full day of sightseeing, Fiona was ready for a good hot meal, a bath, and
then a good night’s sleep. She pulled the key out of her pocket. “Should we
go and wash up first, or eat first and then go and have a bath?”
“Let’s eat first. I’m starving.” Callum heard his tummy growl.
“I hope the hotel has a nice restaurant. I could eat a horse,” Elspet said.
“I don’t really mean that.” She giggled. The restaurant sat off from the
lobby. Ten tables placed around the room, each decorated with a flickering
candle and tiny stuffed moose, gave the place a pleasant ambiance. Moose and
bear heads jutted from the walls, the bears baring sharp teeth and the moose
heads sporting massive antlers. “I don’t like to see stuffed animals. Some
poor moose died and so did a bear.”
“They’re probably not even real, Elspet. Don’t feel sad. Let’s enjoy our
meal.” Fiona glanced at her menu, which was already on the table. “What are
you going to have?”
Callum’s tongue ran over his lips with anticipation. “I want moose ribs and
venison stew with a side of Yukon gold potatoes and hot bread with
“Callum! That means they had to kill a moose and a deer to fix that meal.
How could you!” Elspet shook her head in disgust.
“I’m going to have roasted beaver tail, Elspet. I know, don’t give me that
look. Some poor beaver gave its life so I could eat its tail. Well, it
sounds interesting. I think I’ll have the Yukon gold potatoes too and the
bread sounds good, but hot fluffy buttermilk biscuits sound better.”
“I think you’re both horrible. I will have the Yukon potatoes and the
buttermilk biscuits and a salad. I will not eat a beaver’s tail, a moose, or
a deer,” Elspet said.
The waitress came to take their order. “What’ll it be?” She chewed her gum
loud, popping it with every bite.
Fiona looked at her nametag. “Ruth, I’ll have this.” She pointed at her
Callum and Elspet ordered their meal.
“All right, honey. I’ll bring your drinks right out. Are you sure you don’t
want to try our bison steaks?” She looked at Elspet. “They’re real tender
and juicy and melt in your mouth.”
“What’s bison?” Elspet looked for a picture on the menu, but didn’t see one.
“Buffalo. Bison is another name for buffalo, honey.” Ruth popped her gum
“Buffalo? No way. I’ll stick to my salad.”
“Whatever you say, honey. I’ll be back in a minute with your drinks and some
hot buttermilk biscuits and jelly. You will try some mooseberry jelly, won’t
“Is it made from a moose?” Elspet frowned.
“No, honey. It’s made from crowberry. We just call it that to make it sound
interesting to the tourists,” Ruth said.
“I’ll try some then. Elspet’s mouth watered.
“You could have ordered salmon or trout, Elspet. Why are you such a stick in
the mud? You tried other things in Iceland,” Callum said.
“I wasn’t in the fish mood tonight. What’s the big deal if I just have
salad? Leave me alone, Callum.”
Instead of speaking any more, they looked around the room, gazing at the
pictures on the wall of the gold mining days. When Ruth brought their meals,
they devoured them quickly. “Is this your first time in Whitehorse?” The
waitress stood next to the table, waiting for their answers.
“We’ve never been here before,” Fiona said.
“Why don’t you go and see the aurora borealis tonight. It’s supposed to be
strong and colorful. Have you ever seen it before?” Ruth wrote out their
“Sort of. We’ve seen it in Scotland. That’s where we live,” Elspet said.
“I’m sure you’ve not seen it as bright as you’ll see it here. Are you
staying at this hotel?” Ruth put the bill on the table. Fiona picked it up
and looked at it. Callum nodded. “Go up to the roof. There are seats up
there just for the hotel guests so they can watch the northern lights. Have
a good night then.” Ruth headed for another table, leaving them with their
“I want to wash up before we go up to the roof. Let’s go back to the room,”
Elspet said. Callum and Fiona agreed. They left a tip on the table for Ruth.
After catching the elevator, they waited until it stopped at their floor.
“I’m full. That food was good. I still don’t see how you guys could stand
eating beaver tail. Did it really taste good?”
Fiona and Callum smiled. “Everything was good,
Elspet. You need to be brave and try other things.” Fiona put the key in the
lock and turned it, opening the door. A wave of putrid stench hit them.
“What is that smell?”
