Neighbor’s Tapping

Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m celebrating with a longer flash fiction inspired by mythology. I hope you enjoy and have a great day and all the rest you wish.

Keelan drummed his fingers over the back of the other hand, following the rhythm of the tapping echoing through his home. He should have known better than trusting the agent. The man had been too excited when Keelan had explained his needs. The man had practically radiated glee.

Oh, true the property was well isolated, greener than he could have hopes. The brilliant color was broken by the most vivid of flower. The petals smolder of pure gold in the light and the sky… oh the sky was enchanting here. Rain or sun there was always something to lose ones worries with staring.

Inside the cottage had been a dream. The rooms were cozy and warmed by a central fireplace. Then there had been the library. The room was tacked onto the back of the house with a ceiling of glass and a tree growing in the center with the carving of a giant book entwined. On one side of the book words were painted and the other showed a path wandering away. His mind had followed the path immediately and the breath he’d taken there had filled his mouth and lunges with the taste of life. He’d made his offer right then.

The price had been just too damnably enticing though. Keelan should have known something was amiss.

The amiss had made itself known that first night he’d been in the house. Keelan had sworn he’d been dreaming a bit too deep and imagined the tap, tap, tap that had woken him during the night. His nearest neighbors were too far to be called neighbors, unless one wanted to count the otters taking up residence in the pond a valley over.

But the sound had come again the next night.

And the ones after that.

For weeks on end.

Each time Keelan heard the tapping the sound became shriller to his ears, until he swore it were the devil working on him overtime. His eyes twitched in time to the noise and Keelan couldn’t settle within his skin let alone find peace of mind to sleep deep. He could string words and the deadline was creeping ever closer.

He’d gone searching for the source, tearing through the house and walking the grounds, but he never could find a thing and the tapping never faded. Keelan had even searched the village’s library on his last run for supplies. That proved a distraction which had caused him to need overnight lodging and had revealed nothing.

The next morning he’d meet Mason sitting on the inns stoop. Leaning back and smoking like he hadn’t a care. Keelan didn’t know why but he’d greeted the man.

“Ahh,” Mason grinned when Keelan introduced himself, his face breaking into caverns of wrinkles vying for space. “So, you’re the boy who took the property from me.”

“The property?”

“Aye, aye. Rainbow Cottage.” The man waved his hand and it fell heavily to his leg with a thwack. “Live there since I was a boy, but just couldn’t keep the place anymore. Too many…” the man gave a lumbering shrug. “Well, I suppose you’ve already figured that part out for yourself.”

Keelan had sat of the edge of the chair next to the man. “The tapping?” he asked.

The man nodded voluminously. “Though I wouldn’t go talking to loud about that where I you.” He’d leaned back in his chair, eyes drifting closed as there weren’t enough sleep in the world. “Not many believe in such fables around here. Fools, considering they’re surrounded.”

“Believe in what.” Keelan had bobbed his head to the side as if taking his own head lower would keep the man awake.

“Leprechauns.” The word had been more an exhalation then truly formed, but Keelan knew he’d heard the man right. He was also certain he’d get no more out of the man from the rumbling snore that followed. Well, if the man had lived at Rainbow Cottage his while like, perhaps he did desperately need the rest.

When he’d started to ask the shop mistress what she knew of leprechaun, she’d looked at him askance and shuffled away. Keelan hadn’t dared ask another. Eyes had followed him out of town, and he hadn’t been back since.

The tapping abated. Keelan sucked air into his lung and counted out the seconds. Ten. Twenty. He let out the breath when he hit a minute and shifted in the bed. Praises be. The leprechaun must’ve quit for the night. Closing his eyes, Keelan let his mind drift.


Eyes snapping open he sat up in the bed and let out a string of cusses. The covers followed the words away from him. His feet quickly found the slippers and he started pacing through the house.


The kitchen was still, and the faucet was dry. Not that he’d thought for a moment this was water tapping.


The night was clear, and the breeze carried the flowers to him, speaking of light ad warmth. Keelan stared into the night seeing nothing.


Whirling he stared at the library window. The glass was freshly cleaned that day, but still the only thing he saw inside where the shelves lined with his books, his writing desk neatly arranged how he’d left it, and the tree and book in the center of the room. The sky above the path on the book glimmered in the moonlight.

No, it just glimmered.

Keelan raced for the room and climbed between the low hanging branches of the trees and peered at the path. It led away disappearing beyond a green hill, and there beyond the hill the darkness was softened by light. Reaching out a hand, Keelan touched the page and his hand fell through.

Dirt crunched beneath his slippers as he stumbled after his hand. The world expanded around him and the scent he’d caught in the library expanded a hundred full. Keelan walked down the path his head twisting this way and that. Even in the dark he could make out the flowers, the clover, and grass. Each plant was more vivid and defined then any he’d seen.

Rounding the hill, he saw a table with a lamp hanging from a pole over it. At the table a man. He was clad in red and his legs swung free even with the shortness of his stool as he stooped over bits of leather and thread arrayed before him on the table. There was a cobbler’s hammer in his hand, and he was tapped humming loudly. Keelan crept closer and stared at the work.

Within the leather a scene unfolded of a mountainside with an army at its base. In the midst of the army he could see two men, one dark and the other light. The light man was turned so he faced then and Keelan recognized the face.

“Iiiiiieeeee!” the yelp surprised Keelan and he jumped back. His foot slipped from one slipper. The dirt was soft against his sole. “Human!” The leprechaun flung his hammer at Keelan. The movement was sloppy and easily dodged. Turning he watched the tool thunk into the dirt with a poof of dust.

Turning back, he scratched his chin. “Apologies, I didn’t mean to startle you so.”

The leprechaun flailed his arms. “How dare you catch me here!”

“Catch you?” Keelan took a step back raising his hands. “I think we are off to a poor start. Look my name’s Keelan. May I ask yours?”

“Now he wants my name!” the leprechaun practically wailed. “Just make your wished, release me, and begone!”

Keelan opened his mouth to protest, but stopped as the meaning sank in. “Wishes?”

“Yes, yes.” The leprechaun waved his hand dismissively. “I’m sure you’ll want a mountain of gold or some such other nonsense your kind prefer.”

Keelan folded his arms and scowled. “Only thing I wish is that you’d stop hammering at night so I can sleep.”

The leprechaun raised a hand moving his thumb and finger together and stopped. “What?” His nose and brow scrunched as he looked at Keelan. “You just want me to not hammer at night?”

Keelan nodded, dropping his head to his side. “My heads so mused, I can’t think straight enough to write.”

The leprechaun frowned and glanced over his shoulders at the shoes he was creating. Turning back, he turned his head to the side and grinned. “Done. And your other wishes?”

Keelan shrugged glancing around his mind a blank. His home and peace were his wishes. If the leprechaun stopped, he couldn’t think of another thing he needed. He shrugged.

“Eh, get back to me when you think of it.” The leprechaun gathered up his project and trundled toward a hill, a door appearing in its side. “You know where to find me.” Keelan stared after the creature until the door disappeared again.

Late morning light pored through the windows as Keelan finally sat at his desk. True to his word, Keelan hadn’t heard the leprechaun again that night and had slept soundly. Picking up his pen he reread the last lines he written. Settling the nib against the page he smiled at the familiar scratch of the parchment and lost himself to the words.

“I’d make it green.” He jumped at the words a trail of ink slashing through his work. Turning he saw the leprechaun perched on his chair.

“What?” he asked. Keelan wasn’t sure if he was asking about the comment, interruption, or the man’s presence.

“His leather armor, I’d make it green. Match the woods better that way. White’s good and all, but a pain to keep clean and sneak about in.” The leprechaun leaned forward, his eyes darting back and forth as he read the pages spread over the table. “Shaun.”


“That’s my name. Or at least what you can call me.”

Keelan turned his chair. “Alright, Shaun, what are you doing here?”

The leprechaun turned to him and grinned. “I came to see your work. You saw mine after all.”

Keelan thought back to the boot and the scene worked into the leather. The scene he had continued working on this day. “I suppose that is fair.” He turned back toward the table and moved the things about trying to reclaim peace.

“Oh, and please come visit again soon.” Shaun grinned at him. “Since I’m planning on visiting often myself. We are neighbors now.” Keelan nodded stiffly and spun the pen on his desk. When he’d asked the realtor for a place with peace from other men, he’d meant more than just humans. At least now he could sleep. He’d adjust.

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