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‘Donald, hi,’ waved Ann as Donald walked into the hotel reception. ‘I’ve booked us a table.’

‘You look nice,’ he grinned.

‘So do you,’ said Ann admiring Donald’s transformation. Gone was the scruffy busker who was shy of soap and water as before her stood a handsome, clean-shaven well-presented man, wearing a navy shirt and light coloured jeans. He had washed his hair, and with the grease gone it was now much fairer, almost as light as hers. He had tied in a short ponytail revealing just how good-looking he was.

The small restaurant doubled up as the lounge bar, and like the rest of the hotel, desperately needed some TLC. The woodchip-covered walls were dirty brown from years of smoking. Possibly, they had at one time been white, but it was hard to tell. If they had it was long ago. Laid on the uneven floors was what once had been a green tartan carpet, now threadbare. The remnants of the colourful pattern now resigned to the corners and other rarely trodden areas. Faded, old paintings and sepia photographs of the village adorned the walls. They depicted scenes from long ago, when women wore their skirts long, in a time before cars, and when sailing ships were the norm in the harbour. The village still looked remarkably the same, except nowadays few chimneys still smoked, shop fronts were modern and the square itself was not cobbles and mud, but tarmac. Some of the pictures hung lopsided and needed a good dusting. Still, there was something appealing about this neglected, run-down hotel. It might not look good, but it had a warmth about it as though much loved, and the decades of happy times had somehow been captured, not only in the old building but also in the tired furnishings.

‘Hi, we have a table booked,’ said Ann to the waiter that greeted them.

The stony-faced waiter looked Donald up and down before giving a disgruntled nod that indicated they should follow him.

As they walked to their table, the room fell silent. Even the rowdy crowd of young men perched around the bar stopped their bantering to turn and stare.

‘Why are they all staring?’ Ann whispered from the corner of her mouth.

A few of the locals tipped their heads in acknowledgement as they made their way to the table, but most stared with disapproving looks.

‘It’s me. They are probably wondering what someone like me is doing here with a girl like you. They don’t want my kind in here,’ he said as they took their seats.

‘I do not understand, what is your kind?’

Donald half chuckled and rolled his eyes. ‘I’m a junkie remember. I take heroin…’ he replied in a matter-of-fact tone.

‘Oh that, but I still don’t understand why they wouldn’t want you in here? It is business after all.’

‘God, you’ve lived a sheltered life in Greenland, eh,’ he said with a snigger. ‘Junkies don’t have a good reputation.’ He leant across the small round wooden table his eyes firmly fixed on hers. ‘There is no such thing as a respectable junkie!’ he said in an even-toned whisper.

Ann stared at him, her expression blank. ‘Eh, that is rather a broad statement.’

Donald’s face softened as he half smiled. ‘Of course it is, but that is what people think. When someone is addicted to heroin, they stop seeing the person and only see the druggy.’

‘Well, not me. You’re the first one I’ve met and I have a good instinct for people, it has never let me down yet, and I know I like you.’

Donald smiled, but only briefly. He looked more embarrassed by her statement and quickly changed the subject. ‘So, Ann, are you going to tell me about yourself and why you’ve come back to our sleepy village?’

A huge grin spread across Ann’s face. ‘Well, as I told you earlier this is where I was born, but this afternoon I found out I also lived here until I was two-and-a-half.’ She paused to swallow, her grin fading as she stared at one of the many circular water stains that decorated the table. ‘That’s when my mother died and I was adopted.’

Donald reached his arm across the table and took her hand rubbing the top gently with his thumb.

She smiled at him for this comforting gesture before continuing. ‘Both my adoptive parents are now dead, so I’ve come back to trace my roots. It is something I’ve felt strongly about doing all my life and this is the first opportunity I’ve had.’

‘Can I take your order?’ interrupted the sullen looking waiter, his face as bleak and grey as perpetual rain lashing a windswept moor. He could not have looked more miserable if he tried.

‘He was rather jolly,’ said Ann after he left.

‘Aye, he’s certainly that,’ said Donald smiling. ‘That is Dark Mark. His folks own the hotel. He’s negative about everything so don’t take it personally.’

‘Ah, that explains why he’s not been fired.’

‘Aye, it does that,’ Donald smirked before continuing in a serious tone. ‘So Ann, have you learned anything about your past yet?’

