The evanescence, p.22
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       The Evanescence, p.22

         Part #2 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 22

 

  Smiling, she turns away from me and walks out of the room, her high heels clicking against the floor. “Oh, and Alex, Draven wants you in his quarters. ” She lets out a spiteful laugh. “I think you might be in trouble. ” She ducks her head as she steps out the doorway.

  Placing my hands on the chair, I heave out a frustrated sigh. Goddamn Banshee thinks she knows me—thinks I’ll go over into the darkness—but she’s wrong. I’m stronger than that. I have too much to lose, like my love for Gemma. However, as I walk out of the room, I have to wonder why my heart feels so empty.

  ***

  Draven’s quarters are in the opposite direction of my room. I’m supposed to go there daily, after I eat. He tells me it’s because he wants to get to know me on a personal level. Yeah, right. He just wants to keep close tabs on me and remind me of who’s in charge.

  His door is closed, which is interesting. Usually it’s open. Before I knock on it, I inch closer, listening. I hear the sound of muffled voices and I wonder who else is there because, as far as I can tell, the only people here are Draven, the Banshee, and me, and the Banshee took off in the other direction.

  I let my hand fall against the door, knocking with hesitancy. The voices quiet and Draven says, “Come in. ”

  When I open the door, I’m confused because Draven is sitting at his desk and there’s no one else in the room. There’s a thick book opened in front of him and he barely raises his head when I enter and shut the door behind me. I glance around at the bookshelves, the fireplace and the two empty chairs in the corner. Who was he talking to?

  Knowing the drill, I grab one of the chairs and drag it over in front of the desk. I take a seat and wait for him to acknowledge me, picking a pen up from the desk and tapping it on my knee to channel my nervous energy.

  Draven elevates his head to me and glares at the pen. “Is that really necessary?”

  I shrug and toss the pen on the desk. “Maybe. ” I eye the page of the book, catching the words “soul,” which appears numerous times, along with the word “evanescence”. Draven slams the book shut and shoves it to the side. Overlapping his hands, he places them on his desk and leans forward in his chair.

  “Well, I’m glad to see you are showing an interest in what I am doing,” he says with an arrogant smirk. He wears that smirk a lot, just like he always wears black, and always has cigars nearby.

  “Just trying to understand why you brought me here,” I say, crossing my arms.

  “Enough time’s been wasted since you’ve come here,” he says simply. “You’ve been moping around, doing nothing, and it’s time for you to fulfill your debt to me, or at least, start it. ”

  Before I have time to say anything he snaps his fingers. One of the shelves on the wall shifts to the side and reveals a hidden doorway. The Banshee emerges and she’s not alone. Out of the thousands of people that could have walked out of a hidden door, it had to be this one.

  “Stasha?” I gape at her with my jaw hanging open.

  Her blonde hair is a tangled mess, her hands are covered with gloves, her dress is ripped at the bottom, and a strip of duct tape covers her mouth.

  “I’m guessing there’s no need for introductions,” the Banshee says as she shoves Stasha towards the wall. Stasha trips over her feet and her shoulder slams into one of the shelves, causing books to fall to the floor.

  “Why is she here?” I ask. “You know I don’t care about her, right?”

  Stasha starts to cry and I feel like kind of a douche, but then I remember how she tried to kill Gemma and I really stop caring.

  “I’ve been doing some research. ” Draven nods at the book on his desk. “With some trial and error I’ve found a way to… How shall I put this?” he taps his chin thoughtfully. “Create my own Lost Souls. ”

  “Create?” I cock an eyebrow. “Huh?”

  “A Lost Soul is created when someone has a death before their time,” he explained with an amused expression “They become lost and are easily manipulated. ”

  I consider what he’s saying and cringe. “So you’re telling me that you’re killing people in order to create Lost Souls?”

  “Yes, well, it’s a bit more complicated and complex than that,” he says, leaning back in his chair and swiveling it from side-to-side. “If I were to just kill them they’d cross over to Helena—not me. And that’s not what we want. ”

  “We?” I question. “You mean, you?”

  He shakes his head. “Nope, it’s you and I now. You’re going to want this eventually, just wait and see. You’ll get there. ”

  “You can’t just go around killing random people,” I say, knowing he can. “Just so you can add more Lost Souls to the world. ”

  He gets to his feet and walks over to Stasha, sketching his finger along her glove-covered hand, looking at her with his hungry, needy, soulless eyes and it’s creepy because, for a second, I feel the hungry, soulless, creepiness. “Don’t worry, Alex. ” His eyes glint as he smells Stasha’s hair and grins when she trembles. “The people I choose are very special. They have extraordinary gifts, like your friend Stasha. ”

  Stasha cringes away from him.

  I’m torn between letting him hurt her and stopping him from taking a soul and obviously getting what he wants. “Leave her alone,” I say.

