I had planned a light-hearted, early spring BOO! But a friend sent me some photos she took at the Cloisters (New York City’s piece of Medieval Europe). She’s said, in an apologetic tone, that one of them was a little scary. I reminded her that I not only read mysteries and thrillers, I write them so… the photos came via email.
The scary photo was a section of a painting depicting the angel of death on a horseback. It’s a scary image. No doubt about that, but is death a monster? No, death is a natural aspect of life. Mortality is not the monstrous characteristic — immortality is.
What and who would we be if we had no ultimate consequences, no END at all?
We’d be free of the march of time, the grey hairs and reading glasses that symbolize aging. So far, not so bad, but without the aging process and looming angel of death, choices become very opened-ended. With all the time in the world, how do you make choices about how to spend your time?
So many places to go, so little time, would be replaced with been there, done that, so bored. Immortality is a monster’s strength and weakness, too. If we were immortal who would we be? Well, we’d be like the careful vampire who manages to avoid the peasants with torches, long enough to live in a time when no one believes in vampires.
The sadness of immortal monsters is at the heart of a rich treasure trove of stories. The loneliness of the very, very, very long distance runner… one that never stops running.