© ROB J. PEARCE
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* signifies italics *
Smoke, thick and gray, made the redcoats difficult to see. Only halfway to the English line the highlanders charged on, swords high and axes ready as cannon roared like thunder overhead. Their legs lifting and sinking heavily into bogs, over tall grass and heather, while trying not to careen into the highlander running beside them. English muskets fired deathly volleys. A sense of inevitability overcame many of the Scots. Defeat became certain before the highlanders could get close enough to the enemy.
Stuart MacDonald, the son of Lord MacDonald, ran near his father, his eyes darting as highlanders dropped wounded or dead. So many bodies that he feared the ground would soon become carpeted with tartan and it would be his father’s clansmen that his boots would trample over.
The English cannon continued to fire. Divots of mud and sprays of blood burst intermittently through the air. With so much movement around him, along with constant smoke, Stuart didn’t know where to focus his eyes. Adrenaline coursed through his veins as loud cries of pain could be heard above the din. Anguish and the fear of death surmounted the growing casualties.
He screamed, “Father, use the blue pendant! They’re tearing us to pieces!”
They had all known that the task would be difficult, but Prince Charles had given the order to charge. With so much death happening around him, for one moment – a brief bare second – the lord thought about the power inside the silver box hanging around his neck – a force so deadly that he kept it on his person at all times for fear someone else would use it.
“Son, I’ll not use that gift from the devil. Run harder; we have English to kill,” he panted.
At that moment, Stuart realized his father was too steeped in religious fervor to use the power of the pendant to save his clan. His father’s faith and fear of the unnatural masked what Stuart saw as common sense. But he understood some of the lord’s fears. His choice was to save some of his clansmen or die as a heretic on a wooden pile in the flames of religious fire. The lord thought to save his soul, and those of his clansmen, rather than his brave warrior's lives. Stuart frowned, his choice would not have been the same.
It had only been minutes since the first shot had been fired. A third of the MacDonald highlanders had already fallen. Another twenty-yards and Stuart had trouble keeping up with his father. His broadsword feeling heavier than lead, his breathing jagged as his feet constantly sunk too deep in the wet ground.
A lump of metal grapeshot, fired from a cannon, ripped into his father’s chest blowing him backward and killing him instantly. Stuart bent and reached for the blue pendant in its silver box. Dropping his sword and kneeling, he seized the box and ripped the silver chain as he did so. For a short moment he watched as the broken chain threaded its way through the eyelet on the box and dropped onto his father’s chest. Quickly, he opened his father’s coat and also took the MacDonald clan golden brooch pinned to the vest.
Desperately, he tried to open the silver box to use the pendant, but his gloves were too thick. He gripped the fingertips of his glove with his teeth and yanked it off. While holding both pieces, he screamed as searing pain ripped up his back. Falling forward, shot through the spine, he found it difficult to move. Both treasures had fallen from his hand. Desperate to reach them, his fingers clawed the ground as he pulled himself closer.
A charging highlander’s boot came down on the pieces, forcing them into the mud. As he lay dying, the box spoke silently to him. ‘Young lord, fear not. A seed has been planted, your clan will be great again.’
He died with his eyes open and focused on the clan treasures.
After all the noise abated and the smoke drifted away carrying the souls of so many, the flower and youth of the MacDonald clan was dead, and so too was the old lord’s line of succession. Within twenty minutes, so too was the strength and beauty of Scotland.
*Present day, 2019. Culloden Moor historic battlefield, Scotland*
Angus MacDonald was a man of action, being a twenty-five-year-old lieutenant in the U.S. Marines. He could hardly stop smiling as he had so looked forward to being on a historical battlefield. Tony, a long and dear friend of his father, had invited him to the archeological dig in Scotland because he knew how much he loved Scottish history.
As soon as Tony had called him to tell him he would take students to Culloden Moor, Angus felt his heart strings pulled and he joined the dig. Somewhere on this land his ancestor Lord MacDonald had lost his life.
On arrival at the moor, Angus looked around and felt his heart beat a little faster. It was an overcast day, and that matched his feelings in some ways. Death lived on this moor and no amount of good weather would ever change the gloom surrounding this place.
