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       The Vision, p.23

         Part #3 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
Page 23



  “Good work,” Stephan said to the vampire, his eyes glowing like coals in the bright orange glow of the fires. “I see this is all working out. ”

  The vampire hissed through his fangs in delight. “Just as you wanted. ”

  Stephan glanced up and down the streets, smiling at the chaos. “Yes, exactly as I wanted. ”

  The picture slowly faded and I stood there waiting for my dad to speak again.

  “Do you understand, Gemma?” His voice floated all around me. “Do you understand what this means?”

  I shook my head. “I thought the world ended in ice, not fire…Is this before the Death Walkers freeze everything over? Is this when the witches, vampires, and fey come out?”

  “You have to understand,” he said. “You need to prepare yourself. ”

  Why did he always have to tiptoe around the details? “Dad, I don’t get what you’re saying…I don’t get any of this. Why did I see the world ending in fire…And how am I supposed to get into the mapping ball you gave me?”

  The light flickered and I drifted away.

  “Dad,” I called out, willing my mind to stay longer. “Please tell me what to do…I need to know what to do. ”

  “You will know in time,” his voice echoed after me. “You have to figure it out on your own. Just remember to let your mind see what it needs to see…. let it see passed what’s in front of you. ”

  Before I could say anything else, I was gone.

  Chapter 22

  When I opened my eyes again the sun was ascending over the mountains, and sparkling the valley with hues of pink and orange. I blinked against the morning sky as I pushed myself to my feet. There was no sign of the vampire anywhere, but a pile of black ash stained the gravel.

  I stretched out my back and headed across the cemetery to look for Aislin, trying not to think about the disturbing image I had seen, or my father’s unsettling words.

  Aislin ended up being exactly where I left her. She was gathering up her candles, looking rather pleased, which I took as a good sign that maybe the spell had worked.

  But when she caught sight of me, her pleased looked slipped into a frown. “You didn’t find her. ”

  I gave her a funny look. “Who…Oh! Aleesa. ” I shook my head. “I completely forgot. ” I turned around, preparing to leave to go search for Aleesa.

  “Wait, Gemma,” Aislin called after me. “Why is your leg bleeding?”

  I glanced at my leg, scarred with the bloody marks of vampire fangs. Then I let out a heavy sigh and told her what happened.

  “So you saw the streets burning and my father was there?” Aislin asked as we walked the streets, looking for Aleesa.

  I nodded. “I almost wondered if, you know, it was like the prequel to the ice vision I saw—the one in Vegas where the streets were empty and frozen over…I’m not sure though…. especially since my dad said I needed to prepare myself. ”

  Aislin let out a shudder as we crossed the street. “God, what if that’s what it means—what if that’s what actually happens.

  “I don’t know…But, if anything, seeing that makes me want to get into the mapping ball quicker. ”

  We hopped over the curb and started across the park’s lawn, hoping to spot Aleesa.

  “I don’t think she’s here. ” Aislin sighed worriedly. “Where would she go?”

  I shook my head, worried about Aleesa too. She was so new to everything and I feared something might happen to her. But I was also worried about what my father had said—that I needed to prepare myself. I mean, was he doubting I could save the world? I let out a frustrated sigh. Why couldn’t he just give me a straight answer?

  “Who is that?” Aislin asked.

  I followed her gaze to a car pulling up in front of the park. “Ah, crap. ”

  Aislin’s face dropped. “Wait, is that your car?”

  It was indeed a Mitsubishi Mirage. The door opened up and Alex stepped out, looking pissed. At first I thought it was because we had snuck out of the house, but then I saw a pair of bright yellow eyes peer at us from the passenger-side window.

  “Did you two lose something?” he asked, his hands tucked in his pockets as he walked across the lawn toward us.

  Aislin let out a guilty laugh. “Where did you find her?”

  Alex shook his head, annoyed. “She came running into the house, screaming at the top of her lungs. ” He paused in front of us. “When I got her to calm down, she told me you two were at the cemetery and that there was a crying fire woman there. ”

  “Hmmm…that’s weird,” I said, trying to keep Aislin from getting a lecture. “Maybe she imagined it. ”

  “It’s okay, Gemma,” Aislin said, then fixed her eyes determinedly on Alex. “Yes, we were at the cemetery doing a spell which is going to hopefully remove the Mark of Malefiscus. ”

  “I told you not to use that book,” Alex said flatly.

  “Well, you know what, I used it,” Aislin said with a fire in her voice. “And I’m glad I did because the spell just might have worked…. I just need to try it out…” Aislin looked at me. “I would like to try it out on your mom, but I understand if you want me to find another person with the Mark of Malefiscus. ”

  “Yeah, because those are easy to come by,” Alex interrupted.

  “Easier than you might think,” I said. When he gave me a confused look, I told him about the vampire as we headed for the car.

