Chapter 7

Chapter 7

A Chapter by thegirlthatwrites

Chapter 7
"Make yourself at home."

I looked at Lowell for a moment before slamming the door to the motel room in his smug face. We had gotten off of the train in another small town, and used a map at the train station to find the nearest, cheapest place to stay. It was poorly lit and smelled musty and I did not even want to look in the restroom, but Lowell had suggested we go somewhere with enough other strong scents to cover up Felix's scent. As much as I hated to admit it, it was a smart idea, and Charmeine had already begun talking about how we could go out for a nice brunch the next morning.

"He's cute," Felix remarked before flopping onto one of the beds in our motel room.

"Do you judge boys solely based on aesthetics?" I asked with a quiet laugh of disbelief.

"I don't know what that means but I like their faces."

"You're impossible."

"I'm appreciable."

"Oh, big word. Was that on your word of the day calendar?"

"Ouch, that's the fifteenth time you've recycled that comeback."

I rolled my eyes before closing up the locks for the room. As terrible as the past twenty-four hours may have been, at least at the end of the day I could still talk easily with Felix. No matter what happened, he always made it so comfortable to talk about anything, as if things just rolled right off of him and he could put on a smile after any kind of painful experience. And he could. Felix being Felix, he had broken quite a few bones as a child, and I could hardly remember a time when he had ever been sulking over having to wear a cast or a sling for a while. He just took it for what it was and kept on joking and smiling.

"How are you feeling?" I asked him, taking a seat on the other bed and pulling my legs up to criss-cross them. "Any aches, pains?"

"Nothing," Felix replied, and I was inclined to believe he was being honest. After all, he was a terrible liar and always had been. His memory was terrible, and he would sooner get lost in his own lies than someone else. "I don't feel any kind of pain. Like, last night it was so bad. I thought I was dying. And, okay, being in wolf form is crazy, Rae. I had no clue how to do anything. I could smell all the Lupos outside and hear them. And some of them really needed breath mints. Like I was about to break through the door just to throw some Listerine at them or some crap like that. It was just so-"

"Wolf form," I reminded him, not bothering to try to conceal the amused grin that had spread on my face.

"Right! Rae. It is crazy. Now, I'm a really fit, attractive guy, I know it," confidence and self-image were never an issue with him for as long as I could remember, "but in wolf form...I felt so strong. I didn't do anything. I just got up and walked around. But it was weird, because even though I wasn't my normal height, I felt so much bigger than everything around me. Like I had so much more power of it in wolf form than when I was human. Or, in human form. Or, well...I'm not human anymore, am I?"

My mouth immediately opened to give him a response, but I slowly closed it as I considered his question. I knew it was Felix, and he was just trying to figure out what to call himself, but it was such a deeper question. If someone was a Lupo, were they not human? They clearly always had to be a Lupo, since Lupos could only be born, not created any other way. Lupo blood was always more dominant, though. Even if only one parent had Lupo blood in them, the offspring would always be a Lupo.

"Earth to Rae!" Felix suddenly called, clapping his hands to get my attention.

"You're a Lupo," I stated. "So when you apply for jobs you can write 'transforming into a wolf whenever I want' under the special skills. I bet that would get their attention."

"Do you really think that'll happen?"

"You writing? Yeah, of course. I can totally teach you how. You know I"ve always wanted to, once I had more time off from Gloria's lessons. Reading and writing, you're completely capable of, it'll just take time."

"I meant getting jobs. Do you really think we're going to end up having to do that? To live on our own?"

I pressed my lips together, filling my cheeks up with air before letting it out in a rush. I shook my head slowly, biting my lip. I could hope that we would not have to stay on our own, not have to try to fit into the human world, but that did not mean it would not happen. We had not necessarily been a part of the outside world all that much since entering it, and there was still so much about it that was so new. Could we survive in it? Probably. Did I want to? Was it best for Felix and me? Was it going to be the only option? There were so many variables, so many things to consider, and I could not come up with one definitive answer for him.

I hated it. I hated not having an answer to his questions, especially when I had always been the one he went to for anything he needed help with. I hated being in a world where so much was happening that I did not understand or had never experienced before. When I would be at my home, reading all about the "outside world", I would picture myself out there. I pictured myself walking down a city street, easily smiling and nodding at people, or just ignoring them as if I really was some native. The latter was more likely. I was just so convinced that if I entered this world, if I got out of that house, I would blend so well, and I would feel so happy and free and independent. I had never pictured it under these circumstances before. Not once.

