The Troublesome Trio of Tir Nan Og

The deed is done; the letters sent. It won’t be long until they arrive.

Amusing the way these matters unfurl. she thought as the moss-covered entrance fell closed behind her, Oh Rosaline, you simple child. You could hardly help but lose it all. she scoffed mentally, relaxing in the blue, antique arm chair.

Poor soul, misplacing your husband, your daughters, and finally your life. Whatever would you do, dear Rosaline, thought the lady, smiling with amusement, if those misplaced heiresses of yours were drawn together.

The lady grasped the delicate, china tea cup and found it still warm from her absence. Nicholai knew her secret, and not a soul could beat it out of him.

Oh yes, dear Rosaline, the lady mused, If the fate of those girls was known to you now, she smirked, you would misplace that life of yours once again!

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A tap on my chamber door drew me from my book. Sighing, I set down Twenty-thousand Leagues Under the Sea to answer it. The tap came from Macbeth, my raven, and he had a letter in his beak.

“Thank you, Macbeth.”

“You’re welcome,” he croaked in a voice that sounded almost human.

I smiled, it had been quite a trick to program him to speak, but he made a good addition to my act.

I took the envelope and reclined on my settee. Another of my animal companions came with my paper knife in his mouth, and exotic affair strongly resembling a dagger.

“Oh, thank you, Sphinx.” I cooed to the fluffy, black, cat.

The pretty kitty gave a chirp-like mew. I laughed and scratched her head.

“Well, what have we here?”

It was then that my python, Cleopatra, slithered down my arm, almost as if she thought she could read. A soft thump told me that the black fox, Edward, had joined us. The last to arrive came with a swoop and a “Whoo”.

“Fashionably late as always, Romeo?”

The barn owl only answered with “Hoooo”

With my creatures around me, it was time to see what this very official-looking envelope contained.

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I held the open letter in my hand, wondering what it could possibly entail. The message was just so… unrealistic. An inheritance? A house? Sisters? None of it made sense; No, not a bit.

I laid the letter on my lap, my legs dangling off the top bunk of my bed. My bunk was the first in a row of five, each bed occupied by former pick pockets, thieves, and over-all unwanted gangster girls. We’re the girls who smile and say “my pleasure” at Pickin’ Chicken. How we got here? That’s another story.

I sighed heavily, listening as the girls swarmed around Miss Catherine in the room I just left. Tir Nan Og… How could that old building possibly be mine?

My weird green-blue eyes stared into space while I searched for a logical answer. My red hair isn’t two long, and most of my pony tail is white. Eh, I like the way it looks, and Miss Catherine hasn’t fired me for my unruly hair yet. Outside the uniform, I wear a yellow undershirt, a black hoodie, and jeans. I’ve got a smathering of freckles on my face, which is pretty tan, and a scar over my left eye. I honestly don’t remember where that came from, but at this point, I don’t really care. Emily’s makeup magic hides it from the guests well enough.

“What do ya think, Kay?” asked a warm, familiar voice.

I glanced up to see Miss Catherine standing next to my bunk. Her astoundingly freckled face beamed at me with the same maternal goodness that keeps us girls here. Every inch of her, from her head to her toes, is completely covered by freckles. Her green eyes shine with laughter throughout the day and her hair, which she keeps up in a bun, is about the same color as gold, just not light-reflective.

She wore her usual work clothes - white sleeves rolled up to her elbows, stained apron, and jeans - as she stood below my bed. To be honest, I’ve never seen her wearing anything else, not even pajamas.

“I don’t know what to think,” I admitted, leaping from my bunk to land in front of my long-suffering mentor and friend, “It’s all so…”

“Dream-like perhaps?” she offered in her sweet, Southern accent.

“Exactly!” I exclaimed, throwing my hands in the air, “I should be waking up any moment now and wondering what would give me such a crazy dream!”

“Well I can tell ya for sure, it wouldn’t be lyin’ on yer mattress now if the postmen had their way, hun.” Miss Catherine smiled.

I paused, cocking my head at my friend, “You stole it?” I asked in a low voice.

“Saved it from the dumpster more like,” she beamed, crossing her arms, “Didn’t ya see the envelope ain’t got a sendin’ address?”

I scrambled back up the ladder to examine the letter; Sure enough, the only writing on it was the return address and a stamp.

