The lost soul, p.22
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       The Lost Soul, p.22

         Part #1 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 22

 

  I turn my jacket pockets inside out, dumping the remaining bits of Faerie Realm dirt. “Did anyone else notice that Luna looked a little too happy for someone who just lost her key to escaping the Faerie Realm?”

  Nicholas glances at me impressively. “So you caught onto that, huh?”

  “She was grinning from ear to ear,” I say. “How could I not notice it?”

  He kicks his feet up on the table and drapes his arms across the back of the chair. “You’re getting smarter, Gemma Lucas. Now if only you could figure out why she was so happy. ”

  “I’m sure you probably already know, but aren’t going to share. ” I unzip my jacket and toss it on the couch as he smiles. “God, our list of problems is beyond long. We need to figure something out—a way to narrow it down. ”

  “Saving Laylen and Alex come first. They’re more important than anything else. ” Aislin watches me expectantly. “And I have to save Aleesa from…” She trails off, her eyes glossing over.

  I snap my fingers in front of her face. “Aislin, are you alive in there?”

  She blinks into focus. “Yeah, I’m good. ”

  Nicholas and I exchange a doubting a look.

  “Maybe one of the sprites worked their way into her brain,” he muses.

  I pull a repulsed face. “Can they do that?”

  He shrugs with a twinkle in his eye. “Who knows. ”

  “Gemma!” Aislin shouts. “We need to save Alex and Laylen! Now!”

  “Okay, okay, we will,” I sputter, observing Nicholas from the corner of my eye. “You don’t have to worry. I’ll always save them. ”

  Nicholas rolls his eyes. “Wow, you must really enjoy being hurt. Maybe I need to retract my earlier remark about your growing intelligence. ”

  Aislin leans forward in the chair. “Am I missing something?”

  I shake my head. “No, everything’s good. We should get started. Do you want to try and do a Tracker Spell on both of them?”

  She nods and limps to her feet. Her slippers are missing and her pajama bottoms are torn “Yeah, let me go grab my stuff. ”

  “Are you hurt?” I ask.

  “I just rolled my ankle. That’s all. ” She hobbles out of the room, leaving me alone with the faerie.

  “Something’s wrong with her,” I note to myself.

  “Yeah, she has Avery blood in her. ” Nicholas chuckles.

  “So what are your plans?” I ask derisively. “Are you sticking around to help? Or do you plan on bailing and telling everyone our secrets?”

  He overlaps his hands, his gaze piercing. “You know, you and I have a lot in common. ”

  I snort a laugh, sinking into the couch. “The only thing we did have in common was our Foreseer power, but mine’s gone now so we don’t even have that. ”

  His gaze scorches my skin. “Don’t you ever wonder why I get under your skin so badly?”

  “Because of your charming personality,” I express sarcastically.

  He ignores my comment. “Although, the last few times I’ve seen you it’s been worse. I’m really starting to get to you. ”

  “That’s because I saved you from death and you still do things like sick invisible snakes on me. ”

  “That was for Dyvinius. I had no say in it. ”

  “You have a say in everything you do,” I tell him. “You just have to be strong enough to deal with the consequences. ”

  “You haven’t lived my life. ” His golden eyes blaze. “And until you have, don’t tell me that I have a say in anything in my life. ” A hidden meaning intermingles with his words.

  “You know, you could always tell me,” I offer. “It might be nice to actually talk to someone for once, instead of trying to trick them. ” I wait, but can tell right away it’s never going to happen. “I’m going to go help Aislin. ”

  I walk out of the room, feeling the strange pull towing me back, almost like when I left The Underworld. What scares me even more, is part of me likes that I feel this way.

  ***

  “I found them,” Aislin announces from the doorway of my bedroom. While she was doing the Tracker Spell, I changed out of my pajamas and into a pair of jeans and blue and black tank top.

  “Both of them?” I lace up my sneaker.

  She nods and sits down on the bed beside me. “It’s bad, Gemma. Like really, really bad. ”

  I sigh, preparing myself. “Go ahead and lay it on me. ”

  “Well, Laylen’s in… The Afterlife. ”

  “What!” I shout, my breathing erratic. “How did that—why did that happen?”

  She shrugs, picking a glob of mascara off her eyelash. “I’m guessing the Banshee wasn’t dead and took him. Or was dead and took him, since they’re already dead and can’t die and can go to The Afterlife if they’re dead. ”

  I stare blankly at her. “Are you okay? You’re sounding kind of… off. ”

  “I’m fine. ” She laughs. “I’m just a little tired. ”

  “No, something else is wrong. ” I fasten my other shoelace. “Where’s Alex?”

  Biting her lip, she sucks back tears. “Alex, well, he’s… he’s with Stasha. ”

  Pain, pain, go away. “He’s with Stasha?” I pause. “Then why was there all that blood? And pain. I felt his pain, Aislin. ”

  “I know you did. ” She side braids her hair and secures it with an elastic band. “Don’t worry. He can’t be there by choice. Something’s going on with Stasha. She might have him under some sort of spell or something. ”

  “She’s not a witch,” I utter softly.

