Pigs, Sea by Timothy Denevi

For this story, let’s assume a rugged setting. We’ll need a bit of elevation, perhaps a thousand feet, the mountains rising like low-flung clouds against another necessary ingredient: the shore of a large, freshwater lake.

Your perspective should be that of someone who knows the area well. You can imagine this in any way you like, but, at the very least, you should be familiar with the region’s physical characteristics: here, the lakeshore is by far the steepest.

An additional detail: earlier in the day there was a storm. Something sudden and breathtaking—from your position on the cliffs you watched as the lake was made violent by its truest element, dark water, the local fishing vessels barely escaping to safety while a large group of boats, in the process of crossing over from some other region, was tossed helplessly together.

But now all that’s passed. The afternoon is wet, the hillsides weighted with grass. Livestock crowd the nearby fields. Soon enough you’ll need to get back to work, whatever that work might be, but for a moment you’re enjoying the familiarity of the view. Behind you, along the path from the lakeshore to a nearby town, the mountains come together at a large outcrop, their cliffs blanched and irregular except for a single harmonizing feature: entrances, cut into the stone generations earlier, that lead to a vast network of tombs, each one opening like a window onto the blue darkness of the earth.

Just then you realize that the group of boats has finally made it to the shore. Men emerge. They look harried, sea-legged, and, from their uncertainty on the slope—the way they take it too quickly, a few of them slipping on the slick veins of grass—you can tell that they’re not from this region of the lake.

Eventually they gather together. In fact, they’re only a few hundred feet away from where you’re standing. But they refuse to acknowledge your

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