Turning of the Bones is the lead story from my first self-published anthology ENANTIODROMIA - collected stories. The story spans decades, beginning in 1947 as a young Malagasy freedom fighter loses his life battling the French for Madagascar’s independence. The title refers to the funerary tradition - the famadihana - in which the family of the deceased exhume the body, re-wrap the remains in a new silk shroud, and bring the deceased up to date on family goings-on, etc, all while music and joyful singing abound. Our lost, nameless spirit tries again and again to bring his family clues as to where his body might lie, but all he ends up bringing them is pain.
Turning of the Bones is an 8000 word short horror story that touches on themes of family, duty, loss and guilt. My plan is to expand the piece into a novella/novel, depending on response, ambition, and inspiration. I already have additions to the story plotted out - for example, the story will no longer open in 1947, but well before that, when our main character is younger. We will see his interactions with his father - also a soldier - and learn why his attachment to the Malagasy cultural traditions affect him so strongly; indeed, they shape his very afterlife.
Interactions with various descendants will be expanded upon, plus the longer work will explore each of these characters much more deeply, as the short story does not linger on their individual characteristics for long. I hope to have Malagasy culture and tradition shine through even more strongly than it already does, and in that process, give light to the struggles that so many non-Americans have faced in a post-colonial, post-WWII world.