This novel was written for my PhD which I completed in 2007 (Graduated as Dr Dennis Mealor, May 2008 at CQ University, Queensland, Australia). The PhD also involved a 30, 000 word “exegesis” (Literary critique). Herewith, is just the novel itself.


The novel is illustrated by me, with both colour and black-and-white plates throughout. The novel’s setting is in a fictitious English seaside village called Cove. Not unlike the English village in which I was born, and grew up in. My father was a shrimp fisherman. But a down-to-earth, honest one at that. Unlike many of the characters in this novel.

The main character, Jonathan Wolms, returns to his home town Cove, after many years away. Something is going on. A few deaths more than the norm, for a small village. Missing people;  a mysterious stone Cube that beckons; and an elusive, religious cult . . . 


Now please read the opening chapter of “The Silting” below.

And  buy, if you will. Thank you:


The Silting

Chapter 1


 I AM SURPRISED to see the town take the shape of a curve. But then, the place is called Cove, after all.  It’s been a long time.  I get a better view from out here at sea. I look away slightly and use the corner of my eye. The big round chalky hill behind the town reminds me of a bleached skull, with its row of white-teeth cottages and shops in front. Except that the teeth curve in, as though I watch from inside the skull. Dali would have liked it, an invisible apparition unlocked by using the eye’s peripheral key.

The little fishing boat brings me in, thanks to old George Stanton. He steers us in without any modern gizmos.  Sand bars everywhere, but he knows them by heart.  Even the ones that change by the month. They shift about like wisps of wanton silk and then settle wherever they want; giant silt flatfish waiting to upset a hapless keel. Some fisher folk have all the modern boat gear.  Depth-sounding equipment with liquid crystal etchings of the sea bottom: shaky pencilled scrawls up and down on a phosphorescent screen.  Old George laughs at all that.  He’s lived in Cove all his life, for seventy odd years.  An old cove.

The little boat is clinker-built, overlaps of wooden planks to keep the extreme weather out, especially the extreme wet weather below the waterline. Lay people call it weatherboard-built.  George hates that; it’s clinker-built or nothing. George casts the anchor, a rusting orange stingray covered in barnacles. The channel is shallow here, but I still get soaked, wading up to my crotch and splashing the rest of my clothes. George is fine though, in his armpit-high black condom with Wellington boots attached. We step out of the water, and onto the firm grey mud of the Basin.

DSC_0075a crop, auto

Illustration from the original version of “The Silting” – for a later chapter of the novel.

The Basin is Cove’s personal cove, like a town with its own ensuite. The tap gets turned on at high tide when the Basin fills up as far as a thin white strip of sand. Small children bring their adults, and spoon sand into bright yellow plastic buckets with mail-red handles.  The sand is always perfect for castles.  Moist and ready to tap out rows and rows of sandy fezzes, with pigeon feathers for tassels, like a line of young Turks buried in the sand.

Little crabs and sliding sea snails in rock pools. I count them casually.  Ten limpets.  Six in another pool.  Little snaking trails in the submerged sandy landscape. Last count, I thought there were hundreds. That was ages ago. Underwater crabs throw out spatters of sand grains like clouds of smoke as they dig down. They look straight at you and talk segmented body language, I’m burying myself and you can’t notice I’m doing it, soon you won’t know where I am.

Buried much further down, fossilised creatures speak their own body language through paginated layers of sandstone. Little spiral cavities that once housed some form of shell-fish consciousness. They roamed about in ancient Silurian seas and used jetted spurts of brine to escape; or else died in the tentacled crunch of nautiloid beaks. Some of their shapes were imprinted in pages of soft silt-mâché; and preserved for all time when it dried and went hard under extreme pressure.

As I walk I press soft memories in the mud, elongated grid patterns from my jogging shoes. The shoes block the memory for a moment as I keep my weight there. I stand still; then move off. The mud holds it and records. The recording is concave, a 3D etching of a shoe-tread in the negative.

I know that feeling on my neck well. A cold scatter of little pimples, and fine nape hair lightly fingered by an uninvited guest. As though someone is watching. But it’s not old George. George is in front of me leaving his own tracks.  He isn’t aware of the footprints he makes.  No consciousness of it at all.  His mind is on other things. But like my own steps, the mud memorises his prints.  It records, and the creeping brine acknowledges it. The salty meniscus mimics consciousness as its wet fingers explore each tread. The water is more conscious of his footprint than George is.  There’s that feeling again, as though I am being watched. I look along the entire frontage of Cove, as well as out to sea.  Nothing.  Standing in the middle of the Basin we are alone.

1(a) The Town of Cove (left page) joins to 1(b)1(b) The Town of Cove (right page) joins to 1(a)

Left: two adjoining illustrations of the village of Cove; and “The Basin” (click on all images to enlarge).






5. Johnathan's 'bowel imagery'

Illustration from The silting: Jonathan’s Bowel Imagery Fetish.


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