|The rectory garage|
"Oh, hell! What just happened here?" Maureen popped out of her own chair on the other side of the room, rushing to the spot where she had last seen her husband. Looking to Kevin, she asked, "Do you have any idea where they might have went?"
"Me? Why would I know?"
"It's obvious you have a better handle on this fairy shit than the rest of us, Kev. You've had more day to day contact with that little friend of yours. You know...that little leprechaun guy Ted told me about. I can't remember his damn name."
"Do you mean Brian? He's a clurichaun, by the way. Not a leprechaun. There's a difference."
In her frustration, she gave him a sock to the arm. "I don't care if he's a freakn' sock monkey, Kevin! You locate him pronto, and find out where my husband went!" To no one in particular, she added, "This is absolutely unbelievable. I know they say the first year of marriage is difficult, but this goes way above and beyond ridiculous." Suddenly teary, she continued, "Please, Kev. I don't know where to begin. You gotta do what you can."
Kevin pulled his sister close, and hugged her. "Don't worry, Mo. I'll find Brian and see what he knows. I'm sure Beckett is okay."
She sniffled again, wiping the corner of her eyes with a napkin. "How can you be so sure? She seems...well...pretty unpredictable."
In all honesty, he wasn't very sure about anything. For all he knew, Beckett could be lost to the human world forever. There were old Celtic myths about such things. But it wasn't what his sister needed to hear, and so he tried to be logical about the situation, even if the very nature of it held not one shred of science. "There are two reasons I'm sure he's fine. Number One...the Fay hold contracts in the highest regard. Ted is bound to her service for the duration of the terms. I doubt she'd risk her investment so early in the game. Secondly, it's obvious she regards you as a high commodity. Your happiness and well being, as well as your off spring, are of great importance to her. As she said, you and Ted were destined to be together. The Fay take such things very seriously. I don't think she'd do anything to upset what's meant to be."
His words seem to have a calming effect on her. She nodded along, and the panic seemed to lose its hold. "You're right, Kev. She said I carried Fay blood. We both do. We're part of them. She has to know how much that man means to me. Surely she'd wouldn't do anything to cause him harm, right? Especially if she wants to see us have children. Thanks, Kevin. You make perfect sense. Still, I'd feel better if you could scout out some information from the Fay themselves. Maybe your friend has some answers?"
Fr. Kevin was non-commtal. Despite his sister's confidence in him, he couldn't be sure they hadn't just seen the last of one Theodore Henning Beckett, III. She Who Was All would do anything she damn well wanted, and there was little they could do about it. What he hadn't mentioned to his sister was that the Fay were notoriously moody, volatile and petty. They perceived slight in the smallest infraction, and doled out punishment harshly, though he had always found the wee clurichaun to be forgiving of his ignorance as a human. Maybe Brian would have the answers they were seeking. The problem was, would he want to share them? They had parted in a less than cordial terms after Kevin had been left behind in their rescue of Maureen. But that was his problem, and he'd do what ever was necessary to help Maureen. Truthfully, he too was concerned over his brother-in-law's well-being.
"Sure, Mo. I'll see what I can do to contact Brian. I can't say for certain he'll be of any help, but it won't hurt to ask." Changing the subject, he pointed at Ian. "In the meantime, what are we gonna do with him? At some point, someone is going to see him and start asking questions."
Roxanne sat up, tucking several pillow behind her back. Though still recovering from her surgery, she intended to be forefront in any discussion regarding the time traveling young man. "Kevin's right. We don't know how long Sheriff Beckett is going to be gone." Seeing Maureen's stricken face, she quickly added, "I'm sorry, Mo. But we have to be sensible and keep things moving along. You know that's what he'd want us to do."
Maureen bit her lip and nodded in agreement. "You're right. He'd hate it if we all just sat around hand wringing and worrying. But Ted was the one who was going to see to Ian's formal identity. We'll have to work around that now."
"You're correct about that. Without a Social Security number, and some background information, it will be impossible for him to get a job anywhere."
It was Ian's turn to be indignant about being discussed as if he weren't in the room. "Good people...I am quite healthy and able-bodied. Very capable of hard work. It should not be difficult to find employment in your time. Surely, people are still in need of labor. I will give a fair day's work for a fair day's pay."
Roxanne reached for his hand. "Oh, Ian. I know you will. It's just that...well...working in the 21st Century is rather complicated. There's all kind of laws about who can work, how much they're paid, what type of benefits you get for your work. And of course, the government will take their share of your pay in taxes."
He started to spit, then remembering he was indoors, abruptly ended his colorful response. "Aye, taxes! The bane of the common man! As you stated earlier, we no longer answer to the Crown. One would hope that taxes in this time are addressed in a more equitable fashion."
