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…