Excerpt of the week: Beyond Magic (first draft)

I’ve been writing fresh this week, the first time in a while.  With the success of the publication of “Queen Méabh” fresh on my mind, I decided to journey back to Ireland and take a different cut at the old myths.


To say “Beyond Magic” is raw would be a gross understatement, I literally only have a first draft. Yet I’ve wanted to do a piece on Newgrange–Brú na Bóinne in Gaelic–ever since I visited there in 2010. So here’s the first cut.

Beyond Magic

C.R. Hodges

“Your da be dying, laddie,” said Mamo softly, stroking my hair like I was still a boy in knickers and not an apprentice woodcutter. Of course I knew Da was dying: the wound on his left forearm was as green as a bog in springtime.

“The healer gave him more potions,” Elise, my brat of a sister, said. “And I pray every night really hard to faerie queen.”

She was only twelve, and still believed in all that magic rot. I wanted badly to believe, but I wanted to sharpen my axe so that I could chop Sir Cathal’s fecking head off next time I saw him. T’was he that led our villagers across the river troll’s bridge without paying the toll. The head lopping would be easy, as Sir Cathal was so fat he could barely ride the largest horse in the village, and only Da’s skill with an axe could best me. Which wasn’t saying much, as in truth I had only seen fifteen winters myself.

And that troll was coming for his ten pence toll.

“I am sure the potion will work,” I lied, hoping that my grandmother would ease off on my scalp.

Lots of things I can see wrong  already  here, including the unfortunate echo between troll and toll, the giant troll bridge cliché, naming a knight who never shows up (nor gets decapitated) to name a few. It’ll get better, but that’s how stories start.

CR Hodges

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