Eternity

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers


A young man inexplicably becomes immortal. Sequel to A CHRISTMAS STORY, ICHTHYS, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, and GENESIS. Continues in THE LIGHT SIDE and THE FORCE.


2017

On a sweltering July afternoon, an electric scooter carrying its owner Zhang Yongming, aged twenty-two, an employee of the food delivery company E Si Le, was hit by an intercity bus while attempting to cross West Zhongshan Road near Wuzhong Road, Shanghai.

The scooter was instantly transformed into an unrecognizable heap of metal, leather, cheap plastic, and wicker baskets with the remnants of xiaolong dumplings. The collision propelled Zhang Yongming’s body onto the pavement, where it was immediately run over by a monstrous tricycle transporting bottles of mineral water.

The tall, scrawny tricycle driver jumped off his decrepit vehicle and wailed, waving his hands:

“I didn’t do anything! It was him! He just flew! Like… whoosh! You guys all saw that?”

Ai-yooo!” A dignified-looking Shanghainese lady, donning a T-Shirt with the mysterious words Sexy Camel Toe engraved on it in playful Edwardian script, produced a kindly smirk. “That will cost him, I say… The hospital fees today...ai-yoooooo!”

“That’s what we’ve come to, eh? Eh?” a burly pancake seller chimed in angrily, wiping his forehead. “Trampling people like this… go trample your grandma’s neighbor!”

Like an ensnared wolf, the tricycle driver shook his head violently, a grimace of despair embedded on his swarthy face. Realizing that the predicted hospital fees would invariably exceed the cost of his tricycle together with all the mineral water it was carrying, he leaped over the pancake stand, pushed away a pajama-clad young woman walking a grinning Samoyed dog, and disappeared in the crowd of older people performing aerobic exercises to the sounds of the popular local song Communist Party Brings Us Good Weather.

Meanwhile, the attention of the spectators was distracted by the strange behavior of the victim. Zhang Yongming stood up, scratched the back of his head, and uttered in a feeble voice:

“It’s okay! I’m okay…”

The T-Shirt Lady exchanged indignant glances with the pancake seller, and they both gawked at the survivor with haughty contempt.

“Impostor!” the pancake seller roared heartily, pouring flour over a gigantic cast iron pan. “Go pretend in front of your aunt’s hamster!”

Ai-yooo,” the T-Shirt Lady retorted, sticking out her lips as if she intended to kiss someone. “No hospital fees, then?”

Zhang Yongming turned his back to the disappointed faces in the crowd and started to walk away.

 

***

“Doctor, are you sure?” Zhang Yongming asked.

“Absolutely.”

“But I fell,” Zhang Yongming said, gazing at the tip of his shoe.

“I know,” the physician responded patiently. “You were incredibly lucky, that’s all I can say. No fractures, no internal bleeding, not even a bruise…” He shrugged his shoulders. “We’ve performed a thorough examination, sir. You’re saying you collided head-on with an intercity bus and then were crushed by a heavy tricycle?”

“Yes.”

“Well…” The doctor spread his hands wearily. “Then I guess it’s a miracle.”

 

***

The following evening, Zhang Yongming took his girlfriend to a karaoke bar. He was unusually silent and even refused to sing Liuyang River, offending his patriotically-minded friends from Hunan province.

Watching his girlfriend traipse through mud in her red, glistening stiletto heel shoes on their way back from the bar, Zhang Yongming inquired thoughtfully:

“Hey, Tingting. Can you hit me?”

“What?”

“Can you hit me?”

“Why should I hit you? Are you drunk?” The girlfriend was visibly annoyed.

“I slept with Guona a week ago,” Zhang Yongming declared carelessly.

“Wha-aaaat?”

“I slept with –”

He didn’t finish the phrase. Tingting’s acid green nails dug deep into the skin of his right cheek. Zhang Yongming made no attempt to defend himself. He didn’t even flinch when Tingting proceeded to furiously kick him with her stiletto heels, trying to hurt him where it was supposed to hurt most.

“What’s wrong with you, you... tortoise egg?!” She applied one of the most offensives Chinese expletives to her boyfriend. “Are you high?”

