Monday, November 12, 2012

"The Devil and the Drunk" (Story pt. 1)

I saw a devil once. I didn't know it at the time, but in the nights that have followed I have relived it enough to know for sure. I write in the hope that if I get it out of my head and onto the paper maybe I will have peace.

It was three and a half years ago. I was in Punta Arenas. The sky was always gray. The city hugged the coast. Downtown was a mere six blocks from the dock. It was a beautiful town.

Tourism thrived in the Punta Arenas economy. There were many attractions. To the North stood the Paine Mountains, possibly the most beautiful mountain range outside the Alps. The town itself had many famous spots. The statue of Magellan, when kissed, would bring the visitor back to the region in the future. The ski-slope had fame as the only one in the world with a view of the ocean. Then, of course, there was the cemetery.

It covered forty square blocks and was surrounded on the front three sides by ominous walls. The back had a four foot wire fence. Around all the walls were big family mausoleums. The remaining dead rested in plots lain out in rows and columns. Every ten graves or so there grew tall evergreens. The kind people use as hedges. They all stood about thirty feet tall. People visited the cemetery every day, even if they knew no one who had been buried there, because it was so beautiful.

Not many visitors went to the back though. There, beyond a small ridge, stood the stacked graves. The poor people resided there. Every once in a while as space became needed they emptied them. Supposedly, the remains were thrown into a common pit in the back. I don't know if that was true or not, but one night Maureen and I jumped the back fence and saw the pit, so I know that it existed.

Everyone in town had probably been in that cemetery at one time or another, but it wasn't the only one in town. Most people didn't know about the other one. There was a good reason for that too. It was a park.

part 2

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