‘The blood is dark. It surrounds and changes the patchwork of lichen on the rock, slipping down through cracks and fissures, seeking a return to the earth. The knife is sticky in his hand. He lets it drop to the ground. At his feet, the dead man’s eyes are blank and open to the sky, all malice and vengeance gone.
What now? What price for taking a life? Even if the alternative was to lose your own? Even if there was never a choice, no other way? A mocking seabird flies overhead, its wanton cries echoing through him. And he knows. The price will be everything he has.
Joe Galbraith struggled to rise from the dream, but it kept pulling him back. The body. The blood. The price. When would it end? A beating noise, repetitive and strong, filled his head. He clung to it until the dream let him go.
Rain. On the window above his bed. He turned over and opened his eyes. Four thirty a.m. He’d be worth nothing if he didn’t get back to sleep, at least for a couple of hours. But the man in his dream, the man he’d killed, was determined to keep him awake.
Not that he had killed anyone. The dream had distorted reality, so that Joe held the knife and used it on Stephen MacLaren, instead of the other way around. Was it regret that sculpted the dream? Did Joe wish he had killed Stephen?
No, though he’d have done anything at the time to save his sister. But as he and Stephen had fought on the rugged shore in Harris last year, Joe was stabbed, leaving him with a scar that itched whenever he remembered, and frequent haunting dreams in which the story played out a little differently each time.
Would the dreams end if Stephen’s body was found? He was last seen jumping into the sea. Surely his remains must come ashore eventually. And maybe then the dreams would stop.’
You can buy Madness Lies in Watersones Inverness, Blackwells, Edinburgh; and many Highland and Island bookshops; or you can:-