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The lost soul, p.27
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       The Lost Soul, p.27

         Part #1 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 27

 

  My confidence falters. “Yeah. ”

  He unhooks the rope and steps aside. People waiting in line shoot me dirty looks and some even bare their fangs. Inside, the air reeks of cigar smoke, sweat, and rust. There’s a mob of people chatting in a slender hallway with blood red walls and an ash black floor. I pat my empty pockets, wishing I had brought my cell phone.

  There are vampires, witches, and fey all over the place. My first instinct is to shield my eyes with my hand. Back when Stephan ruled, my violet eyes were a dead giveaway I was the star. You’re not the star anymore, though. You are a normal girl. One that will rule the world.

  I shake the disturbing thought away and weave through the crowd of people. The end of the hall opens up into a large dancing area and a bar. I’m verging nineteen and wonder if I’m old enough to be in here. Although, if I’m not, I don’t think anyone would care.

  A woman no more than a few years older than me, wearing a bright pink dress dances on the countertop, holding a margarita glass. I think she might be dinner with the way a row of vampires watch her, dressed in their black clothes, mouths watering.

  One of her high heels suddenly snaps and she nose-dives to the floor. The vampires lunge out of their stools, plummeting for her.

  The floor vibrates under my feet as a large group of people sway to Deftone’s “Change. ” I turn to head back, overwhelmed by the amount of people, most who aren’t human, when someone rams into my shoulder.

  “Oh my God, I’m so sorry. ” The women in the florescent pink dress stands beside me, pinching the stem of the margarita glass, the rim chipped and the base cracked. There are bite marks on her neck and blood stains the tip of her auburn hair. “I apologize for my misstep,” she shouts over the music. “But I’m supposed to take you somewhere. ”

  I shake my head, backing through the crowd. “Um… No thanks. I’ve gotta go. ”

  “No, no, no, no, no. ” She drops the cup to the ground and it shatters. “I’m not going to hurt you, but you have to come with me, okay?” Without permission, she takes my arm and leads me through the crowd.

  I consider bolting, but curiosity keeps me going. There’s a stack of stairs that spiral to the ceiling. We wind up, the railing wobbling with our movements. The top merges with a hallway where the music dissipates the farther down we go. At the end is a door.

  She lets go of my arm. “This is a really great place, isn’t it?” She walks inside.

  Smoke swirls around in my head and cold crackles my body. Laylen told me once that vampires like the cold temperature. I assume the men sitting at the elliptical shaped table are vampires. They hold cards in their hands and have stacks of poker chips in front of them.

  I hug my arms around myself and stand in the doorway, gawking at them like an idiot. “Why did you bring me here?” I whisper to the girl, only to realize she’s moved to the opposite side of the room.

  She places her hands on the back of a chair. The person who occupies it has their head tipped down, scrutinizing the cards they were dealt. She cups her hand around his ear and whispers something to him. When he peers up, I about buckle over.

  “Laylen. ” My jaw drops.

  He grins lazily, his blue eyes burrowing under my skin. I shiver, heart knocking. My body centers to him. Suddenly I need to be near him. But not too fast. He needs to know he belongs to me, not the other way around. He grabs the back of the girl’s head and slowly brings her neck to his lips. Sinking his teeth into her skin, he drinks until she stumbles. He releases her and wipes his bloody lips with the back of his hand. I want to run—find Aislin and Alex and tell them Laylen’s having another meltdown. But my legs keep moving until I’m right beside his chair.

  He dismisses the girl with a wave of his hand. “Hey beautiful,” he says with a charming smile.

  I smile back. He sets the cards face down on the table and pulls me onto his lap.

  The man beside him waggles his eyebrows at me. He’s young, no older than Laylen, with spiky black hair and eyes like a storm. My hand takes on a life of its own and I reach over and slap him on the face.

  His fair skin reddens. He tosses the cards on the table and the room hushes. “Who brought this little bitch in here?” His anger makes me feel powerful.

  “What do you think?” Laylen asks me. “Should I make him suffer? Or kill him?”

  “Make him suffer,” I answer, tracing my finger along his jaw. “Forever. ” I slide off his lap and wait.

  “He can’t hurt me, little girl. ” The vampire snaps his fangs at me.

  Seconds tick by while Laylen studies his fingernails. “What’d you think? Has it been long enough?”

  I tip my head back and laugh. “Sure. ”

  Like lightening, Laylen clobber’s the guy, sealing his hand around the guy’s throat.

  “Please don’t kill me,” the vampire begs, clutching Laylen’s hand. “I’m sorry. ”

  “Say it to her,” Laylen growls, his fangs pointing from his deep red lips. “Not me. ”

  “I’m s-sorry,” he stutters. “I didn’t mean it. I swear I didn’t. ”

  Laylen glances at me. “Is he forgiven?”

  I tilt my head and stare at the vampire. Tears streak his face as he looks pleadingly into my eyes.

  “Please don’t kill me,” he sobs.

  I pat him on the head and he shuts his eyes, his shoulders quivering. “Let him go,” I tell Laylen.

