Great stories about good people caught in difficult situations.


Chapter Two Hundred and Seventy-Two : Half breeds

Chapter Two Hundred and Seventy-two

Half breeds

Paddie sat down on the ground next to Katy. She was lying on her side with her back to her mommy. Her mommy’s arm was tight around Katy’s chest.

“Paddie?” Katy whispered and reached her hand out.

Paddie took Katy’s hand. Auntie Sandy had set Paddie down when she’d gone to help Katy’s mommy. Then Mrs. Valerie and Delphie came with Mr. Sam and brought Paddie’s Uncle Jimmy and that dumb fairy, Edie. Uncle Jimmy had seemed really happy to see Paddie and had picked him up to hug and kiss him. Uncle Jimmy had said a bunch of nice things in Irish, but when Katy’s mommy and the stupid fairy started arguing he’d set Paddie down. So Paddie came over to take Katy’s hand. Katy still couldn’t see him.

“Why is everybody so mad?” Katy whispered.

“That fairy, you know the one that was s’posed to protect us?” Paddie whispered.

“Edie?”

Paddie nodded. “She told your mommy that she was going to take you.”

“What?” Katy’s dark eyes went big.

“Your mommy got really, really mad, like I’ve never seen anybody get mad.” Paddie nodded. “Then your Auntie Heather appeared. She told the fairy to go to H-E . . ., you know.”

Katy nodded.

“There’s a lot of arguing now,” Paddie said.

“Why did Edie want to take me?” Katy whispered.

“She said she was the boss of you,” Paddie said. “Your Auntie Tanesha said that she’d done such a fine job so far. Then everybody started yelling.”

Paddie nodded.

“It’s not really her fault,” Katy said.

“I tried to say that, but then I realized that she wants to keep you, Katy,” Paddie said. “And I . . .”

Paddie’s big blue eyes filled with real tears. He shook his head.

“I won’t go,” Katy said.

“I don’t think you have a choice,” Paddie said. He sniffed and tried to be brave, like his grandfather always told him to be.

“Nobody can make me do anything.” Katy nodded. “Don’t be sad, Paddie.”

“I don’t want you to go with the fairy,” Paddie said. “I would die.”

“I won’t go with her,” Katy said. “Ever.”

Paddie suddenly was not feeling very brave. He started to cry. Katy heard him, and tears began to slide down her face. Paddie felt like the whole world was ending. He just held onto Katy’s hand and cried.

“Why are you crying?” A boy about Paddie’s age appeared in front of them. He had long, curly brown hair and light brown skin. He wore a long muslin tunic with a darker brown wool sweater on top. He smiled.

“We’re sad,” Katy said.

“Who are you?” Paddie asked. He sat up straighter to cover Katy. He didn’t like it that Katy could see the boy but couldn’t see not Paddie.

“I’m Kirk,” the little boy said. “I live here.”

“In the fog?” Katy asked.

The little boy nodded.

“Why do you live in the fog?” Paddie asked.

“Why are you crying?” Kirk asked.

“I’ll tell you if you tell me,” Paddie said. He didn’t like or dislike the boy, and Paddie was pretty good at figuring out who to like. He just felt like he shouldn’t talk to this Kirk because he was a stranger.

“I live here because I want to be a boy, but . . .”

“You have to be a fairy?” Paddie asked.

The boy nodded.

“Why do you have to be a fairy?” Katy asked.

“My great-grandfather gave up being a man,” Kirk said. “He had a whole life as a man, and then he decided to be a fairy King. My granddad got mad and decided not to be a fairy.”

“But he already was,” Paddie nodded.

Kirk nodded.

“You’re like Katy,” Paddie said.

“Are you a fairy too?” Kirk asked Katy.

“I’m just Katy.” She nodded. Paddie nodded too because that’s what she always said.

“My granddad declared—‘There can be no more male half-breeds.’ They kill all of the boys. Forever,” Kirk said. “But I’m a half breed. My mom was a fairy and my dad was my granddad’s son. They were supposed to kill me, but he couldn’t kill me. He tried a bunch of times.”

The boy held up his arms. They held the scars of numerous cuts. He pointed to his neck where there was another scar.

