“After Life”

The funeral procession slowly winds its way through the rain, oblivious to the struggling man desperately trying to claw his way out of the tightly-sealed coffin. We talk a little louder to muffle the dull thuds of frantic fists, averting our eyes from the coffin and drawing our coats about ourselves as we pray we won't be the next picked by the fickle hand of fate to sacrifice ourselves for a greater good that seems more and more distant each day.

The eulogy is short, reminding us of death after life and life after death. The grave-digger's shovel works constantly through the service, reforming the irregular cavity hard-won from a too-yielding surface, shoring up the sides of the grave as they slope back in. The last words are said, the last prayers murmured. The pastor puts away his translucent book as the coffin is gently lowered past a decent height—and then released, plummeting through the air in a cloudburst of light and shattering upon a hospital below where at that instant a baby wakes up, squalling, thrust unwillingly into the violent world.