Blackberry Tart. 4 (fin)

Cronan pulled his hoodie tighter around his shivering body as the train chugged forward at a rapid pace. The rain fell no less harder then it had before, but he could tell them were slowly pulling away from the grip of the storm. Pulling away to a safe haven.

Finally, a breath of real air for once away from the eye. Cronan averted his gaze to check on his little brother. Artel was nose deep in a book he had packed in his parcel while clutching his blanket. Emotionally, to want Cronan could tell, he was calm and happy to see his grandparents. He seemed pretty excited for the surprise when he said goodbyes to Herne and Assane.

Cronan smiled a bit while shaking his head. They had left in the wee hours of the morn’ and it took about an hour of driving to the train station. Now it was going to be about 2 hours of train riding and then about 25 minutes of driving again before reaching their grandparents farm. Cronan almost groaned at how long the day would be, but it was better then sitting amidst a storm.

“Hey Cronan,” Artk raised his head to see his older brother, “Do you think Grandpops and Grandmum know about the monsters that make Mum and Daddy fight?” Cronan bit his lip before rubbed his brother’s head. “I don’t know, but I’ll ask. So don’t you worry ya wee laddie. You’re big brother will take care of it for good and you crack on have fun.”

Artek shivered a bit, unsure if it was from the draft or Cronan’s voice, but he nodded anyway. “Ok! I bet they’ll be super surprised to see us.” He flashed a huge grin. Cronan nodded. “They sure will.” He sighed a bit before his mind wandered backwards in time to when they were leaving…

”Master Cronan.” Herne caught Cronan’s attention with his sudden concerned tone. In his white gloved hands he held two parchment envelopes. Cronan frowned before silently asking what they were. “The Head Masters wished for you have these, I believe they are letters of apology. However, that is not my business to know.” he said that, but Cronan noticed a worried twinkle in the butler’s eyes.

Assene handed Artek a big basket that the small boy almost couldn’t carry. “Now this parcel should last ‘ou both t’il you get their cottage. So be careful how much ye eat.” Assene shook her finger at both boys in a warning manner, to which they both nodded fervently.

Artek tugged on his brother’s pant legs. “We should go! I don’t wanna miss the train and have them expect us!” Conan nodded absentmindedly. They wouldn’t know we were coming anyway Artek. “Fine fine, says ye’r goodbyes then.” Artel nodded with shining eyes and hugged Assene’s legs and then Herne. “We’ll be back!”

Cronan was not one for goodbyes so he merely nodded to them both. Herne and Assene smiled and waved as they jumped in the buggy. “Hyah!” The horses nickered at the jolt and trotted off. Artel giggled, delira and excira about the trip, bouncing in the buggy’s back while Cronan drove. He could feel the sudden weight of those letters in his pocket.

Later… them later. They didn’t see us off. Does not surprise me, them dossers. Tryin’ to change me and keep Artek up in their fantasy world. That ain’t happenin’, not with me ‘round. He griped the reins tighter and urged the horses faster. He didn’t even give a gander, he just kept his face forward….

“Cronan!” He turned away from is memories to see Artek pulled on his sleeve. “We’ve arrived! Come on lets go!” Artek kept pulling on him even after they had got off and enter a truck that their father often left there. Artel bounced in his seat, clutching his blanket and gazing eagerly out the dusty windows to see their grandparent’s home.

The ride was silent, besides Artek randoms noises as he went off in his fantasy adventures in his child’s mind. Cronan kept his mind forward, on his own journey only his was cold and dark. he hoped he would be able to speak with Grandpops once they arrived.

A time later on, they both spotted the little country cottage, which sat in the middle of a honest farm.There were fields stretching over great distances, their mosaic marked further by the picket fences around them. All around horses and deer slept and loitered in the isolated pastures, and right in the center of the fields ran a dusty, gravel road. The road ended at a quiet cottage covered in vines and wall shrubs.

The cottage was very old, and it showed to the boys’ eyes. A chicken coop stood next to the house, farm machinery was scattered all around the courtyard, and a small shed with all sorts of small projects and inventions stood lost in a corner. The farm had a comfy feel to it, much of this was thanks to the smells of ripe fruits carried by the wind, and the sounds of birds chirping in the trees.

Artek giggled in excitement as Cronan allowed a small grin crawl onto his lips. He drove the truck up further the gravel road until he stopped it just outside the front picket gate. Artek practically jumped out of the car and dived between the wooden beams of the gate. Cronan rolled his eyes in annoyance once Artek barely got through. “Don’t try anything weird al’ight?”

His little brother nodded, his fluffy reddish-brown hair floppy with the motion. Cronan put dow his hood and walked with his brother to the little wooden door. He raised his hand to knock, but the sound of a deadbolt unlatching stopped him. The door creaked open and deep green orbs meet with kindly, weathered light brown eyes.

Artek ran past the older man and into a room just beyond the end of the entryway. “Grandmum! Surprise!” laughter ensued from the kitchen while Cronan and his grandfather looked at each other quietly. “Well, come on in. I’ll hear what ye hav’ to say.”

Cronan, like a phantom, followed his grandpop in the common room just to the left of the door and leaned on the wall while his grandpop sat down, a bit stiffly, on his chair. “So,” he started as he gazed upon his oldest grandson, “why ye here? not forewarning or letter came. So what happened?”

Conan felt something break inside. Somehow, his grandpop and grandmum were able to see through his dark veil into what he thought. It was one of two times he was vulnerable and now, he could not hold back. He looked out the pale glass window, out into the fields. “A hurricane,” his cold voice cracked out, “It came upon us. Artel could see the monsters around o’r parents.”

Cronan felt his anger resurface, but along with his sadness. He didn’t yell or hit the hall, he merely spoke as he let the tears form. “I told ‘em….we won’t go back…until they fix it. I can’t stand it.” His eyes were watery, but stone cold as he turned his gaze to his elder. His grandpop was watching him while stroking his chin. He knew what was happening and waited patiently for Cronan to finish.

“So….Artek and I came here. I’m not taking him back. It’s not-“ “Not safe anymore eh?” Grandpop rose and walked over to Cronan. “I suppose wi’h how me child had been talkin’ lately I saw this coming.” He laid a steady hand on his grandchild. “You did good, I’ll write to them and you’ll stay here until I receive solid word that the storm has passed.”

Cronan felt the hot tears slip. His expressionless visage change into a grateful smile, lined with respect for his elder. Grandpop merely nodded and urged him to follow him. “Cronan! Grandmum made hagas and her fall pie!!!!” the two entered the happy kitchen where Artek was hugging his ample and smiling grandmum. ‘Come now, sit and eat.”

Cronan and Artek both grinned and sat down eagerly. After Grandpop blessed the food, the boys dug into the food as conversation and laughing ensued. The sky was clearing showing the glories of the setting sun upon them all. Artek felt courage and hope renew themselves as Cronan felt the light shine brighter then before as the brothers were surrounded by loving arms.



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