Monday, 2 July 2018

A birthday sneak peek at Book 4

Again, we pass Aristea Byrne's birthday, and though the day has passed for her (not the best birthday she's ever had if you recall the end of Unbidden, but certainly the most memorable) I know many of you are still waiting for resolution to the events at the end of her last novel. Here's some proof she's still kicking, if rather down in the dumps at the beginning of Book 4. Happy birthday!

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Protective spells Renatus had written around Morrissey Estate prevented me – and everyone else – from dreaming when I slept there, and it seemed that whenever I was not under the influence of those spells, like when he took them down to rewrite them stronger, or when I slept elsewhere, the same kind of dreams found me. He said they weren’t dreams, and at first I’d argued that, because like dreams they came to me in my sleep and mostly dissipated when I woke, hard to reach in the fog of my mind. But in the days that followed my admission to the hospital, I had plenty of miserable alone time to contemplate the weird visions that were coming to me while I drifted in and out of consciousness, and I started to think Renatus was right.
I was scrying.
The dreams, or visions, were indistinct and hard to remember, but I woke from them incredibly disturbed, certain I’d been witness to past events very alarming. The main focal point for each vision seemed to be the reason for my emotional attachment to these past moments – Cassán Ó Gráidaigh, my maternal grandfather long dead. I’d never met him, and my mother, his daughter, had had no memory of him, either, yet for reasons not yet made clear to me, dark moments of significance from his life in the 1950s and 1960s were reaching out to me.
A pity, perhaps, that I didn’t remember much of them once I woke up from them, although as they continued to push at my sleeping mind and leave me feeling little more than uneasy upon waking, I became less frustrated with my inability to recall them and more cautiously glad.
I didn’t see the representatives from Valero or Avalon again during those days and assumed my White Elm mentors had put their feet down about it. Renatus was called back out to duty so I saw him less, and when I did, I was both relieved and upset to see him looking calmer, more objective, better rested each time. He had been a mess after Prague, and I hated seeing him like that, but as he worked through the case and joined the others in damage control, I sensed him pushing his trauma further and further beneath the surface. It was his way to cope like this, by ignoring grief and burying himself in work, but for the first time we were grieving together and his coping strategies were very alienating for me. I knew I was central to his struggle, me with my patch over my eye reminding him of his powerlessness that morning, so it didn’t surprise me that he avoided me now that my initial neediness had passed.
Understanding didn’t stop me feeling lost as I sat alone in silence for hours, feeling his mental presence distant from mine where he couldn’t overhear my thoughts unless I reached out for him specifically, which I didn’t, and understanding didn’t stop my imagination whiling away its alone time backfilling alternative motivations for his distance.
He was still mad about what I did to escape him in Prague. I didn’t blame him. When I saw him, I couldn’t get him to admit it.
He blamed himself for the way everything had fallen apart. Anouk, the boy whose throat was cut, Irish, the fear bomb, me getting hurt, all the dead and the traumatised civilians. He dismissed my attempts to insist it wasn’t his fault.
He was regretful that Lisandro had gotten away again, and that again it was because he’d hung back to protect me instead of fulfilling his destiny and following his psychopathic quarry. He wouldn’t admit to that, either.
But even though sitting alone with my self-loathing thoughts in a hospital room with one eye covered made for three of the worst days of my life, I made no attempt to draw Renatus’s mind into mine, even though it would be healing for both of us. I practiced the same cold stoicism that he presented, which I knew reinforced his own cool distance, and so kept my worries to myself.

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