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   Chapter 10 She Sheds Her Skin For Me

The Silverskin By Rian Torr Characters: 17806

Updated: 2018-03-07 15:18


Everybody ate breakfast together at the kitchen table—followed by coffee, tea and biscuits. It was a quiet, early affair.

Then Eva sat down for chess with Godwin, which was a regular tradition at Bane House. Eva knew little of the game.

Godwin was so obsessed with the play―he even insisted visitors bring him a challenge. She was glad to oblige him.

Toward the end of it―Godwin had just finished pushing a pawn to the other side—when Eva replaced it with his Queen—and the piece suddenly turned silver.

Gasping―she touched it—but it reformed into marble. Smirking—she thought she was imagining like she did.

Seven leaned in, rubbing her back.

"So who is winning?" he inquired.

"Godwin is totally kicking my butt."

"It's only because I play everyday, " Godwin remarked—pushing another pawn across. He loved the feeling of a win.

Thunder boomed in the distance.

"Is it always this stormy here?"

"Usually, " Seven said, pulling back from Eva now—rememembering that their every embrace risked exposure to Faye.

The thunder then died out again.

"It's your move, " Godwin said, but Eva suddenly felt sick―and cupping her mouth, she excused herself—up off to use the washroom. She skipped away lightly.

Seven stood up to follow her out, but then he changed his mind. He sat.

"Quite the mortal you got there, " Olin quipped dryly, winking from over at the counter—where he was eating bloody steak. Odds of him being polite thinned.

"Thank you." Seven knew the drill.

"I've got a date tonight you know ... With that Alterman girl." He winked long.

"Really? I thought that you had something against human beings at all."

Olin sneered at the gibe, coiling up. "She's changeling … She's a lot like us."

"Are you trying to say that she doesn't know what she really wants ...?"

Olin shook his head. "She sheds her skin for me only. She knows what she wants and she shows her true self to me."

Seven felt taken aback—for such a tender moment was so rare with his brother. But he was not surprised to find out something was different about that Alterman girl—for her family had always seemed a bit off to him—every bit def iffy.

Godwin nodded from behind the counter. "We found out last fall that the Altermans had more in common with us than we ever knew. Go figure, after all those years. It's always last you suspect.""Isn't it difficult to love someone like that?" Seven asked Olin. "Just like you."

"It's wonderful. She's a different woman every time I see her. A charm."

"Sounds familiar, " Godwin grumbled.

"But really not so different in the end, " Seven said. "Than a human girl."

Marietta started collecting the dishes. "So what is on your agenda, Seven?" she asked. She knew better.

"I thought we might take a hike.""You and Eva? What about Her?" she said, scowling at the woods out the window. She knew better what it entailed.

Seven shrugged. "We got through the night alright—so I'm sure that we'll be just fine." But he was wrong, so very off.

"What if She's waiting for you ...?"

"I didn't bring Eva all the way to French's Forest not to show her where I used to spend my life ... You remember those days right? When you couldn't get me to stay indoors—even for just one night?" He knew that would settle it all.

"How could we forget ..." Godwin chimed in, arms crossed, beaming—as Olin nodded, recalling. They cast back.

"Okay―if your mind is set on it—then I will pack you a picnic, " Marietta said, setting about her task. She strutted.

"Just remember … Never stray from the Ruddy Stroll, " Godwin warned in turn.

"We will be careful." Seven smirked.

Eva returned and finished the game.

When they were done, Godwin gave her a grand embrace, before heading off to take a morning nap. Truth was weary.

Olin bantered with Seven while they got ready to go. He was a blunt fellow.

"Whatever you do, " Marietta whispered as she hugged Eva close. "Do not ever dare hold his hand outdoors."

"Um … Excuse me? I don't ..."

"Please, dear―let me explain ..." Marietta said, clearing her throat. "We try to keep to ourselves … Out of the gossip mill around here … But as you might guess … As you might very well imagine.

