Follow by Email

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Family



         He pointed to the rocking chair, and for a second she thought about refusing, her head running the possibility of changing the subject.  But the look on his face told her there'd be no getting around this discussion, so she sank into the cushions with a sigh.

          Beckett pulled one of the wooden chairs from the table, and flipping it around, sat directly in front of her, interrogation style.  "Spill it.  All of it.  I want to know how the hell you could understand that freaking spider, among other things.  What happened to that promise that we not keep secrets from one another?  Seems to me you were the one that insisted on complete honesty."

         "I wasn't keeping anything secret on purpose, Ted.  It's just...well...I wasn't sure how to tell you.
How you'd react.  And now...well... you're the Ridre Dubh, and you have the sword and this big quest, and I didn't want to distract you with anymore...complications."

         He narrowed his eyes and laughed, though his tone was chilly.  "That's bullshit, Mrs. Beckett, and we both know it.  You didn't tell me because you knew I'd disapprove.  Now, out with it.  The whole story."

         She was quiet for a moment, her eyes searching the room, ears straining for sound in the silence that blanketed them.  Satisfied they were alone, she folded her hands in her lap and began speaking.  "Do you remember when She Who Was All explained to us all that Kevin and I were descended from royal Fay blood?  Some of the last of the line?"

           He nodded his recall, and she continued.  "Well, it seems it's her bloodline, She Who Was All. Her own personal genealogy.  My great, great grandfather Liam Callahan and Maeve...that's her given name...well...they were...were intimate.  Lovers."  She caught the look on his face, part fascination, part revulsion.  "Okay, don't ask me for the details, but apparently it's possible,  I guess that's where all those legends and myths come from.  Anyway, their union produced a child, a son.  Again, not impossible, but very, very rare.  The boy...his name was Raegan...was more Fay than human in every way except his soul, and despite all the attention of his mother, he was miserable living with her.  When he came of age, he demanded his freedom, and she had little choice but to let him go."

           Maureen leaned back in the rocker, letting it move her back and forth as she continued her story.  "So Raegan showed up in our human world at the age of fourteen, much to the shock of his father who knew nothing of his existence.  At first, Liam refused to believe the boy was his offspring, but except for Raegan's red hair, the young man's face was a mirror image to his own, and so denying his parentage was futile.  Fearing retribution from Maeve, who had now become Queen, Liam had little choice but to take the boy in and raise him as family, but life as a bastard son wasn't a picnic either, and by the time he was seventeen, he'd left his father's farm to make his own way."

             "And so you're telling me that you and Kevin, the two of you, are She Who Was All's great grandchildren?  Do you have any idea how difficult this is to believe, babe?  What about your brothers, or their children?  Why aren't they talking to beastly spiders?"

              "I was just getting to that part."  She bit her bottom lip, and asked, "Do you think I might get a glass of wine or something?  Maybe a brandy."

               Her husband nodded, and made his way across the suite to a large antique armoire that opened up to a small wet bar.  He poured a few fingers of French brandy into two Waterford tumblers, and handing one to his wife, settled himself back in the chair.  "Go on. I need to know how this all affects us...you and me."

              Maureen took a sip, letting the warmth of the expensive brandy run down her throat.  "Raegan went off and married a local woman, made a life of his own, and pretty much turned his back on his Fay bloodline.  He wanted nothing to do with his mother, and fought against any interference in his life."  She swirled the brandy in the glass, and a look of sadness worked its way across her face.  "Can you imagine how she felt, Ted?  Her son.  Her only child.  Gone from her life.  She could barely talk about it.  So sad.  I know how she feels.  We both do. Losing a child...it's a giant hole in your heart."

              They were both silent a moment, each lost in their own recollection of grief.  "Anyway, although he led a very long life according to human standards, Reagan was still mortal, and eventually he passed on, though not before leaving behind a huge family.  He had seven children, four girls and three boys, all who had children of their own.  The Fay bloodline passed on through a number of them, but like any genetic lottery, it was stronger in some than others.  While Reagan was alive, Maeve was prevented from having contact with her grandchildren, and without any knowledge of their background, they grow up not knowing anything about their true family history.  With each subsequent generation, the bloodline became more and more diluted, the connection more and more distant.  And that's how it went...until my Granny was born."

               At the mention of his wife's grandmother, Beckett looked up, glass paused at his lips.  "Your father's mother?"

              "Yup.  Granny O'Brien, who was actually a Callahan."  She grabbed the purse that was on the floor next to the chair, and rummaged through it, pulling out a wallet and finding a worn photograph tucked into one of the pockets.  She handed it to her husband, who peered at the photo in his hand.

              "That's you and Kevin, and your grandmother I suppose?"

              "Yes.  That was taken when I was six and Kevin was ten.  My Granny must have been in her sixties when this picture was taken, but you can still see the resemblance.  I've seen old photos my dad had of when she was a young girl.  We look very much alike.  And of course, Kevin and I resemble each other as well."

               She was correct.  The woman in the faded photograph was a much older version of his wife.  Though her face was etched with the lines of living, her cat like green eyes were very much alive with the same vitality as the woman currently sitting across from him.  "So you're saying that your grandmother was aware of her Fay background?"

