Broken visions, p.1
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       Broken Visions, p.1

         Part #3 of Shattered Promises series by Jessica Sorensen
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Broken Visions


  Broken Visions

  JESSICA SORENSEN

  Table of Contents

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Series reading order:

  Shattered Promises (Shattered Promises, #1)

  Fractured Souls (Shattered Promises, #2)

  Unbroken (Shattered Promises, #2.5)

  Broken Visions (Shattered Promises, #3)

  Chapter 1

  I'd always thought life was complicated, back when I didn't know there was something other than the human world. But it was a piece of cake compared to the mayhem I live in now. Vampires. Demons. Evil. Possession. I've experienced it all. I barely remember my possession, honestly. Bits and pieces, Alex desperate to save me, me a total bitch, wanting nothing more than to kill him. Which I did. I killed him...

  It happens so quickly that I don't have time to process it. One minute my brain is full of haziness where I can only see one single thought--kill Alex--and then suddenly I'm free, my heart flooding with emotions.

  Pain. Longing. Need. Sadness. I see so many things. Alex and I. Our hide out. Violet flowers. Dancing in a field. Blood Promise. Forever. Everything I've ever felt in my past, before my emotions were erased, surges through to me and jumpstarts my emotions.

  I scream at the top of my lungs. "Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop. It's me. It's me. Alex, stop!"

  But it's too late. He gags as he pulls the needle out of his heart. Gasping for air, his skin pallid, eyes wide. Seconds later, he crumples to the floor.

  A blood-curdling scream rips from my lips. "Aislin! Untie me! Please. He can't die now!" I did this. This is all my fault. No! Help! Stop. Please. God, it hurts so much.

  Aislin buckles over Alex's body with her head tucked down as she utters a chant under her breath, over and over again. Her hand glows red as she presses it to his heart. I realize she's doing a spell, hopefully one that will bring him back. However, the longer it goes on, the more my hope crumbles. After a while, Aislin gets quiet, tears still falling from her eyes as she looks up at me.

  "He's dead, Gemma. He's dead," she whispers softly as the glow from her hand fizzles away.

  "No, he's not!" I cry as I tug on the ties around my arms and legs. "Aislin, please untie me. I need to be with him."

  She's finally able to get up, then she moves over to me, her eyes swollen; tears streaming down her cheeks. She unfastens the ties around my wrists, her fingers shaking. As soon as she gets the last one undone, I spring upright and scramble over to where Alex is lying on the floor. His eyes are open, though distant and vacant; his arms and legs are sprawled across the floor. He's not breathing. I check his pulse with my fingertips. Nothing. I try to feel the sparks. Nothing. I feel nothing.

  I vaguely hear Aislin say something to me, but I can't make out her words. There's so much pain. Hollowness and it's growing larger every second his heart isn't beating. I feel like I'm being pushed down from it. Sinking. Falling. Dying.

  ***

  There's a frozen lake before me and icicles dangle from the leafless tree branches enclosing the water. The dark sky casts a shadow over the icy land and the air is as chilly as death. Alex's arms are wrapped tightly around me as we stand near the edge of the frozen water, holding onto one another as if our lives depend on it.

  "We'll be all right, won't we?" I ask him. A breeze gusts through my hair and the silence around us makes the world feel desolate. Yet somehow at the moment, I feel whole; at peace, calm.

  I tip my head back and look up at him to tell him my how I feel, but he shushes me as he brushes my hair away from my face. "It will be all right," he whispers, but his voice is unsteady.

  My lips part to disagree, because I can feel the omen in my bones, but a crackle rips through the air and steals the words from my lips. Moments later, several tall, cloaked figures with skin of the dead and soulless glowing eyes emerge from the trees and surround us.

  "Death Walkers." I look at Alex in terror. "What do we do?"

  He pulls me closer to him. "It will be all right," he whispers again, his body heat the only drop of warmth we have left. "Just trust me."

  I feel warmth and pain. Heat and agony. Then suddenly I'm suffocated by light. Yet for some reason, it feels like everything will be okay. Gripping onto him, I take a deep breath and let the warming light engulf me and take me away from the world. Then there's a rough tug and I can feel Alex slipping away. I let out a scream, but we lose each other in the light.

  ***

  "Gemma," a voice calls out to me. "Can you hear me?"

  My body tenses as light encircles me. "Who's there?"

  "Come toward me," the voice echoes.

  I lift my hand to my forehead and try to shield my eyes from the blinding light, but I still can't see a thing. "Whoever you are, I can't see you... The light's too bright."

  "Yes, you can," the voice assures me. I'm certain that it doesn't belong to Nicholas, even though it seems like something he would say to fuck with my head. The voice is much deeper, and sounds older and wiser. "You just have to look harder."

  I blink a few times and the light begins to dim. Slowly at first, and then more quickly, until there's nothing left other than a soft glow orbing around me. I can see my hands and arms... my feet... I start to get my bearings when, suddenly, my legs are ripped out from under me.

