The Glens of Stone – Episode 43

Robert allowed himself a niggling doubt about not having armed his party with muskets or swords.

He had not intended action of this sort, and that apart, he felt weapons were out of place in what was virtually a church.

Sandy strolled casually across the room to stand beside the two men.

Ewan raised an eyebrow.

“Can I help you?”

“Aye, you can,” Sandy said, his voice calm. “My name is McCrae. Perhaps you’d both accompany me? We have some questions to which we believe you have answers.”

“We? Oh, you mean the dashing captain over there. You wish us to join you both?” Ewan’s face was open and innocent.

“No, sir, I wish you and Mr Porteous here to return with us to the castle.”

“Am I under arrest then, Sergeant?” John Porteous looked surprised.

“You might say that, sir.”

“And you wish us to go with you now?”

“Yes. I have men I can call upon if you refuse. I hope that won’t prove necessary.”

“And here I thought you were a friend of Alison’s,” John said, “not an army sergeant.”

To Sandy’s relief Ogilvie raised his hands in a helpless gesture.

“If you insist, Sergeant. Come, John.”

“Is everything all right, Ewan?” Ellie Chalmers asked anxiously.

“No, Ellie, it is not!” John blurted out. “This man – the very same who wormed his way into my daughter’s affections – is now placing us under virtual arrest. On what charges I do not yet know.”

“Don’t be alarmed.” Ewan smiled confidently at Ellie. “We’re only being taken to the castle for a chat with the good captain over there.”

“But –” She stopped short as Ewan put a finger to his lips.

“Hush. We’ll be fine, don’t you worry. Now, then, Sergeant, let’s be on our way.”

Robert was amazed. Was this the feared assassin? This meek, mild-mannered man? It was not the reputation he’d built up.

Robert watched as Sandy led Ogilvie and John Porteous to the door, closely followed by Ellie Chalmers, whose eyes reflected her concern.

Stepping into the dark passageway, Sandy reached out to push his two captives forward – and immediately staggered back as Ewan’s fist slammed into his stomach. The blow drove the breath from his body and he slumped to his knees. Through his pain he heard Ewan cry out.

“Flee if ye can, John!”

As John raced away Ewan looked wildly around, then started towards the stairs, only to stop abruptly as a scream rent the air.

It came from the top landing where Alison Porteous stood, dishevelled, swaying and terror-stricken, staring down at him.

For long seconds no-one moved, then Alison tottered forward, her eyes glazing over, and rolled head over heels down the stone steps.

Ewan’s first instinct was to rush to Alison’s aid, but her scream brought others into the passageway, including Robert, grim-faced at the sight of his stricken sergeant.

The remaining few soldiers were drawn by the commotion. Two of them grabbed the fleeing John Porteous while the remaining pair lunged towards Ewan.

Ewan leaped over Alison’s prostrate form and scampered up the stairs, dashing into the nearest room and to the window. Outside it was a sheer drop to the cobbles below – but the roof of the adjoining building was only a few feet away.

Footsteps thundered up the stairs.

Heaving open the sash window, Ewan stepped on to the sill and launched himself across the gap . . .

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.