Let the fun…or is it stress…begin

November. Fall is in the air with every breath inhaled. Crisp red, yellow leaves litter the walkways and pumpkins lay bright orange in the fields waiting to be picked and taken home. Record temperatures here in Colorado make the month seem hot, almost like September, but I hear there is snow on the way. What a beautiful, lovely time…until I remember everything that needs to be accomplished in this month.

And I’m already behind.

First there’s Nano. Write a book in a month. This is a wonderful way to get a book out and not worry about editing (I love this considering I hate editing) and easy if you can do 1666 words a day. Piece of cake…or pumpkin pie, right? But I started a new job and find my time isn’t as free as it used to be. I haven’t done more than 2000 words in total. But I’m not worried. Yet.

Then there is the decorating, shopping, cleaning and cooking for the holidays. Thanksgiving is a grand time and I DO have so much to be thankful for. I truly am blessed and have nothing to complain about. Not like the folks on the Eastern Coast who were hit so hard with hurricane Sandy. My prayers and thoughts are with them. But that doesn’t stop the stress from creeping up on me anyway. Breathing down my back about what’s next on the list and if I’m really going to make everything on time.

Third, the children are home during the important week of getting the house in order before the out of town family descends. I’d love for the house to stay in one piece, so mother doesn’t make those ‘useful’ suggestions. How her house was always so clean and why I seem to be struggling. (I always make sure alcohol is the first item purchased. In bulk.)

Then, there is Xmas shopping.  Black Friday! Oh, the horror. I hate to shop! And with about ten million other people yelling, pushing doesn’t scream anything other than torture. The internet has become my best friend and I admit I get most of this done through the computer. Thank you technology.

And there you have it. I love November, but sometimes I do develop a rash. And a twitch.

How about you? Do you love November? Or does the fun just stress you the heck out?

Maura’s Story IIII

They say one day you wake up and you know when you’ve crossed the line.

You know… and there’s nothing you can do to turn back.  You’d think that was the day I sent Brian home.

Nope. My day came a week later.

We’d gathered at the meadow down by Paddy O’Leary’s house at dusk.  A local farmer whose family had ties with the Tuatha for centuries. A big bonfire roared  in the center of a stone circle. The megalith boulders rose twelve feet in the air and encompassed a hundred foot span.  Hundreds of  guests circled the fire inside the rock boundaries. Sizes of the guests ranged from gigantic to itty-bitty. Brownies and fairies and even a banshee, I later learned. Today was the day before Samhain and trepidation hung in the air. Tonight I was going to take the reins from my grandmother and start my journey.

Was I ready? Was I capable?

I watched from afar, the laughing and cheering, as I sat beneath an old oak tree and hugged my knees. I almost wished a hole would open up under me and suck me from this world.  As night fell, I rose on shaky legs and then emerged. A silence came over group. My gaze sought the guidance of my Nana.

She smiled and nodded her approval.

I walked forward, head held high and entered the circle.

What was it with being royalty? We’re real people, with real feelings.

I stopped and searched the gazes of the people. Some happy, some scared, some were curious, others angry. Why? I’d never asked for this. Would gladly walk away.

A powder was thrown into the fire and a blue smoke swirled around the crowd. As if I was being pulled, I was drawn closer to the flames. And as I stood before the great blaze my eyes sought, connected, held with a stranger from across the way. I’d seen this person before. That second day in Ireland.

Circenn.

The man at the museum. The man who I should fear.

Did fear.

His long black hair free from a braid framed his bronze face, his yellow eyes more feral than friendly and the magnetism he presented made my palms burn. His hash lined face, so magnificent, so fascinating to watch, become more as he appeared to search my soul. I felt a presence in my head, his, and I struggled to throw him out. I couldn’t. His eyes seemed to glow, to swirl. I felt every hair on my body stand up and began to pulse. I felt the air leave my lungs. I felt the world shift as he gazed into my eyes. My head started to pound, my heart started to flutter. I squeezed my legs together.

He nodded once, as if he was pleased. Damn him.

His thoughts were suddenly my thoughts. Myself alone heard. “Every hero must die before they can truly live again.”

I looked deep into the flames. Let the word mingle in my head. Felt the heat, embraced the unknown as it flickered across my skin. I stepped closer to the roaring in my brain.

I sought his gaze once more.

His lips drew tight. The only sign he showed.

And I knew.

I closed my eyes and stepped forward.

The ending is your choice. But? Is this really the end or just the beginning….

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Maura’s Story Part III

For the next two weeks I learned who and what I was. Or I should say I was told what I was. I was still skeptical because I had none of the power.