Roxie laughed. "That would depend on who you ask, Ian. But yes, they are more fairly regulated today, at least in essence. Still, without all the necessary paperwork the Sheriff promised to provide, finding employment for you will be nearly impossible. Until he returns, you'll have to keep your existence low key. I'm sure between the three of us, we can help you until then. "
Ian crossed his arms over his chest, his pride wounded. "I shall not rest on charity, Mistress. I shall provide for my own keep, lest you think I am not worthy of your affection."
"Oh, Ian. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. It's just...well...you're settling in here is rather complicated. You're gonna need to be patient while we work things out."
There was an uncomfortable, awkward silence, and while Fr. Kevin found himself realizing how much they depended on Beckett's calm, take charge leadership, Maureen snapped her fingers.
"I got it! The perfect plan until Ted gets back and fixes things for Ian's citizenship."
She waited until she had their complete attention. "Kevin...you have been complaining bitterly how much maintenance work there is around the parish, and how you can't get to all of it. You've been on your own since that poor man was murdered two years ago." Roxanne and Ian looked at her, shock framing their expressions, and she answered them with a wave of her hand. "It's a long story. Kevin was even shot himself. I'll tell you about it another time. Anyways...since then, Kev's had to do everything himself, and frankly, there's too much work for one person. Ian, you said you were handy with tools. You'd be the perfect replacement."
Kevin could feel the angst grow in his chest. This all was getting completely out of control. If the young man made himself comfortable in a job, it would be harder to convince everyone he belonged back in his own place and time. He stammered out the first excuse he could think of. "I know you're just trying to be helpful, Maureen, but the reason I haven't hired anyone before now is that there's no extra money in the parish budget for such a luxury. The economy being what it is, the weekly donations have been down for a few years running. Holy Family just can't afford a full time maintenance man."
"Oh for Pete's sake, Kevin! Ted has offered to gift the church multiple times, and you always turn him down. He's not here, and now I'm the one offering. I'm your sister, as well as a member of the parish council, and if I want to donate a huge chunk of change to my church, then there is no way, in good faith, you can deny me the option to tithe. I will write a check large enough to cover Ian's salary for at least 3 months. That will give him a chance to get settled, and look for other work until Ted gets his paperwork in order"
He was quickly losing control of the whole situation, and one look at Roxanne and Ian's hopeful faces told him he was fighting a losing battle. He tried again, this time playing Devil's advocate. "That's all fine and good, Mo. But how am I legally going to pay him? What about with holding for taxes. He doesn't have a Social Security number, remember? This is way more difficult then you're making it out to be."
"Geez, Kevin, don't be such a party poop. I already thought of that. We'll tell people Ian is a distant cousin of Ted's. Visiting from England, and just helping you out while he's here. Nobody has to know you're "paying" him. Your parishioners think Ted walks on water, they won't question anything they think he's involved with. As a bonus, you'll get a lot of stuff done around here that desperately needs doing."
Ian rushed to the priest's side, and began pumping his hand. "You won't be sorry, Reverend! I'll give you my best effort, I will. I also see you have some empty land near the back of the property. Would you mind if I planted a small patch? Squash, I'm thinking. No offense, but I find your ale lacking, and would dearly like to brew my own. Mind you, you'd have your fair share to do with as you wish."
Things were now completely out of hand. The man was talking about planting things, staying long term. Kevin could feel his stomach churn in general protest. "Look, I don't want to be the bad guy here, but you people aren't thinking clearly. For Pete's sake, where is he even going to stay? No offense, but I'm really not interested in long term house guest."
It was the wrong thing to say. Roxanne looked hurt, and his sister made one of her you-are-really-a jerk-faces, usually reserved for their brother Patrick. Ian jumped in with a solution.
"I don't wish to be a burden, Reverend. You have been kind enough .I can sleep out back. Make a small lean to. The weather seems mild enough. I'm not used to luxury. That will do me fine."
Ian's humility and gratitude worked to make him look more the ogre than ever. He felt guilty at his lack compassion, his conscience eating at him like a small worm. Before he could talk himself out of it, he offered another solution. "Don't be ridiculous, Ian. I can't have you sleeping on the rectory grounds. There is another alternative. There are rooms above the garage. They were set up years ago for the care taker when the parish was more solvent. We've been using them for storage, but I suppose we could take a look and see if they might work?"
Maureen clapped her hands. "That's an awesome idea. I forgot all about those rooms. I'm sure we could fix them up enough to make a cozy little apartment for Ian. I mean, look what we did with my flat! Remember, Kev...it was awful when I found it. And now, well, it's just the cutest damn thing." She leaned over to Ian. "Don't you worry, Ian. We'll have you settled in no time!"
The three of them huddled together, Maureen sketching her thoughts on best placement of furniture on his used napkin. He watched in dismay as life the way he knew it slipped from his fingers, and wondered if, in truth, Ted hadn't been the luckier one.
