Broken visions, p.15
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       Broken Visions, p.15

         Part #3 of Shattered Promises series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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  So I agree and then go up to my room to change out of my pajamas and pull my hair out of my face. As I'm waiting for Laylen to show up, I decide to flip through the Foreseer book some more, to see if I can find the answer to the Purple Flame. It seems more important than ever now that I know the mark is traveling throughout the world.

  But after searching through page after page, I grow frustrated and become desperate. I'm not sure if it's meant for what I'm about to do, but I decide it's worth the risk of trying.

  "The Power of a Foreseer's Mind." I shut my eyes, focusing on seeing what I need to see, but am retaliated by light.

  See past the light, see what you need to see. I'm not sure whose voice it is but I do as it says and look past the light.

  The Purple Flame... the Purple Flame... the... Purple... Sharp pain erupts through my skull, like my head is cracking apart. I tip sideways on the bed and fall out of it. When I hit the floor, I slip deep inside my mind.

  ***

  I'm energized, powerful, glowing. I can feel the energy inside me, about to combust and go out into the world. I'd be free from it and I realize I want to be free from it.

  "Open your eyes, Gemma," a familiar voice whispers.

  I open my eyes and then step back. I'm in the City of Crystal standing in front of the massive crystal ball that's about the size of a football stadium, flaring brightly within the enormous space of the cave. Attached to the crystal, solely by chains are people with tubes embedded in their skin, giving energy to the ball for the Foreseers.

  "What you need is not in the book," the voice says to me. "It's in there. Touch it and you'll see."

  I inch tentatively toward the crystal ball then taking a deep breath, I extend my hand toward it. My fingers are magnetized, begging us to connect. When I place my palm on it, the hot surface scorches my skin and a fire blazes through me. My heart slams against my chest as energy zips through my body, charging me. Powerful. I am powerful. I pull away and hold up my hand where a purple flame burns vibrantly in my palm.

  "One of these days, you're going to have to figure things out without me," the voice says and this time I recognize who it belongs to.

  I turn around and look behind me "Nicholas..."

  I don't see him but I swear I detect the faint lingering scent of flowers and rain.

  ***

  I bolt upright, lifting my hand in front of me. There's no fire burning from it, but I know what I have to do. I slip my shoes on and grab the Traveler's Ball that was left on my bed with the note. Maybe I should say something to someone. It'd probably be better if I did. But I know if I do then Alex will put up a fight so instead I shut my eyes, grasping onto the crystal ball filled with rubies and a few seconds later, I'm there.

  Chapter 24

  I land gracefully at the City of Crystal in the cave that has a charcoal ceiling that maroon crystals dangle from. Beneath the translucent floor, there's a midnight river flowing and carrying pieces of gold. And rubies wave across the snow-white walls.

  I hurry and put the crystal ball into my pocket then sprint towards where the massive crystal ball is. My stomach churns as I enter the room and catch sight of the bodies strapped to the crystal illuminating with energy. Their eyes are shut, bodies still slack and lifeless. It makes me sick to see, but I don't look away. I hold my breath and block out everything but the flaming crystal ball they're attached to as I lean forward and place my hand to it, just like I did in the vision. Energy simmers through my veins and my heart accelerates so swiftly it aches inside my chest. It feels so different... like it's sucking the life from me instead of feeding me power.

  I can't breathe...

  It's killing me...

  I jolt back and gasp as my eyes roll into the back of my head and my body begins to convulse. The crystal ball starts to hiss and sparks shoot out from it and land around my feet like embers. I start to think about how stupid I am for trusting a vision put in my head by Nicholas, but then I see my hand and the Purple Flame burning from it.

  "Thank God," I say to myself as my body begins to calm down. I shut my hand as I distance myself from the crystal ball and the flame goes poof. When I open my hand again the flame ignites.

  I'm in awe, opening and closing my hand a few more times before stopping in front of the door and taking the Traveler's Ball out of my pocket. I cast one last glance at the people trapped to the crystal ball and tell myself that one day I'll come back and free them, even if it means there will be no more Foreseers. The world can live without visions being read and will be better off too.

  I smile at the thought and shut my eyes to leave this place. But right as I'm about to slip into the crystal ball, the door swings open and smacks me in the face. The crystal ball falls from my fingers and crashes against the floor, breaking the outer shell and rubies and water spills out onto the porcelain floor. Dyvinius enters the room wearing his silver robe that matches his eyes and a look that lets me know I'm in deep shit.

  "Would you like to explain why you're here?" he asks, staring down at the broken crystal.

  "A... um... would you believe me if I said I was lost?" I said innocently with a shrug.

  He stares at me blankly. "No."

  I deliberate my options. I could go all ninja on him, but kicking an old guy's ass doesn't seem right. So I let three seconds tick by, and then take off toward the massive crystal ball, hoping to wind around it and backtrack, then use my Foreseer power to get me out of here.

  "Gemma." Dyvinius' calls out from right behind me. "I don't understand why you're running away from me."

  Bull shit he doesn't.

