Angel and I have a chance to be a part of the Arts & Design event in Dublin, Ireland. We are so exciting, knowing this would be an amazing exhibition we experience in our career. And all of a sudden, an unexpected thing happens. Two victims of the brutal murders left the Garda Síochána in a puzzle. And who is going to be the next victim?
My first day in Dublin, Ireland.
I woke up early as I was so exciting about the event that I was involved with. Dublin, Ireland. That was one of my city dreams that I would love to visit as it reminded me to Enya -the Irish singer that I fell in love with the songs and the voice. Well, I had never been here before and when I knew that I would handle the Arts and Design event, I was so exciting and yet, the venue would be in the Tiger Dublin Fringe which was the nicest place in the world for the exhibition, at least for me.
The distance between the Arlington and the TDF was quite near, we could take a bus or walk so we decided to take a walk, enjoying the ancient beautiful bricks along the way to the place. The weather was so gorgeous, the sun was starting to show up shyly from the cloud and the psychedelic breeze keeping the mind and soul clear like a bright and shine of the crystal clear. We crossed the Ha’penny bridge heading towards the Sycamore street.
I travelled with Angel. And we stayed in one big suite with two bedrooms. She was a project director. She was at the same age as me, mid thirty. She had an exotic skin with black shiny hair and slim figure. We were both a great team. We travelled a lot for the events. Only Africa countries that we had never done. And one day, I would travel to Tanzania to arrange the oil and gas conference and exhibition.
“Hey, An, do you fancy to sip a cup of coffee or a glass of hot chocolate with marshmallows?”
“Hm..sounds very tempting, J”, she smiled and showing her beautiful dimple.
“Cool! Look at the cafe with mahogany and stained glass there?”, I pointed the cafe which I found very interesting.
“Which one?… Oh, you mean the cafe with white and pink umbrellas on the top?”
I nodded and smiled.
“Why not?, it looks so lovely!”
Ten minutes later…
Can you believe that we have a chance to participate in the TDF this year? And you know what? The most I am excited is the Art Live that we join in”
“Yeah, I can’t believe that we’re actually really involved. You did a great job, Janet! I couldn’t believe you got the right ‘channel’ on the right time!”
“Yeah, I guess” I put some marshmallows on the top of my hot chocolate. I loved marshmallows.
“By the way, I’ve heard about Spiegeltent, have you?”
“Apparently, no. What’s that?”
“It’s actually an entertainment venue using a tent, a large tent, constructed in wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass and sometimes detailed in velvet and brocade. And this year the Tiger Dublin Fringe will be showing Scotch and Soda, Booka Brass Band and many more interesting art live showing there!”
“Sounds great! And what’s Scotch and Soda, you said?”
“It’s a circus!” And I want to watch that!”, I smiled at her.
“Yeah, please do. And you know what? I am just interested in going to the Phoenix park and Dublin zoo”, Angel smiled and sipping her Moccachino.
I look at the watch and it’s already 08:30.
“Shall we?”, I stood up and left the tip on the small wooden tray.
We were heading towards the TDF place, Sycamore Building. We were enjoying our walk on the path with a lot of tall old buildings and as if this city brought us to live in the ancient century. The big screens showed about the festival along the way to the place. It’s just so amazing. The place was decorated with the highest quality arts and design and just spectacular view in the night, with the colours played from the big Harpha -at least to me, that looked like a harpha- on the bridge and on the middle of the river. And the lights were just reflected the beautiful colours from the water. And the event was just three more days.
The Second day, 09:00 p.m.
“What on earth is going on?”, I asked, wondering why a lot of people stood outside of the The Ark pointing out at something.
“I do not know. Let’s move closer”, Angel stepped forward without waiting for my response.
“Wait, An”, I run catching her.
And when we’re close enough to see what happened…
“Oh Lord! How could it happen?”I closed my mouth with my hand. I felt terrified. I looked at Angel and her eyes were staring with her mouth open in dismay. She was frozen in horror.
“Bastaird. dúnmharú. “, she murmured.
“Sorry, what you’ve just said?”
“Murder, J. It’s a murder.”
“How did you know that? It seems a suicide. He hung on the ropes”
“Okay, come closer!”, Angel grabbed my hand.
It scared the crap out of me. She was very brave and curious person; besides, she was from a military family background and knew how to protect herself and others. An Garda Síochána-It’s the national police service of Ireland-. Two officers were trying to bring him down. The others were busy installing the police line and asking people to backward from the crime scene. A male body. His body was hanging on the edge of the gabled roof and the blood was streaming from his wound. The eyes were staring.
I saw her came closer, she was obviously curious.
5 minutes later… “Let’s go, J, let’s get back to the hotel”. I looked at her face. She said nothing and looked pale. And I did not even bother to ask.
“The man’s eyes widened as if he had seen a ghost. He wore only a long pants and_”
“You mean, the one who was committed suicide?”
“He didn’t commit suicide, J. He was murdered! I looked at his open wound on his stomach and saw a silver chain dangling out of his belly. At first, I thought it was his entrails, but it’s smaller and I came closer and found out that it was a chain. Looked like a silver chain necklace”
” But why? I mean, you think someone put it there?”
“Yeah, he was killed and the jerk put the chain and…you know, a kind of puzzle for the Garda Síochána to figure it out!”
I nodded and said “bit puzzling and worried that it will affect our event at TDF as the crime scene was close by”
“I hope no!”
The Third day, 06:00 a.m.
Breaking News. The BBC mentioned about the body hanging on The Ark’s roof last night. Detective John O’Connor revealed that was a murder. And the victim’s name was Iden de Bláca. He was 65 years old. They also mentioned that they have found a silver necklace and written on it ” Tiocfaidh ár lá”.
“What does it mean?”, I asked curiously.
“Shhh! Sorry, I’ll tell you later” She spoke softly. John O’Connor was handsome. He had green beautiful eyes and athletic body. He answered to every question about the murder patiently. He also mentioned about the literary handwriting on the chest. The murder wrote it using a sharp nail. It’s written : dúnmharú.
“Bloody hell!”,She grabbed the TV remote and changed the channel.
“What is it?’
“Told you, it was a murder. And a murder itself, pointing out at the innocent people “murder”! Isn’t it funny, you think?”
“Oh, sorry, what did you ask me earlier?”
“Never mind,I forgot”, I smiled.
It’s 07:30 a.m.
We walked heading towards The Tiger Dublin Fringe. Our mind went somewhere, I knew. I was thinking about how well and smooth the event was going to be. But I knew that Angel kept thinking about the murder.
All of a sudden , I have heard the sirens and I thought it was only an ambulance. I stopped. I looked at her and she looked back at me. The sirens were getting stronger and closer. They stopped in front of us. We were looking at each other. She grabbed my hand and running towards the crowd. Another body. It’s in the National Photographic Archive. The body hung in front of a huge photo of Belfast Barricades, September 1969. Angel came closer as usual. She saw the Garda Síochána bringing down the body. Another male victim. One of the officers took the necklace from the open wound. Human guts hanging out. Blood everywhere. And the other officer was busy taking the pictures of the body.
A minute later, detective John O’Connor approached Dr. Byrne Donaghue (the medical examiner). “Sir, look at this”, Dr. Byrne showed him a silver Phoenix necklace and put it in a plastic. Detective John took it from him and observed. Tiocfaidh ár lá. Our day will come. He was silent. He returned it to Dr. Byrne. “We’ve got the same murderer! Is the scratch on his chest written ” dúnmharú?” He pointed to the chest. Dr. Byrne bent down the knee and checked it carefully. He used the magnifying glass to read it clearly as it was small font. “Yes, sir, it’s written ‘ dúnmharú’. Who is the murderer? I mean, If the killer wrote dúnmharú or murder, what does he mean by that? He is a murderer anyway!”
“Well, that’s our homework, doctor, we have to find out!”
“Yes, absolutely. And I am honestly speaking that I feel sorry for this young man. And I guess , his age is like… mid twenty!”…
The fourth day. The exhibition was underway at 10:00 a.m.
My Alarm’s ringing. It’s 08:00 a.m. I turned it off with my eyes were still closed. I was tempted to continue my dream. And all of a sudden, I jumped out of bed. “Gosh, this is the time. I think, I set up my alarm at 06:00 a.m. I might have been sleeping well as I was so exhausted preparing our event. And the exhibition started today at 10:00 a.m. I must hurry!” I walked to the bathroom and took a quick shower.
Ten minutes later…
I dressed already and wondering that I did not hear any noise from Angel’s room. Where the hell is she? She might get there earlier. I couldn’t believe that she didn’t even bother to wake me up.
I walked alone along the path towards the Tiger Dublin Fringe. It wasn’t fun at all. Just to made sure that I would be there right on time. My mind kept thinking of her. Wondering why she left me?
Exactly at 10:00 a.m. The event started and it was opened officially by the Prime Minister. Suddenly, someone was screaming and pointing at something. “Look, up there!” People looked at something was hanging. “Oh, mo Thiarna, God!”. The Garda Síochána ran and called the other officers through their walkie talkie. People ran here and there. Panicked. Scared.They brought the Prime Minister to the safe place. I got panicked, no idea what I was supposed to do.
“It’s a female!”, one visitor screamed. “Deus! Her stomach wide open and … Look at that, there is something in her stomach! A chain!” the other visitor yelled.
I didn’t even dare to look at it, but I felt like someone stopped me. I was doubting. I turned and walked closer to the hanging body.
