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A Bolder Tartan, rule. by Seamus Glas

© Seamus Glas

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For those who are having trouble appreciating the two main tenses - 1st Person is used with Present or real-time- the Third person POV is used with traditional or past tense. Those who prefer an intense style will sometimes enjoy the beginning of the novel and its staggered style throughout. This is deliberate and not to be confused with disjointed. To ascertain a readership, I have used the second style and more omniscient for those who are comfortable with a British style. Two styles to be considered before embarking. It isn't fair that any Tom Dick or Harry can use up my hard earn credits with reviews that fail to appreciate or know the genre. Trouble understanding the Language- consider another, please. It's that simple. Choose carefully, otherwise, bias and often overwhelming vindictive reviews on this portal will not be taken seriously. I want genuine and knowledgeable unfavourable or favourable reviews as they are. This isn't to be misconstrued as only favourable wanted here. as misunderstood by my last reviewer. This piece is more American and challenges the old traditional rules. Focus on the plot more than the tenses, though please don't discount them either. Two POV,s -Two tenses two plots. Which works for you. Many thanx for your kind feedback.

Chapter1 Derna

Three Rules of the Tartan,..
1.. Queen and Country
2...God and Ulster.
3...No Snitchin' to the Filth.

Belfast- Feb.1973-6pm Tom's Cabin-Dundonald-Loyalist east side Pub.
That a Fenian bitch can walk into his life and climb under his skin, wearing him out like that; well what do you think, they said. They say Sergeant Vincent McGovern is not like the others, they said. It would be best to get away before it bellies up, they said. Who knows him like that well, they said. Yeh, savvy about him that well... her, ! don’t think so, mustard killer of good men she is, they say. That McGovern, not our usual Sergeant they sent us.
Queen and Country, we all said knocking back our Smirnoff. Same again boys said the barman.

Embassy cigarette smoke filled its low confines and cheap perfume pulled Doey's attention from whence it came. He rubbed his shiner and wondered how much resistance it would cause him among the scrubbers. Off-duty RUC engaged in chit-chat over latest losses in Fermanagh. With abundant double Gordon's and Smirnoff, their presence signals the new money promised and those on the make. The sitters, mostly women, prefer clandestine chit chat with their Pernods or Leg-openers as Doey calls them. Him with the bruiser, she shouted over, hard to look at, and it's a fuckin' man I need, not a wee boy. Laughter abruptly comes from the far corners. He thinks he got the wink and makes an awkward eye-contact to one with thick hairspray and glasses as she looked the most desperate. Doey always chose the path of least resistance. Right, she'll do. Big Uno bends into his ear, caught me a fuckin’ badger yesterday, our kid, he told him. Almost took me fuckin’ leg aff. Avoiding the rafters above his head craning his neck, he reeks of vodka before leaning into his ear…Doey's response is a mixture of frustration and confusion, You takin' the piss, and I’m not yer kid, not an ugly bugger like ye. Breaking into laughter both spray each other with their own spit from inebriation and neither care who else they spat on. Big Uno, incredulous as he laughs at Doey's jokes- hands over a wad of notes... Turned on me fuckin’ bull terriers soon as we let em go… never saw a badger do or die like that befo.
He spits on the slate floor as the barman turns round to face them... How Taigs die, eh Angel... like animals. Oh yes here's one for ye. What did the Pope say over London on his way back to the Vatican when throwing out holy water. Big Uno continues counting, don't know. He said this will make my people happy. Then its was Paisley's turn and he grabs the Pope, tosses him out over Buck-house and says...By Christ, this will keep my people happy. Big Uno put a wad of notes inside Doey's Cromby pocket avoiding his outstretch Bowler. Give this to Glasgo, he said-he'll stop at nothin' now when he sees this sort of cabbage. Where is the wee Gob-shite, anyway.

