Read Redefined Online

Authors: Jamie Magee

Redefined (page 5)

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“What do you know about Phoenixes?” I blurted out.

His entire body went rigid. “I know enough.”

“That’s what I saw.”

“You saw Phoenix?”

It was odd, his wording. It was as if he thought it was a person and not a flaming symbol.

“It grieved for you, then a powerful wave of energy encased you. It rejoiced, then soared through the room and -”

He gripped his chest. “Flew into me.”

“Right,” I breathed. That came out way easier than I thought it would.

He clenched his jaw and squinted his eyes closed, as if he were trying to remember something. In his mind and all around him I could see fragments of very distant past lives, lives that were by no means perfect. They were spent trying to fight evil with evil.

“It was too beautiful to be a bad thing,” I murmured.

He nodded once as he opened his eyes. “I just had to know if that was an illusion.”

“Everything in The Realm is an illusion - but that one, it had to represent something sacred to you.”

Before he could ask me another question, one of the den doors opened. Grayson was standing there. He looked protectively over me, then said, “Are you going to play, too? We are going to see our way home to bring back some equipment, but Draven doesn’t want to bring more than we need.”

“Yeah,” I said as I began to walk toward him.

Landen reached out for my arm and as he did I felt the emotions of gratitude and protection instantly swarm through me.

“I just need one more moment.”

His tone was definite, telling me one way or the other that he was going to have that moment - and I didn’t want to put Grayson, someone who stayed on edge, in a position to defy Landen.

I sighed as I watched my escape from this room vanish with my guilt. The unyielding concern in Landen’s blue eyes was impossible to ignore.

I nodded once at Grayson. He hesitated then closed the door, but I could see his shadow below the frame. He was giving Landen one - just one - minute.

Landen urged me to walk farther into the den, away from the door.

“Listen,” he whispered intently, “I think you’re in danger.”

Like that was a news flash.

“That one,” Landen said, nodding to the door, “he has a good intent. He would lay down his life for his sister, for any of you. He would cut out his own soul before he submitted to any darkness. But the other...” Landen glanced to the window toward the porch with now smoldering blue eyes to where I assumed Winston was still sitting. “There’s nothing there.”

“What do you mean?” I asked as my insides faded away and fear consumed me.

Instinctively, Landen reached for my arm, taking away that fear and establishing an odd calm in my emotions. It wasn’t mind-numbing; it was just calm enough to take the edge out of my emotions, and for me to still reason what he was saying.

“I mean there is nothing. It’s almost like he’s a ghost or an illusion. He has a blank emotion, no intent. His energy is lingering so closely to his body that at first glance you would think he didn’t have any. That girl, the one in The Realm - she felt the same way.”

I felt a sick feeling rise in the back of my throat. I’d never really cared for Winston, and the fact that he’d now been compared to Bianca, escaped Chara, and was literally forced back here by Clarissa and Dane led me to believe that in some way he might have already crossed over.

Noticing that I was not appalled by what he was saying, Landen went on. “Watch your back. Brady and Marc are keeping their eye on him, but if you guys are alone with him, choose your words carefully.”

“Should I ask what Willow says about this?” I whispered, knowing that before, when he was lost, she was the one that seemed to have the most intense senses, powers.

“No, at least not yet. She’s exhausted, and I’ve done everything I can to distract her from it. My father told me how dangerous she was when I was gone, and that terrifies me - it terrifies her, too.”

I wanted to tell him that the last emotion I saw in that girl was fear when he was gone. Instead, I had to find a way to carefully ask him about his sister without giving away anything I knew about her.

“Would Clarissa have brought him here, given him to you, if she thought he was dangerous?”

His eyes seemed to cloud with unwanted thoughts. “She would never do that on purpose, but she was not herself when we saw her.”

I stopped him there before I was forced to answer questions that would bring him heartache.

“Don’t worry about us,” I said as confidently as I could, knowing that Draven would rip Winston in two if he had the slightest reason.

“Listen,” Landen said, “just before you came, before The Realm, Dane was possessed, walked among us, listening to us, our plots and plans. We knew instantly he was off, that something was wrong, but Willow defended him. It’s not the same with your friend. Dane had emotions he could turn off and on at will, memories and demeanors that would occasionally prove Willow’s point that it was really him. Winston...there is nothing there.”

“I’ll let the others know. We’ll figure something out, see him when he’s not looking or something,” I mumbled, telling myself that Silas surely would not have sent him here if he knew he was dangerous...unless...unless he was looking for a way to show me that I still needed him. I shook my head once, scolding myself for thinking that he would be that childish.

Grayson opened the door again, suggesting for the second time that I end my conversation with Landen.

“We’ll figure it out,” he said quietly.

“Maybe we should fight our own battles, and when they cross we fight together,” I mumbled.

My words caused his eyes to widen for an instant, as if a memory had been triggered. That dark past of his was flashing through his thoughts.

“That might be the only way out of this,” he said under his breath.

He held my gaze. “I really am sorry that I didn’t drop everything and come for you the moment Austin said you existed - not because I feel like it would have stopped any of this, but because I should have. I should have reached out for people like you from day one instead of thinking that I could do this on my own. I should have realized that your battles, mine, are one and the same.”

I reached for his hand, which was still on my arm. “You did. Thousands of years ago you reached out for me. You and Willow gave me direction, a new sense of purpose, and now your family of souls is accounted for.”

Before he could ask me why I said that, I moved toward Grayson, and left the room.

