The lost soul, p.31
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       The Lost Soul, p.31

         Part #1 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 31

 

  The door flies open and Aislin comes bustling in. “Problem!” She screams so loud my ears ring. She stutters at the sight of her bother, fully alive. “Oh my God! You’re alive. ”

  “Yeah, I—” Alex’s voice is silenced by the stampede of sprites charging through the door, ruining their hallmark moment. He curses and leaps out of bed. “I thought I told you to shut that portal down!” He dropkicks a nubby sprite and it flies out the door, crashing into a chandelier.

  Aislin dashes beside me. Her pink pajama bottoms are torn at the knee and one of the sleeves is ripped from her thermal shirt. “I did shut it down!”

  We scramble, kicking sprites as they take nips and swings at us. Some have wings, some florescent skin. Short, round, pointed teeth; not a single one of them match.

  “Then what the heck happened?!” I shout, dropping flat on the ground as a sprite zooms for my head. I jump up and kick one galloping toward me. It hits the ceiling light and falls to the bed, unconscious.

  “I screwed up. ” Her hands light up, ready to cast a spell. Alex shoots her a sharp look. “I think I accidently freed Luna. ”

  I freeze, gaping at her. “What?”

  Alex has a sprite by the hair, ready to throw it out the door. “You did what?”

  A sprite slams into my legs and knocks me to the ground. My chin and elbows bang against the stone floor and my jaw cracks. “Why you little—” I smash my shoe into its small body and it hits the wall, its big eyes crossing as it sinks to the floor. I push up and pop my jaw into place, wincing.

  “It wasn’t my fault!” she cries. “The spell was supposed to protect me, but it backfired!”

  “If I had a penny for every time you said that, I’d be filthy rich,” Alex says ruthlessly.

  “Stop it,” I intervene. “We’ve all messed up a thousand times. And right now we just need to get the hell out of here!”

  Our eyes dart to the doorway where sprites pile inside and line the wall. Luna promenades in, grinning from ear to ear. She’s as tall as my hip and her hair is a dark purple that matches her floral dress. Her skin glitters like the red teardrop pendant on her necklace.

  “Wait a minute. ” I squint at the necklace. “I’ve seen that before. ” Before I can sift through my memories to figure it out, Alex picks me up, throws me over his shoulder, and kicks open the window. I’m stunned, until I see Luna rising, taller, and taller, her head finally reaching the ceiling. I guess Nicholas wasn’t lying. Fey do have multiple identities.

  Alex doesn’t miss a beat as he leaps out the window and crashes to the ground, his Keeper strength softening the fall. Aislin follows after us, diving out backwards, and shooting balls of light from her hands.

  I climb off Alex’s shoulders and we race for the car. Luna bursts though the slope of the roof and shrieks at the top of her lungs. Birds flurry from the trees and sprites heap out of the house, charging across the lawn. We hop in Alex’s car, me on the console, and Aislin in the passenger seat.

  Aislin unnecessarily locks the door. “Go! Go!”

  Alex revs the engine and Chevelle’s “I Get It” blasts out the speakers. We skid down the driveway. Over my shoulder, I spot a giant Luna hurtling after us.

  “What does she want?!” I holler over the music. I turn around as Alex shifts gears. The force throws me backwards into the rear seat. I whirl around, my eyes glued to Luna. She thwacks trees out of her way and tramples over her sprites. Suddenly, she skids to a halt, her feet whipping up dirt and rocks. Her dark eyes watch us, her skin gleaming like a disk in the sunlight. I watch her until Alex rounds the corner and she disappears out of view. I turn around and slump against the seat, my heart knocking against my chest.

  Alex turns the volume down to a low hum. “Does anyone know what just happened?”

  “She wanted something from one of us,” I state, and then pause. “Wait. Where’s Laylen?”

  Alex starts to push on the breaks, but Aislin stops him. “Don’t worry. He went to town this morning. ” She slides her cell phone out of her pocket. “I’ll text him and let him know what’s going on. ”

  Alex accelerates, flying onto the main highway that laps around the mountains. He checks on me through the rearview mirror. “Are you okay?”

  I nod, twirling my locket. “There was something about the pendant Luna had on… I’ve seen it before. ”

  Aislin rotates in her seat. “What did it look like?”

  “It was teardrop shaped,” I say. “And red. It kind of reminded me of blood. ”

  Aislin’s eyebrows dip together. She scrolls through the screen on her phone, punching buttons. “Did it look like this?”

  I take the phone and stare at the picture of a necklace wrapped around a woman’s neck. The pendant hanging on the gold chain looks exactly like Luna’s. “Yeah, that’s it. ” I give her the phone back. “What is it?”

  Aislin frowns and reads her screen. “It’s called a Cornu Lepore. ”

  “And what does this Cornu Lepore do?” I sigh. “Because I know it does something. ”

  “It’s the charm of the Royalty Fey. ” She grips the door handle as Alex floors the Camaro over a massive pothole in the road. “Like Luna, who’s an Empress. ”

  I buckle my seatbelt. “Is there any other Royalty Fey out there? I mean, I thought Helena, Lucinda, and Annabella were all fey?”

