The Rock Star fell silent and raised his musket.
‘I’m happy to shoot you as well,’ he said. ‘It matters not a jot to me.’
‘I’m sure,’ said Mac, ‘but just know that I am close enough to deal you a fatal blow as well.’
Inteachán stepped forward. She could stand no more.
‘But where will it leave the world’ she asked, ‘if you two kill each other?’
The two men looked at each other but didn’t reply.
‘How about you both lower your weapons,’ said Inteachán, ‘and let’s see what we can find to say about this.’
The Rock star shrugged.
‘Doesn’t bother me,’ he said. ‘The world’s doomed anyway. What’s a few more words?’
‘Oh, how very touching,’ sneered the Rock Star. ‘A lonely pensioner and an orphan child. The sweetest of songs just waiting to be written.’
He laughed as he swept his arm around the room.
‘If I hadn’t already finished the lyrics to my next album I would start writing straightaway.’
All the while the Rock Star sneered Mac edged ever closer towards him. He was now standing between Inteachán and the wheelchair. The Rock Star looked up.
‘That’s far enough, Professor Mac an Bhaird,’ said the Rock Star. ‘No closer please.’
Following a path of clump and cliff and clay, Inteachán carefully clambered up towards the grounds of the house.
She scaled an ivy-clad wall and dropped silently into the garden. Ahead of her sat the house, brightly lit and baleful in the moonlight.
A fox appeared on the edge of the lawn.
‘Not again,’ thought Inteachán. But this time the fox melted back into the shadows and she was left alone with her mission.
The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is the rail line running along the coast of Dublin, from Malahide and Howth southwards as far as Greystones, Co Wicklow.
Nobody paid any attention to Inteachán as she boarded the train at Pearse Station bound for Killiney.
‘Nobody has seen the Rock Star since the concert,’ said Mac.
‘He wasn’t with the people rescued from the Phoenix Park Tunnel.’
‘He told me that he knew all about us,’ said Inteachán. ‘All our plans.’
‘He must be in contact with the NotBeSpeak,’ said Mac.
‘He calls them The5,’ said Inteachán. ‘They spoke to him in his recording studio.’
‘Then that’s where we need to start,’ smiled Mac.
‘I have been dreading this,’ said Mac, ‘but I need to ask you to carry on with your task.’
A small tear appeared.
‘I never knew such sadness as when you were lost and I know I run the risk of such sadness again but the world needs you. It needs you more than ever, Inteachán.’
Inteachán took Mac’s hand.
‘What do I need to do?’ she asked.
‘The First has been transmitting a new signal,’ said Mac.
‘And has caused the weeds to threaten to swallow the city.’
‘What about the crowds?’ asked Inteachán. ‘There are more people here than I have ever seen in my entire life.’
‘Everyone is waiting,’ said Mac. ‘They know that something is about to happen.’
‘Sadly, they all think that it will be a good thing.’
‘It won’t be,’ said Inteachán.
‘It never could be,’ replied Mac.