The Philosophy of The Dead
Smoke floated through the air, the only disturbance in the otherwise deathly still catacombs. Above, out of sight and mind of the two skeletons who were strolling calmly through the tunnel, the floor was worn thin, stone crumbling where many feet had passed before. Yet, these two stood oblivious to the world over their heads, their minds occupied with the wold around them and the cigarettes clutched between their distal phalanges.
“You know George, I heard the most morbid thing today,” spoke up one of the skeletons, the smoke of his cigarette floating from between his hollowed ribcage. He tapped the center of the cigarette against his pelvis, dislodging the ash which had gathered at the end.
“Really, James? Do tell,” encouraged his companion, George. His own cigar was trapped between his exposed teeth, burning away casually in the musty air.
“Well,” began James, pulling a drag from his cigarette, “I was down in the lower catacombs, the place near where Douglass is buried.”
“Adams?” asked George, seeking confirmation of of his friend's location. Everyone knew the author Douglass Adams. His books had caused more than one member of the population to laugh their head's off.
James nodded, the vertebra of his neck clicking as he moved his bleach-white skull. “That's the place. Well, I was down there paying a visit to Douglass and there was this man on a coffin. Younger man, only a hundred and ten or so. Still has most of his youthful flesh even. Anyway, he was ranting on death, of all subjects.”
“Death? Really?” George's tone held his surprise, even as his one barely-there eyebrows rose slightly. It was the only flesh left on his skull save the very small amount around the back to which his remaining hair clung. It waved a little though the still air as he shook his skull sadly. “What a morbid topic. Well, do go on.”
young man was lecturing on death and what happens to us when we die,”
explained James. “Utterly nutty thoughts on the subject of course.
All of these ideas about heaven and an afterlife. A place where we
can walk beneath this over-reaching bright candle called 'the sun'
and consume 'food and beverages for pleasure'. Some sort of final
resting place. He described it as a bright place filled with a
rainbow of colors and noises. And a really large, open, blue space
that covers it all where this 'sun' supposedly hangs. No more of
these stone walls and ceilings which surround and entomb us now.”
James shook his skull a little sadly, as if he couldn't believe these
ideas. “Other things too. Creatures that are covered in fur and
walk on four legs or covered in feathers which glide through the air.
He spoke of them roaming all over the world, scurrying around like
the rats that we see on occasion except at five, ten times the size.
And he talked about everyone looking different. Different colored
hair and these things called 'eyes' which can swivel and track
everything that moves around. Oh, and skin. He spoke of every living
thing having a thing called 'skin' which covers their body and lets
them feel everything but which comes in a variety of colors. Really,
it was clearly the ramblings of a mad-man. I mean, really, everyone
knows there is no color to skin. It's merely some thin thing we're
covered with upon birth but he spoke as if we actually keep
it rather than having it fall away with age. Such an ugly concept
when you consider it.”
“Clearly, this man was insane,” agreed George. “I mean, really, who's ever heard of such a thing. Bright lights and big, open spaces. We all know that the only thing which exists is that which is around us.”
“The solid stone, cool moisture, and flickering candles held in the walls,” confirmed James. “That is all that exists. Everything else is shear non-sense.”
“Really, everyone with any sense knows we simply cease to exist once death takes us,” sighed George with a shake of his skull.
James nodded, his own jaw clicking a little with the force, even as he dropped his cigarette butt and pressed it into the ground with his calcanius. “Besides, if a world like that did exist, we would certainly know about it by now. We are, after all, an advanced scientific society.”
A loud cry echoed through the room, breaking though the sound of the woman's final scream as she pushed the child she had been carrying for the past ten months from her womb. The doctor took the child, handing it to a nurse to wipe clean and pass off to his mother. The woman nearly sobbed as she held the child to her chest, the soft skin of her fingers stroking over the child's red cheeks.
All of this James registered but could not bring himself to vocalize. Still, one thought did run through his head as he opened his blue eyes to stare up at the woman who cradled him close. Well, it seems that loon was right after all. I'll be.