In that country, they don’t bury the dead. They pile the bodies on a criss-cross platform of logs and sticks out in the forest, so the flies can eat. The life drips off the bones until what remains is pure, pristine, perfect. Bleached ribcages scoured by the wind, seashell skulls washed by the rain.
Every seven years the People wrap the bones in fresh linen and parade them through the village. In this way the dead can watch the ongoing trials of the living from afar, and know the comfort and consolation of distance. […]