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A Wall on Dartmoor

There is a wall on Dartmoor. You will see it if you walk along the tracks from the aerial tower to the ruins of the old prison. There is a wall that curves, looms larger than our homes, bigger than any of us and older than any of us.

I live near the base, where I am sheltered from the rain. My home to which you are invited to visit is big enough for three. There is a kitchen, a cupboard, a potted plant on my bedside table. If I crane my neck from the toilet window I can see the tops of the highest letters.

You will see the wall long before you reach my home. As you trek along the hills you will see a grey mark that will not disappear unless you turn away. Do not turn away. There are deep marshes that have grown deeper with the rain. The grass grows over the bog and it isn’t until your foot falls in the earth that you’ll realise the danger you are in.

My neighbour is a friendly man. His name is Peter Morris and he will invite us into his home where he will cook us a delicious meal. Peter laughs often. I hear him through the walls of my home. His wife does not smile but she is a beautiful woman.

‘Peter Morris is a liar. He should be beaten to a pulp.’

There is a group of us who go to the wall every day and read what has been written in red. Our group carry knives, some of us carry metal bars. If you’re feeling energetic you can help us carry the accused into the square beside the roosters. You can help us carry their bodies away too.

‘Peter Morris is a cheat. He kicks the cocks and licks his daughter’s hole.’

Peter’s wife has blue eyes. Her hands are soft and when she touches your arm to lead you into her home you will be forgiven for feeling light headed. She will sit you down beside her at the table and she will pour you a glass of cold water. She will look you in the eyes and tell you to stop. As you lay on top of her she will weep and tell you that she wants to run away. But the bogs are deep. You tell her this. The bogs are deep and if you leave you will both be sucked into the ground.

She will say that her husband is a good man. You will kiss her and stroke her. You’ll listen to what she has to say but you’ll know that when the sun rises you’ll have to find where he is hiding. You’ll walk until it is dark, until you’ve found his campfire.  

You will find him hiding beneath an outcrop of rock.

He will look so thin. When you lift him he’ll be as light as a feather. 


Artwork credit: 
谢天, Beijing Film Academy

Our Partners

Flash Europa 28 is organised and run in cooperation with the Delegation of the European Union to China, the embassies of each of the 28 EU member states, The Bookworm, Literature Across Frontiers, and social media platforms in China.