Thursday, October 22, 2015

PREVIEW: Liam Is Back!

Welcome to a preview of the next story in A trio of Irish Tales II.  Enjoy the newest book trailer, and then the first selection from "The Fairy Tree" where we meet young Liam Killough once more.

The Fairy Tree
By Judith Cullen
(C) 2015

“What did I say about “foostering” on the internet?”
Liam started, practically falling from his chair.  Rose McLane, was standing over him in the cool spring air that wafted through the office of his grandmother’s farm in County Wicklow.  Rose managed the farm, and Liam often used a spare desk in the office to do his homework. 
There was precious little space for him to do this in the farmhouse.  His dad’s office, where there was wireless internet in the house, was a “by invitation only” room. Grans and his Mom always seemed to have one project or another in progress, or about to be, on the kitchen table.  The dining room table was completely out of the question, and when he tried to work from his small bedroom he could not get a reliable signal.  He’d tried using his iPhone like a router, but something wasn’t working right. Liam got frustrated in a hurry, and he stayed that way.
So the farm office was really the only place where Liam could get any work done.  The first year they had lived in Ireland, Liam had gone to an online school, so this was a familiar drill for him.  Thankfully, he was attending a local academy now!  He couldn’t imagine spending all day in the office with Rose the way he had back then.
“I’m not foostering!” he said defensively, “Is that even a real word?”

“I beg your pardon, young man!  Are you questioning my use of the Irish language?”  Rose
indignation mounted, and Liam knew he could not win this skirmish.  He never could win against Rose.
“I’m sorry ma’am” he muttered, sullenly.
There was silence.
“I have some important phone calls to make.  Perhaps this would be a good moment for you to go out and get some fresh air.  You spend entirely too much time peering at little things that glow.  Those cheeks could use some natural flush to them.  Out with you, now!”
Liam raised his hands to object, and a single “but…” even sneaked out. It was no use, he knew when he was licked.  He powered down his laptop and collected his things, grumping his way out of the room. As he shuffled up the path to the house he spat out angrily, “Why can’t she just leave me alone and get off my back!”
Rose had assumed on the roll of the traditional, strict authoritarian right from the start.  She was always checking over his shoulder to make sure he wasn’t wasting time.  She was always quick to correct him.  She pelted him with Irish facts and traditions, and she expected him to remember every single one of them.  He got a lot of that from his parents and Grans as well, but they were related to him at least!  Rose was “hired help,” though he’d learned swiftly and irrevocably not to try that approach with her.  It had been a quick trip to the land of “things getting ugly” when he had.  Truth be told, his family treated Rose like she was one of them, not like she was an employee.  With Rose, it seemed that no matter what Liam did, he was always wrong.
Rose McLane was not a mean woman.  She had chosen a career she loved at a time when few women would have taken on such a challenge.  She had studied hard, and competed with men for jobs for over twenty five years.  She had learned quickly that it was not just enough to be competitive with men in her field of agra-management; she had to be better than them.  She had devoted all her focus, all her attention to her career.  At forty-four, she was still single and lived in town in a small house that she had inherited, with her scraggily ginger tom-cat, “Seamus.”  Seamus and Rose seemed to share the same stoic temperament, and their tolerant company suited each other well.
Rose had no regrets.  She loved the smell of the countryside, and the feel of it in her hand: the cool, loamy soil; the rough barks of ancient trees; the elementally carved surfaces of the stone.  She loved the mists that clung in the early morning, and the golden light of the sunsets.  She cherished the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth that were at the core of the constantly shifting life of a farm.  There was always change in the offing; something to plan for and anticipate. She had devoted herself to preserving this way of life, which had fast been disappearing back when she was young.  She had studied, and continued to study, always balancing innovation with traditional methods.  Rose loved Ireland.  She loved it with a passionate commitment that was as rich as the soil and as constant as the ocean.
So Rose was the way she was because of the life she had chosen and revered.  It was difficult for Liam, coming from such a different background in the United States, to find common ground with a woman like Rose.  The American teen’s perspective was equally foreign to the farm manager, and his age added to his incomprehensibility.  So, they continued to clash, and young Liam’s resentment grew steadily.
Liam put his laptop away in his room and tried to get interested in various things on his iPod.  It didn’t solve his problem.  He was bored.  He tried texting his friends, but none of them answered fast enough to suit his restless mood.  He buffeted around his room until his mom finally knocked on the door and stuck her head in.
“Liam!  What on earth are you doing?  It sounds like you are rearranging the furniture.  You couldn’t possibly be cleaning, could you?”
“No!” His look reflected his unsettled boredom, and it might have bordered on insolence under different circumstances.
“Enough!  Go outside.  It’s a beautiful spring day and you could use some fresh air.”
“First Rose, and now you!  What is it with this whole ‘fresh air’ thing?” Liam exclaimed.
“Do not make me say it a second time, young man.  Go bother the sheep, kick rocks, or just take a walk.  Just go do it outside and come back when you’ve settled down.”
Liam started to mutter again, but he didn’t get very far with it.
“Liam!  What did I tell you?”
Liam huffed, pushed himself from the bed where he’d been flung himself, and shuffled out the door past his mom.  He thumped his way loudly down the stairs. “I’m always wrong.  Why am I always wrong?” his mom heard him say as he retreated through the kitchen.
She called after him, “and don’t slam the…”
“. . . door.” She sighed and shook her head. 

"The Fairy Tree" will be published as a part of A TRIO OF IRISH TALES II, Coming to Amazon for Kindle and in Paperback this November.
Check back next week for more from "The Fairy Tree" as Liam makes a new discovery.

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