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From Chapter 4 of The Celtic Curse: Banshee

 

Fintan and Dáithí started their journey at dusk. They had already spent their day drinking ale and were slurring their words. “The storm is nearing,” Dáithí said as flashes lit up the sky in the distant.

“Are you afraid of a little storm?” asked Fintan, and laughed under his breath. Dáithí grumbled, knowing Fintan mocked him, “This is good. It means we will not be heard,”

They lit their torches when the sun had fully set in the sky and could no longer see the dirt track in front of them. The fumes from the burning oil consumed Dáithí’s nose, and he sneezed loudly. “Be quiet!” insisted Fintan.

“You said no one would hear us,”

“Yes, but we don’t want to warn the young girl of our coming. I am surprised you did not go hungry when you were young with your rowdy awkwardness. The prey you were able to catch must not have had any ears,”

Again, Dáithí grunted his reply. The rain followed them and soon caught up. It began to pour down. Large drops started to extinguish their torches. They held their hands over the flame and squinted as they tried to see the track with diminished light. Cold drops hit their hands with force and felt like little daggers of ice piercing the skin until they felt numb. They rested under a tree to catch their breath, and to let their torches reignite fully by dousing more oil on the cloth from a bronze canister which hung by Fintan’s side. A large flash of light bolted out of the sky and struck a tree close by. A crashing sound came from above, and the men thought the earth moved beneath their feet. The storm rumbled directly above them and being under a tree was not a good idea.

They moved on and hurried to their destination. The flames reduced again. Luckily for them, the lightning showed the way for some time until they saw the wagon in the distance with the silhouette of the old derelict church farther on. They stopped to put out their torches in a puddle and crept closer and closer to the wagon.

Keela had settled down for the evening. The mule, tied to the sheltered side of the wagon, had a habit of wandering off. She doubled the knot as the storm might upset him enough to run away. Rain smothered the fire yet providing plenty of drinking water in the bowls she intentionally left out. Keela shuddered with the chilly air and blew out most of the wax sticks surrounding her. She carried one so as to see her way to her cot. All the trinkets clinked when she brushed by them. Her plans were to dispose of them and the wagon to anyone who was willing to own it. The mule would also bring a few coins to help with buying a small piece of land to build a single cottage with a patch of soil for growing vegetables. She even imagined being wed with children happily playing outside in the sunshine. Who would take on a gypsy girl? How far would she have to travel to leave the disgrace behind?

Lightning lit up the wagon and thunder bellowed above. Keela longed for Fionn to be there to comfort her. Her mother had always consumed too much ale to hear any noise at all. Not even a violent storm could wake her though Keela still wished she lay in her cot now, roaring out pig noises and mumbling words.

The wagon jerked and the mule he-hawed. Keela peeked outside to see the mule gone. She quickly put on her cloak and walked to the back of the wagon to see if it sheltered there. Her feet sank into the soft, moist mud, and there was no sign of the dumb mule. She heard a tapping noise behind her and turned to see an arm raised above her. Fintan clutched a burnt log, and with a heavy hand, he plunged it down. Keela staggered and felt the sharp pain in the crown of her head. The blood poured down into her eyes. Her vision became blurred red and then black as she fell to the ground with a soft thud.

 

Flash Fiction

 

The Countess

Today, my servant brought me the youngest meat I ever dined on.

I remove layers of skin and fat, my sharpest knife easily cleaves through, until I have a whole cut of meat, the rump being the sweetest.

Blood seeps from every orifice but I need not worry, bowls are there to collect the delicious crimson fluid, which I insist is warm before I bath in it. What I despise are the muffled screams these girls expel when their meat is carved to the bone. I am so damn mad… I slice their pretty little necks wide open. Ha!

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