The Adventures of Lily Leigh—Ch. 3—Elaine Bonow
Lily Leigh Chapter 3
“You should rest girl. But first, while you eat, let me answer some of the questions you must be having.”
“First, tell me why I am here. I could have a concussion or something worse. Are you a doctor or something? Why didn’t you take me to the hospital? I must have been completely unconscious? I could have…”
“Oh, stop your fretting lassie. You were breathing and I didn’t want any publicity about you being here. Edinburgh is a small town and your name would be all over town in a matter of hours.”
“Cousin Ed just told me to come up here and find out where you were. I didn’t think it would be a matter of national importance.”
Bertram strode purposefully across the room and stirred the fire, which blazed and sparked, his gangly frame. I assessed the man and helped myself to another cup of coffee. In spite of my bizarre kidnapping, I quite liked the look of my newly discovered uncle. He was a tall man; about six foot three, thin to the edge of gauntness with a wild shock of white hair. I guess he must be pushing eighty or more. His huge gnarled hands stuck out from the sleeves of his tweed jacket. Despite his age he had an aura of strength, which reassured me.
“Who stitched me up? ” I asked as I hungrily dug into the crispy bacon and soft yolk of the poached egg he had so kindly brought me.
“Ah, well lass. I raised sheep for many years and had to fix up all of my animals from time to time when they got hurt. I am very proud of my stitching. You only needed a couple of wee stitches. You’ll have a wee scar but that will disappear in a few months. Now don’t worry, you’ll be just fine after a good night sleep.”
“I guess I’d better thank you Uncle. I better call you uncle after all we’ve been through. I must still be in shock and I still don’t get all this secrecy. I really need to talk to Ed. This all seems like a bad dream.” I could feel the tears starting to heat up my face. I took a large gulp of coffee and munched on toast until I could get myself together.
Uncle Bertram paced the floor, from me to the fireplace and back again. “I’ve already called Ed.” He said stopping mid pace turning towards me. “I wanted to wait until we could all talk together. This might be something really big that we are after something really important. But we’ll get all of this clarified tomorrow when Ed gets here. He cut his trip short, actually his sale was successful and he finished early. He is taking the train from Paris and will be here tomorrow afternoon.”
“Well, do you think I can have my phone and laptop now. I feel so lost without my electronics. This whole caper sounds interesting. You can count on me, Uncle.”
Bertram stopped pacing at the door. He turned to her and looked hard at her with his steely grey eyes. “Aye lass. But I want you to rest and promise me you won’t be a wandering around the house tonight. I’ll bring your things to you. Mrs. Stewart, my housekeeper will be here in the morning to fix you some food. I’ll go personally and fetch your luggage from Mrs. Broomfield’s.” He turned on his heels and left the room.
I sat back against the headboard and closed my eyes. The events that I remember tumbled through my mind. I wonder what Ed and Bertram are looking for? I have been Ed’s assistant for the past few years now and we’ve had anything so exciting happen before.
I opened my eyes and touched my damaged forehead. “Ouch!” I silently cried out. There was a tap at the door. No one entered. I put the tray on the chair next to the bed. I got up and tip toed to the door. I opened the door a crack and peered out. My laptop and phone were leaning against the wall. I whisked my meager belongings from the icy corridor into the toasty room.
I set up my laptop on the table in front of the fire. The Wi-Fi connection was fast. The first person I emailed was Ed. He’s not as tech-savvy as I am and that is one of the reasons he needed me. In fact I have to give myself credit for getting Ed’s appraisal business into the twenty-first century.
I checked my Facebook page scrolling through all of the random hodgepodge of crap you have to wade through. I didn’t post anything. I really didn’t even know what I would post maybe something like “Help. I’ve been kidnapped by my ancient Scottish uncle that I don’t even know so we can become involved in some strange mysterious adventure that we are going to embark on.” No, I don’t think that would be such a good idea, plus I was feeling pretty tired by now. The best thing to do is sleep and wait until morning.
I closed the laptop and set the alarm on my phone for eight AM. It was now 23:49. Eight solid hours of sleep should get me in shape for tomorrow’s mysterious unveiling. The fire warmed the room nicely and with the lights off the coal glow was comforting. Lying there I mulled over what Bertram had told me. I wonder what we would find on this quest. I felt a bit scared here in a strange house with a damaged skull. I don’t even know where I was in Edinburgh. Tomorrow I would do a location search and find exactly where I was being held. I wish I had someone I could call but my friends are all so far flung. Ed is my closest friend here in the old country since I left my old life behind. I closed my eyes and I could see the green rolling hills of Dundee Oregon. I felt so alone. I wanted to cry but crying might make my head hurt. Suddenly I remembered that Bertram had told me not to wander from my room. I wonder if I locked the door after I got my things. I decided I’d better check and got up from the bed and re-checked the lock. Feeling safer, I could sleep now. I snuggled into the covers and fell into a deep sleep only to be awakened by the feeling of someone sitting on the bed. The room was entirely dark. I cracked my eyes open and screamed.
There was a shadow in profile of a woman in a grey diaphanous gown. A disembodied voice spoke, not aloud, but directly into my head.
“Lass don’t afraid
Your path is well laid.
The first clue to you will show
At the Castle of Linlithgow.”
I turned on the light but there was no one there. My body was cold and my forehead bathed in sweat. What the hell was that? I asked myself. It was a ghost for sure. I told myself. I pressed my phone. The time read 4:44. I hugged myself. I kept seeing the image of the Lady in Gray; at least that’s what she seemed to be, my first haunting. The message she spoke was quite clear. I had been to Linlithgow once before when I was in school. It was such a magnificent ruin full of ancient memories. I was too afraid to sleep and just lay there hugging myself tightly until the first light of day brightened the room ever so gently and I fell into a deep dreamless sleep.