It was a simple enough rule from an eighteen-year-old. No, If's and no But' snitch, you loose more than you can afford starting with your pocket-money. The rule is, make sure you don't or you will get a kicking and your sister gang-banged. Then big Uno comes along and says while handing myself a tenner...'Some rules are meant to be broken.' Then he says... Besides, yon wanker here doesn't know his forearm from his foreskin'...according to him. But the rule was really from his old man, one of them Hoods in the middle who carried a piece, like Doey's. Now who would you allow to lead according to Doey's natural selection.
After the Ballbeen Loyalist disturbance is successfully subdued
12-30 am Glasgo, a sixteen-year-old going on 17, is arrested by the Brits, bleeding, bruised and crushing under others bigger than he. In addition, he should not be in an army Saracen with a wound. Interned is not the best time when the vigilantes needed every man. His Piss and Miss, as he calls them, wait until they hear. The distant republican bombs from Belfast seem to be getting closer with each day to the loyalist strongholds of the east. Major Braithwaite, a British Officer, sent to quell the civil unrest, knows how vital defensive manoeuvrings are to them. It did not stop some of his men exploiting their captive’s fears. In addition, without informing the RUC, it wasn't going to stop the Major from pushing ahead to leverage his own designs to the loyalist detriment. Sixteen-year-old Glasgo is about to form in his conscious mind as a possible opportunity.

Raeburn Housing Estate [loyalist], Holywood. East Belfast.

“So tell us, Paddy, how does a spotty brat like you end up here,” deadpanned Pipsqueak lighting up a sailor. Soldiers giggle at the front of the armoured Saracen. “You’re not exactly what we expect to pull in.”
The Saracen slows going round into a silent street. That's bang out of order, Pip.
Glasgo, is not listening, moreover, his only interest is for movement the right way on top of him: He could not afford to, he kept telling himself, the suffering being too much for him with the need to escape on his mind. Up until five minutes ago limey had no idea they were about to kick him out into a friendly housing estate. 'Damn Onion Jacks everywhere, Pip. Where is the one with sickly Tri-Colours.'

Glasgo preoccupied his mind with an opportunity.
Me myself, must escape, I kept telling myself. I stopped listening to Limey. Couldn’t give a fiddler’s. Give myself peace, someone Please... soon I’ll be dead if someone can't stop mislead Limey.

Short of breath and gasping for every chance to breathe oxygen, last place anyone would expect to find a sixteen-year-old, except for the confusion of some early arrived army groups,
So me myself ended up under these fuckers, all five of them, whoever they are. PLEASE, end this before they crush me. Steel cold like a butcher's fridge in here, I'll tell ya, not to mention each time they hit another pothole tussles us like stacked carcasses.

Soon, military engines are recognizable around the nationalist neighbourhood and they must do what needs to be done quickly. Darkness is not a good sign. Bleeding and handcuffed, someone petrified begins pissing on him.

There's me pushing away his leg and he rewards me with another slash. What paratroopers limey did to us loyalists, I tell ya. Cockney Pipsqueak, he doesn't miss his chance digging his heel in where it hurt. Taigs say, Brits out, me myself prefer what yanks say. Limey go-home and rethink your plan.

“Target area coming up, Pip!”
Thoughts of myDambuster and what wouldn’t I do with one of them flying up the Falls and down the Shankill then a victory wave over their Palace? Though back there somewhere, remember me, I learned to put away such thoughts and turn them to my coming fate.
Something moves inside me, closer we got to the Fenian neighborhood, Short Strand. Somethin' heavy, rolling and churning up bile. Darkness, bleeding, cuffed to a pisser, all men on top, who would have thought me under likes of them.

