The Evanescence Page 2

“Then Helena’s resistance could damage Gemma’s mind,” I mumble, trying to grasp onto my belief that Gemma’s still herself, and that I can bring her back. Free her from being trapped. Free her from evil. That I can save her just like I promised her I always would. However, deep down, in the darkest of my thoughts, I have to wonder if maybe this time I might end up breaking my promise.


We decide to start with Laylen, since he’s possessed by my distantly dead grandfather, Alexander, and not a queen. When he was alive, he made the mistake of messing around with the love of three women; or more importantly, three women that came from Fey Royalty bloodlines and who happen to be sisters; Lucinda, Queen of the Underworld; Annabella, Queen of the Essences; and of course, Helena. Apparently, my grandfather was quite the ladies’ man—or whatever the hell players were called back then—and Lucinda, Annabella, and Helena all fell in love with him. Despite his player ability, he was unfortunately not very bright, considering he was messing around with three very powerful women. He ended up getting killed; or at least, that’s the theory people came up with about why he disappeared.

I lead Evan to the back corner room in the left tower of the Keepers’ castle and, once we’re inside, I close and lock the door behind us. The curtains are drawn and dust covers the stone floor and walls, along with the table and chairs in the center. In the corner, there are a set of chains fastened to the wall by thick metal clasps. I can remember from when I was younger that my father would bring many people up into this room and it was always followed by a lot of screaming. I remember one specific time where the screaming went on for days and I kept wishing for it to be over because it was terrifying; although, I’d never admit it. I’d never admit much about my feelings back then.

“He looks dead,” Evan remarks as we walk across the room towards the chains. “Maybe the possession is finally getting to him.”

“Dead or sleeping.” I take in the sight of Laylen and the metal cuffs around his wrists. As much as I hate to admit it, I don’t really like the sight of it and how weak he looks; his head hangs low, his skin pale, even for a Vampire, and there are holes in the knees of his black jeans and blood leaking from his scraped knee.

“Laylen, we need to talk.” I halt just outside of the perimeter of the chains.

Evan stops to the side of me and slightly shakes his head at me. “Be careful,” he warns.

Scooting my foot across the stone floor, I inch closer to Laylen. “Laylen, can you hear me?”

Evan balls his hands into fists, his arms flexing, and a handful of his marks ignite in various colors as he begins to channel one of his powers. “Be careful, Vampire. Like I’ve shown you a thousand times, I have a lot of power and I’m not afraid to use it.”

Stretching my leg forward, I nudge Laylen’s foot with the tip of my boot, growing impatient. “Wake up, man. Come on.”

Like the flash of a lightning bolt, Laylen’s head whips up and he leaps to his feet. Leaving me zero time to react, he lunges at me with his fangs protruding out from his lips and his eyes are as black as ash. I step back as he raises his hands for my neck and the chains stretch. He snarls as the chains reach their maximum length and jerk him backward. Snapping his fangs, he falls down to the floor and the rough edge of the cuffs dig into his skin, cutting his wrist open and blood drips out. He quickly regains his balance, getting to his feet and baring his fangs.

“Come closer and I’ll rip out your throat,” he snarls and saunters towards me, leaving a blood trail on the floor.

Most people would be scared to death. He looks like a rabid dog; fangs piercing, drool dripping from his lips and there’s even a little blood coming from his bottom lip where he’s managed to bite himself. However, I’m not a normal person. Fear is something I only experience when the one person I love is being harmed. I’m more pissed off than anything. Pissed that he tried to bite me.

Rolling up my sleeves, I march forward. “I’d like to see you try.”

He retaliates with a violent nip of his fangs and a threatening step toward me. “Come closer and I will.”

Evan snags my elbow and yanks me back. “I know you’re angry, but don’t be stupid. He’ll kill you and you know it.”

“I’m a Keeper, Evan, not some weak, vulnerable human.” Wrenching my arm from his grip, I shrug him off, but then pause, thinking of Gemma. Fighting Laylen is going to get me nowhere and will probably only end up doing more harm. I take a deep breath, trying to compose myself and silence my rage.

“You better listen to your friend.” Laylen’s fangs retreat into his mouth and vanish into his gum line, and then his lips curl into a smirk. “Although, I wouldn’t mind if you didn’t. In fact, I’ve often wondered what would happen if you actually tried to fight me and I let my Vampire instincts take over.” He shuffles forward, elevating his arms to the side of him until the chains are tight and the edge of the cuffs stab into his skin. “Usually, I hold back, but not anymore. Now cross that line and let’s see what happens.”

Anger simmers inside of me, raw and blazing like fire. I glance at Evan, knowing it’s time to get this over with before I lose my cool and rationality. “Do you remember what we were talking about downstairs? And how we said we were going to assess the situation first before we decided on anything?”

Laylen paces back and forth, dragging the chains along the floor with him as he watches me like I’m his prey. “Oh, I can’t wait to see what you two have planned next. More exorcisms? Magic? Or my favorite endeavor?” His lips curve to a taunting grin as he stops pacing and leans toward me. “Begging.”

