I-6: Legend of the Mornellys- Chapter Six
In which Sean is beginning to question his sanity
One of the strangers had brought a pack of matches and a candle to light up the cave, having kept them dry in a thing he called a zip-lock bag. Whatever that was. The light was welcomed by both parties, though, and for the first time Sean got a look at his rescuer’s faces.
There were five of them. The tallest of the group, Aichear and Damhán, were the oldest and youngest of the five. Aichear was a solemn, broad-shouldered, fiercesome looking man, a set of square wire rimmed glasses perched on his nose and a pair of blue eyes that were always watching, always studying. Damhán looked less intimidating in the face, but his well-built and muscular body would make anyone think twice of fighting him. Apparently he was only seventeen, though he looked more like he was twenty-five or so. He and Aichear had the same color blond hair, though Damhán’s stuck out at weird angles.
Bran and Breandan were very obviously brothers as well. Both had the same brown eyes, dark brown hair and expressions. Breandan chatted easily and seemed to be the friendliest of the two, while Bran retained the same observant look Aichear had, but with more of an air behind it. The last man, Ciarán, was a total contrast between the other four brothers. The only thing marking him as a sibling was the fact he had the same facial structure as the rest. Black hair and brown eyes, and a very serious, almost creepy looking expression was constantly on his lips. He merely grunted when Breandan introduced him.
Breandan. Yes, his name was really Breandan. Sean couldn’t believe the coincidence that his rescuer would be named the same as his… well, what used to be his imaginary character. It was embarrassing. Breandan asked him why he seemed so intrigued by his name, but Sean refused to answer. He wasn’t about to admit he was wondering if the man standing before him might be a fictional figment.
Sean walked silently behind the five brothers, Breandan leading the way through the cave to an exit he was pretty sure he remembered. It was uncanny, downright nerve-wracking, how this man looked, acted, sounded and even had the same name as the Breandan from his childhood days. The other brothers all looked familiar, too. But it was impossible. It was insane. They couldn’t be- right? There was no possible way that this Breandan, and these brothers of his, could be the same as his imaginary character's family…
Or was it possible?
By the time they found the exit Breandan was recalling, Sean was having a hard time deciding if he was crazy, dreaming, or both. Things were far too complicated, this was far too real and he was afraid he was losing his mind. Breandan’s not real. Breandan is an imaginary character.
Then why on earth was Breandan standing here before him, helping him out, calling him by name and knowing every single secret about him?
He didn’t trust these strangers very much. They posed too much of a threat to all the emotions, memories and secrets he’d holed up within himself for the last several years. No one was to know about any of these things. Especially not five strange brothers whom had no business in this area whatsoever. It was obvious they were foreigners, though they did seem to have Irish accents.
“This would have been a lot easier to come through than that stupid way you brought us, Breandan,” the brother near Sean’s age, Damhán, mumbled. “Seriously, bro, if you knew there was another way in, then why on earth did you take us through that freezing water? I’m still shiverin’ here!”
“I couldn’t remember where this was from the outside,” Breandan defended. “I knew it was here but we needed to get to the cave fast. I didn’t want to waste time looking for it.”
No one argued with that logic. In single file, each of them climbed out of the hole and into the sunshine, blinking in the light. Aichear blew his candle out and surveyed the beach.
“Now what?” Ciarán demanded.
Sean stood amongst them, unsure of what to say or do. He’d nearly been killed by six highwaymen earlier, now he was in the company of five men he didn’t trust anymore than he had the highwaymen. He wondered what the next step should be. Should he go to town and tell Sheriff McDonald about the highwaymen? Or should he go home to his mother and let the whole incident slide?
Sean jumped at Aichear’s bellow. He glanced quizzically at Breandan. “Aileen?” he asked.
“Our younger sister,” Breandan explained. “We left her behind because we didn’t want her to get cold.”
“Plus she’s a sissy and hates water.”
“Unnecessary, Damhán,” Bran reprimanded.
Aichear cupped his hands and called again. “Aileen!” He turned to Breandan. “What is your estimate as to the distance between this exit and the entrance we descended into earlier?”
“I have no idea. I think the other place we came through is around this bend in the rocks.”
A movement caught Sean’s eye. He pointed across the sand to another rocky ledge. “Is that her?”
Everyone turned to see where he pointed at. Aichear squinted, then slowly nodded. “That’s her.” He waved his arm in the air. “Aileen, this way!”
The small figure caught sight of them and ran as fast as she could, tumbling every couple of steps in the deep sand. Sean bit his lip to hide his shock as she became more defined the closer she got. This is just scary…
Breandan, the imaginary Breandan, that is, used to bring his sister to play with Sean when he was little. This girl was the exact same age, same height and looked the exact same as that little girl had.
And her name was Aileen…
Sean stepped back as the child reached the group. The brothers didn’t seem to notice, all their attention on their little sister.
“Oh, how did you guys get here? I waited a very long time for you all, but you didn’t come,” Aileen said breathlessly. She frowned and poked Aichear’s clothes. “You guys are wet.”
“Duh, we swam in the ocean, of course we’re wet,” Ciarán pointed out.
Aileen brushed some stray strands of her light brown hair out of her face. Her eyes set upon Sean, and she lit up. “Oh, Sean! Hi! I haven’t seen you in forever! I’m so glad you’re okay. It’s so good to see you!”
Before he knew what was happening she’d run forward and given him a hug. “Uhh…” he stammered.
“You’re a lot bigger than you used to be, but I guess that’s because you grew, right?” She let go of him and smiled. “You’re very tall now. You used to be shorter than me.”
“Uhh, Aileen…” Breandan began. “He doesn’t actually See anym-"
It was enough for Sean. He backed up against the rocks, his breath coming hard as he tried to understand what was happening. The familiarity, the names, their faces, their accents… it was all too similar. It was all like before. This wasn’t possible. He was afraid. Afraid of what was going on. They weren’t real. And yet here they were, right in front of him. He was in reality, he knew that. You didn’t shiver from cold or feel wet clothes against your back when you were dreaming. Was he crazy? Was he hallucinating?
“This doesn’t make any sense,” he said at last. He looked at Breandan. “Ye,” he pointed at him, “and all of ye,” he gestured to the rest, “aren’t real. Ye shouldn’t be real. Ye were never real. Why am I seeing ye as real now? I haven’t had imaginary characters for two years! What is going on here? Am I insane? Or is this some sort of trick? Are ye sorcerers, witches, warlocks? Who are ye people?”
Dead silence fell over the group. No one said a word. Aichear glanced at Breandan, waiting for him to speak. Aileen looked at all her brothers, her eyes widening.
“He doesn’t See,” she said at last. She looked like she was going to cry. “But Sean, you promised Breandan you would always See.”“Stop with the riddles! I don’t know who ye are or what yer doing, but I do know this- if ye are the same Breandan, the same Aileen, and the same brothers, if ye are real, if this is really happening-” Sean glanced at each sibling helplessly, “-then why can I see ye now when I couldn’t see ye for the last two years?”
To read more, click here>>> PART SEVEN