Chapter 6

Chapter 6

A Chapter by thegirlthatwrites

Hearts are not something you want to come across. Ever.

Popular literature enjoys referring to a form of them as "vampires", but they are hardly that romanticized. No one is entirely sure where Hearts came from, but they were around long before humans, witches, or Lupos. Humanoid is one word to describe their body shape, but that is about the only human thing about them. They have no irises, only large black pupils in sunken eyes with the skin around their eyes almost black, though the rest of their skin and their hair is pure white. Teeth and nails are sharpened naturally like broken glass, and there are rumors that some use rocks to try to sharpen them even more. The only other time their body has another color is when their lips have been reddened after they suck someone entirely dry.

They survive on one thing, and one thing only: human blood. Once they begin to feast, there is no stopping them until the person is completely dry, with hardly a drop left. I had seen pictures in books of those that had been attacked by Hearts. Oftentimes, Hearts chose to burn the bodies of their victims, as it is rumored that if a Heart is exposed to heat after drinking someone's blood, they achieve a euphoric, dreamlike state.

The Hearts are named after their possession of an unrivaled ability to hear a heartbeat, even the quietest one, from a significant distance. They have no superior sense of smell, and with other noises their hearing is no more superior than a human's, but they can just sense if a person's heart is beating, and they can track one person by their heartbeat alone.

I had read nearly all there was that we had on the Hearts species, and all about their history. Clans were common among the Hearts, which lead to frequent wars, and even more frequent battles with Lupos and witches. The Hearts nearly always won against other species, as they possessed a great strength, speed, and intelligence, but in battles within their own species, many had died out. Whenever I had lessons on the Hearts, Gloria would always say with such certainty that they were a dying species, and that it was for the better. Cruel as they could be depicted, I never saw the death of a species as something that was good.

I also never thought I would ever see a Heart. It was taller than I was expecting, honestly, which probably should not have been my greatest concern, but the mind focuses on strange things in these kinds of situations. I wanted to stay, wanted to be unnaturally daring and ask the Heart a question, but the books on Hearts had not been written without a price. Most were collaborations, with various authors offering up their own lives in exchange for a few chapters to share with their colleagues on the functions and histories of the Hearts. There was always so much more history about them, though. When I asked Gloria how old the oldest Heart was, she said she doubted even the Heart knew just how old it was.

"It's following!" Felix exclaimed, trying to push Charmeine and I out the door before him. "Let's go!"

I knew that Felix did not know much about the Hearts, other than what they looked like, but as we were shuffled out the door, I noticed that his nostrils were significantly flared. "It smells bad," he complained. I tried to crane my neck to look over his shoulder to see if the Heart really was pursuing us, but Charmeine grabbed my forearm and spun me around to drag me along behind her. Only a few paces ahead, Lowell was starting to run, motioning for us to follow after him. As we began to sprint, Felix ended up running significantly faster than all of us, too fast for us to catch up. I tried to call for him to slow down, and even when he claimed he was jogging, he was still too far ahead of us for my liking.

I had no idea where we were going, but I kept running, right behind Lowell and Charmeine. I doubted greatly that they even knew where they were going, but the Heart had locked onto our hearbeats. Wherever we went in this town, there was no way for us to escape it. It would be able to find us all, or whichever one it specifically wanted. Felix was an untrained Lupo, and I had been training for a long time, but witches four times my age and skill had been killed in seconds by Hearts that seemed nearly immune to some of the strongest offensive and defensive spells. Of course they were. Most believed they had been around since before magic.

"Train!" Charmeine suddenly cried, causing us all to come to a stumbling halt in front of a dreary looking brown building. "Felix, get back here!"

I leaned back against the building, trying to catch my breath as Felix easily loped back toward us. My side was cramping, my chest felt like some weight was bring pressed on it, and those fries were suddenly seeming like a very bad idea. Gloria had always encouraged me to try to stay in shape, saying that my body needed to be in good condition in order to withstand the power of some spells, but I had never run like that or for a reason even remotely similar.

"Gonna make it, Rae?" Lowell asked, his voice and eyes full of mocking.

