Megan of the Mists
During “the troubles” in Northern Ireland during the 1970s, Megan helps run contraband over the border for the illegal Irish Republican Army, trusting the ancient fairies of the mounds along the way to see her safely home. As she is drawn farther into rebel plots, she falls for a British soldier and is horrified to learn the IRA plans for him and his fellows to be blown up at their favorite bar—with a bomb she delivers and sets off.
Andrew, of the Queen’s Own Sixty-First Highland Division, is not happy with the assignment to Northern Ireland and longs for his hometown in Scotland. When he meets Megan, who has been sent as a spy to scout out the bar he frequents, the two have an instant attraction. He hints at the possibility of marriage and a peaceful life elsewhere, an idea she is ready to consider.
But how far must she run to escape the influence of the IRA? If only her fairies would save her…
“Go quickly. Get in the seat behind them.”
Megan looked warily at the men. She did not move.
“Go quickly,” Brian urged. He glanced around. “I’ll be waitin’ at the pub. I can’t stay here long.”
Megan gave a sigh. She got out of the truck and walked to the car.
The two men watched as she approached. The driver gestured toward the back seat with his head.
Megan got in and closed the door. She felt cramped in the back seat. The car smelled like stale cigarette smoke and beer.
The driver started the engine, and they moved quickly out into the crowded street. Brian had already pulled away.
The man in the passenger seat turned around. He handed Megan a balled-up piece of cloth. “Put this on, and keep your head down,” he ordered.
Megan frowned. She spread the cloth out on her knee. “What is this?” she asked.
“Balaclava,” the man answered.
“Oh, sure,” Megan said. She recognized the traditional hood worn by the IRA to conceal their identity. She had never worn one for the jobs she did. She held it up to her face. It smelled of the sweat of many scared men.
“It’ll mess my hair.”
“Got some fight in her,” the driver said. “And pretty too.”
The other man looked around again. His unemotional eyes met her hard glare. “Eyeholes to the rear, dear. We’ll find you a comb.”
The driver glanced at her reflection in his mirror. “Both o’ us would much rather keep lookin’ at a pretty face like yours, but our commander is a marked man. It’s best that you don’t know where he stays.”
Megan glanced out the window. “I live in Armaugh,” she said. “I have no idea where I am right now.”
“Security,” the other man said with a shrug.
Jumping out and running didn’t seem an appealing option. Megan took a big gulp of air and pulled the hood over her head.
“Now keep your head down,” the man next to the driver ordered.
Megan obeyed. The position made her feel more cramped than before.
The car made a number of turns, and they rode for what seemed like a long time.
Megan considered trying to engage the two men in conversation. You should come to Armaugh sometime, she thought of saying. Once it was the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. Both religions have cathedrals there. Before that, nearby Navan Fort was one of the great royal capitals of pagan Ireland… But she kept quiet. She needed to focus on breathing in the hood.