I felt the airship jolt as it docked in the ports of The Core, the Central city of Aarea. It sat behind a high wall, protected from the forest beyond.
"Now listen closely" my uncle's voice came through on the speakers, "we leave at dawn. You may go explore the cities joys and wonders but please avoid Genix, that fight is for another day."
I closed dads journal, rubbing my eyes from reading for hours. Uncle Calvin was fussing around his office, the reason for our trip to The Core was because the council had summoned him. Which always meant family reunions.
"Sir" Cora sighed, "Is this what you're looking for?" My uncles assistant stood over him as he rummaged through his desk draws. He looked out from under his unkempt hair to see his shoulder marks in her palm.
"Oh yes" he scooped them up and tried to pin them to his black army uniform, they fumbled between his finger and scattered to the floor. Cora was quick to scoop them up and quickly and attach them to his shoulders. I walked past briskly, trying to get through without being seen. I had about two levels to get down and a hundred men until I was off this ship.
"That goes for you as well Alexis!" Calvin quickly called out as my hand touched the door, "we leave at dawn and avoid Genix. Also, I swear to god, cause any trouble and you can walk the plank!" In a way, he thought he was funny.
"We don't have a plank," I said crossing my arms, "so that might be a challenge." I gave him a tight-lipped smile.
He pointed at me, Cora still fussing around him. "I'm serious Alexis" as funny as he thought he was, it was also a threat.
"I will stay out of trouble, sir!" I saluted. I mean I had the uniform on and I caught the smirk on Cora's face, not so Calvin. He narrowed his eyes at me.
"Don't get smart, that uniform can only hide you for so long. You're wanted, don't get cocky or you'll get caught" I hadn't expected the council to remove the extradite since Victor Sinclair had taken my mother's seat. But I promised Calvin not to get caught if I was running 'errands' and that I'd be home for dinner and be back on the ship by dawn. I also called him daddy because I was a brat of a niece, he threw his boot at my head because he's an asshole of an uncle.
Now my head hurts...
I knew the streets of The Core, it was once my territory. Now I hide my face with a low brim hat, the military symbol of the dragon eating its tail on my jacket and a pistol strapped to my leg, that made sure no one bothered me. I knew exactly where I was going, I had one errand to run before family dinner that consisted of grandpa, grandma, little brother and the asshole uncle. I could smell it a mile an away, yes I could smell my errand! And that had nothing to do with my great sense of smell.
A few a blocks over, dodging busy mothers dragging their toddlers by the arms. One girl spotted the colour of my eyes from under my hat, she gasped and pointed. By the time her mother looked, I was gone. Finally, I was greeted by the aroma of sweetness. It made the cavities in my teeth ache, it was coming from a small little pink candy shop. It was squeezed between a florist and tailors and run by the tall tubby man Ted. He reminded me of a Teddy bear until you see what he's selling under the counter.
As I walked through the door, the little bell above me jingled. It didn't seem to bother the two little blonde girls handing over their pennies and accepting the ice cream from Ted. He didn't acknowledge me until the girls were gone.
"Can I help you with something?" He finally asked, wiping down the counter he serves ice cream on. It was a marble counter next a selection of ice cream you could pick behind a glass wall, behind me were walls filled with different coloured candy.
"Just here to see an old friend," I said tilting my hat upwards, he glanced at my eyes. For a moment he studied my face and smiled.
"Hello orange eyes" He opened his counter to let me through the back and changed the shop sign to close, he led me through to a wooden door but he stopped me there. "You here as a friend or one of them?" He asked nodding to my badge.
"Friend, promise," I said with a smile, "if you can give me something good, I'll give you what you want" his eyes lit up. We went up the stairs and into his cramped single apartment, beer bottles laying around and a stale smell staining the room.
"I can offer you something," he said going around closing the curtains and darkening the room. My eyes adjust quickly.
"If you give me 5 MLS of your blood" this wasn't an unusual thing, I was a half breed feral. A dying out race, no thanks to Genix.
"Is it Genix related?" I asked. His smile was ear to ear, I rolled my sleeve up. "Fine" I surrendered my arm. He got his needle out, feeling for a vein on my arm.
"I'm usually not this desperate for half breed blood," he said cleaning my arm, I felt the pinch of the needle and clenched my teeth. "But my usual suppliers aren't as good as they used to be" he pulled the needle out and held the site to stop the blood and pulled me closer.
"Genix hired so many failures after you, that my blood supply is now only here and there and I've got addicted customers to satisfy. But I just heard a rumour that this is because their attention is elsewhere. "
That caught my attention. Whatever Genix was doing, was never good.
"Where?" I asked.
"North, they're sending loading ships" North... what was north of here? The Forrest but Genix has been raiding the Forrest for years. That's how they came across this hybrid human species, the Ferals. Until the humans deemed the Ferals too powerful to exist, so they tried to breed them out until they got half breeds. We were more human-looking, but we weren't entirely human. The more we used our feral heightened senses, the more the feral genetics show. The orange eyes I was born with but I could control the canine fangs and the pointy ears from being seen.
"Why North?" I asked, "there's nothing north but Feral Forrest land" Ted shrugged.
"That's all I know, Lex, best be on your way," he said sliding the blood of tube in his front pocket and putting my hat back on my head. "Time for you to be off, be careful on the streets" He shuffled me out onto the street as children swamped his store. I Was out on the street again, I couldn't stay out here for long. I took my best bet and figured my brother was probably in the library. My arm had gone slightly numb from the needle but I shook it out.
I took a short cut through an alley, over a fence and stood in the shadow looking out onto the Main Street. The library up the road had two Genix officers out the front, their uniform looked the same as ours but they were white.
When Victor Sinclair took up my mother seat in the council, he moved the Genix troops into the city as ground troops and sent my uncles into the sky. I waited for the guards to do their round and disappear before I stepped out. Before I even got into the library I could smell my brother, he was half breed like me but our father's blood wasn't strong in my brother. He looked like a regular human, as to why society accepted him even if our mother was a traitor.
I followed the comforting smell, it was faint until I entered the library. It started to twist into an acidic odour like something was stressing him out. I silently followed the rows of books, the further towards the back the fewer people there were until I could hear him.
"Fuck off Aiden, go bother someone else" someone was bothering him.
"I told you I'd teach you a lesson" they were in the next aisle, I took one of the books out from the bookshelf and saw a tall blonde standing over my little blue-eyed brother. "Now give me your lunch money" he smacked the pile of books from Danny's arm. I placed the book back and looked up, I really fuckin hated bullies. I leapt up onto the shelves until I was over the bookshelf and between my brother had his bully. Danny recognised me gasping and stepping back, the bully stood there for a moment.
"Ha, and what are you supposed to be?" He asked looking down at me, "his knight in shining armour..." his voice trailed off as our eyes met. I had only one option now that I'd had shown myself, and that was the scare the shit out of this kid. "You're..."
"The Bradley feral?" I asked, his eyes widened as I unlocked my jaw and felt my teeth grow. "That I am, the most wanted one in the core" I pushed him against the bookcase. He couldn't move in my grip, I was far too strong for him but he was frozen, staring at the razor-sharp teeth. My ears were growing out from under my hat and my nails growing against his skin.
I barred my teeth as I went for his neck, the saliva dripping down my chin and he screamed. It rang out through the entire library, ringing in my ears. We went into silence, I could hear his heart pumping in his chests furiously.
"Touch my brother" I breathed on his neck, "and I'll tear your neck out Feral style-" I was jerked back.
"Alexis stop it" Danny hissed at me. He pulled me back as we stared at his bully who had now peed himself. He was shaking, staring at us. "She won't kill you," Danny said quickly and pulled me away before anyone came searching for the one who screamed. Danny raced down the stairs, gripping my hand tightly as he might lose it. We hit the bottom and he flung me around, I slid to a stop staring at him. He had fire in his eyes.
"Why must you do that?!" He snapped, I kept my head down. "I can look after myself and I don't certainly need you!" He pushed me back. Okay so I might have gone overboard and now Danny was pissed but he was drawing attention to us.
"Danny stop" I growled grabbing his hands as he went to push me. I had to get him to shut up.
"Can't you just be a good person for once in your life!" He screamed, "I'm constantly dealing with the aftermath of your actions-" I put him in a headlock. We struggled in the courtyard, others watching but not intervening.
