From The Dead

Entry by: Zanna

6th April 2018
The Inn

'I'd love a shot of Bailey,' I said while rubbing my palms. The chilly wind had curled into the inn.
'Sure, son,' said my deaf aunt and began to serve the man next to me a mug of barley.

As usual, I did not complain for I was rather afraid of her smacking my head. My aunt who wore a smirk quite distinctly on her wrinkled face dished out piping hot shepherd pies. Again, she served the heavily built man who did not even bother to thank her or nod in acknowledgment. That man looked familiar, much too familiar to my liking. I scanned him from head to toe and stared at his bulky belly. I tried very hard to place him and then I broke into sweats when I realized who he was. I calculated how fast I could reach the exit. But I stopped short when I realized, I was not prepared for the tormenting weather. The roads were closed till morning.

The man turned around but he did not meet my eyes. It was as if he was peering through me and then I realised that he was much more interested in the young lady seated on the far end near a fireplace. She was making an Irish crochet lace; attaching lace roses to picots and finishing with clone knots. The traditional edging reminded me of baby breaths and spring. Her eye lashes fluttered very little, giving full attention to the intricate designs. It was as if a giant lumbered passing me by when he moved across the room to sit opposite the woman. She shyly nodded her head and smiled at him and I knew that very moment that he was smitten by her. I had to do something for I knew he was not right for her. I too found a snug corner near the fireplace. But the lady hardly looked at me.

Icicles were forming on the upper frame of windows and they were growing longer as the sun melted the snow on the thatched roof of the inn. I felt my heart getting icy cold when the lady in braided chignon let the man caress her work of art. I wondered whether she had laced her dreams with her nimble fingers. I had to watch silently. I had to be in a shadow as I did not want him to recognise me. But as time passed, I was beginning to suspect that the man did not know me.

'You create something magical. You remind me of my mother. She loves creating laces. But, she is no more. Bless her soul!' said the man in a husky voice.
'Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I'm sure she had great pleasure in making them,' said the lady.
'Oh, yes. She would always give away her work as gifts.'
'How kind!'

I simply had to join in the conversation. But the door opened and two guests entered with the blatant northern wind trying to make its way into the inn. One of them walked to fireplace and while another ordered potato stew, roast stuffed turkey and ham, chicken Caesar salad and beer. There was not much choice on the menu. My aunt served the couple promptly. I admired my aunt for running this pub and restaurant in a traditional Irish ambiance for almost twenty years. She had kept this inn cozy and homely.

'Yes, the roads are closed. Dublin is still a long way from here,' said my aunt in a slightly louder tone addressing the couple who were on their way to Dublin.
'We're grateful for the food and shelter.'
'What did you say?'
The man repeated his words, a little louder and slower than usual.

I always wanted to travel to Dublin. Being a seventeen-year-old lad, I never had the opportunity to travel out of my village. Perhaps I could hitchhike a ride from this couple. My aunt would surely be cross with me if I ever mentioned it to her. She would get tired easily nowadays and expected me to be around. I should be grateful to her as she took me under her care when my mother died from pneumonia. I was torn between my love for my aunt and the need to explore life beyond my village.

The couple found a sofa near the fireplace and sat with their hands locked in each other. They started off introducing themselves. The big size man was Cormac while the lady was Arlene while the couple introduced themselves as Mr and Mrs Lorcan. No one bothered to ask for my name.

I felt like marching off out of this inn but I came to my senses. I quietly formed the right words in my head to persuade the couple to give me a ride to Dublin.

'We just got married and we're on way for our honeymoon in Dublin,' said Mrs. Lorcan.

My plan to travel to Dublin just got crushed. I murmured, 'Congratulations!' To ease my hurt, I curled up in a corner and listened to the clock ticking, glasses clinking, people chatting and Celtic music playing.

As morning arrived without a hitch, the guests were preparing to leave. I was feeling sorry that they had to leave especially Arlene. Cormac was very eager in pleasing Arlene by helping her with her belongings. I was afraid of Cormac as I remembered seeing him at an icy pond last winter and another flash of memory of me suffocating. I wanted to warn Arlene about Cormac.

Then I was hit by more vague memories of Cormac. I saw him again at the icy pond where a sheet of thin ice had caved in under my feet. The memory began to be clearer by the minute. I thought Cormac had pushed me inside the frigid cold water. But actually, he had tried to rescue me by pulling me out with the help of others. There were tears in his eyes as I did not survive. I realised that I had died in the incident. I had also seen him being detached from reality for a few months. I tried to converse with Cormac to convince him that he should not feel guilty for not being able to save me. Unfortunately, he could neither hear or see me.

I was a ghostly figure trapped in this inn. I had come from the dead to pay homage to my aunt and ever since, I could not leave this inn.