When I took these photos I had been in a relationship with my then partner for many many years. We had just met a girl called Rose, who we both took to her immediately, yet some how and inexplicably to us, our relationship took a turn for the worse. I'd written this story weeks before, it wasn't fiction. The ditties within are all true and the walks, and fears of returning home without finding him there, this was painfully real. I left him a year later. The mechanics, the rust, oil, metal, these are my life, a girl who spent her time in army barracks as a child, with an engineer/soldier Father. Who's amateur radios interfered with every electrical appliance I owned. I grew up in a sci-fi landscape. That much is the true. The girl in the photos is Rose, these were all taken in and around my then house. We called this place, outside my house, the train graveyard. When I allow myself to revisit this place, internally, I feel the agonising pain I predicted in this story. Written by me on ;Saturday, March 2, 2013 - 14:07
Emma woke up to the Flora and fauna jabbing at her already purple wrists, the train wasn't moving anymore. The birds assessed her earlier as she lay on the train base; they had supposed those wrists were the colour of plums and tried to peck them giving her arm an added red glow. She hadn't hoped to see what was in the bucket beside her so she kept her head turned but its presence was felt in a constant corner of her eye. The wooden floor was wet and decaying, it flaked in parts and blisters of bright orange congealed on the foamy panels in amongst the rich browns. She tried to rub it away and when she did the earthy smells filled the carriage. 'Where was he?' she asked and asked and asked, constantly repeating the words internally. Emma found it hard to imagine that this might have just happened in her small town, but it had and all she could think to do was to go home, he might be there too. Salt from the tears started to grate and the muscles pulled all over her face, they ached to remind her not to cry any more, shear dull aches pounded across her head. She remembered their first holiday together.
They were shacked up in a small B&B on a neglected farm in his home town. It was their way of escaping from London. The cottage they stayed in wasn't finished yet so it had woodchip exposed and they had to push the two single beds together to make a double. There was a large ginger tabby in the farm too with her kittens, they would sit outside in the summer nights and play with them, tempting them into the cottage with tidbits left from breakfast. They spent their days walking the lands she would come to know well, steep hills and unexpected mists. He would always call them 'wisps'. Without him there she was removed, the landscape didn't have a context and it didn't seem real anymore.
The walk back was going to be heavier than anticipated, slow and stuck in wades of mud, the feeling of treading water. Her flat feet were attached to lead filled shins. Pains grew near her ankles now and breath became harder to take. The cold was unbearable and her ears pained and rang. A wall grew between Emma and her vision, the bottom of her eyes hung low and the iris stuck to her lids. Darted-up eyes with a tilted down face. Heavy weights grew on her shoulders and haze/despair filled her throat and fore-mind. What was that thing? The air didn't like it; it churned a bluish cold mist when it moved. At first it was comforting, when the air filled with that scent. She grew up surrounded by that same smell, engine grease, oil, metal and nature reclaiming it. The metallic iron scent that hits you cold and sharp, the smell you imagine excesses of blood might have. But this was heightened and extremities proved that it was indeed the same smell as the waves of blood she would come to know. Remembering to leave the carriage she jumped down fearing her weight would smack her feet, the carriage was high and nobody was left there on the track. Her feet were tingling and it made her more aware of the balls of her feet making her tread more cautiously and momentarily on the sides of her foot. Excesses of blood, soused wet shoes and cold feet entered her mind again the fear made her giggle and twitch nervously, after the things she had seen there wasn't much courage left to be had. The memory of cold dark metals, heavy limp bodies and freshly turned peat permeated the air and the thinner-than-water queasiness she was left with when she recalled the red liquid sloshing between her toes. The iridescent red oil clotted in puddles around the areas the machines would grow, it was as though they could bleed too. A sound reverberated causing her to imagine her eyes far back into her head; it was her way of blocking it out as though she could disappear to sleep for that second, the cold clear air rushed back to her consciousness. The sound echoed again, of course she knew it. The first time she heard it, it lead to the situation she found herself in.
What was that thing? Men in a Land Rover with scrim and camouflage clothing rode alongside the departing train and approached Emma with large bundles of hay; one carried a machete and laughed as though it were a cough he had caught. The men seemed large and Emma thought that they appeared too large to fit back into the vehicle they came out of. 'Get out of here girl before anyone sees you'. Another sprung at her and snaked the knife as though to tease her with it. She ran again feeling the stitch of cramp capping her speed. Into the shallow woods she ran back to the opening of the road. Once off the track a sudden rolling-hill graduated so drastically that it could hardly be walked, she was home. A sorry disappointment crushed her, a home cut off, an empty presence with no knowledge of her family but maybe he was inside. Model; Rosemarie Short.