The lost soul, p.6
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       The Lost Soul, p.6

         Part #1 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
Page 6


  “Are you Nalina?” Laylen inquires in a polite tone.

  “I wondered how long it’d be until you found me,” she says to me with an exhausted sigh.

  Laylen and I trade perplexed looks. “Do you know me?” I ask.

  She doesn’t answer, strolling away and leaving the door open. I dither momentarily and then enter the house. The floorboards squeak under my feet and a light flickers above. I follow Nalina into the kitchen. A bright light filters through the tiny room packed with an oval table and four chairs. On the antique stove a kettle boils, steaming the air.

  “You want some tea?” she asks, fiddling with the teardrop pendant.

  “No thanks,” I decline, concerned it could be poisoned.

  Laylen and I take a seat at the table, while she pulls out three cups and pours us all teas anyway. She sets the steaming cups in front of us. They’re yellow, with tiny handles, and mine has a chip along the rim.

  She drops into the chair and stirs her tea. “So you found me. ”

  “That depends. ” I scoot the cup away and rest my elbows on the table. “Are you Nalina?”

  She wipes the spoon on the lip of the cup. “I’m Nalina, ex-Foreseer and Dyvinius’ step-sister. ”

  “Ex-Foreseer?” Laylen and I say at the same time.

  “My power was stripped from me,” she explains, heavy-hearted. “I can’t see visions anymore or have anything to do with them. ”

  I wipe the tears from my eyes produced by the heat of the tea. “Why, though? What did you do?”

  She shakes her head, irritated. “Who says I did anything? You’re a Foreseer. You should know how their world works. One minute you’re in charge and the next you’re at the bottom of the barrel. ”

  My phone beeps from inside my pocket. Alex. I silence it. “Not really. I’m new to the Foreseer thing. ” I pause. “Yet, you know about me?”

  “I do. ” She’s being vague and I question if we might have another Nicholas on our hands. She sips her tea and I notice the Foreseer’s mark coiling the back of her hand. “You’re Gemma Lucas, ex-star, current Foreseer, trying to free her father from an impossible place to escape. ”

  “How do you know all of this?” Laylen asks, pushing up the sleeves of his leather jacket.

  “How does anyone know anything about someone?” she asks, her grey eyes locked on me. “Because they know them. ”

  “You don’t know me,” I protest, my senses hyperaware. “And I don’t know you. I’ve never seen you before in my life. ”

  “That you remember,” she says, implying that she knows my memory was once erased.

  I push back from the table and Laylen follows my lead. “Look, I don’t know who you are or what you know about me, but you’re wrong. ”

  She quickly places her hand on mine in a comforting gesture. “Relax, and let me explain. ”

  I sink into the chair, but Laylen stays on his feet. A gap of silence ticks by, occupied by outside noises of yelling, barking, and a lot of thumping.

  “You better start explaining. ” Laylen taps on the face of his watch.

  “My name is Nalina,” she discloses. “Im Nalina Moraura, step-daughter of Naem Moraura and the biological daughter of Nalini and Julias Lucas. ”

  “W-what,” I stammer. “Then that means…”

  “That means I’m your aunt,” she says simply.

  “Holy Jesus,” Laylen breathes, gradually lowering into the chair.

  I take in her features, the shade of her eyes, not quite violet, but the grey does have a hint of purple in it.

  “I didn’t know I had—have an aunt. ” I find my voice.

  “You don’t know a lot of things about your life, Gemma. ” She sips her tea. “Just because you stopped the world from ending, doesn’t mean your past catches up to you. Your mind’s still missing pieces. You know that. ”

  “And you know that. ” I’m still shocked. “But I don’t understand how. ”

  She twists her grey hair in a bun on the back of her head and secures it in a knot. “I’ve been in hiding for a while. But like you, I like to pay little visits to places I don’t belong. ”

  “Like the Room of Forbidden. ” My hands tremble as I taste the tea and almost spit it out, realizing I still can’t trust her. I wipe the tea from my lips. “You visit my father—your brother. ”

  “A few times. But it’s been a while since my last visit. I haven’t had my powers to take me there. ” She collects her cup and places it in the sink. “He talks about you a lot. His mistakes. What he wishes he’d done differently. ”

  “Does he ever mention how to get him out of there?” Laylen asks with a hopeful expression.

  “No, he hasn’t. ” Strands of her hair fall from her bun and she tucks them behind her ears. “But he did say once that if you ever came to me, that he wanted me to help you with whatever you were looking for. ”

  “We’re looking for a way to get into the Room of Forbidden. ” Without thinking, I drink a mouth full of tea again then shove the cup aside so I’ll stop. “And the Crystal of Limitation is no longer an option. ”

  Wrinkles crinkle the corners of her eyes. “Why not?”

  “It had a bit of an accident,” Laylen explains. “Due to an unfortunate fall against a concrete floor. ”

  My phone beeps. It’s Alex again and I shut off my phone. I can’t talk to him yet.