"I don't know, Felix," I breathed out, my words getting shaky. I closed my lips, swallowing back the small lump that was beginning to form in my throat. This was not happening in front of Felix, not with Charmeine and Lowell just next door. "Things aren't going to be the same. Even if we end up going home."

"You don't think Gloria will be there?"

"Felix, I think the fact that we've always called her Gloria and not Mom is the answer to that question."

There was a considerably long silence in our room after that, until Felix broke it again. "I don't know what I am."

I brought my hands together in my lap, looking down at my nails and twiddling with my thumbs. "You're a Lupo. I know all about them. I know all that you can do, all you're capable of, your biology and anatomy, your history. I can teach you."

"I've never been much good with lessons."

"You're better than you realize."

"I can't even read."

"I'll teach you," I assured him, trying to get across just how much I meant it. "Whatever you need or want to know, I can teach you."

"Did you see Gloria before she left?"

I looked toward the one lamp in the room that was on the stand between the beds, giving a slight nod.

"You know, I always knew I was adopted," Felix mused out loud, getting up and beginning to gather up some of the toiletries Charmeine had gotten on our way to the motel. "Obviously. I'm like Indian or something. But I thought she was your real mom. I never thought she'd leave you."

I shook my head this time, still not looking away from the lamp just yet. "No, she wasn't. Genetics don't make someone a real parent, anyway."

Felix did not say anything else before he vanished into the bathroom. A few minutes later I heard the shower turn on and then Felix give out a loud shout followed by a noisy string of profanities. My guess was the water was a bit cold.

I stayed staring at the lamp until I thought I might do damage to my eyes. As much as Felix and I talked about seemingly anything and everything, the one thing was had never discussed was Gloria in her role as our mother. There was always the prospect of her being just around the corner, or eavesdropping from the next room over. As much as she would say she gave us privacy when we got older, there was always the ever present feeling that you had to watch what you did and what you said, especially in regards to her.

From a young age, I had always known that Felix was not her biological son or related to her by blood. I looked enough like her that when I was younger, I was convinced she was my real mother, too. Not necessarily because of face shape or structure, but because of hair color. Red hair was rare, she would often say that when she would braid mine or brush it. The rarest color. But her eyes had been green, and mine were gray. Like steel, Gloria had once said.

There is something strangely draining about thinking on now unpleasant memories from the past, and just the thought of Gloria's name was enough to send me into a fowl mood. I tried my best to get comfortable in the lumpy bed with the scratchy linens, but I was convinced I would not be able to go to sleep. It was still fairly early in the night, anyway, and I was so absolutely certain I would not fall asleep that I did not even begin to feel myself drifting off.

________________________________________________________________________________


A terrible knot formed in my calf that caused me to double over in bed, gripping at my leg. "Freakin' Charlie horse..." I mumbled bitterly, pushing myself off the bed and gingerly placing my foot flat on the floor to stretch out my calf. It was completely dark in the room, and as I stretched out, my groggy eyes began to adjust to it. There was very faint light coming in through the blinds that cast across the room, but it hardly did much. A few minutes later, the cramp was gone, and I began to crawl back into bed again, feeling a bit guilty over probably having woken up Felix, who was a light sleeper.

"Sorry, Fe," I whispered through the dark.

I froze, midway through pulling the covers over myself. There had been no noise in response to apology, not even a slight movement from the other bed. I sat as still as I could, but the only breathing that I could hear in the room was mine. Reaching out and fumbling in the darkness to turn on the lamp, my eyes were already fixating on the outline of the other bed. In the darkness it looked flat completely flat, and when I turned on the light....

He was gone. Felix was gone. I leapt out of the bed, going to remove all the locks on the door only to find that they had already been undone from the inside. In an instant, I was banging loudly on the door to Charmeine and Lowell's room, using more and more force each time until I sent a push at the door that sent it flying open just as the light flicked on inside.

"I would say do you know how to knock, but-"

"Shut up, Lowell!" I shouted. "Where's Felix? Is he here?"

I began to move around the room, looking under the beds and even under pillows as Charmeine slowly got out of her bed. I sent the bathroom door flying open, but Felix was nowhere in sight. Lowell had been yammering away the entire time I was in the room, but I had little interest in anything he was saying until I was certain that Felix was not there.

"He's gone," I said, my chest rising and falling quickly. "Felix is gone and I have no idea where he is."