“Short-Strand and we're there, Pip!”
A sudden slowing down in speed is clear by the drop in revs. And yon din, like the motor needed oil. The Ghetto Blaster pass to the front, bellowing Sweet’s 'Blockbuster' and my fate...earlier than I expect. Blood, dripping from a cut eye to the same spot on my upper lip, though my bones are more concern to me. A trickle forms a mustard taste on my tongue, I tell ya. After a while, a healthy respect of the mustard conditions outside, for which I am among the last, though it’s not worth going to hell and back for. Not even for the sound of suffering men on me. One of them moans about his eye, another about his mouth and the other his nuts when he looses control of his bladder, again. Beyond is an uglier sound. The sound of automatic gunfire. It is now I know where we are heading since they couldn’t fool the older ones. Squaddie scum, they shout from the shock realization, which is to find its way down to me with frantic movements.
Hate is a sound above and all around when the petrol bombs start hitting the outer metal surface. It's no wonder I found hate an easier feeling to feel than love, all things considered. Frequent, though reassuring since it they're smashing against the metal brings a pause to our fate. Thud, thud, smash, crash, and salvo after salvo. It is what it can do to rubber tyres and paint inside. From a lame hope it won’t start firing up, I told myself, before it stopped. Just as swift as the Apache.
Pipsqueak has a vengeful smirk on his face. I didn’t need to see it; I could feel it. His hate fills the can. Mick cunts all of em. The blaster drops a couple of decibels. Someone on top rolls over me seething his disapproval, “Where ya takin’ us you taig lovin’ army scum?”

“Short Strand and you’re there?”

''Yeh!” said Pipsqueak, “so you can get a feel what it’s like!”

The speed drops a couple mph, and again more until we are crawling along. Something tells me this lot are not like the others. That, 'They have a pact with the Fenians,' someone screams.

Derna Travillian is well camouflaged in a sniper’s hide up an oak tree trying hard not to move for five minutes. After the five minutes, she does a three-sixty degrees pan across the green patchwork of fields. Every now again she checked the vegetation for changes. Picking off members of the security forces is not every woman’s idea of the good life at fifty-something. To relieve herself, she takes a leak from a squat position, unlike her male colleagues who have to roll over. Fermanagh her rustic mare, releases her bladder below without as much fuss. She spits spent gum down at her for the hell of it. It feels like early spring though like last night, snow is to return by evening. She remembers as a child riding in the same fields though greener then, unlike today less green and muddier from tracks of larger Fergusons under patches of thawing ice. Bird's squawk in the scope taking flight. She bites a quill feather between her teeth, which helps her focus. It means going through with her final contract. Contracts are how her employer prefers things. Each liquidation needs recorded and ratified once completed. She crosses her forehead and chest, saying a few words to Mary before a hack of spit, then spat.
Mischievous jackdaws nearby are a small distraction, not that she has anything against them. Birds are welcome, knights of the realm are not. She rolls her weight sideways before getting comfortable then scans the grass where it grows longer. She checks for topography changes. All good. She turns back into position. She did not want the trouble of erecting a large camouflaged hide, which she made from branches and twigs plus two branches for stability. The length of her own body on either side enabled her less seen from the air. The Brits have been combing the border now on two years and still no idea how she made it out of their dragnets. She even taunts them with unwrapped gum. Eat this, Limey. Her father’s voice spoke to her, when about to take a life. As though the oak contained his voice, a tear fills her left eye not only from melancholy, but a genetic trait called glaucoma inherited from her mother, so she has learned. It is near the end of a campaign, why less cautious now, he would say. In her scope, the hue from the winter rainbow creeps over the pasture. Light is dimmer there when a silhouette throws a cloak as though to shield preying-eyes from seeing. It is all it took as she willed her father's lament away.

