The Glens of Stone – Episode 14

Robert rose to his feet.

“Explain yourself, sir!” he demanded.

The newcomer smiled and raised his brimmed hat.

“Reverend Proudfoot at your service. My apologies for interrupting ye at this late hour, Captain, but needs must.”

“Could these needs not wait until the morning, Reverend?”

“Alas, no.” The cleric glanced at the gawping dragoon. “Perhaps we could speak alone?” he suggested.

Exasperated, Robert dismissed the soldier.

“Well, get on with it, man. What’s so important that it couldn’t wait?”

The cleric gave a throaty chuckle.

“I have an important message for you, my dear sir. Forbye it comes in two parts.”

With rising impatience Robert stepped nearer.

“So? What, then, is the first part of the message?”

“This!” The cleric drove his fist into Robert’s stomach.

Robert collapsed to his knees, bent double and gasping for breath. He raised his head to protest but received two jaw-rattling slaps in quick succession. Head reeling, Robert slumped to the floor.

“In God’s name,” he croaked, “what have I . . .?”

“Wheesht, laddie,” the Reverend said softly. “That was a wee punishment for the way you treated Miss Chalmers. Now, pray listen carefully to the second part of my message.”

As Robert lay there, he felt both anger and fear. Anger at having been felled by a civilian, and fear as he saw the merciless glint in the man’s eyes. As he listened, he was tempted to protest, but a sixth sense warned him to hold his tongue.

“Now, you’re quite clear as to what is required?” the Reverend finished.

Robert shook his head to try to clear it. Fortunately the action wasn’t misinterpreted by his visitor.

“Good,” Proudfoot said.

He reached down to pull Robert to his feet and helped him to the seat at the desk.

“Well, sir, it’s been a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Perhaps when we meet again – and we will, I assure ye – it will be more pleasurable for us both.”

Satisfied, Proudfoot opened the door and disappeared into the corridor.

As Robert sat, trying to regain his composure, his thoughts kept turning to Ellie Chalmers. What possible interest could a man of the cloth have in a humble kitchen skivvy?

But he had the feeling that to inquire further would not be wise.

Eventually the pain in his stomach eased and he summoned one of the guards.

“Fetch me the girl Chalmers,” he ordered. “You’ll find her in the kitchens.”

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.