Saturday, March 31st, 2012
Time fled, but its passage brought no progress.
The shacks were now impossibly high, cinched in by the stone girdle that doubled as the city wall. Without warning, I was snatched into the air by an irresistible force. A brief panicked moment of vertigo before falling down, down and downwards into the infarcted heart of the city.
I had time only for a brief impression of towering tenements leaching the light from the sky before being dumped with great force into a sea of mud, driving the breathe from my body. I thrashed around in the stuff for what seemed like an age, trying to propel myself upright while clawing the worst of it out of my eyes and nose, finally managing to spit a great gobbet of it back where it belonged.
Except it wasn’t mud.
The unmistakable and overpowering smell of excrement aborted that particular delusion in the time it took to take in a lungful. As I retched uselessly on an empty stomach, an old picture I’d seen somewhere came to mind.
But no mere picture could have prepared me for the grim reality: I was now in what had been the old Lawnmarket.
But that wasn’t the worst of it. It was now raining, a grey, incontinent affair that stalked me like a jealous lover as I tried and failed to wade through the filth underfoot. Each mis-step threatened to suck the boots from my feet and the steel from my soul as my world narrowed to the Armageddon that was one foot in front of the other.
Sunday, March 25th, 2012
Eventually I came to an oddly familiar crag precariously perched on a series of hills above an estuary. A dark sky boiled above oily waves as they dashed themselves on the rocks beneath as though urging them on in their suicidal ambitions.
I had never seen such a bleak, dispiriting place.
Who could live here and more importantly, why?
The roiling clouds cleared just enough for me to make out signs of what passed for human habitation: a series of shambling, dilapidated shacks that looked like the track of some contagion upon diseased skin.
Now I knew what I was looking at and wished to the god I didn’t believe that I had been left in ignorance.
Edinburgh, mon amour.
Sunday, March 18th, 2012
” Merry Christmas Rose.”
I couldn’t believe midnight had struck and here I was spending Christmas with a half man, half beast. And not in a good way. What the hell had happened to my life that this was where I’d ended up?
But Hell was definitely not going to mend me and one of these days I was going to have to come to terms with that. But for now I slipped between clean cotton sheets and into a dreamless sleep that not even the revenants at the window could keep me from.
Saturday, March 17th, 2012
The white light of dawn did not flatter Greyfriars Cemetery. Not that this discouraged the ill advised idiots that flocked here in their droves with no idea about what they were messing with, or what the place was really for. As for me, it had always been my dearest ambition not to be found dead here.
Around four hundred years ago, the cemetery had moonlighted briefly as an open air prison for over a thousand people, their suffering leaving an indelible stain, like smoke damage in a diseased lung. It had been this little wheeze that had attracted such dark energies to the place, rather than its day job as a bone-yard. Now it pulsed with a febrile heat, as though something was about to hatch and I knew I was running out of time.
The great vaults were ornately carved: grinning skulls and coy angels coupled together in a sexless dance of death and resurrection; obsessively carved by the living in the hope of making sense of their own one way ticket.
Many of them were so old that the stone itself was crumbling as though in wry tribute to the way of all flesh. Theses cages of stone and iron were of course only for those rich enough to afford such pointless ostentation, constructed to keep the corpses safe from the attentions of the body-snatchers, or Resurrection Men as they were ironically known. They failed of course.
The grass on the other hand looked healthy and vigorous, fed on the superior nutrients leached from the great and the good. At least they had finally given something back to the community.
Sunday, March 11th, 2012
I sat in the car because, simply, there was nowhere else to go.
To the west, the darkening stain of an oncoming storm gradually cast a caul over the deserted street where I was parked and the sensation of being smothered was very nearly overwhelming. Yet there was still a shimmering quality to the air, as though trying to contain something that was intent on getting out.
I knew the feeling.
To my left was a fish shop which, although it displayed the closed sign, still had meat of indeterminate origin in the window. Great, grey eels were stacked on one side next to what looked like a small pieces of shark meat. Dun coloured fillets rubbed innards with something that had a huge head and lots of small, sharp teeth reminding me of an old school-mate from primary school.
A blurred burst of purple and red in the interior of the shop made me look again. The darkened interior stared blankly back at me and the hairs began to rise on the back of my neck because in that brief monent I had seen a familiar hulking shape: a creature I knew had never been burdened with the vulgarity of a pulse and the flesh over-coat that contained it.
Two doors down in the window above the grocer’s, the corner of a net curtain twitched as though hastily dropped by whatever was behind it. I was trapped in the eye of the storm, knowing that something irrevocable was just about come crashing down, something from which neither I nor this benighted village was ever going to escape.
I did what I normally did when faced with the end of the world, the end of humanity, the end of the end: I pulled out my hip flask and drained it dry.
Sunday, March 4th, 2012
I hurried back the way I’d come, past the jars and the rows of cages where something forlornly scraped to get out. I ignored it, picking up speed, eager to escape this infernal hell hole. As I walked my only companion was the thin high sound of the giggler in the dark. Shivering I began to run, the sting of the cold, cleansing air a valediction on my straining lungs.
Passing over the threshold, I didn’t bother looking back.