Benjamin Ulysses Maitland-Abyss & Chips BOOK SIX

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Chapter 33

The rowing out to the car and then the drive to the airport was nothing short of exciting. Ben’s heart was in overdrive at meeting the woman he had missed for weeks and seeing how much his daughter had grown. The radio was little conciliation on the way out there so he put his window down and yelled out ‘Hambooooooooooone,’ and it wasn’t long till a panting slobbering ghost dog was happy growling in the back seat of his car as he sped his way now with a travelling buddy to the airport. It felt better having Hambone there with him because the dog loved being in the car and if he knew he had missed a trip in the car he would be miserable. Ben followed all the signs to the airport and once it came into view he checked his watch. He had plenty of time to park the car and then sit in the arrival lounge watching all the people come out and wait to see his wife and daughter.

Now no one could see Hambone so he wandered off to explore the arrival terminal and see what he could see, leaving Ben to ponder his wife’s features and his daughter’s hair colour and behaviour patterns. Aubrey’s flight had landed and she must have been going through customs while Hambone searched and sniffed his way around the kitchens of all the take away food. There was nothing he could eat but he loved seeing all the food and sniffing the rubbish bins. Hambone decided to head back to the arrival lounge to his friend Ben who was waiting for his partner and the little slobbering bundle of giggles, skin and plastic pants that Ben was so attached to. Hambone looked at Ben and he sat next to him to keep him company.

The list of aircraft numbers on the TV screen in front of Ben told him that his aircraft had landed and that Ben would soon see his wife and child, then it was back for the last of the festivities that had been planned for the home coming.

Ben was awfully toey waiting for Aubrey to show.

Finally a silhouette moved from behind the glass.

And a little voice was yelling......‘Dadadadadadadadadadadadadad.’

Ben knew it was Aubrey and Zara.

Aubrey was trying to push the trolley with her bags on it with one hand and Zara on her hip looking this way and that for her dad. Hambone did a small happy growl enough for Aubrey and Zara to hear it and they all turned to look at each other and the tears began to flow on both eyes. Ben raced over and hugged his wife, partner and best friend and relished the kiss that they held together for several minutes. Little Zara held her father’s neck and said, ‘Dadadadadadadadadadad’ into his ear and the tears flowed even more.

While all of this was going on a young guy pushing his trolley out of customs looked at the trolley that belonged to Aubrey and thought to himself that while she wasn’t looking he might lift a duty free present off her trolley and onto his. Hambone let go a throaty growl that shook the young man to the core and he decided against it, opting for the exit instead of losing a limb to the dog he just couldn’t see.

The greeting with his wife was intense and several couples passed them in the front of the customs exit doorway including a couple who winked at Ben on the way past. Ben grabbed Zara and Aubrey then pushed her bags out to the car to leave the airport and get home. Aubrey commented to Ben that she thought she saw D-Mac in a car pulling into the airport to which Ben told her D-Mac was busy with tourists and was out in the Loch so it couldn’t be him. (God her eyesight was good even after flying 22 hours all that way.)

They held hands all the way home and Hambone sat with Zara letting Zara put her little feet through his head all the way home. He was so happy to see everyone back and amongst friends. Ben rounded the corner past the Dunmour Cottage and tooted giving Aubrey the impression that his mum was home there and would wave from whatever she was doing at the sound of the car horn. Finally they all saw Amazing and Graceful come into sight and Ben tooted the horn and when Hambone got out he let go a woof that scared even high flying birds.

Agnes and Fiona went into hide-everyone-mode and even though Lord Bannock was a bit gorillas in the mist (drunk) and was a bit indignant, he hid all the same. Ben put Aubrey and Zara in the boat with the luggage and he began rowing back to the home that had missed his family so much. Aubrey wanted to know how business was and how the finances were and he just nodded and smiled and told her to ask Agnes as she had a dam good handle on all that.

Aubrey stood on the stone steps with Zara on her hip and waited for Ben to retrieve the bags and then began to walk back to her home and her room. It was as the reception doors opened a huge cheer erupted and bodies came pouring out of the dining room doors towards Aubrey and Zara. Mind you, some of the bodies went through the dining room doors but that didn’t matter they all were just so happy to see Aubrey and Zara. Fresh bottles of wine were opened and toasts were made for the successful return of Ben’s wife and child.

Ben could not be happier.

Aubrey was smiling and greeting everyone.

Baby Zara was handed from one person to the next but she always got handed back to Ben when she said..... ‘Dadadadadadad.’

Aubrey actually was glad to be sharing a glass of red and talking to everyone in front of the fire and by now everyone was used to the Dunmours being ghosts and amongst them. It was only some of the female staff members from Castle Bannock that found siting on Raphael just a little unnerving when he moved under their backside, so consequently word got out and he was left alone. Now Raphael had taken to walking on the legs of his chair so he wasn’t needed to be carried at all, he could get around just fine. Some of the staff gave him a wide birth because of his trick with the vines on the ornate chair but he was definitely happy to see Aubrey and Zara.