“No.” Zhang Yongming beamed. “I just don’t feel any pain. I can’t be hurt. At all. Look!”

Triumphantly, he took out a pocketknife, opened its blades, and stuck it into his mouth.

“It doesn’t even tickle.” The words came out blurred as he industriously chewed on the metal. “And it can’t cut me. I’m like Superman. Only more super than Superman.” He took the saliva-covered knife out and handed it to his girlfriend, smiling. “See? No blood. Isn’t that awesome? And forget about Guona, baby. I was messing with you. I just wanted to do an experiment… Haha!”

“Get away from me, you freak!!” Tingting squealed and scurried away, stumbling and sobbing.

Zhang Yongming was alone.

 

2079

The jazz club Be Flat & See Sharp was almost empty. A lonely androgynous bartender stood behind the counter, giving mental orders to his dishwasher iDevice app with a melancholic expression on his sullen face. On the back sofa, two foreign customers were having slow-motion electronic sex, discreetly surrounded by an opaque hologram advertising the latest brand of nano-toothbrushes. An inebriated musician was packing his keyboard, diligently stuffing it into the breast pocket of his scruffy jacket.

A young man clad in old-fashioned blue jeans and a white shirt entered the bar.

“Hey.” The pianist made a few steps towards the guest, grinning and shaking his index finger. “I know you. You’ve been here before. Your last name’s Zhu, right?”

“Zhang.” The customer’s voice was emotionless.

“Yeah, whatever.” The musician stretched out a sweaty hand. “I’m the piano-man here. Name’s Wang Keda. Everyone calls me Lao Wang.”

The stranger nodded.

“Have a drink?” Lao Wang winked at the guest and climbed onto a bar stool, almost falling off it during the process. “I know! I know!” He raised his hand apologetically. “I’ve had too much… But… There’s trouble to fix, if I do say so myself. You heard about last week? Archie Bloedtraum… Man… The guy, like, totally lost his marbles. And now I gotta fix it. Because I’m the pianist, dude. Pianist! It means I’m the smartest. Who else can play eight notes in a voicing for Phrygian sus flat nine? Who? Don’t say ‘guitar’, man. Guitars suck!! They play chords on the beats and all that shit. Piano’s the best. Am I right or am I right? Hey, did I tell you the joke about the guy who got a twelve-inch pianist from a deaf genie?.. No? Anyway… Liquor’s the best. Liquor is like having sex with Thelonious Monk, you know? Only not today, and not in a gay way, as the poet said.”

“Which poet said that?” The stranger was listening attentively.

“How should I know? I hate poetry.” Lao Wang hiccupped. “Hey! Bar-ten-der!! Give me something… for the stomach. And the soul. Nobody cares for the fucking s-soul nowadays.” He sniffled.

The bartender commanded his iDevice to mix two Negroni cocktails.

“Soul…” the guest uttered softly, raising his glass and squinting at the golden liquid. “I don’t know what that word means.”

“Seriously? Man, soul is… like… that’s what you are, man.” Lao Wang took a generous sip of his drink.

“What am I?” A weak smile appeared on the stranger’s pallid face.

The pianist stared at his new friend and burped.

“Dude… What kind of a question is this? You are young, dude. You’re, what, twenty-something?”

“Eighty-four.”

“Haha!.. Right!.. Noooo, I’m not that drunk,” Lao Wang giggled.

“I’m eighty-four.” The stranger looked straight into the musician’s eyes. “I was born in 1995. I don’t age. At all. I can’t be hurt in any way, either. I’ve tried everything, from pocketknife to sulfuric acid. Nothing works. I’m immortal.”

“You’re… what?”

“I’m immortal.”

“Hey, I’m immoral too, dude.” Lao Wang hiccupped playfully. “I’m sleeping with the owner’s daughter and her best friend. You know the owner… Cao Muqin? His daughter is sweet… She’ll come to pick me up any time now. Don’t tell!”

The stranger suddenly grabbed the pianist by the lapels of his shabby jacket.

