Home > The Promise (Fallen Star #4)(4)

The Promise (Fallen Star #4)(4)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

She placed the cow on the table.

To help you learn what you need to do.

Her gaze moved to the ring on my finger.

I m here to help you use that.

I covered the ring with my other hand.

I don t want you to help me with that.

Tears started to drip down my cheeks.

I want you to go back to your body and keep living.

That s not possible,

she said.

At least not for me.

I blinked through my tears.

Are you saying that it can be done? That someone can die, then return to their body and come back to life?

Yes,

she replied simply, moving for my hand, but then pulling away.

If done right.

I thought about my nightmare, about the crow, the coffin and how I lay awake inside it.

Am I going to do it?

She nodded.

You are, but it s going to be tricky.

Again, my nightmare resurfaced; Alex standing above me, fully alive, which didn t make sense.

But what about Alex? Is he going to die too?

She shook her head.

No sweetie. He s the one who s going to bring you back.

Chapter 6

(Alex)

Underneath the light of the moon I tucked the address into my pocket and stepped out from behind the dumpster. I still was unsure how I felt about what had happened with Draven; whether I liked the answer he d gave me about my mother or what I d offered up to get it.

A year of my life to the Lord of the Afterlife, which meant doing whatever he asked. What the idiot didn t realize was that my life was probably going to over before he could collect. So the joke was on him.

I stepped out into the street lined with burning buildings, ignoring the feeding vampires as I headed to my left. Each one raised their eyes at me as I passed, but they knew better than to mess with me. I knew how to kill them, unlike the many humans loitering around, which made them easy prey.

I could have stopped them, but I was in too much of a hurry to find a witch and get where I needed to go. I had never considered this huge downfall when I made the decision to leave on my own. I no longer had a witch or a very talented Foreseer to make traveling easier.

Thinking of her made my pulse speed up. Growing uncomfortable with my feelings, I blinked the thought of her away, knowing if I didn t move on, I d cave in and go back. And I couldn t do that yet. Not until I found a way to save her.

Across the street, I spotted a woman. I could tell right away, from the crescent moon and star mark she bore on her neck, that she was a witch. I crossed the street, sidestepping around an injured faerie sprawled on the asphalt, begging me to help him.

Humans weren t the only ones in danger. The faeries, vampires, and witches who didn t bear the Mark of Malefiscus were also targets, which just added more madness to madness.

The witch saw me coming and smiled as I reached her.

Can I help you with something?

She purred, but it was threatening.

She thought I was human. I raised my shirt, showing her my left rib cage, where my Keepers mark circled.

Still want to use that tone on me witch?

Honestly, I wasn t sure how she was going to react. If she had the Mark of Malefiscus, she d probably try to kill me. If not, it could go either way.

I need you to perform a spell for me.

Her pale blue eyes were locked on me, assessing her options. I guessed, from the worry reflected in her eyes, that she was a normal witch.

What kind of a spell?

she asked.

A transporting one.

I stepped onto the curve, inching my way to her.

I need to get somewhere quick.

She considered my request and then the corners of her mouth quirked up.

I could do that for you,

she said.

But I need something from you in return.

I sighed, shaking my head. This journey was really starting to cost me.

What do you want?

Your help. With removing a mark.

I gave her the strangest look.

Why would you think I could help you with that?

I don t think you can,

she explained.

But you know someone who can.

Someone s been removing the mark?

She nodded, taking my arm and guiding me into the shadows of an alley, away from the dangers of listening ears.

There s a rumor that there s a Keeper that possesses Wicca powers. And she s created a spell that can remove the Mark of Evil.

Aislin.

Look,

I said, prying my arm from her grip.

Even if that s true, it doesn t mean I know her.

Then I m afraid I can t help you.

She started to leave, but I pulled her back.

You get me to where I need to go first,

I said.

And then I ll help you.

She nodded, obviously the kinder of the witch breed.

I m Amelia,

she said as I followed her inside the nearest brick building, which turned out to be her house; a small space, with headless dolls, strange statues, and lots and lots of incense scattered all over the place. She locked the door behind us and went to an armoire, unlocking it with a key she retrieved from her bag. She removed a familiar black candle and purple amethyst, and sat them down on the table.

Screams rang from upstairs and my hand instinctively moved for my knife.

My daughter, Anna,

Amelia clarified, lighting the candle.

That s why I need your help. She s cursed with the mark that haunts the streets.

