Pulling the Short Straw…

It’s your turn to watch the churchyard of Banchory-Ternan. Being a local lad, you knew your turn would come eventually. The rota had you down for next week, but the weaver’s son has gone off sick so you offered to change places. Let’s hope it’s a quite night…
Don’t hold your breath though. Being so close to Aberdeen Medical School chances are some plucky student will try their luck tonight. You’ll have to have your wits about you, they’re getting more and more cunning each time time they carry out a raid. At least the person who built this watch-house had the brains to position the window so that it overlooked the churchyard. Unlike the watch-house in St Bridget’s Kirk where the window there is an absolute waste of time – what use is a window when it points into the woods anyway?! The single chair you see in the corner of the upper story of the watch-tower is just high enough so you can see through the window whilst sitting down. It’s more luck than judgement however and just make sure you don’t get caught relaxing too much!
Listen out for the snapping of twigs, and just have a quick count to see how many owls you hear on your watch. Is that a new ornithological record or a secret signal you can here? You’ll already know where the freshly dug graves are. You probably attended the funeral yourself. Keep a close eye on this part of the churchyard, this is where the action will happen if it going to happen. Let’s hope it’s not one of your relatives who was recently buried though. It’s bad enough having to deal with the resurrection men in the first place without having to see your Great Aunt Hilda making a comeback!
Don’t forget about your gun. Position it through the loophole just under the window frame and direct it across the churchyard. That way, if you do spot anything, you’ll be ready to fire. If your aim isn’t what is should be don’t worry. Quickly run down the stairs,grab hold of the rope attached to the arm of the bell and raise the Hue and Cry. Pull with all your might, the bell may be over 150yrs old but is still quite heavy.
With any luck if you do see a bodysnatcher, your wits will automatically kick in. If you’re lucky you may catch the bodysnatchers before they get the corpse out of the ground. If you leave it too late and the corpse is already half way into a sack, just make sure that you get someone else to handle the body. It can be a devil to get the smell off your hands and the stains out of your breeches!

 

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