Pseudopod 178: The Tamga

By Maura McHugh

Read by Cheyenne Wright

Floating above the earth, Kulin checked the boundary around the graveyard. To his relief the hungry ghosts were contained, but the binding charms showed signs of deterioration. He cloaked his lifeforce so the dead would ignore his presence; a chill settled over his heart. He could not maintain the illusion for long.

He slipped into the sacred grove. The pallid forms of the dead, some still, other agitated, moved around the confines of the graveyard. The outlines of the grave huts loomed above them: little wooden cabins on fragile stilts, where the soul dolls resided. Underneath them lay the grave boats in which the bodies were interred.

Anger and grief saturated the atmosphere, and Kulin restrained the violent shaking that threatened to overcome him. The living were not welcome.

The Tamga stood in the middle of the cemetery. Its skinny arms stretched upwards, and its black hair flared out. Kulin shrank into himself, and concealed his life’s pulse.