Roma Writer's Group

The Works of F. Robert Kelly

THE GREAT CATASTROPHE


Jimmy MacLochlan sat in an Irish pub, somewhere in Australia, he had just finished a lager and was ordering another when a burly Aussie came down the stairs leading to the underground pub, and he was Shaun Cassidy.

Cassidy in his early thirties was about 6ft 7 inches tall and had a slight beer gut, he walked with a slight limp, mainly because of a piece of shrapnel which had lodged in his knee back in 'Nam.

He had straight, light brown hair, with a reddish- brown bald spot up top. He wore his usual grease and oil splattered t-shirt and Ruggers shorts, both of which were blue.

A typical construction workers clothes.

He sat down beside the five foot four inch MacLochlan; Cassidy looked the same way to MacLochlan as Snow White would've to the dwarfs.

MacLochlan was a well built, but yet not overly muscly male who was 35, even through the fact that he liked his beer, Jimmy, unlike Shaun did not have a beer gut.

Shaun ordered a Guinness lager and watched as the beer that is said to be green formed a perfect frothy head.

Also unlike Shaun, Jimmy did not have a bald spot. He had, amazingly considering the stressfulness of his job, a full head of jet-black, wavy hair. His blue eyes twinkled with a deviousness that knew no bounds.

Jimmy and Shaun worked on the same site, one up one on the girders and the other as a cement pourer.

They had been working together since the builders had started erection two years ago.

Shaun took a mouthful of his Irish origin beer. Jimmy said "how was work today me son?"

Shaun answered after another sip, "we were working on the twentieth floor and some idiot had spilled grease and I tripped and that's how I got the grease stains".

Jimmy stated "ya know the long weekend is coming up next weekend? What sort a plans you got?"

Shaun answered "well I'm thinking on getting a flight home and staying in MacIntyrre Castle Lodge".

"Castle MacIntyrre eh? Ya know that's supposed to be haunted?"

"Come off it Jimmy, don't be telling me you're believing in ghosts?"

"Of course I do" Jimmy answered truthfully, "ya see, there's a story behind the ghosts of Castle MacIntyrre".

"And I bet you're going to be telling me all about it "quipped Shaun.

"Of course" stated Jimmy mater of factually.

"It all started way, way back during the time o' the great depression. At the time the castle was owned by the MacIntyrre clan, as it was named after. Anyway '32 was a cold, cold year, the frosts coming in thick and fast, and before long they were snowed in. anyway about five days after the drift hit a stranger knocked on their door. Mary MacIntyrre answered and he said that he'd got lost on his way to Dublin, which was four hours away by horse. He asked if he could take up lodgings for a few days, just 'til the weather cleared enough to continue, and being the kind-hearted people they were, Mary said sure. Poor wee woman never knew it would spell the end of her family".

Jimmy took a sip of his lager and licked the froth off his lips before continuing "well as it 'appened , this stranger was wanted in the next providence back for robbery and suspected murder".

He had two days to look around the castle before the drift started to thin. He knew he didn't have much time, ya see even though the MacIntyrre's were in the middle of the depression, they weren't exactly poor. They had some not too expensive paintin's on their wall, and the stranger knew they would fetch a good price.

That night" Jimmy said as he lifted his glass to his lips "when they were having tea Marry asked why he was going to Dublin. At the time it was just a small town with not much there. The stranger answered "well I be going there to look for work, I've heard there's a wood mill on the other side of the town".

Mary didn't know of any mill on the outside of Dublin, but then she'd only been there once. She happened to state that as the snow was clearing he'd be happy to leave the cold and drafty castle and get into a warm hotel. She wasn't tryin' to hint that he should go, just makin' idle chatter. Anyhow he'd decided that tonight was the night he'd do away with them".

Jimmy paused to cast a glance at his mate whose hand had stopped halfway between the bar and his mouth. Jimmy just said "drink up old son, you'll be needin' the warmth the drink provides by the time I'm finished this chillin' tale". Shaun took a big swig and put his glass down.

"Well at about seven o'clock the two kids went to bed, the MacIntyrre's had one boy, one girl. The boy was about seven and the girl six, the mother and father stayed up and talked to the stranger for a few hours.

