Chapter 13. Courage
Updated: Dec 22, 2020
Maeve worried about it all the way home so without any of the normal preamble she opened her call to Ada with,
“How do you call a spirit who isn’t looking to talk to you?”
Ada was pensive, she’d had a feeling that this call would be coming at some point,
“We have talked about this before, and we both know that you don’t like it. If it was me, I would have a seance, and probably use a ouija board. With the board, if they don’t speak at least that way they can communicate. It’s a bit slow, but it does work”
Maeve cut her off sharply,
“Well, that’s not going to work this time. It’s in the middle of the woods. And I am not going to have a seance at home, goodness knows who might appear. I do not want to have an ‘open door’ policy to any old spirits, I would never be able to get back to having a normal life. I am trying to control who I speak to. This is for a very specific question.” Maeve’s anxiety was clear. She did not want to open a floodgate to the other side by accident. She was not at all confident that she could manage this.
Ada wanted to help,
“I’d do it myself but I can’t.” She took a deep breath and then said,
“Okay, here’s what I think. Go to the woods with Orla, just like we discussed. Take a stroll around first. Make sure it feels safe, and you are okay, before coming back to the place where you found the body. Then concentrate on the man, and do your slow breathing, like you did the other day in town. Stop thinking about all the everyday things, keep the man in your mind. Hold on to the thought of him. And if he is prepared to talk to you, he should appear. Or at least you should feel him nearby, and you can ask your question. With Orla there you should be fine.”
Maeve was breathing quite heavily, but she was calmer, the plan was practical, but she still wasn’t too happy about it,
“One other thing Ada, before, when I spoke to other spirits they didn’t actually remember how they died, except for Anne and she was a special case. I mean they could remember events leading up to it, but then blank. Maybe he won’t know anything about who killed him?”
“I said it before, you are in a different league to my experiences. I don’t know. But it would make sense, so yes, he might not remember anything useful. Still, it’s worth a try. Isn’t it?”
Maeve wasn’t so sure.
That evening she had a yoga session. Of course it was another Zoom session, but during the lockdown Maeve had become addicted to yoga. Tonight she really needed it. A good way to prepare for her ordeal in the morning. Saskia, the yoga teacher, had a way of calming everything down until you were truly ‘in the moment’. The flow of movement between the poses didn’t allow time for Maeve’s thoughts to wander. Today’s focus was on heart opening. Maeve hadn’t realised how tight she was across the chest. Stress had rounded her shoulders. As the session slowed down and flowed into the last moves, Maeve was leaning back on her elbows with her heart rising up, shoulders and head gently stretching back, when the tears began to flow. Saskia had warned them all that at some point during yoga practice this might happen. Emotion is held in the hips and in the heart, everyone is different, but whenever it is right for you, and you let go, it can come out. Now Maeve was glad that it was a Zoom session.
She heard the key in the lock, Orla arrived back in time to see her mother with tears streaming down her cheeks.
“Oh my God! What’s the matter? What’s happened? If you weren’t still sitting on your yoga mat I would think it was Steve, maybe it is anyway, is it? Or Ada, or Marianne?”
Maeve was smiling as she wiped away the tears trying to answer Orla, in the end she said,
“Everyone is okay, and I’m fine. Nothing that I can explain has happened. But I think I am ready for this next step.”
The next morning, Maeve and Orla set out as soon as it was fully bright. It was one of those overcast, almost foggy days when you never saw blue sky. It had rained overnight so everything was still dripping. On the walk over Maeve told Orla the full story of her strange experiences in the woods and her overwhelming moment in Butchery Lane. Orla was taking it all in and checking her facts for this mornings project,
“So, wait, Ada thinks that I can be your minder? I don’t know how to do that. She didn’t say anything to me. That’s some responsibility she had dumped on me. What if I can’t do it?”
Maeve found that talking over the plan helped to clear her mind,
“Ada thinks that you may pick up on any younger spirits. That way we can begin to sort out what is happening. Then we walk back by the other path and end up at the spot where the man died. If we are lucky and it all goes well up to that point, then I will try to call him. Having you there, just being there, should act as a sort of anchor for me. But, if I end up going in too deep, then you will be there in a practical, common sense manner, to ‘wake me up’, or ‘bring me back’ as she says. Ada, is not saying that you have to commune with the other side to bring me back, she means physically make sure I get home.”
They looked at each other, and Maeve said,
“Yes, it doesn’t sound brilliant, does it? But at least it's a sort of a plan, we can see how it goes. That’s it really, isn’t it? We just do our best and see what happens. And at worst there are two of us.”
Orla wasn’t fully reassured, but they had arrived.
Maeve led the way, heading straight for the reed lake this time, so that they could go around it and then up to the open ground, finally back to where she had found the body. They had hardly absorbed the quiet of the first thicket, when Orla said,
“Wow, I see what you mean. I feel a tremendous sense of sadness. Oh, I can see her now.”
Orla stood still for a while nodding, and after a few minutes said,
“I’m sure you are. You are.”
Wide eyed she turned to Maeve and said,
“So what do you make of that?”
Orla was a little pale, Maeve guided them over to a fallen willow tree and they both leaned against the trunk for support.
When they were stable, Maeve said,
“I didn’t see anything. What was that?”
“It was a girl. She was young, maybe eight or ten years old. And she just kept saying ‘I want to be a good girl. I am a good girl.’ She repeated it over and over. But when I said that she was, she looked at me frightened and ran away. She left that awful sadness.”
“Ah, well, I felt that.” Said Maeve, “both this time and the last time, so now we know where that feeling is coming from. And it didn’t seem to come from the body that I saw, so that makes sense. Did she ask you to do anything?”
“No, no. She just looked terrified as she ran off. She went in that direction.” Orla pointed towards the spot where Maeve had first picked up the feeling.
Maeve nodded. They were silent. Both lost in thought.
Maeve thought she heard a branch crack, she looked around for an animal, a dog or a fox, but couldn’t see anything. She turned towards Orla, and saw that Orla was looking up, she must have heard the noise too. Maeve followed her gaze. Up above them in the tree canopy of the large oak, someone was lying against one of the boughs. They were almost invisible but there was a slight shadow as the bough was too narrow to fully mask the body. It didn’t feel like a spirit.