‘Well, rather a lot,’ she said with visible relish. ‘My mother was a runaway. The Ranalds took her in—’

Donald spluttered, almost spraying her with the beer he was sipping. ‘What, you’re Faerie Mary’s daughter!’ he exclaimed wiping the froth from his mouth. ‘Faerie Mary Mullin’s daughter.’ As soon as the words had left his lips, he looked uncomfortable. ‘Shit, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. It was rude of me.’

Ann frowned. ‘I do not understand, you remember my mother, why did you call her that?’

‘No, I personally don’t remember your mother, but she’s well remembered round these parts. You could say she’s a bit of a legend.’

Ann screwed up her face, ‘Eh?’

What exactly did Padraig tell you?’

‘Well, I met him this afternoon after I left you. He told me my mother was a runaway. She lived with them and they looked after us. Padraig spent years trying to find out who she was and trace her family—even after she died.’

‘Eh, I don’t think Padraig has told you the whole story.’

‘Why wouldn’t he?’

Donald shrugged, looking unconcerned for Padraig’s reason. ‘Well according to my granny, what happened was this.’ He stopped to sip his beer, leaving a white foam moustache on his upper lip which he wiped with the back of his hand before continuing. ’Some kids found your mother wandering near the stone circle on Clementina Hill, wearing a full eighteenth century outfit—underwear ’n’ all, apparently. She was taken to hospital because she was awfully frightened and confused. She didn’t talk like us either. Talked more like someone out a Bronte novel apparently, using old words and she found it difficult to understand what people were saying to her. That’s when the Ranalds took her in… to try to help her. You see, with Padraig being a psychologist he offered to help, but it was probably because she was such an interesting or unique case. Anyway, when she told her story, it wasn’t what anyone expected.’ Donald paused again as though contemplating whether to continue.

‘Go on,’ coaxed Ann nudging his arm.

‘Well, she claimed she was born in seventeen hundred and something. She married a Danann lord who lived in the Otherworld, inside the faerie mound. Well, she thought they had been married for months, but when she left the mound, hundreds of years had passed… You know, like Thomas the Rhymer.’

Ann sat in silence processing everything she had heard. If true, her father might not be of this world… and alive, and her mother was from the past. Wow, it was mind-blowing. She stared wide eyed at the finger she was swirling around the brim of her wine glass, desperately trying to keep her excitement hidden.

‘You know the story of Thomas the Rhymer, don’t you?’ asked Donald again, interrupting her thoughts.

Ann looked up, and taking a deep breath to refocus her thoughts, she nodded. ‘Yes, of course I do. It’s a famous story. He was a Scottish laird and poet who travelled to faerie land with the Faerie Queen. He stayed there seven years, but it only seemed like a few days to him. When he returned home, he had the gift of prophecy. His other names were Thomas of Erceldoune, Thomas of Learmonth and True Thomas.’

Donald’s unblinking eyes widened. ‘Man, you’re good. That’s the one.’

‘But isn’t it just a story?’

Donald shrugged and took another sip of his pint, unaware of how he had ignited her imagination with a million fireworks. ‘Well, it’s a legend, so it’s a story that supposedly happened, but nobody would believe it nowadays. Anyway, there have been lots of stories like that in the past, but Thomas the Rhymer is probably the most famous. My granny used to tell me similar stories when I was wee, about people stolen away by the faeries. Or, how their enchanting music could lure folk to their realm where they would offer them food, which if eaten trapped the person forever. If they were lucky enough to escape or were allowed to leave, they always returned to a different time far in the future.’

This was indeed exciting, but Ann was desperate to know more of her possible father. ‘And a Danann lord, what exactly is it?’

‘Have you heard of the Tuatha Dé Danann?’

Ann shook her head.

‘They were deities. You know … the Celtic pantheon?’

Ann’s face remained unenlightened.

‘Tuatha Dé Danann literally means children of the Goddess Danu. They were the old Celtic gods… well in this part of the world they supposedly once were. They were our pagan gods like the Greeks had, or the Norse gods. Well, the story goes that long ago they retreated into hills and mounds. Over time, they evolved into faeries, or as we call them here in Scotland, the Sidhe… well at least in people’s imagination they did. That is why so many people call certain hills faerie hills. Some locals still call Clementina Hill the faerie mound or the Sidhe mound. Anyway your mother said she had to return to the human realm to have her child.’ Donald smiled and winked at her. ‘That’s you, but when she returned, the world had changed, she claimed she didn’t know anyone or recognise anything. Obviously no one believed her and thought she was crrrraaazzzzy,’ he rotated his finger at the side of his temple.

