Mac cleared his throat, opened his Miscellanea and started reading.
‘Fomhóire means ‘from the sea’ and is the name given to the divine powers, or gods of night, death and cold. The Fomhóire were misshapen and were believed to have the heads of goats and bulls. They also were believed to have only one leg and one arm each, and these grew out of the middle of their chests. The Fomhóire were the ancestors of the evil faeries and, according to legend, of all misshapen persons. The giants and leprechauns are also said to belong to the Fomhóire.’
It was growing dark outside. Inteachán pulled the curtains over the window. In the orange glow of the lamp Mac looked even more ancient than normal. Inteachán sat down on the small footstool in front of the fire.
‘What are the What-Be-Speak?’ she asked.
‘Not ‘What,” Mac replied, ‘but Why.’
He looked into the distance.
‘I have spent my whole adult life searching for an answer to that question. I am no closer to the answer now than I was when I started.’
He blew his nose vigorously.
‘In fact, I’m probably further away today than I have ever been.’
It was Professor Mac an Bhaird who heard Inteachán sobbing late on that awful evening.
Who left his door open in case she needed someone. Who woke to find Inteachán curled up asleep at the end of his narrow bed. Who smiled and didn’t speak. Who allowed Inteachán to just sit. Until she was ready to talk.
The NotBeSpeak will not be spoken of. They are the space between the words. Not the words themselves. The pause before the sentence. The sigh that follows. The NotBeSpeak are ancient. Timeless. Dangerous. Alien. The NotBeSpeak are shapeless. Always shifting. Drifting outside of definition. Beyond boundaries. The NotBeSpeak are not evil. This is not a word for them. No words really are. The NotBeSpeak need shape now. They need form to form their dismal plan. The NotBeSpeak seek a host. Like a vacuum needs a vessel to empty. Blood needs a wound to drain. Darkness needs a light to extinguish.
Only one person knows about Inteachán and her flat and that is Professor Amhalgaidh Mac an Bhaird who lives in the flat next door.
Professor Mac an Bhaird is elderly now, almost ancient. He is an Honorary Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Trinity College.
Professor Mac an Bhaird has devoted his life to the study of what he likes to call the ‘small things that we forget to remember very quickly.’ He sits in his armchair all day working on his life’s work, Mac an Bhaird’s Miscellanea. Over thirty-three thousand dusty pages.