Chapter 4

Chapter 4

A Chapter by thegirlthatwrites

Falling asleep had never been a part of the plan. In all the scenarios I had imagined in my head, I had never considered that I would fall asleep, until I woke with a start. The curtains of the room had been drawn wide open, revealing just how cluttered and dirty Felix's room actually was despite how often lately I had been telling him to clean it.

Felix!

I quickly twisted my body to look in the corner, where I had last scene a large wolf looking scared as his eyes went all around the room. Felix was back to normal, though. As normal as he could be, at least, when he was passed out in his human form in the same corner with a blanket draped over him. He looked so peaceful that it would have been wrong of me to try to wake him, especially considering how difficult his night had been. Instead, I pushed myself up onto my feel, carefully tip-toeing toward the bedroom door that was still shut tight.

With my ear placed against the side of the door I could hear nothing at all, but that did not necessarily mean anything. Glancing down at my hand as I reached for the doorknob, I could see that it was still shaking, and tried to use my other hand to steady my wrist as my hand closed around the cool doorknob. Slowly, so as not to wake Felix or disturb whatever potentially lied out in the hallway, I turned the doorknob and pulled open the door. On the other side of the door, there were no scratches at all. I guess Gloria was right when she said the greatest defense was one that you charmed to repair itself, and considering how often Felix had blown holes through his door, we had cast an instant-repair charm on it years ago. I had nearly completely forgotten...

The door was about the only thing that was seeming unscathed, though. All along the walls of the long hallway were scratches, dents, and cracks, as if the Lupos had been looking for any way to get into the room. I reached my hand out to feel along the broken walls, careful to watch my step in my bare feet to avoid getting a splinter or cut from the glass, wood, and other materials that were scattered all over the hallway. When I came to the door of my bedroom, there was no doorknob remaining to turn, and I instead had to nudge the door open carefully with my toe, holding my hands up cautiously, in case anything were to come flying out of the corner toward me.

That was one lesson that Gloria stressed constantly. Always be ready. I had spent my entire life on our estate, but she still always told me to take the utmost care whenever I was entering a room. Even in my own home, there had always been a minor level of fear that I was not completely safe. Up until the night before, there was no reason for me to reflect on all the little "lessons" Gloria tried to instill in Felix and I to try to encourage a fear of the outside world in an attempt to suppress our fascination with it. It was always easier for me to cope, because I could just dive into a new book about the "outside", whether it was fiction or not, but Felix did not have that luxury. Instead he spent his days making inventions that were oftentimes more likely to accidentally cause harm to someone than aid.

A sudden noise caused me to freeze where I was. I strained, trying to listen to whatever had caused the noise. Had it been Felix? Or had it come from another part of the house? It was so foolish of me, to just leave Felix alone in the room after what had just happened. Lupo or not, he was still Felix, and accidents could tend to be his specialty.

I turned to leave my room just as the door swung shut again, but not before I could see a shadow fading down the hallway. Hell, no, this was not after what I had gone through the night before. Was it Gloria? Come back to croon and fawn over us with fake sympathy? Or maybe it would be genuine? What reason could she possibly give for leaving while we were under attack and then returning to us as if nothing had happened?

"Hey!" I called, using a small burst of air to throw my door back open as I stormed into the hallway. "What do you think you-"

It was not Gloria at all. Two figures stood at the end of the hallway, in front of the door to Felix's room. One was tall, half-hidden by the shadows, but not so much that I could not at least make out that it was a boy, probably about the same age as Felix. He was a bit shorter than Felix, though, but then again, everyone was always shorter than Felix. Next to the strange boy was a girl, and when I say girl, I mean a little girl, no more than ten, with blonde hair that was braided down to her waist. Neither of them seemed to have noticed that I entered the hallway, as they were turned away from me and looking into the room. I could hear quiet muttering sounds coming from them, though I was too far away to distinguish what they were saying.

"Hey!" I said louder, taking a few particularly noisy steps toward them and nearly cutting my heel open on a broken picture frame. "You two!"

The two turned toward me, the boy in a sharp motion and the girl moving slowly, as if she was taking part in a dream. A bright smile grew on her face, lighting up her doe eyes enough to nearly distract me entirely from the steely gaze I was receiving from the taller blonde next to her. "One and a half," he stated, as if it was a legitimate correction to something I had said. "Who are you?"

"She's the sister, of course," the little girl practically sang as she began walking toward me.