“He wasn’t able to,” Kirk said. “My mommy hid me until I was too old to kill easily. That’s what he said. But they killed her for hiding me.”

“What?” Katy and Paddie said together.

“That’s horrible,” Paddie said.

“It was so I would remember that I was only alive by his choice,” Kirk looked really sad when he said this. “He said I couldn’t be a fairy, but I am already a lot of fairy and . . .”

Kirk shrugged.

“Why were you crying?” Kirk asked.

“Katy might have to go live with the fairies,” Paddie said.

“They’re not mean,” Kirk said, trying to be helpful. “You might like them.”

“I just want to be Katy,” she said. “Not fairy-Katy, not not fairy-Katy, just Katy.”

Kirk scowled like he was confused. He opened his mouth. They waited. He leaned forward to them.

“Don’t you have to choose?” Kirk whispered.

“Why?” Paddie asked.

“’Cuz you’ll go to hell and burn for eternity,” Kirk whispered

“Why?” Paddie asked.

“You don’t believe in Jesus.” Kirk gave them the bug eyes of frustration and turned away like he thought they were stupid.

“I believe in Jesus. Katy does too,” Paddie said. “We’re Catholic. Both Katy and me.”

“You can’t be Catholic and be a fairy,” Kirk said. “Next you’ll tell me you’re left-handed!”

“I’m not a fairy and I’m Catholic and I’m not any different than Katy.” Paddie nodded. “And I am left-handed!”

Katy nodded.

“I think you’re confused,” Paddie said.

“You’re confused because you don’t have a mommy,” Katy said, in a matter-of-fact tone.

Katy and Paddie looked at Kirk.

“My mommy won’t let anybody cut me into pieces,” Katy said. “That’s what she says. She wants me to be all Katy, not half Katy, plus she’s about to have my brothers and they’ll be half . . . What did you call them?”

Kirk’s eyes went big.

“Kill the boys, kill the boys,” Kirk started to chant. “Kill the boys, kill the boys, kill the boys . . .”

His voice echoed through the fog, and the adults looked around. Katy’s mommy was scared and pulled Katy closer. Auntie Tanesha put her hands on her hips and scowled at the fog. Auntie Heather stepped to the edge of the pocket try to see where the voice was coming from. Auntie Sandy leaned down to Paddie.

“Who are you talking to?” Auntie Sandy asked Paddie.

“We’re talking to Kirk,” Paddie said. “He’s confused.”

“He thinks you have to be either a fairy or a person,” Katy giggled. “Just silly.”

“You don’t see him?” Paddie asked.

Auntie Sandy shook her head. She gave Katy a worried look, which Katy couldn’t see because she couldn’t see non-fairy people. Mrs. Valerie kneeled down.

“What’s going on?” Valerie asked Sandy.

“They’re talking to Kirk,” Sandy said. “You know . . .”

Auntie Sandy wiggled her eyebrows like this kid was important. Auntie Valerie nodded. Just then, there was a big knock on a door someplace in the distance.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

“That’s the guy,” Kirk said to Paddie.

“What guy?” Paddie asked.

“The one who gave up being a man.” Kirk nodded. “He gave up his rightful place in heaven. He’ll spend eternity in hell with you devil-handed people.”

“That’s just dumb,” Katy said. “Paddie’s not going to hell because he writes with one hand or another. Who told you that?”

“Your great-grandfather isn’t going there either,” Paddie said. “You only go there if you do something really mean or break a commandment or something.”

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Kirk scowled at Paddie and stomped off.

“Jill,” Sandy said. “Maughold is here. He’s talking to Katy and Paddie.”

“Katy-baby?” Jill asked.

“Mommy, he thinks Paddie is going to hell because he writes with his left hand!” Katy laughed. “Just silly.”

Jill gave Sandy a worried look.

“Paddie? Are you okay?” Jill asked.

Paddie gave her a confident nod, but then looked sad.

“You won’t let anyone take Katy, will you?” Paddie asked.

“Never,” Jill said to Edie, who was hovering nearby. “Katy is my daughter, my child, and you have no more authority over her than that.”

“Prove that you have more authority than a mother over her child,” Tanesha said, “and we’ll talk.”

