Left-Hander's Curse

Fiction By Tori // 10/1/2009

"Keep up, Ceilí. We haven't much time." I pulled my sister's hand deeper into the forest. She whimpered quietly. I knew the running we'd done was too much on her, but I didn't have another choice. We had to keep going forward.

"Victeoiria..."

"No, Ceilí. We musn't stop. I see a field up ahead. We will rest there."  The sun was just going down beyond the hills of Álainn-Ionad, a tiny Gaelic city next to Ireland. It is not considered part of Ireland, but it is not a country of its own. 

The day had dragged on forever, it seemed. Was it just this morning that my father found out? Was that not a million years ago? He found out that my precious, beautiful, six-year old sister had left-hander's curse, or  toirmiscthe rian. Álainn-Ionad is known for being very superstitious, and because of this, it is the belief that left hand writers are cursed.

Unfortunately, my family has a love for literature. I especially like to write poems. So, instead of Ceilí learning to write at seven or eight years old, like most Gaelic children do, my father decided that he wanted her to learn early. At the age of five Ceilí learned to write and read, and me and my mother learned of her toirmiscthe rian. My mother wisely tried to keep the distressing news from my father and to teach Ceilí to write with her right hand, but she was unsuccessful.

This morning, my father had left for work, and my mother had told Ceilí to practice. Father doubled back to the house for his coat...and he hadn't left again. One glimpse of Ceilí told him all he needed to know. I could not watch him beat my little sister, so we fled. My mother looked sorry to see us go, but I knew that she, just like every other Álainn-Ionad woman, was glad she'd be rid of the left hander's curse.

The last thing I heard my father say, in Gaelic, was 'you are dead to me.' So neither of us is wanted at home.

I've always been my sister's protector, because my brother was never mine. Breandan ran away from Álainn-Ionad when I was nine, seven years ago. He was seventeen at the time, and he was supposedly plagued by radharc conj, vision seeing. This was because he 'prophecied' that when the Álainn-Ionad people revolted in the Iontach War eight years ago, we were going to gain independence from Ireland. And we did, so everyone called Breandan a radharc conj-céanna, a vision seer. He didn't like it a bit. So one year afterword, he gathered his things and walked away. I ran after him, because he was my one and only brother. Seeing me hurting for him sent Breandan back to me, but only to give me his little hunting knife and to whisper an old Gaelic saying into my ear.

"Am fear, is fhaide chaidh bho'n bhaile, chual e'n ceòl bu mhilse leis nuair thill e dhachaidh." he said to me. I whispered the saying back to myself as I pulled my sister along.

"Who farthest away e'er did roam, heard the sweetest music on returning home." I wondered, for the thousanth time, what he meant by it. Was he returning? I don't think he would. Did he mean that he'd hear the music when he was where he belonged?

"Victeoiria! Please, stop! I can't go any farther! I looked at my sister. She certainley looked tired. Heaving a sigh, I stopped, waited for her to catch up, and then hoisted her otno my back. I kept running.