Welcome to the CMP Members – Stories and Photos Page. Here you will find images from my extensive back catalogue (and new ones too!) with some accompanying text to set the scene. Not so much a full on story but a wee slice of fiction, inspired by the image, to get you thinking about what the image may be telling you, where it might take you and where you might go with it!
New images and words will be added here regularly and all will remain available for members to revisit for the duration of your membership.
“HAAR AT GREYFRIARS KIRKYARD”
The evening was cold and the haar had engulfed the streets of Edinburgh, thick, dark and even somewhat malevolent. The night had taken on an altogether different feel as the night had fallen and the streets were lit with nothing more than diffused lanterns, the old gas lighter having just about made it through Candlemaker Row and on to Greyfriars Kirkyard before the sea fog was so thick he daren’t pass through the gates of the ancient burial ground; there was no amount of shillings and pence that would see him make that journey tonight.
The old man had only paused for a few minutes to catch his breath when he heard the footsteps on the cobbles. They grew ever closer and ever louder, pounding, purposefully and with a real determination to move on through this blanket of darkness. He sucked on the pipe he carried and wiped the moisture from his face as the shadow passed by on the other side of the street.
It was him alright. No mistake and there was no way it could be anyone else. Long, purposeful strides up Candlemaker Row, straight past the old inn and on to the huge iron gates. He always wondered if those gates were designed to keep someone out or someone, or even something, in. He wouldn’t be finding out tonight though as he took to his heels as fast as he could move given his position and the years he carried and moved.
He turned to look back and he seen him; through the gates, into the haar and on towards the Flodden Wall. He had something or someone in mind. No light, nothing but darkness and thick fog but on he walked. He would return, he would return as he had left and he would have that smile on this face; the smile and the look. He would have something ever darker in his mind and his eyes would be black, darker than this very night…
Walking around Arthur’s Seat was always a pleasant experience; he would clear his head, unleash his thoughts and become one with his inner child. It was only during those isolated walks around the ancient volcano that once spewed lava all over what is now Edinburgh, that he truly switched off. Thoughts of an empire he would build, the house he would own and all a far cry from the daily round of toil and boredom his life had become.
He would build it all. He would make it happen. He would keep going and he would never stop. He was relentless in his pursuit of his dream, to the point of distraction. Nothing, nobody and not a thing on this Earth could derail him from the masterplan that would slowly unfold. It would take him years, many, many years but his plan would unfurl. He would be victorious and he would stand there, right atop the ancient volcanic master that towers over Auld Reekie below and hew would prevail.
The vision as he stood there filled his mind with the energy it so needed to get through the day and maybe the one beyond too. The reality of his life would beckon him back soon enough but just for this nirvana-infused moment, he was the King of the world; nothing and nobody would stop this. He would do it and then some and then, he would smile. A wry, sly smile to the detractors. The chimneys below would bellow their reek, the cart and horse would trample all over those ancient cobbles and the ragamuffins would run around those closes as if their very lives depended on it. This wouldn’t change. The stray dog would wander, chasing the cats and the rats of the town and mistresses of the great and the good would be left, tossed aside for the wives they would always play second fiddle to, the New Town gentry ruling their roost. But that was normal life. He cared not for that.
HE, would prevail. HE, would stand tall and HE would be known, down the decades and even the centuries. THEY would remember HIM. With that, he took his leave from the hill and wandered past a huge house that had recently been built by a wealthy printer. The dream was ever closer yet ever further away but it was still there and he could feel it. One day, he would grab it and one day he would make his mark on this old town….
“OLD TOWN RAIN”
…the rain lashed his face with ferocious intent; he swore it was real, there, as a man, lashing and lashing and lashing down on him, blow after pain inducing blow. He put his collar up on his coat and puled it together so as to protect his face from this Godforsaken storm that had battered Edinburgh for three days and there nights without break. The water was running down the Market Street as he dashed on to Makar’s Close, making for the steps and with the intention to slip through Lady Stair’s Close, on to the Lawnmarket and intercept him on the Castlehill.
With no delay, he made for the steps, the light almost visible through the sheet after sheet of torrential rains from on high. As he put his hand into the long pocket of his coat, he could feel nothing. The pistol he had wrapped in the handkerchief was gone! Moreover, the three shillings he would pay to keep him at bay were also gone!
He could feel a sensation he hadn’t felt for some time; it run all over his body and this was nothing to do with the cold, the wind or the rain. This had nothing to do with the storm lashing Auld Reekie and his face; abject, sheer and unadulterated terror pulsed all over his body. How would he pay him now? And when he couldn’t pay, what then? He had no pistol, no money and no time to make an escape.
As he surveyed the steps and considered his options, a firm and icy grip made contact with his shoulder. He had stopped for too long. HE was there, beside him, with a maniacal grin on his face, water dripping from his hair and an icy stare he could tell meant there was no going back, no getting away and no way out. This was it. He could feel it in his very bones. It had come to this. But this wasn’t the plan. This wasn’t how it was to be. It couldn’t end like this. He turned, straight face and with a steel in his eye. He looked at him and then to his own disbelief, he…………………..
Quietly, they entered the kirkyard, one by one and not a sound made. They looked around and made sure nobody was looking and they formed the circle, as they had always done before. Without saying a word they joined hands and they looked up, almost willing something to happen or someone to join them. Silence. Nothing was said, nothing moved and even the wind had stopped blowing; deathly silence that was deafening, almost terrifying if the truth was told.
Constable MacAlister stepped back from the ancient kirkyard gates and took a small black book from his inside pocket. He made a few notes that only he would ever be able to decipher and he referred back through the pages, quietly leafing until he stopped and the colour drained from his face. Seven in total, three women, four men. The arrangement was methodical and precise; there was no room for error and he had definitely uncovered them. Two years had passed since the first attack in St Cuthbert’s Churchyard and the Detective Inspector had all but given up on closing this – too many loose ends, evidence destroyed and not a single lead to go on.
…until now. HE would be the one to crack this one wide open and the promotion he had sought for so many years, bypassed and overlooked would be his. He put his notebook back into his pocket and quietly removed his mobile phone. Studiously and purposefully he composed shot after shot, making maximum use of the limited features that he’d seen no real use for until now; blury shots and less blurry shots and then he made a short video and attempted to record the audio. He had all he needed and with some facial recognition technology, they would be identified.
The group were repeatedly engaged in reciting the same chant, low and ominous sounding over and over again. As he turned to slip his mobile phone into his pocket, the familiar face of his beloved Alice appeared on the screen. The world stopped for that split-second and he froze, unable to move, stricken with the fear that had consumed his whole body. This wasn’t anything to do with the terror of the McKenzie Poltergeist or tales of the macabre exerpeinced here over the last 460 years. This was real. That song, THEIR song blasted out and filled the silent kirkyard with gusto and conviction. He was rumbled. They turned, slowly and they faced him up, cold and calculated. THEY would not be stopped. Not by him. Not by anyone.
As the phone slipped from his trembling hand and smashed on the cobbles below his feet, the picture of Alice disappeared, the music stopped and he felt his heart bursting from his mouth. Just then…