12.06.2008 | By: Alisa Callos


Today’s Sunday Scribbling prompt fell right in with a scene I was writing for ‘the novel’, so here’s to the tradition of writing and all the fun and gratification it offers us.

Scotland, 1747

Tradition dictated immediate revenge—a life for a life. Ian glanced over at Alec who sat hunched over his bowl of stew near the hearth. Grief had etched lines in his youthful complexion and he looked grey with fatigue. They were both exhausted and Ian imagined he looked no better. A hard and bitterly cold ride from Oban had been met with the heartbreaking news that they were too late. Uncle James was dead. Knifed down by a McLaren blade, his body desecrated and tortured.

Outside, December winds whipped freshly fallen snow into drifts as icy cold draughts penetrated the thick stonewalls of the castle. Occasionally a particularly strong gust would rattle the tapestries but otherwise all was quiet save scrape of spoon against bowl. It was near to midnight as he and Alec sat vigil with their uncle’s body. The witching hour his granny called it. A time for ghost’s and spirits.

He looked up as his cousin Francie entered the hall, her eyes red and puffy from crying. “It’s up to you Ian. It’s your responsibility,” she said as she sank laboriously into a chair near the hearth. Ian watched as she ran her hand over her belly, heavy with child. Instinctively he hunched lower in his chair. “The clan looks to you now. For leadership. I know it’s not what you were expecting but it’s what’s right and proper.”

He sighed and returned his gaze to the fire. “You know he was like a father to me Francie. I always thought your brother would be laird. I didn’t even aspire to it.” He ran his fingers through his hair, a headache beginning to brew. An overwhelming sadness, coupled with resignation settled over him. Another senseless death—there had been too many. “Did Angus bring a name when he brought the body?”

“Roland McLaren.”

Ian felt the weight of a thousand years of Scots tradition crash down on him at her words. He knew the man. Had raised a pint with him over business in Edinburgh. Liked him well enough to call him friend. He looked to Alec still hunched by the fire before returning his gaze to Francie. “Was Angus sure it was Roland?” He asked.

“Yes.” She replied. “When will you leave?”

“First light, I suppose.” He shut his eyes and leaned his head back in the chair.

“Will you take the men?”

“No. Alec and I will go alone.” He replied his eyes still shut. “Roland’s a friend, Francie. I have to give him a chance to answer the charge.”

“He killed my father in cold blood Ian!” she retorted. “If you won’t do it I’ll find someone who will!”

Ian jerked up in his chair and pinned Francie with a glare. “That’s all I’m willing to give you Francie. I won’t kill a man on an accusation. I want to hear his side before I decide what’s to be done. I mourn our uncle too. If revenge is to be had it’s for me to decide and that’s final.”


Valerie Geary said...

Gave me shivers. I also got cold reading it... must have been something about the tapestries rattling with the sudden gusts. Good job!! I want to read more!

linda may said...

That is a book I want to read more of.

Greyscale Territory said...

Powerful drama! Lovely atmosphere of tensions!

*~sis~* said...

i'm curious to know what happens....great images! :)

missalister said...

This is the first taste of “the novel” that I’ve had and I find it a great swatch of writing. Well written and familiar, this piece of story, like a movie I’ve seen but can’t name. You’ve done your job having left me wondering what sets this novel apart, what uniquely-Alisa turn witll this tale take? I wish I could order it from B&N today and read it tomorrow :-)

keiths ramblings said...

So chilling. You created an incredible atmosphere. Loved it

david mcmahon said...

That is definitely read-the-next-chapter material ....

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