Glasán, Ireland, 1735
Time. He needed more time. And that was the one thing he couldn’t control.
Turlough held his wife’s hand. She was so incredibly thin. He didn’t want to squeeze for fear of breaking her bones. This would be their fifth child. He prayed that Maeve would live long enough to hold the child in her arms.
She moaned again, and he glanced at the midwife. The woman shook her head and closed her eyes. The tears pummeled at his eyes as he closed his own.
Maeve was the joy in his life. His whole reason for being. She’d never been strong, but this pregnancy had wasted her to a frail husk.
She strained against the pain and screamed. The tears in his eyes burst forth, and his throat closed. The coppery smell of hot blood infused the small, dark room.
A thin scream cut the air, and a small bundle squirmed in the midwife’s arms. Maeve’s hand went limp in his own.
“No! No, Maeve, no! You can’t die on me now, my love, you can’t! Wake up, Maeve! Maeve, please, please, no please, no…”
His throat choked off any more words, and he cried. His beloved wife’s hand was flaccid in his own, but he refused to relinquish it. It was still warm. She must still be here. She mustn’t leave him.
The child’s wail turned to a whimper as the midwife bundled it in cloth and cooed over it. Turlough didn’t even want to know if it was a boy or a girl. He had no wish to see the child who killed his wife.
The midwife left, and he was alone with his wife’s body, but he couldn’t see her any more through the tears. His sobs wracked through him, and he fell over her. He lay there for hours, begging her to return.