Mysterious Scotland. Part 1
It was in the month of October that I received an invitation from my very old friend, Captain McBragg, to visit his home at Drumnadrochit in Scotland.
‘'My dear friend,
I have urgent news to give you and an important gift to share with you before I die. Please visit me.
Having made no plans for the Hallowe'en vacation, I gladly accepted this invitation and started my journey to one of my favourite cities, Edinburgh.
The fog had already fallen upon the city of Edinburgh when I meandered through the cobbled streets towards my hotel. Trembling from the sudden, colder temperatures, I pulled my winter coat closer around me to protect me from the oncoming mist that moved like a ghost through the medieval streets.
I finally reached the quaint hotel where I was welcomed by Mrs. MacIntyre, my hostess. ‘' Hou's aw wi ye?'' she said as she welcomed me into my tiny room and furnished me with pots of tea, hot scones, clotted cream, and wild rhubarb tart. Ah, Scotland!
The next morning, I awoke to the curlews crying and swirling around the incredible ramparts of Edinburgh's fine granite castle. I hastily packed my bag again as I was eager to make my way to Loch Ness where I would find my old friend.
The bus journey to Drumnadrochit was not a smooth one. We tumbled through foggy, rocky roads, through the heathery country as the sun dipped lower in the sky and darkness came upon us like a black phantom. The further we drove from the lights of Edinburgh, the more desolate and eerie the country became, and we were swallowed up by the mountains like insects disappearing in the moors.
The bus driver suddenly announced, ‘'Ma'am…it's your stop, miss. Time to jump off, now''. I was startled out my slumber, grabbed my little bag and stepped off the bus to find myself in the middle of nowhere. Before I could jump back on the bus, the vehicle had disappeared into the darkness in the blink of an eye. I searched the darkness and the shape of a house began to emerge in front of me. It was a stark, dark house with creepers crawling its walls like snakes climbing a tree. I recognized the stain-glass windows from the photograph that Douglas McBragg sent me in a letter many years ago. To my relief, I realized I had reached the house of my old friend.
As I lifted the lion's head to knock on the front door, I realized it was already open and it slowly swung to let me in. I entered the house and immediately noticed the model of a sailing ship on the old chest of drawers. I should now tell you that Captain McBragg had been a sailor on the seven seas for many years, and had visited ports in exotic lands, such as Brunei, Honduras and even Zanzibar. I had heard on the grapevine that he was, in fact, a pirate who had plundered these lands for their gold and jewels.
‘'Is that you, my lovely?'' a croaking voice called me from the top floor.
Reluctantly, I slowly dragged my feet up the stairs. I was beginning to feel ill at ease in that gloomy, spooky house.
‘'Yes, ‘tis me, Douglas. How awful you look!'' I cried as I noticed the white, drawn figure on the bed.
My old friend appeared like a skeleton as he tried to pull himself up from the bed.
‘'Bring me my whiskey. Whiskey!'' he yelled. I brought the bottle over and he poured two glasses for us. Slowly, he pulled out a yellowish envelope and told me to open it.
‘'It's a gift. I am nearly dead, my lovely. It is yours…''
He coughed and spluttered and I quickly seized the phone to call for an ambulance. The paramedics were there in minutes.
* * *
The next day, I awoke in my little guest house on the banks of Loch Ness. It was only the previous night that my old friend had passed away at midnight. I opened the envelope. To my astonishment, it was a treasure map of the Loch Ness region, pointing to an X on the north of the lake. Was my old friend Captain McBragg simply a mad man or was there really treasure to be found?
Only the next chapter will reveal the truth…