A*****e. He was trying to catch his breath nearly as much as I was, and poor Charmeine's legs had to be exhausted. If they were, she did not show it as she strolled into the building with a skip in her step and Felix not far behind her. Did she know about the Hearts? When I had her age, I had already begun to learn about them, but did she maybe only know how to spot them and that they were bad? Did she not know what they were capable of? From the way Lowell was constantly scanning around the street and outside the building, it was evident that he knew just what we would be dealing with if the Heart tracked us down.

Once I was composed enough, I walked into the train station, looking around the small station with some awe. It smelled like old paper and coffee scents that were wafting over from the little concession set up not far from the ticket booth. Charmeine was chattering away with the man behind the glass who looked positively uninterested in whatever she was talking about. Felix was just standing a bit off to the side, watching the entire exchange with a smile on his face. Seeing his grin present after everything that had happened, I felt the corners of my lips begin to turn upward a bit.

"Are you ready for you first train ride?"

I turned to face Lowell after he spoke, all traces of a smile completely gone. "What do you mean? We're leaving?"

"Why did you think we came into a train station?"

"To hide!" I looked around the building that was nearly deserted, hearing a strange rumbling noise in the distance as Charmeine continued to talk with the man behind the glass. "Is it safe to leave?"

"Why wouldn't it be?"

With the way Gloria spoke about the world, despite what history books and even fictional stories told me, I always pictured them to be run-down, with people constantly on the lookout for witches. When we came to this town, I just assumed that the people were different, more tolerant. That if we left, then wherever we went, people would somehow know what I was with one look. They would try to hurt me, or even worse, they would try to hurt Felix.

"No reason," I muttered, so quietly that the strange rumbling noise that was growing louder drowned out my voice. "Is that a train?"

"Of course that's a train. Have you never heard one before?"

I turned toward the rumbling noise, watching as a train came barreling along the tracks before it reluctantly came to a stop at the platform. The breeze it created sent my hair flying all around my face, and I stared at the train with wide eyes. I knew what they looked like, what they did, but I had never heard what a train sounded like before. Cars and trucks had come by the house for a variety of different reasons and services over the years, and airplanes had gone roaring overhead, but I had never experienced this before. Being exposed to so many new smells, sounds, and sights all at once was sending me into sensory overdrive, tiring me out to the point where my muscles and mind felt completely drained.

"You know how to vision bend but you've never heard a train before?" Lowell further questioned, drawing an exasperated sigh out of me. "Did you spend your whole life in that house?"

"I'm not talking to you about this." I spun away on my heels, but not before I saw him roll his eyes. Charmeine and Felix were making their way over, each with a couple white papers in their hands.

"It's ridiculous," Lowell continued talking behind me, "because I can tell you've got a lot going on up there, but you're so..."

"So what?" Felix challenged, holding a paper out toward me that I quickly snatched up. "My sister is so what?"

"So gonna love the peanuts they offer on trains!" Charmeine chirped, stuffing her second white paper into Lowell's hands as he glared at Felix and me.

I followed Charmeine onto the train, doing everything exactly how she did. Of the two, she was the far more relatable and personable, and before I could even ask a question, she already seemed to have an answer or knew what to do. After sitting down, I pulled on the seatbelt, trying to get it as tight as possible. I had never actually been in any sort of moving vehicle before, and certainly not one that went as fast as a train. Felix was having the time of his life, strolling up and down the aisles despite how many times he was instructed to sit down by the three of us. Thankfully, we were the only ones on the smaller train, which meant there was less of a chance that a stranger would yell at Felix for his hyper attitude.

When the train jolted forward, both hands gripped the seat arms, and I let out a short gasp. In the seat next to me, Charmeine did not have her seatbelt on and seemed to be in pure bliss as she read through a magazine with all sorts of strange, useless objects to buy. I saw when her eyes shifted direction to stare at my clammy hands clutching onto the arms of the seat, but she still pretended not to notice it.

"You gonna eat those?" Felix asked me after about a half hour as he fell into a chair, pointing at my bag of peanuts that had fallen to the floor.

"No," I replied with a dry mouth. "You can have them."

"Swee-eet."

