Unbroken, p.1Part #2.50 of Shattered Promises series by Jessica Sorensen
Unbroken (Shattered Promises, #2.5)
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Copyright (c) 2014 by Jessica Sorensen
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Cover Design: Mae I Design
Unbroken (Shattered Promises, #2.5)
Table of contents:
I'm trying not to fucking freak out, but Gemma's been gone for hours. It's driving me literally crazy and that dying feeling that I get whenever we're apart for too long is starting to surface. The electricity dwindles. Tiredness sets in.
I miss her. Need her here--want her here. I've never wanted anything this badly before and it's confusing the shit out of me.
"Alex, would you please try to relax?" my sister, Aislin, begs while she watches me pace the small living room, raking my fingers through my brown hair over and over again as I veer toward the brink of insanity.
"I can't," I tell her, quickening my pacing despite how tired I'm getting; the energy draining from my body. "You don't get it. I can't even think straight."
She shifts on the sofa, leaning forward to grab a bottle of water from the coffee table.
We're at the beach house where we've been sitting for hours, waiting for Gemma or Laylen to show up, but they're both missing. Part of me is worried they're together; that when Gemma went looking for Laylen, she found him, and then they wandered off to do God knows what. I actually have a few ideas. Ideas that make my blood burn beneath my skin. My muscles tighten. My fists clench. The need to smash them into something is so overwhelming that it takes a lot of control not to go over to the wall and punch it.
Then there's always the other alternative, and that one makes me ache. That something did happened to her. That maybe the Death Walkers got a hold of her. Or Demetrius. Or maybe my father. It's the one explanation I don't want to admit. I hate thinking of him as evil, but not because I don't believe he is. I do. It's more because it's been engrained in my mind to think of him as being good.
Everything he's said I've had to agree was right otherwise I'd be punished, and even though I'm a Keeper and have a higher pain tolerance than the average person, my father is an Immortal and is way stronger than I am. The punches. The kicks. Being whipped. Locked up without food. The torture. It wasn't easy to endure. If I cried, he'd only make my life more of a living hell, so I learned not to cry. Not to feel pain. Not to feel anything. Yes, sir. That's how I learned to be around him.
Now, though... everything's all screwed up. I think even when I was younger, deep down I knew there was something messed up about my father, more than just the beatings. But I didn't think he'd been working against everything the Keepers represent, which is to protect humanity, not destroy it.
"Oh, for the love of God. I can't watch this anymore." Aislin gets up from the sofa and steps in front of my pacing path and I have slam to a stop, almost running over her, and she has to step back. "Would you settle down? You're seriously going to wear a hole in the floor."
"That's the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard." My tone is clipped, but that's just how Aislin and I are together. We're brother and sister. We fight. We're rude to each other. Deep down, however, I'd never want anything to happen to her. In fact, a lot of the times when she'd get in trouble as a child, I'd take the fall and the beatings to spare her the pain. I can handle it better anyway. "And I can't settle down." I swing around her and continue pacing the length of the room. "If I do, then I'll lose my mind."
She sighs and then sinks down on the armrest of the sofa. "I've never seen you act like this over anyone before. It's... interesting." She tucks a strand of her hair behind her ear. "And really unsettling."
"I know." I fold my arms across my chest as I continue pacing, pacing, pacing. "I'm not even sure what's causing it... I just feel so..." I trail off. I fucking hate talking about my feelings. After an emotionally numb childhood, I find it easier not to feel anything at all, but with Gemma... Well, it's out of my hands. Although I'm not one hundred percent sure what exactly I feel for her yet, it's really confusing and intense amongst a thousand other things.
"So what?" Aislin wonders curiously. "Because I'm dying to know."
I raise my eyebrows questioningly at her. "Why?"
"Because in the twenty-five years that I've known you, I've never seen you act like this over someone." She sits back down and crosses her legs. "And I find it fascinating."
I open my mouth to try to explain it to her, but then realize I don't want to and probably couldn't even if I tried. My thoughts jumble as I attempt to sort through everything going on in my head. "Why the hell are you so calm?" I change the subject. "Laylen's missing, too."
She swallows nervously, like she's just realizing this. "I know."
"We need to do something." I stop in front of the window and glance outside at the front yard. It's dark, though the stars and moon are bright in the sky. I remember all the times when I was a child and Gemma and I would look at the stars, obsessed with them. It makes sense now that I know we're both carrying around the energy of a fallen star, but at the time I just thought we were two weird kids that understood each other. "We need a plan to figure out where she is."
"I could do a locating spell," Aislin suggests as I turn away from the window. "But I'd have to run to a Wicca Shop because my supplies are really low."
