Northwords Now Issue 40

The FREE literary magazine of the North

What if there was a visitor to Tong in Lewis in 1929?

by Hugh McMillan

Mary MacLeod was walking down the beaten track. Ahead of her Broadbay glistened in the sheen of cold sunlight. The post had arrived and she was looking forward to reading a letter from her sister who was living abroad. Mary dreamed of leaving this grey place with its mud and its hopelessness. She was a good-looking girl, just past her 17th birthday. There had to be somewhere else and someone else. Happiness and out of a wind that cut through you.

A strange perturbation in the ditch, a sudden flare, sent a chicken running. Mary was surprised to see Angus Beag the itinerant grocer standing there: it was long past the time he should have been on the road. There he stood, with a strange sheen on him.

‘Carson a tha thu cho neònach a choimhead, Aonghais Bhig?’
she asked, tremulously.
‘Cha mhise Aonghas Beaghe’ he responded, ‘Is mise Hyperalloy.’
He was reaching in his sack. There was a strange pulse of light.
“Chan e cucumber Aonghais Bhig” she said, the words fading on her lips.