Terror by Night... Or Aichear
As told by the younger Mornelly brothers
(at least, those younger than Aichear)
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“Let’s tell scary stories,” Damhán suggested.
It was after dinner and the six Mornelly siblings found themselves in a strange and rare situation. All of them were home at the same time and they had nothing they’d planned to do.
The usual tossing of ideas had come to a standstill. No one could come up with a movie they hadn’t seen, a game they hadn’t played or anything they truly wanted to do. It seemed there was nothing the family of immortals could come up with. The greatest oddity about the whole situation, though, was no one was arguing over it, either.
They were all seated around the living room, Aichear, Bran, Breandan and Aileen on the couch, Ciarán and Damhán on the floor. It seemed no one had anything to say or talk about.
Until Damhán’s suggestion.
Aileen was seated between Bran and Aichear, where she could usually be found in most situations. She bit her lip doubtfully, eyes narrowed at Damhán. The seventeen-year-old smirked, causing Aileen’s gaze to grow even more squinty.
“You’re going to try and scare me,” she accused.
“The point is to get scared, Aileen,” Damhán retorted. “That’s what scary stories are all about.”
“Want her in your bed?” Aichear grunted. He sat up a little straighter on the couch, blue eyes glinting beneath his glasses. He had much the same squinty-eyed look their little sister had, but for an entirely different reason. He didn’t see all that well. “Be my guest.”
“I can sleep by myself,” Aileen defended. “I only… sleep with one of you when I’m really scared. I stay in my room when I’m just a little scared. I can be brave too, you know.”
“It seems to me you’re in Aichear’s room at least four nights out of the week,” Bran sniffed, examining his hand with little interest in the conversation. Other than, of course, causing trouble.
“No I’m not!”
Damhán let out a low breath between his teeth, put off by the lack of positive response to his idea. As the youngest Mornelly boy he was used to being ignored by his older brothers, but that didn’t stop him from pushing for attention. “Come on Aileen, get with the program. It’s fun, trust me!”
“Getting scared is fun?” Little sister cocked her head a little, frowning. She didn’t look convinced.
“I don’t get scared,” Ciarán mumbled.
“You will when I tell my tale,” Damhán challenged. “I’ve got a real good one.” No one objected or said anything more, so Damhán leaned forward, folding his hands together and locking gazes with Breandan. “It began on the night the moon was full.”
“Werewolves,” Bran said nonchalantly.
“I’m telling the story, Bran!”
“If the moon’s full it’s werewolves. Heard those tales over three hundred years now. Not scary.”
“Aren’t werewolves just Animuns?” Aileen inquired.
“Yes,” Breandan replied. Up to this point he hadn’t spoken, but now he leaned forward on the couch to catch Aileen’s eye. “But the people of this world don’t know that. They think they’re cursed beasts who are out to kill everyone.”
“The bad ones are,” Bran added eerily. “Refer to the legend of Honrinn.”
“The… legend of what?” Aileen repeated.
“O-kay.” Aichear stood up from the couch, pulling Aileen off and up into his arms. From the way Aichear treated her, Damhán would have never guessed she was ten. He held her close to him like a five or six-year-old. Aileen either didn’t realize this was a bit abnormal or didn’t care. “Bedtime for you.”
“That’s fine.” She leaned on Aichear’s shoulder, pointing at Damhán. “You’re mean to try and scare me.”
“Don’t feel special, Aileen.” He grinned from ear to ear, leaning back on the floor until Ciarán kicked his arm because he’d gotten too close to Ciarán’s personal space. “I’m out to scare everyone.”
Aichear rolled his eyes and exited the room, Aileen’s chattering faded as he took her down to her room. “What’s this legend of Honrinn about…”
“Alright, now that’s she’s gone...” Damhán scooted closer to Breandan and Bran.
Bran shot him a look of disgust, choosing to stare at the lamp across the room with obvious disinterest. Breandan looked down at Damhán with a raised eyebrow.
