Just Pretend It Was All A Dream
When they pulled into the city—they decided to stay the night—and head back to Old York in the morning—so they rented a room and tried to relax. It was so quiet.
Seven was still nervous about Eva falling asleep first—since Faye had haunted him in New London before—but he sensed a Silverskin too spent to project Herself all the way into town tonight.
Long after they were settled in bed, however, Eva found that she could not shut down for even a spell. Seven had almost drifted off, when she sat upright in bed, letting her restlessness be known.
“I can’t sleep—and I had an idea—”
“What …?” he said rubbing his eyes.
“Do you remember your promise?”
“No …? Why … … ? What promise?”
“You said we would go skating …”
“Oh … That promise … Eva … …”
“Well …? Are you still scared … …?”
“Of Faye … ? No … No not at all.”
“Do you think the rink is still open?”
“Eva—are you serious? Really …?”
“Yes—I am deadly serious Seven.”
“You mean, right now? Tonight …?”
“Yes, silly … Tonight. Please … …”
“Well … The rink is usually open until eleven o’clock, if memory serves … but I don’t really know why you want to—”
“Really? Do you want to go …?!?!”
“But aren’t you worn out, babe …?”
“I just want to finish the night off right, like it started, babe … My grandma always said, always exit where you enter.”
“I don’t know. It might be a bad idea. We might want to just play it safe for tonight and see about skating later.”
“Come on, jerk … You remember how to skate, right? You can sense Faye is gone, right? We’re safe now right?”
“Yes, of course, we are safe, Eva. And yes, I remember how to skate, I just don’t think that it is entirely wise to just—”
“What are you scared of then? You big coward … Come one, do this for me. I can’t sleep. This will help me doze off.”
It felt like this was the normal Eva returning to him now—and he found it hard to turn her down. He loved her so.
“As long as we never go back to those woods,” he said. “I’ll go with you anywhere in the world, my sweet Eva.”
“Yayyy!!! There will be lots of people there right? We will be in a big crowd. It will feel so good to see people.”
“Yes … But we have no skates … Wait―I have an idea,” he said—getting a grin about him, back to his old clever self.
They pulled back their covers and got dressed, pushing and pulling as they raced each other to the door in laughter.
It had been so long since they had felt so innocent—so free—so safe—so in love—bubbling up all the way downtown.
After making their way over to Victory Park, they approached a couple to whom Seven offered to buy their skates.
His plan did not work on the first attempt, but after a few tries, he finally found an accomodating match to fit bill.
He forked over four bills for four semi-suitable skates—and they were now set for action. The giggled at success.
“I can’t believe you just did that!” Eva squealed, sitting down to put the faded pink ones on. She was so happy.
Seven’s pair were old and tight―and he struggled for a time to get a foot in—but he eventually managed with effort
Eva circled the rink twice waiting—but she had all the time in the world now to cherish him, to love him, to adore him.
“Come on, let’s go slow poke … …”
“Hold up, already. I’m coming ….”
“Seven … Seven can I tell you …”
“Yes? What is it? Tell me what?”
“Did it … Dit it all really happen?”
“I’m afraid so, Eva. It really did.”
He was finally up, skating about.
They fell into a rhythm together.
“Seven. Can I ask you something?”
“Yes, of course. What is it, Eva?”
“Will you still love me, when it’s all over? When we’re old and gray? When we’ve come to the end of the line in time?”
“Of course, babe. I will love you forever—unto the end of time. I will never leave your side, babe. I promise you …”
“Seven … Just one more question.”
“Mhm … What is it, Eva? Tell me.”
“Are you sure we’re not still dreaming? I mean―we’re not going to wake up back at Bane House in the morning―are we?” she said, plainly mortified at such a horrorific thought.
“No. But if you want to find out for sure―there’s only one way to do it …”
“How’s that? What do you mean?”
“Just one … little … pinch!” he said, quickly reaching out to squeeze her sides.
“Eeeeiii!!!” she squealed in glee. “Don’t you dare!!! Seven … NO! NO!”
“Come on, babe―just once—and then you will know for sure―okay …?”
“Wait …” she said, now skating backward in front of him―fending him off. “Why don’t you pinch yourself … you jerk!”
“Sorry … It doesn’t work that way,” he said, grinning mischievously—swiftly moving in again.
“It only works on you!”
She shrieked in giddiness—skating away—holding him back with her arms. Others so looked on, but they cared not.
Seven chased Eva everywhere, swerving and threading through the skaters. He pinched her right butt once―and she skated off even faster.
The park lights spun around them like a carousel—as they circled ever faster―and the skaters around them seemed to come to be now standing still.
“Okay, okay!” he called out after her through bales of laughter. “I’m getting dizzy …! Let’s just pinch each other once at the same time and be done with it!!!”
“Better idea …” she called back. “Let’s just pretend it was all a dream …” she said―turning and skating backward in front of him again—grinning so wildly.
A shooting star suddenly speared the night sky. They came together—clasping hands—gawking up at the sublimity of the heavenly star-lit canopy.
They magnetically drew together in a passionate kiss, caressing lips, touching hearts, entwining spirits before the witness of the world to see—even Faye.
Steadying each other―they said nothing, crushing on the moment―both sensing deep down that none of it would ever last as long as it seemed to promise.
“Do you swear on your life that we never go back? We never again return to French’s Forest or anywhere near there?”
“Never again … It’s just You and I now. You and I in the universe … And not a star will come between us, so help me.”
Another shooting sun stabbed across the glittering dome of night—lighting up the heavens all at once, in a stellar wink.
They spun together as one—gradually slowing to a light twirl—as the world around them so did speed up again.
For a brief respite from eternity, they had each other—and as their eyes locked on one another—they swooned.
They came to be standing still now themselves, in a speechless embrace, as the other skaters circled around them.
Oblivious to all else going on around them, they kissed as if for the first time. Their trembling lips danced deep into the night―as if it were their last chance on earth to be in love—before the big sleep.
On The Twin Sister Elves
Of French’s Forest:
Lady Faye & Solana Lytebird
[The following is excerpted from The Legend of the Silverskin: Lost History of French’s Forest, Dylan Raine, 1777, Applewood Press, New London.]
Lady Faye—or the Silverskin of urban legend, as Her ghost would later come to be known—was of the formerly bustling wood region near Miramar called Sundowner’s Timberland. She used to rule the northern territory of what is now French’s Forest on the modern map.
Her long black hair, horns, silver skin—and green eyes—instilled fear in man and animal alike from all over.
Locals claimed She commanded the region with ten terrible claws of terror—a blue firesword that She called Ierre—and a bloodshield that She hailed as Hete.
According to testimony, Her skin could kill a vampire under extended contact. She would seduce them into Her embrace—and watch life bleed from them.
Many reported seeing Her with a giant snake—an anaconda called Draca—which would fly alongside Her between the trees—through the air as easy as water.
In other reports, Lady Faye had a twin sister, Solana who was also Her nemesis. Lady Sol Litebyrd was a benevolent guardian of the southern regions of French’s Forest—who allowed all to live freely in peace under her watch.
Quite unlike Faye―Solana was bound to honesty, truth, peace and justice for all. Faye always envied Her sister’s spotless spirit, but could not admit it.
The two of them often fought over Forest territory—for the wood was a major font of power and energy. It was a central nexus of ley lines in the east—and Sol felt all denizens of the wood deserved to live in peace, forever unafraid of Faye.
Now, as the legend went—their comparatively tempered rivalry intensified into a feud one year—over a human, of all things—named Evan French. Evan was a solitary human settler, a stranger new to those parts, who always kept to himself.
He could often be spotted ranging the woods with a cautious curiosity—always simmering under a calm confidence, as if he knew the place in his bones. He seemed younger than he appeared, as if a boy in a man’s body.
He seemed almost detached from that plane―and it was his most peculiarly otherworldly aura that attracted Solana to him one day, when she came upon him, as he was penning in his journal. She watched him with an intense curiosity.
From a distance, through his energy alone, she knew instantly that he was unlike any other mortal man that she had ever known. She found herself rattled.
So she began to make little overtures at him―but Faye soon found out―and in Her jealousy, She began to pursue Evan herself. It was a triangle.
The sister elves soon after learned that Evan was from the farflung future—having been stranded there a millenium before his time, through a temporal wormhole of his own divining—via a mural that he had painted on his bedroom wall.
Luckily, being a savant sorcerer, he could tap into woodland energies in any Age—but in that distant past, his powers were even stronger, for it was a time when Forest forces were at their apex. It was an Age when the Earth was alive.
He was able to survive, just by feeding off of the waves of energy that emanated from every tree, rock and rivulet in the region. He could talk to the animals without moving his lips. He could breathe in the power of the stars without having to set a foot outdoors at night.
So he grew into a man under strange circumstances. But ultimately, he made peace with his fate―and he settled on living out the remainder of his life there. Never again would he see home. Never again would he know of that time.
He never imagined, however, that one day he would draw the fawning of supernatural twin sister elves—let alone that he would have trouble choosing between them. He was easy to crush on, and he easily crushed on—into intensity.
Solana was more pure-hearted, while Faye was more forward. Solana was more loving, while Faye was more lusting. Solana took her time and gave him space, while Faye had no patience—and always demanded more. They were oddly equal.
But he was ever the type to make it work, so with Faye he simply learned to savour the times She was nice to him—even if she did not deserve it. He learned to forgive and forget times that She was mean to him, despite how nasty She got.
Plus, oppositely, Solana’s embrace often transformed into a crushing vice—leaving him feeling like her love was too needy and suffocating. Faye’s aloofness, however, conversely served to fuel Her magnetism to him. He felt so very torn.
Then one fateful day, as legend claims, Faye and Solana had such a row over Evan, that they vowed to end their feud for once and for all—in a death-match. They would prove to the max what it meant to be in love with one man so much that they would kill their own kin.
They agreed to meet in the Field of Circles and decide by the right of might, which of them deserved not only Evan, but all of Sundowner’s Timberland to rule over. This would be a solemn swear of honor, that the winner would be crowned.
So Solana wore her trusty bird-helm Fenix to battle—with her darksword Mirce at her side—and her lightshield Sunna held before her, readied for a just kill.
Faye then appeared wielding Her weapons with a heightened alertness, equally prepared for cutting down her twin sister, in the name of winning over Evan.
Solana then morphed into her bird of light companion Cairns—by touching the center of Sunna—thereby becoming transfigured―rematerializing much higher in the sky, with wings of fire and light—freed from her body for as long as her concentration would now so then allow.
Following suit, Faye then morphed into Draca—in order to fly after Her sister—and She chased Solana through the Forest, snaking along the wind after her. A giant anaconda flew between the trees after a brilliant bird of light, in a final battle to the death, deep in the woodland.
But when they had flown far enough into the southern Forest, Faye’s body as Draca could no longer hold form—and so She reverted to her elven self and fell upon Cairns from above—causing Solana to revert to elf as well—and together they plummeted toward the forest floor below.
Their falls were broken, however, when they hit the slope of a steep hill—pinwheeling madly down through a bluff of young trees. Twigs and branches cut and lashed out at them as they spun and tumbled all of the way down to the undergrowth below, to come to be wrestling now in a deep bank of leaves.
They battled from Evyl Falls to the summits of Miramar―with Ierre clashing against Limbo—and Sunna striking off of Hete. Clashing and clanging, stabbing and parrying, in long elaborate dances—each sister elf so sought the death of the other without trace of hesitation or restraint.
But then Faye fueled Her assault with a toxic rage of jealousy that had long festered in Her for her sister—while Solana stood strong before the barage of assaults—until finally losing focus and allowing a few critical blows past guard.
Then, standing at the edge of a snowy preicipice, Faye struck Solana in the chest with Hete—sending her soaring into the canyon. She watched her sister careen far out below down to hit bottom.
Solana’s soul then floated up from her body—rising high above into the sky—where all sun elves went when they died. She beamed so brilliantly as to blind any eye that looked on, becoming one in light.
According to oral history, locals believed that the sun elves became stars of the night in the afterlife—living on forever as twinkling overseers to all of humble earth and its innocent inhabitants.
But Evan had tracked them into the mountains—and he had witnessed Solana’s defeat firsthand. He had been filled the entire time by a breathless despair—and then afterward a mad rage.
He now saw Faye’s true self for the first time, in Her sick pleasure as She watched the light leave Solana’s body. At last he saw, Solana was the one all along—while Faye had cost him everything.
Unsheathing his serrated sabre Túscas—he marched out onto the snowy ledge, approaching Her slowly, deliberately. She turned his way, sensing his approach, still reveling in victory.
“I have won you fairly, Evan … …”
He could not, however, shake Solana’s dying face from his eyes—and when Faye moved to embrace him, he swiftly drew Túscas and skewered Her.
She fell to her knees—having been taken completely by surprise—and he stepped back to watch Her die—crest-fallen, yet satisfied. Solana was avenged.
Faye clutched at Túscas helplessly, as Her soul bled free. With one foot lifted up, Evan grimly shoved Her off of the cliff. He knew he would never truly love again.
Faye’s essence then went where all silver elves go crossing over—to the night, to the wind—to whistle along hollowly—damned to an etneral abyss of all agony.
Henceforward, locals from North and South started to call their hamlet French’s Forest—in honor of the man from the future who came back to rid them of Faye.
But little did they know that hundreds of years later, Faye’s spirit would return to haunt those woods. She would be reborn by a form of possession.
Plus, Her new terror would far surpass Her old—for Solana could no longer interfere as she had before. Sol had gotten used to such peace in Heaven.
So Faye’s bloodthirsty spirit was free to stalk on—forever seeking the body of a girl to possess, so She could walk the woods again in flesh and find a new Evan.
Meanwhile, the real Evan went on to die a solitary old man in that distant age—never truly knowing companionship. Yet, he found a peace within himself at last.
He lived out his life in a distant, foreign land, with little to love and less to linger on. But he kept his wits about him with his books and his pen and thoughts.
Then at last, on the day he died, so peacefully in his sleep, his ghost rose up and carried on—often appearing to folk as the jaguar that he had once so long ago painted on his bedroom wall as a boy.
© 2011-2018 M.A. Torrington.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.
For Smoky Blu, Shaughne Jackman
& Sarah Lynne Toller
(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)