A morning mist hung low over frost slimed grass. A weak, diffused light fought to prise the grip of night from the landscape, resulting in a grey gloom from which the twisted trunks of trees reared like petrified beasts long dead.
The Meadows, slap bang in the middle of the city, felt torn from it as though committed to forming a little world of its own for some slight real or imagined. And in a way that was true enough, because the red-eyed creature I was hunting had padded this way on taloned feet stirring up some of the old presences that haunted this sacred grove.
In the bad old days the Meadows had been submerged under a body of water that stretched from Hope Park Terrace to Brougham Street. Nameless ancient things had lurked in its depths and even when the loch had been drained, they’d refused to take the hint and hung around just for the sheer hell of it.
Unfortunately for me it looked like some of that hell had decided to drag me down with it.
I nearly walked into the vast trunk of an old elm and cursed my clumsiness aloud. A bad move as it turned out because it drew the attention of another predator out on the prowl this fine Sunday morning. A low, throaty laugh, a caress of light breath on the back of my neck and I knew I had much more to worry about than the minor demon I’d been trying to trap.
“Well,” it said stepping out in front of me. “looks like breakfast is served.”