In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, tomorrow, March 17, I am going to post up an excerpt from a WIP of mine. It has a definite Irish feel to it. Hope you enjoy lots of GREEN beer and other great Irish fare on the day we all acknowledge the Green Isle, regardless to whether we are really of that bloodline or not.
CHAPTER 1-The Lucky Leprechaun
The moonlight cast a golden glow at Fiona Kelly’s feet when she opened the heavy wooden door on the back of the tavern. So many spills tonight, she thought, wringing out the smelly linen rag. Her hands, reddened from scrubbing the scarred pine flooring in the Lucky Leprechaun, burned from the alcohol in the rag. Nearly finished with her cleaning, she paused to breathe in the perfumed spring air. Something dark caught her eye.
A rather unusual lump appeared slightly to one side of the split rail fence lining the property of the tavern along the back. She took a step, clutching the rag with fear. If those mean Thompson boys had hurt another dog she would deal with them herself.
The lump moaned. She dropped the rag and ran to where the injured man lay. He was lying on his side, facing her, knees drawn up into his chest. The light created shadows as it fell behind him. She pushed his shoulder slightly, tilting him backwards.
His battered face brought an involuntary cry to her lips, which she immediately stifled with her fist. His eyes fluttered open. He tried to move his hand into his coat but the effort wasted him. She followed his direction and lifted the material back.
Peeking out of his waistcoat pocket was a stiff looking paper. She gingerly lifted it, her eyes never leaving his.
“I…I’ve got the paper, sir. What shall I do with it?”
He tried to speak, but his torn and bleeding lips prevented clarity. She leaned close to him, trying to understand.
She leaned back to look at him and watched in horror as his eyes glazed with the faraway look of death. She had seen that look so much in her twenty-five years; it came as no surprise to her.
She sat back on her heels. “Ah, God bless you sir. May you be in heaven soon.” Then she stood, opening the paper. The moonlight was strong, and the words written in a bold hand.
Although she had never seen a title to any land or holdings before, it was easy to see from the wording what the man had just bequeathed to her safekeeping.
The esteemed paddle wheeler, Bon Vent, lying tethered at the dock below the bluff, now had a new owner. Hearing soft humming from inside the tavern, Fiona shoved the paper into her apron pocket and ran to the doorway.
“Hello?” she called, hurrying back inside.
A man stood in the middle of the taproom, looking around for a clean tankard.
“Sir, I’m so sorry I don’t mean to encumber you, but there’s a man out back. I think he’s dead!” she said, her breath heaving.
He frowned in concern, and threw down the dirty cup. “Where?”
She led him to the pitiful body, lying in the dirt. He touched the man’s throat and turned to her. “Yes, he is very dead. Can you summon the constable?”
She nodded, backing away to hurry down the alley toward town. The news would travel fast from The Lucky Leprechaun. Death always did.