It’s a love story apparently, or so I’m told. Once in every hundred years it appears on Brigid’s Hill, a town fort in its entirety, outside of the normal passage of time. A hundred years pass in the real world, but for the town folk, it’s as only one day. Every New Year, I’m not sure why, but perhaps because the Scottish are so fond of this depressing holiday, he would wait on the outcropping, perched next to the military statue. He’d take camping gear, warm clothes, a flask of hot tea, and a bottle of whiskey, and of course his father’s binoculars.
It used to be a game. In his youth he took a camera, and sometimes even company….waiting to see this legendary city make its appearance out of the winter fog. He had laughed about it then, but treated it like some kind of competition. So sure he’d see it one day. “I’ll submit my pictures to the Fortean Times!” he said. “I’ll be the first to have captured it on film, I’ll be famous!”
He’d had friends then, fun student days, filled with drinking and just hanging out. They though he was odd and a bit strange, but essentially kind. The years seemed longer then, and life an open book, full of blank pages. But somehow after Uni, life sped up. It was creeping and gradual at first. Day jobs took the place of lazy afternoons; hangovers grew longer and then less frequent. Girlfriends came along and boys nights in petered out. Friends paired off, and eventually some even started families. Company on New Years Eve grew less and less.
Malcolm was found on New Years day with all his personal effects on him. His passport, money, birth certificate and drivers licence. He had, along with some basic clothing, his oldest teddy bear packed in a back pack with a selection of his favourite underpants, comics and chocolate. Tucked away in his wallet was a photo of his aging Mum and Dad. Malcolm was forty five years old. He was wearing hiking gear, and hunkered down under the statue of the Earl of Douglas. He was wrapped up well enough, but the winter weather was unprecedented this winter, snow fall was the worst on record for a hundred years. It was hypothermia got him in the end. I only hope he got to see it. They way he’d packed, I think he intended to go there for good.