The Sport of Children

In the fall the necromancers leave their silent halls on the edge of the Great Salt Desert and wind their way east toward the necropolis of the capitol, accompanied by drum and flute and matachin. The ghosts of the unquiet dead flicker between the ruins, their small, angry faces hidden within the spiral of a morning glory. At night, the necromancers (who do not talk) sit back to back in the centers of the plazas and listen, hoods pushed back and faces lifted to the stars.

From the first new moon of autumn to the last full moon they keep vigil among the ruins, tending the morning glories and the rubber trees. In the old manner they make resilient, imperishable figurines and carve their plastic surface with sigils strange and arcane. In the blaze of winter the necromancers shuffle slowly home again, drums muffled, flutes silent, swords still and sober. Behind them, in the city of the dead, the flowers slowly open and tiny rubber hands lift to the blossoms.

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