  “But she could have a witch helping her. ”

  “Maybe. Or maybe he just wants to be there. ”

  “Gemma,” Aislin says, tightening the band of her sliver watch. “Alex hates Stasha. And I mean, really hates her. In fact, I think that’s why he dated her for so long. Because he didn’t feel anything for her and he thought that’s how things were supposed to be. ”

  “So the story goes. ” I walk to the closet and take out a hooded jacket. “So what do you think? You wanna go pay a visit to Stasha while I get Laylen out of The Afterlife?”

  “You can’t go to The Afterlife. ” She flicks a piece of lint from her shorts. “It’d be like handing over your soul to Helena. ”

  “Not unless I actually hand it over myself. And you can’t get to The Afterlife without dying. ” I zip up my jacket, pull up the hood, and retreat for the door. “I’m going to have to find a way in without being detected. It’s the only way. ”

  She hurries across the room and blocks the doorway. “Yeah, you make an excellent point. ” Her eyebrows furrow at her own words. “I think you need to call Alex first. ”

  “Why? So he’ll answer and it will prove he’s over at Stasha’s on his own freewill. ” I shove past her. “You go ahead and bring him back. I’m going after Laylen, who’s actually in trouble. ”

  But as I reach the threshold, an unknown force draws me back, like a dog on a leash. “Never mind, I’ll go get Alex with you. ”

  Aislin’s green eyes shadow. “Now there’s a plan I like. ”

  “Are you possessed?” I corner her, examining her eyes. “Did a Lost Soul take you over? You’re acting strange. ”

  She shakes her head and her eyes water. “No. I just feel so sick, like my brain’s fuzzy. ”

  “Does it feel like a sprite’s in there?” I peek at her ear.

  She waves me away. “What kind of insane question is that?”

  “One that fits your insane behavior. ” I watch her closely. “Are you sure you don’t mind Laylen waiting around in The Afterlife for a little bit longer while I go save Alex?”

  She bobs her head up and down. “Of course I don’t mind. Laylen can be there as long as he has to. He’ll be fine. ”

  “Good. ” I exhale, feeling bad, but knowing it’s got to be done. “Let me go get Nicholas and then we’ll go. ”

  She intercepts my path. “Why does he
have to go? He’s a weirdo. ”

  “I need his moral support. ” I pat her arm and scoot by, leaving her perplexed. I trot down the stairs and to the library. Nicholas is waiting from me with his shoes kicked up on the table. “There’s a situation going on upstairs. ”

  “What? You have more faeries frolicking in your bedroom?” He smirks. “You know that portal’s still open. ”

  I rub my temples. “I forgot about the portal… that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m pretty sure Aislin’s possessed by a Lost Soul. ”

  He lowers his feet and shakes his head. “That’s not possible. Nothing’s wrong with Aislin’s soul. And Helena and her Lost Souls aren’t free yet, so the chance of her being possessed is low. ”

  “Alex was possessed,” I point out.

  “Yeah, but his soul’s connected to yours. So he’s more susceptible. ”

  “Well, she’s possessed by something. ” I sigh. “Or she’s lost her mind. She wants me to leave Laylen in The Afterlife. In fact, she almost seems happy about it. ”

  He scratches his head. “So what do you want me to do about it?”

  “I don’t know… we can’t just let her wander around though. She’s a very powerful witch. Mix that with evil and we’re in a lot of trouble. ”

  He stands. “Just because she could be evil, doesn’t mean she’ll hurt us. ”

  “Well she’s never liked you. ” I turn for the door. “So an evil Aislin just might want to hurt you. ”

  I climb up the stairs. Seconds later, he chases after me.

  “Fine, I can drop her off in the Foreseer’s holding cell. ” He guides his hand on the banister as he steps up the stairway. “But if she’s not possessed, she’s going to be super pissed when I bring her back. ”

  “Well, you shouldn’t care about that,” I say. “You don’t care about anything, remember?”

  “Who doesn’t care about what?” Aislin appears at the top of the stairs, her hands on her hips, a giant smile on her face. “This is a great day, isn’t it?”

  “She isn’t possessed by a Lost Soul. ” Nicholas laughs, shaking his head. “But something definitely has hold of her. ”

  “I know. ” I gesture at Aislin. “Be careful with her, okay?”

  Nicholas presses back a smirk, stepping toward Aislin. “I’ll be as careful as I always am. ”

  I jerk on the hem of his shirt and glare at him. “I mean it. Don’t hurt her. She’s my friend. ”

  His eyes soften. “I won’t. ” He smiles at Aislin and touches her hand. “You want to go somewhere really cool?”

  “Like an amusement park?” She jumps up and down, her sanity fading.

  “Sure. ” Nicholas loops his arm with hers and takes the ruby-filled crystal ball out of his pocket. “Now hold on real tight. ” Clutching the traveling crystal ball, he blinks them away.