He snatched up the bag, pulling it open with a squeal of joy before he began to munch on them and look contently out the window. That would likely only last for a few minutes before he was strolling up and down the aisles again. His foot was constantly tapping the floor as he ate, too. Unlike me, being trapped inside was never something that Felix dealt well with. He did not necessarily fear it, it just drove him out of his mind.

"So that thing," Felix began, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. "That's a Heart, right, Rae?"

I nodded. "Yeah. How fast is this thing going? Are we far enough away for the Heart to not be able to track us?"

"Yeah, don't worry about that," Charmeine reassured, patting my arm. "Rae, you can take your seatbelt off."

I was about to shake my head when Lowell walked by, looking down at the seatbelt pointedly before he was out of view. Pursing my lips together defiantly, I unbuckled the seatbelt, letting out a sudden breath when I realized just how much easier it was to move and breathe without having that thing pressed so tight against me.

"Better than my first time on a train," Charmeine giggled. "I was crying and pooping the whole time."

"Now these Hearts," Felix started in again, looking to me, "why do they smell so Goddamn bad?"

"Dead blood!" Lowell called from where he was sitting a few rose ahead of us.

"Dead blood," I repeated, rubbing my hands together to try to get rid of the clamminess. "They don't have their own blood flow. They survive on the blood of humans, which doesn't last very long, and after that blood begins to go bad, they need more."

"So what was something that looked like that doing in the middle of a city full of people?" Felix asked. "I mean, I know I apparently turn into a wolf sometimes now, but the rest of the time I look like this. You know. Human."

"Well, normally Hearts live in communities away from humans. In everything I've read, they strictly live away from humans within their own camps or whatever they wish to call it. I've never heard of one casually entering a human area like that...."

Next to me, Charmeine cleared her throat quietly to get both of our attention. "Normally, they do live away from human communities. But, over the past five or ten years, their numbers have grown. They're getting more comfortable going near human populated areas, especially if they're...looking for something."

My hand slowly drifted to my stomach, where part of the beacon had gone through. Had the beacon really embedded within me? Had the Heart been drawn to us because of that?

"Looking for what?" I asked, folding my hands quickly before anyone noticed.

That was when Lowell made his way back over to us, this time stopping and sitting on the arm of a seat across the aisle from us. I looked between him and Charmeine, waiting for one of them to speak first, but Charmeine kept her eyes looking down at her knee. Lowell had his arms crossed and was avoiding looking at us, too. Ah, so that was how they were related.

"Well?" I demanded of Lowell after the silence had gone on for a few more moments. Silence meaning no one talking and Felix still chewing loudly on peanuts.

"Lately, a lot of supernatural creatures have been growing in population size," Lowell explained, still not really looking at Felix or me. "Including the number of Lupos. With so many Lupos, that means there's a lot of unclaimed Betas, and they can be used as pawns for more than just a pack of Lupes." Lupes? Was that some sort of slang for Lupos? It was ridiculous. "Witches and warlocks and Hearts...they can all use them."

"So that thing was after me?" Felix asked, tossing the unfinished bag of peanuts next to him.

"Look, I'm not gonna sugarcoat this for you, man. That Heart was after you. It's not going to be the only one, either. There will be other packs. There will be more Hearts, and some magic folk that are even less friendly than Regan over here."

"Rude," Charmeine hissed at her brother.

"So, essentially, this is my fault?" Felix broke in, his brows knitted together.

Fault? He thought that there he was the one at fault in all of this? There was no one to place blame on for this! He had never known he was a Lupo, and now he had to spend however long on the run because a bunch of people would be after him to try to use him because he was "unclaimed"?

"This is no one's fault," I said hastily. "And especially not yours."

He nodded, but I could tell my words had gone in one ear and right out the other. With Felix, I was definitely used to that, but I hated that it had happened with those specific words. He got up not long after, to pace around the train, but he was not talking or randomly chattering like he had been before. I remained sitting in the seat, drawing my knees up to my chest at one point, and watched Felix to make sure he did not do anything stupid or dangerous.

"He'll be okay," Charmeine mumbled under her breath without even looking up at me. "You'll both be okay."


© 2014 thegirlthatwrites


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Added on November 8, 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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