“I’ve lived that long,” he spoke quietly, articulating each word, “and seen nothing. Only pitiful, worthless parasites scuttling around, overworking yet so lazy at the same time, knocking themselves unconscious with booze and drugs, and screwing each other in every sense of the word. Why do you live? Look at you. You’re beyond pathetic. This world is beyond pathetic. But you know what?” He leaned forward and whispered into the other man’s left ear. “I can’t even leave it.”

Lao Wang opened his mouth, trying to say something.

A young woman entered the bar.

Lao Wang and the stranger turned around almost simultaneously. The pianist grinned, displaying a set of yellowish teeth. The stranger’s pale lips slowly stretched into a thin smile.

 

2110

“No.”

“Yes, my dear. Yes.”

“You can’t die.”

“Everyone dies, Yongming.”

“Everyone except me.”

“Maybe that’s a good thing.”

“How can it be a good thing? You are dying, Jinjin. I’ll never see you again.”

“You have to be there for Harmony. Take care of our daughter.”

“Harmony? Please. She hates me because I don’t allow her to hang with those awful foreigners. Listen, Jinjin… Before I met you, my life was meaningless. The moment I saw you that night, in the bar… Alright, at first I just wanted to lay my hands on you. But then –”

“It was wrong, Yongming. I was wrong, not you.”

“Seriously? You regret dumping that pathetic, drunken –”

“Are you going to be jealous now, Yongming? It’s a little bit late for that. No, I don’t regret being together with you, because I love you. But what I did wasn’t right.”

“Right, wrong… What are you talking about? There is no difference. I’ve lived long enough to know that.”

“Maybe you need to look death in the eye to know the difference, Yongming.”

“Jinjin, don’t die. Please. I beg you, my love. Don’t die.”

“It’s good that you’re crying. I think you need that. I’ve lived a happy life, Yongming. Thanks to you. You’ve been a good husband. A good father… well, most of the time. That is more than enough. There is nothing you can do now except living.”

“But for what, Jinjin? For what?”

“Maybe someday God will answer that question.”

“Don’t tell me about God. It’s been more than a hundred years, and I still haven’t seen him.”

“And yet he sees you. Otherwise he wouldn’t have given you this gift, my dear.”

“It’s not a gift, Jinjin. It’s a curse.”

 

2121

“Hey, sir! Money-money? Ehh, hao pengyou!”

Heavy mist descended on the waterfront area of the Bund, obscuring the opposite river bank with its skyscrapers. Only Pride of China, the tallest building in the world – outmeasuring Baghdad’s Pride of Islam tower by exactly three inches – pierced the fog, threatening to tear through the leaden sky with its arrow-shaped top. The beggar, his head covered with a large hood, sat on the wooden planks piled in the corner of the esplanade’s upper area.

“Here you go.” Jack Lewis commanded his iDevice to scanpay that of the beggar’s, instantly transferring fifty renminbi to the latter’s account.

Xiexie, ehh, xiexie,” the beggar reiterated in well-rehearsed singsong.

 “You’re so young.” Jack shook his head compassionately. “What happened?”

The beggar didn’t reply.

“I kind of see your point,” Jack continued thoughtfully. “They say they are going to drop the bombs anytime now. And it doesn’t matter who does it first – your country, mine, or the Caliphate, right? Anyway, I’m leaving… in a few days. On a spaceship. I just came here to pick up my wife and my stepson, you know.” He laughed nervously. “There aren’t many of us, and we have no idea where we’re going. But maybe some of us will live to tell the tale. Both here… and there.” He swallowed hard. “Live together, die alone. Right?”

 The beggar suppressed an ironic smile.

“Jack! We’ve been looking all over for you. Eli is hungry. What are you doing here? Let’s grab some hundun and get to the airport already!”

A young Chinese woman tapped Jack on the shoulder. A little boy followed her in a floating magnetic mini-car.

The beggar’s sallow face took on an ashen tinge. With trembling hands, he pulled the hood over his face, completely concealing it.

“Who is this?” the young woman inquired impatiently, pointing at the beggar.

“I don’t know… Just a guy.” Jack blushed, scratching his chin awkwardly.

“Let’s go.”