                "Granny was the family historian.  She kept all the old photos, the letters, the birth and death certificates belonging to the Callahans.  When we would visit, she'd pull things out and show us, explain our family tree.  Often she'd tell us these wonderful stories about how special our people were.  Stories about magic and the Fay, and the old ways from Ireland. We would sit for hours, me and Kevin, and listen to her in total rapture .  She was the one who taught us the Gaelic we know, and we read the old tales in her mother tongue.  But as we got older, we spent less time with her, and when it was obvious that Kevin might have a calling for the priesthood, she stopped telling him the stories all together.  But she never stopped with me."

                     Maureen raised the glass to her lips, and swallowed the last of the brandy. She peered out the dark window, a far away look in her eyes.  "I remember this one time, when I was about eight. I was spending the whole weekend with Granny by myself, a real treat for me.  We were sitting out back in her yard, near twilight on a warm summer night.  She had the most beautiful garden, flowers and plants of every color and scent. Just like you'd imagine a fairy garden to be. I was watching the fire flies twinkle and dance, not interested in catching them, only watching.  My eyes felt drowsy, and at one point I thought I might have dozed off.  Suddenly, I felt fingers on my head, long and cool running themselves through the curls piled on the top of my head.  I opened my eyes and there was this tiny lady, all shimmering in shades of blues and greens, fluttering next to me on transparent wings, fireflies surrounding her in a circle.  She was the one who was touching my head, and when she saw my eyes were open, she laughed and closed them, then kissed each eye lid.  When I awoke the next morning, I was in Granny's bed, and I thought I had dreamt the whole thing.  It was only recently that I discovered it wasn't a dream."

               Beckett wasn't sure how to respond.  Even after all that had happened, the impossible more than real before his eyes, the concept that his wife, the woman who slept beside him each night, who had conceived his child and owned his heart, might be "other-worldly".  This idea that she was connected to things of unbelievable nature was a difficult reality to accept.  "So what does this all mean, Maureen?  Why make this known to you now?  How involved ARE you"

                "We, Kevin and I, are the last issue of her line, the strongest since Reagan's own children.  The Fay bloodline has not shown itself in any of the other Callahan families, not in the strength it appeared first in Granny, and then in the two of us.  Kevin's vocation has ended one branch, at least as much as Maeve is willing to concede.  I'm all she has left, and she's desperate for her bloodline to continue.  If I...we...you and I...don't conceive another child with the Fay connection, then Maeve's family line dies with me, lost forever."

                "And the sword?  The quest?  Is this all tied together?"

                "I think in a sense... yes.  Owen's bloodline is also royal, though she didn't say from whom he is actually descended.  His goal to produce stem cells of a powerful magical nature, in the sterile coldness of a laboratory, is a horror to the Fay, an absolute abomination to the power and plans of our Creator.  Even with her own personal agenda, Maeve wouldn't think to bend or break the structure of all that is natural.  Yes, she's bent on us producing a child, and though she is not above manipulating the situation in a variety of creative ways, I don't believe she'd ever do anything that interrupts the overall plans of her...our...Creator."  She paused, and then taking a deep breath, continued.  "She's made herself a powerful force in my life, Ted.  I am family to her.  Kevin too, to a lesser extent.  We're not going to be able to shut her out."

               He made a face.  "So you're telling me 'Great Grandma Fairy Queen' is going to be part of every aspect of our life?  For like..always?"

                Maureen's eyes went wide, and she blanched a shade paler.   "Shhh...she might hear you!"

                "I don't give a rat's ass if she hears me, especially as she's eavesdropping on a private conversation."

                 Whispering in a low voice, she continued. "You don't understand.  She doesn't cotton to the whole 'Grandma' thing.  Says it makes her sound ancient.  Crone like.  I don't know if you've noticed, but she's pretty vain about her appearance and such.  She asked me to call her 'Godmother'."

                 "Like in... 'Fairy Godmother'?"

                "I know...it sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud.  But I really do think she means well, even if she is a bit demanding.  She's been teaching me things.  Helping me find my Fay side.  You have no idea how...well...liberating that feels.  For years, I've felt as if something was missing.  That I was weird in someway.  I saw and felt things other people didn't see.  When Kevin was younger, I could share that stuff with him, but after he started high school, it was different between us.  He was answering a different call.  I kinda like discovering this side of me.  I hope you can understand that...accept it... even if it does mean I can talk to giant hairy spiders."

_____________________________________


             They were high enough up that the tree tops were less full, allowing some rays of moonlight to filter in through the suite's tall window.  The beam fell exactly on his wife's bare back, making her pale skin seem almost iridescent, the freckles like a smattering of ruby dust over fine silk.  Her chest rose and fell with each regular breath, and in its rhythm, he could tell she was asleep.  Carefully shifting positions so his movement wouldn't wake her, the back of his hand brushed the headboard, coming in contact with the garland of dried lavender that was hanging there.  He couldn't remember if it was there when they first came up to the room, or if it had been somehow added later, though he was pretty sure it was there as some kind of natural call to fertility.

