The evanescence, p.20
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       The Evanescence, p.20

         Part #2 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 20

 

  He shrugs, still staring out the window. “Whatever you say. I was just telling you from my own personal experience that it’s not going to work out in your favor. ”

  “I don’t have a favor,” I mutter under my breath, but as I say it, I realize I have no idea. About anything.

  Maybe it’s time to change that, though. Maybe I need to start figuring stuff out about relationships, about life, about what I’m going to do for the decades and decades I have lying before me.

  Alone.

  Chapter 26

  Gemma

  As soon as we step into Luna’s chambers, I’m enclosed by a herd of Sprites. Go figure. They’re whispering with their beady little eyes on me and I even hear one of them giggle, “Gemma. ”

  Luna glares at them. “Silence!” They hastily drop their heads and a hush falls over them. “Stupid, little creatures,” she mutters under her breath and for a second I kind of like her.

  She hikes down a path dotted with petals, heading towards a podium holding a throne. Green, leafy vines budding with pink flowers entwine around the throne and up the trees that grow in the room. She climbs up the short stairway with me trailing at her heels, and then sits on the thrown, gathering her flowing black dress to the side of her.

  “Sit. ” She points at the grass that surrounds her throne.

  “Seriously?” I hesitate, but she shoots me a death-glare and I quickly plant my butt down on the ground, the pointy edges poke through my clothes. I cross my legs and rest my hands on my lap. “Why are you here?” I ask. “I thought you were in our world. ”

  “I’m wherever I want to be, now. ” She grins, and it makes her look old. “So tell me, Gemma, why are you stupid enough to show up here? And to come alone, without any of your little friends?” Her grin dominates her face. “Yes, very, very stupid. ”

  I take a deep breath, praying to God the pendant does exactly what Nalina says. “I came to get Aislin and Aleesa. ”

  She’s startled and then enraged, her eyes blazing as she pounds her fist on the armrests of her throne. “You have some nerve coming to my Kingdom and asking me to let someone go. ” She stomps her foot.

  “I didn’t ask,” I clarify. “I just told you why I came here. ”

  She sneers at me. “The only thing you’ve accomplished by coming here is that you’ve made it easier for me. I won’t have to waste any more time trying to hunt you down. ”

  “Now, we both know I can leave whenever I want,” I say, treading on thin water.

  She smiles smugly and it makes my heart drop to the pit of my stomach. “You know, I’m finding your Witch friend very useful… Her magic is the most amazing thing. It can bring people to my realm and even lock them in it—even someone like you. ”

  I shut my eyes, giving my Foreseer power a test and realizing I can’t channel any energy. I open my eyes and glare at her. “Great. ”

  She gestures at the guards waiting at the entrance just behind me. “Take her with the others…” Her grin consumes her whole face as she beams proudly, like she just won a shiny new trophy. “Let her be with her friends just like she came here to do. ”

  The guards march towards me as I jump to my feet. I keep my head hung low down so Luna can’t see the satisfaction on my face. Foreseer power or not, she’s just given me what I wanted. A ticket to where Aislin and Aleesa are. Once I get to Aislin, I can get her to lift her charm or spell or whatever it is she used, and get us out of here. It’s going to work out. For once.

  I’m ushered out of the chambers as Luna climbs down from her throne, the Sprites scatter as she hurries down the path behind us. I have this overpowering urge to pull out the pendant tucked under my shirt and start barking orders, telling them all to listen to me and overtake Luna’s position, but I shove the feeling down. I won’t let my vision happen and if they’re going to take me straight to Aislin, we might just be able to walk out of here; unaffected and unharmed.

  We walk across the path and then step out onto a grassy area that’s surrounded by bushes, flowers and lofty trees. Fey of all different shapes and sizes watch me curiously as I’m led towards a cluster of bushes by the Fey guards carrying spears. They’ve strategically placed themselves around me, so I can’t run, but I’m not even going to try. They’re taking me exactly where I need to go.

  As we get closer to the edge of the grass, a hill rises into view. In the side of the hill, there’s an entrance to a cave carved into the stone. Sitting next to the opening is a gigantic Faerie with diamond-studded wings and sapphire eyes with a spear clutched in his hand.

  “Hey, Tiny, we got another one for you. ” The guard next to me shoves me towards the Faerie and laughs. “She actually walked in here on her own. ”

  Tiny? Really? The dude is freaking huge. “You don’t need to shove me. I was walking in. ”

  Tiny (eye roll) looks at me and his sapphire eyes are filled with something I’m very familiar with—sadness. “Get inside. ” He aims his finger at the opening of the cave as he steps aside to let me through.

  Ducking my head, I step inside. It’s dark and the air smells murky. Water drips from the ceiling and puddles the dirty floor. I can barely see past the entrance so I place my hand on the rock wall and start making my way into the cave. I can hear voices ahead and, as I get closer, the darkness starts shifting to light. I let go of the wall, cautiously walk towards the opening and, seconds later, I step out of the cave.

