Darkness is rising

This is one of my old stories but very appropriate for Halloween 🎃😊

Someone had the decency to unlock the sun for an hour yesterday.
It is hard to imagine now when rain and hail are tumbling down. I was about to end my walk as the sun went down and dusk took over. I had some concerns because of the growing darkness.
Should I walk through the bog in the darkness or across the cemetery? Strange stories passed through me as I thought of the cemetery.

Once my brother took a short-cut across a cemetery late at night:

He entered our living room, pale with fear. His age in mind the experience must have been fierce. He was a teenager, and at that age it is inappropriate to be afraid. He was sure that he had stumbled upon a corpse on a small church path. My parents were sure that there was another explanation and they calmed him down so he was able to fall asleep.

Early the next morning my father went to the cemetery with my brother, and they did find a man. He wasn’t dead, but lacked a place to sleep. That finding brought my brother’s mind in a state of relief, but the cemetery was no longer an option for a short-cut.

An artist I once knew worked in a cemetery where he used an old gate house as a studio. He told me lots of stories one evening over a bottle of wine. I have never been able to forget this one in particular.
We sat by the fireplace and actually the weather outside was very similar to the weather in his story. He began the story describing how terrible tired and exhausted he was:

I’d been working late every night with the aim to get my last painting done for the opening. One night it became very late. Sometimes I get so tired that I have to pull myself together to go to bed, and I wasn’t even home yet.
So I turned off the lights and locked the door. When I went out in the storm and rain to find the car, I almost lost my breath, for it was bitterly cold.

A short stay in the wind combined with a break caused me to listen more attentively. Yes, there it was again! Help me, help !!!

It was difficult to determine the direction. The rain, the darkness and the wind created shadows where there usually were open spaces. After a while I decided to walk into the darker section of the cemetery until suddenly I saw a strange thing.
From one of the open graves prepared for the next day funeral I sensed a movement. Carefully approaching I could see two hands cling to the edge of an open grave.

At this point in his storytelling, he made a little stay and I could swear that there was a shiver running through him. He continued: I found myself in a state where my adrenaline whizz around in my body. I didn’t know whether I should turn and run, or just let myself be completely frozen with fear because I was nearly there already.

The rough terrifying voice tore me out of my trance by screaming in my ears: Heeeelp! Help me! I saw the man down in the grave. Two big scared eyes midst of all the mud, and a pair of hands which reached out like a child who wants to be lifted up.
I stood and gazed at him. It felt like hours. Then I recognised him. He was a slightly tipsy gentleman who often take his lunch on one of the benches, if not every day and in a liquid form.

Close to the grave hang a water hose. I tied the hose onto an iron pipe and handed the other end to the man in the grave.
The exhausted man was rescued from the cold grave, and after a drink and some dry clothes, he told his story about how he fell down in the grave by an accident.

But I was still considering which way to choose. I looked at the bog and the growing darkness and my thoughts went to Frodo, Sam, and Gollum when they went through the Dead Marshes on the way to Mordor.
I chose the cemetery 🤞😊

The Old Hawthorns In The Plague Cemetery

Idyllic, that’s the impression you get when you look at the old hawthorns in the sunshine.
That was also my first thought Saturday night.

I took a shortcut across the plain after visiting some friends.
A reflection of the sun light in the night sky intensified the sight of the old hawthorns.
The tree crowns seem to hover over the plain as white luminous domes.
But when I got closer, it was the wavy, crippled tree trunks, and a heavy nauseating odour of flowers that dominated.
It looked as if the deformed trees had been trying to flee away from bites of the deer, twisting their long limps across the ground.

I chose a shortcut between the trees even though my intuition told me not to.
The silence was unmistakable and I saw no people around.
I ignored my instincts, and concentrating on the direction, and the many roots of the trees.
It was more of a sensation than a sight, as a white shadow emerged behind a tree and disappeared behind the next.

I lost concentration and fell into the roots. The pain jogged through my whole body. I was lying for a second, that felt like an eternity.
It was as if the whole body was sleeping. I had difficulty lifting arms and legs.
Suddenly I saw why. I lay under the tree trunks. My anxiety caused me to stiffen, just as the crippled tribes.

A flickering light made me look up. A light that danced around the trees to a chorus of bird voices.
Time went to a halt and I slept. For how long I don’t know, but when I woke up the sun had risen.

I got up stumbled and started walking. It was only after a few steps that I remembered the hawthorns ruthless grip in me.
I looked back over my shoulder. Behind me fled scared horses while the hawthorns had started to move.

The sight of the long crawling roots pursued me all the way to my front door.
Small roots and twigs began to penetrate the cracks in my house, crawling across the floor.

Exactly at that time, the doorbell made me freeze.

“Do you need help in the garden?”

That’s my neighbour, calling me through an open window.
I wake up happy of my self-created nightmare.

What a relief to return to the everyday 🙂

Idyllisk, det er det indtryk, du får, når du ser de gamle hvidtjørne i solskinnet.
Det var også min første tanke lørdag aften, da jeg tog en genvej over sletten efter at have besøgt nogle venner.
En afspejling af sollyset i nathimlen intensiverede synet af de gamle træer.
Trækronerne synes at svæve over sletten, som hvide lysende kupler.
Men da jeg kom tættere på, var det de bølgede, krøllede træstammer, og en tung kvalmende lugt af blomster der dominerede.
Det så ud som om de deformerede træer havde forsøgt at flygte væk fra hjortenes bid, vridende deres lange lemmer hen over jorden.

Jeg valgte en genvej mellem træerne, selv om min intuition fortalte mig det modsatte.
Tavsheden var umiskendelig, og der var ikke spor af andre mennesker.
Jeg ignorerede mine instinkter og koncentrede mig om retningen og træernes mange rødder.

Det var mere en fornemmelse end et syn, da en hvid skygge kom frem bag et træ og forsvandt bag det næste.
Jeg tabte koncentrationen og faldt i rødderne. Smerten jog gennem hele kroppen. Jeg lå et øjeblik, der føltes som en evighed.
Det var som om hele kroppen sov. Jeg havde svært ved at løfte arme og ben. Pludselig så jeg hvorfor. Jeg lå under træstammerne.
Min angst fik mig til at stivne, akkurat som de krøblede stammer.

Et flimrende lys fik mig til at kigge op. Et lys, der dansede rundt om træerne til et kor af fuglestemmer.Tiden gik i stå, og jeg sov.
Hvor længe ved jeg ikke, men da jeg vågnede var morgenen begyndt at gry.

Jeg rejste mig, og begyndte at gå. Det var først efter et par skridt, at jeg huskede hvidtjørnens hensynsløse greb i mig.
Jeg kiggede tilbage over min skulder. Bag mig flygtede bange heste, mens træerne var begyndt at kravle.
Synet af de lange krybende stammer forfulgte mig hele vejen til min hoveddør.

Små rødder og kviste begynder at trænge ind i revnerne i mit hus og kravle over gulvet.
Præcis på det tidspunkt får dørklokken mig til at fare sammen.
“Har du brug for hjælp i haven” Det er min glade nabo, der kalder på mig gennem et åbent vindue.
Jeg vågner glad fra mit selvbestaltede mareridt.
Hvilken lettelse at vende tilbage til hverdagen 🙂

My Rescuer was a Ghost

I’ve told this story before but today it recurs on my blog once more.
A friend in Ireland told me to take care if I was going out in the storm this morning. But it’s only a moderate gale at the moment and it was on such a day we went for a walk on Samso, a tiny island in the middle of Denmark:

I thought of the last time I was here. The sun was shining, we laughed, told stories and had no problems passing the narrowest place on the reef.
But now, now it is different. It is an early November morning, and it’s freezing cold with a gale coming in from the stormy sea.
We are heading home after a night out on the reef. We are weary and cold. The storm, which meteorologists cancelled, came in after all during the night. I am not terrified, but the experience is frightening because the elements are raging on us.
We are in a hurry. The tide is coming in and it might be difficult to pass the narrow piece of land.
Finally, we reach the place called ‘Draget’. It starts to rain, and the prickly feeling in my face tells me that hail is mixed with rain. Strong winds cause us to lose balance on the stony ground. I have feared this moment but we dare not wait for low tide of fear of getting hypothermia.
I feel uncomfortable now that I can see big choppy waves over the crossing place.
The water will reach far up the legs. I get an eerie sight before me, like a flashback. A man is struggling in the water to save himself. I push the sight away.
Now it is important that we stay focused.
My friend goes first, he is about to lose his footing, the waves crash around his waist. We are much too late to avoid the tide.
Now it’s my turn. I walk out in the sea and I can feel stones and holes in the seabed. The water is ice-cold, and my breathing becomes paralysed by the shock of the cold. One moment of distraction gives a gust the chance to topple me over in the waves. I get my head under water, and the only thing I think about is not to panic, while I feel the current carry me away from land.

The next sight that greets me are two horses coming towards me. On one of the horses is a big man in oilskins. He throws a rope at me with a bottom loop. A new wave washes over me, and everything disappears in a seething sea. I swallow large mouthfuls of seawater, but finally managed to breathe.
Pull the rope down on you, the man shouts through the storm and the roaring sea. I managed after several unsuccessful attempts, because my fingers are stiff with cold.
Hold on to the rope, he shouts, as he pulls me towards the shore and safety. My friend is standing on the shore, he helps me with dry clothes and wraps me in a blanket. My rescuer nods approvingly, and begins to ride away with his two horses. Wait! What’s your name? He turns around, laughing and then he shouts, my name is Soren.
Thank you, Soren! He waves and in a glimpse he disappears in a sea spray.

We look at each other, shocked and relieved at the same time. It is hard to understand our luck. Where did he come from, Soren? How could he know that I needed him desperately, and why did he disappeared so quickly.
We walk the last kilometres of the reef and reach the car.
After a rest we drive back to our Bed and Breakfast in Nordby. When we pass the pond, we cannot believe that we have only been away for a day. I’m still in shock after the incidents on the reef.
We order breakfast with our hostess and tell our story.
She is appalled at our accident and asks to my rescuer. What did you say his name was? Soren, we only got his first name.
It’s a mystery who he might be, and she wonder about how he could be there when we so desperately needed him.

On our way home to where we live, we took a stroll in the town, Grenaa. As we pass the Market Square, I perceive a glimpse of a drowning man, the same vision I got on the reef.
I look around, and the image of the drowning man disappears quickly, but it is eerily lifelike.
My gaze wanders to a statue, and my legs almost fail me.
There he stands, my rescuer, Soren Kanne, died in 1860, drowned in a stream when he took the wrong way in the dark.
___________________________________________

This a real Tall Tale. However, I have been on the northernmost point of Besser Reef, and I have even rowed to the cemetery on the tiny island, Kyholm.
I have also been too late and had to wade the crossing, but in good weather.
One spring we had scheduled the trip to the northern point of Besser Reef, but as we stood at the narrow forager we reconsidered our choice. The current was strong and the water deeper than I liked.
Previously drowning accidents occurred here, according to the Nature School on Samsoe and to Le Drake.

I would like to have met Soren Kanne who was known as a lively and likeable man.

Soren Kanne has made his name known by a heroic feat. When a ship from Hornbæk stranded outside of Hessel and the Captain Ole Jensen Jyde couldn’t save himself, Søren Kanne swam, despite the raging storm with his horses out to the ship and brought him safely to land. This incident occurred 02.16.1835.

Jeg tænker på sidste gang, jeg var her. Solen skinnede, vi grinede, fortalte historier og havde ingen problemer med at passere Draget, selvom strømmen hev og trak i os.
Men nu, nu er det anderledes. Det er tidlig morgen, det er November, det er isnende koldt, og det stormer.
Vi er på vej tilbage til bilen, efter at have overnattet ude på revet. Vi er forfrosne og trætte. Stormen, som meteorologerne aflyste, kom alligevel i løbet af natten. Jeg er ikke bange, men oplevelsen er voldsom, fordi elementerne raser om os.
Alt det ekstra tøj vi havde med, har vi taget på. Natten har vi klaret ved at rulle os ind i vores vindtelt og tarp, og ligge os tæt sammen for at holde varmen. Nu går vi ad den besværlige vej tilbage til Draget. Rullestenene er svære at gå i, fordi vi er trætte og forfrosne, og fordi vi skal skynde os, inden vandet igen begynder at stige.
Endelig når vi Draget. Det er begyndt at regne, og den stikkende følelse i ansigtet fortæller mig, at det også hagler. Kraftige vindstød får os til at miste balancen i det usikre underlag. Jeg har frygtet det her sted. Men vi tør ikke vente på, at det bliver lavvande af frygt for at få hypotermi.
Det er med stort ubehag, jeg kan skimte, hvordan havet står i krappe bølger henover revet. Helt tæt på ser vi strømmen drive rask igennem revet. Vandet vil gå os langt op ad benene.
Jeg får et uhyggeligt syn, ligesom et flashback. En mand kæmper i vandet for at redde sig selv. Jeg skubber synet væk. Det er nu, vi skal over, og det gælder om at bevare fokus. Min ven går først over, han er lige ved at miste fodfæstet, bølgerne slår op omkring livet på ham. Vi er alt for sent på færde til at undgå tidevandet.
Nu er det min tur. Jeg går ud i vandet, og mærker sten og huller på havbunden. Vandet er iskoldt, og mit åndedræt bliver lammet af chokket fra kulden. Et øjebliks uopmærksomhed giver et vindstød chancen for at vælte mig omkuld. Jeg får hovedet under vand, og det eneste jeg tænker på er, ikke at gå i panik, mens jeg mærker strømmen bære mig væk fra land.
Det næste syn der møder mig, da jeg får hovedet over vandet, er to heste der kommer galoperende, svømmende imod mig. På én af hestene sidder en stor mand i olietøj med en sydvest på hovedet. Han kaster et reb ud til mig med en bunden løkke. En ny bølge slår ind over mig, og alt forsvinder i et sydende hav. Jeg sluger vand, men kommer op i den næste bølgedal.
Træk tovet ned over dig, råber han gennem stormens og havets brølen. Det lykkes mig efter flere forgæves forsøg, da fingrene er stive af kulde.
Hold godt fast i rebet, råber han, og trækker mig ind mod land og sikkerhed. Min ven står parat inde på land, han får det våde tøj at mig, og hyller mig ind i hans uldtrøje og et tæppe bliver viklet rundt om mig.
Min redningsmand nikker bifaldende, og begynder at ride væk med hans to heste. Vent! råber jeg, hvad hedder du? Han vender sig om, griner og råber, Søren. Tak Søren! Når jeg at råbe, inden han forsvinder væk i et skumsprøjt, og væk er han.

