The Whistler

Submission for Time Travel Flash Fiction Challenge

Stella couldn’t get the sound of his whistling out of her head. Every morning before dawn, it awakened her, and she could rarely fall back asleep. The sound itched like a fungal nightmare, and she was determined to relieve the burning.

The melody itself wasn’t unpleasant, but gave rise to memories she would rather forget. . .like the last time she time traveled to ancient Eire, and was stuck there until her team figured out what went wrong. Her memories of those six months were fuzzy in spots, but she still remembered her dear friend, Maude, and all that wondrous ale she drank beneath the stars.

Perhaps someone had slipped inside the vortex with her? She laughed at how inane that sounded. Still. . .what if she had brought some thing back with her?

After several weeks of this, she decided to return to Ulster. Since she’d previously arrived at Samhain in October of 1312, and hadn’t been retrieved until Beltane in May, it seemed like the best choice.

Ironically, the mere act of deciding to return seemed to silence the whistler. Not that she was superstitious, but could this be proof someone was coaxing her to return?

A return trip might be considered a waste of precious energetic resources; however, one of their best clients still needed more research on Edward Bruce and the victory at Bannockburn. The last thing she wanted, though, was to be there during the war.

It really was a no-brainer. . .




On the day of her return, Stella stepped through the portal and was greeted by an early morning mist. She adjusted her cloak against the chill and walked confidently in the direction of Maude’s cottage.

Lamb-scented smoke wafted from the chimney, and Stella’s stomach rumbled as she approached the porch where Maude was waiting for her.

They greeted each other with the usual blessings, then Maude announced, “I’ve been expecting you. How’s your sister and her wee bairns?”

“All is well, thank the Goddess,” Stella replied.

Maude’s eyes beamed. “Did you give her the potion I made?”

Stella nodded, feeling a bit guilty about lying to this woman who had only shown her kindness and had taught her quite a bit about the ancient arts.

“You’ll be needing it soon, too, I’m thinking,” Mauve said with a chuckle, indicating Stella’s swollen breasts and how much tighter her dress fit.

Stella’s eyes grew wide. “But-”

“There are no buts about it, dear. Your husband will want to reclaim you now, witch or no. For it’s a son you carry. Of that I am sure. . .”

Stella collapsed in the chair. Maude tsk-tsked. “I know you are not from our time. Nor am I, so the lying will stop now.” She turned toward the scuff of wet boots coming up the path, and then the whistling began.

“And there he would be now, come to claim you. Didn’t I warn you about drinking the ale? Now you’re here to stay.”

The End