            Maybe it was the brandy, or maybe Fay magic.  Or maybe he had completely lost any ability  for logical reasoning.  His cabin get away had become a fortress of sorts, guarded by a giant spider and a magical sword, his very bedroom a romantic bower for a real fairy princess.  One floor down, the closest thing he had to family rested below him;  man dedicated to a God he was sure he didn't believe in, a woman broken like himself, both inside and out, and a displaced soul who was out of his rightful time and place, and content to leave it as such all in the name of love.  A strange group and a stranger story, and as hard as he tried, he couldn't seem to string one cohesive thought after another.  He fought to shake off the growing mantle of dreaminess, and found he could not.  His eyelids grew heavier and heavier, and with little fight left, he fell fast asleep, the scent of lavender the last thing he remembered.

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
All Rights Reserved

               

   

               

               


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Too Sad

Our hearts are broken, our house and our lives a lot lonelier. Friday night, we lost our darling, little Westie Bonnie. (Bonnie is the puppy wearing blue) She was recently diagnosed with a possible brain tumor only last week. Friday evening, she began having continued violent seizures. We rushed her to the ER vet, but there was nothing they could do.
Bonnie...you were a constant source of sunshine. Thank you for sharing your life with us. It's a gift we thank our Heavenly Father for. You will always be missed. Until we meet at the Rainbow Bridge, hugs and belly rubs to you. We will take good care of your sister, Molly.😭😭😭😭
 —   



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Spinning The Web

   

        The front security gate was not the only part of the property that appeared to have suffered the effects of...dare they say it...enchantment.  All of the foliage seemed to have taken on a life of its own, growing to enormous proportions, making the cabin a small bastion at war with the elements of nature and surely losing.  The hedges that had once neatly lined the front porch had now completely taken over, covering the wood spindles in a dense coat of shiny, green leaves, its vine like tentacles wrapping themselves around the two main columns that supported the overhang.  Rose bushes that originally sat on each side of the walkway were the height and length of small cars, the blooms as round as dinner plates with a scent strong enough to make one woozy.  The few fruit trees Beckett had planted a few years back had tripled in circumference, and though it was only the middle of August, the apples hung fully ripe, large as softballs.

          The inside of the cabin was as Fr. Kevin remembered it.  Front door leading directly into the great room, cathedral ceiling lending an open airiness to the space despite a heavy stone fireplace covering the entire west wall.  To the right was a wide staircase leading to the second and third floor bedroom suites, with a huge kitchen, library/study and a powder room towards the back of the building. Though there were windows everywhere, the interior seemed darker.  He wondered if it might be his imagination, the after effect of bad memories, but then realized the cause was of a more mundane nature. The pines that sat around the house had grown to enormous proportions, covering the roof like a giant umbrella and blocking out most of the natural light.  It took a forceful push to his mind to view the gloomy interior as "cozy" rather than scary, and he secretly wished it wouldn't seem ridiculous to light a roaring fire in the middle of a warm, August afternoon.

         To his credit, Beckett had made a heart felt attempt to have his guests feel welcome.  The second floor boasted four bedroom suites, complete with sitting areas and full baths.  Furniture in his room included a long, oak trestle table covered in fine linen, a pair of antique pewter candlesticks at each end.  It touched him that his brother-in-law, a man who had scoffed at his vocation more times than he could count, had remembered his need to say Mass each morning, and had provided a more than adequate altar.  The others found special touches to their own rooms as well in an array of carefully chosen reading material, special toiletries in the bath, and a font of favorite snacks and treats, reminding them that the Ridre Dubh was someone who knew them well.

          It was, however, his sister's reaction that warmed his heart the most, and made him appreciate the softer side of Beckett's personae, at least where Maureen was concerned.  The Master Suite was situated on the third floor, a large section of building that jutted out, with a private balcony that overlooked the property.  On their last visit, Beckett had given them a tour of the entire building, and he had been awarded a sneak peek of the man's inner sanctum.  At that time, he'd found the Master Suite to be cold and impersonal, the modern modular furniture and dark colors an odd contrast to the warmth of the log walls.  He was aware that Maureen herself was apprehensive about spending time in that room, though her anxiety was related more to who had shared it, rather than how it was decorated.  Apparently, her husband was also aware of this dilemma, and had taken care of the problem in his usual efficient, but secretive, manner.

            The Master Suite had been completely redone, the chrome and glass replaced with antique pieces that were undoubtedly the real thing.  The large brass bed was piled thick with handmade quilts and lace pillows, the highboy dresser topped with vintage hat boxes, and the small dining table dressed with fine lace and set with a delicate china tea service.  In addition, there was an intricately carved vanity and mirror, skirted in vintage chintz, complete with a collection of crystal and glass perfume bottles, as well as a lovely old rocker and needle pointed foot stool.  The room was a picture of feminine tranquility, a postcard photo of expensive shabby chic, and so not Ted Beckett, it was hard not to grin.  But the interior had surely been designed with his sister in mind, and her squeal of joy upon entering the suite was proof enough that the man understood his wife's needs completely.

            The rest of the afternoon was spent unpacking and getting acclimated to the new surroundings, and dinner was a simple affair of a few steaks thrown on the grill, enjoyed on the deck outside the kitchen's French doors.  Conversation was kept to light subjects, everyone carefully avoiding the reasons they were gathered together, and no one professing any desire to spend time wandering about the eery property in the fading light of day.  The pines not only covered the cabin, but the surrounding land as well, making it appear darker than average twilight, and the group seemed content to relax all evening in the safety of indoors.

