Animal Undertaking

Animal Undertaking

From the first mysterious beginnings of life on our planet to the timeless repetitions of death and rebirth, the natural cycles of decay have been an integral part of our continued existence. And yet as time progressed and modern civilizations emerged, our enduring fears and misgivings about death compelled us to seek increasingly odd interruptions of this process, culminating in the practices of the modern funeral industry, where curiosities such as embalming, lead-lined coffins, and corporate “death care” interests now fuel a billion dollar industry.

 
In the third story in my short story collection The Knife and the Wound It Deals, one old-timer in the mountains of West Virginia decides to take a bit different approach to her own demise.The story is told from the point of view of her grandson, and his “roadkill spotting ” is based upon actual programs that many states have initiated to track and record roadkill in online databases (click here to view one example, the California Roadkill Observation System).
For additional information about the history of the American funeral industry, click here to visit the fascinating site Encyclopedia of Death and Dying; click here to learn more about the increasingly in-demand emergence of “green burials.”
Animal Undertaking

And then I saw all three of them down in Shady View Cemetery, only they weren’t lying side by side in their graves like they were supposed to be. Instead they were above the ground piled one on top of the other like stacks of hot cakes. I looked around and saw that everybody else in Shady View was the same way. Nobody was rotted away or anything, they were all just lying there one on top of the other like they were still alive, only they weren’t. They were dead all right, only it was like they’d forgotten how to be dead and nobody had seen fit to come along and remind them….

To read “Animal Undertaking” and twelve more gothic tales of strange and wondrous happenings, click here to purchase The Knife and the Wound It Deals in print or e-book version.