The promise, p.27
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       The Promise, p.27

         Part #4 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
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Page 27


  I banged on the door, causing an eruption of howls from the neighborhood dogs.

  Open up! I know you re in there.

  Next door, an old woman stepped out onto her porch.

  Keep it down. We don t want any nonsense.

  I banged on the door again, this time louder.

  No one lives there,

  the old woman hissed, tying her robe.

  Now leave or I ll call the police.

  I shook my head, giving the door a good hard kick, and then I stomped down the stairs, grabbing Aislin by the arm and headed down the street.

  Where are we going?

  Aislin trotted to keep up.

  Just keep walking.

  I glanced over my shoulder at the old woman who was still watching us. I turned the corner, rounding the back, and hopped over the fence to the back door.

  Wait here,

  I instructed and left Aislin on the bottom steps.

  I checked the back door and the window, but both were locked. I kicked the house.

  Dammit! I don t have time for this crap.

  I punched my fist through the window, cutting my knuckles.

  Alex! Aislin cried over the howl of the dogs, but I was already diving headfirst through the window.

  Her wail blasted my ears as soon as I hit the floor. I didn t bother taking out my knife, because I was already giving her what she wanted. I ran up the stairs and kicked down the door.

  Way to make an entrance,

  the Banshee sung from the windowsill, her blond hair white in the pale moonlight.

  But you could have just knocked.

  I took a deep breath, ready to make my offer, but she held up her hand.

  Let me guess,

  she said, whisking from the window.

  You found your mother, but now she s trapped in the Afterlife, paying her debt until Helena will let her walk the world again.

  I started to nod, but then shook my head.

  But that s not why I m here.

  Her eyes were curious, her smile malicious.

  Then tell me, what do you want from me?

  She circled, tracing her finger across my shoulder.

  I can be very giving if asked the right question.

  I clutched my hands into fists, knowing this wasn t easy. But it was right. And that was all that matter.

  I m ready to make a bargain with you.

  A few minutes later, I returned outside, this time using the door. Aislin was waiting for me on the steps, in the crisp snow, shivering and chattering.

  Can we go now? I m freezing my butt off.

  You should have worn a jacket,

  I handed her mine.

  I didn t even think about it.

  She put the jacket on and zipped it up.

  All I could think about was you saying you re going to die.

  I rubbed my hands across my face, taking in what I d just done. I felt different, sacred, but less burdened.

  It ll be okay. You ll be okay.

  She kicked her boots at the snow.

  I know you think this is how this is supposed to work, but why can t someone save you too?

  Because I m not worth it.

  I stared at the sky.

  I ve lived my life, did a lot of crappy things, and now it s time to make up for it.

  She sucked back the tears and sniffled.

  You re not as bad as you think you are, Alex. And I think Gemma would agree with me.

  I realized this was probably the last time I d see her. When I returned home, it would be time. And even though she bugged the heck out of me most days, I d still miss her. So I pulled her in for one last hug.

  Take care of yourself.

  I gave her a pat on the back.

  She nodded, sobbing, just like she always did. Then she pushed back, dabbing the tears from her eyes.

  Can we make one stop before we go back to the house?

  I asked.

  There s something I need to get.

  Where do you want to go?

  she asked.

  Hopefully somewhere easy.

  I shook my head.

  Sorry, but this is anything but easy.

  She crossed her arms defiantly.

  Then I m not going. I m so sick off this. I just want to go back and all of us live normal lives.

  That s not going to happen,

  I said with honesty.

  At least not for everyone.

  She pressed her face into her hands.

  Fine. Where to you want to go?

  My breath puffed out in front of me.

  To the Keeper s Castle.

  Are you insane?

  Her hands fell to her side.

  You do understand that s where Stephan is, right?

  Well, we re not going there to pay him a visit,

  I said.

  We re going to sneak into my room.

  Why? That seems like the last thing you should be doing right now.

  You want your power for your shield spell?

  The neighbors lights clicked on and I scooted us into the shadows.

  You remember how Gemma and I use to steal crap from Stephan all the time, just to piss him off.

  Yeah, I always thought you guys were stupid.

  She laughed her eyes wide as she stared off into empty space.

  Not stupid,

  I said.

  Smart. I have quite the collection hidden in my room.

  I m surprised you didn t give it all back to him,

  she said.

  I mean, after she left you seemed to just do what he asked.

  I motioned my hand, stirring the falling snow.

  Everything happens for a reason. Now can we go? We re running low on time.

  She glanced at the sky and nodded. Then she chanted under her breath as the snow sped us away.

  When we hit my bedroom floor, both our feet slipped out from under us. I braced myself with the bedpost but Aislin fell to the floor, her elbow cracking against the ice.

  My eyes did a quick scan of the room, making sure it was empty. There was ice everywhere, coating the walls and the floor. Icicles hung from the ceiling.

  Aislin winced, cupping her elbow as she sat up.

  What? Are they just living here now? He s really lost it, hasn t he?

  I don t think he ever had anything to lose.

  I stood, getting my balance and headed for the trapdoor. But it was frozen shut by ice.

  You got your knife on you?


  She regained her steadiness with her hands extended to the side.


  Because we re going to have to chip some ice away to get to the stuff.

  She took her knife out of her snow boot, knelt down, and stabbed at the ice.


  I sat down with my knife in my hand and shaved a layer of ice away. Aislin followed my lead and it seemed like we worked for hours, before we removed enough that I could snap the door open. Finally I glided inside, remembering the time Gemma and I hid in the space. It was one of the most unbearable moments of my life; hours seemed like days and I was surprised we even made it out alive.

  Hidden at the farthest wall was a bag. I snatched it up, rolled over, and heaved myself back up. Aislin grabbed it from me and untied it.

  Her eyes sparkled.

  Holy crap.

  She blinked at me.

  How did you get all this?

  Inside the bag were many things that contained a lot of power; The Flower of Malina, The Box of Aurora, The Dust of The Burning Bridge. To me, it had always been a bunch of useless stuff. But maybe Aislin could use the power for her spell.

  Dad s always been power crazy,

  I said.

  I just hope they ll work for you.

  So do I,

  she said enthusiastically.

  But there s only on
e way to find out for sure.

  We scared them with our sudden appearance in the middle of the living room.

  Gemma hopped to her feet, her violet eyes stormy and anxious.

  Where were you?

  She tried to sound calm, but failed.

  I had something to do before we headed to the lake.

  My hands longed to touch her, like they did last night.

  She bit at her lip, her expression loosening from wrath to uncertainty.

  So where did you go?

  Aislin and I just wanted to say our good-byes.

  I glanced at Aislin, warning her not to say anything.

  Aislin sighed and flopped down on the sofa dramatically.

  This is the most depressing day ever.

  Gemma stared at Aislin for a second, like she sensed something was up.

  So you re okay with this?

  She turned her head to me.

  You re totally on board with this plan now?

  I pressed my lips together, giving a slow nod.

  If it means saving the world & then yeah.

  She struggled not to cry as she took everything in.

  Aislin, I need you to do something.

  What s up?

  Aislin twirled her hair around her finger, her foot tapping against the floor as she tried to act normal.

  I found out how you got the shield spell and mark off Stephan,

  she said, absentmindedly touching the Foreseer mark on the back of her neck.

  You went into another vision?

  I asked.

  Gemma, I

  There s no point in arguing.

  She cut me off.

  Now let me tell her what she needs to do.

  I wondered if this was how people felt when they went into battle. If their hearts drummed, their insides shook, and their minds begged them not to go.

  I d spent so much time not really getting to know the good things in life. I d carried my father s negative energy, but I was finally shedding it.

  So we have to go to the Castle?

  Aislin asked, eyes wide as she hugged the bag.

  And all of them will be there.

  You ll be fine,

  Gemma said as I sat down on the armrest behind her, feeling the static, but not caring anymore.

  I ve seen it with my own eyes.

  Aislin reached for her herb box on the table.

  Well, let s get going, I guess.

  Don t you still need more power?

  Laylen leaned forward and picked up a baggy.

  Aislin took it from his fingers and handed him the bag we d picked up.

  Look inside.

  Laylen gave her a warily look, untied the bag, and peered in.

  Where did you get this?

  Alex had it,

  she said.

  He used to steal all kinds of stuff from Stephan when he was a kid.

  When we were kids.

  I brushed Gemma s hair with my fingers, letting her know I meant her.

  She tipped her head back and I could tell in her violet eyes she still couldn t remember.

  Aislin opened her spell book and flipped through the pages until she landed on one titled: Potentia Aufero.

  Everybody ready for this?

  she asked and no one spoke a word.

  Okay then.

  She stretched her hands and dumped the bag onto the table. Gemma gasped as strange items piled out.

  Pretty amazing, huh?

  Then Aislin s face grew serious as she hovered her hand over the pile.

  Ego hanc vim solummodo bonum. Hoc opus auxilium. Da me potestatem.

  A red diamond, shaped like a bleeding heart, flickered first. Then all the others harmonized, producing a collection of flaring colors so intense it was hard to look at it. But all four of us didn t look away, watching as the colors looped for Aislin, slipping across her hands and making her skin blaze bright. She sucked in a breath and her head rolled back.

  It s wonderful,

  she breathed, staring at her hands.

  Like &


  Gemma said quietly.

  Aislin nodded.

  Is this how you guys feel all the time?

  Gemma didn t reply, staring out the window, the sun breaking against the horizon and lighting up the world.

  Do you think it s time?

  she asked to no one in particular

  Or do you think we need to wait until later today.

  It s December 21st,

  I said.

  I m sure that s all that matters.

  I paused.

  Is that it? Do you have everything for your spell?

  Yeah, I have more than enough.

  She was still beaming over her new power.

  Then I guess we should all get going,

  Gemma said, the electricity picking up with her anxiousness.

  We all sat there, afraid to move. It was a moment of silence that could be felt around the world, as if time actually stopped for a brief second to take it all in.

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