The promise, p.7
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       The Promise, p.7

         Part #4 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 7

 

  I asked, tracing the tip of my shoe against the spot where the snow never melted the spot where the star hit.

  She got this really funny look on her face, like she was trying to see into my head or something.

  Do you know how to get there?

  No,

  I lied casually. There was no way I was going to offer up information that would get her killed.

  I have no idea.

  She frowned, like she was on to me. Then she moved away from the tree and stood in front of me, crossing her arms, attempting to act tough.

  Is that the truth?

  Yeah.

  I hated lying to her, but hated the idea of her dying more.

  She didn t believe me.

  I need to find my mom.

  Are you & are you doing okay with that?

  She nodded, but the electricity shot up a level and I was pretty sure she was about to cry. I opened my arms to hug her, and then pulled back, pretending to have an itch on my arm. Lost in her thoughts, she didn t even seem to notice. Then her gaze darted to the side, and she let out a heavy sigh.

  How did you find me?

  she asked nervously.

  Now I was the one growing nervous, because there was no one there.

  Chapter 13

  (Gemma)

  He probably thought I was insane, standing there, talking to myself. But I was talking the blonde faerie with the irritating voice. Aka Nicholas, the faerie/Foreseer.

  How d you find me?

  I asked, trying to ignore the chill he brought with him. I sensed Alex tense.

  It s Nicholas,

  I explained.

  And your mom?

  He asked and I shook my head.

  Where is she?

  I patted my pockets, hunting for a knife I didn t have.

  She s been detained.

  His golden eyes sparkled against the faint sunlight shadowed by clouds.

  But don t worry, I m here to help you.

  Sure you are.

  I rolled my eyes.

  Because we all know that s your number one goal in life.

  Oh Gemma,

  he said overdramatically.

  Your distrust hurts me so much there aren t even words to express how I feel.

  Go away,

  I mumbled and Alex gave me this perplexed look.

  And don t come back until you re with my mom.

  But I m here to help,

  he said, crossing his heart.

  I promise.

  Alex trampled beside me.

  What s he saying?

  Nicholas grinned and waved his hand in front of Alex s face.

  God, I hate you.

  His hand moved for Alex s hair, not quite touching it.

  And that stupid hair.

  He s saying he s a moron.

  I glared at Nicholas.

  And I like his hair.

  What?

  Alex s said, fixing his hair.

  Nothing.

  I pointed my finger at Nicholas.

  Either tell me what to do or move on.

  Fine. My word, no sense of humor.

  He sighed.

  You need to come with me.

  I can t do that,

  I said.

  You re dead.

  And you ll soon be too,

  he said.

  Once you pick the way you want to die. Now, I d probably pick something poetic, like poison from a vile. But you

  Pick the way I want to die!

  I shouted over him, sending snow from the branches. I lowered my voice.

  I m sorry, but what?

  Alex was tugging on my hand, trying to get me to turn to him, desperate to know what was going on.

  Just a second,

  I held up a finger, keeping my eyes on Nicholas.

  Start explaining from the beginning.

  He yawned, feigning fatigue.

  It s kind of a long story.

  Then give me the short version, just don t leave out anything important.

  He sank down on a rock, folding his arms.

  Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess,

  he started and I shot him a glare.

  You asked for the short version and I m giving it to you this is how it starts.

  I sighed and sat down on another rock, patting the spot next to me.

  What are we doing?

  Alex asked, putting space between us as he sat down.

  We re listening to a story,

  I said.

  Or at least I am.

  Like I was saying,

  Nicholas continued, annoyed.

  There was a beautiful princess, who was more extraordinary than any other princess because she liked to help the world. The problem was she wasn t very good at helping. Every time she fixed a problem, she caused another. Until one day she caused a problem so great, it cost the lives of many innocent people.

  I gulped and Alex whispered in my ear,

  What s he saying?

  I ll tell you when he s finished.

  I motioned at Nicholas to continue.

  Go on.

  What the princess needed to realize was that to fix the problems she d caused, she needed to save the Lost Souls of the innocent lives that were taken.

  And how to I save these Lost Souls?

  I asked, already knowing his answer, but wanting him to say it anyway.

  By going to the Afterlife and bargaining with the queen for their release.

  I frowned, remembering the last queen The Queen of the underworld.

  A queen? The one my mother was telling me about?

  He smirked.

  Queen Helena.

  And what s this queen like?

  I asked.

  Is she as bad as The Queen of The Underworld?

  No, she s much worse than the Queen of The Underworld.

  He grinned, amused with himself.

  So how do I get her to free these souls?

  I asked.

  If she s that bad? And how do I even get to the Afterlife to begin with?

  You get help from a Banshee,

  he said simply.

  I gaped at him.

  What the heck s a Banshee?

  It s a woman spirit whose cry signals death,

  Alex explained, dusting the snow from the rock.

  She s also the one who carries the Lost Souls to the queen.

  I let out a long breath.

  So we have to find a Banshee who will help us.

  Alex s forehead creased.

  Why?

  I sighed and quickly explained everything Nicholas had told me.

  So do you know any Banshee s hanging around who might be nice enough to help us out?

  I asked, hopeful, but knowing the chances were low.

  Actually I do.

  Snow began to flutter from the sky as he stood up.

  My mother.

  My head whipped in his direction and I almost fell off the rock.

  Your mother s a Banshee? How did you &what?

  Nicholas let out a snort.

  Oh, this is so comical.

  There nothing funny about his mom being dead,

  I snapped.

  Oh, I m not laughing because his mother s dead,

  he replied still grinning.

  I m laughing because she s a Banshee.

  I shrugged.

  So?

  A Banshee is of the faerie realm,

  Alex said, as if he knew exactly what the argument was about.

  My expression fell.

  Oh.

  I paused.

  How did that happen?

  He shrugged, kicking at the snow.

  Those journals I found that night we snuck into my house, well, they talked about her dying that she feared my father was going to kill her. And that he would learn her secrets. But then she wrote s
he d find a way to cross into the Afterlife and become one of the queens Soul Collectors, also known as a Banshee. That way she could still have a connection to earth and help us when the time was right. So I started poking around, asking some people and I found out its true. She s a Banshee.

  There was so much sadness in his eyes, even though he was trying to conceal it. I couldn t help myself. I wanted to kiss away his pain, so I did. A bold move for me, but hey, it had to happen eventually.

  He looked surprised and I started to jerk back, because really, it was a stupid thing to do I mean, at any moment, he and I could drop dead from the intoxication of the electric connection we shared.

  But he refused to let go, pressing me closer, tasting me, feeling me, wanting me. So I let myself get carried away for a second, not caring about the star, or the world, or the fact that Nicholas was watching us like a weirdo.

  Finally, it became too much and we broke away, gasping for air, eyes untamed, wanting something we could never completely have. The ice on the trees dripped, making the snow under our feet a murky puddle.

  I think I m going to throw up,

  Nicholas mumbled.

  Then throw up.

  I raised my eyebrows at him.

  If it was that bad to watch then you should have turned your head.

  He pulled a face.

  Then you should have turned your head,

  he mimicked with exaggeration.

  Alex turned toward where he guessed Nicholas to be.

  Hey, I got an idea, why don t you shut it.

  I nodded my head discretely, mouthing: behind you.

  Alex shook his head, irritated, and then reached into his pocket.

  This guy named Draven, who s the Lord of the Afterlife, gave me this address. Supposedly, it s where my mom is.

  I took the paper from him and unfolded it.

  Reykjavik?

  My eyes elevated to him, wide and shocked.

  Iceland. Your mother s in Iceland. God, it’s good the snow’s starting to grow on me.

  Actually it s colder here than it is there,

  he explained.

  Oh.

  I folded the paper back up and handed it to him.

  Okay, it s good you got an address and everything, but how are we supposed to get to Iceland?

  He cracked his knuckles, a deep thought masking his face.

  Your Foreseeing thing only works if you ve seen the place, so maybe if you had a mental picture of how it looked, we could get there.

  But where does the mental picture come from?

  I asked.

  Because all I see when I think of Iceland is a big chunk of ice.

  He contemplated this.

  Maybe if we had a picture you could look at.

  Where are we going to find one of those? The internet doesn t work at the house.

  We wouldn t go to the house. It s too dangerous.

  What about the library?

  Nicholas interrupted, stepping between us.

  I stared at him strangely.

  Did you just offer up something useful on your own?

  He shrugged.

  There s a first for everything.

  What s he saying?

  Alex asked, his eyes searching desperately to see him.

  He said we should try the library &

  I trialed off as Nicolas strolled away whistling.

  I haven t been to town since all hell broke loose, so I m not sure if anyone s still running things like libraries. Although, Laylen picked up groceries from somewhere.

  His eyes flitted to my neck, and I knew he was thinking about the bite.

  Well, we could try it & carefully.

  Then he pointed a finger at me.

  And I m stressing the careful part.

  I extended my hand, ready to take us to town. But then I stopped, turning to Nicholas.

  What happens after I free the Lost Souls?

  Then you go to the lake and sacrifice your life, just like you re supposed to,

  he said honestly.

  My hand remained suspended in midair, my jaw slack.

  What d he say?

  Alex asked.

  Probably nothing that has any truth to it.

  I blinked until I saw spots, and then looked at him.

  He said he d tell us when we get that far.

  He pressed his lips together as I reached for his hand, electricity surging from the contact, and I shut my eyes and swept us away back to Afton.

  Chapter 14

  (Alex)

  I could tell she was lying. Whatever Nicholas said to her was bad. But she wasn t ready to tell me yet.

  When we landed again, we were tucked away in the alley that lined the back entrance of the library. Snow was falling from the sky, making everything a sheet of slippery white. I ran my hand across the hood covering her head, sweeping away the snowflakes. Then we hurried to the back door. There were no windows close, so I couldn t see what was going on inside.

  You think it s open?

  she asked, bouncing up and down from the cold.

  I shrugged, grasping the handle on the door. But it was locked. Of course.