Silence fell between them. Ann looked down avoiding his gaze as she tried to rationalise everything he had told her. Well, Donald’s opinion on the story was clear, but it certainly did not seem so black and white to her. It could be true. Couldn’t it?

‘Look, I’m sorry,’ said Donald, misinterpreting her silence. ‘I didn’t mean to upset you. I am not mocking your mother. It’s just, well that was her story. That is what she told people. So what else would they think?’

Ann looked up and smiled. ‘I know. You’ve not upset me. I don’t understand why nobody believed her?’

‘Sorry,’ said Donald, almost spurting his beer again. ‘Eh! Do you believe it?’ he asked his expression incredulous.

‘I don’t know. It could be true,’ she replied as calmly as she could. ‘It would make sense of some things Padraig told me.’

‘Like what?’

‘Well, he said she was scared and nervous when she first arrived. He assumed it was because she’d run away from someone and was afraid, but he said little more than that. At the time, I thought he suspected my father, though he didn’t say that exactly. He said over time she relaxed and was happier. He believed it was because she felt safe. Well…’ she paused to inhale a deep breath. ‘Would it not make as much sense that the modern world is what terrified her, and the more she grew accustomed to it the less afraid she became? Imagine if you had never seen a car or a television before, you would be scared.’

Donald had not moved, not even blinked. He was staring at her, mouth open, pint in hand hovering below his lips.

‘Well, it is possible don’t you think?’ suggested Ann waving her hand in front of his frozen face.

Shaking himself from his trance Donald put down his pint. ‘Come on Ann, what bloody century are you living in? You cannot possibly think it might be true. One hundred years ago aye, folklore was rife and plenty of people believed in such things, but nowadays…’ he rolled his eyes. ‘Do you actually believe it?’

‘I don’t know—maybe.’

‘Well, if it is true, your mother is the first human released by the faeries in over a hundred years. They do not give up their mortals easily.’

Donald was staring at her as though half expecting her to chuckle at his humorous statement, but Ann’s expression remained pensive. ‘Things aren’t always what they seem you know. Not everything is black and white.’

‘Okay,’ he sighed, ‘but you need to elaborate.’

‘I’m just remembering…’

‘Remembering what?’

Ann took a deep breath. ‘Well, it will probably sound very strange, I’m not sure I understand it myself now…’

Donald gently thrummed the table with his fingers. ‘Well, I’m a good listener.’

‘Well—ever since I was little, I’ve had this dream. It is about a place where my mother and father are, but it is not somewhere on Earth, it is different. It feels almost magical. When I waken I don’t really remember it, but it leaves me with a wonderful feeling. It is hard to describe because it is not a feeling from this world. It is completely pure… I suppose it is the perfect feeling. I used to think it was Heaven.’ Ann smiled staring into the distance. ‘When I wake up any imagery of the dream goes hazy and I can’t remember what it looks like, but I know I’ve been with my parents. But the feeling stays with me for a short time… I feel amazing, kind of superhuman, like my soul’s been nourished.’ Ann studied Donald’s face searching for a reaction, but it remained unyielding. ‘Perhaps I was visiting the Otherworld in my dreams and not Heaven.’

Donald gently shook his head, his expression changing to one of pity. ‘Your mother died, Ann. She is not in the Otherworld. If she is anywhere, it would be Heaven.’

‘But, why would she concoct such a story? It makes no sense.’

Donald thought before answering. ‘Well, she was either mad, or a great actress, or perhaps a genius. She was probably a little of them all. Whatever her reason we will never know, but I am inclined to go with Padraig’s explanation. He is the professional after all, who spent a lot of time with her. This was just her way of escaping. Living in a concocted fantasy world may have helped her forget.’

Unconcerned, Ann gave a slight shrug. ‘Believe what you want, but I’m not convinced. There is an awful lot more to this world than science can explain. I have seen it with my own eyes. The world is full of mysteries, full of spirits. Tunkeeta taught me to see the world differently, to sense the spirit of things.’

‘Eh, who is Tunkeeta?’

‘She lives in Greenland. She is my friend Norlu’s grandmother, and she’s an Angaangaq.’