  Laylen obeys and backs away. The guy cowers back and ducks under the table, rocking and cradling his legs. The rest of the room scoots back from the table. Rising to their feet, they bow their heads.

  “What happened to them hating you?” I ask Laylen. “What did you do to change it?”

  His mouth curves to a grin. “I brought you here. ” He gestures at the room. “This is all for you, Gemma. They respect you, because they know who you are. ”

  I take in the somber scenery of the room. “And who am I?”

  “You’re the Queen’s connection to the Human Realm,” he says. “You’re the one who will free her. ”

  My gaze runs along the line of vampires. “And who are they?”

  “They’re your Lost Souls. ” He twirls a strand of my hair around his finger.

  I run my fingers along his lips and hook my pinky through his lip ring. “And who are you?”

  He licks his lips and my finger. “I think you already know that. ”

  I draw my hand back. “You’re Alexander Avery’s connection. ”

  Chapter 24

  I feel like a new person. I’m still Gemma, but with power and a need for control. My heart is bruised with a love I never felt. I want revenge—I want the world in the palm of my hand.

  Laylen and I leave the club. I’m the driver to our next destination, because I know where we’re going. My hands grip the steering wheel as my possessed mind leads us to our next objective.

  “Did you fix the Crystal of Limitation?” I make a sharp turn and veer off the highway. I don’t bother to slow down and the car fishtails from the alteration of asphalt to dirt.

  Laylen kicks his boots up on the dashboard. “Yeah, I did. Emmelus wasn’t very cooperative. ” He cracks his knuckles and smiles to himself. “But I made it work. ”

  “So where is it?” I throttle the gas pedal, accelerating quickly up a steep hill.

  “Somewhere safe. ” He playfully pinches my thigh. “Don’t worry Gemma. We’ll pull this off. ”

  “Pull what off, though. ” I mull. “I feel like everything’s important—my power, freeing my dad, doing what Helena wants. But I still don’t get it completely. I mean, why you? Why not possess Alex?”

  He shifts his arm onto the console. “You’ll find out soon enough. ”

  Right then, we arrive at the field where Alex and I practice fighting. I slam on the brakes, grinding to a jolting stop. Laylen drops his legs from the dash and hops out of the car. He whistles happily as we walk to the middle of th
e field, where the dry grass is compressed and the flowers slowly crumble to death. It’s troubling how happy he is. But the sick twisted part of me likes it.

  “So are you ready?” He nibbles at his bottom lip, devouring me with his eyes. “Because this is all for you. ”

  “For me?” I doubt. “Or for Helena?”

  He doesn’t respond and gazes up at the dark grey sky. Clouds have swept in and thunder crashes. Blue and silver flickers of lightening touch down. The ground beneath us matches the rhythm. I close my eyes as the dirt hollows open. I feel the transfer in the air, the darkness, the imminent power. When I open my eyes, the willow tree has risen like a vampire out its coffin.

  Same scenery. Different Characters. But this is what the dream was telling me.

  Red and white rose petals funnel around us. Annabella emerges from under the tree, her red lips sealed with a secret. She wears a white flowing dress that flaps in the wind as she ambles toward us. Lightening highlights her silver eyes, which change as she gets closer. Gradually, she transforms into Helena. Her legs elongate, her eyes void into her head, and her honey hair shimmers like gold.

  “Helena,” I curtsy like a puppet.

  Helena sticks out her hand and Laylen kisses it. “You made it up here,” he says to her.

  “For a moment. ” She purses her lips, taking in the world. “I won’t be able to stay long. I can already feel it taking a toll on me—my body’s withering. ” Her skin crinkles like a wilting rose petal.

  I snatch a petal between my fingers. “Why were you disguised as Annabella? And how did you possess me?”

  She’s stunned by my reaction. “Apparently you’re not fully possessed yet. ” She gapes her mouth open, like she’s going to eat me.

  Laylen barricades his body between us. “Don’t be too hard on her. She’s here isn’t she?”

  The Queen’s eyes shoot daggers. “The thing with mortals is that they can’t understand immortal power. Take for instance, creating new breeds. ” She waves her hand and a mob of Lost Souls swish out from beneath the canopy of the branches. They’re the strange looking ones, desiccated and wispy. “You find a way, Gemma. ” She paces in front of us, her hands overlain behind her. “Sure I had to correlate with Lucinda. ” Her murderous gaze narrows at Laylen. “She would give anything to have Alexander back, something I used to my advantage. I convinced her to create Lost Soul hybrids and create a loophole for your immunity against a Lost Soul possession. We did a little test run on you while you were down in The Underworld, but it still didn’t work completely. You’re too powerful, which is why I like you. ”

  That explains the weird connection I feel with The Underworld. “But I’m immune against death possession. And your death. ”

  “Not with Annabella inside me. ” She smirks proudly. “Essence is life in a sense, therefore, my last and final loophole. ”

  “Why me, though?” I wave my hand at Laylen. “And why him?”