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Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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Chapter 1: The Escape

 

A town stood silent during a new moon. It was dark for the most part, except for candles that were lit in a few of the houses. Occupants waited anxiously as they watched a small group of men that marched towards the Lapadura mansion.

The leader of this group pounded on the door, “Burke.”

There was no answer.

“Burke! We know you’re in there,” he pounded louder on the door.

Inside they could barely make out small whispers, one of an elderly gentleman and one of a young lady. The leader glared at the door and turned to his men. They all nodded, parting for two other bulky men from the back to move forwards. Just as they did, the door cracked open.

“Miss. Resnik let us in.”

“Why should I?”

“We have business with that thing you call your cousin.”

A petite lady peeked out to the crowd of men with a scowl upon her face. The look sent shivers amongst some of the men in the group.

“He isn’t a thing, nor are you going to take him away from us!”

She slammed the door shut, but as she did, the men launched themselves at the door. Her body was flung from the door, and she landed on her arm with a loud CRACK. Adrenaline rushed into her veins as she picked herself up and pulled hard on a lever. In an instant a series of locks clicked and held the door in place. She raced away, hearing the door crack as the men continued to bash the door in. Along with this, she heard the leader of the group bark orders for the men to go around for any other entrances.

“T-Tracy, are you alright? What's going on,” a young man’s concerned hushed voice crept into her ear as a cold mechanical hand touched her shoulder.

“Don’t worry about it right now Luca. Come follow me. Quickly,” she sprinted to the back of the house and dragged her cousin with her. The pair could hear the door start to crack open as the shouting and cheers of the groups rang throughout the house. They made it to the office where they saw their grandfather opening the book shelf to descending stairs. He gave them a quick nod as they heard multiple footsteps enter the house along with glass breaking.

“Make haste now,” Burke ushered the two in and followed quickly after. The book case shut with a loud click just as the footsteps got closer. As they made their way down, the adrenaline retreated from Tracy’s bloodstream. The pain for her broken arm now registering in her brain. She groaned and held it close to her. Burke noticed and scowled.

“Those bastards, first my sons then you two, can I ever get a break! I swear I’ll whip them with a lawsuit after this whole fiasco is dealt with.”

“Grandpap, I don’t think that’s-”

“Shush Tracy, you’ll only upset your arm more.”

The stairs seemed never ending as they continued to spiral down into a seeming abyss. Tracy and Luca constantly held their breath as they saw a light, only to be disappointed when it was just another torch. Eventually, this led the two to slump over as they continued the descent.

“Good lord, how much longer are we going to keep going down these Grandpaps,” Luca groaned, his arm squeaking as he went to rub his eye.

“It’ll be around the corner, and you really need to remember to oil those joints Luca. All the squeaking is making me feel like I’m the younger one here.”

Tracy giggled as Luca pouted. Burke held his head high with a playful smile on his face, although his eyes were still weary. “Now hurry up you two, or we’ll all go mad in here."

The trio finally made it to the lower floor of the house. It was mostly empty except for the torches that lit the area along with some older items that were littered with dust. Wordlessly, Burke went over to one of the trunks and pushed it away. There was a click and a part of the wall moved, revealing a dusty carriage inside of a dark tunnel.

“Now I entrust you two to take care of each other, okay?”

Luca looked at him in shock, “You’re not coming?”

“Of course not, who else will close this tunnel up when we’re gone? The men upstairs probably have already realized where the stairs are, and I need to ensure that you both get out of here alive.”

“But-”

“GO! I’ll visit you once I’ve dealt with these fools.”

He swallowed his words and looked over at Tracy. She put a comforting hand on his shoulder, “Come. Let’s go.”

The pair went over to the carriage and sat in it. For one last time, Luca looked back at Burke who was starting to pull the chest back in place. He looked up and smiled at the two.

“Be careful my beloved grandchildren.”

With that, he tugged the chest into its proper place, the engine of the carriage coming to life. It pulled forwards as the tunnel shut once again. Tracy looked down at her arm and groaned.

“I shouldn’t have opened that door.”

“Probably, here,” Luca ripped off a piece of his cloak, handing it to Tracy.

She nodded and shoved it into her mouth, closing her eyes as she felt Luca’s cold hand wrap around her arm. “Okay on three, one, two, three.”

Pain shot up Tracy’s arm as she bit down hard on the cloth. It started fading away as soon as it came and she opened her eyes. Luca was inspecting her arm, his finger about to prod the now resetted bone. “Don touh,” she quickly snapped through the cloth as she smacked Luca’s arm away.

“Sorry, sorry! I just wanted to check.”

Tracy removed the cloth from her mouth and tied it around her arm.

“Well if it makes you feel more at ease, it feels like it’s in place-” she yawned.

Luca gave her a small smile and took off his cloak, wrapping it around her. She smiled and leaned against him, closing her eyes. A few moments after, she pulled her legs up and snuggled closer to Luca. He sighed and also closed his eyes. The two cousins, stuck in a carriage navigating through the vast tunnels of the Lapadura mansion, fall asleep unsure of where it will lead them.

Burke stood at the now closed entrance to the tunnels, a frown upon his face. He sighed and dusted himself off as he went over to the old cushioned seat and awaited his fate. Soon enough, the sound of footsteps descending the stairs reached his worn ears. He sat up straight, and looked at the stairs. Different scenarios went through his head as the footsteps grew louder and louder. However one thought remained.

‘I have to make sure that they don’t find Luca. They took him away from us once, and I won’t let it happen again.’