“Until then,” Heather said, “shut up. We have babies to birth, and we don’t need you nattering in our ears about stupid stuff.”

“I was just trying to help,” Edie said. “The queen told me . . .”

“She’s not our queen,” Tanesha said. “So stuff it.”

They heard a lot of shouting and the foggy place began to shake. Paddie grabbed onto Katy and squeezed his eyes shut.

~~~~~~~~

“My queen,” Manannán said, and ran into Queen Fand’s arms.

Manannán stepped into Fand’s arms, and there was an explosion of white and pink light. Jacob had to shade his eyes from the brightness. The two spirits spun into the air, shooting crystalline white light in a brilliant spiral. The fairies in the boats and the gargoyles began to sing:

Deep peace of the running wave to you,

Deep peace of the flowing air to you,

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,

Deep peace of the shining stars to you,

Deep peace of the infinite peace to you

Jacob had never seen anything so beautiful. He fell to his knees, overwhelmed with the song and beauty. Prince Finegal fell at his side. The men in the ghost army stood guard over Jacob and Prince Finegal. The fairies continued to sing as King Manannán and Queen Fand spun back to earth. Their feet were almost on the ground where there was a magnificent pop as the energy that kept them apart was broken in their reunion.

“It’s a fairy blessing,” Gilfand said. He held out his hands to help Prince Finegal and Jacob up. “The Celts took it for their own by carving it on stone, but it was ours first. If you need peace, you now have the words to call it to you.”

“What was the . . . pop and . . .” Jacob couldn’t find the words to express what he’d seen.

“Returning our land to love,” Prince Finegal said. His eyes never left his parents.

“It was broken by the Celts, and . . .,” Gilfand said.

“My brother,” Prince Finegal added.

Jacob looked at the man and nodded.

“Love has been restored.” Prince Finegal smiled. He leaned into Jacob. “It doesn’t seem quite manly, but I’ll tell you, it’s powerful stuff. I’ll not lead an army without its power.”

“Are they like this every time . . .?” Jacob asked.

Nodding, Prince Finegal grinned and Gilfand laughed.

“Surely, you’ve . . .” Prince Finegal gestured to King Manannán and Queen Fand.

Jacob flushed at the memory of the hotel in Santa Monica with Jill. Prince Finegal clapped Jacob on the back and laughed. He made his way to his parents.

“Father!” Prince Finegal hugged his father and mother. “We have business to attend to.”

Prince Finegal gestured to Jacob. King Manannán looked at Prince Finegal and then at Jacob.

“Your grandson has cursed our family, my family,” Jacob said. “Leading to the death of all males.”

“He is the first male to survive since Maughold was born,” Gilfand said.

“How long . . .?” King Manannán asked.

“Almost two thousand years,” Gilfand said. “He’s here because his woman is birthing two boys. Without our help, they are doomed.”

“How did you . . .?” Prince Finegal asked.

“I was helped by a powerful Oracle,” Jacob said. “My fairy-human mother and human father protected me.”

Celia’s ghost appeared when he mentioned her.

“Daughter,” Queen Fand said to Celia. “What must be done?”

“You must resolve with your grandson what you could not with his father or grandfather,” Celia said.

“He doomed us to thousands of years of unnatural rest!” Prince Finegal said. “I say we destroy him.”

The army cheered.

“No,” King Manannán said. “No.”

“Father!” Prince Finegal started.

“I’ve spent a long, long time circling my island, my problems,” King Manannán said. “Our daughter speaks the truth. We must address what we could not before.”

King Manannán looked at Queen Fand.

“We believed they would come around,” King Manannán said. “Without your beauty and grace, the forces of doubt and cynicism formed a wedge between our children and the magic of peace, love, and hope. Love was replaced with judgment and ego, hope with powerlessness, peace with the chaotic mind.”

“How awful,” Queen Fand said.

“When they brought me the chains, I gladly took them,” King Manannán said. “Rather than live in a world where human women and children were burned alive in fire, human men were tortured, and cruelty had replaced all beauty and grace. I preferred the torment of the surf and sand to seeing the world fall into darkness.”

