A cloud of mountains filled the windshield. Slow moving rain which appeared more like stars, were extinguishing one by one. Little crosses scattered across the landscape marked the death of two opposing points of view. Travelers here carried their own portable altars with them, each no bigger than a box of twenty cigarettes. Interestingly, the outline of an altar was carved out of the interior of the block of wood. Privacy was always given as a reason.
At the end of every funeral service, a certain form of cement was pumped into the deceased’s wooden box, allowed to harden, then the box was set on fire. What was left was a visible form of the hidden altar. This process became known as ‘skulling’.
As time went on, the cremated remains of the dead were mixed in with the cement and became the altar. Soon, the concept of painting the altars and adorning them with gems came in to vogue. Recently, little landscapes were created to house and highlight the lives of the altar-people via their personal altar.
Consequently, folks began to carry bigger and bigger blocks of wood. The special cement used started to be traded on the stock exchange. Elaborate wood-working tools, miniaturized cameras and DIY x-ray machines were everywhere.
Couples would even schedule their deaths to happen at the same moment so they could be mixed together into the cement.
Unfortunately, some would die with no one to ‘skull’ them. This seemed unfair to some living souls who desired all to be skulled. It was so mandated and the process of ‘mandatory skulling’ began. CAMS (computer assisted mandatory skulling) sprung up in every town. Oddly enough, some opposed the ‘cams’ mandate. But it had progressed so insidiously that it was now cheaper to assign a person a CAMS number and let the algorithm do its thing, than to do nothing.
A century or so ensued with the usual exploitation, division, hate and wars. Skulling guilds were formed and unions established. Then the rapture happened but not with the expected results. It seemed that if a person was mixed with concrete it made the rapture impossible. Flight-assistance for altars was of course tried, but with minimum positive effects. Postmortem demolition of altars was tried and dismissed.
What started as an ‘absence’ was unique and powerful. It was an inner secret just waiting to be born. That secrecy, that perfection – wherever it is – should remain that way; untouched, pure. Even posthumously.