The evanescence, p.18
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       The Evanescence, p.18

         Part #2 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 18

 

  I dodge to my right, jumping out of its way, and bump the side of the dresser with my elbow, knocking a lamp to the ground.

  “Ow!” I exclaim, rubbing my elbow as an eruption of giggles flutter through the room. “Real funny, you freakin little gremlins. ” I hate Sprites. Not only are they strange, abnormal-looking creatures, but their personalities and mischievousness are irritating.

  I scan the room until I spot one standing on the bed, materializing pretty much out of nowhere. I start to make my way to it as it jumps on the bed, fluttering its wings, letting out giggle after giggle, unfazed by me.

  Right as I reach the foot of the bed, I’m rammed from behind, the force slamming mostly against the back of my knees. Arms wrap around them and I jerk back, falling forward, as I slam face first into the floor. The knife shoots out from my fingers as I try to flip to my back. Rolling over, I lift my knee to kick it, but it has disappeared. I groan. This is the last thing I need. A bunch of giggling Sprites that want to play hide-and-seek-torture-Gemma.

  I start to sit up, reaching for my knife when something cracks over the top of my head. I hear the sound of glass shattering and then I’m surrounded by broken pieces of the lamp. My head spins as the room starts to sway. I tip sideways, my vision spotting. The last thing I hear are giggles and then everything goes black.

  ***

  I’m standing in front of a slender tunnel, smothered by darkness, but there’s a light glowing vividly at the end of it. I walk towards it with my hands to my side and my heart knocking inside my chest. As I get closer, I can hear voices that ring with familiarity.

  When I reach the light and step into the warmth, the tunnel opens up, altering as it splits open and widens out into a room that has red walls decorated with metal lanterns. In the middle of the room is a table, enclosed by chairs, and sitting in one of the end chairs is Alex.

  He’s leaning back, his brown hair slicked back in a style I’ve never seen on him before. He’s dressed in a black shirt, black pants, and black boots; not his usual choice for clothing. His green eyes look a little darker, too, and, I have to admit, I don’t like it. I don’t like his look at all.

  Standing next to him is a woman with blond hair that runs down her back in curls. A form-fitting black dress hugs her body and her black stilettos make her look taller than she really is. There’s a haughty look in her eyes and the way she carries her chin high, along with her shoulders. She snakes her arm around Alex’s shoulders as she leans in and whispers something in his ear. He responds with a grin; jealousy and anger blaze inside me. I have the urge to step forward, pull her hair, and then slap him across the face, but I clench my hands into fists, telling myself it isn’t what it looks like because Alex loves me.

  In the corner of the room is a massively large, iron-rod birdcage. The door to it is secured with a heavy padlock and someone’s crouched inside. I inch closer to the cage, trying to get a better view of who it is and I’m shocked to find it’s a man, because usually there are Black Angels inside these kinds of cages.

  He’s sporting worn looking jeans and a navy blue t-shirt, his dark hair curled up slightly below his ears. His arms are tracked with various shaped tattoos and his head is tipped forward with his back turned to me.

  “Are you ready to cooperate?” Alex’s voice causes me to look at him and his gaze is targeted at the cage.

  The woman beside him tracks her long nails through Alex’s hair, ruffling it. “Oh he’s going to try and be the strong and silent type. How sweet. ” Her voice is sugary and annoying.

  Alex shoves the woman aside, causing her to lose her balance and topple in her heels. She grasps on to the edge of the table, regaining her balance, and shoots Alex a dirty glare. “What was that for?”

  He ignores her and fixes his attention on the guy inside the cage, his eyes like cinders. “You know you’re just making it harder on yourself. If you join us, there’d be no pain. If you don’t… well, let’s just say I wouldn’t choose that route if I were you. ”

  I don’t like the tone in his voice, or the stone look on his face. Something’s wrong. He’s not acting like himself.

  The guy in the cage gradually turns around and faces Alex. It’s Evan, only he looks beaten and worn down; dark bags underneath his eyes, his lips cracked like he’s dehydrated, and there are scratches on his skin.

  “You know I’ll never join you,” Evan says calmly. “So I don’t even know why you’re trying. ”

  Alex pushes the chair back and slowly stands to his feet. Walking toward the cage, he smiles. “Oh, I haven’t even begun to try. ”

  I don’t get it. Why is he acting this way? Like he’s possessed. “Oh my God, he’s possessed,” I whisper in horror, backing up, wishing I didn’t have to watch this.

  The door behind me swings open and Draven enters the room. He walks past the blond, before stopping beside Alex and me. He observes Evan with a sinister expression and then puts a hand on Alex’s shoulder.

  “Any luck getting him to cooperate?” Draven asks, slanting his head to the side to look at the cage.

  “I’m still working on it,” Alex responds in a deadpan tone. “But he’s being uncooperative. ”

  Draven shakes his head as he drops his hand from Alex’s shoulder. “It’s one thing I’ve never understood about you humans. You always want to do things the hard way. Go ahead Alex, take his soul. ”

  I watch in horror as both Alex and Draven walk towards the cage with their arms to the side of them, their eyes cold. I don’t know what they’re going to do, but the tension and coldness in the air let me know that it’s bad. I don’t want to watch. I don’t want to see Alex acting this way and I’m grateful when I feel myself being pulled away, glad I never get to find out just how far into the darkness of evil he’s gone.

  Chapter 22

  Gemma

  I open my eyes and my knee instinctively shoots up along with my arm, ready to kick the ass of the creeper hovering over me.

  “Easy, sweetheart,” Evan says, arching his eyebrows as he leans back with his hands surrendered in front of him. “There’s no need to get violent. I was checking to see if you were okay. ”

  I prop up onto my elbows, glancing to my sides, noting the pieces of glass everywhere. “Jesus, what happened?” I clutch my head, recollecting how the Sprites beat the crap out of me. “Are they still here… the Sprites?”

  He shakes his head and motions at the black streaks on the walls and floor, the remnants of smoke and flames. “When I came in here, they were dragging you into the closet. ” He points at the closet door, which is shut and there’s a large chest and dresser pushed against it. “I had to get them to let go of you, so I used a little Pyrokinesis and then locked them in the closet when they scattered and let you go. ”

  He offers me his hand, I take it and he lifts me to my feet.

  “Are you okay?” he asks as I let go of his hand.

  I wipe my sweaty palms on the front of my jeans. “Yeah, I’m fine. They didn’t hit me that hard. ” I touch the side of my head and wince. “But I went into a vision… and… and let’s just say that it’s giving me more of a headache than the Sprites. ”

  He eyes me curiously. “So you can go into visions without the Crystal. Huh?” he muses, rubbing his jawline. “I thought that it might have been exaggerated. ”

  I shrug and sigh as I grab the knife I dropped. “Nope, it’s my gift and my curse. ” Refastening the elastic around my hair, I walk towards the doorway, tucking the knife into my back pocket. “I need to go find Laylen and get ready to do this. ”

  He follows at my heels. “Do what?”

  “Go to the Fey Realm. ”

  He grabs my shoulder, stopping me as I cross the threshold. “Gemma, I thought Alex didn’t want you going alone?”

  I crane my neck and look over my shoulder at him. “Well, he’s not here right now, so he doesn’t really have a say. . . I know I’m right—it’s better for
me to go alone. It’s less of a risk that way… less lives get put into danger. ” I know I’m being cold, but if what I saw—him with Draven—him with that woman, is real, then I need to hurry up and start fixing things, so I can hurry up and fix him, too.

  ***

  “I saw something bad,” I announce after I finish telling Laylen about the Sprites. “In a vision. ”

  He’s relaxed in a chair in front of the fireplace with his boots up on the table, the laces undone. However, his relaxed demeanor quickly shifts, when I utter the word vision. “Do I even want to know?”

  I elevate my shoulders and then let them fall as I flop back into the chair. “Probably not, but I think I need to tell you…” I pick at my nails. “I saw Alex, only he wasn’t himself. He was weird and acting evil and he seemed like he was friends with Draven. ”

  Evan arches a brow as he positions his foot on his knee. “Friends with Draven?”

  “It sounds crazy, but it’s what I saw,” I say. “And I also saw you, in a cage, and I think he was… I think he was trying to take your soul. ”

  Laylen gapes incredulously. “Is that what Draven wanted him for? To be his soul collector. ”

  “Or maybe he’s making him another Lord of the Afterlife,” Evan says.

  “What?” Laylen and I exclaim simultaneously.

  Evan shrugs, tracing the lines of a vine mark on the back of his hand. “Taking and collecting souls is how the Lord of the Afterlife gets his power and holds his position, so if Alex gets enough then—”

  “Then he’ll be a Lord of the Afterlife, too,” I finish for him, then I stop breathing.

  Chapter 23

  Gemma

  “We have to get him out of there. ” I leap to my feet. “We can’t let him change into a Lord, let alone a Lord of the Afterlife, that takes souls and hangs around with slutty Banshees. ”

  Laylen’s head slants to the side as his eyebrow questioningly bows upward. “Slutty Banshees?”

  I wave him off as I start pacing the floor. “There has to be a way to break the debt he owes to Draven… a loophole or something. ”

  “There’s not. ” Evan grabs a small, jewel-encrusted knife from the end table, throws it up in the air, and then catches it like it’s a baseball. “I told you that he dies if he breaks the debt. It’s how things work. ”

  Laylen nods his head in agreement with pity in his eyes. I want to argue with them and tell them there’s always a way, but my mouth feels thick, the words too heavy to get out.

  “We need to take care of some other problems first,” Evan says, touching the tip of the knife with his finger. “And then maybe we can look into it… but I’m going to be blunt and say that, as far as I know—” he puts two fingers to his temple, “and there’s a lot of knowledge stashed up here—there’s no way around a debt to Draven. ”

  “Fine,” I huff as I stop pacing and put my hands on my hips. “I’m going in then. It’s time to get this damn Faerie thing over with and move on. ” I blow out a breath and then wrap my hand around the Cornu Lepore hanging around my neck. “God, I’m really beginning to hate Faeries. ”

 
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