The evanescence, p.9
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       The Evanescence, p.9

         Part #2 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
Page 9


  I can tell she’s lying, and I quickly close my hand around it as I move around the table. “You’re lying and I want you to tell me the truth. It’s important. ”

  “Gemma you have to believe me… What I say is the truth. There’s no other reason. The necklace isn’t powerful, just pretty to look at. And sentimental. ”

  “Helena wouldn’t have stolen it from you if it wasn’t,” I argue, sitting down in the chair across from her. She’s starting to cry, but her tears are plastic—not real. She’s acting like she’s upset, but I can tell she’s not. “There’s no way in hell it could be worthless if she wanted it… It has to have some kind of value… some kind of power. ”

  A smug look rises on her face. It was an act, just like I thought. “Well that’s the only answer you’re getting from me, Gemma. That is all you need to know. ”

  I’m getting riled up and fully pissed off. I want Helena to pay for what she did to Alex. To Laylen. To everyone in the world that she hurt. I’ll do whatever I need to get my answers. Rage fires inside me, the kind controlled by hurt. I’m losing control of myself and I don’t care. All I care about is wiping that smug look off Nalina’s face.

  “I’m sorry, but if you’re going to refuse to cooperate, then I guess I’m going to have to help you change your mind,” I tell her, realizing how much I’m starting to sound like Alex. With his threats and blunt remarks. I kind of like it. In fact, I love it and I’m going to hold onto it because then I can keep part of him with me forever.

  “You’re bluffing. ” Her eyes flicker up and down as she scans me over. “There’s nothing you can do to me. You are just a little girl. ”

  I have had enough of this crap and her attitude. I jerk the collar of my shirt down from my shoulder, angling my neck to the side as I rotate in the chair, showing her the Serpent’s mark. Surprise and understanding register on her face—she understands what I can do now. Part of me is ready to invade her mind, but the other part of me wishes she’d just give me the answers without me having to use the power because I’m afraid that once I decide to go down this road, I won’t be able to turn back.

  That I won’t want to turn back. That I won’t be myself anymore because really, what do I have left?

  Chapter 9


  When I’m finally able to move again, I immediately jump to my feet and run out of the room. I barrel down the stairs, trying to catch Gemma before she disappears to wherever the hell she’s going. As I reach the bottom of the stairway, I almost plow over Evan, standing at the bottom, looking astounded; jaw agape, eyes amplified, and nausea fills his expression.

  I slam into him and send us both flying sideways. Losing his balance, he grabs the wooden railing of the staircase for support. “Alex… what the. . . ” He regains his footing while I skid across the marble floor and I only stop when I run into the wall. “What the hell? I thought you were dead?”

  Shaking my head, I get my feet stable underneath me. “I’ll explain later. Right now I have to find Gemma. ” I sidestep around him and rush towards the front door. “Do you know where she is?”

  He shakes his head, trailing after me with his hands stuffed into his pockets. “I thought she was still upstairs. When I left her she was lying by your… body. ” He pauses, looking confused as he coils the chain on his jeans around his finger. “I thought she was still up there. ”

  I jerk open the door and step outside, the bad feeling twisting inside me like an illness. “Gemma!” I shout and a herd of Sprites come scurrying out of the bushes and surround my knees.

  “Charge!” One of them yells in a squeaky voice as he raises his arms in the air. The rest of them flap their wings as they start to march toward me.

  Shaking my head, I kick it in the face and it goes soaring through the air like a football. The rest of them scatter in terror; diving into the bushes, flying away, and running across the grass. “You search the forest and I’ll search down by the lake,” I tell Evan.

  “Just a second,” Evan says, stepping out onto the porch. “I don’t get why you’re so panicky. She probably just wandered off to like… Mourn or something. ”

  I shake my head and shield my eyes from the sun with my hand. “I have a bad feeling…” My gaze scrolls the lake and the lofty trees next to it. “I can’t explain it, but it feels like she’s going to do something that will get her hurt. ”

  A lot of people would question my strange response, but not Evan. He nods and then jogs off towards the brink of the forest. I slam the door and do a lap around the castle, before heading down the gravel path that descends to the lake. I search through the trees that surround it and walk out along the shoreline, but she’s nowhere and, deep down, I think I know she’s not here.

  “Dammit!” I curse, kicking the trunk of a tree. Where the hell would she go? Think. The million answers to that question scare the living daylights out of me. And it’s my fault. I was supposed to protect her—I promised her I would.

  The sky is shifting to black and stars are starting to sparkle. I return to the castle, frustrated, knowing that I need to find her, but knowing there are a thousand places she could be. I think back to what she said while hugging my body. She said she’d make her pay. But who? Helena? No, there’s no way. She would never try to go back to the Afterlife, would she?

