No one at Cairnnon Castle’s construction site can believe it when Neve Brádach is pulled from the rubble of the castle ruins, twenty-five years after she had been left dead and buried, the day the castle fell. Trapped in an inexplicable time warp, in the most haunted castle in Ireland with the evil elemental, shockingly, she hasn’t aged a day.
While Neve attempts to reclaim her life, she finds it difficult to acclimate to the new and fast paced world full of technology. Time has passed her by. She immerses herself in intensive therapy in an attempt to understand what happened to her while she had been buried and forgotten in the pits of hell.
But that isn’t her biggest dilemma. Nor is the handsome and mysterious Irishman, Haydn O’Conner, who is pressuring her to move into the newly resurrected O’Cairnnon Castle.
No, the most pressing issue plaguing Neve, is who—or perhaps what—may have fathered the baby she now carries.
This series is a re-release
Warning: This collection of short stories contains m/f and m/m couplings and cliffhangers. Installments must be read in order.
Mishel and Arnie stood in the corridor as the medical staff attended to Neve Brádach.
“This is impossible!” Arnie ranted. “Pregnant! She’s been entombed for twenty-five years and she turns up pregnant, babbling about being another person. Christ! What next?”
“What do you think we’re dealing with here, Unc?” Mishel hedged.
“I’ve no fucking idea. A time warp? Worm hole?” He shook his head shrugging. “The devil himself? I don’t know.”
“Okay, let’s not worry about the how or why right now. Let’s concentrate on Neve. Why is she recalling some other woman’s life and not her own? But she remembers you? I don’t get it.”
“Perhaps she just had a very vivid dream down there?” Arnie paced by the open door.
“What about reincarnation? Perhaps she is recalling a past life?” Mishel slid his finger over his cell phone and searched under Nevaeh McBenn.
Arnie continued to shake his head. “I don’t know what to think.”
“Look! I found her!” Excitement roiled through Mishel. “It says here that Nevaeh McBenn was betrothed to one Hualryn O’Cairnnon in fifteen…they’re not sure of the year. But before the wedding, she and her intended were found dead on the stones of the bailey at Castle Cairnnon. It’s unclear whether they’d fallen or jumped from the battlement.” Mish glanced up from the screen. “Or murder-suicide, maybe?
With a shrug, he continued, “The same day, the elder O’Cairnnon, an Alesdair, Lord O’Cairnnon, also succumbed to some illness or heart attack.
“It says here…Holy shit,” Mish exclaimed reading on. “The inhabitants of the entire stronghold were also found dead by the village folk, days later. It was speculated there’d been some mass execution or something. It was reported that the scene was heinous, littered with rotting corpses. With the entire O’Cairnnon clann wiped out in one day, it says, none of the other septs of the larger Ó Conchobhair clann would claim the fortress and it fell into ruin. So, the title died. And as it would seem, so did Cairnnon.”
“Where in the hell did you find all that?” Arnie demanded. “When we were here, we could find nothing about the O’Cairnnon’s history.”
“It’s all right here on this Irish tourism, haunted destinations site. No wonder the place is such a hotbed for paranormal activity. An entire clann succumbed horribly in one night. If there is a past life connection, perhaps that’s why Neve was so drawn to the castle in the first place. Why she joined you and the team in the investigations twenty-five years ago? Her soul has a deep connection to the O’Cairnnon’s.” He looked more intently at the passage. “Little side note, though here, Unc, it also says there have been absolutely no reports or sightings of Bás a thagnn since the castle fell twenty-five years ago.”
“How could there have been? The place has been uninhabitable and inaccessible ’til now.”
“No, I mean even among the workers who’ve been here. No sign. It’s like it disappeared the minute the place imploded.”
“Then how would you explain the sickness that plagued you while you were working in the tunnels? You experienced the same symptoms as your father did.”
“Can’t explain that one, Unc, but I’m still here with my soul intact, so…”
Just then Joel reappeared.
“Where ya been?” Mish asked, curious.
“I had to see to the doctor.”
Mish was about to ask him what the hell he was talking about when he realized that Joel’s eyes were a strange color. Generally, Joel had the most incredible blue irises, but at the moment they were almost black. Mish blinked, thinking it might be the fluorescents in the hallway playing tricks on him.
“Joel? Your eyes…”
Joel turned and leveled him with a stone-cold stare.
Immediately, Mish lost his train of thought, swung back to Arnie, and asked, “Then what’s the difference between a time warp and a worm hole?”
“I will return,” Joel murmured, and stalked down the hall.
“A time warp is,” Arnie explained, “Einstein’s theory that space and time form a continuum that warps or bends to the viewer’s observation. It can include the suspension of time or movement back and forth between the eras. Most scientists don’t give it much credence.” Arnie turned to look in on Neve. “And others give it much. They just keep it to themselves and do their own private research and experimentation.
“A worm hole is also hypothetical, the gist of which is to picture a bridge or a tunnel. One end is here, and the other is in a separate time and space.”
“So, what are we theorizing about the pregnancy, though?” Mishel tossed into the mix. “I mean, are we thinking she was pregnant when she was buried and somehow time stood still?”
Palms up, Arnie stared at him. He’d never seen his uncle this perplexed.
“Or what if she really did live this other woman’s life during her stay down there? What if she somehow crossed that bridge between times when she was buried? Christ, Unc, what if she’s carrying a medieval baby!”
“That’s ludicrous,” Arnie scoffed.
“And any of this makes sense?” Mish countered.
“Mr. Rollison?” the doctor said, coming to the door. “You can come in now. She’s asking for you.”
But Mish grabbed his arm as one more horrible scenario popped into his whirling thoughts. The idea made him, physically ill. His stomach churned. “Or what if that thing impregnated her while she was down there?”
“Tha’ thing?” Joel suddenly reappeared. He raised a doubtful eyebrow. “Are we back to this ridiculous Bás a thagnn BS, again?”
Arnie closed his eyes. “I refuse to believe that evil thing violated that sweet girl. No! I don’t want to go there.”