Six Months Later
In the opinion of her parents, Laura Kerr was recovering well from the horrible events that had occurred back in the spring. Things had been busy at the pub with the addition of rooms to be rented out. Laura was running up and down the new stairs at all hours now, with barely time to catch her breath.
Yes, she was recovering. The man’s smile still haunted her dreams and sometimes her waking hours. She still refused to serve Hank Harris when he came into the pub. But Laura was no longer overcome by anxiety attacks, unable to eat or see anyone besides her parents. Yes, she told herself. Things were better. She knew the Lord had forgiven her, and she had told her parents immediately after the incident that she was happy to file papers and write up mission reports for the Agency, but she was done with field work. No more possible murders for her. The guilt she lived with was too much. Even if the Lord had forgiven her, she knew she would still see MacGyver’s face every time she went to sleep.
James and Martha Kerr were not Christians, although they attended the village church once a month or so, to keep up appearances. They didn’t much mind their daughter’s faith- it was certainly an improvement from her difficult and rebellious childhood. The only time it bothered her parents was when she insisted on dragging her beliefs into business or in their personal lives. At that point, John would frown at his only child and kindly but firmly remind her that while they were content for her to attend church and such, her parents didn’t feel the need.
So, even though her parents were supportive during the months following the American’s death, it was her Savior and her church family that offered the most solace from her devastating guilt and shock. Her pastor and his wife had opened up their home to her for a few days after the incident, and she gratefully accepted, happy to be in a place full of the Spirit of the Lord where she could be sure to hear Truth.
Laura was polishing the bar on a cool fall day in October, glancing at the letter in her pocket. A young man from church had been writing her for a couple months while he was at university. The two had been dating when Laura had dusted the haggis with a bit of poison back in the spring. He’d been very kind to her, agreeing to pull back while she reoriented herself.
But now he’d asked her to marry him. All his talk of slowing down, and now a marriage proposal. Of course, his reasoning made sense. Laura wasn’t getting any younger, and George was a wonderful Christian man. She just didn’t have a peace about him. Laura knew she was going to have to refuse him and break off the relationship. She’d been praying about it for two weeks and was finishing her twenty-four hour fast. That morning, Laura knew that she should never have pursued the relationship in the first place. Yes, George was a wonderful man, but she had known that she was taking her own way by dating him, instead of waiting on God.
With a heavy heart that was full of guilt and shame, she put down her cloth and started up the stairs to her room. She shouldn’t put it off any longer.
Two hours later, the sun was shooting in her window, painting the landscape with fire. She was finally satisfied with her letter, and when she dropped it into the post box that sat outside of the inn, her heart was lightened with the peace that comes from obedience.
“That’s all there is to that,” she said to herself, turning to re-enter the pub. “Now it’s time to get to work.”
And work she did. For the next five hours Laura served customers, took orders, filled pints, and generally ran herself ragged. When her father finally ushered the last patron out into the night and locked the front door, Laura groaned and threw herself into the first available chair.
Her father, agreeing with her, poured himself a drink and took a seat at the bar. He opened his mouth, probably to comment on the busy night, but instead of words, a knock sounded.
“Who in the blazes…” James wondered aloud, hauling himself onto his feet once again.
“Don’t worry da,” Laura said wearily. “I’ll get it.”
The bolt on the pub’s door was heavy, and it took her several moments to pull it back and then to wrestle the door from the night wind. Finally, the door swung open and Laura used her free hand to flick on the overhead outside light.
She put a hand over her mouth to cover a scream, but the sound never came. Instead, Laura felt backwards into the pub in a faint.