Iron Behind the Velvet - Chapter 27

~ After the Countless Songs 1



It was late – later than Will liked to be open on a Sunday night. With parental admonitions, he’d sent the younger servers home at ten, each with a share of the tip jar and a bonus from the night’s take, and he’d closed to drinks soon after, calling out, It’s time, now. Time for the drinking up. The tables were emptying, but some lingered, thirsty for one more tune, a last story ... someone calling now for a waltz, someone busying to push the chairs to the wall, lest the call come for the evening’s true end.

Behind the bar, Will stood polishing glass after glass, monitoring the thinning crowd. Seeming more the shepherd than the sentry, rangy and raw-boned, Will was whip-strong and stouthearted, ever alert. He would be quick to call a cab, would pay the fare himself, she knew, and he’d be willing to offer ... encouragement ... with a persuasive hand on the upper arm, an authoritative step to the door should someone refuse to cooperate with the rules of his house.

Watching over us.

As the evening lengthened, she’d felt a furrow – part wonder, part worry – deepen between her brows, but this last thought smoothed it away. Eimear slid from her private corner cocoon, stealing to Will’s side to join him in his task.

“‘Twas a quality night,” she said. She plunged her arms into the deep vat of suds and swished her hands through, brought them up empty and dripping. “You’re finished.”

“Good timing. Impeccable, in fact.” Will ducked the flick of water droplets from her fingers and tossed her a fresh towel. “How do you do it, every time?”

“Fey.” With an innocent shrug, Eimear mopped the countertop dry. “All us lassies are that.”

copper coffee antique
“Lassies, my ... left foot. I know you, don’t be forgetting.” He turned to the tall copper espresso maker on the back bar and tamped a filter full with coarse grounds, fitted it in the basket. When he actioned the lever, steam jetted from the old machine at every joint.

“I can’t believe this thing still works,” Eimear said, her chin at Will’s shoulder. “Remember how scared we used to be of it? Its thunder and erruptions? We believed the clurichaun 2 lived inside. It seems quieter now. Tamer.”

“Maybe it’s you and I who’re tamed, no longer believing such fancy.”

“And what are you telling Conor of the clurichaun and the merrows? Of the Lianhan Shee?

“I’ll be sending Conor to Rosie for his lessons soon enough,” Will said, straight-faced as he dragged a squat, thick-rimmed mug from a row of bright new china. He placed it on the shelf beneath the spout and the velvety aroma of chocolate, toast and caramel suffused the air. “That’s the only one now,” he said, nesting the cup – a yellowed-ivory and mapped with fine, dark crazing – to its saucer. “I broke two last week.”

“Did you? That they lasted this long is a miracle.” Eimear traced the rim with the tips of her fingers. “We tried to lure birds from the eaves with these full of popcorn and dry beans. Remember? Donal had a fit when he went to brew a cup and found us with the entire set strewn along the sidewalk.”

Will laughed as he pulled a second shot. “Do you believe he trundled this thing and three dozen cups and saucers stacked in a hand wagon all the way from Arthur Avenue?”

In the snow, and in his shirtsleeves. You can’t be leaving that part out. And won off a bet with Gennaro Carcetti. Does someone from the family still come ‘round?”

“Yep,” Will said. “May 1st every year. Demanding it back, the whole kit. Ghita comes now, swearing her Granda commands her from the grave to defend his honor. So, yeah, something happened.”

“”Tis best not to know exactly, don’t you think? Best to just accept it.”

The corner of the bar beckoned her, the burled wood shiny with wear and gently concave from the hours – the days, the years – of Donal’s leaning. She saw him there, his arms folded upon his broad chest, policing the room by way of the mirrored wall. She nestled into the impression, Will at her side, and sipped her coffee.

Someone called for Boolavogue,3 and after a muted moment, the piper began the song of Father Murphy’s bravery that hard May day, an air of proud and sad remembrance. Martin would not be joining in – I’ll do the listening, he’d say when someone would ask him to play along. She could never name his accompanying expression, but it was always the same – the tilted head, his focus on some middle distance, a half-smile as if he beheld something at once beautiful and fearsome – and if it were a memory he savored or an anticipation of a moment to come, she would never ask. The melody soared and she closed her eyes, breathed in and out, climbing the ancient, imagined hill. A wisp of vision returned ... Catherine ... a smile of both welcome and uncertainty on her face, at a door in a lichened wall high on the cliff, a portal it seemed ... between two worlds.

