Traveler: Storyteller Tales: To Church and Back Again

            On Sunday morning, Danna dressed her crew in their Sunday best and blinked them all to Londonderry.  Prickles was dressed in a glamour to look like a big man, albeit a very big man.  He still appearing nearly seven feet tall and with a build that would make a weightlifter jealous, but he looked like a man even if he tugged at his shirt and nearly tore the jacket, which is impossible to do with fairy weave.  Danna left off the tie. 

            Macreedy and Ellean looked like a happy couple.  Macreedy was still skinny, but not terminally so, and Ellean spent plenty of time in front of the mirror because she did not wear dresses very often. 

            Pumpkin, of course, needed no help, except to make her dress a bit longer and color it with a soft pastel and flower print.  Pumpkin could be big sized all on her own, and she was beautiful as fairies are, but she otherwise looked human enough.  She would not draw too many stares; at least not the kind that would question her humanity.  The trouble with Pumpkin was it was difficult for fairies to stay in their big size for long periods of time, so Danna would have to watch that. 

            Ignatius, last of all, looked like a grumpy fellow, which he was the minute he got a look at himself in the mirror.  “I look like a moron,” he said.

            “Mortal,” Pumpkin corrected.

            “Same thing,” Ignatius responded.

            Naturally, no one let Prickles see himself in the mirror for fear that he might think the glamour was real; so they arrived outside the church in full human appearance and went straight in to the service without incident.  Danna sat quietly and listened.  Prickles looked around and fidgeted some, but mostly tried to understand what was going on.  Ignatius kept his eyes closed and his fingers in his ears because he did not want to know what was going on.  Macreedy and Ellean became absorbed in each other and so missed everything for other reasons.  Surprisingly, Pumpkin sat quiet,  paid close attention an even sang the hymns – she had a sweet voice – and lowered her head during the prayers.

            “Of course,” she whispered to Danna.  “I went to Mass all the time with Michael Henry.”

            “First of all, this isn’t Mass.  This is a protestant service.  And second of all, Casidy did not go to church all the time.”  Danna whispered back.

            “True.”  Pumpkin grinned, slightly.  “But I went often enough to know what to do.” 

            Danna said no more.  After the service, she went up to a woman, a complete stranger, and she gave the woman a hug.  “I’m so sorry,” she said.  Then she hugged the man who stood beside the woman and repeated herself.  “I’m so sorry.”  Lastly, she came to the young woman with the red hair and green eyes and hugged her as well, and especially hard, but with different words.  “Be strong, my daughter.  I will see you later.”  And without any explanation or introducing any member of the group with her, she turned and walked away.  The others followed her to a pub where they had a fine lunch, once Danna got the cook to manage several steaks tartar. 

            Macreedy was the one who finally broke the ice with his question.  “So who were those people and what was that all about?”

            “A ritual repeated far too often these days in this hard and intolerant place,” Danna responded as she pushed her salad around.

            “So who was that woman?”  Ellean tried her luck.

            “Annie.  One of thousands who cry in the night and have no answers.”  Danna responded.

            There was silence for a minute before Pumpkin spoke.  “So who was the girl?  I like her.  She seems nice, but sad.”

            “Red hair and green eyes,” Danna said with a slight smile.  The Fee were very empathic, sometimes to their detriment.  “A good combination for a good Catholic girl.”

            “Oh!”  Pumpkin pulled in her breath.  “Then she should have been at Mass, no?”

            “Special occasion.”  Danna let out her smile, but then she said no more.

            After another time of silence, Ignatius spoke up.  “I’ll bite.  My turn.  So you sensed this all the way across the earth when you first filled the Lord’s place.  Right?”

            “This and other things.”  Danna responded.  “Did you think Gwyn looked better when we left?”  She asked a question of her own.

            “Oh, yes.”  Everyone agreed, but it was really a matter of opinion.  Finally, everyone looked at Prickles, something they normally could not have done while he was eating, but Danna had been careful to cover up Prickles with a strong glamour just for the occasion.  Prickles stopped in mid-bite, not to say he ate anything much in pieces, and he looked at face after face before he spoke. 

            “These shoes are comfortable,” he said.  He was not wearing any shoes, but he saw the glamour and thought he was, and he was rather proud of that fact, never having worn shoes before.

            After lunch, they all trooped back to the church.  It was 2:30 and time for the funeral.  The man and woman that Danna had hugged were in the front row, and the girl was right there with them.  The girl cried a little.  The woman never really stopped crying.  Everyone who got up to speak said what a fine young man Daniel was and how he never meant ill to anyone.  They said that he deserved better than he got and how the violence had to stop.  They said that only the innocent were suffering and the guilty needed to be caught and punished.  Some of the speakers sounded militant about it, and Danna could only imagine going to the Catholic church in a week for another funeral.  She shook her head.

            Moira, the girl with the red hair and the green eyes noticed them sitting in the back, but she stayed with the couple and went with them to the cemetery while Danna led her troop to the waterfront.  There was a place there where they could get three rooms.  Macreedy and Ignatius got one room with twin double beds and the threat that if they did not get along the offending party would have to sleep with Prickles.  Prickles got the center room, and they pushed the two double beds together to make one big bed for the monster.  Danna, Ellean and Pumpkin got the third room which also had two double beds, but Danna knew that Pumpkin would get little again as soon as she had a chance and would only need a pillow for the night.  In fact, Danna took them up to see the rooms specifically so Pumpkin could have some time fluttering about, while she wrote and posted a letter to a friend of hers on the continent.  Then she sat out on a bench that overlooked the river and minded her own business until the others finally came to find her.

            “I’m hungry.”  Prickles summed things up nicely, and so Danna led them to Iona House, a fine place that was right on the water.  She knew exactly where to seat them, in the corner in the back, and she knew exactly what they needed to entertain them so they would not get into trouble.  She also made sure Moira was their waitress.

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