I know I’m Irish, Jeremy, but there are no such things as leprechauns!” Kayleigh tossed her long red hair over her shoulder and led the small group in a toast: “To science!” An older gentleman, clad in a Donegal tweed jacket and a woolen kilt, caught her eye across the tavern. He was staring at her, then began to weave through the revelers toward her. Kayleigh’s other great friend, Marcie, her long brown hair bouncing as she hopped in place to the Irish jig being played. As it ended she raised her glass to the sky. “To Ireland.” The entire bar responded, “To Ireland!” Kayleigh was distracted, focused on the Irish gentleman careening through the crowd. He was coming to her. He looked harmless enough, but there was something about him. He was clearly drunk, stumbling and bumbling his way nearer, but there was a glean in his deep blue eyes, which had never left hers from the moment they’d connected across the room. He cleared the last two large men, entered their triangle. “Hey, cool outfit, ol’ man!” Jeremy patted him on the back. He stumbled and fell into Kayleigh, then hugging her tightly “
to him, he whispered into her ear, in a clear voice with a deep Irish brogue, “’Tis upon you now, lassie. The world is upon your shoulders. Find the green one. Save the world.” “What the—” She pushed him away, and his bright blue eyes smiled into hers as he regained his footing. Jeremey grabbed him and held him back. “He’s OK. Jer. Leave him be.” Kayleigh could not take her eyes off the old man, who simply brushed himself off with a broad smile, eyes clear as midday staring into hers. She was transfixed. Then, he changed, lost his balance a bit and slurred in a deeper Irish brogue, “Excuse me, lassie.” He gave her an over-acted drunken wink, and just like that, he was again a soused old man stumbling out of the tavern. Her eyes followed after him, intrigued. “Yuck! There’s something icky and green on your right shoulder.” Jeremy pointed with his left index finger. Jeremy was 6′1 , dark hair, dark eyes and powerfully built. Tall, dark and handsome, and she’d loved him for as long as she could remember, but alas, he was gay. “Ewe. Disgusting.” Marcie added. “What was he drinking? Kayls, who was that guy?” “How should I know?” Her eyes took on her famous conspiratorial look. “Oh, no. I know that look!” Jeremey grinned. “Come on, Jer. Let’s find out who that old dude is. He’s harmless, right?” She leaped off her stool and headed for the door. Jeremy rolled his eyes and followed. He’d been her sidekick since preschool. Marcie, a new friend, wandered out behind them. It’d rained, and the cobblestones gleamed in the glow from the 19th-century-style streetlights.
“That way,” she whispered as the man rounded the next corner. They moved quickly down the sidewalk, strewn with people adorned in green, heels clacking on the stones beneath their feet. They stopped at corner, the beginning of the alley. “You ready?” Kayleigh, as always, asked. “No!” Jeremey, as predictably, replied. Both smiled. Marcie stood a few feet back, confused. They peaked around the corner, Jeremy above Kayleigh, Marcie disinterested. There he was, in the midst of the street lights, walking, nearing the other end of the dark alley. Just as she began to step out to follow him, a dark limo appeared. Jeremy grabbed Kayleigh back to his chest. They peaked again to watch. “What’s happening?” Marcie asked. “Shhhhhh” Kayleigh and Jeremy replied in unison. Marcie stomped off in protest. Kayleigh and Jeremey looked at one another, grinned and returned to the corner to watch. Marcie was not the first third wheel to be ignored out of their adventures. “That limo.” Jeremey paused. “Kayleigh, it didn’t like drive up. It sorta just appeared” “I know, like, out of nowhere.” Kayleigh was now focused on the alley. “Shush now.” The man stopped at the end of the alley, stood straight, but didn’t run, as though waiting for something or someone. Though no doors opened on the limo, three dark figures emerged. “What are those?” Jeremey asked. “They’re heading to the old guy. Maybe he’s waiting on them. They look kinda like ghosts or something.” Kayleigh was straining to see. Jeremy had a hand on her shoulder, holding her back from falling head first into the alley. That had happened before.
“Sorta like dementors from Harry Potter.” Jeremey added. “Yeah, though on the ground.” Kayleigh finished the thought. Whoosh. A swirl of blackness, a slight flash.
The alley was empty. The old man, the dementor-things and the limo were gone. “What the F?” Kayleigh leaped out into the alley. “That thing just vanished with our guy.”