“You all right?” Grayson asked under his breath.

“Yeah. He just wanted to know what happened in The Realm.”

“Did you tell him?”

“Kind of.” I glanced up at him just as we reached the front door. “What’s going on with Monroe?”

“I don’t know. They have been encouraging her to meditate and now because of that I keep seeing those odd images. Before, when I looked into her I would see our home, Mom. It’s like she’s moved past that like she’s grasping whatever she is - and that scares the bloody hell out of me.”

“Me, too,” I uttered. “What about Winston? Have you looked into him to see where he went or why?”

“Tried, brick wall,” he said in a seething tone as Willow opened the glass door and stepped in.

“Hey,” she said, looking between us, obviously picking up on Grayson’s anger and my stifled fear. “Everything okay?” she asked protectively, locking eyes with me.

If I didn’t know before, I knew now that this girl would literally put everything she was dealing with to the side to save another soul. An admirable trait, but Landen was right: she needed to rest, let us deal with this.

“Just trying to take it all in,” I said with a forced smile, stepping past her, not giving her a chance to ask me anything else.

I glanced over my shoulder to see Landen stepping out of the den and reaching for her. I told myself they would be all right. Just like us, they just needed a chance to process all of this.

They had backed Jeeps up to the porch and were setting up basic equipment. My first thought was to rescue Madison from whatever conversation she was stuck in, but when I stepped around the porch I found her seat empty and Beth and Felicity still sitting there.

“Did you see where Madison went?”

Beth nodded toward the open field. “She said after something like what you just went through, all of you play music and she sketches.”

I followed their stare, and in the twilight of the day I saw Madison in the distance, in a field of flowers with an open sketchbook, clearly searching for her own personal escape. I began to move my fingers across my thumb, craving mine, the hum of an electrifying guitar under my fingertips, the embodying power of music that allows me to hide from my fears.

“Very true,” I mumbled, bowing slightly to Beth, Drake’s mom, before turning to find Draven and Aden.

They were at the foot of the stairs between the steps and the jeeps – at least their bodies were. Both of their eyes were dark, and every second or two an amp or a part of a drum would appear around them.

I thought about leaving them to it and talking to Monroe, but when I glanced up to see her on the porch I saw that Grayson had her attention. They were staring into each other deeply as Preston and Libby sat by beside them. I knew he would get further with her than I would at this point. She only really opened up to me when we were all alone, and there were far too many people around now.

Draven’s eyes turned green as my favorite guitar - my father’s, the one that was black one with smoke lines racing through it - appeared in his hand.

“Thought this would make you feel more at home,” he said, holding my stare and looking for a break in my composure, hoping it wouldn’t make me cry instead.

“It does,” I said as I pulled his waist against me. “Makes me believe they’re still real.”

His lips caught mine and we both held back the urge to display the passion our relationship was known for. His forehead leaned against mine as his hand reached for my neck and his fingertips tenderly outlined my jawline.

“One way or another, you are going to see them again - I swear. Nothing is going to hurt you, not one scratch.”

I squeezed his side. “See me,” I whispered as I opened my mind and revealed the conversation I had with Landen, the warning he had about Winston.

Within a second, Draven’s expression turned stone cold as anger engulfed his image. He leaned away from me as his eyes searched for Winston.

“Don’t go near him.” Draven’s tone was so firm, so commanding that it made my stomach twist. I felt like I was the one in trouble.

He instantly responded to my expression. “Not alone – promise,” he said quietly to me, so quietly that I only heard it because I was watching his perfect lips.

I nodded. “I’ll find a power source,” I said a little louder, feeling the glances of this family on us. They seemed curious about us, about our passion for each other, for music - which made sense; this place basically worshiped love and the things that created it.

Draven smirked. “Hopefully, you won’t have to go all the way to the actual windmill,” he said, taking my lead as he nodded toward the field then reached out and nudged Brady, who was a few feet away. That was when I realized that this dimension was powered by natural power, when I developed an even deeper respect for this place.

“You won’t,” Brady said, trying not to laugh. He was setting up Aden’s drums as they appeared piece by piece.

Draven kissed my forehead before his eyes turned dark as coal once again.

“There is a power outlet on the side of the house,” Brady said, nodding in the direction I needed to go, then glancing over his shoulder in the other direction. I saw Ashten and Winston coming from around the corner of the porch. I guess Landen was right: they really weren’t letting him out of their sight.

I grinned to thank him then carefully laid the cords behind the bushes so no one would trip over them. It was now dark and the sky looked like a blanket of diamonds. We didn't have this many stars in my dimension, that was for sure.

As soon as that thought emerged, I squinted my eyes closed and held my temples. My mind was showing me a sky that had four times as many stars - not only stars, but also planets that could be clearly seen moving above me.

I gasped and began to breathe deeply in and out. I struggled with the cords I was plugging in. As soon as they were secure I turned to rush back to my anchor, Draven. I didn’t want to have another mental collapse in the side yard all alone.

One problem: there was a tall, dark shadow behind me. As he stepped closer, the gleam from the porch light revealed his face: Drake.

“Hey,” I said with little enthusiasm as I tried to hide the fact that my heart was racing and my insides were caving in. I didn’t have the mental strength for a one-on-one with him. I was sure of it.

His magnetism was almost too powerful to handle. I didn’t know if I should treat him as a king or just an ordinary boy that I’d saved a few hours ago. Of course, he then helped save Draven, so to say the least I was pretty much speechless, frozen in place.

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