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She opens her eyes. The sounds hit her ears instantly. Clanging of kitchen pots and pans with voices, inaudible but loud. Wafts of air encircle her, drawn along the corridors giving a chill to her body. Not sure of which hall she is in, Catherine moves forward to find recognition of where she is in the castle and of its time period. The illumination is low, perhaps its early morning or dusk. Candlelight flickers casting shadows along the stone walls. Believing she is between the first and ground floor she descends the steps, arriving in the main reception of the castle but to her eyes, it is no longer as she left it. A raging fire throws out heat from the main fireplace. The walls are covered in tapestries and various weapons. The antlers of a large deer hanging above the kitchen door draw her towards the kitchen. Stopping at the sight of soldiers moving through the hall and exiting towards the basement, she judges the period to be in the mid to late 17th century.
Moving to the kitchen Catherine enters, her eyes falling onto the table where her physical body sits with Jenny and Jan. Hands clasped, her eyes are shut in concentration. Around the table unknown to the occupants seated, life is abundant. Women work all around them, placing pots and cutting meat where they sit. The fire is ablaze and the aroma of cooking meat and vegetables relaxes her momentarily, however it is short lived. Catherine’s thoughts turn to Lady Maeve. This could be her time period. She needs to find her. She mentally notes that two floors up should be Maeve’s living quarters. Quickly exiting the kitchen, leaving her physical body at the table, she moves upwards into the castle.
As she places her hand on the door to open it where she believes Lady Maeve to be, a hand on her shoulder startles her. She faces the unknown entity to see a woman, heavyset and of her own height. A quick scan of her clothes reveals she is not of the same time period she has found herself in.
“Who are you?” Catherine enquires focusing on the woman before her.
“Get out now, while you can?”
“Tell me who you are? Did you once live in this castle?”
The woman does not reply but beckons for Catherine to follow to the next floor of the castle.
“What you seek is in there,” the woman instructs, pointing to a wooden door before her. “I was sent for in 1909 to clear this castle of an energy that had taken hold of the man of the house. I had a reputation for working with the spirit world but nothing could have prepared me for my encounter with her.”
“Yes. I died in the early hours of the 4th of February 1909.”
“She must be stopped and sent on from this place.”
“I fear it’s already too late for you. You have made the fatal mistake of entering the spirit world to make contact with her. You are now in her world and she always has a control of the living world through the man she chooses.”
“While you are here, your physical body is vulnerable. That is how she killed me, trapping me here.” I now roam these halls and rooms unable to fight her energy.”
“What is your name?”
“Come with me Mary,” Catherine instructs taking Mary by the hand and heading for the stone steps leading to the kitchen. Ignoring the many servants and soldiers moving between the floors, they reach the kitchen. Catherine’s eyes fall on Lady Maeve standing behind Catherine’s physical body.
“Catherine,” the strong voice of Lady Maeve echoes throughout the kitchen. Only the three people sitting around the table along with Maeve are visible to Catherine’s eyes.
“I am sorry,” Mary meekly answers slinking backward, “I cannot do this.”
“What do you think you can do Catherine in the spirit world?”
“So you are aware you are no longer living?”
“Yes, I am aware. I died many centuries ago. I am not reliving any moment and I don’t come in visitation. My need to stay here is strong. All my life on the earthly world I had full dedication and commitment to my family home here at this castle. I strove to protect and keep it from the hands of the English or other Irish lords who dared tried to take it from me. I did what was necessary and I made a commitment that I would never see it leave my hands or the hands of my family. I made sure of it, so whatever occupant took up residence in my home, they would know who I am and they would protect it for me.”
“It is time to let it go. It will always be your home. History has recorded it as the home of the McNamara family.”
“Simple sentiment but not enough. This is where I belong. Not you. I have chosen Jan to protect my home.”
“There is no one to protect it from anymore. The world is not as you left it.”
“It needs protecting from people like you.”
“No! What you fear is not of losing your home but the fear of you leaving your home and the fear of being discovered. What you are doing is wrong.”
Lady Maeve smiles as she steps backward observing Jan rise from his seat and move towards Catherine’s physical body. He places his hands around her neck.
“Stop it!” Catherine calls out to Maeve. She grabs her neck, forcing the air into her lungs. She falls to her knees, watching the life being forced out of her physical body. She is powerless to do anything, locked within the world of spirit but observes Jenny intervening, yanking Jan away. Catherine’s breathing eases.
“You are right Maeve, there is nothing I can do in the spirit world.”
Catherine coughs, opening her eyes revealing Jenny’s face staring down at hers.
“Catherine, are you okay?”
“Jenny, help me up.”
Catherine stands to her feet with the help of Jenny. Turning her attention on Jan she sees him rocking back and forth while sitting on the floor, arms wrapped around his body. “He is trying to fight her.”
“What do we do?” Jenny pleads.
“She gets her energy from the living, deny it to her and she weakens. She has always had strength as when one host would die, she would control the next. That is why it took her almost the last year to take control of Jan. She had been weakened following his father’s death and the castle had been empty of any occupants.”
Catherine faces Jenny, taking hold of her by the shoulders.
“Jan’s father fought her in the end because of his love for his son. Jan loves you. Make him see it. Bring him back and we will take him from the castle away from here.”
Jenny looks on at her husband fighting to retake control of his mind. Emotion rises within her and she fights the temptation to cry. Moving to her husband she kneels next to him, taking his body in her arms, she whispers to him.
Catherine observes but she knows from experience, there will be a backlash of activity from the Maeve, who is being denied what she believes, is rightly hers. Maeve’s energy will fade in time, whether she will leave the castle and move on is questionable, but Catherine knows that with the fading of Maeve’s strength, it will allow Mary to move on from being trapped within these stone walls. She prays silently, sending a blessing to Mary giving her the strength and protection to move on. Mary responds with a warm touch at the base of Catherine’s back.
“Hold on a little longer Mary, you will soon be free. I promise,” Catherine whispers. Her attention is brought to Jenny now helping Jan to his feet.
“It is time to leave. Do not hesitate Jan,” Catherine instructs ignoring the objects one by one elevating off the kitchen countertops, joined by the opening and closing of the doors with the locks vibrating. Moving forward, they exit into the castle lawns. Turning to gaze onto the castle, Catherine catches sight of Maeve standing inside the kitchen window. A scream emits from her mouth only audible to Catherine but everyone witnesses the sight and sound of the kitchen window crack from one end to the other.
“What now?” Catherine asks turning to Jenny.
A smile crosses her lips and she squeezes her husband body with her arm.
“We must decide what we will do with the castle. It cannot be sold like this and endanger further lives.”
“Thank you,” Jan adds, facing Catherine. “I only wished my father had done some research on what happened to the previous owners prior to purchasing it, but he was a romantic, wishing to own his own Irish castle.”
“For now until you decide what to do, the castle will remain the home of Maeve. We can try and help her to move on but I don’t believe it is what she wishes,” Catherine finishes by taking one more look towards the kitchen window at Maeve staring at her. She may need to do battle with her again and the next time might not be so easy. Casting her eyes upwards to the second floor, Catherine spies Mary sitting on the window ledge. A movement from the attic window on the top floor brings her attention upwards. Catherine can count five men staring down at her standing on the lawn. She remains silent but is sure one of them must be Jan’s father along with the other unfortunate souls trapped under the power of Maeve. Returning her attention to Jan and Jenny, she smiles, following them out of the castle lawns.
A new weekly serial in the screenplay format will begin on October 10th called “Kingdom of Malaar – Heir to the Throne”
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