Vi kigger på hinanden, chokerede og lettede på samme tid. Det er næsten ikke til at forstå vores held. Hvor kom han fra, Søren? Hvordan kunne han vide, at jeg havde så hårdt brug for ham, og hvorfor forsvandt han så hurtigt.
Vi går den sidste kilometer, ad revet og når frem til vores bil. Her finder vi tørre uldtæpper og lunken te.
Efter en god pause kører vi hjem til Nordby til vores Bed and Breakfast pension. Da vi kører forbi gadekæret, kan vi næsten ikke tro, at vi kun har været væk et døgn. Jeg er stadigvæk lidt i chok efter mødet med Draget på Besser Rev.
Vi får morgenmad af vores værtinde, og fortæller vores historie.
Hun er rystet over vores uheld, og spørger til min redningsmand. Hvad siger I, han hedder? Søren, vi fik kun hans fornavn. Det er da en gåde, hvem han kan være, og hun undrer sig også over, hvordan han kunne være på pletten, da vi havde så hårdt brug for ham.
Der går nogle dage, med vandreture i Nordby bakker, men vi kan ikke glemme det dramastiske øjeblik på Draget.

På vejen hjem fra ferien går vi en tur igennem Grenå by. Det er, da vi går over torvet, at jeg i et glimt får et syn af en druknende mand, det samme syn jeg fik på Besser Rev. Jeg ser mig omkring, og billedet af den druknende mand forsvinder hurtigt, men er uhyggeligt livagtigt.
Mit blik strejfer statuen, og mine ben svigter mig næsten.
Der står han, min redningsmand, Søren Kanne, død i 1860, druknet i Grenå-åen, da han gik forkert i mørket.

Søren Kanne har gjort sit navn kendt ved en heltemodig bedrift. Da et skib fra Hornbæk strandede ud for Hessel og skipperen Ole Jensen Jyde ikke ved egen hjælp kunne redde sig, svømmede Søren Kanne, 16.2.1835, trods forrygende storm med sine heste ud til skibet og bragte ham frelst i land.

I kan læse mere om Søren Mikkelsen Kanne her.

Efterskrift:
Som jeg hentyder i overskriften, er det her en rigtig røverhistorie. Jeg har dog været på nordspidsen af Besser Rev, jeg har endda roet over til kirkegården på Kyholm, og jeg har været forsinket og måttet vade Draget, men i godt vejr.
Et forår havde vi planlagt tur til nordspidsen af Besser Rev, men da vi stod ved Draget, ombestemte vi os. Strømmen var stærk og vandet dybere, end jeg brød mig om.
Der er tidligere forekommet drukneulykker her, ifølge Naturskolen på Samsø og LeDrake

Jeg har desværre ikke mødt Søren Kanne 🙂 der var kendt, som en livlig og sympatisk mand, men det kommer jeg nok til en dag, men det haster ikke 🙂