Echoes From The Past – Episode 50

Hector looked at his daughter’s shining dark hair and realised that there was much more going on in that clever head than he had any idea of. He reached down and put his fingers under her chin.

“And what is Thomas Forester to you, Mirin?”

He saw a small tear escape the corner of her eye, but he didn’t let up.

“Look at me, child. What is this Englishman to you, that his friends put themselves at risk to tell you his whereabouts?”

At last she met his gaze with her bright blue eyes, so like her mother’s.

“He has said nothing to me, nor I to him, Faither, but . . .”

“There is some kind of understanding?”

She nodded.

“You have an understanding, with an Englishman?”

“He’s a good man, Faither. It’s not his fault that he’s –”

“What does your letter say? Read me the message.”

His voice was calm but there was a level of gravity in it that made her shake with fright.

“It says, Thomas injured. Will take him to Dunskillen. Petrus.”

Hector stared.

“That’s all?”

She nodded.

“That’s all. Friar Petrus must have found him at the battlefield –”

“Found him? Have you any idea what a battlefield looks like?”

Mirin became more agitated and tearful at the very thought.

“What else can he mean? He must have gone there to be of assistance, and has come across Thomas.”

“And how does Friar Petrus come to know of the understanding you have with this man? Have you told him what you could not tell your father?”

She shook her head violently.

“No. How could you think it?” She looked straight at Hector, hiding nothing from him now. “Friar Petrus is an observant man, that is all. He sees everything. Was it not Petrus that went to the abbey to get Murdo for us? He didn’t even have to ask.”

She hesitated, took a breath, then carried on.

“He does have a most forbidding countenance, but he would not go tending to injured soldiers and sending messages to people who care for them if he wasn’t a kind man. Would he?”

Hector was so surprised at the turn of events that he remained silent.

“I’ll have to go now, Faither.” Her hand shook as she put the message back into the scrip. “Will you manage without me? Just till I find out what has happened? Thomas may well be . . . he could
be . . .”

Hector’s voice softened.

“Don’t say he’s dying, child. Petrus would not have sent a message if there was no hope for him.” He watched her agitation for another moment. “Go to Dunskillen. You know the way?”

“I’ll find it,” she said. “As soon as it’s light enough, I’ll find the way.”

“Shall I send Murdo with you? Or come myself?”

She shook her head.

“You’re needed here. Don’t worry. I’ll be safe enough. No-one will bother with a maid like me.”

“We’ll see. Go and sleep now, and travel in the morning.”

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!