Queen Fand hugged him tight. She kissed his lips, and sparks flew around them. He smiled.

“I missed the world coming out into the light,” King Manannán said. “It is time to resolve this matter once and for all.”

“Lead on my king,” Queen Fand said.

“Son?” King Manannán asked Prince Finegal. “Will you lead the way?”

Prince Finegal gave King Manannán a slight bow, and they all disappeared. Jacob stood on the hilltop by himself.

Prince Finegal appeared again right in front of him.

“Seriously? You don’t know how to move through time and space?” Prince Finegal laughed at Jacob.

“I can do that?” Jacob asked.

“You are fairly pathetic,” Prince Finegal laughed. “I may need to leave you here.”

He disappeared again. Jacob shook his head and looked around. Gilfand had taken him to this shore. He didn’t even have a car. He started walking toward the road. He’d gone about a half a mile when Prince Finegal appeared before him.

“Actually, you’d better come.” Prince Finegal grabbed the front of his shirt.

They appeared in the clearing where he’d left James, Valerie, and Delphie. Jacob kneeled down to touch the small sledgehammer. He walked to the entrance.

“They are here and not here,” Queen Fand said.

“What does that mean?” Jacob turned to look at her.

“I’m not sure,” Queen Fand said.

Prince Finegal picked up Delphie’s sledgehammer and pounded it three times on the ground.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!” Prince Finegal yelled. “I know you’re in there, you stupid bastard! Show yourself!”

Bang! Bang! Bang!

“Stop!” Jacob yelled. He went to Prince Finegal and put his hand on his shoulder. “Just stop!”

“Why?” Prince Finegal asked.

“He’s not here,” Jacob said. “They aren’t here.”

“And you know this . . .?” Prince Finegal started.

Jacob pointed. Delphie appeared by a tree on the edge of the clearing.

“Delphie!” Jacob ran to her.

“How did I . . .?” Delphie asked.

“I brought you here.” Jacob gave Prince Finegal a smug look and the prince smiled. “I knew that you would know what’s going on.”

Queen Fand and King Manannán walked over to Delphie. She took one look at them and fell to her knees.

“Not to us,” King Manannán said. “No sister, never to us.”

Jacob kneeled down and helped Delphie to her feet.

“I was . . . overcome by . . .” Delphie cleared her throat. She lowered her head. “How can I be of service?”

“Where is our Katy?” Queen Fand asked.

“Where is Jill?” Jacob asked.

“This Maughold has drawn us into his white fog of confusion,” Delphie said. “We are all there — Sam, Jill, Sandy, Tanesha, Heather, of course, Katy, Paddie, James, and Edie.”

“My fairy is still with them.” Queen Fand put her hand to her chest.

Queen Fand looked at Gilfand, and he disappeared. He reappeared a moment later with Edie. The fairy swallowed hard and transformed into her tiny size and work uniform.

“What is it?” Queen Fand asked.

“Katherine’s mother won’t let me bring her,” Edie said.

“What?” Jacob asked. “What are you talking about?”

“Why not?” Queen Fand asked.

“She says the child is a child first,” Edie said. “A fairy second.”

“What are you talking about?” Jacob repeated. His voice rose with anxiety. He glanced at Gilfand and found the man staring at him with an intensity that made Jacob look away.

“They want Katy,” Delphie said in a low tone. “Jill and the fairy have been arguing. The fairy says Katy is a fairy queen and needs to train. Jill . . . well, you know.”

“You can’t take my daughter!” Jacob said.

“Be still, child,” Queen Fand said to Jacob.

“I cannot take the child over the mother’s wishes,” Edie said. “There’s no stronger magic than a mother’s love. Most people don’t know it, but her friends do. I can’t take her.”

“This is what I meant by fairies having their own agenda,” Delphie whispered to Jacob.

“We’ll just have to destroy the mother,” Queen Fand said.

“YOU WILL NOT TAKE MY DAUGHTER!” Jacob screamed. “ENOUGH!”

Everything came to a stop. It was as if Jacob had hit the pause button on the action. Even Queen Fand and her fairies were locked in time. The army stopped moving. The great King Manannán had been in the middle of taking a step when Jacob stopped everything. Prince Fin’s mouth was open as if he was going to say something.

“I said enough,” Jacob said under his breath.

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