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Chapter 18
Where to go?

        "Good night," Morgan called, waving to her new friends and drove away from the restaurant.  "What a wonderful couple," she commented to herself, spinning with tales of the Emerald Isle and envisioning the dazzling descriptions of an ancient land.  The young Irishwoman could almost feel a country and people old as all antiquity yet fresh as the first rays of a spring morning, newly visited by a warm, cleansing shower.  Why did she have such a longing for a land she'd never actually seen?.  Morgan normally didn't fly off the handle at pipe dreams; the deliberate young woman worked with planning, diligence and practicality.

        "What will mother say?" she wondered, "When I tell her that I'm moving to Ireland?  Hell, what will everyone say?  Probably that I've lost my head, grieving for my lost love.  But, when he comes back. . . ." the Morgan chuckled, envisioning the looks on different peoples faces when she breaks the news to them.  Some will be happy and excited, others will be shocked and dismayed.  She pictured her mother in the last group.

        "And why would you want to do some fool hearty thing like run off to a foreign country and leave your family behind?  It's just not. . . not loving!" Morgan could already hear the woman say.

        The invigorated young Irishwoman was feeling so enlivened that she couldn't force herself to go home.  Even though the hour was getting late and the early November breeze was blowing frigidly from the north, she wanted to be outdoors, soaking up the silvery moonbeams pouring from the clear, inky sky.

        Morgan drove decided to return to Logan's apartment complex once again, the location had served her purposes well previously.  Slowly, she pulled into the parking lot and sat silently inside of her car for several minutes.  The peaceful lass opened the car door and slid off the seat into the silvery moonshine.  She could almost feel the warmth of the glow flowing gently over her shoulders, dripping onto the chilly ground and creating a soft shadow at her feet.

        Immediately the enraptured redhead felt the creation of the Universe, the vastness of it's reaches as well as the power of Universal immensity.  Awe filled her senses, generating a feeling of love and appreciation for everything ever imagined.  All in it's own wondrous place, the awestricken young woman thought, smiling into the heavens.  Logan, you and I are soon going to Ireland.  We'll see Mother Brigid from the perspective of our heritage!

        Morgan glided effortlessly to the base of the same large stone that she had visited once before.  She sat gently down, with dancing moonshadows playing across the small pond and into the distant tree line.  How wondrous a creation, the young woman thought, gazing into the luminescence of the glowing pond.  Her thoughts turned slowly inward, building on Jim and Patricia's descriptions of the Irish countryside.  She could see herself and Logan strolling hand in hand down the sandy strand of an Irish coastline.  "The time for creation has come," a voice that she didn't recognize flowed through her head.  Morgan agreed and was glad.

        Morning was just breaking when Logan woke up from a restless sleep.  The sleepy fireman peeked groggily out of the window beside his bed and rolled easily out from under the warm covers.  No time to linger this morning, he thought, smiling.  Well, here is the big day!  A rush of anticipation flowed through him, sending a chill up the center of his spine.  The chilly lad shivered involuntarily with a burst of raw energy.

        Stark wakefulness streamed through his body, prompting Logan to dress quickly as possible and wake the girls.  The invigorated fireman practically ran through his door, knocking once on the girls bedroom door and noisily entering their room.  "Hey, sleepy heads, get up!  It's morning.  I'd like to get out of here as soon as possible!  Come on!"  He clapped his hands loudly and kicked the end of both beds with his knee.

        Amanda sat up in bed rubbing her eyes and stretching hugely.  "Are our clothes dry?" she asked immediately, swinging her legs out from under the covers.  The young woman's T-shirt ended at waist level, revealing a pair of men's jockey shorts that she had confiscated from the duffle bags.  "Do you mind?" she addressed Logan, covering herself hurriedly with the bed sheet.

        "Oh, look at Miss Modest," Elizabeth snickered sleepily, peeking out from under her covers.  Amanda just returned a scowl in her direction.

        "Since you're just going to stand there will you at least hand me my pants?" she continued to Logan.  The fireman picked up a pair of trousers from the end of the bed, tossing them lightly to the shy girl.  "Why don't you leave so I can at least get out of bed in peace.  And go comb your hair, you've got a terrible case of bed-head!"  Amanda laughed, pulling the slacks over her feet.

        Logan turned and headed toward the door.  "Come on Elizabeth, I want to get going," he prompted impatiently again, limping slightly out of the brightening room.

        Amanda followed closely behind, tying a piece of cord tightly around the waist of the trousers to keep them up.  She headed directly to the kitchen, where the two girls had hand washed and hung their own clothes the night before.  "Yeah, they're dry enough," the satisfied girl stated to no one in particular.  Quickly picking up both sets of clothes, she returned to the bedroom.  "Here," Logan heard Amanda give Elizabeth's clothes to the younger girl.

