Ian looked at the party he had just dropped his latest ride at, and it looked to be a wild one. Costumed party goers here at the university showed much more skin than the few first and second cousins he had grown up with. The girls here hadn’t dressed as characters so much as caricatures. Most just went along with one of the sorority’s themes, or settled for something related to their major: slutty nurse, librarian, etc. The boys weren’t any better. He’d seen more than enough soldiering to dress up that way. He just wanted to settle down.
A bit older than his peers, he reflected on what had brought him here. He’d hardly known his grandmother. He was the only grandson of the family and she had given him special attention. She only called him “McLeod,” the family name. He never could put his finger on exactly why he felt so much pressure, but it was as if the hopes and dreams of all his family depended on him alone. Her actions his senior year sealed his decision to leave. Calling him over to her house that last week in May, she handed him a bundle of wool. Looking deeply into his eyes, too deeply, she delivered the ultimatum. “It now depends on you young McLeod and your time is coming soon. Don’t shame us the way all these cowards have!”
He gave no more thought to returning to that small mountain community after completing his military service, than to why his ancestors had left the old country in the 1600s.
She looked across the campus intently, knowing everything depended on this night. Men with the required quality had disappeared from the Celtic Isles. The sisterhood was forced to look much further afield. Finally, they lost all contact with the prized bloodline required to maintain their power. Grandmother had used the last of her energy and saw one faint spark somewhere here in this small university town on the new continent. 100 years ago it would have been impossible for her to survive the passage on a ship surrounded by iron but modern aluminum aircraft had made the crossing both pleasant and swift.
She walked around the campus not so much seeking, as just following her nose and watching with great interest. Her appearance on this night was the first time in 236 years that an authentic virgin priestess was on the prowl. Continuation of the ancient line all depended on her.
When Ian had returned from the military he learned with great sadness of his grandmother’s passing. It had been a scant 6 months after he’d left; but the fault was his own since he’d not kept in touch. There was no future in staying there but after enrolling in classes he dug out that wool bundle and looked at it carefully. A plaid of primarily blue and green, it seemed to be quite old yet he could pick out traces of red and yellow crisscrossing through it. He had not known why, but he decided this Halloween to wear that kilt for the first time ever while driving on this night, a guaranteed money maker.
Reflecting again on those drunk passengers who’d certainly tipped well, he knew none had drawn his personal interest. Had his time in the military really changed him so much that their behavior seemed so shallow?
Maria came to a stop outside of building teaming with activity, her eyes focused on the car which came to a halt in front of her. Peering, out through the passenger window the young man asked “Selena?” Everyone’s accent was different here, but for some reason she knew that this was the one foretold who would ask for her by name without knowing the purpose.
Ian looked at the young lady when arriving to pick up his latest passenger and verified hers was the name on his phone. He was done for the night and as she said she had no fixed destination he logged out of the app and they drove briefly through town. Behind them a girl wiped her mouth and wondered out from behind a bush wondering when her ride would arrive.
The raven haired beauty was clearly a transfer student from Ireland. Captivated by her red hair and hazel eyes, he suggested they walk on the cool night air while he showed off his new home town. Strangely most of her questions were about himself and his family.
He would never recall the rest of that night and the magic it wove around him, but the next morning he woke up in his own bed stiff in every muscle and with a blue silk ribbon tied around his little soldier. Perhaps he would take his GI Bill and study abroad?
— © 2017 David Bevers
From Life In A Kilt Podcast‘s “Kilt of Horrors” 2017