Chapter 8

Written by: emilypalk

As the realisation solidified, the shock registered itself as a shiver which made its way down the entire length of my body to my toes, rendering my feet leaden.

I followed the man calling himself Thomas Grace to his sleek automobile, scouring my memory banks for anything I’d heard about him. Thomas Grace was Florence’s father, the person she frequently referred to in her lectures as being the very reason she’d specialised in Celtic archaeology. Thomas’ version of bedtime stories for his young daughter were detailed accounts of not only faerie legends, but Druidic rites that he taught her to recite in hushed tones before she slipped into sleep each evening. Something I know for certain about Miss Florence Grace is that she possesses an immense knowledge of not only Celtic artefacts, but far more than this, she embodies an ethereal spirituality that lends her whole being a perceptibly regal grace, apparent even to those who do not really know her at all. 

A grace she’d likely inherited from the man beside me, whose own countenance held a wearied yet oaken bearing upon it. An ancient nobility seemed writ from within him.

“’Tis a spectacular vehicle Sir, she’s a beauty.”

“Ah, don’t you be calling me Sir, at this moment we can’t be too far from the same age, you and I. Best we entreat the Silver Wraith to have her take us far from this place as she can. You can admire her all you like if we can make ourselves some time.”

As we drove away from the crowds, I gawked unabashedly at the plainly visible resemblances between the man and his daughter. He turned to me with the same sheepish grin his daughter had worn not moments before. “I take it from very good authority that your passage was safely made through the rath, albeit with a few knocks? How’s the mind taking it all? My girl has assured me you’re not the feeble sort.”

I was stupefied, scrabbling to comprehend what sort of mind-bending magic could make it possible for people to move through space and time, apparently with such ease as to be almost flippant.

“That’ll be the turn-off we need, ‘twill take us to Knockfennel which is just afore the other rath. We’re to meet my wee girl there; Flossie’s gone by faster means than even my Silver lady here, brand new as she may be”.

Mr. Grace hummed lowly and rhythmically, and as he did so, the tautness in the musculature of my face and jaw released incrementally, easing the tension wrought by trifling anxieties. With each breath he expelled I could visualise Florence, at the rath, from behind opiate-lidded eyes, but this time it was she, wearing the crown-of-thorns garland. Not the wraith. It was Florence herself, robed in evanescence, gliding towards me in the mist. In my mind’s eye, I was flailing- absolutely, yet without fear, as I reached forward to take this, frailest future, into my hands.

 

 

 

Emily Palk (Australia)

Comments

Written and crafted by a hand and voice from the past, Emily has captured the mysterious mood and slightly disturbing atmosphere of Irish faerie folklore. I found myself wondering how it was all going to end.