Séamus (as it happened in a dream, 2012)

They intercepted me in a forest outside Corkey, Co. Antrim, one afternoon, with torches, one by one, although I was doing nothing other than minding my own business. She was the first to emerge, Fiona. A white dress, male-short black hair, a fist of redness on her cheeks, acute anger. She said she was looking for James and she asked me where he was, as it obviously was expected of me to know that. Then the others appeared as well. Delicate pasts, three sisters, two brothers. Michael was the eldest, a twenty-year-old. Freshly out of prison. Then Moyra, Daniel and Brigid, there it was again, the same incurable cobweb of darkness. When they turned their backs on me for a minute, on a leaf-covered slope, there weren’t a lot of trees in that spot and the sun suddenly shone more brightly, unveiling an ash-haired boy, with a slightly dirty face and a torn black jacket, and the eyes as ancient and as hard as Knocklayde. He just looked at me, then disappeared. I knew I should keep my mouth shut. In the town outside, a wooden box to be put in the ground was already underway. The people around were buzzing like tangled bees. They were angry with me. As if I’m the one who had lost James. They didn’t understand that it wasn’t him anymore for whom a cow should be taken to the shore to have her blood drawn. I started crying, but not out of sorrow.

  • (English translation, July 2020)