Now it was Donald’s turn to look confused. ‘A what?’

‘You know, it’s what you would call a shaman.’ Ann paused unsure whether to continue. ‘Do you believe in God, Donald, or an afterlife?’

Donald’s expression turned sad and Ann thought she saw a tear in his eye before he blinked it away. ‘I would like to think Heaven exists, that there is a place where our loved ones go when they die, where we will meet them again when we die. I used to believe—and maybe I still do a little, but my faith is not strong anymore. I stopped going to church two years ago.’

‘Well, even if you half believe, can’t you half believe in other worlds or realms, after all, is that not what Heaven is?’

‘I suppose it would be nice if there was more to this world. If other worlds existed, like parallel worlds where everything is how it is supposed to be,’ Donald stopped; he looked uncomfortable.

‘What do you mean?’ asked Ann encouraging him to continue.

‘Well,’ he hesitated briefly. ‘When I look around at the world we live in, I just know it’s wrong. The world shouldn’t be this way… all this technology, the competition, the rules and expectations. I despise the rat-race! Somewhere along the way, people have lost sight of how life should be lived. I mean we are just hunter-gatherers after all. We don’t need all the stuff we have. If life were simpler, people would be happier. That is the world I want to live in.’

‘Is that why you take heroin, to escape the world we live in?’

Donald looked taken aback at such a forthright question. ‘No, that’s not why I take it. I take it because I want to. I choose to take it. Shocking, eh?’

‘No, it doesn’t shock me, I don’t understand, that’s all. I’m sorry.’ From his reaction she realised she had touched a nerve. She had never understood people who took drugs. Life was such a wonderful gift, but for some it was not enough.

‘Look, it makes me feel normal,’ he said, his manner softening. ‘I can function on it, without it I can’t. I don’t use heroin to escape the rat-race, I escape the rat-race by living a simple life. I live in a caravan next to the shore, growing vegetables, fishing and busking. I don’t own much, not even a television.’

‘Wow, it sounds idyllic,’ said Ann, her mind travelling back to her life in Greenland, it also being a simple life with few possessions.

‘Would you like to see where I live, it is ever so bonny. When you see it, you will understand my lifestyle choice. We can go to the beach and you can tell me all about Greenland.’

‘Yes,’ she grinned, ‘I would like that very much.’

The restaurant fell silent again as they left, except for Dark Mark, who managed to grumble, ‘Good night,’ to them, but then it was his job after all.

Donald’s caravan was a short distance outside the village along the road the bus had taken after it dropped off Ann.

‘Look, there it is over there,’ Donald said pointing towards the sinking sun.

Ann could just make out the isolated caravan sitting above the beach. As they approached, she saw fruit trees growing at the back, vegetable plots on either side and beside the steps to the door stood two pots of herbs, now past their best. At the front, stretching towards the beach was a small garden with a neatly mowed lawn and two flowerbeds. Even though no flowers bloomed, it was still pretty. However, it was the view beyond the caravan that overwhelmed her. There before her like a work of art was one of the most beautiful seascapes she had ever seen. The beach was a perfect crescent, with sand almost as pale as the Greenland snow. However, it was the sea itself that she was in awe of being so calm. It looked like a sheet of silvery-blue glass. It was the first time she had seen a fluid sea this still, and it looked surreal.

‘Wow! This is a proper little oasis you have here Donald. It is so beautiful.’

Donald looked pleased. ‘Now do you understand my lifestyle choice?’

‘I certainly do,’ she grinned.

‘Let’s go to the beach. It looks like we will get an exceptional sunset tonight.’

‘Yes let’s,’ she said longing to be part of the spectacle. She shook her head in wonder. ‘I always thought nothing would compare to the Greenland sunsets, with its big skies and vast horizons. It was bleak, but beautiful, especially in the spring before the twenty-four-hour days returned, but this is out of this world,’ she broke off with a distant smile. A picture formed in her mind’s eye of the great white expanse turning amethyst as the sun slowly sank into the frozen ocean warming the sky to yellow and peach on its descent, the pink of the horizon ever deepening. Every sunset was spectacular and unique, but this one took her breath away. The clouds on the horizon blazed orange and crimson, the clear sky a deepening violet reflected in the ocean. The perfect stillness made it difficult to tell where the sky ended and the ocean began. All around them, the landscape bathed in the warm, rosy glow that only a sun low in the horizon gives. ‘You are so lucky Donald Gillan, so, so lucky,’ she said filling with emotion.

