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Games At Twilight

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Adare, County Limerick 


“Something ’bout this photograph takes me back in time,” said the retiring Inspector. He was looking down at the contents of his ‘Closed’ case files.

“Y’kno’, lad. An awful interesting one in all of my donkeys’ years*. Matchless!” 

“What ’bout it?” I asked surprised, pouring us coffee. I was sent to replace him.

“The queer case of the Adare Murders. Naturally, it created a mass furore. An’ made for countless, sleepless nights for the Garda*.” A drawn-out sigh.

I stopped sipping. “Tell me mo’.” 



The quaint, little village sat blanketed in thick snow. The hues of dusk coloured the pristine-white landscape. All was quiet when the sound of guffaws splintered the silence. A rambunctious group of teenagers trudged through the snow, wisecracking and being themselves. 

“Yer Beour* wou’d kill ya, if she found out!” 

“Shut yer mouth, Eejit!* But ev’n if she did – I’d still remain her Acushla*.”

More snickering and snide remarks followed. 

They plodded their way into the nearby forest.

“How ’bout a game of ‘Hide Agus a Lorg’!*” Someone suggested.

“Grand!” Said another, throwing a glance at the dense, snow-covered foliage.

In no time, perfect little nooks and corners were prodded and stomped to make room for them. 

At the countdown, the unfortunate ‘It’ went about ‘seeking’, whilst making heinous noises that would put the leprechauns to shame. 

Out came the children, laughing, one after another; their hideouts having betrayed them. 

All but one.

“Where’s Timmy, ya’ll?” Asked the eldest of the lot.

They shrugged their shoulders at him; nobody had seen him hide.

“Let’s pull the bastard out…!” ‘It’ shrieked and they all yelled gleefully, in unision. The woods came alive with their voices.

But after an hour, the merriment soon fizzled out as night fell upon them. On tenterhooks, they looked for him. 

A pair of eyes, peeked through the prickly thicket. A rustle of dry leaves and a figure emerged.

“Feck* ya, Timmy! Ya had us all ‘up to ninety’!*”

Timmy considered them, with a lop-sided grin. A gust of frosty wind blew in their direction, beckoning them homeward. 

But they never made it home. 

At daybreak, the County Inspector and his team stood aghast, shaking their heads at the gruesome sight:

Seven corpses lay in a row. 


“And what’s bizzare? No signs of external injury, either. But they sure look’d terrified, lad! – as tho’, something literally scared ’em to death.” The old Inspector continued.

“An’ Timothy Byrne, the priest’s son? He was found in the semifrozen pond. Far remov’d from the rest. Death due to drowning; he apparently fell through thin sheet ice. He mus’ hav’bin running…” A meaningful pause.

“So what do you think of it?” I spurred him on.

He chortled. 

“We’re Irish, lad! There’s only one explanation!” He winked at me. 

“We folk know it – but nobody’ll admit their arses.” Then he leaned in closer.

“Why, ’twas the fine work of a Fetch*,” he whispered.

I nearly fell off my chair.


Glossary of Irish words/phrases used, in order of their appearance:

Donkeys’ years: A whole lot of years.

The Garda: The police department/services in Ireland.

Beour: An attractive girl; girlfriend.

Eejit: Irish for ‘Idiot’.

Acushla: An old term of endearment.

Hide Agus a Lorg: Irish for ‘Hide and Seek’.

Feck: Irish cuss word.

Up to Ninety: Old Irish phrase, roughly translated as stressed, agitated.

Fetch: A fetch based in Irish folklore, is a supernatural double or an apparition of a living person – the sighting of which is regarded as an omen, usually for impending death.

Photo credits: ‘How They Met Themselves’ by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. (A watercolour version)


Photo By: Unsplash

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