The sea rolled onto the strand bringing in the mists with the brine. I walked along the strand as I watched the salt waves roll over each other, roaring mightily in the distance. The surf lapped at my feet while the wind whispered past me and in through the swaying pines upon the black craigs above me. I kept my eyes fixed on the drifting mists, far past the jutting white forms that scraped the grey skies. It would appear, as it always did on Samhain, I just had to be patient.
The winds rose with the waves carrying a faint music that grew louder with each passing moment. The piper played as the mists drifting past the dark grey silhouette of the island. The last of the mists rolled away from the island and I could clearly see roving emerald hills, forests that stretched on the entirety of the small island and high cliffs jutting out of the sea. On the Northern most cliff I could see my piper playing before the grey monoliths, calling out to the world.
Whether it was sea or tears that stung my eyes I didn’t know, but in the darkening sky I saw the shadow of a small boat approach, a piper standing at the prow, playing to with all his heart as the small boat rocked on the waves. As it came closer I could see him. The piper was clad in a clean coat of grey and sash of green, like a soldier ready for battle. This man was my piper…Daire. I wept as I saw the wind whip through his coal black curls, his own blue eyes welled with tears as his narrow lips pressed together over the mouth piece.
The small boat finally washed up on to the shore, riding the surf until it made a valley in the sand. Daire had stopped playing and stood perfectly still locking eyes with me.
I was frozen, my heart ceased to beat as I beheld my love, who had died seven years ago sailing into battle, a piper among stalwart fighting men ready to meet their enemy. Every year since I had walked along this beach where my love first set sail into the purple twilight. The ship went down before it set upon the shore, and every Samhain night the isle would arise from the mists and I would hear my love’s piping until the mists rose again and the island would vanish with the sunrise.
Now Daire stood before me, his blue eyes filled with loss and love, standing upon the strand with open arms. I dreamed of this day of seven years and know I could only stand and stare at my long dead husband.
“I have only till dawn to spend with you, my love,” he whispered in my ear as he embraced me. “I will disappear into the mist with the first ray of morning light.”
I then took my lover’s hand feeling the warmth as I had remembered it. “Husband, I still love you, as I did they day you sank beneath the waves. Seven years I watched for the mists to clear, for the ghostly bagpipes to play that beautifully sad melody. I have named our daughter after that haunting melody…Is there no way for you to stay past dawning?”
Daire wiped away a tear with his thumb and kissed me softly, for the first time in seven years I felt my grief melt away with Daire’s gentle kiss. I felt the part of me that died with him return with each touch. I didn’t need to bargain with the fates for more time. I was with my love and I was contented to make the very most of what little time we had before my love and the island he would sail to would vanish into thin air.