The four friends met in college. Erin Flannery was the daughter of an important businessman; Sean Patrick Jameson was related to the Jameson famous Irish whiskey, his family was in charge of the US market and distribution of the company; Noah O'Neill was the son of a Police detective on a sports scholarship, and Siobhan Doyle was the daughter of a single mom working as a nurse, also on a scholarship. During the first semester of college, Siobhan and Noah dated. They broke up before meeting Erin and Sean Patrick. They became friends in a short time. They did everything together. Soon after graduation, Erin and Noah got married. The following year, Siobhan and Sean Patrick tied the knot. They lived in the same neighborhood. Their houses were one next to the other.
They had planned this trip for a long time. It was Noah's suggestion and Siobhan agreed immediately. Then they convinced their spouses. Erin and Sean Patrick worked long hours in their families' businesses so they left all the trip details to Erin and Noah. They all agreed to take some days off and spend Halloween in Ireland since the four of them had Irish ancestors.
Sean Patrick told his wife, Siobhan that he could contact his family and use some of the family's properties in Ireland which included beautiful mansions and a castle. Siobhan told him that she and Noah had everything under control.
Finally, two young couples went on holiday to the beautiful Emerald Isle. They rented an old house on the outskirts of an old town near Tulsk, in County Roscommon Northern Ireland.
The town was small. Only a few old inhabitants lived there. Their children studied in bigger cities and stayed there once they graduated. They only came home for Christmas. People there were very old-fashioned, they liked old traditions, and most of them only spoke Gaelic. They weren't very friendly. They started treating them better once they knew they had Irish surnames and some of them spoke Gaelic. They liked the fact that the couples wore Claddagh rings.
An old local man, Mr O'Brien, found it interesting that a young member of the Jameson family spent his holiday in such a rustic place. He offered himself as a local guide and gave them his mobile phone number in case they needed some information or directions to go anywhere. He also asked for their numbers.
In the beginning, they felt sad for the old inhabitants but they were grumpy people so they decided to enjoy their holiday without bothering them. They went trekking they took pictures of the old church and the ruins of the remains of Rathcroghan, which is a unique archaeological landscape. Cruachan has heavy associations with the feast of Samhain, as it was during this time that the Irish believed that the prehistoric graves from before their time opened and their gods and spirits, who dwelt inside, walked the earth. The open ancient burial mounds were seen as portals to the Otherworld. These spirits were appeased with offerings of food and drink to ensure the people and livestock survived the winter. The souls of dead kin were also thought to revisit their homes seeking hospitality, and a place was set at the table for them during a meal.
Mr. O'Brien followed them closely. There was something about the foreigners he didn't like. Once they left the archaeological site, Mr. O'Brien followed them back to town. Then he went to the realtor that had rented them the house.
"Why did you rent them that house? You know what happened there."
"The lad that contacted me asked specifically for it. I offered him lots of houses closer to town or with better views. But he insisted on having that one."
"Do you have a copy of their passports?"
"Yes, of course. What's on your mind?"
"Who was the one that rented the house?"
"The O'Neill boy. Why?"
"The Jamesons have a state not far away from here. Beautiful manor, with land, a lake, and a forest. There's no need for a Jameson to rent a house here, not that house of all houses."
"Unless he is not connected to the Jamesons."
"That lad is the spitting image of old Jameson. I will go to Tulsk to check some information and collect some favors."
"Godspeed my friend. If your instinct is right may God let you come back in time this time, Finn."
"Thanks, Declan. Call me if you see anything strange. Tell the rest to keep an eye on them. One time is enough."
"Don't be too hard on yourself, Finn."
Finn O'Brien went to Tulsk where he contacted an old Garda friend. They met at a pub. Finn gave his friend copies of the passports and asked him to gather all the information he could as soon as possible about the background and finances of these four Americans. He also asked for contact information to locate the Jameson family in Ireland. His friend promised to send him an email with all the information and call him as soon as he got all he needed. They drank some beers and they bid goodbye.
Upon returning home, Finn started his computer and surfed the internet for information on the four Americans. Soon he had an idea of who they were. He accessed their professional pages and their social media. By one o'clock in the morning, he had all the information he needed to know his instinct was on the right track. What he had found on the internet plus the information his friend from the Garda gave him made a pretty picture of their lives.
Soon all the town reported to Finn every move the couples made and sent him pictures.
Having so many eyes on the four Americans, made Finn's investigation easier. He found out very interesting things.
His suspicions were becoming more of a certainty with each passing day. With that in mind, Finn contacted the Jamesons in Ireland. He called Conor Jameson. He identified himself and told Mr. Jameson about his fears. He also told the story about that house. He asked for help. They talked for a while. Finn asked for an email address to send his resume and all the information he had gathered. Upon hanging up, Finn sent the email.
