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A Short Story - A Halloween Revelation

A Halloween Revelation

Aylin looked around. Where was he? Ronan’s name certainly fitted him well; like the slippery little seal (Ronan is Gaelic for “little seal”) in the dark waters of the sea he was capable of sliding in and out the darkness; one minute he was there the next he disappeared. Twilight was far behind them and the midnight hour was fast approaching. She was cold and tired and found the night too long. They still had another two hours to go; as far as she could see from the station lights in the far distance they were nearly finished with their round. They had done the entire perimeter of the station and were on the last set of tracks near the new engine.

Aylin and Ronan were security officers for the Irish railway system and tonight their shift took them to an obscure little changing station on the outer rim of the Dublin district. They met six months ago and always tried to work together, enjoying each other’s company, learning a little more about each other each time. They found that they had a lot in common, even though to Aylin Ronan appeared mysterious and secret. At the time they started to work together Aylin had just broken off a very difficult relationship and thought Ronan a sincere and funny person. He never made any outward move to force himself on her as some of her other colleagues did. Aylin was an exceptionally pretty young woman, with light auburn hair and pale fair skin that made her very attractive to the male gentry. Originally a highly respected criminal lawyer, following her late father’s footsteps, she drastically changed after experiencing a shocking rape, and suffered a severe depression when no one believed her accusations that the man who raped her was none other than the well-known judge and patron of the courts Ronald Baker. Following her intuition, she left law and began learning the rudiments of self defence, including aikido and kendo. She decided that to enter the obscure profession of security in the railway system and leave the eccentricities of law behind her forever. She loved trains, having grown up around them as a child in north western Donegal with her maternal grandfather who was head chief of the local railway station. She knew every nook and cranny of trains and the stations, from greasy black engines to rivets on the tracks. As for Ronan, he was a bit of a mystery; he never talked about his background or family life. He was as dark as she was light; his medium built stature stood out with raven black hair and long legs that were always on the move, even when he was at rest. Aylin could guess from his accent that he originally came from the far north; his ancestors may have crossed into Ireland from Scotland many centuries ago. He hinted that he was an only child and left home early to go out into the “real world,” as he called it. He seemed to be free of established thoughts and ideas; to others Aylin felt he appeared a bit naïve and simplistic. Yet he was very intelligent and she knew from the way he talked that he must at least have a high degree and/or understanding of philosophy. They both had deep interests about life in general; his ideals were lofty and very open-minded. He felt that life was too short, too precious, to be sandwiched into ideological narrowness. Life was a magical thing; one had only to listen to his/her Inner Child to feel that magic, for it was everywhere.

And now near the midnight hour on All Hallows’ Eve Ronan was out of sight.
“Please, Ronan, please,” Aylin pleaded, “not tonight, especially this particular night. It’s not a time to play hide-and-seek games.”
From somewhere in the distance Ronan answered in his lilting musical voice.
“But tonight’s All Hallows’ Eve, Aylin; it’s the time when all the spirits, fairies, elves and little people come out to play! Don’t tell me you’re afraid of spirits and fairies?”
“No, I’m not afraid of them; you know that I do believe in them, but I’m not in the mood for fun and games tonight,” she said, remembering her accidental encounter with Ronald Baker as she passed by the courthouse earlier that afternoon on her long walk to the station. He purposely bumped into her as she turned the corner, knocking her over. He gave her a big evil smile as he turned away. She felt physically ill the rest of the way to the station.
“There is a lot of work left to do, especially as I can hear kids sneaking into train cars to eat and party. It’s dangerous for them to be in the cars; you know that. And don’t forget there’s the new train to inspect; it’s right there in front of us.”

Ronan never answered. Somewhere in the distance there was a scuffle; then she heard running feet in the opposite direction. Suddenly a shot rang out.
“Ronan!” She screamed, shining her large flashlight into the space in front of her. “Ronan, can you hear me?”
Aylin looked everywhere, shining her light in all the empty spaces in front, underneath and inside the train cars. She radioed the main station that there had been an accident but got no answer; there was a click and the line went dead. Looking up Aylin suddenly realized that the station and all around her was in total darkness. She was afraid, but willed herself to continue; she had to find Ronan.

