Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 12

With the terrible truth now trickling from beyond, it is fair to say that the world has reached a dreadful juncture for this is the exact point in the very small history of this very small planet that every single ever prediction of doom, of death, of absolute destruction, every crackpot scheme and half-heard death knoll, every religious rune, sign, portent and symbol ever associated with the apocalypse has now come to pass and anyone in the history of the world who has ever laughed, or scoffed, or doubted and discredited, or mocked and ridiculed, terrorized and tortured or in any other way not seen that the end of the world was indeed coming after all must now be fully prepared to eat their entire words letter by miserable mouth-filling letter as the NotBeSpeak begin their cataclysmic entry.

Bart felt a gentle whispering wind wrap around his foolish pride-bulged heart.

‘The5 have come,’ Bart said inside himself. ‘I am complete and ready to be washed in the warmth of Their love.’

The whispering wind filled him with a comforting darkness.

Inteachán imagined that she was lying safely in her bed. Everything was quite and still and as it had always been. Her parents were asleep in the room beside her and no one was trying to kill anyone. But then her bedroom door opened and in stepped her father.

Mac woke from the tangle of his elderly dreams. He sat up straight in his narrow bed.

‘And so it starts,’ he whispered in the darkness. ‘Butler was right. They are on their way. Inteachán has failed.’

Mac reached over and picked up his spectacles. He swung his tired legs out of bed.

‘And so this is what the end of the world feels like, inevitability and disappointment together.’

Mac looked out into the darkness.

‘We tried. We really did.’

Mac paused and a small tear began to form in his tired eye.

‘I suppose it was always the case that an old man and a young child would be no match for all the cosmic terror that the world has never seen.’

Mac smiled in resignation.

‘When the inevitable darkness comes for you, please be assured that it wasn’t the whole world who simply surrendered.’

***

‘Listen to me,’ said the enraptured Rock Star and the crowd fell silent. Bart spread his holy arms out wide, inviting his flock to worship.

‘The5 are here,’ he cried. ‘The5 are really here.’

Even though they didn’t fully know why, the crowd began to clap and cheer. Banners were unfurled and began moving, furling slowly in the darkness like the limbs of poisoned trees. Bart punched the air and whooped.

‘Yeah!’ he yelled. ‘Alright! They’re here. They’re really here.’

Bart played the crowd now. He climbed down off the stage and crossed the security divide to where the crowds were pressed up against the fences. He walked along the line, scattering blessings as he passed. A worried roadie followed behind him to make sure that the microphone cable didn’t get snagged. Burly security guards stopped the crowds from getting over the fences.

‘Listen,’ whispered the Rock Star. ‘Who wants to join The5?’

‘We do,’ someone yelled.

‘Who wants a new anointing?’ Bart continued.

‘Yes please,’ shouted someone else.

‘Some new gods to please?’

‘Me.’

‘And me.’

‘A brand-new cross to bear?’

‘Me too!’

Bart smiled and headed back up onto the stage.

‘Are you listening, children?’ asked Bart as he took his position in front of the band. Bart pulled out the Flute of Thelema.

‘My beautiful chosen children,’ he purred. ‘This next song is for all the world to sing.’ Bart put the Flute to his lips and signaled to the band.

Now we are at the heart of the matter.

What would you do to save the world?

How far would you go?

Would you go all the way?

Inteachán estimated the gap between her and the Rock Star. It looked an awful long way down. Bart turned around to look up at her. He winked. He knew that she had been up there all along. Their eyes met and held for a very brief second before Inteachán

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jumped.

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 10

Inteachán woke to find the dressing room in darkness. She slowly got to her feet, all the while waiting for her eyes to adjust. Inteachán moved towards the door and tried the handle. The door was locked.

‘You never know,’ Inteachán said to herself. ‘In all the excitement he could easily have forgotten.’ Inteachán turned on the light and looked around.

The room was almost the same and the rock star’s aftershave still hung in the air like an unwelcome guest. The chicken and chips were left on the table and one of the bottles of cola was half-empty. Above the table, half-hidden by a tobacco-stained curtain, was a small broken window. Inteachán climbed up on to the table and as she did so she nearly slipped on a piece of fried chicken skin. The window was rusted and the hinges were broken and it took very little time for Inteachán to work the window free sufficiently for her to be able to squeeze through the frame.

Working her hips and stretching her hands out and down in front of her Inteachán carefully slipped through the window and fell two metres into a filthy alleyway. Inteachán found herself behind the main stage. Cables and boxes were scattered everywhere. The band had just started their set and the noise where Inteachán stood was deafening. She felt momentarily overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the sound waves that crashed upon her like an angry sonic sea. Inteachán gathered herself and looked around.

