Book: Black River (2016)

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Body of Man Discovered in Water


The body of an unknown male was discovered in the river after becoming tangled in the Salmon Weir in the north of the city early Tuesday morning. A local fisherman had been casting for fish in the Corrib beneath the weir when he noticed a strange shape hitting the metal and becoming tangled in its grille. Upon further investigation he alerted Gardaí to the presence of the body and Garda Crime Scene Investigators took over the scene from there.

The man has not yet been identified, though Garda sources have confirmed that they are treating the death as suspicious, citing signs of a struggle and other as yet undisclosed indications of foul play. It is not known if the death is related to the disappearance of well-respected Galway Times reporter Brian Hardy, who vanished Monday night after alerting Gardaí that he intended to meet a source in the case of missing student Emily Whelan. Brian Hardy left his apartment shortly before midnight to meet the source in a local bar and has not been seen since.

Emily Whelan went missing on the… (Continued on page six)



She doesn’t know why she has picked up the newspaper. The headline had caught her attention from the corner of her eye and without thought she had lifted the top edition from the stand and begun to read. It gives her a chill and she can’t say exactly why. She has little taste for the intimate details of such tragedies, though is careful in her day to day life never to forget that they are there—that this mystery is, in fact, the mystery of the world. There is a darker half beneath the one she was born into and she knows this. Though young she has made effort to give light into the darkness and heal what little has been gifted into the scope of her immediate influence. Before university, she had spent a year doing charity work for the homeless in India, her academic and personal interest in human rights legislation that followed foreshadow a long and illustrious career. This was how she had been raised, in a home of love and kindness and compassion.

She does not turn the page to continue the story. It is not her place to intrude uninvited into the personal miseries of others and she has no wish to. She allows herself just a moment of sympathy for those involved before replacing the paper on the newsstand and releasing it from her thoughts.

She goes to the counter and greets the elderly woman there. “Just this please,” she says holding out a bottle of water. They exchange some conversational pleasantries as she pays and then she leaves, stepping out onto Quay Street and into a busy, sunny pleasant Saturday afternoon.

She finds herself in a thoughtful mood as she walks towards the Spanish Arch, where she intends to sit for a while by the water and watch the world go by. It will be summer soon and almost a year has passed since she finished her college degree with first honours. She enjoys her work at the coffee shop in the city but knows that she can’t stay here forever, her ambitions and talents dictate that she must depart this nation that had been robbed of its self-actualization by a corrupt cabal of patriarchs and matriarchs who some years past had sold the country’s hope for their own venal desires. She is thinking of leaving soon—perhaps London or New York—and her parents support her in her decision, though as it transpires she will not leave for another sixteen months and when she does she will not be alone.

The Arch is busy and there is scarcely a spare seat on the stone slab benches where she intends to sit—save for the furthest one down, on which a young man sits alone facing out to the water, hands clasped over the lid of a paper coffee cup between his lap. She does not intend to disturb him, he seems deep in his own thoughts and she would respect that, but when she arrives behind him she finds the words come out of their own volition.

“Excuse me,” she says, “are you waiting for someone?”

The boy turns, surprised, and raises an eyebrow. She thinks that he is handsome, though sad.

“I mean, is this seat free?”

“Yeah,” the boy smiles, “sure, of course.”

“Thank you,” she says and their smiling eyes linger on one another for a moment, the first of many such moments, for many years to come.

“I’m not disturbing you am I?” she asks, “it’s just you looked like you were occupied with your thoughts.”

“Oh no,” the boy says, “no, though yeah, I guess I was.”

She sits down beside him, he now turning back from the water to face her. Neither speaks for a moment. In each other’s presence it feels right.

“Your accent is strange,” she says, “I can’t quite place it.”

The boy laughs. “I was overseas for a couple of years,” he says.

“Oh, so you’re a fish out of water then?”

There is a kind, teasing mischief in her eyes and he shrugs bashfully.

“Well, maybe I was before. Not anymore I guess.”

“Are you sticking around for a while?”

He nods slowly. “Yes, I think so. Something bad happened to someone I care a lot about. That’s why I had to come home again. I don’t really know what I’m doing next.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” she says, watching him, watching his sadness.

“I think it might be ok now,” he says, “as much as it could be anyway. We can’t say for sure yet, but we think somehow things might have been made right.”

She reaches out with her hand and touches his. He lets her.

“Good,” she says.


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