Book Two of the Leelanau Chronicles
On a journey encouraged by her grandmother, Brin is going back to her family roots in Ireland. Onboard the plane she began to read the journal her gran had handed her after take-off. A book that would reveal even more layers to the story of her life; the story of her people; where they came from, what they can do and why. While her grandmother slept nearest the window of the trans-Atlantic flight, Brin turned the pages of the diary- reading the familiar handwriting that told of the thousand things she should have remembered; the thousand things she used to know but were taken from her so she could live her life as a sleeping mage. It wasn’t done often but when the situation warranted a drastic measure, there were ways that memories could be lifted out to allow the one who suffers a more peaceful existence.
Brin Kelly thought she was moving into a world of normalcy when she sold her home and bought the business up North. The small water town of Northport, Michigan, where she decided to put down roots was anything but that. Instead of a place to put distance between her and the strange things that occasionally marred her life she had simply stepped into the strange with both feet.
For twenty years she had taken great care to block the gift in her hands by wearing gloves and avoiding skin to skin contact but that would only get her so far in a life that requires direct interaction with a lot of people. On her own- she has managed to create a way to block the visions and waves of information that pour from others into her consciousness.
It has been four months since her new world tilted on its axis. Love has come to her again, but it arrived with a startling discovery that the man she opened her heart to is not quite human. And along with that revelation, her best friend, one who has been at her side since adolescence has finally been given permission to tell Brin the truth of her own supernatural status as a human-wolf and a part of this new world that appears to be all around her.
Through her own gift, a killer has been identified and he’s someone Brin knows. Someone the town knows. Now he’s on the run as the truth of his activities have unearthed the depth of involvement he had in manipulating the laws of their carefully hidden community; one that has existed undetected by most right alongside humanity for eons.
I had to stop for now. Using the Aer Lingus cocktail napkin as a makeshift bookmark, I tucked it into the page of the journal and closed the soft leather cover then turned my head to watch my grandmother sleeping next to me. Her business class seat reclined into its comfortable bed position. Silver hair fell loose from its usual tucked in style and caught moonlight coming through the window. She looked like magic. Or someone who knew magic intimately.
I should be furious with her. I should wake her and scream and cause the flight attendants to find the air marshal to come and drag me down to the cargo hold in handcuffs. They should use the emergency measure sedative to shut me up until they can deal with me on the ground in Dublin. I should. But I won’t. I can’t. I asked for this. Apparently. At least that’s what the journal said.
And if what’s in the journal is true, then somewhere around my tenth birthday, this *thing* I have had landed me in a world of confusion and pain. No child should have to see what I can see. It’s not just the horrible things; the violence and stuff of nightmares that people are capable of perpetrating on others. It’s the sadness, the emptiness, the hopeless void so many create and carry inside of them. Even children who by all rights, have an entire lifetime ahead of them to build a better life. They felt defeated and they have given up.
I felt it all. It would happen every time I brushed against them in the halls at school or had to take the hand of a classmate at the request of a teacher trying to line us up for a museum tour. All the hollow pain they felt came racing up my arm and squeezed my heart until I’d let out a cry and pull away from the child to stand alone near a wall. It got so bad that teachers called my parents in for conferences and a child psychologist was employed to help me with my anti-social behavior.
This sort of thing had happened at every school I had attended; all nine of them. When my mother had endured enough embarrassment and confronted my father and grandmother about their crazy talk ruining my life, they had taken a measure so drastic that it would affect me until now. Looking normal to people she never really spoke with was all important to Ellie Larson. Just to be certain the world would see her as separate from me, she’d even taken back her maiden name after the divorce. She was a Larson again while I remained a Kelly; a by-product of those other genes she no longer had anything to do with. So when I was ten years old, she handed me over to my father and grandmother saying it was their fault I was like that so it was their responsibility to *repair* me.
If this diary was to be believed, I was on my way to meet my relatives and they were going to give back what they took from me twenty years ago: my past.
The flight attendant, a woman about my age, came to my side and spoke in a practiced hushed tone. “Here’s your tea, dear. And some biscuits. HobNobs and Ginger Nuts. They seem to be favorites for most passengers so I thought them a safe choice.” She set the small tray down on the lap desk I’d extended from my upright seat.