                While she had been recuperating from her injuries, Roxanne had taught Ian a number of card games to pass the time, and he had developed a burning passion for both gin rummy and pinochle.  Not a single deck could be located anywhere in the cabin, though Beckett thought he might have one in the car's glove compartment.  He offered to retrieve it, but Ian, not wishing to burden his host, insisted he'd be quite able to find it on his own.  He'd only been gone a minute or two, when he raced back through the front door, slamming it hard and fumbling for the locks.  He was out of breath, his skin pale and his eyes wide with fear.

                   Beckett jumped from the sofa, his hand immediately on the pistol he wore stuck in his waistband.  "Ian...what's wrong?  What is it?"

                  The young Patriot bent from the waist, obviously trying to catch his breath.  When he looked up his face was a contortion of terror and disbelief.  "Out there...near the car.  Spi...Spider."

                  The Ridre Dubh made a face, and shoved the gun back in its original position.  "Of course, there are spiders, Ian.  We're in the woods."

                   He knew it was rude to poke fun at some one's fear, but Fr. Kevin couldn't help adding, "What's the matter, Ian?  'Fraid of a little 'ole spider."

                   Ian jerked is head back and forth, his tongue tripping on the words.  "No...no ordinary spider.  Huge..."

                   Kevin pushed himself out of the recliner.  "Oh for Pete's sake...I'll get the cards for you."
He made his way toward the front door, but he was stopped by the trembling young man.

                  "Please Reverend...don't go out there.  You don't understand!  It's a really... big spider."

                  "We get it, Ian.  Your afraid of spiders.  I'm not."  He pushed his way passed Ian, unlocked the door and stepped out on to the porch.  The night was inky black, the trees hiding the moonlight as well as they did the sun.  It took his eyes a few seconds to adjust to the complete darkness, and he was surprised to find that he could see as well as he did.  He took a a few steps off the porch, then stopped, listening to a rustling sound coming from a stand of trees a few feet to his left.  There was a clicking sound, similar to the tapping of knitting needles against one another.  Straining, he peered toward the direction of the sound, when suddenly something scuttled from behind the trees and into the clearing.  It took a nano second for his mind to register what his eyes were seeing, and he took two steps backward, tripping over the bottom step and falling flat on his ass.

                Ian was right.  It was a big spider.  A very big spider.  Big like Honda Civc big.  The wretched thing moved closer, continuing to make that clicking noise, all four eyes seemingly focused on him.  Kevin screamed at the top of his lungs, "Holy Mother of God, someone help..."

               The door flew open, Beckett and Ian stumbling through, the Sheriff's gun pointed at the huge insect, while Maureen and Roxie stood stunned in the doorway.  Ian grabbed for Fr. Kevin, and pulled him up the three remaining steps to the porch just as the spider made its way to the very spot he'd been lying.  Close up, with the light from the great room filtering to the porch, the beast looked even more hideous, it's jaws gaping open from a mess of bristly hair, all the while clicking away.  The Ridre Dubh pointed his weapon to take aim, but before he could get off a round, Maureen grabbed his arm.

                  "Don't Ted!  Don't shoot it!  It doesn't mean us any harm!"

                  "Damn it, Maureen.  Go back inside!  All of you!  Right now!"

                  "Ted...you don't understand!  It's here with... a message.  For us."

                    He frowned, but didn't take his eyes off the spider, who had now positioned itself on the bottom step.  "Message?  What kind of message?  How do you know this."

                    She looked away for a second, and then back at him.  "I...I can understand it.  I know what its saying with all those clicks.  Let me talk to it."

                     "No fucking way are you getting anywhere near that thing!"

                      "Seriously, Ted.  It's not going to harm me.  It belongs to Maeve.  She won't hurt me."

                      "You're not making any damn sense!  Who the hell is Maeve, and why would she send us this giant fucking bug as a messenger?"

                       "I'll...I'll explain all that later.  For now, let me talk to it.  I'm sure what ever it has to say, it's important."

                       He hesitated for a moment, weighing his options, and then nodded.  "Okay, you can talk with it, but I'm going to be right next to you the whole time.  If it so much as blinks one of those creepy ass eyes the wrong way,  I'm blasting the shit out of it.  Are we clear?"

                        She nodded back.  "Fine.  But you'll see.  It has no reason to harm us."

                        Maureen stepped down to where the spider had made itself comfortable.  "Good Evening, kind Sir.  You have a message for me?"

                         The four eyes looked up at her, and then began clicking in earnest.  The rest of them watched as Maureen nodded her understanding, and listened as she asked the insect questions that seemed to make little sense.  When she was done, she patted the spider's hairy head, an action that caused Kevin's stomach to roll in response.  With that, the beast turned and scuttled away on its eight legs until they lost sight of it in the darkness behind the trees.

                          Maureen could feel the eyes of the group on her, her husband's staring directly at her with a look that made her uneasy.   "Let's all go back inside.  I'll explain everything."

                        When they were all settled in the great room, she shared what she knew.  "His name is Drago Aranues.  He's a royal messenger from She Who Was All.  She welcomes us to our quest, and warns us that the darkness is aware of our presence here.  Thus, the added protection of the trees.. and such.  She says she will join us shortly.  To monitor our progress, and to offer advice.  That's about it. He didn't have anything else to say, except to mention that...well...he was sorry that he was warned against harming any of us, as the blond fellow looked especially tasty."

