Within The Castle Walls
This atmospheric complete story by Elizabeth A. Gillespie has a twist in the tale.
CAN hair really stand on end?” Morag muttered. She felt as though someone was drawing a feather from the top of her forehead down to the back of her neck. A chill breeze swirled like an invisible mist around her ankles.
She glanced at the other visitors in the hall of the historic castle, hoping none of them heard her talking to herself.
More people were expected to join the tour of the ancient building, and while they waited some strolled along the stone floor of the long corridor, admiring the oil paintings of past owners.
Morag studied the portrait nearest to her. He was serious, red-haired, aristocratic, his head tilted back as though he were looking down his nose at her.
The brass plaque below the painting identif ied him as Alistair MacPherson, brother of Catriona MacPherson. But there was no obvious oil painting of his sister.
As a cold breeze swept through the reception area, Morag shivered. She’d spent hours researching the history of the castle and the clan MacPherson, and now she was on a determined mission to f ind out what had happened all those years ago.
“It’s much warmer than I thought it would be in here!” she heard a neatly dressed visitor exclaim to her companion.
“Especially when you realise that the walls are two feet thick,” her friend replied.
Morag was confused. Was she in the same place as the two ladies? She was wishing she’d brought in her thick jacket from the car.
The other guests were talking animatedly. No-one seemed to notice anything unusual.
“Hello, everyone. We can start our tour now.” A pleasant-faced young woman smiled at the group. “My name is Lilias and I’ll be showing you around this wonderful castle today. Feel free to ask any questions as we go round. I don’t mind being interrupted.”
Morag listened attentively as the guide gave plenty of detailed information of the castle’s past and present owners. The group then followed Lilias into a room to admire a wall covered in tapestries sewn by young girls of the MacPherson family. It was the custom in the past to show off the sewing expertise of well-brought-up young ladies.
There was a hint of lavender in the air and Morag felt a chill. Was she doing the right thing?
The tapestries contained letters of the alphabet, numbers zero to nine and, in some, the initials of grandparents and their offspring had been carefully executed.
At the foot of one, circled with small flowers, was the name C. MacPherson, 1861. Catriona must have been thirteen years of age.
Morag studied the delicate stitches for so long that she had to