The Glens of Stone – Episode 02

Simultaneously the two women unclasped their hands and the crib soared forward, toppling into space. They waited for a few seconds, then, gripping each other for support, they gingerly stepped to the cliff edge and peered downwards. Of the crib there was no sign, but as they scanned the roiling water below they made out a patch of white swaddling clothes undulating on the surface.

“Come,” Ann urged, grasping Meg by the shoulder. “Let’s get back.”

Once indoors they removed their coats and shawls, and while Meg revived the listless peat fire Ann made hot milk. Only then did they sit down. At last, Ann looked up at the wall clock.

“Time’s passing. Best get the lass ready.”

Together they returned to the upstairs room where the young woman still lay in a deep but restless sleep. They bundled her up in the bedclothes and wrapped a towel lightly around her neck and head.

“That should do her, poor soul,” Meg said, close to tears.

* * * *

As dawn broke McLean barged into the kitchen and greedily swallowed the bread and ham meal the women had prepared.

“Everything attended to?” he snarled. “The babe’s been done away with?”

Both women nodded.

“Right, I’ll be on my way. I’ve set up the horse and carriage. Give me a hand.”

Minutes later all three carried the inert woman down the stairs and into the cobbled courtyard. There she was bundled into the open carriage and covered with a heap of ragged blankets. McLean climbed aboard.

“A carriage will collect you in two days. Clear up here and leave no trace of our presence. You’ll be taken back to Aberdeen and then given a final payment.”

“Aye, Mr McLean,” the women chorused.

Scowling, he stared down at them.

“God help you if either of you breathes a word of what’s taken place here. You’ll hae me and others tae answer to. Better still, you can face the gibbet for what you’ve done.”

With that he cracked his whip and steered the carriage out through the courtyard.

Back in the damp, dank kitchen the women sat and faced each other.

“We’ve a lot on our consciences now, haven’t we?” Ann sighed.

The other nodded.

“God help us, Ann,” she moaned. “What have we done? What possessed us?”

“We did what was best, Meg,” her companion replied, “for all concerned. Only time will tell if we were wrong.”

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.