  “Death Fey,” she says. “There’s a huge difference. ”

  Frustration bubbles up in me. I know I’ve seen the pendant before.

  “It gives them power. ” Aislin continues to read her screen. “That’s probably why Luna can grow to ten times her normal size. ”

  “It’s always gotta be about power,” Alex mutters, slowing down for a sharp turn.

  I rewind through my thoughts. Where have I seen it?

  Aislin’s phone beeps and she switches to her text messages. “Oh good. Laylen’s not even heading back to the house. ” She sighs with relief. “But Alex, you’re not going to like where he is. ”

  Alex drums his fingers on the steering wheel as we gradient down the road and pass by a cemetery. “Lay it on me. I’m pretty sure there’s not much more that can surprise me. ”

  “He went to…” She glances warily at the screen. “He went to Nalina’s house to see if he can force her to help Gemma with the Crystal of Limitation. ”

  “But didn’t she betray Gemma?”

  Trees zoom by in blurs. When it clicks, it’s like the wind’s knocked out of me.

  “Tell him to get out of there!” I shout, frightening both of them. “Now!”

  They look at me with wide eyes and their jaws hanging open.

  “Why?” Aislin asks, panicking. “I know she’s bad and everything. But Laylen’s a Keeper and a vampire. And Nalina, well she’s just a Foreseer without her power. ”

  I shake my head swiftly. “No, she’s not. She’s fey—Royalty Fey. ”

  Aislin gapes at me. “Did you hit your head or something?”

  “No, I remember where I saw the Cornu Lepore. ” I point at my own necklace. “On Nalina’s neck. ”

  Aislin’s dialing Laylen’s number before I even finish. Alex throttles the gas and the tires spin up a cloud of dirt.

  “Please answer your phone, please answer your phone,” Aislin chants under her breath. She bites on her thumbnail. “Please—Laylen, yeah. You need to get out of there now. ” A pause. “No, Nalina’s some kind of Fey Royalty. ” She nods her head. “I know. I know. But until we know what the hell she is… Laylen… Laylen!” She stares at the phone. “Oh my God. Oh my God. ”

  “What is it?” I lean forward and my seatbelt locks. “What happened?”

  She breathes fitfully. “There was a scream and then we were disconnected. ”

  Alex presses the gas pedal to the floor. I don’t know how fast we’re going and I don’t want to know. All I care about is that we make it to Laylen.

  He’ll be fine. Don’t worry. I won’t let anyt
hing happen to my Alexander.

  My eyes shift from side to side and I attempt to convince myself that it’s a ghost or something. Because that option would be a lot better.

  “Gemma, can you foresee us there?” Aislin grips the handle on the roof as the car ramps over a bump.

  My body flies up and my head bumps the ceiling. “No, there’s praesidium all over the place, including the neighborhood,” I lie, unsure why. I pry my lips open, attempting to tell her that I can.

  Pretend all you want. Deep down, you knew I wasn’t gone.

  I let out a gasp.

  She’s back.

  Chapter 29

  I’ve barely said a word the entire drive. No one notices. Aislin’s too busy crying and Alex’s main concern is driving like a maniac. I point directions, guiding him to the Victorian house located on the bad side of town.

  He ramps the car over the curb and onto the front lawn. He hops out and flips the seat forward. I climb out and we rush up the path to the front porch. A large Rottweiler drools and snarls behind the neighbor’s chain link fence. I shoot a glare at it and it cowers off with its tail between its legs.

  Alex kicks down the door, shattering it off the hinges. He rolls his shoulders, all manly.

  “Well, if she didn’t know we were here before, she does now. ” Aislin sticks her head inside and then walks in.

  Alex clutches my hand and we follow her. We probably look like a couple of homeless kids raiding the house for food, in our torn pajamas with bruises and cuts on our skin. Alex doesn’t even have a shirt on. Luckily, I don’t think anyone in this particular neighborhood will mind.

  Come out. Come out. Wherever you are Nalina.

  Apparently Helena knows Nalina. Big shocker there.

  The floorboards creak as we creep through the house. No one has a weapon, except Aislin with her magic. She ignites her hands with a bright orange flame. The furniture in the kitchen is tipped over, pans are scattered all over the counters, and a pot of water boils on the stove.

  “They can’t be too far,” Alex whispers, turning off the stove. There’s a door at the rear of the kitchen and he navigates to it. He hesitates and then squeaks open the door. Stairs lead to a bottom floor. The lights are on and hushed voices float up to us. He puts a finger to his lips and releases my hand. “You two wait here. ”

  Aislin begins to argue, but he brushes her off and walks expeditiously down the stairs, vanishing at the bottom.

  “They’ll be okay, right?” Aislin asks worriedly. “I mean, Nalina doesn’t even have her power. ”

  I shrug, clicking my locket open and shut. “Not her Foreseer power. But she might have her fey power. ”

  “But what is fey power, really?” she cogitates. “I’ve never seen anything that would lead me to believe the fey have any power. Well, other than the power to drive someone insane. ”

  I point a finger over my shoulder and raise my eyebrows. “Did you see what Luna did?”