The classic team role-playing game of conspiracy and strangeness


Sunday 9 February 1997, 10:00 am

"There, there Mr Murdo," Miss Prism says consolingly. "Would you like to sit down?"

Jake doesn't give him a chance to reply. He takes off his hat and says: "You say someone or something, Mr Murdo. Have you heard something disconcerting, or an old legend perhaps?"

Murdo shudders. "There is death in the air. I can smell it." He demonstrates this by sniffing loudly. "Poor Reverend McMillan is as troubled in death as he was in life."

"You're suggesting that the Reverend's ghost damaged the vestry?" Jake asks.

"What else could have done it but an unquiet spirit that cannot rest? The Reverend is bound to this earth and will haunt us forever, the Lord protect us." Murdo says. "It must be him – or if not, a trowie."


Murdo lowers his voice again. "A trowie is a spirit of the earth, Mr Carter, that rises up from the ground to work all manner of mischief. You'd be wise to stay away from such, if you were to meet one!"

Brian, meanwhile, is looking confused. "Is the vestry the same thing as the vicarage?" he asks Murdo.

"Ah, no." Murdo answers him with a patient smile. "The vestry is part of the church itself, where the Reverend keeps his bits and pieces. The vicarage is where the Reverend lives." He shudders again. "Or used to. Of course, you would not know that, being a foreigner."

Jake swings the ends of his scarf in the air, a puzzled look on his face. "Has this sort of thing happened before? The church seems to have had a somewhat troubled history on the island."

Murdo gives him a scandalized look. "I have never heard of such a thing!" he exclaims. "Never in my lifetime – and I hope never again! But these are troubled times, and maybe the worst is yet to come..."

Brian changes the subject suddenly. "Captain, what have you heard of the HIDA?" he asks. "And what do the folks around here have to say about them? Any idea why they would be surveying around the Old Man?"

"Surveying round the Old Man, you say?" Murdo removes his cap then promptly puts it back on again. "Now why would they be doing that? They're looking for oil in the sea, so I hear, so what business would they have with an old piece of rock? I think you must be mistaken there, Mr Dellis..."

While Jake and Brian talk to Murdo, Miss Prism excuses herself and ventures inside the church to look for the visiting minister. She finds a tall, thin, bald man of about sixty years old talking with PC MacDuff by the altar. He repeatedly mops his head with a handkerchief as he speaks, and appears to be in quite a state.

"Oh dear oh dear oh dear," he is saying as Miss Prism approaches. "Who can have done this terrible thing – and McMillan not yet in his grave!"

"I will catch the miscreant, never fear," MacDuff says reassuringly, putting away his notebook. "If there is nothing else, Reverend, I'll take a look outside." With polite nods to the minister and to Miss Prism, he strides purposefully down the aisle.

Miss Prism introduces herself.

"James McTavish, from Flannen Island" the minister says weakly, shaking her hand. His grip is sweaty and trembling.

"I'm so sorry to hear what happened.".

McTavish mops his head again. "I know the people of Clachantyre are wary of strangers – and the Bishop warned me as much when he appointed me to stand in for McMillan. But I never thought that feelings would be this strong..."

"We have to rise above such things, Reverend," Miss Prism says, sympathetically. "The service must go on."

McTavish sighs. "You are right, of course." He seems to pull himself together a little.

"That's the spirit! And if you have no objections, Reverend, I'd like to give a reading..."

During the service, as Miss Prism stands up to read from Revelation ("God's chosen must unite against Antichrist..."), John slips out of the church and returns to the vicarage. He knocks on the door. When there is no reply, he kicks it in. Mrs Craig is slumped over the kitchen table, snoring loudly, as she was the last time John saw her – except that now the bottle of whisky is empty and another one has joined it. John leaves her there and walks into the Reverend's study. He grabs the folder of documents that contains the register of attenders of the youth club.

"Thanks again, Mrs Craig. I'll stop botherin' you now," he says as he leaves the house.

Vul Dragna looks at Tom Doonie as if he were looking at the hood ornament of his Caddie after it broke off. He moves closer.

"Are you kidding me?" he snarls. "Do you think I'm stupid? Am I a clown to you? I've been on his damn stinkin' island for three days and you think I sunk your buddy from the Lobster Club into the drink? You can jerk off with this guy, Sampson, I'm going back to the damn bar..."

