about them, from Gloria, and read about them. I knew all about them. Their anatomy, stages of transformation, history, abilities...They were of superior strength and agility, above any human or wolf individually. Their history was plagued with wars of all kinds: wars between packs, between alliances, and against other species, the last of which had ended only a decade ago at most. It had been witches like me that had created them. A witch's brother had been dying in the forest as a result of being bitten by the wolf, and so she had cursed the wolf to give her brother its life force in order to help him to survive the attack. Dangerous magic, Gloria always said, and hardly worth it, as far as I'm concerned.

So why were they here? Why were they attacking our home? We had not summoned them, not done anything wrong. Did this have to do with Gloria leaving us? What could they possibly want from us?

"Go to your room!" I shouted at Felix suddenly. He was older, technically, by just over a year and a half, but he had never acted as the older sibling. It was always up to me. I told him when to stop, I was the disciplinarian, I was the one who told him that blowing a hole in the middle of the back yard was not going to get him great scientific fame. Still, it was not as if he ever really listened to me, and soon he was already making his way down the stairs as the clawed fingers scratched at the doorknob.

I had never been in such a high pressure situation, and the amount of adrenaline pumping in my veins was so unusual to me that it almost felt surreal. With blinders on, I ran toward the door to Gloria's bedroom. She had to hear all the noise, right? She was probably brewing up a quick potion to throw on the Lupos, or trying to find a spellbook with a powerful curse to be rid of them, or had already teleported out of the room to fight the Lupos outside, or...

Or she was how I found her, hastily shoving this and that into a bag thrown over her shoulder. Clothes, spellbooks, jewelry, money....whatever her hands touched went in the bag, but nothing ever spilled out. It was a charmed bag, one that was meant to hold a great deal while feeling as though it held no more than a stick of gum inside of it, no matter what the size of the bag. There was a whole spectrum of emotions that I felt as I stared at her. Disbelief, anger, curiosity, hope, denial. Everything that had happened within the past few minutes was so much more intense than anything I had ever experienced, and it was nearing the point where I thought I might go numb from it all.

"You knew." The statement came out of my mouth as soon as the realization hit. There was too much thrown all over the place, too many drawers opened. Magic or not, she had been rushing around for at least twice as long as the Lupos had been trying to get in. Our own mother had been ready to sneak out in the night without us, and now she was staring at me as if I had intruded on her. "You knew?"

"Don't be silly, I-I-"

"You did know, didn't you?" The scratching and growling had grown louder, and any second the wolves would completely tear down the door no matter what charms had been placed on it to make it stronger. I always thought that Gloria had put up magical barriers, ones she had told me about and made me practice constantly. Had she never even put up one of those barriers around her very own home? Where her children lived?

Gloria looked at me sternly, a cold glint in her eyes that I had never seen their before. It brought a chill over me as I watched her lift her pale hands up together, as if she was cupping the air. She muttered a word I had never learned, a curse of sorts. Pharus. In a flash, what seemed to be black lightning exploded from her hands, shooting out to every corner of the room, cutting out all the lights. It felt as though I had been drenched in ice water with shards of ice that seemed to split right through me. A scream erupted from a deep place in my chest, the sound breaking up the lightning and drowning out any other words that Gloria could have tried to get out.

I collapsed, clutching at my stomach where I was convinced a sharp piece of ice had pierced me. There was no more light on in the room, and my hand only clutched at the t-shirt I had fallen asleep in, completely devoid of blood. I felt a pair of hands grab my shoulders to lift me back up, only realizing a few moments later when I was being pulled out of the room that it was Felix. I tried to fight against him to get back into the darkened room, to get back to face Gloria, but she was gone. She had left us.

"Rae!" Felix blurted. "Rae! Rae! Rae!"

"I hear you!" I shouted back, twisting my way out from his grip. It took so much force to get out that I stumbled forward when I was free, falling against the bannister at the top of the staircase.

That was when it happened. That was when the last of the strength charms were torn through by the Lupos. I pushed off the staircase, lifting my hands out in front of me. "Ignus!" I chanted on instinct, sending the bannister and the bottom of the staircase up into flames as the first few Lupos practically fell into the main foyer in a half-phased form, looking more wolf-like with each growl that came from them. For a moment, I was transfixed, unable to pull my eyes off of the creatures I had never seen in three dimension, only ever pictures of or images I created in my mind when I read.

Then they began to move toward the flames, as if they were entirely unafraid. I reached out to grasp the collar of Felix's shirt before he could take another step down the staircase, pulling him along behind me as I moved toward his room. It was the farthest down the hall, the farthest from the Lupos. They were not fireproof, I knew that, but they were fast healers, and could likely jump over the flames before they became too high. Once I reached the door of Felix's room, I flicked my wrist to send the door open and pushed Felix inside.

