I-6: Legend of the Mornellys- Chapter Two
In which we learn of a mysterious phenomenon
If only life could wind back in time. Back to the days when he’d play all day by the seaside. Back in the past when Papa was still around to watch over the family. Back when he still believed that Breandan was real.
Sean O’Hare watched the waves crash against the rocks. The wind ruffled his fiery red hair, biting his cheeks. It was a cold, April afternoon. He shivered and pulled his cloak around him to try and block out the chill. Odd that I’d be thinking about Breandan. I haven’t thought about him for a long time.
Ha! He shook his head. He referred to Breandan as a “he” when he should have referred to him as an “it”. It was hard to believe that he used to be able to see Breandan so vividly. It had seemed to him that he was actually real. He could remember how he looked, how he laughed, how they played together.
When he was little, he remembered trying to introduce Breandan to his parents or to their friends. They would laugh, pat him on the head, and then go on to say how some children had remarkable imaginations. Sometimes his parent’s friends would advise them to teach Sean the difference between reality and imagination, “Before he begins to act too strange.” It seemed everyone had a piece of advice or some take on his “imaginary friend”.
“They don’t believe in you,” he recalled telling Breandan one day. “I don’t understand why. Can’t you just show them you’re real?”
He remembered how real that smile had seemed as Breandan shook his head. “No, Sean. That’s not how it works. You are one who Sees. But others- like adults- cannot.”
“But why? How hard that must be!”
Breandan had reached down and ruffled his hair, chuckling. “It is hard. But we cannot control those who See and those who can’t. What matters the most is you can See. It’s a gift, Sean. A special gift that people are losing.”
“Well then, I’ll never, ever not See,” Sean had declared.
Breandan’s smile diminished. His eyes lost their twinkle, and he sighed. “I hope so, Sean. But you can’t promise that. You will grow up. You will change. And yes, you will probably forget about me.”
How could he forget about Breandan? He had sworn when he was younger he’d never forget him or stop playing with him. Breandan was his friend! Breandan had been there for him as long as he could remember. When none of the other children in the village or neighboring farms wanted to play with him, Breandan would always be there, ready to pitch rocks into the ocean or climb the green cliffs near the shore. They searched for seagull eggs, played pranks and made bows and arrows. Breandan would tell him stories of all the wonderful places he’d seen.
Sometimes, Breandan would come with a brother or his little sister. He’d told Sean once that he had four brothers and a younger sister. Breandan’s brothers were pretty nice, and his little sister was a lot of fun to play with. But Breandan was Sean’s favorite. Breandan was Sean’s friend.
Sean stirred, shook his head and sighed. Oh, if only life could be that simple again. If only the things I played as a child could be real.
Sean was a tall youth for fifteen. The years of play and roughhousing had turned him into a strong young man, able bodied to work the farm himself.
The farm. He frowned at the very thought of it. He’d taken a break this late morning and had gone to the water’s edge to sit and think. The farm was a place he didn’t want to be. It had always been his dream to be a sailor. But with Father’s passing two years ago…
No, he didn’t want to think about it. He shook his head and grabbed a rock, pitching it into the sea. Father was gone. There was no helping that. He couldn’t change the past.
Where was Breandan when Father died?
Sean snorted and threw another rock. How childish. I’m a man, now. What kind of man wonders about imaginary characters?
Breandan wasn’t real. Breandan was a shadow of his past. Breandan was a figment of his imagination. He could hardly believe that he used to have an imaginary friend, one he believed in so full heartedly. Life came crashing in on Sean’s imagination, though, when his father was in the oxen team accident. His childhood left him the day he saw his father lying under the wagon, still as death itself. They had done everything they could to save him. They even spent their precious mortgage money on a doctor. But in the end, it had all been for naught.
The very memory was enough to send Sean onto his feet. He stalked the beach, hands in his pockets, brooding over his misfortune. At the age of thirteen he’d become the man of his family. Now he was going to be stuck on the farm forever, taking care of his mother and little sister.
Blast the farm! He kicked at some kelp. What I wouldn’t do to get some excitement in my life.
He needed to go home, that’s what. Forget excitement, a cow awaited milking and a new field of potatoes had to be finished.
Sean climbed back up the steep, rocky cliff that he’d descended to get to his secret beach area. He reached the halfway point and paused, taking a moment to catch his breath.
“Well, this is hard work,” he muttered to himself. “Aye! I have a good seven hours left of work and I’m spendin’ it out here wearin’ meself out on some forsaken cliff!”
A sudden movement from below caught his eye. Sean peered down back at the beach, curious as to what he’d seen. There it was again, right beyond the rocky corner of the cliff that plunged into the water, enclosing his secret shore from sight. Something- or someone- was over there.
Curiosity overtook him. He edged along sideways, grabbing rocks and cliff trees as he brought himself closer to the edge. He clambered down the side and once more started across the beach, determined to see whatever was hidden behind the corner.
Sean had barely reached the water’s edge when he heard the sharp tones of voices. He stopped dead in his tracks and listened, unsure of if he should proceed or not.
Harsh sentences spoken in a barrage of English and Gaelic colored with foul language was the deciding factor that Sean didn’t want to meet whoever these men were. They were arguing over something, and it sounded like there were several of them.
“Enough!” roared one loud voice.
Sean cringed at the authority in the man’s tone. He sounded like someone you didn’t want to mess with.
The three or four other voices instantly got quiet. There was silence for a couple seconds, then the man who sounded like he was in charge spoke again.
“Between yer banterin’ and yakkin’ I figure we could’ve been halfway to Britian by now! Ye lot of mangy land pirates! Aye! Ye sound like a bunch of gossipin’ women! What a useless lot ye are!”
The leader said much, much more, but Sean tried to block those words out of his memory. Who are these men? He wondered.
He didn’t recognize their voices, and they didn’t sound like your average sheep herders or farmers.
“Well then what do ye suggest, Maine? Our likin’s have been posted all over Northern Ireland and we’re not fixin’ to be stuck in a noose!”
“Quiet!” Maine roared. “You oaf! The law has no merit. I have connections here, good connections. We won’t be in want of loot, long as we stay put and well hidden. I’m not afraid of any lawman! No one here knows who we are, and I’m fixin’ to keep it that way.”
Sean had heard quite enough. Trembling, he stepped back and retreated away from the corner, his mind in a whirl. These weren’t ordinary men. These were lawless men on the run. They were highwaymen.
Sure he was far enough away that they wouldn’t hear him, Sean whirled around to run for the cliff and found himself facing a large and menacing black-haired man. He stared into his eyes, his heart leaping into his throat.“Yer not supposed to be here, boy.” The black-haired man grinned, stepping towards him. “I wonder what Maine will think of this?”
To read more click here>>> PART THREE