        Logan stood looking out of the front window that faced their docking site and smiled, peering at the little boat, just as they had left it.  Yeah, I'm ready to go now! the eager Irishman thought, collecting himself.  Amanda stepped out of the bedroom room, now fully dressed.

        "My God, I want to get home and get into a nice long, hot shower!" the young woman commented.  "I think I'll need to stay in the shower for about three hours trying to get this place washed off me!"

        "Me, too," Elizabeth announced, with wide yawn, following her sister into the living room.  "The next place I go visit will at least have the resources to wash my hair!"

        Logan just shook his head and pulled a comb from his back pocket.  "Soon as we get the food and water downstairs, I'll load the raft and we'd best be going.  It's still pretty cold outside, so the reptiles shouldn't be out. But, if the weather warms up a little later I don't know if they'll wake up or not."

        "I'm going to get us something for breakfast real quick, then I'll be ready to go," Amanda responded excitedly.  "Anyone want to join me?"

        "Yeah, probably not a bad idea.  It will be best to grab a quick bite here before we get moving.  I don't know how long it'll take us to find our way out of this swamp," the fireman answered, walking into the tiny kitchen.

        "What do you suppose happened to the kidnappers?" Elizabeth asked suddenly, almost as an afterthought

        "Who knows?  Maybe one of his alligators got him or something.  Or maybe his partner shot him, or one of his friendly neighbors got him!"  Logan returned casually.  All seemed to be fairly unsettling thoughts, however, since the captives were going to try and follow the kidnapper's path out of the swamp.  "If we're lucky, we'll find my truck parked somewhere and we can just drive away in it.  I have a key hidden under the body for emergency use," he responded, disquieted.  "I'm going to put the stuff in the raft and find a pole to use, then we can eat quickly and get out of here!"

        "Sounds like a plan, Stan," Amanda toyed, playfully.

        "I'll give you a hand," Elizabeth offered.  "By the way, how's your hip and leg?"

        Logan instinctively grabbed his left hip with his hand and rubbed it bruskly.  "Still awee bit sore, but that accident just seems like an old bad dream now.  I don't think it'll be any hindrance at all."  Logan casually tested the leg out.

        "Jeez, that almost qualified for a miracle!" Amanda chimed in.  "I want to know what you did to heal yourself while we're paddling around out there, for my own information. . . in detail!

        "Here we go!" Logan remarked with steaming breath. He shoving the little boat away from the shoreline.  The struggling firefighter quickly jumped into the receding craft.  "We're off!  Onward Banbha, take us home!"

        Both girls smiled ear to ear, sliding across the murky water.  They both looked like little Eskimoes, bundled up against the cold in every spare article of warmth that they could find.  Fortunately, the wind was calm and the sun beamed through numerous small open patches in the arbor above, revealing a bright blue, clear sky.  There was almost no sound around them, creating a surrealistic effect of silence, parted solely by the dipping of Logan's thick cane pole into and out of the water for propulsion.

        Elizabeth slowly turned, looking at the disappearing shanty, almost tearfully.  "Goodbye," she called to the receding structure quietly.  "In some ways I'm going to miss that place. I might even try to find it again sometime, just for old times sake."

        Amanda and Logan followed her lead and turned to watch the remnants of the little cabin slip out of view behind the huge cypress trees.  "Yeah, me too," Logan admitted, "But I really don't think I'll ever come back here, at least not purposefully."

        "I'm just glad to get out of there," Amanda responded truthfully.  "I might miss the companionship that I've felt, but I can have that anywhere.  This place I won't miss!  I'm ready to get on with my life, soon as I figure out how I want to do that."

        The three travelers pondered silently as Logan pushed them through the deepening swamp.  He was gathering more confidence in his poling ability with each stroke.  Although the sun was shining brightly overhead, the gloom was rapidly deepening, the huge cypress trees, heavy with Spanish moss, growing closer and closer together.  Logan soon found himself moving tendrils of hanging moss from their pathway before they could proceed.

        "I don't think this is right," Amanda broke the stifling silence.  "We couldn't have come this way before.  We would have felt this stuff  hitting us as we came through."  She pulled a streamer of grey-green growth from her hair and tossed it carelessly into the water beside her.  "I think we need to turn around and go back that way."  The suddenly concerned young woman pointed behind them.

        "Why that way?" Logan quizzed.

        "Just call it woman's intuition.  Or, this way sure the hell isn't getting us anywhere.  The swamp is getting thicker by the foot.  Soon we won't even be able to get through all of this shit!"  Amanda pulled another tangle of moss from her head.

