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we bury all our ghosts in the same place; hold your breath in any graveyard and whole cities will pass you, bee-lining to memorized names and dead flowers and hidden, rotting bodies. idling cars time-lapse on the lineless paths. this silence is ancient—you wail in the building, here you remember.

the day your teacher asks what your epitaph, your lineage, will be is the day you learn that in this world your death is the strongest thing you build.

get lost in a graveyard and cry for the name you don’t know. maybe someone will remember to pray a rosary for them. maybe your gnashing of teeth will leave bite marks in their grief, gums bleeding dry while spirits watch.

these sprawling meadows and flat stone testaments hide earth rich because here we tell ourselves death looks like peace and shifting light beams and decomposing memories stacked three shoulders high. if we bury our dead together, they’ll speak to each other instead of in our dreams. if we bury our ghosts in the same place, they’ll remember each other for us.

individual loss, communal burial.

how easy to think yours is the only body, forget every slab is someone’s last attempt to live forever. out of sight, out of memory, out of mind, out of body.

gravestones are finality, solidarity, attempt, statement, honor. gravestones are somewhere to look to avoid seeing the loose dirt screaming underground rot. gravestones are somewhere to look so you don’t lock eyes with someone else’s story trying to be told.

when i die, don’t let them bury me. if they bury me, dig me up, make it noon, make sure they see the fresh dirt on your hands resurrecting me. when i die, burn me in the middle of the meadow.

make my name a treasure hunt. blow me into a stranger’s funeral. if the only way to die is as a final word, drown my story in ghosts you’ve never seen before. make sure those trying to remember me trip over extra bones. let me die as i lived: gathering stories, suffocating in shouts, pulling you into something bigger than we were taught and longer than we know.

if you truly love me, let me visit you in your dreams—and let me bring friends.

Inseparable from their backpack and operating off a tentatively solid life plan, Hana is a 20-year- old, nearly-graduated college kid.  They believe in the power of good clickbait, regularly cry about mountains, and have the goal of cuddling a zebra shark.  They are white, able-bodied, and middle class.
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20 Mar 2023

Strange Horizons will be open to fiction submissions on April 26th, 2023, at 9 a.m. UTC! To keep our response times manageable and submission windows more frequent, there will be a 1,000-story cap on submissions.
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