We’ve made a trailer for our story For All the Dead, which will appear in Flame Tree Press’ collection of horror stories, Beyond the Veil. You can read more about it here, and of course order it at your indie book store or online.
We really had fun with this one! The frame you see at the start was carved about 125 years ago by my great-grandfather, Sietze van Dijk, in traditionally Frisian style. It (usually) holds the 1895 wedding photo of my great-grandparents.
The shanty, with lyrics, is our own, though of course we’d secretly be quite chuffed if someone were to think it a traditional song:
The sea she is my high tide lover,
She provides me with her waves.
The sea she is a jealous lover,
And she took back all she gave.
In preparation for our story we wrote down several bits of lore the people of our (fictional) Soltcamp would believe about the sea. Not all of it made it into the story, though we hope that the idea of the sea as an off-page but very present character remains. We’d like to share some of those thoughts with you:
- They knew that the sea would keep taking; a different force acted there than on the land. On the first day, God divided the Earth and the Sea. While God dwelled on the land, he was not welcome beyond the dike.
- The sea is like a mistress: the men of Soltcamp plow her at night-time with the prows of their boats, and in daytime they return home to their wives’ beds to sleep and rest.
- There wasn’t a man or woman born on the coast who couldn’t read the sea and the sky like a book. It was the book they read next to the Bible – they kept one eye on the Bible, the other on the sea.
- It was a thing for the widows and orphans, and fewer orphans came every year, as the boys grew up and followed their dead fathers to the sea, or followed their own instincts inland, away from the salt air. There were some whose blood the sea never called to, and sometimes she thought they were the lucky ones.
- The people from Ollerom look down on the Soltcampers as a lesser community. They call them fish heads, and act as if the smell of fish never leaves them, no matter how much soap they use.
- Pastor Arend was at one point called Joannes: Oane is an old Frysian version of Anne, and I guess of Joannes. Joannes is a call-back too, to Oannes, the fish-man sage of Sumerian legend, who brought writing, arts and the sciences to man. It wouldn’t make sense for there to be a connection, of course.
- The underlying event here is initiation into womanhood. Does the girl want the knowledge that comes with growing up and taking on the responsibility of marriage? Or, to turn it around: does the mother want to pass on the knowledge that will mean her daughter is decisively no longer a child and has to make her own mistakes?
Angeline on a very cold day in early April 2013, at the monument for the 83 fishermen of the village of Paesens-Moddergat, who drowned in the night from 5 on 6 March 1883.