I dropped my hand.

Are you sure there s no way for her to escape.

She s chained to the wall.

The witch pulled out a red pill from the pocket of her black jacket.

Really?

I frowned with annoyance.

You want me to take a mortem pilula.

It assures me that you ll hold out your end of the deal,

she said, urging the pill at me.

No offense, but a Keeper s word means nothing to me.

Shaking my head, I snatched the pill from her hand, realizing my little plan of screwing her over wasn t possible anymore. Well, unless I wanted to drop dead. I plopped the pill into my mouth and forced it down.

She smiled, satisfied, then gestured at the floor for me to have a seat.

Where am I taking you?

She inched the amethyst toward the flame.

To Niveo Mountain,

I replied.

She jerked the amethyst back from the flame.

Isn t that where the Keepers Castle is?

I shoved the candle at her, growing impatient.

Yeah, but that s not where we re going. We re going to the graveyard.

Chapter 7

(Gemma)

Well don t I feel honored,

Nicholas said from my bedroom windowsill.

A visit from two Lucas s. What s the occasion?

Shut up.

I rushed for him, my finger waving.

You re on the crap list for keeping important things from me.

I m always on that list,

he said, sweeping the curtain at my window.

In fact, I think I hold top slot on it.

I kept moving for the faerie, wishing I could actually get my hands on him and wring his neck.

You knew all along what I had to do. You wasted weeks of my time. And now there s hardly any time left. December 21st is almost here.

He held up his hands, grinning.

That s because you kept asking the wrong questions.

I clenched my hands.

God, I wish I could

Gemma.

My mother s ghostly voice shivered over my shoulder.

You need to move past this you have more important things to do.

I dropped my hands.

How do I get to the Afterlife? You know, the land of the Lost Souls the Afterlife where the queen reigns.

I scowled at him.

There. Was that the right question?

He clapped his hands.

Bravo, but I might add how slow you were at figuring it out.

Answer the question,

I gritted through my teeth.

His golden eyes skimmed to my mother.

Why doesn t she tell you? She s a ghost, isn t she?

I let out a sharp choke, wanting to cry, but fought back the tears because I had a job to do.

She doesn t know how to get there. For some reason, she can t cross over. But you re a faerie and a dead one and that gives you a direct connection to the queen, with her being from the faerie world and all.

Didn t I explain to you once that I m only half-faerie.

He placed his hand on his chest.

And that makes other faeries, dead or not, not very fond of me.

Are you sure that s the real reason why,

I snapped.

Because I m sure your amazing personality helps win you fans.

He shot me a dirty look.

You know what? I really don t feel like talking to you. Not with that kind of attitude.

My fist rose.

You better tell me or I ll &

Or you ll what?

He stuck out his bottom lip.

Hurt me?

An evil shadow masked his face.

Just to refresh your memory, you re not the one with the power here.

He tapped his finger on his lip.

Now, perhaps if you were really, really nice to me, I might be more willing.

His eyes scanned me from head-to-toe, making my skin crawl.

I opened my mouth, to spat fowl words, but a gust of wind whizzed by me. My mother ran past and straight into Nicholas. Surprisingly, she was able to grab him, her ghostly arms encircling his neck.

You can t make me say anything,

he said with a choked laugh as his body slammed into the window.

My mother s wild eyes snapped in my direction.

I ll be back in a while. Don t go anywhere.

I nodded, astonished as the two ghosts dissipated into thin air. Then I flopped down on my bed and let the tears pour out. My heart trembled as I mourned my dead mother. She was gone and so was my brief moment of having a mother.

Alone.

Always alone.

I let myself have about five minutes before I pulled it together and went to find Laylen and Aislin so I could tell them what was going on. But when I stepped into the hall, the house was as silent as a graveyard, sending a surge of fear slithering down my spine. I leaned back in my room, sneaking my knife out of the dresser drawer. Then I tiptoed down the hall, heading to Laylen s room, with the knife poised in front of me. My hand appeared steady, which made sense since I was a Keeper now. But every time I faced danger, my heart still pounded like an insane person bumping their head against a wall.

When I reach Laylen s room, my hand rested motionless on the doorknob. Hesitating, I pressed my ear to the door, but couldn t hear anything. I gently pushed it open. The room was empty. Okay, so maybe they were where Aislin slept. I started to turn, but my shoulder bumped into something solid and I jumped back, letting out a gasp. But it was Laylen.

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