In the hall, the gold lined grand father clock struck eleven o'clock, the clock would fetch about 200 pounds back then, a good bit for a clock. And as it did the stranger slipped out of his bed. The parents had been asleep just on an hour. He had bought a bag with him, in it was 'is equipment for breakin into and robbin' places, plus some black clothes. Which he had to bring with him to save the coppers findin' it.

He changed and snuck out of his room, luckily for him, but unluckily for them, the MacIntyrre's had recently oiled the doors. Mainly because sometimes one of their children had to go to the loo in the night and the noise would echo through the whole place.

He went to the door he had seen the son go into. He had done this by making the excuse that he had to go to the dyke just as the kids had had to go bed. Of course neither of the parents were in the least bit suspicious of him, so they told the boy to show the way.

Since the can was past the boy's room he just told the stranger that the loo was four doors up on his right. Then the boy went into his room and closed the door, no locks.

The girl walked in front of the stranger to her room, which was two doors up on the left, the stranger now knew where they both slept.

He crept into the boy's room and taking a pillow off the chair that was beside the boy's bed, he suffocated him with it. the boy struggled some but was no match for a man, he didn't even have a chance to scream.

He looked around the room, the usual sorts of depressing drapes and curtains, no fancy jewellery or expensive type stuff, there was one painting though which could fetch him some.

He next went into the girl's room, he really hated the fact that he would have to kill this beautiful, innocent, little girl. She might make someone a fine wife, but he couldn't have witnesses. However he didn't smother her, instead in a moment of crazed unbelievable kindness he put some arsenic on a hanky from her draw and put that over her mouth. She would be dead by morning, never to wake up".

She had some nice, little girl's jewellery, a small pearl necklace, a few gold and silver bangles, some ruby earrings, a sapphire finger ring, plus a solid mahogany jewellery box, also a pricey painting on her wall.

The father wasn't going to be too hard, the stranger had put a mild laxative into his tea (that's drink type tea not eat type). So he knew about what time it would start to work and just as he it would, it did. So he opened the door next to the loo and went in, a maid's or servant's quarters apparently, for all that was in it was a made bed, an empty pine cupboard and a chest of drawers with a big mirror.

He heard the door to the parent's room open, it didn't creak or groan but he did hear the door handle turn. He looked out and saw the father sleepily go into the toilet. He waited with the door partially open and as the father, Max (short for Maxwell) MacIntyrre came out and headed back to the room. He, quietly as a mouse in a barn full of owls, crept up behind Max. Max was about 30 not too badly built and slightly taller than the stranger, so he knew he had to do it right the first time or he was stuffed.

He crept up behind Max and with a swift, quick movement, broke his neck. Max didn't even have time to think". Jimmy took another swig of his beer and Shaun stated "what an absolute bloody bastard".

And then asked "did they get 'im in the end? The maliciously mad mongrel".

Jimmy answered "you'll have to wait and find out" he took another swig and continued "the stranger had anticipated that Max would fall so before he did he grabbed him and dragged him into the room next to the toilet.

As he came out of that room and closed the door as quietly as possible, he heard a noise from the parent's room, he expected it was because Mary had woken up because of the missing presence of her husband. She came out of her room and did not see the stranger hiding in the shadows. She went to the toilet and knocked asking "Max, darling are you in there?"

Before she could move there was a razor sharp knife at her throat and someone was whispering in her ear "I'm afraid Max is dead Mary, and I don't want to have to kill a beautiful woman like you"
The stranger said as he cupped her pert breast in his hand through her nightie. "So if you want to stay alive, just do what I say and don't try anything stupid O.K?"

Mary, who was on the verge of tears after finding out that this callous bastard that they had trusted had killed her husband, answered in a sobby voice "yes alright, what do you want? Sex, money, jewellery?"

He answered "well you can definitely give me a inventory of all money, including bonds. All jewellery including family heirlooms you might have hidden away, also all valuable paintings. As for sex, I'll consider the offer".

Shaun interrupted "what a devious, low life, son of a bitch!" he spewed forth angrily. "It's a pity this scum isn't here right now, I'd rip off his dick and shove it down his throat, then I'd tear off his head and shove it right up his arse!"

"Now, now Shaun me lad, he isn't actually he's dead, but I'll come to that".

Shaun just said "well, OK then".

