…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…