a short story by Amy Bitterman

The Lives Under the Stones

Illustration by Hila Peleg
Illustration by Hila Peleg

To get to the Jewish cemetery, you have to go underground. This is true for the living as well as the dead, although it’s been an eternity since fresh ground was broken here. Space was always at a premium; there are only so many bodies you can pack into two acres. They stacked them up like cheerleaders, one on top of the other, knees resting on shoulders or balanced precariously on skulls, but they still ran out of room. Gravestones cracked and toppled under the pressure. By the time the Emperor granted space outside the City, the skies were already darkening. When the storm was finally over, the handful of survivors floated away on floods of tears.

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