But as he turns away, he puts his hand under his coat and pulls his handgun. He pivots quickly on his heel, crouches slightly, and brings the butt of the gun up hard against Tom' s temple. Tom has time only to gasp with surprise before he is grabbed by the throat and punched once in the stomach and twice in the face. He drops without a sound.

Vul looks over to Sampson. "If you think you can wait a couple minutes before jumping that bar girl's bones, why don't you tie up this sack of oatmeal. Tie up his wrists behind his back. He's gonna do some walking."

Sampson hesitates, though, so he ties up Tom himself.

"Hit the road, Sampson," he says, searching Tom's pockets. He finds only a pocket knife, some string and a few pounds in change; he keeps these. "I'm tired of these briskets makin' a monkey outta me."

As Sampson heads back to the village, Vul slaps Tom awake, grabs the rope between his wrists and pushes him up the track towards Hawkcraig House. He holds his gun in his other hand, but they encounter no one and Tom is too dazed to put up any resistance – he can barely walk, let alone fight, and his eyes are out of focus. He staggers and falls several times.

At the house, Vul bangs on the door. After the customary delay, Hamish Doonie appears. Vul doesn't give him time to react – he pushes Tom inside, tripping him as he does so. Tom falls flat on his face and lies still.

"Don't scream, don't fight," Vul says, putting his gun under the astonished Hamish's nose. "Who else is in the house? Call them out here."

He looks past Hamish and through the open door of the kitchen beyond, He has clearly interrupted a family meal: Mary Doonie and another young man who looks enough like Hamish and Tom to be a third brother are sitting at the table. The food smells good. Unwelcome memories begin to stir in Vul's mind, but he beats them down and gives Tom a kick in the ribs for good measure.

Mary sees him and screams.

"On the floor!" he orders Hamish.

Hamish recovers himself enough to protest. "Are you mad?" he wheezes.

Vul raises his gun. Mary screams again, and the other Doonie just stands there gaping at them. Hamish does as he is told. Vul forces him face down on the floor and ties his wrists to his ankles, does the same for the other man, then advances on Mary.

"Please don't hurt us!" she sobs, backing away from him.

"Leave my wife alone, you bastard!" Hamish shouts.

Vul ignores him. "Sorry, lady, I gotta tie you up but at least you'll be able to take care of your kid while I'm here." He ties her to the side of the baby's cradle. The baby seems to be asleep – but as he starts to bind Mary its eyes open and it stares straight at him. For a moment all he can do is stare back. The baby's gaze is not that of an infant, nor even a human; the look in its face is old, and knowing. He feels something stir again in the depths of his mind.

"Now listen, you bunch of jackasses," he snarls, rounding on the Doonies. "I'm mad as hell to be on this damn rock. I wanna be back in Philly. You know why I can't be there? Because some spook or demon or I don't know what put the goods to my family. Everyone of 'em. You understand that? And guess who the cops think is responsible. Me. I have no patience for this supernatural crap. You're the spookiest crew on this island, and I figure you got some stuff to tell me. You're gonna tell me, believe it, you're gonna tell me, but since I got you all settled down, I think I'll just take a look upstairs first..."

But before he can move, a whiff of body odour fills his nostrils and a deep, cackling voice behind him says: "Looking for me are ye?"

He spins around to see, standing in the door, what can only be Ma Doonie. She is small and withered and dressed in black rags that might once have been a ball gown. Her skin is parched and so wrinkled that her eyes are folded deep within the papery creases and her lips hang loosely dribbling mucus from one corner. Her head is almost bald but her eyebrows are strangely thick and dark. Engorged veins pulse in both temples as she gives Vul a monstrous smile.

"Ye are looking for answers. And answers ye shall have – before ye die." The flesh of the right side of her jaw is almost completely rotted away and as she speaks Vul can see the tendons and ligaments working beneath. She looks like a living skeleton.

But Vul Dragna is not about to let himself be threatened by some wizened old hag. He turns the gun on her. "Don't move. Don't touch your rosary beads, don't do nothing. If you try anything, I swear on the souls of my family that I'll kill everyone one of you."

Ma Doonie doesn't move, but she keeps on speaking. "It is not death ye bring, but fulfilment of our destiny," she hisses. "I shall make an offering of ye and the Sea People shall be glad."

With increasing desperation, Vul shouts at her: "Just stay where you are! You do that, you won't have any more problems with me." He shoves the gun right into her face, but he cannot pull the trigger. He is trembling, as weak as a baby, and he aches to go to the bathroom.

Ma Doonie laughs. It is a chilling sound. "He does not know a bit of it," she says.

"When they hear the call, they'll come to get us," responds a tiny voice.

Vul looks at the cradle. Mary Doonie is on her knees beside it, sobbing "No, no, no, no..." over and over. Her baby turns its face towards him and speaks again.

"Soon, soon, the waiting will be over. Then we can breath once more."

Vul shakes his head in horror. "No..."

"He is our future," Ma Doonie says, and for a moment she sounds just like any proud grandmother. "He is the most powerful of our family. My cousin, he was powerful, but he died when just a bairn himself. I have lived these eighty years past believing all was lost – those three grandsons of mine are poor stuff, like empty vessels." She casts a disparaging glance at the unconscious Tom, the catatonic third man and the fuming Hamish on the floor. "And then wee Hamish was born, and I knew the time had come."

"The time for what?" Vul croaks. He cannot take his eyes off the baby. He realizes vaguely that he has dropped his gun, but it doesn't seem to matter, somehow.

"The time when the Sea People return. Wee Hamish knows it. In the old days, they made our family great, and when they went away our powers faded as the generations passed. But they heeded the offering I made, and now they are coming back to us, to make us great once more."

But Vul is barely listening now. All he can see and all he can hear is the baby in its cradle. It opens its mouth again – and what it says knocks him backwards. It isn't English, it isn't any language he knows, but it's something he's heard before – spewing from his dead father's head, and from Santa Claus, and from Eddie's room...

"It is time!" Ma Doonie says.

Vul's knees give way. He drops to the floor, landing face down in a spreading pool of blood. The kitchen suddenly smells like a slaughterhouse, and he realizes that the Doonie family are lying butchered around him: Mary, her arms and legs severed, Tom and his brother split apart, their guts and gore served up on dinner plates, Hamish's head on a carving dish in the centre of the table, his tongue lolling in bloody sauce. Vul tries to get to his feet but slips and stumbles in the blood. Then it is not the Doonies that he sees, but his own butchered family. Once again his father's ruined head opens its mouth to speak...

He spins into unconsciousness.

After the service, Brian lingers for a while in the church yard, watching the locals. He gets several suspicious glances, and a few overtly hostile ones.

He overhears one woman mutter to her husband: "It was those foreigners, I tell you. None of us would have done such a thing..."

Reverend McTavish seems to be in rather a hurry to leave – he doesn't wait to speak to the members of the congregation at the door, and before the last of them are out of the church he is already bundling his sermon into a document case. He gasps with fright when Jake suddenly approaches him, but turns it into a cough.

"I heard about the unpleasant incident with the vestry," Jake says. "Who could have done it? What did they hope to gain? Would you like a jelly-baby?"

McTavish peers at the paper bag suspiciously, as though Jake might be trying to poison him. "No thank you," he squeaks. "I have to leave. I have a service at my own church this afternoon."

"Has anything like this ever happened before?" Jake persists. "Perhaps to one of your predecessors. It seems the church has not always been welcome on the island – "

McTavish pushes past him. "It's not the church they fear – just anyone who isn't one of them. Please excuse me! My boat will be leaving soon!" He hurries towards the door, almost tripping up in his haste to get away.

"I'm something of a fan of Sherlock Holmes,'" Jake calls after him, twiddling the ends of his scarf. "Would you mind if I took a look around the vestry?"

The door slams shut. Jake sighs and makes his way to the vestry. He finds Brian and John already there. Brian is filming the carnage.

"John, we should take one of the pens and check it fingerprints," Brian says, handing John a plastic ziplock bag.

Jake takes a close look round. The scene is much as Murdo described it – it looks like a whirlwind has blown through the room. There is no window, and no lock on the door – presumably the intruder simply walked straight in. Jake can see no sign that the intruder was looking anywhere, or for anything, in particular; in fact, there appears to be no pattern at all to the damage – no object, it seems, has escaped undamaged, and the floor is covered with debris, except for a clear patch in the centre where the sinister message 'LEAVE' is outlined in pens and pencils. John picks up one of them and deposits it in Brian's ziplock bag.

Jake is about to abandon this fruitless search for clues when he suddenly spots something odd: a scrap of fabric, possibly torn from a garment, snagged on a splinter on the door frame. He pulls it down and examines it. The fabric is green and khaki in colour – it looks like it might have come from a combat jacket...

The party meet up briefly over lunch to discuss strategy.

"I'm a little concerned that we should make an effort to restore our cover," Miss Prism says. "Let's do some filming as a team."

"Brian, why don't you follow up Hawkcraig House?" ventures Jake. "You seem more likely to achieve something than Vul and Sampson. The warped fish, and what Mary said about radioactivity, definitely need to be followed up – if nothing else it's dangerous! And it might mean there's been illegal dumping going on – maybe by the Government. I think Vul's right to be suspicious of the Highland Company."

"Perhaps we could meet together again at four p.m. for afternoon tea?" Miss Prism suggests.

After lunch, Jake follows Fergus and Jock's directions to Five Acre Farm in the northern part of the island. The farm buildings look rather run down, and a flock of scraggy sheep gaze mournfully at him over a broken fence – it seems they don't have the energy to even try to escape.

Fergus appears from out of the barn before Jake has time to announce himself.

"I was wondering what had happened to you television people!" he exclaims. "Is your Miss Prism with you? No? Now that's a shame..."

"Perhaps you can help me," Jake begins. "I have a few questions – "

Fergus frowns. "I'd like to oblige you, but I'm a busy man. This land doesn't farm itself, you know."

Jake fishes the crumpled paper bag out of his jacket. "Jelly baby?" he offers, hopefully.

Fergus beams at him. "That would do nicely! Come on then – I'll show you around!"

Jake is promptly taken on a lengthy and somewhat dull tour of Five Acre Farm. In one field they encounter Jock; he is slumped on the ground, propped up against a fence.

"Is he alright?" Jake whispers.

"Aye, he always takes a nap after dinner." Fergus gives him a kick. "Wake up, Jock. The television people are here."

With no apparent transition between sleep and waking, Jock leaps to his feet. "You'll be wanting to see my Daisy, then."

Daisy, it seems, does not have to endure the elements along with the rest of her kind; she has a special shed of her own, with a contraption like a giant cat-flap allowing her access to a paddock outside. There are a few yellowed newspaper clippings tacked to the wall inside the shed; the headlines say things like 'The Sheep That Thinks It's A Pig' and 'Scottish Sheep Brings Home the Bacon'.

While Jock pets and coos over Daisy, Fergus explains how they discovered her latent talent.

"... Jock had left the chicken coop open, you see. We thought we'd caught them all, but when we went out to bring the sheep in, we found Daisy (she was just a lamb then) with a chick balanced on the end of her nose. I saw sealions do it with beachballs once, when a circus came to the island, but never a sheep with a chick! After that, Jock used to encourage her – train her, you know, with chicks of different sizes and sometimes whole cockerels! She could balance them all, for hours at a time. It was just a bit of a joke. Then we heard something on the radio, about how they were holding world chick-balancing championships in Australia. They use pigs down-under, but we thought: why not? So we scrimped and saved and borrowed the rest to send Jock and Daisy to the competition – and would you believe it, she won! Best in class, two years and under."

"It's a beautiful country," says Jock, his eyes growing misty. "Sheep as far as the eye can see."

"Why don't you show our guest what Daisy can do, Jock?" Fergus suggests.

Jock, Daisy and an unnamed chick oblige. The experience leaves Jake lost for words.

Miss Prism spends a relaxing half hour with her knitting, then sets off for the Heritage Centre, hoping to keep her somewhat delayed appointment with Cameron Frazer.

Cameron greets her graciously, though he does not take her hand – in fact, he keeps his right hand firmly planted in his jacket pocket throughout the conversation. Politeness deters Miss Prism from asking him what the problem is.

"I'd be delighted to show you round the Centre," he says. "We're not usually open on Sundays, but I was told by the High Sheriff himself to help you with your film in any way I can, so I suppose it won't matter this once."

The Heritage Centre is a large, light and airy room containing several tall glass cabinets. There are only a small number of exhibits, but they are well-organized and tastefully arranged. Most are concerned with the way island life has changed over the years (which is hardly at all, it seems) – various displays cover farming, fishing, local crafts and the like. Many of the farming implements from the last century and before are labelled as having come from the Doonie estate.

