It’s Sneak Peek Sunday again. Today, I am posting from SCATTERED SEEDS, my work-in-progress. As always, a bit of backstory is needed.
It’s 1755, and Edward McConnell and his son, Henry, have suffered a disastrous crop failure in County Donegal, Ireland. Without telling Henry why, Edward insists Henry accompany him to a graveyard, saying only that their luck changed for the worse since the day he buried something there.
“Go,” Edward said, pushing him forward.
They climbed the bank a second time and flung themselves over a mossy log. On the far side of the main road leading to Derry, they pushed through a hedgerow, where the moon illuminated the ivy-covered ruins of a church. Only two walls remained upright, stone arms reaching for heaven in a final plea for mercy. In spite of the drought, a riot of tussocks and briars capped the dips and mounds holding long-dead Presbyterians. The moon bleached the headstones, elongating their shadows and deepening the carved names on their faces.
Henry’s knees turned to porridge; he could go no farther.
Edward waved him onward from an iron gate. “Come on,” he whispered through clenched teeth, “it’s just a graveyard. It is-nae the dead ye have to worry about, Henry. Leave the bundle by the gate.” He turned, and the graveyard’s rusty jaws swallowed him whole.
Henry’s mouth was dry, and his heart thundered. Just last week, George Ewing heard the wail of a banshee here, and John MacFarlane swore he’d seen Auld Man Conyngham’s ghost on Derry Road wearing an elaborate waistcoat and clomping about on good shoes with silver buckles. Auld Man Conyngham had been a rich merchant who could afford such things. George and John figured it could be no one else, especially since the ghost also wore a powdered wig, and Henry had agreed. Now here he was facing the gaping mouth of the very graveyard where Conyngham’s rich relatives had planted him.
He pressed the bundle against his chest and listened for his father, but heard no sign of him over the breeze hissing through the willows. He shifted from one unreliable leg to the other, longing to join his father but dreading the idea of crossing the graveyard. Somewhere in the blackness, a spade scraped against stone. By John Calvin’s calloused knees, was his father digging up a corpse?
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