Jimmy continued "Mary, followed by the stranger went back into the bedroom, she sat on the bed and opened a drawer by the bed, out of this she pulled a piece of scarpment paper and an old fashioned quill pen. Even though he was not standing near the door she knew if she tried to make a run for it she'd be run through before she got halfway.

When she'd made the list she handed it to him and he looked it over, all and all it would be quite a haul, he noticed on the list a safe with jewels that had been handed down from generation to generation in it. he grabbed her by the arm and said "show me where the safe is and remember, no tricks and you'll not be hurt.

She led him down the hall to the stairs and she went first with him after. Down to the main entrance hall and then to the library. The library had a series of wide panelled windows, which faced out towards the cold desolate loch. She went over to the bookcase and pulled out the top half of a book so that it lent back on an angle. He told her to hold the book while he wrote the name. "Hidden Secrets by I. M. A. Lever" very appropriate name he thought to himself.

As she pulled the book back the series of shelves next to one the book was in swung inwards. She gestured to show him the tunnel, but he just flashed the knife and she put a chair against the door to stop it from closing, then going ahead of him she lead the way down the fire-torch lit hallway.

They walked about 200 metres before passing another passageway that went to the left, the stranger asked where that went and she answered "that goes to the island" he didn't bother asking which one.

They arrived at the safe and he told her to open the safe, as she did he noted the numbers, he then had a quick look inside and closed it. they then went back upstairs, he asked whether or not all the rooms, towers and such were open. She said "yes but there's a set of keys in the kitchen".

He then pushed her into the bedroom and closed the door (who knows exactly why), he had decided it was time to have her fulfil her sex offering.

He stood her beside the drawers, which were beside the bed, he then put the knife on the top and somewhat gently stroked her beautiful face she had lovely features.

He put his hand behind her head and undid the button there and then slid the nightgown down over her lithe yet curvaceous body, she now stood in bra and underwear. He undid the bra and slid it off, as he bought his lips to hers, his hands gently caressed the erect nipples of her perfectly, well shaped, pert breasts. His right hand then slid its way down her skinny body.

Hers was not a body skinny from malnutrition, no indeed she lived on a healthy diet, and she was slim in build as her mother had been.

His hand explored every inch of her stomach and back as his lips and tongue combined with hers. His hand then caressed and fondled her petite buttocks, it then slowly migrated it way to her front and into her underwear.

He smiled with delight as he explored her sensual womanhood with his fingers, she was trying no to enjoy it, but it was a struggle she was bound to lose.

As his fingers explored the recesses of her love nest, she let out an unwanted groan of unfelt pleasure, a pleasure that for her felt like a dagger being twisted in her heart.

Using both hands he slipped off her underwear and made her fall back onto the bed, he used one hand to part her legs, and she knew it was no use resisting as the long, super sharp knife was close by.

He smiled and licked his lips with maddened lust and wanting, it did not matter to him that he, only an hour ago had ended the lives of her husband and two children. He then undid his pants and bought out his hardened, throbbing sex muscle, and as he slid it into her and slowly commenced thrusting inside her he felt only the bliss of heaven. While she was experiencing the full horrors of hell itself, and was wishing death would take pity on her.

He kept thrusting himself into her succulent, silky pleasure dome, as he lay forwards and kissed he again. He thrusted deeper and deeper, harder and harder as he reached climax.

He kissed her again as he finished his barbarous, callous act, and he was taking her out to show him where the keys were when she turned on him and hatingly insisted "you dirty, bastard animal, why are you doing this? We trusted you"

He grinned a malevolently malicious smile and cackled evilly and answered "why? because this world is full of stupid, whingeing, bitching, arsehole saps that's why, and people like you are so foolhardy, trusting, it's my job to exploit that!"

She then screamed as wild animal rage took hold of her "you're a heartless cunt you know that? Don't you have a soul or have you sold it already?" as she said that she kicked him in the back of the knee and then furiously hard and right in the balls and when he let go of her to clutch his pain filled knee and balls she ran.

 

He turned and threw the knife, which missed her by the width of a matchstick and stuck in the wall with a twang.

He heard her going back up the stairs, he went after her, with some difficulty. He didn't want to kill her but he would if it was necessary.

