Nanowrimo 2011: Of Places I Don’t Know – Chapter 20

They walked right in. the door was open and the magic must have been working because they just walked straight in. There was no one there to see them, but there were no alarms, and the circle of stones surrounding the building didn’t stop them either. Unperceived both physically and mentally, no one had even sensed their arrival, nothing happened. But now this led to a problem. If they were so sly, so under the radar that even their presence couldn’t be perceived by a Xul with as much power as Mick, how on Earth were they going to find Aiden?

 

Storm had taken the lead, trying to remember his way around, even though there was magic blocking his ability to do so. They walked along corridor after corridor of cold, grey concrete. It looked like a prison, lined in doors with tiny slatted windows that Echo was just about tall enough to see through, stopping to check each one in case it may be the room that Aiden was inside of, but to no avail. As they went, the entire time, Echo was focusing her mind to try and contact Aiden.

 

“Aiden? Aiden? Where are you? Just send out something we can follow. Please, Aiden, listen.”

 

Even as she sent the words out, she felt them being blocked by the edges of her mind. She tried harder, sending the words to the point they were screaming in her ears, but the only mind they were finding to go into was Storm’s.

 

“Seriously, Echo, stop. It’s not going to help. We just need to look, once we see him, and he knows were here, he’ll be able to sense us again. Unless the Masku wears off first, that is.” Storm sent to her. Though the Asarinu was helping them not to be seen, it would do nothing to stop them being heard, so telepathy was the safest way to go. So they made their way along, frantically looking through every window.

 

“Fuck!” Echo whispered sharply, crouching down behind one of the windows.

 

“What?” Storm hissed quietly, crouching down as she did.

 

“Sorry, Mick, he’s in there,” She sent to him, “He didn’t see me though.” She continued, as the kept making their way down the seemingly endless corridor.

 

“That must mean Aiden’s near though. Mick wouldn’t stray too far from him. At least, he never did from me,” Storm said.

 

Door after door of nothing. Some of the doors didn’t even have slats to look through, and Echo was growing increasingly anxious that Aiden was trapped inside one of them, and that she would not be able to find him.

 

“Did you hear that?” Storm asked, snapping her out of her panic. She listened closely and heard a faint whimpering sound, and though she could not pinpoint where it was coming from, she was almost certain that she recognised Aiden’s voice, even in his other form.

 

“Yeah,” She nodded, “I think that’s him. Can you figure out where it’s coming from?”

 

Storm closed his eyes and listened. He still had his other form’s hearing, it was just much, much harder to tap into in his human body. He wished he could just Become, his other form, the giant, white, wolf-like dog would without a doubt be able to track Aiden down, but he couldn’t. He knew Asarinu stopped working in his other form, he’d learned that from sneaking out of the house late at night when he was younger, and they couldn’t risk that the same would go for the Masku. They couldn’t risk Mick finding them, not now, not when they were so close.

 

Focusing as much as he could, Storm began to lead them in the direction of the faint whimpers. Though Echo had enhanced hearing, it was nothing compared to Aiden’s or Storm’s, the dogs had a much better range for that. She walked behind him, slowly, careful that her steps didn’t make too much sound. He stopped outside a door, straining his ears to listen closer. Echo went to check the slats before realising that there weren’t any.

 

“Are you sure? How are we going to get in if he can’t see us?” Echo asked, panic setting in once again.

 

Storm nodded, and shushed Echo, before reaching into his pocket, pulling out a hair grip.

 

“What the fuck, Storm? What are you doing? That is not going to work, you can’t pick a lock that’s locked with magic,” Echo near shouted at him, exasperated, and frustrated with being so close to Aiden but not being able to get him.

