A Debt of Honour – Episode 04

Shauna and her children and Neil, the man she is searching for. The main characters from A Debt of Honour

Want to listen to this instalment of our Daily Serial? Click the play button of our official audio player below:

Ellie was too excited to sit still as Calum drove through the tail-end of the rush hour through Glasgow and out to the airport.

“Haven’t seen my mum for three years,” Ellie said. “Are we on time?”

“Yes,” he replied. “But if I’d known it would be this busy, I’d have left earlier.”

Their car crawled through the tunnel under Charing Cross.

“Have you got your tent yet?” Calum asked.

“Penny’s promised to bring it tomorrow.”

The airport signs indicated they were almost at their destination.

“Is this your first festival?” he asked.

“Yes. I’ve been to loads of gigs in the university and clubs. But this is my first big one – unless my mum wants me by her side.”

“You’re a big grown-up Ellie now,” he told her. “Just bare your teeth and tell her that you’re going.”

“I can’t.” Ellie sighed. “It’s so long since I’ve seen her.”

She glanced across curiously.

“Have you been to any music festivals?” she asked.

“Me? No. Not my scene. Not my kind of music.”

“So what is your kind of music?” Ellie asked.

In the dusk, Calum blushed.

“Classical stuff,” he said. “You don’t want to know.”

“I learn something new every day. What kind of classical stuff?” Ellie smiled.

Calum winced.

“Opera, mainly. My mum sang in the Sadler Wells chorus.

“I saw my first performances from the wings, keeping out of the stagehands’ way – and threatened with death if I so much as coughed.”

“Wow!” Ellie laughed. “You were a baby opera buff.”

Calum grimaced, following the signs for the short stay car park.

“Here we are . . .”

It took a good ten minutes to find a parking space, then another five waiting in the car park queue for a ticket.

“Daylight robbery,” Calum muttered, feeding money into the machine.

“Let me pay,” Ellie said. “How much?”

Reluctantly, he told her.

“And the petrol?” Ellie asked. “For collecting my mum?”

“Forget the petrol,” he said. “It gave me ninety minutes of your company.”

Ellie stared.

“Don’t get soft on me, Calum,” she said.

“Me?” he said. “Get soft on anyone? I’m a computer geek, remember. I only relate to machines.”

He pushed her forward.

“We’ve less than twenty minutes to find the arrivals gate. Let’s go.”

Shauna was getting more and more excited. During the changeover at Dubai, she had walked up and down, trying to get her legs working properly again.

In all her life, she had never felt so stiff and numb – and they were only halfway through the 25-hour flight.

Mercifully, Freda had either been allocated elsewhere for the Dubai-Glasgow flight or had voted with her feet.

Shauna felt guilty but relieved.

Her neighbour for the second flight was a businessman.

He worked solidly on his laptop for the first four hours, keeping the stewardesses busy fetching gin and tonics before closing his laptop and falling asleep.

The endless flight was boring but her brain seemed to relax into numbness as she stared out through the window.

They got a second pilot’s warning to fasten safety belts due to turbulence over the Alps, and only then did she really start to feel she was on the final stage of her journey.

Her return to a country which had once been her home, and to Ellie.

To be continued…

An error has occurred while loading your details. Please click the following link to try again - if the issue persists, please don't hesitate to contact us. Try again by refreshing the page.