The Goblin goes walking. She is intercepted by sentinel crows but as she passes them they dissolve into the air without stopping her.

She thanks all the women who fought and are fighting for her right to walk outside unaccompanied. The crows will not enforce a curfew. The sun gets low and the sea murmurs on the other side of the dunes. "I will go and see the water." She thinks, the wet marram grass soaking her shins.


She walks by a power station, large and white and square and hulking, sitting on the shore like a terrible, silent giant. Like a robot waiting to be activated. The human scars along the coast are sometimes mournful and lovely (lighthouses...) and sometimes awful (golf courses...) but this evokes a strange feeling in her. There is a concrete walkway that slips behind it filled with warnings about the power of the pale blue churning water and the ferocious weather. Activist jellyfish and seaweed have tried to shut it down. There are no warnings about it's interior.

The Goblin is alone with hundreds of swallows who run their early autumn gauntlets. Over fields and lakes she has watched them and thought their movements some of the most joyful in the world. But here in the shadow of the concrete brutalism there is a desperate madness to them. Is the collective noun a Devastation of Swallows?


The first night when the light begins to fail she is in a sprout farm. The plants look like something out of a Sci Fi B movie and the red deer run from her like criminals. She finds a hole in a brick wall and slips through it. Nothing but cliffs and brambles. The edge of the world exposed like a nerve. She sleeps here and the wind claws at her tent in the small hours telling her to get up and look at the stars, brighter and clearer than polished silver. Than lost marbles or stolen pearls. There is neon dawn that makes the water look thick; soup poisoned with mercury.


She walks along pathways that were secured by projects funded by the European Union. Amidst the land otherwise swallowed by sheep farms and slow men following small white balls some people looked and said "But this has value to creatures and the soles of people's feet." She gets lost around a lake surrounded by large rich villas and populated by fish for catching and decorative swans. "I'm not supposed to be here at all!" She says to the person who finds her and he kindly shows her back to the edge of the landscape where she belongs.

She eats miles that day like they were delicacies, savouring the salt on the tongue of the low fishing village and grimacing at the bitter taste left at the site of a witch burning. There is mist contemplating becoming rain when she finally finds the sign: Peregrine Falcons, Bothy and Beach. An ACME trap or a paradise?

17 years ago she took a train north and when the tracks crept along this coastline she thought it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. The sea churning at the foot of red and black crumbling cliffs, a raw mouth with ruined teeth screaming back at the sea forever. And nestled on the edge of a precipice she glimpsed a skeletal house among that uninhabitable, unreachable place, defiant and doomed all at once.

And now here it is, at the end of a path that was barely a path pointed out by a cryptic sign. Another non-path through the ferns leads to the red rock shelf that serves as the beach. There is a pile of smashed bottles and strange piece of old blackened machinery. She thinks about the people who built the little house and slept here, about the sound of the water they would listen to as they fell asleep.

We build so hopefully only to sleep among ruins with ghosts, she thinks as she too falls asleep to the hush and sway of that same whispering water.

Candice PurwinComment