  There’s a flat ledge, encompassed by rocky cliffs. The cliffs are hundreds of feet high and make it pretty much impossible to climb down. In the middle of the ledge is a patch of grass and a tree. Beneath the tree is a stone bench and sitting on it is a girl. Her golden hair glimmers in the sunlight, and she’s wearing dirt-stained clothes while shielding her eyes with her hand.

  “Aislin,” I mutter and she looks at me.

  “You need to move to the right,” she yells, still looking up at the sky.

  I track her gaze, looking up to the sky. About halfway up the cliff is Aleesa, scaling up. Her curly hair blows in the light breeze, along with the back of her torn shirt. “What the… Is she trying to escape?”

  Aislin must hear me because she anxiously glances around. When her eyes land on me, a look of panic crosses her face until she realizes it’s me. She leaps up from the bench and rushes in my direction, but there’s a loud noise from above and she halts as rocks come crashing down from top of the cliffs.

  Aislin cups her hands to her mouth. “Aleesa! Watch out!”

  Aleesa pauses and glances down at us as Aislin points above her. Aleesa angles her head up and scans the cliffs above to where the rocks are falling down. I see the fear on her face as she tries to move to the side of the cliff, out of the way of the falling rocks. They tumble past her and Aislin and I let out a sigh of relief as they smash onto the ground.

  “That was close,” Aleesa yells and then digs her fingers into the rocks as she continues climbing up again.

  I free the tension from my lungs, letting out a stressed breath. “God, she shouldn’t be up there. It’s too dangerous. ”

  Aislin looks at me with a confused and suspicious look on her face, like she’s trying to assess who I am—if I’m possessed.

  I take a cautious step forward. “I’m sorr—”

  A loud crash cuts me off and when I look up at the cliff again, more rocks and boulders are tumbling to the ground, and Aleesa is spiraling with them. She’s falling helplessly, her arms flailing as she no longer has control over her life.

  Aislin and I race toward her, wanting to help her, but neither of us have our power and all we can do is watch her fall, her screams echoing through the land.

  Then suddenly it’s silent as another person gets stolen from this world.

  Chapter 27

  Gemma

  In the blink of an eye, in a breath of air, in the time it takes for a heart to beat, Aleesa is gone. It’s a sight I’ll never be able to get out of
my mind. It’s branded there, like marks on my body. Another death. Another haunting memory. Over and over again, and a part of me wonders if Helena is right. Maybe it’ll never end. Maybe this is how life will always be; death, heartbreak, endings. I wonder if it’s worth it. Is it worth it?

  Aislin screams out Aleesa’s name and we both run over to her, knowing what we’re heading for, but not yet accepting it. We find her body at the bottom, mangled and broken, her eyes open.

  Aislin rushes to her side, tears running down her cheeks. “No, you can’t die… We just found you. ” She clutches onto her as tears roll down her eyes.

  I don’t cry. All I can think is, why. Why does it always happen? Death, pain, terror. The four of us constantly work to save the world, only for the world to become endangered again. Aleesa is dead, Alex is turning into the Lord of the Afterlife, Fey and Lost Souls are torching the world.

  I put my hand on Aislin’s shoulder and stand there, closing my eyes as she sobs and sobs, wishing that I could erase her pain somehow. Not just her pain. All of this. I wish I could go back and shift something so that the Star never fell and our lives were ordinary, even boring.

  I hear footsteps coming around the rocks towards us and I lift my hand from her shoulder, reaching for the knife in my back pocket, but it’s gone. I begin to panic, patting my pockets. “Where did it go?”

  One of the guards from earlier—Tiny—weaves around the largest boulder. Shock is written on his face as he takes in the scene, but what’s surprising is that there’s sympathy in his eyes as he stares at Aleesa’s body.

  “I’ll go get help,” he tells us and turns to leave with his spear to his side, but unexpectedly, he stops and looks back at us. “I’m sorry for your loss,” he says and then weaves around the rock quickly.

  I gape unfathomably at him. “Was he just nice?” I shake my head because it’s beside the point right now.

  “It’s my fault,” Aislin whispers through her tears and sniffles. She lets go of Aleesa and stands up, wiping the tears from her eyes with the back of her hand.

  “It’s not your fault,” I say. “You didn’t make her climb the cliff.

  “Yes, it is. ” Tears stain her cheeks and drip down to her pink t-shirt. “I should have made her stay… but she wanted to try it. . . try to escape… or at least go somewhere else. I told her I didn’t think it would be safe, but I didn’t make her stay. ” Her voice lowers. “I should have made her. ” She starts crying again, her shoulders heaving, and I don’t know what to do. I’m not very good in these kinds of situations and I can’t seem to stop staring at Aleesa, like if I stare long enough, she’ll wake up.

  Aislin quiets down when the guard returns, carrying a white blanket in his hand instead of the spear. There are three other guards with him, all similar in looks and holding spears along with a stretcher. They lower the stretcher to the ground next to Aleesa, and then they each place a hand underneath her body. Lifting together, they slide her over onto the stretcher. The guard carrying the blanket carefully drapes it over her body, covering it up.

 
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