xxxix. Ravenous For A Bloodfast
Marietta feverishly sucked her own blood―and her skin soon glowed from the ritual fix. This would super-charge her.
Her fangs grew long and muscles rippled in sinewy undulations―as she turned into her true form. Eva had seen her do it briefly earlier that morning.
Ravenous for a bloodfast—and a bloodfest—Marietta embraced her carnal birthright. She was set in motion to go against Faye and follow Godwin’s lead.
Suddenly, however, the wind turned, swinging the weather-vane about—and Eva’s scent started to send Marietta into a crazy, mindless frenzy. She was on edge.
Seven and the girls began to nervously back away. The matriarch had just turned predator and they were prey. This was not what Marietta had intended.
“We have to jump now,” Seven said. “She will lose all discernment, all worldly control before long. It’s out of her hands. All she can think of is the smell of blood.”
Blue flames raged all around them now. Silver water made it hard to maintain footing. A foot of mist kept every step uncertain until sole set down.
He and Aly and Eva quickly clambered down to the edge of the roof, looking out over the expanse far below. French’s Forest stretched on endlessly.
“I can’t,” Eva whimpered. “I’m too scared.” Aly squeezed her hand. Eva squeezed it back, but she was the mortal.
She was the only one of them with bones that could break, with weak limbs and a human body that could crack open.
“Climb on my back—and close your eyes …” Seven said. “Imagine it’s all a dream, and we’re back home in Old York.”
So Eva did, but while they were focused on making the leap, Aly slowly backed away from the edge, in a calm.
She looked at the love between Seven and Eva and knew it was something she to defend. She would fight for them.
She would make her own last stand against the posessed Marietta, and hopefully give the two a chance to escape.
Half way up the roof, Marietta’s breathing quickened―as a zombie-gaze came over her face―and she started foaming at the mouth. Crossing through the now blazing walls of blue fire, she tracked Eva’s scent as if hunting a deer.
She had transformed with the intent of making a last stand against the Silverskin, in order to save her boy and the girls, only tragically now to be lured back against them, victim to her bloodlust.
Meanwhile, Eva clung to Seven for life—as he crouched carefully—and crept deliberately—down to the edge of the roof.
At the last moment, Eva looked back to see Aly was not right behind them, but hanging back, facing back up the roof.
“Seven … ALY! What are you doing?” But Aly could not hear her, and it was obvious that she was making a play.
“We cannot go back for her,” Seven implored. “There is no time … Marietta is almost upon us … We must move now.”
So Eva closed her eyes and squeezed him tightly, and they jumped far out, aiming for the middle of the wide front porch awning. Seven landed hard.
Just then another bolt of lightning shot out of the chimney―into the ruddy clouds—where it formed into Faye’s face—in blood and blue flames. She wailed.
Looking up at the eyes of the Silverskin in the skies—Marietta recognized the visage of her true enemy—and for a moment remembered herself—long enough to turn her attention from Eva back to Faye. But then Aly pounced.
Then up through the skylight, Faye now rose, a brilliant blue figure on a raging twister—with silver mist pouring out all around Her, rolling across roof into the fog of the night—and Forest beyond.
Her throne funneled fast beneath Her—of silver water crackling all over in blue electricity—as it burned in waves of Her ever hungry azure fire. She scowled.
Aly and Marietta, meanwhile, tumbled down roof in a rolling scramble of claws and maws biting and slashing. They came to a stop with Marietta now on top.
She had Aly caught by the neck and was choking her to death, when again she noticed Faye up above and remembered her true prey awaited. She left Aly there.
Aly lay almost unconscious, struggling to regain herself, looking up at the stormy sky wondering if that was the end for her, if that was how she would go.
Meanwhile, Marietta stalked toward the Silverskin, ready for blood. She would put an end to the insanity of Her plague.
Faye merely laughed, sensing new meat—and so She unsheathed Ierre—as Marietta closed in on Her. It was time.
Marietta jumped high in the air—and fell upon Faye in a cloud of slashing fury, with claws outstretched. She cried out.
Faye spun right—and deftly lobbed Marietta’s left hand off—sending it flying, spinning into the pitch. She cackled high.
