Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rory and Ceridwen Series: Dreams and Memories, Part II

Rory walked across a green meadow. He recognized it as Tyrone, near Ross More. He couldn’t remember how he got there. He noticed that a brook was at the edge of the meadow. It seemed very familiar, especially when a little white butterfly flew up along it towards the spot he had reached at the bank of the brook.

He watched the butterfly grow and grow, marveling that it could do that right before his eyes. As it grew it seemed to shimmer. The bottom half of its wings lengthen and became the skirt of a white gown. The antennae relaxed, turned to gold, and became long golden hair. He watched as the upper wings melted into the shoulders of a woman. When he looked back where the butterfly’s head had been he gasped, “Josephine!”

It was Josephine. But she was not solid. He thought, “This is like me dream of Shan.. I can see right through her.”

The vision replied as if he had spoken aloud. “Aye, Rory my dear, but can you see right through yourself?” Josephine’s face seemed to shine and shift but the smile was unmistakably hers.

“Through meself? How can I look through meself, me lady?” he asked the butterfly queen.

She just smiled and started to fly.. or drift.. up. “Dinnae leave me, Josephine!” Rory called after her. “Dinnae leave me all alone!” He felt himself start to cry. He lifted fists to screw into his eyes . He was startled to see them as two pudgy little fists, dirty, and with a small cat scratch on them. He looked back up at the rising vision and stepped back with surprise. It was no longer the Queen, but his mother~

He ran to the side of the brook, lifting his arms and crying to the departing figure, “Mother! Mother~ Dinnae leave me! Dinnae leave me alone!”

“But Rory,” the vaporous figure of his mother called to him, “I have never left you.” She was speaking in Gaelic. “I am in your heart and ever have been. I could never leave you.”

Now completely himself at six, he crumpled to the ground and wept. “Everyone leaves me. Ye left me. Shannon left me. Josephine sent me away. And now ye are leaving me again.” He fell the air around him go chilly. He looked up to see his mother floating like a cloud in the sky. “Oh, the Cloud Lady.. that was ye, Mother! ‘Twas ye all along!”

The Cloud Lady spoke but it did not come out as words. It came out as notes played on an Irish harp. But Rory found he could understand every “word”. “Rory, ye have left others as well. But did that mean ye dinnae love them? Ye left the cat Brigid. Ye left Shannon to become a soldier. Ye left the Queen to fight with Shannon in the clan war. Ye left Shannon and the Queen and all again when they thought ye were dead. But were they ever far from your heart?”

“Nay…” Rory began tentatively.

“And why is that, me darlin’ boy?” the Cloud Lady’s harp strings asked. She had ceased to be his mother now and was the Cloud Lady she and the boy had seen so many years ago in the sky.”

Rory gazed, his arms outstretched to the Cloud Lady. “Because when ye love someone, ye never leave them.. and when they love ye, they never leave ye.”

“That is right, me darlin’.” As he heard his mother speak those lines in her own voice and tongue, he also heard a second voice, Josephine’s in her tongue. A deeper voice in Shannon’s joined the two, creating a chord of language. He closed his eyes to listen better, his arms still reaching.

Then he felt someone soft and warm against him and he pulled in his arms to embrace her. Now he heard her voice too. “That is right, my darling,” Ceridwen’s voice said.

He opened his eyes. He could see nothing but Ceridwen’s face. Her smile, her sparkling eyes, her tanned skin. He reached one hand up to cup her cheek in his. He leaned to kiss her. The taste was sweet and the passion built in him. He opened his eyes again and spoke to her. “Am I home with ye, Ceridwen me love?”

She smiled and replied, “If you want it to be, Rory McGuinness.”

He smiled and nodded and leaned to kiss her again, his eyes closed to savor the smell of her, the feel of her.

When he opened his eyes again he was lying on the floor of the Great Hall wrapped in his cloak and facing the fire. “Nay!” he started to call out, reaching out for Ceridwen again. A man near him snorted in his sleep and turned over away from him. Rory sat up.

“Twas a dream, only a dream.” Rory put his elbows on his bent knees and his head in his hands. He shook his head. Then Shannon’s voice was in his ear. “When is a dream only a dream, me darlin’ Rory?”

Rory looked up, his eyes blind to his surroundings. He pictured the butterfly transforming into Josephine. Then watched as it rose into the sky and transformed into his mother. He sat upright, his hands on the floor on either side of him. “Saints be praised,” he uttered quietly. He thought to himself. “So that is why I made the vow to love purely. Because a man may only love his.. mother.. purely. And so I could only love … her.. the Queen.. purely. She and me mother and the Cloud Lady.. they are one and the same.”

He continued to sit. “Then what does it mean to love a woman, a real woman?” The feel of Ceridwen’s cheek, the smell of her hair, and the sparkle in her eye gave him his answer.

“Can it be?” He said aloud.

Her warm and teasing words came back to him. “If you want it to be, Rory McGuinness.”

“Och, he said. “That I do.”

Next: Rory and Ceri Together Again in Lawrencium

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .