A Time To Reap – Episode 12

A Time To Reap

“I’ll get it.” Mamie hurried into the hall to answer the phone.

The noise of coins falling at the other end indicated the caller was in a phone box.


“Chris! What’s wrong?” She glanced at the grandfather clock. Half past four. “Are you at work?”

“No. I left London in the middle of the night to drive up home. We’ve had an accident – we’re all right, don’t worry. A deer ran out.”

“What? Where? Who’s ‘we’”?

“Let me speak, Chris.” A man’s voice came on. “Mrs MacPherson, it’s Robbie McLean. We’ve been sharing the driving. We’ve gone into a ditch at the Lochend crossroads. Is there any chance . . . ?” Pip, pip, pip. Silence.

Mamie put the receiver down, frustrated.

“Who was it?” Neil looked up from his newspaper and laid it down on the table when he saw Mamie’s face.

“That was Chris, and Robbie. They’ve driven up from London.” She held up her hands to stop her husband’s exclamations. “They’re fine, she said, but the car’s gone off the road at the crossroads. They need help to get it out.”

“I’ll go up to Alec’s, see if he can come with a tractor. Of all the hare-brained . . .!”

“I know, I know.” Mamie shook her head. “Why didn’t she let us know she was coming?”

As Neil was leaving Mamie grabbed her coat.

“I’ll come with you.”

“Don’t worry. Nine lives our Chris has, remember?”

Mamie thought of the times when her younger daughter had got lost in the mist on the hill farm, when she climbed on the shed roof, when she almost fell into the sheep dip . . . so many escapades.

“She did sound all right,” she admitted. “But I want to see for myself.”

*  *  *  *

“Alec’s coming with the tractor,” Neil told Chris and Robbie when he and Mamie found them. “You’re taking him away from the potato field, so don’t be surprised if he doesn’t give you a great welcome.”

Chris looked contrite.

“We’re sorry, Dad. But Robbie had to swerve to avoid the deer, otherwise we would have hit it.”

Mamie patted Robbie on the arm.

“Well done.”

“Thanks, Mrs MacPherson. I wasn’t going fast. One of the lights is smashed. I can’t tell if there’s anything wrong with the engine until it’s back on the road.”

Under his thatch of untidy brown hair Robbie’s face was white. Mamie went to their own car and took out a packet of barley sugar.

“Have one of these. You’ve had a fright.”

Chris refused a sweetie. Mamie looked at her youngest daughter, perched on a gate, wearing a stylish pink and black frock and shoes with spiky heels.

Her hair was in a French roll, her eyes were darkly outlined and she wore pale shimmery lipstick.

Neil must have been taking in his daughter’s appearance, too.

“Sheep kicked me in the face one clipping time, Chris. I had black eyes like yours for a week.”

“Ha, ha, very funny, Dad.”

Mamie smiled inwardly.

Teenage Chris would have answered back rudely to her father’s teasing but, at twenty-five, she’d learned to keep her temper. Her rebellious days were over, thank goodness.

Mamie couldn’t help thinking it would be lovely if Chris and Robbie were to be romantically involved instead of being just old school pals. It was time Chris settled down.

Robbie was a nice lad – good-looking, too. And, of course, they knew his parents.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.