When the three of them disappeared from sight, the beggar slowly removed his hood, revealing a thick head of jet-black hair. Tears were flowing down his hollow cheeks. A sympathetic bystander quickly scanpaid him ten renminbi and a free lunch coupon.

“What was that?” the bystander asked. “I can’t hear you. Are you thanking me?”

“Harmony,” the beggar whispered. “Harmony.”

 

***

Nong zu sa?!”

“The door stays closed, ganglö!”

“Let me out! My little sister is still out there! Let me out!!”

The fat man sniggered, his belly wobbling under the golden chains half-covering his purple velvet suit. Some of the survivors of the nuclear bombardment, gathered inside the Huangpu shelter on the Lower Bund, recognized the well-known owner of the Super Communist massage parlor on Huaihai Road.

“You should’ve thought of that before running into the vault to save your own hide. The fucking radiation is all over the place. Do you want us all to get contaminated?”

“But my sister…”

Ce ne!! I said, the door stays closed! If you make one step, I’ll –”

The upscale pimp didn’t finish his phrase due to a sudden sharp blow to his head, which knocked him unconscious.

“I’ll go.”

An old, emaciated man, clasping a baseball bat he’d just used to hit the pimp, squatted in front of the boy.

“I’ll bring back your sister. What’s her name?”

“Xiao Tu.”

“All right. I’ll bring Xiao Tu here, okay? Sit tight, xiao pengyou.”

The old man found the little girl beyond Waibaidu Bridge, just outside of the former Russian Consulate building, still alive, lying at the feet of the ruined five-meter tall statue of Chairman Qin Zhiguo. He carried the girl more than halfway to the bomb shelter, collapsing from exhaustion near the Yanan Road intersection. He kept crawling on his hands and feet, steadily advancing towards his destination, until he saw the blurry image of a young, pale face under an ominously looking hood.

“I beg you…” the old man whispered with his last ounce of strength. “Take the girl… bring her… to the shelter… Lower Bund.”

The stranger remained motionless.

The old man narrowed his eyes, and something in his face changed.

“Oh, it’s you…” he mumbled. “Then it’s too late. I’m dead already. It must be hell.” He smiled feebly. “Are you here for stealing my girlfriend? Hehe… I’m just joking. I forgave you. And Jesus forgave me. Hey, did I tell you the one about the twelve-inch pianist and the genie?”

The stranger’s eyes widened.

“Lao Wang?” he uttered in a hoarse voice.

The old man was dead.

The stranger looked up at the dark sky, the hood falling off his head. Then he grabbed the little girl and ran in the direction of the Lower Bund.

 

2300

The magnetic car stopped with a loud creak, raising clouds of dust around it.

“We are here, Your Majesty.” The driver turned his head and bowed.

“Good. Open the doors.”

The driver pressed a button. The car’s only passenger, clad in a long purple silk robe, disembarked and squinted at the shimmering river.

“Are you sure there are no humans here, Hopper?”

“I’m positive, Your Majesty,” the driver replied obsequiously. “This whole area is completely devoid of those little pests. For a funny reason, too: there were once too many of them. They fought over the right to live in the local vaults, and eventually killed each other off. All the vaults are empty; and, naturally, they can’t live on the surface because of the radiation, Your Majesty.”

The king nodded.

“Then I wish to establish a colony and move here, Hopper. I don’t want to see those tiny, disgusting creatures anymore. Let any of my ninety-five sons take care of them in their realms as they see fit.”

“Of course, Your Majesty. Would you like to –”

“Wait!” The king frowned. “Did you smell that?”

Hopper wiggled his nose.

“Your Majesty, I’m not sure what –”

“Listen!”

Strange sounds were coming from the river bank. Somebody was speaking, though king and his driver did not understand the words.

YesuYesu…” the driver repeated, grimacing. “Who is saying that?”

The king leaped towards the river and saw a young dark-haired male human kneeling, his hands folded, uttering the same words over and over again in a low, raspy voice.

When the human saw the king, he rose slowly.

For a few moments, they stared at each other in amazement.

Then the human covered his mouth with one hand and started to chuckle.

“What are you laughing at?” The king could not believe his ears. “Who are you? Do you know who I am? I am His Majesty King Coney IX, the Supreme Ruler of Earth!”

