As an aside before we continue… This is a post for 23 in 2013, a project detailed here. It’s my NaNoWriMo project from 2012, a year I failed to complete the 50,000 words. It’s also the first draft – there will be typos, inconsistencies, mis-named characters and all of the other things that plague a first draft. The comments are there both for you lovely readers to post words of encouragement, point out “but he said… in the last chapter, that contradicts…” and keep me straight, and for me to bash ideas around. File this one under Urban Fantasy | Edinburgh | Parallel Worlds, as they might one day say on Angry Robot.
If you missed anything earlier, they’re here – come back when you’ve read it…
It was a beautiful evening, perfect for a stroll through the gardens. Normally closed at this time of day, one of the gold-badged gophers unlocked the gates and led the delegates through, keeping up a constant pattern of vaguely interesting facts about the city around them. Sarah tuned him out, instead trying to look through the delegates for the group she had spotted in the welcome meeting.
As they passed in front of the stage she thought she spotted movement up on the side of the Castle mound, below the stage set for the Tattoo which was in full and noisy swing. Blinked and it was gone. I must have been a trick of the light.
Nigel hovered nearby throughout the walk, attentive and cute in a clumsy way. He’d clearly decided she needed looking after and every few seconds he’d ask if she was alright, if she needed a drink of water, some paracetamol, anything? She took his hand and squeezed it.
“I’m fine, ” she said. Then stumbled as another wave of not-quite-vertigo washed over her. Two of the group from the back of the hall walked out from behind the rock sculpture. She was certain they hadn’t been there a second earlier, certain! Nigel put his hand on her shoulder – a warm, comforting weight that soothed and eased… What would a massage from those hands feel like? She remembered watching two of the delegates walk around the rock to examine it, not a grey-haired man in a grey greatcoat and a too-thin woman in faded denim, both of whom she was certain she knew.
Dinner was superb. Through the years she’d been living in Edinburgh, Sarah had heard people tell of Atrium and it did not disappoint. It didn’t look big enough from the outside to seat everyone but somehow the space inside seemed to fit just right. The waiting staff occasionally seemed confused that there was a table – or an entire room – there, but the food was nothing short of excellent and the wine flowed.