"Yeah, that might work," I mutter, trying to get myself to focus on fixing the problem instead of just the situation itself.
"Might work," Aislin says arrogantly, getting to her feet. "You mean it will work."
I'm not so confident, considering the many spells I've witnessed go awry over the years. Still, I collect the car keys from the coffee table. "You drive to the Wicca Shop." I toss her the keys and she catches them. "I'll stay here just in case one of them comes back."
She throws the car keys back at me, scowling. "Or I could just transport like a normal witch. Jesus, you are really out of it, aren't you? You need to get your head into the game or we aren't going to get anywhere."
"Yeah, maybe," I mutter, tucking the car keys into my pocket. She's right. I need to focus. "Alright, I think I'll go search the beach some more while you go get supplies." I cross the living room, heading for the back door that's in the kitchen. "Meet you back here in a bit?" I ask and she nods, walking toward the hallway that leads to her bedroom.
After I grab a flashlight, I walk out of the house and step off the porch onto the sandy beach. I start to relax a little. Fresh air. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore. It's distracting and relaxes me slightly from my worries. If only I could make the goddamn stars go away, then maybe I could completely clear my head.
Hiking down the shoreline dotted with beach houses while sweeping the flashlight from side to side, I look for any sign of Gemma or Laylen. There are no fresh footprints nearby--nothing at all--and this ri
Once when I was younger and my father was getting ready to detach Gemma's soul, something he hadn't told me until later on in life when I was more brainwashed and would react less. I had felt helpless watching her leave, knowing I'd never see her again and I was too young to do anything. I also felt the same way when I was reunited with her at the college campus. The first time she touched me again and I didn't think I could have her, yet I wanted her so fucking bad. The last time had been at the cabin in Colorado while I was waiting for my father to show up and detach her soul again. I didn't want to let it happen, yet I was torn between what I had thought was right and wrong. I ended up doing what I thought at the time was the wrong thing and tried to flee with her. Then my father showed up with the Death Walkers and I realized that everything I'd thought was wrong might just be right.
My head is swimming with the helpless sensation by the time I arrive at the end of the beach where a cluster of rocks blocks me from getting any further. I'm about to head back when I hear the soft sound of footsteps move up from behind me. I turn around and startle back when my flashlight highlights a very familiar face.
"Gemma?" I pause, shining the light into her strikingly beautiful eyes, feeling a wave of electricity rush over me from the connection we share. But whether it's from the star or something else, though, I'm unsure.
I immediately sense there's something off about her. It definitely looks like Gemma, but there's something missing.... Something's vanished from the last time I've seen her. She looks so hollow, and the sparks are merely a lull of warmth; nowhere near as intense as they usually are. It's how I've imagined she looked when her soul was detached, and the thought of it sends a chill up my spine.
I reach out to grab her, but she quickly raises her arm, moving way faster than she normally does; the sparks suddenly going haywire. Before I can tell what's happening, there's a shovel in her hand, and seconds later, something smacks me in the head. Hard. With way more strength then Gemma has ever possessed before. The flashlight slips from my hands and I raise my arm as I stagger, the number of stars in the sky multiplying. She easily dodges my advances and swings the shovel back around, hitting me on the head again. I've taken a lot of beatings and know that I won't go down without at least a few more hits, but I need to get my shit together.
I work to get my footing and blink my vision back into focus, then hurry away from her. I just need a few seconds to get the dizziness and the throbbing ache out of my head, and then I can concentrate. But she easily chases after me, her long legs moving quicker than I remember as she runs through the sand.
I dodge to the side and then try to circle around her, but she matches my moves and we end up colliding. She drops the shovel as our legs tangle together as we both lose our balance and fall toward the sand. I instinctively grab onto her, wanting to protect her from the fall despite the fact that she has just hit me in the head with a shovel. She lands on top of me with a leg on each side, her breasts pressing against my chest, her lips inches from mine, and my fingers digging into her waist to support her weight. There's a brief pause where I feel so turned on; not just by the feel of her, but from the pain, which is extremely fucked up. It's not the first time it's happened, either.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" I ask as she pushes back and sits up on top of me.
She doesn't say a word. She just lifts her arm above her, the glow of the moon hitting her hauntingly empty expression. That's when I spot it; the triangular mark on her forearm. It feels like every part of me has died. My heart stops beating. My lungs stop working.
"No," I whisper.
She simply smiles in response and I know what I have to do. I hate it, though I have no choice. It's either do this or kill her. So I channel all my inner strength and flip us over so she's lying on her back in the sand. She struggles, kicking and trying to knee me in the gut, but I restrain her by the shoulders, pinning her down.