Other cases contain items related to the police (including some elaborately-painted truncheons and a pair of iron shackles), and a local fire brigade which, the sign relates, was set up by a Hamish Doonie in 1901. Apparently the Doonies donated money for buckets, ladders, a fire cart and a full set of helmets and uniforms – one of which is on display.

Another case is only half-full and seems to be in disarray. The subject matter – as far as Miss Prism can tell – is rockpool life, illustrated with photographs and colourful drawings.

"The Reverend was working on this display," Cameron says, sadly. "It was his idea. Those rockpool animals were his greatest love, after Our Father and those kids of his at the club. I couldn't tell you the number of evenings – and nights! – he spent busy in here... and all for nothing..."

On the wall at the far side of the room is a set of framed diagrams depicting the geology and early history of the island.

"As you see," Cameron says, "the island was uninhabited until early Christian times. There's evidence of early activity, but it seems that no one settled here. We've found a few arrowheads, tools, bone combs – " he points at a display case, "but no signs of any permanent settlement. This is the only one who stayed!"

He indicates another case; this one contains a series of photographs showing the excavation of a burial site, and on the floor beneath it is what appears to be a plaster replica of the grave shown in the pictures. It looks as though it should have been covered with a sheet of glass, but this has been removed.

"As far as we know, this is the only burial ever made on Clachantyre until the Christian settlers arrived. It was found entirely by chance, on the clifftop near the dolmen we call the Old Man. The archaeologists were actually trying to determine the extent of an old church that used to stand up there. It was an Iron Age interment, probably the same age as the Old Man itself. We know nothing at all about the occupant, except that he didn't meet a natural death."

"How do you know?" Miss Prism asks.

Cameron smiles grimly. "He was decapitated, and his right hand removed for good measure. I think it was probably a sacrifice, rather than a punishment, for the grave goods buried with him were rather fine. And there were two unusual features." He points to the replica. "What appeared to be a piece of bread, staked to the ground with a shard of bone. And the Fingers, of course." He sighs. "I expect your researchers have briefed you about our recent theft?"

"Yes. It must have been a dreadful disappointment."

"It was. For years a replica of the Fingers sat here, a copy made from plaster like the rest of this display. I fought very hard to have the originals returned to Clachantyre. They are part of our heritage." He shakes his head. "I believe it's important that such relics are kept close to home. I can't show you the real thing, of course, but I do still have the replicas. They're in the storeroom somewhere – I haven't had the heart to put them back on display since the real Fingers went missing..."

He disappears through a door in a shadowy alcove. For several minutes Miss Prism can hear only the sound of rummaging.

"This is very strange," Cameron calls at last. "I put the replica Fingers here myself, but now they're gone..."

Back at Five Acre Farm, Jake comments: "You must have seen a lot of changes on the island. Births and deaths, comings and goings."

"I wouldn't say that," says Fergus. "But for your television and your telephone, life is much the same on Clachantyre now as it was when Jock was a wee boy."

"But surely all that will change if the Highlands and Islands developers find oil?"

"Aye, maybe," says Fergus, darkly, "but I've a feeling that whatever they'll find in that sea, it won't be oil."

Jock snorts. "You've been listening to that no-good Tom Doonie again, Fergus Drummond. He'll have you as mad as he is, with his rady-ashun and wasteful dumping."

"He's a wild one alright, but not such a fool as he seems," Fergus protests.

"I don't know what to make of the Doonies," Jake comments casually. "Do you know them well?"

"Too well," says Jock, darkly. "But they do say you can't choose your family."

He and Fergus exchange glances.

"Our niece Mary wed Tom's big brother Hamish last year," Fergus explains. "Jock wouldn't go to the wedding." He says this in Jake's ear, as though Jock wouldn't be able to hear.

"I wasn't going to be laughed at behind my back by that Ma Doonie, with her airs and graces," Jock says grumpily. "I wouldn't mind her carrying on like that if there was any real money in the family."

"Aye, but you missed a fine old party," says Fergus.

"Do you know why Ma Doonie dislikes strangers as she does?" Jake asks.

Fergus chuckles grimly. "You'd be wary of foreigners if they'd strung up your father and all your uncles and driven your family into penury."

"No, fool," says Jock. "It was the voices came first. They're why she is the way she is."

"What voices?" Jake asks.

"When she was just a wee girl, it's said she heard voices in her sleep telling her how fine the Doonie family is, how grand they are. When I was boy I heard it said..." He pauses thoughtfully. "I heard it said that these voices told Ma to drive Lord Inverkirkcraig off the island by killing his wee girlie, and the Doonie men thought so much of her that they did exactly what she told 'em to."