"A settlement like this becomes a festering ground for rumor. I can just imagine now what they would say to see the Bane boy back from the city with a new girl dressed like—well … You, " she said, gesturing to Eva's attire. "How girls dress in the city … It is so slutty looking."

Eva blushed, looking down at the plunging neckline of her dark blouse—side-slit, mid-thigh length skirt―and black stockings. Her dress was not overly revealing—but she guessed that Marietta's standards were different by generations.

"So the neighbours should not ask any questions. I have called them each up and told them you are just friends."

Eva frowned, now quite insulted.

Once they were outside, setting off on the trail, she brought it up with Seven—who tried to diffuse the affront at once.

"It's just Marietta being her usual control freak self. Imagine growing up with that. At least you had the absence."

"It is so embarrassing, can't you do anything about it? We're grown human beings … We should all be peaceful ...

"We should be

ng. It snapped its head around, staring right in their direction. They saw now why 'Hellbear' was a fitting description, down to tooth.

"What should we do?" Eva said—breathless. Her heart beat hard in cage.

"If anything we play dead—but just hold ... on ..." he said, needing to think.

The bear soon lost interest in them—starting to roam away—deeper into the woods. It was a black bear, less hostile.

They began back, better safe now.

Seven dialed Tony out of precaution.

"Goddamn it, " Tony said. "There must be two of them then, because we just finished trapping one up here. Thanks kid, get straight home. We're on our way. Remember you can play dead."

So they kept up the pace for the first little bit, just to make sure enough space was kept between them and Hellbear—before slowing down to a slightly more relaxed gait, in order to catch lungs back.

But a dozen yards along, they suddenly heard an awful wailing sound. The bear was following behind them now, ambling along on all fours down the road.

"Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, " Eva rang out, beginning to panic.

"Let's keep moving, he doesn't see us yet, " Seven said—but Eva would not budge. She stood frozen in her footsteps.

The bear stopped then―once more rose up on its hinds legs—continuing to wail like the winds of hell where burning.

It started frothing at the mouth as if it were raving rabid―and clawing at its face with a fervor as if it were of madness.

"Seven—what the Hell is going on? What the fuck is that? What the fuck?"

"Let's go ... We don't want to find out, come on ..." Seven begged—pulling her, but she shoved him back, unmoving.

"Seven—STOP IT!" she yelled, eyes turning green. "YOU MUST STOP THIS!"

"Eva why ..." Seven said distracted, not noticing the color change in her eyes.

"What if it's in trouble, " she said—casting her gaze back, as if in the trance of a motherly attentiveness, of evil doting.

"EVA!" Seven snapped at her, but she was unblinking. "EVA!" he barked.

Then Hellbear started to tear fur and skin from its face—blood streaming down―revealing silver skull beneath flesh.

Eva gasped―fainting into Seven's arms. Her conscious mind could not hold.

Seven lowered her to the road―even while struggling to contain his own burgeoning panic. Witch had landed.

Hellbear cried like a banshee, skinning itself alive, until it was just a silver skeleton of a bear, standing on the road in a pool of blood, a demonic frame.

Then its feral lament turned to laughter—and Faye's voice began singing:

'Lucky …! Lucky …!!! Lu-u-u-cky!!!'

Seven grabbed around for the smelling salts. Instinctually he knew what to do. He knew he needed Eva to wake.

'Lucky …! Lu-u-u-cky … … ...!!!'

He brought Eva back to consciousness—and after her eyes fluttered open, the sick singing suddenly stopped. The air was unnaturally cold.

He looked up, but Hellbear had disappeared. He was not sure it was real.

Eva's first words were: "You saw it too―right?" She looked drained to death.

He hated deceiving her―but in the fleeting moment, he rationalized that it would be easier on them both if she believed she were simply seeing things—and that this was all just another one of her visions. The truth would be too much.

So out of a sudden reflex, he said:

"Saw what, babe? It's just us here. You fainted out of the blue, so I think we should get you home and call it a night."

"But … The bear … The horrible ..."

"What bear, babe? Just relax now."

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