Late that night Conor Jameson had a long talk with his father and then they contacted Sean's parents in America. It was late. Sean's parents were worried. They wanted to contact their son but Conor persuaded them not to. The security team from Jameson Company would take care of everything.
"Please, Aunt Sarah. Don't worry. Our security team will take care of everything. Please let us do our work. Don't call Sean Patrick."
"But I must warn him."
"You will only put them in more danger. I promise I will keep you informed. This will end soon. They will be safe. They will return home safely. The culprits will be sent to prison. I will never let anyone hurt one of our family."
"Please, don't let anything happen to my baby, Conor."
"You have my word, Aunt Sarah. I will call you every day, please promise you won't call Sean."
"If I don't hear from you before bedtime every day until this is over I will call him."
"Aunt Sarah, call us first. You have my number, my father's too."
"Please, call me tomorrow."
Conor made some phone calls, then he made a last call.
"Mr. O'Brien. Sorry to call you so late."
"It's fine Mr. Jameson. What can I do for you?"
"I will send the best men from my security team, they will stay in our Manor near Tulsk. I will send you a message with their telephone number. They are close enough but not enough to call anyone's attention. They will be under your orders. You're right, what you have it's not enough to call the Garda but it is enough to be worried. I can't let anything happen to my cousin."
"I think the same, better be safe than sorry. If it is a false alarm, we just wasted our time, but if we are right, we won't regret all this trouble."
"You're right, Mr. O'Brien. Thanks for your concern, Sir."
"Goodnight, Mr. Jameson."
Soon Halloween was around the corner. The two couples went to the local pub to have some beers and asked if the town did something special for Halloween. An old man scolded them and told them they should be more respectful of their traditions. Halloween was a commercial nonsense invented by Americans, the real celebration was called Samhain and it was a serious ceremony that shouldn't be taken lightly or people could suffer the consequences. They should prepare their offerings to the dead and the spirits to be spared during the winter. The old man told them about the things they had learned at the archaeological place.
Sean Patrick and Erin were very interested in listening to the old folklore. They even asked questions about the offerings, the lanterns, and the extra space at the dinner table. They expressed that since they came to Ireland especially to celebrate this festivity, they should do it properly. They started by calling it Samhain instead of Halloween.
The old man was pleased to hear that. He explained to them every detail about how to prepare the house for Samhain and the aos sí [spirits or fairies]
On their way back home, Siobahn and Noah tried to persuade Erin and Sean to leave everything as it was. They had brought and set up a lot of Halloween decorations from the US and they didn't want to change them for boring things just because of what an old superstitious man had said.
"Oh, come on, we're in Ireland, let's do it the Irish way," Erin said.
"But it is boring and depressing," Siobahn commented
"Guys, you decided to let us be in charge of this trip. So relax and let us do everything. Back home you have very stressful jobs with long hours. Let us do everything here. OK?" Noah urged.
"Alright, you win. I haven't seen my Siobahn so enthusiastic in a long time. So, tell us what's the plan for tomorrow?" Sean asked and winked an eye to his beloved wife. She smiled.
"Tomorrow morning we'll visit that old chapel, Erin wanted to take pictures of, and then we'll visit the archaeological site Sean wanted to see. All the ingredients we need for Erin and Sean's recipe are already in the fridge. In the afternoon, while you two prepare dinner, Noah and I will go to a nearby town to get a surprise we prepare for you. And we will be back for dinner to celebrate together." Siobahn declared.
They got home and after drinking and chatting under the stars the two couples said goodnight, and went to bed.
Little they knew, the whole town and some security members of the Jameson family were following every move they made. Under their careful watch, the two couples visited the old chapel, and the archaeological site, returned home, and had lunch. In the afternoon, Noah and Siobahn drove away to the nearby town. Erin and Sean laid the table, prepared dinner, and relaxed in the living room. From the window, they saw the Halloween decorations, and lights and heard the sound effects. They laughed and thought it was ridiculous to be in Ireland celebrating an American Halloween but they loved their spouses and didn't want to hurt their feelings.
The doorbell rang...
"That's strange, the guys have the keys..." Erin said
"Don't worry, I will check the door," Sean replied while walking towards the door.
Later Erin's phone rang...
"Hello, This is Erin. I can't talk right now, leave a message, and I will call you back soon."
"Erin... It's me, Noah. We'll be late. We had a car accident and we are waiting for the insurance company. Don't worry we are OK. Tell Sean that Siobhan is alright. We'll be there as soon as possible."
Obrigado pela leitura!
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