The Dare

Last week the Captain found the roof torn off of his church for a second time…

The crowd fell back, a disappointed wave sighing across them. Then the bishop took charge immediately, bustling over to the Captain and a few monks that were attending from the Douglas Abbey, and hustled them into a corner. Internally, the Captain was frozen.

“My condolences, Captain,” murmured a few people as he was marched past them. He could barely hear them anyway, as his shocked despair was rapidly making way for a steely resolve. What was behind this? He had an idea. But why?

“Friends,” the bishop opened his hastily arranged council meeting. “I think some force of evil is behind this. What do you say?” The monks nodded.

“My lord bishop,” the Captain then spoke up, in a firm tone laced with the respect a layman should have for the clergy. “Perhaps the buggane which was on my ship is behind this, though why I can’t imagine.”

“Indeed, that’s what I think,” the bishop nodded. “Perhaps we have built the church too close to his home in the mountain, and he doesn’t want to be disturbed.”

“Or maybe,” the Captain’s eyes lit up, “maybe it caused the storm that night, so it could return home. And so when I thank Saint Trinian for saving us, and build a church right on the buggane’s doorstep, it is offended.”

“That’s a good idea, friend,” the bishop caught on enthusiastically. “Well, I believe we need to sanctify this place so that it can’t enter the grounds. And the way to do that would be for someone to stay here overnight. To stand their ground against it and win.”

The monks and the Captain glanced at each other. The Captain swallowed, licking his suddenly dry lips. As responsible as he felt for this disaster, his knees trembled at the idea of facing down a buggane. Folk on the mainland might dismiss them as tales to scare naughty children – but they had never lived on the Isle of Man.

“My lord,” he put forward. “Should it not be a member of the clergy?”

“No,” replied the bishop. “And even better if it was not. If a common man can stay here for one night, and do all that is necessary for the consecration and sanctification of the building, then it will have a much better effect against the power of evil.”

Interesting, thought the Captain. His heart beat fast as he opened his lips.

“My lord bishop, I volunteer for such a role.”

The Captain turned. “Tim?”

“My lord bishop?” Tim repeated, staring at the white haired cleric.

The Captain’s mouth opened, about to protest. Surely his friend was the last person to face down a buggane! But then he caught the sparkle in Tim’s eye. Of course. Somebody had put him up to this.

The bishop looked down at him with beady eyes. “Master Timothy. Well, if you look at it one way, I suppose there is no better person than you.”

“Thank you,” Tim bowed. “My lord, Mr Roberts has dared me to watch in the church one Saturday night, and make a pair of breeches.”