16 comments

Oct 27, 2020

Bedtime Horror Historical Fiction

Gavin’s Bedtime Story

Excerpt from The Storm

     “Can ye tell us a story afore we go ta bed? Please, Grandda?”

     “Ooh aye, I’ll tell ye my favorite story of all, but ye mus’ promise to be quiet and let yer mam rest, the new bairn is making her verra tired.”

     “We will, Grandda, Willie too.”

     Willie nodded his head solemnly.

     Once the lads were settled, one on each side he began, “Back in Scotland there was a man named Angus Stewart. When he was a young man, he had a beautiful wife and six bonnie bairns, and a lovely cottage and farm. But a sickness came and took his wife and all his bairns. He buried them all within a fortnight.

     “After that, he wasna such a nice man anymore because he had endured such sadness. He ne’er smiled or had anything pleasant to say. He became the caretaker of the churchyard, where all the dead are laid to rest. There were three young lads who didna kin why he was as he was and they tormented him o’er and o’er. Turning loose his kine, dumping manure on his doorstep and any other mischief they could think up, they did to poor Angus.

     “On All Hallow’s Eve, they waited until Angus was dead asleep and they banged pots, rang bells, and howled like demons. Poor Angus jumped from his bed and ran out the door yelling, ‘Whoever ye are, I will find ye, and when I die ye willna e’er ken a night of peaceful sleep again.’ He stumbled on the threshold and fell, hitting his heid on a large stone. He was dead afore the three lads could reach him. 

     “The lads left poor Angus lying dead on his own doorstep and ran all the way home. The next morn they met by the creek. The first lad said, ‘I dreamt of Angus all night. He said that for the rest of my life, every time I close my eyes to sleep, he will be waiting to torment me.’ The other two lads grew pale, ‘We had the same dream,’ they both said. And for the rest of their lives, every time they fell asleep, Angus Stewart was waiting to torment them all the night long.”

     Gavin had been so engrossed in the telling of his tale that he had forgotten about the lads. When he looked down at them, Wee Gavin was sobbing and shaking and Willie was hiding under the blankets. “Ooch lads, was jus’ a story, no need to be scairt.” Both boys looked up at him and began crying in earnest. 

       “I...want...me….mam!” Willie wailed.

     William bounded around the corner and scooped Willie up into his arms and attempted to sooth him. Gavin held poor Wee Gavin against his chest as he sobbed loudly into his shirt. 

     “Bring the laddies to their mam!” said a very tired voice from the other room. 

     Sheepishly, Gavin stood up, taking Wee Gavin in one arm and Willie in the other. “I’ll go, lad. I caused this stramash. She should be angry wit’ me not ye.”

     He took the lads and gently placed them beside their mam. “Which story did ye tell them, Da?”

     “Oh, ahh…..”

     “It was aboot poor Angus Stewart, mam. I dinna want him to haunt my dreams,” Wee Gavin sobbed.

     Charlotte raised an eyebrow at her da. “Do ye no remember what happened when ye told me that story?”

     “I do now, lass. I am sorry, I was tryin’ to be a good grandda and let ye rest and I ha’ made a mess of it,” he said miserably.

     “We love ye, Grandda. Yer story just scairt us a little,” Wee Gavin sobbed. “Can we sleep wit’ ye tonight? Please? We promise we’ll be good and quiet so mam can sleep.”

     “Come on laddies, afore I get into anymore trouble tonight.”

    The next day, Charlotte was outside in the yard taking down the laundry, when Fergus took off down the path. Wee Gavin squealed, “Grandda, Grandda!”

     “Aye, I’m sure it is, go see,” she said smiling.

     He came back a  few minutes later holding a puppy and grinning from ear to ear. The puppy was a miniature version of Fergus. 

     “Look Mam, he looks just like Fergus.”

     “Aye, he does,” she said looking at Fergus who was busy sniffing his son. “Where did ye find him?”

     “Grandda gave him to me.”

     “And where is yer grandda?”

     “He’s washing the piss off his shirt.”

     Charlotte laughed and took the puppy from her son. “Well, aren’t ye a bonnie wee pup. What shall we call ye?”     

