• Gina Fegan

Chapter 4. What’s going on?

“Jesus, you don’t want to mess with those fellas!” Ada had a turn of phrase that was at the same time easy to think you understood, while really needing a lot more information.

“What ‘fellas’ are you talking about? And what do you mean by ‘mess with’?”

Maeve had learnt to take a breath, and let go the tension. She didn’t want to be short with Ada, but from years of dismissing her as ‘away with the fairies’, she still found Ada frustrating at times.

“I mean the fellas in the woods!” As if it was completely obvious, and Maeve was trying to be difficult, Ada did not hold back. “The fellas you have been telling me about for the last half an hour.”

“What fellas? I didn’t see anyone except for the man who was dead, and I didn’t feel his spirit anywhere either.” Maeve exasperation was coming through despite her best efforts.

“Okay, okay, let’s not fly off on one, we can take this handy. You were walking in the wood, right? You felt a very strong emotion that wasn’t your own? Am I right so far?” Ada was now the calmer of the two.

“Yes, yes, of course, that’s what I have been telling you.” Maeve was now almost in tears of frustration.

“Calm down.” Ada didn’t seem to notice that these were the very words that drove Maeve to distraction. “Okay, so.” Ada stopped speaking as if she had just made everything clear.

“Okay, so, what?” Maeve no longer knew what to say, to get Ada to explain herself.

“Ach! You know what I mean! The emotion wasn’t just ‘a feeling’, it was a thing. They don’t have a name that I know of, but they are like poltergeists to normal people. I mean you can feel them, the same way a normal person can see something flying about in their house. They are just some sort of fella! Well don’t mess with them, they are trouble and if they can, they will lead you astray, or into real trouble. There may be some that are good ones, but the only ones I have met, are more like a ‘Will o the Wisp’ leading strangers into bog holes to drown.” Ada stopped talking.

Silence. Ada was thinking of past experiences and Maeve was taking it all in. They had set up their screens, a pot of tea on each side of the digital divide, along with the remains of their individual freshly toasted crumpets. Pouring some tea from the pot into her cup to heat up her unfinished remains, Maeve said.

“I haven’t met anything like this before, how do I manage them, so that they don’t lead me into trouble?”

Ada was thoughtful for a few moments, and then with emphatic confidence said,

“Practice! You need practice. I think we need to come up with something a little safer for you to get used to, before getting involved with those boyos. I am thinking that you have only communicated with those you wanted to help, or thought that you could help. And you have shut off any others. I mean Canterbury is teaming with spirits so it has been a good policy so far, to shut most of them out, or you would never get any peace.”

She paused,

“I need to make a fresh pot of tea to think this out.”

With that Ada disappeared from the screen and left Maeve in contemplation as the sounds of the water heating in the kettle grew in the background.

They were now officially in lockdown and not supposed to go out except for exercise, or shopping. Maeve felt that she had to admit that she was going into Canterbury the next morning. She had arranged to get a takeaway coffee at Fond’s at the same time as Steve. Fond’s was her new favourite haunt, it was behind the High Street in a quiet, discrete back lane, with a table and chair outside for the takeaway customers and the ‘flowerbikes’ decorously perched on the other side of the lane to make you smile. She didn’t want to share that she was meeting Steve, because she knew Ada would want to know all the details, and she wanted to work out what she felt about him for herself first.

Ada sat down with her steaming mug and started where she had left off,

“This is it. You take your exercise through the centre of Canterbury tomorrow. Walk, don’t take your bike, you would be too fast on a bike to feel a spirit, even at the dawdling speed you go at. Walk slowly, down one of the side lanes, ideally without any other people on it, sometimes other people can cause interference. Then open your mind.” Ada paused with a frown, “Jesus, I bet you are going to ask me how to do that now, aren’t you?”

Ada was not a good teacher, when she was in the right frame of mind Maeve could laugh at her. This time she was following Ada, and of course Ada was right, she was just about to ask, so she did laugh,

“Well, how else will I know what you are talking about?”

“Okay, okay. I’ll do my best.” Ada sighed.

“You know the way people talk about the ‘flow’ of something, or getting into the flow? Well it's like that. To start with it’s probably best to close your eyes, stop thinking, try to empty your mind of all the normal stuff like shopping lists, or where you are going, or what time it is.”

Ada hesitated trying to find the right way to describe something that was completely natural to her, but she had never put into words before.

“If you focus on your breathing, that can help you to stop thinking. Feel the air coming in cold and going out warm, nothing else. Then do that for a while, and if there is something there, you will feel it.”

After the call Maeve was enjoying processing this interesting task, or piece of homework, she was intrigued.

Then hearing an “Ehemm” behind her, she remembered Edward and thought ‘bother I forgot to bring that up with Ada. Never mind it’s a good subject for another session tomorrow.’ And on the upside didn’t have to admit to her coffee date with Steve. For the moment she was happy that she had a new challenge which felt under her control and she had kept her private life to herself. In reality she had no idea what she had let herself in for.

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