TITLE: The Machenwood Chronicles
Lead in: Anabelle McShay, a widow in 1840's Ireland, receives a visitor.
Ana slipped Michael from her lap and crawled from the bed. Careful to tuck the blankets tightly around him, she crossed the room, opened the door a crack and peeked out.
The overseer stood in the doorway wringing his hands.
She stepped outside and closed the door quietly behind her. “What can I do fer yeh, Jarrett?” Ana already had a pretty good idea why he stopped by, but prayed she was wrong.
“Well, Missus McShay.” Jarrett scratched his bald head and shuffled his feet. “I'm afraid I got some bad news for yeh. Mr. Reardon charged me with clearin' out the blighted plots. I'm here ta give yeh notice.”
Ana's stomach churned, her hands balled to tight fists. Just what I need. She knew it wasn't Jarrett's fault she'd have to leave, but that didn't make her any less destitute. The desire to rail, scream at the unfairness, and plead for her sick son engulfed her, but she knew the man who stood at her door had no power to help. He just worked for the landowner, Mr. Reardon.
“How long do I got?” Ana was surprised her voice sounded so calm considering the emotions raging within her.
“A few days. ‘Ave to get it all clear by week's end. I'm real sorry, lass.”
“I understand. I'll get packed up right away, then.” His face swam before her eyes. She gripped the doorway, nails digging into the wood.
Jarrett nodded, mumbled more apologies, then turned and headed across the empty dirt field toward his next unlucky target.
Ana watched his retreating form before her attention turned to the barren land surrounding her hovel.