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The Underworld, Page 25

Jessica Sorensen

Page 25


  With every chained up person I went by, I grew more nauseous. Yes, Laylen had warned me that what I would see would be bad, but I never pictured it like this…so sickening. What made it even worse was that it wasn’t just the chains that were securing the people to the enormous crystal ball. There were also tubes coming out of their skin that extended up to the crystal ball, like how an IV attaches to its a bag.

  If this was how Foreseers collected their energy, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a Foreseer anymore. If you asked me, Foreseers weren’t much better than Water Faeries. Whether they were feeding off humans fear, or their energy, they were still feeding off of them.

  My sickening feeling nearly exploded out of me when I spotted Alex chained to the crystal ball, tubes jabbing out of him.

  “Laylen!” I yelled as I ran up to Alex’s lifeless body. “Over here. ”

  For a moment I just stood there, staring at Alex, in a state of shock. But then I snapped out of it and began pulling the tubes out of his skin, one by one. They were small tubes and didn’t go in very deep, but each one left a tiny hole that dripped blood. “Laylen!” I yelled louder, looking for a way to get the chains off of Alex. “How the heck do I get these unlocked?”

  Alex’s eyes shot open, and I let out a gasp. He stared at me, his normally bright green eyes dulled over, and I wondered if he even recognized me. He looked so…weak. I had never seen Alex look so weak. It was strange.

  “Are you okay?” I asked worriedly.

  He opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out.

  “Laylen!” I yelled, for a third time. Where was he? Had something happened to him? I started to freak.

  “Coming,” I heard him say. And then he was right next to me. “Hold onto him,” he instructed, grabbing the chains.

  I don’t know why, but I hesitated. Not because I was afraid to touch Alex or anything. Well, okay, maybe a little, but it was also because he looked so breakable.

  “Gemma,” Laylen said with urgency, and I quickly wrapped my arms around Alex, ignoring the fact that a) he was shirtless and b) his skin, although cold and clammy, still spun a fiery amount of electricity that made my skin smolder.

  I held onto Alex as Laylen snapped the chains like twigs. Alex fell onto me like a hundred and eighty pound weight, and I almost buckled to the floor. But thankfully, Laylen caught him before I did.

  “Excellent catching skills,” Laylen joked, flopping Alex’s arm over his shoulder, and balancing all of his weight on him.

  “Hey, I never claimed to have them,” I said. “Besides I’m not a half-vampire, half-Keeper who is freakishly strong. ”

  “Would you two stop messing around and get us out of here before we get caught. ” The frail voice came from Alex. His eyes were still closed and he was leaning on Laylen.

  “Yeah, let’s get out of here,” I put one hand on Laylen and one hand on Alex, then shut my eyes, crossing my fingers I’d be able to get all three of us out of here, and back to Adessa’s, safely.

  “Don’t do anything from in here,” Alex said, his voice sounded the slightest bit stronger. “There’s too much power in here…you’ll end up hurting yourself. ”

  I glanced at the crystal ball blazing vibrantly, and at the people chained to it. “Maybe we should help them. ”

  Alex’s eyelids slowly lifted open. “No, we have to go. You never should have come here. ”

  I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off of the chained up people, feeling a ping of guilt building in my gut. I used their energy every time I touched a crystal ball. Maybe even when I didn’t. And now I was supposed to leave and use their energy again.

  “Even if you let them go, there’d be no way for you to get them all out of here,” Alex told me.

  I swallowed hard and tore my eyes away from the people. “Okay, let’s go. ”

  Fortunately, Laylen was strong enough to hold Alex up as we headed out of the room and moved back down the cave, distancing ourselves from the massive crystal ball. Alex was really struggling to walk, his feet practically dragging across the translucent crystal floor.

  “How far away do we need to go?” I asked Alex as we headed toward the spot where Laylen and I had entered the cave.

  “Farther than this,” he said, his eyelids fluttering as he forced them open.

  So we went further and, for some stupid reason, it never dawned on us that we might run into a very awake Nicholas, until we actually did. But Nicholas wasn’t what was sending my pulse racing like a jackhammer. It was the three Death Walkers standing next to him, the hood of their black cloaks caped over their heads; the glow of their yellow eyes reflecting across the translucent crystal floor.

  “Crap!” I cried, at the same time Laylen screeched to a halt.

  “Okay, time to get us out of here,” Laylen said as the three Death Walkers and Nicholas hurried toward us.

  I grabbed a hold of Laylen and Alex, closed my eyes, and pictured Adessa’s living room; the dark blue walls, the purple velvet couches, and the black and white checkerboard floor.

  “Gemma,” Laylen voice was full of fear. “Please hurry. ”

  I opened my eyes and saw that the Death Walkers were close. The air was slowly descending to a frosty chill, dotting my skin with goose bumps. I squeezed my eyes shut. Concentrate.

  But nothing happened.


  Still nothing.

  Fog laced the air as the temperature continued to plunge. I was in full panic mode, trying to force us to leave this awful place. But I just couldn’t do it.

  “Gemma. ” Alex’s soft voice made me open my eyes.

  His eyes were locked on mine; some of the brightness had returned to them. “Don’t focus on them. In fact, pretend they’re not even there. ”

  I gave him an are-you-crazy look. Pretend that three ice-death machines weren’t running straight at us.

  Alex slid his arm off Laylen and placed a hand on each side of my face, so I couldn’t turn my head. “Pretend they’re not there. ”

  As I stared into his eyes; my heart rate began to slow, and my nervousness and fear floated away. I felt a delicate spark, and then I felt myself being yanked.

  I thought I’d done it. I thought I’d managed to get us out of there unharmed, but a set of sub-zero fingers seized hold of my arm, thrusting a crackle of cold through my body. I screamed, suspended somewhere between being in the City of Crystal and traveling back to Adessa’s. My limbs acted as a tug-a-war rope, the Death Walker pulling me one way, and my Foreseer ability trying to pull me the other. I wasn’t even sure if I was still holding onto Laylen and Alex—my body was too numb from the cold to feel anything.

  I let out another scream as the Death Walker jerked me toward it, and I could see its glowing-yellow eyes only inches away from me.

  “No!” I yelled. “No!” It was not going to end up this way. I would get us out of here. I forced myself to breath. . . relax…focus. I tried to ignore the monster that had a hold of me and mentally pictured Adessa’s living room. There was a loud snap, and then a burst of images flipped through my mind…the Wyoming mountains…Adessa’s…desert…snow…lake.

  And then…nothing.

  Chapter 21

  The next thing I knew I was laying face first on the ground, my body sore from head-to-toe. I wondered if that snap I’d heard was my bones breaking from the Death Walker’s death-grip pull. But as I pushed myself up, all my limbs seemed to be intact. The only thing wrong with me was that my arm was tinged a purplish-blue from where the Death Walker had grabbed me.

  I knew right away I wasn’t in the City of Crystal. It was too warm for Death Walkers to be nearby. So that was good, I guess. But I couldn’t see my surroundings. Everything was all hazy, just like back when I first started going into visions and the peoples’ faces would be blurred over. But this wasn’t faces; it was everything. I had no clue where I was. Somewhere bright…and by the greenish shade the haze held, I w
ondered if I could be outside. I could also make out the faintest orange glow up above me that had to belong to the sun.

  But why couldn’t I see anything? And where were Alex and Laylen?

  I shook my head and blinked my eyes, as if that might help. But it didn’t.

  “Hello,” I shouted, starting to move through the haziness, feeling a little bit dizzy and queasy. “Alex! Laylen!”


  “Dammit,” I cursed. What was happening to me? First I’d gotten stuck in a vision, and now I was, what? Stuck in between one?

  I kept walking, trying to stay calm, but it was hard to do because I couldn’t tell where I was. In fact, everything was so out of whack, including my senses, that for all I knew I could have been flying.

  I called out a few more times, but each time I got no response.

  “Okay,” I told myself, “calm down and focus. ” I took a deep breath and tried to focus on my surroundings. I let me eyes relax and tried not to think of anything else. Gradually, bit by bit, things started to shift into focus…the trees around me…the sky above me…the lake below me.

  The lake!

  A spilt second later I was submerged in the cold water. I kicked and paddled, trying to tear my way back to the surface, but not knowing how to swim was making it difficult. Water was seeping into my mouth. My oxygen was diminishing.

  I was going to drown.

  And then something remarkable occurred. I felt someone fold their arms around me and before I knew it I was breaking through the surface of the water. The sunlight, trees, and sky had never looked so lovely in my entire life. Along with Laylen’s bright blue eyes, which were watching me, as he kept us both afloat.

  “One of these days,” he said breathlessly. “I’m going to have to teach you how to swim. ”

  I didn’t say anything because I was too busy hacking my guts out.

  Laylen swam us to shore, and we both collapsed onto the muddy grass, where we laid on our backs and stared up at the bright blue sky, the sunlight stinging at my eyes. After I finished catching my breath, I rolled over and looked at the Keepers grey stone castle soaring off in the distance. My gaze wandered over to Laylen, lying there on the ground, his damp hair glistening in the sunlight, beads of water glittering on his pale skin. If it wouldn’t have been for him, I might be dead right now—he’d saved me from drowning.

  “Where’s Alex?” I asked him. “Did he make it here with us?”

  “Yeah, he made it. ” Laylen squinted against the sunlight with his arm flopped across his forehead. “I left him back there,” he pointed behind us, “when I saw you drowning in the lake. He’s still a little weak. ” He gave a short pause. “Gemma, what happened back there? Why did we end up here…were you thinking about taking us to The Underworld?”

  “No,” I said, a little offended he’d think that. “I was trying to take us back to Adessa’s, but the Death Walker grabbed hold of my arm,” I raised my arm up to show him the faint bluish-purple fingerprints that still marked my skin. “I kept trying to get us away, but then there was this snap…and I don’t know, a bunch of different images started flashing through my mind. Then the next thing I knew I was here, but everything was all blurry, and I couldn’t see I was on the lake until it was too late. ”