“In the vision,” I say. “Demetrius and Stephan were talking and they—”
“Wait a minute,” Laylen cuts me off, lifting his hand in front of us. “Hold on. They were there—Demetrius and Stephan were there together?”
“Yeah.” I give him a quick recap of what I’ve just seen.
Laylen looks utterly shocked when I finish. “So what you’re saying is that the scar on Stephan’s face used to be a mark? One that he was born with?”
“Yeah, but what’s the mark for?” I ask. “And why would his parents cut it off?”
Laylen swallows hard, his throat muscles bobbing up and down. “Maybe it was his Immortal mark… but I’m not sure. From what I know, you have to have some sort of supernatural blood in you to bear the mark; such as Vampire.” He glances down at the Mark of Immortality on his arm.
“Maybe he is something,” I tell him. “And he’s hiding it... maybe that’s what the mark is.” I pause, summoning the courage to ask. “What exactly does a red and black triangle represent.”
His face twists with puzzlement. “I have no idea. I’ve never heard of such a thing… why do you ask?”
“Well, I first saw it on Draven and then, when I blacked out, I saw it on me,” I tell him, my voice shaking with my nerves. “And then, just barely, when I was going out of the vision, Stephan stopped in front of me, touched the scar on his cheek, and told me I had one on me, too.” My hands tremble as I fear what this all might mean. “And when I looked down on my warm, it was there.”
“I’m not sure…” Laylen rubs his hand across his jawline, deliberating my words with worry lacing his demeanor. “Gemma, I honestly don’t remember seeing it on Draven, either.’
I touch my forearm. “He had it right there.”
“Maybe I missed it.” He sounds unconvinced, though, and it makes me uneasy, like he either thinks I’m crazy or is worried that there might be something wrong with me.
“It couldn’t be a symbol of Immortality, could it? Maybe it’s the one that makes him Immortal amongst the Immortals.”
I sit in silence, trying to figure out what it all means, not just with the symbol in question, but also with the future. The fact that Stephan wants to end the world, using me, and the fact that he can’t be killed… what other option does this leave me with except that I’ll end up being the person solely responsible for ending the world? And then what? I’ll either die in the frozen streets or be killed with the use of the star’s energy.
“Are you okay?” Laylen asks.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I sound hollow and I’m not sure why. Yes, I just saw the end of the world, but Alex has told me about it before this. Still, he made it seem possible that we could stop it and now it doesn’t seem realistic. I’m going to be the thing that makes it happen.
“Gemma, we’ll figure something out,” he assures me, brushing his finger across my jawline. “We’ll get to your mom and maybe she’ll know something… how to stop Stephan. I mean, he put her in the lake for a reason. I can have Aislin look around to see if we can figure out what kind of marks there are that would be bad enough that someone’s parents might cut it off.”
“I think I better get back to Nicholas and my training.” I stand up from the bed and trudge for the door.
“Gemma.” Laylen gets to his feet and trails behind me. “Are you sure you’re okay? You’ve been through a lot within the last few weeks. I’m worried you’re going to break apart.”
I force a tight smile, letting the hollowness seep into my body. “I’m fine,” I repeat and walk out. However, what I really want to say is that I think I’m already broken.
I’ve started having this reoccurring nightmare, but it doesn’t just happen at night. It goes on during the day as well. In it, my mom is begging me to help her, save her from the treacherous place she’s been imprisoned in. Each time I can see The Underworld and what it looks like, a secret cave buried beneath the lake; a place sculpted out of rocks, mud, vines, and a home for water Fey that thrive on torturing. Every time I manage to make it there, to my mother, who’s trapped in chains and secured to a wall. Yet, as soon as I come close to reaching her, the triangular mark appears on my arm and, instead of saving her, I suddenly want to kill her.
When I wake up, I sometimes continue to feel the dark filling me.
This isn’t my only problem. I also have to deal with Nicholas who is a pain in the ass. It’s been two days of excruciating training, falling into and out of visions. I need a break from seeing things I don’t want to see and I need a break from perverted Faeries. What I really want is for this to all be over and I’m doing everything I can to make that happen, even if it means taking a risk or two.
Aislin and Laylen have been spending a lot of time together, looking through books and asking around about marks and the strange triangular symbol that no one seems to know about. Laylen even asked some of the Vampires if they knew that Draven had one and either they don’t know or are denying it.
The biggest void is inside me, though, created from the absence of Alex and the electricity. Two days without it and I swear I’m feeling more sluggish, less enthusiastic, and emotionally drained.
