Read Far Away (Gypsy Fairy Tale Book Two) Online
Authors: Dana Michelle Burnett
I sat by the small fire, watching the red haired woman work over Kieran’s mangled body. She said nothing to any of us other than Megan who she ordered back to the festival scavenge whatever supplies she could find.
Kieran remained still as she tended his still bleeding wounds. I kept watching his chest, trying to see it rise and fall with his breaths. It didn’t seem possible that he should be able to breathe when his throat was open and exposed. I held my own breath, as if that would help, and waited for any sign of life.
Sitting beside me, Alec said nothing. I could feel him watching me, maybe wondering if I was blaming him, but I was in no mood to comfort him. I should’ve been there. I should’ve done...Something.
Niall came and sat down on my other side. He was still pale and shaken, watching the woman tending his son every bit as closely as I was, “I cannot begin to thank you, and of course Alec, for what you did. Had you not given us some warning, it all could have been much worse.”
“Worse?” I asked in disbelief. “Kieran is dying.”
Niall never took his eyes off Kieran or the stranger nursing him, “She won’t let that happen.”
“Who is she?”
“That is Brigid,” he said with a sigh. “That festival would’ve ended in a feast in her honor and then the bonfires...”
“Is she one of you?” I asked, even though I already knew she had to be. After all, normal humans didn’t throw balls of fire from their hands.
Niall nodded, “Yes. She is one of the Tuatha De Danann, probably the oldest of any of us, but unlike the rest of us, she is also a saint.”
“A saint?” I asked, “What from the Catholic Church?”
“Aye,” Niall said with a nod. “When the Christians came to Ireland, there were so many people still loyal to our kind, Brigid especially; they had to make her a saint in order to convince the people to convert.”
I kept my eyes trained on her. As long as she kept working, Kieran was still alive. “What happened to her face?”
“No one really knows,” he said. “Some say that she was burned by the fire of knowledge and now understands all things.”
“Do you believe that?”
Niall kept his eyes on Kieran laying there so still, “If it will save my son, I’ll believe anything.”
“I just feel so responsible for the attack,” I confessed. “They were in America, Corydon actually, watching me before they came here.”
“This had nothing to do with you,” Niall comforted. “The Mileans have attacked us from the beginning.”
Alana sat down near Alec and tossed a stick on the fire. “It’s always been this way. We hide. They find us. Some of us live and some of us die.”
With a wave of her hand, sparks and smoke made a picture of an old cottage with a straw roof.
“I was just a wee child when they came for my family.” Alana said softly. She waved her hand again; the smoke swirled to show a little girl playing with a primitive doll of some sort, and then the image shifted to a group of men holding a woman in a long skirt by her arms as another man was stabbed again and again before severing his head from his body.
“They made my mother watch as they killed my father. I hid in the reeds, thinking maybe they would let her go and leave us in peace to mourn his death,” Alana said as she brushed her cheeks. “But the Mileans weren’t finished.”
She pushed her hand through the smoke again to make an image of the woman now tied to the horses and being pulled apart.
“When they were gone,” she said. “I ran away. I ran until I came to a traveller camp. The travellers have always aided our kind, so they hid me until they could get me to Niall.”
She tossed another stick on the fire, “It wasn’t you. They just keep coming for us, they never stop.”
Alec looked at her with tears in his eyes, “I am so sorry. I am sorry for everything that my people did to you. I would never wish that on anyone.”
“Your apology won’t bring my family back, now will it?” Alana hissed. “It won’t save Kieran and it won’t make her love you.”
She got up and went over to where Brigid still worked on Kieran.
Without a word, Alec got up and stomped off into the darkness. I went to go after him, but Niall reached up and put a hand on my arm.
“Let him alone,” he said gently. “I think he needs some time to himself. It’s more than just Alana that’s under his skin.”
“What do you mean?”
Niall turned his tired eyes back to Kieran, “The boy betrayed his blood line, even he doesn’t realize how serious that is, and all for something he cannot have.”
“Just let him be,” he said softly. “Let him lick his wounds in peace.”
I didn’t argue, I turned my attention back to Kieran.
“Will he be okay?” I asked.
“He’ll recover,” he said a flat tone, but I could feel him watching me. “You truly love my son?”
“Yes,” I said without hesitation.
