A new story from Haunted Places

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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

He digs today it's cold the ground is crusted over a with a film of frost he stumps hard on the edge of the shovel to force it into the dirt he likes the cold sometimes wealthy families bring flasks of hot tea to share after a funeral the generous ones offer him a drink and he can pretend is one of them an important guest mourning the death of a beloved family member not a laborer with dirt kicked under his fingernails at night he lies awake on the hard mattress in as cheap room lingering and his nose or the smells of law recoleta earth heavy perfumes and the stench of rotting flesh from when a tomb has not been properly sealed he thinks about the morning people he sees at funerals some are sincerely sad but most weep loudly hoping they'll be honoured in the wheel he digs its sprain and the street cats that live in the cemetery had produced kittens his favoured cat a black large tom missing an i lounges lazily in the sunshine watching him work muscles aching he stopped to white the sweat stinging his eyes the cat suddenly arches its back in warning and kisses he looks around and he sees her a child a young girl wrapped in a burial gown she cries her mouth wide open slot drips from her knows her bare feet make no noise on the cobblestones in fact she seems to float just above the pavement.

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