“You really think you’re going to be able to scare us, Damhán?” Breandan chuckled. “By all means, give it your best. I think we’ve heard every horror story you could conjure up, and have heard probably all the terrifying legends of the world one can learn in an eternity.”
“This one’s going to get you, though,” Damhán argued.
Ciarán snorted. “Eh.”
“Oh you’ll see. I learned this one straight from the horse’s mouth. The person who survived to tell this tale.”
Breandan frowned. "You mean Andro?"
"Dude no way! Andro's a wimp! I mean a person, not a horse!"
"When you say it that way it sounds like you're referring to Andro."
"It's an expression, and a common one at that. Right, lawyer boy?"
"It is unless you know a steed named Andro who does, in fact, speak," Bran pointed out.
"Nevermind! Forget I said that and focus on the fact I got this from the person it actually happened to. So it's true." Damhán waited to see if everyone was listening. Bran, who was still feigning a snobbish uncaring attitude, did have his ear cocked to the side so he was paying attention. This was going to be as good as it got. “It began on the night the moon was full. And it was not werewolves, but something far, far worse.”
“A man by the name of Rowan Quiver had gone out to his pasture to let his cows in, only to find one of his cows missing. His lead cow. She never missed a milking, always at the gate on time. She wasn’t expecting any calves, either, so Rowan headed out into the woods to find her.”
“Of course he did,” Bran grunted. “Typical.”
“This is all true!” Damhán insisted. “I’m serious. I really talked to this guy. He’s one who Sees.”
Bran eyed Damhán with a smirk. “That could explain this story. Probably Saw something not real. Like us.”
“Bran would you just-”
“Let him finish his story, Bran.” Breandan pushed Bran’s shoulder. “Come on, least you could do is keep your mouth shut while he talks. You could go somewhere else if you don’t want to listen.”
“And since when was it your responsibility to keep me in check?”
“Let him talk, Bran.”
The four brothers turned their heads to see Aichear back at the entrance to the living room, leaning against the wall. He waved his hand at Damhán. “Go on.”
Damhán wasn’t sure if he should be offended Aichear had stepped in or grateful. He decided to be neutral and go on with the story. “Rowan got out to the forest only to find the bell of his cow, snapped clean off on a branch. Concerned, now, he began to call for his bovine. “Lucy, Lucy!” he yelled. He heard the low of Lucy far in the distance. It sounded like she was struggling to get free. He headed in the direction he thought he’d heard the cow. Calling again, he was shocked to hear the sound come from the opposite direction. Behind him. As if he wasn’t the one following the cow. The cow was following him.”
“And this is terrifying bec-” Bran began, but Aichear stepped towards the couch and gave him a light bonk on the head. “Gosh Aichear!”
“Shut up.” Aichear leveled his eyes at Damhán and motioned for him to go on.
“Rowan was a bit unsure of how to proceed. On the one hand, Lucy was used to his voice and he knew the cow would come to him if he was calling her. On the other, why had he heard her in two different directions?” Damhán looked at the faces of his brothers, confident he had their interest now. “He turned back around to look for his bovine in the other direction, cupped his hands and called again. Once more he heard the cow. Behind him. Again. It was like the cow was circling him.”
He took in a deep breath, a small, confident smile spreading across his face. He quickly wiped it away before going on. “Rowan began to get nervous. He kept calling for Lucy, kept turning in the direction of her low, and each time the sound came from behind him. Closer and closer it came, but each time he turned the sound was at his back. He couldn’t face the cow. How was that even possible? He didn’t know. He was weaponless, too, thinking this would be a quick trip into the woods.
“At long last Rowan stopped trying to face the noise. He stood
stock still, listening for the breathe of his precious bovine. Nothing. Not a sound. Not even a cricket chirped in the falling dusk. It was dark enough now he couldn’t see too far into the forest. All he saw were trees, bushes, rocks… and two glowing orbs. Eyes.”
To continue, click here>>>> PART TWO