AN IRISHWOMAN’S TALE
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From the Prologue
“Get ‘er out of here.” Moon-shaped faces stared at Mary across the round, oaken table, then guzzled tea. Stared. Guzzled. Cup after cup of the steaming stuff.
“Ye can’t mean it,” Mam screamed. “Not now. She’s all o’ a bloody five.”
“The little eejit. Get ‘er out.”
A fist crashed on the table. Cups and saucers and cigarettes flew. Tea splattered onto the wall, onto the front of Killian’s shirt.
“Ye swine.” Mam was in Killian’s face. “For the sake of St. Patrick, she’s my flesh and blood.”
“She’s got to go.”
Mam’s screaming curse sent a chill up Mary’s spine. “Ye lured me here, promised to take us in.”
“She’s got to go. Now.”
“All right, she’ll go.” Mam’s words slapped Mary in the face. “And you’ll be cursed, all of ye.”
Mam? No, Not you, Mam? Mary flung herself on the floor, legs and arms flailing. Mam on their side? Her heart broke in two, not by the others, but by her own mother.
Mam jerked her to a standing position, letting those horrid, horrid faces burn holes into her. Still, Mary stared at them, refusing to be the first to look away.
They glared back at her and sloshed watery tea all over themselves and the tabletop. Words floated overheard. Harris, Chicago, America. What did they all mean? She heard a slap and cowered, but the blow did not fall on her
One of the sisters half-carried, half-dragged her to bed.
“Why, Mam, why? Over and over Mary sobbed the same thing into her pillow. She knew the foul-smelling faces that loomed over the table didn’t want her, by Mam? The black reality engulfed her, and her body convulsed with waves of despair.
Excerpted from AN IRISHWOMAN’S TALE © Copyright 2017 by Patti Lacy. Reprinted with permission by Kregel Publications. All rights reserved.
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