I know that I am not exactly consistent with CEs, but I like to do them when I can, so I am linking up with Kendra of Knitted by God's Plan for her August Character Encounter, which just so happens to be school shopping.
Most of the time I enjoy school shopping, in fact, but today I am not very excited about it, because it symbolizes the end of summer with my family. In just a few weeks I will have to return to college and will not see them until Christmastime. With this depressing thought in mind, I still remember to shop sparingly, because I will have to transport everything that I buy in as small a space as possible. I gaze longingly at the expensive leather bound journals and grab a few ten-cent notebooks instead.
"Why, where is this place?"
I turn around and nearly fall over in surprise. A lady is standing behind me, and I know exactly who she is. About fifty, dressed in unrelieved mourning with dark brown hair, she can be none other than Lady Laura Loughney of Castle Cauldwerden. I imagined her rather taller, but in fact she is not much taller than I am. The very sight of her makes me fell sloppy, underdressed, immature, and clumsy, but I straighten my back, wishing for the perfect posture that she is exhibiting.
"Where is this place?" she asks again.
I smile reassuringly, although if I were a titled lady used to luxury I would hardly be pleased to find myself in a Walmart. "This is ah . . . a marketplace," I say.
"It is excessively loud and bright," she says. "Also, it smells . . . odd."
"That's Walmart," I say, inwardly gleeful that her Scottish accent is just as perfect as I imagined it.
"What is your name?" she asks me, looking me up and down with her strangely bright eyes. "Have you seen my Gavin?"
I bite my lip. Lady Loughney is a little obsessed with one idea, finding her estranged son. "Where did you come from?" I ask. "How did you get here?"
"I was searching for my Gavin in the closet where he used to hide, and I came here. Who are you, Miss?"
"I am Kathryn," I say. "I know all about you, and Gavin."
Suddenly, around the corner strides a tall gentleman dressed in a green riding coat, brown trousers, and top-boots and carrying a tall beaver hat and riding whip. His well-chiseled features are a mask of concern. "Laurie, my love, there you are!" he exclaims when he sees his wife.
"Laird Andrew!" I exclaim, giving him an approving nod. He is just as perfect as I imagined him, even to the embroidered thistles on his vest.
"Who are you?" he asks, gently drawing his wife to his side.
"Kathryn," I answer.
"I thought that Gavin might be here," says Lady Loughney plaintively. "He was calling me, I know he was."
Laird Andrew is breathing heavily, as I thought he might. "You witch!" he gasps. "You brought us here."
At once I understand what he is thinking. "Do you think that I am Katherine MacNielton? I look nothing like her."
"You do look like her," insists Laird Andrew, but I decide that his guilty conscience is playing with his mind.
"MacNielton!" cries Lady Loughney. "Don't they live on MacDrae land?"
"Aye, my love," answers Laird Andrew, his face growing more and more disturbed as he takes in the strange surroundings of Walmart.
"Katherine MacNielton is no witch, Laird Andrew," I firmly declare, deciding that I like this man better in literary form than in real life.
"If it were not for her, my Laurie would not be like this," Laird Andrew breathes. "Where are we? Give us back to our own place."
"Katherine MacNielton is not at fault," I reply. "Neither is Gavin. You are responsible for your wife's condition."
"Gavin is a rebellious son!" exclaims Laird Andrew, growing angry in a magnificent manner.
"Oh, my love, do not speak of him so!" exclaims Lady Loughney. "Gavin is a good boy."
"She is right," I agree. "Gavin was a dutiful son, giving up whatever you wanted him to. But when you cast a slur on an honest girl, he had to defend her. Your own pride has cost Lady Loughney her reason."
Laird Andrew takes a step in front of Lady Loughney, as if shielding her from my harsh words, but his face shows that he knows I am right. "How do you know this?"
"I am the author writing the story that you are in," I say with a little smile, enjoying the shock that I see crossing his handsome features. "In fact, you are only a figment of my imagination."
Laird Andrew closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. "Why did you write such misery for us?" he asked.
"So that you would appreciate the happiness that is soon to come," I assured him. "Once you learn to get over your pride, you shall become one of the happiest men in the world. You are already so blessed."
He looks as though he cannot quite bring himself to believe me, not noticing that Lady Loughney has wandered around a corner, still searching for her Gavin. He turns, and, seeing his wife gone, goes after her, leaving me standing alone, holding my ten-cent notebooks.
Thanks for reading, and God bless,