"Lexie!" He gasped bending over and trying to push me off, "let me go!" I heaved him up so he was off his feet.
"Will you shut up if I let go?" I asked in his ear. He swallows against me and nodded. I let go and he staggered away, he stood there for a moment rubbing his neck. He stood up, brushed himself off and pointed at me.
"This isn't over," he told me. I held my hands up in surrender, "and uncle is going to kill you now that you've shown your face in his uniform" the smirk spread across his face as mine disappeared. "He's a home, right?" He asked walking backwards.
"Don't you dare-" Danny shot off into the alley, I went after him. I quickly caught up but he ducked and dodged me as I slammed into the side of a building. It creaked against my weight and I bounced back, catching sight of Danny. He was going to tell on my arse and beat me home, aww man... Calvin is going to kill me.
Bradley Family reunions that included me tended to aggravate everyone. Grandma Bradley was currently whacking me with her walking stick.
"Put those teeth away girl!" She was shrieking, she was my mother's mother and never got used to seeing Ferals in their true form.
"Don't you bare those things at me" Calvin snapped pointing at me, "you're the one who exposed yourself!" Now granny had moved onto smacking Calvin with her stick.
"Do not raise your voice" she was shrilling at him.
"Mum stop" he cried at her, "go sit down I will sort this out" he turned to me. "Put your god damn teeth away!"
"Animal" Danny hissed walking past me. I tried to ignore him clenching my fists and staring all my anger at Calvin.
"Daniel do not antagonise your sister" Calvin ordered. Danny stopped and turned to Calvin.
"Yes Daddy" he responded. I burst out into laughter.
"You're all going to give me a heart attack" Granny was still shrieking around us but this was normal, everything was going to give her a heart attack.
"You gave him this attitude" Calvin decided to blame me for Danny's attitude problem.
"Excuse yourself" I scoffed waving him off, I tried to put my teeth away but they weren't making it easy.
Calvin opened his mouth but stopped when he heard the thundering footsteps from down the hall, his eyes darted at me and I smiled. I was trying to put my teeth away before the boss man got into the room... too late.
And the top Bradley of the house was grandpa Bradley. His thundering footsteps no doubt mirrored his mood. The door flung open and there stood a greying haired man, he was tall and sharp with the family ocean blue eyes.
"Oh dear, sit down" he was first at his wife's side, walking her to her rocking chair. He sat her down and kissed her on the cheek, then he rose tall and turned to the rest of us. "Sit," he told us, Danny and I reluctantly sat down next to each other and Calvin sat across from us.
Grandpa paced between us.
"What happened?" He asked. We all opened our mouths. "One at a time, youngest first" he added standing in front of Danny.
Calvin groaned and rolled his eyes.
"Attitude son," grandpa said over his shoulder at Calvin before bending down in front of Danny, he waited for Danny to tell his story. Grandpa paused Danny for a moment, he looked to me.
"I must ask, showing a 14-year-old human how you grow your feral teeth, surely he must have peed himself?" He was asking me, Danny had his arms crossed glaring at me.
I smiled but it was quickly removed when grandpas open palm hit my forehead and pushed it against the couch. I gulped slightly as fear ran through me.
"You are a troublesome child" his face appeared above mine, "now put your teeth away" he hissed.
"I-I-I can't" I stammered leaning right against the couch trying to get out of his grip. His palm tightened around my skull.
"Why not child?" He asked.
"Dad stop" Calvin was up behind his father, "she just needs to cleanse herself at the forest then she will be back to control-" grandpa spun around, letting me go of my head and backhanding Calved across the face.
"Then take her there! I want my granddaughter back to normal" Calvin cowered away from his father.
"Yes sir" Calvin responded quietly. Grandfather ordered us out and make ourselves scarce within the mansion. Once he closed the doors on us three, we stood there quietly staring at the door.
Calvin's hand wrapped around my wrist.
"You're normal," he said staring at the door, "no matter what that bastard says" we were quiet again for a few moments until I jerked my hand from Calvin.
"Ha," I laughed cynically, "this family is full of nothing but dirty criminals" I turned away. "I'll be on the ship by dawn" I added over my shoulder.
Don't forget to leave a review if you liked it :)