whinged shoes

Day 8: Favorite supernatural moment

The 25 Days of Outlander continues…

As much as I loved Claire’s encounter with the Loch Ness Monster in Book 1, my favorite supernatural moment happens in Drums of Autumn, when Claire gets lost in the woods, in a storm, and Jamie goes out to find her. I still get chills every time I read this:

Jamie hunkered down on the ground beside me, and lifting the hem of my dress, took my bare feet into his big, warm hands.

“Your feet are frozen, Sassenach,” he said quietly. “Where did ye lose your shoes?”

“Back there,” I said, with a nod toward the uprooted tree. “They must still be there. I took them off to cross a stream, then put them down and couldn’t find them in the dark.”

“They’re not there, Auntie,” said Ian. He sounded so queer that I looked up at him in surprise.

He was still holding the skull, turning it gingerly over in his hands.

“No, they’re not.” Jamie’s head was bent as he chafed my feet, and I could see the early light glint copper off his hair, which lay tumbled loose over his shoulders, disheveled as though he had just risen from his bed.

“I was in bed, asleep,” he said, echoing my thought. “When yon beast suddenly went mad.”

He jerked his chin at Rollo, without looking up. “Barking and howling and flingin’ his carcass at the door as though the Devil was outside.”

“I shouted at him, and tried to get hold of his scruff and shake him quiet,” Ian put in, “but he wouldna stop, no matter what I did.”

“Aye, he carried on so that the spittle flew from his jaws and I was sure he’d gone truly mad. I thought he’d do us an injury, so I bade Ian unbolt the door and let him be gone.” Jamie sat back on his heels and frowned at my foot, then picked a dead leaf off my instep.

“Well, and was the Devil outside?” I asked flippantly.

Jamie shook his head.

“We searched the clearing, from the penfold to the spring, and didna find a thing—except these.” He reached into his sporran and drew out my shoes. He looked up into my face, his own quite expressionless.

“They were sitting on the doorstep, side by side.”

Every hair on my body rose. I lifted the flask and drained the last of the brandywine.

“Rollo tore off, bayin’ like a hound,” Ian said, eagerly taking up the story. “But then he came back a moment later, and began to sniff at your shoes and whinge and cry.”

“I felt rather like doing that myself, aye?” Jamie’s mouth lifted slightly at one corner, but I could see the fear still dark in his eyes.

I swallowed, but my mouth was too dry to talk, despite the brandywine. Jamie slipped one shoe onto my foot, and then the other. They were damp, but faintly warm from his body.

“I did think ye were maybe dead, Cinderella,” he said softly, head bent to hide his face.