Waking Other Lives

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Chapter 23: Where art thou heart

I heard a sound, was it a squeak? I immediately woke up with an uneasy feeling, I feared it was a rat. Damn it! I heard the sound again, and then felt a shadow descend upon me beneath a flickering flashlight, and my elbow came to block whatever that was. And, everything went crazy as Seth cursed, throwing himself above me, his weight almost crushing me, but I remained silent. Worse still, he seemed to be fighting with someone, which meant that some of the offender’s weight was on me, too. He finally moved off me, the sound of his punches, the thump of a falling body, a sound of something metal clattering on the concrete floor, and the persistent moans were the only clue as to what was happening. The flashlight had long gone off, and it was pitch dark inside the room. While the tunnel was lit with a generator and sometimes with gas lights during the day to economize, it was left to its natural darkness during sleep time, as I had found out last night. So, I couldn’t see anything, and neither could the others who were slowly waking up to the sounds of fighting.

I had no clue as to how Seth managed to see in the dark, let alone fight, but I could not see two inches in front of my nose. But, apparently neither could the offenders as one turned on his flashlight deciding to get away while he could. There was no way to decipher who he was, his face was cast in shadows, which danced on his features in tandem with the movements of his hand holding the flashlight. He was getting away. The fast disappearing light was my cue, and I got up and ran to throw myself at him. The old Sierra I knew would never do that, but I was beginning to realize that the new me could kick ass, and possessed a courageous spirit I well damn respected. He was not too tall, only a whole hand taller than me, though he was rather bulky. But, I had handled far worse than him.

I jumped at him from behind, toppling him to the ground. He was much heavier than me, and managed to turn our bodies 360 degrees, and I ended up lying on the ground, with him at the top. Using his advantage, he raised his knee to kick me in the chin, and got up quickly to run away again, his flashlight showing him the way. Wow, he was a runner. I ran after him again once I had overcome the shock of the pain, and threw myself at him, yet again. This time, before he tried the same move, I rolled sideways and then jumped up ready to fight him, preventing him from slipping away. I punched his jaw which he blocked. Then I curved my arm over his, and slipped my wrist under his armpit, grabbed his shoulder with my other arm and yanked. He screamed with the pain of his now dislocated shoulder.

“Bitch,” he cried, kicking me in the stomach to get away, then he somehow managed to get behind me and grabbed me, with his still functioning elbow, by the neck. As he started choking me, I couldn’t get away, my hands were useless. Instead, I pulled his upper arm against my chest and twisted my torso. Using the weight of my torso as an advantage, I rotated my body, freeing myself from his firm clutch.

“Now you got me angry,” I said, kicking him right at his dislocated shoulder. His agonized scream filled the air, and he fell on the floor, finally losing his flashlight. I jumped at it, and shed it on his features, only to see that Seth’s boot was now pressing at his neck.

“Ozy,” he spat. “You dared to attack me and my mate in our sleep?”

The fear on Ozy’s face was obvious, I moved the flashlight around to see two immobile bodies on the floor. One of them was his cousin, the other one though, I didn’t recognize. The whole room was awake now, and brightness filled the room when somebody turned on the light. I wish I had known where the switch had been all this time, it would have made things a lot easier.

“Are you okay?” Seth asked, pulling me to his chest as he kissed me on the head. “You’ve done wonders my kitten, yet again. I’m proud of you,” he whispered.

Fileas was the first one to speak, “The other two are dead, what do we do with him?” he asked, pointing at Ozy.

“We’ll try him. The court will hold a sentence for treason.”

“Uhm, we don’t exactly have a court system here,” Fileas explained. “Not that we had any prisoners up until now,” he said.

“From now on, we do. Form a judicial committee. Until then, restrain him,” said Seth. “And, unless anyone else wants to challenge me, I want to go back to sleep,” he said, looking around as if to see whether somebody really would. “C’mon kitten, let’s go back to cuddling again,” he said, sighing.

“Are you crazy, Seth? I can’t sleep after this. How can you, for God’s sake?” I asked, disbelieving.

“It’s not sleep I want or seek,” he said. “It’s the feel of your body. I crave it,” he said, his features taut with half uncertainty and half anticipation.

“Well, okay I guess,” I said. And he grinned. Well, I liked that grin, and, I grinned back.

I saw Elvan walk towards me who suddenly held me by the elbow.

“What’s going on?” Seth asked.

“Sierra, child,” Elvan said, completely disregarding Seth.

“Grandma?” I said, excited to know she was contacting me again.

“How are you doing with the mission, child? We’re running out of time.”

“Out of time? You didn’t tell me anything about a deadline Grandma,” I said, panicked.

“I didn’t want to scare you, child, but we do have one. There’s not much time left, are you close to fulfilling the mission?”

“Oh my God, I’m not even close to finding out what it is, Grandma. I sometimes hear the voice of a woman calling out to me, asking me to find her. But, even she’s been silent for some time now. I don’t know where to look, who to ask. And, things in here have been crazy, with both Drakons, and humans attacking us. I’m barely surviving.” The agitation in my voice said it all. I was now freaking out, thinking I’d messed things up, that I had failed in my mission, that I had let down Grandma, and while I was cuddling here with Seth, the real Seth would die because of my idiocy, and incompetence. “Help me,” I said, begging her.

