The evanescence, p.21
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       The Evanescence, p.21

         Part #2 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 21

 

  I’m surprised by the respect they’re showing her and I wonder if Luna knows. They each take a corner and then inhaling, they lift the stretcher together, carrying her body away, winding around the rocks and disappearing wherever they entered. At the last second, Tiny glances back and his eyes scan over me and there’s a sparkle in them, like he knows one of my secrets. I’d try to narrow it down to which one, but I’m full of them, so there’s no point. Tiny nods his head once before hurrying away with the others and then, seconds later, they vanish into the air.

  One of them has left their spear on the ground and I bend over to pick it up, figuring I can use it as a weapon.

  Aislin gasps. “Where did you get the Cornu Lepore, and why are you wearing it?” she asks with a sniffle, wiping her nose.

  Clutching the spear, I stand upright. “Huh?”

  She points at my neck and I glance down at the teardrop pendant showing on the outside of my shirt. “Wait. How long has that been hanging out?” I touch my neck, remembering how Tiny looked at me before he disappeared, and my jaw falls. “Oh no, he saw it. ”

  Aislin looks confused as she blows her nose onto the sleeve of her shirt. “Who saw it?”

  I unwrap my fingers from the pendant and tuck it back inside my shirt. “The guard saw the pendant. ”

  She shrugs at me, trying to look casual, but it looks awkward because she’s still kind of crying. “So what if he saw you wearing the Cornu Lepore. What are they going to do, lock you up for wearing it?” She gestures around the cliffs. “Because I hate to break it to you, but you’re already kind of there. ”

  “I stole it from Nalina,” I explain, heading for the bench. “Nalina is Luna’s granddaughter. ”

  “Wait a minute. Didn’t Nalina say she was your aunt?” she questions as she lowers herself down onto the bench. Her eyes are a little wide and glossy as she stares at the cliff where Aleesa fell, but then she gasps as she puts the pieces together. “So you’re Luna’s great-granddaughter?” It comes out loud and I throw my hand over her mouth.

  “Shh…” I put my finger to my lip, shaking my head as I sit down on the bench beside her. “No one can know. ”

  She nods her head at me and I lower my hand to my lap. “Sorry, but seriously,” she hisses. “That means you have Fey blood in you. ”

  “I know,” I whisper. “And I can’t let Luna know about it or about this. ” I touch the spot on my shirt where the pendant is hidden.

  “But I thought,” she nods at the pendant, keeping her voice low, “that was just supposed to be some powerless necklace thingy. ”

  Shaking my head, I lean in. “Turns out, it can control the Fey. ”

  “What?!” she exclaims and then quickly slaps her hand over her mouth. “Sorry, but I don’t get it. How did I not know about this?”

  I shrug, shaking my head. “I’m beginning to think there’s a crap load of stuff out there that we don’t know about. ”

  She nods in agreement, tears starting to pool in the corners of her green eyes, but she sucks them back. “So what are you planning on doing with it?”

  “Well, I was planning on taking over the Fey to get you out of here, but since they pretty much led me right to you, I guess nothing. ”

  She presses her lips together. “I wouldn’t quite settle on that just yet. ”

  “Why?”

  “Because… because I did something. ”

  Whenever Aislin says she did something, it’s usually something bad. “What?”

  She blows out a breath. “Luna made me put an irreversible charm on the land. No one can leave without walking out of the exit. ”

  “Wait, you can’t lift it?”

  “Irreversible means irreversible, unless I have the power of a coven, which I don’t. ”

  My gaze sweeps the cliffs and the spot where the guards seemed to materialize out of thin air. I could look around, try to find cracks in the hideout, waiting for someone to come save us, but I’m tired of waiting. I just want it over.

  “I’m going to use the pendant to control the Fey,” I decide. “I’m going to get us home. ”

  “Do you think that’s a good idea? I mean, do you really know anything about how the pendant works?”

  I get to my feet. “No, but I don’t care. All I care about is getting us out of here and getting us back to the castle. ” And saving Alex, but I don’t tell her that part. Not yet. Not after she just lost her half-sister.

  “I want to argue with you,” she says. “But I really want to get out of here, too. ”

  I nod my head in agreement. “Now I just need to figure out how to work this thing… I mean, do I just show it to them? And what about Luna?”

  Aislin stands up and I notice a slight shake to her body, the aftermath of shock probably. “What about Luna?”

  “I never expected her to be here. ” I pause, mulling it over. “I mean, what if there’s a problem with the Fey responding because she’s here. Crap. ” I start pacing, beginning to panic as I think of Alex, back with Draven, shifting and changing into a soul snatcher. “I have to come up with something. Quickly. ”

  Aislin watches me pace in front of her. “Gemma, stop pacing. You’re making me nervous. ”

  I keep pacing, shaking my head, and my pulse starts to rise. “What do I do? I can’t… I can’t deal with this anymore. ” It’s like every single thing hits me at once. All the feelings I’ve ever felt—along with new ones—and it sends me to my knees as something slams inside my skull—an image.

