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.
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.
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.”
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.