After much celebrating and welcoming home to Aubrey and Zara, Ben carried her bags up to the room and carried her across the entrance to their bedroom. Aubrey even commented on how nice the room was and at once noticed the little jewellery box by her bedside. ‘That’s for you my darling, I made one of the gifts inside it just for you,’ said Ben as he smiled lovingly at his wife as she reached for the little box. She looked back at him and smiled then put the box on the bed and came to him and they embraced. They held each other as if they would never let each other go. They shared a contact that was warm and deeply heartfelt as that of two people who really loved each other. Ben pulled back and looked into her eyes and kissed her. Aubrey returned the kiss and they stood at the foot of the bed and held each other for some time.

Ben finally said...‘Open your present Aubrey. I am busting to see what you think of it,’ said Ben like a kid at Christmas time with a room full of presents. Aubrey opened the box and looked at Ben with tears rolling down her cheeks. She lifted into her hands a golden heart with Zara’s name and Ben’s on it engraved, draped with a beautiful gold chain. Then behind the gold present were jewels of all shapes, colours and sizes, all priceless, and exquisite in design and magnificence.

Aubrey was speechless.

She went to her dressing table and found a note wrapped in a red ribbon that wasn’t there when she left to visit her mother and father in Australia. She looked at Ben and pulled the ribbon. She folded open the note and it read in old fashioned English writing...

’’Welcome Home my darling Aubrey, I have missed you more than you know and I am so very happy that you are home with me again.

Signed with love Benjiman. xxx

Aubrey was totally shocked at the emotion that this bought into her heart. She looked back into the mirror and Ben helped her with the clasp on the neck and she admired it in her little mirror that was neatly arranged with all her belongings.

Outside D-Mac was rowing two passengers to the stone steps with their baggage and he wasn’t doing a very good job of it. Every so often his oar would skip across the water and splash the passengers. Not very competent in a smallish type boat was our D-Mac, but he was very sneaky none the less.

Aubrey stood up and hugged Ben once again with her gold necklace on and they kissed. D-mac helped with the bags up the stone steps and the passengers marvelled at all the work they were seeing for the first time at Amazing and Graceful. Ben said that he had three more surprises that she needed to see before he would let her rest. Ben checked his watch and grabbed Aubrey’s hand then made his way to the top of the stairs and kissed her again in plain sight of everyone to which the room of guests wolf whistled and cheered. Lord Bannock who was well plastered by then even said that ‘Jesus that was quick one, he was even quicker than me’ and Lady Bannock punched him on the shoulder.

They both walked down the stairs and went to stand near the fire place. It was then Aubrey caught sight of two people she had said goodbye to some 22 hours earlier that she knew. It was her Mum and Dad. Ben had flown them over because he knew she would be sad at leaving early to come home and that her parents would be sad she was going as well so they hid on the aircraft with her and it was them that winked as Ben side tracked Aubrey by kissing and hugging her at the airport customs exit. (And yes, Aubrey did see D-Mac at the airport because he was picking up Aubrey’s parents to surprise her.

It worked!

Now Ben whispered in his wife’s ear that he would be back in a moment to unveil two more surprises which may be a bit of a shock. She kissed him and said that nothing he did would surprise her. Ben went outside and walked past the submarine and looked into the water to see any kind of movement. He did not have to wait long. Up popped Lanthe and Cleodora all smiles and flashing teeth and they came to the rocks where Ben was standing. Ben bowed and they returned it with huge smiles.

‘Is Queen Zillath and your people ready to meet my family and my friends.’

‘We are land person Ben,’ they almost said at the same time and they both looked at each other and grinned.

‘That’s fantastic, I want to warn you about the things that will make terrific noise in the sky, don’t be afraid of them they won’t harm you and they will be very pretty.’

‘We trust you and will pass on your message to all our people.’

‘Great, give me some time to get everyone assembled out here then I will make the presentation to Queen Zillath.’

‘Consider it done,’ and Lanthe and Cleodora vanished beneath the surface of the water without a ripple. Ben walked back inside and got Peebles and another staff member to come and help him with the gift for Queen Zillath. It was wrapped in two kings sized bed sheets and they both complained that it was bloody heavy.

Ben went to the reception doors and yelled across the room. ’My dear friends and family it is now that we are about to meet my friends, so please behave with dignity as representatives of Clan Bannock and Maitland and let’s walk to the rocky edge to great them please. Lady Bannock punched Lord Bannock on the shoulder and said...‘Behave you old soak,’ to which he replied, ‘Aye, I’ll be an angel.’

As Ben and Aubrey turned the corner Aubrey saw the submarine.

She stopped dead in hear tracks.

‘Ben...why is there a submarine leaning on our hotel?’

‘Long story my dear and you are about to find out now, and darling you said nothing I did would surprise you.’