        Logan stopped pushing the boat and looked around in all directions. "I wish I could see the sun so I could at least get an idea of which direction we're going." the confused lad responded exasperatedly.  "I can find my way around a fire scene in total darkness, but, I at least have a hose that I can follow if I need to get back out quickly.  Truthfully, at the moment, I have no idea where we are."

        "Did you know where we were before we left the cabin?"  Elizabeth chimed in, sounding a bit frightened.  "Let's do something!  We're not doing any good just sitting here!"

        Logan  pushed off from a nearby tree with his stout pole, turning the raft into the reverse direction.  He sat a course, roughly returning in the direction they had come.  "I don't even know how to get us back to the cabin right now," the worried young man informed both girls soberly.

        "I don't want to go back to the cabin, I want to get out of here!" Amanda expressed emphatically.  "Okay, while you're pushing us around, tell me what you did with your rear.  I mean, how you fixed it.  Let's just keep our minds occupied and keep moving.  This worry isn't helping anything!"

        "You're right, let's change the subject.  Let's see, I really can't give you the details because I hardly remember them.  I'll tell you all I do remember, then you'll have to figure out the rest yourself.  Hopefully, not in the same way that I did!"  Logan began recanting his experience to the best of his recollection.  The story seemed to ease all of their uneasiness as well as break the monotonous silence.

        Scouring the area around them, Logan wished he could recognize some of the country that they were traveling through, but, how do you distinguish one group of trees from another?  He was completely turned around, proceeding more blindly in the light of day than he had in the absolute darkness of a fire scene.  Finishing his story, the worries that had been playing in the background of young man's thoughts made themselves more acute.

        The concerned firefighter tried to combat his fears, forcefully push them aside and think of the grand things to come.  But, soon as one thought diminished, another gladly took it's place, making him feel as if he had a popcorn popper going at full speed in his consciousness.  Logan's disorientation became even more pronounced upon entering a broad clearing in the trees.  A large hole opened in the canopy above them, allowing sunlight to stream brightly through.  "I didn't see this before, did either of you?" he asked, unable to disguise his anxiety.

        Both girls shook their heads negatively, staying silent.  A bird flittered overhead, startling Logan, followed by several more flying creatures dashing through the curtain of sunlight in an array of bright colors and frantic movement.  Suddenly, a small splash, quite a distance away on his right, caught the nervous young man's attention.  His head snapped to identify the cause.

        "You getting nervous, too?" Amanda asked uneasily.

        "Yeah," Logan had to admit.  "I just wish I knew where we were.  I don't care to be stuck out here tonight."

        "Me neither, I wouldn't consider it a pleasant camping experience!" Elizabeth answered, her voice beginning to tremble with concern.

        Got to get my mind off of the fear, the lad thought worriedly.  Logan thought back into the past, remembering Morgan's sweet touch and the smell of her hair deep in the night.  Soon, the calming young man was more at ease with his surroundings.  Logan turned to Amanda and Elizabeth, he could see the concern in their tight grasp of the side ropes and tenseness of their backs.

        "Hey guys," the lad called to them lightly, "what's the first thing you are going to do when you get back home?" he asked to take their mind from the present situation.  Logan kept pushing the raft through the maze of tree trunks with the stout pole, almost unconsciously.

        "Get a cheese burger!" Elizabeth declared, snapping her head toward a nearby splash on their left side.  "Right after I have a long, long shower."

        "Yeah, the shower thing is all I can think of right now," Amanda retorted.

        Logan suddenly felt a strong draw to return to the shack for something.  He almost felt as if he had left something very important behind.  "We need to find our way back to the cabin," he instructed the girls suddenly.  "I don't know why, I just feel like we left something that we really need."

        "Funny, I was just thinking that myself!" Elizabeth chorused, looking befuddled.

        "I'm agreeable, but, how do we get there?" Amanda answered.

        "Just keep going, I guess, and keep a lookout.  We can't be very far from it now," Logan returned, not knowing what else they could do.  "With everything I've seen happen lately. . . ."

        "No, the cabin can't be very far,"Amanda agreed.

        "Look, I remember that tree!  It looks like there's a face on it.  I noticed it on our way out!" Elizabeth announced excitedly.  "Turn a little to your right."  Logan complied.

        "Yeah, and I remember that stand of cypress knees over there," Amanda chimed in.  "They reminded me of a pipe organ I saw at a Cathedral our family visited in Rome!  Turn the boat a little more that way."  Separated from their fear, the trio began recognizing landmarks toward their destination.

        "There is the cabin!" Amanda exclaimed, standing up on the small boat's unwieldy bottom, pointing almost directly ahead of them.

        Logan shook his head and smiled.  The astonished young man was almost beginning to expect the unexpectable.  He laughed aloud.

