The evanescence, p.19
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       The Evanescence, p.19

         Part #2 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 19

 

  Laylen eyes me intently, his expression filled with concern. “Are you sure you want to do it this way…” He eyes the pendant on my neck. “Maybe we should try to find another way… a less power-driven way. ”

  I shake my head, straightening my shoulders. “It’ll take too long. It’s time to get this done. ” Before anyone can say anything else, I march out the front door, leaving it open as I step outside and hike across the grass.

  “Gemma, wait!” Laylen calls out as he hurries after me, but I only speed up.

  Once I reach the edge of the lake, I don’t waste any time. I shut my eyes and picture the Kingdom of Fey; the vibrant blooming flowers, the flourishing leaves and trees that encase the land, the grassy forts that are on the ground as well as in the tree branches.

  My body starts to shift forward and then I feel a ripping tug, but I relax and let it happen. When I open my eyes, my feet are planted firmly on the grass and trees tower to the side of me. The sky is clear, the sun beaming down across the flowers dotting the shallow hills and paths. I’m about to do a celebratory dance because, honestly, I thought it’d be harder to get inside, when a voice rises over my shoulder.

  “Well, Gemma, thank you for making my job easier. ” I spin around and come face-to-face with Luna. She’s in normal form, average height, and she looks almost human except for the purplish tint of her skin and the wings sprouting from her back.

  Towering figures with wings and spears in their hands emerge from behind the trees and bushes. I turn in a circle as they close in on me and reach for my knife that’s in my pocket.

  “Don’t even try it,” Luna warns as her guards aim the tips of their spears at me. She stands just outside them, smiling at me, and then she squeezes through them, snapping her fingers at me. “Come with me. ”

  I glance around, wondering if I should shut my eyes and Foresee back, but that wouldn’t solve the problem. Making sure the pendant is tucked safely into the collar of my shirt, I walk with her, hoping she’ll lead me to Aislin and Aleesa, that the pendant works the way Nalina told me; hoping I’ll make it out of here, hoping Luna won’t do anything to me.

  Suddenly, I realize just how much faith I’m putting in hope.

  Chapter 24

  Alex

  The wall has a tiny crack in it. I can’t stop staring at it, like if I stare at it long enough, it’ll suck me in it and I’ll disappear from this shit hole. The room pretty much looks like a jail cell; four walls, a bed and dresser. The mattress is ratty and smells pretty much as bad as the dumpsters outside, but I better get used to it since this is where I’m living for the next year because of my own dumb choices.

  There’s a knock on my door and I rip my gaze from the wall just in time to see it open. The blond Banshee from earlier struts inside and glances around the room with a smug smile on her face.

  “Why the hell did you knock if you were going to just walk in?” I ask in a harsh tone.

  Her smug smile expands. “Now, Alex, we’re trying to make you feel like you have some freedom here. ” She winks and then laughs, throwing her head back.

  I cross my arms over my chest to resist the urge to punch her. “Well, aren’t you hilarious?”

  She waves her finger back and forth at me as if she can read my thoughts. “Now, now, I’m just having a little fun. There’s no use getting mad about it”

  I lean back against the wall “What do you want?”

  “Draven asked me to come get you. He wants you to come and dine with him tonight. ” Her heels click as she browses around my room, running her finger along the wall.

  “Yeah, that’s not happening,” I say. “So tell him thanks, but no thanks. ”

  “Declining isn’t an option. ” There’s a threat in her tone. She traces the crack in the wall with her fingernail, biting at her lip. Banshees are very misleading creatures because—deep underneath her blond hair, long legs, and pretty appearance—resides a hag. What she looks like now is a disguise.

  “Why do you even bother looking like that?” I ask, looking to pick a fight. It’ll be a good distraction, something I need right now. “I mean, it’s not what you look like. ” I scoot to the edge of the bed and put my feet on the floor. “It’s not real… We both know you’re a hag underneath the nails and makeup. ”

  She turns around and snarls at me and I smile, hoping she’ll get irritated enough to bring out her true form. But then she smiles and saunters towards me, swinging her hips. “Well, aren’t you just a tricky thing… trying to bring out my real character. You know it won’t do anything. ” She stops in front of me.

  I tip my head up with a condescending expression. “Yeah, but it’ll show how truly ugly you are,” I say, trying to get a rise out of her.

  She places her fingernail under my chin and drags it forward, cutting my skin. “You’re coming to dinner with Draven. Now get up. ”

  I reach up and wrap my fingers around her wrist, gripping tightly. “If you ever touch me again, you’ll regret it. ” With that, I shove her back and she falls onto the floor.

  I walk out of the room and head down the tunnel until I reach the room at the end where Draven’s seated at the table, puffing on a cigar with his sleeves rolled up. On the table is an assortment of meat, bowls of fruit, and plates of vegetables along with desserts. There are plates, cups, and shining silverware; the whole display is fancy, which seems stupid considering the building is tucked in an alleyway beside a bunch of smelly dumpsters and rats are running around on the floor.

