The promise, p.14
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       The Promise, p.14

         Part #4 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 14

 

  It s still not over,

  I said.

  You want to know why?

  I leaned in, my voice as steady as a rock, even though my insides were trembling like an earthquake.

  Because Alex and I our going to kill you.

  Instantly I swung my fist into his face, startling him, and everyone else.

  He clutched at his nose, buckling back.

  Get her!

  Death Walkers inched in, eyes twinkling like crazed fireflies. But I flipped out my wings, taking out some of the Death Walkers in the process. I was about to take us away when I caught sight of Aleesa, stuck in the middle of the mess. I backed away, stretching my wings as far as they would go, and twirled. A group of Death Walkers dropped to the ground like dominoes. I snatched Aleesa s hand and held on tight, even when she tried to jerk away. Then I encircled the three of us in a halo of feathers and let the crushed violet flower fall from my hand, hoping he d figure it out. Ice frosted the tips of my wings as I took a deep breath and blinked us away.

  Chapter 25

  (Gemma)

  I think my wings broken,

  I complained, tucking it close to my arm.

  I think the Death Walker s ice did it.

  From the safety of my old childhood hide out, Laylen inspected my wing, while Aleesa lay on the floor, unconscious. It was the only thing we could think of to keep her out of trouble until Aislin showed up.

  Does it hurt when I do this?

  He softly brushed his fingers along the feathers.

  Ye-ah.

  I winced.

  Laylen sighed and rested back against the dirt wall.

  I m not sure, it might be broken. Let s just hope Aislin and Alex show up soon. Although, I still don t get why you think they ll be able to find us.

  I shrugged, leaning back against the wall. We d pulled out a candle from the trunk and lit it, so we weren t smothered by dark, but the shadows dancing in the light of the flame made me edgy.

  I just have a feeling.

  I didn t want to say the real reason, because I wasn t sure Alex would catch on. But the violet flower I hoped would be a good enough message that he would think of the violet bush that conceal our childhood hideout and know where to look.

  What are we going to do?

  I asked, running my finger down my Mark of Immortality.

  He s Immortal now not even Alex and I can kill him. Poor Aleesa.

  Our eyes moved to where she lay, breathing heavy, her dark hair a tangled mess.

  I think we might have to find a safe place for her, after Aislin removes the mark.

  He rubbed his skin where his Mark of Malefiscus used to be.

  She s almost like a child, you know. And things are getting too dangerous for her to be around.

  I nodded.

  But where? I mean, who can we trust?

  I m not sure. But I d like to point out that Alex and you are never going to die, anyway. We re going to find another way to end this and we ll find a way to remove the Mark of Immortality. I mean, we found a way to remove the Mark of Malefiscus, didn t we?

  Maybe. Somehow.

  But I didn t completely agree with him. I wasn t sure we d ever find another way because Alex and I dying was the original mapping of the world s future. Altering it again was out of the question.

  Nice punch, by the way,

  Laylen remarked with a proud smile.

  I ve been waiting for someone to do that to him for a long time.

  I stretched my hand.

  It did feel kind of good.

  We smiled, but they were heavy smiles, burdened with death, life, and a responsibility no one should have to endure.

  As more time drifted by, I started to worry that my little message to Alex was a dud. But then a puff of smoke clouded the tiny room, and two forms. Alex and Aislin appeared, blinking in disbelief. There wasn t a candle or amethyst in Aislin s hand, so she must have used her new little trick she learned during her brief trip over to the dark side.

  My skin hummed elatedly as I jumped to my feet, but a sudden thought brought me to a halt.

  Wait. Where s the witch?

  Yeah &

  Alex shifted uncomfortably.

  We kind of ran into a problem.

  What kind of a problem?

  I itched at my wings.

  You couldn t find a witch?

  Aislin raised her hand and a giant red X crossed the top of it.

  This kind of a problem.

  What is that?

  I swapped a worried glance with Laylen and he rose to his feet, brushing the dirt off the back of his jeans.

  Alex sighed.

  She s been branded.

  Chapter 26

  (Alex)

  Aislin was taking forever and I grew tired of waiting for her to return with the witch, Emma. I stuffed the flower into my pocket and started down the street. I wasn t planning on going very far, wanting to remain close to the house in case she returned. But at the corner of the street, I noticed something odd. The Vegas lights had shut down, and smothered the city in blackness. The lamp posts on the roads were still lit, so there was a little light, but not much.

  I had this irking feeling that this might have something to do with my sister, so I hurried across the street, continuing toward the dead city. When I reached the outskirts of the main road, I knew something was going down. The mutters and chants streaming through the night had a deeper meaning than I could understand. I moved up to the side of a large steel building, pressing my back against the wall, and trying to decipher what was going on. The voices spoke Latin, murmuring words of change and entrapment. Dammit, Aislin. What did you do?

  I popped my neck and cracked my knuckles, preparing myself for a fight. Then I steadily stepped out into the street. Through the throng, Aislin stood on top of a stairway that rose to a towering building. An illuminating light tied her wrists and her eyes were wide beneath the low emergency lights.

  Okay, so this was a mess. I was guessing that the rope was some kind of entrapment spell. I did a quick assessment of the crowd and noticed the abundance of star and crescent moon marks. So they were witches. But what did Aislin do to piss them all off?