When he got to the top he didn't realise it had been raining snow and the wind had been blowing in the window at the end of the corridor, unfortunately neither did Mary and when she hit the carpet she went into an uncontrollable skid. The light snow had caused the floor to be slippery and before either knew what was happening Mary had gone headfirst out the window.

The stranger at first thought she had gone to her death, but then he heard a small "help me" and he went to the window and looked out, just below the window ledge was Mary hanging by one hand to a bit of rock sticking out of the castle wall. He tried reaching her by leaning out but couldn't and she couldn't lift her other arm as it was broken, so he said he would get a sheet or something. And as he went away a lightning bolt hit the wall and unfortunately he didn't hear her scream all the way to her grisly death on the rocks below.

This was mainly because as well as the huge lightning bolt there was a massive clash of thunder, and when he looked out the window again she was dead".

Shaun said, "man what a story, what about the stranger? What happened to him?"

"Well" Jimmy started "about twenty years later and he had decided that since he had taken care of the owners he could live in the place, after all he had plenty of time to sell the goods. He had forged a document saying he was caretaker of the property until such a time as the MacIntyrre's changed their minds, according to him they had gone on holiday and never returned.

Anyway about another five years after this he went to a doctor to see if he could give him anything to sleep as he was having nightmares. They were about ghosts walking up and down the hallways late at night crying out things like "Mummy, mummy, where are you?"

The doctor recommended a psychiatrist and he went to see one.

So he sees this psych and tells him about the dreams, the walking ghost dreams, the crying ghost ones, the things flying through the air ones, the things going bang and crash in the night ones.

After about five months of seeing the psych, the doctor promised to come and spend a night in the castle just to prove there was no such things as ghosts.

On the Monday following that the psych doctor arrived at around 5 P.M and had tea, when he finished he got up and was about to pick up the plates and put them in the sink when something invisible did it for him. Only instead of carefully putting them in, they were forcefully thrown in, he looked at the stranger in bewilderment.

Later that night, the first sign they heard was the massive sound of glass breaking, like that of a thousand panes of glass all breaking in symphony. They ran out of their rooms and down to the library, mainly because most of the glass in the castle was there. They walked in and saw glass everywhere but felt no breeze, the sort that would blow if a window were open.

Then the books, all but one, started flying off the shelves and going everywhere and the MacIntyrre's had hundreds of them, they both ran from there as fast as a shot from a gun.

Two hours after that they were sitting in the drawing room, this had a fireplace in the corner, the room was on the second floor. They were enjoying a Brandy when they heard a giggling noise outside the door, they both got up and as they went to the door they heard the distant sound of feet running down the stone hallway.

The doctor opened the door and they looked both ways but saw nothing.

Later yet again they heard a childlike voice crying and asking "mummy, mummy, where are you?" they searched every possible hiding place but the sound seemed to come from everywhere at once.

And to cut a long story short, by midnight the doctor was on a one way trip to the local asylum".

Shaun asked "so he went mad then?"

Jimmy answered "oh yes quite considerably, irreversibly MAD!!"

Shaun asked "so, you still haven't told us what appened to the other one"

So Jimmy continued.

"Well two weeks later, the stranger decided to get everything he could sell together and take them to a boat that was moored on the island, (this facts were written on the list).

So he bought a wheelbarrow and started moving the paintings to the island, anyway after putting the safe's jewels with all the others in a pile in the main chamber entrance, he then put a diary he had been writing containing the full confession into the safe and closed it.

He wanted to take the nightgown Mary had worn on the night he had "loved" her to the island first, so he grabbed the nightgown and a few paintings that were actually worthless and started to cross. Now it's said that halfway across a mysterious earthquake hit, collapsing the tunnel and flooding it. another amazing fact was that the earthquake didn't touch the castle yet blocked the tunnel at both ends.

Two weeks later a grocer alerted the authorities of the disappearance of the stranger, for he had become a loyal customer who always came in at the same time every two weeks.

The local police of the time checked the castle grounds and found the plie of jewellery and paintings and amazingly the diary. You see apparently the quake had loosened the tumblers on the lock of the safe and it had reopened.

Well they spent two whole months searching the grounds, the castle, the seabed for the murdered bodies but not one was found. And it said that the ghost of Castle MacIntyrre will only rest when their remains are found and given a proper burial together".

