Bayveen O’Connell; Collooney Man

Collooney Man

The storm woke me, cleaved the old tree and threw my bones into the air to feel the darts of Connaught rain in the shadow of my Maeve in her cairn. Someone in the sky was throwing spears of light. Barely a man when I was buried face down and alone, I was catapulted into a new time and space, with half of me tangled in these roots. Who were my people? What was my crime? Why was I brought back? And my bed, my eternal bed exploded?

     The wind died down and dry leaves scraped along the marrow, drying me, though I felt no cold. Days and nights passed. I saw the stars hadn’t changed. Cows kept their distance from the cavity left by the wrenched tree. It seemed that cow pats looked the same but gave me little bother without a nose to smell them with.  A farmer appeared with a dog a few times. The dog sniffed, whined and made to go for my leg bone, while the farmer clutched his chest and just peered down at me with his gob gaping.

     Not long after, more folks came with white gloves, masks, brushes and tiny spades. These strange hands were gentler than those that buried me. My skull was carefully plucked from the high roots, my shoulders and spine unwound and lifted down, and I glimpsed my hips and thighs being dug out little by little. The touch put me in mind of a mother or a lover. All lost and long gone. 

     I was put on trays with little tags, covered in sacks and placed in a strange cart that was driven from the inside. Later, under a very strong light near my eye sockets, the people with gloves and masks put me together again. They took each bit of me, looked at it, put it back down and made a little scrawl on their vellum.  Staring at me and shaking their heads, they smiled excitedly. I wanted to tell them that I was just old bones.

     Couldn’t I have stayed looking up at the sky after having my face full of dirt for all these years? If I’d been able to reunite the pieces of myself, where would I have gone? Taken the back road towards Strandhill, struggled up the slopes of Knocknarea, and knocked on Maeve’s grave to see if she was awake?

     I missed my earth blanket with its peace and quiet. It wasn’t much of a grave but it was mine. Someone was done with me all those days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries before and placed me there. Did Maeve really toss me back up to have all these eyes on me? To be danced around like a bonfire?

     The people disappeared and the giant indoor sun went out. It was no place to sleep – on some table made of silver. Please Maeve, I prayed through broken teeth, send another storm, set me free once more.  

*

Biography

Bayveen O’Connell lives in Dublin and delights in dark things. Her flash fiction and short stories have appeared in The Bohemyth, Nilvx, Rag Queen Periodical and Molotov Cocktail. She is currently seeking a home for her Historical Gothic novel set in a medieval village. 

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