The lost soul, p.13
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       The Lost Soul, p.13

         Part #1 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 13

 

  “She said it was because she wanted to pay a visit,” Laylen explains with suspicion. “But I think it’s a little strange that she shows up when Alex is possessed. ”

  “And because the last time we saw her, you threatened to kill her unless she took her death out of my hands. ” I grin, enjoying the memory.

  “She’s up to something,” Laylen speculates. “And we need to find out what. The last thing we need is Death Girl hanging around making our lives harder. ”

  “We’ll start with the Lost Soul situation. Then we’ll get to the bottom of her hidden agenda. ” I get to my feet, offer my hand, and tug him up.

  “Then after that, we’ll get your mark back,” he says with an encouraging smile.

  I smile back, but it’s fake. I have an inkling I’ll never have the Foreseer mark again.

  ***

  I tell Laylen I’ll meet him in the library. There’s something I want to check on real quick. I work my hand underneath the mattress and retrieve the Foreseer’s book. It contains the history of the Foreseers and the secrets of who they are and what they can do. I search the pages, hoping there’s an answer on how to get my mark back. With each page, my heart sinks, until I come across one, not about the mark, but about something equally as interesting.

  There are certain cases where Foreseers possess extraordinary gifts. These particular Foreseers can reach beyond the norm of reading visions, going as far as controlling visions or at least manipulating them. They can spark the mind to believe things that aren’t real and invade…

  I turn to the next page. It’s blank. I run my fingers along the binding. Not blank. Torn out.

  “You have got to be kidding me. ” I huff, slamming the book. What does it mean? Invade what? Someone’s mind?

  The door opens and Laylen peeks his head in. “You coming?”

  “Yeah. ” I kick the book under the bed.

  We go to the library. Aislin has Alex cornered, waving her finger viciously at him. There’s a stern lecture in place and I’m surprised she hasn’t stunned him with her magic yet. Stasha’s gone, but I’m not holding my breath she’s left our lives forever.

  “It’s okay Aislin. ” I wiggle my way between them, freeing Alex from her fury. “We were going to go for a walk. You want to come?”

  Aislin’s eyebrows dip together and her hands descend to her side. “You’re going to do what?” She lowers her voice, her green eyes pressing the severity. “Don’t we have bigger problems to solve?”

  “That’s what we’re doing. ” I widen my eyes, trying to get her to understand. “We’re going outside to fix the problem. ”

  She nods, comprehending. “Gotcha. ” She links arms with Laylen and they head for the door.

  “Are you coming?” I ask Alex.

  “Why would I?” He moves from the wall, bumping his shoulder into mine. “I have better things to do. ”

  “Yeah, but what fun is that. ” I speed by him, purposefully stepping on his toe. “You’ll be all by yourself with no one to torture. ” Laylen shoots a warning look, before he and Aislin exit the room. I put my game face on, ready to tango with the Lost Soul. But on the inside, I’m jittery and terrified. “You know you want to. I mean, think about it. What better way to spend the afternoon then tearing my heart apart. "

  His eyes flame with malice and a chill courses through my body. In three long strides, he’s backed me into the corner, the bookshelf stabbing into my back.

  “You stupid little girl,” he growls, his eyes black and untamed. “You think you can out smart me. ”

  Holy shit. “Who are you?”

  “You already know that answer,” he breathes hotly. “That’s why you’re trying to get me to follow you. Don’t think you can fool me with your mortal tricks. ”

  “Do you have a name?” I ask, my shoulders stiffening. “Or does the Queen just refer to you as Lost Soul number whatever? From what I’ve seen, you guys are nothing to her. ”

  His hands clamp down on the bookshelf, restraining my head between his arms. “Say whatever you want. Your time will come. ”

  I gulp, but keep my gaze fixed on him. “And why hasn’t it yet?”

  “Te sunt seruatis unum. ” His lips curl. “But it will come. ”

  I latch onto the words, because I can’t translate them. My eyes search Alex’s, hoping for a small piece of him still thriving inside. His eyes are empty—soulless.

  “Alex. ” I take on a new approach. “Please come back to me. Don’t let him take you. ”

  His hands slide down my shoulders, down my arms, and stop at my wrists. He clutches forcefully, bruising my skin. “Maybe this is really him and he’s finally showing his true colors. ”

  I open my mouth, but then clamp it shut, knowing my voice will shake.

  He shoves back, his calm demeanor returning. “Have fun on your walk. ” He saunters out, leaving me with my worry and the fear that it might be too late to save him.

  ***

  Laylen and Aislin are waiting for me under a tree at the edge of the lake, the leafy limbs shading the remaining trickle of sunlight. Dusk is taking over, blanketing the land with darkness.

  “Where is he?” Laylen asks as I approach them.

  I drop down on the grass, tucking my legs under me. “Alex, or should I say the Lost Soul, isn’t coming. I think it might be worse than we thought. ” I raise my arms, showing them the welts forming where he gripped me. “The Lost Soul spoke to me. ”

  Laylen takes my arm and examines my wrist with shock. “Alex did this to you?”

