Population: 1000

The village of Højer was quiet. A lone windmill sat closed. Night was looming and not a soul was in sight. We passed houses with dim lights illuminating drab old fashioned interiors, but we heard no sounds, save for the distant echoes of the Wadden Sea as it brushed up against the desolate rocky shoreline of a cold tidal flat.

Night fell quickly, bringing with it the freezing air of a November spent on the southwestern shores of Denmark. We pulled close as we explored brick roads lined with thatched cottages, mouldy and with the bitter scents of open air antiquity upon them. We found that light switches were clicked early in this part of the world. Not a single car passed us all night. And as the lights of the town quickly disappeared – we realised that we were alone. Completely alone.

With few choices for exploration, we decided to head to the graveyard which was in the main part of the village. We found an empty car park lit by an ominous green glow that flowed from a tilted street light, and slowly made our way into the cemetery, passing broken fences plastered with the sullen faces of local mayoral candidates who were currently battling for the votes of Højer’s 1,000 residents. It was as black as pitch. We walked slowly, attached to one another, lighting the way as well as we could with a lighter and the lights from our phones and camera. The silence was deafening and the dark outlines of centuries old gravestones began to play tricks on our minds. We saw the faint outlines of spirits and the dense blackness of shadows lurking within deeper shadows and behind the trunks of grand oak trees that were almost bare as they waited for winter to come. We walked the gravel path for only a few more minutes before succumbing to our own irrationality and stumbling back towards the iron gate that separated the dead from those in the village. All sound asleep.

We spent a few moments sitting in the stark, haunting quiet of the car park on wooden benches stained with green mould. We took some pictures with exposures set to bulb and then began to walk over cobbled streets and past leafless trees. The windmill sat still and quiet, and in near compete darkness, its blades forming the stark outline of a gigantic mechanical Lily. We sat once more and admired it from yet another broken bench and finally decided to walk back to the small, thatched cottage that we’d rented for our stay. On our way home we passed nothing but bleak and quiet midnight. The village was pretty but desolate. It hid secrets in its bricks I’m sure, but it revealed none of them to us as we walked in silence through its cold and empty streets.