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by Randall Morgan

You still reading this?? LOLOL! Enjoy the premiere tonight, everyone!! Ran

Chapter 29: Brian's POV

It's exhilarating, this sensation of deja v, of having been here before, of having never really left this place. I see the limo parked before an Inn, and as we approach it, I notice the sites and each one sparks a race memory. There's the pub called The Old Rowan, the pub sign featuring a carving of a gnarled ancient rowan tree. The chemist's shop, closed, of course, the post office, an eatery known as the Dingle Bay Caf and Tea Shop. The garage was once a blacksmith's establishment. Shops featuring touristy goods are sprinkled about, some offering antiques, others local artisans, still others postcards, film and t-shirts. A big church grounds one end of the High Street and the city government building is at the other.

Beyond High Street are schools, a small hospital, professional offices, and at the bank of the Bay, the maritime establishments including a fish market and boats to hire. Homes cluster in town and spread thinly into the hills. As we near the Inn, called Gregson's Inn, I pause. There's a flyer pegged to a stone wall of the neighboring building, a colorful depiction of a goat draped with flowers, and the words "Puck Festival" followed by dates. I glance at Justin, who shrugs.

"That's ironic."

"Wonder what it's all about. It's in two days."

He sighs. "I'm sure we'll find out. I'm tired, Brian."

I slip an arm around him and we go into the Inn. Ronan has already checked in and gone to her room. The driver has disappeared, probably to enchant some mortal female which is what his kind is known to do. I hand the pleasant woman behind the desk my Amex, and she stares up at me, with an expression bordering on horror.

"Kinney?" she repeats.

"That's right."


"I am."

"Any relation to the Kinney's from these parts?"

"So I've been told, yes. Never met them, not yet, anyway."

"What's your da's name?"

I suspect this interrogation isn't launched at every guest, but I play along. "John, well, he went by Jack."

"And his da?"

I picture my grandfather. "He was also named John, and his father was named Aidan. Why?"

She crosses herself. "Aidan Kinney? He was killed in Belfast while making explosives to use against the British? His widow and children fled to America."

"I've heard similar lore, yes."

She leans across the counter and says in a low voice, "Don't stay here overnight, Brian Kinney. You're the third generation of the Kinney line that is touched with the fey. There's madness in it. You should leave here now."

Justin sighs. "I can get behind that."

A man joins the woman at the desk, having heard all this from where he sat in an open office, pouring over books. "Mary Maquire, stop yer superstitious twaddle and give this poor man a key! Forgive my wife, Mr. Kinney, she's read one too many Dean Koontz novels. I know yer kin and I'm sure they'll be gobsmacked to meet ya. Welcome home. Giving you a fine room right under the rafters. Warmer there and you can see over the rooftops to the bay. Would you like some tea sent up? Something stronger?"

"No, but thanks," I take the heavy key and my credit card, picking up the luggage our driver left for us at the desk. We climb three flights of narrow wooden stairs that bow in the center from centuries of heavy footsteps and unlock the thick plank door to the room called "The Green Suite". Strangely enough, it's painted robin's egg blue. It's a pretty room, with a double bed, a fire in the hearth, polished tongue-in-groove floors, and mullion windows with diamond panes that do offer a panoramic view of Killorglin.

"We have our own bath," Justin observes, a rarity in a small inn like this. "It's little, but it's all ours."

I drop my suitcase and flop back on the bed, staring up at the rafters that are heavy dark wood beams against a white-washed plaster ceiling. Above the door is a hand-made St. Bridget's Cross, a Christian hex sign made of woven reeds into a design as much like a pinwheel as a cross. My parents had one, my grandparents had one, always over the front door. It's supposed to bring luck and keep out evil. No such protection in the house where I grew up. For the first time in days, I feel truly relaxed. This is where I need to be right now. I made it. Maybe everything will be alright after all. I begin to feel hopeful.

"No television, no radio, no telephone," Justin ticks off the list of non- amenities. I smile.

"Let me guess. No high-speed internet connection, either."

He smirks at me. I told him not to bring that damned laptop. "No, but there's this lovely electric tea kettle and all the fixings for making a nice hot cuppa when the mood hits."

"Which is never." I pat the mattress beside me. "Come lie down for a minute."

He smiles. "I know what will happen if I come over to that bed."

"Is that a bad thing?"

He gets that look, that sexy little, `I just felt a tingle in my cock' look and walks towards me when there's a knock at the door. Shit. He opens it to a lovely young chambermaid who is holding a tall stack of fluffy white towels and a thick down comforter. "Fresh linens and an extra coverlet in case you feel a chill, Mr. Kinney."

"I'm Mrs. Kinney," Justin quips, causing her big blue eyes to grow even wider. He motions towards the bed. "That's the mister."

She smiles weakly at me and deposits the towels in the bathroom and leaves the comforter on the plaid couch. Justin fishes in his pocket for a tip, but she declines.

"My husband is kin," she says, staring at me. I sit up and swing my legs over the side of the bed.

"Oh yeah? What's his name?"

"Seamus Kinney."

"What does he do?"

"He's a mechanic. At the garage."

"Maybe I'll stop by and see him tomorrow."

She walks over to me, nervously wringing her hands. "Maybe you can help us, Mr. Kinney. We've been waiting three years since we married for a wee one to come along and nothing happens. The doctors say we're fine, but we can't seem to make a baby. Maybe you could do something to help us with that conception."

I hear Justin cough, disguising a laugh and I'm startled by her request. "Uh, what exactly do you mean?"

"Your magic," she says in a whisper. "You're descended of Aidan Kinney and it's well known in these parts that Aidan Kinney was touched by the fey. He was able to make grass grow on stones and return the milk to cows who went dry and double the production of eggs to a chicken farmer. He had the power of fertility, even though he only had the one son and one daughter himself. Please, Mr. Kinney, we want that bairn so badly!"

I sigh and shake my head. "I don't have any of that power, sorry. I have a brown thumb, in fact, my mother would never let me near her garden. I know no magic spells or anything like that. I'm just an American moke returning to my roots for a few days of nostalgia." Okay, maybe that's a simplification, but what the fuck. I do know only one way to improve their fertility and I'm not sticking my dick up some distant cousin's wife's twat.

"You think about it," she dismisses everything I just said, and shoots Justin a pleading look, wife to wife, as she leaves the room.

"Okay, that was weird," he says and comes over to sit beside me on the bed.

"No shit. Now I'm a fertility counselor? The most fertile thing I've ever done is shoot in a tube so Gus could be conceived."

He slips his arms around me and says, "If you plan to do anything about fertility, I have first dibs, remember?"

The elephant returns. "I remember."

"Let's go to bed."

"It's a little early. Tired?"

"Not to sleep," he teases and I smile. I lean him back, stretching out above him as my mouth covers his. Our hands grope, reaching under clothing, touching skin and then a voice intrudes.

"Is that all you two can think to do in your homeland?"


How he got in, I don't know. But he's sitting on the couch, beside the comforter, dressed in jeans and a fisherman's sweater, his golden hair trussed up under a fetching Donegal hat. He's even wearing boots instead of his usual bare feet. We both sit up and glare at him. We were looking forward to a little alone time.

"Can this wait?" I ask with a snarky overtone and he shakes his head.

"We waited this long, already, Brian. You're home now. It's time."

Go to Chapter 30

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July 25, 2004