sequel to The Only Gift




chapter 14 ~ A Girl as Mad as Birds

What did you do as a child
that created timelessness,
that made you forget time?

There lies the myth to live by.


Quick Park. That’s a laugh. 

She’d entered the garage nearly twenty minutes before, inching along level by level down, hemmed in a line of other Saturday searchers. She climbed out of her car to a bullying exhaust. Already a film of sooty grit coated the hood, the windshield. Without touching the handrail, she climbed the ironwork stairs and pushed open the heavy door to 12th Street. A blessed morning breeze swept through guided by the rise of St. Vincent’s Hospital. Even in its shadow, she blinked in an almost white light.

The sudden sun-assertion. A blessing of the sudden Sun.

A sharp contrast to a frozen night years ago, the night Vincent was found.

Wrapped in rags …

Is there something, anything you’ve not told him? Told us? Father’s assurance – No, nothing – had, to both her heart and her ears, seemed genuine – mystified but innocent. She wanted to trust him, chose to … 

Vincent was her truth and all she needed to know. 

She crossed the street, and for the few steps to the corner hugged the old hospital’s ground-floor wall. Beyond the 7th Avenue traffic, at the entrance to the triangle green, Jenny was waiting on the sidewalk already waving her on. For a moment, she hovered between her two worlds, her palm flat against St. Vincent’s limestone cladding as if to affirm a connection.

“I want the challah French toast,” Jenny announced the minute they were seated. “I don’t even have to look.”

“Me too and me neither.” Catherine wedged the unopened menus behind the salt and pepper and sugar shakers and turned to flag the waiter. At a nearby table a couple in matchstick pants and matching turtlenecks shared a plate of strawberries, a single salad, a solemn expression. She imagined the crisp golden crusts soon to be placed before her, the dense drift of powdered sugar. They’d be walking a few blocks after breakfast, but still   

“Do you think … maybe we should …?”

Jenny followed her gaze. “Get both?” she asked and her eyes crinkled almost shut. “French toast and fruit? Sounds good to me.”

“At least they each have their own glass of water,” Catherine whispered.

“And who eats salad for breakfast anyway?” Jenny frowned and prodded her ribs. “Hmmm. Maybe I should consider it.”

“You’re crazy, Jen. Besides, you’re living on love. But let’s do get the strawberries.”

“And can you heat the syrup?” The silent waiter shrugged and scribbled on his pad. Jenny beamed after him.

“So!” Catherine said. “Are you?

“Am I what?”

“Oh, please.”

“Well …” Surrender sweet on her face, she lifted her shoulders. “My mom would say it’s too soon to tell, but he’s a great guy, Cathy. Easy to talk with, funny.”



“Good looking.”

“Yeah, he is. And that accent!” Blushing, Jenny leaned across the table. “I could listen to him read the ingredient list on a ketchup bottle. Am I nuts or what?”

Don’t I know! she wanted to say, “Not in my book,” she replied instead, plucking free the tight roll of napkin around her silverware. “And speaking of books, how’s the project going, yours and Ned’s … the Cloisters renovation.”

“Complicated,” Jenny said, her hands speaking in illustration. “Expensive. Lots of photographs. Tons of research to make readable. Remember the last time we were there? Some of the walls were crumbling? They’re closing for repairs as soon as they find a stonemason who’s comfortable working with 800-year-old rocks. They need a photographic record of every single stone. There’re 3,300 of them in one Chapel! And the stained glass windows … restoring those. Amazing – all the artisans, the detail. You’ll have to go over with me one day.” Jenny paused for breath. “What? Why are you looking at me like that? That all-knowing, Cathy Chandler grin! What?”

“You’re happy, Jenny.”

“I am! I really am! I could say the same about you too. It’s time you–” 

The waiter interrupted, bearing coffee in a thermal carafe, pouring each of them a cup. She felt her friend’s gaze as she stirred in cream. 

“That’s new, isn’t it? Jenny asked, tapping the white china pitcher between them before she took it up herself. “I thought you only drank yours black.” 

Not so new.” William’s coffee was different – dark and chocolate-like, the opposite of a bitter brew – it seemed to call out for cream’s richness. It’s the water, everyone told her. And now she was spoiled. I’m changed, she wished she could admit. 

And then breakfast arrived, the syrup’s warmth declared just right, the strawberries red all the way through and sweet. Jenny eyed her plate. “Oh, boy!” she hooted. “I love this place.”


* * *

Since her last visit to Rosie’s shop, the neighboring business’s brick facade had been repainted a startling cobalt blue and its awning’s columns were wrapped top to bottom with plastic greenery. Jenny stalled on the sidewalk, her brows knit at the sight until Catherine nudged her toward the step-down to the door. Once inside, Jenny stood just as still.

“Why didn’t I come in with you before?” she asked. “I should have.”

“Shoes, remember? The store on the corner?” 

A trio was bent to the jewelry case and over her customers’ heads Eimear held up her hand, her fingers spread wide. Catherine read her lips. Five minutes. And then Rosie emerged from a back room, in her arms a package wrapped in honey-colored paper and tied with twine. She stashed it behind a long wooden counter, threaded their way. 

The introductions made, Jenny and Rosie fell into an immediate and earnest discussion of the relative merits of carved wood versus molded plaster framing, gilded, painted or stained. “I moved your mirror off the floor,” she heard Rosie say. “Let’s take a look.”

Left on her own, Catherine wandered shelf to table to display. She turned the small brass key of an oak chifferobe, releasing its tall side-closet. Embroidered shawls were pinned to satin hangers – black silks and ivory chiffons. Their knotted fringes fluttered, awakened by the brush of air. 

An oak highboy’s drawers were filled with embroidered pillow slips and tea cloths. She set aside a half-dozen, silently tagging them with names – Mary. Elizabeth. Sarah. A willow basket rested on the companion dresser, its lifted lid revealing a trove of christening gowns – delicate shades of white, of fine cutwork, frilled and tucked and studded with tiny pearl buttons. Slender lavender wands cushioned the dresses, perfumed them.

“Beautiful, are they not?” Eimear murmured at her shoulder. “Perhaps you’ll be needing one of those soon?”

“Not for me,” she said, smoothing an eyelet lace collar. A resonant chime pealed in some deep recess of her heart and she smiled at its promise. “For a friend, though. Most definitely for her.”

“Let’s lay these out, want to? There must be two dozen here, and like snowflakes, no two alike. We can go to Ro’s studio with them.”

The basket cradled in her arms, Eimear ushered Catherine down a narrow hallway, past a staircase toward a light-filled space. Sheet-shrouded objects mazed the floor; a worktable, wide and bare, stood before four arched passages. A stream of sun beckoned through the paned french doors. Outside in the courtyard, newly-leafed trees glistened, already casting a fine shade. Stonecutter’s tools littered a crafting bench there; beyond it, a tall mystery was wrapped in a tarp tied close with sisal ropes.

“Oh!” Catherine exclaimed. “It’s like I’ve traveled to another place! This can’t still be New York!” 

“As everyone who sees the room says. Even I. Even now.” Eimear deposited the basket on the table. “You missed Joe, here for one of Rosie’s early morning photo shoots. He said I’m to go ahead and tell you, and for you to get the snickering out of your system.”

“I’m not laughing!” Catherine protested. “I’m not!” she repeated, when Eimear’s cheeks dimpled.

“His photograph will hang in her gallery, I’m thinking. She appreciates a good twinkle in the eye and he did a bit of smiling this morning. Rosie likes him.”

“It’s mutual,” she said, drawn into study at a long wall devoted to a series of photographs.

The prints were large and matted larger, in colors naturally shadowed and stark – blacks and whites and shades of gray, nearly monochromatic but for a splash of burnt-orange in each frame – a young striped cat on the prowl through New York streets. Shot from a low angle, debris was made art – garbage cans in stair-stepped arrangements, their corrugations like the shafts of Doric columns, broken flower pots, cracked cobblestones, rain-filled gutters floating lost toys and jewelry, a sequined slipper by a lamppost. The legs and feet of pedestrians crowded in, the tabby weaving through, inspecting … searching. Stunning, she thought, moving along the row. But one stopped her, took her breath. In an alleyway, on hands and knees and nose to nose with the brindled cat, was a younger, but clearly recognizable Zach. She wasn’t able to stifle her gasp.

“Remarkable, aren’t they?” Eimear said. “She followed that cat one day for hours until she lost him. People must have thought her mad, wallowing in the streets as she did. Cat-Eyed, she calls it, one of her ‘black and white in color’ series. She’s done others, mostly winter scenes. The one I like best is of Washington Square Park – all snowy whites and somber grays, except for a dot of color, a lone figure bent into the wind and the wet, wearing a red parka. It hangs upstairs in her apartment. I keep hoping she’ll give it to me. I hint with regularity.”

Catherine moved on to the next photograph, her hands clasped behind her back in what she hoped seemed a nonchalant pose. She wanted to point to Zach with the glee she felt, squeal out loud that she knew him, and how could this be? She dug a thumb into her palm. “Rosie lives here?” she asked, satisfied with the segue if not the steadiness of her voice. “It’s a wonderful building.”

“In dad’s family for a few generations, by that I mean it once belonged to a distant cousin’s great, great something-or-other who willed it to us. A little button factory, originally. Downstairs there’re yet stacks and stacks of them still in their blue cardboard boxes. Leather buttons, bone, glass. My favorite is the See No Evil set. Three china monkeys that I’ll show you later. Rosie lives just upstairs. The next floor up’s a mess and needs work, and the top two are rented out – four or five students, depending on the day, in the one, her apprentice – Andrew – and his girlfriend in the other. He’ll be delivering the mirror if Jenny’s taking it.”

“Oh, she will be.”

Eimear lagged a bit behind. She straightened the barely-askew photograph of Zach with a tap underneath one corner. “His clothes, Catherine. So intricate and odd, like something out of a storybook. He scooted off as soon as he saw her with the camera. Just disappeared, Rosie said.”

I’ll bet he did, and probably down that coal-chute in the building right behind him.Ummm … are these for sale?” 

“All of them?” Eimear’s eyes widened, but before she could answer, Rosie appeared with Jenny in tow.

“Andrew’s bringing the van around to load up the mirror,” Rosie said. “I’ve run everybody out and hung up the closed sign. What do you say we start the party early, Eim, and head over to your place as soon as we get back?”

“Jenny, won’t you come for dinner too?” Eimear asked. “We’re having some people over, folks from the neighborhood mostly. You’re welcome to bring your friend.”

“Thanks, but … I think …”

“You might should stay to hang the mirror?”

“Or prop it up or … something,” Jenny said, laughing. “I’ll ride in the van to Ned’s. He’s just in the West Village, on Perry Street.” She draped an arm around Catherine’s shoulders. “I’ll, um, get myself home.”

“Old friends?” Eimear asked in Jenny’s and Rosie’s wake. She unfolded a sheer, embroidered dress, smoothed it over a matelassé cloth she’d spread over the work table.

Mm-hmm. Since the first day of college.”

“You’ve stayed close, then.”

“We’ve shared a lot,” Catherine replied. But not everything.


“I can’t pick. They’re all so beautiful.” Catherine held a pale fawn dress up to the light. “Look at the beadwork in the smocking. Can you imagine the hours someone put in? And probably by candlelight too.” Mary and Sarah would study this, devise a pattern. She resolved to supply the tiny seed pearls, the slender ribbons their sewing would require.

“Isabelline, the color is. Is there a baby’s slip underneath? Once we discovered one embroidered with twenty names and birth dates,” Eimear said. “I don’t know where Rosie finds these things. Her storeroom is all boxes, stacked five-high and she swears she knows what’s in every one. Here’s the bonnet for that one. Look … the tatted edging and the wee cream roses? It matches.”

“It’s perfect.”

“So tell me about Ned who’s clearly captured your Jenny’s heart?”

“I just met him myself.”

“Just! Was she keeping him cloaked?”

What? She was suddenly light-headed. First the photograph. Now the word. She felt a pull, and in the beat of silence between them, from the corner of her eye, Catherine caught the dart of Eimear’s glance. Only a word. A coincidence. Say something. She folded a dress back into the basket. “Secret, you mean? No. Jenny’s … not much of a secret keeper. It’s … new. Ned works at the Met, in the Medieval Collection, overseeing the Cloisters renovation. There’s to be a book and that’s how they met. She’s in publishing.”

“Rosie might know him, then. She works with the museum’s curator of photographs every so often, doing some cataloguing. Let me find a box.” Eimear rummaged under a table for silvery tissue paper and a flat-folded carton. “Wander around if you want. You can take off those covers for a look at a few of her sculptures. They’re her functionals – furniture, she calls these.”

Catherine pulled one sheet away, another … another. “These are incredible.”

“She’s good, isn’t she?” Eimear nestled the gown into the whispery tissue. “She took all the talent in the family, every smidge. I can barely weave a potholder.”

“I doubt that, but I have no talents either.” She stared longingly at one low table, an eddy of marble. The white stone rippled in concentric circles, like rain on a deep pool. Dismissing the logistics of its delivery, she wanted it below, reflected in their own great mirror, the Connecticut lake of her youth brought home to him. But if she bought the table, Joe or Eimear or even Rosie herself might one day pay her a visit. What could she say if they asked its whereabouts. Then she thought of Iris and Philip – helpers, their storefront only a few blocks away, their rooms above it. Collectors themselves, the couple’s home was crowded with treasures from Philip’s years in the Merchant Marines. A tunnel entrance opened to their sub-basement, no ladder down required. She could have the table delivered and it would disappear. How heavy is this? She might not be able to lift it, but bigger and heavier things had been transported below.

“‘Tis true for me. A potholder might even be a stretch,” Eimear answered, placing the box on a square of craft paper. “I’m proud of Rosie. She perseveres.”

“I sense a story.”

“You know, I’m thinking that’s your talent, Catherine, your gift, and not a hidden one. You listen, draw people out.”

“It is part of my job,” Catherine said. She floated a white sheet over the coveted marble table again.

“’Tis more than that.” Eimear hesitated, for a moment pensive, peering out the window. She turned and smiled. “Want to go upstairs? We can have coffee or tea and wait for Rosie. She won’t mind.”

“Sounds great, but I was wondering … Tell me if I’m being nosy. The covered sculpture in the garden …”

“Ro’s particular about that piece – she won’t show just anybody – but I’m thinking she’d like to show it to you.”

“That’s mysterious,” Catherine said. “Should I ask?”

Eimear searched her with a long look. “You must. And be ready. So will she … ask, I mean.”



Rosie’s apartment was a surprise, the main room open and uncluttered. The described collections of photographs hung there – the feet, both bare and shod; crinkled eyes, twinkling and teared; hands folded in prayer, in anticipation, in worry. Every wall was a gallery. Eimear veered into the kitchen.

“Be at home with you now,” Eimear called, ducking below the island. Catherine heard a familiar chink – porcelain against porcelain. “I’ll warm the cups and we’ll sit out on the balcony.”

A display of family photographs charmed her. In one, a young Rosaleen danced on the shoes of a man in police uniform, laughed hand in hand with him while a pouting Eimear sat cross-legged in the background. In another, a woman with dancing red hair held a baby to her shoulder, a gleeful baby who’d caught a a long curl in her little fist as her four-year old sister clung to their mother’s knees.

“Such little competitors we were for their affections,” Eimear said, a laden tray in her hands. “‘Twas as if we knew we’d not have them long.”

“You’ve lost both your parents?” Catherine opened the balcony’s doors and followed Eimear through to a table at its railing flanked by wrought iron benches.

“I was ten when Dad was killed. A domestic he’d been called to. Mom died when I was fourteen. Cancer.”

“Mine are gone, too, and when Joe was a boy, his father was killed on duty. A sad thing to have in common, Eimear.”

“Isn’t it?”

The strong, malty scent of Assam bathed the air. Father would be proud of her discernment, his tastings taken to heart. She watched as Eimear served, a question in the arch of her brows. She nodded to the cube of rough sugar Eimear held in the silver tongs, again to the cream pitcher tipped to the cup. Both went in before the tea was poured.

“You were only fourteen. Where did you go?” Catherine took the proffered cup and saucer in both hands.

“To live, you mean?” Eimear poured a second cup … amended it. “An elderly aunt of Dad’s moved in for a while, but Rosie was eighteen, and she won legal guardianship of me. That had its ups and downs, let me tell you. We made it through, though I think I told you, we’re perfectly willing to go one on one. But what about you? I remember you said you had no brothers or sisters.”

“My mother died when I was ten, and Dad a little over a year ago.”

Eimear shook her head. “Love protect us.”

“I miss him, both of them, but it’s strange. Remembering’s getting easier, not harder, and I’m happy now when I do.”

“I understand. I love the bringing-back now.” The sun’s rays seemed converged only on her hair, the long springing curls gleaming like copper wire. Eimear studied the swirl of her tea. “Do you know of the Cottingley fairies, Catherine?”

“The little girls in England who took the photographs?”

“Exactly. The hoax sending Arthur Conan Doyle over the edge. Well, now, both my parents loved a good story, and the more fantastic, the better. They were reared in Ireland, and tales of the Tuatha – the Beautiful People – were everyday things. They made it so for us as well. The story of young cousins Elsie and Frances set them right off.

“I was about six, making Rosie ten. Already she was taking photographs, pestering everyone in the neighborhood with that camera, following and badgering, popping up and peering. She had the strangest ideas too, wanting to see inside things, like inside someone’s coat pocket or inside a lady’s purse. She’d ask perfect strangers for the most intimate of looks and with no shame whatsoever. ‘Twas so embarrassing.

“Though it didn’t take much, Mom and Dad had Ro half-crazed with talk of the wee folk. For weeks she crawled around, looking under leaves, under old newspapers in the streets, under rocks. And it came to her, the idea that the one place fairies could be found in all of New York was in Central Park at the lagoon and at full moon. She knew just the tree, she said. Not a hawthorn, but a gnarled oak near the lake’s bank. She whipped out a calendar, marked the day, relentless with the begging and the wheedling. So the moon comes round and, sure enough, we’re out of bed in the dark of night. Off we go, me still in my pajamas, grumping along, and Ro all sure she can prove it true …”


“That is my story, Eimear Áine Teresa McDermott.” Rosie stood in the doorway, her hands on her hips. “Mine to tell.” She crowded Eimear on the bench. “Move over.”

“Back already?” Eimear half-exclaimed.

“Easy delivery,” Rosie answered. “In and out. Now, where were we … So, Eimear in her pajamas. She was grumpy all right, but, not-so-secretly, she was thrilled with the adventure.” Rosie squeezed Eimear’s knee and Eimear flinched. “She was the perfect little sister. She thought I was perfect.”

“I’m dying to hear this,” Catherine said. She’d walked that lake under the midnight moon, likely stood under the chosen tree. There’d been no fairies, but magic … yes.

“Oh, and I’m dying to tell it. I rarely find the right audience for it, but first, there’s something I need to know.” Rosie pried open a tin of shortbread cookies. “About your Joe,” she said, passing the treats. “He’s adorable. So why’s he single?”

Her lips parted and closed, three or four beginnings discarded. “Well, the work …” she said, after a fortifying sip of tea. “There’s no wood-paneled corner office or clients with money and the hours are brutal.” A vision of Erica Salvin’s suite crystallized … fractured. She pictured Joe’s dart board, the half-hearted air conditioner, the no-better-than-secondhand couch, the downturn of his mouth after a loss. “He doesn’t give up or in without a fight, but he’s easy-going too. Curious. Thoughtful. He’s … he’s not what people expect. The women he’s met can’t … or won’t appreciate him and they sell him short because … ummm … well, I don’t know why they sell him short! It doesn’t make any sense.”

“Any red flags? An over-attachment to his mother? Only two towels? Is the counter clean behind the faucets? Be a girlfriend and tell me.”

Catherine snorted. “Well, his mother’s a sweetheart and he loves her, but over-attached? No.”

“What about the towels, the countertops?”

“God help him,” Eimear muttered, “should Ro turn her focus on him.”

“He can take it.” The nearly sloshed out her tea when she laughed. She steadied the cup with her other hand. “But about the towels, I really don’t know.”

Rosie held Catherine’s gaze for a moment. “So, the two of you …?

No, no. He’s like my– Well, I love him, but …” She looked away, her cheeks warm though not from the slant of sun. Three robins hopped in the bricked courtyard. She counted them twice. “I’m … … … There’s someone.”

“Well, good. That’s settled. So, the fairies and the full moon story. Are you ready?”

“You bet,” Catherine answered, setting her tea aside, leaning in on folded arms.

“First, though, I have another question. A very important question.”

“Okay.” A shiver of anticipation traveled her spine.

Rosie leaned in as well. “Tell me. How much can you accept?”

Everything. Anything is possible.

No choice. No hesitation. “All of it.”

Hmm. Most people say, What do you mean, Rosie, in that she’s off her rocker tone of voice. Don’t you want me to clarify?”


Rosie turned to her sister, nodding. “The whole story, then?”

“Told you she was special,” Eimear said.

“The park was magical,” Rosie began. “The moon was enormous. I could see everything by the light of it. All the stirrings of the night sharp and clear. They were there, the fairies. I believed with all my heart. Mom opened the car door to let us out, her last words to me to remember that they might be away on fairy business or at a fairy wedding or on fairy holiday. But I ignored her. I handed Eimear a brown paper bag of extra film and dragged her along.

“At the lagoon, I threw myself down on the ground, hushed everybody good and warned the grown-ups to stay back, not to dare frighten my fairies. I threatened Eimear with something dire if she talked or cried. I don’t remember what, though. Do you, Eim?”

“I absolutely do remember.”

“You would. It’s not important. I think she fell asleep anyway. I built a little tripod from branches and leaves and set up the camera, trained it at the exposed roots of the tree and waited. I was sure they’d come out to dance. Mom and Dad cuddled on a bench together. After a while, Dad tucked a blanket around Eimear, but he didn’t say a word. The moon grew – bigger, brighter – and the lake was solid silver. I imagined I might walk out on it.

“An hour passed, maybe more. No fairies. Not even the rustle of a chipmunk in the leaves. When mom said we had to leave, I got mad. Really mad. I didn’t want to go. It wasn’t fair.

“So Mom was trying to settle Eimear in the front seat, and I was in the back, sighing and seething, my arms all crossed. I pressed my nose to the window, convinced I would see them as we pulled away. Dad made this big, slow curve. These shadowy figures slipped between the trees as though through from another world, so blended with the colors of the night they were. I couldn’t be sure … I held my breath, and I realized they were boys, boys keeping to the edge of the woods. Except for one. He parted from the rest, ran close to the road where the moonlight bathed the little clearing. He turned and our eyes met … and it was more than just seeing. I knew him. But he wasn’t a boy from my school and he wasn’t a wee fairy. I started to cry; he was … exquisite. I thought he might be an angel.”

A pearly fog swirled her vision – Rosie and Eimear, the balcony, the courtyard below blurred away. Rosie spoke still, but the words were muted. From a drifted distance, she saw herself motionless in her chair, her eyes closed. She reached out through the mists … reached out, reached.

She wasn’t frightened, Vincent. She wasn’t. She wasn’t. 

Rosie’s hand was on her knee, shaking it. “I want you to see something, Catherine. Come on, both of you.”

