“Weren’t you supposed to stay inside tonight?” Moira asked, and she frowned, but only to keep from bursting out laughing for love of every one of the knuckleheads.
Pumpkin quickly hid behind Ellean. Prickles looked at his feet while Ignatius slapped him on the arm, not to say the ogre felt it. “Yeah, you big dummy. And just look at the mess you made. Broken glass everywhere.”
“Hey!” Macreedy stepped up. “Quit picking on the big guy. He can’t help it.”
“Oh, so now you’re the big defender?”
Ellean pushed between the two. “Stop it, this isn’t helping.”
Pumpkin, now exposed, fluttered up to Mickey. “Hi, my name is Pumpkin.”
“I’m no defender.” Macreedy turned red. “You’re just deflecting your own disobedience on him because he just isn’t the sharpest knife.”
“He isn’t even the sharpest spoon.”
“Cut it out…” Ellean pushed them both to separate them
“Do you have a name?”
“Well, er, Mickey…”
“Sorry about the window.” Prickles finally caught up with the first thing that was said just before Moira shouted.
“Quiet!” She turned back to Mister Brannigan who did not believe what he was seeing, and who was apparently seeing more than just the glamour of humanity that surrounded the others. Moira could not tell exactly what Mickey saw other than the fairy who zipped to Moira’s shoulder as soon as she shouted. “Now, Mister Brannigan.” Moira started to speak, but then she was not certain what she wanted to say, exactly. She felt some pride in all she accomplished. She used her powers, such as they were, and most were things that her grandmother never taught her, or not exactly. She decided the only reason she got caught by the man’s first salvo was because it came so unexpectedly. And the only reason she was afraid of the man was because she had never faced such power before. And the only reason he surprised her with the cloud and managed to hover above her was because he had practical experience at this sort of confrontation which she did not. Only now what was she going to do with the man? Those were the exact words she heard behind her.
“Now, what are you going to do with him?”
Danna came up alongside Moira and Michaela ran to Mickey and hugged him like she was afraid she might lose him, or lose herself, and like maybe she would not mind being lost if only they could be lost together. Moira turned to Danna and asked a simple question. “Is there something you can do?” The Little ones, meanwhile, were exceptionally quiet and rather tried to pretend they were not even there, except for Prickles, who would have been impossible to be inconspicuous and who had forgotten that he was out after hours in any case.
“Do you want me to do something?” Danna asked while she reached out and hugged her granddaughter.
Moira responded, more willingly than ever. “Please,” she said.
“Alright.” Danna reached out her hand. “Let me see Mary.”
“Mary? Oh, yes.” Moira reached into the purse which was still on her shoulder, opposite the fairy. She pulled out the rock and handed it over, not knowing what to think. Danna stepped apart from them all and rapped her knuckles on the rock three times. There was smoke that came from the rock, and it slowly formed into the figure of an older woman, not as old as Madam Elizabeth, but nearly so. The woman stretched as if confined in a tight space for a very long time, which she was, and then Mister Brannigan said something that should have been no surprise to those around him.
“Brian?” The Djin obviously knew the man. “How did I get back in Ireland?” She turned once in a circle and stopped to face Danna. “And don’t call me Mary!”
“Your chosen name.” Danna smiled and waved her hand. Moira’s bubble around Mister Brannigan melted and the man turned to the Djin with some pleading in his voice.
“Mother.” He repeated himself. “Get me out of this.”
The Djin paused and looked at her son. She shook her head. “There is no getting out of this.” She pointed at Danna. “I have a bad feeling about this, and I don’t mean a good-bad feeling.”
“Why?” Mister Brannigan protested. “Who is this woman?”
“THE goddess,” the Djin answered.
“Hush,” Danna said, and the man could no longer speak or move. There was no magic involved, no bubble, no sign of light, like his pink magic or Moira’s magic like the sun, or even the Djin’s darkness, there was no magic of any discernable kind at all and yet the man could neither move nor talk, though he could still see and hear and understand. “Now, Mary, you have a choice.”
The Djin squinted her eyes tight as if she expected Danna’s words to hurt in some way. “Go ahead. I figured the rock was only temporary.”
“Not at all,” Danna said with a smile. “It can be permanent if you like. I think you will make a fine door knocker, and a real discouragement to anyone not welcomed in the halls of Tara.”
“Where’s the choice?”
“Well.” Danna paused, dramatically. “I could let you take your son home, but of course you and he would have to become fully human. He has certainly tortured his neighbors enough for one lifetime. Then again, he has amassed a bit of a fortune so you would not suffer any want in the rest of your days, but the choice is yours.”
“Hush. I’m thinking about it.”
“Mother! And what becomes of me if you decide to be a door knocker?”
Danna said nothing..
“I suppose we will have to go to church,” the Djinn said.
“Oh, the way you like to torture people. You will make a great church lady,” Danna said in a voice that suggested it should be no hardship.
“And my son will have to get a job?”
“Certainly he will want to do something, don’t you think?”
“Something awful that he will hate?”
“Mother!” Now Mister Brannigan was really objecting, but Danna merely shrugged.
“Alright, you convinced me,” the Djin said. “It isn’t safe for me out here anymore with you hanging around and it beats being in that crampy old rock.” The woman stretched. Danna clapped her hands. Apparently that was all there was to it.
“Take good care of him, Mary,” Danna said, and she waved in her way and both the former Djin and her formerly half-Djin son vanished.
“You don’t mess around,” Moira said. “Did you know that was going to happen in advance?”
“Not really.” Danna spoke honestly enough. “But if you hang around Little ones long enough you will discover that those sort of coincidences seem to come up all the time.” Danna turned to the Little Ones and they shied away as if not paying attention. “Go to bed,” she said and waved her hand, and the Little Ones all vanished to appear again in their rooms and in their beds. Then she turned to Mickey and Michaela who were still holding tight to each other. “Aren’t they a nice couple?”
“She kind of towers over him.” Moira pointed out the obvious.
“Details.” Danna dismissed Moira’s thought. “Well?”
“Well what?” Mickey found his voice.
“Go home and pack. Both of you. You and Moira and her friends have a long journey tomorrow. And bring the money from the poker game. That should be enough to get you a fine cottage.”
“But we’re not married.” Michaela pointed at herself and Mickey but did not let go.
“Details,” Danna said, and she and Moira vanished from that place to appear on their hill top by the cliffs and the sea.