Donald looked proud to be sharing his world with her. He smiled contentedly, his eyes drinking in the scene. He appeared to be savouring it as much as she was; and why not, she thought; it was, after all, a view that would never tire.

‘Shall we sit over there to watch it?’ suggested Ann pointing to a solitary rock jutting from the sand. It was large and flat, perfect for sitting on, but looked somewhat out of place in the middle of the sand.

For a moment, Donald hesitated. ‘That’s “Maidens Rock”, the village’s namesake,’ he said smiling, though his eyes looked sad.

‘I don’t understand. The village is called Maidenboat not Maidens Rock.’

Donald gave a little chuckle. ‘Ah, there is a legend that explains it.’

Jumping up on the rock, Ann made herself comfortable, clasping her legs and resting her head on her knees; she waited for him to continue.

‘Well, the story goes that about fifteen hundred years ago a beautiful maiden travelled to this beach from Ireland… on this actual rock.’

Ann gave him a quizzical look.

‘Aye,’ smiled Donald. ‘Back in Ireland, a suitor she spurned was pursuing her. Anyway, when she got to the beach, she found herself trapped with nowhere to run, so she waded out to this rock, and climbed onto it. Believing the game was up she knelt on it and began to pray. Miraculously it started to move, floating out to sea, eventually bringing her safely here, where the rock has remained until this day. So that is why this rock is called the maiden’s boat.’

Ann stroked the smooth, sand coloured rock with both hands. ‘I love stories like that, Tunkeeta used to tell Norlu and me the Inuit folklore and myths. They always fascinated me, some were thousands of years old being passed from generation to generation orally or through songs. It’s amazing they survived so long.’

‘Aye, there is nothing to beat a good folktale, but it’s Greenland I want to hear about.’

Now it was Donald’s turn to get comfortable. Lying back on the rock, he stretched out resting his head in his hands, but he had to bend his knees up to fit on the rock. He listened intently as Ann told him about her life in Greenland, describing the remote peninsula she lived on, miles away from the town, their only close neighbours being Norlu and Tunkeeta. The only roads on the peninsula were in the town, so they usually travelled by sea, but sometimes by air or on snowmobiles. Some inhabitants still used husky dogs and sledges. Her dad usually took her to town, once a month, twice if she was lucky. She loved those days. They would stock up their supplies and once they had done their shopping, he would take her to the café at the ferry port and buy her whatever she wanted. She usually ordered suaasat, a traditional Greenlandic soup followed by a reindeer burger and, if she had room, ice cream. Norlu sometimes came with them, but only when Tunkeeta needed something picked up, or delivered. Being a healer, she produced lots of tinctures, teas, ointments and other remedies that needed specific ingredients that nature did not readily supply, or the remedies she made needed delivered to her patients.

‘It sounds like a simple life too.’

‘Oh, it was, and hard. For two months every winter, we had little natural light, and it was so cold. During those months, everyone slept a lot. Norlu and I didn’t go to school either, we were taught over the radio at home. My mum hated living there, especially during the winter. She would stay in bed all day depressed.’ Her mum had called it the white wasteland, so cold everything was dead, but Ann knew it wasn’t; somewhere far beneath the icecaps the earth’s heart always beat.

Donald sprang from the rock, his boots leaving deep imprints of patterned soles in the soft sand. ‘Look the tide is right out. I want to show you something before it gets too dark.’


‘Giants Cove,’ he said with a huge grin. ‘There are costal stacks around the beach that local legend tells us are petrified giants. Come on, I’ll show you.’

‘So tell me your story Donald,’ said Ann as they headed off towards the promontory.

A distant look descended Donald’s face, his eyes lost in sorrow and he did not answer her.

‘Whatever is the matter?’

Donald’s lips hinted at a smile, though he did not look at her. ‘Nothing, it is nothing,’ he said. ‘My life is rather dull compared to yours. Born and raised in Maidenboat, I have spent all of my twenty-four years living here. My granny raised me, but she died just over a year ago.’

‘I’m sorry about that. Are you alone now?’

Donald nodded though his eyes remained fixed straight ahead. ‘I never knew my dad. No one knows who he is and… well my mum, she died when I was born… She was only sixteen.’

