I have started to write something every day, and feel I should publish them on this blog. Here are the writings from the 28th to the 30th March. The aim is to simply provide glimpses into worlds and ideas, and allow me a chance to write creatively. Hopefully I will get feedback on these, and be able to expand the narratives from some of them.
I hope you enjoy this collection.
The downpour was relentless, piercing through my jacket like bullets sprayed from the sky. Every few moments, a gust of wind would hurl the water pellets into my side, making every step an opportunity for it to throw me to the floor.
My head was bent, staring at the broken, waterlogged ground. The rim of my hat was heavy with a small pool of water, that was slowly trickling from the front point.
I looked up. The peaks around me were grey with a veil of rain, and capped with a thick layer of dark cloud. Stopping in my stride, I took in the rest of my surroundings. Behind me lay a vast expanse of moorland – what the locals called Ranoch. It’s usual scrubland-look was heavy with water, like a sponge soaking up the contents of a bucket.
A strong buffet of wind spun me about, whipping me around one-hundred-and-eighty degree – pointing me West again. Here, the mountains of Glen Coe loomed into the valley like enormous gods, beaten by the weather. This was my route. Soon I would reach the Devil’s Staircase, reaching a high point where the elements would surely be unforgiving.
Tightening my rucksack belt around me waist, I pressed on – and immediately my foot sank into a what felt like a pond.
The train was alive with the sounds of happy talk that can only be found on a weekend. Alone. Here and there, blokes with scarves of gold and black sat, laughing raucously at the banter, and looking forward to the home game latter today. Isolated. In the third row from the front, an elderly lady had struck up a conversation with a young boy who was ignoring his mother’s requests for him to put his phone away. “Come on, son. What are you up to today?” she asked the boy.
He looked at her as though nobody had ever spoken to him before. Blushing, he put his phone away, and started telling the lady – with some excitement – about the new game he was hoping to get that day when shopping. Yet happy.
The young man sat in the corner; alone, isolate, but happy. He did not think much about his loneliness – that was how he always was, and he liked it. On the seat next to him sat his knapsack.
In it were his notebook and pen, filled with abstract ideas about etymology, philosophy, and imagined worlds; his lunch; and his books, which comprised of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, a crosswords book, and William Graham’s Poldark.
He stared out of the window, watching the rolling, tumbling landscape flash by the window. He imagined running through the fields there, or living in a cottage in some little cranny of the countryside; surrounded by his books and writings.
That sounded like the life.
The only thing that looked modern about the young man were the two white cables plugged into this ears. Of course, he was listening to Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything.
He could feel his heart racing as he put his hand of the handle of the door. Pulling it open, he stepped into the hazy bar. The lighting in the place reminded of something from a sci-fi movie; four lamps hanging from the ceiling cast a dim yellow glow over the room, and the very air was heavy with the smell of alcohol.
No wonder his source had wanted to meet here. The barman was standing, arms folded, in a corner of the bar, gazing into one of the television screens having from the roof. He glanced at the newcomer for a second, before fixing his stare back at the football.
Here and there – their heads bowed, drinks on the table, and husky voices muttering to one another – other drinkers sat in booths up and down the sides of the pub. A few cast an eye towards the noise of the opening door, but he was not worth their concern.
Making his way towards the bar – occupied by one soul wearing a cap, leather boots, and a heavy patched jacket – Eric could feel the stifling heat in the room. It was not a nice warmth, but a thick, sticky heat that seamed to catch in his throat.
Eric sat on a stool, a few down from the other man, who seemed preoccupied by something on the spirits shelves in from of him, and tried to make eye contact with the gum-chewing barman. He had to order the specific drink for the barman to give him what he needed. Was his source in here right now? If so, he could just come and get him.
‘No’, Eric thought, ‘that wouldn’t be a bright idea’.
“Excuse me,” Eric said, in a voice between a shout and conversational voice – some might say a half-hearted cry. The barman looked like he was physically pulling his gaze from the overhead screen, before looking contemptuously at the stranger.
“Aye?” he said, in a thick Glaswegian accent.
“Cobra Zero, please”. Eric didn’t know whether to be polite or try to mix in – they hadn’t taught him this part at university. The barman snorted – still chewing his gum – before jerking his head towards an unassuming part of the pub. There sat a hooded figure, a beer mug half-empty of a golden liquid.
He paid for his alcohol-free drink – clearly nobody bought that here, else there’d be a proper mess-up’, he thought – and made his way casually to the booth with the hooded man. Sliding himself onto the double seater, he checked the rest of the pub to see no one had taken much notice. They hadn’t.
“Nobody followed you?” the man growled, failing to give away any sign of an accent or emotion.
“No”, Eric replied confidently.
“Good, I don’t need anyone else getting into this”.
“What can you tell me?” Eric said quizzically. He was unsure whether this was the right thing to do…but he needed something! Anything! He was stuck at the bottom of the shit pile, getting given all the rubbish stories he had sworn never to cover at university.
“I cannot tell you anything, fool”, his companion spat, taking a swig from the beer mug. “I can only suggest what you might look out for”.
His growling tone, and his broad shoulders put Eric in mind of a boy from his primary school who everyone called Grizzly. Seemed an appropriate codename for this man.
Grizzly leaned forward, and rubbed a grease mark with the elbow of his hoodie.