The house by the lakeshore had been scary, for people who could be scared. Urquhart doesn't count himself among them.
He had been startled, he tells himself.
Still, in the evening, he finds it a good idea to drink considerably more whiskey than usually, which make going to sleep easy and problem-free.
But as soon as he closes his eyes, he is back in the mist, in that house.
He bends again, his hand on the grey fallen stones of the crumbled wall, picking up that paper.
When he looks up again, things have subtly changed. It is morning, a misty morning, and the shape of the hills and mountains around the lake have shifted, from the familiar landscape of the Milliways outside to something achingly, hauntingly known. Similar, but different; not just indifferent, but just right.
Home. The hills and glens around Loch Ness, as seen from his own home where he grew up.
Urquhart is home, in Urquhart castle.
He picks up a stone, and stands. There is fog wafting through the buildings, because you can't call them buildings any more: nothing has all four walls any more, and roofs seem to have gone out of fashion centuries ago.
This happened because of him. Urquhart had left his family on their own, and they have failed and died out, and their home has fallen into ruin over the centuries.
People come here to look at the old ruins, presumably -- there are railings and paths in the grass, and a booth somewhere to sell them tickets, but closed still because this is the very early morning.
Urquhart is all alone. He left them, and now he is back home, they are all long gone. Icy dread runs through his veins that is part-fog, part-guilt, and all a loneliness that he didn't even know he minded.
A spindly staircase leads up a crumbling wall, the only piece of coherent structure in sight, but sight is limited by the fog; so Urquhart climbs the thin, improvised stairs up to whatever is to be found at the top, which he can't see on account of the mist.
Climbing them becomes a great chore, the way things can sometimes be; when he finally reaches the top, all he finds there are a kind of modern outbuildings.
Who puts the privy on the top of a wall, balanced on the crumbling masonry?
Urquhart opens one of the doors, but before he can peer inside, he hits himself with the swinging door of that ill-perched box.
He falls off the wall.
His own shout for help wakes him. He is in his own bed, drenched in cold sweat, chilled to the bones.-