But Miss McLeod’s was soon next and then came Emily’s Reel. As the sweet refrain of The Beauty of Skye died away, Martin began the last tune, the unarguable last, his low flute calling out The Mist on the Mountain. Dancing couples broke apart with confident smiles, with the reluctant trailing touch of fingertips. The stutter of chairs, the tumble of voices, and finally the old song ... stilled.

Will locked the door on the heels of the laggard customers and again after the few loitering musicians. Only Martin remained at the far table where he had his flute laid out in parts, a stark white cloth at one hand, a half-finished Guinness at the other. In the new quiet, Eimear heard a faint hum of melody from his corner, and in the lamplight, saw him look up from his work and smile as if in greeting. She followed his gaze across the room where it seemed to rest on an empty chair turned out from a littered table.

“Too much,” Will said, squinting when he switched on the bright overhead panels. When he checked his watch, he shuddered. “And too late.” He dimmed the bulbs to half-power.

“I’ll stay and help you tidy up.” Eimear pushed herself away from her niche.

“Noooo,” Will shook his head. “I’m leaving the whole mess for tomorrow. Mondays we’re closed, remember?”

“Donal is keening from the grand beyond at the thought.”

“I hear him. But technically, Monday’s only minutes away.” He fit his thumb to the hollow of the worn Cash button, pressed hard. Its latch disengaged, the register drawer groaned and rumbled out, clanging to a quivery stop.

“That could be refurbished, you know. They’d have it back to you all smooth-working and shiny,” Eimear said. “Or you might get a new one. They sell them, just up the street in fact.”

Without looking up, Will nodded. “Right, and then I would be hearing Donal’s voice, and Ma’s and Da’s as well, on and on.” He brought calculator from an undershelf. “Pretty song Martin’s singing.”

Bridget O’Malley. Terribly sad, but you’d never know from the looks of him. That smile on his face.” ‘Twas one Mom would sing. She rinsed her cup, sponged it clean and set it beside the gleaming urn where it was reflected in rippling, coppery waves. The last of it’s kind, she thought, struck with an incongruous shiver. The tunic in Catherine’s hands, her stammering gasp at the sculpture’s unveiling ... She blinked away a flash of undulant, rose-colored light.

“Eimear ...” Will’s voice, his hand on her arm, startled her. “I’ve watched you. Half the night you stared fixed on some peculiar landscape ... like Martin’s doing just now ... and the rest of the time ...” A flush rose from his collar, his storm of freckles all but disappearing in it. Words flooded out. “Flynn was in Friday. Sat by himself at the end of the bar as sour as raw rhubarb. He snapped at Siobhan and made her cry. And at your party, he was ... ” Will searched his empty hands. “I saw the photograph in the newspaper – the kids at his precinct house. That brought it all back, huh?”

It ... suddenly a huge, frightening word. The darkness, the exposure ... “It’s never left him, Will. He feels it’s winning. I’m afraid. ” A mournful sound slipped out even as she bit down hard at her lip. “And now ... ”

“Now ... what?

No! Don’t say it. Don’t say it out loud and it won’t be true. Nothing will happen. Flynn will never know. Say nothing. Nothing. Desperate, she scrabbled for the solace of her visions – the rock-lined path, a door ...

What, Eimear? Tell me.”

She shook her head; the dream world fragmented and fell away. “‘Tis nothing, Will. I’m just ... worried for him.” She reached for a towel and folded it over and over again, square and neat. “I should get Martin home. He’s in his cups a bit, I’m thinking. And you want to be going along. ‘Tis late. You said so yourself.”

______


A part of him recognized the corridor, registered, as he rushed past, the wide-eyed alarm of the sated, sleepy sentry. He did not turn his head, offered no glance of reassurance, knew without seeing the lookout would scuttle on her hands and knees to the pipe and tap a frantic query. Vincent. Running. What?

He cast himself into the maze, shoulders barking against the tunnel wall, his chest tight ... burning, his legs ... burning. Fisted hands, a stinging in his palms, a coppery scent. A bitten tongue – silences, expectation, every private sadness.

Anger’s my meat; I sup upon myself, and so shall starve with feeding …4

Out ...

