His funeral was small. We kind of expected that, being as he had a hard time making friends. It was mostly family; myself, his two remaining sisters, my cousins, siblings, and all of our kids, all of us milling about talking, remembering, denying and so on…the things one does at a funeral when trying not to focus on death and the paralyzing fear of mortality. Eventually, though, the time comes to take our seat and pay attention to what the man up front is saying. He’ll tell us how we should be prepared, how this day will come for all of us, and that we, as a family, must be ready, because it can happen at any given moment. We are not promised tomorrow, nor can we afford to live as though we are. So we take our seats, and we listen, and we prepare. In blank, morose sorrow we stare at the body of a man we will sorely miss and will never see again in this life. He has gone on to another life, and it is that very life for which we must be ready, says the man up front again. It’s just about then our dearly departed blinks, and everyone sees it. He blinks and twitches, struggling against the cold stiffness of rigor mortis. We’re ready for this moment, we’re prepared, just as the man up front said we should be. Shotguns come out from under chairs, pistols from waistbands, and holy water from a flask the man up front is holding. He splashes it on the body, the pallid flesh sizzling wherever it makes contact. All the guns are aimed right at the body that’s flopping around in the casket, the stitching holding the lips together snapping as the possessing entity begins to roar and curse. Even after embalming and consecrating, somehow the demons are still managing to inhabit bodies and reanimate them. Once we figure out why, maybe we can finally have a funeral in peace. Not today, though. Today we count on firearms and the rigidity of a corpse to keep the creature at bay until the priest can drive it out or we hit it with enough buckshot to deprive it of a body to use, whichever happens first. Guess it’ll be a while before anybody is truly laid to rest.