"Oh, you're talking rubbish – as usual – Jock!" Fergus snorts.

Jake tries to move the conversation on, wondering if there is any subject the Drummonds agree on. "Wasn't there a terrible tragedy here recently – your minister turned 'queer', I hear."

"Queer's not the word for it," Fergus replies. "And none of it would have happened if he had not spent so many hours down on the beach. It's that rady-ashun again – it scrambled his brain like... like scrambled brains on toast."

"What was he doing on the beach?" Jake asks.

"Collecting all manner of rockpool beasties for his collection. And taking photographs too. Aye, he was a keen photographer. But it was the death of him, I swear."

They have by now made a complete circuit of the Drummonds' land, and have drifted back towards the farmhouse. Jake is about to take his leave when he hears weeping from inside. Jock and Fergus exchange glances again.

"Is something wrong?" Jake asks.

"It's our Mary," Jock replies, reluctantly. "She came running over here just a few hours ago, poor lassie. Mrs Drummond is taking care of her."

"It's women's problems," Fergus adds, with a conspiratorial nod of the head. "You know."

"Er, yes," says Jake. "Well, I really must be going – "

"Where is she!" yells a voice behind them.

They turn to see Hamish Doonie striding up the track towards the farmhouse. He looks dishevelled and his eyes are wild.

"Oh, Hamish!" Fergus smiles nervously. "It's a pleasure to – "

"I've not come to talk, Fergus Drummond. I'm here to take my wife back home where she belongs. You call her out now and we'll be on our way." Then his eye falls on Jake, and his expression turns very nasty indeed. "And what are you doing here?" he demands.

That afternoon, John and Brian meet Murdo at the harbour to embark on their boat trip. A pile of diving gear lies on the ground beside the old sailor; Brian notes immediately that all the equipment is rather old.

"Have you done this before?" Murdo asks him. "I can show you the basics and I'm sure you'll pick up the rest with practice – " Then he catches the look that passes between John and Brian, and laugh nervously. "Well, maybe you can teach me a thing or two."

He bundles the gear into the Lady Flora, politely refusing Brian's offer of help.

They set sail. In response to John's request, Murdo makes a course for the western coast. It is cold and the sky is a sullen grey. The sea is dark and murky. Brian tries to discuss tide and current patterns with Murdo but the captain seems preoccupied by something, so he turns his attention to diving instead. He retrieves the gear from where Murdo stored it below and makes a thorough inspection of it, checking everything carefully.

He finds a small hole, made cleanly as if with a knife, in the airline.

Murdo notices something is wrong. "Is there a problem?" he asks.

When Vul awakes it is light, but he has no idea whether minutes, hours or even days have passed. He struggles to his knees, and finds himself face to face with the Old Man. For a moment he has no idea how he came to be up here on the cliff-top – he has vague recollections of a foul odour, of being dragged roughly over the ground, of the sound of a blade being sharpened, of a helicopter... and then he remembers Hawkcraig House. A wave of nausea overtakes him and he vomits violently onto the grass.

He rests against the cool stone of the dolmen, trying to gather his strength. It is a long time before he is able to stagger to his feet and start on the long trek back to Harriestown, and longer still before he realizes that his gun has gone. He wonders whether he should make a detour back to Hawkcraig House and get it back, but the thought of facing the scene in the kitchen again (was it real or was it a nightmare? – he cannot tell) is enough to set him throwing up again.

He wipes his mouth, wraps his arms around himself as though in this way he might keep the contents of his stomach in place, and resumes his stagger along the track. At every turn, he sees ruined eyes watching him from the undergrowth, and in the whisper of wind he hears the voices...

When he finally reaches the Old man's Arms he is weaker still and exhausted. Afraid of what he might hear when they speak, he avoids all contact with the others and drags himself upstairs to his room.

It is only when he has closed and bolted the door behind him that he turns and sees the sight that awaits him.

The severed hand of a woman lies in a bloody pool on his bed.

Vul and Sampson – The Old Man's Arms, Harriestown
Miss Prism – The Heritage Centre, Harriestown
John and Brian – Off the western coast of Clachantyre
Jake – Five Acre Farm, Clachantyre
Sunday 9 February 1997, 3:15 pm

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