Trusting the fog to conceal her, she set her bucket down and drew a stubby candle and a lucifer from her skirt pocket. It required three tries before she managed to strike the match on the well and light the candle. Grateful for the light, she placed the candle atop the low wellhead then bent to lift a small bunch of lilacs from the bucket. Drinking in the flowers’ fragrance, she gently laid them aside and set to work pumping water into the bucket. When it was nearly full she positioned it at the base of the well so that the candle flame reflected in the pail’s glistening contents. Finally, she knelt and propped her flower offering against the well.
The cold dew swiftly soaked through her skirt and petticoat, chilling her legs and making her shiver once again, but the lilacs’ sweet scent calmed her. Breathing deep, she gazed at the flickering light in the water and chanted softly,
“Water, water, tell me truly,
Who is the man I shall love duly?
Under the sky, upon the sod,
Show him to me, in the name of God.”
Jessie repeated the incantation in Gaelic, and something shifted inside her, like a hidden door opening. Eyes focused on the candle’s reflection, she gradually lost touch with her surroundings. She no longer felt the cold or smelled the lilacs or heard the frogs. Sight was the only sense left to her, sight that reached out, searching.
The water grew hazy and a pair of gray-green eyes topped by dark, rakishly slanted brows appeared. It was him, the man who always saved her in fiery nightmares. As usual, his other features remained a blur, but she knew those gentle, caressing eyes.
“Where shall I find you?” she asked, her voice an entranced whisper. At first no answer came, but she waited and was soon rewarded.
“Look west,” a ghostly voice replied in her head.
She had but a moment to register the words. Then those familiar eyes faded away; from the dark depths emerged a second pair of eyes. Flame-orange, they glared at her with maniacal hatred. A black, clawed hand reached out for her.
Watch for the conclusion next Monday, Oct. 15th.