A Year and a Day

"One year and a day, to come out where your family settled with the gold they earned from your service."  The Sidhe warrior opened the gate.  Brigid stepped forward, to the very edge, and paused.

"Will I see you again?" She looked up at him, eyes wide.

"Who knows what the future holds, sweet Brigid. Go your family awaits."

Brigid nodded, and stepped forward.

The entire family gathered in the copse of trees they'd left at the edge of the property, butting up against public lands.  Inside the copse, Emily, Eileen and the other cousins danced, carefully around the edge of the fairy circle that rose up every year at the Solstice.  Not even the dreaded double dog dare could goad any of the cousins into that ring. Their parents sat at the edges of the clearing, drinking beer and wine.  In the hot summer night, they wore tank tops and shorts.

As the clock ticked toward midnight, Aunt Ella glanced at her watch.

"What are we waiting for, AuntEllla?" Emily ran the words together, and grinned at her great aunt.  Ella laughed.

"The same thing we wait for every year. The return of your great, great, great aunt Brigid."  Ella took a long drink of her wine.   "Almost mid..."

Ella froze as light flared in the center of the fairy circle.  Everyone turned to look, as a young girl wearing a pale grey ankle length dress in a fine woolen cloth, a long white apron, with a white kerchief on her head stepped out of the light along with the scent of wildflowers.  When the light faded she stared around at them, eyes wide, face gone pale.

"Where? Where is my mother? Where is Ella? Colin?" She turned to go back, but the gate had gone.

"Brigid?" Ella stood, dropping her wine glass.  "Brigid Connolly?"

"Who are you?" Brigid turns back, tears tracking down her face.

"I'm your niece, Ella. Your many greats niece. You've been gone a very long time."  She held out her hand, reaching over the edge of the fairy circle.

Brigid remained standing, as tears fell, then took Ella's hand, and walked toward her.

"They promised."  Brigid spoke quietly.  "A year and a day."

"Maybe over there, it was."  Ella smiled, and spoke slowly.  "Come, meet your family."

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