The evanescence, p.5
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       The Evanescence, p.5

         Part #2 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 5

 

  He swiftly pushes himself up and walks over next to Evan, brushing the dirt off his hands. “Just let me do it. I want to do it. ” Alex glances at me and I want to scream at him to quit being a moron and that I can’t live without him, so none of this matters, but my lips stay fastened. “For her. ”

  Evan stays silent for a while. There’s no way he could be considering letting Alex do this. No. He wouldn’t… unless… Unless he’s loved someone before like Alex loves me.

  “Okay,” Evan’s voice is barely a whisper. “If you love her that much… I get it. I’m sorry that it has to end this way…” He swallows a lump in his throat, trying not to let the emotions overtake him. “I’m really sorry. ”

  “You wouldn’t dare,” Helena says venomously, elevating her head to look at Alex. “Think of the consequences. ”

  “Gemma. ” Alex’s eyes search mine. “If you can hear me, know that… know that you can never lose yourself. You have to fight no matter what happens. Don’t let Helena win. ” He exhales raggedly as he inches around Evan and leans over me, so close that I can feel the warmth of his breath hitting my cheek and see the darker specks of green in his eyes. He takes another deep breath and then another, like he’s about to cry. “I’ll always love you, no matter what. ” He leans down and kisses my forehead, causing Helena to take a sharp breath.

  My heart ruptures. Blood and pain and longing spill through my body and take both of us over. I feel my eyes burn and the tears forming behind them. One slips out and slides down my cheek. Alex watches it, swallowing hard, and then he brings his thumb to my cheek and wipes the tear away.

  “I knew you were still in there,” he whispers and steps back from the bed. Facing Evan, he squares his shoulders and shakes out any sadness in his body. “Okay…” He inhales and then exhales. “I’m ready. ”

  The sight of him, willing and ready to sacrifice his life, causes something to flicker inside my mind. Something I’ve heard before and an overwhelming feeling stirs inside me, hot and fiery and consuming.

  “Gemma, don’t waste your time trying to fight me,” Helena’s voice snaps at me. “You’ll never win. I’m too strong. ”

  I shut my mind down from her and struggle to control my body again. I need to tell Alex to let me go, release me, just let it be me for once. I attempt to find my voice, forcing my neck muscles to move up and down. Please, please, please. For a second, I feel it, the ability to swallow on my own, but then Helena’s laughter floods my concentration and my efforts shatter as my control slips away.

  Alex bows his head as Evan reaches up and places a hand on Alex’s head. Then Evan places his other hand on my forehead. “This will probably hurt,” he tells me.

  And it does. The pain’s not from him, though. I’m being beaten from the inside, there are knocks and blows to my body as Helena thrashes, trying to get out of my body and dodge the transfer and I want her to. I want her to leave me and let me die so Alex can go on living. At that moment, I hate Helena more than I’ve ever hated anything. More than the Death Walkers. Stephan. More than any evil creature in the world. She is taking from me and I hate her. I want her to die. I want her to suffer in the most painful ways. I want so many evil things to happen to her that, for a moment, I feel like I’m being controlled by evil.

  “It’s okay, Gemma. Let go of Helena. ” Annabella’s voice flows softly inside my head.

  “No,” I sob. “I have to save Alex. I can’t let him die. ”

  “Gemma,” Annabella pleads, “Please let go of us. We have to send Helena back to the Afterlife. ”

  “No… I can’t…” Tears stream down my cheeks as I feel Helena’s possession over my body lift and weaken, like a heavy blanket being removed from my body. Her spirit and voice dissipate as she swishes from me and begins to transfer to Alex. It feels like a part of me is being lifted with it, the good part, the one that belongs to him. The last thing I hear is Helena’s fading voice.

  “Don’t think you’ve won,” she says. “I’ll get my evanescence. ”

  Then she’s gone.

  “Alex, no!” My lips part under my own accord and my body arches upward, the ropes ripping at my skin. “Stop!”

  Evan’s eyes char like fragments of hot ash and the ropes around my wrist and ankles flame and singe apart. Suddenly I’m falling off the bed and onto the floor and Alex crumples to the ground beside me.

  “Alex,” I gasp for air as hot tears spill down my cheeks and soak my hair. Angling my heavy head to the side, I reach my hand towards him, needing to touch him, needing to feel him.

  He slowly slants his head towards me and extends his fingers to me, but there’s no life in his eyes, no movement, no light. “Gemma,” he whispers. “I lo. . . ” His eyes slip shut and he rolls to his back as his arms fall to his side. The world stops moving, breathing—I stop breathing. I hold onto his hand, crying with every ounce of sadness I have in me, as the world begins to erratically spin. There’s a loud crack and I see Evan get up from the bed and start running. I feel the inside of my heart crumble to dust. I’m hollow. Then, everything goes black.

  Chapter 4

  Gemma

  I remain on the cold floor, lying on my back with my eyes shut for what seems like days. I hear Evan leave and then eventually return, but I don’t move. My head is pounding and my body feels beaten, bruised, useless, dead—numb—just like my heart. Because he’s gone. Alex is gone. I never got to fully be with him because I was scared of how I felt and now I can’t. My chance is gone. He’s gone, just like my heart and will to live.

