“I didn’t think of that.”
Selma stepped up, interrupting their conversation. “We’re all ready. Beth is standing in the middle of the circle where she put your…” She glanced around and lowered her voice. “You know.”
Fin chuckled. Since Tara’s blood sent Grainna through time before, they thought it would work again for them. One of Selma’s family members was a nurse and drew blood out of their bodies with a needle and vial. It sounded as if the blood was in place and the night’s journey was set.
“Then we should change.”
“Change? Into what?”
“Our medieval clothes,” Liz told her.
“Not the best way to blend in.”
“I think once we start chanting and light a fire around us, blending in will be the last of our worries.”
Selma laughed. “True. Goodness, I’m really going to miss you two.”
Liz placed a hand on the other woman’s shoulder. “We will miss you, too.”
An emotional goodbye would cut into their last minutes, which felt suddenly short to Fin. “We need to change, lass.”
Fin shuffled Liz to the women’s bathroom and hurried into the men’s. When he emerged with his kilt in place, mantle properly hung with his sword at his hip, Fin felt more at ease than he had since they’d arrived.
He received plenty of stares as he left the bathroom and waited for Liz by the door.
When she did, she didn’t wear the handmade gown she’d arrived to their time in but instead wore a white spun linen with gold and silver threads.
She’d brushed her hair free and it now flowed to her mid back.
“Why so fine?” Not that he was complaining. She looked like an angel.
“Something Selma said the other night had me thinking about how we could convince others to help once we made it home. This gown is part of my plan.”
Fin gathered her hand in his, removed the backpack from her shoulder, and forced it over his with the second one.
As a crowd started to gather and stare, Fin drew Liz closer and headed toward their predetermined spot on the over-crowded observatory lawn.
As they approached Selma and the others, Fin noticed Jake standing by her side. Part of him tensed, truly unable to know if Jake was there to witness their departure, or keep them from leaving.
“Looks like you two are ready.” The police officer wasn’t wearing his uniform, and he didn’t hold a weapon. When he extended his right arm to Fin, he grasped it firmly.
“We owe you our gratitude.”
Jake nodded once. “If this doesn’t work, I’m going to have to take you in.”
Fin didn’t blink. He shook the man’s hand and let it go. “I’ll tell Todd of your loyalty to him and your friendship.”
“You do that.”
Liz pushed through the both of them and wrapped her arms around the man. “Thank you so much for everything.”
A gasp waved over the crowd. Fin glanced at the sky and noted the color of the moon. Red. ’Twas time.
Liz quickly pulled Selma into her arms and whispered something in her ear. By the time they parted, both ladies held back tears.
Linda tapped her cousin on the shoulder. “We’re gathering people. You guys ready?”
Fin and Liz nodded.
Liz glanced around at the strangers surrounding them before she removed the sacred stone and set it down between her and Fin. Selma spoke into the walkie-talkie and stepped away. This is it. Or at least it had better be.
People started to stare at them more than the celestial event in the sky. With so many people, Liz thought it would be difficult to get anyone’s attention to listen to them, but Linda proved her wrong.
“As we bear witness to the complete eclipse of the moon, we here at the observatory would like to share with you a ritual that several Ancient people did in celebration of the event.”
Liz held in her laugh. Linda had nothing to do with the observatory, but those standing around them wouldn’t know that. Outside of a couple of security guards and a person operating the main telescope, there weren’t any officials around to contradict her.
More than one head turned her way. A few noticed Liz and Fin and stood back when Selma ushered them aside.
“Sometimes, people would be sacrificed during the eclipse as a show of respect to the sun god for his generosity.” Linda should have been an actress. Her voice carried through the crowd. Fin captured both Liz’s hands and brought her attention to him.
“Are ye ready, love? The moon is red.”
Jake caught her attention. He brought a phone to his ear and swiveled toward the parking lot.
There, a few police cars pulled up with their lights flashing.
“It’s now or never.”
“Gather hands with your neighbor and send your thoughts to the gods. Ask them to accept our sacrifice as the Ancients did long ago.”
The dozen plus members of Selma’s family stood around and grasped hands. Others, strangers, probably toasted from the wine they drank or the weed they smoked, stood and held hands, too. Liz wouldn’t complain, they needed all the help they could get.
Over Selma’s shoulder, Jake was heading off the police. She couldn’t hear what he said, but his colleagues didn’t seem in a hurry to take them down.
“Light the ring,” she told Fin.
With a flick of his finger, a ring of fire caught on their blood surrounding them. The crowd gasped, but not in the way of alarm so much as in awe.
Liz stared at Selma and mouthed the words thank you, then knelt down to touch the stone with Fin’s hand in hers. The stone turned as red as the eclipsing moon. As she started to stand tall, the stone levitated from the ground until it sat at chest height between her and Fin.
Jake came forward with the cops at his side, his eyes wide.
Liz took a deep breath and began. “Within this circle, we seek the power, to return in time with the Ancients’ power.”
“Okay, everyone, we need to break this up before someone gets hurt.” The officer at Jake’s side attempted to elbow his way between the people.
Liz shot out her hand in his direction and felt pulsating heat slip from her fingers. “Circle the people with a shield, show us the power that they yield.”
The cop flew back. Jake sprang to the side.
Another cop attempted to move toward them and found himself on his butt in the grass.
The crowd around them gasped. Their eyes were wide and no longer stared at the moon.
Liz grabbed hold of Fin’s hands again and willed their bodies to rise. The flame surrounding them grew with their assent.