PART TWO: The Fighters
February 10th 2006
"There's no way your fifteenth birthday will be as great as mine." I grinned at her as we caught our breath from running down to the waves. She gave me a look, placing her hands on her hips.
"My birthday was pretty good last year." She pouted. "Come on, going to the pizzeria after a zombie movie didn't do it for you?"
I laughed, crossing my arms and glancing behind us. Under the cliff was a large burning bonfire which cast shadows against the grey rock, and the sounds of our families and friends were muted from where we stood by the ocean. I could hear my dad laughing with Billy Black and chief Swan and a smile formed on my face.
"No, you're right. This is better." Eve said with a sigh, coming to stand closer to me. We sat on the slightly damp sand, wiggling our bare toes against the sea spray. It was getting pretty late, but thankfully it was a Friday, so we had all the time in the world. I laid back, gazing to the stars that glittered the dark sky. It was cold but I had my large brown jumper on, but even then I felt a little too toasty. Every time Eve and I came to the beach we had to dip at least our feet in. It was practically tradition.
"Be honest with me Seth." Evelyn said as she laid down too.
"Mm 'kay." I mumbled tiredly.
"Did you actually like my present?"
I curved a brow and twisted to see her expression. It was one of worry. I chuckled. "God, Eve, you are a worry-wart."
I sighed, rolling my eyes. "I loved it Eve." She had made me a mix CD of all our favourite songs and brought two Legend of Zelda posters for my room. Of course, she had got me a packet ofTwizzlers too. "They're my favourite ones."
She smiled brightly and gazed up at the stars. They glittered in her large sea-coloured eyes, her skin as pale as milk under the moonlight. I smiled slightly to myself, crossing my arms and looking up to the sky as well.
"Hah-ch uh-way Evelyn!" Brady shouted from the car as Eve and I got out.
"Good night Brady!" Evelyn waved at him as we walked up to her gate. I grinned as she turned around to bid me goodbye.
"Thanks for coming."
She shrugged. "Eh, it was alright."
I lightly punched her arm and she scowled before laughing. She rubbed her eye and pulled her canvas bag over her shoulder. "Hope you had a great birthday Seth."
"I did. And it will be better than yours."
"Shut up." She beamed and reached over to give me a hug. I smiled and squeezed my arms tightly around her. "C-can't breathe…" She choked and I let her go with a chuckle. "You're getting buff Seth." She shook her head. "Just don't be like my brother and having protein shakes for breakfast."
"Miss out on breakfast? Hell no!" I smiled, turning back to the car. "See you tomorrow."
"Okay. Bye!" She trilled, opening the gate and running up to her house.
Brady was shifting his eyebrows up and down when I got back to the car. I rolled my eyes, punching him on the shoulder.
"Come on, you know it's not like that."
He guffawed. "She did give you some awesome presents though. But what is it with the Twizzlers?"
I beamed, looking around to the window, watching the moon and starlight brush down onto the canopy of the forest. "You wouldn't understand."
That night I had a nightmare. Of course, I have had nightmares before, but this was so real. Like, ridiculously real. Usually, I could get over nightmares. Not this time. This one utterly scared me to my core, making me wake up in a cold sweat, my muscles aching and my head swimming. It was as if I was intoxicated.
I was walking through the woods, and it was summer. The sunlight filtered through the leaves, making the air slightly green. I squinted, looking up at the blue sky, not a trace of clouds in sight. I heard a laugh behind me and I turned, a smile lighting my face as I saw a young Evelyn run away from me. She appeared more golden in the sunlight, her feet bare and a white cotton dress on her.
I began to chase after her, relishing the sunlight and the happiness of being in our kingdom. I could hear everything- the birds, the grass and leaves swaying in the soft breeze, the creaking of the ancient trees around me, her breathless laughter as I ran after her.
Then she screamed and I ran faster, but it was if time had slowed down. Her scream pierced my mind and I jolted forward to only see a sheer drop over a cliff, the dark blue water crashing beneath me. My eyes widened and I screamed, briefly seeing blonde locks in the water before they disappeared. I jumped without thinking, my hopes shattering in pieces as I fell.
Irrationally, I hit the forest floor. I jumped up, my bones aching, my mind reeling. I could feel my heart in my chest thump painfully. The forest was no longer bright and golden. It was night time, the moon gone from the sky which was an inky mass of nothingness. I felt myself getting colder as I looked around myself. Shadows were everywhere, some looking like fleeting silhouettes. I swallowed cautiously.
Then, suddenly and out of nowhere, a massive black beast came forward, growling. I was frozen in shock, my heart thumping wildly. It continued to growl, bearing its teeth at me, its body poised like a ready spring. I then realised what animal it was. It was a wolf. A very big wolf mind that.
Then it ran past me and I turned, instantly seeing Evelyn, my family surrounding her. The wolf lunged at her and she fell, my parents disappearing like mist, my sister fading.
That was when I woke up. It was early morning and I had forgotten to close my curtains, so the dull morning light filtered through. My body was shaking, my stomach rolling with nausea.
I dressed as quickly as I could, leaving a note for my mom, and set off into the early morning. I could feel tears biting at my eyes and I was still shaking. I shuddered as I meandered my way to First Beach. I didn't see anyone thankfully, but once I got close to the harbour, far off I could see a little fishing boat dip in beneath the waves. I rubbed my tired eyes, feeling like I hadn't got any sleep.