One moment, he had been sitting in the rectory bedroom, holding his cell phone in his hand, and in the next, he was here, sitting amongst a jungle of greenery, a riotous tangle of leaves, vines and flowering plants. His body felt odd, the limbs heavier than normal, as though they were anchors locking him to the ground. He shook his head, trying to dispel the fuzzy, foggy feeling, not unlike the aftermath of his time travel. Training kicked in, and he did a visual reconnaissance of the area, though he found it physically impossible to move. His eyes suggested he was alone, but something else insisted he was not. Beckett felt as if he were being watched from several different vantage points, and he could not dispel what sounded like high pitched giggles floating on the breeze. It was disconcerting, but strangely enough, he felt little threat.
Above his head, a tall plant, more like a tree, shook with sudden movement. From it's top, a flurry of green floated down, positioning itself on a large rock few feet in front of him. The giggles deepened, turning into a sing song laugh, and slowly the form of She Who Was All visualized in front of him.
"Welcome, Ridre Dubh. I suppose it is rude to laugh at your discomfort and confusion, but the look on your face is far too precious to leave unengaged."
Beckett used all the strength he could muster to try and stand, but his attempt was lacking, and he slid with an embarrassing thump back to the ground." His frustration mounting, he let out a string of obscenities, which were met with another round of giggles. He heard them all around him, but could see no one, and his radar went on high alert."
She Who Was All waved her hand. "That will be enough, little ones. Our Black Knight wishes to acclimate himself without your prying observation. Disperse for now. I will call you when needed."
There was a low hum, and from the tops of the greenery, tiny clouds of light floated upward and moved out of his sight. The Fairy Queen waited until they had all disappeared before continuing her conversation. "So, my Ridre Dubh, what think you?"
"What think I? I think I am thoroughly pissed you just zap me around like some kind of puppet. So much for your big lecture on free will."
The Queen reached down, and lifted a small pebble throwing it at the side of his head. The tiny stone caught him at his temple, and while he braced for its impact, was instead surprised when it felt more like a caress than an assault. The tiny woman narrowed her eyes, and smiled, looking incredibly alluring and scary at the same time. "You have much to learn, my Knight. Things here are not what they seem, and illusion is as powerful as reality."
"Why am I here? Wherever here may be."
She ignored his question, instead slipping off the rock, and positioning herself across his immobile knees. "You are quite the enigma, Ridre Dubh. Surely a contradiction of emotions. I feel I have struck a most beneficial bargain." She lowered her lashes, looking at him through them. "Do you find me desirable , Ridre Dubh?"
He knew from his experience with females, Fay or otherwise, hers was a loaded question. "I would be lying if I said, otherwise, Your Majesty. You are very beautiful. In a green sort of way."
She looked at him curiously, and pouted. "You don't care for green?" With a snap of her fingers, she changed colors, now appearing in shades of daintiest pink. "Is this more agreeable to you, Knight?"
Before he could respond, she shifted her color palette again, this time in shimmering lines of blue and silver, then lilac and gold, and finally returning to the traditional fairy look he had first witnessed before the time travel. She sighed, and shook her head. "No, Ridre Dubh, it seems you only have eyes for this." She shifted again, and he sat staring at the image of his wife, nude except for a green ribbon holding up red curls at the top of his head. It was an image he had often fantasied painting, and not a vision he intended to share with anyone else.
It startled and angered him at the same time. She was playing with him, a cat with its mouse trapped in a mental corner, tossing his mind back and forth. He shut his eyes refusing to look, causing her to giggle again at his response. "So be it, Ridre Dubh. I will torture you no longer. Open your eyes and we will talk."
He opened them, only to find a large lizard in his lap, albeit one with the Queen's piercing green eyes. It's long red tongue slithered in and out, and Beckett worked not to flinch at its nearness to his face. The lizard smiled, showing a row of tiny razor sharp teeth. "As I have said before, my Black Night, I am in need of your assistance. You will do this for me, and if you succeed, you may return to those you love. That is...if you still wish to do so when all is said and done."
|She Who Was All|
All Rights Reserved
More Dollhouse Chit Chat...
So, I have once again added to my dollhouse collection at the generosity of my dear friend and teaching partner. Donna and I enjoyed a short visit to Shipshawanee, Indiana, a quaint Amish town in the central part of the state, to enjoy the mega flea market and antique mall.
|Donna and I at the Flea Market|
During our travels, we came across this wonderful vintage Renwal piece from the mid 1940s, and my dear friend insisted on purchasing it for me as, she explained, an early birthday and Christmas gift. It is a wonderful find, amazingly in mint condition for a being made of card board 65 years ago. It came complete with all the pieces. The teacher's desk and chair, six student desks, and of course, 4 little students. The original box was also part of the deal.
It is too cute, and being that we are both teachers, especially relevant.
|Renwal School House|
Thank you, Miss Donna! I will always treasure it, and think of your kindness when ever I see it among my collection!