“As evening stole the light o’ day, an’ corpses stirred awake,
As bats swept doon in search of prey the earth began to quake
Then ghouls wae spades and lamps aglow spurred on by Satan’s hate
Dug down tae kin in oaken cells debarred from heaven’s gate,
With souls stained black as blackest sloe, their fate in hellfire’s coals,
They trembled now in fear of him, to whom they’d sold their souls”.
She sat back as a ghostly pain, stabbed sharp and deep within,
Glanced round in fear then once again, recalled those days of sin.
“Get me a hauf, wan lump o’ ice a splash o’ water too”
She heard death’s whisper, but replied “this spirit’s no’ fur you!
“Man’s life” she uttered “flashes past wae questions sae profound
Ignored until that dying breath, too late the answer’s found.”
She looked around with wizened eyes, “Ah think ye doubt ma tale,
Ah tell you, only doubt whene’er there’s profit in a sale,
Like when the sight of money brings a handshake and a smile,
Beware the bargain offered wae a salesman’s practised guile.
But Ah’ve no wish o’ recompense, well get another in,
So now we’re set, jist cock yer ears, a sip then Ah’ll begin.
“T’was back in ‘54 I think, when Dixons blazed sae full,
A rumour spread frae mouth tae ear as weans burst frae the school,
O’ monster such that nae man could withstand its fatal glance,
An’ garlic, crucifix or faith agin it stood nae chance,
Hushed words were telt o’ iron teeth, an ogre breathing fire,
And so the legend first took wings – ‘The Gorbals Giant Vampire.’”
“Nae prayer or plea, or wooden stake could force the fiend tae yield,
A single bite, a fresh ripped throat – in hell yer fate was sealed,
Fur years it terrorised oor lives, demanding each first wean,
Frae Gorbals Cross tae Hutchie Court and a’ points in between,
But little did it realise that we were no’ sae daft
Us wee wans reared on Morton’s rolls, we’d sort oot “jist who’s saft?’”
“We headed aff tae Florence Street tae see auld ‘Magic Dan’,
Wae curses spells an’ crystal balls he soon gied us oor plan,
We marched o’er tae the cemet’ry , where the Vampire kept his home,
In pincer movement like a legion, sent frae Holy Rome!”
She paused to take a well earned sip, and salve her childish fright,
A shiver rippled down her spine as she recalled that night.
“We startit chuckin’ sticks and stanes an’ callin tae the brute,
When frae its plot a spectre loomed, a-whistling on its flute,
‘follow follow’ wis its tune, as always it wis gash,
It flashed its teeth, its eyes flared red, it spat volcanic ash,
Pure gallus then Ah claimed it oot, ‘we’re here tae kick yer ass’,
It rasped ‘who ‘re you?’, an’ Ah replied, ‘Cumbie-rules-ya-bass’.”
“It reared hoose high, got aff its mark, we scattered far an’ wide,
Two hundred weans in headlong dash, oor destiny – the Clyde,
We never ran sae fast afore, fuelled full o’ gigglin’ fear,
By half a step, nae mair, nae less, we beat it tae the weir,
Then we stopped deid…. and it ran past…it toppled o’er the bank,
Its fire soon doused, turned intae steam, as in the mud it sank.
“Oor plan had worked, its armour rent, its evil naught but dust,
The water killed its burning rage, its iron joints flaked rust ,
The waters deep though calm and flat had gorged that evil scrap,
We stared in awe as silence reigned….. but had it laid a trap?
For as we all keeked o’er the wall, we heard a mighty roar
‘From Transylvania I have coom, Zees battle’s neva o’er’! “
She finished off her second hauf, said “Aye Ah’ll hae wan mair,
The story husnae finished yet …………..last night Ah found its lair,
It burrowed oot beneath the silt and lodged no’far frae here,
And waits with venom in its soul for you to stray too near,
It hides itself in yon black-hole the wan that’s oot the back,
The hole that never goes away an’ gobbles taramac.
“It’s no’ a hole at all ye see, it hides perdition’s way,
Straight doon tae hell’s relentless heat, eternity your stay,
So when you think night’s whisper calls, or flashing eyes shine true
Jist kerry on, don’t dare turn back, or it’s the end of you.
And when your teased by lips caress or calls come frae the dark,
Remember whit Ah’ve telt tae you, the tale o’ Molly Stark!!”
The pit of which she talked was known, by Sharkey’s cellar door,
Ten times they’d filled it up wae tar, but still it needed more,
The rumours flew around the town that bodies lay ten deep
Where sinners steeled by eighty proof fell to their final sleep.
But spirits o’ the deid wae teeth? Or Vampires forged frae steel?
A wanderin’ soul or poltergeist? No way that they were real!
“Ach please yerselves” her eyes a flame, “Ah’ve done a’ that Ah can
The Devil treasures carelessness, that spineless faith o’ man,
He sees inside yer dreams and hopes, he hears yer every thought,
He tempts ye wae fools worthless gems and knows ye can be bought,
‘Wealth fame and power, immortal life, yes here’s a deed to sign
Your name in blood, the contract’s sealed….AND NOW YOUR SOUL IS MINE!’”
She ‘humphed’ and grabbed her walking frame, distraught her mission o’er,
“ye’ll rue this day yer ears turned deef,” an’ sidled out the door,
But then the blood drained from her face, “Ah must huv wan last crack,”
And so she headed neath the bridge, she’d face the vampire’s flak.
All five foot two, she challenged it “Ah’ve come tae take ye doon?”
The ground shook like it shook its last; a black cloud drowned the moon.
The vampire bellowed out its hate and mocked its puny foe,
It tried to crack her with one swipe, but Molly ducked below,
She caught it with a ‘Glesga kiss’ and then an Irish whip
The vampire knew he’d met his match, neck in a nelson grip.
Then white hot coals from Tartarus shot up into the sky,
And Seraphim with clarion blast descended from on high,
But though Hadean evil lost cast back from whence it came,
Wee Molly with her final gasp, ascended tae her hame,
She seen the light of heaven rise but caught a final glance,
At where she’d saved the soul of man “The Devil hud nae Chance!”
With Angels songs and saints’ applause she soared up like a lark,
“No questions asked” St Peter said “Yer welcome Molly Stark”.
So if some day you find yourself approaching Sharkey’s bar
Take a peek into the hole, don’t bend or stretch too far,
You’ll shiver and your hackles rise, but not because it’s cold,
But curses cast from Dante’s hell, just like this tale has told.
Then in the bar there’s final proof, a shrine in all but name,
Go touch the bent burnt relic there, it’s Molly’s Zimmer frame.