It's Lindsey MacRae's Birthday Today!! Hooray!
As a special treat for all of you I have an exclusive sneak preview of Between 4 (holy crap). See it here first!
“What can I get for ye?"
The man had the audacity to laugh. “You’ll have to be more specific, I’m afraid. We’ve dozens to choose from.”
Torag studied him for a moment, then came to a decision. “What’s your name?”
The bartender looked momentarily taken aback, but then shrugged. “Kevin. Why?”
“Well, Kevin, I’m new to whisky,” Torag lied. “What would you recommend?” And just like that, Kevin’s round face broke into a joyous grin and he launched into an impressive dissertation on the many nuances of whisky. Torag responded in all the right places, inserting a “Really?” and “Wow, I had no idea” from time to time, just to keep him talking. Kevin set up four shot glasses on the bar in front of him, then plied him with tasters of whisky from the four regions of Scotland, having scorned blends in favor of the more patriotic single malt scotch. Torag dutifully sipped from each, proclaiming that Kevin was right about the differences in each.
“You sure know a lot about whisky,” Torag said, trying to sound delightfully dim. “Have you lived in Orkney long?”
“All my life,” Kevin declared with pride. “Only been to the mainland once. Wife’s never even been that far.”
“Incredible,” Torag replied, then asked for a glass of the 12 year GlenMorangie. As Kevin poured, Torag’s heart pounded heavy in his chest, but he forced his voice into a casual tone. “So you must have been around during that power surge a while back, right?”
“Boy, was I! The whole island was blacked out, not a damn thing worked. Cracked a standing stone right in half, it did.”
“Is that right? Where was that?”
“The Barnhouse Stone, out near Malcolm’s place.”
Torag’s pulse raced wildly and he paused to take another sip to hide his interest. “Malcolm a friend of yours? What’s he think of the cracked stone?”
“We go way back—cut teeth at the same time, we did—but I wouldn’t say we’re mates. He goes his way and I go mine. So I can’t say as I’ve asked him what he thinks, but I wouldn’t put it past him to chalk it up to that damn prophecy.”
Everything inside Torag screamed for him to jump over the bar and shake this fat little man by the throat until he spilled every last detail he knew. Instead, he asked for a refill to keep Kevin occupied.
“Prophecy, huh? A prophecy about what?”
“Och, I dunno. Some such nonsense he got passed down from his Da and his Da before him. Started back at Culloden times, if I recall. Showed it to me when we were kids, though his Da would have been spitting mad if he’d known as only MacRaes were allowed to see it.” Kevin rolled his eyes and waved his towel over the bar like he was swatting a fly. “Says something about a blood sacrifice and crimson globes, whatever the hell that means. Freaked the hell out of me anyway.” With a rueful shake of his head, he schooled his expression into one of pity. “MacRaes never have had it easy, what with Malcolm raising those kids on his own now. Wife passed just last year. Cancer, it was. Poor man.”
Yes, poor man indeed, Torag thought to himself, and began formulating his plan.