“Thank you. Hey, do you have any idea what the weather forecast is for Dublin when we land?” I poured a dash of cream into the black tea and gave it a swirl with the spoon.
“Let me check and I’ll be right back. Can I get you anything else?” She tilted her copper head and the pony tail down her back slid over her shoulder spreading her hair out in a fiery fan across the Kelly green of her uniform blouse. What is it about Irish women and their glorious hair?
“Maybe another blanket for my Gran?” I asked.
“Will do.” She glanced over at her sleeping form and braved an observation. “She looks Fae. I have some cousins with the same look about them and the family swears they’re blood of the Tuatha de’ Danaan. Gifted they are. Be right back with a wrap for her.” With a wink she turned and headed back to the galley.
Tuatha de’ Danaan. I just read that in the diary. I slid the tea cup over and pulled the book back out from where I’d tucked it in the side of my seat. Flipping pages frantically until I found where I’d seen it. Yes. Right there.
I read a little more and then pulled out my phone to Google search the word and spent the next hour and a half reading. The documents and website entries were from scholars and new age nuts pointing to the origin of magic in Ireland, and Great Britain; even of the Gaels on the mainland of Europe.
The more that I read the more it dawned on me that this little visit to the birthplace of my ancestors wasn’t going to be a weekend adventure. I needed time here. Weeks. Maybe months if I was going to do this right. And given the growing energy that had started seeping into my hands over the past few months, learning how to handle this isn’t an option anymore.
I hadn’t mentioned it to Gran or even to Gabe but things were starting to move when I’d reach for them. A cup or a pen would begin a slow slide towards my reaching fingers as if it could feel my intention and wanted to cooperate. For years it was just an inbound sucking feeling of emotions when I made skin to skin contact. Now, at a distance, whatever juice I have in me was starting to reach out to connect with the juice in something else. Before I do something really weird I need to get a lock on this or I’ll end up vivisected in a government lab.
As if to make my point about the growing need for some training, I shoved my hand under the seat to check my bag for a stick of gum. Just out of reach I felt the shiver of energy and in the darkened cabin I could see a faint glow of blue light beneath me, no doubt coming from my fingertips. The shoulder strap of my bag slid into my hand and I quickly looked around to see if anyone had noticed the little light show.
Across the aisle the passenger slept with his back to me. All clear. I recently started carrying a little halogen flashlight on me in case I needed to explain the light. Just one more fun side effect of what- ever the hell I was becoming. Or already was. Answers. I need answers. That’s why I’m on this flight with Gran. Why I’m not curled up with Gabe in a cozy bed at one in the morning.
On a whim, I shot a text message to Gabe. I knew he’d be heading home for the evening back in the Leelanau Peninsula even though I was 40,000 feet over the Atlantic and a few hours from sunrise on this red-eye flight.
“Tuatha de’ Danaan.” That’s all I wrote and hit the send button. I set the phone down and drank the tea that had just gotten a warm up from my new ginger pal. A few minutes later the phone chimed a message.
“Just thinking of you. What’s this now?” His short reply read. Gabe wasn’t big on wordy texts so I never expected a dissertation from him.
“Do you know what that means?” Good. He was available for a short back and forth. Too bad I was annoyed. Not the time for sexting next to my sleeping grandmother and all. I do have some boundaries.
“Of course. What of them?” He wrote.
Ha! “Them! So you DO know they were people? Why have you never mentioned them?”
“Brin, they still are people, love. Assumed you knew being of Irish blood yourself.” He replied.
Damn it. I wasn’t actually mad at him but Gran was asleep and my dad had passed several years ago, so Gabe was my emotional whipping boy for the moment. “Nope. Got a blank space where info on Ireland should be in my head. Gran and her clan did a scrub job on me. Just found out. I’ll call 2nite. Ur time.”
“That’s extreme. Tonight then. Keep your cool. She must’ve had good reason.“ He added an emoji heart. iPhones: turning adults into teenagers everywhere. Cute.
I sent him back a series of punctuation marks to serve as a hail of profanity. The next text I sent said- “We’ll see. Better be a damn good reason or I’ll be in a Dublin prison for homicide. Later Hairy.” I put the phone on airplane mode to save battery and tucked it back into the inside pocket of my carry-on stashed beneath my seat.