A Musing 08/07

Three months into what we can only call ‘The Unknown’, the government has decided to recall the aptly named ‘Wounded Wagons’ due to unsanitary conditions and general mismanagement. The service, which was launched only a month ago, has been slammed by survivors and the dead alike for being ‘unfit for human and neo human usage.’ The director of the programme, Dr Enid Shaw, tonight defended her idea, by saying ‘It’s better than nothing.’

But what is the truth of this statement? Before the dead collecting cab service was launched, people were disposing of their dead in their own ways. Jackson Clifford, a retired vet from Birmingham, told LDN he had dug a hole for his son and daughter in the garden next to where they had buried their family cats. ‘They always did like those cats.’ He said. Of course, his son and daughter, when they returned to the house some days later, were not remotely impressed by the sentiment. ‘It was so deep. It’s almost like he didn’t want us to get back out.’ His daughter, Lottie Clifford, informed LDN. Her brother also added that the arrangement of their bodies was especially offensive, since on his return to the land of the living, his first sight was his ‘sister’s rotting feet inches from his face’.

In London, where burial space is minimal, dismembering has been a popular method. Junior Abowale, a medical student from Tulse Hill, shared some insights with LDN. ‘Everyone was doing it.’ He said. ‘When I checked her pulse one morning and got nothing, I immediately set to work. It’s hard. You don’t know how resilient the human body is until you’re trying to cut through it with an ASDA Smart Price cake knife.’ After several hours of ‘hacking and packing’, his mother, a French teacher in a local secondary school, woke up.  Her head, the only remaining part of her, sits on the mantelpiece of the South London flat. ‘Obviously I was furious. The government approved wait time was 2 days at the time.’ She said, still evidently unhappy. ‘He didn’t even wait five minutes.’ When asked why no attempt to reconstruct her body had been made, Abowale informed me ‘I kind of prefer her this way.’

Wounded Wagons was initially launched to combat the torrent of charges brought against friends and relatives for attempted murder once the dead resumed their living and faced a life of severed limbs and dirt clogged lungs. An independent study also revealed that people’s propensity for violence was at an all-time high, having been given free rein to deal with their dead, and incidents of disobedience and failure to comply with court orders or submit to police authority were also increasing. Wounded Wagons sought to remove culpability from survivors and bring some dignity to a difficult situation.

However within days, reports were being filed about the state of the cars. ‘A ford Fiesta with the back seats taken out, essentially.’ One complaint read. ‘Driver told us to, ‘shove him in the boot’, and when he didn’t fit (A 6’5 male of 250 pounds) charged us extra.’ Another read. Reports were being filed by drivers too. Yosef, a neo human himself, told LDN ‘Imagine driving across the Elephant and Castle roundabout, and having an 18 year old suddenly wake up and try make a run for it? What am I supposed to do? I’m stuck in traffic, and he’s weaving through the cars, completely naked!’  Other drivers complained of emotional distress, hostility, violence and unsavoury smells. But mostly everyone seems to take issue with the lack of training and guidance from the authorities. Yosef was roped into the scheme simply because he owned a car, and many others claim to have joined in similar, unconventional circumstances. A pensioner heckled during the press conference today – ‘You call this dignity? I woke up in the back of a bus, surrounded by a whole bunch of people in various states of decomposition. I’m a 90 years old man. I served in a war!’ Dr Shaw, however, seemed unsympathetic. ‘On this issue we’re all at a loss. That’s the problem. One day people died and stayed dead, the next they’re up and walking through walls. There is no manual. There is no drill.’

As we enter yet another day of ‘The Unknown’, we are no closer to knowing why or when or how, and every day the skills of the neo humans continue to increase. Perhaps a solution to temporary death will come from one of them. Until then, disposing of family members will return to whoever has the upper body strength to carry it out.

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