The lost soul, p.28
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       The Lost Soul, p.28

         Part #1 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 28

  “Because your soul is the only one powerful enough to make this happen. You know, I’ve never lost a soul before, until you. ” She eyes Laylen. “And I chose him due to his insignificance. I need someone for Alexander—for my Lost Soul that I can’t entirely control. Alexander still shares some love for my sisters, but he will be mine. And I don’t want to rule the world alone. If I’d have chosen Alex, your bond would have gotten in the way. You two would have probably ended up possessing the world on your own. ” She shakes her head and chuckles at the idea. “But now I have you and Alex is a human—he’s vulnerable by his love. ” She inches her face closer to mine, petals encrusting her hair. “You can control him, which is just what I need. ”

  I hate her plan and I hate that I have to go along with it. I could run, free myself from her. But I’m her puppet now, bound by invisible strings only she can control.

  “You’ll have fun with this,” she promises with a wicked glint in her hollow eyes. “Think about it. For your entire life you’ve been joined to another by blood. But now you’re free. You can have anyone you want. ”

  My gaze flits to Laylen, who watches me with passion. It makes me uneasy, yet alive at the same time. He’s Aislin’s. No, he’s yours. I think about touching him, running my fingers down his lean arms. But I won’t give in.

  “Fight it all you want,” she says and I want to claw her eyes out for doing this to me. “You’ll give in eventually, which is just what I want. ” She turns her back on us sidling for the willow tree. “Men are toys, Gemma. Nothing more. The sooner you learn that, the easier things will be. ”

  Once she’s secured under the shelter of the branches, she gives one last satisfied smile and then the tree excavates into the ground. She leaves the hybrid Lost Souls behind, who wait for instructions. Helena didn’t leave any, but my mind’s connected to hers now, and I know what I’m supposed to do.

  “Go on,” I tell them. “Go find yourself some bodies to possess. ” They soar to the air, happy and eager to ruin many lives. “And good ones too—ones that will help us. ”

  Laylen threads his fingers through my hand. “What now beautiful?”

  I hike for the car, steering him with me. “Now we get my Foreseer power back. ”

  He weaves around a large bush, never letting go of my hand. “What for?”

  I sigh, hating the plan, but also loving it. “So I can free my father. ” I pause and he looks at me enquiringly. “Because without him, I won’t be able to alter Helena’s vision—the one that will free her from The Afterlife and give her Alexander. ”

  Chapter 25

  Alex is sitting on the front porch steps when we drive up to the castle. There’s a cup of coffee steaming beside his hip. He’s wearing faded jeans, no shirt, and the sun highlights the definitions in his bare chest. There are remnants of my bite marks on the base of his throat. The flames of the Keeper’s mark ripple with the movement of his muscles as he stands to greet us.

  “You left this morning. ” He nods at his car. “And you stole my car. ”

  I hand him the keys and bat my eyelashes at him. “Sorry, I really needed to borrow it. ” Weird. The only time I’ve batted my eyelashes is when something’s been stuck in them.

  His eyebrows furrow and he shoves the keys into his pocket. “Where’d you go?”

  Laylen speaks for me. “She had to come and pick me up. ” He struts by Alex, intentionally clipping his shoulder. “I was having a bit of a blood thirst relapse and this beautiful girl helped me out, just like she did last time. ”

  “Which time?” Alex grits through his teeth, fists clenched.

  Laylen smirks, raising his eyebrows implying.

  My lips stutter over and over again as I try to spit out that it isn’t what he’s thinking. “It’s n-not—I can’t—he didn’t…” I stomp my foot as Helena’s voice cackles in my head.

  Laylen knocks his shoulder into Alex’s one more time before vanishing into the castle.

  Alex turns to me, baffled. “Is he okay?”

  I nod. “There was a little incident, but it wasn’t bad. ”

  He judges my neck and wrists. “Are you okay?”

  “Yeah. ” I give his hand a gentle squeeze and force a smile. “I’m fine. It’s not what you think. ”

  Relief washes over him. Gripping my hand, he takes us into the foyer. The glass has been cleaned up, the end table repaired, and there’s plastic covering the broken front door window.

  “Aislin came back today,” he says. “She distracted herself by cleaning up. ”

  “Did she get the realm shut down in her closet?”

  “What realm?”

  I pull a whoops face and my shoulders slump. “I thought you knew about that. ”

  He trots up the stairs, not releasing my hand, and barges into Aislin’s room. Aislin’s folding clothes on her bed, a frown on her makeup free face. She wears a baggy t-shirt and some frayed denim shorts.

  “What’s your problem?” Alex does a double take at her untidy appearance.

  She folds a pink t-shirt and drops it onto a stack of shirts. “I’m tired, okay. Being stupid is exhausting. I kept doing these weird things and my brain wouldn’t shut up with mundane thoughts. ”

  Alex charges for the closet and I shout as he jerks the door open. My voice trails off at the sight of the bare closet, crammed with hangers and clothes, but no sprites.