She gasped with the need for breath.

Footfalls battered the staircase, Rosie’s, then Eimear’s, hers. Already in her studio, Rosie paced back and forth before the photograph of Zach and the orange cat. “I took this picture two years ago,” she said. “Look at his clothes, Catherine. The boy in the park that night? He was dressed like this, just like this. Let me show you something else. Do you know the legend of the Grigori?” Rosie charged the studio door, flung it open to the courtyard. Through in seconds and standing at the base of the covered sculpture, she raced on with her story without waiting for an answer.

“The Grigori were a tier of angels sent to guard humankind, but they found earthly women irresistible and took them as lovers. And the Sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair.  Of course, I’m sure there were daughter angels who found earthly men just as fair,” she said in an aside, “but that’s another conversation altogether. Either way, their half-angel offspring were the Nephilim, whom some say were cruel giants, monsters even, though in Genesis they’re called the mighty ones of eternity and heroes of renown. 

“Some scholars say God was miffed by the sex thing and wiped out the Nephilim with the flood, but I don’t think so. I believe the descendants of those angels live with us still, generations born to women, watching over us, changing us … giving us … hope. There’s at least one, anyway, because I’m sure I saw him that night in the park.” Rosie slipped the knot of the ropes and the tarp fell away.

… a sensual dance of deep and ancient longing, the embrace of limbs, a melding of flesh and spirit, the yielding curve of breast, a thrust of sinewed thigh … her arching response. His roped and tangled hair and leonine nose and strange mouth, a rush of beating wings. Blood and desire cast in cold white marble, the veins of it fire, surmounting all obstacle, threading impediment, beyond any question of what and how …

Rosie clasped her hands at her heart. “Isn’t he beautiful? Impossibly, unbelievably beautiful?”




An artist's rendering of Rosie's sculpture by Crowmama

 Illustration by Crowmama (thank you, Karen!!)





Chapter title: Dylan Thomas. Love in the Asylum.

Opening quotation: Joseph Campbell. Reflections on the Art of Living.

1. D. H. Lawrence. Fantasia of the Unconscious.
2. Dylan Thomas. Vision and Prayer.
3. Genesis 6:2
4. Genesis 6:4


Inspiration for Rosie’s sculpture


Daniel Chester French sculpture

The Sons of God Saw the Daughters of Men, That They Were Fair

Daniel Chester French, sculptor
National Gallery of Art



Robert Guttke, sculptor

author of When the Bluebird Sings


Guttke Nephilim sculpture


  1. Absolutely breathtaking!! I can hardly wait for your next chapters

    • Thank you so much, Diana. I was so surprised to get a notice of a comment on Iron/Velvet this morning! Your message is truly music to my ears. You brightened my day and your kind words make me want to work harder. I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying the story – it really does mean everything.

      My best,

  2. Another moment that took my breath away years ago when I first read it — Vincent’s sad story of the little girl frightened by him on that first night Devin took him to see the Moon, all explained in an entirely different way.

    “I pressed my nose to the window, convinced I would see them as we pulled away. Dad made this big, slow curve. These shadowy figures slipped between the trees as though through from another world, so blended with the colors of the night they were. I couldn’t be sure … I held my breath, and I realized they were boys, boys keeping to the edge of the woods. Except for one. He parted from the rest, ran close to the road where the moonlight bathed the little clearing. He turned and our eyes met … and it was more than just seeing. I knew him. But he wasn’t a boy from my school and he wasn’t a wee fairy. I started to cry; he was … exquisite. I thought he might be an angel.”

    And then Rosie’s sculpture of the Nephilim — with Vincent’s face!




    • Hugs, hugs, for all your generous comments, Karen. This chapter means a lot to me, it fixes in my mind a sadness that went on too long. My heart broke at Vincent’s story. I wanted to fix that. Now … when he hears and sees … won’t that be fun! I need to keep writing as hard and as quickly as I can to get tot that scene. I’ve had it in my head for years!

      Thank you again – it means so much to have you here!



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