Billy Part 2 - Wild Flowers

1945

Some days Peg just wanted to fade away -- into the background, into herself, into oblivion. So far, today was not one of those days.

The little white dog, which for some unknown reason had befriended Hughie and Peg, ran on ahead, splashing through shallow puddles as they lagged behind, gathering twigs for playing Pooh Sticks at the little bridge that crossed the river farther down the cinder path. Peg's senses were romanced by birdsong, laughter and the faint scent of blossom. The sun's rays washed across the top of her head and shoulders.

When they reached the bridge, the games began in earnest. Peg and Hughie squealed with joy and only just stopped short of throwing themselves head first off the arched platform to join their twigs in the grey waters below. Squeals turned to moans as potential champions crash-landed upon slabs of rock or were snagged by weeds.

It had not been so long ago that Peg and Hughie had played here as happy carefree children while their mothers watched them play and smiled encouragement.

Peg felt positive that despite the prison sentence everything was going to work out for Anne and Billy. Stanley had assured her that a position with RoYds would be offered to Billy upon his release. Peg was relieved that Michael had already moved on and appeared content with his life without her in it.

Peg looked up to see a tearful Hughie clutching a bunch of wildflowers in his outstretched hand.

“For me?” she asked, smiling as she reached out to take them from him.

“Aye, lass. Know what’s on your mind so I thought I would make it easier for yer. There’s nothing I can say as might change yer mind, like?” he asked, his voice breaking slightly before he muffled the sound by clearing his throat.

There’s nothing more I can do here,” she whispered into the flowers as she lowered her head to enjoy their fragrance.

“Aye, well, I suppose that’s it then,” he said looking away. He lowered his eyes and kept them fixed on the path, sweeping his foot side to side and forming a semi-circle pattern in the cinder layer beneath it. “I’m going to miss yer...”

“It will be lovely to see my mum and dad again, Hughie! My grandparents and my brother too!” Peg beamed at him.

Hughie continued ploughing the cinders with his foot.

Peg reached out and touched the sleeve of his uniform. “Why don’t we go together?” She asked tentatively. “There must be family you would like to see? What about your parents?”

Hughie shook his head. “Sorry, lass. I’m going nowhere. Our Millie needs me. She’s no one else...and someone needs to look out for her. Plus...”

“Plus? Plus what?”

Hughie raised his head, surveyed the landscape around them and crumpled his face. “The dell’s my heaven, Peg!” He stepped forward and placed a tear-coated kiss on her forehead. “Give my lot me love,” Hughie announced cheerfully as he stepped a few paces backwards.

Peg nodded and smiled. The little white dog curled against Hughie’s foot as the light swooped down and whisked Peg away. In the distance, leaning against a dry stone wall, a pretty blonde woman in a cherry-red coat watched intently.

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Whituth's living can't see the dead but psychic Elizabeth Whyte can see everyone: living humans, delayed souls, fallen angels, vampires and fae. She helps maintain the fragile peace between light and darkness in her work with RoYds, an unworldly refuge. But that peace has suddenly become fragile. Whituth's carefully maintained balance is tipping toward darkness. Now Elizabeth and her angelic allies must discover who or what is threatening both town and refuge before balance is lost forever

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