  I throw open the front door to the castle and step into the foyer. It’s dark inside and I turn around to flip on the light. The bright light from the chandelier above flicks over the entryway and I nearly drop to the floor when it finally steadies and lights up the room. Laylen is sitting on the bottom step, with his head hanging low.

  He lifts his head up and his eyes are blue again. “He’s out of me,” he says with a heavy sigh. “I’m me again. ”

  “I know,” I reply, noting how much he looks like himself again.

  “Did you find her?” he asks. “I heard you talking about it while I was waking… while I was coming back to life, I guess, and you said she left… please tell me you found her and that she’s okay. ”

  “I didn’t. . . I searched everywhere. ” I sit down on the bottom step and rest my arms on my knees. “I don’t have a God damn clue where she went… and I’m worried. ”

  He presses his lips together, nodding his head. “You know she has her Foreseer power again, right? She probably used it to go somewhere. ”

  “Yeah, but where…” I tap my fingers on my knee anxiously. “What if she went to… What if she went after Helena? I mean, she wasn’t thinking rationally. What if she’s planning on doing something stupid, like getting revenge?”

  He swallows hard. “As much as I hate to say it, would you really blame her? She thought she was alone and that we were all dead because of Helena. Or should I say I was?” He raises his eyebrows accusingly because it’s partly my fault that he died.

  “Yeah… I’m sorry about that. I didn’t want to kill you—Evan didn’t want to kill you anyway. We just had to see what you knew about Helena and that stupid loophole and things just kind of spiraled. ”

  “Hey, no judgment here,” he says, letting out a loud breath as he stares at the front door. “I know why you did it and I’d have done the same thing probably because… because I love her, too. Maybe not in the same way as you, but it’s still love. ” He shrugs and shakes his head as he stands up. “We need to figure out where she is, and what she’s doing, though, because you’re right. She’s probably thinking irrationally and, as much as we both love her, we both know how much trouble seems to be drawn to her. ”

  My neck muscles constrict and I pop my neck, trying to stay composed, even though he keeps saying he loves her. It’s annoying, although it’s not the same way I feel about her. At least, that’s what he says. I’ve always had my doubts about their “friend” relationship.

  I rise to my feet and we go into the living room. The fire has burned out and it’s dark. I flip on the lamp and draw back the curtains, so the damn Sprites wi
ll quit peeking in. Laylen takes a seat on the sofa, slumping back, and crossing his arms. I sit in a chair opposite of him, resting my hands on the armrests. Evan hasn’t come back yet, which makes me kind of nervous. He’s an Omnia and everything, but still, there’s a lot of madness always going on and when someone disappears I have to question it.

  “Evan should be back,” I remark, rubbing my hand down my face. “It’s getting too dark to keep searching for Gemma, and besides, I’m pretty sure that, if she were here, we’d have found her by now. ”

  Laylen kicks his feet up on the table and winces from the movement. His hand travels down to his knee and his face twists in pain as he massages his kneecap. “You know, you two are ruthless. It friggin’ hurt to die. ”

  “Yeah, sorry about that,” I say, lost in my own thoughts because I swear I can feel her—feel her pain and almost see what she’s thinking. She’s hurt. She wants to make someone pay. She’s seeing a lot of red. “If there’d been another way, I’d have done it. ”

  Laylen’s lips tug upward. “Now, I think that we both know that’s not true and that, deep down, a tiny part of you enjoyed watching me get hurt. ”

  I don’t deny it. As much as I’ve gotten over the fact that Laylen is a Vampire, he’s still the guy Gemma runs to for help. She still cares for him and apparently he loves her.

  An awkward silence builds between us and he starts scratching at his arm. I notice the marks on his skin, but it takes it a second to register.

  “Laylen, are those…” I trail off.

  “Yeah, they came back when I woke up—or came back to life. ” He traces his finger along his forearm, along the Mark of Immortality.

  “We’ll get Aislin to remove it again,” I assure him and he fakes a smile, looking like he’s going to cry.

  I’m about to ask him what’s up, when Evan walks into the room with his jacket zipped up and the hood pulled over his head. He immediately slams to a stop when he sees me talking to Laylen and the awkwardness, thankfully, vanishes.

  He stares at us incredulously. “What the hell is going on? I mean—no offense or anything, but aren’t you both supposed to be dead?”

  I shake my head and can’t help smiling. Leave it to Evan to be straightforward. “I take it you didn’t have any luck finding Gemma. ”

  He shakes his head in response as he draws his hood down. “No, and apparently you didn’t find her either. ”

  “No,” I say. “And as much as I hate to admit it, she probably used her Foreseer power and left. ” I let out a breath as Evan sits down on the sofa beside Laylen and I drag my fingers through my hair. “This is turning into such a mess. ”

  “It always does,” Laylen mutters. “And not only do we have to find Gemma, but I don’t think anyone has even begun to figure out how to get Aislin out of the Fey Kingdom. ”