Charmeine let out a gasp, but I was already on the move again, ignoring any attempt by Lowell to try to bar me from leaving the room. In my bare feet, I ran across the motel parking lot, spinning and twirling to try to find even the faintest hint of Felix. The streetlight was giving me enough light to see him if he was there, but there was no sign of him whatsoever. I came to a halt, pressing my hand against a car to steady myself as I tried to make the world stop spinning in my mind. Once it all came into focus, I could make out the line of trees of the forest that was on the other side of the road.

Of course! He was a Lupo, he was more inclined to go to the forest than to stay in some cramped motel! It was only his second night, and the pull of a Lupo's shifting abilities were always stronger at night. He had not yet learned complete control or really any control, and it made sense for him to want to go into the forest if he felt as though he was beginning to shift away.

The streetlight offered very little help the farther I went into the wooded area, and even when I created a ball of light to carry between my hands, it did not do much. The area was too densely populated with trees, the ground full of fallen twigs that poked painfully into my bare feet. Not far in, I scraped by a thorn bush that left a dozen or so thin cuts along the side of my leg that I managed to cast a quick healing charm on as I continued on.

"Felix!" I yelled into the trees. Even if I spoke normally, he would be able to hear it because of his newly enhanced hearing, but it made me feel better. Just in case he had gone a bit too far, or there was something else that was blocking his ears. "Felix! Fe! It's Rae!"

A rustling sound came from ahead, causing me to stop in my tracks and make the ball of light shrink a bit in my hands. Slowly, I moved forward, the rustling sound now turning into the sound of something struggling against not just nature, but something else. I could hear some shouts the closer I got, and I soon broke into a run when I recognized the sound of a howl similar to one Felix had made the night before. It continued on and on, and just as I could make out some figures through the leaves, I heard the sound of a pair of running footsteps behind me.

When I got to the opening of the clearing, I saw Felix in his wolf form, being carrying away by two Hearts. "No!" I shouted, beginning to run forward just as a pair of arms came up behind me to try to pull me back. With an invisible telekinetic force, I pushed the person back to run forward again, trying to use the same kind of force to push over the Hearts, but they seemed immune to it, and did not even glance at me before taking off running. "Ignus!!" I screamed as I continued running after them, sending some of the distant trees up into flames, but the Hearts just maneuvered around them with ease.

I kept running, until I went past the burning trees, until I was certain I had no breath left in me and my legs were going to fall off from how hard I was pushing myself. They could not take Felix from me, not now, not when he was so vulnerable and had so much to learn. They were going to hurt him and use him, and I had been the one that was stupid and had fallen asleep when I should have known better. I should have stayed up. I should have made sure he stayed in the room, gone over what to do if he wanted to leave so I would know where he was. Now he was gone, and the Hearts were out of sight, and I still kept running because there was nothing else I could think to do.

The arms came up behind me to pull me back again, and this time I did not stop them. I was spun around to face Lowell, who was looking particularly windblown. I took a step back, resting my hands on my knees to try to catch my breath. I had not even realized what time it was when I woke up or how long I had been running, but the sky was beginning to appear a few shades lighter than it had before.

"He's gone," I stated in a quiet voice as I stood up. "They took Felix."

Lowell looked at me for a long time, but there was no way for me to read his face. That was always how it was. Smug, or nearly entirely unreadable. "We'll get Felix back."

"How?"

"I have no idea. But we're not going to figure it out in the middle of a woods."

I could feel my eyes stinging and my nose was already beginning to run. I was going to cry, I knew it. Crying had never been something I was ashamed of or afraid of, but I preferred to do it when no one was watching. "Can you, uh," my voice caught for a moment before I cleared my throat, "walk in front of me on the way back?"

Lowell nodded. "Yeah, I can do that."

He turned and starting walking back. I had no idea where I was going, which meant I could not wait long before I had to start following after him. I used the sleeve and the back of my hand to wipe at my eyes and nose, just letting it all go now. Whatever it would take to get Felix back would likely not require much time for crying, so if it was going to happen, it might as well happen now. I was almost happy that it was Lowell that had found me and not Charmeine. She would have tried to dote, or said something wiser than anything I would have said at ten years old, but Lowell just let me do what I needed to do. So when I would pause every once and I while to punch at a tree in a sudden fit of anger among the tears, he let me. I was sad, and I was terrified, but I was certain that that would not be the last time I saw my brother.


© 2014 thegirlthatwrites


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thegirlthatwrites
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Added on November 8, 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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