               From his position on the sofa, Ian blanched, and Kevin could feel his stomach clench as well.  He forced down the bile in his throat, and addressed his sister.  "But how, Mo?  How were you able to understand the spider's message?"

               She looked down at her feet, her cheeks flushing a slight pink.  "It's...it's...well...
complicated, Kev.  Kind of a long story."

               Beckett rose from the sofa, and took Maureen by the hand.  "If you'll all excuse us, I do believe my wife and I need to have a long chat.  Privately."  With that, he turned and made his way towards the stairs, a pale Maureen in tow.


Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
All Rights Reserved

           


                 

     

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Of Journeys and Journals

Maureen starts a journal
        Five pairs of eyes stared at the image, flipping back and forth from the cell phone screen, to the view through the car's windshield.  Beckett rolled downed the windows, and the scent of dense forest, green, rich and damp, filled the vehicle.  None of them were strangers to the bizarre, but the overgrown gate had caught them off guard, a visible punch to the gut reminder that life as they had once known it was gone forever.  A world of make believe, of things impossible and crazy, had become the new norm, and each member of the group struggled to process that information in their own way.

       For the Ridre Dubh, it was and always had been about action.  He exited the SUV, slamming the door hard as he did, and wandered over to the gate that protected the driveway to his cabin.   They watched as he tugged and pulled at the heavy vines, trying to tear at them with bare hands and meeting with  little success.  He was soon joined by Ian and Fr. Kevin, and despite working together, the leafy branches refused to bend or break, keeping the gate firmly and solidly closed.  Even a machete knife with an 8 inch blade, retrieved from Beckett's black case, did nothing to help the situation.  For each vine they cut, another instantly grew in its place, twice as thick, and impossible to break.    Swearing under his breath, the Black Knight walked back to the Yukon, and removed the black duffel bag containing the sword.

       Horrified at the prospect, Fr. Kevin objected.  "You're not really going to use St. Michael's sword to...to do landscaping, are you?  It's a divine..."  His comments were met with a look that made the words dry up in his mouth.  This man was not Ted Beckett, Sheriff of Dollyville, husband to his sister.  Standing across from him was the Ridre Dubh, Guardian of the Fay, acknowledged assassin, and downright scary looking dude.

          The moment the sword was in his hands, it began to glow, the blue stone in the pommel crackling with an eery energy.  "For clarification, O'Kenney, this sword is currently mine, not St. Michael's.  And yes, I intend to clear these fucking vines off MY gate with MY sword.  Magic sword against what is obviously Magic forest.  Makes sense to me."  Without further discussion, he marched up to the overgrown entryway, and with one wide arc, cut through the foliage from top to bottom.  The vines fell away, falling into piles on the ground like the coiled bodies of headless snakes.  The two sides of the gate instantly swung open with no prompting from any latch or remote.

           If the Black Knight was in anyway astounded by what had just happened, he gave no indication.  He nodded his satisfaction, and calmly returned to the car.  Then carefully rewrapping the sword back in the silk cloth, he placed it securely in the duffel bag, and returned to the driver's seat.  Without a word, Beckett started the engine and drove them all through the gate and up the driveway toward the cabin.  They had only gone a few feet, when there was a loud bang behind them.  Stopping the car, they all looked back toward the gate they had just passed through.  It had now shut itself with a vibrating clang, and as they watched in shocked amazement, the vines slithered up from the ground and reattached themselves.  There was a low humming sound as the each piece interlocked with another like a great twisted puzzle, and before long, both sides of the gate were once again completely covered with the strange foliage, securely keeping them inside...and everyone else out.

_______________________________

August 14th, 2015

Dear Diary....

No... that sounds too juvenile.  Like I'm some kind of adolescent teen who needs to hide her secrets under lock and key

Let's try...  Dear Journal.

Don't like that either. Too pretentious. I think I'm just going to go with a date as a heading.  It's not like I'm writing this TO anyone one specific, so I don't think a title is necessary at all.
So here it goes. 

August 14, 2015

It has been suggested to me that I keep a record of my adventures,  my innermost thoughts on all the craziness that seems to have invaded my life. In all honesty, I wasn't very keen on the idea.  After all, I'm no Jane Austen.  Hell...I'm not even E.L.James, though frankly, thanks to my dear husband, I could teach her a thing or two on the whole kinky subject. But I digress...

She has suggested that someday I will want to remember these things, and that my memory will play tricks on me, so I am preparing for that time by keeping this diary. (OK, so maybe it is a diary.  Don't judge me.) I hope it doesn't go like most things I start.  I'm all gung ho in the beginning, and then...well... I sort of lose interest.  It was like that with ballet, piano lesson,gymnastics, cheerleading,and rock climbing. (ok, that one was just because Jason Freemont was a rock climber, and I just wanted to climb Jason Freemont.  Maybe I shouldn't write that.  What if Ted reads this? Of course that was in the 9th grade.  He probably won't care about something that happened 10 years ago.  At least I don't think he will.  Hard to say anything for sure about my husband.) The point is, I have a tendency to give up on most things, but this time, I'm truly committed. Really.  I am.

So...today we arrived at the cabin.  It was a rather awkward trip.  Ted was in one of his moods, grumpy and silent.  He spent half the night doing what he calls his "meditating", which to me just looks like he's staring off into space, and trying to control his breathing.  He's big on the whole breathing thing. Don't even get me started on that.