“This battlefield is a link for me to touch my past, Tony. Look around. The place is still a boggy field. Can you imagine how my MacDonald ancestors felt as they charged five-hundred-yards through all this shit on this god-forbidden moor at hell’s door?”
“You’re lucky, Angus. I have no such heritage, but I knew you’d enjoy being here seeing some of yours.”
“Yeah, I sure do. My long-ago great-grandmother was a member of the MacDonald clan, and she probably came to this field after the English left. She would’ve come to find her loved ones, and she’d have wept over the dismembered and bloodied MacDonald highlanders. It’s a powerful vision.”
“Okay,” said Tony feeling good that Angus was excited. “Why don’t you go over and help Bruce?”
Angus had been standing with his hands on hips, but now he dropped them and stared north. Almost as if the spot his ancestor died called out to him, he meant to find it.
Tony watched Angus walk away, then looked up at the sky. The sky had darkened a lot over the past hour. Soon rain would fall, but Tony knew not to worry as marines were trained to disregard the weather. Curious as to where Angus could be going he decided to follow.
“Are you looking for something?” he called out after he’d gotten close enough.
“I won’t rest until I stand where my ancestors fell that day,” Angus replied. “The story of the battle charge has been passed down for many generations these past three hundred years.”
“I can show exactly where they were,” Tony volunteered and pointed up ahead toward an area thick with bogs and tall glass.
“The MacDonald clan had to tread through that to get closer to the English line, but many didn’t make it.” After walking a considerable distance, he pointed down to the ground. “It is around here scholars believed the lord and his son lost their lives.”
Angus, thrilled to know the exact area hurried closer, but unsure what he would do when he reached there. Just as he came abreast of Tony, a strange sensation came over him and his eyes rolled back into his head.
Tony reached out to grab Angus, but Angus fell sideways and away from him, crashing in an unconscious heap on the ground. Tony knelt beside him. He saw no injuries. He saw no reason why Angus had collapsed. After patting Angus’ face, he saw he couldn’t be aroused, fear took over. Tony got up, grabbed him by his shoulders and started dragging him back to the dig site while yelling for students to hurry closer and give him a hand. Tony had only taken a few steps when Angus’ eyes opened. Behaving as if nothing had happened, he gently pulled from Tony’s grasp and got back onto his feet.
“What happened?” Angus asked.
“It looks like you fainted,” Tony answered with bewildered eyes.
“Fainted?” Angus questioned, then remembered the strange sensation he had felt before finding himself being dragged across high, damp grass.
He stared at the location Tony had pointed out. The sensation he felt became indescribable – a feeling so strange that he took steps again to the spot he had tried to reach. Tony reached out to stop him, but Angus was out of range. At first Angus felt nothing, and then suddenly the sensation came back, but stronger this time. The next time Angus opened his eyes, Tony and some students were standing over him staring at him curiously.
Tony had seen the way Angus had fallen: In a strange way and almost as if Angus had been in a trance. Needing to know what had caused this behavior, he stood where Angus had stood and felt nothing, saw nothing.
Behind him, Angus got onto his feet feeling strong and not in the least bit injured. Not sure what could be happening, he walked closer to Tony to discuss it. The sensation returned, he stopped and took a single step back while looking down at the ground.
“Something is here,” Tony suggested while also staring at the ground. “I don’t smell gas or anything that could explain why you’re acting this way.”
He looked at the students. “Go back to the tent. Bring equipment.”
Several students hurried off. Several more stayed where they were, too curious to walk away unless they missed something. It took only minutes for the digging to begin.
Angus stayed back a bit, too fearful of getting any closer. It was then he remembered something before he had fainted a second time. “Tony, I thought I heard a voice say, ‘young lord.’”
One of the students used the metal detector. An object registered.
“Move it along, but remember your training and take it carefully.” Tony instructed.
After the layer of grass had been removed, the students scraped away soil in shallow increments to find what the metal detector had picked up. Four inches down, a musket ball became visible and they continued to scrape. Six inches and another lead ball. Musket balls and shrapnel from cannon balls and grapeshot had been registered as covering the battlefield. For those that had searched the area, the balls where no more than tokens as they were so common as to be sometimes found and then discarded. The team looked for something more significant.
After digging six inches deeper, Bruce, the student, looked up at Tony and yelled, “Here! Look! There’s something metallic, silver maybe.”
Everyone crowded around Bruce to see what he had found.
“Someone hand me a brush,” Bruce said.
Within seconds of brushing away soil to reveal more of the object, rain started to fall and Tony thought about ending the dig. The wind strengthened. It howled across the moor and picked up dry grass and bracken stalks and hurled them around. None of the students looked ready to leave. They were all wrapped in the process and excited at the possibility of a discovery.
The first indication of what was buried finally appeared; a flat surface, about the size of a cigarette pack, but a little wider. An inch deeper and the brush strokes no longer exposed any silver.
Tony said, “Gently, Bruce. Pry it out slowly.”
Bruce grabbed the wooden lever another student had handed him, then gently eased it into the soil under the silver box and moved it a little. It lifted easily and he handed it up to Tony. Mud and dirt were all over the object making it hard for Tony to make out some small ridges on the surface. He brushed them and soon looked at what appeared to be writing, but reading it was difficult because the light had darkened and the rain fell heavier.
Angus saw the object and lurched forward. The urge to touch the box became uncontrollable. Tony saw Angus’ outstretched hand and tugged the find away from away from him, while giving a stern look.
“Alright. Everyone back to the vans. We’ll come back tomorrow.” Tony said.
He’d no sooner said the words when Bruce yelled again. “Professor, when I removed the box I saw another small object, it looks like jewelry!”
“Damn, it looks like we’re going to get drenched. Most of you head back to the vans and we’ll be there soon,” said Tony.
While the students focused on Bruce’s efforts, Tony took Angus aside and quietly questioned his actions about reaching for the find.
“I don’t know what came over me,” Angus admitted. “I thought I heard a voice.” Angus ran his hand through his hair. “Like the silver box spoke to me, or something. ‘Young lord, young lord, I am here.’ I don’t know what’s happening.”
Tony’s mouth opened and he stared at Angus momentarily. “That’s a huge jump. You hearing ‘words’ stretches me a bit. Damn! You stay back from the dig to be safe.”
Students had not moved back to the vans. They were much too excited to worry about rain, so they stood, wide-eyed as they watched Bruce work. They all gasped as the dirt moved under the brush and before them was a beautiful gold brooch about three inches in diameter. Bruce handed it up to Tony, and he turned holding it up so Angus could see.
Tony said, “Okay! Now all of you must go back to the vans. We’ll discuss all of this tomorrow morning. Be proud of your efforts today. Let’s go.”
It was cold and pelting rain as Tony drove his van the short distance from the carpark to the visitor center of the battlefield.
Angus said, “What are you doing?”
“I’m going in to report the find. This is a registered historical site and we can’t just take things away from here.”
Tony, being a noted historian, had been given a permit to search the old battlefield. He had responsibilities related to finds and entertained no thoughts of breaching his permit.
“Bullshit!” Angus said as he glared at Tony. “We’ve got to check all of this out before we go giving things away. Something’s going on with that stuff. That silver box spoke to me and I want to know why. We could have a miracle on our hands and I’m not going to let that pass.”
The students had left in the other van as Angus and Tony sat for a moment. Tony smiled at Angus’s new interest in their little adventure and he thought again about reporting the find at this time.
Staring at the box, Angus wondered why he did not feel faint. The objects sat no more than two feet from him and he felt nothing. Slowly, and with no shortage of apprehension, he stretched his arm and touched the silver box. Immediately, his head began to spin. But not as bad as before as he quickly withdrew his hand.
“What’s happening here, Tony? Why me, and not you or the students? And why is it, when my clothes are damp and the weather’s cold, I don’t I feel it?”
“I don’t know yet. Anyway, I’ve decided not to report the find until tomorrow,” he said while starting the van. “I’ll think about it back at the hotel in Inverness. Once I clean the artifacts, I may understand more. Perhaps the writing on them will fill out the story a little.”
Connor MacDonald, Angus’ father, had been the executive officer on an Arleigh Burke class destroyer, and he had seen plenty of action around the Middle East. He had been involved in several shore incursions, one as an intelligence officer embedded with a squad of SEALs; he had seen death close up. Later, his love of the intelligence field had seen him at the Pentagon where he excelled. It had not been too long before his skills were appreciated by high-ranking officers, and he became an aide and advisor to the secretary of defense before the current incumbent.
That had been before his wife died two years ago, and since then he had taken semi-retirement to reassess his future and wind down his hectic life. But occasionally, he worked part-time, still at the Pentagon assisting with complicated intelligence matters. Always clear thinking, imaginative, and with an excellent memory for detail his skills were in high demand.
He sat in his home office in Washington DC when he received a call from Tony in Inverness.
Tony said, “Connor, something amazing has happened over here and I can’t even remember the feeling of being so excited. It seems the MacDonald connection with your family may have produced something astonishing. Angus was affected by an artifact we found, and I’m intrigued to get to the bottom of what’s going on. But don’t worry. He’s fine.”
“Don’t worry?” Connor exclaimed as he jumped up from his seat. “Of course I will worry? What happened to my son, Tony?”
“He felt dizzy on Culloden Moor and passed out. But he recovered quickly, so I didn’t bother you with it. Back here in the hotel, I insisted that he went and laid down for a while even though he said he felt great. I’ve used the time to clean the artifacts. Now I must decide what to do with them.”
“It is difficult for me to focus on artifacts, don’t you think?”
“I tell you he’s okay. If he wasn’t, I’d take him to hospital. I’m his god-father for Christ’s sake Connor. I’m not going to put his health at risk.”
“Yes, alright.” Connor said as he weighed up Angus’ situation. “Tell me about the artifacts.”
Tony went on to describe how one was a beautiful golden brooch with the MacDonald coat of arms embossed on one side. On the back was the clan motto, by sea and by land.
“But Connor, the other artifact is unbelievable. It’s this that seems to have affected Angus. He said it talked to him; unless Angus is crazy, it seems to have some power. It’s a silver case, a little larger than a cigarette pack. Once again, it had the coat of arms on it.” Tony’s voice became elevated as he could not contain his enthusiasm. “Inside the silver box was such a beautiful piece of jewelry it stunned me. It was a round pendant with three golden and glass leaves attached to the front, close to three inches in diameter with a gold rim. This rim surrounded a magnificent blue glass in its center. The rim has writing on the front and back. Honestly, Connor, the piece has mesmerized me.”
“I can’t remember you being so excited you staid old man,” said Connor. He added a short laugh. “Can you take a few photos? I would love to see them as soon as you can shoot ‘em over to me.”
“I’ll do it now and we’ll talk on Skype later. When you see the pendant, you’ll be back to me in a flash.”
Tony hung up, used the best lighting he could and went about taking half a dozen photos of the front and back of the three items. He wanted Connor to be able to totally appreciate the artifacts. After sending the photos, he opened Skype and went to the kitchen to make coffee. Angus appeared and sat at the table.
Tony saw him through the kitchen door and spoke with his voice raised. “I’ve spoken to your dad, and I’ve sent him photos of the artifacts. Go have a look at them as they’re nice and clean now.”
Angus’ stared as if bewitched when he saw them on the coffee table. He wasn’t sure if he felt scared or curious as he remained transfixed for a moment.
“Tony, the blue glass is hypnotic, how in hell’s name could people back then make something of such fine artwork and design?”
“Good question. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before in Scottish history. Actually, it’s not Scottish. Your dad will be on Skype shortly as he’s going to be shocked by the wording on the pendant. I didn’t tell him as I thought I’d let him have a surprise. He’ll be able to read the Greek, but the Norse may stump him. I won’t go into any further description for you now until your dad’s with us. Do you feel dizzy sitting so close to the pendant?”
Angus said, “Not dizzy at all. I’m captivated by the blue glass, though.”
With that, the computer made the unmistakable sound of a Skype call. Tony and Angus were both seated in front of the computer camera and looked at Connor.