Shaun asked "so, you think the MacIntyrre ghosts got their final revenge eh?"

 

Jimmy answered "yeah, but ya know what, I didn't believe in ghosts, even after hearing that. Not until one night about a year ago".

Shaun ordered another lager for each of them and said "so, tell me about it".

"Well I don' know if ya knew or not but I used to own a beautifully white, pure bred Persian Cat".

Shaun clearly stated "no, I didn't, what happened to it?"

"Well to start off, ya must be knowing that I had been raisin' the thing since it was a wee kitten and it was the most beautiful cat and loyal too. Wouldn't go to no one else no matter how nice or sweet they were, nope me only.

Yes we went through a lot that cat and I, her name was Tiddles, and actually her name when I first named her was Piddles because of the little blotches of yellow she used to leave behind. But after I used a bit of firm hand and some good love and training I had to change her name.

Ya know we got along so well her and me, she never got in a sook with me, and I tried never to rouse at her. I mean after all, she was as faithful as ever, she'd wait for me on the rail that ran up next to the front steps. And when me car 'ad pulled in the driveway she'd calmly and casually and with all the finesse of a super model, walk over and start rubbin' up against the front tyre. And then like some highly trained guard dog she'd walk beside me all the way back inside.

The only difference between her and a dog is she wouldn't follow me into every room I went into. Or rather she would but it would be with those beautiful deep blue eyes of hers. Yes you could just ever so slightly poke your head around a corner and she'd be sitting there purrin' like a motor boat and pretendin to be asleep. But all the while, she'd be watching you through a tiny gap between the top and bottom lid.

And protective too, oh yes, anyone she didn't know came too close to me and she'd snarl and hiss and spit, back arched up like some feral demon.

Ya know she saved me life once, yep back when I was still smokin', of course after what happened I gave up quick smart.

It was just after we had moved into a new place, the place had a gas stove, one of those sort where ya have to push and turn to go and same to go off. Well one day I cooked up tea for us both and I thought ya know I had turned it off.

So I sits down in me chair to watch the news and as habit is, I gets a cravin' for a fag. So I gets up and fetches me cigs.

Now you must understand that at this time I was suffering with hay fever something chronic and I couldn't smell a thing.

Anyway I sits down and am just about to light up when she jumps up on my lap and swats my hand, knocking the match flying. She then looked at me and mewed, so I ask, "what's wrong Tiddles?"

As if to answer me she jumped down and rubbed against my leg once before going into the kitchen, I followed her and she jumped up on the stove with her paw on the knob for the front right side burner.

It seemed to be off to me but I remembered that I'd not long ago used it, so I pushed it in and gave the knob a 360 degree turn and when I'd finished she jumped down and went back to the chair.

And so as time went by she grew older and eventually died, which was unusual because a cat or dog can live almost as long as humans can, although their life span is usually half of the average human.

A year later, exactly to the day that she passed on, oh I probably forgot to say that I had given her a good funeral with a casket and plot and everythin'.

So a year later and I walking down a tree lined in Victoria, it had been snowing and the treetops were covered in snow, sort of like a really bad case of dandruff. Banks of snow had been pilled up on both side of the street and the driveways had been cleared so the average wage earner could get to their jobs.

It was a pretty quite night and this being so I was somewhat surprised to hear a sound. And the only way to describe it would be to ask "have you ever been to the jungles or even to the jungle section of the zoo, and heard a Tiger or a Leopard walking over the bed of fallen leaves on the ground?

It sort of makes a crisp yet light crunching sound.

So I, ya know thought it was just the leaves blowing down the roadway. So I to be passion' a not so fully-grown tree and I looks at it, for some reason. And notices it's swaying like it would in a wind; yet there is no breeze. But this irregularity doesn't register, so I keep walking and I hears it again only this time it's accompanied by a small mew. And to me it sounded like the wail of a cat who's gotten caught in a bin and can't get out, and I looked around for this cat but don't see nothing.

I start walking again and the rustling noise is slightly closer almost right behind me. So I turn around and see nothing no leaves a blowin', nothin', only a light snow falling. And just as I turn back to start walking again I hears that ever so sorrowful mew except it's a little louder.

So I puts me hands to me mouth and sings out "here, kitty, kitty. Here puss, puss, puss". Hoping it might go again and lead me too it.

