So, this morning I had yet another odd dream. In this one I'd somehow become slightly unstuck in time (I'm going to chalk that up to the Dr. Who episodes I've been watching recently) and had landed outside some kind of military base. It would have seemed like an outpost for a more active unit, except that there were families and children in close proximity and at least part of the facilities were dedicated to education. More interestingly (to me) was the fact that I'd also become very, very Irish.
Late one night I'd found a small girl wandering the dusty roads, slipping in and out of the shadows, trying to avoid the attention of any of the guards. She carried something small and shiny in her hands, but I wasn't able to make out quite what it was. The girl was quite obviously scared. Her thin, dirty limbs shivered beneath her tattered clothing, though it was hardly cold outside. The stars were bright. I intercepted her and brought her inside my tent. Also beside me in my tent was a handsome young Irishman, who sat with his back facing me, working his way through a book by candlelight. The girl appeared apprehensive.
I asked her, "What have they done to you?"
And she shook her head, glancing up toward my male companion, then sliding her gaze back down toward the ground.
"You don't need to be afraid of him," I told her. She looked skeptical. "I'm going out on a limb, here, but I'm going to assume that the men you are afraid of do not include this here Frankie McCourt."
At the sound of his name, Frankie looked up from his book and turned his face toward the girl. The soft light of the candle made his slight smile all the sweeter. They met eyes.
The girl shook her head again, recognizing that Frankie was not a threat. "Okay. I'll tell you," she said to me in the quietest of voices. She lifted her small hand and gestured for me to lean in close.
As my face neared hers, I could smell the sour scent of ripe child. She placed her hand around my neck and whispered in my ear. I do not remember, now, what it was she said to me, but knew only that her violation would be the last and that Frankie and I were to have a long, difficult night ahead of us.