“Sierra, my dear, all will be well. Don’t panic, I trust you, the Council of protectors has trusted you with this mission, you are chosen to bring us the light. Believe in yourself.”

“What Council, what light? I don’t know what you are saying. Tell me.”

“Hush, we don’t have time, I’m fading, yet again. Listen to me. Where are you right now, what’s the name of that universe?”

“Rawonia,” I said. Please don’t fade away, I wanted to add, but she would have stayed if she could. This was beyond her, I knew that.

“Find the heart of Rawonia, child,” she said.

“What?” I said, but it was Seth’s voice which I heard instead.

“Elvan? What are you doing? Let her go,” Seth warned.

Elvan looked perplexed, not understanding why she was holding me by the elbow. “I don’t know, I’m sorry,” she blurted out, her fingers finally letting me go.

“It’s okay Seth,” I said, trying to ease the atmosphere. “That was Grandma, you heard her, too. Elvan was just a conduit.”

“What are you talking about?” Seth said, confused.

“Didn’t you hear it all? Now, you know I wasn’t lying about the mission.”

Seth was silent, his forehead creased with worry. “Kitten?” he asked, softly.

“Of for God’s sake, don’t tell me you didn’t hear her?” I said, frustrated.

“I didn’t hear anything,” Seth said.

“Are you serious? I asked, confounded. “Are you telling me that you missed the last five minutes of what happened, that time basically froze for you? That’s nonsense!”

“Time didn’t freeze, Sierra. Whatever you think happened, didn’t happen.”

He was looking at me as if I had dementia.

“Really, then why is she looking at you as confused as I am? Why doesn’t she remember a thing about holding me?”

“I don’t know. She was probably sleepwalking, that’s a far better explanation than what you’re suggesting. Sierra, even if time froze for others, it would not freeze for me, kitten. That’s preposterous.”

“Nobody would still be sleeping after all that ruckus,” I said. He was not moved. “Oh, you’ve got the ego the size of a whole universe,” I said opening my arms wide, and upwards. “Apparently, you’re not as invincible and omnipotent as you’d have yourself believe,” I said.

“Sierra, let’s go back to sleep,” he said, trying to distract me from the topic. He obviously wanted to brush it all away.

“Look, I don’t have much time, the clock is ticking. Where is the heart of Rawonia?” I asked.

“Elvan, leave,” he said, his face flinching as if in agony. Then he pulled me to the corner, rather harshly I had to admit, and looked around to make sure no one could hear us. “How the hell do you know about that? Who are you?” he asked suspiciously.

“Oh, now I have your attention, I see,” I said.

“This is no joking matter,” he said. “How do you even know about that, very few are privy to that information.”

“Grandma told me about that while you were simply frozen,” I said, stressing his frozen status.

“Sierra, you are my mate. That is undeniable to me now. And I could never hurt you even if I wanted to,” he said, frustration oozing from his deep sigh. ” But, you are making it very hard to trust you. Who are you, I’ll ask one more time.”

“Seth, you are trying my patience. You know who I am, and you are wasting my precious time, and jeopardizing my mission by keeping important information from me. Where is this heart?”

He was silent. “We are at an impasse, it seems,” he said, leaving me like that as he walked away. “So much for cuddling,” he murmured.

Damn, I had to find out about the heart, and he was adamant in not trusting me with the information. If what he said was true, and so few knew about the place, what chance did I have in coming across somebody else who knew?

I would ask Elvan, perhaps she would know. “Elvan,” I shouted as I ran after her.

“Yes,” she said. I liked her, she was very energetic, and a no nonsense kind of girl. She reminded of the actual Payal I loved and missed so much.

“Uhm, I want to ask you something.”

“Sure,” she said.

“Do you know where the heart of Rawonia is?” I asked.

“The what of Rawonia?” she uttered, perplexed.

“Never mind,” I replied, shrugging. As I was leaving the room, I stopped others to ask the same question.

“Yeah, I know a Bart of Rawonia if that’s what you’re asking,” one said. “It’s a small town in the West, I’m not sure whether anyone lives there anymore though,” she said. “It’s the war, you know. It’s displaced so many people, which is why we have to fight. For our rights,” she said, as if citing a memorized speech.

“No, I’m asking about the heart of Rawonia.”

“No, I have never heard of that place, for sure. Don’t know,” she said, shrugging.

So far, the reactions I got from everybody confirmed Seth’s words, that nobody had ever heard of this place. Damn it! Things were not getting any easier, and now my relationship with Seth was souring as well which scared the shit out of me. Would he act differently now, I hoped not. I had no idea what he was to me, and what I was to him, but unlike him, I trusted him, and my heart gave a big flutter each time he was around. And, now that I’d tasted his kisses, and was irrevocably enslaved by the extreme chemistry between us, I was not sure how I would survive in Rawonia if he decided to turn away from me. And, then how was I supposed to get this information on the whereabouts of this place unless he supplied it? Too many questions raced in my head, but answers I sought were not forthcoming.

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