 

“Will you shut up? You can pick a magic lock with magic.” He replied, as he lifted the opened out hair grip and placed it on the lock, leaving it hovering in the air and waving his hands around to move it. It was an old children’s trick, along with the Asarinu, mostly used for sneaking around and general trouble making. Echo never had much of a grasp on either of those in her childhood, and as she got older, her and Storm would go places together, and her would always find the ways to get there. He’d used the magic lock pick at school a few times too, getting into locked records, forging better grades for himself than the ones that he had received, and for sneaking out of back doors during the day with the other Apsu children to Become instead of going to a maths lesson. They’d cover their tracks so well with magic that they never got found out.     

 

The whimpering became louder as the door rattled, Aiden clearly becoming distressed at the idea of someone getting in. Just as Echo was about to tell Storm to stop, and that it wasn’t working, the door swung open. The room was bare, grey concrete as everywhere else, a tiny window at the top on one of the walls. The walls were panels that were once white but now a dirty grey, and there was a leak dripping from the ceiling, leaving a darker patch of concrete in the middle. And in the corner, curled up and cowering, she saw Aiden, his black and usually silky fur matted with what looked like blood, and one leg twisted awkwardly, his skin torn.

 

“Aiden?” Echo whispered, so as not to alarm him. He was not looking at her, but had his eyes fixed to one patch of the ground. At the sound of his name, and her voice, he looked up.

 

“I… I told you to stay away, what are you doing here?” Aiden asked, his thoughts a strange mix of anger, confusion and gratitude.

 

“Can you walk?” Storm asked, looking at his leg, “I don’t mean to ruin the reunion here, but we need to be quick.”

 

Aiden tried to stand, wincing as he did so, but eventually got onto his feet. As he did, a high pitched whirring filled their heads. Echo tried to plug her ears, but the sound wasn’t external, it was telepathic.

 

“What the hell is that?” Echo asked, trying to block the noise. It felt like her ears were bleeding, though she knew they were not.

 

“Psychic Alarm,” Aiden sent, his voice just penetrating the alarm, “Mick warned me about it. He can here it too. You two run, I’ll hold you up… go.” He shouted.

 

“Don’t be ridiculous. We didn’t come all the way here to bloody leave without you.” Storm replied, taking hold of Aiden, careful not to touch his bad leg, and almost dragging him towards the door.

 

“Change back,” Storm said, as the got to the other side of the room, “Echo has your clothes, you’ll be quicker changed back, we can help you walk if you’ve only got two legs.” He was shouting now, annoyed by Aiden’s lack of urgency to get out.

 

Echo pulled his clothes out of her bag as Storm kept watch for Mick at the door. It couldn’t be long now until Mick found them, he thought, and he was getting the paralysis charm ready to use in his head. Echo turned her back to give Aiden privacy to change back, knowing he had done so only when she heard him cry out in pain as he tried to get his leg into his jeans. She was about to turn round to help him, when she felt his hand on her shoulder.

 

“Hey,” She smiled, turning round to look at him and throwing her arms around him.

 

“Hey,” He replied, returning her hug, though his arms and voice were weak.

 

“That’s lovely, really, now can we go?” Storm interrupted.

 

“Aiden, meet my brother, Storm,” Echo said, as they followed storm out of the doorway, Aided resting his weight on Echo’s shoulder as he limped. He smiled at Storm by way of a greeting once they had caught up to him, too weak to manage much more than that. Storm took the other side of Aiden, allowing him to lean on both of them as they made their way back through the corridor, the sirens still ringing in their ears.

 

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Sorrel?” Echo heard from behind her. She went to turn round when she felt a sharp pain in the side of her head, falling to the ground.

 

“Take from him as he would from me, bind his legs from movement free. Take from him as he would from me, bind his legs from movement free. Take from him as he would from me, bind his from movement free.” Storm began to chant, the words ready from earlier, rolling out of his mouth and from his mind. Echo, though her mind hazy from the blow to her head, began to chant with him.

