I walked home today along the seafront, on the tops of the cliffs. The sea was murky and dark, and I was hurrying to get home in case it started raining again. Then, abruptly after I rounded a corner of this windy road, I saw a small crowd of around five people, huddled together staring at something which was obscured by their bodies.

As I gradually drew closer, I noticed that one of the figures was dressed in a police uniform, and the unobtrusive blue car I had previously ignored was in fact a recognisably undercover squad car, oxymoron though it may be. For an instant the figures shifted, and from afar I saw what looked like a pile of blue rags lying on the ground amidst the grass bank at the edge of the path. But when two of the group began to lift an unknown something upwards, I saw the pile clearly, and what was in it.

An old man lay perfectly still on the side of the road, with a wild-grown grey beard, wearing nothing but a blue bathrobe, the garment I'd previously mistaken for a rag. Though it was so dilapidated, it was virtually no mroe than a piece of rag; his skin was pale white and bloodless. It looked like a picture of a vampire's victim. As I passed, I saw him fully, clearly, for one instant. His body was revealed. His eyes were closed.

I walked on.