Drayton lifted his bloodshot eyes. The sun
showed its first fingers, sending golden rays into the deep blue sky. Bit by
bit the woods came alive with chirping birds and scampering squirrels. He
wiped his eyes and walked down the loch, splashing the cool, clear water on
His mind cleared and his eyes darted from side
to side. “Where did they go?” He looked around and saw nobody. “ Probably
got tired and ran home.” Taking a deep breath, he went back to the castle
and stepped inside. He went to the main hall and stood looking at the table.
Tired and weary, he sat down on it.
Phelan appeared from nowhere. “What have you got
“It was a quiet night. Nobody came or went,”
Drayton said with a yawn.
“Is that what you think? Follow me.” The wizard
led him down to the room and opened the door. Screams and shrieks of anger
burst forth, nearly deafening him. Phelan went inside and clapped his hands.
The room went silent. He looked around. “Where is the man?”
They’d been so caught up in their arguments that
they’d not noticed the escape. “Where did they go?” Deyab ran over to one of
the sluaghs. “You did this. You let them escape.”
“Quiet! You’re all to blame. You’ve been arguing
and you allowed this to happen.”
Anaxa sighed. “There were more than the one.
There were seven men.”
“Seven? Who?” Phelan pulled a staff out of his
“It was the man who came through the time portal
and others like him,” Anaxa said.
Phelan lifted his staff and a bolt of sizzling
lightning shot forth and zapped Anaxa. Her cloak fell empty to the ground.
He aimed it at each of them, one by one, cursing, “You failed me. You were
assigned a task and you failed. You will all die now.”
When the last creature vaporized, the wizard
turned to Drayton. He started muttering, “I didn’t see anyone. Nobody got
past me. They must have come in another way. Don’t kill me.”
“I don’t expect anything from you any more, boy.
You’re completely worthless. You also don’t learn very well. I’m afraid I
will have to teach you another lesson.”
“Not those sand niarts again, please,” Drayton
“No. Don’t worry about that.” He aimed his staff
at Drayton. A stream of lightning wrapped itself around him, carrying him
into the air. He screamed as the electrical bolt burned into his flesh.
Phelan walked through the castle, toting Drayton behind him. When he got to
the loch, he moved him over the water.
“Please, let me drop. I’m burning. It’s
painful,” Drayton cried.
“As you wish,” Phelan said. He lifted his staff
and the rope of fire disappeared.
Drayton fell into the loch. The cool water
rushed over his body. He cried out in relief. From behind he felt a rush of
water and turned to see the monster, the same one he’d taunted Mairi with,
open its jaws and take him into his mouth. “Put me down.” The monster’s
breath made him gag. It lowered its jaws dousing Drayton into the loch. It
held him there until he was about to pass out from lack of oxygen and then
brought him up. “Stop him. Don’t do this, please.” Feeling the neck lower
again, he took a deep breath. IT held him down until he felt like his lungs
were going to burst and then it lifted him up again.
“Have a good time,” Phelan said. He disappeared
in a puff of smoke.
The monster repeated this torture over and over again until Drayton didn’t
have the strength to take another breath. It tossed him across the loch into
the mud and disappeared. Drayton lay there, near unconsciousness as the sun
raised high into the sky.