Echoes Through the Mist: A Paranormal Mystery (The Echoes Quartet Book 1) (32 page)

BOOK: Echoes Through the Mist: A Paranormal Mystery (The Echoes Quartet Book 1)
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Chapter Forty
 

For services rendered to the Republic, Julian was allowed to remain in the country for three additional months.

He convinced Ailís to arrange for a replacement through the summer. Together she, Timothy and Julian made frequent trips to Dublin and the surrounding areas. When Timothy was helping on the Maher’s new home, Julian and Ailís would travel the countryside staying at grand hotels and modest bed and breakfast establishments. They visited the lakes of Ireland and the island’s rugged coastline.

With each outing, they would return to Cappel Vale with a new piece of medical equipment for Ailís’s surgery. At first, it was supplies, but that soon turned into larger and larger pieces of equipment. Her pride was a portable X-Ray machine. Following that was a telemetry unit that allowed her to share various readings with any hospital in the country.

As with all new love, Ailís and Julian felt the need to be constantly in each other’s company, to touch and be touched and to make love incessantly. Ailís avoided asking about the training Julian had received from Moira Hagan or about the abilities he had exhibited.

There was, however, a question everyone wanted answered and no one dared ask. How did the shotgun come to be unloaded? Surely, Daniel Lanigan wouldn’t enter that clearing without being prepared.

To the residents’ way of thinking, there were two possible answers. Either the nearness of the holy well had been responsible for a miracle or Julian Blessing provided some sort of assistance, the exact details of which no one wanted to delve into too deeply.

Julian heard the whispering and found it odd that Moira wasn’t mentioned as a possible cause. She was away in Dublin and he had occasional charge of all things inexplicable.

One evening after they had made love, Ailís did ask, “Did you know the shotgun was unloaded?”

Julian’s answer shed no light on the matter. “I knew it would be.”

“That doesn’t answer my question, but here is another you had better answer. Why did you ask me to trust you?”

“Timothy and you were in danger, real danger. You warned me that I could not afford to get it wrong and you were right. I knew I couldn’t do it alone though. I needed your trust, your courage and your love. I could never have done anything otherwise.”

“And that leads to the next question. What is it you did?” Ailís asked.

“You mean recently?” Julian reached for her and said, “Here, let me show you,” and he grinned.

***

Over dinner a few nights later, Julian took her hand and announced, “I need to go away for awhile. The government requires me to leave the country, but it will only be for a short time. There is also some business I need to finish. I’ll be back before you know it.”

Their lovemaking that night was agonizingly slow and excruciatingly tender. Each took every opportunity to caress every inch of the other. No matter the frenzied lovemaking they may have had before, this was exquisitely intense. He could not seem to stop his fingers from gliding over her skin. She could not resist molding her body to his.

With a brightening sky in the east, they fell asleep in each other’s arms and dreamed the dreams that made them smile.

***

Cappel Vale was alive with activity. The village was swollen to twice its size with workmen, machine operators, archeologists, historians, government officials, contractors and surveyors. This didn’t take into account the steady stream of families and visitors out for a day trip to the site of what Mayor Cahill called,
The Treasure of the Roman Empire
(complete with maps, postcards and guided tours for a nominal fee)
.

The thought of Julian’s leaving was an occasion for much weeping and even more drinking. With his departure imminent, these activities were taken to unprecedented levels.

On the day of his departure, Julian packed his duffle bag, leaving his Swiss Army knife to Jimmy Grogan.

Julian had felt the presence growing for over an hour. He opened the door to the police station to find not only the entire village but also the population of most of the valley standing outside.

He smiled broadly and began making his way through the crowd. There were people he knew slightly, people he knew well, children and adults, fit, frail, drunk, sober, and something in between. More than anything, these were the people who were special to him.

He hugged all of the Mahers and, to their chagrin and delight, both of the Hackett sisters. Julian congratulated Brendan and Gwyneth, but the two young people looked puzzled. Julian leaned in close and whispered to the young woman, “On your engagement. There is a house for you across from the kennel when you’re ready.”

Gwyneth turned scarlet. To Brendan, Julian said, “On the kennel’s first litter of puppies.” Each said at the same time for very different reasons, “No one was to know. It’s a surprise.”

Julian winked and the couple beamed.

When it was time to go, he sought out Ailís in the crowd, but on finding her, she seemed preoccupied.

“I can’t find Timothy. I don’t know what I’m going to do with that boy. Sometimes he worries me sick,” the doctor said.

“He’ll turn up. I did want to say good bye to him, but I’m sure he’ll make an appearance soon.”

Julian took the young woman by the shoulders and saw tears glistening in her eyes.

“Three things you need to know. Number one is I will be back before you know it. Number two is, trust that I love you more than you will ever know. Know that whatever our future holds, I will always love you.”

“And number three?”

“They say everyone knows about us. I don’t want to leave any question.”

“What?”

Julian took the doctor in his arms and kissed her with the entire population of the district looking on. He and Ailís were consumed with each other and both were beyond being able to hear the applause, whistles, catcalls and congratulatory hoots from the local residents.

The crowd parted as Julian shouldered his duffle bag and set off down the path that had brought him to this place and these people not so long ago. The gathered population cheered and waved and wept until he was out of sight.

***

Julian entered the area of rolling fields and smiled broadly. As he turned a corner, he encountered Timothy standing with Moira Hagan and Squire Lanigan.

The Lanigan’s son, Daniel, had been ordered to a psychiatric facility. Moira and the Squire had, they told Julian, made plans to travel down to see Daniel every visiting day. The Squire shook Julian’s hand and made him promise to come play chess with him on his return.

“Julian,” the Squire said softly. “Our son was mad. Oh, he seems to improve each time we see him, but he was quite mad. Murder and attempted murder were committed on his orders. He would have destroyed this valley to get at his mother and me.”

The Squire stepped close, took the younger man’s hand, and continued. “At the well, you had the wherewithal and the opportunity to end it. His madness threatened you and those,” the Squire paused and looked down at Timothy, “nearby.”

The Squire looked into the distance and said softly, "I would have put him down.  Thank you for not doing what a frightened old man would have done in your place.”

Lines of memory creased his forehead before Julian said, "Had there been no other choice, I would have put him down too."

"No you wouldn't, Blessing. I know you, you would have found another alternative, invented one on the spot if needs be. You're not fooling anyone. You are nothing but a great bloody fraud."

"I'd appreciate it if you didn't mention that to anyone."  They shared a smile and the Squire stepped back to allow Julian a moment's privacy.

He knelt in the dirt of the road and took Timothy in his arms and said, “Take care of your mother, Timothy, and don’t give her any cause to worry about you. She will look after you, but you must promise to look after her too. You and she are very precious to me.”

“Yes, Sor. You will come back Mr. Julian, won’t you?” The boy said trying to master his emotions. “Me ma and me would make you welcome.”

Julian held the boy tighter. “Timothy, I am counting on that, so I’ll hold you to your promise. And Timothy, never hold back a tear, eh?” The boy nodded and tears rolled down his cheeks. Timothy took the Squire’s hand and they headed back to the village leaving Julian alone with the teacher who became his mentor and his friend.

“He is a fine man,” Julian said indicating the Squire. “And I do love that boy. He has his mother’s eyes.”

“You’re right about Timothy. There is much of his mother about him. As for the Squire, he has always been the finest man I’ve ever known,” Moira answered and her smile turned wistful. “Would that my character allowed me to be so fine a wife, eh?”

Julian said nothing.

“A spell has been cast on you, my boy. Let me assure you the spell has a tight weave to it. You felt it when you left the village. The respect and the love, the gratitude and the admiration were obvious and you’ll be able to feel them over all the miles you travel.

“Now come here you great ass of a man.” Moira took his arm and they began to walk slowly along the dirt lane.

Julian considered his words carefully before he spoke. “This place, these people, this is what is most real to me. Being here is what I want and what I need. I have to leave Ireland for a while in order to straighten out my residency papers and other matters. But this is home for me now. I believe that with all my heart.

“Moira, I came here broken, alone and lost.” He smiled and shook his head. “They didn’t fix me, befriend me and point me in the right direction. Half measures will never do for the Irish. No, they remade me from the ground up. I owe them a lot.

“Oh yes, well, you might have rendered some small assistance,” he chuckled and nudged his companion. Moira’s smile set off a cascade of lines at the corners of her eyes and she swatted her student’s arm.

Moira said, “Bridget told me, of course. Age-old coins and death. You’re going to Rome. But why are you going Julian?”

“It is hard to explain. I want to repair an injustice perpetrated a very long time ago. At least, I think that’s why I’m going. I just feel there are things I need to make right. I have no idea how I’ll accomplish any of it or if I’ll be successful, but it is something I need to attempt.”

“Stay open to the possibilities, Julian, all of them. Sometimes the reason we go to a place ’tisn’t the reason we need to be there.”

“And sometimes the reason we go isn’t the reason we stay,” he said.

***

Unpleasant, unattractive and unhappy, Bogdan Sokolov ruminated on things that made him even more unpleasant, unattractive and unhappy.

In his office on Via del Pellegrino, in the Campo de' Fiori district of Rome, the focus of his displeasure was Julian Blessing. Again.

Two large, dangerous looking, Eastern European men stood before their despondent employer. “Julian Blessing,” Sokolov said with palpable distaste. “We lose money in New York because of him. Now you say he is coming to Rome.

“I want that man dead.”

THE END

On behalf of Penman House Publishing and the author, thank you for purchasing this book.

Find out about the author and other books in

The Echoes Quartet series

by visiting:

echoes-quartet.blogspot.com/

BOOK: Echoes Through the Mist: A Paranormal Mystery (The Echoes Quartet Book 1)
9.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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