The Underworld, Page 30Jessica Sorensen
“Nope. Never as in never. ”
“So you’ve never bitten anyone before…Ever. ”
He shook his head. “No, you’re the first. ”
Wow. I stood there, taking in the heaviness of the situation. What if, because he brought them out, he changed? What if he started to become blood hungry? It would be my fault because I made him bite me. But he would’ve died if he hadn’t. Especially since Alex had been moving at the pace of a turtle, which I was hoping wasn’t done intentionally. But Alex is Alex and you can never put anything past him.
I chose to keep all of this to myself, though. There was no use letting Laylen in on my thoughts of whether or not he was going to go insane and start biting people. I was just going to have to make sure to keep an eye on him.
“Okay,” Alex announced as he stepped outside, a bell dinging as the door swung shut. “Aislin and Adessa are leaving the house now—well, Aislin is, and Adessa’s going to go stay with some friends of hers until we let her know it’s safe for her to return home. ”
“And where are we going?” I asked, glancing anxiously at a large Chevy truck turning into the gas station parking lot.
“We are driving,” he answered.
“Driving?” I repeated. Driving seemed like such an amateur thing to do. “Why can’t we just have Aislin transport us? Or maybe I could get us somewhere since I can now use my Foreseer power to travel to places. ”
“No. ” He moved right in front of me, his bright green eyes gleaming in the neon pink glow of the flashing “Open” sign. “We’re not transporting because there’s no way we can get to Aislin or Adessa without the fear of them being followed. ”
“But I could—”
“And we’re not using your Foreseer abilities anymore until we know for sure that you know how to use them. ”
“I know how to use them. I got us to the Black Dungeon perfectly fine, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, but you’re tired. ” He gave me an intense look, before looking away at the silent street. “I can feel it. ”
I focused on the electric buzz, and it did seem very faint—a soft hum instead of fiery sparkles. “Well, so are you,” I pointed out.
“Exactly. We all are. ” He looked at Laylen. “So for now, I think it would be best if we drove. It gives us a chance to rest. And besides, since our location will constantly be changing, it’ll make it harder for Nicholas to track us down. Showing up in a moving vehicle is basically impossible to do. ”
“But what about when we stop?” I asked.
“We’ll make limited stops, and I won’t make the decision to stop until a few seconds beforehand,” Alex ran his hands through his very messy and not in an-intentional-done kind-of- way hair. “That way he’ll have very short notice on where we’ll be at. ”
“You think that’ll work?” Laylen asked, moving away from the gas station entrance doors so a man wearing a red baseball cap could go inside.
“Honestly,” he shook his head, “I have no idea if it will, but it’s all I got right now so…”
“So, where’s this car we’re supposed to be driving?” Laylen asked. “And where are we going to be driving it to?”
“That’s for me to know. ” Alex started across the gas station parking lot.
I headed after him, the gravel cutting into by bare feet. “You’re not going to tell us?” I asked, not surprised, but irritated.
He came to a stop so rapidly I just about ran straight into him. The electricity awoke from its lazy slumber, reacting excitedly.
He turned around with very serious expression on his face. “Look,” he said. “I understand it’s your nature to want to know things, but it’s best if only I know where we’re going. If Nicholas is trying to track you, it’ll be easier for him if you’re thinking about where we’re headed. ”
Whether his plan made sense or not, I gave in because I didn’t have a better idea. “Okay then,” I said. “Let’s go get a car. ”
Turns out Adessa had a friend who would lend us their car, or an SUV I guess I should say. The beastly thing could in no way qualify as a car. The colossal SUV—a shiny black Chevy Tahoe—had tires as tall as my legs and a lift to add even more height. I practically had to high jump into it. Then after I made it inside, I had to wait around while Alex and Laylen argued over who was going to drive the beast.
Finally, they decided that Laylen would go first since apparently he felt very wired and awake. So we pulled out of the parking garage and onto a main road of Vegas, where Alex told Laylen to drive to the freeway and head east.
As I sat there on the sticky backseat, staring out the window—at the stars of course—I couldn’t help but think about how much trouble we were in now that it seemed Nicholas was helping Stephan. With Stephan having a Foreseer on his side, it was going to make tracking us down much easier. In fact, I was surprised he hadn’t already, which made me question just what Nicholas was up to. He had me right there when he pretended to help me, so why not turn me over?
At least we were in a moving vehicle now, and if what Alex said was true then we were safe for the moment.
The longer we drove, the dimmer the florescent lights of Vegas became, until they were completely tucked away behind the sandy hills. I let out a yawn as I stared up at the sliver streams of stars, questioning my whole existence. Why was I here? I mean, if the star’s energy was being used to open the portal, then didn’t it mean I was as well? It was in me, therefore I would be responsible for the portal opening and ending the world.
Well, that was a heavy thought.
“You should get some sleep. ”
I tore my eyes away from the stars and my very unsettling thoughts and found Alex watching me from the front seat.
“It’s late,” he said. “And we have a ways to go. ”
“I’m not really tired,” I said, even though I yawned about ten times in the last few minutes.
“Well, you should try to get some sleep, anyway, just in case something happens. ” He ran his fingers though his hair and turned away. “And I know you’re tired. I can feel it. ”
This whole new “I-can-feel-your-tired-and-you-can-feel-I’m-tired” thing was weird. But I guess everything between Alex and I was a little weird so…
I rested my head against the cool, hard glass of the window, and within seconds my eyelids had drifted shut.
Bright light. Bright light everywhere.
I belonged here—I could feel. I belonged in the bright white light.
Peaceful, calm—this was my end.
The light sparkled across my skin, enveloping me in a blanket of warmth.
I’d been here before, in a vision. Nicholas had said it was my end. And as I stood here in the bright light, I knew he was right. This is where I would end up…
My eyes shot open, and for a moment I couldn’t figure out where I was. Somewhere dark. And warm. Then it dawned on me. I was in a car, headed to who knows where. I was also lying down on the seat, the leather pressing warmly against my cheek.
The whole light dream I had was making me freak out a little, especially because Nicholas had told me that the light vision I’d went into meant my future was dead. And now I was dreaming about it. That couldn’t be good.
From the front seats, Alex and Laylen were chatting about cars, like they were two normal guys, which I guess was a good thing—at least they weren’t fighting. But it was still strange to hear a normal conversation that didn’t center on Death Walkers, Foreseers, or the end of the world.
“No. There’s no way your GTO could beat my Camaro,” Alex was saying, sounding a little worked up. “Are you freaking kidding me with this?”
“No I’m not freaking kidding you with this,” Laylen replied calmly. “I bet you hands down that my car could take your car any day. ”
“Bull,” Alex said. “You know I would win, you just won’t admit it. ”
I decided th
at I’d rather be sleeping than listening to this. But right as I was shutting my eyes, Laylen said something that made me open them right back up.
“I’ll tell you what,” he said. “I’ll admit that you might be right, if you’ll admit that you like Gemma. ”
“If I told you that then I’d be lying,” Alex said, sounding as if he meant it. “Well, at least not in the sense that you’re implying. ”
Ouch, that stung.
They were silent. The only sound came from the rumble of the tires and the low hum of the song purring from the stereos speakers—“Epiphany” by Staind.
“Okay Alex,” Laylen said, in an ‘I’m-going-to-lay-it-out-for-you’ kind of way. “I think you like her. In fact I think you always have and always will. Now whether or not you’ll admit it is your problem. All I care about is that you lay off her. You can be a real jerk to her—to everyone really, but it’s worse for her because she’s new to feeling things. ”
This conversation, for some reason, was making me feel very uncomfortable. But I didn’t know how to block it out. Cover my ears? Yeah, then they’d know I was awake and listening.
“You need to shut up,” Alex said, his anger blaring in his voice. “I don’t feel that way about her. Never have, never will. ”
“Yeah, because you don’t care about anything,” Laylen told him. “You never have. Well, I take that back. You use to be normal until Gemma was sent away, then you basically just shut off. Maybe you should just think about why that is? Why would you change right when she left?”
“Because everyone will hurt you if you let them in,” Alex muttered as if he was quoting someone.
“What?” Laylen asked. “What does that mean?”
“Nothing. Just drop it. ” Alex turned up the volume of the music, and the conversation was dropped.
I laid there for awhile with my eyes open, pondering everything. My feelings. My mom. What Alex had said. “Everyone will hurt you if you let them in. ” I wondered if he really believed it.
I felt very strange, my emotions running all over the place, almost like the prickle was malfunctioning or something.
And maybe it was.
Maybe I was broken.
When I woke up, the first thing I noticed was that the SUV was stopped. I sat up in the seat, wondering if we made it to wherever we were heading, or if something had happened. After blinking away my sleepy disorientation, I realized we were just at a gas station, getting gas.
Laylen was outside, pumping gas into the SUV, and Alex was nowhere in sight.
I stifled a yawn and then stretched, wondering what time it was. The sun was beating hotly from up in the sky, and the streets that bordered the gas station were bouncing with traffic. There was an old white and green Victorian house across the road that had a sign that said Isabella’s Herb Shop. I wondered if it was the same kind of herb store as Adessa’s
Someone knocked on the window, causing me to jump. Laylen smiled at me through the glass and motioned to me to open the door.