Drayton lifted his hand and dragged it through
the air. A wave of fire burst from the ground, creating a wall between
himself and the others, except for Jesse. “Looks like it’s between you and
I, Master Pond.” Jesse looked surprised. “What’s this? You are shocked that
I know your real name? I know all about you and your group of twelve.
Phelan’s told me everything. I don’t suppose you know that I have magical
powers and know spells equal to yours.”
Jesse scoffed. “Your magical tricks don’t
frighten me, boy. You’re as foolish as your ancestor. Oh, so now you’re
surprised. Yes, I know Dugan. I fought against him many times. At least he
had some class, which is more than I can say about you. Look at you.
Earrings, like a woman? Long hair, like a woman? You probably fight like a
“Why you…” Drayton tripled in size. He looked
down at Jesse. “Let me show you how much I fight like I woman.” He reached
down and grabbed Jesse in his large hand. Holding him high in the air, he
Jesse whirled through the air, hitting several
trees before falling to the ground next to the loch. The wall of flames died
down to glowing embers.
Drayton, angered that he couldn’t finish Jesse
off, returned to his normal size and ran off into the woods. “I can’t go
back to the B&B now. I’ve got to find somewhere to stay. I’m not sleeping
outside another night.” He headed for town. “All my money’s in my room. I
guess I’ll have to pay Elsie one more visit.”
Opening the front door, he marched into
McDougal’s B&B. “Why there you are, Drayton. I’ve been looking for you all
day,” Elsie said.
Drayton brushed past her and walked up the
stairs. “I’m checking out.”
“Tonight? So late?”
“Now.” He went to his room and crammed
everything into his bag. Making sure none of his money was missing, he ran
back down the stairs. Elsie and the others were sitting around the fire,
drinking wine, eating chocolate biscuits and chatting. Drayton stared at
them for a few moments. “Why not?” He went into the room and coughed.
Everyone turned to look at him. “Now that I have your attention, I’m
checking out, but before I leave, I’d like you to empty your pockets and
wallets into my bag.”
“What? Drayton? What’s going on here?” Elsie
stood up and walked towards him.
He pushed her into an armchair. “Sit down, you
old hag and shut your mouth. Now, unless you want to be hurt, I suggest you
give me your wallets and empty your bags and pockets. NOW!” He pulled a
knife out of his boot and flipped it open, revealing a long, steel blade.
“Don’t make me use this. Dear Elsie will be the first one hurt if I don’t
get your cash.” He waved the knife at her. She screamed and slouched down in
the chair. The guests handed over their wallets and handbags. Drayton took
all the cash out of them and threw the wallets and bags into the fire. Smoke
poured out of the chimney as the leather melted and caught fire. “I hope
nobody’s hiding anything from me,” he snarled, looking at each of them with
an evil gaze. They all shook their heads back and forth. “I’ll bid you a
fond farewell then. By the way, Else, I’ll not be paying my bill. Maybe one
of these fools can pay it with their melted credit cards.” He cackled and
ran out the door.
Five minutes later and out of breath, Drayton
stopped. “I’m sure they’ve called the cops by now. I’ll be a wanted man in
this miserable town.” Drayton went from house to house looking in windows,
watching for a place where nobody was home. He found a vacant house on Rob
Roy Lane. He crept in through an unlocked window and searched the house.
“Nobody’s home. I guess I’ll make myself at home then.” Rifling through the
refrigerator and cupboards, he found enough food to last him a few days.
After stuffing his face with potato crisps, cheese, cold cooked chicken
legs, and beer, he lay on the king-sized bed and fell asleep, not even
taking time to remove his filthy clothes and mud-covered boots.
* * *
“I suggest you and Fiona get some sleep.
Tomorrow’s going to be a busy day. Fiona’s got to get the next jewel. You’ve
got to go to work and I’ve got to go back to the castle and do some
exploring. There are places inside that nobody else knows about. I may be
able to find something to help us, maybe some weapons,” Johnny said.
“Johnny, this is the 21st century. We
don’t do battles with axes and clubs any more. Violence isn’t the way it’s
done any more, at least for most of us,” Mairi said.
“I didn’t mean weapons in that sense. I meant
that there might be another book hidden with spells, or information that
might help us against Phelan and Drayton Steele.”
“Oh. You’re right, of course. Fiona, get on up
to bed. I’ll be right up. I’m not sure though if I’m all right with Fiona,
Callum and Elspet going off to some foreign land to battle monsters and wild
Fiona stopped on the stairs. “I’ll be all right,
Mum. I have to do this. Callum and Elspet are the only ones who can help me.
We’ve been to three places and nothing has happened,” Fiona said. “We’re not
dead or anything.” She stood up. “I’m going to brush my teeth.” She ran
Mairi looked at Johnny. “She nearly got eaten by
an octopus, boiled alive by trolls, stung by scorpions, and she thinks I
Johnny pulled her down to the couch. “Mairi, she
now has another power. She grows stronger every day. There are other forces
helping her too.”
“What does that mean? What other forces?”
“I can’t explain it really. Let’s take Iceland.
When she needed it the most, the fairies and elves came to help her.
Throughout time the forces of good seem to sense when another needs their
help. Does that make sense?”
“Johnny, none of this makes sense. Last week
Fiona’s biggest crisis was that she was bored. Now she’s meeting elves and
fairies and evil wizards. None of this seems real to me. It’s like a dream.”
“I know. I’m real though, aren’t I?”
She laid her head on his shoulder. “Yes, you’re
real. Stay here tonight. I’ll feel safer knowing you’re here.”
“I planned to stay here. You’d better get
upstairs and say goodnight to your daughter. You’ve got work in the morning,
remember?” Johnny kissed her forehead and she turned the lights off and