Because they lived near The Z, there were some customs they couldn’t discard. Leaving their uncle to die would only make him wander into their camp later that night, hungry and distant. Conferring him to the soil would likewise assure his rise, and the buried rose with the strength of the land. His liver was too grave and they simply had had to behead him to prevent the turn, and soon it was impossible not to submit to other customs.
As they ate his feet, they told stories of the walks he took at dusk and where he might have gone, and the times he carried medicine back from the east with nothing but rags tied around his ankles.
As they ate his hands, they recollected the many pots these fingers had spun, and their mother reminisced on how these palms had helped deliver two of them into the world.
When they ate of his ribs, they spoke of his heart and courage, his lungs and broad voice, and of his infinite guts and gall. No one was allowed to remain silent, no mouth empty, and no metaphor unplumbed.
When all from littlest to eldest ached with fullness, they committed what was leftover to their stock of jerky, mixed and unsorted so that no one could avoid consuming his remains, and so no one who ate in the weeks ahead could forget him. To those outside The Z they seemed a mad folk, unwelcome to any but the keenest opportunists. To each other, customs made them family.