The evanescence, p.17
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       The Evanescence, p.17

         Part #2 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 17

 

  “I know the rules,” I say through gritted teeth.

  “Good. ” He puffs on the end of the cigar, then takes it out of his mouth and positions it between his fingers. “Now let’s get down to business. You’re here for a year. Now, usually I don’t get someone like Keepers, and I plan on using that to my advantage. ”

  I rest my arms on the table. “What kind of advantage?” I ask, pretty sure I’m not going to be thrilled by his answer.

  He puts the cigar down on top of an ashtray, the end still smoking. Then, he leans back in the chair with a pleased grin on his face. “I’m going to train you. ”

  “Train me for what? To kick your ass?”

  “Watch your tone with me. ” He narrows his eyes, glaring at me. “I’m going to train you to be my apprentice. I want you to learn how to become like me, so I can take control of the Afterlife. Because, with your help—with two people as strong as me—Helena doesn’t stand a chance. ”

  “You have got to be shitting me,” I say, trying not to laugh. “You think I’m going to help you take control of the Afterlife?”

  “I don’t think. I know. Because you can’t disobey me. ” He grins when I frown.

  “If you do that, then I won’t even be human. I won’t even exist. ”

  “Oh, you’ll exist,” he says. “You’ll just be different. ”

  “I’ll be the scum of the freaking earth. ”

  “You better watch what you say. ”

  “Or what?” My words are fueled by my rage. I’m angry. Enraged. If he does what he says he’s going to do, then I won’t be myself again, even in a year when I’m freed. “You’re going to change me into something evil. ”

  The darkness in his eyes dims even lower as he leans forward, the veins in his neck bulging. “Watch how you talk to me. ”

  I’m planning my next choice of words carefully, when someone emerges through the side door of the small room and interrupts our argument. She’s wearing a bright red dress, has long blonde hair and a very familiar face. It takes me a minute, but I place her. She’s the Banshee I met here before—the one that led me to this room.

  Her lips twist into a smile as she walks over to Draven and wraps her fingers around the back of his chair. “Glad you made it back. ” She doesn’t quite clarify whom she’s speaking to.

  “Trivela, take our new friend, Alex, to his quarters,” Draven tells her, his fingers seeking the cigar from the ashtray.

  Her smile widens. “It’d be my pleasure. ” She walks over to the door and waits for me to follow.

  I push back from my chair, my gaze fixed on Draven. “It’ll never work. I’ll never turn into you. ”

  “You will eventually. Eventually, everyone gets tired of fighting. ” He places the cigar on his lips and smoke surrounds his face. “A deal’s a deal, Alex. And, you never know, you may start enjoying being evil. ” He removes the cigar from his mouth. “Maybe you won’t even want to go back to your old life. ”

  “Oh, I will,” I assure him and then drop my voice to a threatening tone as I place my hands on the table and lean over. “And when I do, I’m going to come back and kill you. ”

  With that, I follow the Banshee out of the room, knowing I’ll probably pay for my exiting line, but not caring because, at the moment, things couldn’t get any worse.

  The Banshee takes me to a dark corridor that leads to a small room with a single bed, a chipped dresser, and a small bookshelf. She stops in the doorway and watches me as I walk around the room, shaking my head at everything.

  “If you need anything,” she flashes a smile at me, “and I mean anything, please, please, ask me. ” Grinning at herself, she turns around and leaves me alone.

  I sink down on the bed and drop my head into my hands. I’m here for a year. A year. Away from the world, from life—from Gemma. What’s worse is that I can still feel her, how sad she is. If I close my eyes, I can almost picture her lying on her bed, crying. We’re going to be apart for a year. A year.

  And if Draven teaches me to be like him, and forces me to start taking Souls, then what? In a year, I won’t even exist. I’ll wind up a hollow shell, full of death and darkness.

  I may as well be dead.

  Chapter 21

  Gemma

  I’m lying on the bed, my face buried in a pillow. Laylen carried me up to my room after Alex left and he offered to stay with me, but I wanted to be alone. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry my heart out all by myself, which is exactly what I did.

  Just last night everything had seemed perfect. Well, not perfect. The world was still being tortured with Fey and Lost Souls, but, between Alex and me, everything was amazing. We were connected in every single way possible and not like how we were when we had the Star’s energy in us. Everything was raw, breathtaking, moving, blissful. And then poof, once again the feelings are gone. Because he’s gone.

  “Gemma,” I hear a voice say inside my head.

  I blink though the veil of tears, propping my head up, and glancing around the room. “Hello?”

  “I’m not out there,” he says. “But I’m still with you. ”

  “Dad?” I ask inside my head. “Is that you?”

  “Yes,” he answers. “But I can’t talk for long… I’m not supposed to be communicating with you anymore. ”

  “Why?” I ask and then add, “I’m sorry I haven’t saved you just yet. I’ve been trying, though. ”

  “I don’t want you to save me. That’s not why I came here and I need to hurry, before I lose the connection. ”

  “Why? What’s going on?”

