The town was grey and its people were mostly shut up indoors. The day’s only taxi turned into a carpool when a couple beat us to it, then offered to take us as well. The driver dropped them at a nondescript but apparently popular B&B without a single sign on the exterior.
We arrived late to the workshop and were still the first ones there. Once we got over our reticence at cutting up literature, we got stuck into redacting words deemed unnecessary and leaving just the poetry that lay beneath. A History of the French Revolution provided plenty of references to Paris and Champagne. Herman Melville was less forthcoming. Maybe he was poetic enough as it was.
When our brains could take no more stained words and linguistic jigsaw puzzles, we braved the cold, rain and wind to walk fifteen minutes through a deserted town to the art gallery.
“Our most famous work is on the beach, but the tide has come in so you won’t see it anymore today. But there’s plenty more to see,” the receptionist told us cheerily. There were more exhibits in the museum than people. Maybe people around here just weren’t that interested in art. Later, as we made to leave, up loomed human-size mannequins, their faces contorted or blank or not there at all, limbs tied up with string or holding dead-eyed children. These were the faces of future nightmares. The artist also had pictures of houses, with the boughs of trees or huge geysers of blood bursting from the windows.
“If a kid did that at school...” Lara said. Her voice echoed around the still gallery.
We were the only ones in the café. The waitress served us, then started clearing up the tables. Whatever there had been of sun was now setting in the world’s most underwhelming sunset, a thin line of orange across a tiny portion of sky.
For some masochistic reason, we ventured out along the concrete pier. In a bar sat a single man nursing a beer. The wind tugged at us, the sea smelled, well, like the sea. Huge plumes of salty froth gathered at the walls as the waves crashed and spat below.
“We might end up on the front page,” I shouted into the wind. “Two swept into the sea in Margate.” We didn’t stay long after that thought.
The route along the promenade battered rain and sea spray at us. I don’t remember seeing another person in about a mile.
The replacement bus was dimly-lit and a few groups sat around, silently pondering how they had ended up in this place. The bus rattled round country roads, the driver making a single stop to pick up a single person before crashing off again into the 5pm night. Then the train wheels started turning and we started thawing as we moved back toward the city where everything happened, and where everything had ground to a halt over three inches of snow.