The promise, p.6
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       The Promise, p.6

         Part #4 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 6

  Her face was pale.

  No, you re not dead. You can t be dead without me.

  I sat up, rubbing my head, and it felt like it d been squeezed by vise grips.

  You think that s how we re supposed to go? Together?

  She nodded.

  But not because of the vision. Nicholas told me something about us.

  I pulled a face at the mention of the stupid faerie. I hated Nicholas. Not just because he was obnoxious or a pain in the ass, but because of how he looked at Gemma, like he would rip her clothes off at the first chance he got. Too bad for him he was dead.

  Wait a minute!

  I said.

  I thought he was dead?

  He is.

  She sighed, raising her hand, showing me the ring her father gave her.

  I can see ghosts now. Well, just two ghost Nicholas and my mother.

  I gave her a funny look.

  You re mother & but that would mean &

  She died,

  she breathed it softly and put on a brave face I could easily see through.

  I tightened my hands to fists.

  My father killed her.

  She shook her head, her dark hair falling in her face.

  No, she did it to herself. To protect me.

  I reached for her, wanting to comforter her, but she leaned back.

  Is that why you came back here?

  she asked.

  To find Aislin?

  I eyed her over and she squirmed.

  Yeah, I needed a witch to travel so I made a bargain. I said I d get Aislin to help her if she took me where I needed to go.

  A bargain where you had to die?

  She met my eyes.

  Well, that was stupid.

  Yeah, pretty stupid.

  My eyebrows dipped down.

  But apparently I can t die? At least according to the faerie.

  He said we re a packaged deal.

  She pressed her lips together.

  If one goes, than the other goes too.

  I opened my mouth to speak, but something crashed into the front door, making the whole house rock. I was on my feet in a matter of seconds, pulling her up like she was air.

  We need to go, before the wrong person shows up.

  What about Laylen?

  She tugged back.

  And Aislin and Aleesa.

  They re on their own now.

  I started for the back door, but she didn t move. She was stronger than she used to be I could feel it through her grip. And I d be lying if I said it didn t turn me on a little.

  But they could do things harm others.

  I know,

  I said.

  But what can we do? The only person I know who can remove the mark is Aislin. And if she s one of them, I don t think she s going to be very into taking off the mark.

  She bit at her bottom lip and frowned.

  I guess & but my mom and Nicholas are going to be looking for me here.

  Gemma,

  I said, her refusal to move frustrating me.

  They ll have to find us. I mean if we stay here, my father will show up. You know he will, if he s got to Aislin or Laylen.

  She finally nodded.

  But we have to find a way to save them, before they end up doing something they ll regret.

  They probably already had, but I wasn t going to share that with her. Then she d want to go on a saving crusade. So we disappeared into the pitch black night, fires burning in the streets, the moon a large orb that reflected against her pale skin.

  Is this far enough away?

  I asked as we approached the end of the snowy driveway.

  I think so,

  she said and then shut her eyes.

  Where should I take us?

  A safe place.

  Then, even though I knew I shouldn t, I wrapped one arm around her waist pulling her close to me. Her smile murmured through me, but she pressed it back, trying to appear cool.

  Then snow spun around us and she took us away.

  Chapter 11

  (Gemma)

  I didn t know what happened. Maybe seeing him threw me off, or maybe it was what he d said about going somewhere safe that made me think of the place where my dad resided, inside his own head, where he was trapped all alone.

  Alex glanced around, confused.

  Where are we?

  I pulled a

  whoops

  face.

  I think I accidently took us into my dad s head.

  Alex stared at me blankly.

  You took us into your dad s head?

  Things had changed since my last visit. The ocean was there, but the beach was rockier and the air was colder. The sky was full of thunder and flashes of lightening. Ocean waves crashed into the shore with the storm.

  Yeah, this is where my dad lives.

  How weird was this? The first time my dad and Alex meet we re inside my dad s head? I shook the absurdity away.

  I wonder where he is?

  I hiked up the beach, sand sneaking into my DC s. Thunder boomed above and waves threatened to steal us away.

  So this is what you thought of when I said a safe place?

  Alex asked, staring at the waves.

  You know me,

  I joked, kicking at the sand.

  I like to keep you on your toes.

  He pressed back a laugh and met my eyes.

  So where s your dad?

  I shrugged, puzzled.

  I m not sure. Usually he just shows up.

  The corners of his mouth quirked.

  Well, it s his head so he s got to be around.

  I nodded, biting my lip, trying to hold back the question I was dying to ask. But it slipped out anyway.

  Are you leaving again?

  I sputtered.

  His adam s apple bobbed.

  I don t know &

  He shut his eyes, breathing in the salty ocean air.

  I think I should.

  I wanted to argue, yell at him, beg him not to go. But I understood. I hated it, but knew it was probably the right thing to do. I nodded, voiceless.

  His eyes opened, bright green, flashing against the lightening.

  I don t want to.

  I was startled by the rawness of his words.

  Then don t.

