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The Silver Falcon
‘What are we going to do Da?’ Nick sighed.
‘Stop talking. I can’t think straight with you going on.’ Deep lines creased in Danny’s weathered face.
‘Listen we’ll find her. It’s only been two hours. Siobhan can’t be far from Belfast yet.’ Nick’s words were hopeful but his faltering voice gave away his thoughts.
‘We’ll go to The Riders. Fergus might be there and he probably knows where they took Siobhan.’ Danny’s voice was angry as he pulled his fingers through his short, grey hair. ‘I’ll kill them if they’ve hurt Siobhan.’ He put on his long black coat and headed for the door.
‘Right.’ Nick nodded. He followed the uncle who had always been like a father to him. At twenty-eight years old, he had spent his whole life following Danny. When his mother had died in labour his Uncle Danny had stepped in and given him a home. He had been treated as one of their own and the son that Danny had never had. This meant Nick had been brought up in Danny’s world where your religion was everything.
The men left the small terraced house and headed out into the spreading dusk. The sky was dark blue and the air was cold. The two men walked down the city centre heading for Houlton Street. They walked in silence as their two shadows fell upon the pavement in an uneven line. The towering mass of Danny’s six foot broad frame and the smaller shadow from Nick’s slight body. Their steps were brisk and the back street pub quickly came into sight. It was a red brick building with black window frames and dirty windowpanes. Opening the low door with its green flaking paint Danny stepped into the dingy, dark room. Fiddle music played loudly and the stench of stale beer hit him hard as soon as he opened the door. His eyes adjusted to the dimly lit environment as he looked around. Luck was with him as he spotted Fergus at the back nursing a glass.
‘Go to the back door and wait there in case he tries to get away,’ his voice was faster now as he felt the adrenalin rising in him.
‘I’m on my way.’ Nick slipped back out of the door.
Fergus had been drinking. He was not watching. He didn’t see Danny coming. The tiny click was only audible to the two men. Even with the alcohol, Fergus knew what was coming.
‘How’re you Danny boy?’ Fergus’s body shook as much as his voice.
Danny moved in closer. His hand still in his pocket and ready.
‘Get up and walk outside without any fuss or you know how it’ll end.’ Danny grabbed the lanky arm and hauled Fergus up. No one paid any attention to the drunken man being helped outside.
They came out into the street and followed the overgrown path around to the back of the building. Nick was waiting for them. There were no streetlights and the flickering security lights cast a yellow glow down on them.
‘Where’d Brennan take Siobhan?’ Danny’s voice was steady and deep. He pushed Fergus against the wall.
‘How’d I know? I’m only married to Brennan’s cousin Jenny. Remember that Brennan hasn’t spoken to her since she married me.’
The punch came from nowhere. There was a cracking sound as Danny’s fist hit Fergus’s side. Fergus bent over clutching his ribs trying to stop the searing pain.
‘You’re lying. Brennan only keeps your drunken skin alive so that you can be his eyes here. Remember whose side you’re on Fergus Shea.’ Fergus started to cry. Big muffled sobs left his throat. Danny punched again. Fergus crumpled to the ground.
‘She’s with Brennan’s son Cain. They are on the Silver Falcon boat in Belfast Harbour. It’s leaving at one for Stranraer.’ Fergus words were broken with coughing. ‘Cain’s father doesn’t know anything about it Danny. It was my Jenny that told me.’
‘Let’s go.’ Danny turned and walked briskly away. When they got back to the street, he started to run. ‘C’mon Nick we’ve only two hours left until one. If we run back and get the van we’ll be at the docks in about twenty minutes.’ Danny ran with the energy of a man half of his fifty four years. Nick ran beside him in silence. Experience told him not to talk. He knew from the tone of Danny’s voice that he was on the edge and his temper was like a balloon about to burst.
He thought back to three hours earlier when they had got the call. Danny’s cousin Mick had phoned to tell Danny that he had seen Siobhan in a car with Cain Brennan. Nick shivered as he remembered Danny’s face when he had hung up. He had smashed up the room. His face grew redder and redder as his blows became more violent. Only when the pictures were smashed and the chairs broken did he stop. Breath panting and sweat pouring down his face he fell to the ground and prayed. Danny’s wife had been killed in the troubles fourteen years before and he had never recovered.
‘Nick come on.’ Danny’s voice brought Nick back to the present as they reached their blue van. They climbed in and Danny started the cold engine up.
‘Let’s get your sister.’ Nick looked at Danny and wondered how he would be able to fix things this time.
He remembered when he had been bullied at school for being the smallest and Danny had sorted it out. A sobbing thirteen year old boy with skinny arms, a bleeding nose and a ripped jacket hanging off him. There had been three of them but he had stood up to them until he couldn’t stand up any longer. He remembered when he had told Danny what had happened.
‘It won’t happen again son.’ Danny had gone to the parents. It never happened again.
Danny parked the van in Stanton Street before the harbour entrance. They stepped out into the dark, damp night and set off on foot. As they walked closer to the boats, they were greeted with the smell of diesel and wood. The wind was blowing the ships sails lightly and the creaking sounds echoed in the quiet night.
‘How will we find it? There are thousands of boats here?’ Nick looked at Danny.
‘We’ll go and see the Harbour Master. It’s Tommy McDermott. He’ll help us. He’s one of us.’ Danny speeded up.
They went into the concrete building with the large glass doors and headed for the thick glass partition separating Tommy and the public. Danny rung the bell and an older white haired man came to the small window.
‘Evening Tommy. Where’s the Silver Falcon? We need to find it fast.’ Danny nodded his head. The older white haired man peered over his glasses and lowered his eyes at Danny.
‘It’s at Bay 746 on the left side. You’d better be quick though as she’ll be pulling forward to leave in about an hour. It’s on my list. I don’t want any trouble here Danny.’ Tommy nodded slowly. Danny waved back to Thomas and left with Nick following.
Danny felt his heart starting to race, as he got closer to the boats. He felt a sudden sickness rise in his throat. His chest tightened as if it had been bound.
He had lost Anna at the hands of Brennan’s men all those years ago. The nightmares still haunted him fourteen years on; he woke sweating and screaming remembering when he had seen her gunned down. He never forgot the date, the fifteenth of August 1985.
They had been getting out of their car in Arnon Street when the black van had driven past. The bullet was meant for him but Anne had been the one who died. The gunmen had worn masks, they were never found. Danny had discovered that it was Brennan who fired the gun and that was the reason he had killed Brennan’s brother three weeks later.
‘Look it's here,’ Nick whispered. Danny’s thoughts jolted back to the present. Nick was pointing at a small sailing boat with the name Silver Falcon clearly painted on the side.
‘Right we don’t know how many of them there are so we need to be careful. We should’ve phoned the family to come down. It’s too late now.’ Danny looked at Nick’s eager, frightened eyes.
‘Just tell me what you want me to do,’ Nick’s voice was shaky but his stare was steady.
‘We’ll head to the cabin. They aren’t expecting us so we will surprise them.’ Danny felt a brief rush of pride in his chest at the courage of the boy he had raised to be a man.
They stepped silently onto the gangway to board the ship. The moon shone down on the water throwing shadows into every corner. Danny went first taking tiny steps.
He thought about Siobhan. Even at twenty seven, she would always be his little girl. He stood on the deck as Nick quietly left the gangway and joined him. The wind blew around them as a seagull’s call echoed in their ears. The white wooden deck shone brightly as their shadows cast grotesque shapes. They quietly crept to the cabin entrance and Danny’s broad fingers gripped the handle. He felt the cold metal push against his hand as he turned it slowly. The handle went downwards and the door began to open with a quiet creak. Danny pulled it open a fraction then took his gun out of his coat and held it ready. He gestured to Nick to follow him and put a finger to his lips. He walked into the darkened cabin as Nick followed. Suddenly the silence was broken with laughter and footsteps outside.
The Family Tree was Twisting
They stood frozen to the spot as the sound of the footsteps grew ever louder. There was nowhere to hide and no other way out. The steps grew louder. Danny couldn’t breathe. He felt the sickness rise again. A heavy feeling started to climb up inside his chest. He could hear the voices clearly and he knew who they were. The door opened and the light was turned on.
‘Da what are you doing here?’ Siobhan’s dark blue eyes stared at her father and the gun in his hand. She sounded shocked but not frightened.
‘Why are you on my boat Danny? Are you going to kill me too just like my uncle?’ Cain Brennan held his hands up high but his voice was strong. Danny still didn’t speak. He stared at his daughter who had come in holding hands with Cain Brennan.
‘You and him?’ Nick voice was shocked.
‘I love him. I’m sorry Da.’ Siobhan’s red curly hair swung as she turned to face her father. Tears streamed down her freckled cheeks as she bit her pale lips. She cast her eyes down to the floor.
‘They killed your mother. How could you? May God forgive you. Because I won’t.’ Danny voice was shaking. He dropped the gun to his side as his breathing quickened. He put his hand out to steady himself on the cabin table as he felt his legs weaken.
‘I’m sorry. I know about Ma. I can’t change that and I miss her every every day. I loved her too Da.’ Siobhan raised her eyes and looked straight at her father’s eyes. ‘We didn’t mean it to happen. We tried to stop seeing each other but we couldn’t. I love him.’ Danny looked at his daughter.
‘We’re finished Siobhan.’ Danny spoke the words and meant them. Although the pain inside was drowning him.
‘We were children when the murders happened. We have nothing to do with it. We’ve crept around like liars for nine months with this secret. We couldn’t tell you or my Da.’ Cain pulled Siobhan in tight and gently kissed her damp hair as he held her. ‘I love her and we’re leaving. We don’t need any of you.’
‘Go then both of you. Don't you ever come back neither.’ Danny’s legs shook as his voice came out broken. ‘You have taken my wife and now you have my daughter.’ Cain turned around his face pale and grave.
‘For Christ sake man. I didn’t take your wife. I was ten. My mother never allowed me to have any part of these troubles. She made my Da keep me out of it.’ Cain rubbed his temples. ‘This is not our war and we won’t let it destroy our lives as it has yours. Our child won’t be a part of it.’
‘Your child. You’re pregnant?’ Danny stared at Siobhan and saw her start to smile through her tears.
‘I am. In six months time you’ll be a grandad.’ Siobhan looked at her father. The father who had always looked out for her and been there and she only saw pain in his eyes.
Nick reached over and took his sister’s hand. ‘May you find a better life for the three of you over the water.’
‘Come visit Nick. Our son will need an uncle.’ Siobhan reached out to her brother and held him tightly.
‘I will.’ Nick’s voice broke as he squeezed his sister’s hand.
‘What about you Da?’ Siobhan looked at her father’s hard face and saw only tears.
Should Danny Forgive his Daughter?
Should Danny grab the chance to be part of his daughters new life and leave the past behind?
Can Love Blossom and Overcome the Thorns?
Can Love Overcome all Obstacles?
Do you think that love can overcome all that stands in it's path?
© 2013 Anna Haven