“I was tired,” I lie through a clenched jaw, cringing at the memory of the meltdown I had. I’d come up here and begged Alexander to release his control over Laylen. He was my relative after all so I should have been able to reason with him. Turns out that not only is Alexander a player and dimwitted, but he’s kind of a douche.

“Sure you were,” Laylen says with a chortle. “And that’s probably why you cried, too.”

“It was the dust in the air,” I say, clenching my fist, the veins beneath my skin bulging with adrenaline. “So shut the hell up or I’m going to make you.”

He raises his hands to the side of him, palms aimed toward me, and he gives me a mocking expression. “Oh, the dust. How convenient.”

“Evan, just do it,” I say through gritted teeth. I’ve become even more aggravated and am brimming on my limit of control. “Before I lose my cool.”

“Are you sure?” Evan checks, crooking his eyebrow. “Because you know how things could turn out; what could end up happening to him.” He looks at Laylen who rolls his eyes.

I assess Laylen; his cocky demeanor, the arrogant smirk on his face, and the overconfident way that he stands. He’s not the Laylen I know, but if he were here, he’d tell me to do anything it took to save Gemma. That much I know. “Yeah, let’s get it over with.”

Evan nods his head once and then cracks his knuckles. Twisting his neck to the side with his hand, he pops his neck. “You might want to step back,” he suggests as he moves around me and motions with his hand for me to step back. “Things might get a little heated.”

I edge backward until I reach the oval table in the center of the room. As much as I hate backing down from a fight, when Evan tells me things are going to heat up, I know it can mean things may literally heat up. He’s actually lost control of his pyrokinesis power quite a few times and he even accidentally started a house fire once.

Evan’s hands are glowing like hot coals embedded into his skin. A mark in the shape of a flame begins swaying on his skin, back and forth, making a roaring path up his arm. Without warning, he jumps for Laylen, sticking his hands out in front of him. Laylen anticipates Evan’s move and uses his long legs to step swiftly towards him, his fangs slipping out of his lips as they get in each other’s faces.

“You think you scare me.” Laylen extends his fingers towards Evan’s throat.

Before Laylen can reach him, Evan’s back bows inward, like a stretching rubber band. His lips part and his eyes shift to a deep black. There’s a loud snap and then Evan’s thrown back into the wall. The impact is so hard some of the stones spilt open and then as quickly as it happens, he’s suddenly shooting forward again, straight in the direction of Laylen. When their bodies collide it’s as loud as a train wreck; metal hitting metal, rocks smacking together.

I start to step forward, the need to be in the action consuming me, but then I pull back, even though it kills me, because fighting and kicking—which I’m the best at—is useless for what we’re trying to do.

Laylen is slightly dazed and his legs buckle when Evan’s head rams into his stomach. Losing his balance, they both crumble to the floor in a pile. They move at the same time to get up, wrestling each other, hitting and kicking; I can barely tell who is who. Laylen’s head smacks against the floor as Evan slams his boot into his cheekbone.

“Dammit!” Laylen screams, bending his knees as he tries to shove up to his feet.

Evan’s fingers wrap around his throat and he forces his back to the ground; his hands blazing fiercely with violent orange and red flames. Smoke hisses from Evan’s arms as he presses his fingers into Laylen’s skin, strangling him as he hovers over him.

“Is that all you got, boy?” Laylen coughs as he kicks his foot upward, aiming for Evan’s stomach. He twines his arms around Evan’s, wrapping his hands around them and then grabs onto Evan’s arms. “You think a little manhandling is going to break me?”

Evan shifts his weight to the side and Laylen’s foot grazes his rib. “No, this is all just for a little fun.” Evan lets out a soft laugh as he constrains Laylen’s head to the floor. “Mere entertainment for myself… What happens next is going to break you.” A chilling smile spreads across his face. “It might even kill you.”

“Kill me?” Laylen laughs and then hacks for oxygen. “I’m a Vampire, boy, which means I’m Immortal.”

I decide to intervene and step up next to them, enjoying that I get to break Laylen—or Alexander’s—power trip. “Actually, you’re not,” I say, looking down at Laylen. His eyeballs are red, his skin white as snow, and his lips are turning blue. “My sister—your great-great-granddaughter or whatever—removed Laylen’s Mark of Immortality so you can die and pretty easily.”

The little color in his face drains. “That’s not possible.”

I grin and his eyes widen. “It is for a very powerful Witch.”

Laylen panics and his movements become sharper and more fueled by fear. He starts kicking his legs and turning his head from side-to-side. However, Evan is quick, and with a simple alteration of his position, he manages to dodge every attempt Laylen throws at him.

Evan’s normally dark eyes scorch as he angles his chin over his shoulder to look at me. Sweat beads his forehead and his hair is damp. This is taking a lot out of him and it shows. “Alex, this is going to take all of my concentration,” he explains. “Be ready to start questioning. And make it quick.”

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