"Relax, I'm not going to hurt you," I say as she writhes her body beneath me. "I'm just going to make this a little easier on me."
She pauses and then starts to laugh, her chest heaving, hot and feisty sparks seem to flow from her, and my skin feels like it's on fire. "Oh, my God. You think you can hurt me." Her laughter cuts off so quickly that it's creepy. "Don't be ridiculous." Then she dips her head to the side and her teeth graze my skin.
I hate what I'm about to do--hate that I'm controlling her in any way, shape or form--but I still clear my head and prepare myself to take her energy away, making her exhausted. She doesn't know that I can do this to people--make them disoriented--only because I'm afraid of what she'll do if she finds out. She's big on trust, which is understandable, and this is downright manipulation. I don't do it very often, but it's the only thing I can think of to do at the moment.
Taking a deep breath, I gradually start draining her strength, forcing her to become weak and drowsy, careful to only drain enough that she gets sluggish yet doesn't pass out. Her eyes start to roll into her head, but then she manages to get one of her hands up and grabs ahold of my arm. She starts clawing at my skin, splitting it open over and over again. Blood pours out and trickles down my forearm. She starts laughing at the sight of it. It's an annoying laugh that doesn't belong to her and sounds more like it belongs to a hyena. Her head is tipped back in the sand, her hair surrounding her head, while she totally disregards me as if I couldn't conquer her.
"You stupid, little boy," she says, shaking my head. "You never can do anything right."
And just like that, something snaps inside me. Breaks. Shatters. I see red as she utters the words my father used to say to me all the time.
"Fuck it," I growl, and then quickly and callously drain all the energy out of her. Her eyes widen for a split second, however she has no time to react, and seconds later she blacks out.
She's still breathing. Still alive. But she also still has the Mark of Evil branded on her.
After Gemma goes unconscious, lying dazedly in the sand below me, I hop off her and scoop her up, carrying her toward the house. Her arm with the Mark of Evil hangs lifelessly to the side and her head bobbles around with my movements. I feel vaguely bad for what I've done to her, but at the same time, there was no other choice. Do what you have to, no matter the cost. That's what I was taught to do, and although sometimes I hate it, it's times like these where I'm glad I don't think twice.
When I get inside the house, I gently put her on the sofa in the living room. Aislin's still gone, so I sit and wait for her while thinking of any possible way to fix this along with how the hell it has happened to begin with. The Mark of Malefiscus is only supposed to appear on those that are of evil descent, and Gemma can't be; there's no way.
So how did it get there? Did it appear like a normal mark does? Or did Nicholas have something to do with this? That damn Faerie seems to have some sick obsession with her. Or maybe it's my father who put it on her. Is that where she disappeared to for the last few hours? Has he had her trapped while she's been missing?
As she lies there, out of it on the sofa, I stroke her cheek softly. We used to be so close, but now it seems like we barely know each other anymore. It's my own damn fault for letting everything get between us. A childhood friendship, one made of promises to be friends forever. Then, just because my father had said so, I'd let it go. And now I want it back. I want to tell her what we had... What I want... What do I want?
As I'm trying to figure that out, she starts to stir. I hold onto her arms, figuring I'll let her come out of her daze before I put her back under so she can have a few minutes to recuperate. Suddenly, though, like the snap of a lightning bolt, her eyes shoot open and she springs upward onto the sofa. Our foreheads slam together like bricks smashing together. I fall off the edge of the sofa, blinking my eyes as my head starts to buzz
"I have to kill you," she says in a numb voice, her hair hanging over her face, a rabid look in her eyes.
My fingers wrap around her wrists. "No, you don't." I know it's probably useless to reason with her, but I have to try. "Just back off me and as soon as Aislin gets here, we'll get you taken care of." I hope.
She laughs that snide laugh I'm not fond of while throwing her head back. "Take care of me. Don't be absurd." She lowers her head, cocking it to the side as she eyes me over. "Besides, I don't know why you'd want to change me." She lowers her hips so she's straddling me, then she places a hand on each side of my head. "I figured you'd like me like this better." She leans in, her violet eyes looking more like a shade of dark lavender veering toward black. "Think of the things I could do to you." She grabs my shoulders and her nails pierce my skin through the fabric of my shirt, drawing blood, and for a split moment, sheer ecstasy flows through my body... Maybe she knows me better than I thought, knows how to get under my skin... maybe I should let her...
I shake the thoughts from my head. This isn't Gemma. Just a warped, evil version of her. "Is that what you want?" I slip my hands out from her hold and grab onto her hips, pressing my fingers into her skin. "To show me the things you could do to me? Because I thought you said you had to kill me."
Unbroken by Jessica Sorensen / Romance & Love / Fantasy have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes