September 5th, 1998
The sky was pink. Which was better than red, El said, when we started to get scared again. Grandpa had always told us, Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning. And he used to be one. The wind was cold, getting colder. El’s face was still streaked with tears, and her fingers twitched. I couldn’t stop shaking.
We held hands and followed our noses, until every street of high, crowded tenements and terraces blurred into one looming dark house where the murderers of children lived and lurked and watched. But we saw no one. Heard no one. As if we were in Mirrorland again. Safe and scared. All that changed was the smell of the firth, getting stronger, nearer.
The harbour was grease and oil and metal and salt. Seagulls were waking up, crowing like cockerels. We stopped next to a wooden warehouse, stripped and wet- dark. In front of it, a crane that dangled a hook on the end of rusty chains and a stony slope that soon disappeared underwater…