I was ready to have a real talk with Mac after my little outing with Uncle Angus. Later that afternoon I found him and Gwrhyr out on The Point, a secluded area on my grandparent’s property that overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. It was a very tranquil spot and one that every member of the family came to at some point to connect with Gaia. I loved it here.
“Hey Mac, what are you doing?” I asked quietly as I approached them, hoping that I wasn’t interrupting anything important between the pair. Mac and the wolf had been practically inseparable since his return and I didn’t want to intrude on what looked like could be a training session. Mac was sitting crossed-legged on the cold ground and Gwrhyr was sitting across from him.
Mac looked up at me and smiled briefly and then returned his gaze to the wolf. “Could you please give us some privacy?” he asked the animal. Gwrhyr nodded in his half wolf, half man way then glanced up at me.
“Greetings, CorrineMacenzie,” he said in my mind, a second before disappearing from my sight all together. Like he hadn’t even been there at all.
I blinked in surprise, but knew that I really shouldn’t be. It only seemed natural that since he was Mac’s guide that the wolf would have some kind of mystical abilities himself. So he could disappear with a thought? Okay, that’s cool and handy if you really thought about it. My gaze drifted over to Mac again and I saw that he was grinning at me now.
“Nothing now,” he said, finally answering my initial question as if it wasn’t a big deal that the wolf had carried out his request. “What’s up, luv? You and that heap of your Uncle Angus finish the shopping?”
I laughed outright at that his blasé attitude and sat down next to him. “Yes, we’ve finished,” I informed him as I settled myself to closely mimic his cross-legged position and glanced over at him. “Uncle Angus is a really good listener and his advice isn’t too bad, either.” I fell silent for a moment as I found myself just looking at Mac for the first time in a while. As if I needed to remind myself that he was really here. Really back from the dead. It was something that I had noticed the rest of the family doing as well, with Mac and Uncle Angus both, and I hoped I didn’t make him uncomfortable. “I’m really glad you’re back,” I told him for what I was sure was the fiftieth time.
Mac reached over and put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close to him so he could kiss my temple. “I’m glad to be back,” he said with a sigh before continuing in a tone that didn’t reflect a happy mood. “I’ll see what I can do about making it last a little longer.”
He shook himself, as if he realized that he was being a party pooper, and attempted to perk up. “So, just out fer a wee trip around the property?” he teased, allowing the Irish accent he normally didn’t use to come out.
“No. I was looking for you.” I dropped my head to rest it on his shoulder as I looked out over The Point at the incredible beauty Gaia offered to us. “I was hoping we could get a few minutes together.”
“Well child, here we are. What’s on your mind?”
I rubbed my cheek against the soft flannel of his jacket sleeve and wondered how best to start as I slipped my arm around his waist. I could feel the cold that he now emanated all the time, but I was used to the fact that he was cold to the touch so it didn’t bother me. What was odd was that he now warmed up after a while. “You’re warm,” I said after I felt it. I took a deep breath before I spoke again. “When you died I felt a hole in my life that I’ve never felt before. Of course my first concern was for Eliza…I had to be sure that she wouldn’t do something to join you… I can’t imagine what it was like for her to loose you twice and I don’t ever want to find out.”
I lifted my head and looked up at him. “After the worst was over I realized how I had wasted our time together in Salem. I thought that we had all the time in the world to… you know… spend time together. Do you know what I mean?”
He didn’t say anything as I talked and just having him listening and holding me was nice. “You didn’t waste any time,” he assured me, squeezing my shoulders slightly. “I wouldn’t change a single moment of it.” He paused, then asked, “How could you have known this would happen?”
“It shouldn’t have mattered,” I insisted. “I know that I’m eager to learn about magick and that I’m going to school, but that shouldn’t have stopped me from getting to know you.” I took a deep breath and said something I didn’t think I ever told him before. “You’re my father… and even though Mom and Dad are my parents, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want a father/daughter relationship with you.”
He grinned in my direction and squeezed me again. “I’m not planning on going anywhere for a long time, Corrine, so we’ll have a good long time to catch up. Where do you want to start?”
I hugged him back and laugh slightly. “That’s good to know. I don’t know… what exactly happens to you now? Everyone is talking about your destiny. What can I do to help?”
“Destiny,” he snorted, letting me know that he hadn’t changed in the amount of credit he gave the thought of his life being planned out already. “Ya do know I’ve never believed in it, don’t ya? Never gave it a second thought. But… here I am. Back from the… well, back. Again.”
He looked at the spot where Gwrhyr had sat and continued, “With a mystic wolfie guide and all. Somethin’ out there must have a plan for me. As for you my little one,” he said as he leaned over to kiss my cheek. “I think you’re doing your part to help right now.”
I reached up to move aside a lock of hair that had fallen onto his forehead. “Oh yeah? How’s that? By being a royal pain?” I asked with a bright smile on my face.
He laughed and the sound filled my heart with love for him. “No, no. By just bein’ yourself. If there is such a thing as Destiny, I damn well sure ain’t looking for it! It’ll have to find me if it wants me to do something.”
I didn’t want to put a damper on the moment, but I knew I wouldn’t sleep well if I didn’t ask. “Speaking of things looking for you, what about the vampires?” I inquired in a low voice. “Are you guys going back to the island to live?”
The question didn’t seem to faze Mac at all. “I’m sure I can come up with something to keep them out. But mostly I am hoping that if I don’t get in their face, they won’t get in mine.”
I looked down to the leg of his faded jeans and ran a finger over the texture of the material that had softened with many washings. “James stopped by my apartment after the… um, funeral. He said he was there to give his condolences, but he kept asking about Eliza.” I knew that I had a worried look on my face, but I also had an idea that Eliza wouldn’t have told him about the vampires yet. She would have wanted to shelter him from the knowledge as long as possible, but I didn’t think he would appreciate it anymore than I would.
“They will only find out that you’re back if one of us tells them and I really don’t see that happening, but they are looking for Eliza. Someone was out at the farm asking, too. Do you think if I told someone that she was dead that they would believe it? That she was so grief stricken that she ended her life? They would have to let it go then, right?”
If it were possible Mac pulled me even closer to him. “It might be worth a try, but if the Clan wants something bad enough, they won’t be dissuaded very easily.” He chuckled slightly. “Hell, even death isn’t permanent anymore.”
“That’s true, but I don’t want you both to worry about them,” I told him, trying to show him that I could be looked at as an equal in this situation. “I’m sure that Grandfather can help you with something. Think about my suggestion and let me know if you want me to drop the story in the right ear.” I fell silent for a moment as I remembered something that I had overheard Mac and Grandfather talking about and wondered if I dared ask about it. “What’s that ‘belated’ thing that you were talking to Grandfather about?” I asked, taking the plunge and holding my breath.
Mac sighed deeply and was silent, obviously thinking about how to answer. When he finally looked at me I could see the hurt in his eyes. “Can I tell you after we get it fixed?” he asked earnestly. “Just know it was done with good intentions. It is serious and if it happens…” he dropped off and shook his head slowly.
I could see that the subject really bothered him and I felt my features wrinkle slightly with concern as I regarded him thoughtfully. “Well, okay,” I finally conceded slowly, not really willing to wait, but knowing that he would never tell me if he wasn’t ready. “But if there is anything I can do to help, I will. If it’s involving Eliza, I’ll do whatever I can. Goddess knows she’s been there enough for me and I would do whatever I had to in order to make things right for her again.”
In an attempt to once again lighten the mood between us, I gave Mac a slight shove in the ribs with my shoulder. “I’m sure that whatever it is, Grandfather can fix it,” I told him.
“I’m worried about him too,” I continued, not wanting to add to Mac’s worries, but realizing that he would want to know about what had happened while he was gone. “Everything that’s happened seems to have put a strain on him. How old is he anyway? I don’t think anyone has ever said.”
Mac sighed again. “Yea, even magick canna keep age at bay forever,” he said with a slight grin. “Let’s just say Da’s seen over a century and leave it there.” He leaned toward me like he was about to whisper a secret. “He dosena really like to be reminded.”
Over a hundred years old? The idea made me laugh in disbelief as she leaned into him as well. “Are you serious? What about Grandmother?”
“Ma is an old fashioned lady, you never ask their age.” He grinned again. “And if you do, watch yer back side for the wooden spoon. Only her and Da know for sure. All I do know for sure is that they looked this way when Sean was born.” He lowered his voice before saying, “Though you’ll do to not repeat his name.”
“Who is Sean?” I had never heard of anyone in the family named Sean.
Mac took a deep breath as he pulled a cigarette from his pocket and lit it. “Sean was my older brother. He was killed the year before I was born, in Germany.”
I couldn’t have been more surprised. “Older brother? Oh my god, I never knew.” I glanced over the edge of The Point in astonishment. “What happened to him?”
“He joined the army in ‘39, and was killed in ‘43,” Mac explained. “He’s buried over there somewhere. He left ‘cause him and Da got into some fight. Over what, I don’t know.”
I listened intently; wanting to know all I could about this mysterious uncle I had never known existed. “That doesn’t sound like Grandfather, does it? It must have been something big, then. Grandmother must have been devastated.”
“Neither of them will talk of ‘im,” Mac confessed, and then eyed me with a warning in his eyes. “And I’d advise you to let it be. I found a picture of the three of ‘em once, when I was a lad, taken when Sean was a babe. And another of him about 13. I brought ‘em down and asked Ma and Da who he was…” his mouth hung open, but nothing came out.
I waited for him to answer, but when one isn’t forthcoming I turned to face him more fully.
“Was he a hunter then?” I asked. “Like Glenn and you and Eliza were? Did he abuse his powers or something? I mean it would have to be something pretty bad if they won’t even talk about him…”
I was talking more to myself then to Mac, trying to figure out the great mystery behind no one talking about Sean. I almost didn’t hear Mac when he spoke.
Mac took a hit from the cigarette. “No, he was nothing. Normal.”
I went still as his words sunk in, then looked at him in amazement. “Normal?” I asked surprisingly. “Nothing. Not a mage… or a werewolf?” I looked out over the ocean again. “Wow, I’d never thought of that. I guess I just took it for granted that everyone in the family was SOMETHING…” Which was true. At first I thought it was amazing to come from a family where you were either a mage, or a werewolf, or a dhampire. But to be nothing… normal in every sense of the word… I could see where he might have had an issue with everyone else.
Mac looked a little uncomfortable. “I believe he was… something. Nothing supernatural or the like, but rather he was meant to teach a lesson.” He paused for a moment. “I can but guess what that lesson was. Or still is.”
He looked at me then and his grin was back in place. “Someday when yer heap Uncle has had his fill o’ the pint, and starts singing sad songs, you may well get him to tell you more.” He pulled me closer again. “Cause he knows more about such things than he lets on.”
I looked up at him again and barely caught his wink before it was gone. “As do I, but we will not be alone for much longer. Your grandmother is heading this way.” He tossed the cigarette off the cliff and wiped his hands on his jeans. “Was there anything else you wanted to talk about, luv?”
I thought for a moment as I lowered my cheek to his shoulder again. “Not really. I… I don’t know. I’m just glad to have you back. I love you, Mac.”
I heard him murmur that he loved me and we sat in silence for a few moments before we heard Grandmother enter the clearing with Gwrhyr trotting beside her. She told us that dinner would be ready soon and that we should get back to the house to wash up.
Mac and I stood and headed back with her. I felt more confident that I was on my way to developing a stronger relationship with my father. There didn’t seem to be any boundaries between us and I felt glad for that. Mac teased Grandmother about something that I didn’t catch because my head was filled with thoughts. A small twinge of guilt actually that had nothing really to do with Mac and everything to do with my Dad. Guilt that I could and did share the truth of my life with Mac and Eliza, but not with my parents.
Since there wasn’t much I could do about it at the moment, I decided I would have to deal with it later, like after I returned to Salem. Uncle Angus and Mac had given me a great deal to think about, but for now I had Mac back and the family was whole again. I would think about my parents, and what I might or might not tell them, later.
The following week was spent being with family and friends. My grandparents allowed word to leak out to selected people about what had happened, so usually there were close family friends as guests for dinner. Their faces I had only seen a couple of months earlier at Mac’s funeral, but now they were filled with joy at the brother’s return. My Grandfather was sure to tell each of them not to divulge that Mac and Uncle Angus were back from the dead and they were all quick to agree. No one wanted the vampires to catch wind of the knowledge and come knocking on one of our doors.
I found out during that week that Gwrhyr could only talk to mages and werewolves, leaving Eliza out of the loop. Grandfather made a talisman for her to wear so she could communicate with him instead. I found it quite fascinating to find a mystical beastie in our midst, but I refrained from asking too many questions and seeming rude. There was plenty of time for that and besides, he was Mac’s guide, not mine.
Heart of the Witchs Path YouTube channel:
PodOmatic site for podcasts:
iTunes site for podcasts: