CHAPTER TWO – THE CLAN AND THE SIDHE
As they pulled out onto the two-lane highway, Aidan stared at the huge trees that lined the road and hung heavily over the asphalt. Their leaves were dark green, pulsing with fulsome life. It must be a full time job keeping them from overgrowing everything, Aidan thought. His eyes were drawn to one of the dark spaces between the massive trunks. He jerked forward in his seat as he thought he saw a flicker of movement, something silvery slipping between the trees, but before he could tell what it was the road curved and it was lost from view. He looked over at Anna to see if she had noticed the slivery flash, too, but her gaze was flipping between the road and the rearview mirror. She was checking to see when Sarah wasn’t paying attention to them.
“Mom, what is it?” Aidan asked quietly.
“I should have told you this earlier, but I just – couldn’t,” she whispered back. Her knuckles went white on the steering wheel. “Aidan, you have to believe if there were any other choice, we wouldn’t be moving in with my father.”
“I know that,” he said, his forehead furrowing in confusion. She had told him that repeatedly. But what had she kept back?
“What I haven’t told you about him is that he’s highly – highly religious,” she said, her mouth pursing on the word ‘religious’ like it left a bad taste in her mouth.
“Is he like Marie-Claire with a Bible verse for every occasion?” Aidan asked.
Marie-Claire had been Aidan’s babysitter for about two years starting when he was ten. She had been horrified that Aidan didn’t go to church so she took it upon herself to tell him a verse from the Bible at every possible moment in the hope that the Lord would seep into him by osmosis. Normally, a mention of the jolly Marie-Claire made his mother smile, but this time she didn’t; her lips thinned instead.
“He’s nothing like Marie. He’s not in any mainstream religion. He’s involved in something called the Clan,” Anna explained.
Aidan shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “The Clan as in Klu Klux—”
“No, although it is a racial group of sorts,” Anna said, her mouth twisted with disgust. “He’s actually the leader of the Clan. Most of the townspeople belong to it. They are very committed.”
“Committed to what?” he asked. She gave a quick laugh. “To their feud, really.” Her eyes darted over to him and seeing his bewilderment, she explained, “They despise all people who aren’t members of their religion, but they have a particular hatred for another group of locals who they call the Sidhe.”
“It’s pronounced that way, but it’s spelled s-i-d-h-e.”
“Sounds foreign,” Aidan said as he rolled the word around in his mind.
“It’s a Gaelic word, I think. It has something to do with fairy folk or some such thing,” Anna said, gesturing vaguely. “But not nice Tinkerbelle-type fairies. Banshee-type things. ”
“Wild,” Aidan said with a sputtering laugh. “People really believe in that kind of stuff here?”
“You can believe a lot of stuff on the Ridge,” Anna responded quietly. Aidan frowned at her serious tone. “And your Grandfather not only believes that there is something other about the Sidhe, he loathes them.”
“He hates them that much?” Aidan’s green eyes widened.
Anna gave a curt nod. But her statements were still bewildering. Okay, so Grandpa – Grandfather – Patrick is a bit bent about some rivals in the neighborhood, so what? Aidan wondered.
“Mom, what does this all have to do with us?” Aidan asked.
“My father thinks that you’re a – a Sidhe,” Anna explained.