The lost soul, p.9
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       The Lost Soul, p.9

         Part #1 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 9

 

  I remember the monstrous beasts, with yellow eyes and skin like rotting corpses. “Good point. ” I scoot beside her so I’m looking at the pages right side up. “You said they used to roam the world. So what happened to them?”

  “The Keepers happened. ” She fans through the pages, the edges of the paper grazing her hair. “They forced them back into The Afterlife and forbid the Queen to let anymore cross over. There was this little thing,” She holds her hand out to the side, snapping her fingers, considering something. “I think it was called a sigillum cristallum. It was a crystal they stole from The Afterlife and when they brought it here to the Human World, it stopped Lost Souls from crossing over. Of course, with a little help from Wicca magic. ”

  “What about the Queen?” I ask. “Has she ever stepped foot into the Human World?”

  “Not that I know of,” Aislin replies, drumming her chin. “But it doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Why? Are you thinking about your dream?”

  “That’s exactly what I’m thinking. ” I skim my fingers along the page, filled with sketches of mummies, chains, and words of another language. “Is this a book about Lost Souls?”

  “It’s the history of The Afterlife. ” She turns to the next page. “It talks about the rise and fall of The Lost Souls and what they did when they walked the world. ” Her finger browses the page. “They took possession of human bodies, ones with broken souls. ”

  “Alex’s soul isn’t broken, though,” I say.

  “But it’s not normal either. It’s connected to yours, which could make it vulnerable to Lost Soul possession. ”

  “But wouldn’t it make mine vulnerable too?”

  Her eyes rise to me and then land on my hand. “Do you feel strange? Like maybe your mind’s not your own?”

  I think of the dream I had with Nicholas. But Aislin doesn’t know about that. “If you’re talking about the slap,” I say, cuddling my hand. “Then you should know he deserved it. He called me emotionally challenged. ”

  Her expression suspends in disbelief. “He actually said that to you? What a jerk. There’s definitely something going on with him. ” She closes the book, tucks it under her arm, and gets to her feet. “Let me read through this and see if I can find anything that might tell us how to kick a Lost Soul out of a human body. If we can do it, then we’ll know if he’s possessed. ”

  I hope he is, otherwise those horrible words he spoke to me were his own. “What do I do in the meantime?” I ask as we advance up the stairs.

  She unlocks the door. “You keep your distance from him. Otherwise someone’s going to end up hurt. ” She pauses in the hallway, reaches into her pocket, and extracts a tiny clear marble. “If by chance something bad happens, take this and shove it in his ear. ”

  I hold the marble between my thumb and index finger. “What will happen to him?”

  “Let’s hope you don’t have to find out,” she says with a thoughtful smile. “But I want you to be able to protect yourself from him. If he is possessed, we don’t know what he’s capable of. ”

  I sigh and hide the marble in my pocket, hoping she’s right and I don’t have to find out.

  While Aislin is digging through the book, I head to get the Crystal of Limitation fixed. I want to take Laylen with me, but check with Aislin first, not wanting to create more conflict between the three of us. She agrees and sneaks into the library to avoid hanging out in her room with the closet full of sprites.

  I slink into Alex’s room to acquire the crystal. He’s not there and relief washes over me. Until I notice the crystal’s missing from the bathroom counter. With my hands on my hips, I step back into the room, puzzled.

  “Are you looking for this?” Alex obstructs the doorway, each of his hands cupping a broken piece of the teal crystal.

  I eyeball the crystal, sensing an impending fight. “Yeah, can I have them please?”

  He sets them down on the dresser. “If you want them, then go ahead and take them. ”

  I’m more than willing to accept his challenge. I march for the crystal, chin tipped high. Just as I anticipate, he barricades my path.

  “You think I’d let you have it that easy?” He questions with a ridiculing curve of his eyebrow.

  “No, but I was hoping. ” My hand inches for the marble in my pocket. “But if you want to do it the hard way, then it’s fine with me. ”

  He rolls up his sleeves and grins wickedly. “Let’s see what you’ve got. ”

  “Seriously?” I frown. “You want me to fight you?”

  He shrugs. “It doesn’t really matter if you do. We both know how this is going to end. We’ve both experienced your fighting skills. Or lack of fighting skills I should say. ”

  Raging with fury, I charge, regretting it, but not being able to stop myself. He catches me effortlessly, reels me around, and pins me against him.

  “See, point proven,” he whispers in my ear, his lips brushing my skin. “You can’t take me. You’re helpless. ”

  I kick him in the shin. He buckles over, moaning. My fingers fumble to retrieve the marble from my pocket. Just as I grasp it, he rams into me. We fall to the floor. Alex braces my head from slamming against the stone floor, a glimmer of hope that he still exists somewhere inside.

  He lines his body over mine. “See, I told you I knew how this was going to end. ”

  My fingers grasp the marble. “I’m so sorry. ”

  His face contorts. “Sorry for what?”

