The lost soul, p.8
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       The Lost Soul, p.8

         Part #1 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 8

 

  I point my finger at her, raising my eyebrows. “Wait a minute. I know what this is about. And let me just say that I’m really sorry. Laylen didn’t want to go, but I made him. ”

  She stares blankly at me. “What are you talking about?”

  “You know, the other night, when I had Laylen get that address for me—the one to Nalina’s. ”

  Her body judders forward with the door and her eyes pop wide. “Apology accepted. Now can you go? Like I said, I’m really busy. ”

  I lean to the side, watching the door crack open and shut. “Are you hiding someone in the closet?”

  She shakes her head swiftly. “Why would I be hiding anyone in my closet? That would be weird. ”

  “About as weird as you’re acting. ” I march up, scoot my hand behind her back, and grab the doorknob.

  “Gemma, don’t,” she stammers. The door rocks forward and backward. Aislin uses her weight to force it shut. “If you open it, we’re in trouble. ”

  “We’re in trouble,” I say, deciding whether to push or pull on the door. “I don’t know what’s going on. ”

  “Just help me lock it and I’ll explain,” she pleads. “Find something to shove up against it. ”

  I remove my hand and hunt the room for a heavy object. “It would help if I knew what was in there. ” I grab the handle of a small metal trunk. “Is it strong? Big? Magical? What is it?”

  “Umm…” She stumbles from another thrust of the door and scurries backward. “Get something heavier than that. ” She points a finger at the bed. “Drag that over here. ”

  It’s a thin metal-framed bed, but it takes a minute to haul it over. Once it’s secure, Aislin relaxes, collapsing on the bed with her hand draped over her forehead melodramatically.

  “So do you want to tell me who’s in there?” I eye the door, which is still jiggling. A choir of giggles flow through the opposite side. “Or what’s in there?”

  She pulls a guilty face. “I think I messed up. ” The door smacks the bed and then flings shut. “Like really, really bad. ” She hops up and adjusts the bed as near to the door as it will go. “You know how I was really upset about the whole Luna thing. ”

  “I told you not to worry about that,” I tell her. “We’ll figure out how to get Aleesa out without freeing the greedy Empress. ”

  She fluffs a pillow on the bed. “I know you did and I know you meant it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And the more I did, the more pissed I got. I mean, how dare she threaten me. Me. Me! Doesn’t she realize how powerful I am?”

  “I think that’s what the problem is,” I say. “She must know you’re powerful and that’s why she’s trying to get you to do a spell. ”

  “Too bad for her, because I have my own plans. ” She smoothes the static from her electrically charged hair. “Well, I had my own plans—a brilliant plan. ” She looks at the door warily. “Or at least I thought I did. ” She starts picking up the clothes on the floor. “I used a spell to open the Faerie Realm inside the closet. Those little giggles belong to sprites. ”

  Slowly, my gaze travels to the closet door. “There are sprites in your closet?”

  A flutter of giggles answers for her, followed by hammering on the door.

  “Yeah, and there’s an entrance to the Faerie Realm. ” She folds a shirt and tucks in the dresser.

  “How did you… what did you…” I clear my high-pitched voice. “Aislin, we have to fix this. ”

  “Oh, don’t worry,” she says, picking up a pair of khakis. “Luna still can’t get through. She was banished by witches centuries ago, and she can’t leave the Faerie Realm without an unbinding spell. ”

  I gape at her. “Aislin, are you hearing yourself?” I signal my hand at the door, speechless. “There’s a realm to Faerie Land inside your bedroom closet, which is now inhabited by sprites. And if I remember right, sprites are mean little buggers. ”

  She shrugs, putting the jeans in the drawer. “Gemma, quit worrying. They just bite. That’s all. ”

  “Gemma. ” One giggles.

  “Great. Now they know my name. ” I flop my hands against my legs dramatically.

  “So what? They know your name. ” She urges the drawer shut. “It’s not like they’re going to look up your phone number and start calling you or something. ”

  “They’re not going to do anything,” I say. “Because you’re going to get that realm shut down. ”

  “No. ” She stares at her crookedly buttoned shirt. “I’m going to go through it. I just need to figure out a way to get past the sprites and perfect the Tracker Spell so I’ll know where Luna and Aleesa are. I need to be able to get my bearings. ”

  “I thought you had that spell perfected?” I ask. “I’ve seen you use it like a thousand times. ”

  “This is different,” she replies. “This is using a spell on a magical world. It’s complicated. ”

  The bed legs creak against the stone floor and the door launches open. Aislin rushes to the trunk and stacks it next to the bed.

  “Start piling things against it,” she orders.

  We work quickly, pushing every piece of furniture in the room up against the door. When we’re done, the room’s a mess, but the door’s secured.