Just like Norlu thought Ann. Norlu’s grandmother had raised her after her mother died giving birth to Norlu’s brother, but neither had survived. Her dad just upped and left the day after they died. That was the last time Norlu or her grandmother had seen or heard from him; disappearing so utterly and completely from their lives. She was only one at the time so had no recollection of her parents. Tunkeeta had pictures of her daughter, so Norlu knew what her mother looked like, but she kept nothing of her father’s. Tunkeeta blamed his cursed ‘western’ blood for his behaviour, as he was only half Inuit, his father being an American. She would refer to him as the Kabluunak, or White Man, but then again, Tunkeeta never had a good word to say about any westerner. She thought they were all blind, unable to see the true spirit of things with their selfish, greedy ways.

‘Some people are just born to die. It is so unfair,’ Donald continued, but the sadness in his voice had turned to anger.

Ann stared at Donald’s tortured face; he looked a million miles away. ‘I don’t understand why my natural mother died either. She was a fit and healthy young woman. Padraig told me the autopsy was inconclusive. I was lucky though, I spent two years with her but unfortunately, I cannot remember them. That’s what has brought me back, wanting to feel some sort of connection again.’

‘Ann, I’m sorry, I was forgetting myself there. You’ve lost two mothers and your dad, and your grief is much fresher than mine.’

‘Don’t be silly,’ smirked Ann, but in a sympathetic way, ‘there is no time limit on grief.’

Donald smiled and nodded, but in his eye’s she could still see his pain.

They continued in silence. Beyond the promontory was another beach, similar to Donald’s beach with white sand lined by grey pebbles, but smaller and noisier as the cliffs that backed the beach were home to hundreds of nesting sea birds.

‘This isn’t it,’ said Donald breaking their silence. ‘It’s beyond the next point. It is only accessible for half an hour twice a day at this time of year. No one ever comes.’

Beyond the next rocky promontory was Giants Cove. It appeared eerie, almost alien in the gloaming, making it easy to see why the strangely contorted stacks were called the petrified giants. The sea and elements had done an exceptional job, wearing and shaping them over millions of years. There were five in total; three permanently stood in the ocean, but while the tide was out, the two largest grew from the white sands. Cliffs hugged the beach on either side, converging on a steep grassy hill at the back, making it secluded.

‘Look there they are,’ whispered Donald pointing to a pod of seals lying on the sand.

Ann gazed at their fat rounded bodies of varying sizes, but it was impossible to distinguish their individual colours in the fading light. They all looked dark grey from this distance. ‘Wow, they almost look like rocks from here.’

‘Shush, stay still. That one is coming towards us.’

Ann watched the large creature shuffle awkwardly over the sand in their direction. As it drew closer, Ann could see it was a young speckled grey male not yet reached maturity. Crouching down, and holding her arm towards it, she rubbed her fingers beckoning it to come. The seal came right up and nuzzled into her hand. Donald watched in bewilderment as Ann patted the seal as though it was a dog, scratching its head and stroking its chin. Oddly, the seal savoured it like a dog, rolling on its side it allowed her to rub its tummy, its big, brown eyes blinking in appreciation.

‘Aw, that’s good isn’t it?’ she said addressing the happy creature before turning to Donald. ‘Seals always enjoy a good tummy rub.’

‘How are you doing that?’ Donald’s eyes widened like saucers. ‘I’ve never seen anything like it.’

Ann stopped what she was doing and turned to look at Donald. ‘I told you the world is not all black and white.’

When Donald crouched down to pat it, the seal barked angrily at him before turning and heading back, making Ann laugh so much, she could not stop.

On the walk back, Donald was silent. Ann asked him what was wrong, but he was so deep in his thoughts he did not reply. When they reached Maidens Rock, they took a seat. It was almost dark, and the stars were appearing one by one in the velvet sky. In front of them, the full moon had laid a beam of light across the strangely still and silent ocean, like a mystical path the ghosts of the drowned could use to come ashore. An owl in the distance hooted letting the world know it had woken.

‘You know all that stuff about my mother,’ said Ann from nowhere. ‘I want to believe it, I really do.’

‘Eh?’ said Donald, her statement jolting him from his thoughts.

‘The Otherworld where she claimed my father lived, the faerie mound… all that stuff. I would believe it all, that the two of them could be living there now, but she died. That’s all that’s stopping me believe.’

Donald placed his hand over Ann’s, and she returned a grateful smile.

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