Half way through his sleep, young Seven awoke to see a vampire bat hanging outside of his bedroom window.
He heard howling—and a lot of people chanting. A shiver rode through him like a branch twisting through eddies.
Quick as a ghost, he covered his face with his sheet, trembling in a primal fright—unsure of what to do now next.
Minutes later, he found his courage to look again—and decided to rip the sheet aside to see. It was a bold, brave move.
The bat was gone—so he slipped from under his covers―and crawled across the room to the window. This was crazy.
Standing on his tiptoes, he peeked out to catch scores of pale-faced folk skating around an ice rink encircled by torches. Drum beats bled out of the dark.
He spotted his brother and family in the mix. It was his first real clue that his dear kin were not at all human. He had always suspected they were monsters.
Not long after that dream, Marietta took him aside one day—where she explained that Godwin was not actually his real father—and that he was only half vampire, while the rest of them were all mostly undead. She broke it down gently.
She explained how Godwin and her were hundreds of years old—but they had Olin and him only recently. She told him that they loved him just as much as Olin.
She also elaborated that while Olin might live forever, Seven was sure to die young like most humans do—perhaps as early as his thirties like some men so did.
She hugged her son while he absorbed the awful information. He cried reeling from the surreal horror of the truth that he was hearing—becoming very dizzy.
He looked differently at his family from that one day forward. No longer was he just an outcast at school—but now he was an outcast on the homefront as well.
So he learned to turn inward—and to embrace the Forest as his only friend—finding a strange comfort in those dark woods—and learning to rely on himself.
He found that the trees made better companions than humans or ghouls alike—so he took to exploring them in earnest—fulfilling his spirit through solo discovery.
They were almost out of French’s Forest now―but Seven remained on full alert—expecting Faye to reappear in the rear-view mirror at any time. He tensed.
The fuel light flickered on empty―but he knew they were good for the county line at least―as long as Earl’s Gas Bar was open that early. He prayed.
Eva shifted in her seat. She pouted.
“Where is She … ? Is She gone?”
“Behind us … She’s behind us …”
“What happened? Did I faint … ?”
“Yes and we keep losing Her …”
“I feel really out of it, like shit …”
“Maybe you hit your head, hold on.”
She recalled that a revelation had just been upon her, but no good neuron would bring it back. It was about Faye.
“Please don’t stop,” she said, squeezing his knee. “Don’t you dare stop for anything … I mean that now Seven.”
“Wasn’t planning on it. Hold on.”
Their hands clasped, fingers linking.
“Everything will be fine, I promise, Eva … I’m so sorry I put you through all of this. We will make it out alive I swear.”
A heavy silence now fell over them.
Finally, Eva said: “No more lies?”
“Never. Just keep your eyes open.”
They carried on at a reckless clip …
(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)