Somewhere, up in the scaffolding and corrugated iron of survivor-built skyscrapers that towers over most of Edinburgh, someone has been killed. I know it. And it's my fault.
Up above, someone hollers. A sheet of corrugated steel, covered in rust, slams into the pavement close to my head. The storms must have knocked it loose. Tilting my eyes lets me look in on two levels, two rooms each housing a family of four who were too proud of living here to leave. The lighty of cooking fires flickers against the walls, roasting whatever meat they've been able to scavenge. I pull myself to uncertain feet and screw a cigarette between my lips. killing myself to atone for killing the city, one little death at a time.
This new Edinburgh is built from scraps of the old, supported on a foundation of lies and theft and murder. I know all of them. John Long, who tried too hard to be the future and got himself knifed when people stopped looking forward. Mina Ryder, who didn't know when to shut up telling people about the Tollcross families and their slave rings. Just two of the thousands, not the most famous or the most recent, but still memorable. They had been my friends. Because of them I root out everything wrong in a misguided attempt to put things right. They were my friends, and I killed them.
And up in the shantyscrapers, I'd killed someone else by being too blind drunk to stop it.
Revenge is a bad motivator. It can't make things right, but it can give people closure, a chance to sleep at night without filling up on booze. A drug made of our own shortcomings and hatreds, boiled down and refined into something that slams through the veins and tells the heart that things may not be right, but they're at least better than letting it go. Now I was looking for another hit.
[Shattered City - A five part tale of deception and murder. Coming soon.]