To one side of the alley stood the base of a control tower and as Inteachán approached she saw a thin ladder that led straight up into the lighting rigs high above her. With no other obvious options currently available Inteachán began to climb the ladder. As she did so Inteachán noticed that the she was also behind the giant back of plasma screens that formed the backdrop to the stage show. A complicated nest of cables and leads hang down like so many tangled digital vines. This was when the full extent of the difficulties Inteachán faced in her bid to somehow disrupt the show and bring it to a halt before the climax revealed themselves to her.

Bart was enjoying the gig of his life. He wore a t-shirt beneath a leather waistcoat that read ‘#TheFive’ and each note he sang reached deep down inside the heart of every member of the crowd gathered in Croke Park. Bart felt connected with them in a way that he could only feel and not ever explain. The band behind him played with a verve and alignment that they had hitherto only ever dreamed of achieving but had never yet fully realised. Every move they made was simply immaculate.

‘They are coming,’ Bart ad-libbed. ‘They are here,’ he sang as he artlessly changed the words to every one of their hits to accommodate his excitement at what was about to unfold.

‘You won’t believe your wondering eyes.’

Bart trilled.

‘If only you knew what I knew.’

The unsuspecting crowd went wild and greeted every ad-lib with a cheer. For them it was all part of the show. The only person not fooled by the performance was watching high up from her perch in the gantry above the back of the stage. As the next song came to end Bart raised his arms and stretched them out wide.

‘Hush!’ he whispered. ‘Hush, my special children.’

The crowd fell silent. Inteachán marvelled as the countless tiny lights of thousands and thousands of phones and cameras taking photographs punctured the darkness in the stadium. The night sky sparkled and danced, shimmering with a digital haze.

‘Welcome everyone,’ whispered Bart into his microphone. He removed his waistcoat so that everyone could see the message on his shirt. The crowd roared.

‘We have a real treat for you all tonight.’

The crowd roared again.

‘Something so amazing that it is going to change the world.’

The crowd roared once more.

‘Forever!’

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 9

‘There are many privileges to being the biggest rock star this country has ever produced and courtesy of off-shore accounting and other tax tricks, the biggest one of them is having enough money to spend however I like.’

Bart smiled.

‘Some stars spend their money on sports cars and beachfront properties in California or racehorses or islands or hotels in Dubai. I prefer to collect things; not the sort of ordinary things that ordinary people collect but the sort of extraordinary things that only extraordinary people like myself are able to collect.’

Bart looked very pleased with himself.

‘After years of spending more money than you could ever hope to even see, I currently have one of the world’s biggest collections of occult paraphernalia. I have cloaks and wands and books and globes and fetishes and familiars and gems and spells and curses and any other splendid arcania that takes my fancy.’

Bart smiled as he thought about his extensive collection. He pointed at Inteachán.

‘As you also know, I have recently acquired the Flute of Thelema and of all the things I have collected over the years this is the one thing that gives me the most pleasure.’

Bart paused.

‘Do you want to know why?’ he asked Inteachán.

‘Not really,’ answered Inteachán. Bart laughed.

‘Because The5 gave it to me as a gift.’

‘The Five?’ said Inteachán.

‘Not The Five, The5,’ corrected the Rock Star. ‘I’m sure that Mac has told you all kinds of ludicrous stories about the NotBeSpeak.’

Inteachán nodded.

‘Well,’ said the Rock Star. ‘He doesn’t know the half of it.’

Inteachán said nothing. Bart was thrilled to share his knowledge.

‘You cannot begin to imagine what I have seen and heard,’ he boasted. ‘Your tiny little mind would simply shatter.’

Bart cracked his knuckles.

‘The5 first spoke to me during a late-night recording session in our studio. The rest of the band had gone home hours before but I wanted to re-record a vocal so I stayed behind. As I mixed the track I kept noticing a slight vibration in the background.’

Bart stared at Inteachán, convinced he was impressing her with his knowledge.

‘It took me a while but eventually I was able to isolate the vibration and digitally transpose it, re-modulating it as I did so. At first I still couldn’t make anything out but by further transposing across four of the channels I was finally able to convert the vibration into legible sound.’

Inteachán wasn’t sure if Bart really knew what he was talking about. Unperturbed, he continued with his explanation.

‘I first heard a series of garbled voices whispering about stones and stars and other things that I couldn’t understand. It quite freaked me out, I can tell you.’

Bart mock-shivered. Inteachán didn’t laugh.