I waits but hears nothin', the night apart from the falling snow, is as still as the dead.

I came to an intersection after a period of time and turned right, heading up another snow capped, tree lined street. About five houses up I the crunching noise, and I have to tell ya, the crunching noise is starting to spook me. Mainly because I was in the middle of the street, it was 11:30 at night, and it always seemed to be directly behind me. But yet when I turned, nothing, I mean no branches moving in the breeze, no feet crunching on fresh snow, and in particular no place for anyone to run to. There was no cars on the street, and there was ten metres from where I was to where the trees where. And that was on either side, and no one could run fast enough to hide behind a tree within the space of 1 to 2 seconds.

So I continue up the street, now I was only about a block from where I lived. And the crunching sound now sounds like a whole bloody army of Tigers or Leopards. And the tear jerking, heart and gut wrenching, mournful wail of the cat is unbelievable.

Sort of like a fire engine or police car suddenly chucked on their siren, I tell you it was pretty loud, and the wailing seemed to come from everywhere at once.

Well I tell you one thing now I was shit scared I was, and usually I've got a good amount o' courage in me, but no then, no, I ran like all hell was after me.

Yeah, I ran up the to the next intersection, chucked a left, and cut through some persons yard. And let me tell you, those who say terror does strange things to a person, well they're all correct. I mean this guy must've had five or six-foot fence and I cleared it with room to spare. I ran up that street, and my house was up on the left side 'bout halfway up.

I was just about to duck across me lawn and into the safety of me house, when this blimmin' huge thing comes walking out of the darkness. Just appears it does, and before I can stop myself I've fallen on me bum. I must've hit a slippery bit o' pavement.

So this thing as it appears, it takes shape, and I realise it's a giant Cat. But no' any ordinary Cat, a see through one, and about twice as big as me it is. Must've been, oh, between 12 and 14 foot high and about 4 - 6 wide, but all I could see o' it was the furry sort of outline.

Anyway this ghost Cat, which is the best way I could describe it, walks up towards me till it's just in front of me then it sits down and commences cleaning itself.

So here I am, too terrified to move and I finally asked, "why are you following me?"

It mews that same mew I had been hearing but only it's amazingly loud. I mean I'm surprised it doesn't wake anyone, and then in my head I hear "don't be afraid, I'm not here to harm you. I'm here because I'm the great Cat spirit. When Cats die they either become part of me, if they're good.

For instance, if they don't purposefully kill innocent wildlife and if they love their masters with a love that even death cannot stop. And if they are bad they go to Cat hell, and you really don't want to hear about that.

But the reason I'm here is because when a good Cat dies it becomes part of me, and if that Cat's owner did not give it a decent funeral or say a proper goodbye, then the Cat's spirit will be restless. Always searching for its owner. Sometimes haunting them into madness or beyond".

I noticed that the Cat spoke in a deep, rich voice as I asked it "what has this gotta do wit' me?"

The ghost answered "you used to own a purebred Pursian Cat and when it died it felt that it missed a chance to say goodbye"

I said, "I know I didn't get a chance either, and it was very sad for me, I grieved continuously for several days"

The ghost said, "well after that you moved, and it takes a few weeks for an animal to get used to the way death and the afterlife works. So when it asked me to help find you it took a while"

The ghost then added, "I finally had to resort to asking the local neighbourhood cat's if they had seen you, and that's how I found you".

I asked, "may I speak to my cat's soul?"

The Cat answered by opening its mouth and I saw a furry white, ghost Cat leap out, it landed in my arms and I knew it was Tiddles.


The great Cat went back to cleaning itself as my cat spoke in my head, and frankly considering it was a ghost it did not surprise me. My Cat said "hello again, my dear owner, and master. I've been missing you badly, you might find that surprising since once you get to Cat heaven then you're supposed to be happy forever".

I said, "yeah I know"

My Cat continued "well you know I've been able to talk before but I think somehow you knew I loved you more than life itself".

Jimmy said "I cried then because, I had never heard anything so sad and beautiful in my life.

The cat said, "so you, because you loved me as well, must understand why I had to come back and say goodbye"

I said "yes I do, but now it's time for you to go to where you now belong, after al more kittens are being born everyday, they need a guardian angel Cat".