  I tumble down a rabbit hole for what seems like forever until, finally, I land on a hard surface on my back. My vision comes into focus and I'm shocked to my very core at what I see. A midnight-blue marble floor, a cathedral ceiling painted with intricate art, and tile walls of sapphire blue and shimmering silver. It's beautiful--too beautiful.

  "I have to be dead," I mutter, getting to my feet. I examine myself. My skin is pale, but that's normal, and I can feel the air coming in and out of my lungs, my heart still beating in my chest. I have to be alive, but where the hell am I?

  "Hello!" I call out, turning in a circle between rows of columns that lead to a colossal statue.

  I head for the statue, taking each step carefully, afraid that any second someone--or something--will jump out from behind one of the columns. Quite honestly, I think I'm hoping Alex will appear from somewhere. Surprise me. Tell me he's okay... that he didn't... die.

  I start crying again as I reach the end, thinking about where Alex could be and if he's alive. My heart feels shattered. Broken. I'm broken. Just like the statue with a crack down the center, although it's still intact. Made of flawless, white marble and perfect edges, it forms a figure that looks like a tall man. Looking closer, there is something about the angles of the face that look familiar, and there's a crystal ball chiseled in his hand.

  "What in the hell?" I lean closer, squinting at the plaque mounted on the statue's feet. As soon as I read it, my pulse quickens to the point t
hat it knocks the breath out of me. "Julian Lucas. Lucas? No. There is no way." I cover my mouth with my hand and back away. Where am I? What is this place?

  "Don't worry, it's just a statue," someone says from right behind me.

  I spin around and jump back when I come face-to-face with a man that has a striking resemblance to the statue, only he's alive and breathing. He has shoulder length, brown hair and violet eyes.

  "Oh, my God, you're... you're..." I place my hand over my trembling mouth and shake my head.

  "Hello, Gemma," he says calmly. "I'm so glad you finally found me."

  "But you're... how... why..." I can't form sentences.

  Thankfully, my dad understands. "Don't worry. I'm here to help you."

  "Help me with what?" I finally get a full sentence to leave my mouth.

  He smiles. "Fix the past and create a better future."

  I glance around at the strange place I've dropped into. "What do you mean? Where am I?"

  "You're in the only place I can be," he says, turning around and putting a hand on my back to steer me with him as he walks down the path.

  I move nervously with him, my heart erratic in my chest. "What do you mean by fix the past?"

  "I mean, we're going to do what probably seems like the impossible," he says. "We're going to reset time and erase some of the past to hopefully create a better future for the world."

  My heart quiets inside my chest. Calms. For the briefest moment, I swear I feel sparks of heat, tiny firecrackers. If what he's saying is true--if we're going to erase some of the past to hopefully help the world--then maybe I can also help Alex.

  Maybe I can reset it so he doesn't die.

  Maybe I can bring him back.

  Chapter 2

  As we hike down the path toward the unknown, I watch my father out of the corner of my eye. He looks so much like me; brown hair, fair skin, tall, and of course the violet eyes. It's almost too good to be true and with faerie/Foreseers like Nicholas roaming around, who can turn into a mirage and make me see things that aren't real, I have to wonder if my dad isn't real or nothing but an illusion manifested, perhaps, by my death. Maybe Aislin's mirage protection spell isn't working anymore. Maybe I'm the one who's dead.

  "Am I dead?" I dare ask.

  He shakes understandingly. "No, you're fully alive."

  I continue to study him; sharp features, a warm smile, confidence in his walk. "Are you dead then?"

  He shakes his head, a sparkle in his eyes. "Not quite."

  "Is that even possible? To not quite be dead?"

  He considers this carefully, gazing off at the columns lining the path. "You're here in your vision form."

  I swallow the massive lump in my throat. "So my body is still back on earth? Passed out?"

  "Yes, pretty much." He pauses. "But don't worry, today isn't the day you're going to die, Gemma. I promise." His silver robe swishes across the floor as the path curves upward, almost as if it's bowing into the sky and carrying us along with it. "We only have a few minutes before you have to return and I have something very important I need to show you."

  "Okay." Light glimmers from the ceiling. "Is it how to reset time and bring back Alex?" I half expect him to yell at me, for putting a guy before the world's needs, but he simply nods.

  "If all goes well and you're able to pull it off, then yes, Alex will come back too," he says, nodding.

  "So this is all in my hands?' I ask. "I mean resetting time?"

  "You sound skeptical?" He notes curiously as the path dips downward again and I have to work to keep by balance and not fall to my ass and slide down.

  I shrug with my hands out to my side. "It's just that I've seen and heard things that make me think that it's not possible to change time. Or that I should."

  "You've seen them in your visions I'm assuming?"

  "Sort of..." I gape at him. "Wait, you know I can see visions?"

  He smiles as we arrive at the bottom of the hill, then we veer to the right down a slender hallway lined with porcelain columns engraved with gold leaves. The ceiling is swirled with various shades of yellow and blue, creating an effect similar to Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night. The place is surreally gorgeous, unlike anything I've ever seen.

  "Where do you think you inherited your Foreseer gift?" my father asks as I gaze at the beauty around me in awe. "And, just like you, I have unique Foreseer abilities."

  I tear my attention off the scenery and focus on him. "So you can do things besides just see visions?"

  "Yes, but that is a story for another time," he tells me with a sad smile on his face as if it'll never happen. "Right now, you need to focus on creating a better future for the world."

  I have a ton of questions I'm dying to ask him. It's my first time meeting him, and I want to know everything I can about my mother, my past, him. But there's urgency in his voice that keeps my lips sealed. And besides, deep down in the pit of my heart, most of my attention is on Alex, back at the beach house, dead, something I need to fix. In fact, just thinking about it makes my heart feel like it's rupturing open and bleeding out, but whether that feeling is coming from the star or from my own emotions, I'm unsure.

  I bite on my nails and remain stuck in my own head and the what if's as we make the rest of our journey. At the end of the hallway there's a stairway stretching up a sloped floor toward a brick mausoleum. Two massive pillars form an entryway to the heavy wooden door on the front of it where there's a red light glowing from a barred window.

  "What is this place?" I ask, hoping that it just looks like a mausoleum and doesn't actually have dead bodies inside it.

  He doesn't answer as he climbs up the stairs toward the mausoleum. I rush after him, the steps cold underneath my bare feet, making me aware that I don't have any shoes on and painfully hyperaware that I can barely remember anything up to the point where I woke up from my possession and Alex was dead on the floor. This has me worried about what I did while I was under Stephan's control. What if I'm not remembering more evil things I did? What if I hurt more people?

  I glance down at my arm where he branded me with the mark, now gone, my skin back to it's smooth, paleness. I remember how Stephan told me that I had evil in my blood and that's why he was able to put the mark on me. What if that was true? What if do have evil in me? What if this showed terribly when I was possessed? Even if I do manage to reset time and erase it, it can't necessarily erase what's inside me.

  "Everything okay?" my father asks, sensing my distant thoughts.

  I nod, unsure how to ask if somehow I have evil blood in me. And what if it came from him? "I'm fine... just thinking about Alex... and how he was..."

  "I understand," he says. "Losing someone can be difficult, especially if you're not used to death."

  I want to say that I am used to death, though. Hell, I grew up thinking both of my parents were dead. But now I've met them both, fully alive and breathing so it's not really relevant. And besides, during most of the time I thought they were dead, I couldn't feel emotions so there was nothing inside me gnawing away like it is now.

  "Hopefully, I won't have to get used to it yet," I say with a forced smile.

  "Hopefully," he agrees, coming to a stop in front of the mausoleum door. He reaches for the brass handle and the hinges creak as he opens it, as if it had been sealed shut for ages. Then he ducks his head and steps inside the dark and hesitantly I follow.

  It takes my eyes a moment or two to adjust to the lack of light and my skin and lungs take even longer to get used to the damp air. "It feels like death in here," I whisper, hugging my arms around myself.

  "That it does," my father replies, giving me no hope that this building isn't a final resting place for the dead. He hunches over even more as he begins to descend farther into the dark. The low ceiling drips murky water on our heads and the cold tile floor is cracked and stained. The pillared walls are deteriorating, chipped and flawed, but in a hauntingly beautiful way. Decorated with red lanterns, the whole pla
ce has a soft glow which flows around the room and lights the way down a narrow tunnel.

  "This way," my father instructs with a nod of his head, reaching up to unhinge a lantern from the wall and carry it with him.

  I trail after him, the air growing heavier the further we go and the floor feeling more like ice than tile. I start noticing little details the more my eyes adjust to the dark. The way vines flourish from the ceiling, the sound of a river flowing from somewhere nearby, how on each pillar there is an eye carved in the center, the pupil an S wrapped by a circle--the Foreseers' mark. Is this a place for the Foreseers? Is it linked to the City of Crystal? That idea makes me nervous, especially if Nicholas has access to it.

  "What is this place?" I trace my fingers along one of the eyes. "Does it have something to do with the Foreseers?"

  My father shakes his head, the lantern swinging from his hand. "This is a place where no one wants to be."

  I'm about to ask him to explain more, but we reach the end of the tunnel where there's a large midnight blue trunk, trimmed with gold, perched on top of a Victorian table. My father sets the lantern down beside the legs, then raises the lid of the trunk and sticks his hand inside, retrieving a crystal ball orbed with soft light.

  He extends his hand out toward me, his violet eyes more dark lavender. "This is how you're going to reset time and hopefully create a better future for the world."

 
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