Chapter Seven – Journey To The Alt

(See previous chapter)

Somewhere in the distance a cuckoo called as Sean awoke. The afternoon sun speckled through the trees casting dappled shadows across the ground. He yawned. His outstretched arm touched something large that moved.

“Awake at last Sean!”

“Melo, I had the strangest dream! I dreamt I’d met some fairies. . ..” Fully awake Sean paused, “It wasn’t a dream, because if it was, your a dream too.”

Melo laughed, “No, I’m not a dream. Come, tell me the message. You have been gone two days and time is getting short.”

“Two days?” Sean scrambled into Melo’s pocket.

As the Giant stepped out, Sean told him of his adventure with the Fairies.

The sun sat low in the sky as they approached the village. The people were gathered in the field where Sean had first met Melo. When they saw the Giant coming they cleared a path so he could sit in his favorite place.

With a loud sigh, Melo sat. Sean climbed out of his pocket and rested against the rock.

“Sean, over here!”

His mother made her way through the throng to where he stood.

Sean threw his arms around her. “Mammy, I’ve seen. . ..”

“Hush, Sean, I know what you have seen and heard – we will talk of it later.”

Before Sean could say anything more, Melo started to speak.

“Friends, tonight you will go to the kiln and when the time is right, you will go to the Alt.”

“I will not go, the place is evil!” A rumble of fear passed over the crowd. Others nodded their heads in agreement, some turned toward the village.

“Wait my friends,” Melo beckoned to Sean, “Come, come up here and tell them that they will be safe.”

Sean stood on the rock and faced the crowd, unsure what to say.

“Tell them of your meeting with the fairies,” Melo spoke quietly.

Sean hung onto the Giant’s thumb, drawing strength from its size. He told them how the fairies had been kind to him and their promise that they would protect them. If they were afraid he certainly was not, and would follow them into the Alt – because it would be safer down there than be killed by the Giant Tharoc!

“It takes a young boy to put courage into ye!” A woman’s voice cried out.

“We will do as ye say Melo!” Another voice called.

“Well done Sean, go now and travel with your mother, she has many things to tell you.”

“Follow me to the kiln.” Tige, Sean’s father shouted above the noise as the people milled around. “Be sure to take everything with you!”

“Come my son, we will wait until the people have moved closer to the kiln.”

As the field emptied Sean sat with his mother on a small grass covered mound.

“Mother, what is the Alt.”

“Down there is a very big cave that opens to the sea.” She pointed. “It goes a long way under the ground, and when the north wind blows it fills the cave. It can’t get out, so it searches for other ways to escape. There are small cracks in the roof and the wind finds it painful to push through so it screams.”

“Why are the people afraid of it?”

She smiled, smoothing back his hair. “They are afraid because when the wind blows, they say you can hear the dead crying to be set free. Your father told them the truth but they choose not to believe him.”

“Melo said you had things to tell me, what did he mean.”

Startled, his mother glanced to where Melo stood looking toward the mountain. He seemed not to notice they were still there.

She remained silent for some moments then, gave a long sigh.

“It is time.”

She held his face in her hands. “Do you see anything different about me. Look hard, do I have something other people do not?”

He looked at her intently. At her long silver-blonde hair, her straight nose and slightly pointed chin. “Your eyes! They have gold specks in them the same as the fairies!”

She smiled and kissed him on the cheek. “So do you my son!”

To be continued

(See NEXT chapter)

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© John W. Kelly