The human seemed to understand English. He stopped chuckling, looked at the king again, and suddenly proceeded to laugh louder than before.

“Such insolence!” the king thundered. “Aren’t you afraid of me?”

“I’m sorry, Your Majesty,” the human uttered, subduing his laughter with great effort, “but you are… you are… a big bunny!”

On the radioactive surface of the Earth, amidst the ruins of the human civilization, Zhang Yongming was rolling on the planet’s long-suffering ground at the feet of a gigantic rabbit, laughing heartily and uncontrollably, like an innocent child.

 

THE END


Submitted: July 28, 2017

© Copyright 2021 Oleg Roschin. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Chris Green

I'm not sure how many words this is, Oleg but the length can be the only reason why this hasn't received lots of comments here. It is a briiliant piece of speculative science fiction with each section more imaginative than the previous, the scenarios, the descriptions, the technology and the characters all work to paint a series of pictures and the usual wry wit shines through at each stage. Very nice work.
Regards
Chris.

Fri, July 28th, 2017 3:15pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much, Chris! I was aware of the fact that length could be a problem here. I edited the story several times, removing quite a bit of content. After all, it's a tale of a very long life, and an unfinished one at that - it was very hard to fit it into any format, so in the end i went for short mini-stories told from different perspectives, while still focusing on the life and spiritual growth of Zhang Yongming.

Fri, July 28th, 2017 10:31pm

A. K.Taylor

Yeah, Oleg, I'm gonna have to agree with Chris a little bit here. As it does seem a bit longer than some of your previous work, otherwise it still has the same feel and wittiness that you've portrayed throughout your short story series. Although, it also has a bit of a somber feeling to it that encapsulates the reader as they realize the gravity of your character's plight.
Not being able to die has its merits, but the mind can only withstand so much trauma. I would say human mind, but your character isn't exactly human though. This is a nice ending or "beginning" should I say to the series, if I'm right you've finished your story with how it began. That's, if you've finished writing about this particular universe you've created. Oddly, enough this whole series gives me a whole 'Twilight Zone' feeling.
Especially, this piece of it.

Fri, July 28th, 2017 4:19pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, my friend! Actually, this story is neither the beginning nor the ending. The current beginning is "In a Grove" (1980), and the current end is "Deus Ex Narnia) (ca 8000), almost 6000 years after the end of this story.

I'd say that Zhang Yongming eventually came to peace with his trauma. And he is, in fact, completely human, safe for his indestructibility (which is actually temporary, but we can't see it from our limited viewpoint). He understood that God is the only way out of the tragic predicament that is our current human condition. And that's why he was able to greet the terrifying Coney IX, King of the Bunnies, with humor :-)

Fri, July 28th, 2017 10:21pm

C.A. Exline

"Be Flat & See Sharp..." excellent pun, I appreciated it, and this is another tale in the witty style I've come to expect, Oleg. Your writing is consitently entertaining.

Fri, July 28th, 2017 4:56pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for your kind feedback, my friend! :-)

Fri, July 28th, 2017 10:12pm

hullabaloo22

Oleg, no one writes them quite like you! The way you construct a story seems to be totally unique, slightly strange and very entertaining!

Fri, July 28th, 2017 6:00pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, Hully! Your feedback means a lot to me :)

Fri, July 28th, 2017 10:08pm

Joe Stuart

I, too, write rather long stories and am well aware of the need to hold a reader's interest. You do that very well. In a way, this story is a series of short stories, each of which encouraged me to read on to the next part. I wasn't thinking of your other stories as I read this one so the bunny bit at the end caught me on the hop (so to speak). On the matter of being immortal, I can't imagine a greater curse. ~ Joe

Fri, July 28th, 2017 10:41pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for your insightful comment, Joe. I absolutely agree that being immortal in our present state would be the most horrible curse imaginable.That's why death is actually God's mercy, not punishment, to the fallen human. That said, in this story Zhang Yongming's immortality is more of a metaphor - essentially, it's just a very long life, during which a man eventually realizes that he needs something (actually, Someone) he could truly hold onto.

Fri, July 28th, 2017 10:03pm

Ethan Howard

Eternity

Your story challenges the desire of being immortal and displays all of the despair and angst that comes with such a gift.

Zhang's weariness reminds me of Requiem for Methuselah in Star Trek TOS. At yours was a happy ending (of sorts) and Zhang experiences humor at the expense of the king.

I look forward to the day when your stories are in a compendium.

Sat, July 29th, 2017 12:04am

Author
Reply

Thank you, Ethan! The hardest part of this story was to finish it. How does one finish the story of an immortal, especially one who has already found God? Then I recalled that Jesus said "be like children" - and wrote an ending that is actually a new beginning. I think the saintly Zhang Yongming can very well save the humans and the rabbits from themselves.

Fri, July 28th, 2017 9:56pm

Jay Northearn

Like your other stories, Oleg, the mechanics of the writing, sophistication of syntax and speech etc are all obvious. The quality is clear and you handle surrealistic sci-fi very skillfully. What I will say is this - in this particular story's case, I feel there's a difficulty in reader identification. It's great to have an interesting concept ( in this case an impervious immortal outlasting everything ) but concept alone does not drive a story unless readers can get a grip on the character, and, for me ( though others may react differently ) I couldn't find enough depth in the central character to really enjoy the concept. Maybe this lends itself to a proper full-length novel where all the emotional trials & tribulations of being immortal can be expressed in a more rounded way. The fact that this short story hops through vast swathes of time hinders any personal character identification, even though the huge time-spans involved are integral to the concept. I like the cultural milieu ... obviously based on things you experience yourself daily, and authors should always bring in their own experience at some level. As I said, it's not the writing at fault at all but the format I personally feel isn't quite right to achieve what you want to achieve. I hope you don't mind me conveying my honest view, and of course, others will most likely offer different opinions. If only these things were not so subjective, but if it wasn't subjective it would not be an art we're discussing but a science. Hope all is well, and thanks for asking my two penny's worth.

Sat, July 29th, 2017 12:48pm

Author
Reply

Thank you very much for your valuable feedback, Chris! I do agree with you. Writing this story was a humongous task, and the end result does reflect the notion that I tried to bite more than I could chew. The initial draft featured three more episodes which fleshed out Zhang Yongming's personality and development. However, I chose to remove them for two reasons: 1) the story was becoming too long, and 2) I deliberately chose not to focus on Zhang Yongming's inner world, but instead have it reflected in his demeanor, words, and - mostly - actions in conjunction with other characters. I did "jump" from 2017 to 2079 because that segment of the hero's life was not notable for any spiritual development. But now I'm starting to think that I might have made a wrong decision when I removed the part that caused Zhang Yongming to become a cynical denier. I wanted to focus more on his way to God, through Jinjin's love and faith, through Lao Wang's penitence and sacrifice.

I have to say that, though vastly imperfect, this is still one of my own favorite stories :-) I put a lot of effort into it. Sorry for the long reply ;)

Sat, July 29th, 2017 6:12am

Keke Serene

I'm not really sure what the meaning of this was but I still enjoyed it. :) You have quite a strong start and a very strange ending.
I don't know how I feel about the idea of immortality. I mean what would suck lol. Having to be around when your loved ones die and having to deal with the mess of earth always lol.
I found this pacing well done. :) Its interesting to see how different people react to Zhang.

Sat, July 29th, 2017 7:36pm

Author
Reply

I think you understood the meaning, Ikeasha :) It's like you said - being immortal sucks. That is, being immortal while still being a fallen human sucks. The Christian concept of "theosis" is the true immortality - becoming God-like first (full of love, selfless), THEN receiving immortality. When Zhang Yongming saw how Lao Wang, thanks to Jesus, changed from a pathetic little man to a hero who sacrificed his life to save a girl, he realized that was the only path. And in the end he becomes a Christian saint. And he'll probably be the one who'll make peace between giant rabbits and humans :)

Sat, July 29th, 2017 12:44pm

Keke Serene

The pianist was such a lovable character! I... honestly didn't gather that he was the reason behind Zhang's transformation but its a sweet revelation. Bah, i just am not bright- just in reading your works lol, XD

Sat, July 29th, 2017 7:54pm

Author
Reply

Haha, no worries :) I've been told by many people that my writing is confusing, and sometimes I have to explain things that perhaps aren't so obvious.

