The Underworld, Page 15Jessica Sorensen
So you’re a faerie, too, I thought, but aloud I said, “Okay, I will. ”
“And whatever you do, don’t take the necklace off,” Alex added, before stepping away from me. He went back over to Nicholas, who was waiting impatiently with the ruby-filled crystal ball in his hand. “And Nicholas,” Alex said, his hand extended toward the ball, but not touching it yet.
What?” Nicholas’s tone was mildly tolerant.
“I want you to remember one thing,” Alex said, his voice sharper than I’d ever heard. “Try anything, and I mean anything like what you just pulled with Gemma while I’m gone and you’ll have to deal with two very powerful witches and a vampire who are more than willing to protect her. ”
“Whatever,” Nicholas said, but looked a little worried.
Alex didn’t say anything else. He placed his hand on the crystal ball, and in a blink-of-a-second later he was gone.
Why did Alex make me feel this way? Why was he the only guy who could steal my breath away? Make my knees weak? Yet, at the same time, drive me absolutely insane?
After Alex and Nicholas took off to The City of Crystal, I was left with this horrid feeling of loneliness in the pit of my stomach; loneliness that always seemed to show up whenever Alex left me. I felt cursed by this feeling that tied me to a guy who had lied, been rude, and tried to control me. But for now, I guess I was bound to it, until I could figure out what was causing this electric bond between us. Something that I was hoping my mother might know about.
As Laylen and I sat on the purple velvet sofa, waiting for Nicholas to return, I decided to tell him what I’d seen in the vision—see if he knew anything about a vision filled with bright light.
But after I’d finished explaining to him what I’d seen, Laylen looked about as puzzled as I felt.
“I have no idea what that could mean,” Laylen said, sweeping his blue tipped bangs out of his eyes. “A bright light—that’s all you saw?”
I nodded. “And then Nicholas showed up and when I told him what I was seeing, he said my future was dead. ”
Laylen’s face twisted with confusion. “I have no idea, Gemma. I really don’t. But…I really wouldn’t worry about it too much. I mean, there’s a chance that Nicholas could have been messing with your head. ”
I nodded, but I still felt uneasy. I tried to think of something else, but all my brain wanted to do was think about Alex. Stupid brain. And it wouldn’t stop, it just kept going and going until…I remembered.
Alex and I.
My memories were flashing back to me. Not all of them, but some. Alex and I picking flowers in a field; watching other Keepers practice sword fighting; playing, having fun, smiling.
“Gemma what’s wrong?” Laylen’s voice was only a glitch in my head.
My voice was soft, barely audible. “I can remember some stuff…about my childhood…about Alex and I being friends. ”
“You remember? Like actually remember?”
I nodded. “They’re real memories. And I can feel how I felt when I was there. ”
“Hurry, try to remember other things too,” Laylen said encouragingly. “See if you can remember what happened before they took your emotions away—if anything was said that might tell us what Stephan is really planning to do with the star. ”
“Okay. ” I closed my eyes, concentrating on my thoughts that were floating back to me. The feelings I’d felt during them, the prickle making the connection. But no memories contained Stephan. Just Alex. Alex and I. Alex…
My eyes shot open, and for a moment, I just stood there, unable to react because…well, because it had happened again. I’d made myself go into a vision. God, what did I look like to Laylen? Was I just sitting there with my eyes closed? Or had I fell out of the chair and onto the floor?
I shook my head. This was getting out of hand. If I didn’t figure out how to control this power of mine, one day I was going to slip into a vision at the worse time possible. Like say when I was driving or something.
I shook my head. That was a scary thought.
Deciding I should focus on the vision, I pushed that thought aside. I was standing in a forest thick with trees, where I caught a glimpse of the tip of a grey stone castle peaking through spaces between the trees. I knew I had to be the forest that surrounded the lake—the lake that was the entrance to The Underworld.
It was bright outside, the sky a clear blue. As I started to move through the trees, heading for the castle, I wondered what I was supposed to see. Perhaps something with Stephan? Although, I sure hoped it wasn’t the vision of my mother being forced into The Underworld. I had seen that more times than I ever wanted to.
But as a cool breeze swept through my hair and kissed at my cheeks, the impulse to head to the castle drifted away, and I found myself suddenly heading in the opposite direction, deeper into the forest.
I walked for what seemed like forever, my legs practically moving on their own, maneuvering me effortlessly passed bushes, trees, and tipped over tree trunks. I swear it was like I knew where I was going without really knowing. If that made any sense.
As I’d just started to wonder just how far my legs were planning to take me, I came to a stop in front of a steep hill. I stared up at it skeptically, taking in its loose dirt and the steep incline. How the heck was I supposed to climb up it?
