The Last Rose of Summer

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Chapter One

Katelin began to shiver as she felt the cold mountain stream splash against her face. The smell of pine trees and gasoline that permeated Kate’s nostrils made her stomach feel queasy. She called out to Nick, but the air was silent. Where was Nick? Was he okay? Where were Bryan and Myles? Was someone calling for help? She could hear the sound of muffled voices, but couldn't make out what they were saying. Katelin suddenly realized a sharp shooting pain in her arms and legs. Was she dying? Would she see her family again? God, why wasn't someone calling for help? Her body was cold, and she felt as if life around her was moving in slow motion. She tried to call for Nick again but, as hard as she tried, Kate couldn't get the words to leave her mouth. “Katie, Katie” she heard Myles say as she felt consciousness fade from her.

 

*****

 

It was a late July morning that had begun like any other lazy summer day. The fragrant aroma of Meggie's blueberry scones wafted into Katelin's room from the kitchen. Sweet memories of the plump juicy berries made her mouth begin to water. Lucy, her Irish setter, lay at the foot of the bed basking in the warmth of the summer sun. The morning light shone through a piece of vintage stained glass that hung in her window creating speckles of color that danced around the room like fireflies at night. A collection of pink Depression glass lined the shelves around the room, and a well-worn antique quilt hung over the rocking chair next to her bed. Katelin loved antiques; she said that objects with a history intrigued her because each one of them had a story to tell. The music stand in the corner of her room held a recital piece she was working on and in the chair next to it was one of her four violins. I have a violin for every season; Katelin would say in jest. Kate was only eighteen, but she was an old soul and her room reflected that.

As she gathered her thoughts, Katelin could hear Meggie scolding her brother, “Bryan Reilly Quinn, Cailin is sleepin, let her be.” Meggie Sheehan’s thick Irish brogue wasn't the high rounded accent spoken on the streets of Ulster, but rather the melodic long low vowels of her birthplace in County Cork, Ireland.

 Meggie was Kate's great aunt on her mother’s side. She had come from Ireland to take care of the Quinn’s shortly after their eldest son Christopher was born. It was Meggie who raised Katelin and her twin sister Kasey after their mother passed away—they were only sixteen.

 Ignoring Meggie's admonishment, Bryan, opened the French doors to the pool house and approached his sister’s room, “Are you decent?” He shouted, loud enough to wake her.

 Bryan was like a bull in a china shop; he spent most of his time crashing through life.

“Yes.” The word had barely left Katelin's mouth when Bryan abruptly entered her room.

“Thanks for knocking,” she said sarcastically sitting up in her bed.

Bryan chuckled and greeted his little sister with a kiss on the forehead. “Good morning Kate. Myles, Nick, and I are going for a ride in the mountains; would you like to tag along?”

Sitting down at the end of the bed Bryan waited for his sister’s response. Katelin could see that her brother was lost in thought as he examined Kate’s most cherished possessions. There was a sea shell on her dresser from their trip to the Virgin Islands, a picture of the two of them at a friend’s cabin near Evergreen, and the antique music box he had given Katelin two Christmas’ ago.

With a note of unhappiness in his voice, he announced, “I am going to miss you.”

“I'll miss you too,” Kate gave her brother a hug, in order to comfort him. “I’ll come home as often as I can,” she promised.

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