“. . . Good evening to you,” Maureen began, her voice ringing out in the stone church, cool and authoritative. Grania had taught her well. “I trust you are well. Was that you in the graveyard?”
It took a few seconds for the newcomer – his dim outline all that they could see of him – to change tact and acknowledge Maureen’s question.
“That depends on who you are, and why you want to know.”
“I’ll take that as a yes, then,” Maureen countered. Together, she and Sean moved from behind the altar and gained the ground between the pews and its raised dais.
“It isn’t that we care, particularly,” Sean put in, intuiting the direction of Maureen’s challenge. “It’s just that as you are likely not supposed to be out there, and we are obviously not supposed to be here, it would seem that your question is a bit presumptuous. Unless, of course, you want the authorities involved.”
The young man chuckled and started towards them. Sean stepped in front of Maureen, wary.
“I like how you think, but how do you know that I’m not one of these authorities you mention?”
Maureen snorted lightly. “Because you would have begun with that, Master Gravedigger . . .”
D: Master Gravedigger? Really, A?
A: What? She just came from the 16th century.
D: It’s not that, I like the name; I’m picking on your use of a gravedigger in general.
A: D, he’s a Fenian, and he’s digging up the guns he hid in the cemetery – which Sean and Maureen will discover soon enough.
D: Digging up guns in a cemetery – that’s macabre, even for you, A.
A: It’s not macabre, D, it’s sensible. Little-used cemetery = perfect hiding spot for decrepit guns that are just as likely to kill their wielder as the person said wielder is aiming at.
D: Sensible, huh?
A: Hey, I didn’t sink the Aud! I’m just telling a story, D.
D: I know, but it just seems to me that the female pirate was better equipped than these boys.
A: She was. But, despite that she defied the Crown by aiding a number of rebellions, she didn’t have annual parades held in her honor. Grania sparked imaginations, D, but these boys lit the fire – or rather, their deaths lit the fire. I understand they weren’t too popular during the Rising.
D: Causes are dangerous, A.
A: Depends on who is following and why, D. You of all people should know that. What cause were you fighting when–
D: Now, A – that was 1300 years ago.
A: And yet, we’re still finding reasons to kill each other.
D: With decrepit guns hid in a cemetery.
A: Exactly, D.
“. . . Runaways? Again, Sean?” Maureen ground out between her teeth. He shrugged. It was a useful lie.
“Enough,” she muttered under her breath. Sighing with a mix of exhaustion and frustration, Maureen stepped up to the young man.
“Seeing as none of us should be here, perhaps we should make this a bit more congenial. I’m Maureen O’Malley and this is Sean McAndrew. And you, Master Gravedigger, you are?”
“I’m Eoghan Ballard. Pleased to meet you, Miss Maureen, Sean.”
Maureen’s heart sank. She knew that name. . . .