It seemed like an eternity when in the distance ahead of her Aylin discovered a bright pinpoint of light shining in the dark. She dried her eyes with her coat sleeve and ran towards the light. It came from an open door of an abandoned side car. As she drew near, she had to shield her eyes. She stood in shock and wonder at the sight before her.

“Oh!” she cried. “Ronan…are you all right??”
Ronan was lying slumped in one corner of the large car surrounded by several miniature fairies, their bright light making it difficult to see clearly. Tiny fluttering wings hummed in the air. Even though he never answered, Aylin knew Ronan was there; she recognized his long uniformed legs sprawled across the floor and covered her mouth in shock upon seeing huge red spots around him.
“Ronan!” she cried out.
He seemed to awaken as her voice came to him and waving the fairies aside, he groaned, using his free arm to rise into a sitting position. Aylin climbed into the car and rushed to his side. As she kneeled in front of him, she exclaimed,
“You’re hurt! I heard a gun shot; but it took forever to find you. What happened?”
“It’s Ronald Baker…he sneaked behind me and as I turned he tried to shoot me at point blank. Fortunately the little people came with the fairies and blocked his view. He was knocked down and his shot went wild, hitting me in the shoulder. I’m hurt, but not that bad. Rather than worrying over me and letting him get away, I’ve asked the little people to give Baker a lesson he won’t ever forget.”
“Ronald Baker? That’s why he gave me that evil smile…but what little people are you talking about; where are they?” she asked, looking around.
“It’s time to tell you who I really am, a ghrá mo chroí.”
“W-what did you say?”
“It’s Gaelic and means ‘love of my heart;’ that is how I feel about you, Aylin,” Ronan smiled weakly, his free arm holding his wounded shoulder. “Come, sit by me.”
Aylin came over and sat close to Ronan, folding her legs under her. She touched his face, straining to read his dark eyes.
“I belong to a special race of fairies from the far northern lands that have the ability to change our shape into whatever our true names mean. I am Ronan, the little seal that slides in and out of the cold waters of the northern seas. I first saw you many years ago upon a lonely trip down the cold waters to western Ireland in Donegal. You were playing happily on the beach under the watchful eyes of your grandparents. Every year I would take the long swim down just to see you, and wish I, too, could develop legs and become human so we could play together. It was upon reaching manhood that eventually I learned to develop my human form.” He looked at Aylin and touched her face. “I fell in love with you from the very first time I saw you. When I learned that you had left Donegal to go south on your own, I decided to follow you, learning about life in the “real world.” I went to school, got a doctorate in philosophy, teaching a little here and there, but gave it all up one day when taking the train to Dublin I found you again, working at the station as a security officer. I wasn’t going to let you out of my life a second time.”
As Aylin listened to Ronan, tears ran down her cheeks. She looked away. But she had to ask him how he knew.

“How did you learn about Ronald Baker, about what he did to me?”
Ronan looked down at her and touched her face. “I found out through my friend Brendan, who works as a janitor at the courthouse. This is how we learn about our friends, about what is happening in your world. By infiltrating groups, talking and discussing, learning and distributing information we become silent actors repairing wrongdoing and spreading justice when it becomes necessary. Brendan is a prince of the human sized fairies; he is charismatic and has a way of learning more about things than many others cannot. I tried to get involved, but evidently Baker got the better of things, primarily through his personal influence. He won’t get very far when the little people are finished with him. Oh yes, you asked who the little people are. They are the tiny folk who live in the forests and open lands and help the residents of the fantasy world, and also humans. The real estate company Baker owned was destroying local lands with his sham housing deals. He will pay for his evils. They witnessed the terrible act on you that day and a few of them stayed near you until help arrived; they will make him pay dearly for what he did to you.”
“What will they do to him?”
Ronan shook his head. “I don’t know; they have their own form of justice. It isn’t for us to know.” He smiled at Aylin, took her hands in his and said,
“I hear sirens; help has finally arrived.” As he said that, the fairies disappeared one by one, their light flitting away in the night. As the light faded, Aylin smiled shyly and whispered, “I never realized how much I loved you, Ronan, until today. I hope we will never be separated again.” He answered, “We won’t ever be, my love; we will be together for all eternity.”
As they waited in the dark for help to arrive, they huddled close together, knowing from that day forward their love was eternal would never die.

©Joanne Pons, 15 October 2009

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