• Douglas Solvie

A Sequel is in the Works

Unfortunately, I've not been posting much to this blog, mostly because the website doesn't get a lot of traction (but I am selling some books!). I am working on a sequel to My Irish Dog and hope to finish within the next few months (maybe halfway through presently). Below is an excerpt from my still unnamed next novel. Enjoy.

[Cemeteries were seemingly everywhere in Ireland; after all, there were literally centuries pile upon centuries of people who had physically come and gone from this island. But this one seemed a bit unordinary, tucked back here on farmland that would be inaccessible to anyone who wanted to pay respects. The reason was clear, however, as thick vines and other vegetation obscured almost all of the tombstones and the ground in between them. Over half of the stones no longer stood erect, most tilted at various angles and some completely flat on the ground. It was obvious that this plot of land was a cemetery of forgotten souls and one seldom if ever visited.

They passed through the remnants of an old and rusted iron gate. Spencer let Buster off the lead, and the dog began energetically moving from one place to another, smelling each grave before going to the next. After five minutes he suddenly stopped at one and sat down directly in front. He fidgeted as he sat and then began to whine. Finally, he let out a deep-throated bark and then looked up at Spencer.

“What is it, boy? What did you find?”

Spencer knelt down and rubbed Buster’s head, letting him know he had done a good job. Buster, crying again, looked dolefully at his master and then back at the still-erect tombstone.

Spencer moved over to the grave. It was covered in an accumulation of moss and lichen, red and yellow and green and everything in between. Spencer pulled his car key from his pocket and began scraping the stubborn growth from the face of the tombstone. Buster obviously had a reason for leading him to this marker, and Spencer needed to know why. After a few minutes of scraping and then brushing with his hand, the stone’s engraving gradually began to reveal itself. First one letter and then another and then another. A final brush and finally a name presented itself clearly: Michael J. O’Donnell.

He went down five inches and began rubbing and scraping again. Soon another line appeared: Born 1950 Deceased 1995.

Spencer stood up and examined what he had done. So what? It’s just an old grave. Buster whined once more and moved to the empty space beside the grave. He sat down and looked up intently at Spencer, his wet eyes seemingly pleading for Spencer to understand.

“Buster, I have no idea what you’re on about. What do you want to tell me?”

Spencer sat down on his haunches and softly petted his dog on the head. What are you trying to tell me?

He inadvertently glanced down at a patch of bare ground below his legs. A slender red wasp had a petite iridescent grasshopper in its clutches. The grasshopper was still alive, but it was only putting up a small fight to get free, likely pretty much dispatched already from the wasp’s venomous bite. Spencer watched as the wasp dragged its innocent victim a couple of inches forward and then quickly stuffed it down the smallest of open holes. Within a minute the wasp reappeared and then flew off. It returned a few moments later and crawled back down the hole. Out it came again and then buzzed away once more.

This time Spencer, intrigued, placed a very small round pebble so it partially covered the opening. The wasp returned and landed, seemed to do a quick examination of the new situation, and then placed itself directly in front of the small rock. It began kicking dirt backwards, opening the hole little by little as it went. Soon enough space was allowed, and the wasp was back inside.

Spencer wanted to kill the wasp if it came back out again, hoping the grasshopper might then later escape, but it wasn’t in him today. He would let nature take its course.

He stood up, took a last look around this pitiful excuse for a cemetery, and then attached the lead again to Buster’s collar. A slight tug and Buster gave up his spot.

“I don’t know what you meant to show me, Buster, but I’m sure not getting it. It’s getting late. Let’s go home. You must be a hungry as me.”

They headed back to the car as dusk began to settle on the Glen of Aherlow. A visit to the Grafton Pub could wait for another day.]

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