     Willie sat down in front of her and reached up with his arms. She put the puppy on his lap and he immediately began licking Willie’s face making him giggle.

     Gavin came into the yard then, smiling at Willie and the pup.

     “Where did ye find him, Da?”

     “A family down the mountain had a litter of pups and I saw that one and I couldna resist bringing him home. Fergus is getting older and ye’ll be wanting another dog and since I’d bet me life this one is his son….”

     “I’m glad ye brought him home. He belongs wit’ his da. The lads love him already. We were just trying to find a name for him.”

     “Can we call him Angus, Grandda? Like in the story ye told us?”

     “Ooh, that’s a fine name. I think he likes it, see how he’s licking yer face,” Gavin laughed.

     “I thought that story scared ye and yer brother, are ye sure ye want to name yer wee pup after that story?”

     “How could we be scared of him? Angus dinna haunt anyone who dinna hurt him. Thank ye for the pup, Grandda. I will take verra good care of him, I promise.”

     “See that ye do, lad. If ye treat him well he will always stay close by ye and look after ye. Just as Fergus has stayed by yer mam and looked after her.” The boy nodded solemnly at Gavin. “Now go wash up for dinner, I am starving.”

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

16 comments

Thom Brodkin
16:50 Nov 17, 2020

I know I have been absent for a few weeks so forgive me for taking so long to read and comment. Once again you blow me away with your talent. I fond it hard to write dialogue in standard English and you make it seem easy in Scottish. I also just lost a dog a few weeks back and this was medicine for my soul. You helped me without even knowing you were helping me. Great job. How goes the book? You haven't sent me any new chapters. Are you still writing? Editing? Keep me in the loop. I just submitted a story called "Silence." I h...

Reply

20:55 Nov 17, 2020

Reading the Outlander series made the Scottish easy! lol I haven't written much more. I'm trying to refocus. Sorry about the dog. I'll read your new work today!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Kanika Sharma
05:56 Nov 05, 2020

Loved it ! Really nice

Reply

13:59 Nov 05, 2020

Thank you so much!

Reply

Kanika Sharma
18:44 Nov 06, 2020

Please do give my story a read too. 🤗

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Regina Perry
03:27 Nov 04, 2020

I love this, Stephanie! The Scottish is masterfully done.

Reply

22:29 Nov 04, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm glad that you liked it!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Lina Ozz
18:05 Oct 27, 2020

The dialogue in this story is so good, beyond just the Scottish accent (which you nailed, by the way; I could literally read it in that accent). It was just so realistic. Also, this is just such a unique submission for this prompt!! Love the aspect of the puppy at the end; that was lovely and heartwarming.

Reply

18:27 Oct 27, 2020

Thank you so much! This is an excerpt from my novel The Storm, if you're interested in reading the whole story. This is the writing that I'm most proud of.

Reply

Lina Ozz
22:52 Oct 29, 2020

I just saw that you've authored five novels. What?? That's absolutely incredible!! Adding your books to my list :)

Reply

12:43 Oct 30, 2020

Thank you so much! I think you will like The Storm since you enjoyed this.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Wolfy 🐺
15:00 Nov 16, 2020

Great job! I love the tone of the characters so much!

Reply

16:19 Nov 16, 2020

Thank you! It's an excerpt from The Storm a novel I wrote a few years ago.

Reply

Wolfy 🐺
16:21 Nov 16, 2020

It's a wonderful excerpt :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Charles Stucker
22:20 Oct 29, 2020

Good use of narrative device. The tale is a classic of ghost stories, interrupted by the fear it provoked from small children and leading us to wonder, whatever happened to the three brats in the tale? Telling the ghost story is handled masterfully, it becomes part of a larger piece about a grandfather spending time with his grandchildren to try and help his daughter get some rest. The dialect adds to the tale- and is manageable because third person lets us have all the non-verbal portions in clear English.

Reply

12:55 Oct 30, 2020

This is a piece I wrote for a friend's Halloween blog five years ago and added to a novel I was working on. I'm glad you liked it.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply