Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Outlandisher - Chap. 13 - Travel by Boot

17th Century Scotland - The Red Bull Inn

Sitting on the rough wooden bench in the room upstairs, Jamie McFraser and Gerremy McButler's conversation was momentarily drowned out by the loud claps of thunder and the torrential rain that peppered the  roof of the Red Bull Inn.   Presently both men sat facing the object of their consternation and discussing how to approach the search for the key that would allow McBuler passage through the mirror to 21st century New York.

After doing a thorough reconnaissance,  featuring tactile compression of every inch of the surface, they came to the conclusion that it had to be a matter of some kind of spell or group of words that had to be said in the right order that would open the portal.   They had spent the last half hour discussing a little Scottish history and the events that might link the past and the present in hopes of coming up with some clue on how to proceed.

McFraser had also recounted to McButler everything he was doing on the ill fated night that had brought McButler through the portal with a roaring thump.  In turn McButler explained to McFraser what Dressed to Kilt was and how he was  trying on the outfit he was to wear to the occasion when he had turned and momentarily seen the image of Jamie McFraser staring back at him from the mirror.   As a matter of fact, it had been Noly's growling and the ensuing fright that had caused him to trip on the little dog and plummet through the vortex that had suddenly appeared in the mirror.

McFraser had questioned McButler on the circumstances the evening the Captain disappeared, only Gerremy had been unable to shed much light, since he had been fast asleep, under the influence of an Ambien laced shot of Scottish whiskey, which had put him out like a light.   He skipped lightly over his adventures with the English dragoon in an unaccustomed fit of embarrassment.  He noticed McFrasers stern silence and unwillingness to prod further on the matter and wondered what it was all about.

He was not about to go in that direction again though, as he and McFraser had been getting along and he didn't particularly relish seeing the menacing look on the big Scots face ever again.  He was no coward and had survived a fair share of bar brawls in his day, but he knew damned well that if push came to shove, this fiery headed Highlander was capable of killing him without too much trouble.

He decided to take a different approach.

GMcB:   Since yer wife traveled here from another century, dae ye think she might have some clues to offer on this situation?

JMcF:  Perhaps.  My wife is ne'er one tae be scarce wi' the words.  We'll wait til the storm passes, though.    One o' the young lads in the actin'  troop  was struck by a bolt o' lightning an' the poor bastard was left deaf an' dumb.  If it's just the same wi' ye I'm going tae stretch out in the bed and catch up on some sleep while I can.   Ye can wake me when the rain stops.  We should save the candles for later.   Ye can stretch out on the table if ye're tired!

GMcB:  (frowning)  The table?  Unh unh.  I had enough o' that table already.  If ye dinna mind,  that bed is big enough fer two an' I promise tae stay on my side of it.

JMcF:  Ye don't snore, dae ye?

GMcB:   (innocently)  Me?  No' a bit!

Gerremy McButler found himself lying on the table, uncomfortable but thankful for the blanket and pillow that Jamie had ceded to him when he pushed him off the bed  earlier.  He had been sorely tempted to punch him in the head while he was down, but he needed him to find his way back to civilization and he was unwilling to risk alienating him.

Damn, how was a man expected not tae snore when the peat and wood fires clogged up the sinuses.  It was his bad luck McFraser was a light sleeper.   He had found out just how light when he had accidently jostled  Jamie while trying to pull the captain's very snug  trousers out of his arse, only to find a sharp point pierce the skin behind  his right ear.

Yes, Jamie McFraser was one very tautly strung  highlander and thank goodness his protestations of chaffing had the ring of truth to it, or he might have lost the ear altogether.   After the commotion, they had settled down again, with Gerremy determined not to move so much as a hair.   That determination had been skewered completely and certainly no match for Morpheus, who had warmly embraced him and apparently squeezed enough snores out of him to cause him to be quietly, but very unceremoniously,  dumped on the wood plank floor with a blanket carelessly tossed at his head.

Picking himself up, he'd had to beg for the pillow,  which caused McFraser  to lob some strong profanities at him in Gaelic.  McButler had gotten enough of a whiff of their meaning to realize that McFraser knew some curses not even he had ever heard of.    He'd made a mental note to ask him the meaning of a few to add to his own well stocked repertoire before going in search of the pillow McFraser had hurled across the room.

As usual, he was destined to get little sleep.   What seemed like only an hour later he was roughly awakened by the highlander, who had changed his mind and decided to return to Claire and see what light she could shed on this "time traveling" business.  Besides, McFraser had said he was as hungry as he was broke,  and it could rain for days, so they might as well tackle the elements and make their way before it got dark.

Still aching from the hard, inhospitable table, McButler made a show of easily sliding to the ground, as he tried to shake the drowsiness of sleep from his brain.  He noticed Jamie was doing the same, stretching in front of the mirror.

His stockinged feet had barely touched the floor, when a very loud peal of thunder,  immediately followed by a bolt of lightening,  lit up the room.   Covering his ears to shield them from the sound,  Gerremy McButler, in a show of grace seldom witnessed by mortal man (or woman),  tripped over the tight fitting boots he had slipped off  previous to climbing up on the table little more than an hour before,  and careened into one Jamie Lee McFraser with the equally loud, but well worn verbal explosion otherwise known as FUCK!

The next thing either of them knew, they were grabbing thin air and being sucked in,  hand over foot,  by the black vortex that opened up to receive them.

Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction that exists only in the twilight zone of the writer's mind. Any and all resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

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