  I shove the marble into his ear. It sounds like a pinball machine as the marble rolls down his ear canal.

  He swats his hand at his ear, like there’s a bug in it. “What’d you do to me? Gemma, what was that?” His head quivers erratically. “Gemma… please…”

  I scoot from under him. He blinks furiously. I hug my legs to my chest as his hands and legs go limp. His eyes recede into the back of his head and his body crumples to the floor. I inch toward him, smooth his sweaty hair back, and check his neck for a pulse. His heart beats a consistent rhythm.

  “Sorry,” I whisper. Then I heist the crystal halves and leave him alone in the room. I race to the library, a small room stacked with disordered bookshelves. A checkered rug spreads underneath two leather recliners that border a slim table. Aislin sits in one chair, her feet kicked up on another. The book containing the history of The Afterlife rests in her lap and she studies the pages.

  “I had to use the marble,” I declare, taking a seat on the table.

  She lowers her feet to the floor and sits up straight. “Already? Jeez, that was a lot quicker than I guessed. ”

  “He challenged me to a fight,” I say. “Winner takes these. ” I hold up the two portions of the crystal ball. “He gave me no choice, really. But I still feel like a complete jerk. He’s passed out on the floor. ”

  “Just remember he’s not himself. In fact, if you start picturing him a lot like this, you’ll feel much better. ” She raises the book and taps her finger on pictured of a man with a hole in his chest. Wisps of smoke follow the feet of a mummified corpse flying headfirst into the hole.

  “I’m not sure if that helps. ” Flabbergasted, I take the book and gape at the drawing. “How did I not see this happen?”

  “Well, you said he felt the cut after you guys left that freaky windstorm,” she says. “So I’m guessing one followed you back and took over his body while he was alone. ”

  I run my finger along the hideous picture. “Does it happen to mention how a Lost Soul could get up to the Human World?”

  She frowns and recaptures the book. “No, that’s what doesn’t make sense. It says here that they’ve been banished for hundreds of years and there are no reports of any returning. ”

  “But that book’s old,” I point out. “So maybe there have been, but they haven’t been reported in that book.

  Aislin drums her fingers against her chin, pondering. “What we need is someone who understands The Afterlife… someone who understands
death and the rules. ”

  I pull a face. “I think I know someone, but getting their help is going to be like pulling teeth. ”

  She sets the book on the table. “Who?”

  “A certain faerie/foreseer thats been dead and has a connection because of his faerie blood. The Queen of The Afterlife is a Banshee, which is a type of faerie. Although, Nicholas insists all breeds of faerie hate him because he’s only half fey. ”

  “Yet, he’s helping Luna,” she notes. “So maybe he’s exaggerating a little. ”

  I laugh sarcastically. “Nicholas exaggerate? Never. ”

  She laughs with me. Then we shake our heads and sigh, wiping tears from our eyes.

  “So what do you think?” She picks up her neon pink purse off the table. “Should we go torture him for information?”

  “Might as well,” I say. “I have to get his help to use the Crystal of Limitation anyway. Nalina said I’m going to need the help of at least one other Foreseer who doesn’t mind bending the rules. ”

  “Why does it always go back to him?” She questions as we walk for the front door. She hangs her purse on the coatrack in the foyer. “I mean, doesn’t it seem like we always need his help when it comes to saving someone or something. It’s almost like he does it on purpose. ”

  I freeze with my hand on the handle of the front door. “You don’t think… nah, never mind. ”

  “What?” Aislin shuts the front door. We trek down the rocky path toward Laylen, who’s still working on Alex’s car in the driveway. “Just tell me what you were going to say. ”

  “It might be a really stupid thought, but do you think that Nicholas might have tampered with visions too? To, like, maybe wiggle his way into our lives? He always seems to be the one we have to go to and he always wants something in return for his help. ”

  She stops short of the base of the path. “Whoa. I’ve never thought of that. It couldn’t be possible. Could it? If he did, he’d be in the Room of Forbidden. ”

  “Yeah, good point. ” I halt behind Laylen. “Like I said, it was a stupid thought. ” But it bothers me.

  “We’re on a mission,” Aislin says zealously to Laylen.

  Laylen peers over his shoulder from below the hood. “What kind of a mission?”

  “A save Alex, save my dad mission,” I explain. “We’re going to try to cross them both off in one shot. ”

  “Save Alex?” Laylen washes the grease off his hands with the bottom of his shirt, leaving long black streaks along the fabric. “Save him from what?”

  “We think he might be possessed by a Lost Soul,” Aislin tells him.

  “Is that why he’s acting like a total weirdo?” Laylen frowns and picks up a wrench. “I was wondering if something was wrong. ”

  “You noticed it too?” I ask and he nods. “Good, I’m glad I’m not the only one. ”