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Saturday, October 29, 2011
Happy Halloween/Samhian everyone. Here is a Samhain/Halloween excerpt from The Celtic Fox just 99¢ forn Kindle and nook.
A gust of wind rattled and shook the oaken kitchen door as Aelfrida sat at Nesta's side by the crackling fire, warm and snug. Vapory gray smoke curled upwards from slender tallow candles and billowed outwards from the large kitchen hearth. The enticing aroma of apple tarts danced in the air. The little Saxon girl, Githa, petted the purring black cat as five curly-headed boys wrestled in mischief and fun.
"Boys." Nesta clapped her hands hard. "The tarts are almost done."
"Come, get your face painted for Samhain," Aelfrida called. Firmly, she cupped the tallest one’s chin in one hand while brushing a chunk of crumbling charcoal across his cheeks. He squeezed his eyes tight and she blew the excess soot away. She looked at his sooty face and clicked her tongue. "I do not know if you are a spirit of the dead or just a dirty-faced boy."
He raised his arms and curled his fingers like claws then moaned loud enough to be heard in the otherworld.
"Oh," Aelfrida laughed, "a spook you are then."
"Paint my face," the youngest lad called as he bobbed up and down.
The charcoal felt dry and powdery in her fingers as she sketched the outline of a skeleton on the little urchin face. "You are a true haunt," she declared. She smudged the third lad's face with black charcoal and pronounced, "The spirits are sure to think you one of them and pass you by." She stood back and grinned at the boys, so cute, none the terror they wanted to be. "Let me paint your face, Githa." Aelfrida glanced at the little girl.
"No." She shook her head and scampered toward the wall.
Aelfrida burst out in laughter. A pounding noise sounded at her back followed by creaking and a chill gust of wind. She swiveled to her left. The door was open but no one was there. The children suddenly grew quiet. Their wide eyes were fixed on a spot to her right. Slowly, she turned.
"Boo!" Tryffin stood there with a huge grin on his soot-covered face.
Aelfrida flung her hands aside her head. "You are a sight." She dropped her shoulders and burst out in giggles.
"I am a spirit come to find a live body for Samhain." With a seductive gleam in his eyes he said, "I think I shall take yours."
"I think not," she quipped, then with a more serious expression she stated, "Nesta said you were called to the hall by a messenger, it is strange on Samhain."
"You found me out." He grinned mischievously. "Happens it was a messenger of the dead."
She shoved him in a playful manner. "Tell me, Tryffin, who sent the messenger?"
Aelfrida flinched. “Oh No. War, but no, the Saxons left. Peace reigns does it not?"
He looked bewildered as if he did not know the answer. "Vortimer feels you could avert impending doom."
"Me?" She raised her hands in an inquiring gesture. "Why?"
His mouth curved in a mischievous smile. “Happens I told him how brilliant you are?"
"You jest, Tryffin."
"It is time." Githa piped up.
"Come, we shall speak of this as we bring treats for the dead." She gave a basket of sweets to Tryffin and took Githa by the hand.
Tryffin reached into the wicker basket and pulled out a golden-crusted apple tart for each child. The five, soot-faced children and Githa munched away while strolling from the smoky kitchen into the Samhain night with Tryffin and Aelfrida.
"Here, here," the children squealed at the foot of a great oak near the forest edge.
Aelfrida took a warm cheese tart from Tryffin's basket and stooping down placed it at the foot of the tree. "The spirits will have a treat this night."
The children giggled and ran to the next tree they deemed a worthy spot for treats.
What are plainning to paint your face as or dress up as on Halloween? What treats are you planning to give out to the spooks in your village? Please comment below.