When an animal dies, another of the same species may cling to the body, eat the body, or look bored. Bees expel dead bodies from the hive or, if that is impossible, embalm them in honey. Elephants say a ritualistic good-bye and touch their dead before slowly walking away. Corvids often accept the death of a companion without much fuss, but they at times have funerals, where scores of birds lament over the corpse of a deceased crow. But it is a bit odd that people should investigate whether animals comprehend death, as if human beings understood what it means to die. Is death a prelude to reincarnation? A portal to Heaven or Hell? Complete extinction? Union with all life? Or something else? All of these views can at times be comforting, yet people usually fear death, quite regardless of what they claim to believe.In the natural world, killing seems a casual affair. Human beings, of course, kill on a massive scale, but most of us can only kill, if at all, by softening the impact of the deed through rituals such as drink or prayer. The strike of a spider, a heron, or a cat is swift and, seemingly, without inhibition or remorse. They pounce with a confidence that could indicate ignorance, indifference, or else profound knowledge. Could this be, perhaps, because animals cannot conceive of killing, since they are not aware of death? Could it be because they understand death well, far better than do human beings?If animals envision the world not in terms of abstract concepts but sensuous images, the soul might appear as a unique scent, a rhythmic motion, or a tone of voice. Death would be the absence of these, though without that absolute finality that we find so severe. Perhaps the heron that snaps a fish thinks his meal lives on, as he one day will, in the form of currents in the pond.
Boria Sax
Gregori did not look at him but stared out into the storm. The child she carries is my lifemate. It is female and belongs to me. There was an unmistakable warning note, an actual threat. In all their centuries together, such a thing had never happened. Mikhail immediately closed his mind to Raven. She could never hope to understand how Gregori felt. Without a lifemate, the healer had no choice but to eventually destroy himself or become the very epitome of evil. The vampire. The walking dead. Gregori had spent endless centuries waiting for his lifemate, holding on when those younger than he had given in. Gregori had defended their people, lived a solitary existence so that he might keep their race safe. He was far more alone than the others of his kind and far more susceptible to the call of power as he had to hunt and kill often. Mikhail could not blame his oldest friend for his possessive, protective streak toward the unborn child. He spoke calmly and firmly, hoping to avoid a confrontation. Gregori had held on for so long, this promise of a lifemate could send him careening over the edge into the dark madness if he felt there was a danger to the female child. Raven is not like Carpathian woman. You have always known and accepted that. She will not remain in seclusion during this time. She would wither and die. Gregori actually snarled, a menacing rumble that froze Shea in place, put Jacques into a crouch and had Mikhail shifting position for a better defense. Raven pushed past Mikhail’s strong body and fearlessly laid a hand on the healer’s arm. Everyone else might think Gregori could turn at any moment, but he had held on for centuries and she believed implicitly that he would no more hurt her than he would her child. Gregori, don’t be angry with Mikhail. Her voice was soft and gentle. His first duty to me is to see to my happiness. It is to see to your protection. Gregori’s voice was a blend of heat and light. In a way it’s the same thing. Don’t blame him for having to make adjustments for what you consider my shortcomings. It hasn’t been easy for him, or for me, for that matter. We could have waited to conceive until I’d had time to become more familiar with Carpathian ways, but that would have taken more time than you have. You’re far more than a close friend to us— you’re family, a part of our hearts. We weren’t willing to risk losing you. So we both pray this child is a female and that she grows to love and cherish you as we do, that this is the one who will be your other half. Gregori stirred as if to say something. Do not say anything! Mikhail hissed in the healer’s head. She believes the child will have a choice. Gregori bowed his head mentally to Mikhail. If Mikhail chose to allow his wife the comforting if false thought that the female child would have a choice in such a matter, then so be it.
Christine Feehan
LADY LAZARUSI have done it again.One year in every tenI manage it--A sort of walking miracle, my skinBright as a Nazi lampshade,My right footA paperweight,My face a featureless, fineJew linen.Peel off the napkinO my enemy.Do I terrify?--The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?The sour breathWill vanish in a day.Soon, soon the fleshThe grave cave ate will beAt home on meAnd I a smiling woman.I am only thirty.And like the cat I have nine times to die.This is Number Three.What a trashTo annihilate each decade.What a million filaments.The peanut-crunching crowdShoves in to seeThem unwrap me hand and foot--The big strip tease.Gentlemen, ladiesThese are my handsMy knees.I may be skin and bone,Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.The first time it happened I was ten.It was an accident.The second time I meantTo last it out and not come back at all.I rocked shutAs a seashell.They had to call and callAnd pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.DyingIs an art, like everything else.I do it exceptionally well.I do it so it feels like hell.I do it so it feels real.I guess you could say I've a call.It's easy enough to do it in a cell.It's easy enough to do it and stay put.It's the theatricalComeback in broad dayTo the same place, the same face, the same bruteAmused shout:'A miracle!'That knocks me out.There is a chargeFor the eyeing of my scars, there is a chargeFor the hearing of my heart--It really goes.And there is a charge, a very large chargeFor a word or a touchOr a bit of bloodOr a piece of my hair or my clothes.So, so, Herr Doktor.So, Herr Enemy.I am your opus,I am your valuable,The pure gold babyThat melts to a shriek.I turn and burn.Do not think I underestimate your great concern.Ash, ash--You poke and stir.Flesh, bone, there is nothing there--A cake of soap, A wedding ring,A gold filling.Herr God, Herr LuciferBewareBeware.Out of the ashI rise with my red hairAnd I eat men like air.
Sylvia Plath
You've a perfect right to call me as impractical as a dormouse and to feel I am out of touch with life. But this is the point where we simply can't see eye to eye. We've nothing whatever in common. Don't you see. . . it's not an accident that's drawn me from Blake to Whitehead, it's a certain line of thought which is fundamental to my whole approach. You see, there's something about them both. . . They trusted the universe. You say I don't know what the modern world's like, but that's obviously untrue. Anyone who's spent a week in London knows just what it's like. . . if you mean neurosis and boredom and the rest of it. And I do read a modern novel occasionally, in spite of what you say. I've read Joyce and Sartre and Beckett and the rest and every atom in me rejects what they say. They strike me as liars and fools. I don't think they're dishonest so much as hopelessly tired and defeated.Lewis had lit his pipe. He did it as if Reade were speaking to someone else. Now he said, smiling faintly, I don't think we're discussing modern literature.Reade had an impulse to call the debater's trick, but he repressed it. Instead he said quietly, We're discussing modern life and you brought up the subject. And I am trying to explain why I don't think that murders and wars prove your point. I am writing about Whitehead because his fundamental intuition of the universe is the same as my own. I believe like Whitehead that the universe is a single organism that somehow takes account of us. I don't believe that modern man is a stranded fragment of life in an empty universe. I've an instinct that tells me that there's a purpose and that I can understand that purpose more deeply by trusting my instinct. I can't believe the world is meaningless. I don't expect life to explode in my face at any moment. When I walk back to my cottage, I don't feel like a meaningless fragment of life walking over a lot of dead hills. I feel a part of the landscape, as if it's somehow aware of me and friendly.
Colin Wilson