  “So, you were bit by another vampire?” Alex asked, his eyes burning wildly with rage. “Gemma—”

  I covered his mouth with my hand. “It’s okay, I killed it, everything’s good. ” I lowered my hand, shivering from the sparks that flowed at my fingertips. “Besides, we have much bigger problems to deal with. ”

  By the time we made it home, a nervous tension was bearing down on us.

  “So what do you think it means?” Alex asked. “That you’re not going to be able to save the world. ”

  We were parked in the driveway. Aislin climbed out, eager to go and try her newfound power on my mom, and Aleesa followed in after her.

  I gripped the door handle. “Oh, I’m going to save the world,” I assured him with an alarming amount of confidence. “I’m going to go up to my room and read that book from cover to cover until I find out how to get a hold of this Purple Flame. ”

  He gave me an intense look that made me squirm in my skin.

  “What?” I asked, shaking my head at the breathlessness of my voice.

  He shrugged. “It’s nothing, it’s just that you have this take charge attitude…and I kind of like it. ”

  I made no reaction as I opened my door. “Well, you need to stop looking at me like that. ”

  He kept looking at me the same way. “I’ll try, but I can’t promise anything. ”

  I tried not to smile, because I knew it was wrong, but as I turned my back to him to climb out of the car, I couldn’t do anything but smile.

  I did exactly what I said and went up to my room to look through the Foreseer’s book. Aislin was in with my mother, who had more than willingly agreed to be Aislin’s test experiment. Aislin said it might take a while to get her new power to work correctly, but once she did she would let me know if it worked. All I could do was cross my fingers that it would, not only for my mom’s sake, but for the sake of others as well. I mean, who knew how many people Stephan had marked against their will.

  But things weren’t going very well. Aislin tried all day to get the power to work, without getting any results. By the time day had crept into the late hours of the night, she was drained dry and decided to get some rest and try again tomorrow.

  But even after the house had settled into its deep sleep, I was still awake, reading through the Foreseer’s book, which seemed to be going on and on. Finally I tossed the book on the floor in frustration.

  “Why can’t I find what I need…” I trialed off as I stared at the Foreseer’s book opened u
p on the floor. The Power of a Foreseer’s Mind.

  Suddenly, I had an idea. I shut my eyes and focused all my attention on seeing what I needed. But all I could see was light. See past the light, see what you need to see. The Purple Flame…the Purple Flame…the…Purple…

  I was energized, glowing. I could feel the energy in me, about to burst like an erupting volcano.

  “Open your eyes, Gemma” a familiar voice whispered.

  I obeyed and opened my eyelids. The massive crystal ball, in the center of the City of Crystal, burned in front of me, bright like the sun. People were strapped to it, tubes embedded in their skin, feeding energy to the massive ball.

  “What you need is not in the book, Gemma,” the voice purred softly in my ear. “It’s in there. Touch it and you’ll see. ”

  I glanced at the crystal ball nervously as I stepped slowly toward it. Taking a deep breath, I reached my trembling hand out to the glowing ball. It seemed to magnetize to me, or I to it, pulling and pulling and pulling me toward it, begging us to connect. And when I placed my palm on it, a fire lit up inside me. My pulse raced as energy whipped through my body. I was charged—powerful. I pulled back, breathing heavily at the sight of the Purple Flame burning in the palm of my hand.

  The Purple Flame.

  “One of these days, you’re going to have to figure things out without me,” The voice said and this time I recognized the voice completely.

  I turned around. “Nicholas…”

  But the only thing there was the lingering smell of flowers.

  My eyes shot open and I bolted upright, lifting my hand in front of me. There was no fire burning in it. But I knew what the answer was. I knew what I had to do.

  I put my shoes on and grabbed the Traveler’s Ball that had been left on my bed, figuring it was probably best to enter the city the correct way. Then I shut my eyes, and a few seconds later, I was gone.

  Chapter 23

  I landed with the gracefulness of a cat, and I touched my finger to my shoulder blade, feeling a temporary moment of happiness for the mark. I was standing at the entrance of the cave where the red rubies waved across the snow-white crystal wall and dark red crystals pointed down from the glittering charcoal ceiling. I immediately took off towards where I knew the massive crystal ball burned bright, my feet softly thudding against the translucent crystal floor that covered the flowing midnight river. I ran passed the area where Laylen had knocked Nicholas out once, and charged by where Alex, Laylen and I had made our escape from the Death Walkers. I reached the pair of silver doors with the Foreseers mark on top and slipped quietly into the room.

  My stomach instantly rolled at the sight of the bodies strapped to the giant crystal. Just like the first time I had been here, their eyes were still shut, their bodies still slack with tubes sticking out of their skin.

  I walked towards the massive crystal ball, shining so brightly it hurt my eyes. Yet, I didn’t look away. I held my breath and tried to block out the human bodies on each side of me as leaned forward and put my hand to the crystal. Energy zapped through my body and my heart sped up so fast I thought it was going to explode out of my chest. I couldn’t breathe. It was too much. I yanked my hand back and gasped at the sight of the Purple Flame burning in the palm of my hand.