Out ... the stone circle ... out ... a leaping stride. Steep. Push.

Out ... a crossroads looming ... Where are we? Somewhere there’s an elevated train.

Promise me, Vincent, your voice ...

Prodding. Demanding. Choose.

Regret this for you as well ...

I would the gods had nothing else to do but to confirm my curses … 5

Clattering, thundering, the power, the speed ... the habit of my defiance

Just beneath the surface of his consciousness ... a voice, a sober ripple. Breath on his skin. But his fingers to the spot, he found only sweat-tangled hair and tendons like bowstrings. Illusion. Dream. Want

Out ... To her balcony. To her bed.

Mine.

Hurry ...

Mine ... mine for everything ... mine ...

Listen ... Count ...

A glitter of sound, a whisper of light. A touch. Stop

She sleeps. She ... sleeps. Only the wind ...

Ready ... ready for the jump ...

Stop

... old, too old for that ... I need you, careful ...

Ready ...

Wait. A turn instead. Instead ...

Then through the slivered opening, then the narrow passage ...

Out ...

... the strongest, the truest. Yours, promise me, Vincent ...

... the days, the years together. How ...

Out ...

My decisions, mine ...

Out

... not without sacrifice. Promise me, sacrifice ...

hold back ... you hold back. Always ...

Out

Bars. The lever ... where is it? Groping. Too dark. Where is it, where IS it? Darkness ... hollows of rock, scrabbling, the pin in his hand. Push ... NO! Pull ... push now ...

Through ...

Bars. Again ... bars. Always bars ...

In his hands ... bars ... rattling, quivering in his grip. Gritted, cold iron. Find the twist, the twist, where ... WHERE IS IT.

Out

Charging the steps ... the lock beneath his feet, impotent, broken, booted to a corner. The cross bar, wrapped in chain ... loose ... pull it, pull it LOOSE, damn the clatter, the noise, so be it ... I am HERE. I EXIST. I WANT.

A golden dream, sunlight in her hair ... blinding, the bright gold heat ... my shadow, long on the ground. Mine ... joining hers. Her arms outstretched. Something ... something for me

A hand on his, his guide, her hand, small, small ... not even the rain. Stop

Yours for everything.

Tested in fire ... an arc, a flare of rose-gold and green light, the blue-silver chord ... Stop

For you ... ready, ready for you. I am ...

Only you. I want ...

Yours for everything.

I want ... always. I want ... everything.

The solid planks of the door ... kind to the rough tide of his breath, to his smarting palms, the grain smooth to his cheek. Weary, sleepless, bruised and worn. Seeking rest, oh, seeking restThe tensioned grip easing at the back of his skull ...

... his voice, his own ... guttural, dry, uneven ... water from her palms ... sweet.

Quiet ... quiet now. I’m here.

Eyes closed, he fingered the heavy cinching chain, working it silently from the barrier link by link until it pooled at his feet ...

I am ...

... grappled the bar long-fixed and rusted in the brackets ...

Not all desperate and dark ... not all, I promise you. You are

Mine ... mine all along, my own ...

A man. A man who chooses.


antique Wrought-iron door pull, ring-shaped
A forearm braced on the jamb, he gripped the twisted iron ring, drew back. The latch released with a faint click.

Interim. And at that aperture, attend.

Alone.

Yielding to his grip, the door sighed inward.


stone mosaic tiles, two intertwined hearts
An archway, he saw, his eye to the inched gap. The canopy cast the shelter in comfortable shadow and on its floor, an arrow of moonlight silvered a mosaic of stones – a Celtic knot, endless, eternal – two intertwined hearts blood-red amidst the grey. A scent like warm honey purled at the ground and from above came the croon of thrush and sleepy sparrow, the mingled melody of breeze and city stirrings.

Emancipation.

He stepped outside.

______


“I have my car, Martin, and but a few blocks away. Let me drive you.” Eimear fastened the clasp of the flute case and took a coaxing step backward. “You’ve closed the place down. Will wants to go home.”

“It’s a lovely night. I’ll walk myself back.”

Martin pushed his chair away from the table and stood, both hands gripping the rolled edge. After a steadying moment, he gave the varnished top a two-handed pat and grinned at something – someone – somewhere over her shoulder ... Will, pointing at the old round clock on the wall. In an encore performance of his fifth-grade role as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, he swung his arm dramatically toward the door. He smiled at her and the corners of his eyes wrinkled up, yet she saw more concern than good-humor in his expression. She squared herself between the two men.

