Life, a list – fistfuls of violence, a veil of tears, adult decisions and baby fears, prayers to an X above, your child’s first words, first breath, holidays good and bad, city smog and a country breeze, health and disease, wealth and pain, maybe something mad, perhaps even love, or the logic of gain, or of the Kamasutra, or etc et cetera … and then to finish, death. After which, the Parsi leave their corpses in the temples. Quiet, waiting for the descent of the vultures.

The same for two millennia. Up fly the dead from the temple of silence, up the blood smeared on the shining beak, up the slice of hot liver a slither down the slender throat. Up the feet and fists and genitalia, losing their fleshy shapes in the foaming gut, up the remnants of a muscle, some debris of fat, perfectly hooked, in the curve of a glistening claw. Up the dead soar.

Two short hours: the body is devoured. What once was human life – our simple shell of skin and flesh, our fingers, our hairs, our bellies, our ears – with the vulture departs and lopes and drifts; becomes a horizonal dot, then disappears. And into the eternal afterlife, the freed soul lifts.

The same for two millennia. And then one day, among the tomatoes in the old market, fell the iris of a human eye. A trader blinks in shock: brown – her father’s? rejected by the endless blue of the sky? Soon, a little black cloud will flick a couple of clods of blood, all about a field, and half an arm will fist through a feeble roof. And all the pieces of human flesh and life that you could list, will lie strewn about the whole of the land. A child points up at crag: a young vulture, bloated; look Mother, now it tumbles...

To the vultures, to the living, to the Parsi dead: What god would do such a thing? Easy, no mystery. Just a young one, a minor one: Diclofenac, god of soothed bones. Diclofenac, killer of pain, remover of flame - or the feeling of flame, given a scientific cure, and name. Of course the internet needs no oracle, no prophet, no temple, no Parsi or vulture, to know. Just a dozen lines or so. And the future, it waits for each species, waits with fire, circles with death; anticipates our little human whimpers. Its dark, indecipherable shadows wheel all about, waiting to swoop, bearing unknown claws, gnashing unnamed teeth - perhaps more ugly, perhaps more enduring, than the vulture.