The promise, p.19
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       The Promise, p.19

         Part #4 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 19

 

  He rotated in the chair so he was facing me and electricity surged as he placed his hands on my hips. I stepped back, but he pulled me to him.

  We could leave. Just you and me. Run away and never look back.

  And what?

  I asked.

  Just let the world end? Could you do that?

  He pressed his lips together.

  Could you?

  Alex.

  My voice was soft as I put my hands on his shoulders.

  It s time to end this.

  He moved his hands away and I turned for the door.

  Are you coming?

  He sighed and I heard him shift as he stood up. Then we walked out, side by side, to go take my life.

  Chapter 32

  (Alex)

  It hurt me to see her like that. She was hurting in ways she didn t know how to deal with. And I didn t know what to do. I could have gone to her myself, but I was the one who still had a mother. So I sent Laylen, even though it killed me, because I knew he could help her through it.

  And now I was the one helping her to her death.

  Gemma held the vile of poison between her finger and thumb, staring at the clear liquid.

  So this is what s going to kill me, without actually harming me?

  My mother leaned forward from the sofa and took the vile from her fingers.

  It will once Aislin seals it with the Kiss of Death.

  It sounds like something straight out of Shakespeare,

  Gemma remarked, tilting her head, studying the vile.

  Like Romeo and Juliet,

  Nicholas commented.

  Only let s hope this one over here doesn t pull a Romeo and take his own life. Then you ll both be dead.

  Does he really need to be here?

  I asked.

  It seems kind of pointless.

  We need his help with something,

  my mother said, cupping the poison in her hand.

  Help with what?

  I asked.

  Have you actually talked to him?

  I d like to point out that I m staying,

  Nicholas s voice interrupted.

  I m not going anywhere until my life returns to me.

  But how am I going to get Helena to give up the Lost Souls?

  Gemma asked.

  Because I don t think she s just going to hand them over.

  With that.

  My mother taped the ring on Gemma s finger.

  That belongs to the queen.

  The last time we tried to make a bargain with a jewel,

  Gemma frowned,

  it didn t work out so well. We ended up trapped in The Underworld with a pissed off queen.

  That won t happen,

  my mother said.

  As long as you re still tied to the human world, the queen can t hurt you. And she ll want that ring more than anything.

  Gemma twisted the ring on her finger.

  Why? What s so special about it?

  My mother s eye lit up in an inhuman way.

  Because inside that rings is her soul.

  Who s soul?

  Gemma and I asked.

  The queen s soul,

  my mom answered, stepping toward Gemma.

  That s why you can see the dead when you wear it.

  I stepped between them.

  There s one thing that is really bugging me about this,

  I said.

  Actually, there s more than one, but this is the biggest. How is she going to come back? How will she start breathing again?

  That s what you re for.

  My mother patted my shoulder.

  You re part of her in every way, through the promise, through the star, through your soul.

  Soul?

  Gemma gave me a confused look.

  Am I missing something?

  Oh.

  My mother averted her eyes, realizing I d never told Gemma that our souls were connected.

  All you have to do is revive her when it s time.

  So how do I know when that is?

  I asked.

  Because I won t know what s going on down there.

  Her gaze locked on a space of air.

  Nicholas is going to tell you when it s time.

  No freakin way,

  I said, wondering if being locked up in the City of Crystal had messed with her head.

  You actually want to leave someone like him in charge of something like that.

  It s the only way,

  she said.

  He s the one who can see into their world.

  I crossed my arms.

  Why can t you just come back?

  She got a look in her eyes I didn t like.

  Once I cross over into the Afterlife, I can t come back.

  What!

  I exclaimed and Gemma gasped.

  I ve been avoiding my duties as a Banshee,

  she said.

  Once I turned, I got myself sentenced to the Foreseer s crystal to keep my whereabouts hidden. But now & when I go there, Helena can make me stay if she chooses to.

  You have to come back,

  I muttered.

  It s & I &

  I will one day.

  She patted my head like I was still two-years-old.

  It s not good-bye forever.

  There s got to be another way,

  I said, determined that there was.

  Maybe Nicholas could take me to the Afterlife.

  Only a Banshee can carry a Lost Soul to the Afterlife.

  She sank down on the coffee table tucking her hair behind her ears.

  And Gemma s the one that s going. I ve already explained this.

  Maybe we could find another Banshee then,

  Gemma suggested, biting at her nails.

  We can t,

  I answered for my mom.

  No other Banshee will bring your soul back.

  This was so stupid. Both of them were exactly the same, throwing their lives down like it didn t matter, like they were worth nothing.

  Now that everyone understands their job.

  My mother stood.

  Should we get started?

  You know,

  Gemma said, lying on her bed, her hands overlapped across her stomach as if she was preparing her body for death.

  In the dream I had the one where I died Nicholas was the one that appeared to me.

  That s because you secretly have the hots for me.

  He rolled around in the computer chair, but without his body, it was just a chair moving on its own.

  Or maybe she just feared it d be you,

  I said, from the other side of the room because apparently the electricity would keep the poison from working. And when she actually took it, I was going to have to clear the room altogether, something I was really struggling with.