Niall nodded, “Then I must ask you to make your decision. Each of you has one foot in the other’s world, and no happiness can come from that.”
I looked at Niall, then poor Kieran, and finally out into the darkness where I could just make out Alec’s silhouette. Why did my heart ache so?
“It’s a difficult choice,” Niall offered. “Once it’s made there’s no turning back. Despite what I said last summer, I would be honored to have you for a daughter. I want Kieran to be happy and he has gone far too long without a mate.”
There was no time to answer. Alana was calling to me that Kieran was awake. I didn’t remember moving, one minute I was beside Niall and the next I was kneeling next to Kieran.
I took his hand in mine, trying not to cringe from the coldness of his skin. I kissed each of his fingers.
Thank you...Thank you...
I heard Alec coming back to the fire. I wished he wasn’t so close, listening, and watching me. I just wanted a moment, just a moment, when it was just Kieran and I. No one else, just us...
“Kieran,” I whispered. “Can you hear me?”
He lay there, barely moving, with blood soaked cloths across his throat. Slowly he opened his eyes and looked at me. His beautiful green eyes were drained and feverish, but he was alive. I smoothed back his damp hair and kissed his forehead.
“So then you weren’t a dream,” he said in a weak and raspy voice.
“No, I’m here,” I said as I brought his fingers to my lips again. I wanted to hold him, but I knew that would only make his pain worse. “I love you...I love you...I thought I lost you.”
Kieran pulled my hand up to his chest, holding it against his barely beating heart. "So you’ll have me then?"
I kissed him softly, "Forever."
Kieran kissed me and then, sending a shiver through my body. He managed a feeble smile, “Even that won’t be long enough.”
For two days we camped in the clearing, exposed to the elements and waiting. We slept on the cold ground in shifts, taking turns tending to Kieran.
I stayed near his side, giving him sips of water and feeding him small bits of food that Megan brought back for the abandoned festival. I watched over him as he slept, wishing he was in a warm bed instead of on the cold ground.
How much longer can he survive like this?
He became feverish at night, tossing and turning on the ground. At times, his wounds would tear and open, bleeding again so that I had to call for help.
Don’t let him die... Not like this...Don’t let him die...
Suddenly I had a new mantra. I repeated it over and over. There was some part of me that felt if I just kept repeating it, nothing bad could happen.
I changed the cloths that covered the gaping wound at his throat. Every hour, when I removed the make shift bandages, the cut seemed a little less deep and a little less raw.
Still, it was frightening to look at and see just how close...how just one more cut...
I shook my head and tried not to imagine the pain and horror he suffered before Niall got there. Even now, it looked as if he turned his head just the slightest either way, it would just roll of his shoulders.
t let him die... Not like this...Don’t let him die...
Somehow we survived those two days, Kieran with his life and me with my sanity. Once he was strong enough to stand on his own, we moved into the rooms at the nearest hotel and Brigid bid us farewell, saying that we were safe for now, that it would be a long while before the Mileans attempted another attack.
I stood in the hallway outside Kieran’s door, waiting for Brigid. Megan and Alana mentioned that she was leaving last night and I wanted to be sure not to miss her.
Brigid came out of the room next door with her hood pulled up over her head and hair again. I stopped her before she could slip away.
“I just wanted to thank you for all you’ve done to help us, and most of all for saving Kieran.” I spoke quickly, trying not to look at her scars while trying not to be obvious that I wasn’t looking at them. “I just couldn’t let you leave without saying thanks.”
Brigid reached out and took my hand. I felt a strange electric charge as her fingers touched mine. She held it for just a moment and then released it, turning her emerald eyes on me.
“You know the mortal is in love with you,” she said prophetically.
Of all the things I imagined her saying, that was not one of them. I wasn’t sure what I expected her to say exactly, but that certainly wasn’t it.
“I know,” I mumbled and dropped my eyes.
“But you still choose the son of Niall?”
“Yes,” I whispered, feeling her watching me.
“The mortal will not get over it,” she said flatly.
Guilt flooded me as I pictured Alec in the carriage at Light Up Corydon with snow falling all around us. I didn’t want to hurt him. I never wanted to hurt him.
Brigid nodded as if she could see my memories, “But that doesn’t change your mind.”
“No,” I said without hesitation.
Brigid sighed as she turned to walk away, “I wish you well then.”
