I’ll admit, I was in a sour mood.
As I wandered along North Road, keeping the stonewall between myself and Gods’ Hollow, I noticed the damned place had changed again. What had been snow-covered forest the days prior was now open flatland free of snow.
I stopped, took out my pipe and packed it with fresh tobacco. Lighting it, I admitted to myself that my mood was foul because of Horatio. I’d enjoyed the monkey’s company, his wit, and his undeniable ability to drink far more than he should have been able to. Our short time together had been just that, short.
Standing at the wall, I wondered what my ‘kin’ in Europe my send my way next. They’d spent the better part of the month trying to destroy me, as my unwanted visitor on the first had said.
They’d failed, of course, though they’d harmed and killed a few others along the way.
I took a long draw off the pipe, held it for a moment, and then let the smoke ease out through my lips. I watched as the smoke curled up and away, forming small clouds and then breaking apart on their travels.
It was then I heard the rattle of wheels and a tsking.
When I looked off toward the sound, I caught sight of a strange trio coming along the Hollow side of the stonewall.
A wagon, pulled by a pair of harnessed turkeys and driven by a young boy, soon was abreast of me. The wagon was loaded with the bounty of a good harvest, and the driver brought his curious steeds up short.
He tipped his hat to me, and when he spoke, it was in the language of my father.
“Duncan,” the boy said. “Do you know me?”
The boy chuckled. “Your father knew me as Freyr, and so shall you. I bring you good tidings.”
I raised an eyebrow and waited.
“Horatio sends his greetings, though it be from Helheim,” Freyr stated. “He wants me to remind you that dead is not gone. He bade me give you this gift as well.”
The boy pulled a silver laced bottle out and passed it to me over the wall.
“The finest scotch I could lay hands to,” Freyr winked.
I nodded my thanks and watched as Freyr climbed back into his wagon.
Bringing the bottle home, I did exactly what Horatio would have done.
I drank it in one go.