  Or maybe it s because she can t stop thinking about me.

  The chair spun in a circle.

  Or maybe it s because for three straight weeks you wouldn t leave me alone,

  Gemma said, her eyebrows furrowing.

  I mean, you were watching me day and night, even when you shouldn t have been.

  She pressed her lips together as Nicholas let out a laugh.

  Say whatever you want,

  he said.

  He can t hurt me.

  It took me a minute to catch on.

  Wait. Was he & when you say watching &

  Yes,

  Aislin said shaking the vile.

  We all know Nicholas is a pervert. Now will you all shut up so I don t mess this up? It s important.

  I sealed my lips and leaned back against the wall.

  Okay.

  Aislin sat down at the foot of the bed.

  I need complete silence.

  She waited until the house was hushed.

  Signa hoc venenum cum osculum vitae,

 
she whispered, swishing the liquid.

  Servare quicumque bibit spirans. Sed signa voluntas osculum mortem et eorum cor mittimus.

  The vile bubbled, morphing to a shade darker than black.

  Now, that s death.

  Is it time to go?

  My mother entered the room.

  Aislin showed her the vile.

  We re all set.

  My mother nodded. Aislin ran over and hugged her.

  This isn t good-bye,

  my mother whispered.

  I ll be back one day.

  Aislin pulled away, rubbing the tears from her eyes and nodding.

  Then it was my turn. She pulled me into a hug and it almost popped my lungs.

  I cleared my throat as I backed away.

  You better come back.

  I ll do my best.

  She turned.

  Gemma, I ll meet you there.

  Then she was gone, as quick as she d arrived, like a mere visit from a ghost.

  I was sadder than I expected. A rush of emotion overcame me, making me uncomfortable. I cleared my throat hard and tried to gain composure.

  Are you ready?

  Aislin asked Gemma.

  Gemma nodded and took the vile from her hand.

  As ready as I ll ever be.

  Aislin looked over her shoulder.

  You need to go downstairs.

  I pressed my lips together, stepping for the bed.

  But Aislin held up her hand.

  You can t be near her at all. She needs to be calm.

  I locked eyes with Gemma and thought of our Forever Promise, made one dreary day, when two kids were trying to hold on to something that might never be again. And it was like she understood, like she knew what I was thinking. She touched the scar on her hand.

  It was one of the hardest things, walking away, leaving that room, knowing she would breathe her last breath.

  But I left, just like I was supposed to.

  When I walked into the kitchen, Laylen was there messing around with the pipes under the sink.

  You re not going to see her before she &

  I trailed off, not bothering to even try to say it.

  He focused on twisting a bolt.

  I can t … it s too &

  I nodded, rolling up my sleeves.

  So you need any help.

  He shrugged.

  Sure.

  I reached for the wrench, feeling her slipping away as she died.

  Chapter 33

  (Gemma)

  I watched him leave, his eyes sad, his muscles tense as he forced them to move. He took the electricity with him, along with some of my soul apparently. When I returned, I d press him for the details.

  I clutched my hand around the vile, letting out a hefty sigh.

  So this is it? The Kiss of Death.

  Don t worry,

  Aislin assured me from the foot of my bed.

  You ll come back.

  I knew I would. After all, I wasn t finished with life quite yet. I d seen what was going to happen with my future. And since I hadn t been able to change it, as far as I was concerned, my life was over. Alex and I would go to the lake and take our own lives, along with Stephan, Demetrius, and every Death Walker on this Earth.

  I wonder how it tastes?

  I examined the bottle as it bubbled.

  Because it looks really gross.

  It probably tastes gross,

  Aislin said.

  I m sure death can t taste good.

  Well.

  I raised it in the air, like I was making a toast.

  Here s to coming back to life and freeing the souls.

  Then I kissed my lips to the rim, tipped it back, and swallowed.

  You re right &. It doesn t taste …

  My limbs went numb, my heart silencing. I fell back on my bed, into my soul, absorbed by the darkness of death.

  When I opened my eyes, I was standing in a field, the breeze a soft lull as it skipped across the grass. Crows circled above me like death and I thought of my nightmare. Then they dove for me and I shielded my head. Their beaks clipped my hair and hands.

  Stop it!

  I cried out at the madness and they scattered like mice. I lowered my hands, breathing relief. But where was Alana?

  I noticed that one crow lingered behind, soaring in loops, like it was dancing. Then it flipped directions, flapping its wings, and headed off into the unknown. I shoved my way through the tall, dry grass, making a path as I chased after the crow. With every step I took, the crow flew further and then it curved up, becoming just a spot in the sky. I trampled through the field until I broke through to grassless land. There was a house, ancient and damaged, the wood singed with traces of a fire.

  I climbed up the front porch and opened the door. Suddenly, I was standing in the same house that was in Iceland, surrounded by charcoaled wall paper and a floor stained with ash.

  Hello,

  I called out and the door slammed shut. I whirled, yanking at the doorknob.

  Gemma.

  The sound of her voice was like fresh air.

 
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