Excerpt for Turlough's Tale (Druid's Brooch short story extra) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


After his wife dies in childbirth, Turlough decides his children will be better off with their aunt. He leaves in the middle of the night, with only his son, Ruari. Turlough and Ruari travel west to find music, the other true love in Turlough’s life. Unwittingly sleeping under an ancient Faerie stone, they wake up in Faerie. Amidst enchanting music, they almost lose their souls before they escape with their lives. When they returns, Turlough finds two years have passed, though he’s only been gone two weeks. His mother is waiting for him with the gift of a magical brooch.



TURLOUGH'S TALE

Druid’s Brooch Series, extra

Christy Nicholas


Published by Tirgearr Publishing


Author Copyright 2017 Christy Nicholas

Cover Art: Cora Graphics (www.coragraphics.it)

Editor: Sharon Pickrel

Proofreader: Barbara Whary


This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold or given away. If you would like to share this book, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not given to you for the purpose of review, then please log into the publisher’s website and purchase your own copy.


Thank you for respecting our author’s hard work.


This story is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, incidents are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



DEDICATION


To my author group, who encouraged me to write something rather shorter than

a novel.



TURLOUGH'S TALE

Druid’s Brooch Series, extra

Christy Nicholas



Glasán, Ireland, 1735


Time. He needed more time. And that was the one thing he couldn’t control.

Turlough held his wife’s hand. She was so incredibly thin. He didn’t want to squeeze for fear of breaking her bones. This would be their fifth child. He prayed that Maeve would live long enough to hold the child in her arms.

She moaned again, and he glanced at the midwife. The woman shook her head and closed her eyes. The tears pummeled at his eyes as he closed his own.

Maeve was the joy in his life. His whole reason for being. She’d never been strong, but this pregnancy had wasted her to a frail husk.

She strained against the pain and screamed. The tears in his eyes burst forth, and his throat closed. The coppery smell of hot blood infused the small, dark room.

A thin scream cut the air, and a small bundle squirmed in the midwife’s arms. Maeve’s hand went limp in his own.

“No! No, Maeve, no! You can’t die on me now, my love, you can’t! Wake up, Maeve! Maeve, please, please, no please, no…”

His throat choked off any more words, and he cried. His beloved wife’s hand was flaccid in his own, but he refused to relinquish it. It was still warm. She must still be here. She mustn’t leave him.

The child’s wail turned to a whimper as the midwife bundled it in cloth and cooed over it. Turlough didn’t even want to know if it was a boy or a girl. He had no wish to see the child who killed his wife.

The midwife left, and he was alone with his wife’s body, but he couldn’t see her any more through the tears. His sobs wracked through him, and he fell over her. He lay there for hours, begging her to return.

The voice of his eldest son broke through his grief. “Da? Da, it’s time. Get up.”

“Éamonn, go away.”

His son, only ten years old, tugged on his arm. “Da, please. Auntie Bridie is here. They need to take Ma away. It’s time to prepare her.”

“I said go away!” He flailed back, pushing Éamonn. He glanced back as the boy fell on the dirt floor, shock on his young face.

Turlough stroked Maeve’s cheek, her skin a dead, alien thing now. There was no warmth left, no trace of the life and vitality he so loved. Her musical laugh, her curly blonde hair, her sad smile.

Another tug on his arm made him glance up at his second son, Ruari. Though he was only eight, he was a taller than Éamonn. Together they pulled him away from his wife’s body.

It was dark outside. How had it become dark? He had gone into the cottage at dawn. His mind was in a fog. He let his sons lead him to their own cottage, away from his wife.

He turned to get back to the midwife’s home. “Maeve! Maeve!” His sons held him, but he dragged them closer to the door.

His sister, Niamh, stood in the way, her arms crossed.

“Turlough, you must go home. We have work to do here.”

He struggled until he got loose from his son’s grip. “No, I must stay with her. You can’t keep me from her!”

“I cannot, ‘tis true. But they can.” She nodded, and his arms were held once again. It was no longer his young sons’ hands, though. Now it was the grip of two full-grown men. His brother and his sister’s husband held him fast and pulled him away.

Liam and Enda manhandled him into his small cottage and pushed him into a chair. Liam put his hands on Turlough’s shoulders while Enda rustled in the cupboard. He tried to rise, but Liam held him still. “What are you looking for?”

Enda said nothing, but grunted as he held up a half-empty dark bottle.


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