  Alex is kissing the Banshee, tongues tangled as they hold onto one another in the middle of a group of headstones. The moon, an orb against the night sky, and a light fog covers the damp grass. They keep kissing each other fiercely and when they finally pull away, Alex grins.

  “That was fun,” he says, staring at the spot on the ground in front of his feet where a body rests.

  The blond Banshee steps beside him, running her lips together. “It really was. ”

  They both laugh as they stare at the body, and then walk around it, heading to the gate. They pass body after body and I recognize four out of six of them, one blond-haired vampire, a golden-haired witch, a tattooed Omnia, and a violet-eyed girl, whose heart has been broken.

  When Alex passes my body, he pauses. “I really do kind of feel bad about this one. ”

  The Banshee grabs his arm and tugs him towards the gate. “Don’t worry, you’ll forget soon enough. ”

  He nods, walking away, leaving our bodies in the fog, in the dark, soulless.

  I suck in a sharp breath as my body trembles. “We have to get out of here. ” I push to my knees. “Now. ”

  Aislin chases after me. “Gemma, calm down. You have to think rationally. ” She seizes my elbow, but I jerk it away. “Gemma, you’re acting insane. ”

  “I know. ” I pause at the boulders, shoulders slumping as the pressure builds. “Aislin, there’s something I need to tell you—something bad. ”

  She stops beside me, swallowing hard. “Okay. ”

  “It’s about Alex,” I say softly, staring at my feet. “H-he made a deal with Draven—the Lord of the Afterlife. ” I take a deep breath and turn to look at her. “He made it back when we were trying to stop the portal. He said that he’d be in debt to him in exchange for some information. ”

  She starts shaking her head, over and over again. “That idiot. For how long?”

  “A year,” I say quietly.

  “A year!” She starts cursing as she turns in a circle. “That jackass. How could he do this to me… leave me here all alone?”

  I frown. “You’re not alone… you have Laylen… and you have me. ” And I guess if I look at it that way I’m not really alone, either. “Besides, we’ll save him. ”

  She keeps shaking her head, like she doesn’t believe it. I know exactly how she feels because, deep down in the bottom of my soul, I can feel something breaking off, like his soul is trying to disconnect from me.
>
  Chapter 28

  Alex

  I blink my eyes at the ceiling above my head. It seems like I have been here forever and it has only been a couple of days. I stretch my arms above my head and throw the blanket off me. Swinging my feet over the side of the bed, I step onto the rug. I open the closet door and view the clothing inside. Draven has made sure that there is plenty for me to wear, all black, though, “fitting for a Lord” as he put it. I throw on a pair of black jeans and a black shirt.

  After I lace my boots, I make my way to the dining area at the end of the tunnel. I was hesitant to eat anything after my first experience dining with Draven, but there hasn’t been a maggot incident since. I decided that I’d cooperate with him, at least for the time being, because I don’t really have an alternative and it seems like the longer I stay down here, the less I want an alternative. It’s freaking strange, but I’m starting to see why I should be here. Besides, I might be able to gain some insight on what Helena and the Lost Souls are up to since Draven hates her about as much as I do.

  The table is fully stocked, like usual, and I sit down, picking up a piece of toast and spreading some butter on it. For a second, my minds drifts back to the real world—back to Gemma—but everything seems so hazy and disconnected.

  I take a bite of the toast and my thoughts are interrupted by the sound of footsteps approaching. The Banshee enters, wearing a long, velvet, maroon dress, her hair done up, and loop earrings dangle from her ears.

  “What do you want?” I ask, reaching for the sausage.

  “Now, Alex, is that any way to greet me?” She walks to the side of the table, grabs the back of a chair, and leans over. “You better be nice to me or I won’t be nice to you. ”

  “Now there’s a bonus. ”

  “That’s what you think until we get so deep into this that I’m all you have. ” She pulls her hands back from the chair, and her heels click as she circles to the other side of the table where she stops beside me. She places one hand on the table and uses her other to trace a line down my cheek. “Your innocence is so alluring…” Her finger hitches under my chin. “I just want to keep you for myself. ”

  Frowning, I look at her. “Innocent? Seriously?”

  Her lips twist to a grin. “Innocent compared to me, but if you let me, I can change that for you. ”

  For a split second, I actually consider saying yes, which makes no sense. Snapping back to my senses, I shove her hand away from me and swiftly stand up from the table. “Don’t ever touch me again,” I growl, shoving her.

  Her lips curl upward as she hisses, leaning in. “Eventually, you’ll be begging me to touch you. ”

  I laugh. “Yeah, that’ll be the day. ”

  She leans back, smoothing her hands down her arms. “Just wait. After you start taking souls,” she starts to circle me, “and your mind goes to the darkest place. ” She walks around, sweeping her finger on the back of my neck. “When you do things you can never erase and you can never go back, you’ll be begging me to comfort you. ”

 
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