Ray of Light

Back on Shadow, Where I'm From

They stood in a shop in town looking at the various trinkets that sat on the shelves. “So, what’s ’at one s’posed to be, Love?”

“He’s a leprechaun!” Niamh laughed, now openly using her natural accent in front of him.

“. . . Right . . .” They strolled farther down the aisle.

“Leaving for Persephone in fifteen minutes!” called Brutus’ mechanic from the front door. Brian’s smile disappeared, and his eyes lost their sparkle. He turned to face Niamh, taking her hands in his.

“Ya sure ya won’t come? I’ll pay the rest ’a your fare.”

She pursed her lips, and her eyebrows wrinkled in worry. “I can’t,” she breathed. “Are you sure ya want to go?”

“No, but I got mates and a job waitin’ for me.” She wrapped her arms around his neck. This was the most solid connection she’d allowed herself to make with anyone since her mother died.

“I know.” She sniffled a bit. “You need to go, and I need to stay.” She let him go and looked him in the eyes again. The corner of his mouth turned up in a smile devoid of happiness. Her gaze darted quickly to the rack next to them, and she picked up a black bowler-style hat. “Here.” Reaching up, she placed it on his head. “It looks good on you.” Her mouth returned the joyless half smile.

“If fings don’t work out-y’know . . . Come find me on Persephone, alright?”

“Yer gonna stay there so I can find ya?” she replied, slightly amazed. “What if it takes years?”

“Then I won’t leave.” He placed a hand on the side of her face and pulled her into a kiss. She clutched the lapels of his jacket as though it might fuse the two together, and he’d be forced to stay. But she knew she couldn’t keep him and eventually let go. He wiped away the tear that ran down her cheek, kissed her again quickly and headed for the door. On his way out he dropped some money on the counter, spun around and pulled down gently on the brim of the hat. He would wear it until it fell apart. Niamh’s hands flew to her face, wiping it dry, and a few breaths later, she was ready to rejoin the rest of the world.

Outside, the sunlight shone as though it were trying to cheer her up. But it wouldn’t work; she would just forge on and hope that either she would eventually make it to Persephone or would be accepted back here. “Wo de ma, that sun is bright,” commented a man standing on the porch of the shop. “Why the hell d’they call it Shadow?”

“’Cause around November, the sun goes down fer four months straight,” she spouted back flatly without looking at him. Then she lifted her chin and headed east.

The walk took Niamh the better part of the day. She’d expected it to, as the ranch had been a two hour ride from town. But eventually she came upon the tall arched sign that had once been the entranceway. The Ray of Light. It had been in her family for generations, typically run by the matriarch. But her grandmother, Maeve Reynolds, had been the last. It would never belong to her because the sign she now stood looking at was the only piece of it left standing. Beyond the archway lay a mound of black, a sea of ashes where a home once stood.

Her brown boots were covered with soot as she walked through the house. Near the back corner she found a trunk that by some miracle had been completely charred on the outside, but its contents were fairly intact. “Well, you were right, Grandma Maeve. That hope chest did nearly last forever.” She knelt and began pulling items out. A couple of dolls, a newspaper clipping with a picture of the ranch’s opening, a pair of baby shoes-she lay them all carefully on the ground, trying to keep them as clean as possible. Then she came to an old looking book. Faded Celtic knots adorned the edges of the cover. Inside she found it was a photo album. She held back tears as she saw pictures of her relatives building the ranch, tending the cattle. It was a record of how the ranch had grown over time. She found a snapshot of a young blond woman sitting on a horse staring off into the distance. “Grandma Maeve,” she smiled, touching the woman’s face. Near the end, she came to a set of pictures of a young man and woman. Her brow furrowed a bit; these were her parents. She recognized her mother’s jet black hair and green eyes right away. The man was a little harder to see; he didn’t seem to like having his picture taken, so he shied away from letting the camera see his face. But as she turned the page, he smiled up at her, holding a blond-headed little baby. “Ma always said I got yer eyes, Da.” Her finger trailed along the photo, and her eyes found the caption beneath. Sept. 21, 2501. Saoirse Maeve Reynolds, born to Malcolm and Béibhinn Reynolds. “So m’ real name is Saoirse.” She’d always known her mother had changed their names when they left Shadow seven years ago, but Aoife-or rather, Béibhinn-had refused to tell her what her original name was. She pulled the photo from the album and stuck it in her boot.

Very gently, she placed the other items back into the hope chest. They’d survived this long, so she figured they’d be alright a little while longer. She stood up and brushed herself off. All that soot would be a dead giveaway that she’d been poking around up here. Then she turned and headed back to town. She had to find out if her father was still alive.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.