  Then one particular witch emerged, walking up to the top of the stairs. It was a witch who thought I was dead and knew Aislin could remove the Mark of Malefiscus.

  Amelia.

  So she d tracked Aislin down on her own. But why the mobbing crowd?

  Welcome witches.

  She raised her hands in the air.

  I ve gathered you here today because I ve discovered something I want to share with you all!

  The crowd of witches clapped and shouted their hoorays and I rolled my eyes at the ridiculousness.

  Thank you. Thank you.

  Amelia bowed her head like she was the Queen of the Sin City or something. Then she turned to Aislin.

  This one right here has the power to remove the mark that threatens us all, that forces us to kill, forces us to spread our magic in the foulest ways.

  She gave a dramatic pause.

  Yet, she does nothing to help us. She doesn t share her power or come to our aid.

  I have other problems to deal with,

  Aislin snapped, trying to free her hands.

  But Amelia talked over her.

  So let us strip her of her magic and forever brand her an enemy of the witch world.

  Crap. It was time for a plan. With my head tucked down, I pushed through the crowd, moving slow to draw less attention. They all were chanting, low voices mixing in with the wind. I reached the front line as Amelia lifted her hand toward the dark sky. I took off up the stairs, startling her. Aislin grinned and jumped to the side, slamming Amelia to the ground.

  The crowd charged up the stairs roaring.

  What do I do?

  I asked, reaching for the glowing rope, but then pausing.

  How do I
get it off?

  Aislin shook her head.

  Just run!

  We sprinted up the stairs, toward the domed entrance of the building, a crowd of angry witches throwing magic at our heels. We ducked and weaved, trying to stay out of the way of flying flames, but one nicked Aislin in the hand. The light of rope burst into flames and she was freed. She touched my arm and suddenly we were back at Adessa s house, lying flat on our stomachs, on the icy floor.

  So where d do you think they went?

  She pushed to her feet, scratching at the back of her hand.

  I removed the flower from my pocket.

  I think she took them to our old hideout.

  The one in the forest?

  She pulled a face at the lifeless Death Walker.

  I nodded and put the flower away.

  So can you take us there?

  She grinned, smoothing down her hair.

  Of course.

  Then she extended her hand, but quickly pulled back. Across the top of her hand was a giant red X.

  Do I even want to know what that is?

  I sighed. If it wasn t one thing, it was another.

  She rubbed at the X.

  I ve been branded. No other witch will ever work with me again.

  She started to tear up.

  Relax,

  I said.

  At least you can still do magic.

  Yeah, but no witch will ever work with me.

  She frowned.

  Which means I can t perform the spell on Gemma.

  And no witches will break this rule?

  I asked.

  I mean it s just a mark.

  Just a mark,

  she said and I got her point.

  This spell forbids witch magic to mix with my own, so it s not because they don t want to help me. It s because they actually can t.

  Why would they do that to you?

  I asked, nudging the dead Death Walker away with my foot.

  I mean, what was the point?

  There was no point,

  she said.

  Those spells they were throwing were all random.

  Alright, well I guess we ll have to figure it out another way,

  I said.

  Know any witches you really trust?

  The only one I trust went into hiding,

  she said.

  And it s hard to find a witch that doesn t want to be found. Especially one as old as Adessa.

  My mental stability was cracking. I tightened my hand, ready to punch a hole in the wall.

  Alex. I can try it myself. You re not giving my witch power any credit.

  I shook my head. My mom had been very specific with her instructions on removing the wings of a Black Angel. Two lines of Wicca blood.

  We ll figure something out. But right now we need to get out of here. I need to know if she s okay.

  Aislin nodded.

  Let s go to them.

  ***

  The look on her face, when I told her the heart-crushing news was enough to kill me.

  So I m stuck like this?

  She frowned, her violet eyes forcing back the tears as she hugged her legs.

  I m stuck a Black Angel forever? What happens when I start changing? Am I actually going to turn into one of them?

  We ll find a way,

  I told her.

  I m not going to let anything happen to you. I promise.

  She nodded, tucking her wings in, one of them bent and crooked.

  What happened?

  I touched the wing and she flinched in pain.

  The Death Walkers ice did it,

  she said.

  I arched my eyebrow.

  So do you want to explain what happened with that? And why there s a dead Death Walker lying in Adessa s living room.

  She sighed and told me a story with the most terrible ending I d ever heard & so far.

  I can fix it. I can remove the Mark of Immortality.

  Aislin announced, before anyone could utter a word.

  And I can fix her wings. I just need some time.

  We don t have time,

  I said.

  In fact, we ran out of time quite a while ago.

  No, we haven t.

  She sucked in a deep breath.

  This is what we re going to do.

  Chapter 27

  (Gemma)

  Black magic,

  Alex repeated not impressed.

  That s your brilliant plan?

  It s better than your plan,

  Aislin replied, annoyed.

  Which is nothing.

  Her plan was pretty simple on the surface. She wanted us to go to a Black Magic store so she could collect some items that would allow her to create a spell that would steal another witch s power. Then she d have the power of two witches and could free me from the entrapment of the black-feathered wings.

 
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