A Death Within Deaths

December 22, 2011
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I am what you would call a necrophobe. You might call me crazy, that the dead are the testaments to life. But I am not crazy. The dead ought not be honored but feared. There is nothing good to be found in the dead. History has taken my side. Can you deny that it is the dead who spread the plagues? Can you deny it is the dead who are the objects of our fear? There is no other way, no way for mankind to move forward but to destroy all traces of death. Only then can we protect those who are alive, which is what matters most.

The first time I reacted violently to this fear was at my grandmother’s passing. In my defense, violence would be the only sane way to act. Anyone who understands the evils of death would have done the same. At her funeral I was shivering. My mother wrapped me up in her coat, but I wasn’t shivering from the cold. No, I was shivering from the fear. To be honest, I had no reason to fear my grandmother. She was only good to me. I was sad that she had gone, but I could not shed tears. Not for the dead. Only one thought was on my mind. Only I could save her from the misery of her plight, to save her memory from being tainted by the evil that came with her passing. As the priest spoke, I jumped into the hole reserved for my grandmother’s final resting place, and took an ice pick I had hidden in my shirt sleeve to the lid of the coffin, tearing away at the engravings in the wood. It was only my lack of physical strength that prevented me from tearing apart the remnants of her death and freeing her from the evil. A pair of hands, I’m still not sure who it was to this day, carried me out of the cemetery, depositing me far from the ceremony. However, I vividly remembered my relatives’ expressions as they stood aghast, but I knew they were mere fools. On the other hand, I could somewhat empathize. How could they accept even the brightest wisdom when it only comes from an eight year old boy?

But that was years ago, when I lacked the strength to influence what went on around me. When my father left me three years ago I had ordered his body cremated then scattered to the dust. Like with my grandmother, I loved my father, but I knew that the dead could mean no more than the living. Why bother with a burial? Why exalt his dead body when it is an object of fear? But no one around me chooses to understand. In this world of insanity, I am the only sane one. But I cannot give in, because I know I am the one protecting the lives of these ignorant fools, defending them from the darkness of death.

It was only a year ago, though, that I came to realize there was more death around me than I had believed. My hair, my skin, my fingernails. The dead cells which my body expel. Are they not of the dead? My mind debated this for long nights, but found no way to justify their existence. How can I be the champion of the living when I carry so much of the dead? And so I resolved to rid myself of these plagues as a rite of passage into knighthood. Only in their destruction can I become a true defender of human life and a protector of the good.

Shaving my head was easy. The barber had given me a puzzled stare. After all, part of the reason I appeal so well to my colleagues was my hair. I will not say I am stunning, but if I were to say so myself, I was moderately handsome, and my well groomed hair played a large part in contributing to that image. But I paid him good money, and a good businessman never rejects a chance at making more money. In addition, I shaved all of my body hair, eyebrows, and even eyelashes. A bald head did not fit my look, and the complete lack of hair elsewhere didn’t help at all. No doubt it was awkward and the sudden whim attracted the laughter of my coworkers. But I was a man of good, and no man of good could bear the presence of the dead.

I had originally hoped this good deed would absolve me of my other sins, but my conscience could not bear it. I found myself unintentionally picking at my nails when my hands were idle. Only the pain made me notice what my hands were doing. At first it only occurred occasionally, when I pondered over how to best open the eyes of the world to the evils of death. But over time, the picking became more frequent and more intense. I began to lose nails, first the left index, then the right middle finger. I wasn’t worried so much as annoyed. My fingers were simply eradicating the dead. Soon after, however, the finger picking became less of a habit and more of a conscious thought, a drive, to destroy what was left of the fiends on my own body. At this point, many of my friends told me to get help. One of them even recommended a mental health counselor. I only laughed at their ignorance. What use do I have for counseling when I am perfectly sane? It is only their ignorance that keeps them from doing as I do. But for I to accept the duty as their protector was enough, so long as I did my duties to the best of my abilities. It was then that I decided to put an end to my hesitation, not only for myself, but for my friends and family. Life was more important than the mere comfort of having nails. The pain was there, but it was insignificant compared to the deed I had done the world. I had come closer to fighting away the dead and preserving the living. I had done my duties and protected the world from what lurks in the shadows on the verge of the other side.

But even in my triumph a greater problem was left to be conquered. My skin. I tried scratching and scraping, using all kinds of tools to tear away at the layers of dead skin that coated my body. But days after its removal the film of dead skin was back, as if to gloat in the face of a failed attempt. Time after time I wore away my skin until it was raw and bloody, but time after time the skin came back. It was at that point that a thought crept into my mind. It began small, but it slowly spread like a disease. There is only one way to ever stop the dead skin from returning. But logic fought with my ideals on this case. The process could only be fatal, for no man could survive the complete loss of the skin. But the other side retorted with equally strong arguments. Could I still be a champion of good when I continue to harbor the evils of death? Could I still protect life when I am a man of darkness? The thoughts tormented me, but I knew that the second I took up the knife against death as a child that this road would be a hard one to walk. On this quest, though, I gave it my all, in the knowledge that I will be the true protector of life, when all else around me, policemen, firemen, doctors, are no more than hypocrites. I could not have tried to serve my duties better. And with that thought I made my mind.

So, you might still call me crazy. You might still deem me insane. But I am more sane than you can possibly believe. It is simply you who is ignorant. Who are you to believe in the sanctity of human life when you are an accomplice of death? Who are you to say what is right and what is wrong when you are tainted by the universal evil? I am the true champion of life, willing to take up the knife against death itself, even when the dead is, and will soon be, myself.

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