Seven Italian Postcards
Card 6: Famiglia Zamani

We walked on, seeing no one, presently coming upon a short set of cement steps rising from the main path, though what lay at the top was not visible to us. Yellow tape that recently blocked access to the steps had been torn away, half suggesting an invitation to climb them, yet we hesitated. "I have to know what's up there," she said, "or else it will disturb me."

Thus we took them, and, at the top, where the ground leveled
off above a panorama of sea, we discovered a large stone columbarium illuminated with what looked like dozens of small yellow candles. As we drew closer we saw that they were in fact tiny light bulbs, one attached to the face of every cinerarium, marking the last resting place for each person's ashes. These chambers were set in two long rows, open to the sky, and the main wall facing us bore a simple legend in antique iron

We walked only a couple of paces in, and I read a few of the nearest names. One was a girl who died in childhood, and two others were young men whom death found in 1944, a banner year for it. Here, there was no sound - the night was utterly windless - and there was nothing to see but the rows of dead with their glimmering yellow lights and the pewter expanse of sea beyond. Down below, a church bell faintly rung eleven o'clock, nearly the witch's hour, and just then we heard, from the far end of the compound, what sounded like a plastic bucket or watering can tumbling onto the stone floor. Its relative loudness surprised us, and I think we both felt scolded for venturing where we were not supposed to, so we left the hill, walking down a little more briskly than before. Did goblins chase us? I wonder.

Card 7: Besame Mucho

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