“You’ll not,” she said.

“A bossy thing you are,” Martin decreed, scowling, but he plucked his sweater from a peg on the wall and thrust in his arms. Fussed with the buttons.

Eimear stopped his attempt and reversed his mismatched work. She evened the hems, started again, smoothing the collar when she reached the top of the button band. Martin submitted but fidgeted, a liveliness in him the full night of songs had not tapped out. “Just how much have you had tonight, Martin? You’ve a daily allotment and I’m thinking you’re way over into tomorrow’s.”

“At least,” he said, gazing with fondness at the inch of Guinness left in his glass.

“Oh, no. You’re all done.” Eimear tugged him a few steps along the floor. “Maybe we will take a walk up and back a ways before we find the car. I’m sure the night air would do you good.” She slipped the strap of his concertina bag over his shoulder, pressed his flute to his chest. “Go.”

“Eim ...” Will had bowed as they passed but he’d followed her out, and when she turned, he was there. He gripped her shoulders with both hands, and from his height, dropped a kiss to her hair. “Double W,” he whispered. Their childhood promise each to the other, made first on the floor at Donal’s feet. Whatever, whenever ...

They’d ambled three shops up, almost to the corner, and Will loitered in the pub’s niched entry. She waved him inside to no avail. He pointed again – a new habit, she noted. One he needed to break – and she had to hurry after Martin who’d stepped off the curb between two parked cars, on a purposeful path to still-open Rambling House. “This way,” she said, grabbing his elbow, steering him back to the sidewalk.

“All right, right you are, righty-o. Lead on, dear one.”

“Apparently I must. Honestly, you’re like a child who refuses his bed on Christmas Eve. Are you not exhausted?” He didn’t answer, at least not in words, but began his marching music, his strange half-song, half-rhythmed clicks, his own sean nós language.7  The beat of a different drummer. “Here. Here, Martin! Now scoot in. Ow, watch your head.”

Martin mumbled under his breath “ ... Guards.”

“What’s that?”

“Nothing, love, nothing at all.”

_____


Just last night ...

Just last night, he’d stood transfixed at the door, had heard the triumphant laughter of children up deliciously late, the murmur of lovers passing. And music, beautiful music. Haunting. Spirited.

Catherine’s voice.

He’d leaned pleading to the splintery slats – I’m here – and Martin had spoken of the twin flame, the reunited single soul. Is it like that for you, Catherine?

In the dark of the landing, he’d held out his hands, turned them palms up for her answer, and with it, an energy gathered beneath his ribs both potent and zealous, exhilaration and trepidation in intoxicating potion, honeyed and sharp on his tongue. Beyond hope. Beyond knowledge. Beyond even love. Fear and confusion crowded out by courage, by clarity. Belief. Commitment, its reward invitation – unexpected doorways to a new life.

He peered from the archway. The house – Eimear's house, Flynn’s – was dark upstairs and down, save for a soft glow in the kitchen. On the counter in the uncurtained window, a kitten sat in a glance of moonlight, as still as a statue, her eyes closed in a satisfied, standing sleep. Waiting ... for morning company, her breakfast perhaps, or for the glimpse of some creature loose in the night garden.

churchyard surrounded by an ambulatory, a covered but open walkway
High stone walls enclosed the churchyard and tall trees protected the perimeter. A walkway edged one side of the wall – the wall he’d walked within – low-roofed, with wide-spaced pillars and cusped openings ... a safe place, a thronging of shadows.8 In the center of the flowered garden, a curving, trimmed hedge embraced a wide, flat stone, a stone that glittered with reflected light. Perfect white marble with whiter veins. A base, beckoning. You must see it. You must ...

One question for you. Will you come back?

Across the enclosure, the rectory. Martin’s home. Though through one window a pale glow evidenced a lamp left on in an interior room. Chairside, perhaps at a desk. He tried to imagine its landscape. An orderly tangle, like Father’s? Or spare, a single photograph of Lily in the topmost drawer. In the street, a car slowed but passed without stopping.

His boots made no sound on the stone path. The hedge was fragrant under the brush of his hand, the leaves black-green and silver. Its branches fluttered with moths. He turned in a slow circle ...