“A nice-lookin’ feller brought it to the post office and left it on the front desk.” Miss Catherine began as I stared at the letter with a curious expression, “He dropped it on the desk, slid the thing to the lady behind the coun’er, and flat left it there without sayin’ a word. I was next in line after him, and had the joy of watching the office workers bustle over it before the manager told em to toss it. Since I ain’t much for wasting things myself, I pinched it from certain doom and split it open to read.”

I listened intently from my bunk, clutching the letter in my hands.

“That’s when I found it was yours, hun.” she finished, watching me carefully.

We said nothing for a minute while I processed everything she had said.

“How soon do ya plan to move out?” Miss Catherine asked, reading me like an open book.

I refolded the letter and tucked it back into the envelope, “Well… I guess I’ll go tomorrow… see what there is to see… find out who these people are.” I rubbed my eyes violently, erasing the threatening tears.

“And if there ain’t much out there,” Miss Catherine whispered, climbing up to join me in my bunk, “you’re always welcome to stay here again.”

The dam burst as I hugged the only family I had and soaked her work-worn shoulder.

“Tir Nan Og ain’t far from here anyhow,” she assured me, “You can still keep yer job while livin’ with family.”

I was already living with my family, I thought passively, but let’s find out what relatives are like.

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Spent from another day at the volunteer animal shelter, I fumbled with my keys at the door of an apartment, me and my Aunt Grace’s apartment. Pushing the door open, I was greeted with meows and felt a paw bat at my high, blond, ponytail. Perched on an elaborate cat tree that sat right next to the door, a male, orange, kitty blinked down at me from the highest point.

“Hello Pancake.” I said, blinking back with my sky blue eyes. Another furry body rubbed against my ankles, this one female and brown.

“Waffles, how’s my pretty girl?” I reached down a hand to pet her. “Where’s Butter? She’s usually begging for food right about now.”

Hearing a paper ripping sound coming from around the corner of the hallay, quickly hung up my gray scarf and ran into the living room.

“Butter! You silly kitty, ripping up the mail again?”

A white cat looked up from destroying some grocery papers. I had to laugh how silly she looked with a piece of paper hanging from her mouth. I knelt down to inspect the damage.

“You ripped out the entire cat food section, ha ha ha!” I reached out and grabbed Butter, hugging her close to my mint-green sweater. Pancake came over and put his paws on my dark blue jeans, meowing softly.

“Ok, ok. Lunch time for the kitties.” Standing up, the kitties eagerly followed me to the kitchen where they meowed the whole time I prepared their food. While they ate, I relaxed on the couch, flipping through the three channels our TV had. The channels were all in Russian so I didn’t understand a word anyone said. I turned off the TV, settling for the entertainment of the noisy neighbors next door and their Chihuahua, Tootsie.

All the other neighbors, including me, in the apartment building absolutely hated Tootsie. He was the ugliest, meanest, and stinkiest dog I had ever seen. Not to mention he had a habit of peeing, everywhere. every time someone new moved into the building we all warned them to keep their doors shut and locked if they didn’t want to come home to a giant yellow puddle of dog pee on their carpet.

I felt a furry head rub my hand and looked down. Waffles had a slightly torn up letter in her mouth.

“Watcha got there, Waffles?” I gently tugged the letter out of her mouth, noting the stains of cat saliva and teeth marks. Carefully tearing open the envelope, I read the handwritten letter. A the end, I frowned, the freckles on my nose drawing together. I scratched at my beauty mole on the left side of my chin, a thing I often did when I was thinking hard.

I read the letter again, Waffles jumping up on my lap and Butter and Pancake coming to see what I was doing.

“I’ve inherited a house guys… and I have… sisters.” I told the cats. I blinked back tears and hugged Waffles close. “But…I don’t want to leave… who’ll take care of you? Aunt Grace has a full time job, who’ll cook dinner for her?”

I thought for another minute. “Do you suppose I could take ya’ll with me?” I asked Pancake. He just blinked.

“Oh, but Aunt Grace loves ya’ll too, she couldn’t bear to live without you! Maybe…I could just take one of you.” I looked around at all my cats. “Oh, but who will I take? No, I better leave you here. Maybe a neighbor could take care of you.”

At that moment Tootsie let out an ear piercing howl. He was probably taking a bath.

“Yeah, I’ll just ask a neighbor.”

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