Authors: John Lenahan
SONS OF MACHA
For Tim and Sarah (Mel) Lenahan.
The only ones I still show off for.
Table of Contents
e wasn't a Scranton cop. I could tell that as soon as he walked in. The pressed suit and the newly cut hair made me suspicious but the Italian shoes were a dead giveaway.
âConor O'Neil?' he said in a low voice that made me think he had been practising it in a mirror.
âHay-na,' I replied using the local vernacular. His confused look confirmed that he was an out-of-towner. Not that I minded; the local police had been none too gentle with me. Understandable, considering they were certain that I killed my father, bombed their police station, hospitalised about two dozen of their fellow officers and kidnapped their favourite detective. So when a Scranton cop elbowed me in the ribs when no one was looking it was forgivable but not pleasant. This new guy was a relief. He looked like he played by the book â hell, he looked like he wrote the book.
âMy name is Special Agent Andrew Murano.'
âYou're a Fed?'
He flashed his identification card emblazoned with a big âFBI' across it.
âWow, what did I do to deserve the Eliot Ness treatment?'
âKidnapping is a federal crime.'
âWell then you can go home, I didn't kidnap anybody.'
âThat's not what Detective Fallon tells us,' the FBI man said, opening a folder on the table between us.
âWell Detective Fallon can kiss my â¦'
âYou claim,' Murano interrupted, âthat you accidentally took Detective Fallon to a magical land where you rode dragons together.'
I winced. âWell, when you say it like that, it sounds a
âNo, not at all, Mr O'Neil. Do go on.'
I really didn't want to. Telling a story as crazy as mine is kind of fun the first time around but after a while it loses its appeal. I've often heard that women hate it when men mentally undress them with their eyes â well, I had the opposite problem. Everyone I told my story to mentally dressed me
a straitjacket. But I recounted my tale once again, 'cause Brendan told me to tell the truth.
Brendan and I had arrived from Tir na Nog into the Real World not far from Brendan's house. The portal connecting The Land to the Real World deposited us inside a small patch of trees exactly at the spot where Brendan's mother said mystical ley-lines converged. Brendan had always considered that just another one of his mother's hippy-trippy crazy ideas, but he was learning that many of her crazy ideas were turning out to be true. Detective Fallon and I were the only ones who made the trip. Essa was supposed to join us but she was still mad at me for the Graysea thing.
Brendan's mother Nora was one of those older women who looked great even into her seventies. You could see by her face that she had all of her marbles (and then some) and her physique showed that she was still strong. Good thing too, 'cause the shock that Brendan and I gave her when we showed up to the front door on horseback would probably have killed a lesser senior citizen.
When his mother asked him where he had been, Brendan started by saying, âYou're not going to believe this.' But only a couple of minutes into the story it was plain to see that she did. She had believed in Filis and Faeries and Brownies and Tir na Nog all of her life and tears came to her eyes as Brendan told her that the Queen of the Druids recognised him as one of their own.
Brendan's daughter Ruby was at school. He wanted to go and get her but Nora convinced him that that was a bad idea. He was apparently a very famous missing person. There had even been a TV show recreating Mom and Nieve's attack on the police station and Brendan's picture had been on every TV, newspaper and Internet screen in the country. Showing up in a third-grade classroom, we decided, might cause a bit of a commotion.
We were sitting down to a nice cup of tea in the kitchen when Brendan saw something outside the window and said, âOh my gods.' He jumped up and took a big carving knife out of a wooden block on the counter and said âTake it!'
âNow drop it.'
I didn't have a clue what was going on. âWhat?'
âI said drop it.'
He was so frantic I did what I was told.
Then he said, âTell the truth â it'll keep you out of a serious jail until I can figure things out.'
Before I even had time to say, âHuh?' a zillion screaming cops barrelled in the front and back doors with guns drawn. Brendan hit me in the stomach, spun me around and dropped me to the ground with my arm twisted behind my back. âI've got him,' he shouted. âHe's disarmed!'
I was cuffed, dragged to my feet by my hair, slammed against the wall and then tossed head first into a police wagon. All the while I kept hearing cops asking Brendan how
was. I saw Brendan's mother on her porch as they were closing the doors of the van.
âIt was very nice to meet you, Mrs Fallon,' I said.
Brendan was right. Telling the truth got me a room in a secure mental hospital where my daily interrogators alternated between cops who wanted to kill me and shrinks who wanted to understand me. I couldn't decide which I liked better. Special Agent Murano was my first change in a couple of days.
I took a deep breath and told the story of how my dad was not dead. That he was alive and well in Tir na Nog, the mythical Irish Land of Eternal Youth, where I assisted him regaining the throne by helping him attach his missing hand and then chopping off my uncle's hand.
Then I narrated the story of how, when I got back home, Detective Fallon arrested me for my father's murder and how my mother and aunt busted me out of jail and how they took me back to The Land and how Detective Fallon got transported with us by accident and then we had to search all over The Land and had to fight a battle and ride a dragon so I could use its blood to save my father's life. And now we are back again so Brendan can see his daughter and tell his mother that he is a Druid. I left out the mermaid stuff 'cause that just sounded kooky.
When I finished I had a long hard look at Special Agent Murano to see if I could figure out which group he was going to join. The group that thought I was crazy or the group that thought I was pretending to be crazy. Agent Andy was difficult to read. He clicked off his tape recorder and tilted his head towards the armed guard that was standing by the door.