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Lea Ann

Dennis and Mike were the best of friends.. ever since elementary school.. they
were more like brothers than brothers are.. sharing the same interests in sports..
and women.. of course.. but.. their main passion was writing… they had submitted
manuscripts jointly and separately to publishers with limited success… both were
single.. Dennis never having beem married and Mike just getting over a divorce..

On their Friday night sojourn into bar society.. Mike told Dennis he had really
good news..
“Two things Den”.. he said.. ”I’ve met the most wonderful woman.. and guess what..?”
“What” replied Dennis...
“She’s from Ireland!” Mike exclaimed..
“What’s your other news.?” Asked Dennis..
“A guy asked me to write a screenplay.. so.. gonna be out of circulation for a
while”
“Hmm.. new girl.. writing a screenplay.. seems you hit the motherlode this week”
said Dennis..
“Yeah.. isn’t it great..? look Den.. hate to drink and run but.. Lea Ann is coming
over tonight and I want to make sure I’m there…you gonna be okay by
yourself..?”
“Gee.. I don’t know.. that bunch of women over at that table look like they’re going
to pounce on me the minute you leave.. go ahead Mike.. I’ll see if I can manage though..”
"Okay Den.. talk to you later..

Dennis heard nothing from Mike for about two weeks.. then. A phone call..
“Den.. just wanted to let you know.. Lea Ann and I are going to stop at the bar
tonight for a few minutes.. I told Lea Ann about you and she wants to meet my best
friend.. hope you can make it”
“Sure.. I was going anyway, what time.? Asked Dennis.
“About 11.”.
“Fine.. I’ll be there “replied Dennis... Dennis walked in about 11 and went to the
bar.. ordered his drink then looked around the room.. he saw Mike at one of the
tables.. looking a bit gaunt but.. that was not unusual.. he had a habit of not
eating and working long hours on some projects. Across from Mike was one of the most
beautiful women he had ever seen in his life.. coal black hair and even at this
distance he could see the blue in her eyes.. “From Ireland “ he thought “Why’d I
think she would have red hair?”. Dennis took his drink and made his way to the
table..
“Dennis!” said Mike .”Glad you could make it..”
Dennis could not take his eyes off the woman at the table.
“Den.. this is Lea Ann.. Lea Ann.. this is my best friend Dennis”
“Hello Dennis” said Lea Ann and her eyes seemed to pierce his soul..
"Hi Lea Ann" and Dennis took the hand she offered..
It was cold as ice but.. Dennis felt a warmth spreading through his body..
"Cold hands waem heart?" asked Dennis
Smiling she replied "Something like that"

They chatted for about half an hour.. Dennis found she had relatives
all over Ireland but.. she was vague about where she was from..
saying only the West..

Soon it was time for them to go..
"Nice meeting you Dennis" she said as she took his hand..
There it was agaun.. that warmth.. "Err.. yes.. sure" he stammered..
"I'll see you later Den" said Mike as he walked away..
Dennis watched the two of them leave.. and wondered.. where Mike
ever met a woman like that..

Dennis heard nothing from Mile for a while.. then a phone call from
Mike's sister.. they had fond Mile dead.. cardiac arrest.. and could
find no reason for it.. no history of hearttroubl.. a bit mal-nourished
and dehydrated bit not enough to cause heart failure.. a sad mystery..

About two weeks later.. Dennis recieved a call from his agent.. one of his
manuscripts on folklore in the West of Ireland had been accepted.. but..
seems some of the reseaech he did was iffy.. could he correct it..?
"No problem} Dennis had told him.. "Just have to go to Ireland for a few weeks"

Dennis called for his ticket.. packed and was on his way the next day.. hadn't
been to Ireland for a while so.. a working vacation.. as the plane left JFK
Dennis sttled back and closed his eyes.. "Five or six hours and I'll be there"
he thought.. "All is right with the world"..

The stewardess woke him and asked which choice he wanted for dinner..
"Nothing" he replied.. "Perhaos just some coffee"..
Dennis looked at his watch.. almost dawn in Ireland.. Dennis got up to stretch
his legs before the plane landed.. as he neared the rear of the plane.. he
felt as though someone was watching him.. he looked across the middle row of
seats.. it was Lea Ann.. he crossed the plane to where she was sitting..
He was unable to sit with her as there was another passenger next to her..-
"Hello Lea Ann.. home for a visit?. he asked..
"More or less" she replied. "And you?"..
"Research on a manuscript I submitted" as an after thought he added..
I'll be staying in Castlebar.. could I drop you somwhere?"
Thanks for the offer Dennis but.. someone is picking me up".. then she
added.. "Perhaps we'll run into each other"..
"Perhaps" replied Dennis.. and as he turned to go he thought.."God.. I hope so!"..
Dennis returned to his seat.. he glanced back to where Lea Ann was sitting..
she was walking towards the rest rooms.. he looked out the window.. it was just
getting light and this was always his favorite part of the trip.. watching the
Island of Ireland getting bigger and bigger out his window..

