Lindsay’s house was invitingly quiet, but Michael wouldn’t set foot inside.
“I’ll stay here by the back door. Get yourself cleaned up or whatever you need to do and let’s go.” He was jittery and nervous.
“What are you afraid of?”
“Just get what you need and let’s go, I’ll tell you about it later.” He acted like a cat on a hot tin roof.
What the hell have I got myself into? How did this happen? Lindsay washed her face and put on some lipstick. She looked at her pale tired reflection in the mirror. God I can’t go to the pub looking like this. She quickly smudged dark eye shadow on her eye-lids and applied blusher to her cheeks. That’s better! A little mascara and she was done.
“Come on, we need to get out of here.” Michael was getting more and more agitated.
“Okay, okay, I’m coming,” Lindsay yelled as she washed her hands. When she checked her face in the mirror the face looking back at her wasn’t her own. For a split second she saw a beautiful image with big dark eyes and long black hair. The room had become icy cold. Lindsay ran to the back door where Michael was waiting.
“Are you alright?” Michael asked, “You’re as white as a sheet.”
“This woman, Colleen, does she have long black hair? Is she in her late twenties, beautiful.”
“Yes, she’s dead though. Died in Belfast, caught in the bloody crossfire. Why?”
“She was just in my bedroom. Why would she follow me?”
“Come on let’s get a drink. I think its time I told you everything.”
Lindsay wasn’t sure if she wanted to know everything. She has a funeral to attend the following day, a funeral for the charred remains of her best friend. How much more can I handle?
They found a table by the fire in the little village pub. Although it wasn’t cold outside, the old stone building didn’t warm up inside until July. The fire was welcoming and cozy. Michael went to the bar and came back with two glasses of lager and two whiskey chasers.
“I figured you might want a stiff drink.”
“OK Michael, no small talk. Let me know what’s going on, start with Colleen.”
“She was married to my brother. Neither of them had anything to do with the IRA, or Sinn Fein, but they were visiting Colleen’s family in Belfast. The Queens Regiment was on duty, patrolling the street as they always did. There was often trouble in that part of Belfast. There was an ambush. Shots were fired. Colleen ran outside, worried because she didn’t know where her boys were.”
“Colleen and John had twin boys, they were four years old.”
“Oh God, were they OK?”
“Yes, a neighbor grabbed them and hid them in her house when she heard the shots. It was a regular occurrence, everyone watched out for everyone else. Colleen wasn’t so lucky. She was caught in the crossfire. One bullet through the heart!”
“Michael that’s awful. She was killed in front of her parent’s house. Did the bullet come from an Irish gun or the British Army?”
“British Army, but not on purpose. It was a horrible accident. A tragedy. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Both of the British Soldiers were killed. It was kept from most of the newspapers. People are tired of hearing about the casualties in Northern Ireland. The Irish are tired of it too, they just want peace.”
“So what does this have to do with me? Why am I suddenly part of this?”
“Colleen’s brother! He wants revenge, and I think Colleen is egging him on. John is trying to stop him. He may have been responsible for the fire last week.”
Dead of July is my first novel and is available on Amazon. If you’re enjoying my blog, give my book a try.
Please note this story is purely fictional. I was married to a British Soldier in the seventies and the death and sadness related to the fighting in Northern Ireland touched my heart. So glad there is peace now. No one should die in the name of religion. My heart goes out to both the Irish and the British Soldiers who lost their lives.