  “It doesn’t really sound like you mean it,” he says, sweeping Stasha’s hair to the side as he walks behind her. “In fact, I think you’re kind of glad I’m going to do it. In fact, maybe you’d like to take her soul yourself.

  Shaking my head, I get to my feet. “I said, let her go. ”

  His dark eyes pierce into me. “Don’t ever defy me. ” And just like that I drop helplessly to the floor, like a stiff board, my arms to my sides, my knees locked. “You’re forgetting your place with me,” he tells me, and I feel something inside my skull explode.

  Seconds later, I feel sedated and my mouth moves on its own. “You’re right. I was totally out of line. ”

  “Much better. ” Draven turns back to Stasha. “Let’s add another soldier to our army. ”

  “Gladly. ” The Banshee smiles and struts up to him, handing him a knife. It has an ash-black handle and is embellished with fancy gold lettering. Draven holds the knife up in the air and then aims the sharp tip towards Stasha. I want to move, yet, I don’t want to. I’m conflicted. Let it happen. Don’t let it happen.

  I end up watching as Draven plunges the knife into Stasha’s chest and her body goes limp, slipping to the floor. At first I’m pissed, but something changes inside of me, as if a light has been switched off and, then, all I feel is numbness.

  Draven glances over at me with a satisfied expression on his face and, seconds later, I regain control of my body. Rolling to my stomach, I push myself up and walk over next to him. As I stare down at Stasha, lying on the ground, with her eyes open and her arms sprawled to the side of her, a grin spreads across my face. I’m ready to repay my debt. Ready to start my training.

  I’m ready to be the next Lord of the Afterlife.

  Chapter 29

  Gemma

  Aislin wasn’t lying when she told me there was no way to escape except for walking out. Not only are we blocked from using our powers, but the entrance to the tunnel is also protected by some shield that we can’t get through.

  There’s a small cottage located just behind the tree that Aislin and Aleesa have been sleeping in. Other than that, there’s a bunch of rocks, the sky, and the ground, which pretty much makes the pendant useless, until a Faerie comes along. The first day I spend here, I search high and low for a weakness in the land, a secret escape route, a hidden path. I even try to use my Foreseer power over and over again, and coax Aislin to try to use her magic, but neither works. The few days that pass, feel like years. While Aislin mourns, barely talking, I try to constantly stay awake because, every time I close my eyes, I see Alex with that stupid Banshee; stealing souls and looking happy about it.


  A few days into my imprisonment, I’m walking with Aislin. It’s early morning, the grass dewed and wet underneath our feet. The sky is painted golden as the sun peeks over the horizon and highlights the edges of the cliffs. It’s a sight beautiful enough to paint, but being here, living here, is horrible.

  We walk along the base of the cliff, plucking at the leaves on the trees. “I have a question,” I say. “How did the guards get in?”

  “Fey magic,” she mutters, kicking a rock.

  “Faeries don’t have magic. ” I dodge around a tree. “Do they?”

  She shakes her head, gathering her hair out of her face as she stares at the ground. “They’re not supposed to, yet they do… I think something might be changing. ”

  I think of the war, the struggle for power between the Queens, and how Luna was in the real world, but now she’s not, like she was looking for something, then found it and came home.

  Aislin stops walking and picks up a small rock from the ground. Bending her elbow, she tosses it at the rocky ledge above us. “I’m so sick of this. We’re always fighting something—nothing changes. ” The rock bounces off the cliff and tumbles back towards us, just like when the boulders fell. “It gets old, you know?”

  “Yeah, I know,” I agree. “But what else are we going to do? Give up? Because that’s about the only option we have. ”

  “Maybe,” she says, discouraged. I remember when I first met Aislin, how cheerful she’d been, but now she seems beat, worn out, tired of fighting.

  We walk silently for a while, until we reach the entrance to the tunnel.

  “Are you sure the shield is on?” I check, eyeing the opening over. “I walked in here, you know? I mean, how do you really know… because they told you or something?”

  “It only works when you’re trying to leave. ” Bending her arm, she points at her elbow at a patch of skin peeling off. “This is what happened the last time I checked it. ”

  I stop, bending over to pick up a rock, then standing up straight, I throw the rock and it flies down it.

  Aislin lets out a gasp, clutching onto my arm. “Oh my God, it’s… it’s not on anymore?”

  I let my arm fall to the side. “How do you know?”

  She lets go of my arm and marches up the path, winding around the tree, and then steps up to the opening. She glances up at the top of the cliff and then, taking a deep breath, she sticks her arm into the cave.

  I walk up behind her, squinting at the cave. “What are you doing?”

  She lowers her arm to her side and gives me a sad smile. “The last time I tried to do that—the last time we tried to put something in there—it instantly lit on fire, but…” She rolls her shoulders back and marches forward, stepping into the darkness. “Would you look at that?” She sticks her head back out and jumps up and down, clapping, and for a moment she seems like her old self. “It’s off. ”

 
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