        Both girl joined in his laughter for no apparent reason.  The joyous sounds warmed Logan.  Laughter, the medicine of the gods, the smiling lad thought, laughing again.  He pushed them toward the house, noticing how differently the little place looked, and felt, coming upon it like this.  The place even had some strange appeal to him.

        "Hold on guys," the pushing bodybuilder instructed, "I'm going to beach us."  Logan pushed harder with each stroke of his pole, gaining speed for their landing.  The nose of the craft slid onto the boggy bank and Amanda jumped forward, out of the raft.  She grabbed a firm hold on the perimeter rope, pulling them a little farther onto dry land.   "That's the best I can do guys.  You'll just have to come out the front." the struggling girl announced.

        Elizabeth slipped over the bow of the raft, landing with a squish on the little island.  "If I were going to name this place I think I'd call it 'Little Mucky'" she said, laughing.

        Logan followed closely behind, pulling the boat farther out of the water.  "Let's go upstairs and see if we can figure out what we left here," the baffled lad stated, heading toward the all too familiar stairway.  "Besides, it's lunchtime and now would be a great time to eat."

        Oh my God! Morgan thought, writing out the rent payment check for her apartment, I'm sure Logan's rent is due right now, too.  I really don't know what to do about it.  I guess I should call his parents and ask their opinion, but, I know what their answer will be, they still believe he's dead!  Well, at least we could get his stuff moved out and into storage somewhere, no use letting the place stay empty while paying rent.  When Logan gets back, he can stay with me for a while, or longer if he wants.

        Morgan picked up the phone, dialing the Keohanes number.  "Hello, Yancy?  This is Morgan.  You know, I was just paying my rent and thought; Logan's apartment rent is due, also.  I guess it'd probably be best to go ahead and move his stuff into storage somewhere.  He doesn't have a whole lot of big furniture so it shouldn't take much.  In fact, I think I'll call one of those apartment moving places and get them to load his stuff up.  The whole move won't take but a couple of hours that way.   No, I don't mind getting everything together, it shouldn't cost much.  I just need to know where to take his stuff.  Are you sure you have room in your garage?  Okay, that'll be great.  I'll see you in a while, bye!"

        Morgan searched through the phone book, looking for a moving company.  The thorough redhead quickly arranged a pick up, amazingly that same afternoon, then called her work to inform them of her emergency.  Fortunately, she worked with a very understanding group of people.  "I'd best get over to Logan's apartment and start getting things ready for the movers."

        Morgan opened Logan's apartment door, stepped inside and quietly closed it behind her.  The struggling lass brought in as many empty boxes as she could carry.  Setting the boxes on the floor, the reminiscing young woman walked directly into the small living room thinking of their ritual, remembering the love she had felt, holding her lover so close that wondrous evening.  She could still feel the energy they had shared during that loving interchange of bodies and spirits.  The love seemed to be permeated into the walls, the floor, the carpet and especially the ritual regalia that was still placed in various spots around the room.  Morgan walked into the center of the room where Logan had fashioned the glowing circle of silent candles and sat cross legged on the floor.  Closing her eyes, the lonely redhead let her mind wander back across time to the beauty and fullness of their ceremony, smelling the rich smell of candles, incense and wine, seeing the golden glow of the flickering shafts.

        The sentimental Irishwoman slowly stood, walking around the small room, touching or picking up every ceremonial tool that she saw.  Each carried it's own reminder of Logan in a special way.  The girl stopped before the broadsword leaning in a far corner, reaching out to touch the leather wrapped handle.  Funny, she thought, I didn't know he had a sword until that evening.  Gently, Morgan picked up the heavy blade, stroking down the bright double edged steel with a passion that even she didn't recognize.  The longing Irishwoman turned the blade, pommel up, holding the sword tightly against her breast.  The full feeling returned of that special evening, how she seemed to have slipped through time into a memory that had startled her.  The cold steel pulled the young Irishwoman into a vision where her lost love was returned to her, cold and lifeless, wounded through the heart by an instrument of death similar to what she held.  Memories of taking his sword, the last cherished vestment of their undying love.  The vision continued with the young woman holding the blade tightly to her bosom, her lover being carried away to return to the Great Mother from whence he had come.

        "Logan, I cherish you and I don't want to be left with only your sword as a legacy.  Come back to me Logan, come back to me quickly so we can go to Ireland and raise our children in the ways of love and peace!  I'm for you Logan Keohane, and I always will be!"

        Morgan sat to the floor, laying the cool blade across her lap with a sniffle.  This stuff I'm keeping with me, she thought, looking lovingly around her once more through tear glazed eyes.  "Well, I guess I'd better pack up and get ready for the movers."

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