I tried to take a few steps back from her, but she walked toward quickly, reaching up a thin hand to grab hold of my forearm gently. Children are fickle things, so capable of gaining or ruining your trust in just a few moments. It was difficult to assess if I immediately trusted her though. I had never really had much of a decision in that area. For as long as I could remember, Felix and Gloria were there in my life, and I trusted both of them. Neither had ever made me question that trust until the night before, and I had never been required to choose whether to put even just a portion of that trust in anyone else. There were people who came through, of course: maids, gardeners, grocers, even a few friends of Gloria's, but no one that ever stayed long enough for me to be put in a situation where trust was mandatory.

"What's your name?" the little girl chirped up, pulling me from my thoughts just as we reached the entrance to Felix's room.

I looked down at the girl quietly. I could lie, perhaps. Gloria could always tell when I was lying, but that was not for quite a few years of trying, even if it was often simple, white lies. Would this little girl be able to tell if I lied about my name? Did she already know it and was asking out of courtesy? Why was she here? Had Gloria sent her? Had someone else sent her?

"Rae..."

Both our heads snapped to face Felix, looking paler than usual, as he slowly rose to his feet with the blanket wrapped around him. The other boy was still hovering in the doorway, watching us with nothing less than complete scrutiny.

"She does that," Felix croaked out, the corners of his mouth rising up into a smile. How did he do that? How did he put on a smile after all that had happened? He had to be so achey, after all the pain he had gone through during the time he was shifting... "Thinks more than she speaks. Her name is Regan. I'm Felix."

"I don't," I tried to protest, but Felix was already moving around his room as if he was looking for something. I turned my attention down to the little girl, shaking my head a bit as I repeated the lie. "I don't."

"You do," the little girl countered, offering a soft smile with her childish laugh. "I can tell. But that's fine!" She stood up on tippy-toes, giving me a few taps on the temple before I backed out of range for her to continue. "Not good with strangers, either, are you? That's perfectly fine. Felix, here!" The girl moved expertly about the clutter, snatching up a t-shirt and pair of shorts that she tossed to Felix, who dropped them despite her accurate aim. "Come on, Regan." Again, her fingers closed around my forearm and she began to lead me out of the room. "I know you probably want to stay with Felix, but the boy needs to change. Then we can leave."

"Leave?" I repeated before I completely processed her words, the door to Felix's room closing behind me. "What do you mean leave?"

"Verb," the boy that was still hovering near the shadows cut in. "According to Merriam-Webster, the definition is: to go away from. Was that not in one of your little books?"

"My-"

"Lowell!" the girl interjected, dragging me farther down the hallway. For a little thing with skinny arms, she had far more muscle than I had been expecting. "Leave her alone!"

"Stop!" I tore my arm out of the girl's grip before we reached the door to my room. "Just stop! Who are you two? What are you doing here?"

"That's Charmeine," the boy explained, pointing toward the little girl that was now looking up at me rather apologetically with her bright blue eyes. I had to look away from her or else I would likely let her drag me all over the house. "And I'm Lowell."

As he introduced himself, he stepped out from the shadows, revealing the left side of his body. Though he was wearing a long-sleeve shirt, I could see the burn marks that extended to his knuckles and around the left side of his neck, up to behind his ear. I did not mean to stare for so long, but it was the first time I had ever seen burns in person and not just as a picture in a book. It was a similar experience to when I had seen the Lupos when they first came barreling through the front door. The sight was bad, the kind that I should not have chosen to stop and stare at, but I was fascinated by seeing something like it in person.

"We're humans," Lowell continued on in a similar tone.

Had he noticed that I was more interested in his burns than anything else? Did that happen often? Had he lived a life similar to mine, or was he so used to going out in public with his burns that they were hardly worth mentioning anymore? I wanted to ask how he got them, how long he had them, if much had been healed, but I kept it all too myself. Thinks more than she speaks. Well, at least Felix had been right.

"It's our job to get you two out of here," Charmeine added, slowly backing toward my room and beckoning me to follow after her. "Our mother was gifted, like you. She was a witch. She told us all about Lupos and witches and Hearts and the like growing up, but we weren't gifted, unfortunately. But she played a very vital role in the community, that of someone who protects."

"But why are you here?" I asked, not wanting to beat around the bush any more with this as I finally gave in and walked into my room.

Fluttering around the room with a grin, Charmeine grabbed one of my bags and began to pull clothes and books out, piling them up next to the bag as she continued with her explanation. "She knew your mother, knew about you and Felix. She had more pressing matters on the other side of the country, but she made Lowell and I promise to come find at least Felix. She knew he would be claimed soon, so she wanted us to help protect him. She said there might a sister." There was a pause as Charmeine stopped, one of my books appearing larger than life as she clutched it in her small arms. "We really weren't expecting..."

"We weren't expecting a beacon," Lowell finished, poking his head in the room. "Charmie, we're running out of time."

"What beacon?" I asked. How was it that after all my years of studying, I now seemed to be at a disadvantage to a ten year old and her grumpy older brother? Over a decade of studying only to have no answers at all when I needed them most. "Why are you making me back?"

