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Admittedly, I am no innocent. I see human history as really no more than an amalgamation of DNA—a chance mixing of chromosomes. Man races through time eternal, nothing more than a thunderstorm of double-helixes.
Not a favored viewpoint among the devout and pious—biology sweeping history along on its cosmic stage—a grand whirling dance to the death, a sort of solar salsa, of which we must all take part."
From "Crimson Helix" a work of fiction in progress...
Camille lost her mind long before she lost her head. As her mind slowly wandered the outer reaches of rational thought, the head departed quickly, anatomically speaking.
There was no one to witness her life force fleeing. The transition from shrew to cadaver occurred in a matter of moments. Any forensic anthropologist will testify to the fact that decomposition begins at the moment of death. As righteous as she lived, she could not escape this death fact.
The human head weighs 8 to 10 pounds. Falling on a backward arc from a height of 68 inches the cranium carries enough force to sever it from the body—especially, if the neck, taut from bracing for contact with the floor, strikes a razor-sharp tool. A carefully restored 19th century scythe performed this macabre task nicely. This fact of physics, witnessed by not a living soul, was nonetheless clearly established in this musty, guano peppered, attic.
Odd perhaps not you may think, that Death, this ghastly chap with a bone face, like a skeleton in a monk’s robe, always stooped, eternally posed with a scythe, would deliver life’s final slice in such a gothic manner. For is not the scythe the all devouring icon of time that launches us into eternity?
Blood, old and dried, appears the color of rust. It quickly loses that crimson, viscous quality we associate with fresh cuts to the flesh. Few ever see blood in life altering volume.
In quiet moments we may reflect upon our death—in our own bed with loved ones comforting us in our final moments. Sunlight, soft and mote filled, falling across our brow. Rarely is this solace available. Harsh reality intervenes and our remaining physical presence takes on a transformation that would certainly drive the living mad, if the truth be known. How could our flesh so soon betray us?
Without the normal defenses of a living animal, flesh and eventually hair and bone become sustenance for the living—from dust mites to blowflies to the nastiest of carnivorous rodents—secreted in the dank recesses of all dwellings.
The silver-haired bats roosting in the attic had never witnessed such rampant dining on human remnants. Much munching and crunching occurred amidst crumbling plaster and dry rot.
Assisting the assortment of dining vermin in the consumption of the corpse was the body’s own bacteria. Self-digestion, in brutal betrayal of the living, begins immediately upon death. There is no defense against basic science.
Necrotic vapors rapidly built. These rancid gasses escaped worm infested cavities, but worry not. No delicate human sinuses were offended. The manse remained vacant.
The corpse, once bloated, now collapses in final insult to the living. Gelatinous, greasy fluids drain away to surreptitiously mix and harmonize with the blood stained patina of the pine plank floor.
Finally, at long last, the corpse shrinks back in upon itself in the dry heat of the sunless, sealed attic, forever a relic—never to be archived.