‘I was wrong, so very, very wrong,’ said Aubrey aghast at the size of the submarine. Everyone made their way to the rocky outcrop where there was enough room for everyone to stand and see the water. Ben looked up to the roof of Amazing and Graceful and got the thumbs up for D-Mac who was peering over the side. Ben then turned to see if Peebles and one of the staff members from Castle Bannock had made it out with the gift to the water’s edge, and they had.

It was time to address his friends again.

My friends some time ago I would not have thought that all the things in my life would change so dramatically but they have. I am married to a beautiful woman and have a darling gorgeous little daughter named after a lady I helped escaped from under the floor of my hotel. Nothing is normal about anything that has happened to me since I arrived in Bonnie Scotland.

There was even an attempt on my life by a ghost who in his narrow mindedness and vengeful heart took the life of someone who was gentle, kind and a husband to someone I now call a friend.

Friends and my Family, please extend a warm welcome to a clan of people we saved by taking this submarine away from falling onto their homes and killing more of them by way of a foolish accident. I present to you Queen Zillath of the Merrow people....

Lord Bannock whispered to his wife, ‘His mind has gone. There are no such things as merro’oooo.’ His words ended abruptly and three heads rose out of the water, Queen Zillath, Cleodora and Lanthe. This time they were not smiling there was an uneasy tension between all the guests and these folk who came from nowhere in the water and were now approaching Ben. Ben turned to his friends and family and said... ‘I would ask you if you would be so kind as to bow to the Queen of the Merrow people Queen Zillath and her bodyguards Cleodora and Lanthe please?’

Everyone, including Hambone and Lamb Shanks dropped their heads in respect to Ben’s wishes. It was then that Queen Zillath spoke to Ben and his friends and family.

‘Dear land people, it has always been that our people have been spoken of in tales and whispers and that was how we have wanted it to be for centuries but time changes things and our perspective of you. Your behaviour has changed dramatically with this man’s nobel intentions to save my people from immanent death by removing this hideous machine from its precarious perch above my home and its people.’

Everyone was amazed at this beautiful Merrow who was talking to them.

Not a sound was heard from anyone.

‘I have thanked land person Ben for his bravery and dedication for saving us and I have come to the surface to make ourselves known to the people he cares most about because he cared about us to save us. You have a wonderful land person in your midst who is gentle and courteous to a fault and on behalf of my people’...and Queen Zillath turned around to face the Loch and hundreds of heads popped up out of the water. Some holding baby Merrows in their arms, others of all shapes and hair colours moved in close to hear what their queen was saying... ’We trust you all to keep our lives private and we will protect yours if ever you venture into the waters around land persons Ben’s home’.

Everyone watching the marvellous scene before them nodded and watched as Peebles and his helper carried down to the edge of the water Ben’s present for Queen Zillth and then it was Ben’s turn to speak.

’Queen Zillath, Cleodora and Lanthe, and all of your kin and clans we will respect your wishes and as a token of our bond with your people with you as our friend I made for you a gift by way of sealing this friendship and bond between us. But it is heavy and you will need some of your men Merrows to help with it.

I give you a golden memorial...

The crowd went silent as Peebles unwrapped the golden statue.

’....of your husband and King.’

The effect on Queen Zillath was instant.

She turned to Ben and back at the memorial plaque, then back to Ben the crowd and the statue. Ben walked to the water’s edge and Queen Zillath beckoned him into the water up to his waist. Queen Zillath looked at Ben and she was crying. Aubrey could not believe her eyes neither could any of the guests, ghosts and staff from both Amazing and Graceful and Castle Bannock. Ben bowed his head in respect and Queen Zillath moved quickly toward Ben and hugged him.

All of the Merrows were shocked.

Ben returned the hug and stepped back from Queen Zillath and said... ’I have one more surprise for you but if you are not used to loud noises now would be a good time to cover your ears.’

Ben looked up at D-Mac on the roof of Amazing and Graceful and Queen Zillath told everyone to protect their ears and look skyward. Ben gave D-Mac the thumbs up and then he covered baby Zara’s ears with a set of woollen ear muffs. D-Mac was pretty chuffed as he began to light the fuses of the fireworks Ben had set up on the roof. One after the other different coloured rockets hurtled into the sky’s late setting sun and lit up the crowd of land people and Merrows...and the submarine.

At first some of the Merrows were scared but as Queen Zillath did not move as she watched the sky, so all her subjects returned to the surface of the water to watch the spectacle.

Ben held his arm around Aubrey and his daughter and looked around at all the people, ghosts and Merrows who were watching the sky, their faces lit up with different colours with each explosion.

He was content and happy with his surroundings, his home and the submarine. All was very good.

There...done! Hope you have enjoyed the ride as much as I have and’t tell anyone but Ben is going to be a Daddy again in roughly eight and a half months’ time so stay tuned for the next instalment.

Signing off for now but will leave you with a saying I have made and love. Faithfully Glenn.


The End

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