Kicking the pebbles of First Beach, I glanced to the cliff that had been in my dream. The dark waves crashed around it, creating deadly sea foam. If Evelyn really had jumped off there, then she'd be dead in minutes.
The thought made me cringe and I turned, deciding to make my way to her house. I was going there anyway, so best to start now. I took the route that didn't go through the forest and instead took me up the river and near Forks. It was longer, but I needed time to think.
The dream had struck a chord with me. Seeing a young twelve year old Evelyn run through the forest made me realise what I had lost- our childishness. Sure, we would be immature and joke with each other, but we never referred to the forest as our kingdom any more. We were growing up- it was a simple fact. But I wanted to travel back to that first summer I had spent with Eve- it was so full of life, just like the golden forest in my dream.
I began to chew on the Twizzlers which I had left in my coat pocket, remembering fondly of giving her a packet on the day we met. She had been so shy then, barely whispering her name to me. Of course, she had a good reason.
She had still not recovered from losing her parents. I knew she wouldn't ever recover, and neither would her brother. But at least he wasn't depressed any more. He was actually working as a chef in a small pizzeria in Port Angeles and always gave us discounts when we went there. I knew Evelyn was relieved to know he was alright now.
I blinked in the white sunlight, nearing Lake Ozette now. These paths were so familiar to me, so natural to walk on. Long summers meandering down them and winters shovelling the path so her grandparents could go grocery shopping… The memories were tangible to me. Having a best friend like Eve was great. We could catch eyes across the classroom and laugh behind our hands.
Once I got to her house it must've been seven or eight o'clock, and so I walked up to the door and knocked three times. After a few sounds of shuffling the door swung open to show a bleary eyed Evelyn. She smiled brightly at me, standing back so I could come in. I chucked my shoes off and she began to tell me that Logan was making breakfast. He grinned at me from behind the stove, an apron with a pretzel on it around him. I remembered Eve getting it for him last Christmas.
"Sup?" I greeted, sitting next to Evelyn at the breakfast bar.
"Nothing much," Logan said as he flipped a pancake, "how was your birthday?"
"Awesome." I beamed and Eve elbowed me softly.
"He thinks mine won't be as awesome." She pouted. Logan laughed as he produced two plates. They always made more for me because sometimes I just came without any call- just like this morning.
"You two." Logan shook his head as he pulled up a seat. "You're very cute, you know that?"
I scowled. "She's the cute one. I can be mean and horrible if I want to."
"Oh, yeah." Evelyn mumbled sarcastically. I looked to her, seeing she was cutting her pancakes slowly. She smiled, glancing at me. "Oh, come on Seth! You're the kindest guy I know."
I rolled my eyes and began eating. "You mustn't know many good guys then." I grinned with a mouthful of food. She made a face and stuck her tongue out at me.
Later, when Eve and I decided to go to First Beach, I lapsed into a thoughtful silence. The dream was constantly in the back of my mind, making me frightful of the night and of the forest. I walked slowly and with caution, and after a while, Evelyn began to notice.
"You look like a little mouse Seth." She murmured, eyeing me. I blanched and we came to a stop. "What's going on?"
"Nothing…" I began to walk again, faster, my heart beginning to beat harder.
"Don't give me that Seth Clearwater." She crossed her arms once she caught up with me. "I know you better than any person on this earth. And I know when you're lying. So, if you please, could you tell me?"
God, she knew exactly what to say. It made me feel slightly guilty keeping it from her, to be honest. I sighed, deflating, and turned to her. I leant against a tree, the nausea making a quick comeback.
"I had a nightmare." I mumbled. Her eyes quickly became confused. "I know, I know we all have nightmares," I said quickly, "but this… this one was so real…"
She came to stand by me, uncrossing her arms, a sympathetic look lighting her face. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't-"
"No, it's okay." I sighed as we began to walk again.
"You can tell me about it if you want." She said softly. I glanced to her.
"We were in the forest, and we were young again." I began to explain. "But then you screamed and you fell off the cliff and I jumped after you… but I landed in the forest and there was a huge black wolf growling at me." I swallowed, bile rising in my throat. "It lunged forward and attacked you." For a moment, I tried to concentrate on the woods and the sounds which sounded so loud in her silence.
Finally, I turned to her.
She was extremely pale, worryingly so, and her eyes were enormous, flickering like flames. She suddenly morphed into a creature I didn't understand, and for a moment, I remembered the piercing scream from my dream and blanched.
"I… I saw it." She gasped, clutching her stomach. Her legs buckled underneath her and I lunged forward, catching her just in time. She flopped, all of the energy zapped from her. "I—I saw it Seth… I saw the wolf."
"What? When? Are you sure?" Panic flooded through me and suddenly being in the forest seemed like a very bad idea.
She shivered in my arms. "A long time ago… the... the day my parents died." She whispered, looking to me with her large, sea green eyes.
"That long ago?" I said quietly with disbelief.
"Y-yes, Logan and I saw it when we were watching the deer family… it ate the doe Seth." Tears burst in her eyes and she hid her face in my shoulder. My pulse began to get harder and I gently set her on her feet.
"It's not a good idea to be in the forest…" I glanced around us worriedly. I placed my hands on her shoulders, gazing into her afraid eyes. "Let's go back to yours for today, alright?" She nodded a little and I took her hand solidly, leading us back to her house.