The Unaccompanied Widow by Tracy Cooper-Posey

The Unaccompanied Widow by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Author:Tracy Cooper-Posey [Cooper-Posey, Tracy]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Stories Rule Press Inc.
Published: 2021-01-17T00:00:00+00:00

THE HOUSE THE CAB STOPPED beside was identical to every other house on the long street, except for the color of the front door. Torin Slane actually handed her down from the cab and as Adele examined the unbroken slab of housefronts running down the street, he climbed the three steps to the front door and used the knocker.

Across the road, she glimpsed green water through a narrow aperture between houses on that side. They were near the harbor, then.

The door opened. “Mr. Slane!”

Adele turned and moved up the steps. The middle-aged woman glanced at her, startled. Adele gave her a charming smile.

Torin smiled at the woman. “Is he in, Mrs. Hyland?”

“O’Doyle is ill, Mr. Slane. He’d barely let me in his room with tea, t’is morning.”

“I might be able to help with that,” Torin said. “May we?”

“Both of ye, then?” The landlady’s gaze slid back to Adele.

“We’ll leave the door open if it makes you more comfortable, Mrs. Hyland,” Torin replied.

“Oh, ‘tis not my concern at all. T’e man’s too sick for such business, anyway.” She stepped aside. “Shall I bring tea?”

“No thank you, Mrs. Hyland!” Slane called over his shoulder as he climbed the steps just inside the door two at a time.

Adele drew in a breath, lifted her skirt and climbed rapidly, too.

They wound up to the third floor, which had a low roof and creaking, unadorned floorboards. At one of the three doors coming off the landing, Torin rapped his knuckles sharply. The door frame was barely higher than his head.

“Étaín!” he called softly. “‘tis Torin. Let me in.” And he lowered his head to listen.

Then he rapped again. “Étaín O’Doyle, open t’e bloody door, will ye, man?”

Heavy steps sounded. A key was turned, then the door opened a crack. Through the few inches revealed, Adele saw a man’s shirt, and a single eye peering at them. The eye was red and the flesh around it also inflamed.

The red-rimmed gaze shifted to Adele. “Cé hí?”

“An Englisher, so mind your tongue. Let us in, for the love of God. I’ve no intention of discussing Eilish upon the bloody doorstep.” Torin pushed against the door and it eased open.

The man behind it, Étaín, stepped back. Torin opened the door all the way, revealing a simple room with a bed and a round table by the window, newspapers scattered across a sofa by the fireplace, and a worn rug.

Étaín moved over to the bed and snatched up a shirt hanging on the end of it, and tucked the shirt into the nearest cupboard. Then he tried to sweep up the newspapers and dropped them. He was a large man in both height and girth, his big hands clumsy. But Adele didn’t think it was simple clumsiness making him so awkward. Both eyes were very red and as she stepped through the doorway, ducking so her hat did not catch on the top of it, the man’s face worked, as if he was fighting great emotion.

He dropped the newspapers a third time, and simply stood there, his head hanging.


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