In a serious rut, bestselling horror novelist Danny MacMillan needs a change. Intent on writing a non-fictional account of an infamous witchcraft trial, he decides to travel to Paisley, Scotland to research his book in the place the incident occurred. Pleased with the helpfulness of Angus Campbell, the administrator of the local Historical Society, Danny surprisingly finds himself in a burgeoning relationship with an American woman, Ashley Jimenez, who is studying abroad. However, he soon discovers the idyllic setting is not as it appears.
The seemingly peaceful town harbours many secrets and Danny finds himself the target of a sinister plan. Unsure of whom to trust, he must uncover the truth of the past, a task that plummets him into a tumultuous journey of self-discovery and unearths unimaginable horrors.
After a bland dinner at the B&B, Danny decided to soak up a little local culture and ale. He had spotted a pub on his way home from the Historical Society earlier and visited it now. The Cock and The Rock was a traditional pub, full of wood, brass and rowdy locals, and smelled of worn leather, molding carpets, greasy pub grub and stale spilled beer. It was exactly how he had envisioned it from the outside. Trying to ignore the awed stares of the patrons, Danny strode up to the bar and casually placed his hands atop it.
The barman eyed him suspiciously and immediately turned his back to adjust glasses that already stood in neatly lined rows. Danny sat on an empty stool and then turned to his right, toward the eyes he felt boring into him. A white-haired man with a deeply wrinkled face smiled slightly.
“Gerry,” the man said as he extended his hand.
“Danny,” he offered, as he shook Gerry’s hand.
“MacMillan,” Gerry finished as he nodded. “The whole town’s been yapping about you. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Danny waved a hand to get the attention of the barman. The portly man practically stomped the two steps he took to draw closer to Danny. He then stared irritably, his face pulled into a grimace.
“What is it you want then?”
Danny noted the man’s abruptness but decided not to react to it.
“A pint of whatever is local and good.”
“We’re not the only pub in town, you know. You might want to head to one that is more welcoming to your kind.”
Danny could not help but scowl now. The barman was being purposely insulting and he felt his ears burn in anger.
“And what ‘kind’ would that be?”
“The boorish American kind, intent on twisting Scottish history for money.”
Danny’s brow furrowed as his ire rose. “I have no intention of doing so. I seek merely to provide a modern look at a horrible tragedy from Paisley’s past.”
“Nothing good ever comes from dredging up the past,” the man practically spat.
He moved away, turning his back, and again unnecessarily adjusted the glasses on the shelf behind the bar. Shaking his head at the man’s rudeness, Danny put his hands on the bar to get up. Gerry placed a hand on Danny’s forearm and shook his head.
“Don’t let him get to you. He’s always been a grumpy bastard. Everyone else I know is overjoyed that you’ve chosen to come here.”
Gerry then banged a fist on the bar top to get the barman’s attention.
“Mickey, bring this young man a pint and put it on my tab.”
Danny waved a hand at Gerry as he shook his head.
“That’s completely unnecessary. I can buy my own drinks.”
“Don’t be silly,” Gerry countered, “everyone wants to buy a pint for the great writer. Enjoy it, son.”
Danny dipped his head in thanks as Mickey unceremoniously thumped an overflowing pint glass down in front of him. He then raised his glass to Gerry who mirrored the motion. They both sipped from their glasses then put them down. Gerry looked about the bar a bit and then tugged on Danny’s sleeve.
“It would appear you have a fan here tonight.”
Danny looked in the direction in which Gerry had motioned and saw a Scottish version of Lacy from LA sitting at a table, flirting mercilessly with him. Danny turned back to Gerry and nodded graciously.
“Thanks again for the beer.”
He then smoothly sauntered off to approach the giggling woman. His back to the bar, Danny missed the pleasant look on Gerry’s face turn malevolent and the conspiratorial look that Gerry then shared with Mickey.
Copyright 2015 C.A. Knoble
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The horror begins today.