Rationalizing an RUC vehicle and not army, she would not have the same difficulties to escape. The Brits train their boys to spot differences in topography and even vegetation though they often overlooked trees. The RUC could not spot the difference between a bull and stallion’s fecking arse.
Music sings in her head as she lowers her telescopic sight onto officer McDowell’s head, whose doom is certain from a field in county Fermanagh. How we have to get it together, she synchronizes squeezing the trigger. Allow five for trajectory, five for distance, and another for crosswinds. The sound of the piano, if she could hear it, enables her focus to sharpen. A pre-recorded Shostakovich hit a low note. A smell of cow manure wafts from the nearby hilltop. She stretches her positioning to all fours: Herr Steiner’s training rings in her head. Without stability, probably still in mobility. She pins the contract into the tree’s flaky bark with a Gaelic Hairpin. Then she rests the barrel onto the branch in front for deadly focus. Covered by woodland from behind to her right and left she feels confident any sudden cracks within would dissipate through it. Her aim is steadier. She tests it to see if it is steady enough. Fermanagh senses it is time for Stum.
One two three and squeeze- one two three and squeeze- allow for a little jump, down a tad more, all in one flow, hold, hold, hold, relax. Smile to yourself, countess. ‘Still feckin’ good.’

Her ego pump is short lived. The squeal from the RUC defender pierces the otherwise calm. She could not shake the thought of Vincent’s cadet who he hid from harm’s way. Maybe the group is right about that alignment of hers. This would surely seal it between them both for good. Dead love, hello again.
The quill, chewing gum, only those few extremely close know along with the last resort Walther: light enough holding to the head. Little did they really know about her work, the contracts, or even young McDowell and the hate boiling in her contractor’s blood? Uglier these days, and this day she has something to prove. Doubt about her commitment to the cause of republicanism, lately an issue at the castle. What is more, of all the ideals, she never felt shrinkage from any except this last fecking son of a farmers’s brat. After all these years of commitment, she actually loves another in the same uniform her cross-hairs centred on. His voice, resonating more than ever, his velvet tipped tongue and its concealed steel no other possessed. It made up for all the other stuff. He was a challenge, not like the others. Love is different at fifty-something when it seldom comes along. How could she have foreseen it? When it does, the mind tends to look further ahead more frequently and see things you had not seen at twenty something. In addition, a lonely wealthy Irish Countess with no one to share it is as intolerable as the source of her own loneliness. Then there are those other feelings, racing around what little conscience she has left to herself. Moreover, the same question, If he knew what I had done this day, would he forgive me for this too. Somehow, she could see he might, her intuition said this one was strangely forgiving. Many times his forgiveness she had taken for granted. However, this ...she has a choice with.
She could see the defender turn the corner where the wooden fence opposite curves outwards toward the field of grazing Friesians and Bullocks. Their carbon rises like smoke signals. Officer McDowell laughing with his colleagues came closer in her scope. Every time she looks at him, she tries to see only him. No wonder he sent him south; fecking well looks like him. Shit, why this feckin’ uniform, Mary, why why why?

Derna cannot see the difference. RUC personnel shouldn’t feel any different from a Brit. Came with the turf, not one of those bastards could prove different; their sins will always be, ‘Le Péché Terrible’. Herr Steiner, though German, loved French, but what would he know.

Shielded by an English judicial system in the land of her murdered father, what did they expect? Today, those convictions Derna has been trying harder burying over the last years. To make matters worse, this one is not like the others: Too close and in an odd way, too easy. Who is he anyway, knows me so well. Maybe when twenty-something without a conscience, but at fifty-something the enemy has hit the soft spot. Moreover, it went deep. That is not supposed to happen. Despite the denial, her head at fifty-something is not the same as it was at thirty something: Men all over her then, but today, mostly all dead or incarcerated. Better to forgo this one, something isn't right.
Derna fixed the cross-hairs on her quarry’s forehead and a scene from last summer threw something at her. Exquisite, that dark crystallize green canal they sailed together. She almost allows the joy to get to her. The barge meandering, slowing it here and there, her pointing out places of interest with either the oar or her finger. Soon they were caught in a current and then deep into the glens and lakes allowing the butterflies to partake of the love, with a chorus from the assortment of birds. He poured her a cup of English tea. Not brew he is a custom too. The morning has been bliss, and for a change, the effect on her was what she needed after another contract. She would not have it any other way, even with a man of uniform at her side.