______


“I like your new friend. Catherine. A lovely girl, though touched with mystery, she is. The fire that stirs about her and all that.” 9

You know him. ‘Twas recognition. “Yes. There’s some of that. I like her too, very much.”

“She’ll be coming next Saturday, she said. Meaning Rosie’s approved.”

The secret sits in the middle. “She has.”

“And will she be bringing her young man?”

“She told you about him?” She flinched at the raw surprise in her tone and felt Martin's probing, sober glance. I can’t explain. For now. Hoping it cover enough, she flicked on a blinker and slowed, checking left, the rearview mirror, the side mirror and left again, grateful for the one-way streets of her neighborhood that let her, for this moment, avoid Martin’s scrutiny.
.
Hmmmm,” he said, turning back to the window he’d cracked. “She offered little, but enough. She’s like you with Flynn. A twi–” The car lurched ... and a rear tire dragged and thumped. “Ah, no. You’ll need to stop. Pull in here at McGinnis’s and we’ll hop out.”

Eimear leaned against the fender. “Of course, I’ve a trunk packed with laundry.” It’s just a flat. Don’t look over your shoulder. Don’t. Defiance lifted her chin.

“A nail perhaps. Or broken glass,” Martin said from his crouch at the curb. “We’ll leave a note. I’ll call over to Harold’s garage first thing and he’ll have you fixed up by lunchtime. Ach, don’t argue.” He rose and dusted his hands.”’Tis my day off and yours to work. You’ll let me help you, yes?” He fished a small notebook from an inside pocket, the notebook he always carried, this one with a pony on its cover – bright pink even in the yellow sodium lamplight and with a rainbow mane and she remembered how he used or wore or ate whatever gifts she and Rosie or other parish children had offered, no matter the size or color or toothsomeness. He scribbled a few words and ripped the page away, tucked it under the wiper blade. “Let me get my cases and we’re off.”

“You’ll be walking home after all,” Eimear said, taking the flute in one hand and Martin’s arm with the other.

“And ‘tis a fine night for walking with my best girl, plus it’s barely another two blocks. Your washer’s on the blink again?”

Eimear nodded, listening for following footsteps, all the while counseling herself to watch straight ahead, to show no concern whatsoever, but when they rounded the last corner, her step faltered. Her driveway was empty. Flynn should be home.

Sour as rhubarb. Snapped at Siobhan. Where is he?

“You’re worried for Flynn,” Martin said.

“Yes.”

“And there’s something more.”

“Sort of.” Two somethings more ... one worrisome, the other wondrous.

“You’ll not be telling me tonight though, will you.”

“No.”

“Why you’re choosing this evening to take up a silent order, I’ll never understand. You’re forever my chatterbox.”

Rosie chatters. You’re fishing, thinking that’s a compliment. We’ll talk tomorrow.” He patted her hand, accepting her promise, but she stole a look at the side of his face and saw his downturned mouth. “Don’t fret so. It’s not all baleful and dire.” They climbed the steps arm in arm. "Flynn will be fine." He must be.

“Of course he will. Well, here we are. I’ll see you in and through and go right out the back. Don’t be starting with the offers of tea or coffee. Or cookies.” He quieted as she worked the locks. “Eimear,” he began, the teasing in his voice gone a bit wobbly. “You’d tell me if you thought I was truly daft, wouldn’t you?”

“Why do you ask now?” She pushed the door open. The hinges newly oiled for the party no longer creaked. The latch snicked shut; the tumblers fell into place with the twist of the bolt.

“You know I speak with your mother ...”

“I do know that. You keep her with us that way, Martin.” The kitten loped down the hallway, her purr loud in greeting. “Hi, little Mab.” Eimear knelt to scoop her up. “What is it?” she said. Mab’s ears flicked beneath her breath. “You had the look on your face all evening.”

The look ... yes. My standing at the gate look, as you’ve described it more than once, where I’m sure of nothing and the world seems huge with possibility. Where dreams seem real and reality ...” They stood in the soft light of the kitchen, the porch door open to the garden. He brushed the kitten’s whiskers, then Eimear’s cheek. “Eh, ‘tis the Guinness still talking. Until tomorrow, love. Don’t worry about your car, but ... umm ... tell Flynn I need to see him, won’t you?”

If he’ll hear me. If he comes home. “I will. Goodnight now.”

_____

Called by the sweet scent, he explored the beds until at last he determined the source. Alyssum. Pink and white. Lobularia, he recalled, his nose to an inflorescence of tiny buds. Samantha had recently discovered the art of pressed flowers and he wondered how he might prevent the cluster’s wilting until, below, he could preserve it for her between the pages of his one book. The garden was intricate and busy, the volumes of botanical drawings on Father’s shelves alive before him. He’d been lost ... in the textures, the perfumes, in the imagined sunlit colors …

He froze.

Too late.

_____


Martin stood for a long moment in contemplation of the entwined hearts on the floor of the archway, the stones he’d had Rosie cut and precisely place. Not so many months ago, he would have knelt at the spot, easily to his knees, as easily up. He could still, he supposed. Lily ... cuisle mo chroí. One more song, perhaps. for you, love ...

Then ... Odd, that shadow. His gaze traveled upward.

He let the strap slip from his shoulder and set both cases on the ground. He reached out. Pushed. The door swung wide. Cool mineral air billowed out and the silence of dreams.

_____

A man is a very small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.” 10  Martin whispered Lord Dunsany’s words, but in the dark far corner of the ambulatory, they were clear to his keen ears. “Vincent? Are you here?”

Not Father ... not tonight.

He stepped from the wall, still in shadow, but closer ... closer ...

“I am. I’m here.”






Click HERE for Chapter 28
____________


1. Walt Whitman. The Unexpress'd.  Leaves of Grass, Book XXXV. Goodbye my Fancy. 1855.
2. Clurichaun: a surly, drunken 'night' leprechaun, who hides inside a cask or wine barrel
3. Buali Mhaodhóg: A song commemorating the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Words composed in 1898 by Patrick Joseph McCall to the ancient air Eochaill.
4.. William Shakespeare. Coriolanus. Act IV, scene II. 1623.
5. Ibid.
6. Stephen Vincent Benet. Three Days Ride. 1937.
7. sean nós singing: Irish for "old style" - a highly ornamented style of solo, unaccompanied Irish singing.
8. Amy Lowell. The Trumpet-Vince Arbour. 1777.
9. William Butler Yeats. The Folly of Being Comforted. 1922.
10. Edward John Moreton Plunkett, Lord Dunsany. The Book of Wonder. 1918.

30 comments:

Krista said...

Oh, this is wonderful...you've caught the lilt of language and scene just right. (And "Bridget O'Malley" is one of my favorite songs ;))

I'm glad Vincent is going to talk to Martin...the poor guy is having such a rough time, he and Flynn both.

I'm glad you posted this ;)
-Krista

Carole W said...

Hi Krista! Thanks for sticking with me all this time. I can't adequately express my thanks. I'm truly grateful for your encouragement.

Hey, you know Bridget O'Malley!? That's great. I was hoping I could make the scene clear and imaged enough for those who aren't familiar with the songs or community, but to know that you can 'hear' the music too! That makes it fun - to share that way.

I'm looking forward to V's and Martin's conversation too! It's funny ... I didn't originally plan for V to make himself known just yet, but as the chapter took its own wing, that's what happened. I'm begging myself to write faster!

Thanks again,
~ Carole

Krista said...

You're very welcome, Carol. I've heard most of the songs you've mentioned thus far; I love Irish music. :) (Oh, and in one of your earlier scenes, where Martin is talking about his lost love and he calls her "the pulse of his heart"--that phrase, in Gaelic, is on our wedding bands. How's that for a coincidence?)

I think talking with Martin will do Vincent some good---he knows about dark places in a way that Father, for all he means well, either can't or won't.

Once again, thanks for posting. I can't wait to read the next chapter. :)

--Krista

Carole W said...

That is a very cool coincidence - your rings and Martin's declaration! Did we spell it the same? I checked with a couple of Gaelic translation groups and even so, there were differences. Hopefully I was close enough to correct. Let me know.

~ C

Carole W said...

PS-Krista. I added that phrase repeat there at the end. It's too pretty to leave behind. Thanks for reminding me!

Krista said...

Hi Carole,

Looking at my wedding band now (grin), the phrase reads "cuirle mo croide," with a small dot over the "c" in "croide."

But don't go changing it; our wedding bands are reproductions of a poesy ring from the 16th century, long before there was any attempt at Gaelic standardization (or, to be fair, long before there was any attempt at English standardization either. ;) So it's entirely possible that your spelling is correct. :) I recognized it, at least, and I'm very far from fluent in Gaelic :)

I just saw the repeat of that phrase...lovely. :)

--Krista

Kemara said...

Carole,
Big congrats and hugs for getting the mega chapter done at last! You've had a lot to deal with lately, but you stuck with it.

I can't wait for Martin and Vincent's conversation...I think they are two kindred spirits in a way. I don't know how close you are to finishing the whole story, but I can sense the plot threads drawing tighter together. We have so much to look forward to in the coming weeks. Forward!

Carole W said...

Krista - I'm intrigued with the image of your rings ... like – story-line intrigued. :-)

Carole W said...

Hi Kemara! I'm so pleased to find your comments. You're right, so many real-life things have seemed mega lately, and the next chapter promises to be even more mega, all those plot threads indeed. It's a test of my memory and a challenge. And fun too.

As far as being close to finishing ... Every single chapter I've planned lately has turned into two - so there are quite a few to come if that holds true.


Thanks for reading so far, for your kind words and truly, thank you – everyone – for responding to the story. The writing is important to me, something I've always wanted to do but was sidetracked, yet it's nothing if there's no connection with the reader. With fan fiction, that comes only through comments and suggestions, observations ... questions that help in the editing process (always in progress). As V & C might say ... it's everything.

~ Carole

Krista said...

Hi Carole,

I'm intrigued that you're intrigued :) I'm sending you a link to the rings that my husband and I have (the comments feature won't allow for html)

I can't wait to read more :)

-Krista

New York City Utopia said...

Ooooh... it was worth the wait. Of course I'm ecstatic at Vincent's latest actions. Thank you!

(To Krista: you can strip your link of http, colon, slashes, so that Blogger won't detect it)

Anonymous said...

Carole, trying to adequately praise you is an intimidating undertaking. This is sublime, wondrous, a treasure...fanfic at it's absolute best...original and creative and PERFECT. You must have lived in the Tunnels once upon a time to know Vincent and Catherine so well. May I add my thanks to that of all your fans. You give us 'everything' with your writing. Nancy

Carole W said...

NYCU - Thanks! I want V a little outside too. Who knows what might happen?

The wait ... I've set myself a goal of no more than 2 weeks till the next chapter. The conversation is churning in my mind. It must come out too!

Last night, I finished my Transcript Project episode, one that's been on my desk for months. I have no attorney/estate appointments for a while and I've done my volunteer work for the week. No excuses, right?

~ C

Carole W said...

Nancy - you sweetheart. What can I say? I'm blushing too deeply to speak. How can I possibly believe that, but thank you. Gulp.

I'm going to have to put you on my payroll, you and Vicky both.

~ C

Vicky said...

NOOOOO! I'll be biting my fingers until the next chapter! Those endings will be the end of me, I tell ya...

Thank you, Carole; you take me places I have never been. (Off to more irish music). Beautiful!
Vicky

Carole W said...

LOL, Vicky. I'm biting my nails a bit too over it. Trying to get a satisfactory start - changing the title already 3 times. I'll do my best to get you to the next place quickly. Quite frankly, I want to know what V and Martin are going to talk about too. Those two have a way of changing the course on me ... but we'll see.
:-)

~ C

PS - I'm going to fix those photos now - put in the tags and alt descriptions.

Indie said...

Wonderful, just wonderful. You've created a tangible world.

I can feel the story gathering energy for the end and I'm somewhat sad about that.

Thank you for such an engrossing tale. I'm checking back daily for the next installment. No pressure though! :D

I have some questions for you. May I email you?

Indie

Carole W said...

India, I don't know if the story's near the end exactly - some days the end feels nigh and others, I can't see even the far-off glow of the destination city. Thanks for riding this far with me.

As for email, sure! Questions? I'm intrigued, of course.

~ Carole

Anonymous said...

I like the long chapters the best. Bring on Chapter 29, word count be damned! :-)

By the way, you were right about Chapter 7 of "The Coming of Light." It was definitely a two hankie read!

Carole W said...

Hi, Anon! This next chapter is giving me some difficulties. The words are piling up but they're just too chaotic yet. They're the pushiest, demandingest bunch of words I've met lately. The chapter does promise to be a long one. Or else I'll get two out of the work. Either way, I'll be glad when I can be the boss of them again.

