The vast majority of these cases are based on true events… The short story ‘Grave Concerns’ was first published in magazine format in 2007: here is a very brief excerpt:
“I have no tears left to shed.”
The mass grave by the roadside was not the first in Spain to be unearthed in the last four years, and it wouldn’t be the last. On each side were carobs and bright yellow and blue wild flowers, a tranquil contrast to the macabre sight before us. Men in the trench wore gauze masks over their mouths as they lifted out human bones and strips of clothing and placed them reverently on a length of tarpaulin. Behind them stood an idle mechanical earth-digger, while beyond the fields of rosemary and artichokes rose the rugged mountains, mute witnesses to what had happened about sixty-seven years ago.
I stood and watched while Clara Landera sat beside me on a green plastic chair by the edge of the road. She was in her seventies and wore the traditional black clothing of constant mourning and, despite the heat of the day, a black woollen shawl crossed her chest and was tucked into her black skirt’s waistband. Her thick dark stockings were wrinkled, like her face. Mascara encircled Clara’s old eyes, rouge emphasised her sunken cheeks, and her lips were painted carmine.
As I placed a heavy hand on her shoulder, her rough palm patted my knuckles. “I have no tears left to shed,” she murmured.
Our nearby Spanish cemetery
Spain’s Civil War ended over 70 years ago, yet the wounds of such a brutal conflict have taken a long time to heal, and have some way to go by all accounts. Talk is going on now about removing Franco’s bones from his current grave.
Disinterring hidden graves is an ongoing process, even now. For many years people were unable to talk about the issue of missing family members, then in 2007 the Ley de Memoria Histórica was passed – designed to promote reconciliation and help those who wanted to locate graves of relatives who ‘disappeared’ during and after the Civil War.
To find out about Clara’s poignant story, please read Spanish Eye.
Spanish Eye paperback post-free anywhere in the world from here
Kindle UK from here
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