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The Devil in Kirkdrum

An iScot Short Story

When the Devil came to Kirkdrum, I didn’t really notice, not at first. Few people did. We all live such busy lives.

Anyway, nobody knows exactly when he first arrived. His movements before that first public appearance are a mystery. Did he check into a hotel somewhere nearby, possibly weeks before, and spend time watching us, observing, recording? It’s not a comfortable thought. I’d rather not spend time contemplating it.

Anyway, perhaps he’d been around for a while by the time we first saw him, at the Kirkdrum War Memorial Hall meeting. The hall was in a terrible state and the council had called the consultation (as they termed it), to be held in the Darien Suite of the Kirkdrum House Hotel, to present options for the building’s future. The hotel was used because the hall itself was already unsafe for meetings.

The platform table was dominated by the same preening, self-important councillors who had allowed the Memorial Hall to become decrepit in the first place. In the audience there were more councillors, representatives of voluntary and community groups, a couple of hacks from the local rag, some random moaners, a few other local folk and nobody under forty. I was there, of course, as a partner in Kirkdrum’s only architectural practice. If any decisions were taken, if any new work was ordered, we wanted a piece of it.

The first speaker was Councillor Brannigan, a fat, bald, self-made pallet recovery magnate whose suit could barely contain his sprawling form or his bulging bullneck. ‘If we demolish the building soon and get the planning application through, Morrco Stores have agreed to build a boutique supermarket on the site. We can build a car park on the edge of Wallace Park where we’ll only need to fell a few of the trees…’

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