  “Gemma,” Evan says from above me. “You need to open your eyes. Don’t let Alex’s sacrifice be for nothing. ”

  I know he’s right, but at the same time, I don’t want to live without Alex. I don’t even know if I am capable of living without him. It feels like the moment I open my eyes—the minute I see him lying beside me—is the moment where this peaceful, consuming numbness will leave my body and crack me open like a shell. All my emotions will spill out and I’ll lose it.

  “Everyone has a destiny, Gemma,” my mom’s voice fills my thoughts. “Yours is just more important. I always knew it would be, since the day you were born. ” She smiles brightly. “My violet-eyed girl. You’re going to do great things, but it’ll be hard. You’ll be tested, more than you already have. But no matter what, you can never lose yourself. You have to fight, no matter what, Gemma. Never, ever give up. ”

  It is what she told me while I was in the Afterlife. Something about it had confused me at the time, but I’m starting to understand what she meant now. Sort of anyway, despite how much I don’t want to. It’s also similar to what Alex said to me before he died. I can’t let myself give up. I can’t let evil win. Maybe if I fight and search hard enough I can find a way to fix this all, just like I have in the past. I just need to be strong and hold on.

  I slowly lift my eyelids open to the world. The bright sunlight gleaming through the window stings at my eyes and my vision is blurry. I blink and blink again, the room starts to shift into focus. My gaze settles on a pair of dark eyes that belong to a person leaning over me.

  “So you’re Evan,” I say in a groggy voice.

  Relief washes over Evan’s face and his lips tug upward into a sad smile. “And you’re Gemma, I’m hoping. ”

  I bob my head up and down. “As far as I can tell, I am. ”

  He lets out a deep breath as he places a hand on my forehead. “I thought I’d lost you, too. ” Squinting down at me, he examines me closely. “How’s your head?”

  My shoulders rise and fall as I shrug awkwardly while lying on the floor. “Good, I guess. ”

  “Do you know where you are?”

  “Yeah, in the castle… on the floor. ” I slowly nod my head and a sharp pain intensifies and shoots throughout my body. “Ow. ”

  “What’s wrong?” Evan asks worriedly.

  I want to ask him about Alex; what will happen to him, if he’s real
ly dead, or if by some small miracle it’s only temporary; because, in my world, temporary deaths seem to happen a lot. However, my brain is fuzzy and I can’t move my lips to form words as images pop through my skull.

  I sit in front of a black coffin that sits in the center of a brick church with a cathedral ceiling and painted glass windows as the backdrop. Thunder booms in the background and lightning flashes across the room. The lid to the coffin is shut and red rose petals speckle the top of it like raindrops of blood.

  I don’t know who’s inside it, but in the depths of my heart it feels like I do. I want to know, but I don’t at the same time, so I stay put, surrounded by empty benches and a silent room. It’s just the coffin, me and the thunder outside. Briefly, I wonder if I can just stand in this same spot and never know what lies ahead.

  Eventually, though, I can’t take it anymore and I walk forward; my black shoes and the tail of my long, black dress drag across the ground as I move. My body is weighted, my limbs stiff, and in my hand is a single red rose. Step-by-step, one foot in front of the other, the coffin gets closer. Finally, I’m right in front of it. I can see my reflection in the sheen of the surface. My hair is done up and a wisp hangs to the side of my face. My skin is pallid, my lips a dark blue, almost black, and my pupils are so immense only a ring of violet remains in my eyes.

  Clutching the rose in one hand, disregarding the thorns stabbing into my skin, I reach for the lid, my fingers trembling as I slip them underneath the lip. Petals start to rain down from the church ceiling as I raise the lid up, but when the petals hit the floor, the lid, my skin, they splatter like drops of blood. Everything is bleeding and as I raise the lid completely my heart starts to bleed too.

  Lying inside it is Alex. His eyelids are sealed, his lips are slightly separated with a purplish tint to them, and his skin is ashen. His hands are overlapped on his stomach and he’s wearing a black suit. Blood continues to soak down on me, drenching my hair, my skin, my dress, the floor as I slide my hand away from the lid towards him—towards his arm. Wrapping my fingers around his ice-cold wrist, I rotate it over and inch the bottom of his sleeve up where the outline of the black star should be. Our forever mark, but it’s gone.

  Our forever is gone.

  I’m ripped away from the future and back to reality. Alex is gone.

  Really gone.

  And I’m here.

  I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to move—breathe.

  I continue to stare blankly at Evan, praying that somehow he can alleviate the piercing pain and sharp needles that feel like they’re swimming inside my body and mind because it hurts and I swear my heart is bleeding to death.

  “Just try not to move for a minute. ” He leans closer to me, blocking out the sunlight with his body. “I’m going to try and help you the best that I can. ” He keeps his hand on my forehead and the warmth flowing through his skin is comforting; not only for the pain in my body, but for the pain in my heart. I shut my eyes and bask in the sensation, absorbing the numbness seeping through me. Numb. That’s what I want to feel. I picture Alex and the last time that we kissed each other, how our lips and bodies melted together. I remember the way his hands kept brushing across the bottom of my shirt, where a sliver of skin peeked out. We belonged together. We always will.