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

Monday, February 15, 2010

Shannon and Heather: Shannon's Suicide

Shannon's conscious mind did not see or hear the little girl. If you could have asked him what had happened on the small fishing boat, he would have had a quite different memory of it.

Sitting on the cold, wet deck of the small boat, he remembered how he had approached the three French fishermen at the dock in Lawrencium and in what French he had arranged passage for himself across to wherever they planned to put into port. They were glad of the coins and asked no questions when he boarded that evening with nothing but a lute in his hands.

They had all gone to sleep after putting out their anchor, wrapped in their cloaks on the tossing deck. Shannon had nodded companionably when they had wished him "bon nuit" and wrapped himself in his own cloak, his back to the mast.

Now as he sat, the dark was total. He did not even have stars or a narrow slit of the moon to reflect off the waves. The only light was a tiny red lantern in the bow. It illuminated nothing. He thought to himself, "Och, I may as well be in the nothingness already."

He sat, icily silent, staring out into what must have been the North Sea. His heart ached. He was sober and the worse for it. He thought about Heather and his children, especially Seamus, and how he would never see any of them again, no matter what choices he made from here on in. He could not bear it. He was lost to them anyway, why then should he stay and suffer the agony he felt now?

He picked up his lute and plucked a few notes, quietly so as not to wake the fishermen. He could have blown a blast on Gabriel's trumpet if he had wanted to for all the likelihood these men would have waked. They slept hard, exhausted and rocked by the sea's gentle arms.

Shannon stood, catching his balance as the deck rolled under him. He still held his lute, still picked out simple melodies. He stopped, pulled his lute strap over his head, and started to put the lute down on the deck where it could live on, even if its loving music would never again be what it was.

As he waited for the courage to let himself step out into the cold water, Rory's face came to his mind. He saw him in terrible pain, crying out in awful grief. It struck Shannon that the grief was for him. Could he do this to his loyal and loving friend?

All at once other face's came into his mind. The Queen, weeping for him. Lawrence's stern and mournful face. The princesses' inconsolable at the loss of their playmate. Peter's disillusioned face knowing his friend had lacked the courage to go on. His sister Kathleen shaking her head in sorrow, and his brothers glancing one to another, lost without him. And finally, Shamus's broken hearted tears.

The flood of faces passed one by one, then his inner vision of Rory came back. Rory alone, Rory lost without his friend, Rory with no one to help him past this hopeless love for the Queen and into the arms of someone who would love him as he deserved. Shannon knew that he could not do it. he could not leave Rory in such pain..he could not kill himself.

He pulled his lute back up again sharply, pulling the strap over his head again. The deck lurched and he somehow managed to loop the strap around his neck twice. As he was trying to right it, the deck lurched even more. He stumbled, slipped, and fell. As he fell he hit his head on the side of the boat. Unconscious he slipped into the North Sea's cold waters, the lute still tangled around his neck and arms.

When in the daylight the fishermen looked about for him he was nowhere to be seen. They looked at each other, shrugged, and set out for home.

Nect: News of Shannon's Death

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About the author

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