Chapter two. The dear dead.
It was Christmas eve and inside the trees sparkled with a spiteful beauty; I could see them from the headland, winking at me as the sea whipped. I kept walking, just picking up shells as I went and filling my pockets. On the beach, the moored jellyfish trembled and I could see spits of tar and dead crabs; sometimes a sea potato thrust up – sometimes intact: the most beautiful thing you ever saw and like a miniature moon, with a roughened velvet coat and tidy little seams. But it was hard to cradle one in your hand and keep it safe. I walked on and on until I met the sea cave. I shouldn’t have been out this late, the darkness dropping so heavily and the tide coming in fast, but I loved the cave and its dark, salty rocks, its ancient fissures and rivulets; its dank, familiar smell that said, ‘Stay here Almost: I will keep you afloat and no-one will be able to find you.’ But I thought I heard something on the breeze and it whispered, ‘Help me!’