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“Love You Forever…” started as an idea for a 3,000 word contribution to the Halloween contest and it turned out to have a life of its own. I have the complete story almost finished, so as I’m dedicating myself to the editing process, I’m releasing the lengthy story in sections manageable both for your reading and for my editing. The next chapter should be posted within a week from when this posts. I’m also planning on writing that shorter version, so if you enjoy this, there is more like it to come. Please spill your thoughts all over the comments.
What was it that was so fantastic about my Aideen that I could not let her go? My spirit, my shadow Aideen, will never leave me. She follows me always in my late life. She preserves me. She fuels my flame when it is dim red. And she haunts me. Aideen reminds me of the transience of my life. She, in her youth, and I, forever in my old age, will be together always.
But I have one foot in the grave.
Part One: The Great Family
The child Aideen was born on the warmest day of summer of the first year of the new century, and I was born on the coldest day in winter, sixty-four winters before. She was born to a lovely natural farming man, name of Eoin. He and his family and lineage were local legends. Eoin’s wife Cait was the only girl who didn’t bow to kiss his handsome feet, or laugh bashfully at his wit, or claw recklessly at his flesh for the chance of having his handsome child and handsome land. No, herself was a fiery girl who didn’t take any horsing or blackguarding from Eoin. And she could work the land alongside him, too.
Though, even such a legacy as Eoin’s skips every third generation, for while he and his son, and his daughter Aideen, and the son and daughter that were born after, were of the same hard-working, kind-hearted, soft-worded and handsome way, his father was a crippling brute who died in a fist-to-cuff at a young age, and his mother a long suffering doter. Being the upright man he was, Eoin named his first son, Humphry, after the cross old brute. Most of Eoin’s four brothers and five sisters escaped the family but some stayed nearby, and all were held in the highest regard wherever they went. Eoin could be found with his local kin and their families in church each Sunday morning.
I was an old man when Aideen and I met, and she was just a babeen. Sixty-four years old and without a companion was I. I lived just a mile and a half down the road. My doggy died a fortnight before the girl was born. So as I would call over into the Connollys’ house for tea or a talk from time to time, I would visit the green eyed little girl, Aideen. I would bring some small treat or pick some sours or blackberries from the side of the road for the baba on my way over. The look on her face as she enjoyed some sweet blackberry or pinched up her nose at the sours brought joy to my heart that I had never been able to feel before. I realized, in those moments, that I would gladly have married the first haggard betch on the hill if it meant having a family. But time had got on.
When I would arrive for tea at twelve, there the little child would be in Eoin’s earthy hands as he stood behind the short wall in front of the house, or sometimes she would be in the cowhouse with Mrs. Connolly. Cait would be sat on the short stool with her head resting on the cows side, squeezing the milk out the teats into a zinc bucket, and there the babe would be playing in some fresh hay in the corner, away from the dangerous and powerful legs of the milk cow.
If ever there was a child of the earth it was Aideen. She played in the soft grass, in the fresh hay, on the stone floor of the house. She was a smiling, precious creature among creatures. The Lord had truly blessed the Connollys, blessed the road they lived on, and blessed my restless soul with Aideen.
Soon the babe became a little girl with three dresses: her Sunday dress, her old Saturday dress, and her tattered weekday dress, which itself was once a new Sunday dress. Though none of the other little girls were as fortunate to have three dresses, no one would wager that Aideen was not the one who deserved it. She had two other new things too, a little brother and sister.
The little boy and girl were be born to the Connolly’s and then, queer enough, there was not another child to the Connollys ever after. It was a small family. If two children was a “gentleman’s family”, four children was certainly a “farmer gentleman’s family”, and it was the smallest one in Bonnakeen.
Now I would bring the littlest ones, names of Owen and Úna, the blackberries and the sours, and always be sure to shake the shy child Aideen’s hand and pass her a coin. There was no need for her mother and father to find out. She would hold the coin, look at me and smile and run and put it some secret place.
One occaision, I visited the Connollys by night. It was an October thirtieth and all were preparing the bonfires and making their costumes from rags and carving the turnip and practicing their pieces for the house calling bursa escort the next night. We talked about the recent births and deaths in the community, the newlyweds, the widows and the widowers. We talked about the tragedies. I told them again about the blight on the crop and the blight on my family, the bad luck I had with the land, the stillborn horses and cows, the hens that plucked their own feathers. I told them about the blight on my family, the tuberculosis of my father and two sisters, the still born babies and my mother’s stroke and passing, the one surviving sister I have in America. Since the famine, we have been a people in touch with mortality.