The others were pretty quiet too.  I don't think any of us really knows what to expect from the next two week. We came here so Ted and Kevin can "train" with the sword in private.  No one was really clear on what that would involve.  I've been told not to dwell on the reasons.  She says it is bad for my "maternal creative energy".  Funny how every time I try to work things out in my head, my thoughts get fuzzy, and I find I can't keep my eyes open. It's like I need a nap, right then and there. I wonder if it is Her way of keeping me calm. And fertile.  She's hugely obsessed with fertility, mainly mine, and so far, I've been a big disappointment to her in that area.

 I guess I will let Ted work out the details of what will happen on this trip.  It's what he does well.  Handles details. I figure this can't be much different than the types of jobs he does for our government.  Except that it's got magic involved.  There... I've gone and said it! The "M" word. Magic. The kind of going-ons you find in Disney movies and books for kids with over active imaginations. Only it's real. Very touch-me-real. The concept should freak me out, but it doesn't.  I feel like I've known about the whole magic thing since I've been a little girl.  Granny would sit me and Kevin in her lap, and tell us these wonderful tales about the Fay as if they were part of our true family history. And from what I'm now discovering, they actually were. It seems our family has had a connection with the Fay for many generations. I wonder if my Dad knew? I can't picture my Dad, the tough Boston Police Sergeant, discussing the ways of faeries and such.

So when we arrived here, and that whole gate with the vines thing happened, well, I was surprised, but not afraid. She'd warned me that I would witness things that might seem odd at first glance, but that I shouldn't fear what I didn't understand. Insisted that I was quite safe, and that she would do all she could to see to that. Here's where I'm a tad embarrassed. I have a secret to confess, dear Diary. ( ok...so I kinda like having someone to write "to".  Again..don't judge me.) I was less afraid of the weird "magic" things that might happen, then I was of facing the "demons" of the past. I know.  That makes me sound totally self absorbed, but if you can't be honest in your own diary, then where can you be? I have spent the last few days sick to my stomach over the idea of having to share the same room...the same bed...as the one my husband shared with that crazy psycho bitch over that horrible Thanksgiving weekend. I kept telling myself that it was nothing to be afraid of.  It was just a room.  They were just dumb pieces of furniture. They had no hold on me. But try as I might, I couldn't shake my dread over the whole thing.

Turns out I'd been doing all that worrying for nothing.  A waste of my "maternal creative energy", as She would say. My dear, dear husband, the wonderful man he is, must have figured I'd be freaked  out over the prospect.  Imagine my surprise and delight to find the room completely redone! All that modern furniture gone, replaced with the kind of vintage pieces he knows I love, all done in pale chintz and prints. The room has an entirely different feel to it, calm and happy. How he made it happen in such a short time, I haven't a clue, though as I have mentioned before, my husband has a super human way with details.

So now you'd think I'd be happy, wouldn't you?  All the trouble he went through just to make me feel better. Truth is, now I just feel guilty, and it's weighing down on me like a lead overcoat. There's something I've been meaning to tell him for several days.  Something I've known since my return from Colonial Boston.  I hate keeping things from my husband, especially secrets of this magnitude. I keep waiting for the right time, but so far it hasn't shown itself to me.  The question is, how do you tell someone that you have your very own Fairy Godmother? A Cinderella-Home-At-Midnight type of Godmother, whose demands know no boundaries? One that insists She wants...no... WILL be an active part of your adult life. How do you drop that bombshell on a husband who values his privacy more than just about anything? I leave you, Dear Diary, with that dilemma,as I don't have a single thought as how to tell him.

Until later,

Maureen


Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
All Rights Reserved.









   

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cabin Bound

           
Cabin Bound
        There just wasn't enough time.  Simply not enough hours in the day.  Not when you had the long list of responsibilities he had.  A two week vacation for a Church Pastor required careful planning.  A laundry list of things to do, and a swarm of people to confer with.  Fr. Kevin dug through the back of the hall closet for the large suitcase he was sure he put there when he moved in.  Beckett was stubbornly adamant that they needed to leave for the cabin first thing Monday morning.  That left him less than three days to pull this all together, and the stress of it all was giving him a whopper of a headache.

        It wasn't as if he didn't have the time coming.  In the two years since he'd come to Holy Family, he'd taken only four days off.  One day to locate Maureen after the Marathon bombing,  two, unofficially, for Mo and Beckett's wedding, and the fourth being the day he buried his infant nephew.  Of course, there were the few lost days he had time traveled, but he wasn't counting those, as his body was officially here, even if his conscience wasn't.  It was a gray area to say the least, and he had no intention of checking with the diocese's HR person on what to do regarding things of the supernatural nature.

      No.  He was entitled to some time off, but it would have been nice to have had a reasonable amount of time to prepare for all of this.  He'd managed to arrange for a visiting priest to say the Masses, hear confessions, and officiate at any funerals that might arise while he was gone.  There were no special events or weddings on the calendar, but the parish budget meeting had to be re-scheduled, and another chaperon found for the teen group's day trip into Boston.  In addition, the repair to the roof would have to wait until he returned, making way for the possibility that if they had a heavy rain, there would be a mess waiting for him upon his return.

