by Arden Hunter
The railings on the sea-path around Scarborough headland are almost rotted-through with rust. Salt batters them when the storms come, scraping away at the tough exterior, turning them first white, then brown, then orange, as if burning from within. The headland, this mouldering outcropping where Romans built their castle, bears the brunt of the sea; snarling whirling hurling itself against the shore. It has waged this campaign against the town since it was not Scarborough, but Skarðaborg, and it pitched the Viking raiders, too, against it.
The new concrete defenses prevent the sea from stealing more of the soil and exposing more of the skeletons of soldiers, so it pick-pick-picks at the metal rails instead. So straight and strong, rigid and uniform, the sea screams at the rails until they become land-corals; pitted and twisted and alive. If you go there on a calm day, the weary railings leave a trail of rust on your hand. Gulls scream in defiance overhead as only gulls can, while tourists stray too close to the edge, warning signs ignored for the thrill of a rusted orange brand.
The odds are against the sea these days. It becomes less likely that it will ever succeed in rotting clean through the railings, rampaging over the road, and demolishing the castle. It seethes and boils and takes what it can get.
Don’t stand too close.
Arden is an aroace, agender writer, artist and performer. They hold an eclectic range of interests from the horrific to the whimsical. The theme that ties all of their work together is an inexplicable and unconditional love of that ridiculous beast that’s called "human." Arden's words and art have been hosted by Farther from the Trees, The Bear Creek Gazette, and Half Empty's Exhibition, among others. Twitter @hunterarden