  “Well, I never was never really alone, to begin with, but I wasn’t really being watched,” he replies sadly. “After what you did to Dyvinius—what Helena did—I’m being closely watched. ”

  I wince. “I didn’t mean to do that. ”

  “I know you didn’t, but Dyvinius is still upset. ”

  “Upset because I had more power than him?” I ask, recollecting the memory of Helena doubting his legitimacy to how he got his leader position.

  “That amongst most things. ” He sighs. “I needed to talk to you, though. I needed to let you know that you’re not alone. ”

  “But I am, Dad,” I say. “Everyone’s either dead or being held captive… and I don’t… and I’m not sure if I can fix everything this time. ” It strikes me like a whip; the reality that there might be too many problems this time and I might have to sacrifice some of them, but which ones? The world’s problems? Or my friends?”

  “Maybe it’s time you stopped trying to fix everything,” he says. “Maybe it’s time to try and fix yourself. ”

  “Myself… what does that mean?”

  “It means that maybe it’s time for you to change your life and give yourself something you’ve never had. ” He pauses. “Maybe it’s time for you to live your life. ”

  “But I still have to fix everything before I get there,” I say. “I don’t want to live my life in a world ruled by Fey and Lost Souls, without the people I love. ”

  “That’s more possible than you think,” he says. “But it all depends on how much you want to give up. ”

  I pause. “What do you mean?”

  He takes a deep breath. “What if I told you there was a way to change everything—start over. Would you do it?”

  “Of course,” I reply eagerly. “Dad, tell me how?”

  “I can’t tell you how, without interfering. And there’s something you need to understand about it. ”

  “Okay…” He’s always so cryptic.

  “You need to understand that if you do decide to change everything—reset your life—everything that’s happened, both the bad and the good, won’t exist. You’ll be starting from scratch. ”

  “So everything—the Star, my unemotional life, even Alex—would be gone?”

  “Maybe,” he answers. “Unless it was also meant to be in another life. ”

  I silently take it in,
thinking about how many things I wish were gone, but there are some things—love, friendship, even some painful experiences—that I’m not sure I could give up. “How do I do it? Please, just tell me. ”

  It goes quiet in my head.

  “Dad!” I shout, glancing around the room, knowing I won’t find him. “Dad, don’t leave. ”

  The silence is my only response. It doesn’t make any sense. Reset time? With a vision? Or something else? I wish that, for once, my dad would just say what he was getting at, instead of making it like a scavenger hunt. I’m tired of playing games.

  I sit for what seems like an eternity and the pain returns to my body as I think of Alex. Finally I decide to get up and be strong because Alex is alive, which means there might be a way to fix it—bring him back. First, I’ll save Aislin and Aleesa, then Alex, because that’s what he’d want me to do. If and when I get it all fixed, I’ll start looking into what my dad said. Right now, I need to save my friends

  I push myself up off the bed. “God, I have a whole lot of saving to do,” I mutter, clutching onto my locket as I swing my legs over the bed. “One foot in front of the other, Gemma. ” I take a deep breath and stand to my feet; I pad over to my dresser and open the top drawer, retrieving the Cornu Lepore. I hook it around my neck then tuck it and my locket down beneath the collar of my shirt.

  I grab a pair of clean jeans and bump the drawer with my hip. I change into them and then pull my hair out of my face, before slipping my boots on. I look like I’m going into a battle and that’s exactly how I’m going to look at it because there are plenty of things that can go wrong. I may have to kick some ass and take charge, but hopefully not in the way I did in my dream.

  I stop by Alex’s room and raid the drawer where I know he keeps his knives, taking a deep breath before I walk out, feeling the haunting memories pull at my heart. I’m going to make this right. Somehow. I just need to take it one step at a time.

  Tucking the knife into my pocket, I head for the stairs. As I pass Aislin’s room, I hear this strange, low-pitched noise. I pause, listening carefully, but all I hear is silence. I’m about to leave when I hear a crash, like glass shattering, and it’s echoed by a shrill giggle.

  Bending my elbow, I start to slide my fingers into my back pocket for the knife while I slowly push the door open. I flip the blade open as I step over the threshold and into the quiet room. The lights are off and the curtains are pulled shut, so the glow of the sun outside is muffled.

  “Hello?” I ask, cautiously making my way into the room. “Is anyone in here?”

  “Gemma,” someone says in a hushed whisper. “Gemma. . . ”

  My eyes quickly search the room; the bed, behind the room divider, to the side of the armoire. I have the knife aimed out in front of me, my legs crossing one over another as I move for the closet. Suddenly, the door behind me slams shut with so much force that a picture hanging on the wall falls to the floor and the frame breaks. I spin around just in time to spot a tiny, nubby creature scurrying. Sprites.

 
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