After clearing customs.. Dennis walked into the terminal.. he looked around
for Lea Ann.. no sign of her.. so he went and picked up his car and headed north
towards Galwat.. then on to Castlebar.. but.. in the back of his mind..
Lea Ann's parting words crept in.. "Perhaps we'll run into each other"

His work was not going well in Castlebar.. he put it down to too manuy distactions..
In fact.. he only had one distraction.. Lea Ann.. he looked for her everytime
he went out.. on the streets.. in the pubs.. everywhere.. it bordered on obsession..
but he wasn't aware of it.. so.. he thought maybe a change of scene is what he
needed.. so.. he rented a small cottage on the Galway Mayo border..

Things went a little better for him at the cottage.. he was able to talk to the
local people and verify if his research was right.. he found most of it was but
some of it was way off.. so.. it went well his first week in the cottage but
still slower than he expected.. feeling he should take a break.. he asked in the
village store where a good place to go on the weekend was.. "You might want to try
the Larches" she said.. "Music and dancing.. mostly locals.. not many tourists"..
That sounded just like what he needed.. so he got directions..

Saturday night he drove to the Larches.. it was as the woman said... music and
all local people.. Dennis went to the bar and ordered a Harp.. he was watching
the dance floor when again he felt someone watcging him.. he looked around..
there at the door stood Lea Ann.. she walked over to him..
"Hello Dennis" she said..
Dennis greeted her then offered to buy her a drink..
"Thank you.. I'd like that" she replied..
"So.. what brings you in here?".. he asked her..
"Oh.. I was visiting someone in Clonbur and decided to stop in here"..
They talked for a while and he told her about him renting the cottage..
"Oh.. nice" she said.. "Like it better than Castlebar?"..
"Much better.. quiet" he said..
Then Lea Ann put her hand on his leg.. Dennis felt the warmth building
throughout his body.. and along with the warmth came a craving.. a
craving for her.. he tried to stop it but it was just too powerful..
feeling helpless.. he just looked at her.. she just smiled.. stood up
and taking his hand they went to his cottage..

It was late morning when he awoke.. Lea Ann was gone.. he supposed she
called someone to take her back to her car.. he had some coffee then.. sat
down to write.. suddenly.. several ideas and story lines popped into his head..
He began to type feverishly.. trying to get them on paper before he forgot
and so.. it was like that all day.. then.. as darkness fell.. a knpck on the door..
he opened it and.. there stood Lea Ann.. more beautiful than ever..
they embraced.. and another night of Heaven on Earth for Dennis.. and that's
how it was everyday.. working like mad during the day.. and nights
with Lea Ann..

Dennis rarely went out in the week and a half since he met Lea Ann.. the
last time he was in the village store buying cigarettes and coffee (Because
that's what he was living on).. the woman in the store asked him..
"Are you alright sir?".
"Yes.. I'm fine" he replied.. "What's wrong with her.. can't she see I'm the
happiest man in the world" he thought.. but.. he was not happy..
in this new world he was living in he was forming a dislike.. a dislike for
daylight.. though he was busy during the day.. it was at night he felt most
alive.. and it was at night that Lea Ann came.. daylight was his enemy..

Then.. one night.. Lea Ann didn;t show up.. he waited for her knock.. each
time he heard a car coming down the lane.. he ran to the door.. in time to see
it pass on by.. then he began to pace.. he wondered.. maybe she had a wreck..
perhaps I should go look for her.. but where to look.. then feelings of guilt..
"Did I do something wrong.. what did I say to her?' and these thoughts
continued for hours.. then.. in the wee hous of the morning.. the phone rang..
it was her..
"Dennis.. I'm sorry I couldn't make it tonight.. something came up and I had to
attend to it.. but.. I'll be there tomorrow night.. it'll be a special night
for the both of us.. alright?"..
"Alright.. but.. I was just so worried".. he said..
"Don't worry Dennis.. I'll see you tomorrow"..
Dennis hung up the phone and collapsed on the bed.. he was exhausted.. the anxiety
of the night before had drained what little energy he had left..

Sleep didn't come to him.. he just lay there and watched the daylight he had come
to despise light his room.. an etenity of daylight for him that day.. then..
twilight.. "Soon" he whispered.. "Soon".. and then came the night.. and with it..
the long awaited knock on his door.. he drug himself off the bed and
staggered to the door.. opened it and.. there stood Lea Ann.. more radiant
than ever.. then they embraced..
"Lea Ann.. Lea Ann " he murmered
She whispered in his ear.. "I have something to tell you Dennis..
my name is really not Lea Ann.. but Leanan.. you of all people should have
kmown that.. then she kissed him one last time..
Through the fiery haze that boiled in his brain and throughout his body..
and while he felt the last bit of life being sucked out of him.. full
realization of what was going on came to him..
"Lea Ann?.. Leanan?.. no.. OH GOD NO!.. IT'S HER!.. SHE'S REAL!..
THE LEANAN SIDHE!"

And in the West of Ireland.. in a small cottage..
darkness came forever to Dennis Moran..

James Browne.. 2004