New London was sparkling with the Christmas Season that foggy evening, and as their cab navigated the streets, Seven continued to dwell upon Faye’s stalking.
He recalled one morning, while showering―half-way through shaving, his eyes had caught Faye’s silver figure shimmering into sight through the glass stall door—again hanging upside down from the ceiling, now glaring at him wickedly from behind the heavy steam.
His knife slipped, cutting his cheek.
Blood spattered all across the glass.
Then the door burst open in a gale force wind―blasting him back against the stall wall as easily as if he were a doll.
He crumpled down―sliding broken-limbed to the shower floor under the stinging water needles—blood running from his face down his body to the drain.
Faye dropped down and stepped into the stall, now ablaze in a crackling blue fire. Her frame pulsed with a heady evil.
She knelt by him singing:
‘Lucky … … Lucky … …!’
She seized him by the neck and lifted him aloft, burning him in her azure flames—while slowly choking the life from him. Her wicked maw cackled at his pain.
All he could do was struggle futilely—weak-willed and stunned from the sudden hard fright—as the flames burned his face—and the air was cut off from his lungs. He flailed his arms helplessly.
She pried the knife free from his hand―that he had been clutching in a near death-grip—and She held it up to his twitching eye—playing with it like a shiny new toy. The relish in Her eyes was raw.
‘Here—let Me …’ She cackled—carefully carving ‘VII’ into his cheek—as he cried out, unable to stop Her assault.
He came to several hours later―still on the stall floor, soaked to the core―shivering near hypothermia, for the hot water had long since turned ice cold.
His face ached in fresh burns and cuts. His body felt beaten and bruised. He had been attacked to within a hair’s breadth of his life and his head pounded.
Eva clung to his side in the ambulance en route to the hospital, clutching his hand—promising him she would not leave his side—nor sleep apart. She would be with him until the very end.
Four months forward, he had healed enough to feel fully half-human again—and the scars were finally beginning to fade―but he remained entirely certain that the psychic shock would not abate before he died. His determination waned.
Then six months after their shower encounter—just when he had finally begun to recover some calm of mind again—while doing laundry in their Angel Street apartment complex basement—Seven once more found himself suddenly not at all alone. Once more the Silverskin arose.
First, a low humming edged out of the darkness from under the stairs—and then he heard a quiet singing voice of sin: ‘Lucky …! Lucky …! Lu-u-u-u-cky …!’
When he looked closer, some slanted light caught his eye there—and stepping over, he spotted Faye hanging upside-down under the stairs—green eyes flaring like fireworks—writhing wildly in the pitch. She pitted her gaze against his.
‘Lucky … Lucky … Lu-u-u-cky!’
He slowly began to back away.
‘Lucky … Lucky … Lu-u-u-cky!!!’
The door at the top of the stairs slammed shut. Faye was in total control.
He dashed up and grabbed the handle, but it would not open at all.
He pounded the door, yelling for anybody up there to help him get out.
‘Lucky … Lucky … Lu-u-u-cky!!!’
Misty silver water began to flood the basement floor—pouring in at the cracks—gradually rising up the stairs. Her powers had grown. She was making her move.
The humming grew into a piercing, heady throb―leaving him disoriented. He could barely keep his focus let alone yell.
Draca’s silhouette snaked back and forth beneath the surface of the silver water. He was the evil extension of Her.
‘Lucky … Lucky … Lu-u-u-u-cky …!!!’
Despite a fog that had settled over his mind—and a heaviness that had sunk into his bones―he continued to weakly pound the door, until he finally heard something on the other side and saw the handle beginning to turn. He gasped.
“Thank God,” he cried, pushing through as it opened—directly into Her waiting arms. She was on the other side.
She folded him into Her mercurial embrace—gnashing her black fangs into his pale neck—blood spurting from the punctured veins. She feasted on his life.
He screamed—and for just a moment, he blacked out—racing down into the depths of his mind, searching for the courage to save himself once again.
A moment on—he returned to consciousness—and his unnatural adrenaline kicked into action—reigniting his instinct to survive this night at all costs. All that he had left was a will.
He tried pushing Her away, but She was still of the superior build—and Her hold grew stronger the longer he struggled, until She was ultimately crushing him with a merciless abandon—and a maniacal smile. She loved it all.
The last thing he remembered was seeing Her arms turn into two green-eyed silver snakes—that continued to squeeze him nearly enough to snap his spine, until he lost all breath completely—when She finally hurled his lifeless body down the hard metal stairs—laughing as She did.
He recovered several minutes later at the bottom of the steps, in a pool of blood and broken bones—and he laid there for another three hours before a janitor finally happened to come upon him and call up for help. He was a sight of horror.
When later asked what had happened to him—he said that he could not recall anything of the accident at all.
The doctors determined that he must have suddenly fainted and fallen down the stairs headfirst as if thrown.
“Now I know how you must feel in your spells,” he kidded Eva whenever she visited him in the hospital afterward—trying to make light of the terrible ordeal.
Eva never clued in that Seven might be covering something up. Her eyes just glossed over every time he talked—trusting every word he said intrinsically.
But he was beginning to feel that he could not go on lying to her—and that he must find a way to keep Faye at bay forever―so his own ‘black-outs’ did not mount up so much he never recovered.
(Special 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)