“You saw all of that just by shaking my hand?” I called after her. “What else did you see? What about Kieran?”
She didn’t answer and I didn’t chase after her. I watched her leave, wondering if she really had the power to see the future. If she did, what was that she wasn’t telling me?
* * * *
A week later, the vacation visas Alec and I had were set to expire. I wasn’t ready to leave yet, but I had no choice.
“You have to go back,” Kieran said in a scratchy voice. He was propped up on pillows in the hotel bed sipping the warm teas that Brigid left for him “You have no choice.”
I sat down on the edge of the bed and took the cup when his hands began to tremble, “What about you?”
“I’ll be along shortly.”
I tucked the blankets around him, wishing I could crawl in with him. “I don’t want to leave you. Look what happened last time.”
He smiled weakly and pointed to his raw and scared neck, “Can you imagine me going through customs like this? Harmony, I need help to even stand. I need time to heal.”
“I know,” I said with a defeated sigh.
He took my hand in his, “What if I make you a promise?”
“What if I promise that I will spend every minute, every second, of our time apart trying to get back to you?”
I brushed his hair from his forehead and away from his eyes, “You won’t keep me waiting?”
“No,” he whispered and leaned forward to brush a gentle kiss over my lips. “I can’t wait to start my forever with you.”
Kieran, supported by Niall, went with us to the airport. He was still pale and weak with a scarf around his neck to hide the angry red scar. I held his other arm, not sure if I was really of any assistance to him, but I needed to touch him.
It was awkward standing there, trying to say our goodbyes, with Alec and Niall watching. I pleaded silently with them until Niall sensed my desperation. He eased Kieran’s other arm up to my shoulder and backed away.
“We’ll just wait for you over here,” he said as he motioned for Alec to follow.
I waited until they were a few steps away from us and then looked up into Kieran’s handsome face.
“I still don’t want to leave you,” I confessed.
Kieran held me against his chest, but he was so weak that I could barely feel the pressure of his arms. I could already feel his legs starting to tremble with exhaustion.
“I’ll be along just as soon as I’m strong enough to travel,” he whispered and my hair.
“That’s exactly why I shouldn’t leave,” I argued. “You’re still so weak. I’m going to be so worried about you.”
Kieran lowered his lips to mine, teasing my mouth with a feathery light kiss that hinted of so much more to come.
“Forever won’t start soon enough,” he promised and kissed me again.
I wrap my arms around him, never wanting to let go. I heard my flight announced, but I held him even tighter.
Not yet... I’m not ready yet...
Alec move towards us and cleared his throat as if embarrassed, “We have to go now, our plane is boarding.”
I stepped away from Kieran, my heart already breaking again.
“You’ll come soon?” I asked.
Kieran smiled weakly, looking as though he would faint at any moment. “Nothing will keep me from it.”
He and Alec shook hands begrudgingly and then it was time to go.
“Take care of her,” Kieran said as Niall came to his aid and Alec led me away.
I kept looking back at Kieran as we walked away. Even once we were on the plane, I watched out the window, trying to see him somehow until our plane took off, only then did I turn away from the window and ease back into my seat.
“So you’re really going to do it?” Alec I asked.
“Marry him or whatever you want to call it,” he said. “Are you really going to live like one of them?”
I couldn’t help but smile, “Yes, I'm going to marry him or whatever you call it.”
Alec snorted and shook his head, “He’ll never be able to make you happy.”
“You don’t know that.”
“We’ve both seen what their lives are like,” he argued. “Always moving from place to place, always looking over your shoulder... That’s no life.”
I looked back out the window, “I’d be with Kieran and that’s all that matters.”
“It’s not as simple as that.”
“I’m sorry Alec, but it
that simple. I love Kieran and nothing will change that. So, yeah, it
Alec reached out and took my face in his hands, forcing me to look at him. Despite myself I trembled in his touch.
“I want you to think about which are doing and what you’re giving up,” he begged.
I looked at him, knowing how he felt about me and wishing that I could just make those feelings disappear. I didn’t want him to say those words or look at me that way.
Slowly, he brought his face to mine, close enough for our lips to touch. At first I was too surprised to move, this was Alec and I knew I shouldn’t be doing this, but then I was kissing him every bit as feverishly as he was kissing me.
What am I doing?
Things just got complicated...