  I pick up my pace and smile when I see the door again. As I feel the power of the crystal ball fading, I decide there's enough room between us and close my eyes. But my own power is absent.

  "There's no use trying," Dyvinius says in his monotone voice. "I have the place on lockdown. No one may leave or enter, even with a unique Foreseer gift like yours."

  Dyvinius knows about my gift? This is not good.

  I open my eyes, attempting to stay calm as I turn around and face him. "How do you know about my gift?"

  He offers me a small smile as he stops in front of me. "You are your father's daughter. How could I not know?" He turns around, his silver robe swishing lightly across the floor. "This way please. We have much to talk about."

  Having no choice but to follow, I trudge after him as he heads out the door and down a translucent crystal path that leads to his chamber. We go over a bridge paved with broken porcelain, underneath pillars, and through lofty silver doors where there's gemstone grass and the screen that shows visions. Right now there are images of people standing in the streets, which are on fire and filled with panic. It's startling to watch but Dyvinius seems unaffected by it.

  When we reach the throne on the sapphire podium, he takes a seat and I stand in front of it. "Gemma, I'm not sure if you fully understand our laws," he says, overlapping his fingers and placing his hands onto his lap. "But we have certain rules to which Foreseers are supposed to abide to. The first and most important being never tamper with a vision. I'm not sure if you're aware of this or not, but your father broke this law a long time ago."

  "If you knew who my father was," I say. "Then why didn't you say you did the first time you met me?"

  "Because, back then you weren't who you are now," Dyvinius explains, resting back in his throne. "I see you heading down the same road as your father and I feel like it's important for you to understand."

  "What road exactly?"

  He contemplates something gravely. "Has anyone told you anything about your father?"

  I shake my head. "Not really."

  "Well he was a lot like you in the sense of having extraordinary power," Dyvinius says. "He could use the power of the Divination Crystal beyond the boundaries of an average Foreseer, beyond what even I can do, but he let it go to his head and did some unforgivable things. And because of that, he has to pay--he'll be a prisoner forever in the Room of Fo
rbidden, alone in his own mind."

  I shiver at the idea of my father being trapped in that place by himself for all eternity. "That seems a little harsh."

  "Changing visions is a dangerous thing." Dyvinius says, his eyes matching the coldness in his tone. "And there has to be severe punishment for it... there has to be punishment whenever the rules are broken," he presses and I can see where this is going.

  I skim the room looking for an escape route. I won't go down without a fight, even if it means beating up an old man.

  "I hope you will take in what I said and obey the laws," he tells me. "I wouldn't want you to end up like you father."

  "I won't end up like him," I assure him, but deep down I'm not sure what I'll end up like. Perhaps my father was once like me, said the same thing as me, but time changes people.

  "Good." Dyvinius is pleased. "You may go." He motions toward the doors at the back of the room.

  I don't question him. I hurry down the porcelain path for the silver doors, but stop when I see the image of Nicholas on the screen, standing beside me. We're just standing there looking at each other, my hand on my stomach and he has wicked grin on his face. And we're doing nothing as the streets burn around us.

  "And Gemma," Dyvinius calls out, ripping my attention away from the screen.

  I look back at him. "Yes."

  "I look forward to the day when you come back for your training," he says in a way that makes me wonder if he thinks I'm not coming back.

  I nod and glance back at the screen. The images have faded and now it's just blank. Shivering, I hurry out of the chamber and gladly leave the City of Crystal behind.

  ***

  When I land back in house, I mishap and end up putting myself down in the living room where Alex is on the sofa, reading his mother's journal. My sudden appearance scares him so badly he jumps up and starts to reach for his knife. But once his brain processes that it's me he relaxes and lowers his hand.

  "Fuck. You scared the hell out of me." He pauses, putting two and two together. "What...Where have you... When did you leave the house?"

  Not sure what to say, I give him an innocent look, raise my arm, and open my hand. The Purple Flame ignites, bright and fierce, channeling power through me.

  His anger shifts into amazement as he sets the journal down. "Where... how did you..."

  I close my hand and the flame simmers out. Then I sit down on the sofa and tell him everything that happened, minus a few details.

  "So this is it then?" Alex sinks down on the sofa beside me. "You're just going to go into the mapping ball and if it all works out, the vision will be changed and the world's future will go back to normal?"

  "Yeah, that's the best case scenario," I say, frowning. "Although, I'm starting to doubt more and more that my father was telling me the truth... the way Dyvinius was talking about him... he made him seem so evil." My jaw tightens and I'm not sure whether I feel sad or angry. "Just how my mom said he was."

  "Hey," Alex says, hooking a finger under my chin and turning my head toward him. "Just because Dyvinius doesn't like your dad, doesn't mean he's bad. We need to find stuff out for ourselves before we decide that."

  "I know." I release a shaky breath. "It's just hard to hear how people talk about him... and Dyvinius... he was speculating that I'd turn out like him."

  "That will never happen." He is being so kind, so caring. "Just because your father's evil, doesn't mean you'll turn out evil."

