Night Visitor

Night Visitor by Melanie Jackson Read Free Book Online

Book: Night Visitor by Melanie Jackson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Melanie Jackson
Tags: Fiction
at the Glasgow cycling club for precisely that reason.
    Taffy was slightly disappointed that the bishop wasn’t more cordial in his greeting, but she supposed that being reclusive—no doubt due to that clever, bulging head with its prominent browridge that made him, in her opinion, plug-ugly —it would hardly be shocking if he didn’t know how to turn out a real highland welcome when company appeared.
    Although, he wasn’t truly a highlander at all. She decided that that was most likely the problem. Courtesy wasn’t bred into the bishop’s blood as it was with the other local people.
    Taffy’s already low opinion of her ungenial host sank even lower when he accepted her beautiful photographs of the piper’s skeleton with all the enthusiasm of someone being offered a long-dead fish, and she decided then and there that she would seek no more of his society. Disliking the velocipede was one thing; scorning her precious art was another. Clearly, man of God or no, the bishop was a Philistine!
    It was also the height of unchristian heartlessnessnot to say something about the fate of Malcolm’s poor, abandoned bones when she raised the subject of their disposition. The bishop was positively evasive on the topic of what would be done with the remains.
    Nor was he willing to answer any of her inquiries about faerie lore. Taffy had some questions about the matter, for she had heard it said that those who went to visit the faeries died on the dawn of the day they returned to the world of Christian men. A single night among the still-folk supposedly took the same toll on a body as the passing of one hundred mortal years—and though time passed slowly in the world of Faerie, the earth’s spun along as before. According to the legends, to remain with the faeries for the length of one dance or to hear one of Tomas Rimer’s poems was to lose a year of one’s life.
    But at Taffy’s questions the bishop grew even more abrupt. He would say no more than it was fortunate if such heathens did die when the sun’s rays fell upon them. With those words, he wasted no time in hustling her out of his home.
    Stunned by such heartlessness, Taffy left without protest. There would be no answers from Bishop Mapleton.
    The castle, she noticed upon leaving, didn’t feel as welcoming this morning, either. It was just a pile of old gray-green rocks, devoid of any personality or life. Some form of grace had beenwithdrawn since the previous day’s events.
    Certain that she was unobserved, Taffy gave into a childish impulse and stuck her tongue out at the ugly door-knocker before hurrying down the drive.
    Back on her bicycle and away from cold Duntrune in record time, Taffy left no blessings behind for its rude occupant.
    As always, cycling lifted her spirits, and she soon felt more cheerful. The air agreed with her, made her feel whole. It was a morning that brought the sort of companionship that she sometimes found when riding with a partner. She could almost pretend that someone rode beside her, enjoying the scenery in friendly silence.
    Finally, Taffy admitted to herself that seeking the bishop out in the early morn and unaccompanied had not been a very mature scheme. Some men simply didn’t approve of women having a profession. And, too, it was very early for a social call, even in the country where the inhabitants were awakened at dawn by bagpipes. She should have delayed her visit a while, let him get a little of the bacon and eggs and coffee inside his fat stomach before confronting him with pictures of skeletons. And she had forgotten to bring her calling cards! She had no doubt that he thought her mannerless.
    “Well, it is no bloody wonder he didn’t receive me with enthusiasm,” she muttered.
    But, she decided on her way back to her wheeled darkroom, it had been worth the trip simply to prove to herself that she could get on with her plans, even with her father doing his best to nobble her. Independence took practice; she would get

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