On a hot, windless day, people swarm to the beach, like moths to a flame. The irresistible surf, the shining sun and the warm sand draw each and every beach-goer to crowd along its shores. Today is no exception. The beach is hot, sunny and crowded; the perfect place for chatting to find out the story of Fay Renn.
A man, Ajax Walker, walks cautiously past every person, scanning their faces and looking for the one he is certain he will never find. It’s not like he’s conspicuous; no, on the contrary, he is blending in perfectly. His natural surfer’s look and his black sunglasses only promote people to assume he’s one of them. However, his presence is intimidating, as it should be for his profession, but it frightens away all who could tell him of Fay. After a while of scanning and finding nothing, Ajax decides that going to get something cool to drink on such a hot, summer day wouldn’t be a bad idea. He stops at the nearest Smoothie Cabana shack and orders the first thing he sees on the menu. Once he has his pineapple smoothie, he plops down at a table, and sighs to himself. Today has not gone well for him. It’s almost like fate doesn’t want him to hear the story about Fay.
“Oh, excuse me, but do you mind if I sit?”
Ajax looks up, surprise on his face. He shakes his head and tells the teenage girl in front of him that of course she can sit here. The girl gives a smile, sits down across from Ajax, tucks a stray strand of copper-colored hair from her face and sets down her water.
“I heard you were looking for somebody to tell you about Fay Renn,” she says casually, a small smile playing at her face, lighting up her chocolate eyes.
Ajax coughs, nearly choking on his smoothie. He asks the girl how she knew he was looking for the story and how she found him.
The girl merely smiles. “Word gets around when a newcomer is looking for that story. A story only I can tell.”
After a slight pause, Ajax clears his throat, his eyes searching the teen in front of him. He’d guess her to be around sixteen. Maybe older. She’s definitely got an air of mystery, but her facial features give her an innocent look, one that reminds him of a young girl. Much younger than he. He’s still perplexed at how she found him, but his thoughts are cut short when the girl begins to speak.
“Twenty-three years ago, around mid-June, I think, sixteen-year-old Fay Renn and her family moved to town. Our town isn’t that big, so right away, the whole city was buzzing with curiousness. All her neighbors baked her pies and cookies; you know, the usual neighborly action. Except Fay was new to this ‘having neighbors’ thing. She was used to being by herself. Her parents were always out of town on business trips or vacations, and she was an only child. She used to live in South Dakota, and she had never had neighbors before. She didn’t even have any real friends before.
“But Fay wasn’t lonely. She always had a bright smile on her face, and she was always a bright girl. Her teachers loved her, and how she studied with so much passion. The students, including the mean girls, liked her. She changed the school status structure without doing more than being there. She loved music, almost as much as she loved chemistry, and she was always looking for ways to improve.
“In the beginning of her obsession with improving, it was finding the right kind of strings for her acoustic guitar. Then it was training her ear to tell when a note on her piano was off. But Fay didn’t only enhance her music. She improved chemistry and life quality itself.
“Fay was, at the beginning, merely fascinated by the fact that there were incurable diseases. Eventually, it began to bother her to no end. So she created cures for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and four different types of cancer. Of course, the FDA couldn’t trust anything that she put out, because she was sixteen and had no real authority over her own creations, and her tests couldn’t be authorized. They said she was ‘messing with nature’ and that she’d never get approved because she was too young. But she didn’t stop at that, despite the FDA. Fay was then puzzled by the fact that things died. So she made it her mission to make people immortal. She tested her elixir on a lot of things, from bacteria to daisies to rats. But none of the specimens could replace the fact that they weren’t human. Their lifespans differed. Their functions differed. So Fay did the only thing that made sense at the time. She used a human test subject: herself.
“She didn’t choose herself out of selfishness; no, rather, she chose herself because if it had the negative effect, then she would be responsible for her own demise and not someone else’s. She didn’t want to have to live with the guilt of degenerating a human’s life; therefore, she tested out her ‘Elixir of Life’ on herself.
“She couldn’t tell if her creation worked or not. So she continued on with daily life. Going to school. Working on her music. Working on her elixir. Until she went missing. Many people say that she died from too much time in her makeshift lab. Some say that she was kidnapped for her intelligence. Yet others say that she found a way to go to different dimensions, and she chose a better one where she could use her talent. I don’t believe any of those are true. In fact, do you know what I really think?
“I think that Fay didn’t know how the elixir would affect her. I think that her side affects were much more to handle than she realized. It changed her, both physically and mentally. She became the super-human that the world didn’t know about. I think... no, I know that she didn’t die. And I think you know it too.”
The girl looks at him steadily. Ajax furrows his brow and frowns. No, he didn’t think Fay was dead, but he isn’t sure if she was alive. He takes a sip of his pineapple smoothie and his face puckers up. Wow, is that sour.
The girl across from him gives an adorable laugh. “That’s why you order coconut milk.” She smiles, then stands up, taking pink sunglasses off her head and putting them over her eyes.
“Well, I guess I’ll be off then. Just wanted to let you know Fay’s story, Mr. Walker.” She turns and begins to head away from the table when Ajax catches her wrist.
He looks her in the eyes and asks her how she knew his name. He knows for a fact he hadn’t said it; that was his job. Remain hidden. Stay undetected. He scans the girl’s face.
She purses her lips. “Mr. Walker, I know this town like the back of my hand. It’s not that hard to know when a tourist visits here for the first time. We don’t get much money from tourism.”
He chuckles to himself and reminds her that her answer isn’t acceptable. He had asked why she knew his name, not about local tourism.
The purse on her lips deepens. “I’ve heard it floating around,” she mumbles quietly, staring at his hand still on her wrist through her sunglasses.
He shakes his head, and lets go of her wrist. He tells her that she’s lying. And he can see it through her sunglasses.
The left corner of her lips turn into a smirk. “Very perceptive, aren’t we? Most wouldn’t notice until I was long gone. Well, there’s only one logical answer to you question, but I think you already know what it is, don’t you Ajax?’
Ajax blinks a few times, absorbing what he was just told. She didn’t deny the fact that she knew his name. She came up with excuses but didn’t outright deny it. She also said there was only one logical answer. What could that answer be? How is he to know it? It’s a puzzle, he thought, a puzzle with a thousand pieces and one missing. One piece and the puzzle is over. One last forgotten piece and he can call it a day. He knows the story of Fay Renn. He knows some possibilities of what happened to her. So, what really did happen?
“Well, Ajax?” the girl asks, her hands on her hips. He hasn’t noticed this before, but she is wearing a thin, white sundress over a peach colored bikini. She looks rather pretty. In his thought process, Ajax hasn’t noticed that the girl is snapping at him until her fingers are almost touching his nose.
Ajax shakes his head, waking himself up. The missing piece. The missing piece...
He stands up in front of her and lets out three words: “You are Fay.”
The girl’s smirk turns into a full out grin. “Clever boy, aren’t you? Never thought you’d guess.”
And with that Fay walks off, leaving Ajax behind in a whirlwind of processing. So she was with him the whole time at the beach. She wasn’t kidnapped or killed. She’s immortal. Mystery solved.