Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Late Night Vigil

The Laird of Castle Ballantine
by Harry Riley

“This is a crazy waste of time,” whispers Hilary.
“I agree, but we have to be here, you know we do!”
“I can’t think why, it’s pretty obvious nothing’s going to happen and I’m absolutely freezing.”
Another muted voice cuts in from the darkness at the edge of the crowd, from someone who is listening intently: “I’ve got my camera with me just in case.”
It is bitterly cold and the mist is swirling up from the flooded River Tweed, just below the small churchyard where they are now clustered. Leonard McFadden pulls his coat collar higher to protect his bare neck. Enviously he turns around and glares at the man standing behind him who had the foresight to bring his camera and to be wearing a warm woolly hat.
Leonard thinks he is coming down with the flu; he should be tucked up in bed with a glass of brandy, snug in his room at the Towers Hotel, back at Berwick Upon Tweed. Raising a hand to his mouth he tries vainly to stifle a cough that has been itching to burst out: watching as his exposed breath lingers visibly in the cold night air. He feels he should at least be waiting on the other side of the heavy wrought iron gates, in the old Singer Gazelle, with the engine running, and the heater going full blast, after all, Hilary is right, nothing’s really going to happen…is it?
There are over a dozen journalists, each of them rubbing their hands together and thumping their feet heavily on the sodden ground, trying frantically to stamp some life back into their ice cold toes–clustering together in this ice covered churchyard, and making an untidy circle around the grave…

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