Glaistig of Glenmuir
There have always been Glennisters at Glenmuir but, for Andy, an employee of the estate, the family is little more than a blight on the Highlands. What is the connection between him and Nicky Glennister, the young laird of Glenmuir, and what of the strange creature that legend says roams the land?
An Excerpt from:
GLAISTIG OF GLENMUIR
© Anna Reith. All rights reserved.
Andy laid the last of the pheasants, the product of the day’s shooting, on the tarpaulin in the back of the Land Rover. Their plumage flamed copper and steel blue in the dying sun, though there was no illusion of life in them; they were too heavily matted with dark, ruffled stains, their bodies hanging limp and shattered.
The smell of warm metal rose and met with the soft scent of their feathers, and the slight coppery faintness of fresh blood. Behind him, Moss, the black Labrador whom he’d raised from a pup, prowled with stiffly wagging, low-held tail. The dog knew the day was done, and he wanted his dinner, his bed, and a fire to toast his belly in front of… just like any other worker.
Andy glanced down at the dog, sparing him a brief nod and a word of assurance. Moss’ wide, gentle jaws—capable of biting through a bird’s neck, or bringing back a raw egg unscathed—spread around a pink-tongued, lolling grin, and Andy shut the door on the day’s business.
He lifted a hand to Matt, the Land Rover’s driver, signalling the job completed, and relief filled him as the engine turned over. The shooting party had yet to go back to the house. They were still milling around, quacking amongst themselves, though a few turned to look at the sound of the engine’s thrum.
Andy forced a terse but polite smile to his lips. It came out more as a stiff grimace, but he’d made an effort, and no one could say otherwise.
Through the trees that framed what everyone insisted on calling the woodland walk—and in his day, there had been no such thing; there was woodland, and you might walk through it, but you did not pretend that nature had been daintily arranged around you—the house was visible, standing like a cliff at the edge of the sea.
It was old, in part. Not an ancient seat, and no great rambling pile, but a respectable late seventeenth century affair. Its broad grey side rose up from the heathland and leered out of the trees like clouds made solid; a quietly determined, squarish hunch of a thing, islanded in the patchy lawns and gravel circles of manicured grounds. Successive generations of the family had left their marks upon it, naturally. There had been remodellings, rebuildings, and the additions or demolitions of chimneys, windows, and sometimes entire wings… but Glenmuir endured. It remained the same, more or less, and today the thick, evening light touched it in much the same way as it would have done three hundred years ago.
And yet, today was not like any other day.
No other day at all.
ISBN (ebook only): 978-1-907623-23-3 | Kindle ASIN: B0083TG8JW
Length: 4,500 words ( 8 .pdf pages) / Short Fiction | cover art by Anna Reith
Also available in print, in Black Ice: collected stories.
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This title was previously published under the pen name M. King, and is presented here in a revised and expanded edition.