‘I must have fall into some kind of sleep at that stage because the next thing I knew I was standing in a pitch-black desert looking up at five shiny black planets in splendid orbit. A sudden wind appeared from nowhere.

‘We aRE The5,’ the wind whispered. ‘YoU ARe OuR fuTURe.’’

Bart looked extremely pleased with himself.

‘Then I was back in my studio as if nothing had happened.’

Bart smiled.

‘It isn’t everyday that beings from beyond our consciousness ask for help and so naturally I couldn’t say no.’

Bart kept crowing.

‘The5 must have seen one my concerts and realised just how much messianic potential I truly possess. They told me about the Flute and where it could be found. They also told me how to play it and why.’

‘Why?’ asked Inteachán.

‘Precisely,’ said Bart mystically. ‘Why, indeed.’

He put his hand inside his jacket and pulled out an ornate wooden box. He opened one end of the box and took out a small silver flute. Inteachán fancied that she saw its outline shimmer slightly. Bart put the flute to his lips and pretended to play it.

‘She’s a beauty, isn’t she?’ he said boastfully, ‘but I mustn’t play it now. I have to wait until later.’

He put the flute back in the box and placed the box upon the table.

‘Only then will the time is exactly right.’

Bart looked at Inteachán and raised an eyebrow.

‘What do you think will happen when I play the flute during the concert?’

‘Something rotten,’ Inteachán replied. Bart laughed.

‘Something rotten? Something rotten? How about more like something mightily amazingly magnificently marvelous?’

Bart clicked his Cuban heels together.

‘When I play the Flute of Thelema The5 will know that their entry into this world is assured.’

Bart rubbed his hands together.

‘As Mac has no doubt explained in his clumsy, geriatric way, The5 exist in the spaces between things,’ explained the Rock Star. ‘The white between the words on a page, lines of a book or the cuts of a film.’ Bart continued.

‘Tonight, The5 will first reveal their intentions towards the world via the specially-commissioned video that will be playing on the massive wall of screens behind the band.’ Inteachán said nothing. Bart leapt to his tiny feet.

‘As the concert’s crescendo is reached I will play the Flute of Thelema and The5 will anoint me with their magnificence and then turn their attention to the audience. They will also be anointed by The5,’ said the Rock Star, ‘but obviously not quite as much as me for they have chosen me especially. The crowd will go wild and this dirty old town will be taken by sunrise.’

Inteachán didn’t see the fist that hit the side of her head and knocked her to the floor unconscious.

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 7

The next evening and Mac sat thinking in his chair. Inteachán sat beside him waiting. The coals in the grate cracked and whispered. Menace clung to the room like a funeral drape. Mac thought some more and then, just when she thought he had fallen asleep, Mac leaned over and placed his hand gently on her arm. He smiled.

‘I have to ask something of you, Inteachán,’ said Mac tenderly. ‘I have to ask you to do something that I don’t want to ask you to do. Your father made me swear that if the worst came to the worst that I was to look out for you and treat you as the grand-daughter I never knew.’ Mac shifted uncomfortably.

‘I hate myself for asking but I am too old to go and I really don’t think that we can trust anyone else with something as vast and secret as this so it will have to be you.’

In Mac’s troubled mind Inteachán was capable of anything. He just knew she was. Inteachán looked up from her tears. Her small face was red and smeared. Everything was far too much for her to bear.

‘How can I possibly help?’ she asked the old man. ‘What do you want me to do?’ Inteachán began to sob but Mac did not react. His mind was made up and nothing was going to deter him.

‘It has come to my attention,’ said Mac, ‘that the Flute of Thelema has recently been rediscovered and is now residing in this country.’

‘The Flute of Flelema?’ asked Inteachán. ‘Whatever is that?’

Mac nodded. He loved nothing more than having an audience, even if it was only a grieving child. Sibeal used to be his sounding post and though she teased him when his ‘sermons’ got too much he knew she really loved to hear him speak, or at least he thought she did.

‘It was in 1923 that a certain Raoul Loveday commissioned a local silversmith from the port of Cefalu to craft an ornamental flute which he intended to offer as a tribute to the noted occultist Aleister Crowley who had recently established his infamous Abbey of Thelema in the vicinity.’

Mac smiled wryly.

‘Sadly, however, Raoul drank from a local spring and succumbed to enteric fever before the flute was completed. Another version of the same story suggests that he died after drinking the blood of a cat. Either way Crowley was forced to leave his Abbey that same year and so the Flute became another tale surrounding the legendary occultist and his life.’

Mac’s smile ended and the agitation in his voice began to rise. The menace descended lower now.