“Hi, Son. It’s good to see you are up and about. I hope you feel good. I’m recording our chat for your friend James. He hasn’t seen you for a while and I thought he’d like to see this video.”
“Good idea. Give him my regards. I feel much better, especially having seen these beautiful objects laid out in front of me.”
Connor said, “Yes, they’re magnificent. Tony, I got a big surprise when I saw that writing on the pendant. Old Greek on the front and Norse on the back. Staggering! Absolutely staggering!”
“Come on, Dad! What does it say?”
Tony jumped in and said, “The Greek on the front says, *when you are blue, you are no longer you.* The Norse on the back says, *if the moon through the blue you see, then you know me.*”
Angus said, “What’s it all mean?”
Tony had no idea as to dating the pendant, although he knew it was very old. What intrigued him, was the combination of Greek and Norse. Both cultures believed and worshiped gods and mythology permeated their beliefs. Connor nodded.
“Connor, what are we going to do with them? We can’t hide and keep them.”
“Do nothing while we think about it. Unfortunately, your students know all about the find. The good thing is they don’t know exactly what they were. Better still is they don’t know what was in the silver case or do they, Tony?”
Connor’s clear mind as an intelligence analyst was on display as he had already thought through the issues Tony was worried about.
“No. None saw inside the silver box,” said Tony deliberately. “The brooch definitely belongs to the chief of the MacDonald clan and probably the pendant as well. Scotland’s government may have something to say about it as well.”
“There’s your answer, do what you like with the rest, but keep the pendant until we know more about its power.”
Angus, without thinking, picked up the pendant.
Moving to the window, he said, “Tony, you said, ‘if the moon through the blue you see, then you know me,’ right?”
“What are you doing?” Tony asked.
Angus held the pendant up, and looked through the blue of its glass to where the moon was partially hidden behind rain clouds. Blue light flashed and filled the living room. Tony stared down his front and saw that the light had turned his skin and clothing blue. Jumping out of his chair, he stared around the room. Everything was blue. He then stared at Angus as he lifted both of his hands toward the moon.
Tony remembered Connor then hurried to the computer and turned its camera to face Angus.
Connor jumped out of his chair as he watched his son. “I don’t like this. Take the artifact from him. Tony, stop what’s happening!”
Tony focused and gave his face a quick slap. He took two steps toward Angus and felt the blue force push him back aggressively. He nearly fell, then gathered his composure and stared in disbelief.
“You saw that, didn’t you? Got any other bright ideas, Connor?”
Connor never spoke. He put his hand to his mouth and gawked at the blue glow; helplessly resigned to his impotence.
Angus’ voice quivered, his words a little mumbled, as all the while the blue light became stronger until it glowed vividly. Tony strained to hear and managed to pick up most of the conversation. A mixture of Greek and Norse, and Angus appeared to ask questions and answer them himself using another’s words. Tony heart nearly exploded in his chest as what he saw was beyond reason. Beyond that! It was supernatural and terrifying, but Angus stood firm and that gave Tony some relief.
Connor was past anxious, he was in a state of panic, but fought to control himself as he could do nothing from so far away. It was all so surreal that Connor had difficulty focusing on anything but Angus.
A few minutes later the blue light vanished and Angus started to stagger around. Tony had jumped up and grabbed him a moment before he passed out. It was difficult for Tony to manhandle such a tall, strong man, so he laid him down on the floor and put a pillow under his head.
Connor stuck his face in the camera and yelled through the speaker, “Tony, get a doctor immediately! And I mean now!”
Tony returned to the chair in front of the computer and said, “Take it easy, my friend. I’ve seen this fainting two or three times already and he’ll probably be okay in a moment; he just stirred.”
His statement was a little misleading as whilst he’d seen the fainting before, he’d never seen it following such a dramatic event. Tony turned the computer, so Connor could see Angus beginning to sit upright.
Connor sighed, “That’s a relief,” as he wiped his brow.
“He should be fine. At least now, we understand the power of the pendant and that otherworldly powers are at work.” Tony thought for a moment before continuing. “And don’t give me any of your skeptical bullshit, Connor. Your eyes saw it”
“Alright. To make things clearer for me, are you saying none of the events had any effect on you or any of the students?”
