She Robs the Grave - Part 6

Content Warning: Live burial, drowning

The bereft husband heard his assailant pass by him, kicking aside the scattered bones as he went, and he likewise rose and turned, but answered, “Maybe you know nothing of honor in your country, but I will not desert my own.”

“I have no country,” said the stranger, halting and turning back toward him. “And will you feel the same way when your sanity begins to desert you as you starve to death? Will your honor sustain you as you stare into the face of eternity?”

Words failed him, and the other took a step toward him, lowering his voice. “Your wife has no need of your company in Paradise, my friend. You can do nothing to improve her lot by dying needlessly. There is no honor in death, whatever you have been told.”

After another pause, in which he struggled to put words to his confused thoughts, the stranger added, “Dishonor cannot come from your friends and family who delivered you up to this fate; we are leaving them behind. Only I will know your shameful secret, and you will never hear a word of judgment from me. Come.”

In such a commanding tone had the stranger issued this instruction that he found himself stumbling along in pursuit as the stranger retreated further into the cave.

Despite the blackness of the tomb, the stranger seemed to know exactly where their path lay, and he followed the sound of the stranger’s footsteps shuffling through the sand. As they groped along in the dark, the stranger resumed his tale, his voicing bouncing off the walls of what seemed to be a tunnel that branched away from the tomb.

"You who have lived with this custom since birth have accepted it, but I felt only horror at discovering a people who buried the living with the dead. Glad I was to pass over this mountain and see it block the morbid ceremony from my sight, and still gladder to once more pass back over the open sea, away from a land of such barbarism. Still, I could not resist casting one glance behind, feeling a pang of grim sympathy for the widow who had been abandoned to death by her own neighbors. I turned as our craft sped on into the sky, and at that moment a mighty gust of wind swept over us. I had let go my grip on the wing with one hand to look back over my shoulder, and I was caught off guard by the force of the blast. It carried me away with it, flinging me out into the open air, and I fell at once toward the water. I scarcely had time to be afraid before the waves closed over me, and the sun was blotted out before my eyes as I plunged down, far into the depths.