September 29, 2022

The Scottish deception is revealed.

By aarondkey

“Don’t tell me, it’s Stolid,” Timonthy said heavily.

“Well he didn’t definitely say that. He only once referred to his brother by name. It was something like Dammon. Is there anyone else here with that name, Gerard?”

“No,” Gerard shook his head miserably. “No-one else.”

Paris looked as though she was going to carry on with her story but she paused as Peter came towards them.

Yan was still at the serving table stretching to reach food, assisted by the woman next to him.

“That’s all sorted,” Peter said as he sat back down in front of his dinner. “The driveway will be trimmed after lunch, Will said.”

He started to eat and looked up again as if sensing the atmosphere. “What’s up?” he said mildly. Nobody answered. Timonthy’s mind was racing rapidly through all Paris had said and trying to work out what it meant.

Were their hosts mad and how could they explain their unease without aggravating their behaviour? Yan came back then and squeezed next to Paris.

“You asked me if I was happy to stay for a week or so,” Gerard said to Timonthy. “I am, if you are too.”

Timonthy remembered asking it and that there had been no chance for Gerard to answer.

It was a good intervention at that moment of tension. “Are you staying for a while? Hooray,” Yan said to Paris and they all carried on eating in a subdued mood lightened by Yan’s complete oblivion to any atmosphere.

“Do you know where Elena and my mother are?” Paris asked Peter at one point.

“I believe they went shopping,” Peter answered with a shrug, off-loading any responsibility for his wife’s behaviour.

“How did they do that, if the only road out is impassable?” Timonthy questioned. He was tired of questions now. He knew the moment for questions was over but force of habit or something drove him to ask it.

“We both usually go by boat for the first bit of the journey,” Peter replied. “It’s the quickest way.” He seemed tired of the questions too.

With a tingle of excitement mixed with fear Timonthy wondered if they were on the verge of finding out all the answers.

He suddenly felt sorry for Peter. The expression on his face was so weary, so laden with responsibility and defeat when he thought no-one was looking at him that it would have been a hard-hearted man not to pity him.

If you caught the depths of his eyes when he was at rest it was almost possible to believe he was old enough to have Stolid as a son and what a burden that would be for any man, Timonthy thought bitterly.

“I am proud of my son,” Peter said as he thought this. Then as Yan looked round at him with a smile, “proud of both of my sons.”

It was as though he had read his mind, Timonthy thought: read his mind and admitted everything. Could he doubt now that Peter thought that Stolid was his son?

“Do you have two sons?” Paris asked ingenuously. “I’ve only met Yan here.”

“I think you should know now that Stolid is also my son,” Peter said and he didn’t sound displeased to have his secrets exposed.

“I know that you think I am mad, but I will prove it to you, after everyone has finished eating. I’m not trying to hide anything but Stolid said you would find it hard to believe and he wanted you to have an enjoyable visit. He wanted you to believe that you were in Scotland and that once you had returned home your lives could return to normal. I’m not sure that was ever possible. He underestimated your curiosity and overestimated our ability to keep secrets.”

“How will you prove it?” Paris asked.

“Haven’t really thought about it in that much detail,” Peter admitted. “I thought that if I showed you something completely unbelievable then you would start to think that other unbelievable things were possible. So why don’t you challenge me?”

Peter had lost his weary look now. He looked excited and relieved not to be playing a part.

“I don’t understand,” Timonthy shook his head. He was convinced now that he was dealing with a mad man.

“I think what Peter means is that there may be some way that he could prove that he has the ability to travel in time and space which would solve many problems you may have with what he is telling you,” Gerard said helpfully, “If he could just briefly take us to the place I was living in before I came here. Surely that would convince you?”