The Horror in the Island, part one (fiction)

The Horror in the Island


My name is Doctor James MacMann . I received my education and training at the University of Glasgow School of Medicine. Not long after I had received my qualifications, a position for a doctor became available in the island of Roake in the Hebrides. Roake is a small island yet with a large enough population to warrant the need for a doctor. As I was young and keen to carve out a place for myself in the world, I decided to take the position. I initially only planned to be there for a year or so, as I was used to city life and thought I would find being on an island far away from anywhere else too dull and quiet for my tastes, but I could always decide to stay there longer if I so desired.

So it was in the late summer of 1930, that I found myself traveling by boat to Roake. It was an unpleasant journey for me. I was not used to being on boats and that journey was made while a storm passed over us. I found myself heaving over the side of the boat frequently due to the savage pitching the boat made in the swirling seawater. Maybe I should have taken that journey as a warning. Maybe I should I have realised this post was not for me and should have immediately got the boat to turn back to the mainland. However, I failed to heed this warning and instead endured the jeers from the sailors who laughed at my inconvenience. “Do you need something to settle your stomach Doc?” one of the sailors asked before he broke into uncontrollable laughter.

By the time we arrived at Roake, the wind and the sea had died down, and I had regained my composure. When I set foot on the wharf at Roake, I was so pleased to be back on the terra firma I found renewed joy and excitement in my new post. The township we had come to was small. There were a couple of stores, a church, a few old houses and other buildings. I assumed my new surgery was in one of the these buildings. At the end of the wharf was a young man in his early twenties I guessed. He was wearing a tweed jacket and a kilt and had dark brown hair and pale skin. I walked up to him carrying some of my bags.

“Are you Doctor MacMann?” he asked as I got nearer.

“Aye.” I replied. He smiled and held out his hand.

“My name is Jamie Ferguson. I am the son of the Laird. My father sends his apologies, but he is away at the moment and is sorry he cannot meet your arrival. He sent me in his place.” He informed me. I shook hands with him. “You’re younger than I was expecting.”

“Aye, I’m only just starting out as a doctor, but I can assure you I am fully trained to deal with any ailment that may arise here.” I assured him. He nodded and smiled.

“I’ll show you to your surgery and your accommodation.” Jamie offered.

“Please lead the way.” I told him. He led me through the town until we came to an old stone house. On the way various locals took a long look at me, as if they were already making judgements about my abilities from the way I looked. My lodgings were above my offices. Though it was still summer, inside the building felt cold. I wondered what it would be like in winter. “So what happened to the previous doctor?”

“He retired and headed back to Edinburgh, I think. He was here for many years. It was a great relief to all the islanders that the vacant position was filled so quickly. We were all worried it might be sometime before we got a new doctor.” Jamie told me. For better or worse I was here now. It was after 9pm and the sun was finally setting. I decided to retire early as I was tired and feeling drained from my travels. I intended set up the practice tomorrow morning and see if there were any patients needing my assistance. For now, I collapsed onto my bed and slept the rest of the night away wondering what the morning would bring.

to be continued…

Joanne Fisher

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

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