“Gabh mo leithsceal! Ma’am, excuse me! Please don’t come closer”, one officer warned me. And I ignored him. I kept going. I saw two officers trying to bring her down. When I came closer to the victim; I gasped and my mouth fell open. I nearly jumped out of my skin. Oh my God, please tell me, this is only a dream. Angel! I recognized her pants. She wore a long maroon corduroy and only bra!.. The killer had taken off the blouse. A runnel of blood dripped from an open wound onto the ground. Her intestines were hanging out. It was a terrifying view and made people who saw her wanted to vomit.
“Ma’am, please, I warn you one more time”
I Stopped. I wanted to scream and protest, why did this hell happen to her? I was angry. My lips pressed tight and trembling. Tears were streaming down my cheeks and my voice cracked. “Sir, I-I know this woman. S-she is my friend.”
The officer looked at me and said “are you sure?”
I nodded. And he asked me “where are you from, ma’am?”
“I am from Australia.”
Detective John sighed,” I don’t think it is a coincidence. One accepts that the coincidences happen from time to time, but here, there is a clear connection. dúnmharú. “Tiocfaidh ar la”. And look!” He pulled the chair closer to the desk and showed the victim’s name. The first name was Iden de Bláca, the second was Ronan Ó Máille. And the third…Hmm…it’s a female and Australian and the name was Angel O’Briain.
“So you mean, IRA?” detective Alma McCartney said and her eyes narrowed.
“I guess so but how could it possibly happen with this Australian woman_”
“I know the answer, detective O’Connor!”
Detective John looked at me and said “Pardon me, who are you?”
“Sorry sir, it’s Janet. She is a friend of the third victim”, Officer Ian introduced me to him.
“Oh, I am detective John. Have a seat, please”, John shook her hand.
“Please, tell me what you know and what purpose are you and your friend coming to Dublin?” , John took two glasses from the cupboard and poured himself, Jack Daniels ” would you like one?”
“No, thanks . Just water, please”
A minute later, I started to tell detective John.
“We came here to organize our event at the Tiger Dublin Fringe. We join in Art Live for Arts and Design. This is our first trip to Dublin…well..at least for me. The second day, we’re here, we had heard about the first victim at The Ark, Temple bar, and the second at The National Photographic Archive and_”Tears welled up in my eyes. I was sobbing. John held my shoulder. “Take a deep breath, sweetheart”
“A-After we knew about the brutal murders, Angel was so restless. She kept thinking about what happened. I asked to keep moving forward with our event an_”Detective Alma handed over the Kleenex and I blew my nose.
“An-and until yesterday, I found her hanging, blood in her stomach, the silver chain, handwriting on her chest with a sharp nail_.
“And what happened next?”, Detective Alma asked curiously.
“I kept crying and decided to come back to the hotel. I sat on my bed. I checked on her bedroom.
And I-…” I handed over a piece of paper which was written by Angel. “She wrote this!”
“My dearest friend, Janet”
I write this just in case if something happens to me, so you solve the puzzle. IRA. That’s the victims. 1. Iden de Bláca. He was an Irish veteran. He was involved with “Bloody Friday in 1972”. He was the one who put the bombs in a car caused 9 people dead. 2. Ronan Ó Máille. He was 22. He was a son of Brody O’Maille. The father was IRA as well. 3. Guess who? The third one would be ME! I am an Australian. My family migrated to Australia when I was a little. My father’s name was Garrett O’Briain. He was the IRA. He was the operational commander of the operation. When I was in the high school,he told me the story about Bloody Friday. He felt guilty and no intention for the IRA to kill 9 innocent people and many more injured. He described me the situation at that time. A human being lying on the street, the clothes had been blown off and he could see parts of human anatomy. Arms. Legs. A head stuck to the wall. That was really horrible. Terrible things to see ever! And now, I know who is going to be the next.. dúnmharú Means Murder. To him/her, we are a murderer. Iden, Ronan’s father and my father. He killed Ronan and…I believe, the killer is looking for me now, because our father were dead already! Janet, you asked me “ Tiocfaidh ar la “, means Our day will come”, that’s IRA slogan.
Janet, I am so sorry if I did not tell you the truth, I just do not want to scare you.
Take care, and move forward with our events!
Angel O’ Briain
Two weeks later
“Yes, speaking and who is this?”
“Sorry, I am detective John. We’ve caught the murderer. The name is Farrell Quinlan. His mother and younger brother were the victims of the Bloody Friday incident. He did all these by himself!
“Good! Let the punishment fit the crime. He deserves the worse!” I said angrily.
There was a silence.
“Hallo? You still there, detective?”
He cleared his throat and said “he was dead! Shooting himself by his own gun”.
I was silent. Had nothing to say.
***Don’t take it on yourself to repay a wrong. Trust the Lord and he will make it right. And life is just too short. “Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit – A man proposes, but God disposes”.
I miss our conversation at our favorite coffee shop and you said you would like to go to the Dublin Zoo. It’s only a memory now, Angel O’Briain***
“May Irish angels rest their wings, right beside your door”- Irish Blessing.