Fionn's Return

          Fionn is close to the bridge. His house lay empty; Niamh was absent. Trying to find her, he pulls a coat off the peg and bundles it on, trying to get warm. There is some sort of commotion on the bridge, he can see. A man is running towards it - there is someone lying on the ground.

          The man starts to run closer. He is a mirror image of his counterpart from the other side of the river, though neither of them realise this. He reaches the bridge and sees with horror that the woman on the ground is his own Niamh.

          “Niamh?” he whispers, running closer. She is in a bad way: blood from her chest, eyes rolling. “NO!”

          Fionn shoves the guard out of the way. He sees the crossbow but does not at that moment connect it with Niamh’s death. Taking her in his arms, he kisses her lips tenderly.

          “Stay with me,” he whispers. “I came home, didn’t I? I promised you that I’d come home, and I did!” She opens her eyes, and they are bloodshot with the pain.

          “Fionn,” she whispers. “Hello.” He kisses her again.

          “Everything’s okay, Niamh, you are going to be okay.” But she knows he is lying, and she smiles.

          “Never lie to a dying man,” she reminds him, and he has to laugh. The other man reaches them, his face wild.

          “Niamh? What happened?” He looks at Fionn in terror, realising who he is, but Niamh’s husband is beyond petty jealousy.

          “She has been spending time with you?” he asks, as his wife’s breathing slows and her heartbeat gradually stops. Mathew nods, wordless. He knows that his lover is dead, now. It is clear for all to see.

          “Yes,” he mutters. He feels guilt, but it is detached. Nothing matters any more. “I’m sorry.”

          “Don’t be sorry,” says Fionn, looking him in the face, black eyes to green. Mathew bends to hear the final two words that escape from his lips. “Thank you.”

The End

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