But I wasn’t supposed to climb up it. That’s what my thoughts were telling me. So instead, I moved to the side, walking at the bottom of the hill, searching for…well, I wasn’t sure. But I hoped I’d know when I saw it.
After awhile, I began to get frustrated at the fact that this vision seemed pointless. I mean why hadn’t I seen anyone? And why did it feel like I had to put together a puzzle in order to understand the meaning of the vision? This had never happened before—usually I just watched the vision. So why was it different now?
Before I could conjure up an answer for these questions, I spotted something. A bush, budding with violet flowers at the foot of the hill. Violet flowers…hmm, it was ringing a bell.
I walked up to the bush and picked one of the violet flowers. The smell was intoxicating and caused my memories to spin in my head, little images of the countless times that I’d picked these flowers when I was a child. It also brought up a memory of this bush and that there was something behind it.
Yes, behind it.
I squatted down and examined behind the bush, letting my fingers dig through the damp soil as I inched my way up the steep side of the hill and around to the back of the bush.
My jaw dropped. A small hole had been dug into the hill. It was hidden by the violet bush so well that I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t been looking for it. I grabbed a hold of the branches of the bush, the thorns cutting at the palms of my hands as I hoisted myself up to where I could see down into the dark hole. There was a ladder that lead to…well I couldn’t tell—I could only see a dirt floor. But there was a light on, glowing faintly from somewhere inside.
I took a deep breath and lowered my feet down to the top step of the ladder. Another deep breath and I started to climb down, my hands sweating against the cool metal. When my feet reached the floor, I immediately spun around. I wasn’t going to lie, but I half expected a Death Walker to pop out and grab me. But no. What was there was probably more surprising than finding a Death Walker.
I was standing in a hollowed out room, the floors and walls made of dirt. There was an old wooden table pressed up against the back wall where a candle burned, the orange glow of the flame lighting up the tiny dirt room. Next to the table was a blue metal trunk, and right in front of trunk was me. Well, the younger me anyway, sitting on the dirt floor. Small, and around four years old, my violet eyes giving away that it was indeed me. Sitting across from me was a little boy with dark brown hair and bright green eyes.
Alex. I knew that now—my memories were able to make the connection.
/> “So what do you thinks going to happen?” Little Gemma asked. “After they take me away?”
Little Alex shook his head. “I don’t know…”
“Do you think we’ll ever see each other again?” Little Gemma asked, her violet eyes wide with fear.
He nodded. “I promise we will, no matter what they say. ”
She looked terrified, tears bubbling up at the corner of her eyes, and I could actually feel her fear, worry, and sadness inside me, as if we’d connected. “Do you think Marco and Sophia will be nice to me?”
“How could they not?” Little Alex said. “No one could ever be mean to you. ”
Okay, well, that was the biggest bunch of crap I’d ever heard. But I think he actually meant it.
If only he knew.
As I stood there watching this peaceful scene between the younger Alex and I, I couldn’t help but think how grown up we were acting for being so young. And look at us now, arguing all the time, lying to one another. It made this moment—although peaceful—almost painful to watch, because I knew that right after this happened everything would change. This Alex and Gemma would be no more.
“I have an idea,” Alex said, pulling a small, silver pocket knife out of his pocket “How about you and I become blood brothers. ”
Little Gemma scowled at him. “I’m not a boy. ”
Alex laughed. “Okay, how about blood friends?”
The tears in her eyes escaped down her cheeks. “What do I have to do to become one?”
“I’ll make a little cut on my hand and on yours and then we press them together and make a promise, okay?”
She looked wary. “Will it hurt?”
“Only for a minute. ”
She wiped the tears away from her cheeks and looked at Alex with confidence. “Okay, let’s do it. ”
She gave her hand to Alex and he carefully made a small cut in the palm of her hand. She winced ever so slightly, but didn’t put up a fuss. I glanced down at my hand, looking closer at the palm of it, and sure enough, right in the center there was a trace of a very thin, small white scar. Strange…I’d never noticed it before.
Alex made a small cut in his palm and then he raised his hand out in front of him. “Okay, put yours up to mine. ”
She did, and they pressed their palms together.
“Forem,” Alex said. “Now you say it. ”
She took a deep breath. “Forem. ”
Alex dropped his hand and so did she. “There, that’s all it takes. ”
“But what does forem mean,” Little Gemma asked.
Someone yelled from above. It was too muffled to understand exactly what the person yelled, but the deepness of the voice told me it belonged to a man.
The children’s eyes went round, and Alex jumped to his feet. “We have to go,” he said, holding out his hand to help little Gemma to her feet.
“Do you think you’re dad will be mad at us,” little Gemma asked, panicking. “for us disappearing?”
“I don’t know…” Alex sounded scared. “Let’s just hurry up, okay. ”