I'll pass your compliments along to Michelle, though I'm sure you've left your review there at her site. She's really something else, isn't she!

Vicky said...

My dear Carole,
I just had to read this again before going to chapter 29... you've edited since the first day, right? Because it's lovelier than I remembered! :D hehe.
Oh, and thanks so much for the alt text in the images! (you and my J'E are really something).
Off to 29!
Love you.

Carole W said...

Vicky - LOL - I can't remember what I've done to the chapter. Every time I read it through, I change something. A week from now, it'll be even different-er!

I plan to go back into all the images to add the alt text. I've been rudely remiss with that. I have to spend some hours with my references page too. I'm embarrassingly behind.

Thanks, Vicky. I love that you find it lovely.
Love YOU

Krista said...

And here we are again, the circle closing and all that. ;-) I do love what you've done with this chapter---deepening Vincent's interior conflicts and conversations with himself.

I've said before that your original characters jump off the page---I can almost see Eimear at the pub, hear Martin's lilt. I want to know them more

As always, great job :)

-Krista

SandyX said...

This took me right inside the story. I feel like I've watched the night's events unfurl from a quiet corner in the bar and watched Vincent pause to smell the flowers and he wanders in the shadows of the garden.

I didn't know Mist on the Mountain so I did a youtube search on it and loved the energy of it. I thought you might enjoy it too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFlrGM1J1nI

Thank you for another wonderful chapter, Carole. This made my morning and gave me many things to occupy my mind with as I go about the day.

Carole W said...

Krista, your encouragement is so treasured. Thank you. I have no other words!

And for you Sandy, I have no other words either. Just, thank you, thank you for your kindness and willingness and interest.

I'm just so glad the original characters have substance and that they seem to fit in with our V/C story well enough. I'm so glad you want to know them better.

Okay. I do have a few other words! This version of Mist on the Mountain is a great one! That young boy on guitar is really good, more than just rhythm going on there. Thanks for finding this.

C

RomanticOne said...

Just as in the first reading, once again I got so lost in reading this chapter that I was surprised when it ended! I was with Eimear at the pub, smelling flowers in the garden with Vincent, a little tipsy with Martin, then boom, it was over. I'm not disappointed though, just excited about what's to come next. Don't keep us waiting too long. :)

Carole W said...

R1 - you made my day. Hearing that a chapter pulled you in like that is great for my writing-spirit. More than anything, I want this place - Martin's garden, Eimear's house, the Woodlawn neighborhood pub - to seem real and a place Vincent would want to visit. Thank you.

I'll have another chapter up Friday night, Blogger willing. :-)

Carole

Anonymous said...

"Anger’s my meat; I sup upon myself, and so shall starve with feeding …"

Oh, oh, oh, here's the rest of the Out, Out, OUT sequence! Dear God, you paint Vincent's heedless barreling through the tunnels, desperate to get Out, desperate for Air, desperate to at last acknowledge his wants, his needs, his desires, to have something that is solely and only his to claim as "MINE," to be soothed, to claim the RIGHT to be soothed by the woman he loves, to escape all of the burdens and needs and demands that have been thrust upon him -- you capture it ALL, and I am just amazed, amazed, amazed.

I know I will come back to this chapter again and again and MARVEL.

Thank you!

Regards, Lindariel

Carole W said...

Now you've done it! The tears are welling stronger! There's no way I can actually believe you, you know, but oh, how good this makes me feel. How encouraged I am to keep going.

I always want to do Vincent justice. It's not easy - he's a man, he's more than a man, he's Vincent, a singularity. It's scary to try to illustrate his feelings - the amount of Tweaking! But I'm so so glad to hear you found these scenes to have resonance. Thank you for telling me.

C

Anonymous said...

Re-reading. Oh, Vincent is like a pressure cooker here, isn't he, and we fear he's going to explode. The tension, the pressure, from Out. Out! OUT! to the relief of Emancipation. Just superb! And then to be so lost consoling himself with the beauty of the nighttime garden, lost enough for Martin to spot him in the shadows. And Vincent's response to Martin's question, "I am. I'm here." The perfect culmination of his blind charge through the tunnels -- a declaration of his existence. Sublime!

Love, Lindariel