Yes, Lao Wang grows from an immoral drunkard to a hero who sacrifices his life for another, thanks to his faith. I think Zhang's transformation is gradual - he goes through cynicism and hatred (when he first meets Lao Wang) to despair (when his wife dies and he becomes a beggar); then something changes in him when he meets his daughter; and finally, Lao Wang's sacrifice brings him to God - he looks at the sky, removes his hood, and becomes a different person.

Sat, July 29th, 2017 9:04pm

Dr. Acula the friendly Ghost

I can see this must have been a tough one to construct ( concerning sequels and alternate versions ) all relating to other pieces you have written previously. I ( think ) that many would dare not venture down this alley of correlating stories, which is to say, you keep redesigning your genius moments into genius events, and all these little picture somehow become this tremendous painting comprised of all their individual qualities. Which is something remarkable in and of itself. Making connections is no easy task.
I loved the dialogue, I actually hear the voice of the speaker in your conversations, interesting and relatable to what is happening in this world... not just a call and response to move the story forward..but an intriguing technique to make me want to read what it will all eventually mean and what will happen next...compelled by curiosity and feeling the intense emotions of character development.
( as a weird side note, I never have a difficult time in believing that what you 'write' about could be anything other the truth. )
You are have distinction in your writing that sets you apart from others, Oleg, unique and different. And, you always seem to push the envelope, daring to be different.
Much Respect!


Sun, July 30th, 2017 1:39am

Author
Reply

Thank you so much, my friend. Your kind support means a lot to me!

I have to say, I'm a bit puzzled. I wrote two stories in a row, "Genesis" and this one - and, in my mind, this one is way better. In fact, this is one of my most favorite stories of mine. But the readers seem to think differently :-() So I really don't know what to think any more...

Sat, July 29th, 2017 9:16pm

Silgorious

Rabbit? Really your signature ruling species of earth!
A great story and full of descriptive writing.
I know how it feels to put a long tale in a short story, and I can truly feel you had a tough time completing this one!
I liked it very much. The length is something that makes me forget what happened in the past, and the frequent scene change made me think twice before I caught up on the story.

This immortal man survived... The last of the human race, probably he shall get a chance to revive humanity?
As I thought, you still let a man survive in the end! Aren't humans the real rulers of this planet? :-)

Sun, July 30th, 2017 9:34am

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for your insightful comment! Actually, Zhang Yongming is not the last of the human race - King Coney IX says that he wants to settle down in China because he is tired of humans - which means that, at least in some other countries, humans still exist, serving the rabbits.

All my stories are interconnected - so, if you want to know how and why rabbits became the rulers of the Earth, read my short story "Genesis". And if you are interested in the fate of Jack Lewis and Harmony on a mysterious planet, read "The Force" and "The End of the World" :)

Sun, July 30th, 2017 10:58am

Jack Chapel

The author a facilitating take on the dilemma of immortality as we see the toll it takes on Zhang Yongming watching family die around and scum and villainy take over, the author makes witty comments on our modern day society as we see how the price of medical aid leads to a general contempt for the injured, however by the end Zhang has managed to come to terms with his immortality and the destruction of the human race. Eternity makes for a fascinating read that shows off the author's talents at speculative fiction.

Sun, July 30th, 2017 12:26pm

Author
Reply

This is a great review, Jack, thank you so much!

Sun, July 30th, 2017 10:54am

Rehmat Tanzila

I salute your power of imagination. Man! This is absolutely perfect in every sense. I loved being traveled to centuries. Your style of writing is amazing. How you beautifully described Zhang, I'm in love with that character . To be an immortal! I loved the theme but the way you put it made it more beautiful! Loved it from the start to the end! God bless you! Cheers!

