Saturday evening came around very quickly, and brought with it Nigel Tyas. As he took to the open door and ventured inside the extraordinarily warm hallway an owl told of its perch high up in the old oak down the lane. Mac wondered what this journalist thought of the shabby vestibule in leu of the fact that just through the next doorway was the splendid lounge to where he was now walking, treading cautiously so has not to kick up the ragged linoleum.

The owl called again as Mac closed out the cold night. He knew of this owl, and of their kind in general. Cailleach, the veiled one, the wise old woman, last embodiment of the trilogy, crone; coileach-oidhche, night-cockerel, a guide to the Underworld, a creature of keen sight in darkness, and a silent and swift hunter. He knew her endeavour too. She came to him as a helping, in unmasking those who would deceive or take advantage of him. Was that why she was here tonight, as a warning. Was she a bringer of some dreamt message? This creature of mystical wisdom, knowing ancient knowledge belonging the powers of the moon, her wide-open, all-seeing eyes look upon reality without distortion and acknowledge it. She is aware, and with her magic can make changes. All this he knew.

Another hoot from outside, a little louder this time as the journalist took hold of a welcome mug of tea and began. He was different in his approach to the time before. More questioning, more serious. Why did Mac not know where he came from, was he hiding something? What possible explanation could there be for the lab results? An altogether more different an approach than the one just seeking a story. Mac could only reaffirm his bewilderment and proffered no reason why the tests should come back as reported other than mistaken or mishandled data.

Hoot hoot again. Was she telling of something. Mac thought for a moment. She can see that which others cannot, he knew that, the essence of true wisdom belonged her. Where others are deceived, Owl sees and knows what is there.

Nigel Tyas took a sip of the warming drink as he thought for a moment. He looked pensive, ill at ease with the company he kept, or was it that the cold night air had taken away the usual ruddy complexion out of his face making his aquiline features appear almost ghost like against his curly dark mop of hair.

He had a theory to tell he began, and one he tried to explain, but struggled in blurting it out with some difficulty of an uneasy delivery, one not becoming the reporter. He held an idea, he told them, one given by the hospital source, not his own he took pains to emphasise, an outlandish suggestion that Mac had been manipulated somehow, that he was an experiment gone awry, a scientific experiment, having his genes altered for some purpose or another.

Mac interrupted the journalists now more easy flowing words with a belly laugh that echoed around the plain whitewashed walls of the little farmhouse on the hill, an abode insignificant in its position within the great scheme of things, but more relevant at this moment than could ever be imagined. That was the thought that came to Mac’s mind’s eye at any rate. Nigel Tyas however remained quite still with a look of deadly seriousness on his face. Out of the fire an ember spit from a log and made the edge of the hearth. Walt leaned forward and slowly picked up the spark with the brass tongues from out the wood scuttle.

An exchange of disbelief and unwarranted argument followed for a minute or two, both men trying to gain an upper hand on the way to take the story forward, neither knowing what direction would be the best or how quickly to run. Nigel thought the news could make the story fly away and bring in more celebrity, Mac felt the idea needed playing down, but what did he care anyway he reminded himself.

Finally, and after sitting silently for quite some time, staring into the back of the roaring fire, listening but not speaking a word, Walt went back on his promise.

“Av ne’er heard as much frickin bullshit in all me born days fella. Tha wants the head looking at coming ere wi that dribble. Call yasen a journalist. Ya nowt but a snake crawled out yon gutter in t’lane!”

Nigel Tyas had not taken to a seat yet, even after the ten minutes he had been there. Perhaps he thought it beneficial to be in a standing position, at the ready for a hasty departure. Anyway, in preparation or not there he stood, arms folded and bolt upright in an attempt to look taller than his five foot stature though the vitriol just dispensed had put paid to all that effort. Taking a slow inhale of breath he tried to reaffirm his position within the group.

“You have to realise Mac, if this story breaks elsewhere we have lost the momentum. If some other publication get the wind of it then we’re screwed, I can’t control what’ll be put out if we don’t write it ourselves.”

Mac complained. “I’m not sure anymore, I feel betrayed somehow, I don’t know who by though.”

“Look Mac, you have to agree that this weeks been a success, the money’s rolling in isn’t it?”

Mac needed a defence. “It’s not about the….”

“But it helps, c’mon. You might never get all your memory back who knows…”

Margaret interrupted. “Don’t say that Nigel, that’s not going to help,”

“And there’s no one coming out the woodwork to claim you so far. You have to admit that’s a little strange!”

“What are you trying to say?” Mac stood to his feet now.

Nigel Tyas unfolded his arms and lolled slightly to one side. “I’m not trying to say anything Mac.” Was he on the retreat. “That’s your decision. What is said, reported, is totally your decision.” Why did he always sound so convincing, sympathetic. Had Mac misjudged him. What did it matter anyway in the end. “Why don’t we run with the leak, it’ll give you more exposure, more money as well, and why don’t you ask for a new dna analysis at another facility on the grounds that these present results are obviously flawed.”

That would buy him the time he needed. “Can I do that?”

Margaret smiled, the first time she had done so since Nigel Tyas had arrived. “Well this hospital doesn’t seem to know what it’s doin,” she added, coming to his aid. “Why shouldn’t you?”

Nigel Tyas finally took to an end portion of the settee and began typing on his own tablet device. “So we’ll go with the angle that this lab believe you to have an unusual genetic makeup but you want a fresh result sequence from another source. How’s that?”

“And what slant will you put on it?” Margaret asked.

“Well if Mac agrees I’d like to go with an injustice kind of angle. A why does this poor man who has gone through so much have to put up with the idiotic notion that he is not of this world when he is clearly adrift and in need of compassion and not ridicule. Sound good?” He was beaming a smile from ear to ear.

“N that’s what them’s saying?” Walt jumped into the conversation again. “Mac’s not from this world. Av they got nowt frickin better to do than strike a man when he’s down. The bastards.”

“We’ll prove em to be failing in their work,” the journalist went on.

“An sue em,” Walt added, spitting the words from out his mouth. “Sue the frickin bastards.” As he spoke he brought his bony arm and hand down with a thump on the chair arm.

Nigel looked to Mac, then to Margaret then back to Mac. The two of them glanced at each other and without saying a word nodded an agreement of the story to be written, and with that Nigel Tyas took the opportunity to begin quickly fashioning his latest article explaining the finish if it was urgently needed before he left them so it could go to press.

Mac caught a fleeting glimpse out of the lounge window, the owl, off on the hunt, silent and deadly in her execution of flight. Her work with him was done and she had seen her prey.

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