  “No, The Lost Soul did,” I clarify.

  “What did he say?” Aislin kneels up and covers her knees with her skirt.

  I pick at the grass. “He said maybe it’s really Alex and he’s finally just showing his true colors. ”

  “You know that’s not true,” Aislin comforts me. “It’s the Lost Soul messing with your head. ”

  “I know. ” I toss some grass in the air and watch it land in the water. “Te sunt seruatis unum. ”

  “What?” Aislin and Laylen gape at me.

  “That’s the other thing he said,” I explain. “What does it mean?”

  “It means you’re one of the protected ones. ” Laylen fiddles with his lip ring.

  “I’m protected from the Queen?” I support my elbow on my leg and let my chin fall in my hand. “Or protected from The Lost Souls?”

  “I’m not sure. ” Aislin’s hair flaps in the wind as she stares at the lake. “I’d guess it means you’re significant somehow. ”

  “But the star’s energy isn’t in me anymore,” I say. “I thought I was normal again. ”

  “I don’t think you’ll ever be normal,” Laylen states with honesty. “I don’t think any of us will be. ”

  A bitter taste floods my mouth. “I wish we were, though. ”

  We nod our heads agreeing.

  “We’re being watched,” Aislin states through gritted teeth.

  Standing in the arch entryway of the castle, Alex has his arms crossed, his eyes fastened to our huddle up.

  “What do you think he’s doing?” Aislin fiddles with her hooped earring.

  “Planning our murder probably,” Laylen jokes tensely.

  “I have an idea. ” I slip off my shoes and squeeze behind Laylen. I hoist myself into the tree. The branches crackle as I ascend upward. Moving slowly, I reach a thick branch that elongates over the lake. I step on it vigilantly, feeling the sway. With my hands out to the side, I balance to the end. It curves under my weight and my breath falters.

  “Gemma, don’t. ” Laylen advises from below.

  I glance at the castle to make sure Alex is still watching, then I raise my hands above my head. My heart leaps in my throat as I spring on my toes and dive into the lake. Screams ring the air and the icy water stings my skin like pins and needles. I thrash my arms, resurfacing, before losing momentum and sinking for the bottom. Murky water suffocates my
lungs, blinds my eyes.

  Alex, where are you? I kick my legs and paddle my arms, verging for the surface, but never breaking it. Don’t be afraid. Laylen will save you. Water chokes my lungs and smothers my sight. A hand clasps mine and I’m yanked upward. Warmth rushes over me until bony fingers twine around my ankle.

  Something’s wrong. The Water Faeries are out, even though the lake hasn’t been sprinkled with ash. They wrench on my leg and my fingers slip from my rescuer. Darkness assails me as I downfall to The Underworld.

  Chapter 12

  I’ve been to The Underworld before to save my mom from the Queen’s custody. It’s a wretched place, packed with the death. The Water Fey like to torture people and creatures who commit horrendous crimes. They feed off pain and fear, like it’s water and air.

  The faerie drags me to the bottom of the lake and dives into a tunnel channeling into the sand. Even if I escaped, I’d drown before I made it to the top. Water whirlpools and sloshes my body in different directions. When we splash to land, I’m dizzy and half-drowned. I hack up water until my ribs ache. My gaze scales to a waterfall, roaring over a rocky cliff. I shove up, my palms scraping the jagged rocks. A Water Faerie, white and wispy, floats in front of me. Its hollow eyes refuse to leave me. I dodge to the side, but it whooshes over and blocks my path. I spin around, prepared to plunge back into the water.

  “No. ” The faerie’s breathy voice delivers a shiver down my spine. “This way. ”

  I glance over my shoulder. “You can talk?”

  Its fabric legs touch the rocks. “Only for the protected. ” It soars upward and plummets behind me. “Now go. ”

  My legs tremble as I mount the side of the steep cliff. The rough edges cut my bare feet and my drenched clothes weigh me down. The faerie taunts me, floating behind me during the climb. My hands blunder, but I snatch a ledge before falling to a painful death. When I heave onto the top, I’m breathless and dripping with sweat and water.

  “Get up,” the Water Faerie commands.

  I rub the dirt from my eyes and stand up. A long tunnel stretches into the wall of the cliff and The Water Faerie shoos me down it. The light disappears the farther I walk. Pitch black eventually takes over.

  “You say I’m one of the protected. ” I trip down the tunnel. “What does that mean?”

  It doesn’t reply.

  Sand encrusts my feet and clothes. The musty air is overpowering and the ceiling leaks moldy water. When I escape the tunnel, and step into the light, I don’t know whether to be relieved or frightened.

  “Gemma Lucas. ” The Queen’s sunken eyes acknowledge me with delight. Her flowing white hair blends with her dress and her flaky lips curl to a revengeful smirk. “Daughter of Jocelyn Lucas, how very kind of you to return to my kingdom. ”

  “I didn’t return,” I snap. “I was stolen against my will. ”

  “There’s no need to be rude,” she responds with caution in her tone. “You were brought here for a reason. ”