Sun, July 30th, 2017 3:32pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for your kind words, Rehmat! Your feedback means a lot to me! :)

Sun, July 30th, 2017 10:47am

Q.B. McKinney

This is a very interesting storyline, regardless of length. Your characters have true depth which makes them come to life as I'm reading. Most stories move the eyes from beginning to end; your stories move the soul.
Is it too many words to fit the "standards" of a short story? Who cares? Never sell your soul to please the norms of others. Don't just think outside of the box...blow that motherfucker up.

Sun, July 30th, 2017 3:56pm

Author
Reply

Haha!.. Thank you so much, Q.B., you've made my day with this wonderful comment! Much appreciated! :))

Sun, July 30th, 2017 10:45am

Kaleb Ferguson

I enjoyed this Oleg! Very well written for sure. I like the concept of immortality and how you portrayed it in your story.

Sun, July 30th, 2017 5:49pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, Kaleb! :)

Sun, July 30th, 2017 10:53am

Trishala

I really liked this-- it has a strange blend of wittiness, strangeness and humor that really works for you! Well written, and a thoughtful piece on what immortality truly means. T-shirt lady was awesome! :)

Sun, July 30th, 2017 6:26pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, Trish! :) Everyone seem to like the T-shirt lady! :-)

Sun, July 30th, 2017 11:30am

kes94kes

Thanks for asking me to read this! I found the approach of using mini-stories interesting, but I do wish some of them had been longer. There are a lot of questions raised, but not many answers. I understand that all of your work is part of the same world, so I'll have to take a look at some of the others. Great job with this piece!

Mon, July 31st, 2017 3:19am

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for your feedback! I deliberately left out the answers to some crucial questions, such as - why did Zhang Yongming become "immortal" (actually, all we know is that he lives very long)? Will he die eventually? How will Coney IX, the King of Rabbits, react to his insolence? :) The story was getting quite long already, so I decided to just cut it off when it becomes clear that the hero finally finds his peace.

As for the connections - yes, all my stories are interconnected: for example, further fate of Jack Lewis, Harmony, and Eli is revealed in "The Force" and subsequent stories; the incident in the bar Lao Wang talks about occurs in "Nothing but the Truth"; the emergence of giant rabbits is described in detail in "Genesis" and "Down the Rabbit Hole", etc.

Sun, July 30th, 2017 8:39pm

Corine Pelletier

Very interesting. A lot of mystery, I liked how we don't know why he became immortal. By doing so you place more importance on his very long life journey. I enjoy your style of writing and how you changed it according to what year the character passing through. Your connection with your Genesis story was the cherry on top of the sunday :)

Mon, July 31st, 2017 3:27am

Author
Reply

Thank you very much for your insightful comment, Corine! :) Indeed - it's not important how he became immortal, it's important who he does with his immortality. He goes through different stages and eventually finds God, which is the source of any immortality...

Sun, July 30th, 2017 8:32pm

B Douglas Slack

This was wonderful, Oleg. I know I keep saying that, but there's only a limited amount of superlatives available. The sly internal references to things we know, twisted slightly, are hilarious; the Tee shirt lady, and the Super Communist Massage Parlor for example.

I don't know if I'd like to be immortal. The cons outweigh the pros, I'm afraid. I would like to to the century mark, however, just to say I did it. Only 25 more years to go. "So far, so good," says the man falling from a hundred story building.

Bill

Mon, July 31st, 2017 8:52pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for your kind support, Bill, I really appreciate it! Yes, I believe that immortality of a fallen man would be the most terrible punishment imaginable, for reasons we all understand. That's why God, in his mercy, let Adam die. Only through Christ's purification of human race can we hope to achieve theosis (become so good and loving that we are almost God-like)... and THEN we can receive the gift of immortality. I think Zhang Yongming realized all that from his life experience :)

Mon, July 31st, 2017 7:48pm

Megan Fox

I love the continuation from your previous story with the advent of the bunnies of the apocalypse, although it's a little worrying that Coney is alone. The sheer depth of your imagination is astounding, especially considering these are really 2 different concepts that you've seamlessly merged.
Megan

Wed, August 2nd, 2017 3:57am

Author
Reply

Thank you, Megan! It's not the same Coney :) It's Coney IX from the year 2300, not Coney I from 2121 :) Most probably a descendant, or named after him.

Tue, August 1st, 2017 9:30pm

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