Digging Up The Past

The dig was just as she’d said it would be: a hole in the ground. Down the edge of the hill, time slipped like a river, or hung heavily in puddles like an old coat that has been shrugged off. He was uneasy. Somehow, he’d expected more than this. After the excavation, he knew, there would be more to it — monuments on which the eye could fix, markers to orient the eye towards what had been. But there was nothing yet, just the sore on the lush hillside, and the vague scratchings the archaeologists had made, esoteric scribbles on the landscape. “They’re all dope-heads, anyway,” Linda had said, as if in explanation. She was sitting on a small hill a couple of hundred yards from the site, with that weary and isolating look of pregnancy.  “Or alcoholics.” She was due in about a month. Something was growing in her which only she could understand. Her words were esoteric scribbles, hinting at that something. She had that look of being habitually misunderstood. She was talking about human sacrifices, how certain civilisations burnt babies, she forgot who did this but it all seemed pretty pointless to have a baby, then to sacrifice it to gods who you’d invented anyway. “Pregnancy is so awful I just wish it were all over,” she said, it would have been angrily if she’d had...

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