There were very few land burials in Moon Beach. It was considered old-fashioned, unhealthy and something that only happened to the poor. Instead the dead were buried in ocean cemeteries, twelve miles out. A special festival was held every year in their honour. Children loved it. They were given white chocolate bones, marzipan skulls and ice-cream coffins on a stick. There were costume parties too. You had to wear something blue because that was the colour people went when they were buried under the sea. You could paint your hands and face if you liked, or even dye your hair. That's what people did in Moon Beach. Turned blue once a year. And then they turned blue forever...
RUPERT THOMSON is the author of eight highly acclaimed novels, of which Air and Fire and The Insult were shortlisted for the Writer's Guild Fiction Prize and the Guardian Fiction Prize respectively. His most recent novel, Death of a Murderer, was shortlisted for the 2008 Costa Novel Award. His memoir This Party's Got to Stop was published in 2009.
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