  "Yeah, you're right," I say. "I mean, look at you. You have the worst father in the world but you turned out alright."

  He looks uncertain of how to respond, his eyes greener than they've ever been, his breathing quickening. "You don't know half the things I've done," he whispers. "I might just be as bad as him."

  I shake my head. "No, you're not." I take a deep breath, deciding to move past this heavy stuff, the prickle guiding me to my decision. "How about we make a promise to move past this?" I stick out my hand to shake on it. "That we'll let go of the past and focus on the future, which is what life's about anyway, right?"

  He stares down at my hand and then his gaze interlocks with mine. "Alright, I promise." But he doesn't take my hand. Instead he leans forward and presses his lips to mine, so delicately, so tenderly that it warms my soul.

  "Can I show you something," he whispers, his mouth hovering above mine. "Before we go save the world. I promise it's not too far away and it won't take very long."

  I nod without a second thought, realizing I'd go anywhere with him. Deep down I can feel that my emotions for him are headed into a dangerous territory. And I should walk away, but whatever I'm feeling for him owns me and my actions so I get up and take his hand.

  "Okay, lead the way."

  "Actually, you have to," he says, giving my hand a squeeze. "I need you to take me to the vision of when I first saw you in the parking lot at your college--when we were technically reunited again."

  Reluctantly I do so, not because I'm afraid of what I might see, but afraid of what I won't see, in myself.

  "Just trust me," he says as if he can read my mind.

  And so I do, taking us away.

  Chapter 25

  It's hard for me to pinpoint the exact time, simply because I was unemotional for part of the vision and that time in my life is hard to remember. It always felt like nothing was happening, because nothing was. I had a broken soul, no connection to humanity; I was just a ghost roaming the world.

  But I manage to get us to that time and place, dropping us safely into the middle of the campus yard where I had been observing people. The sunlight is trickling through the trees, the air is cool, and in the middle of it all is a sad looking violet eyed girl, sitting on a bench, looking lost, out of it, almost like a zombie.

  "My eyes look so empty," I note, crossing the yard to get a closer look. Alex is still holding my hand and follows me, gripping onto me tightly.

  "They do," he agrees. "But in just a few minutes you won't."

  I wait, watching the vision form of myself sit there staring at people until finally she gives up and gets up to leave. She strolls across the campus yard, with no real direction or purpose, her bag over her shoulder, as she gazes into nothingness. And then she reaches the parking lot, drops her keys, picks them up, and start glancing around with a perplexed look on her face.

  The moment that changed my life forever.

  "I remember this part," I whisper. "It felt like someone was watching me."

  "I was," Alex says then points over to his cherry red 1969 Camaro parked toward the back beneath the trees. The vision form of himself is standing by the front of the car with his hands tucked into his pockets, looking nonchalant at first glance, but upon further assessment...

  "You look nervous," I say.

  "I was," he replies, his eyes not on himself, but on me--the real me. "Because I was about to do something really wrong."

  "You mean get close to me?" I ask as his thumb gently grazes the inside of my wrist.

  He shakes his head once, eyes forward, jaw set tight. "I mean, let your soul heal and let you be emotional again."

  "But you didn't know it was going to happen." I watch as the vision form of me touches the back of her neck. It's about to happen. My emotions are going to rush back to me and I'm going to start crying for the first time in my life.

  "Yeah, I did." He utters it so quietly his voice nearly gets carried away in the wind. He lifts his hand and points it at the vision form of himself, which is still in front of the car, but now his lips are moving.

  "What are you saying?" I ask as I watch the vision form of myself feel the rush of emotion and tears pour out of her eyes. I want to cry with her, bawl my eyes out because I can still remember the emotional pain that I didn't understand at the time.

  "Stuff I can't share with you yet, because it might break you again," he says, glancing at me from the corner of my eye and I swear to God it feels like my stomach lurches up my throat. "I was told by a Foreseer I could
help you return to... well, you. The emotional you that you should have been all along."

  "But you were so against me feeling things all the time. It doesn't make any sense."

  "It's because I was conflicted." He faces me, taking both of my hands in his. "I kept having these dreams of you drowning and I was just watching you, not helping. It kept happening for years and finally I couldn't take it anymore, so I went and sought help." He glances over at the vision form of himself again. "Afterward, I felt like I'd done something wrong, but at the same time right... I was really confused."

  I stare at him for a moment and can tell he's avoiding eye contact with me, not because he's lying but because he's putting himself out there and is vulnerable. I look over at the vision form of him, watching the vision form of me on the ground, crying, drowning in emotions.

  "I wanted to go to you," he whispers. "I debated it over and over again in my head, but the bad side of me won."

  "I don't think there was a bad side of you in this moment," I tell him. "Or now."

  He doesn't say anything, letting go of my hands, and raking his fingers through his hair. "Well, I'm glad you think so." The vision form of him drives off and the vision me gets to her feet, before he speaks again. "We should go back," he says quietly. "I just wanted you to know the truth."

 
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