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Chapter sixty-nine

Abbey followed Gordon into the little gray house.  The living room had been converted into a war room.  The entourage that Liam had brought with him to the airport swarmed in and out of the other rooms in the house.  Blueprints of prisons and maps of the streets of Belfast were tacked to the walls.  Guns and other weapons were scattered around on tables and propped against the walls.

Abbey pressed her hand to her mouth, her stomach violently retching.  She dashed off to the bathroom, dropping to her knees in front of the toilet.

“Are you alright?”

Abbey turned to find Maggie in the doorway.  She tore a couple of squares of toilet paper from the roll and wiped her mouth. 

“I’ve felt sick since I got off the plane.”

“I guess motion sickness would have passed by now,” Maggie surmised.  “Has there been anything else wrong?”

“I’ve been really exhausted the past few days too.  I was hit in the head a week ago.  Maybe it’s from the concussion,” Abbey suggested.

“I don’t think so.  Hold on.”  Maggie dashed away.  Abbey stood on shaky legs as she stumbled to the nearest chair.

Maggie jogged down the stairs with a duffle bag in her hand.  “I’m a nurse at the hospital.  I’ve taken some time off to take care of my mother.  I can take a blood draw and have it examined.  Maybe they can find something.”

Abbey shrugged in agreement.  Maggie took a syringe and an alcohol pad from the bag.

“Maggie, what they said about Sloan,” Abbey began.  “about being a terrorist.  It’s not true, is it?”

Maggie looked up at Abbey.  “My brother was a soldier for the Irish Republican Army.  The IRA.”

“The picture I saw looked like he was seventeen or eighteen.”

“Yes.  He joined the IRA when he was ten.”

“What?” Abbey asked incredulously.  “That’s so young to be recruited.”

“He wasn’t recruited.  He volunteered.  He actually begged them to take him in.”

“Why would he do that?”

Maggie cleansed the inside of Abbey’s elbow with the alcohol swab.  Abbey sucked in her breath sharply as the needle pierced her skin.

“My father owned a butcher shop a couple of streets over,” Maggie began.  “There were three of us.  I was a baby and then there was Sloan and our older brother, Ethan.  My father didn’t take sides in the war.  He lived to provide for his family.  A woman down the street lost her husband who was a member of the IRA.  She had no money and had a family to provide for.  My father’s heart went out to her and he gave her some meat for free.”

Maggie withdrew the needle and pressed a piece of gauze to the wound.  She continued.  “The British marked my father as an IRA sympathizer.  One afternoon a group of British soldiers visited my father’s shop.  It was about the time Ethan and Sloan were walking home after school.  Every day after school my brothers would go to the shop to help my father.  They were coming down the street as the soldiers left.  My father noticed one left their paper bag so he picked it up to return it.”

“The bomb in the bag exploded, killing my father instantly.  Ethan was standing in front of the large shop window.  The blast killed him too.  Sloan saw a ball in the street so he chased it.  The blast picked him up and slammed him into a parked car.  Shards of glass from the window stabbed through his back.  Sloan wasn’t supposed to live.  He was in the hospital for months.  When he recovered he wasn’t the same boy.  All he could think of was revenge.  He went to the IRA and begged them to let him join.”

Abbey took Maggie’s place, pressing the gauze to her own arm as she thought of the scar she discovered on Sloan’s back.  Now she knew where it came from.  “The commander called Sloan a murderer.”

Maggie put the vial of blood into her duffle bag.  “Sloan started as a runner and messenger.  But I am sure you know how clever my brother is.  It wasn’t long before Sloan began to dabble in chemistry.  Explosives to be specific.”

“Explosives?” Abbey quizzed.

“Sloan was one of the most notorious bomb makers in Northern Ireland.”

Abbey felt a knot twist in her stomach.  “He built bombs to blow up markets.  Civilian targets.”  Maybe the murderer title fit.

Maggie’s eyes grew wide.  “Heavens no.  Sloan aimed for military targets.  The bomb that detonated in that market was his bomb but he didn’t set it.  He was at the pub celebrating Liam’s birthday.  Liam has a time stamped video of them in the pub, not in London.  Someone, a traitor, snuck in and stole the bomb so they could implicate Sloan.”

“Why would someone do that?” Abbey implored.

Gordon’s voice boomed behind them.  “One of Sloan’s explosives destroyed a convoy carrying Commander Brown’s son.  It was why the rest of our records were cleared but Sloan’s was not.  The market bombing cemented the murder charge against him.”

Maggie patted Abbey on the knee.  “I’ll be back.”  She picked up the duffle and slipped out the front door.

“But if Sloan was in the pub when the bomb went off and there was a tape, how could they charge him?” Abbey objected.

“The British government said we tampered with the date on the tape.  And the pub owner, the only witness, met the same fate as Sloan’s father before he could testify.”

Abbey shook her head frustrated.  All this information was a lot to take in at once.  She pointed to the living room to the swarm of black clad men.  “Are they all IRA?”

“They were before the peace treaty,” Gordon answered.  “They are no longer.  Now they are friends.”

 “What do we do now?” Abbey pleaded.

“We go home,” Gordon answered firmly.

“We can’t leave Sloan.”

“What are you suggesting we do?  Break Sloan out of jail?  Liam is doing what he can.”

Abbey glanced at Gordon as she stood.  She crept into the living room.  The men froze as they discovered her.

“I know you don’t know me,” Abbey started meekly.  “But I really need you all right now.  Please find a way to free my husband.  Please find a way to free Sloan.  I love him so much and I need him.  Please get him out of there…”  Abbey’s words were cut off with a sob.

Liam glanced up at Gordon standing behind her.  His eyes locked with his friend’s as they shared a wordless conversation.  Liam looked at Abbey and smiled gently.

“Aye, lass.  We’ll get him out of there for you.”

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About triciaandersen

I am the author and illustrator of the children's book "The Peculiar Princess". I am also the author of two adult fantasy romance novels, "The Sorceress of Savon" and "The Woodcutter King of Muladin". Along with being an author I am married to a wonderful guy and have three beautiful children. I coach youth track and field, sew and chase my children around to their various activities.

Posted on July 21, 2012, in author, books, fiction, novel, romance, story, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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