Nicholas and I are sitting on the black and white tile floor of Adessa’s living room with a simple crystal ball between us. He’s wearing stonewashed jeans, a green shirt that makes his golden eyes look brown, and his sandy hair is fluffed up at the top because he keeps messing with it. I have my hair down today because I couldn’t find anything to put it up with and no makeup on as usual. My black shorts are too short while the purple and black striped tank top is a little too tight; both selected from the Black Angel themed wardrobe Aislin picked out for me.
“Try again,” Nicolas demandingly commands, motioning at the crystal ball. He’s growing impatient and I’m growing flustered, a bad combination.
“Okay.” I take a deep breath and extend my hand out to Nicholas, my other hand hovering over the crystal ball. “Stop being so bossy.”
“Don’t pretend you don’t like it.” Nicholas takes hold of my hand and unnecessarily intertwines our fingers, making my blood boil. “Do you have an idea where you’re going to take us?”
“Yeah, I have an idea.” I shut my eyes and brush my fingers across the cold glass of the crystal ball, knowing that what I’m about to do is wrong. I need to know, though; I need to see her.
I pictured what I’ve been seeing in my nightmares over and over again because I need to see if my mom is still my mom or if her sanity is too far-gone.
I need to know how it all ends.
“So where’d you take us?” Nicholas rubs his hands together, appearing intrigued as he glances around. “Somewhere good I hope.”
“Um…” I’m at-a-loss for words.
We’re standing in a tunnel, the muddy walls dripping with musty water and moss. Vines hang from the ceiling and water flows below our feet. It looks much different from in my dreams, strangely more unrealistic than anything as if it was created from a haunting fairytale
“I think I…I think we might be in The Underworld.”
His face reddens with anger as he shuffles toward me. “You what?”
I open my mouth to tell him that I’m sorry, even though I’m really not, when a shriek reverberates through the tunnel and my head snaps in the direction it came from.
“What’s wrong?” Nicholas follows my line of gaze, even though he can’t see anything. “Is it a Water Faerie?”
I squint through the darkness at something white. “I’m not sure…” I move forward, straining my vision. “It’s something white and wavy and… or more like Ghostly and boney…” My face falls as I step back. “Shit, I think it is.”
Nicholas tugs on the back of my shirt and pulls me to the side of the tunnel. He presses his back against the wall and then shoves me back by flattening an arm over my chest.
“What’s wrong with you?” I hiss. “We’re in a vision, so they can’t see us.”
He quickly shakes his head, his wide eyes searching around us in terror. “It’ll be able to sense I’m here.”
“Water Faeries are Fey, so it’ll be able to sense I’m here because I’m part Fey.” He presses himself against the dirt wall as far as he can go with his hands flat out to his sides. “And if it does….” He shudders.
“And if it does then what?” I press, eyeing the Fey heading toward us. Its face is a skull, its fingers bone, and its feet are hidden by wispy pieces of fabric that brush against the dirt as it floats.
His chest descends as he releases a breath. “Look, there are certain reasons—rules—that don’t allow me down here. And I can’t take us out of here, because I can’t—my Foreseer power is no use down here.”
I glare at him, stepping away from the wall and moving in front of him. “Then how did you ever plan on helping me save my mom?” His silence says everything and I shake my head, putting my hands on my hips. “You weren’t ever planning on it, were you?”
More silence and I want to smack him.
“I can’t believe this,” I say, pacing the area in front of him “You know what, actually I can. Still, though.” I huff in frustration, the prickle stabbing violently at the back of my neck while I feel like wrapping my fingers around his. “You are seriously the cruelest person I’ve ever met… playing me like that… over my mother.”
He shrugs. “You should have known better than to believe someone like me.” He glances down the tunnel as if he senses something. “Ferries are a tricky breed.”
I look over at the water Faerie nearing us, and then return my attention to Nicholas with a dark look in my eyes. “You know what, I think I’m just going to sit here and let it find you. You deserve it, you know, for messing with my head.”
He scowls at me, but there’s fear in his eyes. “Look at you… you’re starting to sound as cruel as me.”
I shrug. “But only with you.”
“Yeah, but you’re new at this and you’re going to lose,” he says.
“You think so?” I question, pointing over my shoulder. “Because the water Faerie’s right behind us.”
His eyes snap wide and he takes off down the tunnel. Shaking my head, I run after him, leaving the water Faerie in the distance. He continues to run with me chasing at his heels until we reach a dead-end, the tunnel opening up onto a wide room carved out of rock. In the middle of the hollowed out space is a throne made of stone that has a back spiraling up to the ceiling like a slide.
Nicholas keeps running until he trips over his feet and I slow to a stop, I laugh at him.