I was recently in Edinburgh for a brief stop off on my way home to the North of Norths. My sister (who was also once my editor) lives there so I stayed with her and her lovely friend (who is now also her lovely housemate) in their new abode. A great time was had by all, especially me.
At one point we started talking about hauntings and ghostly goings on in the city. The conversation moved and swirled and we ended up with a brief tale of one specific ghost, resident in their home.
They live in an old converted stableblock. It is a great place, close to the centre, oozing history. Tourists peek in from time to time, to be replaced by squirrels and birds when the gates are locked in the early evening.
The ghost we decided haunts their home is that of a stableboy, murdered two hundred years ago, his body stuffed into a sherry barrel in the loft of the stable, where illegally obtained whisky matured.
When I awoke suddenly that night, at half past three in the morning, to hear someone brushing outside – well, for a moment I was slightly worried…
This weekend I scribbled a quick poem to send back to Edinburgh. It may not be my best, but it is fun and a little disturbingly scary. Which is what I was going for. With their permission, here it is.
The Cask Child.
And Hark! The cask child he sweeps once more
Broom crossing invisible stable stall floor,
His little wet footsteps puddle across stone
Whiskyly scented his feet clatter, like bone?
Aged but twelve years? Try two hundred and eleven,
Drowned in sherry barrel, his tomb is no heaven;
Left to ferment, whisky his shroud
Finally discovered, his corpse disavowed.
Unquiet spirit, in more ways than one,
The cask child still sweeps, second to none.
Head stableboy, his task remains but to clean
At three-thirty he wakes us… at number fourteen.