"Zephyrio!" I muttered, twirling my wrist as I conjured up a small windstorm within the hallway to create a resistance against the Lupos, should they make it up the stairs. "Frigspic." Points of ice shot out from the walls, criss crossing around the hallway to create another barrier, coming closer and closer as I backed into the room. With another flick of my hand, the door closed loudly. No hesitation now, I began to go through every incantation I knew for barrier and protection spells, moving my hands around the door. Each spell required different hand positions, ones I executed with as much precision as I could while my hands were still shaking and with as clear a mind as I could muster. I even was so desperate as to use some spells that I had never used practically, only read about. Most of them were nod needed after the first few, but the more I cast, the less my hands shook.

I could still hear the Lupos, though. There was the sound of them growling loudly now as they faced the intends winds that were still howling in the hallway. A bad fur day for them was little skin of my back considering they had invaded my home.

"Felix, how are y-" I stopped short when my eyes fell on Felix, who was sitting off in the corner of his cluttered room, knees drawn up and head tucked down. For the first time since running into the room, my mind was not on the defenses or the barriers, but entirely on Felix. I inched closer slowly, sinking down onto my knees when I realized that his entire body was shaking. "Felix, what's wrong?"

I reached a hand out tentatively to place it on his knee, but he spun away. He was an affectionate kind of person, one that did not mind a random hug or someone touching him. I opened my mouth, beginning to repeat my question, when he looked up at me with wide eyes. Where his brown irises had once been were now golden rings that appeared more like the eyes of a wolf than those of a human. He went to speak, but when his lips moved, I could see that the tips of his teeth had become pointed. Like a Lupo.

Could he be a Lupo? There was the possibility, and it gave some explanation as to why the others were there. No Lupos were guaranteed a pack, that much I knew. They had to be claimed by a pack, once they underwent their first transformation on a new moon. There were always packs lurking around, trying to find new Betas to join them, oftentimes making the young Lupos hurdle through a great deal of hoops in order to be officially initiated into the pack. A Lupo was not like a witch. When I was just a baby, I would give off little sparks and accidentally set off some telekinetic ripples, which were considered normal signs that I was a witch. Lupos, however, would not give off any signs of what they were until their first transformation. Unless raised near or among a pack, many accounts and diaries that I read that were written by Lupos explained that a Lupo never knew what they were until their first transformation.

Once more, I tried to reach out to touch his knee, but this time when he looked up, a broken howl came out. I scrambled backwards, falling against the wall on the opposite side of the room as I heard the Lupos outside begin to tear through the spikes of ice that barricaded the hallway. I watched, jaw hanging out in silent shock and awe, as Felix transformed before my very eyes. His fingers and toes extended, and claws grew. He gave out cry after cry as I heard his bones breaking and shifting for the first time, but whenever I moved toward him, he gave out another howl, like a warning bell. As his facial features changed and elongated, that was when the Lupos outside reached the door and began to claw at it persistently.

My eyes shifted constantly between the door and Felix. The ground shook from the weight of the Lupos slamming their bodies against the door, but he spells held up. Still, terrifying scenarios ran through my mind. It was said that a Lupo undergoing it's first transformation could often lose its mind from the pain, and hurt others around it. The more Felix resembled a wolf, the more realist the possibility became that I would not be able to get out. Gloria had yet to teach me how to teleport, but even if I did know, I was not leaving Felix alone. Touch was required to teleport someone, anyway.

The worst scenario of all that went through my mind was that of the spells breaking down. They were strong, yes, but they would likely not last much beyond sunrise, so if the Lupos did not let up, they would make it through. What would they do to Felix if they claimed him? How would they hurt him? What would they do to me, for trying to keep them from him? It was a well known fact that certain packs and alliances of Lupos did not like witches at all, often for good reason.

The attempts to break in went on for hours. Each pounding at the door made me flinch, but at least I could no longer hear the sound of Felix's bones reconstructing themselves. He had fully shifted by this point, and where the human form of Felix had once sat balled up, there now lay a lanky, dark brown wolf with golden eyes that stared anywhere in the room but at me. It was unnerving to see the boy I had felt was my own blood brother now in a shape that was anything but human. Even more startling than the fur and the snout was the look of fear in those eyes. When we were younger, Felix was always the one who jumped off the swingset, ate too much candy, tested his limits with Gloria and with his own body. I was always more cautious, always the one more likely to be scared. But never Felix.

Until now.


© 2014 thegirlthatwrites


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Added on November 3, 2014
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thegirlthatwrites
thegirlthatwrites

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I just really like to write, and there's not much else to it. more..

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