xxxviii. Under The Blood Blizzard
Faye smiled up at Seven so sweetly.
‘I have been so very sad without you, Seven … Please say that you will finally come back to Me … Come back to French’s Forest forever … Be Mine now.’
He shook his head, but only because Her words triggered memories from the woods that he did not want—not because he was not still opening up to Her allure.
But She did not realize She was still in control—and so She lost Her temper under perception of his outright rejection.
‘DAMN YOU!’ She screamed. ‘HOW DARE YOU DENY ME!!!’ She boomed―snapping him out of his short-lived illusion—and he once again steeled himself then for Her immediate execution—before it was too late. He had to do it.
He lifted Tréowlufu again—but felt it being pushed back down—and he could see in Her eyes that She was once more using Her mind to force him to do as She bid. She willed his arm to set back down.
She cackled in defiance. ‘Try as you might, Seven … At best you are only ever half a man—or half a vampire … Such a pathetic excuse for an existence—such a miserable way to spend your life—always split in two. Always only half as good.
‘You should have taken a lesson from Me, boy … Whatever side you choose to embrace, make it all the way—or don’t go wasting your life with making it at all. Why spend existence in limbo?’
But by mounting waves of emotion―he called up his undead flare more than he had ever done before in his life. Giving himself over to his monster core―and using every ounce of will to force Tréowlufu back under his control—he pulled it up, wholly intent on beheading Her. He would not be swayed from this.
‘Oh, please give me one more chance!’ She pleaded, back in Her game of pity and pathos—still confident that She could cast him down with a flick of Her wicked wrist at any time—just wanting to torture him to the fullest. She wallowed.
But he was not believing it. He knew Her too well. It was just a joy to Her—to toy with his heart in this way―in order to find the most wicked final exit for him that She could. She did so, so that in the heat of his ultimate slaying―She might feast upon the most possible pain.
“You have had one chance too many already,” he said. “I delay at my peril.”
‘I cannot live without you, Seven …’
“How convenient then that You are already dead …” he said—and swung fast for Her neck. He guided the blade true.
But at the last second, he pulled out—suddenly seeing an innocence buried deep in Her green eyes, which his empathy could not bear to trespass on.
It was clear to him in a flash, that if he killed Her now, just to rid Her from his life—he would be condemning himself to Her world. He would be bound to the memory of murdering his one true Love.
‘I never meant any of those things I said to Olin, I was just trying to get you back, Seven, I swear … I promise you.’
Seven exhaled sharply. He bowed his head and tossed Tréowlufu into the silver water in defeat. He could not do it.
He could not stoop to Her heartless realm of destruction―and expect to ever sleep soundly again. He was above it all.
“I forgive You …” he said—carefully backing away from Her down the table, one steady step at a time. “All of You.”
‘Don’t deny your true self, Seven … Olin and Godwin are dead—and you killed them …’ She said, craftily attempting to inspire fissure of guilt in him. ‘You did it.
‘You brought Eva back here on purpose—now admit it … You came here to see Me from the beginning! You knew all along that I would sense your return!
‘Examine your subconscious, Seven—and ask yourself … Can you in good conscience say that you are not responsible for what has happened here?’
“This is Your fault!” Seven growled defensively, losing his temper. “You lured me here, haunting my dreams every night … How dare You destroy me for your petty pleasures … What did I ever do to deserve being cursed by You all of my life? Why me? I was but a boy lost in woods.”
Now he was standing below the skylight looking up to salvation and freedom. The cool night air beckoned.
Rain poured down in torrents through the opening, splattering his face with icy droplets from the heavens above.
‘Please don’t go Seven … I cannot control Myself if you leave Me again … I may just burn this Forest to the ground forever!!! I cannot control Myself!!!’
He deftly leapt up to the open frame, feeling free of her pull for the first time since he could ever truly remember.
He pulled himself onto the roof, just in time, as a bolt of blue lightning shot out a second pane of glass—blasting skyward, shattering glass, knocking him to knees.
The rain then turned to waves of blood. She screamed in fury at his having broken Her trance. It angered Her to no end that he could find his free will again.
‘COME BACK, SEVEN!!!’ She shrieked from below, unable to climb any higher—held back by the diminishing electromagnetic field of French’s Forest.
Covered in slices and cuts, slipping and stumbling in the blood blizzard, Seven scrambled up the roof toward the peak of Bane House—to reunite now with the girls.
He found them huddling around the weather-vane, as red rain drove down in sheets. Eva immediately took him up in an iron embrace—as blood painted their skin in whipping beats, spattering them crimson. His heart went out to her now.
“Seven, thank God you’re alright. I thought you were dead … I love you so much … Never leave again.”
“No Eva, it was all me … I’m sorry … I had to try to save Olin one last time—and I had to end it with Her my way.”
Aly’s eyes downturned as it was obvious that Olin would not be returning for good. Marietta held her in consolation.
“Olin loved you, Aly,” Seven said, noticing her sadness. “He was simply under her spell. It was not the real him.”
Aly nodded in remorse. In her heart she vowed to one day destroy the Silverskin in vengeance for her dear Olin.
“Please take me far away from this awful place,” Eva said. “I feel horrible I ever made you take me here, Seven.”
Marietta shed tears of blood, thinking of Godwin just then, filled with a twinge of despondence. Her guard fell.
The roof was now hot under their feet. It rattled and shook as Faye’s menace from below was made well known.
“She’s obsessed,” Marietta growled.
They huddled around the gargoyle weathervane―bracing themselves for the worst—but praying for the best end to it.
The humming hit a crescendo pitch, rattling the roof―as silver water now seeped through the shingles—all ablaze in blue fire. Silverskin was testing Her limits.
More blue lightning shot up from out of the chimney, into the skies—illuminating the night in a blinding flash.
“I thought we were safe up here,” Eva cried, clinging more tightly to Seven, her blouse soaked in blood, skin-clung.
“It’s the storm … She feeds off the energy,” Seven yelled above the wind, trying to comfort Eva and be brave now.
“SHE WILL NOT GET AWAY WITH THIS!!!” Marietta bellowed. “She will NOT take my last boy … Not while I am alive.”
“NO!!!” Seven cried. “She’s too powerful! She will not make it up here, I promise! We have to just wait Her out.”
But Marietta could only think about Godwin—and she no longer felt like living anyway. Godwin had been her everything.
“Take care of this one, Seven,” she said, nodding at Eva. “She must have the heart of a monster, if she loves you so.”
“Please no …” Eva begged. Aly clung to Eva now, having lost Marietta’s embrace. Seven, Eva and Aly were one.
Marietta gave Seven the keys to the pick-up truck that was parked down off the drive-lane. She had thought ahead.
Seven shook his head in disapproval. He could not in his right mind leave his mother there now to die.
“Marietta …” he began, but he could not find words that would convince her to change her mind. He knew her too well.
He felt if anyone died next, it should be him—but mothers were stubborn—and his was no less. He looked deep inside.
“It’s up to you now, to carry on the blood-line,” she said to him—carefully squeezing his shoulders. “My true boy.”
She closed her eyes now, breathing in deeply. After a slight repose―she recited prophecy in a strange accent:
“’Second child of undead blood, Keeper of the Crest … Half-blood born on a half-moon, never before or ever again.’”
Seven bowed his head―acquiescing to the finality of her words―nodding slowly in the grim moment. It was real.
Marietta then skinned her kitchen knife from her apron belt―and flayed one arm wide open, from her wrist to elbow.
(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)