Chapter 11

Chapter 11

A Chapter by thegirlthatwrites

I woke up the next morning to be jumped on by Charmeine as she excitedly sang a song about sunshine, but I was too groggy to actually process what the lyrics were. All I know is that I pushed her off the bed and went into a mindset of being fully alert just a moment later when I was afraid that I had hurt her. Thankfully, she had easily sprung up and gave me one final shove with a laugh before skipping out of the room. Morning people. They were the reasons we could not have nice things, or at least it seemed that way before I had splashed some cold water on my face and managed to keep my eyes open for more than two seconds.

In the bathroom, I unzipped my backpack and with a wave of my hand managed to summon some new clothes and a toothbrush. I was almost afraid to use the toothpaste that Iniqua had out on the counter, partially convinced that he had put something in it to poison me. It was not poison, which was good, but it was so minty that my eyes were stinging for a while after and when I tried to take a bite of the muffin that Charmeine handed me on my way down the stairs, I could barely swallow it because of the bad mixed taste.

"Is it bad?" Charmeine asked, her eyes drooping down a bit.

"No," I replied quickly. "Iniqua is just trying to ruin my life with winter fresh."

"Oh..." I could almost see the remark take a physical form as it flew over her head. "Well, come on, Iniqua is about to scry."

Lowell appeared at the bottom of the staircase, tapping his watch impatiently. "You know how these scryers love an audience," he told us before disappearing back into the kitchen.

I had never witnessed a scrying session before, only ever read about them and listened to Gloria talk about them. When I walked into the kitchen, I found that Lowell's remark was hardly false, as Alpha and his entire pack were gathered around behind Iniqua. In front of Iniqua, a large, glass plate was propped up. He had his eyes closed as he moved his hands in front of the plate and mumbled some words in a language I did not know. I knew for a fact that this entire show he was putting on for the pack was not needed at all, as the actual act of scrying was far less pleasant than what he was currently making it out to be.

Once Lowell, Charmeine, and I had joined where the pack was eagerly watching Iniqua, the actual act of scrying began. With a wave of his hands, Iniqua sent the shutters flying shut and diminished all the lights, so that we were in complete darkness. Slowly, the plate that sat in front of Iniqua began to take on a silvery glow that was only bright enough to illuminate Iniqua's face. He conjured a knife in his hand, the silver blade reflecting off the light and causing an eerily beautiful soon as he brought the blade to his skin to cut through it. Holding his hand above the glass now, he let some of the blood drip down the plate, and as it reached the center, a rosy and silvery colored vortex-like image appeared, swirling and swirling consistently. In the silence, a quiet mumbling could be heard, and when I peered closer, I could see Iniqua's mouth moving.

We had no object from either Felix or one of the Hearts to use to scry with, which meant that Iniqua had to make the sacrifice of his own blood and his own breath. The spell he was casting would take away a significant amount of oxygen from his body, and he would be weak for quite a few days, even if he had the potion remedy at the ready. It was a spell I had never cast before, only learn about, and Gloria said that she had never been required to do it in her own lessons. As much as I did not like Iniqua, I had to admire him in this moment for how much he was willing to give in order to help us, even if he was only doing it for Charmeine and the others.

Slowly, the colors on the plate began to change, and though the image was not very clear, we managed to see an aerial view of what appeared to be a mansion. It was run-down, certainly in need of some TLC, and there were dozens and dozens of specks roaming around it. Hearts. It was the largest amount I had ever seen or imagined in one place, and some of them were talking to each other or sitting and standing by each other. Felix was nowhere in sight, but there were a few smaller specks, with dark hair, that were being pushed around by the Hearts.

It was not until the image began to shift that I actually let out the breath I had been holding. This time, a blurry green image appeared, slowly coming more into focus until we could make out some writing that was on a sign. Cordiville.

In the blink of an eye, the shutters flew open and light poured back in, the image on the plate now completely vanished. Iniqua went to stand up, only to slump back down into his chair while the others pressed around him to ask how he was, what he needed help with, what he wanted, etc, etc. Charmeine quickly ran over to the counter and poured a glass of some yellowy substance that she rushed back over to Iniqua. I could see his hands trembling as he brought the cup to his lips, just barely able to lift his arms enough to drink it and looking no better after he had it in his system.