At that the Cat jumped out of my arms and back into the mouth of the big ghost and just before it disappeared totally I heard it's voice in my head say "goodbye" and I whispered, tears in my eyes "goodbye" and then they both shimmered away into nothing".

Shaun took a hanky out of his pocket and wiped the tears away, then blew his nose before saying, "that is so beautifully sad, I think I need another drink to cheer me up".

Then Jimmy said "aye, ya know what we've been here two hours now, and it's nearly time for the news"

He turned to the barman "can ya be turnin' on the television?"

The barman said "sure" and turned on the box.

He then poured both a drink as the intro music and news network symbol came on the screen. As they sipped the lagers the Anchorperson started.

"Tonight on WNN, World News Network, wars over rare collector cards at a swap meet in Sydney. A tourist bus crashes in Rio de Janeiro. And Elvis' death remembered.

But first to our Ground breaking! News about a freak lightning storm over Ireland. The storm, which apparently came out of nowhere earlier on this afternoon, struck a small island in the heart of this small republic. We now cross over live to Doug McGlouharty for more details".

The screen changed to a man in glasses, a tweed coat and jeans holding a mike on an island.

"Thanks Rex, well it seems that, about two o'clock this afternoon a lightning storm of such intensity that it could be seen 20 K's away. Started up out of nowhere just ten K's north of Dublin. Within the next forty minutes it passed over the city, treating the residents to a spectacular light and sound show. I believe that none has been seen like it yet.

As I've said, the lightning was so bright it could be seen for 20 K's in either direction and the thunder was so loud at one point that a few shop windows smashed.

Anyway the storm passed out of Dublin and made its way her to MacIntyrre Isle in the middle of the DelinHardy Loch, then the most amazing thing happened. And this was reported, by two witnesses on the island at the time.

Apparently they say that two, twin, lightning bolts streaked out of the sky at the same time, one flashed down and hit the hillside behind me. Then to add to this, as the lightning hit there was a massive, bone jarring, earth shattering explosion and the ground burst outwards to reveal this cave".

The man had walked over and was now standing in front of a cave that was just big enough for a human to walk into.

"Apparently this cave at some time had been covered with earth, and the lightning somehow unearthed it. When this happened the two people, apparently explorers on holiday here went into the cave finding four separate caverns. In each of these they found one full set of human skeletal bones".

At the mention of this, both men spurted the mouthful of drink they had in surprise.

As the poor barman wiped himself off the reporter continued.

"Further tests on the bones between then and now reveal these to be approximately 64 years old"

Once again both men nearly choked on their beers, and the barman looked on with amusement.

"The bones have not been properly identified yet however, due to the discovery of the two skeletons that seem to belong to children and the discovery of a nightgown…"

At the mention of this both men said "holy, bloody, bull shit!, ya don't think…?"

And then the barman, who had listened to every word of the previous story, said "it just bloody might be, I don't understand how, but it might be".

The reporter continued "it seems that to be that these bodies might belong to the MacIntyrre family who according to a diary were murdered in 1932. Now one or rather two other amazing facts remain. One is that two weeks ago today the caretaker of this castle received a letter with no name on it, instructing him to move all the items of value out of the castle. He did mainly because it was written in old, English, slopping handwriting. The handwriting matched the writing on a deed Mary MacIntyrre had given him.

 

The deed stated he should be caretaker if anything should happen to them, he was 10 when he received it, and when tested professionally the two pieces of writing matched, at least in style.

The last and final amazing thing that happened was the second lightning bolt that I mentioned earlier hit the castle dead on centre. Totally destroying it, not one single stone block was left untouched".

The reporter then finished with "this has been Doug McGlouharty reporting for WNN".

The screen changed back to the anchor person again "well what an amazing story Doug, and also along the same lines as that one is the news that in three weeks time a full and proper funeral will be held for the MacIntyrre family. The town's people hope this will finally let them rest in peace".

The barman turned it down a bit as Jimmy stated "so, the castle's destroyed eh? What are ya going to do now Shaun?"

Shaun said "I don't know, but it's a pity the castle was destroyed, it was a catastrophe.

A damn, bloody, GREAT CATASTROPHE!"

And in the background the news continued on.

THE END

© F R Kelly 2001