“Tony tony tony” I whispered, trying to get the attention of my brother.
He opened his eyes, confused, hadn't he just gotten to sleep.
“It’s tonight.” I said, pulling him out from under the covers. He tried to roll over, go back to sleep and escape the weird dream where your older sister keeps waking you up in the middle of the night for no reason.
I gave up, and picked him up, not the easiest thing to do anymore, we Morton’s are a lanky bunch. I was already peaking at 5-10, and while he was only 10, he wasn’t far behind
He was walking by the time we got outside, in that same unsure way aunt mincy does after Christmas dinner.
We got to the edge of the woods and he grabbed my hand, squeezing it hard, now full awake.
“Is it tonight,” he asked, finally aware of what was happening. His eyes open as wide as the moon.
Yep, I nodded.
My future best friend Katy had been telling the school for a full month that this was the year of the Silvanis. When someone asked her why, she smiled slyly and kept those secrets close. We got it out of her after helping ourselves to a half empty bottle of wine at Marissa b’s party, then arranging things in our favor. Max was there, so I wanted to play spin the bottle, but sacrificed my vote for the prospect of truth or dare. It took us three rounds to get the truth out of her: the Silvanis would come tonight.
Tony and I tiptoed into the woods, into the dark. We were thirty paces in before he loosened his grip, and it took a few minutes more before I stopped hearing his breath.
The clock ticked by. Without a phone it was impossible to tell how long it had been. Long since dark really took hold. Long since mom and dad went to bed. I waited long enough to be sure even later than I should have just to make sure we wouldn’t get caught sneaking out. I swore at myself for forgetting my one connection to my friends. What if Katy was wrong. They could be calling it off right now. New symbols had told a different story, new signs had pointed to a different truth. These and more all danced through my mind, yet a different more sinister thought crept in behind them all. I had only a vague idea of where we were, no idea where my friends were, and a sneaking feeling that they wouldn’t be coming at all.
“They’ll be here soon I said, the words feeling false between my teeth.
No Katy, no Stacy, even Suzzie Q wasn’t there. I was a tricked, taken for a rube. Max was probably even then texting Katy how stupid I was to think such a story was actually real. I wanted to cry, curl up and die. The woods would be my home now, Tommy and I would thrive amongst the trees, like the farries and sprites from those books mom and dad used to read.
Tony didn’t seem to mind, he went running through the trees, bouncing off logs as if daylight shone through the trees. I sat there trying not to worry, instead staring at the stars bounce in and out of view between the leaves of the trees, thinking how strange it is that the canopy was the only thing between us and the infinite sky.
Tommy came bouncing up to me. I could tell without even seeing his face that he wore a smile that stretched ear to ear.
I think I saw it, he said.
I had almost forgotten, convinced myself of the hoax. Maybe Katy and the other girls hadn’t forgotten me, hadn’t sent me off on some wicked snipe hunt into the woods at night. Maybe it was actually real.
He reached out for my hand and led me through the woods. I kept expecting to fall, not knowing where the next stump or log lay, but trusting that my little brother knew the way. We ran through the trees, crossing over paths and plunging back into the thicket of the woods over and over.
It got very dark, and Tony began to slow. He pulled me down below a branch I missed, and stopped me before I stepped in mud.
I heard it before I saw it. A voice like my fathers, soft and low. It didn’t sing, but the same idea was there. The tempo the beat, but without any tune for it to carry. And the words, though unknown to my ears, fit together so perfectly too. Then I saw the light, blue, green, and bright, it held its aura strong, like a second skin that glowed.
I was torn, just a moment away from knowing for sure that Katy and the other girls had lied to my face, but while they were nowhere to be found, there it was, the silvanus clear as could be flitting about between the trees. . It sang, it spoke, it spoke, it sung. What foreign and great words that drew me in. They grabbed hold of my ears and willed me forward.
I tugged on his arm, instinctively trying to pull Tony away. I could feel the dual tension of the creature vile and beautiful, pulling tony and me in. I fought against the pull, against the sweetly sung lovelies, and knew I couldn’t hold on for long. Tony’s grasp swayed from tight to loose, I could feel in his fingers
There was something so necessary, so right about that voice. It spoke in song too logical for me to ignore. It wanted me. I wanted it. Without moving, I felt myself floating forward, Tony too, but it was all wrong. The bad thing dug it’s claws into us, my heart yelled.
Tony was slipping away. My own mind wanted to join him. He was fighting to get free, to go towards the light. If I let go, would I be saved? One last tug was all I could muster, then I felt him slip away. He flew towards the light, and I tumbled back. “Come back Tony,” I yelled, “Come back. Tony, Tony Tony!!”