Then we told stories of faeries for the children: the time old Micky Dan Morley shot into the wood with his rifle at them, the time they came into the Murphy house through the windows, the time brave and skeptic Eoin himself felt he was chased by down the road when he was coming home from the village one night.
We told stories and I sipped my punch slowly. The whiskey warmed my bones, the sugar tickled my tongue, and the hot water steamed my eyes so that all was unclear except for the friendly voices of the Connolys. The warm blaze of the open fire filled my bleary vision fully.
For a second, I felt a tickle at the back of my half-bald head, and brushed it away. Then, I saw a shadowy figure over the fire, a chill went through me as the shadow absorbed the warmth of the fire, and cold sulfur crept into my nostrils. Were my eyes getting the better of me? It wasn’t Shep the dog resting on the iron of the hearth as I thought it may be. My vision so poor, my eyes blurred by the smoke and steam and tears of joy, I didn’t know what I was beholding.
“Ara c’mere lookit Denny…” said Eoin hushedly, with dopey amusement on his face. “…What’s Aideen up to?”
“My eyes fail me,” said I.
“Sure, young Aideen has cut your grey hairs with the knife off the table and burnt them in the fire.”
“My soul, and why did she do a thing like that?” I codded, knowing the superstition well.
“My good man, it means you will be a bachelor no more. Aideen has locked you into a marriage with no escape,” said Eoin “‘twil be quite a marriage I should say,” as he’s getting more and more excited, talking through his laughter, raising his voice, trying to turn me as red as a radish. “What will the people say when I hand me daughter away to the old bachelor Denny Doyle!” Laughing harder, “I can’t wait to get me hands on a piece of that land of yours, there’ll be little Connolly-looking Doyls working that land in no time! Wwwwaaaaahahahaha!” said he, laughing quite literally in my face, his spit flying.
“Assuming, of course, ye still want children. You do, don’t ye Denny?”
And so, good-natured kidder Eoin Connolly would not stop until he was insufferable. Cait tried to stifle him but he couldn’t help himself from laughing at how funny it was that Aideen would perform the omen of our marriage. The thought of me, an old man, and his daughter together had him roaring.
We continued our visit into the small hours, but Eoin was distracted by his normally bashful daughter’s peculiar prank, giggling and ruffling her hair as he drank himself as drunk as I would ever see in my lifetime. Could you believe the mischief on this night and it wasn’t even Hallowe’en?
I decided politely and merrily to make my way at three o’clock. Poor Cait had to do the milking at seven.
“I wish ye’d take this one with ye,” Cait gestured toward Eoin. “With his carry-on tonight. Wouldn’t he ever stop it! I’ll never be able to put him to bed, I fear.”
I bowed my head and my cap at her and Eoin and walked down the little pathway to the gate. As I fiddled with the latch, Aideen slipped out to help me. She opened the tricky thing with familiar ease. As I exited I bent down to kiss her cheek. She grabbed my hand and opened my palm. Aideen reached into her apron and placed a weight of coins– all farthings I had afforded her since she was a girl of four years. They glinted in the light from the fire in the house. Perhaps one hundred coins were over flowing my hand. I was put dumb.
“Well what is this for?” I asked Aideen.
“Pocket those. I’ve more,” and she pulled out a hundred more. She was so quick and quiet that I had no time to do anything but pocket them and get ready for another handful.
“These were for you Aideen,” said I to the child.
“Now they are for you,” said she.
“If you insist, child” I thought these would all be spent on sweets and toys by now. “Yer a good girl. And old man could never ask for more.”
She filled all of my pockets with coins and then filled my cap and I carried it.
“That’s all my fortune Denny,” said she when she had finished. She looked up at me and I could not forget the cherub face in the moonlight. She was proud of herself for something, maybe for saving an old man from begging with the beggars on Halowe’en night.
Eoin had a flame growing in him that he needed out. The drink and the fire had lit bursa escort bayan him up like a house in the pitch of night. He and Cait slipped out to the barn separate from the little farmhouse and up the stairs.
“Eoin,” said Cait, “ye have the look in yer eye.”
“I do of course Cait, and isn’t it you I’m lookin’ at?”
“Oh Eoin, ye have the devil inside ye.”
“And he wants out, woman!” said he.
“I’ll take him, I’ll take him,” said Cait, and no sooner Eoin had her bent over an empty whiskey barrel, unlacing her dress and pulling it over her head.
He pulled off his own clothes. His vest and shirt, his slacks and socks. He exposed his hairy chest and body, his inch thick black bush and his fat standing member. He slapped Cait’s large rear until it blushed.
“Uh. Uh!” cried out Cait with each slap. “C’mon ye fecking farmer man, use them hard hands!”
He swung his club-heavy hand and stroked her rear again.
“Ooo, ouch, ugh, Jaysus!”
“Ah yes, moo, me coo, me heifer girl.”
Cait began to moo and bello like a little cow, and her soft, fleshy opening dripped the clear, briny dew of a woman young again. She dripped so much with anticipation that the dew ran down her thighs all the way to her knees before the pure water evaporated off and left trails of sticky honey. Eoin continued to slap her rear and she continued to pour in trickling bursts. Eoin pushed his plump head against her quivering curtains.
“Ooohhh,” breathed Cait, and she shivered and arched her back. Eoin gripped his wife’s thighs, his thumbs hooked into the flesh of her sides. His toes gripped the floorboards. His strong arms pulled Cait back onto him, slowly and steadily, until her warm wetness swallowed him up completely. Eoin stopped when her arse backed into his legs and her tailbone pressed into his pubic bone. He made her so slick that his head went straight to the back of her chute. The pressure of his member on her walls was enough to make her shake and rattle in brief orgasm. Once Eoin knew he had her, he began to push and pull her off of him. Eoin pushed his hips into her’s with great strength as well, his bull-like testicles slapping her clit with stinging strokes that heightened and shocked Cait’s orgasm into growing levels of pleasure. Eoin started to ache with anticipation.
Cait was letting out little gasps and shrieks with every thrust, “uh, uh, uh, oh, uh.” She took the extremes of Eoin’s presence, the ins and outs, the stretching and shrinking, the satisfying fullness and the lonely emptiness. She bucked and moaned, grabbed and squeezed Eoin’s testicles, hunched and arched; she heaved and gasped and drooled. And when all of the aches and pressures had built up inside of Eoin, he came. Eoin’s tip was all the way back as the first spurt of come squeezed out between his head and her cervix.
His bollocks contracted and dropped with each spurt. He felt his prostate inside him pumping as readily as his heart. His cock was painfully hard and growing harder as he came, stretching Cait wider and doubly wider as she was filled with his seed. Eoin retracted and pushed in again, and his cock pumped another ounce of milk into her. The third time Eoin thrusted into Cait, streams of the sticky stuff spit out of her and she trembled and fell to her knees. She slipped on come and found herself sitting in a pool as it seeped into the dry floorboards. It continued to pour out of her in a trickling gush. Her hair was all mussed, her legs utterly useless. Cait looked more like a foal than a mare, and Eoin, the mule, was standing over her with his huge cock still throbbing.
Eoin helped Cait back to her knees. “There ye go my love.”
Cait felt the cream between her toes and felt it drying around her knees. As she opened her mouth Eoin eased her head onto his cock. The head scraped between her teeth and immediately filled her mouth. It touched roof and tongue, cheek and throat. Cait was so exhausted that relaxing her throat was easy. As the big bell-end pushed against her throat, she looked up at Eoin’s blue eyes under his ruffled brow. She clenched her eyes shut and grabbed her husband’s firm buttocks. She felt painful pressure at the back of her mouth, stuck her tongue out as far as it would go, and finally, his cock popped into her throat. She didn’t gag. She just opened her eyes to look through streaming, uncontrollable tears at her man, and felt the come flow down into her belly.
When he stopped coming for a moment she eased two fingers into his hole and massaged his rock hard prostate. She squeezed his testicles and felt them contract some more.
“God almighty Cait!” said Eoin, as his prostate finally softened. His testicles laid still. His cock was at rest. Cait gagged out the huge thing along with some bilge and struggled to her feet. Eoin pushed back her hair and kissed her slimy mouth. Eoin dressed himself and Cait, then picked her up in his arms and carried her across the field. They were both so love drunk and sleepy for each other that the cold, silver night seemed to glow gold. He carried her escort bursa into the house, up the stairs, and by the time he got into bed next to her they were both asleep.
I walked down the road, red with embarrassment and affection for little Aideen, and for some time I didn’t hear my stalker. In the trees glowing eyes hung above me, and as I paused to examine the faces of little carved turnip lanterns, I heard it. Like the dragging of a heavy load that turned into a quick rattle. I continued my brisk pace and the sound returned to its dull dragging. If I don’t continue my trot will it strike? What kind of monster or spirit or demon stalks its prey on the eve of Hallowe’en? And to what ends? All of these things thought I, but I clenched the coins in my hat and refused to run, lest a single coin slip from my pocket.
A poor man I was. A tight-fisted man now, I was not. I held on to these little farthings because each was a gift to me from my little Aideen, the child, and I was not to lose a single one. But the beast, it would not stop terrorizing me. My heart beat so fast I felt the pressure and pain and tightness of chest that a man of my age feels when he is near death. I had to rest in the middle of the road, the fields and trees were the faerie’s place this time of year.
I was alongside a field of the Goosey family– one which every child and local knew well. It was Páirc an Brón –the field of the sorrows– where a Famine house still stands, reclaimed by the earth like each of the twenty Donagheys that died there. I looked out at the field until I could distinguish the light blue grass from the dark hills across the river and listened to my stalker approach. I felt the cool wind on my hot face and thought about how it would take me, where it would drag me to, and what horrors I would see before I passed on to the land of the dead. Closer and closer it came, yet I could not see it approach. I looked out on the field until the shadows around the house began to move and strip themselves from the earth, they toiled and worked, their backs bent and deformed from the years of labor and malnourishment. They stacked wood, saved hay, and pulled up the rotten crop. The Donaghey spirits’ slow, deliberate movements hypnotized me until the stalker approached and rattled again. I stood straight and the rattling grew quicker.
“Why won’t you take me?” yelled I at the stalker. “Take me away! I’m an old man. I can’t live with a stalker any longer.” But it would not strike.
I continued to quicken home. If I could just make it in the door I could die in my own home, instead of in this cross old spot by the Famine cottage. After another quarter mile I was home. The stalker followed me all the way, but never took me. Perhaps the coins in my pockets saved me? I was rattling almost as much as the loud old beast, after all. And then I heard the rattling outside my door, incessant and loud, and a scratching on the old wood door began too. Yet nothing cast a shadow on my door’s small window. I emptied my pockets into a vase from the china cupboard, set down my hat on the table, lit my lamp and went to welcome the terrible spirit into my home. I looked out and saw nothing. Then the thing pushed passed my legs, giving me a jolt and pallor. It was Shep, the Connolly dog!
The little blackguards had tied some old cans to his tail and some chains to his middle. The cans rattled as he wagged his tail in the middle of the kitchen on the stone floor. A cruel joke to let Shep out to follow me, but at the end of the night I had a companion other than the bottle and we both warmed ourselves by the fire. I began the long count of the coins. Certainly, I had not afforded Aideen all of these. There were 959 farthings, nearly a full pound!
“Chrissakes,” said I aloud. Nearly a full pound… all her fortune… her fortune… her dowry! I checked my pockets and had and the table for the missing farthing. Then I checked by the door. There it was inside the threshold. I must have dropped it as I hurried inside the house. The fortune paid, the omen made, and soon the wedding day.
I sat with Shep and talked it over with him all night until I fell asleep on the seat by the fire. A mischievous night, indeed.
Woke in the dew eyed morn’, crusty and dry from the drink the night before. But the terror was gone in the grey mist of this morning. I opened the door and old Shep bolted home. How the faeries never take a dog, I wonder. They meet other ends, I suppose. And the only true curses are from man to man. It’s not the dead a man has to scare of in this life, it’s the living.
I carved a turnip for the spirits and put it on my doorstep. I swept the kitchen I slept in the night before, all warm and smokey and light-filled. I hung some apples from the tree in the garden by some string. The Connollys would be making five stops to different neighbors tonight on their house calls. They would go east to the Hickeys’, then come west to the Breens’ the Gooseys’, my house and last the Corrigans’. They would dress up in their rags and masks and play games for All Hallow’s Eve. Out of the curiosity in my heart I prepared a second game for the children, in addition to jumping for apples which they all know as the typical game to be played at my house.
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