  “It works. ” I back from the pile with my hands on my hips. “At least for now it does. But, I don’t think you should go through the realm. It’s too sketchy. ”

  “Gemma, how many things have you done that are sketchy?”

  She has me there. “Well, don’t go alone, okay? Take me or Laylen or even Alex with you. ”

  She laughs doubtingly. “Like I’m even going to tell them—they’d freak. Especially Alex. He’d say I misused my power and then he’d force me to close it. You know he would. ” Her green eyes bore into me. “And you can’t tell them either. Promise me you won’t. ”

  “I just made a promise with Alex about being honest,” I explain with a dreary sigh. “I can’t start keeping things from him again. ”

  “But you said he was acting weird, right?” She asks and I nod. “Okay, so if you keep this a secret, I’ll help you figure out what’s up with Mr. Mood Swings out there. ”

  I dither, but only briefly. “Okay, you got yourself a deal. But I’m going into the realm with you. ”

  “Deal. First let’s get to the bottom of Alex. ” She heads to leave. “Although, I doubt there’s anything wrong with him. He just gets weird sometimes. It’s in his genes or something. ”

  “This is different. ” I tell her about the windstorm, the cut in his chest, and my dream.

  “And it’s on his chest?” She loops a ringlet of her golden brown hair around her finger, lost in thought. “I think I’ve heard of this before. ”

  “You think it’s a witch thing?” I ask, surprised. “Like maybe a witch put a spell on him?”

  She shakes her head slowly. “No, I think it might be darker than that. ”

  “Like maybe black magic?” I ask.

  She scratches her head. “Okay, let’s go talk to him and I’ll see if anything pops into my head. ”

  We put on our game faces and go outside into the warm sunlight. I’m skeptical, though, since Aislin isn’t good at putting on a Poker Face. Laylen and Alex are still messing with the car. The hood’s down on the GTO and the Camaro’s no longer running. Tools are thrown all over the ground and grease stains their shirts, pants, and faces.

  “Hi guys. ” Her smile is overly cheery. “What’s up? Is the car not working?”

  Alex cleans the grease off his hands with an old rag as he eyes Aislin distrustfully. “What’s up with you?”

  I want to smack her on the head and then smack myself in the head for agreeing to the plan. I brush by them and walk around the car, glancing in at the leather passenger seat, littered with glass.

  “Looking for clues to your supposed Afterlife theory?” Alex asks contemptuously.

  I turn and narrow my eyes. “No, I was seeing
if you by chance lost your mind in there. ”

  His demeanor is indifferent. “There’s nothing wrong with me. It’s you that has the problem. I mean what is it with you and your feelings. If you can’t get over your insecurities then this relationship isn’t going to go anywhere. In fact, I’m kind of sick of being with someone who’s emotionally challenged. ”

  It’s like we’re high school all over again. He was a complete douche bag the first time I met him in class and for quite a while after that. Red burns my vision and I slap him across the cheek.

  “Gemma!” Aislin races over. “What are you doing?”

  Giving me a dirty look, Alex pops his jaw into place.

  “In case you were wondering,” I seethe. “That was the emotionally challenged girl getting pissed off. ” I storm off, coddling my hand, because it hurts like hell.

  Aislin chases after me, her flip flops scuffing the dirt. “What happened to our play-it-cool plan?”

  “That’s not Alex. ” I burst into the house, stomp to the stairs, but then backtrack to the front door. “That’s the old Alex out there. The one I first met that was brainwashed by your father. ”

  “Oh my God…” Aislin exhales, her eyes bulging. “I think I might know what’s wrong with him. Come on. ” She grabs my arm and yanks me down the hallway and into the basement. She locks the door and turns on the light. The stairs protest under our weight as we haste to the bottom floor. “What you said made sense. Alex is brainwashed again. ” She removes an old painting of the castle from one of the lower shelves and reaches to the back.

  “He’s brainwashed again?” I slide the painting out of the way. “By your father? Because Aislin, he’s dead. And there was nothing left of his body but ash, so I don’t think there’s a possibility of pulling a zombie move. ”

  “I know that. And zombies don’t exist. ” She rolls her eyes as she heaves out a shabby leather book. “Not by my father. By a Lost Soul. ”

  Chapter 8

  “Lost Souls can’t cross over unless they’re freed from The Afterlife,” I say with skepticism. “And even then, they’d have to return to their own bodies. At least, that’s what happened when I freed them. ”

  “Yeah, but this is different. ” She sits cross-legged on the floor and opens the book on her lap. “Not a whole lot of people know this, but Lost Souls used to roam the world back in the day. ”

  I kneel, angling my head to look at the brittle pages. “That’s hard for me to imagine. Lost Souls are… well, they’re not the best looking creatures in the world. They look a lot like mummies. ”

  “The Death Walkers were hideous,” she points out, turning the page. “And they were all over the place before you killed them. ”