"Cordiville is farther east," Alpha explained. "There may be a train heading that way, but it will likely take you more time to reach it than us, if we travel on foot. Or, on paws."

"Good, then you can book us a motel when you arrive," I stated, taking just a moment to try to force a polite smile before giving up.

"And find a nice breakfast place," Lowell added.

"Oh!" Charmeine exclaimed from where she stood next to Iniqua. "And find out if there's any bakeries that have lemon squares!"

"You're just kids," Alpha explained, his expression giving away just how much he was trying to keep his cool. "We can take care of this. We'll find Felix and bring him back here."

"Yes," I said, nodding my head. "We'll find Felix."

"You're not getting it."

"No, you're not getting it. You can go ahead of us, try to see if Felix is at the Headquarters yet. If not, then you tell us where his scent is leading you and we will follow. If so, then you stake out and create a plan to get us into the Headquarters to save Felix, and you don't launch that plan until we get there."

I got no verbal agreement other than a discontent growl, but I also got no disagreement, and I figured that was the best I was going to get for now. Not more than an hour later, the Lupos had disappeared into the forest, probably shifting not long after they had gotten beyond the tree line. Before we left, Charmeine made Iniqua drink two more cups of the remedy and tucked him in with a bucket next to him and a few more cups of the remedy and water on the nightstand. I was beginning to wonder if she ever got tired of looking after everyone, or if it was just instinct for her to do so. It was not as though I had much time to ponder on it because she was already shooing me toward the car and telling me to buckle up the second I closed the door.

The car ride back to the train station was just as fast as the day before and caused me to nearly have a stroke at every turn, but this time we did not blast the radio. Even if we had, I doubt it would have gotten Felix off my mind. I was allowing myself to get too hopeful, I knew it, but how could I not? Cordiville was just a few hundred miles east, which meant that we could maybe reach it even before Felix got there, and save him from the Hearts. At least we knew where they were going. If we had not found out where the Headquarters were and just found Felix's location instead, he and the Hearts would have been gone from there by the time we reached it. We just had to hope that we got to Cordiville before or when the Hearts and Felix did, and that we would be able to get him away from them.

What if Alpha lied, though? What if when he called, he told us that he caught a scent going in a different direction and sent us that way? Or what if he sent us straight to Cordiville after he already found Felix? He wanted to claim Felix, I knew that, but he had also been willing to recognize that Felix was my brother probably even more than he was Alpha's son. Was that enough for him to want to be of aid to us? Could Lowell's strange ability to command people work over the phone, so there was no way that Alpha could lie to us? Was Peggy on my side enough to tell me if Alpha was lying, or convince him to tell me the truth?

The amount of variables seemed endless. I was getting a headache from worrying and thinking about them, and the crowded train station was no comfort at all. I kept looking over my shoulder, expecting the woman from before to latch onto my arm again and try to pull me away from Charmeine and Lowell. What Charmeine had said the other day, about how I had learned skills faster than most witches and warlocks, was still present at the back of my mind. Was that really enough to make others show interest in me? Had Gloria gone around bragging about me or something? As if I needed one more reason to have my opinion of her broken anymore...

The train was so crowded that the three of us could not get tickets in seats next to each other. It was unnerving to have to sit alone among a group of strangers on the train, especially considering how few times I had been on any form of transportation. I felt extremely self-conscious when I gripped the arm of the chair a bit too tight, or made sure my seatbelt was in place at least three different times. I was certain that the man next to me was growing increasingly suspicious of me, and suddenly all I could hear in my head was Gloria's voice. They can spot witches a mile away. They send out witch hunts, you know. They still do. They keep it quiet, but everywhere you go, there's always one person who takes part. And they will find you.

I found out ten minutes into the train ride that the man was actually just suffering from some sort of illness, because he quickly rushed away to the bathroom not long after, leaving the seat next to me open. I let out a breath of relief, looking around to try to see where Charmeine was to catch her eye and motion for her to come sit next to me. Just as I found her, Lowell appeared and sat down in the empty seat.

