Excerpt: A Maiden So Bewitching by Colm Herron

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“I wanted to explain to you about my parents. None of the two of them wanted me. Momma was expecting a girl – expecting in the sense of expectation I should add – and Pappa didn’t want a child of any description. So I grew up feeling very unwelcome indeed. Therefore you won’t be surprised to be told that their deaths had little impact on me….”

“Momma died not long after Henry and I tied the knot. I’m not sure of the date but I know we buried her on a Friday. I remember this because I had bacon, two fried eggs, black pudding, white pudding, three Denny’s pork sausages and fried bread when we got back home from the funeral and Henrietta told me that that was a mortal sin because it was a day of abstinence and this meant I shouldn’t be eating meat. I wasn’t on very good terms with her that particular day because in bed the night before when we’d got finished and we were lying there looking up at the ceiling I turned to her and said “Was that OK?” and she said back to me “To tell you the truth Alexis I’d far rather have had a cup of tea and a piece of toast.” So when she started going on about the mortal sin thing I said “Do you really mean to say if I died now I’d go to hell for all eternity just for eating a fry? What’s the big deal about a Friday anyway?” and she said “Jesus was crucified on a Friday.”

And I said “And?”

And she said “Because Jesus was crucified for our salvation on a Friday.”

And I said “And?”

And she said “Because we should do penance for that.”

And I said “For what? Sure I didn’t crucify him.”

And she said “Ah, but you did.”

And I said “I wasn’t even there. I’ve got an alibi. I swear. I was in Dirty Nelly’s along with Johnny Pat McGroin’s brother Grip. But tell me this now Henry. What sort of a religion is it anyway that stitches you up for something that happened two thousand years ago?’

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