xxx. Casting Her Icy Shadow
Seven awoke in bed the next day—apparently intact and seemingly unharmed—but he still felt something was different, like he had lost some touch with himself.
His instincts now screamed at him that his troubles with Faye were only just beginning to unfold. His mind raced at the thought that She had somehow had him.
But he sensed there was something more to the alarm he was feeling—and as he was stretching, it dawned on him that he was no longer feeling the presence of French’s Forest. Checking the window, he saw the woods were still there—but he felt blind, being unable to listen to the trees. He felt oddly detached and so vulnerable.
No longer could he sense the mood of the wood. No more could he hear the squeaking of the mice. Not now were there any of those old signs of life alive or growth wild creeping at the peripheries of his mind—and he was growing disoriented for this most profound loss of his hearing.
It felt like being in the city, except the difference was that he knew the Forest was still there all around him—and it was he who had somehow changed, not the essence of the trees—which distressed him to no end. It was like an innocence lost overnight, and he was now a new person.
It felt like his vampire blood was surging—drowning out his empathic side—leaving his human heart asleep in the back seat—while his cold-blooded instincts took over the steeds of his sense and spirit skills. It seemed as if an inner cold fell.
He went about his life this way for many, many months—before the sheen of disinterest declined from his emotions—and his former self re-emerged, forging stronger connections to the Forest once more, realigning himself with the patterns of his nature and bio-clock. He was back.
The Silverskin’s jealousy did not abate, however, but only escalated—so that She eventually became obsessed with him. He found that he could not even be friends with another girl, without sparking the ire in Faye—who would cast Her icy shadow over every facet of every affair.
He remembered how one time his old ex Emily Black had snuck in on him while he was showering. She was always dropping in unexpectedly like that, but this time she was in for a surprise of her own.
After stealthily disrobing, she had yanked back the curtain to find Faye in the stall with him—kissing him in a long, passionate embrace. It was a scene the Silverskin had deviously devised in malice.
“How could you?” Emily would cry—not knowing Faye had only materialized there the moment before. “You bastard!”
Seven followed her out in a towel—begging to explain. “Please, Em … She means nothing to me … She’s just a ghost to me now … I swear to you … By God!”
“She seems pretty real to me you asshole! Don’t every talk to me again.”
Em left him that day just like all the rest. The Silverskin never let him down.
Faye always found a way to scare off every last pursuit of his, until he gave up.
(Author’s Note: If you are enjoying The Silverskin, you can buy the full 400 page Revised & Expanded 10th Anniversary edition paperback here. Forever Yours In French’s Forest, Rian Torr)