I took a fast black north to Granton, a part of the city clinging for dear life onto the south shore of the Firth of Forth like a spurned lover. The landscape was flat and bleak in a city famed for its curves and vitality. It had been heavily industrialised and then left to rot like so many places in Scotland. To be truthful, it had always depressed the hell out of me: grey and abandoned as though it had been stuck onto the rest of the city as an afterthought by an absent-minded god who had promptly forgotten about it. Trust Ravi to have picked this spot.
My destination, Granton Square, turned out to be more of a circle as I discovered after being turfed unceremoniously out of the taxi by the taciturn driver.
“Watch yourself here hen,” he said through a cigarette clamped between his teeth Clint Eastwood style, “they come out at night.” And with that he roared off down the road speeding on his way to suck the fun out of someone else’s night.
Hen, indeed. Where the hell had that little generic moniker come from?
I stomped round the faux square trying and failing to establish where 1A was. It must basement but I just couldn’t find which one. In the pitch black surprisingly few lights winked out and the street lights only managed an anaemic glow. There was no one about and surprisingly little traffic as though everyone had just decided that this really was not the place to be and had left it to its fate. Rather like Ravi’s previous home in the murky depths of the Gyle.
There was the distant noise of the occasional car, but the serenity of the square absorbed it like an over-indulgent mother. I remembered from somewhere that Granton had not been inhabited by people until comparatively recently and that may have explained the wraith like creatures that stalked the place. These wraiths resembled animals that couldn’t decide what species they belonged to: feline shaped heads, with tusks where teeth should be and legs ending in human hands not paws. One was following me now, a low growling deep down in its malformed throat. I sympathised with both the sentiment and the indecision.
A door slammed and then the sound of someone young and fit on stairs and indeed it was because Ravi burst into view from the building two doors down. He bounded over and picked me up as though I weighed nothing and, swinging me round, kissed me full on the lips. The familiar clean, herbal smell of him made me forget momentarily that I had been considering kneeing him in the nuts.
“I didn’t think you’d come,” he said, putting me down.
“Well to keep me here, you’re going to have to get me a massive drink and get it now.”
“All taken care of. I made some food in case you were hungry, or in between incidents.”
He laughed and the swirl of darkness that always accompanied him hugged him tighter as though protecting him from me. I was again reminded that this man had had a violent past: maybe that was why he was trying so hard to have a peaceful, nurturing present. I hoped to the god that I didn’t believe in that nothing like ever happened to me….