[WP] it's only now, sitting in an urn on the mantle, that you realize you should have been more clear when you wished for immortality.

Life isn't fair. "Life" in the broadest sense

You probably have a fairly organic conception of life, fairly fleshy and mobile. That's how we - humans I mean - are generally trained to think of life.

It makes sense to some degree - we define life as we experience it, and force our idea of life into a that small box. Are you breathing? Is your blood flowing through veins? Do you eat? Then congratulations, you're "alive".

But what about the rest of us?

Not every culture on Earth hews to the traditional, generally or historically western view on life and aliveness. For thousands of years people were primarily animists. We believed that everything had a spirit of its own.

Ancient humans roamed the Earth, subjected to the vagueries of capricious nature and all her varied minions. To your distant ancestors a rock was not just a rock, nor a tree just a tree, nor the wind a mere breeze. Each of these was believed to have its own internal spirit, something to be respected, even appealed to, sometimes appeased.

Back then, if you took a rock and carved it into a small creature, the creature you'd made would have its own unique spirit. You might pray to it, carry it for protection or for luck on a hunt, bury it during your travels or sacrifice food on the invisible alter of its will.

Nowawadays that sort of thing is frowned upon. There aren't many animists left in the world as we've slowly learned to treat everything that isn't us with abject disdain.

This is no more true for how we treat the "dead."

Let me cut to it - I am not, conventionally speaking, alive - at least not anymore. I used to be alive, but then I got hit with a bus. Under normal circumstances - I think - I would not be here. I would be somewhere else, or no where.

But stupid me, I made a wish once, a long time ago. It was a wish to a genie, tricky fucks, and I thought I had it all worked out. I wanted to "live" forever, so I wrote out my wish in excrutiating detail. The final document was over forty single space pages long and dealt with every conceivable interpretation of the simple wish "I want to live forever" - or at least every interpretation I could conceive of.

In the end I spent a year drafting the wish, editing and re-reading until I was certain it was comprehensive. I even sweetened the pot by including a binding agreement that my second wish would be to free the Genie should my first wish be adequately adhered to.

Only after I was totally satisfied did I officially make my wish. To be fair, I think the genie really did try his best to get it right. The mistake, I realize now, was my own. It's the same kind of idiotic mistake that scuttles corporate agreements written by armies of lawyers. They cover every eventuality imaginable, but then forget to define the word "It."

In my case, I overlooked a simple definition - the subject of this sad little rumination - the meaning of the word "live."

I was blinded by the apparent obviousness of that word, the self-important western definition of life and being alive. Unfortunately, my genie, trapped, I gathered for the last ten thousand years in his conch shell, had a more freeform answer - an animist answer.

Which is how I find myself here. Smashed to physical death by a municipal bus, my body mourned and burned to ash, the ash transferred into this urn, this urn placed onto this shelf, all the while my spirit living on - aware, silent, alive.

I try not to complain, after all I guess I got exactly what I wished for. It just doesn't very fair, that's all.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread