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It was early evening.  Celeste finished sweeping up the last of leaves scattered across the sidewalk and put her broom against the old brick storefront.  Turning, she saw a tall man in a long black cloth coat standing in front of the shop window checking out her brand new Halloween display. 

Celeste joined the man and regarded the display critically.  It was pretty with its orange backdrop and brocade cloth, but it was the selection and arrangement of items that had attracted attention throughout the afternoon.  

“What do you think?” she asked.

“It’s interesting,” he said leaning closer.  “But why include the ravens?”

Celeste had been getting questions about the display all day. Most people wanted to know about the spirit board and a few had expressed interest in the handwritten Grimoire.  But the stranger was the first to ask about the ravens.

“I have an affinity for ravens,” she said.  “And I like the mythology.”

The man turned underneath a tumble of dark curls, his eyes were very blue.  Surprisingly blue.  “And which mythology would that be?”

Celeste caught an echo of an accent.  Irish perhaps.  Or Welsh.  “All of them.”  She smiled.  “The association with the Morrigan in particular.”

“But the Morrigan rule the dead.”

He was Irish.  Celeste was sure of it.  She could tell by the way the old Irish word rolled off his tongue.  “Not only that.  They were protectors as well.”

The stranger was quiet.  Disagreeing probably.  “And the rest of it?”

“The book is a Grimoire,” Celeste said.  “A hand written book of magic.  The Tarot cards are from the Voice of the Trees Oracle which is based on the Celtic tree alphabet.”

“You have an affinity for the Celts as well?”

She shrugged.  “It’s a Samhain display and Samhain is a Celtic holiday. The spirit board and black candles represent the other side.  The holiday is associated with the land of spirit.” 

“And it is the ravens who carry the messages between that world and ours.”

He knew the mythology, Celeste realized.  Probably better than she.  “It is.”

The stranger was looking at her very intently, his blue eyes clear and very bright.  “Would it surprise you to hear that I am such a messenger?”

It did of course.  But on another level perhaps it did not.  There was something unusual about him.  Celeste had sensed it from the beginning.

The stranger pulled a rectangular package from his coat.  Whatever was inside was wrapped in old suede and tied with leather cording.  “The book will explain better than I,” he said handing it over.  “After you have read it, we will meet again.”

Celeste held the package close to her chest and watched the stranger cross the street and disappear around the corner.  High above in the clear autumn sky, a raven called.  A moment later, came the answer.

Contest Rules:  To write a 500 word short story describing the items pictured here:  GaelSong Contest.

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  1. Unfortunately, I didn't read the small print on the Gael Song contest rules and didn't get my entry up in time to be voted on so no gift certificate for me :( But I had fun writing it anyway and hope my readers will enjoy it!

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