“What is that noise?” Callum ran to the bathroom
door. “It sounds like there are birds in our bathroom.”
They looked around the room. “Nothing looks out
of order, but it stinks bad,” Fiona said.
“There’s something in there. I can hear pigeon
coos.” Callum pressed his ear against the door. “Should I open it?”
“How would birds get in our bathroom? Did one of
you leave the window open?” Elspet sat on the bed. When she felt the lumps
she jumped back up. “There’s something in our bed. It’s all squishy and
Fiona and Callum walked to the bed. “Which one
of you is going to look and see what’s under the blanket?” Callum didn’t
want to do it.
“What if it’s a dead person?” Elspet took a step
“Elspet! How would a dead person get in here and
why would they be in our bed. There’s not a person under there,” Fiona said.
“The same way pigeons got into our bathroom,”
“All right. I’ll do it. Stand back.” Fiona
grabbed the corner of the bedspread and pulled it back.
“Gross. Yuck,” Callum said.
“What is it? There’s food smashed all over our
sheets and pillows.” Elspet gagged with disgust.
“It looks like throw up.” Callum moved away.
“That is so sick. Someone came into our room and
dumped food in our bed and then smashed it all up. I’m calling the manager.”
Fiona walked to the phone.
“Wait, Fiona. Let’s see what’s in the bathroom
first,” Elspet said.
“Callum, you open the door,” Fiona said.
“Me? What if they’re giant pigeons and try to
peck my eyes out?”
Fiona marched to the bathroom door and pushed
Callum out of the way. “Stand back, just in case.” She flung the door open.
Pigeons swooped at her, darting into the room. Callum and Elspet ducked and
then ran to hide in the closet. Fiona looked in the bathroom. The whole
floor was sticky with shampoo and pigeon droppings. The bathtub and
doorknobs were coated with dried up toothpaste. “What a mess! I’ll be that
Drayton person did this. I know I saw him earlier. He did this!”
Elspet and Callum peeked out the closet door.
“Get rid of the birds, Fiona.”
Fiona sent a telepathic message to the birds.
Leave now, pigeons. Go back where you came from, but first, I have to ask,
why did you do this?
Drayton commanded us to. None of us wanted to,
but he was evil and we knew he’d hurt us if we didn’t do as he asked. A
pigeon flew over to Fiona and landed on her shoulder. We’re sorry, Fiona.
How do you know my name? How do you know
“We’re birds. We’re part of nature. When someone
gives us an order or even speaks to us, nature lets us know that person’s
name and if they are good or evil. Drayton is pure evil. Forgive us.
Fiona saw the closed window and climbed on the
toilet to open it. Just go. I know you didn’t mean anything. They flew out
Elspet and Callum came into the bathroom. “I
think now is a good time to call the manager. I can’t figure out why Drayton
always makes messes of things. He’s so unoriginal, isn’t he? He messed up
your house two times and then does this. He must be an idiot or something,”
“You’re right about that.” Fiona agreed.
* * *
“What is all this mess? What have you done to
this room? You’ll have to pay for this.” The hotel manager marched into the
bathroom. “I’ve never seen such a disastrous mess before.”
“We didn’t do it Mr. Brown. We came back to our
room and found it like this,” Fiona said.
“Nonsense. I’ve spoken with room service and
they assure me you ordered from them. The man I spoke to delivered it
himself to this room. He said it was your big brother who ordered all the
food for you,” Mr. Brown said.
“I don’t have a big brother. Someone came into
our room, pretended to be us and then did this.” Fiona stomped her foot on
the ground in anger.
“No matter. This room is your responsibility.
You will be charged. I’ll get you another room, but we’re very full. The
only room left is a suite and that will cost you twice as much.”
Fiona looked at Callum and Elspet. “We can’t
stay here. We’ll pay for the mess, but it’s not fair. We didn’t do it,”
“Come with me then. I’ll make a list of the
charges for the destruction of the room and then your charges for your new
room.” Mr. Brown left. Fiona and the others followed.
* * *
“What a rip off. We shouldn’t have had to pay
for all that!” Elspet sat on the bed. “The room is nice though.”
“Let’s go to the roof and watch the aurora
borealis and try to forget about this nightmare of an evening,” Fiona said.
They grabbed their coats and headed upstairs.