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The Beast of Stornoway

Chapter 2 - Benny

"Lord Blarcum, you need to come inside and handle these issues," an elderly man called from the doorway of an expansive stone manor.

A young man, in his early thirties, looked up at the older gentleman standing on the steps. The young man’s dark, shaggy brown hair and tanned skin glistened in the sun while his emerald eyes were set in a deep frown. “Benny, I'm busy," he grumbled as he lifted a bale of hay over his shoulder, "I have a horse to train, the cows need milking, and the eggs need collecting."

Benny sighed and rolled his eyes as he scanned the field of farmhands that littered the grounds. "You have plenty of help. You need to do something about your finances, and you've got to get ready for the benefit dinner at Lord and Lady Pruitt's. You need to leave in a few hours. You have so much to do!"

"Doris can balance my check book and get everything ready for this evening. What are you so worried about?"

"She quit this morning, sir. I told you this."

"Oh. Hire someone else."    

"I would, but no one in bloody Scotland will work for you!" Benny roared.  He would've left a long time ago, but that bloody man was like a son to him. Benny and his wife couldn't leave him to his own devices. They made a promise to each other that they’d never do that to him, not with the way his parents had treated him.

"Well, Benny, I guess you'll be getting me ready tonight. Why don't you look outside of Scotland for a new assistant?" He sighed." I know you're smarter than that." He shook his head and carried on into the barn with the bale of hay.

"I'm going to kill him," he mumbled, turning back into the house.

Lord Van Blarcum was a cold and stoic man. He owned Stornoway and the island of Lewis on the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. He ran his island exceptionally well. He carefully managed the local economy with the local government. He propped up small businesses and fought against major corporations doing any business on the island if it would hurt local trade. That included his own family-owned corporation, Blarcum Industries.

He was nothing like his parents who were ruthless in their acquisition of businesses and empire building. They’d always been more concerned with strengthening the Blarcum legacy than the well-being of their son.

They often left Van to go gallivanting around Europe and the UK to rub shoulders with other business moguls, so Benny and his wife Lydia raised him as best they could. While Lord Blarcum was a generous landowner, he was completely incompetent when it came to his personal life. He always shied away from being in the spotlight with his parents, often hiding away in his rooms or the stables when they threw their lavish parties for the upper echelon of society.

He never grew out of that and when his beloved grandmother passed away he was so lost without her. She was the one who taught him how to care for the horses and the only one who treated him like he was more than a means to gain power.

Van’s father died from a sudden heart attack not too long after and Benny thought life would get a bit easier for the young Lord. Especially when his mother left the estate to ‘finally get away from the stinking god-awful’ manor. Although, she left, she still had Van firmly under her thumb and still dictated his life.

Benny sighed as he sat at the computer in his office. He hated dealing with this new technology. The only reason he learned how to use this damn contraption was because Van went through assistants like he changed his damn underwear!

He adjusted his glasses and opened Google. He typed in a few search words and clicked on LinkedIn. He opened the Blarcum Manor profile and began typing yet another vacancy listing. Poor Doris only lasted three weeks before she was fed up with his ways.

To be fair to her, Van hadn’t made it easy. He found fault in everything she did. She didn't balance the checkbook correctly and he didn't like the way she wrote letters or emails from the estate. He absolutely hated that she was afraid of the horses. He'd tormented her and forced her to have their daily meetings in the stables as if he delighted in her fear.

Van was a nightmare.

He'd always been socially awkward and aloof, but there was a time when he wasn't that horrid. When his parents were away, and his grandmother came to stay, they could coax him out of his shell, and he was such a joyful young man. He, Lydia and Lady Verana encouraged his love of horses and rescuing stray animals. They allowed him to be himself, but after his grandmother died and the only woman he loved broke his heart; he turned cold.

And they never saw that joyful man again.

Benny shook his head. He prayed this next assistant could handle Van. He wasn’t sure how much more he could take of this. He clicked submit on the website and got up to finish Van's arrangements for the evening.

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