Marietta fiercely clawed Faye in the face with one right sweep―drawing three lines across one silver cheek. She spat.
Faye fell back from attack, then summoned Draca to Her side—who spiraled up the twister beneath Her.
Marietta bent over her stubbed arm―which at first was spurting blood into a pool at her feet—but now had healed over—and next was growing itself back.
“DIE!!!” Faye roared—throwing up Her arm, signaling for the snake to take its target and strike. “DIE FANGED ONE! IT IS TIME YOU REJOINED YOUR MAKER!”
Draca launched from the twister, ensnaring Marietta in his thick, scaly noose. He began squeezing her in sinewy, crushing embrace. Bones broke like twigs.
She began to howl, as if from many lungs, like a pack of dying coyotes. Her eyes fluttered, as silver mist ebbed and flowed over her body. She clung to life.
Then in her touch-and-go condition, between life and death, she thought she saw Godwin suddenly appear before her—raising up Réðscipe. Her husband arose.
Faye had released Godwin from her twister now—and casting a veil over his eyes, She caused him to think that Marietta was in fact Seven the bad son.
She stoked his ire again, conjuring thoughts in him that Seven was the problem all along. He had brought the Silverskin into all their lives so long ago.
He became convinced that Seven had brought the Bane family to its knees. He went over the edge of madness—where he was ready to murder his own true son.
Faye always delighted in getting pathetic men to do Her bloody work—and now was no exception. This would be one of Her greatest most devious deceptions.
So Draca released Marietta and Godwin tragically clubbed the last life from her, thinking she was Seven. Silver mist flowed over her dying body as she faded.
Only then did he look on in horror as he saw who he had actually killed. He picked Marietta up in his arms, standing on the roof in the blood rain—roaring high.
He cried and wailed up at the stormy skies in the agony of what he had done. The Silverskin had tricked him into thinking his son wicked, into killing wife.
‘Ba ha ha ha ha!!! Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! !!! !!!’ Faye cried and cackled from atop Her silver twister. Such a sad little mix you are, vampire and male.
“This was Your doing!!!” Godwin barked. “You have taken everything from me! You witch! YOU BITCH! I will kill you … I will make you suffer for this … !”
‘On the contrary, Godwin … I had nothing to do with this … In your barbaric mindset, the blinders of anger led you into your own tragic illusion … It was all YOU!’
For a moment, Godwin knew Faye was lying to him—but then his rage took over—and her mental sway kicked back in. He was in a very weakened state of mind.
He began again to froth in fury at the thought that if it were not for Seven—Faye would not have haunted them thus—and none of this would have happened.
But soon his madness sank into despair—and he sat in the silver eddies on the roof—even as they burned at his skin. He held Marietta in his arms crying now.
He felt disconnected from his past—as if nothing else mattered anymore—except the possibility of revenge on his half-human child. It was Seven’s fault.
Faye then descended on Her twister and gently lifted his chin up—gazing long and hard into his eyes. She smiled in a devilish manner, squeezing his jawbone.
‘Only I can help you avenge Marietta now,’ She said, stroking his head. She touched his cheek softly, stroking it gently with her razor-sharp claws, drawing blood.
He nodded in understanding, emotionally spent, susceptible to spells once more. He gave himself over—as She enveloped him into Her swirling orbit.
She loved nothing more than to play pathetic pawns off one another—and now that Godwin was Hers once more—She looked forward to seeing him kill again.
Meanwhile, Seven and Eva stood on the awning hand-in-hand, ready to jump the last ten feet. Eva was bravely ready.
There was a deep drift of snow beneath them, so she felt comfortable leaping this last stretch on her own feet.
This time they both closed their eyes and stepped out into the unknown, landing shoulder-deep in the soft fluffy snowbank.
Eva did not immediately open her eyes, but instead found herself remembering her childhood of innocence.
Seven also kept his eyes closed, but only for a moment, knowing they were not out of the woods yet. It was not yet over.
But they were still holding hands, even after everything that had happened to them, and for those brief seconds they breathed in the night air, grateful for life.
(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)