 

He had the same scars as a human that he had in his other form, they twitched on the side of his muscular neck and at the top of his bald head. He was so tall, Echo thought. She did not remember him being this tall. Then again, she had barely seen him in his human body. As they chanted, Aiden remained silent, cowering behind Storm and Echo as they cast the charm. Storm wondered if it was working, thinking it probably was or else Mick would not be stood still. He tried to back away, seeing that Mick’s legs had stayed stationary. They took the opportunity to run, Storm pulling Echo back up, and making her press her hand into her temple to stop the blood that Echo hadn’t even noticed the blood dripping down the side of her face.

 

Through the maze of corridors they searched for a way out, slowed down now by Echo’s dizziness as well as Aiden’s leg. Aiden rest his weight solely on Storm now, though embarrassed to be reliant on him for support as he limped along, wincing every time he accidently let his left leg hit the floor.

 

“Hey! I said, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?” They heard shouting after them. Echo turned her head fast this time, in time to see Mick and what appeared to be two of his Betas from his pack, them in their other forms, a Rhodesian ridgeback and a Doberman. Mick was still in his human form. Though his Other form was stocky, it was nothing compared to what his Betas appeared to be. Echo wondered for a second how he had come to be the Alpha in a pack that consisted of the likes of these, with their force, before one of them biting at her leg drew her out of her thoughts with searing pain. She screamed, ripping her leg out of the Doberman’s mouth, Aiden seemingly finding enough adrenalin and strength to hit him, sending him flying into the side of the hallway as he whimpered.

 

Finding this adrenalin, Aiden stepped forward, face to face with Mick as Storm helped Echo with the wound one her leg, taking his jumper off to bandage it with.

 

“Gigim Xul, telal uggae, ania simtin alaku. Evil spirit, demon of death, I send you to your fate. Gigim Xul, telal uggae, ana simtin alaku. Evil spirit, demon of death, I send you to your fate.” Aiden began, staring directly into the Xul’s eyes. The other Beta whimpered and ran back down the corridor, Aiden’s eyes fixing Mick to his spot.

 

“Aiden? Aiden, stop it!” Storm was shouting, recognising the ancient verse, “You don’t know what you’re doing.”

 

But Aiden continued, his words becoming stronger with each repetition, his voice becoming more certain, and himself becoming calm at the twisted beauty of the sight of Mick, stuck, falling to the floor as his screamed out. Aiden stopped chanting, and turned back round to Echo and Storm, who were staring at him, eyes wide in shock.

 

“Come on, now, run.” He said to them, leaving storm to help Echo walk this time, his own leg having turned numb for the power he seemed to possess. Through the seemingly endless corridor they went, until they were met by an icy breeze blowing through the open door. Once outside, they paused for a moment to breathe, before continuing on round some corners, terrified of being traced despite Aiden’s magic on Mick. Once they felt they were safe, they stopped, Echo taking hold of Aiden to hug him, replacing her previous anxiety with happiness for him being back.

 

“Okay, how the hell did you do that?” Storm asked, still out of breath but almost shouting at Aiden.

 

“Do what?” Aiden replied, knowing he meant the spell he had cast back at the warehouse.

 

“That spell. The one we get taught how to defend ourselves against in classes as children, the one that cannot be used unless you have more power than whoever your opponent is. The killing spell, of course, Aiden.” Storm snapped.

 

“More power?” Echo asked, confused.

 

Aiden shook his head, “No, not more power. Equal rank. Mick was training me, told me I could be – that I was – an Alpha like my father was. I heard things, while I was their, his Betas thoughts, Mick’s thoughts, the ones he thought I couldn’t hear. His fear that my blood would overthrow his power. I guess I do have something to be grateful to my father for. He taught me that,” Aiden turned to Echo, his eyes heavy with tears, “To use on you. He said it was the same one your father used on mine.”

 

It was, Storm remembered it, it was one of the few things he remembered about his time being held by the Xul was the spell his father had cast that freed him.

 

“Rank and power don’t say what side you’re on.” Echo said, knowing Aiden, knowing he thought he was somehow innately evil as the spell had worked, “They don’t even say that there are sides. There’s so much grey, it’s all just in between.”

 

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