Everything that follows is true. You just couldn’t make it up.
Some years ago my job involved travelling. Quite a lot of travelling, I was away from home most nights of the week. The standard Euro-bland business hotel can get very boring indeed. A characterless room that could be anywhere. The same uninspiring menu in each and every town. I’d decided it was time for a change. Internet comparison sites had still to get off the ground but a constructive discussion with the reservations clerk could usually get the rates down to within the expense account rules.
And so it was that I ended up driving towards Borthwick, just south of Edinburgh. A colleague was joining me for dinner, but for the moment I was all on my own. It was a cold, and very foggy, late November afternoon. The hotel entrance was proving rather difficult to find. I’d turned off the A7 some while ago and was now in open country, but I had no idea where. And as usual I was on the phone. Lost, in the middle of nowhere, in an unfamiliar part of the country and debating a client’s business viability all at the same time. Most likely low on petrol too.
A small road sign appeared, mostly obscured by a hedge. The black symbol for a castle, I was back on track. Darkness falling. The fog getting thicker. And then there are birds.. seemingly hundreds of birds. The eerie screeching of crows going back to their roost. It was a scene straight out of a Hammer Horror. Those films where the bats fly back to the evil castle at dusk.
As I reach the hotel’s gateway, the phone signal is starting to fail. “Peter, this place is quite spooky..”
“Are y8!@ … al^%%ight?”
“ ….there’s a …..” Something… someone? moving towards me through the fog..
..wearing a doublet and hose. A wide shouldered coat with elaborately slashed sleeves. Large buckled shoes. A flat hat with a large feather sticking out of one side.
Early Tudor period would have been my best guess…
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