One lifetime of experience, and suddenly magic. Richard has come to Ireland to reflect on years gone by, not to become mixed up in the affairs of the fairy folk. The handsome stranger he meets will not be denied, however. He makes Richard young again—for a price.
Richard Trowes got on the tour bus with resigned exhaustion. The trip that had looked so good on the travel agency’s web site was proving to be insufferable, and there was still one more day to go. Plus, whatever remained of that afternoon.
He shuffled onto his seat, wishing he weren’t surrounded by teenagers who had not stopped talking amongst themselves for a single moment since the group left the hotel. Had he ever been as loud as they were now? Richard doubted it. After putting noise-canceling headphones on so he would at least be listening to his music, he stared out the window as the bus started on its way.
At least the scenery was beautiful. In that, the web site photographs could never do justice to the real thing. The northern coast of Ireland was breathtaking, even in March when the occasional patch of snow could still be seen on the fields. The sky above was a leaden shade of gray, but Richard had already seen how quickly that could change under the influence of the tireless wind. Early in the morning, they had been at some castle whose name Richard had already forgotten, and the waves of the ocean crashing against the old stone walls had made for a surprisingly vivid, nostalgic picture.
It was the only picture Richard had taken so far. He supposed he was old-fashioned, but in his day, photographs had meant something. You had a limited supply of them, and then you had to wait for them to be developed, and the suspense of getting your finished product was almost as nice as the event which had warranted those mementos in the first place. He understood the convenience of having the possibility of taking unlimited photographs with digital media, but he suspected that those who did ended up with folders upon folders of bad pictures that they looked at once in their lives, if at all. Maybe they would browse through when they got back from their journeys, but just to see what to post on whatever social media web site was popular at the moment. Not him. He had a professional camera, most definitely not digital, and he only used it for special things.
The low, rolling hills of gray and white and even the stereotypical emerald swept past his window as the bus drove on. On the right lay the ocean, and far away, the white tips of other islands or maybe Scotland. Most of the land Richard saw was carefully tended. There was little wilderness left. Fences divided every acre and sheep marked different colors pastured where there was no snow, sometimes already followed by this year’s young calves.
George would have probably said something along the lines of how nice it was that the circle of life carried on, right upon seeing the baby sheep, and Richard would have countered with some sarcastic argument of his own.
Except George wasn’t there anymore.
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Albert Nothlit is a writer and an engineer who enjoys creating science fiction worlds.
At Gay Authors (GA): http://www.gayauthors.org/author/albertnothlit