The lessons were hard, but Nana was kind. Too kind and I knew I was a disappointment to her. One day she told me to go out and breathe in same good Irish air hoping it would make a difference. I think she wanted time to figure out what to do, since there was no way I was prepared to battle. A battle against good and evil in less than a week and a half. Hysteria bubbled within me. I was responsible. Me?

I walked. I had to see and talk to people who weren’t insane  and spewing nonsense. I went to Trinity College. I wanted to see if the  Book of Kells was as beautiful as described. The ancient Gospels, painted in the artistic style of insular, was said to have been crafted by Irish and Scottish monks between the seventh and tenth century. Perhaps I was interested in the beauty of the book, yet, I think I sought the manuscript because of what it was. A book of Gospels. Something I knew, something I believed.

I was an artist, a writer, a crafter. I was not a member of the  Tuatha De Danann and I couldn’t save anyone.

While I stood over the book, engrossed in endless fascination, I felt the air shift. The room itself begin to squeeze and then pulse around me like a heart beat.  As if I was a child in my mother’s womb. No one else seemed to notice.  A roaring in my head started and I place my hands over my ears. I’d gone crazy was my initial reaction until I  saw him. A tall giant of a man standing directly across the room from me.

He was in the Shadows. Yet, I knew his bronzed face. His hair was black, long,  braided down his back to his waist. His eyes were yellow, slanted and glowed with a fire I did not know existed. He was terrifying. He was beautiful.

He stepped into the light and grew even more spectacular. And then he started towards me, menace slashing his harsh features and I knew he was displeased. With me? I held up a hand, just wanting him to stop. He was over powering me. He was coming too fast, too aggressive and I needed more time. I wasn’t ready. Wasn’t ready for whatever he wanted from me.

Stop!

Suddenly, he stopped. Looked down at his feet with a frown. He looked back up and I could tell I’d pissed him off even more.

He means you harm, whispered inside my head in a place deep, deep within me. Recalling my lessons from Nana I wished him gone from my sight. Right now. This instant.

He disappeared.

I screamed. I’d just disintegrated a man. Was it murder even if there wasn’t a body?

The people at the college tried the best they could to calm me. Though not a one had seen what I had. There had been no man and hence no disappearance.

I called Brian in a panic. I got his voice mail and left a frantic message. “I don’t know what’s happening to me. I need you. I think I’m in trouble.”

There are good days and then there are bad days.

Today was not my finest hour. And yet, looking back, it was the least of my worries.

I ran home to find Nana in the greenhouse. I asked her what happened and about the man I’d seen. And what I’d done. “I snapped my fingers and he disappeared. Do you think I killed him?”

“You saw Circenn?” She dropped the lavender she’d been tying and looked at me with flat, cold eyes.

“Circenn.” His name rolled off my tongue and toiled in my head. What a lovely name. Too bad he was dead. And all because of me.

“Stay away from him.” Nan’s voice was sharp. “He’s not one of us.”

“And that’s a problem?”

“Only if you want to live.”

“So he’s alive?” It was all I grasped. He was alive and I wasn’t a murderess. Thank goodness.

“Didn’t you hear me. He’s on the side that wants you to fail. You might be able to hold him back for a while, but do not trust him.”

“He wants me to fail?”

“Don’t trust him ever.” She made some excuse and left me on my own.

I can’t say what, why, or even how, but I had changed. I was different and  I could never go back to the way I was before. Perhaps because I thought I’d killed someone, or that I discovered a slither of power inside me. I wanted to know more, but I was so drained I went to bed.

The next day Brian arrived.  I’d completely forgotten I’d left my cell phone back at the museum.

“I couldn’t get a hold of you. I was so scared,” he claimed as he stood at the threshold of the entry door.

I saw him in his tweed jacket and his slightly curly brown hair slicked back, and everything seemed crystal clear. I knew. I just knew.

I smiled, stepped forward and hugged him. I inhaled his clean, nice scent. Tucked that smell in me and let it wash away my worry, my uncertainty over the last few weeks. “Brian, I’m so glad you came.”

“I had to. I had to know you were all right. Your call frightened me to death. And when your cell went straight to voice mail I rushed here, thinking the worst. You are all right?”

“I’m so glad you came.” I leaned back in his comforting arms and held his face in my hands. “This would have been difficult to explain over the phone.”

He frowned.

I caressed his perfect face, his strong jaw and searched his lovely blue eyes. He was the nicest, most decent man I knew.

And like that, I knew.

I knew I couldn’t marry this man after all.

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Summer