      His brother-in-law had no clue as to the amount of planning that was involved in his leaving. And maybe that was a blessing.  He'd been so busy, he'd had little time to think about where he was going. or what he was doing.  No time to agonize over his decision to be part of this whole crazy, unbelievable scenario. No time to debate whether it was proper or fitting for a Shepherd of the Church to involve himself with the magical or mystical.  He only knew that when he was near the Sword, he was close to something that defied all human logic, and it called to him like a heavenly Siren whose song he couldn't resist.

_____________________________________

      Her husband was crazy.  Completely out of his mind.  It was impossible to properly pack for two weeks away from home in less than 48 hours.  Her suitcase was pulled out of the storage unit it was hastily shoved into after their chaotic honeymoon, only to find that an extended family of field mice had been using it as a rent free condominium.  She was able to borrow a substitute from her gracious employer, but it wasn't nearly large enough to hold all the clothes she was sure she would need.  She wasn't even confident she knew what one wore to an adventure of this sort.  You couldn't really call it a vacation, because no one there would be lying around in a state of restful oblivion, a cocktail in one hand, and a good book in the other.  In addition, the location itself, Ted's cabin up North, filled her with a mixed bag of emotions and memories.

       The last visit to the place had been a strange chapter in their brief and challenging history as a couple.  When she and Kevin had been invited to join Ted and that horrible woman for a Thanksgiving get-away, she'd been over the moon for the opportunity.  From the moment she'd met him in the rectory kitchen, there was no denying she was sorely attracted to the handsome and charismatic town Sheriff, ignoring the fact he was clearly involved with another woman.  Just the chance to spend time with the man was reason alone to go, and so she had pushed and cajoled her brother into accepting the invitation against his better judgement.

         Like some Greek tragedy, the weekend had been a complete disaster.  First the terrible weather, a storm that battered the walls of the cabin with hurricane strength winds and stinging, icy rain.  Then came the discovery of a baby on the porch, implicating poor Kevin in some kind of torrid romance, followed by the gruesome discovery the following day of a dead girl in the woods, her still and frozen body lying in a pile of wet leaves, her cloudy blue eyes wide open and staring straight up. That sight had given her nightmares for weeks.  And as if that alone hadn't been enough, there was the odd disappearance of Ted's "fiance" in the middle of the night, a phantom banshee slipping out the door and into the dark miserable night.

      It should have been a memory packed away and best forgotten.  But churned in was several moments she secretly held dear.  The way in which the Sheriff had calmly handled each calamitous event as it happened, seeing to the welfare of all involved before his own.  How he had handled her so gently after she had found dead girl, reassuring and calming her.  And then there was that morning in the kitchen, after the girlfriend had slipped away.  Them making pancakes together, she doing her best to cheer him up, he trying to make her laugh as well.  It had seemed highly inappropriate for them to be flirting with each other after all that had happened.  But she hadn't cared.  She knew in that moment that she'd already lost a piece of her heart to him, and that memory stayed put long after the rest had faded.

         Now here she was.  Returning to the scene of the crime, so to speak.  But this time, she was not going as invited guest, but as hostess.  Lady of the Manor so to speak, as pretentious as that might have sounded.  In that moment, a revelation came to her like a mental poke to the ribs.  This time she'd be sharing the Master Suite. With her husband.  A room last shared by he and that viper woman.  That hideous, crazed psycho who was the cause of their baby's death.  They had never been back since that Thanksgiving weekend, and no doubt everything would be as it had been.  The thought that she would have to share the same bed he'd shared with that creature from hell suddenly making her sweaty and queasy.  She pulled out her cell phone to call him, then slid it back into her pocket.  They had promised each other that they would move on from the accident and the buried child. Not forget, but forgive.  It hadn't been easy, but they had found some common ground in their marriage, a full sense of contentment that wasn't there before.  Would a return visit to the cabin bring an end to all of that?
_______________________________

     There was no time for her to be sitting around staring into space.  Sheriff Beckett had driven her home, and helped her up the stairs to her rented room for the specific purpose of getting things together for the two weeks at the cabin.  He had offered to stay and help, but his close presence in the room made her a nervous wreck, and so she had convinced him she was able to handle it on her own with the promise that he'd be back in two hours to pick her up.  That had been nearly an hour ago.  In that time, she hadn't packed one item, choosing instead to sit propped up in her bed, her head a battle zone for opposing views, and her stomach an enemy to both sides.

      This was the first time she had been in her room since the afternoon she and Beckett had time traveled to Colonial Boston.  It was weird seeing the scissors on the dresser, next to the hank of pony tail she'd cut off in preparation for her role as boy.  So much had happened since then.  Strange things.  Things that made her heart race and her stomach do flip-flops.  What she really needed was time to just sit down and take it all in.  Time to weigh the options facing her. Time to decide what it really was she wanted, and in what direction she wanted to move.

        When she had relocated to Dollyville permanently, it was with the goal of furthering her objective to become a police offer, and in the future, a private investigator.  But now that seemed a lifetime ago.  Before she'd experienced time travel.  Before she'd been shot.  Before Ian had appeared in her life.  Before he gave up everything on her account. Things were different.  Changed.  And she wasn't quite sure where it all would all go from here.  Part of her wanted to stay hidden in this room until she could work it all out, but that didn't seem to be an option.  Beckett had decreed that she would travel with them, and there'd be no discussion.

