Edinburgh’s birth and the land upon which it was built was nothing more than a volcanic plug spewed out of the belly of a bilious god; destined to become a precarious high point where people felt safe from invasion, but unfortunately were not. They built a wall, a stone girdle as though that would protect them from what was within. And when the girdle became too tight, they built up and up giving the world its first plague ridden high rises. But that of course was so Old Town darling, and the New was supposed to be the antidote to all that nasty disease and poverty. And maybe it was, but it was also sterile, without the bloated, infarcted beauty of the old where most of the supernaturals made their home.
But there was a newer, tougher breed of supernatural that had no need of such sentimental aesthetics and I was going to its lair. As I turned left into Dean Terrace past the carefully preserved des res from another era, I tried to focus on the non-existent plan which appeared to be: rooting around in the monster’s lair while it was absent hoping to find The Mask which of course would just be lying at the end of a trial of arrows along with some clues about the identity of two murderers who may or may not have known its owner twenty odd years ago.
Walking along Ann Street I wondered how a flying lizard centuries old had managed to infest one of its mansions. Number 28 was next, the lights were not on but that did not mean no one was home. I walked up the short rubbish strewn, weed filled path and rang the bell which I could hear clanging around the house. No one came. On impulse I pushed at the door and it opened. It wasn’t really that surprising that she didn’t think to lock the door, it wasn’t as though she needed to be security conscious and if random council workers or posties went missing more plausible explanations could be found, palms greased, influence exercised. The beauty of this type of predator was that it lay in wait amongst its prey perfectly camouflaged until it was too late. In the more exclusive areas of the city where ‘neighbour’ was a dirty word, they were practically invisible.
And even if you saw past the beguiling disguise, if you dared to try telling the police that the little old lady next door was a vampire, you’d be buying your own personal one-way ticket to the nut-house…