“That was great fun, wasn’t
it?” Fiona said. “I can’t wait to shower and get into clean clothes and get
this stuff out of my hair.”
“Me too.” Mairi turned the
key in the lock and opened the door. “Oh no! Not again!”
Fiona pushed her way past.
“Mum, who is doing this? He painted weird stuff all over our walls.”
They went from room to room,
finding destruction at every turn.
“He even spray-painted my
shoes,” Mairi said. She sat on her bed and crie
Fiona slipped her arm around
her mum. “Don’t cry. We can wash it off. It’s not even that dry yet. I’ll
Mairi wiped the tears away.
“We’d better shower and clean ourselves. It won’t seem so bad when we’re not
Fiona showered and put on
clean clothes, brushed her golden locks and went into the kitchen. She
filled up a bucket of hot, soapy water.
A clean Mairi came through a
few minutes later. The doorbell rang.
Fiona opened it to find
Johnny standing there.
“Thank goodness you are both
all right. I had this horrible feeling…” He saw the walls. “Our visitor has
returned,” he said.
“What are these symbols?”
Mairi didn’t recognize any of them.
Fiona looked at Johnny, not
sure what to say. He said, “They’re ancient Celtic symbols and others are
from Northern Africa and the Middle East.”
“Africa? Why would anyone
break into my home and paint my walls with African symbols?” Mairi didn’t
“They’re very ancient. Fiona,
why don’t you run along to your Uncle Angus’s house. Elspet and Callum are
waiting for you. I’ll stay here with your mum and won’t let her out of my
sight. The two of us will have this cleaned up before you get home,” Johnny
“Go ahead. This sort of work
requires adult hands. You go and have fun and we’ll clean it up. I’ll be
fine, Fiona. Go ahead,” Mairi said to her daughter.
Fiona hugged her mum and
Johnny and ran across Bruce’s Meadow to Uncle Angus’s croft.
Johnny and Mairi scrubbed the
paint off the walls. Some of her shoes had to be thrown out, but most
everything else was saved. “We’re going to get some new locks put on your
doors in the morning and on the windows too. I’m staying here for the rest
of my visit. Something’s going on here that’s very troublesome.”
“I still don’t understand
what this is all about. I can’t imagine why anyone would do this to my
house, especially leaving strange symbols. You seemed to recognize them,
Johnny. Can you explain?”
“I can’t right now. It’s
probably just someone who’s bored and found an easy victim. He’ll be
surprised if he tries it again,” Johnny said, trying to comfort her.
“Thank you for all you’ve
done to help me. Now, after all that work, you deserve supper. What do you
say I fix us something? You can help if you’d like. Do you like curry?”
Mairi looked through her cupboards.
“You mean the spice, curry,
from India? You can get it here in Scotland?”
“This is the 21st century,
Johnny. Of course we can. Do you like it?”
“I can’t say I’ve ever tasted
curry. I’m willing to give it a try though,” Johnny said.
“Fiona says you’ve never
tried Yorkshire pudding.” Mairi looked to see if she had the ingredients.
“Can’t say that I have.”
“All right, Johnny Thomson.
I’m going to fix you a feast. We’ll have Yorkshire pudding, chicken curry,
trifle, and you can try some black currant juice, which I’m sure you’ve not
“Sounds good to me.”
“You have heard of those,
“Black currants. Why, yes I
“At least that’s something.
Do you and your brothers live in the mountains somewhere?”
“No, why do you ask?”
“You seem to come from
another century. You’ve never heard of most of the modern things.”
“Ah, well, I suppose you
could say we’re a bit old fashioned.”
“Come and help me fix supper.
I don’t imagine Fiona will be back for several hours. When she goes to visit
her uncle, she stays for a long time,” Mairi said.
“Angus seems a nice chap. I’m
glad she enjoys his company.”
“So am I. Grab a knife and
* * *
“I wonder if Miss Mairi,
enjoyed her new paint job.” Drayton washed the paint from his hands, making
a mess of the bathroom at the B&B. “Elsie can clean it up. It’s part of her
pay, which she’ll never see from me. She’s better have something decent for
supper tonight. It had better be something good; not some slop or stinking
stew, or I’ll have to give this little B&B a new painting job.
He went downstairs and found
her in the guest room talking to a couple from Canterbury, England. “Hello,
Drayton. I was just telling the Browns about the tea party I attended
“What’s for dinner,” Drayton
“Oh, I’m sorry for
interrupting. Excuse me please, Elsie.” He sat down on the settee and joined
in the conversation.
“I was just telling the
Browns about a tea party I went to this afternoon. It was simply lovely.
Anne McAllister had it at her house for Mairi McAllister. It seems someone
broke into Mairi’s house and did a lot of damage,” Elsie said.
“That’s a shame. I will have
to pay her a visit,” Drayton said.
“Anne had tables with lovely
tablecloths, finger sandwiches, tea breads, biscuits and cakes. It went
lovely until Devlyn and Creanth ruined it.”
“Who are Devlyn and Creanth?”
Drayton hadn’t heard those names before.
“They’re Mr. McAllister’s
dogs. They’re rather big animals. They saw us and smelled the food and
jumped on the table. Food flew everywhere. I had several pieces of cream
puff in my hair. We ended up having quite the food fight and a grand time.”
Elsie chuckled with her memories of the events.
“Sounds like a lot of fun,
Elsie. Say Elsie, what’s for supper tonight?”
Elsie looked at Drayton.
The Browns scoffed.
“You’ve got a one track mind,
don’t you? I’m fixing roasted lamb with mint sauce, baby new potatoes, peas,
and hot bread. We’ll have cheesecake afterwards. Does that suit your fancy,
“Sounds great. Now, if you’ll
excuse me. I think I’ll take a walk before supper. Nice to meet you, Mr. and
Mrs. Brown,” Drayton said and left. After closing the door behind him he
snarled. “Stupid Englishman from Canterbury. I suppose he thinks he’s all
that. I’ll find out what room they’re in and pay them a little visit this
evening while they’re having crackers and cheese tonight.”
“Let’s go and see what Angus
is up to. Maybe I’d better go to Castle Athdara first. It’s starting to get
dark. I wouldn’t want his highness, Phelan, the great wizard from Xilia to
be angry with me.” Drayton roared with laughter and headed for the castle.
He pushed branches out of his
way as he marched to Loch Doon. Even though each tree was covered with fall
colors, he saw nothing but the crumbling stone walls around the castle up
ahead. When he reached the loch he searched for the rowboat. “Where is it? I
could have sworn I tied it up right here.” He saw indentations in the mud
where the boat had been. “All right, who’s taken the boat?” Curses flew from
his mouth. “How will I get to the castle. I’m not swimming in that ice
water.” He picked up a rock and plunged it into the dark waters in anger.
“Great! Phelan will wonder where I am.” He stomped around, his face
contorted in anger and flushed red with rage. “Angus, I’m coming for you
then and you’d better watch out.”