It isn’t actually that far away, whatever the well-dressed idiot boys from the well-to-do private schools claim. It’s not so far as all those towns from Warragul and on, down deep into the darkness of Gippsland. It’s near. Frighteningly near. You can get there on a suburban train, even, if you’ve a mind to. It won’t care, if you do or don’t. Either way, it is there.
A place that is not a place. A name that is not a name. It simply is. Lurking. Waiting. The darkness on the edge of town. A hungry darkness.
The Kulin peoples tell no tales of it, nor do they name it. They simply avoid it. The European settlers were not so wise, but even they sensed something awry in it. Something sinister and infinitely patient.
Passing through it, you turn up your collar, for even on the hottest days of summer, it is chilling to behold. It is a near to featureless landscape, permanently appearing as though a bushfire went through just last week – and that that was little more than an intermission to break the monotony of the succession of decade-long drought. A place so lonely that even the wind rarely goes there, afraid of the solitude.
This is what lies beyond Dandenong if you should miss the turn off for Cranbourne. Nothing. Nothing at all. The emptiness that sucks at your soul, dragging you in, dragging you down, the monster you dare not battle, the abyss that gazes also…
This is Hallam, named in poorly accented and worse spelled English for what the journey to there and back feels like.
Suburbs near Hallam: