Thursday, May 24, 2012
Thursday Tales: Summer in Scotland
It was almost a castle. A castle in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the wilds of Scotland. And my parents had rented it for the entire summer. Mom had prattled on about how it was "educational" and "romantic", the opportunity of a lifetime! All I knew was that we would be miles from the nearest shopping mecca, electricity was minimal, the internet was spotty, and the cell phone reception non-existent. It sounded terrible. But, my opinions were deemed unimportant, so off the three of us went to our vacation.
So far, we'd been here a week, and I hadn't seen a single person within 20 years of my age. To be fair, the castle was not as rustic as I had been expecting. My visions of stone beds and windy hallways had been replaced with the realities of fluffy down mattresses and glassed-in windows. Every room had its own fireplace, but so far, the weather had been kind, and none had been needed. I'd been dead-on about the internet and cell phone, though
I sat at the window seat in the front room and sighed audibly for the millionth time. Glancing up from his book with either amusement or annoyance, Dad suggested, "Maddie, it's a nice day out there. Why don't you go take a walk and see who can sigh louder? You or the wind?"
"Very funny, Dad." I made a face at him. But maybe a walk wouldn't be so bad. It was better than being cooped up in the castle with nothing to do.
I peered in to watch the fish swim around, and paused to look at my own reflection. A lock of blond hair had fallen out of the braids I had plaited that morning, and I tucked it behind my ear. There was something off about that reflection. I turned my head to the left, and the reflection followed. I turned my head to the right, and the reflection followed. I turned my head back to the left, but quickly snapped it back right... and the reflection just kept turning left.
"HA!" I yelled, pointing at my reflection. "I got you!" At that moment, I realized I was talking to myself. Or, to myself in the water. And that "myself in the water" had definitely not behaved as she was expected to behave. "What- Who?"
"Hello, Madison," came the cool voice. That's the way I always remembered the sound later. It was like a cool breeze that tickled your skin and set all the hairs on your arms standing straight up. Reflections aren't supposed to talk, but this one did.
I sat on the bank of the water. "Who are you? What are you doing in there? Why do you look like me?"
I think the smile Water Me gave me was supposed to be reassuring, but there was something in it I wasn't sure I liked... like she knew something I didn't know, but damn if she was ever going to tell me. "You're in Scotland, Maddie. Here, there is magic." Suddenly, the water parted. A slender hand broke through and beckoned. "Come see."