“I am. Totally. Whatever it is has selected Angus, and that can’t be disputed.”
“I’m a little confuse,” said Connor. “Hundreds of archeologists have walked over Culloden Moor with metal detectors. Why in hells name didn’t any find these artifacts?”
“I can only guess that the artifacts didn’t want to be found. I know that sounds strange, but it’s no stranger than what we just saw.”
Angus was up and walking around. Although he shook his head a little, his steps were sure and solid. He thought clearly enough to realize a bridge had been crossed. Still shaking his head, but this time not to clear his mind, he thought for the first time where all this crazy, mystical drama was heading. Continuously, his mind turned to words in his head which he did not know if he’d heard or thought. Young lord. Young lord.
Connor said, “Angus, how do you feel?”
“I can honestly say I’ve never felt better in my life. I feel so strong.”
“Why in hell’s name did you pick up that pendant? Reckless!”
“It called me, Dad. It called twice, ‘young lord, young lord.’”
Tony glared at him, “Angus, you just switched to speaking Norse and I know you don’t know that language. Did whoever they were speak Norse to you or are you speaking it for some other reason?”
“Did I, really? I don’t know what they spoke, I just understood.”
“Yes, really, and you just did it again.”
Angus shook his head as he tried to fathom the mystery.
“What about now?”
Tony said, “That’s good. What the hell’s going on?”
“Don’t ask me, but I feel as Julius Caesar must have felt after he cross the Rubicon. Everything is now different because of that quantum leap.”
“Son, what are we dealing with here?” said Connor with baited breath. “Are we talking, supernatural beings?”
“We are. I don’t know who he was, or they were, or where they were. It was a bright blue glow, and I couldn’t make out any forms. I got the distinct feeling that they love me.”
Connor lay back in his seat, crossed his arms and listened. Tony was dumbstruck.
Angus continued, “Sounds silly I know, but the way he talked gave me the impression they cared for me. You’re going to find it a bit of a stretch, Dad. Their words are going to take you to a place you don’t want to be. He said:
*‘Young Lord MacDonald, we have waited a long time to see you. The last time we spoke was a week before the battle on Culloden Moor when you were the old lord; you distressed us with your attitude. For three-hundred-years we have influenced the dreams and thoughts of your ancestors, all to see you born. For eight years we have arranged dreams and influenced thoughts that saw your older friend move to Edinburgh, and then take you to the Culloden battlefield with him. Three days, young lord, three days and you will not be blue. Start learning who you are and what the blue has done for you. Think for a while and then talk to us again.’”*
Connor said he scratched his head. “How in heaven’s name could anyone come up with that planning and dreaming stuff?”
Tony said, “That’s me going to work in Edinburgh whoever he was talked about. It’s so damn ridiculous nobody could dream such things; it makes me think it’s serious.”
Angus walked behind Tony’s chair. He bent down, grasped each side of the chair under the seat, and lifted it to chest height as Tony sat in it. To everyone’s surprise, he lifted the chair with Tony in it, above his head and stood comfortably. He never swayed as he held it as steady as a rock for thirty seconds. But then, in an extreme display of strength, Angus moved his both hands to under the seat, with palms upright, and began bending his knees until his butt nearly touched the floor. Then up again as he repeated it three times. All the while without the slightest movement to adjust balance. Tony gasped as Angus then removed one hand and repeated it all. After putting it back on the floor in front of the computer, Angus smiled at the others.
Tony said, “That was unbelievable! I’m two hundred pounds. Guys, I don’t know if I’m getting carried away, or what, but I must tell you I’m having some strange feelings. It may be that the blue glow has also affected me.”
Quiet followed the display of strength as they looked at each other through Skype. Nobody knew what to do next as Angus stood and started strolling around the room again. He thought about how he had never felt better and when he opened and looked out the window, he took a step back in surprise. Things a mile away were so clear and defined. The sounds of traffic, people hurrying about, and a dog running on the sidewalk were as clear as if they were next to him. But something else swirled through his mind and he knew his reflexes had improved dramatically.
“Alright, guys,” said Connor. “You two get some rest and talk to me in the morning. And before I go, Tony, I think it would be a good idea if you tried to talk to someone in the MacDonald clan. Someone who may know all the clan history in intimate detail.”
“Yes, that’s a good idea. I know where to go.”
Angus said, “Okay, we’ll get on it and talk tomorrow. Love you, Dad, goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Son, and goodnight, Tony.”
Angus thought for a moment after the call finished. He felt so strong. “Tony, I think I will test myself some more. I’m going to see how long it takes me to run up the stairs to the roof. It’s five floors and I reckon I could do it fast.”
He walked out the door and Tony carried some cups to the small kitchen and ran some water over them. Picking up some magazines to return them to the small table they came from, he lowered his head as he leaned forward and jumped up with a start as he caught a glimpse of Angus coming through the door.
“Why didn’t you run up the stairs?”
“I did, but it was more like bounding than running.”
“Bullshit. You’ve only been gone a minute and you’re not puffing.”
Angus led him out the door, took him up two flights and positioned him against the wall on a landing.”
“You watch this, but stay back against the wall,” Angus said as he went back down the two flights.
Tony waited, heard feet thumping in a regular pattern, and stood glaring as Angus’ feet dropped on the landing in front of him, his body turned and he sprung like a leopard up to the next landing. He was taking a whole flight in one jump as Tony heard his feet landing as another flight was taken. Same on the way back down where he stopped in front of Tony.
“How about that?”
He left Tony standing there agog at what he had seen, headed back to the room, and into his bedroom.
Once in bed, his mind had turned to serious matters about his future and the blue. He stopped as his heart palpitated for a moment. *Tomorrow’s another day. God knows what it will bring, but it’s as sure as hell not going to be anything normal.*
Although it had been a busy day, both Tony and Angus struggled to sleep because it took a while for their excitement to abate. At 4 a.m., Angus woke with a start, sweating profusely and screaming. His face glowed red and his eyes bulged as terror gripped every part of his being.
Hearing screams coming from the direction of Angus’ room, Tony jumped out of bed, stubbed his toe on his travel case, and ran swearing across the living room.
“Angus,” he yelled as he ran through the bedroom doorway. “What happened?”
Angus did not reply as he sat up in bed; he stared pointing at the wall. Tony neared him and put both his hands on Angus’ shoulders.
“It’s okay, Angus,” he said. “I’m here, you’re safe.”
Angus still pointed to the wall and stared with terror distorting his face. “The wall! Look at the big, shiny black thing.”
There was nothing near the wall, Tony noticed that the room was freezing and he instinctively moved to shut the window, but it was already shut.
Confused about the cold, Tony returned to Angus who seemed to be calmer. “Angus, what happened?”
“A terrible nightmare. A dark and oily looking mass was near the wall and it seemed to reach out to me. It seemed to know me.”
Tony looked at the wall again and turned back to Angus.
“Nothing is there. Try to relax and go back to sleep.”
He sat for a few minutes and Angus seemed to be okay as he laid back and closed his eyes. After he pulled the blankets back up to cover Angus, he walked back to his room, but left Angus’ bedroom door open.
*Jesus! What have I done being involved in discovering that damn pendant?*
At 6 a.m., the phone on the bedside table trilled. Connor woke, rolled over and grabbed the phone.
“I’m sorry if my call woke you, Connor” Major James Ross, from the Pentagon in Washington D.C., said. “There’s been an issue in Scotland I hope you can help me with.”
Connor immediately sat up. With Angus in an Inverness hotel near Culloden Moor, and especially after what Connor had witnessed the night before, he quickly became suspicious. Knowing he and the major had intelligence experience in their backgrounds, Connor thought for a moment. It became obvious Major Ross already had most of what he now sought, but needed one or two more clues to fit all of the pieces together.
“Help you how?” he asked.
“That’s okay, James. I am sure your close friendship with Angus and I will stretch to an early call,” he replied with a small laugh. “Don’t make a habit of it, though.”
