THREE ANGELS OF DEATH
THREE ANGELS OF DEATH
There's no doubt that staying on the Shore district of Leith had its pluses and its minuses.
At the high end it was restaurant and music central – a paradise for upper middle class artisans. Even the salt of the earth locals who had been slightly displaced and disorientated by this explosion of culture and money had only broken the window of the new art gallery three times.
Traditionally, worse could have happened.
To see the reddish grey half brick lying on the yellow sanded pine floor of the art gallery amongst the geometric splatter and cluster of dazzling glass jewels and glittering fragments one was reminded of similar efforts at the Tate Gallery in London that drew thousands of mystified, paying and curious onlookers.
This though was art by popular demand.
Other working class rhetoric from contributory body fluids was regularly cleaned off the windows before the advancing tide of artsy and crafty partisans flooded in for their nightly parade of class and grandeur.
At night along the canal, hookers would tout for clients and where the canal met with the docks amongst the classy colonial housing and glimmering wine bars one could just make out the outline of freight ships berthed amongst the cranes at the docks.
The grandeur of the local swans gliding through the inky black water always seemed to restore a sense that even here, nature was making its own statement.
Recent upgrades to the area that used to be a notorious den included the building sites of superbly expensive condominiums and a hotel called the Malmaison which is French for 'bad house'.
An expensive and classy hotel that set the standards for city luxury and pricing near the newly built casino.
If one was unfortunate, one might see all sorts of unhappy transactions taking place in the cobbled square and streets outside the shop-fronts and restaurants on the shore in Leith.
At night the place was alive and crowded with the talk of luxury goods and lifestyles, expensive holidays and high performance cars.
The local police though instead of dealing with grand theft auto and the seedy underworld, seemed to turn their attention to people like me to keep their paperwork looking healthy.
I was stopped and searched for allegedly breaking into a video store and making off with one video. It was obviously my intention that having previously discarded the three hundred dollar toolkit that enabled me to disable the shop alarm and get past the mild steel on the doors that I was about to also discard my deliberately conspicuous, red, three hundred dollar ski jacket so that I could make off unnoticed in my beige shirtsleeves with my ten dollar video.
It was a threat of arrest for being caught in possession of a copy of Independence Day. You couldn't make this up.
I often felt a bit of a misfit in such a place, though I also knew that if I took a wrong turning I could end up with a whole new league of hardship and social difficulty.
I therefore tended to be selective about my social life.
For some reason or other, it being late and having been confined too long in the one space working on my computer, I decided to take a walk along the shore canal.
Having seen the swans and their little family of cygnets paddling about under the low arched bridge through the misty drizzle of light rain, I decided that a brief refreshing walk might be invigorating and a quick change of air.
The street was busy as usual with the tide of youth and the socially endowed who were engaged with their endless dance of credibility, comparisons and relationships. I made my way along to the far end, the quieter end of the shore. In the distant wine bar there was a session of excellent traditional music, and the bar, packed as usual spilled its music and its fun through its doorway.
The rain was still drizzling down like a fine dampening mist and I made my way to the cantilever bridge end of the shore to see what the family of swans were up to.
I stopped suddenly when I saw a pretty young woman in her mid twenties, sitting on a bench by the canal at the dock end. She was of petite build, long natural ash blonde hair, apparently or temporarily on her own, with no coat, her top saturated by the rain and she was holding an empty bottle of Mackinlay's Whiskey.
It was a big empty bottle.
Her expression looked drained and sad.
I had seen two members of my family die by alcohol and my heart welled up with emotion as I realised that she probably had just drunk the bottle and seemed uncaring about the rain or being wet, or being young and part of some scene.
At this my mentality kicked in.
I could be in severe trouble very quickly if it could be somehow construed that I was harassing this lady in any way especially in this district of Edinburgh.
From my experience, I knew that alcoholics could be very unreasonable, hurtful and abusive and so could their friends.
Another very obvious thing about this young lady was that she was clearly refined and socially attained and on any other day would not have possessed the ability to recognise me if I had met her under better circumstances in one of those local venues.
I was never the kind of person to appear viable to and on the radar of the upwardly mobile.
Irritating her now could have unfortunate repercussions if she misconstrued my intentions.
I was after all six feet tall and not in designer clothes.
I did not see the society queen, I saw instead someone who felt wretched but I had decided to catch up with her again on the return leg of my walk if there was no-one obviously there to assist her by that time.
As I walked away, my heart again overcame my thoughtful caution and I stopped about ten yards away realising that it was raining harder and this lady looked to be in trouble.
Then almost in quick succession one following the other by intervals of about twenty seconds, came a procession of three men.
They looked her type, and could have been her crowd; Designer clothing, same age group, professional. The first was tall, slim, short dark hair and no doubt handsome.
He wore a black duffel coat and slacks.
She somehow felt him approach and she looked up at him, but he just sailed past without a look at her.
The next young man was about five foot seven, just slightly taller than her. He was wearing an expensive looking patterned and woven woollen coat and had curly, short brown hair and fair complexion. She looked up at him and he just walked past without looking at her. Then her head went down.
Finally a third, older mature man in his thirties, the very epitome of professional elegance followed in short order and he walked past too, without seeing her but she didn't seem to notice.
Three people that could have spoken to her and immediately related to her had not done so.
Tall dark and handsome followed by enterprising and fair, followed by mature man of the world.
What a heartless world this was.
It reminded me of what had happened to my own sister.
I walked quickly back over to her, noticing that her head was sagging and I spoke to her.
It's really wet out tonight, have you lost your coat ?
She replied that she didn't have one.
I then said that having all that whiskey was not good for you.
She finally looked up at me.
Are you ok ? I said.
She was young, attained, had it all to live for.
She appeared distressed and went into her open handbag and slowly held up an empty bottle of pills.
I understood in a flash what she was trying to tell me.
She had just overdosed on those pills and was finishing herself off with the whiskey.
I ran the few yards to the nearest phone box outside the hotel and phoned in the medical emergency.
The emergency services arrived in only a few minutes and she was taken to Accident and Emergency where she had her stomach pumped and her life saved.
I don't relate this story to aggrandise myself in any way at the expense of a personal trauma but I tell this story to point out something that I think is sinister.
Who were the three wise men, the callous social muppets that spurned her when she was so close to death ?
What strange sort of heartless timetable was creating this circus parade of rejection as her hope and her life was fading ?
What un-human and soul-less actors were there to finish off her connection with the world of relationships and social viability, to disenfranchise her from the fountain of life.
These three men seemed everything a young ambitious woman could aspire to and yet all three had walked off into the night taking with them any potential re-assurance or hope of a social comeback or regrowth after her peer group catastrophe.
One could say that arguably the locality was full of such people.
Yet to get three unconnected strangers in short order on that walk in that year at that time of night was unusual. To have seen one or two within an hour might have been more appropriate. There was no abundance of housing then in that locale and this was no weekend party night. To get those three male varieties at that exact time who then behaved in such a soul-less way in the space of the couple of minutes where someone may have been letting go of life seems to me to be too much of a co-incidence.
What evil end game was being played out in this seemingly ordinary life and when did it start and who were the players.
Are there other seemingly ordinary lives where the three or more wise men and women come in to play the game of disconnection too.
It's my belief that something very evil was happening to this young lady and that I had been sent into that locality to counter it.
I kept her talking whilst the ambulance arrived but her last view of this world could easily have been the receding backs of these three good time guys.
Although darkness can create an orchestra of desolation to snuff out our lights – sometimes the Holy Spirit can use and infuse the most dense and reluctant of materials to counter it.