Sue has given us this image for the #writephoto prompt this week
The Frngg are an unsuperstitious race, generally, except when it comes to the formalities and procedures around dying. The one thing the Frngg are insistent upon is that none of the accumulated wisdom of their people shall be wasted. If someone knows which berries taste good and which turn your earlobes purple then they want this passed down. One day someone will invent the biro and the ring binder but until then the death bed transfer will do.
Death is, like everything in the Frngg world, regulated and organized. Each Frngg lives until it has stopped growing new teeth, which becomes apparent when it is impossible to chew the staple of the Frngg diet, the Grppt nut .
‘It’s my time,’ they say at which point there are allotted fourteen days of wailing and two hours of gnashing those with teeth at the end of which the due-to-soon-be-deceased will head for the woods, accompanied by the next generation of the particular Frngg clan and the current Frngg Supremo, the Maximo-Frngg.
In the death clearing the Supremo and junior Frngg will stay a discreet distance while the passing Frngg moves into the open area. Were the Frngg still to doubt it is his or her time they will know at this point because they will be able to see the death bed; only a dying Frngg can see it – up until that point it remains a compelling myth.
Generally, the Frngg sighs, explains what they see to their pall-party and goes to lie down. Some don’t notice the oddity of the bed – how the body of it is is flat, untrammeled by the millions of bodies that have lain there yet the pillow is dented by the many heads that have nestled in its comforting fold – whereas others comment. Rarely does the viewer mention the single slot down the length of the bed or appreciate its importance.
Time tends to stand still now as the expiring Frngg moves into place, laying face up on the bed. The two watchers stare intently, marking exactly where the Frngg’s head stops because as soon as it touches the pillow, to the watchers the dying Frngg vanishes. They can no more see the bed as they can the Frngg now lying on it.
For the dying Frngg there is a slow release of tension as all relevant memories, and any new as yet uncaptured wisdom is pooled into the hollow. As this process continues so the corporeal part of the Frngg begins to dissolve and slip down through the crack and back into the land to nourish it once more. If the watchers are especially vigilant they may just be aware of a delicate miasma that gives shape to the bed. It is nearest a living Frngg can get to a sight of the death bed before their time.
A bell sounds and the Supremo steps forward to place his or her head where he or she last saw the deceased’s head. As soon as they touch the right spot they are suffused with a peace as the wisdom passes across. Next the relative takes their place and the same transfer occurs, but in relation to family matters and private information which is not relevant to Frnggs generally.
Both leave without speaking and spend another five days as they memories are absorbed. It is a time of riotous feasting and the wearing of shoes.