“When we chatted on the phone a few days ago you told me Angus was in Inverness,” said James. “An archeological dig on Culloden Moor I believe you said. Is he still there?”
Connor got out of bed, rubbing his eyes with one hand as he tried to figure out what the Pentagon would want with his son. It took him a moment to realize they may have detected something with satellite sensors, but he played along. “Yes. He was there with Tony, but they are probably in Edinburgh now. Staying in the Frederick House Hotel I believe. Actually, I spoke with them last night. I thought your call may have been them again. What’s up?”
“Last night, Scotland time, Inverness showed up on sensors in space. Satellites controlled by Five Eyes detected what appeared to be a missile launch, but there had not been any.” James waited for a response, none came. “A little earlier in the day, the sensors had detected some minor heat and light bursts from the east of Inverness, coincidentally at Culloden where Angus was, so our intelligence agencies had been watching the area closely.”
By now, Connor was walking to a comfortable chair near his east facing window, scratching his head with one hand and holding the phone in the other. “I can see why army intelligence and you may be interested. Why didn’t you call Angus?”
“Because we had a meeting at the Pentagon before I called you. Secretary of Defense Wallace knows you, so he and my boss in army intelligence thought it a good idea to involve you. You’re ex-intelligence, still work on contract when the Pentagon needs you, and you’re Angus’ father. Secretary Wallace thought you might like to come back to work for a while.”
“Alright. I can understand now how seriously they’re treating the matter, but surely it is a British problem.”
“Missile launches are everyone’s problem. We’re talking NATO here, Connor,” said James.
Connor stood and thought as he walked to the kitchen to make coffee. James was disturbed by the silence and raised his voice as he said.
“For some reason, the power that registered above Inverness didn’t make it in any on-ground report. Do you know how strange that sounds? You said Angus was on the moor, and he happened to be in the right location at the right moment. What do you know?”
“I know something, but I’m not sure what I know,” Connor answered. Deciding there may be some national security issues, he added. “We need to talk face-to-face. I can be at the Pentagon in forty minutes. Breakfast perhaps?”
James knew Connor well enough to know he could have been stalling to answer his question for good reasons. “I think you know about strange occurrences,” he said then paused. “I sincerely hope that’s not the case.”
Connor paced about, while thinking how to answer, but he determined to remain in control. Calmly, he replied, “That may be the case, James, but at the time I learned about it I didn’t draw any military connections.”
“How soon can you meet me?”
“I’ll be there at 9 sharp and I might have some new information you can use.”
“Okay. I’ll be waiting, and I’ll let Secretary Wallace know.”
Connor ended the call while trying to put things together in his mind. There could be no doubt that an exhibition of some kind of unexplained power had occurred and that Angus had gotten himself somehow right in the middle of it. As he walked across to the fridge, he frowned as he tried to decide if he had acted responsibly or not.
*Should I have reported the matter? With what I knew then, I think not.*
* * * * *
Angus and Tony had left Inverness for Edinburgh early in the morning and had checked into a hotel when they arrived before noon. They sat in the hotel foyer as they waited for time to pass. Angus began pacing around the foyer, often turning to say something to Tony, but never speaking.
“Will you sit down and stop being a pain in the ass; probably distracting other people too,” Tony said as he ordered a second coffee. In the hotel foyer, several guests were seated in armchairs reading newspapers and drinking tea.
Angus said, “There’s no doubt in my mind I’ve been singled out for a special gift. Do you think I’m crazy for saying that?”
Tony thought for a second or two, “No one else had any reaction on the moor. I cleaned the pendant, but didn’t have the same reaction you had during the blue light experience. My strength is much greater also so I would guess that anyone who stands in the blue light is given power, but nothing like the amount you have.”
“How then do I make any decisions at this moment?”
“You don’t. You can’t. Be patient and see what happens.”
“I’ve got the meeting with the MacDonald clan records keeper at 2 p.m., so I’m going up for a shower. Perhaps we can head out for a coffee after that.”
Tony was half way out the door when he turned.
“Angus, how about your dream last night, are you over it?”
“Hell no! I can’t shake it. It wasn’t a dream and more like a full-on nightmare.”