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|Brackentree (standard:drama, 2820 words)|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Apr 19 2004||Views/Reads: 2446/1324||Story 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?' Click here to read the rest of this story (256 more lines)
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