  “So nice of you to join me. ” Draven signals for me to take the seat next to him.

  “Like I had a choice. ” I pull out the chair and sit down, resting my elbows on the table.

  “I want to make sure that you are well taken care of during your stay with me. ” He motions his hand at the food on the table. “Eat as much as you want, it’s all for you. ”

  “Why? What do you eat?” I ask with sarcasm dripping in my tone. “The rats on the floor?”

  He narrows his eyes. “Now, watch it. I wouldn’t want to make you eat the rats. ”

  “Like it matters. ” I take a slice of chicken and then scoop up some potatoes on my plate, deciding to eat and keep my strength up. In case, by some freak chance, I find some way out of this mess. “Good food or not, I’m still down here. ”

  Ignoring me, Draven watches me as I take a bite of the chicken. “Make sure you keep up your strength during your stay with me. I don’t want you dying before I get my use out of you. ”

  His attitude is pissing me off. He’s acting like I’m on a vacation, feeding me food, chatting at the table like he’s my host or something. “I’m only at this table because I have to be. ” I take another bite of my chicken, chewing it with my eyes focused on him. “You would have just made me come out if I refused. ”

  He takes a puff of his cigar as he relaxes back in the chair. “Good. It’s good you’re remembering who I am and what I’m capable of. It’ll make this easy for you and for me. ”

  “I’m not trying to make it easier on you,” I say, chewing my food. “I’m just eating because I’m hungry. ”

  His expression darkens as he stations the cigar in between his fingers. “Very well, then. ” He says it like he’s about to do something, but all he does is sit there, observing me.

  I shrug my shoulders and then shift my eyes back to my plate, pulling a face. The chicken and potatoes are covered with white squirming insects. I elevate my gaze back to him, keeping calm. “Maggots? Really? That’s all you got?”

  He grins as I set my fork down and suddenly my jaw is unhitching of its own accord. It feels like someone presses a finger into my back, right between my shoulder blades and I gag, throwing up maggots all over the plate.

  I gag repeatedly, vomiting mouthfuls of maggots. “What the hell?” I ask when my stomach is empty. I reach for a napkin and wipe my mouth off.

  “As I said before, you need to remember who I am an
d why you’re here. ” Draven scoots his chair away from the table and rises up. He doesn’t say anything else, laughing under his breath and leaving me alone in the room with a bunch of maggoty food and my own vomit.

  Shaking my head, I shove back from the table, eyeing the door that leads to the outside, wondering what would happen if I stepped out of it. If the rules go how they’re supposed to, I’d drop dead as soon as I chose my defiance. Sometimes, though, rules are made to be broken because, if I don’t find a way to break them, then I have to stay here, maybe forever.

  Because if Draven has his way and turns me into him, then I can’t ever go back to the real world.

  Chapter 25

  Laylen

  “So what’s the deal with you two?” Evan asks as we lounge in the house, waiting for Gemma to come back, hoping that everything will be okay and that, when she returns, Aislin and Aleesa will be with her.

  I’m searching a bookshelf in the library for a book I know I saw once that has information about debts to Lords and Queens, hoping to learn more about it. “The deal with whom?” I run my fingers along the titles.

  Evan pulls out a book, glancing at the cover. “You and Gemma?”

  My forehead creases as I stare at him. “We’re friends. ”

  “Yeah, right. ” Evan rolls his eyes. I’m not really sure how I feel about the dude. He seems to like stepping on my toes and it’s getting annoying. “That hug you two shared back at the crazy lady’s house was not a,” shifting the book underneath his arm, he makes air quotes, “’friend hug. ’”

  I roll my eyes, sweeping my hair out of them before returning my attention to the titles. “What does that even mean?” I slide out an ancient looking book that has a layer of dust on the top of it. “What even makes a hug qualify as a friend hug or a non-friend hug?”

  Evan wiggles the book back into its place on the shelf. “The kind where you hug for way longer than what seems necessary. ”

  I shoot him a dirty look because he’s striking a nerve. “She thought I was dead—I thought I was dead. ”

  He shrugs and starts humming as he heads over to the end of the shelf. “Whatever. Just know, though, that she cried over Alex’s body a lot longer than yours. ”

  Shaking my head, I start to follow after him, fueled by a lot of anger. “I’m sorry, but do you have a problem with me?”

  He stops near the window, stuffing his hands into his pockets as he gazes out at the lake. “No, I just see how stupid you’re acting,” he says. I’m about to shove him, when he adds, “I’ve been in that place. ”

  “What place?”

  “The awkward friend place where the love is only one-sided. ”

  “That’s not where I am. ”

  “Yeah, right. ”

  “Seriously, man. ” I walk backwards towards where I was searching the shelf. “Gemma and I are just friends. I’m actually with Aislin, but you don’t know that since you showed up like a few days ago. ”

 
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