"I was sitting next to someone who felt the need to talk about their cats for the entire trip so far," Lowell explained, "and he did not seem keen on stopping anytime soon."

"Mhm."

I crossed my arms, then uncrossed them, then crossed them again, all too aware of how nervous I still was on trains and how obvious it was to anyone who looked at me. I picked up my backpack, beginning to rifle through it, careful not to let my arms go too deep into the bag or else someone might get suspicious. With a discreet wave of my hand, I managed to pull out of the depths a book on mental magic that I had not yet finished reading. It used a lot of the same references as the last book I read on mental magic, but it never hurt to read something similar again. It only reinforced the knowledge.

Next to me, Lowell seemed intent on trying to find something in his bag, too, and when he pulled it out, my jaw dropped slightly in surprise. It was a guidebook. And it was not just any old guidebook, but a leather-bound one that looked as though it was at least fifty years old, if not more, and the pages were a bit yellow. When Lowell opened it up, I realized that the writing inside was not just a photocopy, but all written by hand. When he turned the page, it was covered in pencil or ink sketches of different animals and plants.

"Is this yours?" I asked, my surprise very evident.

"Yeah," Lowell replied easily, shrugging nonchalantly. "I like nature."

"Do you want to be a biologist or something?"

He let out a chuckle, even though I did not see what was very funny about the question or the subject. "Something like that."

Letting my own book slide to the side, I held my hand out with a raised eyebrow, and Lowell reluctantly gave me the book. With a roll of his eyes, for good measure. I began to look through it, reading everything and staring at the sketches. Only about half the pages were filled, and Lowell made a comment about how he had a filled one in his bag, and another one "at home".

"I didn't have you pinned as a nature geek," I finally remarked out loud as I handed him back the book.

"I'm a multifaceted person," he said dryly. "Doesn't take long to realize you're not a 'nature geek'."

"Hey! I love reading about animals and their behavior and habitats and everything."

"But you would probably rather set your hair on fire than actually have to go out into a forest and observe them."

"I..." He was right, and there was really little I could do to deny it. "Not everyone can be a nature lover."

"There's no surprise you aren't."

My fists immediately clenched as I shot him a look, feeling my eyebrows pinch together a bit. "Why? Does this have something to do with the 'dark witch' thing again?"

He seemed completely unfazed by my irritation as he shook his head. "No, you just don't seem the type."

Unconvinced, I resumed reading my own book, making no effort to try to hide the title or any of the text from Lowell. Mental magic was something I should be proud to be able to understand, let alone have the potential to master. I had no reason to be ashamed of that, did I?

"Who's going to teach you now?" Lowell suddenly asked.

I marked my spot with a bookmark and turned to look at Lowell, a bit confused by the sudden question. "What do you mean?"

"If we find Felix, and you two end up going back home, who's going to teach you all," he motioned toward the book and lowered his voice in case people were listening, "that stuff?"

"You mean who's going to teach me to cackle and destroy things? I don't know, but I think Ursula might be available."

Lowell let out an exasperated breath as he leaned his head back on the seat. "I have nothing against your magical capabilities."

"Really? Becau-"

"I have everything against what others with your magical capabilities have done in the past."

"Gloria had her faults, but she never taught me to use my magic to harm people." I held up my finger to stop him before he could say anything and cut me off. "Yes, I would practice offensive spells on dummies, but I would never consider doing that to a real person."

"I know. There are others, that are capable of what you are, that feel the same. They just happen to be in the minority."

"Is this slowly going to lead to an apology for unfairly treating me like the bad guy?"

"Glacially."

I rolled my eyes and turned back around in my seat, opening up my book again to continue reading. The closer we got to our final stop, though, the less I was able to register what I was reading. Eventually I gave up, just staring out the window, a small part of me hopeful that we might even see a glimpse of Felix out the window. I just needed to see him, needed to know that he was okay. I needed to know that we were not too late.


© 2015 thegirlthatwrites


Author's Note

thegirlthatwrites
I'll post the other few chapters I've written tomorrow! Until then, please feel free to leave a review or criticism of any kind. :)

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Added on June 10, 2015
Last Updated on June 10, 2015
Tags: family, magic, witch, teen, adventure


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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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