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An empty place only the wind loved

Journalist and novelist Frank J. Vizard.

By Irish Echo Staff

“Screamer: Never, Ever Steal from a Banshee: An Irish-American Novel,” by Frank J. Vizard, features Irish legends, Dutch mythology, and American Revolution history in a thriller set in Sligo and New York.

When New York film festival director Ryan Connor discovers a muddy relic on the shores of a disappearing lake in a remote part of Ireland, he comes to learn that a lethal banshee, the Irish messenger of death, pursues him across the Atlantic to retrieve it. The banshee, however, soon finds herself in an abusive relationship with a newly-resurrected Dutch demon that last terrorized New York during the American Revolution and is currently engaged in a murderous kidnapping spree of young women.

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Connor finds an ally in a beautiful redhead with a mysterious, otherworldly agenda until she is kidnapped as well. The race to save her soon involves a giant hunter who hears voices in his head and a federal ICE agent faced with an immigration problem beyond his wildest dreams. A science journalist handy with pistols, bloodthirsty dwarves with a taste for mobsters, and a band of heavily-armed Iroquois warriors with a grudge add to the action. Connor realizes he has every reason to surrender the relic he found – until he begins to understand its true power.

Author Frank J. Vizard is a veteran journalist with a long career as a magazine editor and writer with publications that include Popular Science and Departures Magazine. Vizard is also the author of “Why A Curveball Curves” and co-author of “The 21st Century Soldier.

Excerpt from Chapter Two, “Screamer: Never, Ever Steal from a Banshee,” By Frank J. Vizard.

Those that thought of her at all considered her to be a lonely figure. But that’s not how she thought of herself. She sat comfortably up to her waist in the cool waters of Lough Nasool. The lower half of the white dress she wore was wet but she didn’t care. Well, she cared a little bit as it was her favorite. The thin white stripes sown into the material bespoke superior craftsmanship. But the feel of the water was so exquisite. She closed her eyes and she brushed her black hair with a practiced rhythm. The comb glinted in the sunlight as the tiny jewels embedded in it caught the sun’s rays, flickering with each movement of the woman’s arm.

She should be lonely, she knew, but she wasn’t. She enjoyed her time alone. Those that knew of her whispered and called her a woman of the hills. Mostly, they knew of her near the end of their days when she’d come visiting, a keen on her lips that would make them tremble. They knew what a visit from her meant. In the old days, she had visited only a few families when the time came but intermarriage meant many had a drop of the old blood in them. Lately, all she often had time for was a single note that perhaps went unheard or ignored. The world was a noisy place these days and many no longer knew how to listen in the old, hard way, preferring sounds of their own choosing, their ears closed off to all else. No matter. She fulfilled her long obligations whether they heard her or not.

No one sought her out and if they did, this would be the last place they’d come. Indeed, this part of Sligo, one of Ireland’s more remote counties in the northwest of the country, remained virtually unchanged and unvisited even as tourists flocked across the rest of the land. This was especially true of Lough

Nasool, a small bowl of water beneath the treeless plateau of Moytirra. The ghosts of the ancient battlefield kept them all away, she told herself. Just as well. It was an empty place only the wind loved and it suited her.

Yes, it had been a fierce battle atop the plateau. The good people of the Tuatha De Danaan, led by Lugh, fought the deformed six-fingered sea-faring Formorian wretches, led by the Balor of the Evil Eye. The fighting raged on relentlessly for days, with the Formorians eating the dead of friend and foe alike until Lugh fired a stone that plucked the one eye from Balor’s head, leaving the Fomorians confused and leaderless in their retreat. The eye, so the legend said, had fallen on this very spot with such an impact as to form a depression that became Lough Nasool or the Lake of the Evil Eye.

The woman was still lost in her thoughts when Balor blinked. At first, the woman didn’t notice anything amiss. It wasn’t until the suddenly swirling water grabbed her by the legs and swept them from under her that her eyes flared in alarm. The comb flew out her hands and landed on the grass above the shore. She tried to steady herself by gripping the lake shore with her hands, digging her fingers into the dirt, but the current was too strong. In a moment, she was on the other side of the lake, caught in the grip of a whirlpool.

The water is disappearing! She caught glimpses of muddy ground where there had been water only minutes before. The woman cried out but her voice was muffled by the sound of swirling water and a great sucking sound coming from somewhere beneath her. Like some giant creature that hadn’t been fed in a long time.

Is this my end? With no voice raised in mourning? She fought to swim and her arms flailed twice before her head disappeared under the water.