She felt a cold hand touch her cheek as she opened one eye.
"Mom?" Her voice crackled.
"Come. You'll be more comfortable in your own bed."
Tess slowly sat up as Mom pulled the blanket off. A shiver ran up her spine. Shadows danced on the floor in the darkened room. The moonlight shone through the bay window where Dad stood, a gray silhouette which held a long stick. She could hear some kind of commotion growing outside on the streets.
"What's Daddy doing?"
"Keeping watch," was all Mom said as she handed her the blanket, and a lighted candle in a jar.
Tess took the items as she strained her eyes into the darkness. "Does he have a gun, Mom?"
"Yes, dear. Now go to your room." Mom turned away, leaving Tess all alone at the landing of the steps. She shrugged and made her way up the stairs, down the hallway, and into her bedroom. As she set the candle down on the lamp table, an intense dizziness washed over her. Tess swayed and fell into her bed.
Her body felt like it was on fire. She tried to move, but all the joints hurt too much.
"Dear, have a sip." Mom placed a cup to her mouth. Once the cool water touched her lips, Tess opened her mouth and swallowed. It was then she opened her eyes. Her room was dark. The candle sat on the lamp table, casting a yellow glow between them.
"You've been out for over a day," Mom said. "Gave me a fright."
Tess turned her face away. Mom set the cup down on the table, and leaned back in a rocking chair beside the bed.
"Over in Killarney
Many years ago,
Me Mither sang a song to me
In tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty,
In her good ould Irish way,
And l'd give the world if she could sing
That song to me this day.
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don't you cry!
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, that's an Irish lullaby."
Oft in dreams I wander
To that cot again,
I feel her arms a-huggin' me
As when she held me then.
And I hear her voice a-hummin'
To me as in days of yore,
When she used to rock me fast asleep
Outside the cabin door."
Mom's voice soothed Tess as her lids slowly closed. It was the same lullaby she used to sing to Tess when she was a little girl, every night at bedtime. It'd been a long time since she sang this for her. The older woman reached out and caressed her daughter's face, and continued to hum the tune of the lullaby. Tess felt herself drifting. Dad's voice floated from somewhere.
"How is she?"
"Her fever's worse." Mom replied.
"They just closed the hospital."
"How are you doing?"
"Not well." Mom's voice shook. "My head hurts terribly."
A long pause.
"Tell her good-night, darling and come with me." His voice lowered.
And that was last time she remembered hearing their voices.
Tess stared out the lone window in her bedroom. What happened to her parents? Who killed them? Did Dad do it? What on earth is going on?
She hung her head as the tears flowed freely down her face.
The Piker Press moderates all comments.
Click here for the commenting policy.