The Archive

Sunday, 17 May 2015


Arturo was fourteen years old when he discovered his first mass grave. At first, he thought he had stepped on a branch. As he looked down, a skull was protruding out of the earth like a tooth out of gum.
Arturo was no ordinary boy. Faces of dead people had followed him around ever since he was a baby. At first he had thought everyone suffered from this. But these faces whispered to him dark secrets about the future of the world, about magical places and inventions no one had ever heard of. He once mentioned these faces to his mother, and shortly afterwards was taken to the doctor. The doctor prescribed him some medication and deemed him to have some mental illness that left Arturo’s parents puzzled. No one in their family suffered from any kind of mental illness. Despite the visit to the doctor, Arturo was still left with the hallucinations.   

 It was during this night that he had seen his father threatening to put his Izzie’s arm in a sling. She was left handed. Any sign of left handedness in the family, according to Arturo’s father, was the sign of the Devil himself. So, as Izzie was whimpering at the sight of the sling, and their mother absent, Arturo slipped out of the house.

 Many years after this discovery, Arturo’s life would be scattered by other mass graves; during war, in the garden of his psychiatric ward, underneath an entire town, in foreign countries, but this one, was his first.  As his eyes got used to the dark, there were many more bumps in the earth, poking out. There were more bones. It was as if someone had wanted to grow full skeletons. He stood up; he was thinking about returning back home. His fingernails were stuck with dirt.  


It was muffled. No one was there. His throat dried.  


Alice Mason

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