‘It has long been the predilection for billionaire rock stars and other hapless creatures to collect occult and esoteric memorabilia – cloaks, spell books, wands, papers, powders, vials, grimoires, goblets and other such gruesome gimlets. Most of these misguided creatures simply place their collections in vaults or leave them laying around their mansions to be worn on special occasions or passed around at dinner parties for the pleasure of their guests.’ Mac snorted his displeasure at such behaviour.

‘However, and according to your late father’s intelligence, it appears that Bartholomew Hamson, the biggest rock star this country has ever produced, and known to the world as Bart, has recently acquired the long-lost Flute of Thelema. At midnight tomorrow Bart and his band will be performing their latest homecoming concert in front of 80, 000 adoring people at Croke Park and apparently, at the climax, so your father understood, Bart intends to play the Flute.’ Mac looked worried again.

‘At this stage I have no way of knowing why Bart would want to do this but it clearly cannot simply be in the interests of popular composition.’ He looked at Inteachán. ‘I need you to go backstage, locate the Flute and prevent it from being played.’

Inteachán had seen the posters around town; four men wearing skullcaps and too-large sunglasses, cowboy boots and leather waistcoats. Even though she couldn’t name any of their songs, Inteachán knew just how much this band meant to so many people. Mac continued talking.

‘Given the nature of the Flute’s origins, the site chosen for its debut and your father’s findings, I firmly believe that the sound of this infernal instrument is somehow intended to engage directly with the NotBeSpeak.’

‘But’s what’s so special about Croke Park?’ asked Inteachán. She placed another piece of bread on her fork and began to toast it on the fire as Mac spoke.

‘There is an ancient ley line called St. Michael which extends out from Ireland into Europe and then the Middle East. This line intersects with various sacred sites dedicated to the saint himself. There are various amplification points along this line, including Skellig Michael, the so-called holy rock that stands in the Atlantic Ocean. Unbeknown to everyone but a few, Croke Park is also another amplification point.’ Inteachán felt a slight shadow descend.

‘If the Flute is played at such a point of amplification then who knows what will happen next.’ Mac put down his plate. ‘As if that wasn’t enough, Croke Park also stands in Ballybough and Ballybough is one of the darkest parts of Dublin.’ Mac looked at Inteachán.

‘There is an old cemetery in Ballybough where the City’s undesirables used to be buried. Thieves, robbers, highwaymen and suicide victims, hence the name, the Suicide Plot.’

‘The worst thing of all,’ continued Mac, ‘was that each corpse had a stake driven through its heart so that they couldn’t further bother the residents.’

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 6

Mac looked out into the darkness and smiled awkwardly.

‘I think that it is fair to say that what you have just read are the psychotic ramblings of a complete and utter energumen – all pointlessly puerile fiction and paranoid ramblings that lose their meaning as the pages unfold.’ Mac hated himself for saying this.

‘Sibeal always worried that Butler had something of the tragic about him – ‘licked by the black dog of death’ was how she described him the first time they met.’ Mac paused as the weight of all the loss he had ever known bore down on him momentarily. He shuddered, took a deep breath and then collected himself.

‘I could weep forever when I consider exactly how far Butler could have gone as a scholar; the Nobel Prize would only have been the beginning. And yet he only managed to get as far as murderer, madman and suicide. Instead of a stellar publishing career with award after award after award the only thing left to show for all his so-called brilliance is this loose collation of word-games and demonic doggerel.’ Mac threw the folder to the floor and looked out into the darkness. It was a minute before he spoke again.

‘It really doesn’t bear thinking about. But think about it, I must. After all, and knowing the man as well as I did, there has to be the possibility, however slight or slim, that Butler did actually manage to stumble upon some kind of cosmic truth amidst all of this apothegmatic chaos.’ Mac adjusted the blanket on his knee.

‘If we step back for a moment from our contemporary notions of nosology we might recall that earlier conceptions of madness tended to combine elements of the divine, the diabolical, the magical and the transcendental. We might also recall that madness then was also seen a moral issue, constituting, somehow, some form of punishment or a test.’ Mac grimaced and then relaxed, as he warmed to his analysis.

‘What if Butler is right? What if the prophecy is pointing to the fact that this planet is about to be destroyed? Butler’s madness does then become a very real moral issue, only for me now, and no longer for him. Can I really ignore the possibility, however far-fetched this talk of stones and stars and dark planets is, that the extinction-level event Butler has foreseen isn’t going to come to pass?’ The old scholar smiled, thankful for another chance to impart his boundless knowledge.