  “You shut it down?” I ask her.

  Her throat bobbles as she swallows hard. She absentmindedly picks up a pair of jeans. “Yep, it’s shut down. ”

  Alex slams the closet door. “Aislin, we’re going to get Aleesa out of there, but we have to do it the smart way, okay? No more portals or sprites. ”

  She nods, frowning and avoiding his gaze. She’s holding a secret.

  “It’s okay,” he tells her. “We all make mistakes. ”

  “Some just worse than others. ” Laylen stands in the entranceway, a hand placed on each side of the doorframe. “Isn’t that right, Alex?”

  Alex gives him a bored expression. “I don’t know what the hell your problem is, but you need to chill the heck out. What is it? The lingering sensation of blood or something?”

  “What?!” Aislin cries, clutching a lavender skirt in her hand. “You drank blood again?”

  Laylen’s hands drift from the doorframe. He brushes by Alex and me, heading for Aislin’s bed.

  “It was a onetime slip up, baby. ” He lays it on real thick. He kisses her forehead and his lips trace little flutters down her jawline. I want to hit her. Or at least Helena does.

  “Laylen,” she pushes on his chest, protesting. “You can’t just kiss me and everything’s fine. ”

  “Why not?” Laylen mumbles, lips humming along her neck.

  Alex nods his head at the door. “Let’s give them some privacy. ”

  I vacillate and then follow. My top agenda is to get a poor little soul to commit themselves to the crystal ball in the center of the City of Crystal. And I know the perfect soul. The evil laughs inside me and the good gasps in horror. I wonder how long it will be until I only hear one voice. And which one will it be?

  We wander to Alex’s room where he tries to pull me down on the bed, ready for a little lip action.

  I shake my head, pinning him down to the bed. “I can’t right now. I have a dirty deed I gotta take care of. ”

  He cocks an eyebrow, his hands sneaking up the front of my shirt. “What kind of dirty deed?”

  I snatch hold of his hands right as they reach the bottom of my bra. A craving burns in me. I fling his hands up above his head, confining them. “I said not now. Later, after I take care of something. ” I let go and back up. “I’ll be back in a while. ” His mouth hangs open as I leave the room.

  At the edge of the lake, I rest on the shore. The sand is rough against my skin and the icy water seeps through my shoes. Lucinda’s pet fey searches the edge of the water for me, pissed off, knowing what I really am. A
Black Widow scurries in a tree branch, weaving an intricate web in the leaves. I shut my eyes, picturing exactly what I want. “Nicholas, Nicholas, where are you?” Somehow I know he can hear me.

  ***

  “You rang?”

  My head is packed with darkness, but Nicholas’ voice is as real as it gets.

  “I thought that might work,” I say, turning in the darkness. “I’m seriously starting to wonder if you sit around all day waiting for me to doze off. ”

  “Yep, you caught me Gemma. ” His voice is rich with sarcasm. “I sit around all day pining for you. Honestly, I think it’s the other way around. ”

  “Sure you do. ” My eyes are like a cat’s, darting through the dark until I spot the outline of his medium build. Skulking near him, I capture his hand without him knowing. “You’re right. I’m secretly in love with you. I dream about you all day and night. I can’t help myself. ”

  “Your sarcasm is completely uncalled for. ” I trace the creases between his fingers and his heart accelerates. I smile wickedly at myself. “Can you do me a favor? Can you take me somewhere?”

  “Now why would I do that?” He pretends to be cool, but his voice is off pitch.

  I trail my finger up his arm and hook it in the collar of his shirt, summoning him closer. “I think the question is why wouldn’t you?”

  Every muscle in his body stiffens and I know I have him. “Where do you want to go?”

  “To your house,” I say innocently.

  “You can’t go into the City of Crystal. ” His voice cracks. “Not without breaking the rules. ”

  “So break them,” I brush a finger across his lips. “For me. ”

  His breathing quickens. “Okay. ” He surrenders faster than he ever has. He takes my hand and dances us away to the front of his crystal house. He starts to run for the door, elation in his steps, as if he thinks something magical is about to happen. And it is. For me anyway.

  I direct my feet to the middle of the city where the colossal crystal ball fires energy.

  “Where are you going?” he calls out.

  I don’t answer, picking up my pace. My sandals clink on the glass floor as I zigzag up the path. Nicholas stumbles after me, demanding that I stop—that he’ll get in trouble. I ignore him, knocking the door off the hinges as I storm inside the room.

  The ball infernos as radiantly as I remember. Chains and tubes twine human bodies to the magnificent crystal. Each person is silent, stuck in a stupor of energy suckage. My body comes alive at the sight.

  Nicholas crashes into me. “You’re going to get caught,” he pants, his arms coming down violently on my shoulders. “Dyvinius will know you’re in here. ”

  “I’ll be long gone before he does. ” I cock my head to the side, fascinated by the bodies and the way the tubes feed off their blood and convert it into energy.

  He tugs on my shoulder, wanting me to face him. I do, but only because I want to.