  We stared each other down, our hearts pounding faster, electricity radiating more energy than the lightning bolts. And the pounding slowed as time drifted away and our lives started to drain.

  Here,

  he said breaking the trance we d fallen in to. He took off his jacket and slipped it on me, zipping it up tight.

  Your dad might worry & with all the blood on your neck and shirt.

  I tucked my hands into the sleeves, breathing in the scent of him.

  So what did you find out on your little excursion?

  I asked, trying to distract my thoughts from his scent, not wanting to be a total weirdo.

  We headed further down the beach.

  Not much. You?

  What do you know about the Afterlife?

  He hit an abrupt stop.

  Why did you ask that?

  Because &

  I replied.

  That s where my mom said I had to go.

  The wind blew my hair in my face.

  To visit a woman named Helena.

  He shook his head, his hair stuck up in all kinds of directions.

  No way. You can t go there it s the Afterlife for God s sake, as in the place where a Lost Soul goes after someone dies an unneeded death.

  I shrugged, biting at my nails.

  So what? If it can fix everything then it s worth it?

  My answer seemed to make him kind of angry.

  So you re okay with that dying. And me too, since we re supposed to be a package deal.

  I placed my hands on his shoulders and he flinched.

  You re going t
o be fine. You re going to bring me back.

  No freaking way,

  he snapped, moving his face closer to mine.

  It should be me. You don t need to die.

  I started to argue, but was cut off by the sound of a familiar voice.

  Gemma.

  Dropping my hands from Alex, I turned to my dad, giving him a small smile. But he looked anything but happy to see me, his violet eyes unwelcoming, his silver robe blowing in the wind.

  You need to go, now!

  I jolted my head back, shocked.

  What s

  A crackle of ice interjected and the rushing water rapidly froze over, the waves chilling in their place. Suddenly blacked-cloaked figures with corpse-like skin marched toward us, stirring up a cloud of sand.

  The Death Walkers had returned.

  Chapter 12

  (Alex)

  She made me so angry sometimes. As she stood there, telling me she was going to die so she could go to the Afterlife, I wanted to trap her in my arms and lock her away until this was all over. Obviously, I couldn t. But I really considered it. Her casual attitude toward her own life was driving me insane. I wished she could see what she really was what others saw.

  I remembered the first time I saw her at school, walking across the parking lot. She was so innocent and confused and beautiful. I almost jumped back in my car and drove home. Sometimes I wished I d gone through with it. Instead I toughed it out, being a total dick to her, watching her hurt with every rude word I uttered.

  Still, she forgave me. Well, eventually … kind of. There were times, when I realized what was at stake, that I wanted her to hate me. It d make things easier if she refused to let me touch her and want her in the forbidden way that I did.

  I was just about to start tearing into her, banning her from going anywhere near the Afterlife, when her dad showed up out of nowhere, screaming at her like a mad man. I was confused until I saw the Death Walkers planting their ice where it didn t belong.

  With one swift movement, I slid my hand into hers and sprinted down the beach, putting as much distance between her and them as I could. But she slipped on the ice, taking out balances with her. She landed on her back, cracking her head against the ice and I fell on top of her, my body pressing into hers.

  She blinked over at the ice and then back at me.

  Hold on,

  she whispered, enclosing her arms around my neck and drawing me close to her.

  The electricity poured through us, melting the ice below our bodies. Her hair blew in my face, her eyes shut and all I could think was take me now, because it really seemed like the perfect time to die.

  There was a flash and the next thing I knew we were falling to another world.

  When the movement stopped I was shocked.

  I never thought I d see this place again. I didn t want to see it again. It reminded me of everything bad and everything we needed to fix. We were in the mountains, where the piece of the star crashed to earth.

  This is what you were thinking of?

  I asked.

  In the middle of all that chaos.

  She shrugged, an awkward shrug because I was still lying on top of her.

  Why would anyone come looking for us up here?

  Yeah,

  I said, pushing to my feet.

  But we re going to end up freezing to death.

  I cocked an eyebrow at her.

  And I thought you hated the snow.

  I pulled her to her feet, brushing the snow from her head and I felt her shiver from my touch.

  I m getting used to it, I guess.

  But she pulled a face as she said it and I had to hold back a laugh. She looked at me, her eyebrows dipping together.

  Won t you freeze?

  She fumbled to take my jacket off.

  But I fastened the zipper back up.

  Keep it on,

  I said, tugging the hood over her head.

  I ll be fine.

  She eyed my short-sleeve shirt.

  Are you sure because

  I cut her off there was no way I was going to let her take that jacket off.

  I wonder how they ended up in your dad s head.

  She fiddled with the zipper.

  Do you think & do you think he ll be okay with them in there?

  I nodded, even though I had no idea.

  He s in his own head, which means his real body is somewhere else, so I think he s safe.

  I paused, staring out at the snowy mountains.

  We need a plan.

  We have a plan. We re going to find my mom.

  She leaned back against a tree, snow drifting down from the branches.

  She s getting the information from Nicholas. She s probably waiting for me back at the house.

  Info about how to get into the Afterlife?