‘I am reminded here of the 10th Century English word dustsceawung,’ he said. ‘This was the contemplation of the fact that everyday ordinary dust used to be many other things, usually far less everyday and ordinary; walls, and trees and books, for example. With Butler’s discovery of this horrendous prophecy in mind, we might also add islands, nations, and planets to this list.’ Mac shuddered and then held up three bony fingers and pointed at the first.

‘From what I can remember of the last conversation that we had, on the morning of that terrible night, this is how the whole thing is supposed to work. This finger is the first Tier, Past-Change – what was. It can be understood most simply as History but it is simply the case that nothing is ever that simple.’ Mac pointed at the second finger.

‘We understand Present-Change in terms of what is. The here? The now? The immediate?’ He pointed to the third.

‘Future-Change is best understood in terms of what will be. What lies ahead? The shape of things to come? The second after the minute it takes to read this sentence.’ Mac paused.

‘As a race we humans either dwell in the past, refusing to let go of what was. Or we live for the moment, happy to acknowledge the ever-changing nature of what is. Failing either of these two, we look forward to things, projecting our thoughts and desires to a time that has yet to occur, what will be’ Mac pointed to each of the three fingers in turn.

‘The Three Tiers of Change are the normal state of affairs for the world and they ensure that the status quo is maintained, even allowing for occasional wobbles along the way. From the world’s perspective the separation of these three tiers has always been a good thing.’ Mac folded the three fingers back into his fist.

‘We humans are not temperamentally equipped to occupy all three Tiers of Change at the same time. If you don’t believe me then try dwelling in the past, living for the moment and also looking forward to something yet to happen. Fatally, however, our unableness to do these three things at once, will likely bring about our downfall as a planet.

This is because it appears that the NotBeSpeak can be present in all times at the same time. Apparently, this is how they have always existed. Here’s the thing. Though they have always existed it is only now that the conditions are right for them to act. And act they will.’

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

‘Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’’ Verse 4

‘I have known you and your family for an exceedingly long time now,’ said the old man in the shadows of the winter evening.

‘In fact,’ Mac continued, ‘I have known your father since the very day he was born.’

Inteachán sat still as Mac told his tale.

‘He was always marked as different to me somehow and from his earliest days I recognised a lot of myself in him.’

Mac smiled at the memory. Inteachán listened intently. She had never heard this story before.

‘Your father was vibrant and inquisitive and life-bringing in everything he did. He was hopelessly in love with the eddies and whirls of the everyday.’

‘Eventually,’ Mac continued, ‘and after some extremely distinguished undergraduate and postgraduate work in physics, geology, archaeology and classical literature, your father and I started to work together here at Trinity.’

Mac paused and Inteachán could see that the old man was troubled by a recollection.

‘Sadly, it seems, your father was just too good and too thorough and far too gifted and so it was that during the preliminary stages of his academic career that he stumbled upon something so vast and so awful that it ultimately destroyed him.’

Inteachán was fast asleep in bed on that dreadful night and suddenly woke to find her father standing over her. He was crying hysterically and holding a strange curved knife in his hand. Inteachán groped for words.

‘Dad,’ she whispered, terrified. ‘What are you doing?’

Her father held the knife above his head. The darkness made him loom even taller over her. He started to chant in a voice that was and wasn’t his at the same time.

‘THe stONEs cRieD ouT As tHE dESERt fELL TO BLAck aND In THEir aNGUisH ThE sTONes reTURNed TO DuST.’

Inteachán lay petrified. She was unable to move. Her father kept on with his recitation.

‘WeEP nOT Said THE StaRs FOR YoUR tEars ARe aLL aS nAUGht.’

‘THE siLEnCe laUGhEd As iTS eMPtiNesS fELl liKe fOUl mATEriAl uPoN tHE pLAnEt’s FAcE.’

‘OnlY eVEr nEVEr NoW aND foREVeR mOCKed THe sTArS.’

Inteachán saw a brief flash in the darkness as the knife came down towards her but stopped just above her breast. She couldn’t breathe. Her father began to shake violently as he wrestled with his conscience.

‘I am not your bloody Abraham,’ he screamed. ‘I will do not your bastard bidding.’

He hurled the knife away and pulled the frightened child towards him.

‘Listen to me, darling. Listen to me. You must go now and never come back. Never ever come back.’

The poor man was in hysterics. He shook Inteachán.

‘My darling, you mustn’t be here with me for I am not sure how much longer I can hold out.’

Her father tore a large clump of hair free from the side of his head. He sobbed violently.

‘I have fought Them forever. They cannot have you. They will not win.’