“What are you thinkin’ about, Mary?”

“Makin’ love on yon embankment.”

Vincent McGovern thought about it, even out of uniform, he felt he still wore it with her. She lied to him and he knew but said nothing.

“Could we wait till the surroundings are more to my liking, darlin’?” he said allowing her to save face.

“What did you think; I was goin’ to jump yer bones or sumpin’? she said trying to hide behind another disarming smile.

“You can if you can manage it,”

“Now yon’s a challenge.”

“More than you can imagine, darlin’,”

She tosses her long locks over her left side enabling her right eye to flirt. “You don’t know my imagination, Vincent?”

“Care to bet on that, Mary.”

Cutting it today is going to be hard. She just needs to work on getting her head round the one annoying me myself shite. There is no doubt; Officer McDowell is like a younger Vincent McGovern.
Oh, why do you torment me. An image of him in his leaf coloured uniform lingers long; too long and she fears it. She lowers her head to take aim one last time with her camouflaged Mauser and there he is. Cross-hairs centers his uncapped forehead. Ready to die my love... Sorry.
One two three, squeeze. One two three, Derna engages the magnum, slotting it into the chamber: Her mare takes off in a hysterical gallop towards the woods. A sound of indescribable proportion could have been mistaken for something not of this world. It followed a sway, followed by shaking the earth beneath the oak. Her heart pounds at her chest, her hand clasping at whatever she could, before her body tumbles downward. It made no difference. Refocusing her eyes to make sense of what is desperately out of place, an explosion, a minuscule of a second before flying debris blast her out of the branches. All around her, pieces of tarmac, pebbles, brick and stone peppered her. Grit embedded her hair and inside her ears. Her Mauser blown against the tree is shattered pieces, like her new found alignment. Remarkably, blown from the tree before part of the Defender’s windscreen mesh embedded itself where she took position a moment before. Just when all seemed final, a head rolls out of the branch above and with one ugly hallow sound of impact against the tree's trunk. It holds Derna in shock like none other.

At the olde Motte nearby the graveyard below, McGovern taps a rickety walking stick he pretended to need, on the council’s wooden steps. The same a week before only this time he nearly forgot to bring it. Lucky he has, as the accumulated wet grass he could scrape away. Consistency played a part in his life and with the recent exception of making love to Mary, and with limited exertion before her disappearance. Life suddenly felt worthwhile living after that. It also took some balls considering he is today a seventy–five-year-old awakening with the erection of a fifty-year-old. It made him snigger. Again, the same apparition held his attention just above the Motte’s summit. It seems the voice of a woman sings softly to him, as though death herself wanted him to know something. The voice sounded like ‘Michele De Larve,’ the French wife he lost to the crack of a sniper’s bullet. This time, she hovered before him, her sweet smile long forgotten. Her hair cascading about her as the wind whistled and died. Then she vanished. He wondered if she disapproved of Mary. Another annoying little flash came back to open-up his thoughts: Superintendent MaGimsey, why here, why this one operative. Had he intended to draw him out into the open? If not, what other explanation could there be? His most seasoned informer. The only one left not kneecapped or who received the one-way ticket, and at the summit of all places. This one will be livid.
Like a week before, the informer sat dragging on a small cigar, smoke ribboning away on the breeze to the west. McGovern wondered if he left at all sitting on the exact spot. This time he is slightly swaying, probably with impatience as McGovern checked his breast pocket watch and seen he is again overdue. By the time he tap the last wooden step, he feels the wind direction whistle again toward him. Something else travels airborne and his nostrils caught it. Instead of being relieved the operative made a show, McGovern murmurs a prayer, one he had not uttered for a while. A swear came from his mouth and a habitual knack for light cussing.
“By the balls of Judas, if that is not what I believe it to be” One of the odours is definitely from earlier, the same below at the old graveyard; the other more sinister and reviling so much so it almost made him lose his balance to revisiting vertigo. He stopped, looked around for the source and again his gaze turns south to the graveyard. Then he notices the informer holding his slim Panatella fixed to his mouth some ten or so yards away. He has not removed it: Same duffel coat with tatty baggies: Definitely same well-worn DM boots. Him all right: Another airborne gust.
“Mary, Mother of Jesus, forgive what my eyes were not meant to see nor my nose to smell.”

Chapter 3 Culloden’s end Breath
That morning, Derna, the Countess Travillian with her stepfather found the crisp Antrim air too much to resist a gallop around the glens of their wooded mountain. The castle home amid the Beech, Oak, and Willows falls away behind as they canter away from it. A pocket of chill brushes against her face; it feels good and begins murmuring a thanksgiving to the four energies dominating her life. It would be the last chase together before spring commences its display of magic over the estate’s landscape. Approaching the eddying water, she could see it is too deep for the horses to cross. She pauses to consider her only option. A slap with her crop bounds him forward releasing seventeen hundred pounds of throbbing muscle pulsating through her own frame. With the wind in her ears nearing the river’s edge his front legs lift earlier as though winged for flight. Airborne, an awful feeling of indecision crosses her mind clearing the water’s icy appearance? Smirking, her stepfather's scars give nothing of it away though she could tell. Her dark gray Mare bayed and snorted. You saw it too, she whispers to him. Too pumped with excitement to turn back, she awaits breathing in the crisp air. And that is not all she feels.

You surpassed yourself, Derna, though he'll never admit it.

Killian Travillian shifts on his padded saddle before mustering the courage to follow her. His new stallion has other ideas and bounds forward before the steel stirrup digs at his side. Dazzled by its dashing raven-sheen Derna holds her breath. The river beneath never looked as deep nor beautiful. Dark olive with shimmering crystal flow over wispy stone growth. Relieved when his black stallion touches the bank on her side, both bolt the span of Green forming the forest of evergreens along the mountain’s base. She could hear the quickening of his stallion’s heart learned on her father’s Fermanagh farm. There, a memory of the Black and Tans is never far away. Some still came with their price after all these years. That included the one who raised her, knowingly as one. She knows when to smack her Mare's hind with the crop and when not. She also knows when to speak the pagan words passed down from her mother making him perform better or when not. When his stallion would move on her, she would give her Mare not a smack, but one simple incantation of syllables. All this she knew by way of the quickening and a few druid words. However, around her, a pagan spell is already working to his favour. The father she knows as a stepfather guarded his secrets like a curse under wraps. Derna has little time digging them up before tomorrow comes. Let us see who you really are stepfather. Another ugly image is before her and she quickly regains her focus and attitude with the gallop; but it causes her to waiver ever so unnoticeable, though she is sure he would have. A minuscule drop in her horse’s speed would have been sufficient.

A shot from the forest pulverises the first of the season’s pheasants. A hunter would be hard to spot from the collection of standing columns backing up the side of the mountain like lined matchsticks. The horses gallop onward, though her mare surprises Derna. Pockets of icy air spear into their throats and when he needed to pull his rein to allow the mare to catch up, she saw the gloat slip across his battered face. He placated her, saying how her mare sensed the hunter before an impetuous stallion. Though last night still simmers below the surface of his dismissive face. For he had many.

“Last whippin’ from me, dear father, you’re on yer own.”

Overwhelming is the urge to toss the walking stick aside, but instead, McGovern grips it tighter. Striding toward the figure, by now slightly banking, he swallows hard before morphing into a rage. Residue smoke still hangs in the night air, as signs of twilight stab through where he feared most. He retrieved his brown handkerchief as the intensity of heat on his forehead increases. His breath labours from inhaling sulphur before sweat begins leaking from his forehead. He rests the stick against himself, retrieving the Webley with his other hand. He cocked it just in case a threat from someone lurking is nearby. Halfway across the summit, his eyes dart into the inky void around him as if he could call on some extra sight. He paces forward taking at first a small step. The finality of a burning human trunk is not something you see every day or the fumes of Semtex bomb-making material to reach the province. Adjusting his bifocals, he witnesses something so grotesque he begins pondering how he could keep this one from the media. No recoiling, he hardened those fears into cold steel long before where others reduced themselves to a shivering wreck over time. It is why at his age, the brass needed to keep his like around as an example for the imminent nervy stuff.

Where eyeballs had been, blazed like fire-sparklers: A fireball’s work, still rolling inside with less impulsion. He imploded on the west side of the Motte but still visible from the hospital. McGovern is not new to this; in fact, it was quite common with the attrition back in Belgium. This was one of his best men, and he would not be easy to replace. His clothing reduced to a flaky patchwork of burning fabrics fused with skin and bone, so much so only the smell of Semtex really mattered. McGovern could see his Adam-Apple dropped out and hung before fusing with his neck bones. He dropped onto his good knee with the aid of his stick. A jab of pain shot into his kneecap, but it paled into nothing against his current threshold for suffering. He holstered his Webley, removed his tweed cap and set it on a patch of moist grass. He wipes his manky brow with the brown saturated handkerchief he been covering his stick’s handle.
He began to pray a prayer his father used when selected for the administration of the firing squad.

“Judas Iscariot, bring me no cry for mercy, alas, let me die as God intended, instead a merciful man, amen”

A beginning at least: McGovern had questions. What collusion is there if any, why here and this village? Why German hand-guns and grenades and not the usual American? Why this cemetery and not a remote coastline or an abandoned farm like the others? For a split moment that resonated more. Any prospect of that intelligence is cinders of burnt offerings with an unwritten message; there will be more. For this was a sign of something well devised.

Of the thoughts trespassing any memory left from the old days, one gnawed inside the most. From somewhere in the recess of a brain dying of life is a mapping. It is the way his esophagus hangs from his neck: Moreover, what of his informer’s Glock. Whoever did this probably took it; where had McGovern seen that work before; and that vile stench again. Red Hand 1 would soon be a skeleton. Not much for the boys in white to go on, and not much left to give to his only sibling: A sister somewhere in the Free State. He will have to say something lifting. Least he could do.
Again, possible grounds sometimes his enemies went on about his lunacy mingling with his senses, and the usual, Is he slipping, back at the Barracks: Those who know him better, know McGovern remembered as good as always at times like this. There, his senses reigned supreme. Moreover, he guessed the Arms would find their way to the vigilante loyalists, and someone would have agreed to provide them with a possible deferred payment plan. Maybe even without payment, depending on how deep their vengeance went. Is it possible his burnt offering knew who that would be? Last time it was something about obliteration of towns and villages, starting with the farthest, working its way back to the last, however that is to pan out. In addition, if that could make him shudder, it would make others run for the hills if his thunderbolt has credence at the next call to action meeting. A sudden crackle and Argyles voice rose from inside his tweed dog-tooth coat.

“Sarg, think you need to get back here.”

“Right away and Sam, call everyone to the mess, be ready when I get there.

“Yes, Sarg.”

Could such thoughts have a grain of that actually happening? Hypothetically, if the provision of arms were supplied free to the vigilante loyalists, it would still have to come from their bitter foe. But such a theory is hard to understand that collusion existed without evidence. Unless mapped somewhere in one of those dying memories is a clue nearby the earlier one of the hanging gullet: A memory needing believing first, before enticing out from its pigeonhole. And if so, could all this be a diversion? Some side game? McGovern stood watching the fire brigade shimmying through the last of the rush hour traffic from Strand-town; the nearest available station. Something smouldering caught his eye a couple of yards from his torched operative. A leather army case: Moreover, a remaining wad of tender from the realm.