       Even if he could be persuaded to listen, Roxanne had no argument to convince him otherwise.  These people were the closest thing she had to family, and if they said they needed her...wanted her...she would be by their side for better or worse. Opening the suitcase on the bed, she began to transfer items from the drawer to her luggage.

____________________________________________
       
       It was barely dawn when the Yukon Denali pulled up in front of the rectory.  It was a vehicle Fr Kevin had never seen before, and he wondered when Beckett had found time to purchase a new car.  It might have been rented, but he doubted it.  The man never rented anything.  If he needed something, he went ahead and purchased it, paying little mind to comparing prices or looking for a better deal.  It was that way with everything he did.  A decision was made and followed through  without wasting time on second guessing his choices.  Maybe it was the exact reason he was the Ridre Dubh, and Kevin was the Second.

         Both the Sheriff and Maureen looked tense, and he desperately hoped the two of them weren't arguing before this trip even started.  He expected that his sister was as apprehensive about returning to the cabin as he was, though his focus was on the quest in front of them, and not what had happened in the past.  He could physically feel the sword before he saw it, his heart beating faster in his chest, his hands tingling, and as he wondered if things could get any more challenging, he caught sight of Ian and Roxanne coming up the walkway, hand in hand.

            Roxie looked pale and fatigued, and seeing her this way, he was pricked with anger at Beckett's insistence she come along with them.  She was surely in no shape to travel, looking as if she needed several more weeks of bed rest and healing.  On the other hand, leaving her behind was not a viable option either.  They would worry about her, and she would worry about them, and neither group would get very much accomplished.  At least together, they could offer one another other the support that was needed.

             He had a hard time not staring at Ian, whose attire was more than a bit unusual.  The young man was dressed in jeans so washed out they were more gray then blue, the knees almost threadbare and the hem ragged and torn.  On top, over bare skin, he wore the vest to a man's black business suit, and his sock less feet were covered by a scuffed up pair of Doc Martens.  His long blonde hair was pulled back and braided into a neat tail, and for a second, Fr. Kevin let himself wonder if it was Roxie who had fixed it.

              He should have probably kept his mouth shut, but it was the kind of morning where everything hung out there.  "Uhmmm...that's quite some outfit you got there, Ian."

              The young man smiled at him, his pride genuine, making Fr. Kevin feel almost guilty about the sarcasm.  "Aye...you like it, Reverend?  Madame was kind enough to take me to a most reasonable establishment.  I was more than able to furnish my entire wardrobe."

               From the front seat, Maureen blushed.  "Ian, we talked about this before.  My name is Maureen.  My friends call me Mo.  I wish you would do the same."

               "Oh, I couldn't do that, Madame.  You are the Black Knight's Lady.  I shan't be feeling free enough to address you by your Christian name. At least not until I have established myself in your circle."

                Beckett began loading their luggage into the back of the SUV, adding, "I thought 'Madame' was going to take Ian to the mall for some present day clothing?"

                "I tried.  Everything we looked at he claimed was too expensive.  After wasting the entire day without buying anything, I took him over to the charity thrift shop on Quentin Avenue."

                Ian helped Roxanne into the vehicle, then slid in next to her before Kevin could protest.
"Quite right, Sir Knight.  I will not be a burden to anyone, and I am not a man who takes advantage of Madame's generosity.  I have kept a rightful accounting of the money I have borrowed, and I will see to full payment when I am payed for my labor at the church."

               There was little Fr. Kevin could do but slide into the last row of seats by himself, jammed against several boxes of Maureen's favorite cookware, and a black case belonging to Beckett, the contents of which he was sure he'd rather not know about.  After a quick slide through a fast food drive up window for coffee and breakfast, they were road bound, heading toward the Sheriff's cabin estate up North.

              It appeared each traveler was lost in their own thoughts, and conversation was limited to occasional chit chat about the scenery or weather.  Kevin was happy for the opportunity to calm himself and pray, and the others seemed to appreciate the silence as well.  He could feel the energy of the sword behind him, an almost buzzing sensation that ran from the top of his head to his toes, and it was all he could do not to drag the thing into his lap, so he prayed harder.

              The two hours flow by faster than imagined, and soon they found themselves turning down the private road leading toward the property.  As they pulled up to the gate, they were met with the sight of such overgrowth it was hard to see where the metal of the gate began, and the foliage ended.
Kevin thought it odd, the abandoned feel of the property, as Beckett had always appeared fanatical about proper maintenance of anything belonging to him.  A quick look at his brother-in-law's shocked face was proof he found the sight strange as well.

             Trying to be polite, Ian spoke first.  "This is surely a most private retreat, Sir Knight.  One can't even begin to see where the property begins."

              Beckett shook his head slowly.  "I'm not sure what to make of this.  It's very...well...weird."

              "Weird, Ted?  How?  It's just a little over grown.  We haven't been here...well...in a long time."  Maureen's voice trailed off on the last few words.

               Beckett shut the engine off, and turned to look at them. "I have a regular maintenance and landscaping service.  They routinely take care of the property, and send me the bill, as well as digital
photos of the work they completed.  I had a new gate with a security system put in yesterday."  He opened his phone and brought up a photo to show them.  "This was was how the gate looked 24 hours ago."  The metal gate was foremost in the picture, shiny modern and new, and without a single leaf or branch covering it.


Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
All Rights Reserved