A heavy sleet was being vomited from above when I got out the taxi a couple of streets from Crowe’s house. I walked towards it, a Victorian stone villa set in grounds too big to be called a mere garden, ploughing my way through drifts of freshly fallen snow. The gate was open as though someone had recently passed through and not bothered to close it behind them. But I knew that it had been left that way by the Baobhan Sith as an ironic invitation to me, as though I was the vampire. I decided to accept and trod the path, unsullied by human footprints.
The front garden faced the main road but the back was secluded, protected as it was by a thickly planted line of mature trees, skeletal sentinels whose branches pierced a bruised sky. A blur of movement exploded to my right, brief but unmistakable. I hurried to the huge beech hedge where it had been, certain I’d find the perpetrator, but found nothing and no one.
Then, from a ground floor window the pale oval of a face appeared.
I retreated to the summerhouse and the face tracked my progress, or at least it did until something far more interesting caught its attention. I followed the trajectory of its gaze and there, as though appearing out of nowhere, were the three Baobhan Sith, naked and dancing sinuously in the snow to music only they could hear.
But I knew something the voyeur did not, that this was no cheap peep show, but the prelude to a far meatier entertainment. One of the Sith tossed an armful of blond hair over her right shoulder raising her breast in the process as though inviting the watcher behind glass to come play. In reality it was a signal to her blood sisters and I knew the real games were about to commence.