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Brackentree (standard:drama, 2820 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Apr 19 2004Views/Reads: 2388/1278Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A family rent a holiday home in Scotland, thinking that they’ll have the place to themselves…
 



Brackentree 

©2003 Ian Hobson 

Overlooking Lock Trool in the heart of the Galloway hills, Brackentree
House provides comfortable accommodation in a peaceful and beautiful 
setting.  Five miles from the nearest town, Brackentree is entirely 
independent of the outside world and will appeal to those wishing to 
get away from it all.  Brackentree has full central heating, a fully 
fitted kitchen, two bathrooms, and sleeps up to eight people.  
Well-behaved pets welcome. 

*** 

Mack wandered into the master bedroom and looked out of the window in
gloomy anticipation.  He hated visitors; they upset his routine and 
disturbed the peace and quiet.  At least for these past few months, and 
even during Christmas for once, he had had the place to himself.  Apart 
from when the cleaner, Mrs. Donald, had come to disturb him, with her 
scrubbing and polishing and hoovering.  Though he had to admit, she was 
good at her job; quick, but thorough.  And because he liked the place 
to be clean and tidy, he always kept well out of her way; usually in 
the attic.  She never came up there; even when she did the two-day 
spring clean, which she had just finished the day before.  The gardener 
had been, as well.  He was less thorough.  Mack turned his head to 
watch as a small flock of sparrows alighted on the newly cut front 
lawn, pecking at it and playing aerial leapfrog with each other. 

He turned his attention back to the driveway.  Saturday afternoon.  Now
it would surely start.  Visitors.  Mack hated them.  Especially the 
large family groups with children.  Poking about in every nook and 
cranny.  Hiding and then jumping out at each other, pretending to be 
ghosts.  Mack had never believed in ghosts.  Never understood why 
perfectly ordinary folk would start to ramble on about ghosts and 
hauntings, just because they happened to be staying in a beautiful old 
house.  Mack had lived at Brackentree for more years than he could 
remember.  Ever since his wife, Beatrice, had inherited it from her 
uncle, back in the fifties. 

'Why ever did she leave me?' Mack asked himself, and not for the first
time.  'She only had a bad cold.  People shouldn't die of bad colds.' 

'And why did she will Brackentree to Gerald?' might have been Mack's
next question, but he had learned to stop asking himself that one.  It 
upset him to think that his wife could have betrayed him so; leaving 
the house, lock, stock and barrel, to their money-grabbing son.  But 
then, before she died, she had become very odd.  Hardly ever talking to 
him and never listening properly to what he had to say. 

It wouldn't have been so bad if Gerald had come back to live at
Brackentree.  But no, without even consulting his father he had turned 
the place over to letting agents; after first installing central 
heating, and new plumbing, and new kitchen cupboards, and all manner of 
shiny white machines that hummed, gurgled, whined and vibrated as 
though about to explode. 

Just as Mack stepped back from the window, a vehicle pulled into the
driveway.  To Mack, it looked like a cross between a car and a minibus. 
 He remembered that a family the previous year had had one just like 
it; a Renault-something-or-other.  He couldn't remember.  The sound of 
rubber tyres on gravel startled the sparrows and they flew off into the 
trees.  The vehicle ground to a halt in front of the house, but just 
far enough away from it for Mack to watch without stepping back over to 
the window.  As the doors were flung open, a young couple climbed out, 
soon followed by three children; two girls and a boy.  No dogs, Mack 
noticed.  Good.  Dogs were a bloody nuisance. 

The man stretched and rubbed his back, looking the house over as though
he was trying to estimate its value.  The woman came and stood beside 
him.  'It's big, isn't it,' she said.  Her accent was English.  
Northern, but well below the Borders, Mack decided. 

'Well, it sleeps eight,' the man replied.  Another northern English
accent.  'Where did they say the key was?' 



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