Excerpt from, “I’ll play my Pipes in the Gloaming

Calum Stuart pressed his narrow back against the old oak door of Kainakill Manor, pushed it closed, shutting out the gusting wind, a wind born in the distant north Atlantic, bearing the scent of the sea, the scent of heather blanketing the hills, of heather softening the harsh banks of burn and loch in its bosom; shutting in the thick melancholy, the aching empty feeling of a too recent loss, filling him, filling the air around him, soaking into oppressive purple drapes, permeating dark trim around windows and door, seeping into dingy dim walls, leaving a bitter coppery taste behind.
Fingers more fitting for digging potatoes than painting removed the protective cover from his latest masterpiece, his long day’s labour of love; hands, steady, rested an easel and the painting against the foyer wall.
A painting when separated into individual parts, was lifeless, without meaning or purpose, but a painting when looked at as a completed thing burst into life, filled with mighty waves surging over a dark green sea, filled with craggy cliffs and white cloud dotted blue sky, where gulls wheeled, wings outstretched, catching the wind whipping up the cliffs, puffins, a contrast of crisp black and white, bobbing on white-capped waves, flocks of storm petrels, white rumps to the wind, fluttering over the sea, feeding, feet pattering above wave-tops, large gannets skimming across foaming water, black tipped white wings stretched to their fullest.
His mother’s old wooden paint box, stained with dabs of magenta, tangerine, ripe rose red, stained with cobalt blue, grassy green, sunny yellow, stained with ochre, burnt umber, beige, stained with pristine white, black, blacker than midnight and every shade of grey imaginable, brimming with memories of summers standing on cliff top’s and gazing down at roaring, pounding breakers, summers of walking along narrow sandy beaches, summers spent with a women full of golden laughter, a woman giving unconditional love to a crippled child,  a child teased, tormented by father, older and younger brother, a box overflowing with a dark dismal dreary day in a dark dismal dreary cemetery, a box overflowing with human tears, mixing, mingling with heaven’s tears, a box holding a life full of agony, an aching sadness, an empty hollow feeling, holding a wound that could never be healed, was placed carefully beside it.
The tall thin man eased the straps of the old wicker fishing creel, full to the top with brown trout off his shoulder, dropped it onto the polished foyer floor. He removed a coat, filled with the tang of the sea, dripping with the fragrance of heather, shook the clinging mist from the dark wool, and hung it on a hook by the door. His hat, a black old thing, stained by many years, was hung, after the mist was cleared away, on an adjacent hook. Stuart called out, “Are you anywhere about, Mrs. Lamont?”
The deep voice, heavy with a scotch burr, rang down the long corridor, between white walls that hadn’t seen soap and water for far too many days and through the keyhole of a thick oak door. Dead glass eyes, eyes of deer, of boar, of lion and rhino, set deep in mounted heads, glared at him, accusing him of disturbing their sleep, disturbing their dreams of forest, of rivers and sunny veldts.
No answer came to his call; the voice was raised, called again. “Mrs Lamont, where are you? I have some fine trout for supper.”
A lilting voice, coming from beyond the door, resplendent with flowers and oak leaves carved into the panels, replied, “I’ll be there in a minute.”
Like all doors in the great house, it swung open without making a noise. The bright faced, forever cheerful woman, wiped floured hands on a white apron spotted with food stains, smiled when she got closer.
“Trout did you say, Master Calum? As soon as I fetch the Laird’s tea, I’ll get them cleaned and fry them in whisky batter for supper.”


1 Comment

Filed under fiction, Literary, Literature

One response to “Excerpt from, “I’ll play my Pipes in the Gloaming

  1. Gayle

    OK…I am definately NOT skilled to be a ‘critic’….I just enjoy reading good, interesting material….I enjoyed what I read….

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