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“We bury our own dead here”, the old lady said conspiratorially. Stan was surprised that he was able to understand so much from that one sentence. We have our own laws. We keep things to ourselves in this valley. We don’t trust strangers. When someone dies, we place them in a canvas bag, sew them shut, and dig a hole six feet by hand. We place the body in the grave and cover it with dirt ourselves, and we are very proud of this fact. All of this was found in the old lady’s sentence, along with so much more. With that one sentence, she conveyed that life is sometimes horrible and that, at least in this valley, the people were tough enough to deal with any problems that came up, including death.

“Is that right?” Stan felt that his response was puny in the face of this woman’s statement, tapping on a door that she knocked on loudly.

“Oh yes, we do, young man. And that’s not the only thing we do here, either. You will find that we have unusual talents, as you get to know us better”, the old lady’s eyes gleamed as she said this, making Stan powerless to see anything else on her face. All he saw were those black mean eyes. Through force of will, she dominated him completely, hardly leaving him with even a chance to think on his own, for he was afraid that she could even perceive his private thoughts.

And then, with no attempt at politeness, she dismissed him, simply by saying, “Go on, now, I have chores to do.” Stan arose from his seat and left without uttering a word, suddenly motivated to go, and quickly. As soon as he stepped from her wooden porch, he felt relieved, as if he were now back in control of his body, and feeling like an idiot for thinking he had lost control. Had he? Or did the old woman intimidate him so? He quickly gave up thinking on it, just glad to be away from her.

"We sit here stranded though we're all doing our best to deny it." (Visions of Johanna) Bob Dylan

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The following comments are for "Clara the Healer"
by brickhouse

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