“This was the longest day of school I can
remember. I kept looking at the clock and the time went by slowly,” Fiona
Callum and Elspet stood waiting for her, school
books in arms.
“I really should go home and see if Mum needs me
to babysit,” Elspet said.
“Me too, Fiona. What if Dad needs my help with
the sheep?” Callum looked down at his feet.
“Come on, guys. I need you to come with me. We
have got to get the next jewel. Last night was horrible. Drayton tried to
kill Jesse. He’s hurt. We need to go.” Fiona pleaded with sad eyes.
“All right, but I hope I don’t get in trouble,”
“I agree with Elspet,” Callum said. “My dad
might be real mad.”
On the way, they passed Jean Butler’s home.
Fiona glanced and saw a Shetland collie standing with its paws against an
oak tree. Shivering with fright and with nails dug into the bark, a gray
kitten perched on a branch, hiding among the leaves. The dog’s bark, loud
and high pitched, caught her attention. “That dog is scaring the kitten.”
Elspet ran towards the animals. Approaching with caution she said, “Bad dog.
Leave the kitten alone.”
The dog stopped barking and dropped its feet to
the ground. Fiona said, “Why do dogs always pick on cats. You are a bad dog.
Leave that poor kitty alone.”
Why should I? I’m a dog. Dogs chase cats.
Fiona moved closer. You won’t bite me if I try to pet you, will you? She
reached to stroke the dog’s back.
I won’t bite you. That feels good. Stroke a
little harder. Down there, on my side. Ah. Much better. The dog sat still.
“Fiona, what are you doing? Are you talking to
the dog?” Elspet looked at the dog’s mouth, waiting for its lips to move.
“Yes I am. We’re communicating telepathically.
He wanted me to scratch his back.” Fiona rubbed the dog’s ears.
Don’t stop. I like what you’re doing. He rolled
over on his back so she could pet his belly.
“What’s your name, puppy?” Fiona patted the
dog’s hairy chest.
My name is Bobby, like the Grayfriar’s Bobby. I
know it’s not a very creative name, but Jean’s a boring person. And you are?
Fiona. This is Callum and Elspet. Don’t bite them. That poor little kitten
is scared to death of you. Why are you trying to hurt it? She stood
up and walked over to the tree. Bobby rolled over and struggled to stand up.
“Nice kitty. Come down. Fiona will help you.” She reached for it.
kitten backed up and dug its claws in. I’m not coming down there when that
dog is there. Did you see the size of his teeth? He’s got a big set of
talked to the dog. His name is Bobby. He promised not to bite you, didn’t
you, Bobby? Fiona turned and glared at the collie.
All right. I’ll leave the cat alone, this time.
“Are you talking to the kitten now? What’s going on, Fiona? What are they
saying?” Elspet stood at the bottom of the tree staring up at the kitten.
“The dog’s name is Bobby and he’s promised me that he won’t hurt the kitten.
The kitten is afraid of the dog’s teeth.” Fiona crossed her arms. “I’m not
sure if I like talking to animals. I feel a headache coming on. Kitten,
what’s your name?”
Tumbles? What kind of stupid name is that for a cat? Shouldn’t your name be
Fluffy, or Ginger, or Marmalade, or something like that. Tumbles. Sheesh!
Fiona looked at Bobby. His lips curled up in a smile.
that dog laughing?” Callum leaned closer.
Hey, laddie, don’t get too close. Respect the perimeter. Bobby gave a tiny
growl and Callum backed away. Much better.
“Tumbles, Bobby won’t hurt you. Come down. I’ll
take you with me to my Uncle Angus’s house. He’s got other cats. He won’t
mind if you come and live with him,” Fiona said. “I’ve got to go. You either
come with me now, or you sit up in that tree all afternoon.”
I’m coming. My claws are stuck. Keep that dog
away until I’m safely in your arms.
good. The kitten is coming down. Thank goodness. Now we can go and do
something important, like save the world from evil.” Callum let out a loud
sigh and watched the kitten leap into Fiona’s arms.
“Can we go now?” Elspet wanted to get to Angus’s
They headed for the gate and left Mrs. Butler’s
house. Bobby howled. I’m off to dig up a bone! He ran into the
back garden as they walked down the tree-lined street.
Elspet wanted to hold the kitten. “Can I please
hold Tumbles? I love animals. I’d take her home with me, but I think she’ll
have more fun with Angus’s other cats, don’t you?”
“Yes.” Fiona stroked the cat behind the ears.
“Nice kitty. You’re going to have a new home and fresh milk.” The kitten
purred and kept silent.
Uncle Angus opened the door. “There you are,
Fiona. Good to see you, Callum and Elspet. What’s this in your arms? Did you
bring me another cat?”
What does he think I am, if I’m not a cat? Are
you sure I shouldn’t go with Elspet? If this guy can’t tell if I’m a cat or
not, I could be in big trouble.
Shhh. Uncle Angus loves cats. This is where you belong. She handed the cat
to her uncle. “This is Tumbles. We just rescued her from a tree. Jean
Butler’s dog, Bobby, was barking at her. Will you take care of her?”
“Why don’t you go inside? The others are in
there waiting. I’ll take little Tumbles and introduce her to the rest of the
cats. Go on then. I’ll be in shortly.” Uncle Angus disappeared behind the
Fiona, Callum and Elspet went inside. Everyone
was there except her mum. After a round of hellos, they helped themselves to
a drink of water. Johnny and Jack came back to the croft carrying the other
book. Johnny put it down on Angus’s bed and joined the others.
Mairi knocked at the door and let herself in.
“I’ve got cakes, scones, hot bread and pastries if anyone’s hungry,” she
called and held up a large bakery box.
“Food!” Jesse took the box from Mairi’s hand.
“Jesse? I see you’re feeling better.” She
laughed. “Take what you want first and then share the rest with everyone.”
Johnny came over and gave Mairi a kiss on the
cheek. “That’s for bringing fresh baked goods.” He kissed her other cheek.
“That’s for bringing a smile into the croft.” He kissed her softly on the
“What’s that for?” Mairi blushed.
“That’s for being you.” Johnny took her hand in
his. He led her to the couch and sat next to her.
Angus came in a few minutes later. “Our new
kitten, Tumbles, was thoroughly welcomed by the other cats and is now
sleeping, curled up next to Allison.” He saw Fiona stuffing a vanilla cake
into her mouth. “Are you three ready for your next adventure?”
Mairi spoke up. “I’m not sure about all of this,
Angus. It sounds so dangerous. What if something happens to them? I’d never
forgive myself if I let them go.”
“Mum! We’ll be all right. I’ve told you a
hundred times. Why don’t you show Mum the orb, Uncle Angus,” Fiona said.
“Good idea. This is Rolfin’s Orb. Isn’t it
Mairi took it from his hands. “This is
beautiful. I’ve never seen such exquisite work before. The jewels are
breathtaking. Look at the carvings in the middle. How on earth did someone
carve a dragon in the center of each of these stones, or are they jewels?”
“Both, Mairi. Why don’t we let the children go
and then we’ll tell you all about the orb while we wait. They’ll only be
gone a few minutes. There’s no need to worry,” Johnny said, pulling her back
onto the couch.
“You’ll probably be going somewhere cold this
time. You’d better take your coats, just in case,” Jimmy said. “It was warm
in Hydra, cold in Iceland, warm in the Seychelles, and it’s cold’s turn
“Don’t forget your backpack. Wait, Fiona. Put
some biscuits in there, incase you get hungry. Do you have enough money?”
Uncle Angus pulled some out of his pocket. “Here, take some more. Take this
camera too. It’s about time we saw some photos of your adventures.”
“I’ve got film in a camera at home. I’ll take
yours. Mine’s not as cool as yours is.”
“Take a bottle of water too,” Mairi said,
slipping one inside the pack.
“Wait, Fiona. I’ve got something for you.”
Johnny reached into his pocket. “This bracelet was the Queen’s favorite.
She’d have wanted you to have it, since you’re her flesh and blood.” He
slipped it on her wrist. “It looks lovely on you.”
She looked at it. “It is lovely. Thank you,
Johnny. I don’t need anything else, Mum. We’ll be fine. Don’t worry,” Fiona
said. Callum and Elspet joined her in the center of the room. “Cheerio,
Mum,” Fiona said. “Daleth shapish yam.” Before Mairi could shout an
objection, the children disappeared in a swirl of color and sparkles.
* * *
Drayton woke up and found himself lying on the cavern floor. When he tried
to sit up, he collapsed in pain. He lifted his arm. “Good, it’s not broken.”
He lifted the other and then his legs. “I’m all in one piece.” He looked up
at the entrance to the tunnel. “That was a steep step.” Inch by inch he
stood up, groaning and moaning. “I ache in every part of my body. I wonder
how long I’ve been unconscious.” He looked at his watch. “Two hours.”
After the dizziness stopped, he looked around. “I forget which tunnel is the
safe one. I’m going to have to climb all those steps! I’ll murder that brat
and her men friends when I get out of here.” Rage filled his face to a
blushing red color. Another hour later he stood at the edge of the island.
“Where’s my boat?” He walked around searching for it. “It’s gone. They took
my boat! Now what am I supposed to do. Phelan, I’ve no way off the island.”
From deep within the dark waters of the loch rumbled. “Swim!”
Hardly able to move, Drayton walked into the water. When it reached his
waist he leaned over and dropped into the water. “It’s freezing.” He swam to
shore and climbed out shivering. “That’s the coldest water I’ve ever felt. I
ache. I’m going over to Angus’s house and when I’m finished murdering them
all I’ll have a cup of tea!” He stomped to Angus’s croft, cursing with each
step. An autumn wind blew, freezing his wet clothes to his body.
children were saying the spell when he looked in the window. “They’re gone.”
He saw the men and Mairi laughing and joking with one another and eating
pastries and cakes. “I should burn the place down with them all in it. But I
can’t. The orb is in there. Patience, Drayton. The time will come soon
enough. I’ll destroy that Fiona first. She thinks she can talk to me that
way!” He mumbled a few curses to himself and went back to John and Susan
McAllister’s house. Kicking the back door open, he went inside and ripped
off his wet clothes. After a hot shower he searched through all of the
drawers, looking for something to wear. He ended up putting on a pair of
jeans, brown tee shirt and hiking boots, thankful John McAllister was close
to the same size as him. He found a pair of scissors in the bathroom and cut
his hair short, throwing the pieces he’d clipped off down the drain of the
sink. “That’ll cause a good clog.” He removed his earrings and examined
himself in front of the mirror. “They’ll never recognize me now. Ha!”
“Where have those brats gone this time? I’d better take a coat in case it’s
somewhere cold. I want to see what they’re up to.” He slipped his arms
through the sleeves. After checking to make sure he had money in his
pockets, he said, “Daleth shapish yam.” He disappeared from the house and
found himself standing in the middle of a river, surrounded by grizzly