I have been staying in the village for two days now. I call it a village, but in reality it more closely resembles a small town; the type often found in books I read as a child: a simple high street surrounded by pleasant suburbs. The window in the room I am staying in looks out over a large wood, through which an old, disused railway line runs. I am about to turn away from the window when I see what looks like smoke coming from the centre of the wood. Moving closer to the window to see better, I notice that it looks more like steam. The sound of a steam train's whistle echoes from the direction of the steam. I decide to investigate, and dash out of the house, grabbing my coat on the way.
The footpath leading to the wood looks almost entirely unused, with the muddy track thick with grass, and parts of the route almost impassable due to brambles. I manage to fight my way through, and enter the wood over a small, rotten stile. As I approach a sharp bend in the path, I recall a story often told by a friend when we were children: "if you go round this corner, you can never come back". Such childhood fantasy would be easier to forget were it not for the steam train I thought I had witnessed earlier. Regardless, I continue around the bend, and head towards the old, single-track railway line. The rails look rusty, with no sign of recent use. A shiver passes through me, and I decide to head back to the house to ask my friend if they have ever heard of a ghostly train passing through the wood. However, as I walk back, I am faced with several turnings from the main path which I must have missed on my original journey, preoccupied as I was with finding evidence of the train. It only takes a few turnings to lose my bearings entirely. It quickly becomes evident that I am completely lost, and despite leaving a trail of stones, I find myself circling back on myself regardless of which path I choose. Eventually I stumble across a gap in the trees, which open out to the nearby moor. I step out, cautiously.
Rain begins to fall, at first lightly, but soon more heavily. If I had another direction to walk, I would not head out onto the heath, but I need to find a familiar landmark away from the wood. Fortunately, the rain quickly clears up, before my clothes are soaked and I risk becoming ill. As I walk on, the wind picks up. There is a sound behind me, like a footstep on stones. I turn, but do not see anything. Disturbed, I walk faster. Another footstep and a panting sound are heard. I begin to wonder whether the combination of the wind in my ears and the shock of my previous experience is playing tricks on me. Suddenly I hear another sound: a helicopter. As the aircraft hovers overhead, I see a shape out of the corner of my eye. A black creature, about waist height, runs off, apparently scared by the noise from the flying vehicle. The helicopter flies off the in same direction as the creature. For the remainder of my journey over the heath, I do not hear any footsteps. Nevertheless, I feel relieved when I reach a small lake, and the vista opens up a little.
I stop at the lake in an attempt to try and get my bearings. Although I have not been walking for long, the uneven land behind me covers up all trace of the wood. As I am scanning the horizon for something familiar, I hear a light splash at the water's edge. As I turn back to the lake, nothing visible is moving. With my nerves very much on edge already, I decide not to move on quickly. I head to the right, over a stony patch, and out towards an entirely unfamiliar stretch of heathland. After a moment's hesitation, I step forward.
released November 1, 2009
Written, produced, sampled and performed by Ross Baker, Leeds - Manchester 2009.
Artwork construction by 2T with thanks to Jonathan Hinds.
Originally released on FSOLDigital.
2017 reissue features 14 bonus tracks of period material.