McGovern using his walking stick scoops the leather bag up and pulled it toward himself to steal a peek inside. Seeing a lot more cabbage, it has a definite smell of Semtex. He looks up to check the vicinity of the Motte, his eyes narrowing into every darken patch; the handkerchief filtered some clean air through. But he is soon sucking the vile stench into his stomach. Reaching down for the wad of bills, still largely intact, he made for the steps descending as quickly as his legs could muster: But not before dampening out the threat of reigniting embers. Holding the bag aside, checking his flanks amid the long clusters of damp grass, he resumes his hurried step.
Across from the Motte to the other side of the village at the brow of Craigantlet hills, the Ulster scrambles its ambulance coinciding with the approaching fire engine in the beginning rain. They did not need an emergency though they did that anyway. They could not help but see the torched outline of a man on the summit of the Motte. What is not normal, is how he seemed so mechanical in movements to the extent, it is hard to take seriously there has been a victim of something so inhuman close to a hospital. McGovern is disturbed others are privy making their way on the main artery from Belfast though glad of the rain. In addition, from the patient wards opposite, truly a shocking sight for them. Any hope of escaping the media’s radar evaporated. He had some of his men roadblock the traffic until the incident is taken care off.
A figure observing with his night-vision scope behind a Corinthian pillar below in the cemetery holds his leash with the steel hook. It would have pulled the arm dislodging other men’s shoulders, and a hound would have been lucky. A wicked snigger broke from behind his ww1 shell patch covering his left cheek. Blood rushed into the whites of his eyes until they nearly seemed too dark to be red.
Whatever has begun

Dispatched from the Antrim Castle a day later, Derna found herself in a Craigantlet glen Co. Down

February 20th, 1973 is like a spring day and a one-off. By evening she arrived at the hideaway, it changed to a normal pattern for this time of year. Showery and windy, smells carried far. Culloden lost the life to one of his two heads. He took it badly, trying to lick it back to life, refusing to accept its voided energy. It made him vengeful and dangerous. They say never approach a dog licking its wounds. Imagine how a hound with a piece of itself missing feels. Moreover, a hound bred to kill and from a long line of hunting lineage.
Warned, she knows how he would be, notwithstanding his muzzle on heightened alert. She might have a chance, even if she would attempt to deceive him. Arriving when the rain dampened the ground and a light southern breeze would ensure any tell-tale signs of her approach more difficult. His odour permeates the air enticing her to the waterfall in the distance and the last tributary. It is not long until she locates his lair: The cabin two hundred yards ahead, behind a big oak, looked uninhabited. The odour, more pungent closer, slips downwind over the surface of the stream like dead rotting flesh with a million hovering midgets. It would not be long before his muzzle will scent her estrogen. However, the high-pitch buzz from the new midget repellent is what betrays her. She overlooked it. Soon she could see he exhale carbon from the enclosure like a steam of fresh manure. The Mauser revolver with a magnum is ready for the road. It had passed the trail run and it is fit for a worthy benefactor. After she took aim through the night vision, something stops her. Not like this, too risky and unworthy of him.
Approaching the lair, she is certain the noble hound has her in his muzzle. He remains put, his eyes on her oozing tear, as she lowers her head to enter. Whimpering with recognition, he is unable to move. Terminally wounded, blood matted his exposed fleshy flank of gray fur. Underneath him, it is seeping into a small puddle of blacken burgundy. Derna at first winced from the stench. However, she had nothing to worry about now. He knew it too. Removing her Stiletto from its sheaf, she began whispering sweet nothings to him. “Relax Culloden; There boy. It is time. There now, good boy.”
A lonely howl echoed over the valleys and down into ravines of side granite and caves: Culloden past from his suffering, thru at last.
She removes her blade from his jugular, still cradling his head sideways heavy on her supportive forearm: A noble demise for a noble breed. You have served your master well, old Hair. RIP.

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