After last month’s severe tremors that broke the mountains in two and reduced the old McBain house to little more than rubble, strange rumours have begun swirling around the site. One such rumour was started by an eager geologist of Inverness, keen to discover any remarkable geological finds unearthed by the splitting of the ground. What he saw amongst the sedimentary rocks is difficult to understand; the wild disarray of his mental state when he returned meant little of what he said can be taken with any seriousness. He is currently finding respite in a home for the mentally unstable.
However, at least once a week since, some solo hiker or man of science would return from their survey of the mountain, pale and shaken beyond the point of any reasonable comprehension. Those who make it back with their wits intact recount tales with chilling similarities to the ravings of those who do not, and thus something of a legend began to settle over the broken mountain top.
The legend goes that those who wander too close to where the mountain is split may come across a woman, standing solitary on the edge of the great chasm. Fearing she may be contemplating throwing herself into the darkness below, men of pure heart and good intentions have approached her, not knowing of the fate of those who came before.
The most complete account of an encounter with this woman comes from Angus Brun, whose bouts of insanity seem manageable as long as he is not left entirely alone.
He states that idle curiosity took him to the site one early January morning. Besides the jagged edge of the newly formed valley, he had noticed nothing unusual until, curiosity satisfied, he had turned to head home. That is when he saw her; a thing of beauty wrapped in a fur coat. The woman braced herself against the cold and the wet, and stared down into the terrible depths of the abyss. Angus called out to her gently, not wishing to startle her into slipping, and took a cautious step in her direction. She turned at the sound of his voice and smiled so sweetly at him that it took away his hesitation and drew him to her.
The air took on a strange chill along that mountain edge, but Angus’s mind did not dwell upon the phenomenon. He was too filled with a sense of duty to protect that beautiful stranger from a terrible fate; nothing would distract him from his chosen path.
In the mist that is so common in that area, it was not until he was almost upon her that he noticed the strange, almost transparency of her skin, and so caught up in her charming smile that too late did he realize she was no longer standing alone.
A man had appeared, as if out of nowhere beside her, a look of madness in his eyes. He reached a hideously deformed arm out toward Angus and began bearing down upon him. Shocked and unaware of the extent of his peril, Angus clutched at the woman, trying to drag her away from this gruesome sight.
At this point it should be noted that Angus needed a hefty swig of his brandy flask, and a new handkerchief to mop up the sweat from his brow, before continuing his story.
He had watched in horror as his hand passed through the woman, meeting with nothing but the oddly chilled air. At that moment, he felt himself slip free of the sureness of sanity and came to the mind-altering realization that he was standing on a cliff’s edge between two evil spirits.
The woman’s smile twisted into something wicked as her co-conspirator gripped Angus’s neck with a realness he could not fathom. He clutched, finding a purchase that his mind rejected as real and felt more of his sanity being ripped away. The demon’s fingers seemed to burrow deep into Angus’s throat, draining him of energy and bringing him down to his knees. He gave all the fight he could, all too aware that it was only luck and the weak grip of the monster’s deformed hand that allowed him to break free. He stumbled and tripped but managed to put a fair amount of distance between him and that terrible sight in the first few seconds of his freedom.
He heard laughter as he ran down the mountain side but confessed he could not tell if from the manifestations he was rapidly leaving behind, or from his own mouth, spewed forth from his warping mind that it came.
At some point in all the chaos he had noticed he was missing his gold pocket watch and signet ring. He claims the Siren must have robbed him of his material possessions whilst her partner tried to rob him of his life.
Officer Sandy MacNiel of Cannich has offered no official statement on the string of similar tales coming from the site. With a sadness in his eyes and a tightening of his fists he simply suggested that people let whatever may be up there rest in peace.
Anyone still curious enough to traverse that particular stretch of countryside despite the apparent risk is advised to wander in groups.