  “Is there another way?” I stuff the phone back into my pocket. “To free him from that place?”

  “You mean from his head,” she says. “It’s really not that bad of a punishment if you think about it. Locked away in your own head, being able to conjure up any surroundings you wish. ”

  “But he’s stuck there against his will,” I point out, baffled by her casual attitude “All by himself. It’s lonely, I’m sure. ”

  Her gaze wanders to the window. “There are punishments that are worse, like losing your power in a world full of death. Every day I sit here, never knowing if I’ll be okay. Never knowing what waits for me around the corner. ”

  “Welcome to reality. We’ve been here for a while,” Laylen says and pats the table. She shoots him a glare and he shrinks back. “Sorry. ”

  She gathers our mostly full cups and dumps the tea down the drain. “Whatever it is you’re looking for, I can’t help you. ”

  “We’re only looking for help,” I tell her. “And my father asked you to do that for him. ”

  “Well, your father doesn’t always get what he wants. ” She turns the faucet on and rinses the tea down the sink. “It’s a life lesson he learned a long time ago. ” She shuts off the water and wipes down the counter with a rag. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have things to do. ”

  “Wait. ” I jump up, bumping the chair to the floor. “Please. I need this. My mom’s dead and he’s all I have left. Well, besides Sophia. But she’s hardly around. ”

  “And we’re all grateful for that,” Laylen says.

  I scowl at him, but he’s right. Despite Sophia’s apologies, her presence reminds us of a dark time, filled with soul detachments, memory tampering, and crappy grandmothering skills.

  “Please,” I beg. “I need your help. ”

  Her eyes soften. “No matter what I do to help you, you’re going to need the Crystal of Limitation. Dyvinius won’t free him. My step-brother is a strict rule follower. Trust me. It’s why I ended up here. ”

  “But it’s broken, split in two, right down the center. ” I demonstrate by separating my hands.

  “Then you’re going to need to fix it,” she states it like it’s obvious.

  “Does that statement come with instructions?” I lift the chair back up and push it up to the table.

  She opens a drawer and removes a white business card. “There’s a man Emmelus, who’s an ædificator, someone that is very good at fixing things of the magic world. ” She hands me the card. “Take the Crystal of Limitation to him. ”

  I read the ca
rd over. “Can we trust him? This Emmelus guy?” She nods and I stuff the card into my back pocket. “And then after we get it fixed what do we do?”

  “You bring it back here. ” She shuts the drawer and clutches the edge of the tile countertop, her knuckles whitening. “But you’re going to have to get the help of at least one other Foreseer who’s willing to break the laws. Channeling enough power is going to be hard, even for you. ” She pushes away from the counter. “The Room of Forbidden is protected by the power of a thousand Foreseers. And breaking through that is nearly impossible. But we can try. ”

  “I already saved the world,” I inform her. “I can get into the Room of Forbidden. ”

  She smiles skeptically. “It’s nice that you have a positive attitude, but I’m old enough to know that some things work out and some things don’t. ”

  Her words weigh on my shoulders. I thank her and then Laylen and I leave, unsure of my future or past. Or whether I’ll fail or succeed.

  Chapter 7

  Laylen and I return to the castle. Stars hum a colorful melody and the full moon beams against the slate sky. An eerie fog has crept in, blanketing the trees, the lake, and the front yard. The scent of rain lingers in the air and the driveway is marked by puddles.

  “So do we go find Emmelus first, or go hunting for some rogue Foreseers?” Laylen attempts to lighten my sullen mood.

  I sketch a sad looking face in the dew on the window. “We should fix the crystal first, before we do anything. ” I smudge the face away with my sleeve. “Because if we can’t fix it, then there’s no point in finding other Foreseers to help. ”

  “Yeah, I get your point. ” He shuts off the engine. The cab air instantly frosts, crickets chirp just outside, and the waves of the lake splash against the bank. “Gemma, I’m not trying to get rid of you or anything, but you’ve been sitting there for a few minutes. Are you planning on going inside?”

  “What?” I blink at him and unbuckle my seatbelt. “Oh, yeah. Sorry, I was just spacing. ” I push the door open and my shoes sink into the fresh mud. We tromp up the path and wipe our shoes on the front door mat.

  “Don’t be too hard on him. ” Laylen locks the door. “Remember he was doing it because he wants to protect you. ” Then he climbs up the stairway, walking in the direction of Aislin’s room.

  I slip off my muddy shoes and leave them by the front door. I wasn’t planning on going to Alex’s room. I was going to wait until morning. But my feet have other ideas, and take me straight there. I sneak in and gently shut the door. The curtains block the window and a corner lamp illuminates a trail of soft light to the bed. Alex lies face down, his hand flopped over the side, his breathing quiet and relaxed. He’s dressed in jeans and a green tee, which are covered in dirt. His shoes are layered with mud, and I wonder if he’s been somewhere tonight.