Lowell let out an exasperated sigh, as if it were absolutely ridiculous for me to want to know what was going on with my own life in the wake of being nearly mauled by a pack of Lupos. "Gloria sent out a beacon before she vanished. It doesn't have a name, but it's going to attract all sorts of things you don't want: Hearts, bad Lupos, dark witches and warlocks...even some particularly nasty human criminals may be attracted to it."

"That's ridiculous, she would nev-"

"Never do that? Even after she disappeared and seemed to have left you both here alone?"

"You came into this house less than an hour ago. Holier than thou doesn't work around here."

"Shush!" Charmeine cried, waving her hands to try to silence us both. "Our mother has told us all about this. The point is this: a beacon was made, and you have an unclaimed Lupo living here. This house is going to be a hotspot for all things that go bump in the night. Regan, it's just not safe."

I looked down at the stack of clothes and books that were waiting to be stuffed into a bag, running my fingers absently along the spine of one of the books. I should have pointed out to them that this was not just some place, but my home, no matter what Gloria had done or failed to do for Felix and I. It was still my home. Telling them that, though, was a bit too melodramatic for my tastes, and I refused to give this Lowell kid anymore fodder. It was nice of them to try to do this favor for their mother, whoever or whatever she was, but there was no way I was leaving, because there was no way that Felix was going to want to leave.

When I heard the sound of Felix's door opening, I quickly rushed into the hallway to face him, probably looking just as strung out as I felt. Gloria had always stressed proper appearances, but given that I was still in my pajamas and my hair falling more and more out of its braid with each passing minute, appearances were entirely out the door. At least Felix was starting to look better, with a fairly clean top and shorts, and a bit more of his usual color in his cheeks.

"They want us to-" I began, taking a breath before as I prepared to go on a long spiel about family and how I was not going to leave Felix.

"I heard," Felix assured me, a chuckle finishing off his words. He pointed at his ears with a slight grin. "Some of it stays with you. Got that extra special hearing now. And the faucet is dripping in the basement bathroom."

I looked him over skeptically. He had taken too long to get ready, and if he had heard everything we had said... My eyes trailed back toward his door that was still somewhat open, falling upon the canvas duffel bag that was peaking out. "You packed?"

"Which is something you really need to get to work on."

"Felix, we can't leave."

Felix shrugged a bit. "It's not like we've got any other choice."

Was he out of his mind? Granted, turning into a wolf suddenly without any forewarning was bound to shake anyone up, but wasn't that just all the more reason for him to want to stay here? So we could figure things out? So that I could show him books about Lupos, teach him how to read them? With or without Gloria, we would be able to find a way to survive on the estate. I wanted to see the outside world, so, so badly, but I wanted Felix to be safe and in control even more.

"Of course we've got another choice," I tried to reason. "It's called staying in our house and not leaving with these people we have known for the same amount of time it takes a dryer to complete a cycle."

"I trust them."

I looked to the side where Charmeine and Lowell were standing with their hands folded, Lowell watching the ordeal with a smug look on his face and Charmeine trying her best to focus on cleaning under her fingernails. They clearly had some idea what was going on, but who was to say that would keep up if we left? Who was to say that there we would survive more than a mile off of the estate?

"Rae, this is our chance to get outside this place," Felix continued on, now sounding as though he was pleading, "Please. If we stay here, we're both dead within the month. But if we leave...there's a chance."

"A chance we'll last two months?" I questioned dryly.

"It's still one more month."

I never verbally agreed to anything, there was no way I was giving any of them that satisfaction. I wanted to stay more than anything, but Felix seemed to want to leave more than anything. I just gave a small nod and entered into my room, flicking my wrist to close the door. I passed my hand over the opening of the bag, casting the expansion curse and beginning to dump in the contents that Charmeine had chosen, going around to pick up a few more that would be useful. I knew that the others were waiting for me outside the door, and took my time changing out of my pajamas finally.

Before I left the room, I stopped in front of the full-length mirror that hung on my wall. Moved my hand to lift up my shift enough to see part of my stomach, where I had felt the invisible icy spike go straight through me when Gloria cast the spell. In the daylight, I was able to make out a thin white line, as though I really had been hit. There had been no blood, not scab, and no pain afterward. My eyes remained on the mysterious scar for a few more moments before I dropped the bottom of the shirt and picked up my bag. As light as the bag was, there was a much heavier feeling in my chest now.


© 2014 thegirlthatwrites


Author's Note

thegirlthatwrites
Two chapters in one day! Wooo!

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Added on November 4, 2014
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thegirlthatwrites
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I just really like to write, and there's not much else to it. more..

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