Chapter 2

Written by: Joe Labrum

Mist lay heavily over the lowland. It covered the lake like a grey velvet quilt when the buses pulled into the empty field near the trailhead early Monday morning. From my grandfather’s house that stands a hundred and fifty meters behind a line of trees separating the rath from the rest of the farm, I heard the excited chatter floating up on the crisp morning air.  I jogged to a vantage point near Bumps’ trailer close to the Southern rim. I could plainly see the approaching throng advancing like Roman Legions up the trail through the fog that shrouded the valley below. The line grew like an army on the march, armed with banners and pickets and carrying all manner of food coolers and beverage jugs. They were prepared for a long siege.


Bumps fired up his bulldozer at sun-up, trying hard to make up for the lost time from broken tracks. Tugging on the left brake lever, he swung the big Cat around with a blade full of stumps, pushing the load toward the rim. His hands danced between levers, flying over the controls like a maestro playing the pipe organ in the cathedral. Suddenly his concentration was broken as he caught sight of the crowd running toward him, waving their signs. They were shouting at him although without effect over the roar of the dozer.


“Jesus fecking Christ” Bumps shouted as he hauled back on the brake levers with both hands.


The machine squealed and clanked to a stop. Bumps applied power and a burst of blue diesel exhaust made a rattling sound as it shot from the stack. But the mob wasn’t intimidated. Instead, it increased in intensity. The old man leapt over the seatback like an athlete and escaped off the rear of the machine as the mob surged aboard. Daniel McLaughlin led the charge and now stood on the track of the idling bulldozer with a megaphone to his lips, shouting in the retreating driver’s direction.


“Stop,” the amplified voice boomed.  “You cannot desecrate this tomb. We have a court order”


Then, McLaughlin turned to address the crowd, “This ancient burial ground belongs to us all. We need to preserve it. It is a crime against our past as well as our future to allow its destruction for personal gain. If we don’t stop the desecration of this holy place, we are as guilty as they are.”


He soon had the crowd whipped up into an ugly sign-carrying mob. As I walked toward the bulldozer from the front of the Rath, I met my father and Tommy Keating running from Bumps’ trailer with tea still steeping in their mugs. The three of us rushed toward McLaughlin. We were still thirty meters away when a BBC newswoman, recording the event for the nightly news, shoved a microphone at him.  Standing so close beside him they looked like one person, gazing proudly up at him with silken hair flowing, the lovely Dr. Florence Grace.


Joe Labrum (USA)






Joe has set a high standard here with a wonderful chapter that oozes loads of description, tension, and mystery. It was a pleasure to read and I loved - 'His hands danced between levers, flying over the controls like a maestro playing the pipe organ in the cathedral.' That sentence showed the author using his minds eye - a great metaphor.
Thanks Ray, you're too kind. I must say that the two writers before were tough acts to follow. I spent some time googling Irish Lore.
Nice one Joe.
An interesting change from Joe. Didn't see it coming.